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confess to considerable doubt whether this view has not been pushed to an extreme by some of its recent advocates; whether the active Greck imagination would have been content to ring the changes so perpetually upon a few simple themes. The decided differences of opinion among the critics who adopt this method of mythological investigation, as to the precise character of the phenomena concerned, attest that it is as yet too arbitrary for scientific service. The god Hermes, for example, in whom Professor Max Müller finds an impersonation of dawn, is interpreted by Mr. Cox as the wind, while Mr. A. S. Murray discerns in him the deification of "mountain-mists," the facilities afforded by which for cattle-lifting may have led to his being considered the patron of thieves. "Who shall decide when doctors disagree?" We can venture to suggest no more definite rules for conditioning the application of the Etymological theory than these: 1st, that the myth presented for solution must be demonstrably in circulation among a tribe or nation, so as to admit of its originating in the currency of imaginative language: 2nd, that the verbal root into which the mythological name is to be resolved, shall lie ready to the hand, and be capable of extension without straining the meaning.

There can be less difficulty in ascertaining some of the prominent instances of the employment of allegory. The Orphic conception of the harmonising power of Eros amid the conflicting elements of Chaos, is an obvious example of it. We may trace also a rude symbolism in the Chaldean account of man's origin from the mingling of the blood of Belus with Earth. The remarkable uniformity of the didactic fictions current among different races touching the introduction of evil into the world, has been repeatedly noticed. To the scope of the allegorical theory, as we have said, no definite limit can be put, but moderation here, as everywhere, is dictated by good sense. Excessive elaboration in this particular would have defeated the allegorist's object so completely, that one may reject the supposition of it without argument. Such critics as Creuzer and Mr. Mackay have been arraigned for extravagance in their search for symbolism, but nothing in modern criticism can rival the confident commentary of the ancient grammarian Servius on the characteristics of the god Pan.

"He is a rustic god, formed in similitude of nature, whence he is called Pan, i.e. all; for he has horns, in similitude of the rays of the sun and the horns of the moon; his face is ruddy, in imitation of the æther; he has a spotted fawn's skin on his breast, in likeness of the stars; his lower parts are shaggy, on account of the trees, and shrubs, and wild beasts; he has goat's feet, to denote the stability of the earth; he has a pipe of seven reeds, on account of the harmony of heaven, in which there are seven sounds; he has a crook, i.e. a curved staff, on account of the year, which runs back on itself-because he is the god of all nature.” *

* In Virg. Eclog. ii. tr. by Keightley.

Here the unmistakable employment of imagination in a scientific inquiry leads to the consideration where the Etiological theory of mythology may most usefully be applied. Its sphere, par excellence, is found amongst the infantine annals of the great sciences. Their local beginnings prove mainly to consist of phantasms, which satisfied awhile the demands of the intellect, but slowly collapsed as its powers increased. There is no uniform character in the early lispings of the verb "to know." In some cases the attempt is a bold and beautiful failure. "How frail to that large utterance!" must be said of others. Viewed in one aspect, the mythist appears as the true Pygmalion, who, in the simplicity of "unpremeditated art," carves his dream. Meanwhile the impulses of real passion and the needs of actual life cry for satisfaction. An earnest faith and the sovereignty of beauty solve every difficulty, and the artist's dream becomes objective. From another attitude, however, the mythist reminds us of him who, with his blindness partially cured, beheld "men as trees walking." Illustrations of either kind crowd for citation. Full of graceful pathos is the astronomical myth of the Hyades, a constellation whose rising and setting were observed to be attended with rain.* Greek fancy explained this by a surmise that the stars were the sisters of one Hyas, for grief at whose loss they died, and, though translated, still for ever wept. Botany supplies a romantic instance of ætiology in the story of Clytia's jealousy of her favoured rival, Leucothea, which seems to be founded on a fact stated by some naturalists, that the frankincense tree (into which the latter was changed) is killed by the sunflower when growing near it.† Zoology furnishes an example of a coarser type, in the fable given by Elian, that Zeus, wishing to confer on men the boon of immortality, placed it on the back of an ass. The creature coming to drink at a spring, was prevented by a serpent. After a parley, a bargain was effected, and the ass, to quench its thirst, gave up its burden to the serpent, which since then yearly renews its youth by sloughing its skin, but suffers the ass's thirst, and gives it with its bite. We may notice, in passing, a curious echo of this myth in a magical recipe recorded by Reginald Scott: "Against the biting of a Scorpion :-Say to an ass secretly, and, as it were, whispering in his ear, I am bitten with a scorpion."÷

In the domain of History, also, the aetiological myth is commonly met with, as e.g. in the tales framed to account or the existence of national conditions and of rites whose institution has not been chronicled. The burden of a millennial anguish is compressed into a negro tradition, the meanness of which is transfigured by its pathos. It relates "that the Great Spirit in the beginning offered the black man, whom he loved better than the buckra or white man, his choice of two boxes, a big and

Hence the name Hyades, from ev-(Dr. Smith's Dictionary in verb.)
Riley's Translation of Ovid. Metam. p. 131.

Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 176.

a little one. The black man was greedy and chose the largest. The buckra box was as full up with pen, paper and whip, as the negro box with hoe and bill-and hoe and bill for negro to this day."

The Eleusinian mysteries, the ritual of which combined mourning and revelry, probably in token of the alternation of the seasons, had a fabled origin in "the coarse pleasantries with which a woman had dissipated the grief of the goddess Demeter, when she had arrived at Eleusis seeking her lost daughter."+ Of a similar complexion are the popular legends of all countries touching the causes of physical and artistic anomalies. The myth of Niobe's transformation into Mount Sipylus, in Lydia, is explained by the statement of Pausanias that the configuration of the rock resembled a weeping woman. The story attaching to the Druidical stones in Cornwall known as the "Hurlers," that they are the petrified bodies of young men who were guilty of "hurling" on Sunday, was doubtless suggested by their shape. It has been remarked that in England, curiosities of nature, such as chasms and caverns, are commonly ascribed to the Devil, and (by a quite intelligible connection) those of art, as singular buildings whose history is unknown, to King John. Remarkable names of places have always been fruitful of ætiological myths. The verbal resemblance between Argiletum, a place at Rome abounding in potter's clay, and Argi letum, led to the legend that Argus had been slain there; that between Bulver-hith (landingplace) and bull's hide explains the story that William the Conqueror fixed the place at which he should give battle to Harold by measuring the distance from the coast with thongs cut from such a hide. Every English county history abounds in similar illustrations.

To judge of the perplexed character presented by a single structure of mythology, we have but to glance at the leading features of the fairyworld.

A basis of nature-worship, which though not essentially mythical, must depend on imagination for its incarnations, is plainly discernible in the ancient conceptions of Nymphs, Oreads, Dryads, river-gods, Sileni, Satyrs, and Fauns, as presiding over wood and water, hill and vale. The striking contrasts that exist among these creations are doubtless owing to their origination from different local centres. The cognizance of life and beauty in every department of nature, of mystery in the mountain fastness and woodland glade, of strength in the turbulent river, of grace in the gliding brook, was embodied by one race in the most lovely and majestic forms of imaginable humanity. An impression of nature as overflowing with robust health and animal passion fitly uttered itself in the grossest shapes of man, or the yet coarser lineaments of semi-human beasts. If a hint given by Lucian (Oer 'EKKAnoia) may be accepted as

* Emerson's Oration on Slavery.

+ Kenrick's Essay on Primeval History, p. 76.

Keightley's Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy, pp. 6-7.

an historical criticism, the contrast is easily accounted for. He speaks of Silenus as having the air of a Lydian, and of the Satyrs as Phrygian figures. The exuberance of Asiatic climes tallies with the forms in which the divinity of nature was thus expressed. The usual association of these rural deities with Dionysus is a confirmation of this view, if the worship of that god had, as some scholars think, an Eastern origin. Though a purer faith and a deeper knowledge have superseded the adoration of nature in Christendom, traces of the older religion are not wanting. The rivers and mountains of Scandinavia and Germany are still haunted by tutelary spirits; our own hills and dales are peopled with floating shapes, fitly reduced in size as fallen from the high estate of "the early gods." The Northern dwarfs are metallurgists, personifications of "the subterranean powers of nature."* The Edda represents them as formed from the flesh of Ymir, i.e. the earth. In South Germany the peasantry still believe in wood-spirits called Moss-people, attached to trees, like the Greek Hamadryads, and equally "personifications of the vegetable life of plants."+ Of the worship and sacrifice which were formerly rendered to the rural deities, their modern representatives still retain a trace. We are told that to learn music of the


Scandinavian river-Neck, a person must present him with a black lamb," while "a white kid" is the fitting offering to the Stromkarl, or sprite of the waterfall. The Orkney islanders not long since used to sacrifice to their Brownies with milk. The Norse peasants leave out wages for the Trolls, and a Welsh spirit resident at Van, in Carmarthenshire, is propitiated with bread and cheese. To the Fée Esterelle, in Southern France, barren women were wont to sacrifice. Food is put aside for the Fadas of Provence, on the 31st of December, and at Whitsuntide the Russian peasants fling garlands to appease the Rusalki, who haunt the streams and woods. We long retained, and perhaps still retain, a relic of similar rites in the practice of setting apart food for Robin Goodfellow and other house-goblins. The gross persuasion of ancient worshippers, that the god actually ate their oblations, seems still to linger in the generally received tradition that any gift but that of food, clothes for example, offends and banishes the fairy guest.

Closely allied to the pantheistic element of fairy mythology is the dualistic, the recognition of moral conflict in the universe. The Jinn of Persia and Arabia, and the Elves and Dwarfs included in the Scandinavian Pantheon, consisted of two classes, marked by directly antagonistic features. The wood-Trolls were especially hated by the thunderer Thor, and the memory of his hammer-strokes is thought to explain the distaste for metallic sounds traditionally attributed to them. The same opposing characteristics of good and evil are found universally. The kindly house spirits preside over tidiness, and punish indolent servants. Good

* Keightley's Fairy Mythology, p. 75.

+ 1b. p. 208.

deeds to a fairy visitor are abundantly recompensed. On the other hand, evildoers are haunted by cruel phantoms that breathe pestilence on mortal gazers. The river-Necks keep the souls of the drowned in prison, and the mermaids seduce unwary fishermen beneath the waves. The common legends touching the desire of the Elfin people to form marriages with the human race and have their children baptized, are expressive of a theology hopeful as to "the final goal of ill." Conversely, the repeated fictions touching changelings substituted for Christian children by fairy hands, seem referable to the vigilance of the Evil One in pursuit of souls. In Scotland, changelings thrown on the fire disappear amid unearthly shrieks, and the lost children are restored. The popular belief in the disguises which fairy natures are capable of assuming speaks of a recognition of unity in the multiform phenomena of good and evil. The character of the means adopted for exorcism is obviously theological. The chime of church-bells, the name of the Virgin, and the sign of the cross are among the most usual. The Somersetshire peasants, to this day, stamp a cross on cakes to prevent the "vairies" from trampling them. In Scandinavia and in Arabia the cry of "iron" is a remedy against similar visitations. This has been explained in the case of the Trolls by the legend of Thor's hammer.

Next to the theological element of the fairy mythology may be ranked the historical, i.e. the exaggeration of fact, which in this instance must be resolved into the simplest machinery of delusion. With Mr. Keightley (to whose work we are indebted for most of the foregoing illustrations) we may reasonably ascribe to ventriloquism many of the unearthly cries, and to tricksy servants some of the strange feats of housespirits. If animal magnetism ever attain to the rank of a science, it may explain the origin of others.

The aetiological element is perceptible in popular hypotheses touching the fairy authorship of natural and artistic curiosities. The Colepexies in the south-west of England have done geological service by giving their heads to form echini, and their fingers for belemnites. The singular eggs of the dog-fish are known in Devonshire as pixies' purses. The fungoid growths called fairy-rings and fairy-butter, the grass called fairy-flax, and the foxglove or fairy-bells, are common to most counties. In Arabia and in Ireland sudden wind -gusts and clouds of dust are ascribed to elfin agency, the Irish peasant taking off his hat as the fairy company passes, with a "God speed you, gintlemen!" Druidical and Celtic monuments generally are similarly explained in France, where they are known as the houses, grottoes, and groves of the fées. In Denmark wild stories are told of Troll adventures in explanation of such remarkable antiquities as a church with three pillars and a half and some quaint golden cups. Similar fictions recur in Germany and this country. Partially ætiological, but tinged with allegorical or poetic traits, are the myths which purport to account for the fairy creation itself. The Arabian Jinn are held to be the offspring of "smokeless fire," or

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