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[THERE is a very curious collection of stories, or rather anecdotes, pertaining to the superstitions of Germany, by Grimm, under the title of 'Deutsche Sagen.' There is a French translation entitled · Veillées Allemandes.' One of the longest and most curious narratives is an abridgment of a book published at the beginning of the 17th century by a German minister named Feldmann, who, with the most undoubting confidence, relates the wonderful doings of a being called 'Hinzelmann, Mr. Keightley has translated the whole account in his "Fairy Mythology.' We give the early part of the history (which we translate from the French), to show how curiously the character of. Hinzelmann' is a compound of Orthon' and of 'Robin Goodfellow.']
The old castle of Hudemühlen, now a ruin, situated in the country of Lüneburg, not far from the Aller, was for a long time haunted by a marvellous house-spirit. It was in the year 1584 that he first announced his presence by violent noises. From this period he began to speak openly to the servants belonging to the castle, who, though at first much alarmed at hearing a voice without knowing from whence it proceeded, gradually became so accustomed to it, that they finally lost all terror at its recurrence. The spirit also grew much emboldened, and at last even ventured to speak to the lord of the castle himself, and to converse, during the mid-day and evening meals, on all kinds of subjects, with the persons present, whether strangers or members of the family. When the fear which he had at first inspired was little by little dispelled, he became quite affable and friendly; he sang, laughed, and indulged in all kinds of jokes, as long as no one offended him: on such occasions his voice was soft and gentle, like that of a child, or young maiden. When asked who he was, and what brought him there, he replied that he was a Bohemian ; that his fellows inhabited the forest of Bohemia; that his presence being intolerable to them, he had been forced to quit their company, and to seek an asylum amongst hospitable persons, until he should be more fortunate; that he was called Hinzelmann, and also Lüring; that he had a wife named Hille Bingels ; that, in due time, he should appear in his true form, which at present he was not permitted to do; but that he was as good and honest a fellow as any in the world.
When the master of the house found that the spirit had attached itself to him, and would not quit him, he became alarmed, but he knew not how to escape. By the advice of his friends, he at last resolved to leave
his castle for a time, and to go and live in Hanover. On the road a white feather was seen flying behind the carriage, but no one knew what it meant.
When the gentleman arrived at Hanover, he missed a valuable gold chain which he wore round his neck, and his suspicions fell on the servants of his host: the latter assembled his household, and demanded satisfaction for such an injurious accusation. The gentleman, being unable to produce any proof, was seated despondingly in his room, thinking how to extricate himself from this unpleasant business, when suddenly he heard Hinzelmann's voice close by him, saying, “ Why are you so sad ? Has anything vexatious happened to you? Confide in me; perhaps I may be able to assist you. Your distress, if I am not mistaken, is caused by the loss of a chain ?” “What do you do here ?” returned the terrified gentleman, “and why have you followed me ? Do you know what has become of my chain ?” Hinzelmann answered, “ Yes, I have followed you, and, during the journey, have been always with you. Did you not see me? I was the white feather which flew beside your carriage. As to the chain, I will tell you where it is : search under the pillow of your bed; you will find it there.” And there it was. But the spirit's presence only redoubled the uneasiness of the gentleman, who reproached him for being the cause of the quarrel with his host, concerning this chain, after having also obliged him to quit his country. Hinzelmann replied : “ Why should you fly from me? I can easily follow you everywhere, and be always with you. Believe me, you had much better return to your own estate, and not exile yourself on my account. You see that I might, if I chose, deprive you of all you possess; but such is not my wish.” The gentleman, therefore, changed his plans: he determined to return to his castle, to trust in God, and not to make any attempt to escape from the spirit.
At Hudemühlen, Hinzelmann displayed the greatest possible activity, and entered zealously into all kinds of occupations. During the night he worked in the kitchen ; and if the cook, in the evening, left the plates, after supper, unwashed and piled in a heap, in the morning she found them well cleaned, bright as looking-glasses, and arranged in their proper order; she could depend entirely upon the spirit, and at night, after supper, retire to rest without any more concern. Nothing was ever lost in the kitchen: if anything was mislaid, Hinzelmann immediately produced it, and gave it to its owner. But it was when dinner company was expected that Hinzelmann especially distinguished himself: he then laboured all night; he polished the kettles, washed the dishes, cleaned the pails and tubs. The cook was grateful for all these services, and not only did all that he required, but carefully prepared, every morning, a good cup of milk for his breakfast. The spirit also took upon himself the superintendence of the other men and maids; he overlooked their work, and gently exhorted them to be active and industrious. But if any one disregarded his counsels, he did not scruple to take up a stick, and give the offender a lesson not easily to be forgotten. He often warned the maids when their mistress was displeased with them, and reminded them of their duty. The spirit was no less active in the stable; he took charge of the horses, and curried them with the greatest care, so that their coats shone like the skin of an eеl : they improved visibly, and every one admired their good condition.
His room was in the right wing on the upper story of the castle, and his furniture was composed of three articles : first, an elbow-chair, which he had very ingeniously made of plaited straw, in various colours, and embellished with elegant figures and crosses, which were marvellous to look at; secondly, a small round table, which, at his earnest entreaty, had been made, and placed there for him; and thirdly, an ornamental bed, which he had likewise asked for. There was never any appearance of a man having slept on it, but only a slight depression, as though a cat | had lain there. The servants, and particularly the cook, were obliged every day to prepare for him a cup of milk, and a piece of white bread, and to place it on his little table: he consumed it without leaving any fragments. Sometimes he would appear at the master's table, where he had his place assigned, and a chair and plate. Whoever was serving, put some of each dish upon his plate ; if he was forgotten he was very angry. That which was placed before him disappeared ; his glass, filled with wine, was raised for a moment, and then returned to its place empty. But the food was afterwards found under the benches, or in a corner of the room.
In the company of young people Hinzelmann was very lively, singing and making verses. The following is one which he often repeated :
Master, here let me abide,