« ПредишнаНапред »
It was the Druid's presage, who had long
The oldest account we have met of Welsh Fairies is in the Itinerary of Giraldus Cambrensis, who, in the year 1188, accompanied archbishop Baldwin in his tour through Wales, undertaken for the purpose of exciting the zeal of the people to take part in the crusade, then in contemplation.
Giraldus, who was an attentive observer of nature and of mankind, has in this work given many beautiful descriptions of scenery, and valuable traits of manners.
He is liberal of legends of saints, but such was the taste of his
age. Among his narratives, however, he gives the two following, which show that there was a belief in
* A lake, on whose banks Taliesin resided.
+ These Mr. Davies thinks, and not improbably, corre. spond to the Gallicenæ of Mela. See Brittany.
South Wales in beings similar to the Fairies and Hobgoblins of England.
TALE OF ELIDURUS.
A short time before our days, a circumstance worthy of note occurred in these parts, which Elidurus, a priest, most strenuously affirmed had befallen himself. When a youth of twelve years,-since, as Solomon says, “ The root of learning is bitter, although the fruit is sweet;"—and following his literary pursuits, in order to avoid the discipline and frequent stripes inflicted on him by his preceptor, he ran away, and concealed himself under the hollow bank of a river; and after fasting in that situation for two days, two little men of pygmy stature appeared to him, saying, 66 If you will come with us, we will lead you into a country full of delights and sports.” Assenting, and rising up, he followed his guides through a path, at first subterraneous and dark, into a most beautiful country, adorned with rivers and meadows, woods and plains, but obscure, and not illuminated with the full light of the sun.
All the days were cloudy, and the nights extremely dark, on account of the absence of the moon and stars.
The boy was brought before the king, and introduced to him in the presence of the court; when having examined him for a long time, he delivered him to his son, who was then a boy. These men were of the smallest stature, but very
proportioned for their size. They were all fair-haired, with luxuriant hair falling over their shoulders, like that of women. They had horses proportioned to themselves, of the size of greyhounds. They neither ate flesh nor fish, but lived on milk diet, made up into messes with saffron. They never took an oath, for they detested nothing so much as lies. As often as they returned from our upper hemisphere, they reprobated our ambition, infidelities, and inconstancies. They had no religious worship, being only, as it seems, strict lovers and reverers of truth *.
The boy frequently returned to our hemisphere, sometimes by the way he had first gone, sometimes by another; at first in company with others, and afterwards alone, and confided his secret only to his mother, declaring to her the manners, nature, and state of that people. Being desired by her to bring a present of gold, with which that region abounded, he stole, while at play with the king's son, the golden ball with which he used to divert himself, and brought it to his mother in great haste; and when he reached the door of his father's house, but not unpursued, and was entering it in a great hurry, his foot stumbled on the threshold, and, falling down into the room where his mother was sitting, the two Pygmies seized the ball, which had dropped from his hand, and departed, spitting at and deriding the boy. On recovering from his fall, confounded with shame, and execrating the evil counsel of his mother, he returned by the usual track to the subterraneous road, but found no appearance of any passage, though he searched for it on the banks of the river for nearly the space of a year. Having been brought back by his friends and mother, and restored to his right way of thinking and his literary pursuits, he, in process of time, attained the rank of priesthood. Whenever David the Second, bishop of St. David's, talked to him in his advanced state of life concerning this event, he could never relate the particulars without shedding tears.
* See Iceland.
He had also a knowledge of the language of that nation, and used to recite words of it, he had readily acquired in his younger days. These words, which the bishop often repeated to me, were very conformable to the Greek idiom. When they asked for water, they said, “ Udor udorum," which signifies "Bring water;" for Udor, in t}
language, as well as in the Greek, signifies water; and Dwr also, in the British language, signifies water. When they want salt, they say, “ Halgein udorum," " Bring salt.” Salt is called ålç in Greek, and Halen in British ; for that language, from the length of time which the Britons (then called Trojans, and afterwards Britons, from Brito, their leader), remained in Greece, after the destruction of Troy, became, in many instances, similar to the Greek *.
“If,” says the learned archdeacon, “a scrupulous inquirer should ask my opinion of the relation here inserted, I answer, with Augustine, 'admi. randa fore divina miracula non disputatione discutienda;' nor do I, by denial, place bounds to the Divine power; nor, by affirming insolently, extend that power which cannot be extended. But on such occasions I always call to mind that saying of Hieronymus : Multa,' says he, incredibilia reperies et non verisimilia,
nihilominus tamen vera sunt.' These, and any such that might occur, I should place, according to Augustine's opinion, among those things which are neither to be strongly affirmed nor denied."
David Powel, who edited this work in 1585, thinks this legend is written in imitation of the
* Giraldus Cambrensis, Itinerarium Cambriæ, 1. I. c. 8., translated by Sir R. C. Hoare.