Sagas and Legends
CHRISTMAS-EVE IN THE MINES.
ON Christmas-eve, in former days, the
small people, or the spriggans, would meet at the bottom of the deepest
mines, and have a midnight mass. Then those who were in the mine would hear
voices, melodious beyond all earthly voices, singing, "Now well ! now well;
" [a] and the strains of some deep-toned organ would shake the rocks. Of the
grandeur of those meetings, old stories could not find words sufficiently
sonorous to speak; it was therefore left to the imagination But this was
certain, the temple
formed by the fairy
bands in which to celebrate the eve of the birth of a Saviour, in whose
mercy they all had hope, was of the most magnificent description.
new-year's day and eve are holidays with the miners. It has been said they
refuse to work of those days from superstitious reasons. I never heard of
[a] "Now well I now well!
the angel did say
To certain poor shepherds in the fields who lay
Late in the night, folding their sheep;
A winter's night, both cold and, deep.
Now well ! now well ! now well !
Born is the King of Israel !"
Next: Warnings and "Tokens"