The Elfin Hill 10

But the youngsters said they would rather make a speech and drink to their good fellowship; they had no wish to marry. Then they made speeches and drank toasts, and tipped their glasses, to show that they were empty. Then they took off their coats, and lay down on the table to sleep; for they made themselves quite at home. But the old goblin danced about the room with his young bride, and exchanged boots with her, which is more fashionable than exchanging rings.


“The cock is crowing,” said the old elfin maiden who acted as housekeeper; “now we must close the shutters, that the sun may not scorch us.”


Then the hill closed up. But the lizards continued to run up and down the riven tree; and one said to the other, “Oh, how much I was pleased with the old goblin!”


“The boys pleased me better,” said the earth-worm. But then the poor miserable creature could not see.


There is a superstition respecting these elfin maiden, that they are only to be looked at in front, and are therefore made hollow, like the inside of a mask.

In former times, when a ghost appeared, the priest condemned it to enter the earth; when it was done, a stake was driven into the spot to which it had been basnished. At midnight a cry was heard, “Let me out!” The stake was then pulled out, and the ex-communicated spirit flew away, in a form of a raven, with a hole in its left wing. This ghost-like bird was called the night-raven.

It is a popular superstition in Denmark tah a living horse, or a living pig, has been buried under every church that is built. The ghost of the dead horse is supposed to limp upon three legs every night to some house, in which any one was going to die. The ghost of a pig was called a grave-pig.

By: Hans Christian Andersen

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