« ПредишнаНапред »
beautiful vessels and utensils, which the little folk had stolen elsewhere and brought to their favourite. When, with time, his family increased, the little ones used to give the tailor's wife considerable aid in her household affairs; they washed for her, and on holidays and festival times they scoured the copper and tin, and the house from the garret to the cellar. If at any time the tailor had a press of work, he was sure to find it all ready done for him in the morning by the Heinzelmänchen.
But curiosity began now to torment the tailor's wife, and she was dying to get one sight of the Heinzelmänchen, but do what she would she could never compass it. She one time strewed
all down the stairs that they might fall and hurt themselves, and that so she might see them next morning. But this project missed, and since that time the Heinzelmänchen have totally disappeared, as has been every where the case, owing to the curiosity of people, which has at all times been the destruction of so much of what was beautiful in the world.
The Heinzelmänchen, in consequence of this, went off all in a body out of the town, with music playing, but people could only hear the music, for no one could see the mannikins themselves, who forthwith got into a ship and went away, whither no one knows. The good times, however, are said to have disappeared from Cologne along with the Heinzelmänchen *.
There is a species of beings that greatly resemble the Dwarfs. They are called Wichtlein (Little Wights), and are about three-quarters of an ell high. Their appearance is that of old men with long beards. They haunt the mines, and are dressed like miners, with a white hood to their shirts and leather aprons, and are provided with lanterns, mallets, and hammers. They amuse themselves with pelting the workmen with small stones, but do them no injury, except when they are abused and cursed by them.
They show themselves most especially in places where there is an abundance of ore, and the miners are always glad to see them; they flit about in the pits and shafts, and appear to work very hard, though they in reality do nothing. Sometimes they seem as if working a vein, at other times putting the ore into buckets, at other times working at the windlass, but all is mere show. They frequently call, and when one comes there is no one there.
* Oral. Cölns Vorzeit. Cöln. 1826.
At Kuttenburg, in Bohemia, the Wichtlein have been seen in great numbers. They announce the death of a miner by knocking three times, and when any misfortune is about to happen they are heard digging, pounding, and imitating all other kinds of work. At times they make as if they were smiths labouring very hard at the anvil, hence the Bohemians call them Haus Schmiedlein (Little House-smiths).
In Istria the miners set, every day, in a particular place, a little pot with food in it for them, They also at certain times in each year buy a little red coat, the size of a small boy's, and make the Wichtlein a present of it. If they weglect this, the little people grow very angry *
Deutsche Sagen, from Prætorius, Agricola, and others.
Ein Mägdlein kam im Abendglanz
The Wilde Frauen or Wild-women of Germany bear a very strong resemblance to the Elle-maids of Scandinavia. Like them they are beautiful, have fine flowing hair, live within hills, and only appear singly or in the society of each other. They partake of the piety of character we find among the German Dwarfs.
The celebrated Wunderberg, or Underberg, on the great moor near Salzburg, is the chief haunt of the Wild-women. The Wunderberg is said to be quite hollow, and supplied with stately palaces, churches, monasteries, gardens, and springs of gold and silver. Its inhabitants, besides the Wildwomen, are little men, who have charge of the treasures it contains, and who at midnight repair to Salzburg to perform their devotions in the ca
thedral ; giants, who used to come to the church of Grödich and exhort the people to lead a godly and pious life; and the great emperor Charles V, with golden crown and sceptre, attended by knights and lords. His gray beard has twice encompassed the table at which he sits, and when it has the third time grown round it, the end of the world and the appearance of Antichrist will take place
The following is the only account we hare of the Wild-women.
The inhabitants of the village of Grödich and the peasantry of the neighbourhood assert that frequently, about the year 1753, the Wild-women used to come out of the Wunderberg to the boys and girls that were keeping the cattle near the hole within Glanegg, and give them bread to eat.
The Wild-women used frequently to come to where the people were reaping. They came down early in the morning, and in the evening, when the people left off work, they went back into the Wunderberg without partaking of the supper.
It once fell out near this hill, that a little boy was sitting on a horse which his father had tethered on the headland of the field. Then came the Wild
* All relating to the Wild-women and the Wunderberg is given by MM. Grimm from the Brixener Volksbuch, 1782.