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THE MOUNTAIN KING.
A Swedish Legend.
One is surprised that the legendary lore of Sweden should be so little known to the rest
of Europe ; for, although it is a country less explored by travellers than any other so far advanced in civilization, there is a penetrating spirit in popular poetry, that usually
enables it to make its way, under every disadvantage. The incidents in the following tale are taken from an old Swedish ballad, founded on a
superstition common in ancient times to that country and our own; the mythology of both nations having peopled the interior of their mountains with a powerful, viodictive, and mysterious race-objects always of terror, and sometimes of uowary love, bat
usually fatal to those by whom they were not sedulously shunned. “ Open, open, green hill, and let a fair maid in,” with the subsequent admittance of the
damsel, according to her invocation, in one of our nursery-tales, is evidently akin to the fate of Isabel.
She heard the bell toll, and went forth at the dawn-
Twas a moment, no more yet scem'd ages' to fleet,
Then he struck her fair face as she koelt at his feet
THE DWARFS OF THE NINE MOUNTAINS OF RAMBIN.
from the German.
THE Nine Mountains at Rambin are influence upon these realms of middle inhabited by dwarfs, who dance, and earth ; and it is farther said, that such sing, and sport in the moonlight, and people have ever been fortunate in the more particularly when the earth is vi- world, either from the wisdom they sited by spring or summer. These learnt below, or from the assistance of dwarfs are rather mischievous than ma- their masters, who have wished to relicious; they are fond of alluring chil- compense their servitude. dren into their power, who then are The unearthly beings who dwell in compelled to serve them in their sub- the Nine Mountains belong to the class terraneous abodes; but this service is of Brown Dwarfs, and they are not not hard, and at the end of fifty years, malicious; but in two other mountains by a law of the dwarf-kingdom, they are White Dwarfs, and they are the are again set at liberty ; nor do these friends of all in the upper world. There fifty years add an hour to the age of are also Black Dwarfs, who work the the captives ; time and the sun have no metals with an ingenuity far surpassing that of man; but their hearts are evil, and showed his knowledge or his newlyand they are never to be trusted. acquired power, by ordering the little
I will now tell a story of these Brown brownie to provide a supper. The Dwarfs in the Nine Mountains, which dwarf was forced to obey, for his power happened long ago; I had it, in my had gone from him with his cap of inchildhood, from Henry Fierk, who was visibility. a peasant at Giesendorf, and who was The cock now crowed for the third well acquainted with all such matters. time, and the young light streaked You must, therefore, suppose that it is the east, when“ Away! away !" soundHenry who tells this story.
ed from the bushes, and the stalks, There once lived at Rambin, a pea- and the flowers and the mountain sant, named Jacob Dietrich, with his opened, and all sank below in a silver wife and family. Of all his children, cistern. he most loved the youngest, who was Hans was astonished in his descent then in his eighth year, and tended at the magic glitter of the walls : cows in the meadow by the Nine Moun- they were as if inlaid with pearls and tains : here the little Hans got acquaint- diamonds, such was their exceeding ed with a cowherd, called Klas Stark- brilliance ; while beneath, and in the wolt, a grey-headed man, whose brain distance, he heard the sweetest music, was like a volume of ancient fairy tales. that stole upon his senses like MayBut if the old peasant was fond of re- odours, and at length wrapped him in peating his legends, the boy was no a gentle slumber. What time had less fond of listening to them, till at passed he knew not, but when he last his young fancy was so infamed, awoke, his little brownie was by his that he could neither speak nor think of side, ready to do him service ; and he aught but dwarfs and gnomes, and gol- found himself in a chamber that was den cups, and crowns of diamonds. brilliant beyond the splendour of the Above all, he wished to get a dwarf- earth. The tables were of spotless cap, for Klas had told him, that who- marble, the walls of emerald; and the ever was fortunate to find or gain one,
frames of the mirrors were covered with might safely descend into the mountain, diamonds. No sun shone in this suband have all the dwarfs at his command. terranean kingdom, but the precious At last he resolved to try, and one night stones shed around a perpetual ļight, stole away from home, and laid him- that was fairer and clearer than the self on the top of the highest mountain, fairest and clearest night of earth. though his heart beat all the time like a They were the stars and the moons of hammer, and his breathing was as the this country, but their splendour was wind of autumn. And now the clock borrowed from no sun, and eclipsed by struck twelve! On a sudden he heard no clouds. a murmuring, and a whistling, and a It was mid-day when a bell rang, rostling, and the song of voices, and and the brownie said, “ Master, will the tramp of little feet in the dance, you dine alone, or in the great assemthough as yet nothing was visible to his bly ?"-" In the great assembly," resight but the flowers and the leaves, that plied Hans, whither he was on the were stilly sleeping in the moon-shine. instant conducted by his servant. Here
At last a cap fell close before his he saw an infinite crowd of little men feet ; in an instant he seized it, and in and women already collected, while the pride of his heart set it upon his others poured into the ball from every head, when-Oh wonder! the little side ; in many places the ground opendancers were at once visible. The ed, and tables arose, covered with the dwarf would fain have got back his cap most costly vessels, and the most deby Hattery, but Hans was inexorable, licious meats, and wine that sparkled
in the goblets like water beneath the Hans, however, soon found out the
about with wild, that it drew from its throne the him in the dance for two hours long, anxious and delighted soul, to leave it and yet neither his breath was short quivering on the lips.
nor his feet weary. The more they Crowds of servants waited around danced, the wilder rose their spirits, the tables. Some bore about the golden till every soul was bathed in ecstacy. cups and the chrystal fruit-baskets; Often in the time of his old age was some strewed the ground with flowers, Hans accustomed to say, when he dethat must have grown in gardens near scribed this scene,“ There may be, the
sun, such was their exceeding beau- and no doubt are, greater joys in heaty,—a beauty that was even undimmed ven, but earthly imagination is too by the lustre of the diamond : others weak to picture them." scattered about odours so sweet, that the Thus passed the first week; in the senses ached with pleasure. These second, Hans began to walk, attended servants were the children of men who by his servant, through those meads had fallen into the power of the and fields which seemed to have no dwarfs. At first Hans was inclined to end. From this may be easily imapity their estate, but when he observed gined the vast depth below, for the outtheir rich clothes, and their rosy cheeks, sidesummitof the mountain was nothing and the springiness of their steps, he more than a little peak, clothed with thought to himself, “after all, they are shrubs and bushes. The trees, that not so badly off as I was in running bloomed thickly in these verdant meaafter cows and oxen ; and moreover, dows, were loaded with fruit, while a time will come when they may be milk and wine were ever flowing from free again.” And he thought no more the rocks. It blew, and the cheek felt of them, but sported with his little no wind ; it was light, and the cheek companions, happier than any earthly felt no sun: the waves rolled and there king upon his throne.
was no danger: one perpetual spring They had sat thus for two hours, was upon the grass and the tree, and when the principal rang a little bell; the leaves had never been touched by in a trice sank the seats and the tables, the heats of summer, the yellowness and the company was again upon the of autumn, or the frost of winter. foot. He rang a second time ; and Hans had lived thus many months, where the tables had been, there arose when at last he resolved to visit the orange-trees, and palms, and myrtles, schools, and become a student with rich with fruit and blossom, and upon the servants, for the dwarfs make a rule the branches sang the sweetest birds ; of instructing all the children of earth but though their numbers were many who fall into their power, as far as they as the sands in the desert, yet all their may be capable of receiving their lesvoices united in a perfect harmony. But the little people have appre