Page:Grimm Goblins (1876).djvu/29

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EXTRACTS. xxiii

Qmrierly Review, Vol. XXL No. XLL, Art 5. Tbe most important addition to nursery literature has been effected in Germany, Irrthe diligence of John and William Grimm, two antiquarian brethren of the lughest reputation. Under the title of *' Kinder und UausmHrchen " they hare pablinbed a collection of German popular stories, sinf^alar in its kind, both for extent and variety, and from which we have acquired much information. In this collection we recognise a host of EngKsh and French and Italian stories of the same genus and species, and extant in printed books ; but the greater part of the German popular or nursery stories are stated by the editors to be traditionary, some local, others more widely known, and MM. Grimm say that they are confident that all those which they have so gathered from oral tradition, with the exception, indeed, of '* Pass in Boots,^ are pure German, and not borrowed from the stranger. lu their annotation, MM. Grimm have taken considerably pains, and often with considerable success, to show the relationship between these Kinder M^rchen, or Children's Tales, and the venerable Sagas of the North, which, in good sooth, were only intended tor children of larger growth. " The real worth of these tales,*' continue MU. Grimm, ** is indeed to be hi^^hly estimated, as they give a new and more complete eliicidation of our ancient German heroic fictions than could be obtained from anv other souree. Thomroea, who is set a-sleeping in consequence of the wouuds inflicted by her spindle, is Brynhilda cast into slumber by the sleep-thorn of Odhl. The manner in which Loke hangs to the Giant-Eagle is better understood after a perusal of the story of the Golden Goose, to which the lads and lasses who touch it. adhere inseparably. In the stories of the Wicked Goldsmith, the Speaking Bird, and the Eating of the Birdie Heart, who does not recognise the fable of Sigurd (see note). In these popular stories is concealed the pure and primitive mythology of the Teutons, which has been considered as lost for ever, and we are convinced that if such researches are continued in the different districts of Germany, the traditions of tliis nature, i^hich are now neglected, will change into treasuries of incredible worth, and assist in affording a new basis for the study of the origin of our ancient poetical fictions."

Quarterly Review, The Statement of a Singular Hypothesis of Fairies, in

Vol. XIV., pp. 280-1.

Mrs. Bray thinks that the Pixies are certainly a distinct race from the Fairies, because the elders among the more knowing peasantry will invariably tell you, if you ask them what Pixies really may be, that they are the souls of infants who were so unhappy as to die unbaptised. Everything, however, which is attributed to Fairies in other parts of England is attributed to Pixies in Devonshire. They steal children, they lead travellers astray, they delude miners, they reward good house- wives and punish idle ones, and make rings on the turf where they dance. The §ood people affirm that of late years the Pjxits are conjured away to their own omains and held tolerably fast there ; and the reason they give for this is, that the burial service is much enlarged to what it was in former days, and the clergy much more learned. A more extraordinary hypothesis concerning them, which was advanced some thirty years ago by Dr. Guthrie, seems not to have been heard o! in the West.

" Most of the traditional stories respecting Fairies," says the Doctor, " especially such as represented them as embodied spirits, might perhaps be accounted for upon supposing that the Druid>4, or rather some conquered Aborigines, had fied from their enemies and taken up their residence in those subterraneous dwellings so frequently discovered in digging in various parts of Scotland and in some places