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DEER AND VILA.
A young deer track’d his way through the lone forest
And thus the young deer to the Vila answered :
This version differs considerably from the German one of Talvi. We feel quite convinced that Mr. Bowring has mistaken the sense.
We have already observed * how almost all nations compare female beauty to that of the beings of their legendary creed. With the Servians the object of comparison is the lovely Vila. “She is fairer than the mountain-Vila," is the highest praise of woman's beauty. In the ballad of “ The Sister of the Kapitan Leka" it is said of the heroine Rossandra, that in no country, either Turkey, or the land of the Kauran, or Giaours, was her fellow to be found. No white Bula (Mohammedan), no Vlachin (Greek), no slender Latiness (Roman Catholic), could compare with her.
And who on the hills hath seen the Vila-
The swiftness of the Vila also affords a subject of comparison: a fleet horse is said to be “ Vilaish,” or " swift as a Vila."
In the fine Illyrian ballad of “ Lord Mercury P" we find another species of supernatural beings, which we know not well how to class. Lord Mer. cury had been despatched by the king to fetch
* Vol. I. p. 32. † La Guzla, ou Choix de Poésies Illyriques. Paris, 1827.
the queen to the camp. He rode three days and nights without stopping.
“ And when he was upon the shore of the lake of Cettina, he bade his squires to pitch his tent, and himself went down to the lake to drink. And the lake was covered with a thick mist, and mingled cries were heard issuing from the fog.
“And the water was agitated, and boiled up like the whirlpool of the Jemizza when it sinks beneath the earth. When the moon arose, the fog dispersed; and, behold! an army of little dwarfs on horseback galloped along the lake as if it was frozen.
“ As they attained the shore, man and horse increased till they were of the size of the mountaineers of Dooaré", and they formed in ranks, and went along in good order, riding along the plain, and bounding with joy.
“ And sometimes they became gray as the fog, and the grass was seen through their bodies; and other times their arms glittered, and they seemed all fire. Suddenly a warrior, mounted on a black courser, issued from the ranks.
“And when he was before Mercury he made his horse curvet, and showed that he wished to combat with him. Then Mercury made the sign of the cross, and spurring his good horse, he charged the phantom at full speed, with his lance depressed.
“ Eight times did they meet in the middle of their course, and their lances bent on their cuirasses like leaves of the iris ;
* These people are remarkable for their lof:y stature.
but at each encounter the horse of Mercury fell on his knees, for the horse of the phantom was much the stronger.
“ • Let us alight,' said Mercury, ' and fight once more on foot.' Then the phantom sprang down from his horse, and ran against brave Mercury; but he was borne to the ground at the first shock, maugre his stature and his great strength.
666 Mercury! Mercury! Mercury! thou hast vanquished me!' said the phantom. For my ransom I will give thee a counsel: Return not unto thy house, for thou there wilt meet thy death.' The moon was veiled, and champion and army instantly vanished.”
Lord Mercury neglected this and other warnings: he returned home, and was poisoned by his faithless spouse, Euphemia.