Ancient Illyrian religion is perhaps one of the underlying sources from which Albanian legend and folklore have drawn nourishment. Albania harbours several classes of nymph-like being. There are the Jashteashme, who live in the wooded mountains; they abduct children, who must then dance with them by night until they drop dead. There are mountain nymphs, Peris or Zanas, paradigms of beauty but dangerous creatures; they sing and dance round springs by night. There are the Shtojzvalet, male and female sprites of mountain, wood, and meadow, who have sometimes been known to marry mortals. There are also sea nymphs, and one of these too married a young man.25

23 Cf. Lawson (as n. 19), 134, 'The marriage of men with Nereids not only forms the theme of many folk-stories current in Greece, but in the more remote districts is still regarded as a credible occurrence. Even at the present day the traveller may hear of families in whose ancestry of more or less remote date is numbered a Nereid. A Thessalian peasant whom I once met claimed a Nereid-grandmother, and little as his looks warranted the assumption of any grace or beauty in so near an ancestor—he happened to have a squint—his claim appeared to be admitted by his fellow-villagers, and a certain prestige attached to him.'

25 For all this I am dependent on Lambertz (1973), 479, 481 f., 493 f., 497, 500, 508 f.

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