chapter
17 Pages

Introduction

Closely allied to the belief in these old deities, is a vast mass of curious tradition, such· as that there is a spirit of every element or thing created, as for instance of every plant and mineral, and a guardian or leading spirit of all animals; or, as in the case of silkworms, tVvo-one good and one evil. Also that sorcerers and witches are SOlnetitnes born again in their descendants; that all kinds of goblins, bro\vnies, red-caps and three-inch tnannikins, haunt forests, rocks, ruined to\vers, firesides and kitchens, or cellars, where they alternately madden or delight the maids-in short, all of that quaint company of familiar spirits \vhich are boldly claimed as being of Northern birth by Gerlnan archt:eologists, but which investigation indicates to have been thoroughly at home in Italy \vhilc.Rome was as yet young, 01", it may be, unbuilt. Whether this" lore" be Teutonic or Italian, or due to a common Aryan or Asian origin, or \vhether, as' the new school teaches, it "gro\ved" of itself, like Topsy, spontaneously and sporadically everywhere, I will' not pretend to determine; suffice to say that I shall be satisfied should my collection prove to be of any value to those \vho take it on themselves to settle the higher question.