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coastal areas through- out Northern Europe. This legend is more openly didactic than others, like the preceding story, in which the sea spirit openly volunteers help. Here she (in many cases he) is first in need of help, and the generous gesture of the human leads to a valuable reward. This also clarifies the motivation of the otherworldly being. In Sweden the story was noted as early as the sixteenth cen- tury by Olaus Magnus and printed in his Historia de gentibus septentrionalis (1555), 11:23. As the variation in Christiansen's ML 4055 makes clear, the point

inhabitants were penitus toto divisos orbe (Virgil, Eclogues 1), wholly divided from all the world. The strange truth about this apparently depressing picture of an England as other-worldly as the New World, however, is that the English themselves loved to highlight it. Particularly after the ad- vent of a virgin queen able to keep the English as true believers "not walking any more according to this world, but in the fruits of the Spirit,"" the English could see their island as much excluding the world as being excluded by it. What would otherwise have ap- peared

the Brain" (stanza 2) in favor of actual "things" (4).6 But when one considers that the philosopher whom Cowley praises for having led England from unworldly "Errors" (4)—Bacon—was himself a Utopian, the pro- claimed antipathy of the empiricists to poetical chimeras begins to look somewhat misleading. In fact, Bacon's Utopia, his New Atlan- tis (1626), conspicuously adopts topoi from the otherworldly tra- dition that Bacon supposedly helped to discredit: like aparted En- gland, the utopic Bensalem is an island "beyond both the old world and the new" (Works 3

her service." (Then the woman would be damned, he thought.) Then the boy read scripture over him, and the nisse had to leave. When he left, the nisse said: "Now I will take away from the farm just as much as I brought here in the first place." And he did. The woman fell into total poverty. 144 Swedish Legends and Folktales [Bohuslan. Collected by Vilhelm Cederschiold from Olaus Olsson, born around 1852, and printed in "Ur Olaus Olsson's sagensamling," FmFt, 19 (1932), 106.] Legends of this nature owe much to church doctrine that all otherworldly beings are

144 Swedish Legends and Folktales [Bohuslan. Collected by Vilhelm Cederschiold from Olaus Olsson, born around 1852, and printed in "Ur Olaus Olsson's sagensamling," FmFt, 19 (1932), 106.] Legends of this nature owe much to church doctrine that all otherworldly beings are evil, and therefore they contrast with the friendly relationship between household spirits and humans typical of most legends. When an evil spirit is to be exorcised, the prime example is the devil, and details from many exorcism legends have entered tomte and nisse stories. Although a

an accident. It is a fated encounter, an echo of otherworldly desire strung together by bodily signs and immanent operators, deciphered in retrospect—the scar, the project, my host, her altar—a chain of events whose relations become apparent, at prolo gue: we never should have met x Prologue least to human perception, only through a mode of “afterwardsness.”1 It also marks a future unknown, as the entity whose allocation I was living out could not be named. This knowledge would arrive, Zheng Yulan says, in due time. Moved, I consider this a felicitous