Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 46

That in the merry months o' spring
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing,
And close thy e'e?

According to Babylonian belief, "the great storms directed from heaven" were caused by demons. Mankind heard them "loudly roaring above, gibbering below".[

Another terrible atmospheric demon was the south-west wind, which caused destructive storms and floods, and claimed many human victims like the Icelandic "corpse swallower". She was depicted with lidless staring eyes, broad flat nose, mouth gaping horribly, and showing tusk-like teeth, and with high cheek bones, heavy eyebrows, and low bulging forehead.

In Scotland the hag of the south-west wind is similarly a bloodthirsty and fearsome demon. She is most virulent in the springtime. At Cromarty she is quaintly called "Gentle Annie" by the fisher folks, who repeat the saying: "When Gentle Annie is skyawlan (yelling) roond the heel of Ness (a promontory) wi' a white feather on her hat (the foam of big billows) they (the spirits) will be harrying (robbing) the crook"--that is, the pot which hangs from the crook is empty during the spring storms, which prevent fishermen going to sea. In England the wind hag is Black Annis, who dwells in a Leicestershire hill cave. She may be identical with the Irish hag Anu, associated with the "Paps of Anu". According to Gaelic lore, this wind demon of spring is the "Cailleach" (old wife). She gives her name in the Highland calendar to the stormy period of late spring; she raises gale after gale to prevent the coming of summer. Angerboda, the Icelandic hag, is also a storm demon, but represents the east wind. A Tyrolese folk tale tells of three magic maidens who dwelt on Jochgrimm mountain, where they "brewed the winds". Their demon lovers were Ecke, "he who causes fear"; Vasolt, "he who causes dismay"; and the scornful Dietrich in his mythical character of Donar or Thunor (Thor), the thunderer.