686 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
mortal woman. But one can rarely count on the endurance of their love, or be happy with it, and at last the chosen one will try to escape them. They are also sometimes accustomed to take men into their society; but one who has once associated with them, willingly or unwillingly, can never get rid of them, and must at last pay for his mistake with his life. He is strangled or torn to pieces, or, if a lighter punishment is administered, he is made blind or lame. The Vilas are able to call back to life men that they have slain, and also to lift the disabilities they may have inflicted upon any one. If a man succeeds in robbing a Vila of her wings, he acquires full power over her. If she loses her crown and her robe, she only suffers a separation of some time from the society of her playmates.
Three stories that were told me give some insight into the customs of the Vilas. As the peasant Adam Odvorcie was driving along, he came to a hill where seven Vilas were dancing. As he drove by, they came down and frightened the horses so that they ran away, leaving him in the road. He waited till the Vilas went away. A little farther along he saw seven of them washing their clothes. Reza Barjanovie relates that, in the summer of 1887, as she was sitting under a nut-tree in the yard with her mother-in- law, they heard dancing and singing on the hill back of the house. All at once there arose a whirlwind and drove through the yard, striking them forcibly. They were much frightened, and, while trying to consult as to what had best be done, the mother-in-law, accidentally looking up at the roof, exclaimed : " Look ! there are Vilas up there ! " She said again to Theresa : " Look, daughter ! the Vilas are dancing on our roof ! * At that moment the Vilas disappeared. Both women have the second-sight. They often go to the woods in the morning and have opportunities to see much that is uncanny.
Koprivce Vic, an octogenarian of Pleternica, wrote me on the 25th of April, 1887, in his own handwriting, of the following ad- venture he had had with the Vilas : " Several years ago, in the old times, I was going into the mountains with my grandfather. It was late in the fall, and I was helping him drive the oxen through the plum orchard to the pasture. We perceived them away off, stamping with stamps, washing their robes. The nearer we came to them the more distinct grew the stamping. We were about to turn back, but took heart and went to within a few yards of them. Two of them were washing robes. We saluted them in the name of God. The huo rose, threw their stamps over their backs, and let their hair fall to the ground. "When we had gone a little farther, one said to the other, ' What shall we do to them ? ' Said the other, ' Nothing, for they saluted us in the name of God, and we shall have to let them go.' Upon this we