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Loud from the hills the sound of riot comes,
The Jaloff inhabitants of the mainland of Africa, opposite the isle of Goree, believe in a species of beings who have a striking and surprising correspondence with the Gothic Fairies.
They call thenı Yumbos, and describe them as being about two feet high, of a white colour, as every thing preternatural is in Africa. It is remarkable that, acting on the same principle as the Greeks, who called their Furies Eumenides, and the Scots and Irish, who style the Fairies Good Neighbours, or Good People, the Africans call the Yumbos, Bachna Rachna, or Good People.
The dress of the Yumbos exactly corresponds with that of the natives, and they imitate their actions in every particular. They attach themselves to particular families; and whenever any of their members die, the Yumbos are heard to lament them, and to dance upon their graves. The Moors believe the Yumbos to be the souls of their deceased friends.
The chief abode of the Yumbos is a subterraneous dwelling on the Paps, the hills about three miles distant from the coast. Here they dwell in great magnificence, and many wonderful stories are told of those persons, particularly Europeans, who have been received and entertained in the subterraneous residence of the Yumbos : of how they were placed at richly furnished tables; how nothing but hands and feet were to be seen, which laid and removed the various dishes ; of the numerous stories the underground abode consisted of; the modes of passing from one to the other without stairs, &c. &c.
In the evening the Yumbos come down to the habitations of man, wrapped close in their pangs*, with only their eyes and nose visible. They steal to the huts, where the women are pounding in mortars the coos-coos, or corn, watch till the pounders are gone for sieves to searce the meal, and then slily creep to the mortars, take out the meal, and carry it off in their pangs, looking every moment behind them, to see if they are observed or pursued; or, they put it into calabashes, and arranging themselves in a row, like the monkeys, convey it from hand to hand, till it is placed in safety.
* The Pang is an oblong piece of cloth, which the natives wrap round their bodies.
They are also seen at night in their canoes, out fishing in the bay. They bring their fish to land, and, going to the fires kindled by the natives to keep away the wild beasts, they steal each as much fire as will roast his fish.
They bury palm-wine, and when it becomes sour they drink of it till it intoxicates them, and then make a great noise, beating Jaloff drums on the hills *.
* For the preceding account of the Yumbos we are in. debted to a young lady, who spent several years of her child. hood at Goree. What she related to us she had heard from her maid, a Jaloff woman, who spoke no language but Jaloff. She had promised to write down one or two of the tales she had heard, but was prevented by sudden illness.
And the Mazikeen shall not come near thy tents.
It has long been an established article of belief among the Jews that there is a species of beings, which they call Shedeem *, Shehireem t, or Mazikeen t. These beings exactly correspond to the Arabian Jinns §; and the Jews hold that it is by means of them that all acts of magic and enchantment are performed.
The Talmud says the Shedeem were the offspring of Adam. After he had eaten of the tree of life, Adam was excommunicated for one hundred and thirty years. “ In all those years," saith Rabbi Jeremiah Ben Eliezar,“ during which
, Isaiah , xiii שער from שעיקים +
.to hurt נזק from מויקין }
roov from 77v to lay waste, Deut. xxxii. 17.
. . † .
& Moses Edrehi, our informant, says, the Mazikeen are called, in the Arabic language, znoon (ug';). See vol. i. p. 39, note.