THE DWARFS BORROWING BREAD
ALBERT STEFFEL, aged seventy years, who died in the year 1680, and Hans Kohmann, aged thirty-six, who died in 1679, two honest, veracious men, frequently declared that as one time Kohmann's grandfather was working in his ground which lay in the neighbourhood of the place called the Dwarfs' hole, and his wife had brought out to the field to him for his breakfast some fresh baked bread, and had laid it, tied up in a napkin, at the end of the field, there came up soon after a little Dwarf-woman, who spoke to him about his bread, saying, that her own was in the oven, and that her children were hungry and could not wait for it, but that if he would give her his, she would be certain to replace it by noon. The man consented, and at noon she returned, spread out a very white little cloth, and laid on it a smoking hot loaf, and with many thanks and entreaties told him he might eat the bread without any apprehension, and that she would return for the cloth. He did as she desired, and when she returned she told him that there had been so many forges erected that she was quite annoyed, and would be obliged to depart and abandon her favourite dwelling. She also said that the shocking cursing and swearing of the people drove her away, as also the profanation of Sunday, as the country people, instead of going to church, used to go look at their fields, which was altogether sinful. [a]
[a] In Scandinavia the Dwarfs used to borrow beer, even a barrel at a time, which one of them would carry off on his shoulders, Thiele i. 121. In the Highlands of Scotland, a firlot of meal. In all cases they paid honestly. On one occasion, a dwarf came to a lady named Fru (Mrs.) Mettè of Overgaard, in Jutland, and asked her to lend her silk gown to Fru Mettè of Undergaard, for her wedding. She gave it, but as it was not returned as soon as she expected, she went to the hill and demanded it aloud. The hill-man brought it out to her all spotted with wax, and told her that if she had not been so impatient. every spot on it would have been a diamend. Thiele iii. 48.
The Vends of Lüneburg, we are told, called the underground folk Görzoni (from gora, hill), and the hills are still shown in which they dwelt. They used to borrow bread from people; they intimated their desire invisibly, and people used to lay it for them outside of the door. In the evening they returned it, knocking at the window, and leaving an additional cake to express their thankfulness, Grimm, Deut, Mythol., p. 423.