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Ziegen weiden umher ; die Alpen Lerche
Dull heavy tinkling.
We now arrive at Switzerland, a country with which are associated ideas of sublime and romantic scenery, simple manners, and honest hearts. The character of the Swiss Dwarfs will be found to correspond with these ideas. For like the face of nature, these personifications of natural powers become more gentle and mild as they approach the sun and the south.
The Dwarfs, or little Hill-men (Bergmänchen) of Switzerland, are described as of a lively, joyous disposition, fond of strolling through the valleys, and viewing and partaking in the labours of agriculture. Kind and generous, they are represented as driving home stray lambs, and leaving brushwood and berries in the
of Their principal occupation is keeping cattlenot goats, sheep, or cows, but the chamois, from whose milk they make excellent and wellflavoured cheese. This cheese, when given by the Dwarfs to any one, has the property of growing again when it has been cut or bitten. But should
poor children. the hungry owner be improvident enough to eat up the whole of it and leave nothing for it to sprout from, he of course has seen the end of his cheese.
The Kobolds are also to be met in Switzerland. In the Vaudois, they call them Servants *, and believe that they live in remote dwellings and lonely shiels t.
Rationalising theory has been at work with the Swiss Dwarfs also. It is supposed, that the early inhabitants of the Swiss mountains, when driven back by later tribes of immigrants, retired to the high lands and took refuge in the clefts and caverns of the mountains, whence they gradually showed themselves to the new settlers-approached them, assisted them, and were finally, as a species of Genii, raised to the region of the wonderful.
For our knowledge of the Dwarf Mythology of Switzerland, we are indebted to professor Wyss, of Bern, who has put some of the legends in a poetical dress, and given others in the notes to his Idylls as he styles them I. These legends
* Wyss, Reise in das Berner Oberland, ii. 412. Servants is the original.
of This Scottish word, signifying the summer cabin of the herdsmen on the mountains, exactly expresses the Sennhütten of the Swiss.
Idyllen, Volkssagen, Legenden, und Erzählungen aus der Schweiz. Von J. Rud Wyss, Prof. Bern, 1813.