[Les Dames Blanches ]. A species of
fée in Normandy. They lurk in ravines, fords, bridges, and
other narrow passes, and ask the passenger to dance. If they receive a
courteous answer, well; but if a refusal, they seize the churl and
fling him into a ditch, where thorns and briars may serve to teach him
gentleness of manners.
The most famous of these ladies is La Dame d'Aprigny, who used
to occupy the site of the present Rue St. Quentin, at Bayeux, and La
Dame Abonde. “Vocant dominam Abundiam pro
eo qnod domibus, quas frequentant, abundantiam bonorum temporalium
praestare putantur non aliter tibi sentiendum est neque aliter quam
quemadmodum de illis audivisti.” (William of
Auvergne 1248.) (See Berchta.)
One kind of these the Italians Fata name;
The French call Fée; we Sybils, and the same Others White Dames,
and those that them have seen.
Night Ladies some, of which Habundia's queen.
Ilierarchic viii. p. 501.
The White Lady. The legend says that
Bertha promised the workmen of Neuhaus a sweet soup and carp on the
completion of the castle. In remembrance thereof, these dainties were
given to the poor of Bohemia on Maundy Thursday, but have been
The most celebrated in Britain is the White Lady of
Avencl', the creation of Sir Walter Scott.
White Lady of German legend. A being
dressed in white, who appears at the castle of German princes to
forebode a death. She last appeared, it is said, in 1879, just prior
to the death of Prince Waldemar. She carries a bunch of keys at her
side, and is always dressed in white. The first instance of this
apparition occurred in the sixteenth century, and the name given to
the lady is Bertha von Rosenberg (in Bohemia).
Twice, we are told, she has been heard to speak, once in
December, 1628, when she said, “I wait for judgment!” and
once at the castle of Neuhaus, in Bohemia when she said to the
princes, “ `Tis ten o'clock.”
The White Lady of Ireland. The
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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