Page:Celtic Fairy Tales.djvu/274
Notes and References
under the title of Irische Elfenmärchen. Among the novelists and tale-writers of the schools of Miss Edgeworth and Lever folk-tales were occasionally utilised, as by Carleton in his Traits and Stories, by S. Lover in his Legends and Stories, and by G. Griffin in his Tales of a Jury-Room. These all tell their tales in the manner of the stage Irishman. Chapbooks, Royal Fairy Tales and Hibernian Tales, also contained genuine folk-tales, and attracted Thackeray's attention in his Irish Sketch-Book, The Irish Grimm, however, was Patrick Kennedy, a Dublin bookseller, who believed in fairies, and in five years (1866–71) printed about 100 folk- and hero-tales and drolls (classes 2, 3, and 4 above) in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, 1866, Fireside Stories of Ireland, 1870, and Bardic Stories of Ireland, 1871; all three are now unfortunately out of print. He tells his stories neatly and with spirit, and retains much that is volkstümlich in his diction. He derived his materials from the English-speaking peasantry of county Wexford, who changed from Gaelic to English while story-telling was in full vigour, and therefore carried over the stories with the change of language. Lady Wilde has told many folk-tales very effectively in her Ancient Legends of Ireland, 1887. More recently two collectors have published stories gathered from peasants of the West and North who can only speak Gaelic. These are by an American gentleman named Curtin, Myths and Folk-Tales of Ireland, 1890; while Dr. Douglas Hyde has published in Beside the Fireside, 1891, spirited English versions of some of the stories he had published in the original Irish in his Leabhar Sgeulaighteachta, Dublin, 1889. Miss Maclintoch has a large MS. collection, part of which has appeared in various periodicals; and Messrs. Larminie and D. Fitzgerald are known to have much story material in their possession.
But beside these more modern collections there exist in old and middle Irish a large number of hero-tales (class 2) which formed the staple of the old ollahms or bards. Of these tales of "cattle-liftings, elopements, battles, voyages, courtships, caves, lakes, feasts, sieges, and eruptions," a bard of even the fourth class had to know seven fifties, presumably one for each day of the year. Sir William Temple knew of a north-country gentleman of Ireland who was sent to sleep every evening with a fresh tale from his bard. The Book of Leinster an Irish vellum of the twelfth century, contains a list of 189 of these hero-tales, many of which are extant to this day; E. O'Curry gives the list in the Appendix to his MS. Materials of Irish History.