I killed two giants, I brought away one unicorn, and caught a wild boar, and am I to fear those who are standing outside the room.' When these men heard the tailor speaking thus, they were overcome by a great dread, and ran as if the wild huntsman
were behind them, and none of them would venture anything further against him.
Childers, so justly celebrated for his daring vaulting act as the Wild Huntsman
of the North American Prairies; in which popular performance, a diminutive boy with an old face, who now accompanied him, assisted as his infant son: being carried upside down over his father's shoulder, by one foot, and held by the crown of his head, heels upwards, in the palm of his father's hand, according to the violent paternal manner in which wild huntsmen may be observed to fondle their offspring.
The interference of the spectral in the human sphere functions in similar ways in the markedly melodramatic version of Weber's opera entitled The Freyschutz; or, the Wild Huntsman of Bohemia (text by Barham Livius, James Robinson Planche, and Washington Irving) first performed at Covent Garden on 14 October 1824.
The offstage dominates the opening thanks to a "chorus of invisible spirits." Sound and visual effects are compounded by the use of fire, while the Wild Huntsman appears ("suddenly distinguished on the point of the rock," 39) and vanishes to the accompaniment of "[t]hunder and lightning" (40).
After Caspar's plot has failed and the Wild Huntsman is coming to claim his soul ("'Tis the cry of hellhounds!--He comes!--He comes!--I am beset!" 35), there follows a pantomimic climax featuring the conclusive appearance of the spectral in the human world:
The stage darkens; the thunder rolls; the tree disappears; and the figure of the Wild Huntsman is seen in its place, grasping Caspar by the hand that seized the withered branch, which has become the arm of the Demon.
Later that year The Wild Huntsman
won five races in three days at Stirling.
Though Herne may have been an actual keeper of the forest, he is probably a local manifestation of the Wild Huntsman
myth known throughout the world.