THE ELLE-MAID NEAR EBELTOFT
A FARMER'S boy was keeping cows not far from Ebeltoft. There came to him a very fair and pretty girl, and she asked him if he was hungry or thirsty. But when he perceived that she guarded with the greatest solicitude against his getting a sight of her back, he immediately suspected that she must be an Elle-maid, for the Elle-people are hollow behind. He accordingly would give no heed to her, and endeavoured to get away from her; but when she perceived this, she offered him her breast that be should suck her. And so great was the enchantment that accompanied this action, that he was unable to resist it. But when he had done as she desired him, he had no longer any command of himself; so that she had now no difficulty in enticing him with her.
He was three days away, during which time his father and mother went home, and were in great affliction, for they were well assured that he must have been enticed away. But on the fourth day his father saw him a long way off coming home, and he desired his wife to set a pan of meat on the fire as quick as possible. The son then came in at the door, and sat down at the table without saying a word. The father, too, remained quite silent, as if every thing was as it ought to be. His mother then set the meat before him, and his father bid him eat, but he let the food lie untouched, and said that he knew now where he could get much better food. The father then became highly enraged, took a good large switch, and once more ordered him to take his food. The boy was then obliged to eat, and as soon as he had tasted the flesh he ate it up greedily, and instantly fell into a deep sleep. He slept for as many days as the enchantment had lasted, but he never after recovered the use of his reason. [a]
[a] Thiele. i. 118. (communicated). Ebeltoft is a village in North Jutland.