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the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated, when I heard a faint voice call her name. It was from a poor sailor, who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade; but of late his illness had so increased, that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, and so ghastly, that it is no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognise him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features, it read at once a whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony.
All now was hurry and bustle. The meetings of acquaintances the greetings of friends-the consultations of men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the land of my forefathers-but felt that I was a stranger in the land. Washington Irving.
FROM J. M. THIELE'S POPULAR TRADITIONS OF THE DANES."
(TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.)
Huer mand lagde til og tog fra, blanded deriblandt meget sit egen dict. Lysc. Slectebog, Præf. VI. Every man added or omitted something, and mixed up many inven◄ tions of his own with the story.
In the environs of Hirschholm, on Hösterkiöb Mark, are two hills, Mangelbierg and Gillesbierg, which are said to be inhabited by elves. Before festival-days, great noises are heard in them, as of the clattering of
copper kettles, and the opening and shutting of large chests; and sometimes, also, music.-A poor peasant, who was at work upon Gillesbierg, lay down to rest about mid-day, when there suddenly appeared before him a beautiful maiden, holding a gold cup in her hand, and beckoning to him. But as the peasant was afraid, and sained* himself, she turned away, and he observed that her back was hollow like a kneading trough.
At Gudmandstrup, in the lordship of Odd, is a hill called Wheel-hill. The elves that live in this hill are well known in the adjacent towns, and no one forgets to sain his ale cask, as the elves from Wheel-hill often creep in and steal the ale.
A peasant passing the hill late one evening, saw that it stood upon red pillars, and under it were music and dancing, and a splendid fairy banquet. As the peasant was observing their merriment, the music and dancing suddenly ceased, and in the midst of loud lamentations, he heard an elf cry out, "Skotte has fallen in the fire! -Come and help him up !"-The hill sank, and all was still.
In the meantime the peasant's wife was sitting at home spinning her tow, not aware that an elf had crept in at the window of the next room, and was drawing off the liquor from her ale-barrel into his copper kettle.
The door stood open, and the elf was keeping a sharp eye upon the good woman's motions, when her husband came into the room in a state of astonishment, and told her all he had seen and heard. When he came to "Skotte has fallen in the fire!-Come and help him up!" the elf dropt the spigot, kettle, and ale, on the floor, and whisked off through the window.-Alarmed by the noise, they soon discovered what kind of a guest they had had; and to indemnify themselves for their ale that had been spilled, they took possession of the elf's copper kettle, which is said to have been long preserved as a token, and shown about the neighbourhood.
* To sain is literally to sign, that is, with the cro's
One night an elf came to a midwife in Bingsberg, in the lordship of Odd, and requested that she would go down with him to Hafvehoi, to help his wife. When she came there, she was obliged to go under the earth with him. She was well treated in Fairy-land, and restored in perfect security to the light of day; but, having afterwards blabbed of what she had seen under the hill, she lost her sight.
At Ouröe, near Jægerspriis, is a large knoll called Steensbierg. That there are fairies in this knoll is well known in the neighbourhood, as noises (as of shutting and opening large chests) are often heard to proceed from it. It is, moreover, notorious, that the pantries of the peasants in the vicinity are often plundered by the elves. Once time, Neil Jenson, who lived close to the knoll, having remarked that they made unmercifully free with his store-room, locked the door by which they were accustomed to enter; but shortly after, his daughter became stone-blind, and did not recover her sight till her father unlocked the door.
A peasant once found an elf sitting dejected and cogitabund, upon a stone between Mullerup and Dalby, in the neighbourhood of the Tiis Lake. The good man, who at first took him for a decent christian, asked him "whither he was bound?". "I'll leave this country," said the elf; "for there is no living here now, for the continual jangling and clatching of bells."
In Kundebye, in the Bailiwick of Holbeck, an elf had his habitation in the high ridge on which the church stands; but after the people in that quarter began to have the fear of God about them, and to be assiduous in their attendance at church, the elf was kept in continual torment by the unceasing clatter of the bells in the church steeple. At last he could stand it no longer, and left the place; for nothing has tended so much to clear the country of elves as the increase of godliness in the people, and the ringing of consecrated bells.
After leaving Kundebye, the elf went to Fyen, where
he resided for some time; and it so fell out, that a man who had lately taken up his residence in Kundebye came to Fyen, and met the elf on the road. "Where may you be, when at home?" said the elf." I am from Kundebye," said the man, little suspecting what kind of personage it was by whom he was accosted." Ay, indeed!" said the elf; "I thought I knew every body in Kundebye, but I know nothing of you.-Will you carry a letter to Kundebye for me?". With all my heart!" said the man; and the elf put it into his pocket, and enjoined him strictly not to take it from thence, till he came to Kundebye Kirk, and then to throw it over the church-yard wall, and the person to whom it was addressed would be sure to find it. On this they parted, and the man thought no more of the letter. But after he returned to Zealand, as he sat on the meadow where the Tiis Lake now is, all at once he recollected the elf's letter, and was seized with an irresistible desire to see it. Accordingly he took it out of his pocket; and after he had sat some time with it in his hand, water began to bubble out of the seal; the letter unfolded itself; and it was with great difficulty that the peasant escaped with his life; for the elf had inclosed a whole lake in the letter, which was intended to drown Kundebye Kirk and its bells, for the trouble they had given him.
When Esbern Snare set about building a church for Kallundborg, he found that he could not accomplish it. Then came an elf to him, and offered his services; and Esbern Snare made an agreement with him, upon these conditions, that he should repeat the elf's name when the church was finished, or otherwise forfeit his heart and eyes. The work now went on at a fine rate, and the elf built the church upon stone pillars; but when it was nearly complete, and only one half pillar was wanting, Esbern Snare was not a little alarmed at finding that he had forgot the elf's name. He wandered out into fields, musing and beating his brains to no purpose, till, quite worn out with sorrow and anxiety, he lay down upon Ulshöi bank to rest, when he heard, under the hill, an elf-woman singing to her child,
"Lullaby lully, baby mine;
To-morrow comes thy father FINE,
On hearing this, Esbern returned in high glee to the church, just as the elf had arrived with the other half of the stone pillar which was wanting. As soon as Esbern saw him, he hailed him by his name; and the elf was in such a rage, that he flew off through the air, carrying with him the half pillar; and that is the reason why the church has only three pillars and a half to support it.
Near Tiis Lake lived an honest couple by themselves, who were sorely plagued by a changeling, that had been left in place of their child (which had not been christened in due time) by the elves. This oaf, when alone, indulged himself in the most extraordinary freaks, and he was in a state of incessant activity, scrambling up the walls like a cat, and howling and screeching under the eaves; but when any one was in the room with him, he sat dozing at the end of the table. He could eat as much as four people; devoured whatever was set before him; was never satisfied; and was a perfect nuisance in the house. As they found it impossible to make any good of him, they had long sought for means of a happy riddance; and at last a clever wench pledged herself to send him a packing. For this purpose, she killed a pig, which she boiled hide and hair, in a haggis, and set before him. He immediately began to cut away and gobble up with his usual voracity, but gradually relaxed his eagerness, and finally sat still with the knife in his hand, staring with astonishment at the haggis. At length he cried out, "Haggis with hide-and haggis with hair!-Haggis with eyes-and haggis with bones! -I have lived to see the wood upon Tiis Lake thrice renewed, but never saw such a haggis !-Now may the d-l stay longer for me!" With these words he fled from the place, and never returned again.