Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/22

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6
AINO FOLK-LORE.

the end, may perhaps be considered out of place in a collection of tales. But I thought it better to err on the side of inclusion than on that of exclusion. Tor it may be presumed that the object of any such investigation is rather to gain as minute an acquaintance as possible with the mental products of the people studied, than scrupulously to conform to any system.

There must be a large number of Aino fairy-tales besides those here given, as the chief tellers of stories, in Aino-land as in Europe, are the women, and I had mine from men only, the Aino women being much too shy of male foreigners for it to be possible to have much conversation with them. Even of the tales I myself heard, several were lost through the destruction of certain papers, — among others at least three of the Panaumbe and Penaumbe Cycle, which I do not trust myself to reconstruct from memory at this distance of time. Many precious hours were likewise wasted, and much material rendered useless, by the national vice of drunkenness. A whole month at Hakodate was spoilt in this way, and nothing obtained from an Aino named Tomtare, who had been procured for me by the kindness of H. E. the Governor of Hakodate. One can have intercourse with men who smell badly, and who suffer, as almost all Ainos do, from lice and from a variety of disgusting skin-diseases. It is a mere question of endurance and of disinfectants. But it is impossible to obtain information from a drunkard. A third reason for the comparatively small number of tales which it is possible to collect during a limited period of intercourse is the frequency of repetitions. No doubt such repetitions have a confirmatory value, especially when the repetition is of the nature of a variant. Still, one would willingly spare them for the sake of new tales.

The Aino names appended to the stories are those of the men by whom they were told to me, viz. Penri, the aged chief of Piratori; Ishanashte of Shumunkot; Kannariki of Poropet (Jap. Horobetsu); and Kuteashguru of Sapporo. Tomtare of Yūrap does not appear for the reason mentioned above, which spoilt all his usefulness. The only mythological names which appear are Okikurumi, whom the Ainos regard as having been their civilizer in very ancient times, his