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A Man Changed Into A Horse


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

Mr. Williams writes of the same servant man who figures in the preceding
tale:--However, after that, she (Betty'r Bont) turned him into a grey
mare, saddled him, and actually rode him herself; and when he woke in the
morning, he was in a bath of perspiration, and positively declared that
he had been galloping all night.

Singularly enough Giraldus Cambrensis mentions the same kind of
transformation. His words are:--

I myself, at the time I was in Italy, heard it said of some
districts in those parts, that there the stable-women, who had learnt
magical arts, were wont to give something to travellers in their
cheese, which transformed them into beasts of burden, so that they
carried all sorts of burdens, and after they had performed their
tasks, resumed their own forms.--Bohn's Edition, p. 83.

From Brand's Popular Antiquities, p. 225, I find that a common name for
nightmare was witch-riding, and the night-mare, he tells us, was a
spectre of the night, which seized men in their sleep and suddenly
deprived them of speech and motion, and he quotes from Ray's Collection
of Proverbs:--

Go in God's name, so ride no witches.

I will now leave this subject with the remark that people separated by
distance are often brought together by their superstitions, and probably,
these beliefs imply a common origin of the people amongst whom these
myths prevail.

The following tales show how baneful the belief in witchcraft was; but,
nevertheless, there was some good even in such superstitions, for people
were induced, through fear of being witched, to be charitable.

Next: A Witch Who Turned A Blue Dye Into A Red Dye

Previous: A Man Turned Into A Hare

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