Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 9, 1898.djvu/255

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229
Tobit and Jack the Giant-Killer.

"'You know by our compact half your future belongings is mine. I don't want the woman just now, but I insist on remaining here.'

"When now the wedded pair have fallen asleep, a serpent creeps out of the bride's mouth to sting the bridegroom to death; but the servant cuts off its head, and draws out its body.

"After some time the servant demands the division of all his master's belongings. The division is made; next he demands also half of the woman.

"'She must be hung up, head downwards, and then I will cleave her right through.'

"Thereupon the second serpent glides out of her mouth.

"'That's the last. Henceforth you can live with your wife safely and happily. But I want nothing of you. I am the spirit of the man whose corpse you once rescued from the shame and torment of beating, and piously buried.'

"Therewith he vanished."

Benfey regarded this Armenian story as a form of the Eastern original, but he could not in 1859 know of Paspati's Gypsy version,[1] or of this from the Russian government of Riazan, cited by Reinhold Köhler in Orient und Occident, vol. iii., 1864, pp. 93-103:—


"There once were two brothers, one of whom died, leaving a son called Hans. Hans grew up, but his uncle never troubled himself about him. One day some relations came to Hans and asked him why he sat there so idle and didn't rather do something.

"'I haven't a kopeck.'

"'Ask your uncle to pay you your inheritance.'

  1. Among many lost opportunities there is one I must always regret. In 1872-3 I was living at Göttingen and saw a good deal of Professor Benfey, who showed me uncommon kindness. I had Paspati's book by me, and we often spoke of the Gypsies and their language, but never once of their folktales. For then I knew nothing of folklore and nothing of Benfey as one of the greatest of folklorists.