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were invested with a supernatural character. Such was the giant Thryui from whom Thor recovered his hammer; and who, stripped of fable, was probably only a griesly savage. 'High on a mound in haughty state Thryni the king of the Thursi sate, For his dogs he was twisting chains of gold, And trimming the manes of his coursers bold.' We shall not at present enter into the question of the affinity between the tremendous J letters and the modern Russians; but it is thought that the people of Jotunheim extended themselves, after passmg the Ohy, along the north-eastern coasts of Asia, and that they crossed over to America, still keeping on the frozen shores, till at length they reached Labrador, the Hellulland of the Icelandic navigators; and from this country they might cross into Greenland. This itinerary has been marked out for the giants by Professor Thorlacius, a learned Icelander, descended from Thorgill Orrabeen, and to whom we owe the publication of Thorgill's Saga; but it must be received as mere guess work, perhaps as a learned dream; for the migration of the Jamers can only have taken place when the American continent received its inhabitants from the older portion of the globe. Saabye tells us, almost in the words of his grandfather, that he has known Greenlanders who affirmed that they had been far up the eastern coast where they saw hideous bearded men of uncommon height, 'who without doubt ate cannibals.' Professor Thorlacius is also of opinion that the Jaetters have yet a settlement on the coast of Greenland. This is a supposition coinciding in some measure with Egedu's accounts, with which the Professor seems to have been unacquainted, and is grounded upon the following facts: implements of wood of unusual magnitude, amongst others a walking staff tit to support the steps of a tottering giant, have, as they say, been cast by tlue sea on the shores of Iceland; together with fragments of vessels of strange and unusual construction, of which the planks are neither fastened together with whalebone like the boats of the Greenlanders, nor sewed together with sinews according to the custom of the Laplanders, but fastened by wooden pins, and all of which are attributed to these scattered descendants of the ancient foes of the Asi.

These accounts come rather in a questionable shape, yet it is just possible that the northern hemisphere may have its Patagonians as well as the southern one: besides which, nature seems to have sported in gigantic creations in the vicinity of the polar circle. The north pole is the holy mountain of the eastern nations, the fabulous Meru of the Hindoos, the Kaf of the Arabian mycologists, and perhaps the real prototype of the Grecian Olympus. It is in ages anterior to history that we must seek the origin of these opinions.

May May not the Hindoos have been induced to give the North Pole to ' Bramah, god of gods, with four faces, greatest of those who know the Vedas,' in consequence of the awful and unparalleled vividness of the apparitions of the Aurora Borealis on the coasts of the Frozen Ocean between the mouths of the Jenisei and the Lena ?* Gmelin's description of it as seen there is exceedingly remarkable. The shafts and flickering beams of ethereal light run from the north, multiplying themselves around and darting across the heavens with incredible swiftness, till they assemble in the zenith. The entire sky glitters and sparkles with'ruby and sapphire and golden fire. Beautiful as the appearance is, no one can see it for the first time without terror. It is accompanied with loud hissing and crackling noises, resembling the discharge of the loudest fireworks. The wild beasts are alarmed, the dogs howl and crouch on the ground, and the Ostiack hunter exclaims, ' Spolochi chodjat!' 'The spirits of the air are rushing by!' Gmelin calls this tract 'the very birth-place of the Aurora Borealis.' In other words one of the electric poles of the globe is situated there. Such phenomena may well have led to the belief that Meru was the home of the gods, where they dwelt enthroned in light and power.

Kaf, according to the Arabians, was once inhabited by the preadamite kings, a primeval race of gigantic and monstrous forms who have yielded the world to the sons of man. These traditions were afterwards applied to the Caucasian ranges: but in truth they point us to the North Pole, the centre, as it were, of races of animals of appalling bulk. The whale, the sea-snake, in whom perhaps we recognize the serpent of Midgard, and the kraken, yet encumber its waves; while the adjacent continents are heaped with the bleached bones and frozen carcasses of the mammoth and the megatherion; and the feathers of gigantic birds, the prototypes of the roc, the simorgh, and the garuda, who once soared above the «ternal snow. There is no spot on the globe in which these relics of former creation are equally copious as in that portion of Asia which was deemed by the Asi to be the country of the giants: the Siberian never sinks a well without discovering the tusks or bones of the arctic elephant or rhinoceros. The islands at the mouth of the Lena are described by Adams as almost composed of the bones and horns of the mammoth; and remains of the same species are very abundant in those latitudes of America into which the Jaetters are supposed to have strayed. Without laying

* Captain Wilford places Meru in the highlands of Tartary: these remarks wouM be equally-applicable if we were to agree with him: we are not satisfied, however, that the abode of .the gods is to be removed from the ' pistil' of the worldly lotus, and placed upon one of its petals—although he certRinly has maintained his opinion with his usual {earning and ingenuity.

any any great stress upon these coincidences, they are sufficiently remarkable. The discoveries of modern science seem almost to enable us to lift up the ancient veil of allegory and fable.

The scenes presented by the arctic world are such as tend to exalt the fancy and nourish the superstitions of untutored man. In the thirteenth century the wonders of Greenland, its monsters of the deep, and its floating icy mountains, drew many a Norwegian thither, anxious to verify the strange tales of the wayfarer who had Teturned from this distant region. Their rude philosophy was exercised in contemplation, and the solutions which they attempted of these marvels form an entertaining portion of their descriptionsi. The north pole, said they, is the extremity of the world, and the northern aurora flashes from the sphere of fire which surrounds the globe. The wonders of the polar ice are detailed at length in the Speculum Regale, in which the inquirer is told that there is more there than in all the world besides. When that work was compiled, and it appears to have been written in the early part of the thirteenth century, the barrier had already begun to accumulate round the eastern coast. 'It (the ice) lies more towards the north or north-east than towards the south or south-west or west;' and many ships had then perished by being entangled in it.

The ice offers many strange phenomena, which deserve to be investigated by a philosophical observer. As recounted by the navigator, with all their terrors yet fresh in his recollection, they evidently formed the foundation of many a romantic tale of the middle ages. According to Saabye, the ice-islands possess an attractive power, so that large ships are driven against them, if they do not take the precaution of remaining at a proper distance. Others may calculate whether it is probable that a ship can gravitate towards an insulated mass of ice: but be that as it may, it must be recollected that there is generally a current setting in towards the Jce, which at least produces the appearance of attraction. These translucent and attractive islands remind us at once of the mountains of adamant of Sinbad the Sailor, and of Huon of Bourdeaux, and of Duke Ernest of Bavaria. The fantastic shapes and brilliant colours assumed by the ice are well known; from these we have the fables of palaces of gems and diamonds. The mountain of glass upon Which Brynhilda was placed by her father, and from which her suitor Sivard the Swift brought her down, was probably modelled in the lay of the minstrel from an arctic ice-island. The mouth of the bay ' Witte Blink' is even crossed by a tremendous glassy bridge, reaching from shore to shore; the largest ships might sail through its huge arches. This fairy structure gleams like the aurora, and the ' ice blink' is reflected afar into the air. Sound is conducted and multiplied in a remarkable manner by the ice. Unfrozen water is an excellent conductor of the acoustic vibrations; does it retain that property when frozen? Whilst rowing by the foot of an ice-island, the boatman speaks, and his words return to him re-echoed in distinctness from the lofty summit of the floating crystal. But this echo is a voice of danger; if the ice be porous or ' rotten,' it is so shaken by the vibration that large masses are brought down by the sound; and the fragments often sink the boat of the unfortunate mariner. For this reason the Greenlanders observe a strict silence when they are in the immediate vicinity of the ice-islands. Saabye enumerates several fatal accidents which took place during his stay in Greenland, when this caution was neglected. Our readers will recollect that the Swiss guides are said to prohibit the traveller from speaking in the Alpine passes, lest the sound of his voice should dislodge the over-beetling avalanche.

If Thorgill and his surviving companions, brooding over their misfortunes amidst the solitude and desolation of Greenland, enfeebled by hunger and disease, saw the dead men rising and swarming round them, the apparitions in one point of view are not destitute of credibility. It is evident, however, that J ostein and the others did not become ghosts but vampires; endued with a portentous and demoniacal vitality, like her who haunted Thalaba the Destroyer.

'Oneiza stood before them. It was she.

Her very lineaments, and such as death

Had changed them, livid cheeks and lips of blue.

But in her eyes there dwelt

Brightness more terrible

Than all the loathsomeness of death.'

Whether it be an indigenous superstition, or the introduction of the old Scandinavian settlers, the belief in vampires is yet very prevalent in Greenland. Captain Martin Jansen, who was wrecked on the coast of Greenland in 1777, tells us that the natives were dreadfully terrified by the neighbourhood of the body of Boje Henricson, who was buried amongst the rocks. They scarcely dared to go out of doors, and they feared that many of them would die. When the Greenlanders kill a witch they tear out the heart of the victim and cut it in small pieces. If this ceremony is neglected they fear that she will rise again and avenge herself; and when an angekok is buried, certain ceremonies are performed to prevent the rising of the corpse. Amongst the Icelanders the vampire was as often seen as an incorporeal ghost, and a series of adventures very similar to those told in the life of Thorgill Orrabeen may be found in the abridgment of the EyrbigginSaga. '^

In Europe the terrors excited by these horrid visitants seem to be now almost peculiar to the nations of Sclavonian race, or to such as are in immediate contact with them. The history of superstition will always be an important chapter in the great history of the human mind, and it would be well to inquire into the grounds of this most wild and absurd belief. We know not, whether it has been noticed that spectral visitations generally accompany a plague or pestilence. The vampires of Iceland and of Greenland preceded an epidemy. Equally ominous were the spirits which in the time of Justinian ' were seen in human shape to intrude into the society of men, after which a most fearful pestilence followed, and whosoever was touched by any of them most assuredly died.' During the great plague in the sixth year of Constantine Copronymus ' many imagined that they saw hideous shapes mixing in human converse,' or entering houses and striking those who were destined to depart. It was believed at Constantinople in the seventeenth century, and perhaps it still is an article of popular belief there, that a gigantic female spectre stalks through the streets before the commencement of a plague; and the chariot of death rolls, at midnight, before the dwelling of the Breton peasant, who knows his fate is fixed when he hears its mournful sound.

In England vampires seem to have been long forgotten; but in the time of William of Newburgh they were well known; and here again they were found in connection with a pestilential disease. Such was the corpse which, as William learnt from Archdeacon Stephen, rose in the town of Buckingham, to the great annoyance of the townsmen, whom he assaulted in noon-day. At the same time, says the monk, an event of a like nature, and equally prodigious, took place in the northern parts of England, at Berwick upon Tweed. A dead miser, into whose corpse Satan had entered, rambled through the town at night, but laid himself quietly down again before break-of-day: his vagaries were stopped, as in other cases of this sort, by cutting the body in pieces, and consigning it to the flames. And the rising of these vampires was immediately followed by a dreadful plague, which raged with unprecedented violence throughout every part of England. In the same manner the epidemy at Trantenavia in Bohemia was ascribed to the malignant influence of one Stephanus Hubnerius, who in his life-time had heaped together innumerable riches. 'Presently after his decease, which,' as John Hey wood tells us,' was observed with the celebration of a most costly funeral, his spectre or shadow, in the same habit which he was known to wear, being alive, was seen to walke in the streetes of the city, and so many of his acquaintance, or others, as he met and offered in the way of salutation to embrace, so many either died or fell into some grievous or dangerous disease immediately after.'


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