Three Friars, says a legend, hid themselves near the Witch sabbath orgies that they might count the devils; but the Chief of these, discovering the friars, said Reverend Brothers, our army is such that if all the Alps, their rocks and glaciers, were equally divided among us, none would have a pound’s weight This was in one Alpine valley. Anyone who has caught but a glimpse of the worlds Walpurgis Night, as revealed in Mythology and folklore, must agree that this courteous devil did not overstate the case.
Any attempt to catalogue the evil spectres which have haunted mankind were like trying to count the shadows cast upon the earth by the rising sun. This conviction has grown upon the author of this work at every step in his studies of the subject.
In 1859 I contributed, as one of the American Tracts for the Times, a pamphlet entitled The Natural History of the Devil Probably the chief value of that essay was to myself, and this in that its preparation had revealed to me how pregnant with interest and importance was the subject selected. Subsequent researches in the same direction, after I had come to reside in Europe, revealed how slight had been my conception of the vastness of the domain upon which that early venture was made.
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