THE FAIRY MYTHOLOGY
O faretrate Ninfe, o agresti Pani,
Under the title of Southern Europe, we comprise Greece and those nations whose languages are
derived from the Latin; Italy, Spain, and France. Of the Fairy-system, if there ever was one, of Portugal
we have met with nothing, at least in the works of Camoens, Bernardes, and Lobo.
O Satiri e Silvani, o Fauni e Driadi,
Najadi ed Amadriadi, e Semidee
Oreadi, e Napee, or siete sole.
The reader will, in this part of our work, find little corresponding to the Gothic Dwarfs who
have hitherto been our companions. The only one of our former acquaintances that will attend us is honest
Hob-goblin, Brownie, Kobold, Nis, or however else he may style himself. And it is very remarkable that we
shall meet with him only in those places where the Northmen, the Visigoths or other Scandinavian tribes
settled. Whence perhaps it might be concluded that they brought him with them to the South of
Like a tender Nymph
The Grecian mythology, like its kindred systems, abounded in personifications.1
Modified by scenery so beautiful, rich, and various as Hellas presented, it in general assigned the
supposed intelligences who presided over the various parts of external nature more pleasing attributes
than they elsewhere enjoyed. They were mostly conceived to be of the female sex, and were denominated
Nymphs, a word originally signifying a new-married woman.
Within the dewy caves.
Whether it be owing to soil, climate, or to an original disposition of mind and its organ,
the Greeks have above all other people possessed a perception of beauty of form, and a fondness for
representing it. The Nymphs of various kinds were therefore always presented to the imagination, in the
perfection of female youth and beauty. Under the various appellations of Oreades, Dryades, Naides,
Limniades, Nereides, they dwelt in mountains, trees, springs, lakes, the seas where, in caverns and
grottos, they passed a life whose occupations resembled those of females of human rare. The Wood-nymphs
were the companions and attendants of the huntress goddess Artemis; the Sea-nymphs averted shipwreck from
pious navigators; and the Spring- and River-nymphs poured forth fruitfulness on the earth. All of them
were honoured with prayer and sacrifice; and all of them occasionally 'mingled in love' with favoured
In the Homeric poems, the most ancient portion of Grecian literature, we meet the various
classes of Nymphs. In the Odyssey, they are the attendants of Calypso, herself a goddess and a nymph. Of
the female attendants of Circe, the potent daughter of Helios, also designated as a goddess and a nymph,
it is said,
They spring from fountains and from sacred groves,
Yet these nymphs are of divine nature, and when Zeus, the father of the gods, calls together
And holy streams that flow into the sea.
None of the streams, save Ocean, stayed away,
The good Eumaeus prays to the Nymphs to speed the return of his master, reminding them of
the numerous sacrifices Ulysses had offered to them. In another part of the poem, their sacred cave is
Nor of the Nymphs, who dwell in beauteous groves,
And springs of streams, and verdant grassy slades.
But at the harbour's head a long-leafed olive
Yet though thus exalted in rank, the Homeric Nymphs frequently 'blessed the bed' of heroes;
and many a warrior who fought before Troy could boast descent from a Nais or a Nereis.
Grows, and near to it lies a lovely cave,
Dusky and sacred to the Nymphs, whom men
Call Naides. In it large craters lie,
And two-eared pitchers, all of stone, and there
Bees build their combs. In it, too, are long looms
Of stone, and there the Nymphs do weave their robes
Sea-purple, wondrous to behold. Aye-flowing
Waters are there; two entrances it hath;
That to the north is pervious unto men;
That to the south more sacred is, and there
Men enter not, but 'tis the Immortals' path.
The sweet, gentle, pious, Ocean-nymphs, who in the Prometheus of Aeschylus appear as the
consolers and advisers of its dignified hero, seem to hold a nearly similar relation with man to the
supernal gods. Beholding the misery inflicted on Prometheus by the power of Zeus, they cry,--
May never the all-ruling
One of the most interesting species of Nymphs is the Dryads, or Hamadryads, those
personifications of the vegetable life of plants. In the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite, we find the following
full and accurate description of them. Aphrodite, when she informs Anchises of her pregnancy, and her
shame to have it known among the gods, says of the child;--
Zeus set his rival power
Against my thoughts;
Nor may I ever fail
The gods, with holy feasts
Of sacrifices, drawing near,
Beside the ceaseless stream
Of father Ocean:
Nor may I err in words;
But this abide with me
And never fade away.
But him, when first he sees the sun's clear light,
They possessed power to reward and punish these who prolonged or abridged the existence of
theft associate-tree. In the Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius, Phineus thus explains to the heroes the
cause of the poverty of Peraebius
The Nymphs shall rear, the mountain-haunting Nymphs,
Deep-bosomed, who on this mountain great
And holy dwell, who neither goddesses
Nor women are. Their life is long; they eat
Ambrosial food, and with the deathless frame
The beauteous dance. With them, in the recess
Of lovely caves, well-spying Argos-slayer
And the Sileni mix in lova Straight pines
Or oaks high headed spring with them upon
The earth man-feeding, soon as they are born;
This fair and flourishing; on the high hills
Lofty they stand; the Deathless' sacred grove
Men call them, and with iron never cut.
But when the fate of death is drawing near,
First wither on the earth the beauteous trees,
The bark around them wastes, the branches fall,
And the Nymph's soul at the same moment leaves
The sun's fair light.
But he was paring the penalty laid on
The Scholiast gives on this passage the following tale from Charon of Lampsacus:
His fathers crime; for one time, cutting trees
Alone among the hills, he spurned the prayer
Of the Hamadryas Nymph, who, weeping sore,
With earnest words besought him not to cut
The trunk of an oak tree, which, with herself
Coeval, had endured for many a year.
But, in the pride of youth, he foolishly
Cut it; and to him and to his race the Nymph
Gave ever after a lot profitless.
A man, named Rhoecus, happening to see an oak just ready to fall to the ground, ordered his
slaves to prop it. The Nymph, who had been on the point of perishing with the tree, came to him and
expressed her gratitude to him for having saved her life, and at the same time desired him to ask what
reward he would. Rhoecus then requested her to permit him to be her lover, and the Nymph acceded to his
wishes. She at the same time charged him strictly to avoid the society of every other woman, and told him
that a bee should be her messenger. One time the bee happened to come to Rhoecus as he was playing at
draughts, and he made a rough reply. This so incensed the Nymph that she deprived him of sight.
Similar was the fate of the Sicilian Daphnis.2 A Nais loved him and forbade him
to hold intercourse with any other woman under pain of loss of sight. Long he abstained, though tempted
by the fairest maids of Sicily. At length a princess contrived to intoxicate him: he broke his vow, and
the threatened penalty was inflicted.
Faune Nympharum fuglentum amator,
Unfortunately for our knowledge of the ancient Italian mythology, the ballad-poetry of Rome
is irrecoverably lost. A similar fate has befallen the literature of Etruria, Umbria, and other parts of
the peninsula. The powerful influence exercised by Grecian genius over the conquerors of the Grecian
states utterly annihilated all that was national and domestic in literature. Not but that Latin poetry
abounds in mythologic matter; but it is the mythology of Greece, not of Italy; and the reader of Virgil
and Ovid will observe with surprise how little of what he meets in their works is Italian.
Per meos fines at aprica rura
Lenis incedas, abeasque parvis
So much however of the population of ancient Italy, particularly of Latium, was Pelasgian,
that it is natural to suppose a great similarity between the religious systems of Latium and Hellas. The
Latins do not, however, appear to have believed in choirs of Nymphs. Those we read of, such as Egeria,
Anna Perenna, Juturna, are all solitary, all dwellers of fountains, streams, and lakes The Italian Diana
did not, like the Grecian Artemis, speed over the mountains attended by a train of buskined nymphs. No
Dryads sought to avert the fate of their kindred trees--no Nereides sported on the waves.
Dwarfish deities they had none. We are indeed told of the Lars, particularly the rural Lars,
as answering to the Gothic Dwarfs; but no proofs are offered except the diminutive size of their statues.
This we hold to amount to nothing. Are we to suppose the following lines of Plautus to have been delivered
by an "eyas?"
Lest any marvel who I am, I shall
The Lars were a portion of the Etrurian religion. The Etruscan word Lar signifies Lord, with
which it has a curious but casual resemblance.4 The Lars were regarded, like the Grecian heroes,
as being the souls of men who, after death, still hovered about their former abodes, averting dangers
from, and bestowing blessings on, the inhabitants.
Briefly declare it. I am the family Lar
Of this home whence you see me coming out.
'Tis many years now that I keep and guard
This family; both father and grandsire
Of him that has it now, I aye protected.
Now his grandsire intrusted me a treasure
Of gold, that I, unknown to all, should keep it.
* * *
He has one daughter, who, each day with wine
Or incense, or with something, worships me.
She gives me crowns, and I in recompense
Have now made Euclio find the treasure out,
That if he will, he may more readily
Get her a match.3
They differed from the Penates, who were, properly speaking Gods, beings of a higher nature,
personifications of natural powers, the givers of abundance and wealth.
The old Italians, it appears, believed in a being, we know not of what size, called an
Incubo, that watched over treasure. "But what they say I know not," says Petronius,5
but I have heard how he snatched the cap of an Incubo and found a treasure."
Respecting the Fairy mythology of the modern Italians, what we have been able to collect is
The people of Naples, we are told,6 believe in a being very much resembling the
Incubo, whom they call the Monaciello, or Little Monk. They describe him as a short, thick kind of little
man, dressed in the long garments of a monk, with a broad-brimmed hat. He appears to people in the dead of
the night, and beckons to them to follow him. If they have courage to do so, he leads them to some place
where treasure is concealed. Several are said to have made sudden fortunes through him. In the Neapolitan
story-book, named the Pentamerone, of which we shall presently give an account, we meet with a Monaciello
of a very different character from this guardian of hidden treasure.
In the second tale of the first day of that work, when the prince in the night heard the
noise made by the Fairy in his room, "he thought it was some chamber-boy coming to lighten his purse
for him, or some Monaciello to pull the clothes off him." And in the seventh tale of the third day
of the same collection, when Corvetto had hidden himself under the Ogre's7 bed to steal his
quilt, "he began to pull quite gently, when the Ogre awoke, and bid his wife not to pull the clothes
that way, or she'd strip him, and he would. get his death of cold." "Why, it's you that are
stripping me," replied the Ogress, "and you have not left a stitch on me." "Where the
devil is the quilt?" says the Ogre; and putting his hand to the ground, he happened to touch the face
of Corvetto, and immediately began to shout out, "The Monaciello, the Monaciello, hola! candles!
run, run!" Corvetto, meanwhile, got off with his prize through the window.8
It is quite clear that the Monaciello is the same kind of being as the House-spirit of the
Gotho-German nations. He seems to belong peculiarly to Naples, for we have not heard of him in any other
part of Italy. Now we are to recollect that this was the very place in which the Normans settled, and so
he may be their Nis or Kobold;9 or, as he is so very like the Spanish Duende, he may be that
being introduced by the Aragonese, who seem to have exercised so much influence over the language and
manners of the people of Naples.
The belief in Mermaids also prevailed in modern Italy. In the reign of Roger, king of Sicily,
a young man happening to be bathing in the sea late in the evening, perceived that something was following
him. Supposing it to be one of his companions, he caught it by the hair, and dragged it on shore. But
finding it to be a maiden of great beauty and of most perfect form, he threw his cloak about her, and took
her home, where she continued with him till they had a son. There was one thing however which greatly
grieved him, which was the reflection that so beautiful a form should be dumb, for he had never heard her
speak. One day he was reproached by one of his companions, who said that it was a spectre, and not a real
woman, that he had at home: being both angry and terrified, he laid his hand on the hilt of his sword,
and urged her with vehemence to tell him who or what she was, threatening if she did not do so, to kill
the child before her eyes. The spirit only saying, that he had lost a good wife by forcing her to speak,
instantly vanished, leaving her son behind. A few years after, as the boy was playing on the sea-shore
with his companions, the spirit his mother dragged him into the seas where he was drowned.10
We now come to the Fate of romance and tale.
The earliest notice that we can recollect to have seen of these potent ladies is in the
Orlando Innamorato, where we meet the celebrated Fata Morgana, who would at first appear to be, as a
personification of Fortune, a being of a higher order.
lvi è una fata nomata Morgana,
But we afterwards find her in her proper station, subject, with the Fate and Witches, to the
redoubtable Demogorgon.11 When Orlando, on delivering Zilante from her, makes her swear by that
awful power, the poet says:
Che a le genti diverse dona l'oro;
Quanto e per tutto il mondo or se ne spande
Convien che ad essa prima si dimande.
L. I. c. xxv. st. 5. ed. 1831.
Sopra ogni fata è quel Demogorgone
According to Ariosto,12 Demogorgon has a splendid temple palace in the Himalaya
mountains, whither every fifth year the Fate are all summoned to appear before him, and give an account
of their actions. They travel through the air in various strange conveyances, and it is no easy matter to
distinguish between their convention and a Sabbat of the Witches.
(Non so se mal l'odiste raccontare)
E giudica tra loro e fa ragione,
E quel che piace a lui puo di lor fare.
La notte si cavalca ad un montone,
Travarca le montague e passa il mare,
E strigie, e fate, e fantasime vane
Batte con serpi vive ogni dimane.
Se le ritrova Ia dimane al mondo,
Perchè non ponno al giorno comparire,
Tanto le batte al colpo furibondo
Che volentier vorrien poter morire.
Or le incatena giu nel mar profondo,
Or sopra iI vento scalze le fa gire,
Or per il fuoco dietro a se le mena;
A cui dà questa, a cui quell' altra pena.
L. II. c. xiii. at. 27, 28.
We meet with another Fata in Bojardo,13 the beautiful Silvanella, who raised a
tomb over Narcissus, and then dissolved away into a fountain.
When Brandamarte opens the magnificent tomb and kisses the hideous serpent that thrusts out
its head, it gradually becomes a beautiful maiden.
Questa era Febosilla quella fata,
The other Fate who appear in this poem are Le Fate Nera and Bianca, the protectresses of
Guidone and Aquilante; the Fata della Fonte, from whom Mandricardo obtains the arms of Hector, and
finally Alcina, the sister of Morgana, who carries off Astolfo. Dragontina and Falerina, the owners of
such splendid gardens, may also have been Fate, though they are not called so by the poet.
Che edificato avea I'alto palaccio
E 'l bel giardino e quella sepoltura,
Ove un gran tempo è stata in pena dura.
Perchè una fata non può morir mai,
Sin che non giunge il giorno del giudizio,
Ma ben ne Ia sua forma dura assai,
Mill' anni o piu, si come io aggio indizio.
Poi (siccome di questa io vi contai
Qual fabbricato avea il bell' edifizio)
In serpe si tramuta e stavvi tanto
Che di baciarla alcun si doni il vanto.
L. II. c. xxvi. st. 14, 15.
Alcina re-appears in great splendour in the Orlando Furioso, where she is given a sister
named Logistilla, and both, like Morgana in the preceding poem, are in a great measure allegorical. We
also obtain there a glimpse of the White and Black Fate. The Maga Manto of Dante becomes here a Fata,
and we meet her in the form of a serpent; to account for which she says,
Nascemmo ad un punto che d' ogni altro male
Elsewhere (x. 52) the poet tells us that
Siamo capaci fuor che della morte.
Ma giunta è con questo essere immortale
Condizion non men del morir forte;
Ch' ogni settimo giorno ognuna è certa
Che la ma forma in biscia si converta.
C. xliii. st. 98.
Morir non puote alcuna fata mai
In the Amadigi of Bernardo Tasso the Fate appear for the last time in Italian
poetry;14 but in greater number, and, we may say, greater splendour than elsewhere. There are
two classes of them, the beneficent and protective, and the seductive and injurious. The terms Maga and
Incantatrice, as well as Fata, are applied to them all indifferently. The good Fairy-ladies are Urganda,
termed La savia and La sconosciuta,15 the guardian of Amadigi, and the fair
Oriana; Silvana or Silvanella who stands in a similar relation to Alidoro; Lucina, also named La Donna
del Lago, another protectress of Alidoro and of his lady-love, the fair warrior Mirinda, sister of Amadigi;
Eufrosina, the sister of Lucina; Argea, called La Reina della Fate, the protectress of Floridante, to
whom, after making him undergo various trials, she gives her daughter Filidora in marriage; finally,
Argea's sister Filidea. The Fate whose character resembles that of Alcina are Morganetta, Nivetta, and
Carvilia, the three daughters of Morgana. Beside these then are two Fate of neutral character, Dragontina,
who formed a palace, temple and gardens, in which, at the desire of her father, she enchanted a young
prince and his wife; and Montana, who, to avenge the fate of her lover, slain by Alidoro, enchanted that
warrior in a temple which she had raised to the memory of the fallen.16
Fin che il Sol gira, o il ciel non muta stilo.
Ma veggiam ch' io non stessi troppo a bada
The earliest collections of European Fairy-tales in prose belong to Italy. In 1550,
Straparola, a native of Caravaggio, in the Milanese, published at Venice his Notti Piacevoli, a collection
of tales, jokes, and riddles, of which several, and those the best, are Fairy-tales. These were translated
into French in 1560--76, and seem to have been the origin of the so well known Contes des Feés. Perrault's
Puss in Boots (Le Chat Botté,) and the Princess Fairstar (Belle Etoile,) and many others of
Madame D'Aulnoy's, who borrowed largely from the Notti Piacevoli, are to be found in Straparola. In 1637,
eighty-seven years after the Notti Piacevoli appeared at Naples, and in the Neapolitan dialect, the
Péntamerone, the best collection of Fairy-tales ever written.17 The author, Giambattista
Basile,18 had spent his youth in Candia, and then passed several years rambling through Italy.
He seems to have carefully treasured up all the tales he heard, and he wrote and published them, under the
feigned name of Gian Alesio Abbatutis, in his native dialect, not long before his death.
Con queste Alcine e Morgane.
In the Tales and Popular Fictions we gave some translations from the Notti Piacevoli, the only
ones in English, and they will probably remain such, as the work is not one likely ever to be translated.
In the same work we gave two from the Pentamerone, and. three (the Dragon, Gagliuso, and the Goatface) in
the former edition of the present work. Most certainly we were the first to render any of these curious
tales into English, and we look back with a mixture of pleasure and surprise at our success in the unaided
struggle with an idiom so different from the classic Italian.19 We fancied that we had been the
first to make translations from it into any language, but we afterwards learned that of the two tales in
our other work, the one, Peruonto, had been translated into French (probably by the Abbé Galiani) for the
Cabinet des Feés, the other, the Serpent into German, by M. Grimm.20 Of late, this most original
work has been brought within the reach of ordinary readers by two translations, the one in German by Felix
Liebrecht, who has given the work complete with few omissions; the other in English by Mr. J. E. Taylor,
who has made a selection of thirty tales, and these most carefully expurgated, in order that agreeably to
its second title, it might form a book of amusement even for children--a most difficult task, and in which
his success has been far greater than might have been anticipated. All our own translations have been
incorporated in it, and we can safely refer to it those who wish to know the real character and nature of
Whatever name Basile might give his book it is quite plain that he never could have meant it
merely for children. The language alone is proof enough on that head. It is, besides, full of learned
allusions and of keen satire, so that it could only be understood and relished by grown persons, for
whose amusement it was apparently designed; and its tales are surely not much more extravagant than some
of those in Ariosto and the other romantic poets. It in fact never was a child's book like the Contes de
ma Mère l' Oie. It has now become very scarce; we could not at Naples meet with a copy of it, or even
with any one who had read it.
When we inquired, after the fairy-system of Spain, we were told that there was no such thing,
for that the Inquisition had long since eradicated all such ideas. Most certainly we would not willingly
be regarded as partisans of the Holy Office, yet still we must express our doubt of the truth of this
charge. In Señor Llorente's work, as far as we can recollect, there is no account of prosecutions for
Duende-heresy; and even to the Holy Office we should give its due. Still, with all our diligence, our
collection of Iberian fairy-lore is extremely scanty.
Quien qulera quo seas o fueras,
El dinero que tu das
En lo que mandares vuelve.
Calderon, La Dama Duende.
Our earliest authority for Spain, as for other countries, is the celebrated marshall of
Champagne, Gervase of Tilbury, who thus relates -
The Daughter Of Peter de
In the bishoprick of Gerunda (i.e. Gerona), and the province
of Catalonia, stands a mountain which the natives call Convagum. It is very steep, and on its summit is
a lake of dark water, so deep that it cannot be fathomed. The abode of the Demons is in this lake; and
if a stone, or anything else, be thrown into it, there rises from it an awful tempest.
Not far from this mountain, in a village named Junchera, lived a man named Peter de Cabinam,
who being one day annoyed by the crying of his little girl, wished in his anger that the Demons might
fetch her away. The child instantly vanished--snatched away by invisible hands--and was seen no more.
Time passed on; and it was seven years after this event, when a man belonging to the village, as he was
one day rambling about the foot of the mountain, met a man weeping bitterly, and bewailing his hard fate.
On inquiry, he said that he had now been seven years in the mountain under the power of the Demons, who
employed him as a beast of burden. He added, that there was also a girl in the mountain, the daughter of
Peter de Cabinam of Junchera, a servant like himself; but that they were tired of her, and would restore
her to her father if he came to claim her. When this information came to Peter de Cabinam, he forthwith
ascended the mountain, and going to the edge of the lake, he besought the Demons to give him back his
child. Like a sudden gust of wind she came, tall in stature, but wasted and dirty, her eyes rolling
wildly, and her speech inarticulate. The father, not knowing what to do with her, applied to the Bishop
of Gerunda, who took this opportunity of edifying his people by exhibiting the girl to them, and warning
them against the danger of wishing that the Demons had their children. Some time after the man also was
released, and from him the people learned that at the bottom of the lake there was a large palace, with
a wide gate, to which palace the Demons repaired from all parts of the world, and which no one could enter
but themselves, and those they brought thither.21
Origin Of The House Of Haro
As Don Diego Lopez, lord of Biscay, was one day lying in wait for
the wild boar, he heard the voice of a woman who was singing. On looking around, he beheld on the summit
of a rock a damsel, exceedingly beautiful, and richly attired. Smitten with her charms, he proffered her
his hand. In reply, she assured him that she was of high descent, but frankly accepted his proffered hand;
making, however, one condition--he was never to pronounce a holy name. Tradition says that the fair bride
had only one defect, which was, that one of her feet was like that of a goat. Diego Lopez, however, loved
her well, and she bore him two children, a daughter, and a son named Iniguez Guerra.
Now it happened one day, as they were sitting at dinner, that the lord of Biscay threw a bone
to the dogs, and a mastiff and a spaniel quarrelled about it, and the spaniel griped the mastiff by the
throat, and throttled him. "Holy Mary!" exclaimed Don Diego, "who ever saw the like?"
Instantly the lady caught hold of the hands of her children; Diego seized and held the boy, but the mother
glided through the air with the daughter, and sought again the mountains whence she had come. Diego
remained alone with his son; and some years after, when he invaded the lands of the Moors, he was made
captive by them, and led to Toledo. Iniguez Guerra, who was now grown up, was greatly grieved at the
captivity of his father, and the men of the land told him that his only hope was to find his mother, and
obtain her aid. Iniguez made no delay; he rode alone to the well-known mountains, and when he reached
them, behold! his fairy-mother stood there before him on the summit of a rock. "Come unto me,"
said she, "for well do I know thy errand." And she called to her Pardalo, the horse that ran
without a rider in the mountains, and she put a bridle into his mouth, and bade Iniguez mount him, and
told him that he must not give him either food or water, or unsaddle or unbridle him, or put shoes upon
his feet, and that in one day the demon. steed would carry him to Toledo. And Iniguez obeyed the
injunctions of Ins mother, and succeeded in liberating his father; but his mother never
In the large collection of Spanish ballads named El Romancero Castellano, the only one that
treats of fairy-lore is the following, which tells of the enchantment of the King of Castille's daughter
by seven fairies,23 for a period of seven years. It is of the same character as the fairy-tales
of France and Italy.
A CAZAR va el caballero,
A cazar como solia.--
Los perros Ileva cansados,
El falcon perdido at.
Arrimarase á un roble,
Alto es a maravilla,
En un ramo mas alto
Viera estar una Infantina.
Cabellos de su cabeza
Todo aquel roble cobrian;
"No te espantes, caballero.
Ni tengas tamana grima.
"Hija soy del buen rey
Y de la reina de Castilla;
Siete fadas me fadaron24
En brazos de una ama mia,
"Que andase los siete anos
Sola en esta montina.25
Hoy se cumplan los años
O mañana, en aquel dia.
"Por Dios te ruego, caballero,
Llevesine en tu compania,
Si quisieres por muger,
Si no sea por amiga."
"Espereis me vos, señora,
Esta mañana, aquel dia;
Iré yo tomar consejo
De una madre que tenia."
La nina le respondiera,
Y estas palabras, decia:
"O mal haya el caballero
Que sola deja Ia nina!"
El se va á tomar consejo,
Y ella queda en Ia montina.
Aconsejóle su madre
Que la tomase por amiga.
Quando volvio el caballero
No Ia hallara en la montina.
Vio la que la llevaban,
Com muy grande caballeria.
El caballero, que lo ha visto,
En el suelo se caia.
Desque en si hubo tornado
Estas palabras decia:
"Caballero que tal pierde
Muy grandes penas merecia.
Yo mismo seré el alcalde,
To me seré la justicia,
Que me cortan pies y manos,
Y me arrastran por la villa."26
Pepito El Corcovado
Pepito El Corcovado,27 a gay lively little hunchback,
used to gain his living by his voice and his guitar; for he was a general favourite, and was in constant
request at weddings and other festivities. He was going home one night from one of these festive occasions,
being under engagement for another in the morning, and, as it was in the celebrated Sierra Morena, he
contrived to lose his way. After trying in vain to find it, he wrapped his cloak about him, and lay down
for the night at the foot of a cork-tree. He had hardly, however, gone to sleep, when be was awakened by
the sound of a number of little voices singing to an old air with which he was well acquainted,
Lunes y Martes y Miercoles tres
over and over again. Deeming this to be imperfect, he struck in, adding,
Jueves y Viernes y Sabado seis.
The little folk were quite delighted, and for hours the mountain rang with
Lunes y Martes y Miercoles tres,
They finally crowded round Pepito, and bade him ask what he would for having completed their
song so beautifully. After a little consideration, he begged to have his hump removed. So said so done,
he was in an instant one of the straightest men in all Spain. On his return home, every one was amazed at
the transformation. The story soon got wind, and another hunchback, named Cirillo, but unlike Pepito, as
crooked in temper as in person, having learned from him where the scene of his adventure lay, resolved to
proceed thither and try his luck. He accordingly reached the spot, sat under the cork-tree, and saw and
heard all that Pepito had heard and seen. He resolved also to add to the song, and he struck in with
"Y Domingo siete" (and Sunday seven); but whether it was the breach of rhythm, or the
mention of the Lord's Day that gave offence, he was instantly assailed with a shower of blows or pinches,
and to make his calamity the greater, Pepito's hump was added to his own.28
Jueves y Viemes y Sabado sies.
Monday and Tueaday and Wednesday three,
Thursday and Friday and Saturday, six.
We thus may see that there are beings in Spain also answering to the various classes of
Fairies. But none of these have obtained the same degree of reputation as the House-spirit, whose Spanish
name is Duende or Trasgo. In Torquemada's Spanish Mandeville, as the old English version of it is named,
there is a section devoted to the Duende, in which some of his feats, such as pelting people with stones,
clay, and such like, are noticed, and in the last century the learned Father Feijoo wrote an essay on
Duendes,29 i.e.on House-spirits; for he says little of the proper Spanish Duende, and
his examples are Hodiken and the Kobolds, of which he had read in Agricola and other writers. On the
whole, perhaps, the best account of the Duende will be found in Calderon's spritely comedy, named La Dama
In this piece, when Cosme, who pretends that he had seen the Duende when he put out his
candle, is asked by ins master what he was like, he replies:
Era un fraile
This cucurucho was a long conical hat without a brim worn by the clergy in general,
and not by the Capuchins alone. A little before, Cosme, when seeking to avert the appearance of the
Duende, recites the following lines, which have the appearance of being formed from some popular charm
against the House-spirit:
Tamañito, y tenia puesto
Un cucurucho tamano;
Que por estas senas creo
Que era duende capuchino.
Señora dama duende,
In De Solis' very amusing comedy of Un Bobo hace Ciento, Dona Ana makes the following
extremely pretty application of the popular idea of the Duende:
Duelase de mi;
Que soy nino y solo,
Y nunca en tal me vi.
Yo soy, don Luis, una dama
In another of his plays (El Amor al Uso), a lady says:
Que no conozco este duende
Del amor, si no es por fama.
Amor es duende importuno
The lines from Calderon prefixed to this section of our Work, show that money given by the
Duende was as unsubstantial as fairy-money in general. This is confirmed by Don Quixote, who tells his
rather covetous squire, that "los tesoros de los caballeros andantes son, como los de los Duendes,
aparentes y falsos."
Que al mundo asombrando trae;
Todos dicen que le ay,
Y no le ha visto ninguno.
The Spaniards seem also to agree with the people of other countries in regarding the Fairies
as being fallen angels. One of their most celebrated poets thus expresses himself:
Disputase por bombres entendidos
Some Spanish etymologists say that Duende is a contraction of Duéno de casa; others,
that it comes from the Arabic Duar, (dwelling) the term used for the Arab camps on the north-coast
of Africa. To us it appears more probable that the Visigoths brought their ancient popular creed with
them to Spain30 also, and that as Duerg became Drac in Provence, it was converted into Duende
in Spain.31 It is further not quite impossible that Duerg may be also the original of Trasgo,
a word for which we believe no etymon has been proposed.
Si fue de los caidos este duende.
1. See our Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy, where (p. 237) most of what
follows will be found, with notes.
2. Parthenius, Erotica, chap. xxix
3. Anlularia, Prologue.
4. See our Mythology of Greece and Italy, p. 543; and our Ovid's Fasti, Excursus iv.
5. Satyricon, ch. 38. Sunt qui eundem (Hercules) Incubonem esse velint. Schol. Hor. Sat.
ii. 6, 13.
6. Viessieux, Italy and the Italians, vol. i. pp. 161, 162.
7. L'huorco, the Orco of Bojardo and Ariosto, probably derived from the Latin Orcus: see Mythol.
of Greece and Italy, p. 527. In this derivation we find that we had been anticipated by Minucci in his
notes on the Malmantile Racquistato, c. ii. St. 50.
In a work, from which we have derived some
information (Lettres sur lea Contes des Fées, Paris, 1826), considerable pains are taken, we think to
little purpose, to deduce the French Ogre from the Oigours, a Tartar tribe, who with the other tribes of
that people invaded Europe in the twelfth century. In the Glossaire de la Langue Romaine, Ogre is
explained by Hongrois. Any one, however that reads the Pentamerone will see that the ugly, cruel, man-
eating Huorco is plainly an Ogre; and those expert at the tours de passe passe of etymology will be
at no loss to deduce Ogre from Orco. See Tales and Popular Fictions, p. 223.
8. In another of these tales, it is said of a young man, who, on breaking open a cask, found a beautiful
maiden in it, that he stood for a while comme o chillo che ha visto lo Monaciello.
9. See Tales and Popular Fictions, chap. ix. p. 269; see also Spain and France.
10. Vincentius apud Kornmann, de Miraculis Vivorum.
11. This being, unknown to classic mythology, is first mentioned by Lactantius. It was probably from
Boccaccio's Genealogia Deorum that Bojardo got his knowledge of him.
12. Cinque Canti, c. i. st. I. seq.
13. Lib. ii. xvii. 56, seq.
14. There is, however, a Maga or Fata named Falsirena in the Adone of Marini.
15. La Sabia and La Desconocida of the original romance, which Tasso follows very closely in everything
relating to Amadis and Oriana.
16. Few of our readers, we presume, are acquainted with this poem, and they will perhaps be surprised to
learn that it is, after the Furioso, the most beautiful romantic poem in the Italian language, graceful
and sweet almost to excess. It. is strange that it should be neglected in Italy also. One cause may. be
its length (One Hundred Cantos), another the constant and inartificial breaking off of the stories, and
perhaps the chief one, its serious moral tone so different from that of Ariosto. It might be styled The
Legend of Constancy, for the love of its heroes and heroines is proof against all temptations. Mr.
Panizzi's charge of abounding in scandalous stories, is not correct, for it is in reality more delicate
than even the Faerie Queene. Ginguené, who admired it, appreciates it far more justly.
17. See Tales and Popular Fictions, p. 183. The Pentamerone we may observe, was not a title given to it
by the author; in like manner the only title Fielding gave his great work was The History of a
18. He was brother to Adriana and uncle to Leonora Baroni, the ladies whose musical talents Milton
19. Ex. gr. Fiume is shiume; Fiore, shiure; Piaggia, chiaja; Piombo, chiummo;
Biondo, ghiunno. There are likewise numelous Hispanicisms. Thus gaiola in Gagliuso which we
all rendered coffin, is the Spanish jaula, cage, and the meaning apparently is that he would
have the cat stuffed and put in a glass-case; in like manner calling the eyes suns (as in na bellezza
a doje) occurs in the plays of Calderon.
20. In the Tascheubuch für altdeutscher Zeit und Kunst, 1816.
21. Otis Imperialia, p. 982. The Demons must have been some kind of fairies.
22. Related by Sir Francis Palgrave, but without giving any authority, in the Quarterly Review, vol. xxii.
23. In Don Quixote (part i. chap. 50) we read of "los siete castillos de Ias siete Fadas"
beneath the lake of boiling pitch, and of the fair princess who was enchanted in one of them.
24. Fada is certainly the elided part of this verb, for which Latin mode of elision was retained
in Spanish as well as Italian. Thus quedo, junto, harto, marchito, vacio, enjuto, violento,
&c., come from quedar, juntar, hartar, &c. As the Spanish, following the Latin, also
frequently uses the past as a present participle, as Un hombre atrevido, "a daring man;"
and the same appears to take place in Italian, as un huomo accorto, saputo, avveduto, dispietato;
and even in French, as usa homme réflechi, désespéré; may we not say that fada, fata, fée, is
enchanting rather than enchanted?
25. Montina is a small wood.
26. Romancero Castellano por Depping, ii. p 198, 2nd edit. A translation of this romance will be found in
Thoms's Lays and Legends of Spain.
27. i.e. Joey the Hunchback. Pepito is the dim. of Pepe, i.e. José, Joseph.
28. See Thoms's Lays and Legends of Spain, p.83. It was related, he says, to a friend of his by the late
Sir John Malcolm, who had heard it in Spain. It is also briefly related (probably on the same authority)
in the Quarterly Review, vol. xxii. (see above pp. 364, 438). Redi, in his Letters, gives another form of
it, in which the scene is at Benevento, the agents are witches, and the hump is taken off, senza verun
suo dolor, with a saw of butter. Y Domingo siete is, we are told, a common phrase when any
thing is said or done mal à propos.
29. Teatro Critico, tom. ii. His object is to disprove their existence, and he very justly says that the
Duende was usually a knavish servant who had his own reasons for making a noise and disturbing the family.
This theory will also explain the Duende-tales of Torquemada.
30. See Tales and Popular Fictions, p. 269.
31. The change of r and n is not without examples. Thus we have άργυ
ρον and argentum; water, English; vand, Danish; vatn, Swedish.
Cristofero is Cristofano in Tuscan; homine, nomine, sanguine, are hombre, nombre,
sangre, Spanish. In Duerg when r became a, euphony changed g to d, or vice
versa. The changes words undergo when the derivation is certain, are often curious. Alguacil,
Spanish, is El-wezeer Arab, as Azucena Spanish, Cecem Portuguese (white-lily) is
Susan Arab; Guancia (cheek) Italian, is Wange German. It might not be safe to assert
that the Persian gurk and our wolf are the same, and yet the letters in them taken in order are
all commutable. Our God be with you has shrunk to Goodbye, and the Spanish Vuestra
merced to Usted, pr. Usté. There must, by the way, some time or other, have been an
intimate connexion between Spain and England, so many of our familiar words seem to have a Spanish origin.
Thus ninny is from niño: booby from bobo; pucker from puchero; launch (a boat) from
lancha; and perhaps monkey (if not from mannikin) from mono, monico. We
pronounce our colonel like the Spanish coronel.