Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/252

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240 Journal of American Folk-Lore.

ties is to be explained as a relic of ancient beast worship, and the degree to which it is to be allowed purely symbolic, is full of uncertainty. Of symbolism we have examples in the animal figures still associated with the evangelists, and especially in the representation of Christ as a lamb bear- ing the cross. The requirements of ancient art in a degree explain such animal presentation. Equally involved are the principles of ethnological theory. That the Aryan races had a different way of looking at the uni- verse, or in respect to their forms of divinities were more advanced than their non-Aryan neighbors, or that simple and rude beliefs and usages imply the presence of lower racial elements, are propositions at least not established. The very literary character of the material ought also to be considered ; such is especially the case in regard to the late and highly sophisticated Welsh mediaeval folk-lore. When, therefore, the attempt is made to trace a particular human story to an animal origin, there are countless probabilities of error. But these remarks are offered merely by way of pointing out the caution to be observed, and by no means with intent to cast doubt on the general correctness of the author's theme, that animal mythology antedates the humanized versions of ancient literature.

W. W. Newell.

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