IT came to pass in the countries of Africa, in a particular month, during which it is the usage and the custom of the Jews to rise in the night to say their prayers, that a servant, whose business it was to knock at the doors, and to call up the people, found one night an ass (jumento) in the street; and he mounted upon him, and went riding along and calling up the people. And, as he rode, lo! the ass began to swell and to increase in size, until he became three hundred yards in height, and reached up even unto the top of the loftiest tower of the church, upon which he set the man, and then went away; and on the morrow the man was found sitting upon the tower. Now, thou must know that this ass was one of the Mazikeen.
The Jews have, as it were, brought us back to Asia. As we proceed eastwards from Persia, where we commenced, India first meets our view, but of the numerous beings of its copious and intricate mythology, no class seems to belong to earth unless it be the Yakshas who attend on Kuveras, the Hindoo Plutos, and have charge of his enchanted gardens on the summit of Himalayas, and who bear some resemblance to the Dwarfs. There are also the misshapen Pisachas, who love to dwell in gloom; the, Vidhyadharas, i. e., Masters of Magic, are said, to resemble the Jinn of the Arabs; and the dancing and singing Gandharvas and Apsaresas may be compared with the Nymphs of Grecian mythology.
Eastwards still lies China. Here there is a species of beings named Shinseën, who are said to haunt the woods and mountains, where, exempt from the passions and the cares of life, they dwell in a state of blissful ease; but still exercise an influence over human affairs. Sometimes they appear as old men with long beards; at other times as young maidens, sauntering amid rocks and. woods by moonlight. [a]
We do not recollect to have met, in our reading, with any other beings bearing a resemblance to what we term Fairies.
[a] See Davis' translation of The Fortunate Union, i. 68