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Dwarves
Ring35.jpg
The dwarf Reginn depicted by Arthur Rackham.
Grouping Mythological creature
Fairy
Country Northern Europe

A Dwarf is a creature from Germanic mythologies, fairy tales, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games. It usually has magical talents, often involving metallurgy.

The original concept of Dwarves is very difficult to determine. Sources have gradually given Dwarves more comical and superstitious roles[1]. Dwarves were certainly humanoid, but sources differ over their lifestyles, and their similarity to Elves. They may have had a strong associations with death[2][3]: paled skin; dark hair; connections with the earth; their role in mythology. They followed animistic traditions, showing similarities to such concepts of the dead. They were similar to others from the 'Vættir' family, such as Elves.[2]

The remnants of the mythological Dwarves formed later fairy tales and folklore (see German folklore, English folklore and Dutch folklore) as well as elements of Fantasy literature.

The term 'dwarf' can now describe very short humans, regardless of its mythical origins. The universal modern description of a Dwarf is something short, usually associated with magic, fantasy, and fairy tales.

Nicolasito Pertusato, dwarf of the Infanta Margarita entourage. detail of Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez, 1656

Contents

Etymology

The English word dwarf descends from Old English dweorȝ (plural dweorgas), itself from a Common Germanic *dwergaz. Germanic cognates include Old High German twerg and Old Norse dvergr. The oldest attestations of the Old English word are 7th to 9th-century glosses, giving dweorȝ as translation of Latin nanus, pygmaeus, pumilio, humiliamanus (midget, pygmy, little person). It is important to note that the English term, unlike its German and Scandinavian cognates, had been devoid of any mythological sense, referring to people of stunted growth, from its earliest attestations until the application to the Norse dvergar by loan-translation in the later 18th century, beginning with Thomas Percy's Northern Antiquitites of 1770.

A Proto-Indo-European predecessor may be *dhwérgwhos, based on comparison with Greek σερφος (from *τϝερφος) "midge". An Indo-European root etymology connects *dhwer "to harm, injure" (Sanskrit dhvaras-, a type of mischievous female demons in the Rigveda).

The word-final f in English is the regular phonetic continuation of the word-final Old English ȝ, as the /f/ in enough /ɪ'nʌf/, rough /rʌf/, etc. The spelling with f appears in Middle English from the 14th century and is established by the 15th century, besides dialectal (Scottish) spellings with ch (duerch, duergh, dorch). The plural, however, became Middle English dwerwhes, dwerwes. The inflected stem dweorȝe- gave rise to yet other forms, such as dweorȝe- gave dwerȝhe, dweryhe, dwerye, dwery, and levelling between these forms yields numerous variant spellings throughout the Middle English period. The Middle English plural dwerwes would regularly have yielded a Modern English plural dwerrow or dwarrow, but in actual usage the plural was levelled to dwarfs by the Early Modern English period.

An alternative plural dwarves has been recorded from the early 18th century and was in occasional use throughout the 19th century, especially in the context of Norse mythology. The form came to wider attention with its use by English philologist J. R. R. Tolkien in his fantasy novel The Hobbit which features a number of Dwarves with names taken from the Eddaic Dvergatal. Tolkien noted that he would have preferred to use the hypotetical regular plural dwarrow but in the end restricted himself to using it in a toponym, Dwarrowdelf.[4] The plural forms dwarfs and dwarves both remain in current use. The form dwarfs is generally used for people affected by dwarfism and in reference to Dwarf Stars in astronomy; the form Dwarves is used more generally and for the mythical people described by Tolkien and others.

Dwarves of Germanic Paganism

Two dwarves from an edition of the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Norse Dwarves (Dvergar) are the earliest source for our understanding of original Dwarves. Dvergar are skilled craftsmen, and most of their magic involves labour, craftsmanship, and metallurgy. They are a family of Vættir, or nature spirits. From the later information on Dwarves, from similar mythical creatures, and from the nature of Germanic mythology and its roots, we can get a good idea of early Dwarves. Elves are a race with very close associations to Dwarves.[2] 'Alf' often appears as part of dwarf names (e.g.: Álfr, Gandálfr, and Vindálfr), and Dark Elves have deep parallels with Dwarves. Elves are often described as humans elevated after death, and descriptions of them often have them passing through physical objects. Other Norse creatures and Vættir have similar connotations of death. Nisse have the same labourer image as Dwarves, and they lived in burial mounds. Death is a recurring motif in Norse Mythology, and ancestor worship is a prevalent practice in animistic religions. Norse mythology has images such as the dwarves growing from maggots from Ymir's flesh and the inevitable murder that comes from a Dwarf weapon.[5] All of this suggests dwarves were a form of spirits of the dead[citation needed].

The words Dwarf and Dvergr are theorized to derive from Proto-Germanic "*dwergaz", from the Proto-Indo-European "*Dhwergwhos" meaning 'something tiny'[6], suggesting the Dwarves were thought of as small beings from the beginning.

North Germanic Dwarves

Dwarves fighting cranes in northern Sweden, a 16th Century drawing by Olaus Magnus.

Norse Dwarves vary throughout our sources of them. The differences between early and late Norse Dwarves are surprisingly large; outside influences, such as the onset of Christianity, acted as a catalyst for these changes.

The later Norse Dwarves may have become more comical than earlier Dwarves[1]. Various old concepts were exaggerated[7].

Along with being physically deformed, Dwarfs were known as being excellent craftsmen, whose ability is partially god-like[8]; this has parallels with stunted and ugly craftsmen and wise people (witch and oracles) from other mythologies. Dwarves were magical creatures with huge skill at metallurgy, taking fame for making great artifacts of legend. Dvergar are famous for having created Skíðblaðnir, Gungnir, Draupnir, Mjolnir, etc.

The Dwarves of shared Germanic Mythology have left a heavy influence on modern fantasy and folklore. Concepts such as Dwarven short height, ugly features, and exceptional craftsmanship are commonplace in modern literature. The remnants of the original Dwarf formed later fairy tales and folklore (see English folklore, German folklore, and Dutch folklore).

Dwarves also shared characteristics with also creatures such as Trolls (though they were large in stature), and the Tomte.

Dwarves in Folklore, fairytales, and early Literature

Dwarves are generally described as being about 3 to 4 feet tall, big-headed, and bearded. Nidavellir is the land of the dwarves in Norse mythology. Some Dwarves of mythology and fairy tales include: Rumpelstiltskin, the Dwarves from Snow White, Dvalin, Lit, Fjalar and Galar, Alvis, Eitri, Brokkr, Hreidmar, Alfrik, Berling, Grer, Fafnir, Otr, Andvari, Alberich. Regin from the Volsung Saga sometimes appears to be a Dwarf, though he is usually a human. In some version of the Sigurd myth, Regin is replaced by a Dwarf called Mimir.

Though most Dwarves in the Arthurian Romances of Chrétien de Troyes seem to be short humans, there is a reference to a kingdom or kingdoms of Dwarves, which may suggest a non-human race, in "Erec and Enide". The following passage is from Carleton W. Carroll's translation:

"The lord of the dwarves came next, Bilis, king of the Antipodes. The man of whom I'm speaking was indeed a dwarf and full brother of Bliant. Bilis was the smallest of all the dwarves, and Bliant his brother the largest of all the knights in the kingdom by half a foot or a full hands'-breadth. To display his power and authority Bilis brought in his company two kings who were dwarves, who held their land by his consent, Gribalo and Glodoalan, people looked at them with wonder. When they arrived at court, they were very cordially welcomed; at court all three were honoured and served like kings, for they were very noble men."

More ambiguous are the Dwarfs found in attendance on ladies in Medieval Romances. Although these might be humans afflicted with dwarfism, who were often kept as curiosities by courts and nobles of the era, the ladies are often of uncertain origin themselves; many enchantresses were in original stories Elves, and their attendants might likewise be non-human[9].

Folktales featuring Dwarves include: 'The Adventures of Billy McDaniel', 'Aid & Punishment', 'Bottile Hill', 'Chamois-Hunter', 'The Cobbler and the Dwarfs', 'Curiosity Punished', 'Dwarf in Search of Lodging', 'Dwarf-Husband', 'Dwarf's Banquet', 'Dwarves Borrowing Bread', 'Dwarf's Feast', 'Dwarves on the Tree', 'Dwarves Stealing Corn', 'Laird O' Co', 'Sir Thynnè', Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 film), The Three Little Men in the Wood, The Yellow Dwarf and many other tales.

Places connected with dwarves include:

  • The Dwarves' Cavern in Hasel (Germany) was supposedly once home to many Dwarves. This legend gives the cavern its name.
  • Harz Mountains in Germany), have localized folklore featuring Dwarves. On the north and south sides of the Harz mountains, and in areas of the Hohenstein region, it is said that many Dwarves lived in the area. It is said that Dwarf caves still exist in the clefts of the mountainside.
  • In Northumbria, Dwarves are associated with the Simonside Hills[1] and other areas. The Dwarves of Simondside are said to cause the deaths of hikers.

Other mythological beings characterised by shortness

Other creatures followed the same motif of shortness and mystery. These include:

The Chamorro people of Guam believe in tales of Taotaomonas, Duendes and other spirits. According to the "Chamorro-English Dictionary" by Donald Topping, Pedro Ogo and Bernadita Dungca, a Duende is a Goblin, Elf, ghost or spook in the form of a Dwarf. It is said to be a mischievous spirit which hides or takes small kids. Taotaomona are spirits of the ancient Chamorro that act as guardians to Banyan trees[10].

Dwarves in Modern Fantasy Fiction

A modern depiction of a dwarf

Modern fantasy and literature have formed an intriguing web of concepts based around those of the original Dwarves. The typical fantasy Dwarf is, like the original Dwarves, short in stature, long-bearded and skilled at mining and metallurgy. They are often depicted as having a low affinity for most magical abilities and/or a resistance to magic. After Tolkien, the standard Dwarf has become similar to those of Germanic mythology. Other characteristics of dwarves include long (but mortal) life, antipathy to Elves and distrust to other races. However, many writers of fiction devise new powers or images for Dwarves, and modern Dwarves have no strict definition. The Elder Scrolls series explicitly shows the similarity between Elves and Dwarves, with the latter a sub-race of the former. In RuneScape, the Dwarves have an advanced economy, with a major trading culture and great wealth. The Dwarves of the Artemis Fowl series act as a sort of earthworm: they tunnel through soil and loose rocks and get nutrition thereby, and they excrete the earth as fast as they eat it. Modern Dwarves are commonly portrayed as having Scottish or Scandinavian accents, although other accents are also used (English, German, Spanish etc.)

Raymond E. Feist, the bestselling fantasy and science fiction author of The Riftwar Saga, shows the similarities between Dwarves and humans. Though their appearances are relatively rare, the Dwarves are especially gifted in warfare. They have a hearty appetite for ale and feasting, similar to Tolkien's depiction.

Tolkien's dwarves

Traditionally, the plural of dwarf was "dwarfs", especially when referring to actual humans with dwarfism, but ever since J. R. R. Tolkien used Dwarves in his fantasy novel The Hobbit, the subsequent The Lord of the Rings (often published in three volumes), and the posthumously published The Silmarillion, the plural forms "dwarfs" has been replaced by "Dwarves". Tolkien, who was fond of low philological jests, also suggested two other plural forms, Dwarrows and Dwerrows; but he never used them in his writings, apart from the name 'Dwarrowdelf', the Western name for Khazad-dûm or Moria, which was, inside his fiction, a calque of the Westron name Phurunargian. His Dwarves' name for themselves was Khazâd, singular probably Khuzd. 'Dwarrows' is the Middle English plural of 'Dwerg' or 'Dwerf' ('Dwarf'), and derives from the Old English 'Dweorgas', plural of 'Dweorh' or 'Dweorg'.

The Dwarves were created by Aulë, one of the Valar, when he grew impatient waiting for the coming of Children of Ilúvatar. Ilúvatar gave them life after rebuking Aulë for what he had done and seeing that he was both humble and repentant.

Dwarves in Tolkien are long-lived, living nearly four times the age of man (about 250 years), but are not prolific breeders, having children rarely and spaced far apart, and having few women among them. Dwarvish children are cherished by their parents, and are defended at all costs from their traditional enemies, such as Orcs. A longstanding enmity between normal Dwarves and Elves is also a staple of the racial conception.

Tolkien's immense popularity led to numerous imitators, and rewrites and reworkings of his plots were extremely common, as a bit of reading through the advertisements in the back of paperback fantasy books printed in around 1960–1980 will show. The Dwarves from the book The Hobbit became the fathers to hordes of Dwarves that would follow, with their surly, somewhat suspicious demeanour passing to an entire race. Still, re-envisionings and creative reuses of the concept exist.

Female dwarves

A long standing source of interest (and humour) comes from the allusion of Tolkien to female Dwarves having beards, which was borrowed by other writers. Essentially, Tolkien developed a rational explanation for why female Dwarves are never encountered in the story, by elaborating that female Dwarves never travel abroad, and look so much like Dwarf men that visitors to Dwarf cities cannot immediately spot them. In addition to being rare creatures they are perhaps not often featured in many fantasy milieu for this reason.

Tolkien writes his Dwarf-women are "in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of the other peoples cannot tell them apart." This, he writes, leads to the belief that Dwarves grow out of stone[11]. In The Chronicles of Narnia, in fact, C. S. Lewis, who was a friend of Tolkien, describes his Dwarfs as doing just this, and it is possible that Tolkien was ribbing Lewis in making this point. Interestingly, though, Lewis' all-male Dwarfs are capable of mixing with humans to make half-Dwarfs, such as Doctor Cornelius, the tutor of Prince Caspian (In the 2008 adaption of Prince Caspian, female Dwarfs are shown as archers along with the males, though these female Dwarfs are shown to be beardless). In later writings, Tolkien directly states that his female Dwarves have beards "from the beginning of their lives", as do the males[12].

In Katherine Kerr's novel 'A Time of Omens' (part 3 of the Westlands Cycle), the main character Rhodry Maelwaedd visits a Dwarven hold. There he gets to meet Dwarven women who are kept deep underground and possess great magic lore.

In the Discworld novels, Terry Pratchett notes that bearded Dwarven females pose a major problem for their race, and states that much of the point of Dwarven courtships is to 'tactfully find out which sex the other one is'. This creates the unique situation where females are treated equally, but the idea of acting 'distinctly' feminine is sometimes considered unconventional and even offensive.

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura features only male Dwarves, and asking one about Dwarven women is taboo, tantamount to insulting him. The game's manual hints that the reason for this is that the birth of a female Dwarf is a rare event, with Dwarven men outnumbering the women 2-to-1, and Dwarven women are pregnant with their children for up to ten years, during which time their health is greatly at risk. Dwarven culture, therefore, requires that female Dwarves spend almost all of their lives concealed from the outside world, for their own safety.

In Dungeons & Dragons the status of beards on Dwarven women varies by setting and editions: In Greyhawk, Dwarven women grow beards but generally shave; in Forgotten Realms they grow sideburns but not beards or mustaches in AD&D, but some can grow full beards in 3rd edition; and in Eberron they do not grow beards at all. However in 4th edition no female Dwarves have beards, and in fact have been changed to look more attractive than their previous incarnations.

In the MMORPG RuneScape, female Dwarves are as present in the game as the females of other races and do not have facial hair. Also a more notable MMORPG, World of Warcraft features female Dwarves as a selectable race.

In the MMORPG franchise EverQuest, female Dwarves are player characters, and in EverQuest II's non-SOGA model, female Dwarves can grow sideburns.

In the MMORPG "The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar", Dwarf player characters are neither labeled female nor male and all have facial hair.

In the RPG Castle Falkenstein, all Dwarves are male. They marry with women from other Faerie races, such as Naiads or Selkies; their daughters are all members of their mother's race, and their sons are all Dwarves. Given that the Naiads and Selkies are all female, this would appear to suggest that this is simply a marked example of sexual dimorphism.

In a notable departure from convention, Dwarven females in the Korea-produced Lineage II MMORPG are very comely, young-looking women (almost girls, actually), a shocking contrast to the grizzled, old look of male Dwarves. Female Dwarves, however, are taller than males, and look more like young human girls, with larger heads and stomachs.

In the Warhammer world, Dwarves are depicted as having female members of the race. Female members are rarely seen, however, as most Dwarven warriors are male. From what evidence can be gathered, female Dwarfs of the Warhammer kind look like female equivalents of their male counterparts, possessing long, platted hair instead of beards. It should be noted that Games Workshop, publisher of Warhammer does not include many female characters or armies, except in the Dark Elf range. To date, only a handful of female Dwarf figures have been made across their game lines, one being a cheerleader for Blood Bowl.

In the Warcraft universe, female Dwarves do exist, but do not possess facial hair.

In the Bioware RPG Dragon Age: Origins, female Dwarves exist and are similarly proportioned to their male counterparts, but have no facial hair. IN addition, some Dwarves possess no beards, while others do and both appear to be socially acceptable.

In the Book by Markus Heitz The Dwarves female dwarves exist and is said in the book that they have a little fluff on their faces though not actual beards which is why rumours within the story say the female dwarves have beards, but is not true.(link wont work as the book is not recorded on wikipedia, but i assure you that its real)

Modern fantasy with major roles for Dwarves

Books

Video and Role-Playing games

See also

Bibliography

  • Carleton W. Carroll, trans. "Erec and Enide," in Chrétien de Troyes. Arthurian Romances. William W. Kibler, trans. London: Penguin Books, 1991.
  • Vandebrake, Mark, Children of the Mist: Dwarfs in German Mythology, Fairy Tales, and Folk Legends 135 pages. A work that interprets dwarf depictions throughout German history as shadow symbols.
  • Konungsbók
  • Prose Edda
  • Poetic Edda
  • Hauksbók
  • Hervarar saga
  • Ynglingatal

References

  1. ^ a b 'Zwerge' in Rudolf Simek, Lexikon der germanischen Mythologie, (Stuttgart, 1984)
  2. ^ a b c Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs, p.100
  3. ^ Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Mythology, p.213
  4. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey (ed.), 1981, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, p. 23, 138
  5. ^ List of Medieval and Ancient Monsters
  6. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  7. ^ Lindow, John. Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press (2001). p. 101.
  8. ^ Voluspo
  9. ^ Katharine Briggs, "Dwarfs", An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures (Pantheon Books, 1976), p. 115. ISBN 0-394-73467-X
  10. ^ Guampdn.com, Ghost stories: Taotaomona, duendes and other spirits inhabit Guam
  11. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Appendix A, "Part III: Durin's Folk", ISBN 0-395-08256-0 
  12. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1994), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The War of the Jewels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Naugrim and the Edain", ISBN 0-395-71041-3 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'DWARF (A.S.' dweorg, D. dwerg, Icel. dvergr), the term generally used to describe an extraordinarily under-sized individual of a race of normal stature (for dwarf-races see Pygmy.) In Scandinavian mythology the word connoted smallness and deformity, and was used of the elfins and goblins who were supposed to live on the mountains or in the bowels of the earth, and to be kings of metals and mines. The later use of the word certainly does not imply deformity, for many of the dwarfs of history have been singularly graceful and well formed. Dwarfishness is, however, often accompanied by disproportion of the limbs.

From the earliest historic times dwarfs attracted attention, and there was much competition on the part of kings and the wealthy to obtain the little folk as attendants. It is certain that members of the tiny Akka race of Equatorial Africa figured at the courts of the Pharaohs of the early dynasties and were much valued. Philetas of Cos, poet and grammarian (circa 330 B.C.), tutor of Ptolemy Philadelphus, was alleged to be so tiny that he had to wear leaden shoes lest he should be blown away. The Romans practised artificial dwarfing, and the Latin nanus or pumilo were terms alternatively used to describe the natural and unnatural dwarf. Julia, the niece of Augustus, had a dwarf named Coropas 2 ft. 4 in. high, and a freed-maid Andromeda who measured the same.

Various recipes for dwarfing children have been from time to time in vogue. The most effective, according to report, was to anoint the backbone with the grease of moles, bats and dormice.

The stunting of the growth of stable-boys who aspire to jockey's honours is in no sense true dwarfing.

In later days there have been many dwarf-favourites at European courts. British tradition has its earliest dwarf mentioned in the old ballad which begins "In Arthur's court Tom Thumb did live"; and on this evidence the prototype of the modern Tom Thumb is alleged to have lived at the court of King Edgar. Of authentic English dwarfs the first appears to be John Jarvis (2 ft. high), who was page to Queen Mary I. Her brother Edward VI. had his dwarf Xit. But the first English dwarf of whom there is anything like an authentic history is Jeffery Hudson (1619-1682). He was the son of a butcher at Oakham, Rutlandshire, who kept and baited bulls for George Villiers, first duke of Buckingham. Neither of Jeffery's parents was under-sized, yet at nine years he measured scarcely 18 in., though he was gracefully proportioned. At a dinner given by the duke to Charles I. and his queen he was brought in to table in a pie out of which he stepped, and was at once adopted by Henrietta Maria. The little fellow followed the fortunes of the court in the Civil War, and is said to have been a captain of horse, earning the nickname of "strenuous Jeffery" for his activity. He fought two duels - one with a turkey-cock, a battle recorded by Davenant, and a second with Mr Crofts, who came to the meeting with a squirt, but who in the more serious encounter which ensued was shot dead by little Hudson, who fired from horseback, the saddle putting him on a level with his antagonist. Twice was Jeffery made prisoner - once by the Dunkirkers as he was returning from France, whither he had been on homely business for the queen; the second time was when he fell into the hands of Turkish pirates. His sufferings during this latter captivity made him, he declared, grow, and in his thirtieth year, having been of the same height since he was nine, he steadily increased until he was 3 ft. 9 in. At the Restoration he returned to England, where he lived on a pension granted him by the duke of Buckingham. He was later accused of participation in the "Popish Plot," and was imprisoned in the Gate House. He was released and shortly after died in the sixty-third year of his age.

Contemporary with Hudson were the two other dwarfs of Henrietta Maria, Richard Gibson and his wife Anne. They were married by the queen's wish; and the two together measured only 2 in. over 7 ft. They had nine children, five of whom, who lived, were of ordinary stature. Edmund Waller celebrated the nuptials, Evelyn designated the husband as the "compendium of a man," and Lely painted them hand in hand. Gibson was miniature painter to Charles I., and drawing-master to the daughters of James II., Queens Mary and Anne, when they were children. This Cumberland pygmy, who began his career as a page, first in a "gentle," next in the royal family, died in 1690, in his seventy-fifth year, and is buried in St Paul's, Covent Garden. The last court dwarf in England was Coppernin, a lively little imp in the service of the princess (Augusta) of Wales, the mother of George III. The last dwarf retainer in a gentleman's family was the one kept by Mr Beckford, the author of Vathek and builder of Fonthill. He was rather too big to be flung from one guest to another, as used to be the custom at dinners in earlier days when a dwarf was a "necessity" for every noble family.

Of European court dwarfs the most famous were those of Philip IV. of Spain, the hunchbacks whose features have been immortalized by Velazquez. Stanislas, king of Poland, owned Nicholas Ferry (Bebe), who measured 2 ft. 9 in. He was one of three dwarf children of peasant parents in the Vosges. He died in his 23rd year (1764). But Bebe was not so remarkable as Richebourg, who died in Paris in 1858, at the age of 90. He was only 23 in. high. He began life as a servant in the Orleans family. In later years he was their pensioner. He is said to have been put to strange use in the Revolution - passing in and out of Paris as an infant in a nurse's arms, but with despatches, dangerous to carry, in the little man's baby-wrappings !

Of dwarfs exhibited in England, the most celebrated was the Pole, Borulwaski (1739-1837). At six he measured 17 in., and he finally in his thirtieth year reached 39 in. He had a sister shorter than himself by the head and shoulders. Borulwaski was a handsome man, a wit, and something of a scholar. He travelled over all Europe; and he - born in the reign of George II. - died in his well-earned retirement near Durham, in the reign of Victoria. Borulwaski lies buried at Durham by the side of the Falstaffian Stephen Kemble. The companionship reminds one of that of the dwarf skeleton of Jonathan Wild by the side of that of the Irish Giant, at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

In the year in which Borulwaski died, Charles Stratton, better known as "General Tom Thumb," was born. When twenty-five he was 31 in. high. In 1844 he appeared in England, where he had an extraordinary success. One result of his season at the Egyptian Hall, London, was to kill Haydon the painter. The latter presented his great work "The Banishment of Aristides" for exhibition in the same building. The public rushed to see the dwarf. He took £600 the first week, while Haydon's masterpiece drew but £7, 13s. The result was that the artist committed suicide in despair. After extensive travel in both hemispheres, Stratton again visited England in 1857, but the dwarf man, despite many personal and intellectual qualities, was less attractive than the dwarf boy. In the year 1863 the "General" married the very minute American lady, Lavinia Warren (born in 1842). He died on the 15th of July 1883.

Other modern dwarfs include Signor Hervio Nano, who played at the Olympic Theatre, London, in 1843; three Highlanders named MacKinlay, children of a Scots shepherd, the shortest of whom was 45 in.; a Spaniard, Don Francisco Hidalgo (29 in.); a Dutchman, Jan Hannema (28 in.); and Mary Jane Youngman (Australia), who at fifteen was 35 in. high. She was called the "dwarf-giantess" because she was 3 ft. 6 in. round the shoulders, 4 ft. 3 in. round the waist, and 2 ft. round the leg. Much interest was aroused by the so-called Aztec dwarfs who were exhibited in London in 1853. In 1867 the pair were married, the ceremony being publicly performed, and the bride's robes are said to have cost no less than £ 2000. The wedding-breakfast was held at Willis's Rooms. From time to time other dwarfs have been exhibited, among whom the most remarkable has been Che-mah, a Chinese, 42 years old and 25 in. high, who appeared in London in 1880. George Prout (1774-1851), who was less than 3 ft. high, was a well-known character in London in the early Victorian period, as a messenger at the Houses of Parliament.

See E. J. Wood, Giants and Dwarfs (1860).


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


a lean or emaciated person (Lev. 21:20).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)


Simple English

A dwarf is a short, humanlike creature in Norse mythology as well as other Germanic mythologies, fairy tales, fantasy, fiction and role-playing games. In some stories, dwarves are mean, living under bridges, and having a bad reputation for stealing treasure.

A dwarf can also be a short human. Often "dwarf" is used as an insult for short people, but some people have a genetic condition which was called dwarfism. Not all short people have this condition.

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