Hatter. Mad as a hatter, or mad as a viper. Atter is Anglo-Saxon for “adder” or “viper,” so called from its venomous character; áter, “poison;” atter-drink or áttor-drink, “a poisonous drink;” áttor-lic, “snake-like.”

Hatteraick (Dirk), alias Jans Janson, a Dutch smuggler-captain, and accomplice of lawyer Glossin in kidnapping Henry Bertrand. Meg Merrilies conducts young Hazlewood and others to the smuggler’s cave, when Hatteraick shoots her, is seized, and imprisoned. Lawyer Glossin visits the villain in prison, when a quarrel ensues, in which Hatteraick strangles the lawyer, and then hangs himself.—Sir W. Scott: Guy Mannering (time George II.).

Hatto, archbishop of Mentz, was devoured by mice in the Mouse -tower, situate in a little green island in the midst of the Rhine, near the town of Bingen. Some say he was eaten by rats, and Southey, in his ballad called God’s Judgment on a Wicked Bishop has adopted the latter tradition.

This Hatto, in the time of the great famine of 914, when he saw the poor exceedingly oppressed by famine, assembled a great company of them together into a barne at Kaub, and burnt them … because he thought the famine would sooner cease if those poor folks were despatched out of the world, for, like mice, they only devour food, and are of no good whatsoever. …But God … sent against him a plague of mice, …and the prelate retreated to a tower in the Rhine as a sanctuary;…but the mice chased him continually,… and at last he was most miserably devoured by those sillie creatures.—Coryat: Crudities, 571, 572.

(Giraldus Cambrensis, in his Itinerary xi. 2, says, “the larger sort of mice are called rati.” This may account for the substitution of rats for mice in the legend.)

The legend of Hatto is very common, as the following stories will prove:—

(1) Widerolf, bishop of Strasburg (997), was devoured by mice in the seventeenth year of his episcopate, because he suppressed the convent of Seltzen on the Rhine.

(2) Bishop Adolf, of Cologne, was devoured by mice or rats in 1112.

(3) Freiherrvon Güttingen collected the poor in a great barn, and burnt them to death, mocking their cries of agony. He, like Hatto, was invaded by mice, ran to his castle of Güttingen, in the lake of Constance, whither the vermin pursued him, and ate him alive. The Swiss legend says the castle sank in the lake, and may still be seen. Freiherr von Güttingen had three castles, one of which was Moosburg.

(4) Count Graaf, in order to enrich himself, bought up all the corn. One year a sad famine prevailed, and the count expected to reap a rich harvest by his speculation; but an army of rats, pressed by hunger, invaded his barns, and, swarming into his Rhine tower, fell on the old baron, worried him to death, and then devoured him.—Legends of the Rhine.

(5) A similar story is told by William of Malmesbury, History, ii. 313, (Bohn’s edit.).

(Some of the legends state that the “mice” were in reality “the souls of the murdered people.”)

Mauth, in German, means a toll or custom-house, and probably gave rise to these traditions, for a toll on corn was always unpopular. Mauth tower, Maus tower, and Moose tower are quite near enough to be interchangeable.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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