dance which the Devil led: 'Le Diable voit parfois dancer simplement comme spectateur; parfois il mene la dance, changeant souuent de main & se mettant à la main de celles qui luy plaisent le plus.' In Northumberland in 1673 'their particular divell tooke them that did most evill, and danced with them first.—The devill, in the forme of a little black man and black cloaths, called of one Isabell Thompson, of Slealy, widdow, by name, and required of her what service she had done him. She replyd she had gott power of the body of one Margarett Teasdale. And after he had danced with her he dismissed her, and call'd of one Thomasine, wife of Edward Watson, of Slealy.' Danaeus also notes that the Devil was the leader: 'Thẽ fal they to dauncing, wherin he leadeth the daunce, or els they hoppe and daunce merely about him.' This is perhaps what de Lancre means when he says that 'apres la dance ils se mettent par fois à sauter'. A curious variation of the follow-my-leader dance was practised at Aberdeen on Rood Day, a date which as I have shown elsewhere corresponds with the Walpurgis-Nacht of the German witches. The meeting took place upon St. Katherine's Hill, 'and there under the conduct of Satan, present with you, playing before you, after his form, ye all danced a devilish dance, riding on trees, by a long space.'
Other variations are also given. 'The dance is strange, and wonderful, as well as diabolical, for turning themselves back to back, they take one another by the arms and raise each other from the ground, then shake their heads to and fro like Anticks, and turn themselves as if they were mad.' Reginald Scot, quoting Bodin, says: 'At these magicall assemblies, the witches neuer faile to danse; and in their danse they sing these words, Har har, divell divell, danse here danse here, plaie here plaie here, Sabbath sabbath. And whiles they sing and
- De Lancre, Tableau, p. 212.
- Surtees Soc., xl, pp. 195, 197.
- Danaeus, ch. iv.
- De Lancre, op. cit., p. 211.
- Spalding Club Misc., i, pp. 165, 167. Spelling modernized. The account of the Arab witches should be compared with this. 'In the time of Ibn Munkidh the witches rode about naked on a stick between the graves of the cemetery of Shaizar.' Wellhausen, p. 159.
- Pleasant Treatise of Witches, p. 6.