THE FAIRY MYTHOLOGY
In old wives dates that in old time did live,
To whose odde tales much credit men did give,
Great store of goblins, fairies, bugs, nightmares,
Urchins and elves to many a house repaires.
We use the term Great Britain in a very limited sense, as merely
inclusive of those parts of the island whose inhabitants are of Gotho-German origin--England and the
Lowlands of Scotland.
We have already seen that the Anglo-Saxon conquerors of Britain had in their language the
terms from which are derived Elf and Dwarf, and the inference is natural that their ideas respecting
these beings corresponded with those of the Scandinavians and Germans. The same may be said. of the Picts,
who, akin to the Scandinavians, early seized on the Scottish Lowlands. We therefore close our survey of
the Fairy Mythology of the Gotho-German race with Great Britain.
Merry elves, their morrice pacing,
To aŽrial minstrelsy,
Emerald rings on brown heath tracing,
Trip it deft and merrily.
The Fairy Mythology of England divides itself into two branches,
that of the people and that of the poets. Under the former head will be comprised the few scattered
traditions which we have been able to collect respecting a system, the belief in which is usually thought
to be nearly extinct; the latter will contain a selection of passages, treating of fairies and their
exploits, from our principal poets.
The Fairies of England are evidently the Dwarfs of Germany and the North, though they do
not appear to have been ever so denominated.1 Their appellation was Elves, subsequently
Fairies; but there would seem to have been formerly other terms expressive of them, of which hardly
a vestige is now remaining in the English language.
They were, like their northern kindred, divided into two classes--the rural Elves,
inhabiting the woods, fields, mountains, and caverns; and the domestic or house-spirits, usua called
Hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows. But the Thames, the Avon, and the, other English streams, never seem
to have been the abode of a Neck or Kelpie.
The following curious instances of English superstition, occur in the twelfth
The Green Children
"Another wonderful thing," says Ralph of
Coggeshall,2 "happened in Suffolk, at St. Mary's of the Wolf-pits. A boy and his sister
were found by the inhabitants of that place near the mouth of a pit which is there, who had the form of
all their limbs like to those of other men, but they differed in the colour of their skin from all the
people of our habitable world; for the whole surface of their skin was tinged of a green colour. No
one could understand their speech. When they were brought as curiosities to the house of a certain
knight, Sir Richard de Caine, at Wikes, they wept bitterly. Bread and other victuals were set before
them, but they would touch none of them, though they were tormented by great hunger, as the girl
afterwards acknowledged. At length, when some beans just cut, with their stalks, were brought into the
house, they made signs, with great avidity, that they should be given to them. When they were brought,
they opened the stalks instead of the pods, thinking the beans were in the hollow of them; but not
finding them there, they began to weep anew. When those who were present saw this, they opened the pods,
and showed them the naked beans. They fed on these with great delight, and for a long time tasted no
other food. The boy, however, was always languid and depressed, and he died within a short time. The
girl enjoyed continual good health; and becoming accustomed to various kinds of food, lost completely
that green colour, and gradually recovered the sanguine habit of her entire body. She was afterwards
regenerated by the layer of holy baptism, and lived for many years in the service of that knight (as I
have frequently heard from him and his family), and was rather loose and wanton in her conduct. Being
frequently asked about the people of her country, she asserted that the inhabitants, and all they had in
that country, were of a green colour; and that they saw no sun, but enjoyed a degree of light like what
is after sunset. Being asked how she came into this country with the aforesaid boy, she replied, that
as they were following their flocks, they came to a certain cavern, on entering which they heard a
delightful sound of bells; ravished by whose sweetness, they went for a long time wandering on through
the cavern, until they came to its mouth. When they came out of it, they were struck senseless by the
excessive light of the sun, and the unusual temperature of the air; and they thus lay for a long time.
Being terrified by the noise of those who came on them, they wished to fly, but they could not find the
entrance of the cavern before they were caught."
This story is also told by William of Newbridge,3 who places it in the reign
of King Stephen. He says he long hesitated to believe it, but he was at length overcome by the weight
of evidence. According to him, the place where the children appeared was about four or five miles from
Bury St. Edmund's: they came in harvest-time out of the Wolf-pits; they both lost their green hue, and
were baptised, and learned English. The boy, who was the younger, died; but the girl married a man at
Lenna, and lived many years. They said their country was called St. Martin's Land, as that saint was
chiefly worshiped there; that the people were Christians, and had churches; that the sun did not rise
there, but that there was a bright country which could be seen from theirs, being divided from it by a
very broad river.
The Fairy Banquet
In the next chapter of his history, William of Newbridge relates
"In the province of the Deiri (Yorkshire), not far from my birth-place, a wonderful
thing occurred, which I have known from my boyhood. There is a town a few miles distant from the Eastern
Sea, near which are those celebrated waters commonly called Gipse ... A peasant of this town went once
to see a friend who lived in the next town, and it was late at night when he was coming back, not very
sober; when lo! from the adjoining barrow, which I have often seen, and which is not much over a quarter
of a mile from the town, he heard the voices of people singing, and, as it were, joyfully feasting.
He wondered who they could be that were breaking in that place, by their merriment, the silence of the
dead night, and he wished to examine into the matter more closely. Seeing a door open in the side of
the barrow, he went up to it, and looked in; and there he beheld a large and luminous house, full of
people, women as well as men, who were reclining as at a solemn banquet. One of the attendants, seeing
him standing at the door, offered him a cup. He took it, but would not drink; and pouring out the
contents, kept the vessel. A great tumult arose at the banquet on account of his taking away the cup,
and all the guests pursued him; but he escaped by the fleetness of the beast he rode, and got into the
town with his booty. Finally, this vessel of unknown material, of unusual colour, and of extraordinary
form, was presented to Henry the Elder, king of the English, as a valuable gift, and was then given to
the queen's brother David, king of the Scots, and was kept for several years in the treasury of Scotland;
and a few years ago (as I have heard from good authority), it was given by William, king of the Scots,
to Henry the Second, who wished to see it."
The scene of this legend, we may observe, is the very country in which the Danes settled;
and it is exactly the same as some of the legends current at the present day among the Danish peasantry.
It is really extraordinary to observe the manner in which popular traditions and superstitions will
thus exist for centuries.
Gervase of Tilbury, the Imperial Chancellor, gives the following particulars respecting the
Fairy Mythology of England in the thirteenth century.
"There is," says he,4 "in the county of
Gloucester, a forest abounding in boars, stags, and every species of game that England produces. In a
grovy lawn of this forest there is a little mount, rising in a point to the height of a man, on which
knights and other hunters are used to ascend when fatigued with heat and thirst, to seek some relief for
their wants. The nature of the place, and of the business, is, however, such, that whoever ascends the
mount must leave his companions, and go quite alone.
"When alone, he was to say, as if speaking to some other person, 'I thirst,' and
immediately there would appear a cupbearer in an elegant dress, with a cheerful countenance, bearing in
his stretched-out hand a large horn, adorned with gold and gems, as was the custom am~mg the most
ancient English. In the cup5 nectar of an unknown but most delicious flavour was presented,
and when it was drunk, all heat and weariness fled from the glowing body, so that one would be thought
ready to undertake toil instead of having toiled. Moreover, when the nectar was taken, the servant
presented a towel to the drinker, to wipe his mouth with, and then having performed his office, he
waited neither for a recompense for his services, nor for questions and enquiry.
"This frequent and. daily action had for a very long period of old times taken place
among the ancient people, till one day a knight of that city, when out hunting, went thither, and having
called for a drink and gotten the horn, did not, as was the custom, and as in good manners he should
have done, return it to the cup-bearer, but kept it for his own use. But the illustrious Earl of
Gloucester, when he learned the truth of the matter, condemned the robber to death, and presented the
horn to the most excellent King Henry the Elder, lest he should be thought to have approved of such
wickedness, if he had added the rapine of another to the store of his private property."
In another part of this work the Chancellor says,6--
"They have in England certain demons, though I know not whether I should call them
demons or figures of a secret and unknown generation, which the French call Neptunes, the English
Portunes.7 It is their nature to embrace the simple life of comfortable farmers, and when,
on account of their domestic work, they are sitting up at night, when the doors are shut, they warm
themselves at the fire, and take little frogs out of their bosom, roast them on the coals, and eat them.
They have the countenance of old men, with wrinkled cheeks, and they are of a very small stature, not
being quite half-an-inch high.8 They wear little patched coats, and if anything is to be
carried into the house, or any laborious work to be done, they lend a hand, and finish it sooner than
any man could. It is tbeir nature to have the power to serve, but not to injure. They have, however,
one little mode of annoying. When in the uncertain shades of night the English are riding any where
alone, the Portune sometimes invisibly joins the horseman; and when he has accompanied him a good while,
he at last takes the reins, and leads the horse into a neighbouring slough; and when he is fixed and
floundering in it, the Portune goes off with a loud laugh, and by sport of this sort he mocks the
simplicity of mankind.
"There is," says he, again9 "in England
a certain kind of demon whom in their language they call Grant,10 like a yearling foal,
erect on its hind legs, with sparkling eyes. This kind of demon often appears in the streets in the
heat of the day, or about sunset. If there is any danger impending on the following day or night, it
runs about the streets provoking the dogs to bark, and, by feigning flight, draws the dogs after it, in
the vain hope of catching it. This illusion warns the inhabitants to beware of fire, and the friendly
demon, while he terrifies those who see him, puts by his coining the ignorant on their guard."
Thus far the Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, and, except in the poets, we have met with
no further account of, or allusion to, fairies, until the reign of Elizabeth, when a little work
appeared, named, The mad Pranks and merry Jests of Robin Goodfellow,11 from which Shakespeare
seems in a good measure to have derived his Puck.
This work consists of two parts. In the first we are informed that Robin was the offspring
of a "proper young wench by a hee-fayrie, a king or something of that kin among them." By the
time he was six years old he was so mischievous and unlucky that his mother found it necessary to promise
him a whipping. He ran away and engaged with a tailor, from whom also he soon eloped. When tired he sat
down and fell asleep, and in his sleep he had a vision of fairies; and when he awoke he found lying
beside him a scroll, evidently left by his father, which, in verses written in letters of gold, informed
him that he should have any thing he wished for, and have also the power of turning himself "To
horse, to hog, to dog, to ape," etc., but he was to harm none but knaves and queans, and was to
"love those that honest be, and help them in necessity." He made trials of his power and found
that be really possessed it. His first exploit was to turn himself into a horse, to punish a churlish
clown, whom he induced to mount him, and gave him a fall that went well nigh to break his neck. The
fellow then went to ride him through a great plash of water, "and in the middle of it he found
himself with nothing but a pack-saddle between his legs, while Robin went off laughing, Ho, ho,
hoh! He next exerted himself in the cause of two young lovers, and secured their happiness.
In the Second Part we find him more in the character of the Nis or Brownie. Coming to a
farmer's house, he takes a liking to a "good handsome maid," that was there, and in the night
does her work for her, at breaking hemp and flax, bolting meal, etc. Having watched one night and seen
him at work, and observed that he was rather bare of clothes, she provided him with a waistcoat against
the next night. But when he saw it he started and said:-
Because thou layest me himpen hampen
He went off laughing Ho, ho, hoh! and the maid in future had to do all the work herself.
I will neither bolt nor stampen:
'Tis not your garments, new or old,
That Robin loves: I feel no cold.
Had you left me milk or cream,
You should have had a pleasing dream:
Because you left no drop or crum,
Robin never more will come.
A company of young fellows who had been making merry with their sweethearts were coming
home over a heath. Robin met them, and to make himself merry took the form of a walking fire,
and led them up and down till daylight, and then went off saying:--
Get you home, you merry lads:
A fellow was attempting to offer violence to a young maiden. Robin came to her aid, ran
between his legs in the shape of a hare, then turning himself into a horse, carried him off on his back,
and flung him into a thick hedge.
Tell your mammies and your dads,
And all those that news desire,
How you saw a walking fire.
Wenches that do smile and lispe,
Use to call me Willy Wispe.
If that you but weary be,
It is sport alone for me.
Away: unto your houses go,
And I'll go laughing, Ho, ho, hoh!
Robin fell in love with a weaver's pretty wife, and for her sake took service with her
husband. The man caught them one day kissing, and next night he went and took Robin as he was sleeping,
up out of his bed, and went to the river and threw him in. But instantly he heard behind him--
For this your service, master, I you thank.
Robin went as a fiddler to a wedding. When the candles came he blew them out, and giving
the men boxes in the ears he set them a-fighting. He kissed the prettiest girls, and pinched the
others, till he made them scratch one another like cats. When the posset was brought forth, he turned himself into a bear, and frightening them away, had it all to himself.
Go swim yourself; I'll stay upon the bank;
and was pushed in by Robin, who had put a bag of yarn in his bed,
and now went off with, Ho, ho, hoh!
At length his father who we now find, was king Obreon (i.e. Oberon),12 called
him up out of his bed one night, and took him to where the fairies were dancing to the music of Tom
Thumb's bagpipe, and thence to Fairy-land, where he "did show him many secrets which he never did
open to the world."
In the same work Sib says of the woman-fairies:
"To walk nightly as do the men-fairies we use not; but now and then
we go together, and at good housewives' fires we warm our fairy
children.13 If we find clean water and clean towels we leave them
money, either in their basins, or in their shoes; but if we find no
clean water in their houses, we wash our children in their pottage,
milk, or beer, or whatever we find: for the sluts that have not such
things fitting, we wash their faces and hands with a gilded child's
clout, or else carry them to some river and duck them over head and
ears. We often use to dwell in some great hill, and from thence we
do lend money to any poor man or woman that hath need; but if they
bring it not again at the day appointed, we do not only punish them
with pinching, but also in their goods, so that they never thrive
till they have paid us."
The learned and strong-minded Reginald Scot, thus notices the superstitions of his own and
the preceding age.14
"Indeed your grandams' maids were wont to set a bowl of milk before
him (Incubus) and his cousin Robin Goodfellow, for grinding of malt
or mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight; and you have also
heard that he would chafe exceedingly if the maid or good-wife of
the house, having compassion of his nakedness, laid any clothes for
him besides his mess of white bread and milk, which was his standing
fee; for in that case he saith,
What have we here? Hemten, hamten,
Here will I never more tread nor stampen.
"The Faeries do principally inhabit the mountains and caverns of the
earth, whose nature is to make strange apparitions on the earth, in
meadows or on mountains, being like men and women, soldiers, kings,
and lathes, children and horsemen, clothed in green, to which
purpose they do in the night steal hempen stalks from the fields
where they grow, to convert them into horses, as the story goes.
Elsewhere16 he gives the following goodly catalogue of these objects of popular
terror:--"Our mother's maids have so frayed us with Bull-beggars, Spirits, Witches, Urchins, Elves,
Hags, Faeries, Satyrs, Pans, Faunes, Sylens, Kit-wi-the-Canstick, Tritons, Centaurs, Dwarfs,
Gyants, Impes, Calcars, Coujurors, Nymphs, Changelings, Incubus, Robin
Goodfellow, the Spoorn, the Mare, the
Man-in-the-Oak, the Hell-wain, the Firedrake, the Puckle, Tom-thombe, Hob-goblin, Tom-tumbler, Boneless,
and such other Bugs, that we are afraid of our shadow."17
"Such jocund and facetious spirits," he continues, "are said to
sport themselves in the night by tumbling and fooling with servants
and shepherds in country houses, pinching them black and blue, and
leaving bread, butter, and cheese, sometimes with them, which, if
they refuse to eat, some mischief shall undoubtedly befal them by
the means of these Faeries; and many such have been taken away by
the said spirits for a fortnight or a month together, being carried
with them in chariots through the air, over hills and dales, rocks
and precipices, till at last they have been found lying in some
meadow or mountain, bereaved of their senses, and commonly one of
their members to boot."
Burton, after noticing from Paracelsus those which in Germany "do usually walk in
little coats, some two foot long," says,18 "A bigger kind there is of them called
with us Hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows, that would, in those superstitious times, grind corn for a
mess of milk, cut wood, or do any manner of drudgery work." And again: "Some put our Fairies
into this rank (that of terrestrial devils), which have been in former times adored with much
superstition, with sweeping their houses, and setting of a pail of clean water, good victuals, and the
like, and then they should not be pinched, but find money in their shoes, and be fortunate in their
enterprises." In another place (p. 30,) he says, "And so those which Miyaldus calls
Ambulones, that walk about midnight, on heaths and desert places, which (saith
Lavater) draw men
out of the way and lead them all night a by-way, or quite barre them of their way; these have several
names, in several places; we commonly call themPucks."
Harsenet thus speaks of them in his Declaration:19
"And if that the bowl of curds and cream were not
duly set out for Robin Goodfellow, the friar, and Sisse
the dairy-maid, why then, either the pottage was burned the next day
in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter would not
come, or the ale in the fat never would have good head. But if a
Peter-penny or a Housle-egge20 were behind, or a patch of tythe
unpaid--then 'ware of bull-beggars, spirits, &c."
Nash thus describes them:21
"Then ground they malt, and had hempen shirts for their labours;
daunced in rounds in green meadows; pincht maids in their sleep that
swept not their houses clean, and led poor travellers out of their
As the celebrated Luck of Eden Hall is supposed to have been a chalice, due respect for the
piety of our forefathers will not allow of our placing the desecration of it any higher than the reign
of Elizabeth, or that of her father at farthest. We will therefore introduce its history in this
The Luck At Eden
In this house (Eden Hall, a seat of the Musgraves,) are some
good old-fashioned, apartments. An old painted drinking-glass, called the Luck of Eden Hall, is
preserved with great care. In the garden near to the house is a well of excellent spring water, called
St. Cuthbert's Well. (The church is dedicated to that saint.) This glass is supposed to have been a
sacred chalice; but the legendary tale is, that the butler, going to draw water, surprised a company of
Fairies, who were amusing themselves upon the green near the well; he seized the glass which was
standing upon its margin. They tried to recover it; but, after an ineffectual struggle, flew away,
If that glass either break or fall,
"In the year 1633--4 (says Aubrey23) soon after I had entered into my
grammar, at the Latin schoole of Yatton-Keynel, [near Chippenham, Wilts,] our curate, Mr. Hart, was
annoyed one night by these elves or fayeries. Comming over the downes, it being neere darke, and
approaching one of the faiery dances, as the common people call them in these parts, viz, the greene
circles made by those sprites on the grasse, he all at once saw an innumerable quantitie of pigmies, or
very small people, dancing rounde and rounde, and singing and making all maner of small odd noyses. He,
being very greatly amazed, and yet not being able, as he says, to run away from them, being, as he
supposes, kept there in a kinde of enchantment, they no sooner perceave him but they surround him on
all sides, and what betwixte feare and amazement he fell down, scarcely knowing what he did; and thereupon
these little creatures pinched him all over, and made a quick humming noyse all the tyme; but at length
they left him, and when the sun rose he found himself exactly in the midst of one of these faiery dances.
This relation I had from him myselfe a few days after he was so tormented; but when I and my bed-fellow,
Stump, wente soon afterwards, at night time, to the dances on the downes, we sawe none of the elves or
faieries. But, indeed, it is saide they seldom appeare to any persons who go to seeke for them."
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall22
The next account, in order of time, that occurs, is what Sir Walter Scott calls the Cock
Lane narrative of Anne Jefferies, who was born in 1626, in the parish of St. Teath, in Cornwall, and
whose wonderful adventures with the Fairies were, in 1696, communicated by Mr. Moses Pitt, her master's
son, to Dr. Fowler, bishop of Gloucester.24
According to this account, Anne described the Fairies, who she said came to her, as
"six small people, all in green clothes." They taught her to perform numerous surprising cures;
they fed her from harvest-time till Christmas; they always appeared in even numbers. When seen dancing
in the orchard among the trees, she said she was dancing with the fairies. These fairies scorned the
imputation of being evil spirits, and referred those who termed them such to Scripture.
The following "relation of the apparition of Fairies, their seeming to keep a fair,
and what happened to a certain man that endeavoured to put himself in amongst them," is given by
"Reading once the eighteenth of Mr. Glanvil's relations, p.
203, concerning an Irishman that had like to have been carried away by spirits, and of the banquet they
had spread before them in the fields, etc., it called to mind a passage I had often heard, of Fairies or
spirits, so called by the country people, which showed themselves in great companies at divers times.
At some times they would seem to dance, at other times to keep a great fair or market. I made it my
business to inquire amongst the neighbours what credit might be given to that which was reported of them,
and by many of the neighbouring inhabitants I had this account confirmed.
"The place near which they most ordinarily showed themselves was on the side of a
hill, named Black-down, between the parishes of Pittminster and Chestonford, not many miles from Tanton.
Those that have had occasion to travel that way have frequently seen them there, appearing like men and
women, of a stature generally near the smaller size of men. Their habits used to be of red, blue, or
green, according to the old way of country garb, with high crowned hats. One time, about fifty years
since, a person living at Comb St. Nicholas, a parish lying on one side of that hill, near Chard, was
riding towards his home that way, and saw, just before him, on the side of the hill, a great company of
people, that seemed to him like country folks assembled as at a fair. There were all sorts of
commodities, to his appearance, as at our ordinary fairs; pewterers, shoemakers, pedlars, with all kind
of trinkets, fruit, and drinking-booths. He could not remember anything which he had usually seen at
fairs but what he saw there. It was once in his thoughts that it might be some fair for Chestonford,
there being a considerable one at some time of the year; but then again he considered that it was not
the season for it. He was under very great surprise, and admired what the meaning of what he saw should
be. At length it came into his mind what he had heard concerning the Fairies on the side of that hill,
and it being near the road he was to take, he resolved to ride in amongst them, and see what they were.
Accordingly he put on his horse that way, and, though he saw them perfectly all along as he came, yet
when he was upon the place where all this had appeared to him, he could discern nothing at all, only
seemed to be crowded and thrust, as when one passes through a throng of people. All the rest became
invisible to him until he came to a little distance, and then it appeared to him again as at first.
He found himself in pain, and so hastened home; where, being arrived, lameness seized him all on one
side, which continued on him as long as he lived, which was many years; for he was living in Comb, and
gave an account to any that inquired of this accident for more than twenty years afterwards; and this
relation I had from a person of known honour, who had it from the man himself.
"There were some whose names I have now forgot, but they then lived at a gentleman's
house, named Comb Farm, near the place before specified: both the man, his wife, and divers of the
neighbours, assured me they had, at many times, seen this fair-keeping in the summer-time, as
they came from Tanton-market, but that they durst not adventure in amongst them; for that every one that
had done so had received great damage by it."
The Fairies' Caldron
"In the vestry of Frensham church, in Surrey, on the north
side of the chancel, is an extraordinary great kettle or caldron, which the inhabitants say, by tradition,
was brought hither by the fairies, time out of mind, from Borough-hill, about a mile hence. To this place,
if anyone went to borrow a yoke of oxen, money, etc., he might have it for a year or longer, so he kept
his word to return it. There is a cave where some have fancied to hear music. In this Borough hill is a
great stone, lying along the length of about six feet. They went to this stone and knocked at it, and
declared what they could borrow, and when they would repay, and a voice would answer when they should
come, and that they should find what they desired to borrow at that stone. This caldron, with the trivet,
was borrowed here after the manner aforesaid, and not returned according to promise; and though the
caldron was afterwards carried to the stone, it could not be received, and ever since that time no
1. The Anglo-Saxon Dweorg, Dworh, and the English Dwarf; do not seem ever
to have had any other sense than that of the Latin nanus.
2. As quoted by Picart in his Notes on William of Newbridge. We could not find it in the Collection of
Histories, etc., by Martens and Durand,--the only place where, to our knowledge, this chronicler's
works are printed.
3. Guilelmi Neubrigensis, Historia, sive Chronica Rerum Anglicarum, Oxon. 1719, lib. i. c.
4. Otis Imperiaila apud Leibnitz Scriptores rerum Brunsvicarum, vol.i. p. 981.
5. Vice calicis.
6. Otis Imperiaila apud Leibnitz Scriptores rerum Brunsvicarum, vol.i. p. 980
7. There is, as far as we are aware, no vestige of these names remaining in either the French or English
language, and we cannot conceive how the Latin names of sea-gods came to be applied to the Gotho-German
8. Dimidium pollicis Should we not read pedis?
9. Otis Imperiaila apud Leibnitz Scriptores rerum Brunsvicarum, vol.i. p. 980.
10. Can this name be connected with that of Grendel, the malignant spirit in Beowulf?
11. Edited for the Percy Society by J. P. Collyer, Esq., 1841. Mr. Collyer says there is little doubt
but that this work was printed before 1588, or even 1584. We think this is true only of the First Part;
for the Second, which is of a different texture, must have been added some time after tobacco had come
into common use in England: see the verses in p. 34.
12. Mr. Collyer does not seem to have recollected that Huon de Bordeaux had been translated by Lord
13. It It is, according to this authority the man-fairy Gunn that steals children and leaves
14. Discoverie of Witchcrafte, iv. ch. 10.
15. R. Scot, Discoverie of Witchcrafte, ii. ch. 4.
16. Ib. vii. 15.
17. This appears to us to be rather a display of the author's learning than an actual enumeration of the
objects of popular terror; for the maids hardly talked of Satyrs, Pans, etc. Hag is the
Anglo-Saxon ..., German here, "witche," and hence the Nightmare which was ascribed to
witches; we still say Hag-ridden. Calcar and Sporn (spurs?) may be the same, from the idea of
riding: the French call the Nightmare, (Cauchemare,from Caucher, calcare. Kit-wi-the-canstick
is Jack-with-the-Lanthorn. The Man in the Oak is probably Puck, "Turn your cloakes, quoth hee, for
Pucke is busy in these oakes."--Iter Boreale. The Hell-wain is perhaps the Death-coach, connected
with Northern and German superstitions, and the Fire-drake an Ignis Fatuus. Boneless may have been some
impalpable spectre; the other terms seem to be mere appellations of Puck.
18. Anat. of Mel. p. 47.
19. Chap. xx. p. 134. Lond. 1604.
20. This is, we apprehend, an egg at Easter or on Good Friday. Housle is the Anglo-Saxon ...;
Goth. hunsl, sacrifice or offering, and thence the Eucharist.
21. Terrors of the Night, 1594.
22. Hutchinson, History of Cumberland, vol. 1. p. 269.
23. As quoted by Thoms in his Essay on Popular Songs, in the Athenaeum for 1847.
24. Morgan, Phoenix Britannicus, Loud. 1732.
25. Pandemonium, n. 207. Lond. 1684.
26. Aubrey, Natural History of Surrey, iii, 366, ap. Ritson, Fairy Tales, p. 166