Folk-Tales of the Magyars, The UNDER CONSTRUCTION | Annotated Tale


BEFORE the arrival of the Magyars, Hungary was the "cock-pit of eastern Europe;" its history one incessant struggle between nation and nation, which either perished or was driven out by some more powerful neighbour. First we hear of the subjection of what was known as Pannonia, by the Romans; then, when that great power began to wane, a motley horde under the great Attila swept down and founded a kingdom. "Attila died in Pannonia in 453. Almost immediately afterwards the empire he had amassed rather than consolidated fell to pieces. His too-numerous sons began to quarrel about their inheritance; while Ardaric, the King of the Gepidae, placed himself at the head of a general revolt of the dependent nations. The inevitable struggle came to a crisis near the river Netad, in Pannonia, in a battle in which 30,000 of the Huns and their confederates, including Ellak, [1] Attila's eldest son, were slain. The nation thus broken rapidly dispersed. One horde settled under Roman protection in Little Scythia (the Dobrudsha); others in Dacia Ripensis (on the confines of Servia and Bulgaria), or on the southern borders of Pannonia." [2] A tradition asserts that the Magyars are descendants of those Huns, who, after their defeat, returned to their homes in Asia. On the other hand, one of their most learned men says, we cannot "form an accurate idea as to the part the Hungarians took in the irruption of the Huns, with which event they are associated in national tradition." But yet he adds, "we fairly claim that the ancestors of the Hungarians took part in the great devastating campaigns which Attila carried on against Rome and the Christian West, as far as France." Legend carries us still further back, saying that the giant Nimrod had two sons named Hunyor and Magyar, from whom the Huns and Magyars descended. [3] Leaving legend, in history we find that the Magyars appeared in Europe about 884, first on the Ural, later on the banks of the middle Volga; and then, marching westward, passed over the Danube and the Bug, crossing the Carpathians between 888 and 900, under Álmos, the father of Árpád, [4] the founder of modern Hungary, who is said to have claimed the country as his inheritance from Attila. The Magyars, then, are part of the numerous hordes of Turco-Tartar origin which, impelled by some mighty impulse, left their home amid the Altai mountains, and, conquering the divided forces on the rich plains of Hungary, settled down, and so founded the race whose tales form the body of this work. [5]

               Another people, the Székely, [6] speak a dialect of Magyar, which, like other Magyar dialects, differs but slightly from the written language. This race claims to be descendants of those Hunnish tribes that remained in Europe after the defeats. They say, that when the Magyars arrived in modern Hungary they found a Magyar-speaking people (the Székely) inhabiting parts of Transylvania. This is confirmed to some extent by the statement of Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, who, writing about 950, asserted that, amongst others, some Magyar tribes lived on the banks of the rivers Maros and Körös (Transylvania). Kriza, too, quotes several Székely sayings referring to the Székely-Magyar relationship, e.g.:

               "A Székely has borne the Magyar."

               "If there were no Székelys in the world, there would not be any Magyars."

               "There is the same difference between a Székely and a Magyar as there is between a man's son and his grandson."

               "Let the Magyar be thankful, that the Székely is his acquaintance."

               With regard to the alleged descent of the Székelys from the Huns, the evidence in proof of such a pedigree is very meagre. First, it has not as yet--with any degree of accuracy--been determined who the Huns were. Prof. Vambéry has, with infinite pains, collected and analysed some seventy words, mostly proper names--all that has come down to us of the old Hunnish language--and come to the conclusion that the Huns and Avars for the greater part belonged to the Turco-Tartar branch of the Ural-Altaic race; yet he is bound to acknowledge that he would gladly welcome a few historical facts to support him in his conclusions, which are built upon an almost entirely philological basis. [7] Indeed, it seems as though the term "Hun" was a sort of conventional designation, like "Scythian," or "Barbarian" with the ancient Greeks and Romans; or "Frenghi" with the modern Turks. Attila and the various races he pressed into his service were, of course, the Huns par excellence. After his death and the fatal battle near the river Netad his hordes appear to have well-nigh vanished from Europe; but their terrible deeds left an indelible impression upon the people who were unfortunate enough to have been brought into contact with the "scourge of God" and his fierce warriors. In the lapse of time all kinds of weird traditions gathered round their names, in the usual way, when great names pass into the possession of the Folk Historian; [8] and so they drifted through legends of saints into the region of myths. Thus we find the name Hüne (Heune, Hewne, Huyne) becomes synonymous with "giant," and to this day the Westphalian and Dutch peasant speaks of the great tumuli as "Hünen gräber"--graves of the giants, or Huns. [9] To add to the confusion, it would appear that there were some German tribes who were known as Hunes. Mr. Karl Blind has pointed out in the Gentleman's Magazine, [10] that our own Venerable Bede speaks of Hunes as being among the tribes of Germany that came over to Britain together with the Saxons. Elsewhere [11] he explains "the tribal origin of Siegfried (of the Nibelungen lied) as a German Hüne;" a word which has nothing whatever to do with the Mongolian Huns. We know mediæval writers were not very particular about facts, and the licentia poetica was claimed not only by poets, but also by historiographers, as an indisputable privilege. Thus, João Barros, in his chronicle of Clarimundus, [12] calmly tells us that Count Henry of Portugal, the Navigator, was of Hungarian descent, and that he found the statement in a Magyar book. [13] This alleged pedigree was the cause of a fierce controversy amongst Hungarian savants, and was fully threshed out in the early part of the present century. [14]

               Vigfusson [15] remarks that the northern poet, whom he designates the "Tapestry poet," uses Hunar (Huns), Hynske (Hunnish) as a vague word for "foreign." Probably the East Baltic folk would have been Huns to the earlier poets. With regard to the German and Scandinavian Huns, it is noteworthy what Olaus Magnus writes with regard to the "Huns" of his time. The learned prelate says that "in provincia Middelpadensi versus Boreales partes Suetiæ superioris, ubi ferè major pars virorum Huni nomine appellantur tamquam populi clarius contra Hunos olim belligerantes ac triumphantes." [16] His statement is borne out by his colleague, Joannes Magnus, [17] who asserts that "non desunt qui dicant ipsos Hunnos à Septentrionale parte Scandiæ utra Helsingorum terras ex Medelphatia primum erupisse: in qua etiam hodie plurimi præstantissimæ fortitudinis homines inveniuntur, qui Hunni proprio nomine appellantur, quique magna et præclara opera in tyrannos, qui patriæ libertatem vexaverat, peregerunt."

               In the face of all this, it is quite evident how difficult a task awaits those who attempt to identify the lineal descendants of the Huns: and those who uphold the Hunnish descent of the Székelys do not appear, as yet, to have advanced sufficient historical grounds to establish the connection of the modern Székelys with the Huns of Attila. [18]

               It is well known that the Hun descent of the Magyars and Székelys has equally been questioned. Savants of such authority as Budenz and Hunfalvy disclaim the Hun relationship, and endeavour to prove the Finn-Ugrian origin of the Magyars. Whereas Professor Vambéry, in his work on the "Origin of the Magyars," which received so favourable a reception at the hands of the whole learned world, defends, as we saw above, a Turco-Tartar descent.

               It lies far beyond the limits of this work to give even a brief outline of the history of the Székelys: yet a few data may not be out of place to show that, although they are at the present time, and mayhap always have been, a Magyar-speaking people, yet they are in many respects distinct from the race known as the Magyars. Ibn Dasta, an Arab writer, [19] at the end of the ninth century, informs us that in his time some Bulgarians lived on the banks of the River Itil (Volga); and that they consisted of three tribes, viz.: the Berzuls, the Esseghels, and the Uz. He further says that "the first territory of the Magyars lies between the country of the Bisseni and the Esseghel Bulgarians."

               Another Arab writer, Ibn Muhalhal, about the middle of the tenth century, mentions a people named "Jikil," who lived next to the "Bajnak." If the writers who would identify in this Ashkal, Esseghel, or Jikil people, the parents of the Székely race, be right in their conclusions, then the Siculi (as they are called in Latin deeds) are of Bulgarian descent. [20] But we know full well how dangerous it is to build up theories on a mere similarity of names amongst barbarous or semi-barbarous races. The first reliable information we have about them is that about the year 1116 A.D. Bisseni and Siculi formed the body-guard of the Magyar King Stephen II. in his war against the Czechs. They supplied the vanguard of the army of King Géjza against Henry of Austria about 1146. More than half a century later, i.e. A.D. 1211, Andreas II. presented some uninhabited territory in Transylvania to the Teutonic knights; and, in a deed dated 1213, William, Bishop of Transylvania, granted the tithes of his territory to the same order, but reserved to himself the right of collecting them from all Magyar or Székely immigrants who might settle on the lands in question. [21] King Béla IV. ordered the Székelys [22] to supply him with one hundred mounted warriors in war; and later on, to show them his gratitude for their faithful services, he created them military nobles: [23] "Quod non sub certo numero (in a body as hitherto) sed eo modo sicut servientes regales, per se et personaliter armata nobiscum exercituare teneantur." [24] The Székelys of Hungary Proper gradually disappear, but the Siculi of Transylvania figure throughout the pages of Hungarian history as a separate people, with institutions and privileges of their own, and acting as a sort of border-fencibles in the numerous wars with the enemies of the Magyars. They furnished a separate title to the Prince of Transylvania, [25] and, although recent reforms have swept away old barriers, yet one still hears people speaking of the three nations of Transylvania, viz. the Magyars, the Székelys, and the Saxons. [26] Whether they ever spoke a language of their own we are unable to say; they speak several dialects, which have been carefully studied by Kriza, [27] himself a Székely by birth, and which possess peculiarities not to be found amongst the Magyars, or any other part of the realm of St. Stephen. A passage [28] in a work entitled "Hungaria et Attila," by Nicolaus Oláh, Archbishop of Esztergom (died 1568), might, perhaps, be quoted to prove that an independent Székely language had existed once, but there is an ambiguity about the statement of the learned prelate which makes it useless to the philologist. At any rate, we do not possess a single scrap of the old language, if it ever existed.

               Having thus made ourselves acquainted with the Székelys, we may proceed to consider the other Magyar-speaking nationalities.

               The Csángós [29] are Hungarian settlers in Moldavia; there are so many similarities in their tongue to the Székely dialects that Hunfalvy appears to be quite confident that they are a people of Székely origin. [30] Of late years an attempt has been made to resettle them in the less populous crown lands in Hungary; the result, as one might expect, is, that some are content, whilst others lust after the flesh-pots of Moldavia.

               Next come the Kúns (Cumanians). The non-Magyar writers, [31] who have made the old language of this people their study, declare it, with almost unanimous consent, to be a Turkish dialect, whereas the Magyar writers, with very few exceptions, staunchly defend the Magyar origin of the Cumanians. [32]

               Foremost in the ranks of the latter party was the late Stephen Gyárfás, who denied that a lingua Cumenesca had ever existed, and that the various extant specimens are the remnants of the language of a people of Magyar descent, who had become Turks during the lapse of centuries. [33] His most powerful antagonist is Count Géjza Kuun, the learned editor of the Codex Cumanicus, [34] who espouses the cause of the Turkish party. Besides the valuable Glossary preserved in the Codex, several versions of the Lord's Prayer and other scraps of the Cumanian tongue are in existence, and have been examined by competent scholars, and pronounced to be of undoubted Turkish origin. [35]

               Jazygo-Cumanians have been quoted in the note, and so we proceed to consider the next race--if one may use the word--viz.: the Jazyges, formerly a military tribe, who, together with the Cumanians, live in central Hungary, in the vicinity of the capital, and occupy a territory on the banks of the rivers Danube, Zagyva, Sárrét, Tisza, and Körös.

               From time immemorial, until quite recent times, they enjoyed certain privileges and administered their own affairs in three districts--the Jászság, Kis-Kúnság, and Nagy-Kúnság, entirely separate from the surrounding population, thus forming a state within a state. They had however to surrender some of their old rights in 1848, and by the law of 1876 (cap. xxxiii.), which readjusted the political divisions of the kingdom, the limits of their territory disappeared altogether from the map of Hungary. [36] With regard, then, to the nationality of the Jász people, they are found at all periods of history in company with the Cumanians, and so, as their institutions are the same as their fellow armigerents, we may safely assume with Hunfalvy that they are a branch of the Cumans, if they be not offspring of the same mother-stock.

               Next come the Palócz folk, [37] who live scattered among the other races in several of the northern counties of Hungary, and speak a dialect of their own. Hunfalvy asserts that they are the same people as the "Polovczi" mentioned by early Russian and Slavonic writers. And as Jerney, in his paper The Palócz Nation and The Palócz Chronicle, has proved beyond doubt that, whatever the Magyar Chronicles and Byzantine writers relate anent the Cumans can be traced, statement for statement, in Russian and Polish writers, with reference to the Polovczi, Hunfalvy draws the conclusion that the Palócz people are Cumans. [38]

               Their name first occurs in Russian Annals A.D. 1061, and the Magyar savant to whose rich store of learning this work is so deeply indebted thinks that the migration of the Cumans into Hungary took place in two distinct streams, one, an earlier one, from the North, viâ the Slave countries across the Northern Carpathians, and another, later one from the south-east, through the passes and defiles of the south-eastern extension of the same range of mountains.

               Before leaving this part of the subject, the reader must be reminded that all the foregoing races or nationalities at the present time speak one or other Magyar dialect, [39] and that the old Cuman tongue is the only other language of which we know anything. [40]

               Having, we hope, somewhat cleared the way as to people amongst whom the stories have been collected, we may now proceed to say a few words about the tales themselves. Of course, the stories will be found to bear a strong resemblance to other collections, as indeed they must do; the very fact of the striking way in which not only tales, but even little superstitions, reappear in all manner of strange places, [41] is of itself a fact which is of the deepest interest to those who study the history of man. We have attempted to give some few variants to the tales in this work, chiefly confining ourselves to Lapp and Finnish tales, which are but little known in England, and of which, as of the Magyar, there is a rich store. The more one considers comparative folk-lore, the more one is convinced that many of these tales were the common property of mankind before they migrated from their Asiatic home. [42] Of course local circumstances often colour the stories, but do not change the theme. Amidst the stories from Hungary we find, as we might presume, the Székely stories telling of snow-clad mountains, whilst those from the banks of the Danube dwell on the beauties of the Hungarian plains. The fierce conflicts of the past, too, have left their marks on the stories, and so we find the Turkish Sultan [43] and the Dog-headed Tartar [44] as the tyrants of the tale; and even, in one case, so modern a fact as the French invasion [45] is used to frighten an old-world witch. We see later on the influence of Mohammedanism, and also the marks of Christianity, [46] in some tales which become as it were, a folk-lore palimpsest. Nor must we omit other ways by which the tales have been modified. Many of the mediæval romances were, of course, translated into Hungarian; and even to this day the penny bookstall is always present at fairs and popular gatherings where "yards of literature" are to be obtained for a nominal sum. The vendor cannot afford a booth or stall, so a mat or tarpaulin is spread on the ground, and weighted at the four corners with brickbats or paving stones, hence the Hungarian name "ponyva-irodalom" (tarpaulin literature). Here we find mediaeval romances, bits of national history, biographies and panegyrics of famous robbers, the wicked doings of the mistress of some castle and her punishment, the exploits of Magyar heroes, the chronicles of Noodledom, in prose, or versified by some such favourite poet of the people as Peter Tatár; and by this means certain tales have been imported, others modified. Then again, the wandering students were entertained by the country folk during their peregrinations, and no doubt in return amused the old folks with the latest news from the town, and the young ones with tales from the Greek and Roman Mythologies. [47] Another mode of dissemination and modification was the soldiers. When the Hapsburgs were at the height of their glory the emperor-king's soldiers were scattered far and wide over Europe; and, after long years of service in an infantry regiment and absence from home, the old private returned to his native village, and at eventide in the village inn related how he, as "Sergeant of Hussars," caught with his own hand the Emperor Napoleon, and only let him go at the earnest entreaties of his wife, and upon receiving a rich bribe in gold. [48] The old soldier was well received in every family, and enjoyed great authority as a man who had seen the world. The children sat upon his knee, or stood round about him open-mouthed, and listened to his marvellous yarns. [49]

               In Hungary, as in other countries, until the labours of the Brothers Grimm directed attention to the importance of the Folk-tales, nothing was done in the way of collecting them; and, even after Grimm's work appeared, no move was made in Hungary until Henszlman read his paper in 1847 before the Kisfaludy Society on the "Popular Tales of Hungary," in which paper he examined some 14 tales which afterwards appeared in Erdélyi's Collection, vols. 1 and 2. Ladislaus Arany in May 1867 read another paper before the same society and according to his calculation some 240 tales had been collected up to that date: the collections quoted by him were as follows:--

John Erdélyi,[50] Folk-Songs and Popular Tales, 3 vols.   containing 34 tales
George Gaál,[51] Hungarian Folk-Tales, 3 vols.   " 53 "
John Erdélyi, Hungarian Popular Tales, 1 vol.   " 13 "
Ladislaus Merényi, Original Popular Tales, 2 vols. } " 65 "
Ladislaus Merényi, Popular Tales from the Valley of the Sajó, 2 vols. }
Ladislaus Merényi, Popular Tales from the Banks of the Danube, 2 vols. }
Ladislaus Arany, Original Popular Tales, 1 vol.   " 35 "
John Kriza,[52] Wild Roses, 1 vol.[53]   " 20 "
Julius Pap, Palócz Folk-Poetry, 1 vol.   "   "
Count John Majláth,[54] Hungarian Fairy Tales, Sagas and Popular Tales, translated from the German by G. Kazinczy, 1 vol.   " 6 "
Maurus Jókai, Witty Tales of the Hungarian Folk, 1 vol.   " 8 "
    Total, 240

                Of these, Erdélyi's first collection and Kriza's Wild Roses are the most important, and the translation of them form the bulk of this volume. Since 1867 the work of collecting the Popular Tales has been going on steadily, and the Hungarian Language Guardian (Magyar Nyelvör) is a paper specially devoted to the purpose: publishing popular sayings, proverbs, children's games, nursery rhymes, &c. Very little of the Folk-lore treasure is known outside of Hungary. There is Count Majláth's collection, which appeared originally in German, and also a German edition of Gaál, and one by Stier, which contains some of Erdélyi's stories. In English the only translations we are aware of are the tale of "The talking grapes, the smiling apple, and the tinkling apricot," from Erdélyi's collection, which was translated by Mr. E. D. Butler, and appeared in a London suburban paper; and another tale, "The Round Stone," in the February number of the St. Nicholas Magazine, 1882; so that this collection opens up new ground. The great difficulty in considering these tales--in common with the Finn, Esthonian, and Lapp--is the language; and the aim of the present translation is but to be as literal as possible in its rendering of the stories; there being no attempt whatever made to polish or beautify the tales, but simply an endeavour to reproduce as near as may be the stories as told by the people; in many cases, especially with regard to the Székely stories, this has been a work of very great difficulty, on account of the dialect, and must plead for the many shortcomings in the translations.

               A brief consideration of some points in Magyar Folk-lore may be found of interest in a study of the stories. And I am indebted for the following information on giants, fairies, and witches to a valuable paper, entitled Mythological Elements in Székely Folk-lore and Folk-life, read by Kozma before the Hungarian Academy in 1882.

I. GIANTS. [55]

               Many of the characteristics of the Magyar giants are the same as those to be found in the Greek and German mythologies, but we do not find anything extraordinary in their appearance, such as one eye--as Cyclops [56], or sundry heads as the northern giants, nor redundant fingers and toes as the Jews; they are simply big men. There is no trace of any struggle between the gods and the giants in Magyar mythology.

               They are said to be sons of witches, [57] and as tall as towers, [58] and step from mountain-top to mountain-top as they walk.

               The length of their stride and the pace at which they walk is illustrated in a tradition, according to which the giants who inhabited a fortress called Kadicsavár, near the River Nyikó, were in the act of shaving when the bells rang first from the church-tower of Gyula-Fejérvár, at the second ringing they dressed, on the third ringing they sat in church. [59]

               Near Szotyor in Háromszék [60] there is a rock, which is called the "Giant's Stone," on the top of this there is a cavity resembling in shape the heel of a man; the diameter of this hole is five feet, and popular tradition says it is the imprint of a giant's heel.

               When the giant is angry he strikes a blow with his fist on the rock, and traces of his fist are shown now-a-days on a rock near Ikavar; his footstep is shown in the neighbourhood of Kézdi-Borosnyó, on a rocky ledge near a spring, where he used to come down to drink.

               With one foot he stands on the mountain where Csiki-Bálványos-vár castle stands; with the other on a mountain opposite, and bending down, he picks up the water of the River Olt, running in the valley below, in a gigantic bucket, with one swoop.

               He mounts a horse of such size that it stands with its hind legs on a mountain in Bodok in Háromszék, while its fore-legs rest on another mountain in Bickfalú, and its head reaches far into Wallachia, where it grazes in a green clover-field.

               On short outings he walks; on long journeys he goes on horseback; his steed is a tátos, [61] with whom he holds many conversations. On returning home from a long ride he throws his mace, weighing forty hundredweights, from a distance of forty miles (= about 180 English miles), which drops into the courtyard of the castle, and penetrating into the ground taps a subterranean spring. [62]

               While the giant of the Germans lives during the flint-period, and uses gigantic stones and masses of rock as weapons, the Hungarian giant uses swords and maces of iron and copper, and also goes in for wrestling. He is not a cannibal. He is fond of a good supper and warm food, and is not a teetotaller. He always takes plenty of provisions on the journey.

               Kozma has come across a tale, "Iron-made Peter," in which there figure six giants, each of whom is proficient in one thing or another. They bear names which characterise their special accomplishments. In English they would be as follows: Sharp-eye, Fast-runner, Far-thrower, Glutton, Drinker, Shiverer. The first is sitting on a mountain-peak reaching up to heaven's vault, and keeps on bowing in every direction, muttering "Which way shall I look? Is there nothing else to be seen? I have already seen everything in the world." The second is wandering about a vast plain, the boundaries of which cannot even be seen, and is moaning, evidently in great trouble. "Where shall I run? In which direction? No sooner do I start than I am at the end of this place." The third is seen sitting among huge pieces of rock, and crying, "Where shall I throw now? Which way? The whole world is covered by the stones I have thrown." The fourth is watching a bullock roasting, and continues yelling, "Oh, how ravenously hungry I am! What can I eat?" The fifth is rolling about on the sea-shore, roaring, "Oh, how thirsty I am! What will become of me? What can I drink? If I drain the ocean there will not be left anything for to-morrow!" The sixth is shivering on the top of a huge stack of wood all in a blaze, and exclaiming, "Oh, how cold I am! I am freezing."

               The hero of the tale finds suitable employment for each of the giants. "Fast-runner" goes on an errand into the seven-times-seventh country, and returns in five minutes, although he goes to sleep on the road from the sleeping draught administered to him by a witch. "Sharp-eye" discovers him asleep; and "Far-thrower" knocks away the pillow from underneath his head, thus enabling him to return by the appointed time. "Glutton" consumes 366 fat oxen within six hours. "Drinker" empties during the same interval the contents of 366 casks, each holding 100 buckets of wine. "Shiverer" creeps into a furnace, which has been brought to, and kept in, a glowing heat for the last twenty-four years by twenty-four gipsies, [63] and by so doing lowers the temperature so that his mates, who have gone with him, are shivering with cold although they are wrapped up in thick rugs. [64]

               The giants in northern regions live in six-storied diamond castles, or in golden fortresses which swivel round on a leg; more generally, however, they inhabit fortresses built by their own hands on the top of lofty mountains or steep rocks. In Székelyland the ruins of thirty-six such castles are existing, all of which are ascribed by the people to the giants. Some of their names show this; they are called the "Giant's Rock," the "Giant's Castle," the "Giant's Hill." In one case (Egyeskö in Csikszèk) they show the giants' table and bench in the rock. Sometimes, however, the castles are inhabited by fairies.

               Tall mountain chains are sometimes said to be roads built by giants. Their names are "Attila's Track," "Devil's Ridge," &c. These roads were constructed by devils and magic cocks who were in the service of the giants. Hence also the name "Cocks' Ridge." In one case, however, near Száraz Ajta, the ridges were made by giants themselves, [65] who used silver-shared ploughs drawn by golden-haired bullocks for this purpose.

               The giants left their homes when "the country was given away to mankind," or when "modern mankind commenced to exist." When the husbandmen appeared and began to till the lands in the valleys and lowlands the giants did not associate with men, but kept to their castles and only visited the impenetrable woods.

               There is a tale which occurs in several localities about a giant's daughter who finds a husbandman, picks up him and his team and puts them into her apron and carries them off as toys, showing them to her father. The father exclaiming angrily, "Take him back, as he and his fellow-creatures are destined to be the lords of the globe," or "Their anger might cause our ruin," or "They will be our successors." We thus see that, while in the German tale the giant of Nideck-burg in Alsacia bids his daughter to take back the ploughman and his team for fear that by preventing his tilling the land the bread-supply might fail, in the Hungarian tales the giant openly acknowledges the superior power of the human race. [66]

               The giants, unlike their brethren in foreign lands, are gregarious and live under a royal dynasty. They hold assemblies, at which their king presides. Several royal residences exist in Székeland. Near Besenyö there is one that is called "Csentetetö." Tradition has even preserved the giant-king's name, which was Bábolna. This king used to convoke the other giants to the assembly with huge golden bells. On feeling his approaching death he ordered the bells to be buried in a deep well in the castle, but on feast days they are still to be distinctly heard ringing, which sets the whole rock vibrating.

               The name of another king of giants is to be found in Kriza's "Prince Mirkó" (Kutyafejü = Dogheaded.)

               Sometimes the giants were good-natured and full of kindness towards the weak. [67]

               They marry, their wives are fairies, so are their daughters. They make very affectionate fathers. They had no male issue, as their race was doomed to extermination. They fall in love, and are fond of courting. Near Bikkfalva, in Háromszék, the people still point out the "Lovers' Bench" on a rock, where the amorous giant of Csigavár used to meet his sweetheart, the "fairy of Veczeltetö."

               The giants lived to a great age. Old "Doghead" remembers a dream he dreamt 600 years ago. His friend Knight Mezei finds him after a separation of 600 years, and they live happy for a great many years after. [68]

               They have magic powers. They know when a stranger is hidden in their home. Doghead knows who has thrown back his mace from a distance of 180 English miles. They are acquainted with the conjuring formulæ and charms of the fairies, and know how to overcome them. They have a thorough knowledge of geography, and can give advice to those who enter their service, &c. They have great physical strength, and can build huge castles and roads, subdue whole countries, amass treasures [69] which they have guarded even after their death. Magic beings, animals, and implements await their commands.

               In the castle of Hereczvára, near Oltszem, the giants were negroes, and their servants were black dwarfs. Among the magic animals who guarded the giant's treasures we may mention the bullock with golden hair, the tátos, &c. Of weapons, charms, &c., Doghead's copper mace, Prince Mirkó's magic sword, the wine kept in a cask in the seventh cellar, each drop of which equals the strength of five thousand men.

               The king of the giants of Görgény is bullet-proof; but if a man who is the seventh son of his mother (and all the elder brothers of whom are alive) casts a bullet, at the first appearance of the new moon, by a fire of wheat straw, this bullet will kill the monarch. Such a man was found, and the bullet was made, and it killed the king. The other giant, now being without a leader, evacuated the fortress and withdrew to Hungary Proper. Thus we see a giant can only be killed with a magic weapon.

               In one of Kozma's tales the hero is in possession of a rusty padlock, from which two giants appear whenever he commands. They produce by charms, a golden cloak, and a golden fortress on the swivel principle, which they hand over to their master in a nutshell. They then clothe the poor lad in a copper suit and seat him on a copper steed so that he may appear decently dressed before the king; they change his miserable hovel into a fine palace at eleven o'clock, and at noon the whole royal family, who are his guests, sit down to a sumptuous dinner; they carry their master and his royal bride across a sea of flames, &c. There are several other tales which attribute the power of flying to giants.

               Some of the giants have grown old and died a natural death. The greater part of them, however, were killed by enterprising knights. They have buried their treasures in deep wells, in huge mountains, or in extensive cellars under the fortresses. In the well of the Várhegy in Száraz-Ajta there lies hidden the silver plough and the golden bullock; in the cellar the silver plough with the fluid gold. In the cellars of Hereczvára in black casks the accumulated treasure of the negro-giants is guarded by the black dwarfs, who spend their time in eating, drinking, and dancing. In the cellar of Kézdi-Szent-Lélek castle the treasure is guarded by a copper greyhound. In the well and cellar of the Várbércz, near Kis-Borosnyó, the gigantic golden bells and other treasures of the king of giants are guarded by two black goats. Near Angyalos, in the Bábolna dyke, King Bábolna's golden sun and golden lamb are guarded by two black greyhounds and a snow-white stallion in full harness. In the well of Csigavàr there is a gold bucket on a golden chain, and in the bowels of the Tepej mountain, near Alsó-Rákos, the rams with golden fleece, &c.

               Some of the cellar doors open every third, others every seventh year. People have been inside, but were careless and lost the treasure on the way back to the surface, others were more careful, and succeeded in bringing some of it out; but the moment the wind touched it it changed into dry leaves or bits of charcoal. Some unwise people have been foolhardy enough to try the expedition a second time, but the huge iron doors closed behind them. But whereas the natives have hitherto been unsuccessful in recovering the hidden treasure, foreigners come and carry it off wholesale on the backs of horses, which are shod with shoes turned the wrong way. [70]


               Fairy, in Hungarian, "tündér," from the same root as "tün" (verb) and "tünés" (noun) = comparitio, apparitio, and "tündökōl" = to shine. Cf. the Mongolian "Tinghir."

               The queen of the fairies is sometimes called a goddess. Thus, south of the sulphur cave, Büdös, near Altorja, behind a mountain called the Priests' Mountain, is situated the very ancient village of Ikafalva, through which runs a brook named Furus. According to the tradition, the ancestors of the people of the village were led to this place more than 1,000 years ago, in the time of the conquest of the country, by a hero who encouraged his warriors in the name of "the goddess Furuzsina." The hero fell in the struggle, and on the spot where his blood had flowed a spring appeared, close to which the warriors built the present village, and named the brook after their goddess. The water of this brook is collected, even at the present day, into ponds; and drinking from this "blood and water" has made the villagers so strong that they have quite a name for physical strength in the neighbourhood. If a lad of Ikafalva performs some feat of pluck or strength they say: "It is no wonder, he has grown up on Furus water!"

               Although the fairies, as a rule, are kind, good-natured persons, and take the hero's part in the tales, the Székely folk-lore furnishes a case to the contrary, i.e. that of two fairies, "Firtos" and "Tartod," the former being the queen of the good, the latter the queen of the bad, fairies. [72]

               Kozma has found another variation of the first-named tale in "Fairy Helena." Helena's father blows across a broad river, whereupon a golden bridge appears. The young fairy takes a "kourbash," and wipes a rusty table-fork with it, which at once changes into a steed with golden hair, on which her lover, the prince, flees to Italy. When they discover that they are followed, Helena spits on the floor, [73] on the door-handle, and on the hinge of the door, whereupon the planks, the handle, and the hinge commence to speak to the king's messengers from behind the closed door, and the fugitives gain time to make their escape. Her father is sent after them in the shape of a gigantic spotted eagle, who with the tip of one wing touches heaven and with the other earth. On the road the same things happen as in "Fairy Elisabeth," with this difference, that Helena's mother changes into a buffalo who drinks all the water in the pond on which the lovers swim about as ducks, whereupon they change into worms; and, as the mother cannot find them in the mud, she pronounces the curse of oblivion upon them.

               Their means of charming were: The pond of beautifying milk, dresses, tears, the saliva, fascinating look, word of command, rejuvenating herb, rejuvenating water, wound-healing herb, water of life and death, iron bar, copper bridle, leather belt, gold and diamond rod, copper and gold whip, at the cracking of which dragons and devils appear; magic wand, curse of oblivion, sleeping draughts (wine), and the table that covers itself. The daughter of Doghead rides on a tátos. The magic animals in their service are: the cat and the cock, although the loud crowing of the latter has, by indicating the time, very often a fatal influence on fairies who are forgetful. One fairy queen, Dame Rapson, has the devil himself in her service.

               Their conjuring formulae are: "You are mine, I am thine." "Be there, where you have come from!" "Fog before me, smoke behind me." "Hop, hop! let me be, where I wish to be." "Hop, hop! they shall not know where I have come from, nor where I am going to! Let me be, where my thoughts are!" They can teach their magic formulae to their heroes.

               As to their occupations. Of serious ones, our tales only mention embroidery. Their more favourite pastimes seem to be: bathing, banquets, singing, frivolous dances, and love adventures. After their nocturnal dances, flowers spring up where their feet have touched the ground. If anybody approaches them while they are dancing, they, in their unbounded merriment, drag him also into the dance.

               On one occasion they enticed a shepherd into Borza-vára Cave, and kept him there for three days, amusing him with singing, dancing, playing music, and cajoling; finally they invited him to a game of cards and dismissed him with a big hatful of gold. From the castle-hill of Makkfalva the merry song of the fairies can be heard now every night as they dance round the castle-walls to the strains of music. They are reserved in their love; but, having made their choice, they are faithful, and their passion has no bounds. The daughter of Doghead is an instance of this; she reveals to her hero her father's charms, in order to ensure his victory in his struggle for life and death. The young and pretty mistress of Kisvártetö Castle, near Zsögöd, in the county of Csík, stood on a rock-ledge, waiting for the return of her husband from the war, till she faded away in her grief. The impression of her foot can still be seen in the rock. The fairy daughter of the giant who inhabited the castle near Bereczk fell in love with a hero who played the flute, disguised as a shepherd, at the foot of the rock; but her haughty father smashed the shepherd with a huge piece of rock, which is still to be seen in the bed of the brook. His daughter thereupon escaped from the father's castle, and built a castle (Leányvár = Maiden's Castle) near Ojtoz for herself, where she spent the rest of her days mourning for her lover, until grief killed her. Another such a pretty tale is associated with Firtos Castle. The fairy who lived here was in love with a knight; and, notwithstanding that her father forbade the intercourse, they secretly met in the garden every night. One beautiful moonlight night she was standing on the brink of the rock, when, as she extended her arm to assist her lover up the steep slope, the knight's horse slipped, and they were precipitated arm in arm into the depth below, and thus perished, united for ever in death. The horse caught on a projecting piece of rock, and petrified. "Firtos's horse" is still to be seen. Dame Rapson's daughter, Irma, a fairy, also fell a victim to prohibited love, and fell from a lofty peak where her mother's castle stood, with her lover, Zelemir, into the depth below, where Dame Rapson found them, and died of a broken heart. They all three were buried under the rock below, which tradition names "Zelemir's Tower."

               At the south angle of the Firtos there is a group of rocks which is called "Fairy Helena's Carriage," in which the fairies who lived in the castle used to drive out on moonlight nights. But one night they were so much engrossed in their enjoyments that they returned home late; and lo! the cock crew, and the carriage turned into stone.

               The fairies live in castles on lofty mountain peaks. They build their castles themselves, or inherit them from giants. Sometimes they are at a great distance, as e.g. Fairy Elisabeth's Castle in the town of Johara, in the "Land of Black Sorrow."

               Kozma enumerates the names of about 23 castles which belonged to fairies and which still exist. The castle of Kadacs formerly belonged to giants, upon whose extinction the fairies moved into it. Dame Rapson's castle near Paraja was built of materials which were carried up on the almost perpendicular side of the rock, to a height which makes one's head swim, by a magic cat and cock. The road leading to the castle was constructed by the Devil for a "mountain of gold," and a "valley of silver." Dame Rapson owed the Devil his wages for several years, although he kept on reminding her of it, till at last the cunning fairy presented him with a gold coin between the tips of her upheld fingers, and a silver coin in her palm, explaining to him that the gold coin is the mountain and the silver coin the valley. [74] The Devil, seeing that he was outwitted, got into a fearful rage and destroyed the road, the traces of which are still shown as far as the Görgény (snow-clad) mountains, and is still called "Dame Rapson's Road." The tale about building the road for a mountain of gold and valley of silver is also mentioned in connection with the Várhegy, near Köszvényes-Remete, but in this case it is Fairy Helen's daughter who cheats the devil. There is such a dam also at the foot of the Sóhegy, near Paraja, extending as far as Mikhàza, and this bank too is called "Dame Rapson's Road," and also "Devil's Dyke." A dam, similar to the "Cock's Ridge," near Rika, extends in the neighbourhood of Gagy and Körispatak in the direction of Firtos, and is called "Pretty Women's Road," or "Fairies' Road." Another high dam with a deep moat at its southern side, and also called the "Fairies' Road," is to be seen between Enlaka and Firtos. Under the Szépmezö (Beautiful Meadow) in Háromszék, the golden bridge of the fairies lies buried. On the outskirts of Tordátfalva there is a peak called "Ebédlö-Mál" (ebédlö = dining-place) on which the fairies coming from Firtos to Kadacsvára used to assemble to dinner.

               In some localities caves are pointed out as the haunts of fairies such as the caves in the side of the rock named Budvár. We have already mentioned the cave Borza-vára near the castle of Dame Rapson; another haunt of fairies is the cave near Almás, and the cold wind known as the "Nemere" is said to blow when the fairy in Almás cave feels cold. On one occasion the plague was raging in this neighbourhood; the people ascribed it to the cold blast emanating from the cave, so they hung shirts before the mouth of the cave, and the plague ceased. (Mentioned by L. Köváry.)

               The fairies have beautiful flower-gardens in the castle grounds, and in the centre of the garden there is generally a golden summer-house which swivels round on a pivot. On moonlight nights they returned to water their flower-beds long after they had disappeared from the neighbourhood. The peonies (Whitsun-roses) that bloom among the ruins of Dame Rapson's Castle are even nowadays known among the people as Dame Rapson's roses.

               The fairies live an organised social life. Several of their queens are known, as e.g. Dame Rapson and Fairy Helen. The latter was the most popular among them. The queens had court-dames, who were also fairies, and who lived near their queen's castle, as e.g. the court-dames of Dame Rapson lived in Borza-vára Cave. They also live a family life--their husbands being giants or heroes, their children fairy-girls. Those of them, however, who waste their love on ordinary mortals all die an ignoble death.

               Although they have disappeared from earth, they continue to live, even in our days, in caves under their castles, in which caves their treasures lie hidden. The iron gates of Zeta Castle, which has subsided into the ground and disappeared from the surface, open once in every seven years. On one occasion a man went in there, and met two beautiful fairies whom he addressed thus: "How long will you still linger here, my little sisters?" and they replied: "As long as the cows will give warm milk." [75] (See Baron B. Orbán, Description of Székelyland, 3 vols.)

               Their subterranean habitations are not less splendid and glittering than were their castles of yore on the mountain peaks. The one at Firtos is a palace resting on solid gold columns. The palace of Tartod, and the gorgeous one of Dame Rapson are lighted by three diamond balls, as big as human heads, which hang from golden chains. The treasure which is heaped up in the latter place consists of immense gold bars, golden lions with carbuncle eyes, a golden hen with her brood, and golden casks filled with gold coin. The treasures of Fairy Helen are kept in a cellar under Kovászna Castle, the gates of the cellar being guarded by a magic cock. This bird only goes to sleep once in seven years, and anybody who could guess the right moment would be able to scrape no end of diamond crystals from the walls and bring them out with him. The fairies who guard the treasures of the Pogányvár (Pagan Castle) in Marosszék even nowadays come on moonlight nights to bathe in the lake below.

               Other fairies known by their names are: Tarkö (after whom a mountain near Csik-Gyergyó takes its name) with her twin daughters Olt and Maros (the names of the two principal rivers of Transylvania, the sources of which are on the Tarkö); their mother touched them with her magic wand, and they were transformed into water-fairies, they then went in search of their father, who at the time when the elements were put in order was transformed into the Black Sea. [76] Another fairy is Mika, the warrioress fairy, who with her father Kadicsa led the remnants of Attila's Huns to their present place of sojourn. [77]

               As mentioned before, there were good and bad fairies. The most complete tale about good and bad fairies is the one about Firsos and Tartód, fully mentioned by Ipolyi. [78] The castle of Dame Vénétur (near Bereczk), the bad fairy who defied God, was swallowed up by the earth, and she herself turned into a stone frog. [79] Dame Jenö (Eugen), who lived in Énlak Castle, drove out one day, and on her way home her coachman happened to remark that: "If the Lord will help us, we shall be home soon!" to which she haughtily replied: "Whether he will help us, or whether he won't, we shall get home all the same." At that moment she and her carriage were turned into stone and the people still call a rock "Dame Jenö's Carriage." (There is also another place called "Dame Jenö's Garden.") The fairy who lived in Sóvár Castle near Csik-Somlyó, was spinning on the Sabbath, and while doing so used the Lord's name in vain, and was, with her spinning-wheel turned into stone. Her stone distaff is shown to this day. A pond near Székely-Keresztur named "Katustava" (i.e. Kate's Pond) contains a sunken house which once upon a time belonged to a woman who was punished for doing her washing on a feast-day. Even now the children stand round the pond and sing out: "Boil up, boil up, Catherine! boil up, boil up, Catherine! We do our soaping on Saturday and rinse our clothes on Sunday!" In days gone by, the water used to boil up with great force and the little folks were dispersed, and had to run away in consequence of the rush of water. They returned, however, and threw stones into the pond, and the water boiled up again vehemently. Aged people say that in their childhood the pond was ten to twelve yards in diameter, and the water boiled up to a height of two or three feet. Its present diameter is not more than a couple of feet, and the boiling up has also considerably decreased in proportion. The pond will perhaps disappear altogether, but its name will last, as the whole close of fields is named after it. (Kate's Pond Close).

               A clear Christian influence can be traced in the four last tales. Mohamedanism [80] has also left behind its traces in the tales in which fairies figure who kidnap girls.

               Such a fairy was Dame Hirip, who lived on the Vároldal, near Gyergyó-Szens-Miklós. She used to stand on the castle tower with a wreath in her hand, waiting for her two sons, who were engaged at the bottom of the mountain, cutting down the sweethearts of the girls they had kidnapped; until, at last, two heroes clad in mourning killed them; whereupon their mother faded away with the wreath she held in her hand. On mount Bükkös, which skirts the valley of the Úz, lived another kidnapping fairy, who kidnapped a girl every year from the shores of the Black Sea. On one occasion she happened to kidnap the sweetheart of the King of the Ocean-Fairies, the loveliest maid in the sea; the King pursued her and impeded her flight, and tired her out by raising a hurricane and shower of rain. He overtook and caught her at a place called "Stone Garden;" and, seizing her, killed her by flinging her on to a rock. A mineral healing spring sprung up where her blood flowed on the ground. [81]


               The degenerate descendants of bad fairies are witches; [82] in Hungarian, "boszorkány;" in Turkish-Tartar, "Boshûr Khân;" which signifies one who worries, annoys, or teases. They appear sometimes as green frogs, sometimes as black cats; and they find a demoniacal delight in "plaguing" people. Sometimes they appear as horses and kick their enemies cruelly; [83] if such a horse be caught and shod, the horse-shoes will be found on the hands and feet of the witch next day. [84]

               In nearly every village, one or two such old women are to be found who are suspected, but nobody dares to do them any harm. [85]

               It is a very simple thing to see the witches. After the autumn sowing is over the harrow is to be left on the field over winter. In the morning of St. George's Day one has to go out in the field, make the harrow stand upright, stand behind it, and observe through it the herd of cattle as they pass by. You will then notice the head witch between the horns of the bull, and the minor witches between the horns of the other beasts. [86] But if you do not know the necessary protecting formula, then you are done for.

               If you do not like to risk this, there is another way. Dye the first egg of a black hen, and take it with you to church in your pocket on Easter Sunday, and observe the people as they walk into church. Some of them will have great difficulty in passing through the door on account of the length of their horns. When leaving the church, you must go out before them and put down the egg; or stand at the meeting of two cross-roads; or else they will carry you off. Witches, or other evil spirits, have no power at cross-roads. The popular tales describe the witches as mothers of giants, or dragons. [87] The witch is capable of changing forms by turning somersaults. [88] They appear then as a puddle, brook, golden pear-tree, fiery oven, &c. They grow so old that their lower lips hang down as far as their knees; their eyelids also become elongated, so that if they wish to see anything the eyelid has to be lifted up with a huge iron rod, weighing 300 hundred-weights.

               They exercise their magic powers: (1) in a defensive way; [89] (2) in an aggressive way, by bewitching, the cause of which is some real or fictitious offence, or evil intention. Thus by magic you can make the woman appear who has taken away the cow's milk, and you can make her give back the milk. The modus procedendi is as follows: take a rag saturated with milk, or a horse-shoe or chain which has been made hot in a clear fire, place it on the threshold and beat it with the head of a hatchet; or make a plough-share red hot, and plunge it several times into cold water. In order to keep away intruders it is a rule that the first woman who enters the house while the incantation proceeds is severely beaten, because she is the culprit. Sometimes the ridiculous thing happens that the man has to thrash his own wife, if she happens to be the first comer.

               By magic one can make a young man marry under all circumstances a girl previously selected. Of such a young man they say, "They have dug up a big weed [90] for him;" or, "They are boiling his 'kapcza' [91] for him." The latter seems to indicate some charm. The sorceress summons toads, holds an unintelligible conversation with them, and hands some mysterious charm which has to be placed under the threshold of the selected young man's house. The person, however, who orders the incantation will die the same year.

               Some kinds of severe illness or accidents can be produced by planting in secret certain magic plants on the selected person's ground; the illness will last, and the consequences of the accident be felt, until the plants are removed. If the owner plants these plants himself they will serve as a preventative.

               Thieves can be found out or bewitched, and they dread the thing so much that very often they return in secret the stolen articles.

               There are various formulæ to cause marriage or produce sickness. One of them may be mentioned here. [92] The person who orders the incantation steals from the selected victim some article of dress, and takes it to the sorceress, who adds three beans, three bulbs of garlic, a few pieces of dry coal, and a dead frog to it, and places these several articles in an earthenware pot under the victim's gate or threshold, accompanied by these words: "Lord of the infernal regions and of the devils, and possessor of the hidden treasures; give to ... (name of the victim) some incurable illness--(or inflame ... with irresistible love towards ...)--and I will join your party!"

               In a Hungarian paper, published in 1833, we read

Some woman in Transylvania grew tired of her husband, and consulted a sorceress about the means of getting rid of him. The sorceress (a Wallachian old woman) visited the woman's house, and they both retired to the garret, where the sorceress laid out an image in clay, which was intended to represent the unfortunate husband, and surrounded it with burning wax tapers, and both women engaged in prayer for the quick departure from this life of the husband. The latter, however, appeared on the scene and put an end to the proceedings.

                Amidst the vast pile of superstitions still current amidst the peasantry, we may note the following, from a very valuable work by Varga János, entitled A babondák könyve, Arad, 1877; a volume which won the prize offered at the time by the Hungarian physicians and others, for the best work written on the existing superstitions of the Magyar people. Its chief aim is to instruct the people, and is written in very popular language.

               To this day old women (Roman Catholics) do not swallow the consecrated wafer at communion; but save it and carefully wrap it in a handkerchief, and keep it in a drawer at home, as it will prevent the house from being burnt down. An epidemic raged all over Hungary, and the people in one of the villages attributed the outbreak of cholera to an old woman who had died shortly before, and who was said to have been a witch in her lifetime. The corpse was dug up, and replaced in the grave face downwards, in order to stay the plague. When the rinderpest broke out in another village they had recourse to the same remedy. The corpse of the witch was unearthed, and reburied face downwards. As this had no effect, the shift of the corpse was turned inside out and put on again. As the pest still continued, the heart of the witch was taken out and divided into four pieces, and one quarter burnt at each of the four corners of the village, and the herd driven through the smoke. One year, when there was a drought in the country, in a northern village, amongst the Slováks, a young girl was let down into a well, in order to bring on the rain.

               Ghosts. [93] There is a proverb saying that: "The good souls do not wish to come back, and the bad ones are not allowed to return;" but still people believe in ghosts.

               Sprites. (Evil spirits, garabonczas.) The father of the garabonczas is the devil; the mother, a witch. The garabonczas mostly appears as a poor wandering student begging for milk in the village. If he be well treated no harm will happen to the village, but if he be sent away from the door, he will bring on hail and will destroy the crops belonging to the place. He generally rides officially on dragons or tátos.

               Exchanged children, or táltos. [94] If a child be born with some defect (say without an arm, &c.) or with some supernumerary member (say six fingers or six toes) or with a big head, people say it is an exchanged child; it is a child of some witch who exchanged her offspring for the baby, while the baby's mother was in bed. Babies born with teeth are especially considered to be children of witches. Such unfortunate creatures are very badly treated by the people, and even by their own parents. The name "táltos" sticks to them, even when grown up. A knife stuck into a slice of garlic and placed under the pillow of the woman in childbed is an effective remedy against babies being exchanged by witches.

               Goblins [95] (Lidércz) are the servants of evil spirits or the evil spirits themselves. One favourite form they like to appear in is the "wandering fire," or will-o'-the-wisp. A hen that crows (a hermaphrodite bird) is also a goblin; and a combination of cock and hen is hatched from the first egg laid by the young hen, or from very small undersized eggs as are sometimes laid by fowls. A little decrepit, undeveloped chicken is also always looked at with suspicion. The good housewife breaks the first egg laid by a young hen, or a very small egg, to prevent the goblin's being hatched. The crowing hen is executed, the neck being laid on the threshold and cut off with a hatchet; if the head jumps into the yard, then no matter, but if it hops inside the house, then it means that the house will be burnt down. (In Germany some hundred and seventy years ago a crowing hen was brought before the judges, sentenced to death, its neck cut off by the public executioner in the market-place, and the body burnt at the stake.)

               Roadside wanderers or inhabitants of graves. [96] Sickly, yellow, haggard-looking people are said to live in graves or crypts at night. The Magyar people are very good-natured, and their hospitality is well known. But such a grave-inhabitant can reckon upon having no mercy. If they stop and rest anywhere somebody is sure to die in the neighbourhood. If anybody look at them it will bring on jaundice; if anybody touch them the healthy person will dry up; children die if touched or kissed by such a creature.

               There is a rich mine of Folk-Medicine, as yet but little worked by western students: a few examples will be found in "Székely Folk-Medicine," Folk-lore Journal, April 1884, and we append a few more, which may be of interest, from an old MS. [97]

               Jaundice is brought on by looking through the window of a house where there is a corpse laid out, and seeing it. It is cured by taking nine "creepers" from the head of a person with the same Christian names as the patient; put the nine insects into an apple; bake the whole, and give it to the patient for internal application. Then take the foeces [98] of a person of the same Christian name; place them in a hard-boiled egg, having first removed the yolk; sew the egg in a small bag, and place it secretly under the altar, and allow three masses to be said over it; then hang it round the patient's neck, who has to wear it for nine days. The cure is to be repeated nine times. There is a marginal note in the book to the effect that our "doctor" had altogether six cases under treatment, but not one of the patients got beyond the first stage of the cure. [99]

               Pleurisy. Take a trough in which the dough has been kneaded and taken out; pour water into it cross-ways (diagonally from corner to corner) then pour water in cross form over the peel; scrape out the trough and knead with one finger the scrapings into a flat cake and place it on the aching side. Varga also gives a form of prayer which has to be recited when the dough is placed on the side. The same prayer is prescribed for toothache and sore throat.

               Scurvy. (In Magyar "süly.") The scorbutic place is to be rubbed with a piece of rancid bacon, and the following ditty sung:--

"Sü-sü, lentils-sü     
Onion-sü,--77 sorts of sü,

                I order thee, in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary to disappear!"

               Cataract in the eye. This is cured with a long prayer, commencing I † N † R † I, and, if it has no effect, another (shorter) prayer is mumbled, and the performer breathes upon the eye.

               Gangrene is also cured by prayers; a little garlic and broken glass is placed upon the wound.

               Another way is to bury three hairs of the patient in the gutter under the eaves, and then to say the Lord's Prayer. When the medicine-man arrives at the words "as in earth," he drops a slice of garlick, this is afterwards buried in some secluded spot. If anybody steps on this place he will be affected by the same disease.

               Hydrophobia is cured by a mixture of the following nine ingredients:--

                      1. A kind of small, vermilion, flat beetle;

                     2. Some dittany gathered before St. John's Day;

                     3. Splinters of tree struck by lightning before St. George's Day;

                     4. Some cantharides;

                     5. Young buds of ash gathered in early spring;

                     6. Rue gathered before St. George's Day;

                     7. "St. Ivan's beetle" (? glow-worm);

                     8. "Christmas crumb" [100] and eggshell from between two Christmases;

                     9. On Midsummer Day, at early dawn, the medicine-man walks out barefoot, and the weeds, grasses, flowers, &c. that stick to his sole or toes form ingredient No. 9.

                The mixture is to be taken internally.

               Epilepsy is treated with an oil prepared by the quack out of horseradish; also some brimstone and other things.

               External wounds and sore nails are cured by placing a live toad on the place.

               The rash called St. Anthony's Fire. A man whose Christian name is Anthony has to produce sparks with steel and flint. [101]

               Scab is treated with an ointment made of beef-fat and brimstone; the ointment to be used for three days, and to be followed up by a hot-air bath. As these useful establishments only exist in large towns, the unfortunate sufferer is put inside a hot oven.

               Quinsy.--With the child's finger stroke the throat of a lizard, [102] caught before St. George's Day.

               Cramp.--Place a left-hand window-frame across the child suffering from cramp, or burn feathers under its nose.

               Hand of Glory. [103]--The little finger of the human foetus has all the virtues of (and is used for the same purpose as) the hand of glory. All the famous brigands are believed to have one of these articles in their possession.

               When a person is in extremis they place him or her, bed and all, in a line with and under the main joist of the ceiling. If the dead person's eyes are left open somebody will soon follow him or her.

Superstitious Days.

               Friday. Work commenced or finished on Friday is sure to fail.

               Who laughs on Friday will cry on Sunday.

               To sneeze on Friday the first thing in the morning when the stomach is empty means some great catastrophe.

               To start on a journey on Friday is unlucky.

               He or she who is taken ill on Friday will never again leave their bed.

               A guest on Friday means one week's distress.

               Dough kneaded on Friday will not rise.

               Linen washed on Friday will give the wearer some skin disease.

               If the fires are lighted in the rooms for the first time on Friday the house will be burnt down.

               If a baby gets its first tooth on a Friday the front teeth will come all right but no more.

               If a baby commence to talk on a Friday it will, when grown up, stammer or remain mute altogether.

               If the new year commence with a Friday all the crops will fail.

               If a hen commence to sit on her eggs on a Friday the eggs become addled. [104]

               St. Matthias. "It is better trust the ice after St. Matthias' Day than in you, my dear little maid." Erdélyi, vol. 3. Folk-Song No. 200.

               St. George's Day is a very lucky day.

               A butterfly caught before St. George's Day brings great luck.

               Snakes caught before St. George's Day make a powerful medicine.

               The skin of a marmot caught before St. George's Day will make a purse which will never be empty.

               The person who sees a swallow or stork before St. George's Day will live as many years as the bird flaps its wings.

               Procure the wing of a bat caught before St. George's Day and wrap up money in it; then you will never be without cash.

               On the night following St. George's Day one can listen to the conversation of the witches and overhear their secrets about good and bad herbs.

               All the medicines gathered before St. George's Day are very powerful.

               Christmas Eve.--Roman Catholics fast on this day--eating no meat, using instead fish and vermicelli with crushed poppy seed and honey. Those who stand on "Lucy's chair" during midnight mass can tell who is a witch and who is not. St. Lucy's Day is December 13th, and on that day some begin to make a small chair, or stool, working at it, on each following day, so as to get it ready by Christmas Eve. The maker then takes it to midnight mass, and sits upon it in order to discover who are witches in the parish. All those who turn their backs to the altar whilst he (or she) sits on the stool, are witches. "Lucy's chair" is also said of anything that is being made very slowly. On this day, too, the farmer's wife and servants wrap their heads up in cloaks, and, armed with big brushes (a sort of brush tied athwart the end of a pole), go round and catch the hens and touch their hinder parts, believing that it will cause them to lay more eggs. The twelve days following St. Lucy's are called Lucy's Kalendar, and are very carefully observed. If the first, second, third, &c., be raining, windy, foggy, &c., so will the first, second, third, &c., months of the next year be.

               Christmas Day.--Every hour of this day is significant and pregnant with good or evil. It seems as if on this day every good angel descended from heaven to scatter blessings, and every demon ascended from the infernal regions to shower curses on the heads of men. [105]

               Even the remnants of food have their magic power. The well-known "Christmas crumb" forming an important ingredient in many folk-medicines.

               Whoever picks up an apple or nut from the ground will be covered with sores; and if anyone steps upon a reel of cotton (or gets entangled in it) upon this day, he will, without fail, have an attack of the "evil of Lazarus."

               A sort of basket made of twisted or plaited straw, such as is used for taking dough to the bakers, is filled with hay and put under the table to receive the "little Jesus," who is said to get into it. Maize put under this basket is said to fatten fowls to a wondrous extent, and cattle thrive marvellously on the hay. Whosoever eats nuts without honey will lose his teeth.

               Whosoever does not eat a slice of garlic with honey on this holy day will get a sore throat. [106]

               There are several Finnish superstitions with regard to this season, e.g.:

               In West Bothnia one must not spin on St. John's Day (which is called a half-holyday), or the sheep will be attacked with disease during the year. Cf. the well known saying that a spinning wheel is unlucky on board a ship.

               Fire must not be taken out of a house on Christmas Eve, [107] or else the so-called "black ears" will grow among the barley. See Suomen Muinaismuisto-yhdistyksen, Aikakauskirja, v. p. 109.

               If the corn is found to be very much entangled when cut, it is said that the farmer slept crooked in bed on Christmas Eve. In some villages, on "Knuts Day," Jan. 13th, a young girl is dressed up as a bride, and called "twenty-days' bride" (twenty days after Christmas), and driven through the village. The day ends with a dance, and a collection for the "bride," who is generally one of the poor. Straw, too, was laid on the room floors in remembrance of the Saviour's bed. A light burnt all night on the settle. [108] These customs still exist in some places.

               A yule-cross used to be erected at the house-door on Christmas Eve.

               To return to the Magyars. The bread at Christmas time is baked in curious forms, just as it is in Finland, where, e.g., in Åbo, it is made in the form of a fish, &c., and called "Kuse" and "Kasa," in other parts in the form of animals, &c. (cf. the "Yuldoos" in Northumberland).

               New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. [109] Molten lead is cast into water to see the future husband's trade. Watch which way the cock crows on the dawn of the new year, for in that direction your future partner will surely come. Turn your pillow at midnight (December 31st), and you will see whom you are to marry, in your dreams. Any one born at midnight will become a great person. Whosoever is whipped on New Year's Day will be whipped every day in the new year! Indeed, anything done on this day will be repeated during the year. It is unlucky to sow on this day, as it prevents the hens laying. If you put on new linen you will cause your skin to be covered with sores. New Year's morn is spent in wishing each other a happy new year; just as, in many parts of England (e.g. Hull) the juvenile population call and expect to receive their reward in the shape of coin of the realm.

               In Vienna they say: "to have Schweinsglück," or "Sauglück," i.e., "a pig's luck," or a "sow's luck;" and so one sees in some houses a cook appear, bearing a sucking pig on a tray, and wishing all a happy New Year, expecting a New Year's box in return.

               According to Paul Kelecsényi, the following custom is observed at Kolony, in the county of Nyitra. Girls make a bonfire, and leap through the flame. From their mode of leaping the spectators gather when the girl will be married. The performance is accompanied by a song, of which a few verses will suffice as a specimen:

"We lay a fire,     
We lay it square,     
At one corner sit five old men,     
At the other sit good looking matrons,     
At the third sit handsome young bachelors,     
At the fourth sit pretty young maidens.     
Then the fire is lighted.     
John A's (the name of an unmarried man) is about to catch fire.    
Let us extinguish it! (Susie.)     
Oh! don't let us forsake the poor people!     
Jane B's (generally John A's sweetheart) store house is about to catch fire.     
Let us....     
Oh! don't...."

                Then follow verses, like the following, and all more or less unintelligible:

"How high the branch of the tree has grown,     
[The tree] has sent out branches.     
It is bending and bending across the ocean     
Into the courtyard of John A.     
Of  [to?] pretty Helena with the silken yellow tresses."

                See Erdélyi's Folk-Songs and Stories, vol. iii. pp. 148-150. "Szent Iván Éneke."

               On St. John the Baptist's Day [110] the glow-worm is gathered, and also at dawn the medicinal herbs for certain cures (see supra). On this day it is also customary to jump over "St. John's fire;" any person doing this will not die during the year.

               On the Day of St. Paul's Conversion all the bears turn round in their sleep in their winter dens.

               On the Night of St. Andrew's every girl will dream about her future husband; if she manage to procure a shirt of a young man and place it over-night under her pillow, she will so bewitch him that he will follow her like her shadow.

               On Saturday before Easter all snakes, frogs, toads, &c., can be driven away in the morning when the cattle's bell is heard.

               On Palm Sunday, swallow without chewing three buds blessed by the priest and brought from church, and this will prevent a sore throat.

               St. Martin. On this day, in conformity with an old custom, the Jewish community of Pozsony (Pressburg) yearly present a fat goose to the King of Hungary. This deputation is always received personally.

               St. Michael. The bier in Magyar is called "St. Michael's horse."

               St. Stephen.--See Notes and Queries, "Magyar and Finn Songs on St. Stephen's Day," 6 S. viii. 487, and x. 485, with which we may compare the following:--

               VAUSENOTTES: La cérémonie de crier les valantins: les garçons se nommoient vausenots et les filles vausenottes: ces mots viennent de vouser ou vauser, qui eux-mêmes viennent de vocare, nommer, et de nuptiae noces: comme si l'on disoit appeler aux noces: aux mariages: cette cérémonie s'est pratiquée longtemps dans le pays Messin. Voyez Valantin.

               VALANTIN: Futur époux, celui qu' on désignoit à une fille le jour des brandons, ou premier dimanche de carême, qui, dès qu'elle étoit promise, se nommoit valantine: Et si son valantin ne lui faisoit point un present ou ne la regaloit avant le dimanche de la mi-carême, elle le brûloit sous l'effigie d'un paquet de paille ou de sarment, et alors les promesses de mariage étoient rompues et annuliés.

               BRANDON: Tisson allumé, feu, flambeau: de-là ou a appelé dimanche des brandons, le premier dimanche de carême, parce qu'on allumoit des feux ce jour-là, il était encore nommé le jour de behourdi, behourt, bordes, bourdich, termes qui signifioient une joûte une course de lances. Il se nomme encore dans quelques provinces, le jour de grand feux, des valantins, le jour des bulles ou des bures, le dimanche des bordes; au figuré, l'ardeur de l'amour et son flambeau, brando. On appelle à Lyons, brandons, des rameaux verds auxquels on attache des gâteaux, des oublies et des bugnes, le premier dimanche de carême.

               BULE, bulle; Feu de rejouissance.

               BORDE. One of the meanings of the diminutive of "borde," viz.: "bordelle" "on a appliqué ensuite aux lieux de débauche." [111]

               Heltay Gáspár, the typographer of Kolozsvár, wrote his book in 1552 against this custom as practised in Hungary.

               The following Finnish superstitions at certain times may here be noted for comparative purposes:--

               Lent. Witches are said to have cut off the sheep's wool at this time, and given it to the evil one; who in return gave them good luck with their sheep and butter.

               Shrove Tuesday. Women are not to spin on this day; because, if they do, the sheep will suffer from diseases.

               If the sun shines on this day there will be a fine summer. Much sledging must be done if long flax is desired; and seven meals must be eaten without drinking, if thirst is to be avoided during the summer heats.

               Good Friday. It was not customary formerly to make a fire on this day.

               Easter. On Easter Eve cut off the wool from between the sheep's ears; so the young folks burn straw and tar-barrels to frighten the Easter witches (in the parishes of Wörå and Munsala). If anyone wishes to see the witches, as they ride in mid-air on their broomsticks, he must sit on the roof of a three-times-removed house. (Houses in Finland are built of wood, and often sold and removed to another site.)

               May 1st. As the weather is this day, so will the rest of the year be.

               Eve of St. John Baptist. On this night the young girls go out into rye-fields with bits of colored worsted, and tie them round the stalks that are chosen. The stalks are then cut off just above the worsted. Next morning the stalk that has grown the most during the night foretells the future of the maiden. The red one foretells purity; green, love; yellow, rejection; black, grief; blue, old maid; white, death; speckled, an illegitimate child. The stalk is then taken up and placed under the pillow, and whatever the sleeper then dreams will undoubtedly happen.

               A Finnish lady friend relates that she and one of her friends on this night gathered nine different sorts of flowers, and, having made wreaths of them, put them under their pillows--as it was said that next morning there would be a lock of hair the colour of the future husband's found in each wreath. In order to make sure, each of the young ladies, unknown to the other, cut a lock off her own head and placed it in her friend's wreath, but, unfortunately, one of the ladies also put a lock of her own hair in her own wreath, and thus next day found she was doomed to have two mates! In some parts, when the farmers return from church, they see who can get home first, as that one will get his harvest in first the following year.

               In some places straw is burnt on this night, but it is more common to burn wood (which fires are called Kokko). In some parts these fires are burnt on Maunday Thursday night. In Honkojoki, after the Kokko is burned two persons go and stand each on a wood stack, and begin throwing the logs into a heap, each trying his best to throw more than his rival. This done, the logs are counted, and, if found to be an odd number, it is regarded as an omen of misfortune. The girls are dressed in white on this night. In the southern parts of the country stones used to be rolled down the hill sides on this night. The houses are decorated on the outside with young birches and inside with leafy boughs, &c. For dressing with flowers and leaves at this time see Hofberg, "Digerdöden."

               St. Bartholomew.--According to some, seed ought to be sown this day.

               St. Matthew's Day.--People disguise themselves so as not to be recognised. A sledge, too, is drawn by a ram, with a straw man as driver.

               St. Thomas's Eve.--A Swedish superstition regards this as the goblins' special night, and one story (Hofberg, "Tomten") relates how no one would go into a smithy that night on this account, and if anyone looked through the door he would see the goblins forging silver bars, or "turning their own legs under the hammer."

               In the Highlands, even in modern times, there were May-Day bonfires, at which the spirits were implored to make the year productive. A feast was set out upon the grass, and lots were drawn for the semblance of a human sacrifice; and whoever drew the "black piece" of a cake dressed on the fire was made to leap three times through the flame. [112]

               In many parts of France the sheriffs or the mayor of a town burned baskets filled with wolves, foxes, and cats, in the bonfires at the Feast of St. John; and it is said that the Basques burn vipers in wicker panniers at Midsummer, and that Breton villagers will sacrifice a snake when they burn the sacred boat to the goddess who assumed the title of St. Anne. [113]

               Varga also gives the following information on numbers:

               13 is very unlucky. [114] If thirteen sit down to table, one will die.

               9 also plays an important part. See folk-medicine. Hydrophobia breaks out in nine days, weeks, months, or years. Nine different ingredients often make up the mixture--nine different shoots of nine different trees. If a cow be bewitched, a cure with nine ants' nests is used. Most medicines are taken nine times; the patient has to bathe nine times, &c. &c.

               7 is very superstitious. The seventh child plays an important part in everything; only a seventh child can lift hidden treasures. A seventh child seven years old has great magic power. In digging for treasures seven people club together, each member removes seven spades-full of earth in one night. Seven times seven, or seventy-seven is also a magic number. The devil's grandmother is 777 years old.

               3 very often occurs in fairy-tales. It is an important number with witches. It is said there are 33,333 witches in Hungary.

Superstitions about Animals.

               It would be more easy to enumerate those animals about which there are not superstitions, but we will give a few instances from Varga.

               The Death-Bird (a kind of small owl).--If the death-bird settles on the roof, and calls out three times "kuvik," somebody will die in that house.

               The Owl.--The well-known servant of witches. It procures them the required number of snakes, lizards, &c.

               The Cuckoo.--It will tell you how many years you have to live. It sucks the milk out of the udder of the cow. There is also another bird credited with this.

               The Crowing-hen.--See supra. p. xlvi.

               The Swallow and stork are favourite birds. To catch a swallow is very unlucky. To disturb its nest will set the roof on fire. If you kill it, your arm will shrivel up. Of this bird the people say that it dies; of all others, they perish. (A human being "dies" = "meghal" in Hung. = "stirbt" in German; an animal "perishes" = "megdöglik," = "crepirt.") If you see the first swallow, stroke your face and sing, "I see a swallow; I wash off the freckles"--and the freckles will disappear. The stork is, also, a sacred bird. It must not be caught or killed; to disturb its nest will set the house on fire. He who sees for the first time in the year a stork standing, will be very lazy during the year; if flying, then fresh and very healthy.

               Lark, Plover, [115] Quail, and Pigeon.--When Christ was hiding himself he went among some underwood, his pursuers were about to follow him there, when the lark rose and sang: "Nincs, nincs, nincs, nincs, nincs, sehol itten." (He is not--he is nowhere here). The pursuers were about to leave, when out of malice the quail flew up and called "Itt szalad, itt szalad" (Here he runs, here he runs); the pursuers thereupon returned, and Christ took refuge in a shrubbery; then the plover flew up and cried "bú vik, bú vik" (he is hiding), and the pigeon added "a bokorban, a bokorban" (in the bush). Christ blessed the lark, hence it rises high up in the sky and sings merrily, whereas the three other birds were accursed to never fly on a tree, but to hide themselves among grass, in the mud, in old ruins.

               See Arany László "Magyar Népmeséinkröl" (On our Magyar Popular Tales), a paper read before the Kisfaludy Society on May 29, 1867. Cf. Hofberg, Horsgötten.

               Newt.--If you swallow a newt with the water drawn from a well, it will grow quite a monster in your stomach, and eat its way through. The monster will have a head as a calf; immense immoveable eyes; a skin like a human being; its voice like a baby's, and its head covered with fur, like that of a wild cat.

               Snake.--There is a snake in every house; if it creep out of its hole, some great misfortune will happen. It is therefore unlucky to disturb it. The skin of a snake caught before St. George's Day, drawn over a stick, makes a powerful weapon; it will break iron in two.

               Snakes and Frogs. [116]--If a snake or frog get into a man's stomach, it can be allured out by placing some steaming milk near the mouth of the patient. If they die inside, the patient has to take internally some powderized stork's stomach.  [Cf. "Liber Quartus Practicae Haly," cap. 49, "De eius medela qui leporem marinum aut ranam biberit," p. 207, verso (Leyden, 1523)]. The so-called frog-rain; the frogs drop from the clouds, or that they are drawn up by the clouds from lakes, &c.

               Lizard, see "Quinsy" and "St. George's Day," pp. xlix. and li.

               Cat.--The black cat is a favourite disguise of the witch. When the cat is cleaning herself, you must observe at whom she looks first, when finished; the person so looked at will go to a ball, or some other amusement. If the cat uses one paw only, a guest will arrive; he will come from the direction in which the cat stroked her paw the last time. If a cat be uneasy, &c., it will rain.

               Donkey.--There are three indents on the bulrush as if made with teeth. The tradition is, that the donkey on which Christ sat commenced to nibble the reed, but before it had time to bite it off, Christ rode away. The traces of the teeth are still plainly visible. The cross on the donkey's back is said to be the stains left by Christ's blood, as it ran down on both sides.--Arany László loc. cit.

               Raven.--There is a well-known Magyar folk-song commencing the thus:--

"The raven washes his brood on Good Friday."

                Clocks.--The ticking of the clock-beetle forbodes death in the house.

               Dog.--The witch will sometimes appear as a black dog. If a dog whine in his sleep, it is a sign of conflagration; if it bark in its sleep, robbers are due. If a dog howl, [117] it smells a dead body, and somebody will die in the house.

               The Sow with a litter of nine, the Horse without a head, the Bull with horns pointing downwards, are favourite forms assumed by witches.

               The Tortoise.--When Christ was walking on earth, He appeared as a beggar, and begged for alms at a Jew's house. The mistress of the house was very mean; and in order not to be obliged to give anything, she hid under a trough used for kneading bread, and told her little girl to say that she was not to be found. When the girl said that her mother was not at home, Christ replied: "May she never be able to get home!" The girl waited in vain for her mother to come forth; and when she opened the closet door, an ugly thing crawled out, with a trough-like shield grown to its back. This is the origin of the tortoise.

Superstitions about Plants.

               Varga supplies the following notes on this subject:

               Deadly Nightshade works miracles in folk-medicine. One of its uses is to cure maggots in beasts. It is not used internally nor applied externally. The medicine-man approaches the plant wherever it grows, makes a hole into the ground close to the root, then bends the plant gently down, sticks the top of it into the hole and buries it, taking care not to break the plant. Then he repeats the following formula:--"Do you hear, deadly nightshade? I herewith bury you, and will not again liberate you until the maggots that have got into the left rump of John So-and-So's cow clear out from there."

               Vervain or "lock-opening herb."--Open the skin on the palm of your hand, place a small leaf of vervain under the skin and let the wound heal over; then at the touch of such hand all locks and bars will open. All the more famous brigands of old are said to have had such power.

               Clover.--Clover with four leaves is very lucky.

               Wolf's-milk.--The milky juice oozing from the broken stem of this plant will beautify the skin. [118]

               The Wolf's-bane leaf, the ökörfark kóró (lit. the dried oxtail) [119], and the Rue are very important herbs in folk-medicine.

               Some other plants are said to have had this power, that if at dusk you switch with them three times in the air you hit the witch, and you can hear her moaning.

               The Lily is the flower of the dead. If any body be executed innocent, three yellow lilies will grow on his grave.

Superstitions about Stones.

               The Diamond is blown, like glass, by thousands and thousands of snakes in caves, who bury them in the sand.

               The Carbuncle glows in the dark.

               The Garnet. While the person who wears these stones is healthy the garnet is of a beautiful red colour; when the wearer ails the stones turn pale.

               The Opal is an unlucky stone.

Sundries. [120]

               Astronomy. The milky way came about in this way. The driver of a cart of straw was very drunk; the straw was badly loaded and fell off in all directions as the drunken driver drove his horses irregularly over the way.

               *Comets forebode a great war or the pest.

               Many people get out at the left side of the bed, pull on the left side first of their trousers, the left sleeve of their coat, and undress left first because it is good for toothache.

               *If your palm itches, you receive money; rub it to your hair, and you get as much money as you touched hairs.

               *Right eye itching, you will cry; left eye, you will be merry; whose eyes jump about will get beaten.

               *Singing in right ear, bad news; left, good news.

               If a family gets into a new house, somebody will die; a dead body's eyes left open, he is looking for somebody to follow him. If you pity an animal when it is being slaughtered it dies very slowly.

               *If a knife, fork, or scissors drop and stick upright in the ground, a guest will arrive. If by accident one more plate is laid on the table than necessary, a very hungry guest will come.

               Where there is a baby in the house, you must sit down or you will take away its sleep. If you stare at the baby, you spoil it with your eye. To counteract this, put your hat on the child's head or spit on the baby. If the mischief is already done, drop a piece of live coal into a glass of water, and make the child drink of it, and bathe his eyes with the water. At the same time wish the "spoiling" back to the person from whom it came.

               If a spider lowers itself on somebody at night, it is lucky; in the daytime, unlucky.

               *If the fire is noisy (a series of small explosions) there will be high words or some scrimmage in the house. If you dream of fire, you will be robbed. If in your dream you see yourself as bride or bridegroom, you will die. If you dream that you are dead, you get married. If, at meals, you sit between two brothers or sisters, you will get married.

               If a woman in the family-way looks into the window, where there is a corpse, the baby will be dumb. If the woman sends away a beggar, she will bear twins.

               In stormy weather stick a hatchet in the threshold, and the hail-clouds will roll by. *Make the sign of a cross with the poker against the sky and the rainbow will appear.

               When it rains and the sun shines too, the devil beats his wife. If it thunders without lightning, the devil has got hold of a poor sinner. If you abuse the rain, the angels cry and the devil tears his hair.

               If the cow is bewitched and will not allow herself to be milked, place the pail over her head; or go to the cemetery, procure a decayed old wooden cross, and beat the animal with it.

               If the cow kicks, cover her head with an old apron and stick holes through the apron with the pitchfork. *The witch will feel the stabbing from the prongs. If the witch has taken away the milk of the cow, procure nine ants'-nests, [121] bury this with nine pieces of bread on the road over which the cattle goes, so that the cow may step over it. Then after three days knead the bread and soil together and make the cow eat it, and her milk will be restored.

               Or pour some of the milk into a fiery oven, and the fire will burn the witch who spoilt the cow.

               It is not good to look at a cow while calving, because her milk will not come. The first week's milk is to be given to the poor, or it will be difficult to milk the cow afterwards.

               Do not call a child "a frog," or it will with difficulty learn to talk. Do not step over it, or you stop its growing. Do not say thanks for a medicine, or it will lose its power. Do not wish the fisher or hunter "good luck," or he will have a poor day. To meet a priest is unlucky; to meet a Jew lucky.

               If a child suffers from epileptic fits, take the shirt it has worn during one of the fits and wrap it around one of the (wooden) crosses in the cemetery, this will cure the child; but the person who removes it will catch the disease. When a child loses its first tooth, the mother ought to eat the tooth in a piece of bread, and then she will never suffer from toothache. When a child sees a swallow for the first time in Spring, it must spit several times into the palms of its hands and pretend to wash its face; this will prevent freckles.

               The following is said to cure abscesses: Boil together peas, beans, lentils, and millet in a new pot, and when the mess is ready bathe the affected place therein; then take pot and contents at dawn to the cross-roads, and dash it to the ground. The abscesses will disappear, the first person who steps over the mess will get them.

               When sweeping the house the dust must not be swept towards the door but from it, and the sweepings burnt; then luck will never desert the house.

               A loaf that has been cut should never be placed so that the cut part faces the door, because that would cause lack of bread.

               When the bread is taken from the oven, if a few red-hot cinders be thrown into the oven it is as good as throwing them down your enemy's throat!

               *Whenever water is drawn from a well, great care must be taken that a little is returned, to propitiate the angry sprite of the well.

Manners at Table.

               "Whereas other learned and wise nations keep their heads covered while they are at meals, the Magyars uncover themselves at table. Perhaps they follow this custom because they remember the words of St. Paul (1 Cor. ii.), who says that every man praying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head; the Magyars, however, not only often commence their meals with a prayer, but mention the Deity as often as they drink, and wish to those, in whose honour they lift their glasses, good luck and bliss, and pray to God for these, which custom is not always followed by other nations. Therefore they think it is better not to cover the head than to be obliged to uncover themselves so many times." [122]--From "A Kopaszsagnac diczireti" (the praise of baldness). Kolozsvár, 1589; author unknown.

               Drinking Custom.--The Finnish word "ukko," at the present day, means "the host," "the master of the house;" formerly "yli-jumala" meant "the chief-God," "the God of the weather and fertility." Wherefore Väinämõinen prays to him when sowing the first seed (Kalevala, I. runes 317-330).

               The heathen Finns, after spring sowing, [123] sacrificed with "Ukko's cup" (Ukon malja). Jacob Grimm compares Ukko's cup to Thor's drinking vessel. [124]

               In 1886, or thereabouts, the Magyar Academy of Science came into possession of some XVIth and XVIIth century deeds written in Magyar, and relating to the sale of certain vine-yards in the Hegyalja, where the famous vines of Tokaj [125] grow. From these deeds it appears, that in each case the bargaining for the vineyard was followed by a drinking-bout, at which one of the men would lift up his glass; and if nobody objected to the sale the bargain became confirmed and binding upon all parties concerned. The ceremony of lifting up the cup that should serve as a sign that the bargain was struck was called "Ukkon poharat fölmutatui," = show up Ukko's glass, and the name of the person who performed the ceremony is mentioned in the deed in every case. Thus, in one of these documents, dated "Tállya, December 28, 1623," we read as follows: "In witness thereof, we the above named magistrates and sworn men, in conformity with the living old custom of our ancestors, have drunk áldomás [126] &c. Ukko's glass was held up [127] by John Kantuk de Liszka."

               Thus, while the Finnish Agricola in 1551 condemns the custom of "drinking Ukko's cup" of the ancient Finns as a superstition, in Hungary, in the Hegyalja, it was, according to deeds bearing dates from 1596 to 1660, a ceremony "in accordance with the old law and living custom." [128]

               See Paul Hunfalvy's "Magyarország Ethnographiája," Budapest, 1876, pp. 242 & seq.



[1] "Aladár," in Hungarian tradition.

[2] Enc. Britt. "Huns."

[3] See "Rege a csoda-szarvasról, by Arany János, an English translation of which has been published by Mr. Butler in his Legends, Folk Songs, &c., from the Hungarian." Cf. Hungary, by Professor Vambéry, cap. iii.

[4] According to Hungarian history, Árpád found numerous small nationalities inheriting Attila's realm, with each of whom he had to settle separately. The number of nationalities has been further increased by fresh arrivals from Asia, and immigrants from Western Europe during the past ten centuries: thus we hear of the continuous irruption of Besseni (Petchenegs) during the reign of Stephen the Saint (first King of Hungary, A.D. 1000); of Cumani in the time of Salamon (A.D. 1060) and his successors; and of Tartars under Batu Khan (A.D. 1285) in the time of Béla IV. During this last invasion large tracts of land became depopulated, the inhabitants having either perished or fled; so that the king was obliged to invite immigrants from Western Europe, and this was the origin of the Saxon settlements in Transylvania. This will to some extent show the difficulties which beset the writer who attempts to give a sketch of the races inhabiting modern Hungary. A further difficulty, in tracing the origin of such races, is due to the variety of spelling adopted by different writers in describing the same race, and the unscrupulous use of the names Huns, Scythae, &c. when writing about tribes inhabiting regions beyond the borders of the then known civilised world. Vide infra, p. x.

[5] We have attempted to give but a brief sketch of the Magyars, feeling that when there is so lucid a work as "Hungary," by so well-known an authority as Professor Vambéry, within the reach of all, and dealing with this subject in a way that it would be folly for us to attempt, we may content ourselves with referring all readers to that work, and to Der Ursprung der Magyaren by the same author.

[6] The Székely (in German "Székler," in Latin "Siculus") inhabit the eastern parts of Transylvania, the territory occupied by them forming an oblong strip between the Saxon settlement of Besztercze and Brassó (Kronstadt), with two branches to the west known as Marosszék and Udvarhelyszék. Another district (szék) inhabited by them, Aranyos-szék, lies in the western part of Transylvania between the districts of Torda and Alsó-Fejér.

[7] The Nationality of the Huns and Avars, a paper read before the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Oct. 4, 1881. Cf. also "The Origin of the Magyars," by the same author.

[8] See p. 380, infra.

[9] Kozma says, that in the two above-mentioned countries the word "Huns" was used, up to the thirteenth century, among the people as equivalent to giants, who figured in fairy tales. Simrock and Grimm are inclined to see real persons in them, and say they were the Huns, and in later history the Magyars.

[10] 1883, vol. i. pp. 466, 467.

[11] Cornhill Magazine, May, 1882.

[12] The first edition appeared in 1520. Cf. Diccionario Bibliographico Portuguez (Lisboa, 1859) sub voce "Barros."

[13] He asserts that his chronicle is a translation of "ex lingua Ungara." So far as one knows, the original remains undiscovered and unknown!

[14] Cf. Geo. Fejér, Henricus Portagulliae Comes origine Burgundus non Hungarus, Budæ 1830, and other dissertations by M. Holéczy, &c. in the British Museum. Press Mark 10632/1.

[15] Corpus Poeticum Boreale, by Vigfusson and Powell. Oxford, 1883, p. lxi, vol. i.

[16] Historia de Gentium Septentrionalium variis conditionibus &c. (Basileæ, 1567). Lib. ii. cap. xviii.

[17] De Hunnis et Herulis Libri Sex. Joannes Magnus died in 1544. His chronicle appeared interspersed with Olaus Magnus' work. Cf. Lib. viii. cap. xiii.

[18] Cf. Paul Hunfalvy's polemic work, A Székelyek. Budapest, 1880. The same learned writer in his well-known Ethnography of Hungary, disputes the separate origin of the Székelys, and maintains that they are not a distinct people from the Magyars, but that they are Magyars who have migrated from Hungary Proper into their modern Transylvanian homes. This assertion gave rise to severe criticism on the part of the defenders of the old tradition like Dr. John Nagy, Farkas Deák, and others; and the above mentioned pamphlet was a reply, wherein the author further defends his assertion, on the testimony of comparative philology and history. One powerful argument in favour of the separate origin is, that for centuries the Székely population has kept distinct not only from the Saxons, but also from the Magyars in Transylvania; they had privileges which were denied to the Magyars. Their administration until recently was quite distinct. Their name first occurs in a deed signed by William, Bishop of Transylvania, dated 1213, in which the Bishop renounces his right of collecting tithes from settlers in the Bárczasâg "a waste and uninhabited" track of land, if those settlers be neither Magyars nor Székelys.

[19] Abu-Ali Achmed ben Omar ibn Dastás. Information regarding the Kozars, Burtás, Bulgarians, Magyars, Slavs and Russ. Edited by D. A. Chvolson, St. Petersburg, 1869 (in Russian); quoted by Hunfalvy in his Ethnography of Hungary.

[20] Abn Dolif Misaris ben Mohalhal De Intinere Asiatico--Studio Kurd de Schloezer. Berolini, 1845. Cf. Defrémery Fragments de Geographes, &c. in Journ. Asiat. ser. iv. tom. xiii. 466. Both quoted by Colonel Yule in Cathay and the Way Thither. London, 1866. Vol. i. pp. cxi. and clxxxvii.

[21] On the river Vág (in the North of Hungary Proper).

[22] Hunfalvy The Székelys, pp. 40-42.

[23] Ib. p. 41.

[24] Cf. Republica Hungarica, ex off. Elzeviriana, 1634, p. 12. "Nemo apud illos (Ciculos) ignobilis esse censetur, etiam si manu aratrum tractet, aut caprino gregi praesit."

[25] Georgius Rákóczy. Dei Gratia Princeps Transylvaniæ ... et Siculorum Comes, &c.

[26] Prior to 1876, the Székelys administered their own affairs, and were divided into five "széks" (sedes).

[27] His essay, entitled "A few words on the Székely Dialects," was published at the end of his work, Vadrózsâk, vol. i.

[28] Quoted infra, p. xix.

[29] Vide infra, p. 380.

[30] Opus citatum, p. 34.

[31] Such as Klaproth.

[32] Cf. Hunfalvy Ethnography, p. 408.

[33] Cf. The History of the Cumanians, and also The Nationality and Language of the Jazygo-Cumanians, by Stephen Gyárfás. Budapest, 1882.

[34] Budapest, 1880. The original MS. is in the Bibliotheca Marciana in Venice. It was discovered by Cornides in 1770. Klaproth first made it known in his "Mémoirs relatifs à l'Asie," III. and Roesler published a specimen of its grammar in his "Romänische Studien," pp. 352-356.

[35] Count Géjza Kuun has, we are glad to say, not yet spoken his last word; for that indefatigable scholar is busily engaged on a large work on his favorite subject, which, judging by the extracts he read (June 1st, 1885) before the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, promises to rank with the best writings of modern philologists.

               It may be of interest here to quote one of the Cumanian children's rhymes:

Heli, heli, jáde üzürmény
               üzbe her!     
Zeboralle, sarmamamile,     
Alo bizon sasarma,     
Düzüsztürmö dücsürmö     
Hej ala hilala     
Zeboralle dücsürmö.     
(Wolan, wolan, ich löse das Gelübde,               
               Der Lenz ist da!     
Mit Gebeten, Zauberzeichen     
Mache ich den Zauber     
Unschädlich. Ich preise dich!     
Es ist nur ein Gott.     
Mit Gebeten preise ich dich).

               Vide Ungarische Revue, viii.-ix., Heft. 1885, p. 644.

[36] How dangerous a practice it is to build up history upon no other ground than the mere similarity in the sound of the names of nationalities is shewn in the history of the modern Jazyges. This name has led many a chronicler astray. Their Magyar proper name is "Jász," which, according to Hunfalvy (Ethnography of Hungary, p. 376) is derived from the word "ijász," i.e. "an archer," or "bowman," a name describing their original occupation. In some old deeds of the xivth and xvth centuries, they are called "Jassones" and "Pharetrarii," and things kept straight until Ranzanus the Papal Nuncio at the Court of Matthias Corvinus appeared on the scene, and, struck by the sound of the name "Jassones" and finding that they lived on the very territory which, according to Ptolemy, was occupied by the Jazyges: Metanastae in his time, at once jumped to the conclusion that they were lineal descendants of the wild horsemen mentioned by the classic author. We know how hard anything false dies, and so we find this statement copied by subsequent writers, and even disfiguring the pages of so excellent a work as Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, sub. art. "Jazyges." A still wilder mistake was made by a scribe of King Sigismund, who re-christened the Jász folk "Philistæi," which afterwards appears in many deeds. It would appear to be reasoned out thus; a "Jász," or "bowman," must naturally handle a bow and arrow; but an arrow is called "pfeil" in German, which comes from the old German "phil," hence Jász-Philistæi, Q. E. D! Cf. Hunfalvy's Ethnography loco citato.

[37] Vide infra, p. 412, &c.

[38] Ethnography of Hungary, p. 362.

[39] The true born Magyar repudiates with scorn the idea that there is any such thing as a dialect, boasting that rich and poor speak the same tongue. Cf. Galeoti Martii, de Matthiæ egregie, sapienter, fortiter et jocose dictis ac factis libellus, ed. Cassoviæ, 1611. "Unde fit ut carmen lingua Hungarica compositum rusticis et civibus, mediis et extremis, eodem tenore intelligatur." Galeoti was an Italian by birth, and Papal Nuncio at the Court of Matthias I. (Corvinus), King of Hungary.

[40] There is a passage in the writings of Nicolaus Oláh (Hungaria et Attila, cap. xix. § 3) which at first sight seems to ascribe a separate language to each of the peoples named in the text. According to him, "the whole of Hungary in our days (xvith century) contains various nations, viz., Magyars, Germans, Czechs, Slováks, Croats, Saxons, Székelys, Wallachs, Servians, Cumans, Jazyges, Ruthens, and finally Turks, and all these (nations) "differenti inter se utuntur lingua," except that some of the words may appear somewhat similar and identical in sound in consequence of (their) protracted use and (the continuous) contact (of the said nations with each other)." Against this, we may urge, that if the language of the Székelys, for example, differed no more from the Magyar than the German speech from that of the Saxons, they can scarcely be described as two different languages. Moreover, another writer says, that the "Hungari nobiles ejusdem regionis (Transylvaniæ) passim intermixti Saxonibus, cum Ciculis propemodum tam sermone, quam vestitu et armis conveniunt." See Respublica Hungarica, 1634. We have good reasons for believing that the passage has been copied by the Elzevirian compiler from the Chronigraphica Transylvaniæ of George Reijchersdorffer, 1550.

[41] Cf. Simpleton stories and lying stories, many of which as told in Hungary, Finland, and Flanders, and even amongst the Lapps, are identical with those we hear in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, and Norfolk.

[42] Professor Vambéry says: there are many features in Hungarian Folk-Tales which can be found in the tales of China, and other Asiatic countries, ancient and modern. The characteristics of the chief personages in the tales show that the tales have been imported by the Magyars from their old Asiatic homes, although a Slavonic influence cannot be denied.

[43] P. 239 infra. See also remains of the Turkish occupation and their barbarous doings in the children's rhyme:

"Lady bird, lady bird, fly away, fly away,     
For the Turks are coming!     
They will throw you into a well full of salt water:     
They will take you out, and break you on the wheel."

                Dark wine produced at Eger (Erlau) is called "Turk's blood."

[44] Pp. 70, 118.

[45] P. 5, infra.

[46] "Stephen the Murderer," "Fisher Joe," and the "Baa Lambs" in this collection. Cf. "Die Engel-lämmer" Aus der im Auftrage der Kisfaludy-Gesellschaft von Lad Arany und Paul Gyulai besorgten. Ungarische Revue viii. ix. Heft, 1885, p. 640, and note, which says: "Eines der wenigen ungarischen Volkmärchen, in welche die christliche Mythologie hineinspielt."

[47] Cf. Such stories as "Handsome Paul," p. 29 infra et seq.

[48] See all this beautifully sketched by Czuczor, in his poem Joannes Háry.

[49] That the Magyar soldier can tell stories may be seen in Gaál's tales, most of which Arany tells us have a most undesirable flavour of the barracks about them.

[50] John Erdélyi (born 1814, died 1868), Hungarian poet and author, elected Member of the Hungarian Academy of Science, 1839.

[51] These tales were collected from soldiers: and are full of unnecessary flourishes and coarse barrack-room jokes.

[52] John Kriza (born 1812, died 1875), born in a small village of Székely parents. Unitarian minister, professor, poet, and author, elected Member of the Academy, 1841.

[53] A second volume has, I believe, since appeared.

[54] Ladislaus Arany objects to this collection, on the ground that the collector has tried to improve on the original popular form, and endeavoured to produce something classic, and thus spoiled the stories.

[55] Giant in Magyar is: "Óriás" i. e. a tall man, tall father. Cf. pp. 99, 147, 318, 340. Cf, numerous stories of giants and what they are like in Friis. Lappiske Eventyr and Hofberg. Svenska Sägner.

[56] See pp. 146 and 388.

[57] See "Knight Rose," p. 57.

[58] See "Knight Rose," p. 55.

[59] Cf. "Handsome Paul," p. 26 infra, where another illustration of their size will be found; also the giant in Swedish tale who travelled from Dalecarlia to Stockholm, and the bread was still warm in his knapsack when he ended his journey.

[60] Cf. Friis. "Jetanis." Hofberg. "Bron öfver Kalmarsund" "Ulfgrytstenarna" "Ruggabron" and "Stenen i Grönan dal."

[61] Vide pp. 345 and 392 infra.

[62] Vide "Prince Mirkó," p. 72.

[63] In Hungary, the village blacksmith is a gipsy as a rule.

[64] Vide "Shepherd Paul," p. 244 and note p. 407.

[65] Cf. "A Lincolnshire tale," p. 363.

[66] Cf. Story as found in Finland, Lapland, and Sweden, of Kaleva's daughter, who, finding a man, put him and his horse and plough into her apron, and carrying them off to her mother, asked what sort of a dung beetle this was she had found scratching the earth, receiving a similar answer to the above-mentioned one. Cf. Hofberg. Svenska Sägner, Jätten Puke. Dybeck, Runa 1845, p. 15, and Thiel Danmarks. Folksagn ii. p. 228.

[67] Vide "Handsome Paul" and "Fairy Elizabeth."

[68] See "Prince Mirkó."

[69] Cf. Rancken, "Munsala," 22 i.: Wörå, 22: where a description of buried treasures will to be found. Also Hofberg, "Den forlärade skatten," "Guldvaggan," "Skatten i Säbybäcken," "Skattgräfvarna," vide infra. pp. xxx. xxxvii.

[70] Amongst the numerous stories of hidden treasures, I may note two I heard in my own parish lately. There is a chest of gold buried in Mumby Hill, and an old man went by "his'sen," and dug and dug, and would have got it, but so many little devils came round him, he had to give up.

               The other tale is a long story of a man who went to an old house, and every thing he did "a little devil" did, and as the man could not be frightened a vast hidden treasure was revealed to him.--W. H. J.

[71] Rancken, Några åkerbruksplägseder i Finland. Munsala, 22, c. and d. Hofberg. Svenska Sägner "Skogsrået och Sjörået," and "Ysätters-Kajsa."

[72] "Fairy Elizabeth," "Handsome Paul," "Knight Rose," and "Prince Mirkó" are full of the doings of fairies.

[73] Cf. Ralston, Russian Folk-Tales, "The Baba Yaga," p. 143. Afanassieff, i. No. 3 b.

[74] This is the nearest translation. In the original a hyphen between gold and mountain, silver and valley, alters the meaning.

[75] i.e. "For ever." A form of orientalism which frequently occurs in Magyar folk-poetry. For instance,

"My rose I will not marry you           
Until there are no fish in the lake,           
And as there always will be           
Cf.    You see, my rose, I cannot marry you."

[76] The waters of the two rivers flow into the Theiss, this into the Danube, and the Danube into the Black Sea.

[77] Baron Orbán's Székelyland.

[78] Bishop Arnold Ipolyi, Magyar Mythology.

[79] Ladislaus Köváry, Historical Antiquities.

[80] In consequence of the Turkish rule over Hungary. Buda was 157 years in the hands of the Turks.

[81] Vide Baron Orbán, Székelyland.

[82] One must be careful not to confound, as many writers do, the witches of fairy tales, with the old women who are designated as witches by the common people.

[83] Cf. Many Lincolnshire and Yorkshire tales.

[84] Cf. Rancken, "Purmo" 27, and "Munsala," 25.

[85] It is interesting to note that, although prosecution for witchcraft was only abolished in England under George II. in 1736, in Hungary it was abolished under Coloman the Learned, who reigned 1095-1114, for a very cogent reason, "Witches are not to be prosecuted, as they do not exist!"

[86] The Hungarian cattle have long erect horns like those of the Roman campagna.

[87] Cf. p. 203 infra.

[88] As the wolf in the Finnish tale, "The Golden Bird."

[89] See Folk Medicine.

[90] Charm-weed.

[91] Square pieces of linen without seam or hem, wrapped round the bare foot, instead of socks.

[92] Only lately, a man in my own parish said that when "Maud was a young 'un, she was amazin' badly. The doctors could do nowt for her: she was all skin and bone. Doctors said it wor a decline; but a' didn't believe it, for she did sqweäl amazin'. It was all an owd woman who used to sell pins and needles." It appears, this old woman always gave, and insisted upon giving, Maud, some little thing; and at last they perceived the child was "witched"; so the next time the old woman appeared, another daughter ordered her off, and the child recovered; the same old woman is said to have "witched" another child in the parish in like manner. I may add "Maud" is now a fine strapping girl, and vows vengeance on the witch.--W. H. J.

[93] Cf. Hofberg, "Bissen," the manner of "laying ghosts," is noticed, ib. "Herrn till Rosendal."

[94] In some parts of Finland the same superstition is, or was, current (e.g. in Munsala). Unbaptized children are specially liable to be changed by the trolls, but this may be prevented by putting Holy Scripture in the cradle, or silver coins, scissors, or other sharp tools. Cf. Hofberg, Svenska Folksägner "Bortbytingen."

[95] Cf. Hofberg "Mylingen," "Tomten." See also Några åkerbruksplägseder bland svenskarne i Finland af Dr. J. Oscar I. Rancken.

[96] Cf. Rancken. "Munsala," 22 g.

[97] This belonged formerly to a well-known medicine man, who practised over three countries. There are hundreds and hundreds of cures in it.

[98] This class of ingredients occupied an important place in the pharmacopœia of the physicians of the middle ages. Cf. Liber Secundus Practicae Haly cap. 51, "De stercoribus et fimis," p. 178 (Lyons 1523).

[99] "I physicks 'em, I bleeds 'em, I sweats 'em,     
And if they will die, I lets 'em."

[100] See "Christmas Day."

[101] Steel and flint are still in extensive use among smokers in rural districts.

[102] The Magyar name of quinsy is torokgyik, i.e. throat-lizard.

[103] Varga does not seem to know anything about

"The dead, shrivelled hand ...    
... of the gentleman dangling up there."

[104] So far is this day considered unlucky in Portugal that we heard of a Portuguese young lady who had ordered a harp from England: it unfortunately arrived at her house on Friday, and was sent away till Saturday, although she was "dying to try it!" Tuesday is also regarded as unlucky in Portugal.

               On St. Peter's Day, in Portugal, the saint is said to have a holiday, and take the keys with him, and the fisher-folk assert that if anyone is drowned on that day the chances are he will be sent to the "wrong place."

Cf. "Ma foi sur l'avenir bien fou qui se fiera,        
Tel qui rit vendredi, dimanche pleurera."--

                Racine au commencement de la comédie des Plaideurs.

[105] One is said to be most liable to be punished at this time on this account.

[106] Garlic is said to be a charm against evil. See Notes and Queries, 6 S. ix. 5.

[107] It is a common superstition in many parts of Yorkshire that fire must not go out of the house between New and Old Christmas Day. An old nurse told us she once went home during this time and her neighbours would not even give her a match that she might light her candle and so find her own.

[108] Cf. Yorkshire, Yule-candle.

[109] Lead is cast in Finland to see whether fortune or misfortune is in store; in these degenerate days "stearine," has been used by impatient souls. See also Burnaby, Ride to Khiva, cap. xxii.

[110] Elton's Origins of English History, 270, 271.

[111] See Glossaire de la langue Romane, par J. B. B. Roquefort. Paris, 1808.

[112] See Cormac's Glossary, under "Beltene," Revue Celtique, iv. 193; Grimm, Deutsche Mythol. 579.

[113] "C'était en beaucoup d'endroits en France l'usage de jeter dans le feu de la Saint-Jean des mannes ou des paniers en osier contenant des animaux, chats, chiens, renards, loups. Au siècle dernier même dans plusieurs villes c'était le maire ou les échevins qui faisaient mettre dans un panier une ou deux douzaines de chats pour brûler dans le feu de joie. Cette coutûme existait aussi à Paris, et elle n'y a été supprimée qu'au commencement du règne de Louis XIV."--Gaidoz, Esquisse de la Religion des Gaulois, 21.

[114] In the West-end of London there is a house where No. 13 is cancelled, and the house re-numbered 15A for the very same reason. The people are comme il faut, and consider themselves educated.

[115] Plover.--Notes and Queries 4th S. viii. 268. On the Lancashire Moors there is a tradition that the plovers contain the souls of those Jews who assisted at the Crucifixion.

[116] Hungarian saying: "To speak snakes and frogs after a man," to say everything that is bad about him.

[117] Or dig.

[118] I (writes a Magyar friend) have seen a youth use this stuff to produce a beard and moustache, and the whole of his skin was covered with ugly sores.

[119] German name, Himmelbrandt, Wollkraut, Königskerre; French, bouillon blanc, molène.

[120] The superstitions marked * have been in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire quite lately.

[121] The small heap of soil thrown up by ants.

[122] The modern custom is to lift the glass and say "Isten éltesse!" ("may God let you live.")

[123] The Finnish reformer, Michael Agricola, in his preface to the 1551 edition of the Finnish Psalms, prepared by him, mentions the idols and sacrifices of the old Finns. The passage relating to this matter is in verses, and especially of the Carialians he says the following: "Egres creates them peas, beans, and carrots, cabbage, flax, and hemp; Köndös guards their cleared grounds and ploughed fields as they superstitiously believe; and when they finished their spring-sowing, then they drank Ukko's Cup."

"Kuin kevä-kylvä kylvettiin    
Silloin Ukon malja juottiin."

[124] "Wie Thor's cleinne trank man Ukko zu ehren volle Schale." Mythol Vorr xxviii. In Sweden, as toasts, the only word they mention is "skål," cup; this is a meagre reminder of "Thor's Schåle."

[125] Not Tokay; that is German. We have a hazy recollection that one of the Popes--it may have been Sylvester II. (A.D. 1000) or Pio Nono--upon receiving a small cask of Tokaj wine, exclaimed "Talc vinum summum pontificem decet!" or words to this effect.

[126] "Áldomás," from "áldani" (Latin offerre and benedicere) hence--"sacrificium" and "benedictio." Cf. "Ultemaš"--"preces" in Cheremiss. In the district of Hradist in Moravia, "oldomaš pit"--"áldoma's drink." In modern Magyar the word "áldozni" is used for to sacrifice. Whether the Magyar and Finnish Ukko are the same, or whether it is a mere coincidence, we are not prepared to say. Hunfalvy makes much of it.

[127] Ukkon-pohar-felmutato volt.

[128] In modern times the bargain is first settled and the "liquor" comes afterwards, tout comme chez nous in England.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Introduction
Tale Author/Editor: Jones, W. Henry & Kropf, Lewis L.
Book Title: Folk-Tales of the Magyars, The UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Book Author/Editor: Jones, W. Henry & Kropf, Lewis L.
Publisher: Elliot Stock
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1889
Country of Origin: Hungary
Classification: Introduction

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