The Book of Were-Wolves
Part 4 out of 4
his _Speculum Historiale_. And he has taken it from Valerius Maximus
in the Punic war. When the Romans fought against the men of Africa,
when the captain lay asleep, there came a wolf and drew his sword, and
carried it off. That was the Devil in a, wolf's form. The like writes
William of Paris,--that a wolf will kill and devour children, and do
the greatest mischief. There was a man who had the phantasy that he
himself was a wolf. And afterwards he was found lying in the wood, and
he was dead out of sheer hunger.
"Under the seventh head, the injury comes of God's ordinance. For God
will sometimes punish certain lands and villages with wolves. So we
read of Elisha,--that when Elisha wanted to go up a mountain out of
Jericho, some naughty boys made a mock of him and said, 'O bald head,
step up! O glossy pate, step up!' What happened? He cursed them. Then
came two bears out of the desert and tore about forty-two of the
children. That was God's ordinance. The like we read of a prophet who
would set at naught the commands he had received of God, for he was
persuaded to eat bread at the house of another. As he went home he
rode upon his ass. Then came a lion which slew him and left the ass
alone. That was God's ordinance. Therefore must man turn to God when
He brings wild beasts to do him a mischief: which same brutes may He
not bring now or evermore. Amen."
It will be seen from this extraordinary sermon that Dr. Johann Geiler
von Keysersperg did not regard werewolves in any other light than
natural wolves filled with a lust for human flesh; and he puts aside
altogether the view that they are men in a state of metamorphosis.
However, he alludes to this superstition in his sermon on wild-men of
the woods, but translates his lycanthropists to Spain.
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