Europa's Fairy Book/Notes

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EVER since the Brothers Grimm in 1812 made for the first time a fairly complete collection of the folk-tales of a definite local or national area in Europe, the resemblance of many of these tales, not alone in isolated incidents but in continuous plots, has struck inquirers into these delightful little novels for children, as the Italians call them (Novelline). Wilhelm Grimm, in the comparative notes which he added to successive editions of the Mährchen up to 1859, drew attention to many of these parallels and especially emphasized the resemblances of different incidents to similar ones in the Teutonic myths and sagas which he and his brother were investigating. Indeed it may be said that the very considerable amount of attention that was paid to the collection of folk tales throughout Europe for the half century between 1840 and 1890 was due to the hope that they would throw some light upon the origins of mythology. The stories and incidents common to all the European field were thought likely to be original mythopœic productions of the Indo-European peoples just in the same manner as the common roots of the various Aryan languages indicated their original linguistic store.

In 1864 J. G. von Hahn, Austrian Consul for Eastern Greece, in the introduction to his collection of Greek and Albanian folk tales, made the first attempt to bring together in systematic form this common story-store of Europe and gave an analysis of forty folk-tale and saga "formulæ," which outlined the plots of the stories found scattered through the German, Greek, Italian, Servian, Roumanian, Lithuanian, and Indian myth and folk-tale areas. These formulas were translated and adapted by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould in an appendix to Henderson's Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England (London, 1866), and he expanded them into fifty-two formulæ. Those were the days when Max Müller's solar and lunar explanations of myths were in the ascendant and Mr. Baring-Gould applied his views to the explanation of folk tales. I have myself expanded Hahn's and Baring-Gould's formulæ into a list of seventy-two given in the English Folk-Lore Society's Hand-Book of Folk-Lore, London, 1891 (repeated in the second edition, 1912).

Meanwhile the erudition of Theodor Benfey, in his introduction to the Indian story book, Pantschatantra (Leipzig, 1859), had suggested another explanation of the similarities of European folk-tales. For many of the incidents and several of the complete tales Benfey showed Indian parallels, and suggested that the stories had originated in India and had been transferred by oral tradition to the different countries of Europe. This entirely undermined the mythological theories of the Grimms and Max Müller and considerably reduced the importance of folk tales as throwing light upon the primitive psychology of the Aryan peoples. Benfey's researches were followed up by E. Cosquin who, in the elaborate notes to his Contes de Lorraine, Paris, 1886, largely increased the evidence both for the common European popularity of many of the tales and incidents as well as for the parallels to be found in Oriental collections.

Still a third theory to account for the similarity of folktale incidents was started by James A. Farrer and elaborated by Andrew Lang in connection with the general movement initiated by Sir Edward Tylor to explain mythology and superstition by the similar processes of savage psychology at definite stages of primitive culture. In introductions to Perrault and Grimm and elsewhere, Andrew Lang pointed out the similarity of some of the incidents of folk tales—speaking of animals, transference of human feeling to inanimate objects and the like—with the mental processes of contemporary savages. He drew the conclusion that the original composers of fairy tales were themselves in a savage state of mind and, by inference, explained the similarities found in folk tales as due to the similarity of the states of minds. In a rather elaborate controversy on the subject between Mr. Lang and myself, carried through the transactions of the Folk-Lore Congress of 1891, the introduction to Miss Roalfe Cox's "Cinderella," and in various numbers of "Folk-Lore," I urged the improbability of this explanation as applied to the plots of fairy tales. Similar states of mind might account for similar incidents arising in different areas independently, but not for whole series of incidents artistically woven together to form a definite plot which must, I contended, arise in a single artist mind. The similarities in plot would thus be simply due to borrowing from one nation to another, though incidents or series of incidents might be inserted or omitted during the process. Mr. Lang ultimately yielded this point and indeed insisted that he had never denied the possibility of the transmission of complete folk-tale formulæ from one nation and language to another.

During all this discussion as to the causes of the similarity of folk-tale plots no attempt has been made to reconstitute any of these formulas in their original shape. Inquirers have been content to point out the parallelisms to be found in the various folk-tale collections, and of course these parallelisms have bred and mustered with the growth of the collections. In some cases the parallels have run into the hundreds. (See "Reynard and Bruin.") In only one case have practically all the parallels been brought together in a single by Miss Roafle Cox on Cinderella (Folk-Lore Society Publication for 1893; see notes on "Cinder-Maid"). These variants of incidents obviously resemble the variæ lectiones of MSS. and naturally suggest the possibility of getting what may be termed the original readings. In 1889 the following suggestion was made by Mr. (now Sir) James G. Frazer in an essay on the "Language of Animals," in the Archælogical Review, i., p. 84:

"In the case of authors who wrote before the invention of printing, scholars are familiar with the process of comparing the various MSS. of a single work in order from such a comparison to reconstruct the archetype or original MS., from which the various existing MSS. are derived. Similarly in Folk-Lore, by comparing the different versions of a single tale, it may be possible to arrive, with tolerable certainty, at the original story, of which the different versions are more or less imperfect and incorrect representations."

Independently of Sir James Frazer's suggestion, which I have only recently come across, I have endeavoured in the present book to carry it out as applied to a considerable number of the common formulæ of European folk-tales, and I hope in a succeeding volume to complete the task and thus give to the students of the folk-tale as close approach as possible to the original form of the common folk-tales of Europe as the materials at our disposal permit.

My procedure has been entirely similar to that of an editor of a text. Having collected together all the variants, I have reduced them to families of types and from these families have conjectured the original concatenation of incidents into plot. I have assumed that the original teller of the tale was animated by the same artistic logic as the contemporary writers of Contes (see notes on "Cinder-Maid," "Language of Animals"), and have thus occasionally introduced an incident which seemed vital to the plot, though it occurs only in some of the families of the variants. My procedure can only be justified by the success of my versions and their internal coherence. As regards the actual form of the narrative, this does not profess to be European but follows the general style of the English fairy tale, of which I have published two collections (English Fairy Tales, 1890; More English Fairy Tales, 1894).

In the following notes I have not wasted space on proving the European character of the various tales by enumerating the different variants, being content for the most part to give references to special discussions of the story where the requisite bibliography is given. With the more serious tales I have rather concerned myself with trying to restore the original formula and to establish its artistic coherence. Though I have occasionally discussed an incident of primitive character, I have not made a point of drawing attention to savage parallels, nor again have I systematically given references to the appearance of whole tales or separate incidents in mediæval literature or in the Indian collections. For the time being I have concentrated myself on the task of getting back as near as possible to the original form of the fairy tales common to all Europe. Only when that has been done satisfactorily can we begin to argue as to the causes or origin of the separate items in these originals. It must, of course, always be remembered that, outside this common nucleus, each country or linguistic area has its own story-store, which is equally deserving of special investigation by the serious student of the folk-tale. I have myself dealt with some of these non-European or national folk-tales for the English, Celtic and Indian areas and hope in the near future to treat of other folk-tale districts, like the French, the Scandinavian, the Teutonic or the Slavonian.

I had gone through three-quarters of the tales and notes contained in the present book before I became acquainted with the modestly named Anmerkungen zu Grimm's Mährchen, 2 vols., 1913-15, by J. Bolte and E. Polivka. This is one of those works of colossal erudition of which German savants alone seem to have the secret. It sums up the enormous amount of research that has been going on in Europe for the last hundred years, on the parallelism and provenance of the folk-tales of Europe, and in a measure does for all the Grimm stories what Miss Roalfe Cox did for Cinderella. Only two volumes have as yet appeared dealing with the first 120 numbers of the Grimm collection in over a thousand pages crammed with references and filled with details as to variants. The book has obviously been planned and worked out by Dr. Bolte, who had previously edited the collected works of his chief predecessor, R. Koehler. Dr. Polivka's contribution mainly consists in the collection and collation of the Slavonic variants, which are here made accessible for the first time. I therefore refer to the volume henceforth by Dr. Bolte's name. The book is indispensable for the serious students of the folk-tale, and would have saved me an immense amount of trouble if I had become acquainted with it earlier.

In thirty-eight or nearly a third of the tales Dr. Bolte gives a formula, or radicle, summing up the "common form" of the story, and I am happy to find that in those cases, which occur in the early part of the present volume, my own formulæ, agree with his, though of course for the purposes of this book I have had to go into more detail. Dr. Bolte has not as yet expounded any theory of the origin of the Folk Tale, but, with true scientific caution, judges each case on its merits. But his whole treatment assumes the organic unity of each particular formula, and one cannot conceive him regarding the similarities of the tales as due to similar mental workings of the folk mind at a particular stage of social development.

Finally, I should perhaps explain that in my selection of typical folk-tales for the present volume, I have included not only those which could possibly be traced back to real primitive times and mental conditions, like the "Cupid and Psyche" formula, but others of more recent date and composition, provided they have spread throughout Europe, which is my criterion. For instance "Beauty and the Beast" in its current shape was composed in the eighteenth century, but has found its place in the story-store of European children. A couple, like "Androcles and the Lion" and "Day Dreaming," owe a similar spread to literary communication even though in the latter case it is the popular literature of the Arabian Nights. These must be regarded as specimens only of a large class of stories that are found among the folk and can be traced in the popular mediæval collections like Alfonsi's Disciplina-Clericalis or Jacques de Vitry's Exempla, not to speak of the Fables of Bidpai or The Seven Wise Masters of Rome. These form quite a class by themselves and though they have come to be in many cases Folk-Lore of European spread, they differ in quality from the ordinary folk-tale which is characterized by its tendency to variation as it passes from mouth to mouth. Still one has to recognize that they are now European and take their place among the folk and for that reason I have given a couple of specimens of them, but of course my main attention has been directed to attempting to reconstruct the original form of the true folk-tale from the innumerable variants now current among the folk.

Source.—Miss Roalfe Cox's volume on Cinderella, published by the Folk-Lore Society (London: David Nutt, 1893), contains 130 abstracts and tabulations of the pure Cinderella "formula," found in Finland, the Riviera, Scotland, Italy, Armenia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, France, Greece, Germany, Spain, Calcutta, Ireland, Servia, Poland, Russia, Denmark, Albania, Cyprus, Galicia Lithuania, Catalonia, Portugal, Sicily, Hungary, Martinique, Holland, Bohemia, Bulgaria, and the Tyrol. Besides these there are 31 intermediate stories approximating to the Cinderella type, from Russia, Asia Minor, Italy, Lorraine, The Deccan, Poland, Hungary, Catalonia, Corsica, Finland, Switzerland, and in Basque, Spain. The earliest form in which the pure type occurs is in Basile's Pentamerone, 1634, and of the indeterminate type in Bonaventure des Periers Nouvelles Récréations, 1557, though the latter seems more cognate to the Catskin formula.

In many of the variants there is an introductory series of incidents in which the heroine, after the loss of her mother, is set tasks by the envious step-mother and sisters, which she is aided to perform by means of an animal helper, mainly sheep or cow, which, in some of the versions, is clearly identified with her mother either in a transformed or a natural state. In these versions the magic dresses, for example, are taken out of the ear of the cow or sheep! These incidents however seem to me to be incongruous with the rest of the story, which involves a monogamous society with fairly fixed social grades and with the wearing of shoes at least among the upper strata of society. They belong rather to the type of story represented by the Grimm's "One eye, Two eyes, Three eyes"; and I have therefore reserved them for my retelling of this formula. In a similar way, in some of the Celtic versions, a long series of incidents is inserted, clearly taken from the Sea Maiden story (see Celtic Fairy Tales, xvii.).

The central incident of the Cinder-Maid formula is clearly the Shoe Marriage Test, up to which everything leads and upon which the mutilation incidents at the end depends. The mutilation again implies that the shoe in question must have been of a hard or metallic substance which could not be pressed out of shape. In the form endeared to most European children of the upper classes by Charles Perrault, the slipper is made of glass. It was first suggested by Balzac that Perrault's pantoffles de verre was due to his misunderstanding of the pantoffles de vair, or fur (the word vair is still used to indicate this in heraldry), which he had heard from his nurse or other folk-tale informant. But the step-sisters would not have been compelled to hack their heels to get inside a fur slipper, and, from this point of view, the glass shoe would be preferable. I have had, however, to reject it because it occurs in only six of the variants obviously derived directly, or indirectly, from Perrault. The majority of the versions prefer gold (see Miss Roalfe Cox's enumeration p. 342).

The Shoe Marriage Test again involves the previous meetings of the high-born lover and the menial heroine, transformed for the nonce by her dress into a dame of equal standing. In some of the variants these meetings are in church and not at a ball, royal or otherwise. But the Shoe Marriage Test involves a highly desirable parti who can practically command any wife he desires; this points to some super-chief or king. I have, therefore, reserved the church meetings for the Catskin type of story in which the heroine is scullery-maid in the young lord's own household. The obtaining of the dresses needed for the Royal Balls involves some animal or supernatural aid (in Perrault it is, of course, a fairy god-mother, unknown to the folk mind), while the menial condition of the heroine is best explained in the usual folk-tale manner by the envious step-mother or sisters.

I have pointed out in English Fairy Tales (Note to "Childe Rowland") that in most folk-tales of a romantic type the mode of telling is by prose narrative interspersed with rhyming formulas analogous to the cante-fable as in "Aucassin and Nicolete." The Cinderella formula shows clear traces of such rhymes, especially at the stages of the narrative where incidents are repeated—the appeal for aid at the mother's grave (Dress Rhyme), the avoidance of pursuit by the guards (Pursuit Rhyme), and the calling attention of the Prince to the mutilated feet of the stepsisters (Feet Rhyme).

Now some of these rhymes are found in similar and almost identical shape in collections made in different countries and different languages; thus the Tree Rhyme is found in the Archivio (Cox, p. 139) and in Ive (p. 265), in Bechstein (p. 166), and in Grimm (p. 222), and in Hahn (p. 244), and Moe (p. 322), each pair having practically identical rhymes. Thus we have the existence of a Tree Rhyme, shown in Italy and Germany, Greece and Denmark. So, too, the Feet Rhyme is found in Scotland and Denmark, Germany and Brittany. It is scarcely possible to doubt that all these came from one original form of the story in which similar rhymes occurred at the same stage of the narrative. The possibility of such coincidences arising casually may fairly be regarded as out of the question.

The subordinate incidents growing out of these essential elements of the formula are of course more flexible, but the Shoe Marriage Test itself involves some remarkable dresses used to disguise the identity of the Cinder Maid at her meetings with the hero, and this again involves, though not so directly, a series of metal carriages. The Pursuit Rhyme might easily give rise to the expedients of the Honey and Tar Traps though these do not occur in very many of the variants. I have nevertheless inserted them for the sake of the children if not for that of Folk-Lore Science.

Thus, from what may be called the artistic logic of the Cinderella story, one is enabled to reconstitute its original formula somewhat as follows:

Noble—Father—Single Daughter—Mother's Death—Tree Planted on Mother's Grave—Second Marriage—Two Ugly Step-Sisters—Menial Heroine—Cinder-Maid—Prince Coming of Age—Royal Ball—Step-Sisters Dressing—Tree Rhyme—Bird Aid—Magic Dress (blue heaven with stars)—Copper Chariot from Tree—Copper Shoes—Caution Rhyme—Ball Success—Pursuit Rhyme—Step-Sisters' Envy—Second Ball—Magic Dress (golden brown earth with flowers)—Silver Chariot—Silver Shoes—Honey trap—Pursuit Rhyme—Third Ball—Magic Dress (green sea with waves)—Golden Chariot—Golden Slippers—Tar Trap (lost shoe)—Time Expired—Shoe Marriage Test—Mutilated Foot—Feet Rhyme (bis)—Happy Marriage.

It is in accordance with the above formula that the version presented in the preceding pages has been written, the rhymes being, in most cases, compounded from the various renderings given in Miss Cox's volume. I have only added the Caution Rhyme about returning at midnight, which is in prose in the versions; it would be incongruous for the little bird to change her mode of diction so suddenly. I can only hope I will not remind the reader of the guide's description of Wallenstein's horse at Prague: "The head, neck, forelegs, left hind-leg, and part of the back and tail have been restored; all the rest is the original horse."

Parallels.—Miss Cox's volume contains all the parallels of the Cinder-Maid formulas, to which reference has been made above, and she has supplemented these by a few additional ones in Folk-Lore for 1907, pages xviii; 191-6. In addition, she gives, in her notes, parallels to the different incidents:

Note 4. (Help by dead parent.) Note 6. (Pursuit checked by mist.) Note 7. (Magic tree on buried mother's grave.) Note 8. (Substituted bride.) Note 26. (Sitting on ashes.) Note 32. (Birds' language.) Note 38. (Tree or rock treasures.) Note 48. (Lost shoe.) Note 50. (Iron shoes,) and further notes on, Helpful, animals, p. 526. Fairy god-mother, p. 527 and Talking birds, p. 527-9.

Of these the most important for our present purposes is the 48th note dealing with the Lost Shoe, which we have suggested is the central incident in the "original." In Strabo xvii. and in Ælian xiii.-33, the myth of Rhodope informs us that, while she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals and dropped it in the lap of Psammetichus who, struck by its neatness, had all Egypt search for its owner, whom he then took to wife. In other Egyptian and in Indian stories a severed lock of hair of the heroine leads to the same result. [Author:Jacob Grimm|Jacob Grimm]] drew attention to the old German custom of using a shoe at betrothals, which was placed on the bride's foot as a sign of her being subjected to the groom's authority. King Rother had two shoes forged, a silver and a golden one, which he fitted on the feet of his bride, placed on his knee for that purpose. (See Deutsche Rechts-Alterthumer, Göttingen, 1828, p. 155.) It is, of course, possible that some reminiscence of the Rhodope myth had spread among the folk to which the original teller of Cinder-Maid belonged, and if the shoe betrothal was confined to German custom this would seem to give a clue to the original home of the Cinder-Maid.

Remarks.–The hazardous character of the reconstruction process involved in the restoration of the original Cinder-Maid formula cannot, of course, be exaggerated. It is even more precarious than the similar procedure gone through by scholars to restore the original reading of MSS. or by the Higher Critics in recovering the J. narrative of Joseph or the E. narrative of Lot. But I think I have shown that the incidents selected by me are those which are necessitated by the artistic logic of the Shoe Marriage Test which forms the decisive incident in the Cinder-Maid formula. Where the majority of the incidents contained in the reconstruction occurred in the same order in far distant countries it is practically impossible to imagine that the resemblance is due to chance. Nor is it pertinent to point out that the separate incidents occur equally widespread in connection with other formulæ, since it must not be forgotten that no folk teller ever indulges in a single incident; he tells a tale of many incidents. At the same time it is obvious that a series of incidents may be transferred appropriately (or inappropriately) from one tale to another; and this has occurred with the Cinderella tales, as is shown abundantly in Miss Cox's notes. It is thus quite easy for a folk teller, who is familiar with other stories, to introduce an analogous set of incidents in the Cinder-Maid formula, just as Rob Roy's son can introduce variations of an air when playing the bagpipes; but the air remains the same throughout.

If the formula I have reconstructed for the Cinder-Maid compares at all with the original, one ought to be able to take any variant and see where the teller of it has diverged from the original, inserted new incidents or adopted new ones to local conditions. When one reads over Miss Cox's variants one can often discern such additions or variations introduced by the fancy of the teller. It is even possible that in Cinderella itself the original folk artist who conceived it made use of the Catskin formula to embellish the details of the three meetings of the lovers; even in my own telling I fear there may be traces of the same process. There is still doubt whether the bird in the hazel tree was meant to represent the soul of the mother in whom, we may even say, there is a double identification involved, as in the Golden Bough. The tree rising from the mother's grave is obviously connected spiritually with her; the relation of the bird in the tree to the Cinder-Maid also implies a similar relation to the mother. In my telling of the tale I have purposely avoided emphasizing this, which might lead to inconvenient questionings from the little ones. In the scheme of the story the guardian influence of the mother-soul is prominent throughout but need not be too much emphasized for modern children.

This nonsense story is found widely spread, especially in Romance tongues, French, Italian, Provencal, and Portuguese; but it is also found in Ireland (see Celtic Fairy Tales), Hanover, Transylvania, Esthonia, and Russia; so that it has claims to be included in the fairy book of all Europe. Cosquin, ii., 209-14, gives a number of Oriental stories, Annamite, Kalmuk, Kaffir, which contain the incident of the girl in the bag, and Indian and Kabyle stories, which go through the same exchanges as our story. In the latter case it is an animal story in which the jackal has a thorn picked out of his paws by an old woman, and gets an egg out of her in exchange for the thorn which he has "lost." In this form the jackal helps considerably in the disappearance of the successive exchanges. It is difficult to say whether the European or the Indian form was the earlier. The animal dramatis personæ seem less incongruous and turn the scale in favour of India.

This is practically the Perseus legend of antiquity, which has been made the subject of an elaborate study by Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, The Legend of Perseus, 3 vols., London, 1894-6. Mr. Hartland distinguishes four chains of incidents in the story:

1. The Supernatural Birth.
2. The Life Token.
3. The Rescue of Andromeda.
4. The Medusa Witch.

Not all the variants, which are very numerous, running from Ireland to Cambodia, include all these four incidents. The Greek Perseus legend, for instance, has not the Life Token. Cosquin, i., 67, knows of only eighteen which have the full contingent, one in Brittany, two in Greece, one in Sicily, four in Italy, one each—Basque, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Danish, and Swedish; two German; one Lithuanian; and a Russian variant. There must be many more in Bolte's notes to Grimm, 60. These are sufficient to prove that the whole concatenation of incident is European, though it is difficult to understand how the Medusa incident got tacked on to the preceding three, with which it is very loosely combined, the only point of connection being with the Life Token. Strangely enough, in the ancient form of the folk-tale, the Gorgon is an almost essential part of the story, though the Life Token has disappeared, and the Supernatural Birth only applies to the hero and not to his animal companions. In the modern European folk-tales these animal friends are rather supernumeraries and are occasionally replaced by the formula of the Grateful Animals, to whom the hero does some service during his wanderings, in reward for which they rescue him from some extremity. In some ancient variants of the Perseus legend there are traces of the Substituted Champion in the form of Pentheus, a former suitor of Andromeda, who had failed to meet the dragon.

It would be impossible here to consider the folk-lore analogies of the four chief incidents of the tale which have occupied Mr. Hartland for three fairly large volumes to develop, out of which have grown two more (Primitive Paternity, London, 1910). It is only necessary here to refer to a few points in their relation to the tale itself. The Supernatural Birth, which is also treated by M. Saintyves (?) is found attributed to heroes among all nations; it is only of significance in the story here in its bearing upon the Life Token of the hero, which is connected with it. With regard to the Life Token, Major Temple has a full analysis in the notes to Wide Awake Stories, 1884, pp. 404-5, under the title of the "Life Index," and is closely connected with the idea of the External Soul, which Sir James G. Frazer has studied in his Balder, London, 1913, pp. 95-152. The Fight with the Dragon is celebrated outside folk-tales in the lives of the saints (whence St. George, the titular saint of England, gets his emblem) in the saga of Siegfried, and in the poetry of Schiller, where it is made the subject of a moral apologue. The Medusa-witch, who transforms into stone, or destroys life in other ways, is quite a familiar figure in folk tales, but is usually thwarted, as here, by some means of cure.

The chief interest, however, of the "King of the Fishes," from a folk-tale point of view, is the remarkable similarity of the later folk-tales with the Greek legend, from which they are separated by so many centuries. The absence of the Life Token in the Greek version and the comparative insignificance of Medusa in the modern tales are sufficient evidence that these latter are not directly derived from the former. Yet even Mr. Hartland, who is a strong adherent of the anthropological treatment of folk-tales, fully agrees that this particular tale must have, at one time, been composed in artistic unity, if not containing all the four chains of incidents at least containing two of them (Legend of Perseus, iii., 151). It should be added that Rassmann and the Grimms connect the folk-tales with the Siegfried saga (Bolte, i., 547, 555).


This familiar story is found as early as Pauli, "Schimpf und Ernst," No. 595. It is frequent in Italy, especially in Pitre's Selections. Koehler has references to the other European versions in Bladé, p. 155. Crane, Italian Popular Tales, No. xcvi, has rendered one of Pitre's versions.

This rather artificial tale has nevertheless spread through all Europe. One finds it in Italy almost in the same form as in the original French by the Princesse de Beaumont, from whom it has got into the ordinary fairy books of England, France and Germany. See Crane II., "Zelinda and the Monster," pp. 7-11, with note 6, p. 324, which contain a reference to Miss Stokes's Indian Fairy Tales, p. 292. The Grimm story No. 108, "Hans the Hedgehog," is more primitive in character, and we get there the story how the Beast obtained his terrible form. I have, however, rejected this form of it as it is not so widespread as "Beauty and the Beast," which is one of the few stories that we can trace, spreading through Europe practically within our own time. The artificiality of the leading motive is sufficient proof of the late origin of the tale. But, after all, tradition does not distinguish between primitive or later strata. Ralston dealt with the whole formula from the sun-moon point of view in Nineteenth Century, Dec., 1878.

The main incidents of "Reynard the Fox" occur in folk-tales throughout Europe, and it has often been discussed whether the folk-tales were the foundation of the beast epic or vice versa. Since, however, it has been proven that many other incidents besides those used in the beast satire are found among the folk, it is generally allowed nowadays that, apart from a few Æsopic fables included in the satire, the main incidents were derived from the folk. On this subject see my introduction to "Reynard the Fox" in the Cranford Series.

I have selected a number of the most characteristic of these folk-tales relating to the former friendship and later enmity of the Fox and the Bear, basing my compilation on the admirable monographs of Prof. K. Krohn of Helsingfors, "Mann und Fuchs," 1891, "Baer (Wolf) und Fuchs; eine nordische Tiermārchenkette," in Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, vi., Helsingissa, 1889, and "Die geografische Verbreitung einer nordischen in Finnland," in Fennia, iv., 4. The latter monograph is accompanied by an interesting map of Finland, showing the distribution of the Scandinavian form of these stories, in which the Bear is the opponent of the Fox, and the Slavonic form in which the Wolf takes that position. As there is obviously a mythological tendency at the root of the stories, intending to account for the shortness of the Bear's tail and the white tip of the Fox's, it is clear that the Scandinavian form is the more original.

I have tried to collect together in a logical narrative:

(a) Fox and Bear in partnership—(Top-off, Half-gone, All-gone).

(b) Fox in fish cart.

(c) Iced Bear's tail.

(d) Fox and cream jug.

(e) Fox on Bear's back.

(f) Fox in briar bush.

(g) Man promises Fox two geese for freeing him from Bear.

(h) Gives him two dogs.

(k) Fox and limbs; sacrifices tail.

In his article in Fennia, Prof. Krohn refers to no less than 708 variants of these different episodes, of which, however, 362 are from the enormous Finnish collections of folk lore in possession of the Finnish Literary Society at Helsingfors. The others include the majority of European folk-tale collections with a goodly sprinkling of Asiatic, African and American ones, the last, however, being confined to "Uncle Remus," in which four out of the ten incidents occur in isolated adventures of Brer Rabbit.

Many of the incidents occur separately in early literature; (g) (h) (k) for example, which form one sequence, are found not alone in Renard but also in Alfonsi, 1115, and Waldis. (c) The iced bear's tail occurs in the Latin Ysengrimus, of the twelfth century, in the Renart of the thirteenth, and, strangely enough, in the Hebrew Fox Fables of Berachyah ha-Nakadan, whom I have identified with an Oxford Jew late in the twelfth century. See my edition of Caxton, Fables of Europe, i., p. 176. The fact that ice is referred to in the last case would seem to preclude an Indian origin for this part of the collection.

It is not quite certain however that all the above incidents were necessarily connected together originally. The fish cart (b), and the iced bear's tail (c), are so closely allied that they probably formed a unity in the original conception, though they are often found separately nowadays among the folk. Bear and Fox in partnership (a), is found elsewhere told of other animals, notably of the firm of Cat and Mouse in Grimm No. 2. It is difficult to determine at present whether stories relating to other animals, or even to associations of men, have been applied by peasant narrators to the general opposition of the sly versus the strong animal, which they have dramatized in the beast satire of Reynard and Bruin.

For a discussion of the whole subject, see A. Gerber, Great Russian Animal Tales, Baltimore, 1891, who discusses the incidents included in the above compilation in his notes on v. (a), i. (b), ii. (c), iii. (d), iv. (e), iva. (f), ix. (g), x. (h), xi. (k). It will be found that few of the other incidents contained in Gerber can be traced throughout Europe except when they are evidently derived from

This story has the peculiarity, that it occurs in the Arabian Nights as well as in so many European folktales. Hahn includes it under his formula No. 4, Genoveva (add Gonz. 5, Dozon 2, Denton 238, Day xix.), H. Coote, in Folk-Lore Record, vol. iii., part 2, in a paper on "Folk-Lore, the Source of some of M. Galland's Tales," contends that the "Tale of the Two Sisters who Envied their Cadette," as well as Ali Baba, Aladdin, and Ahmed and Paribanou, were derived from Arabic folk-lore rather than from any Arabic manuscript version. We know now that this is not true of Aladdin; and Zotenberg has traced all these extra tales of Galland to the oral recitation of his Christian dragoman Hanna. Coote finds the two envious sisters to be an enormous favorite in Italy and Sicily, being found in Pitre, Berti, Imbriani, Nerucci, and Comparetti. The story of the girl is sometimes told separately as a fiaba. Coote remarks that Leon Bruno is Greek (see Hahn, p. 131 and F. L. R., i., 209), and is derived from the Arabian Nights in the story of the princess of the islands of Wakwak; it also occurs in Straparola and Madame D'Aulnoy; Brueyre has something similar in Brittany, p. 93; Kohler in Melusine, pp. 213, 214, compares the Breton tale, given there, with the Arabian Nights.

The boy with the moon or the sun on his forehead is a frequent character in Indian folk-tales (see Temple, Wide Awake Stories). The possibility of Galland's version having passed into the East from Europe does not seem to have been considered till I suggested it in my Introduction to the Arabian Nights. There is little doubt that Open Sesame is European, and similarly this story occurs in Straparola early enough to prevent any possibility of doubt on the subject. The sequel of incidents appears to be as follows:

Overheard Boasting—Three Marriages—Substituted Children—Quest Tasks—Life Token—Speech Taboo—Brother's Failure—Sister's Success—Guilt Revelation—Punishment of Envious Sisters. Some of these incidents, like the Life Token, occur in other collocations but are sufficiently appropriate here; Imbriani has three versions, vi., vii., viii., with notes.

I have mostly followed Crane, pp. 17-25 (see also his notes, pp. 325-6).

Source. Sir J. G. Frazer, in Archæological Review, i., 81-91, 161-81, who made an attempt, the first of its kind, to restore the original archetype of the story of "The Boy Who Became Pope," on the same principle as classical scholars restore readings from families of MSS. He uses Grimm, xxxiii.; Crane, xliii.; Sebillot, 2d series xxv.; and Fleury, 123 seq. I have, on the whole, followed his reconstruction, but have introduced, from the version in the "Seven Wise Masters," the motive for the father's anger when learning that he would have, some day, to offer his son water to wash in; Sir James, in a private communication, concurs in the insertion. The folk versions are, in this instance, peculiarly poor, and I have therefore had largely to rewrite, preserving, however, the common incidents.

Formula.—The following formula gives the common elements of the four parallels used by Sir James Frazer, with my insertion of the bird prophecy (father-water, mother-towel):

Simple Boy—Sent to School—Learns Language of Dogs, Frogs and Birds—Bird Prophecy (Father-Water, Mother-Towel)—Hero Exposed—Intended Murderer Brings Back Deer's Heart—Three adventures on Road—Dogs Warn Burglary—Frog Restores Host to Sick Girl—Bird Prophesies Papacy (one of three companions)—Pope Election—Heavenly Sign (dove and bell)—Bird Prophecy Fulfilled—Father Repentance.

Parallels.—Besides the four sources used by Sir James Frazer, he gives two variants of the Breton from Melusine, i., cols. 300, 374, and the "Seven Wise Masters" version, with six variants: Russian, Masurian, two Basques, and a Turkish one. In the Russian version the father-water, mother-towel prophecy occurs, which could not have arisen independently. In the Masurian version the prophecy is more primitive ("Your mother will wash your feet, and your father will drink the water"). In the remaining versions the prophecy is more vague, that the parents shall be the son's servants. In the Pentamerone there is a story in which a father has five simple sons whom he sends into the world to learn experience. The younger returns with a knowledge of the language of birds. But the rest of the story is not of our type.

Remarks.—In his second paper (Arch. Rev. i., 161 seq.) Sir James Frazer has many interesting remarks upon the folk conception of the means of acquiring a knowledge of the language of animals. This is generally done by a gift of magic rings, or by eating magic plants (mainly fern) or eating serpents (generally white). Sir James Frazer connects the rings with serpents by suggesting that serpents are supposed to have stones in their head which confer magic powers (As You Like It, iv., 2.) He further connects the notion of eating serpents with acquiring the language of birds by referring to the views of Democritus that serpents are generated from the mixed blood of diverse birds and are therefore in a strict sense blood relations of them; this idea, he suggests, may have arisen from the fact that serpents eat birds' eggs. It would be an easy transition in folk-thought to consider that serpents would understand the language of the birds they ate and that persons eating serpents would understand the language of both. So Sigurd understands the language of birds, after eating the blood of Fafnir the Worm. But all this throws little light upon the story itself.

Bolte gives, i., 323-4, many folk-tales in which the hero becomes not a pope but a king and compares the story of Joseph in the Bible as possibly a source of the Prophetic Dream of the father and mother waiting upon the son. The transference to the pope may have been influenced by the tradition given by Vincent of Beauvais (Spec. Hist., xxiv., 98) that Sylvester II. learned at Seville the language of birds. There was also the tradition that at the election of Innocent III., 1198, three doves flew about the cathedral, one of which, a white one, at last settled down upon his shoulder. Raumer, Gesch. d. Hohenstaufen, ii., 595.

This tale is widely spread through Europe, being found from Ireland to Greece, from Esthonia to Catalonia. It is generally told of three soldiers, or often brothers, but more frequently casual comrades. In Kohler's notes on Imbriani, p. 356-7, he points out that there are three different forms, in the first of which the fairy's gifts are recovered by means of a defect produced, which only one of the soldiers can cure. In the second form the latter part is wanting, and in the third the two gifts are restored by means of the third, which is generally in the form of a stick. See English Fairy Tales, No. 32. In my reconstruction I have followed the first form. Cosquin, XI., has a fairly good variant of this, with comparative notes. Crane, XXXI., gives, from Gonzenbach, the story of the shepherd boy who makes the princess laugh, which is allied to our formula, mainly by its second part. And it is curious to find the three soldiers reproduced in Campbell's Gaelic, No. 10. In this version the magic gifts are wheedled out of the soldiers by the princess, but they get them back and go back to their "girls."

In the Chinese version of the Buddhist Tripitaka, a monk presents a man who has befriended him with a copper jug, which gives him all he wishes. The king gets this from the monk, but has to return it when he gets another jar which is full of sticks and stones. Aarne in Fennia, xxvii., 1-96, 1909, after a careful study of the numerous variants of the East and West, declares that the original contained three gifts and arose in southern Europe. From the three gifts came three persons and afterwards the form in which only two gifts occur. Against this is the earliest of the Tripitaka versions, 516 A.D., which has only two magic gifts. Albertus Magnus was credited with a bag out of which used to spring lads with cudgels to assail his enemies.

This story is familiar to English-speaking children as Jack the Giant Killer, but it is equally widespread abroad as told of a little tailor or cobbler. In the former case there is almost invariably the introduction of the ingenious incident, "Seven at a Blow," the number varying from three to twenty-seven. I have adopted a fair average. The latter part of the story is found very early in M. Montanus, Wegfuehrer, Strassburg, 1557, though most of the incidents occur in folk tales scattered throughout the European area. Bolte even suggests that the source of the whole formula is to be found in Montanus and gives references to early chapbook visions in German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English (i., 154-6). But the very numerous versions in East Europe must in that case have been derived from oral tradition from these. Something similar has even spread to Greenland, where the story of the Giant and the boy is told by Rae, Great White Peninsula. (See Grimm, tr. Hunt, i., 364.) The Dutch version is told of Kobis the Dauntless. Cosquin, who has two versions (8 and 25), has more difficulty than usual in finding the full plot in Oriental sources, though various incidents have obviously trickled through to the East, as for example the hero Nasnai Bahadur in the Caucasus, who overcomes his three narts, or giants, very much in the same manner as our tailor.

This Puss-in-Boots formula has become universally European from Perrault's version, to whom we owe the boots that occur in no other version, so that I have been reluctantly obliged to take them off. But apart from this the story in its entirety existed earlier in Straparola, xi., I, and in the Pentamerone, and is found widely spread through Italy (Pitre, 88; Imbriani, 10; Gonzenbach, 65, etc.), as well as in Hungary (Jones and Kropf, No. i), Germany (Grimm, 33a), and even in Finland (see Jones and Kropf, p, 305). In some of these cases the cat is a vixen (or female fox), and the incident of the false bathing and the marriage occurs before reaching the ogre's castle, as is indeed more natural. I have, therefore, so far amended Perrault. In most of the folk versions the miller's son betrays ingratitude towards his animal protector, who sometimes reduces him to his original state. This final incident, unknown to Perrault, shows the independence of these versions from that contained in his Mother Goose Stories. In Sweden the hero, if one may speak Hibernically, is a girl, who turns up her nose at everything in the palace as not being so good as in her castle of Cattenburg (Thorpe quoted by Lang, Perrault, p. Ixxi.). In India it is found in Day, Folk Tales of Bengal, under the title of "The Matchmaking Jackal," which has numerous Indian touches; thus the jackal remembers the grandeur of the weaver's forefathers and rolls himself in betel leaves. Sultan Darai, in the Swahili version (Steere), has the stripping incident and the no-talking trick, as well as the ingratitude at end. Lang argues elaborately that it is impossible to determine the original home of Puss-in-Boots, though he seems to own that it had one. His criterion is the absence or presence of a moral in the story, in this case the incident showing the ingratitude of the Marquis. This occurs, as we have seen, as far south as Madagascar, and as far east as India, but, after all, does not seem to be the essence of the story, though in one of the versions the cat does his tricks for the miller because he had previously saved him from the hunters. The late Mr. Ralston has an interesting article on Puss-in-Boots in the Nineteenth Century, August, 1883, though in his days there was a tendency to explain all fairy tales as variants of the Sun and Moon myths.

It is right that I should add that the servant's evening salute has nothing to do with the story but is a tradition in my own family, where my grandfather's servant used to utter this rhyme in a sort of chant when bidding the family good-night.

The Swan Maidens occur very widely spread and have been studied with great diligence by Mr. E. S. Hartland in two chapters (x., xi.) of his Science of Fairy Tales (pp. 255-347). In consonance with his general principle of interpretation, Mr. Hartland is mainly concerned with the traces of primitive thought and custom to be seen in the Swan Maidens. Originally these were, according to him, probably regarded as actual swans, the feathery robe being a later symbolic euphemism, though I would incidentally remark that the whole of the story as a story depends upon the seizure of a separate dress involving the capture of the swan bride. Mr. Hartland is inclined to believe partly with F. Liebrecht in Zur Volkskunde, pp. 54-65, that these mysterious visitors from another world are really the souls of deceased persons (probably regarded as totemistic ancestresses). In some forms of the story, enumerated by Mr. Hartland, the captured wife returns to her original home, not when she recovers her robe of feathers but when the husband breaks some tabu (strikes her, chides her, refers to her sisters, sees her nude, etc.).

From the standpoint of "storyology" from which we are mainly considering the stories here purely as stories, the Swan Maidens formula is especially interesting as showing the ease with which a simple theme can be elaborated and contaminated by analogous ones. The essence of the story is the capture of a bride by a young man who seizes her garment and thus gets her in manu, as the Roman lawyers say. She bears him children, but, on recovering her garment, flies away and is no more heard of. Sometimes she superfluously imposes a tabu upon her husband, which he breaks and she disappears (Melusine variant; compare Lohengrin). This is the effective and affecting incident of which Matthew Arnold makes such good use in his Merman. It could obviously be used, as Mr. Hartland points out, in a quasi-mythological manner to account for supernatural ancestry, as in the cases of the physicians of Myddvai in Wales, or of the Counts of Lusignan. But on this simple basis folk tellers have developed elaborations derived from other formulas. In several cases, notably in the Arabian Nights (Jamshah and Hasan of Bassora), the capture of the swan maiden is preceded by the Forbidden Chamber formula. Then when the bride flies away there is the Bride-Quest, which is often helped by Thankful Animals and aided by the Magical Weapons. When the hero reaches the home of the bride he has often to undergo a Recognition-Test, or even is made to undertake Acquisition Tasks derived from the Jason formula; and even when he obtains his wishes in many versions of the story there is the Pursuit with Obstacles also familiar from the same formula.

Cosquin, ii., 16, has, with his usual analytical grasp, seen the separable character of these various series of incidents. He, however, attempts to show that all of them, including the germ of the Swan Maidens, are to be found in the East, and is successful in affiliating the Greek of Hahn, No. 15, with the two stories of the Arabian Nights mentioned above, as well as the Siberian version given by Radloff, iv., 321, the hero of which has even derived his name from the Jamshah of the Thousand and One Nights.

In my own version I have utilized a few of these incidents but reserve most of them for their proper story environment. I have introduced, from the Campbell version, the phrase "seven Bens, and seven Glens, and seven Mountain Moors," which so attracted Stevenson's Catriona, in order to point out as a remarkable coincidence that Hasan of Bassora, in the Arabian Nights, flies over "seven Waddys, seven Seas, and seven Mountains." It is difficult to understand that such a remarkable phrase should recur accidentally in Bagdad and in the West Highlands. Without some actual intermediation, oral or literary, the hypothesis of universal human tendency can scarcely explain such a coincidence.

This well-known story occurs first in the fables of Phædrus, though not in the extant form, only being preserved in the mediaeval prose version known as Romulus. It is also referred to in Appian, Aulus Gellius, and Seneca (see the references in my History of Æsop, p. 243, Ro. III., i.). It is told in Caxton's Esope, p. 62, from whom I have borrowed a few touches. He calls his hero Androclus, whereas Painter, in his Palace of Pleasure, ed. Jacobs, i., 89-90, calls the slave Androdus. We moderns, including Mr. Bernard Shaw, get our "Androcles" from Day's Sanford and Merton. It also occurs in Gesta Romanorum, 104, edit., Oesterley, who gives a long list of parallels in almost all the countries of Europe.

Benfey, in the introduction to his edition of Pantschatantra, i., 112, contends that the story is of Oriental origin, showing Buddhistic traits in the kindly relations between the slave and the lion; but the parallels he gives are by no means convincing, though the general evidence for Oriental provenance of many of Phædrus' fables gives a certain plausibility to this derivation. From our present standpoint this is of less importance since Androcles, though it has spread through Europe and is current among the folk, is clearly of literary origin and is one of the few examples where we can trace such literary spread.

I have given the story of the barber's fifth brother from the Arabian Nights as another example of the rare instances of tales that have become current among the folk, but which can be definitely traced to literary sources, though possibly, in the far-off past, it was a folk tale arising in the East. The various stages by which the story came into Europe have been traced by Benfey in the introduction to his edition of Pantschatantra, § 209, and after him by Max Mueller in his essay "On the Migration of Fables" (Chips from a German Workshop, iv., 145-209; it was thus a chip from another German's workshop). It came to Europe before the Arabian Nights and became popular in La Fontaine's fable of Perrette who counted her chickens before they were hatched, as the popular phrase puts it. In such a case one can only give a reproduction of the literary source, and it is a problem which of the various forms which appear in the folk books should be chosen. I have selected that from the Thousand and One Nights because I have given elsewhere the story of Perrette (Jacobs, Æsop's Fables, No. 45), and did not care to repeat it in this place. I have made my version a sort of composite from those of Mr. Payne and Sir Richard Burton, and have made the few changes necessary to fit the tale to youthful minds. It is from the quasi-literary spread of stories like this that the claim for an Oriental origin of all folk tales has received its chief strength, and it was necessary, therefore, to include one or two of them in Europa's Fairy Book (Androcles is another). But the mode of transmission is quite different and definitely traceable and, for the most part, the tales remain entirely unchanged; whereas, in the true folk tale, the popular story-tellers exercised their choice, modifying incidents and giving local colour.


There is no doubt about the European character of this tale, which is found in Brittany, Picardy, Lorraine, among the Basques, in Spain, Corsica, Italy, Tyrol, Germany (though not in Grimm), among Lithuanians, Moravians, Roumanians, Greeks, Irish, Scotch, Danes, Norwegians (Cosquin, ii., 50). The central idea of the Rage-Wager is retained throughout, and in many places the punishment is the same—the loss of a strip of skin. In all but three instances the story is told of three brothers, which practically proves its identity. I have given the Irish version in More Celtic Fairy Tales.

The "sells" however change considerably, though in most of them the final dénoument comes with the death or wounding of the wife. The pigs' tails incident is also very common and is indeed found in another set of tales, more of the Master Thief type. Campbell's No. 45 had an entirely different set, some of them very amusing. Mac-A-Rusgaich has all three meals at once and lies down. He holds the plough and does nothing else; he sees after the mountain; literally casts ox-eyes at the master, and makes a sheep foot-path out of sheep's feet. I have taken from Campbell the direction to wash horses and stable within and without, though it does not occur elsewhere. Yet Mac-A-Rusgaich has a bout with a giant, in which he slits an artificial stomach, like Jack the Giant Killer; and this incident occurs in four other of the European tales, again showing identity. "Keep cool" is thus an interesting example of identity of framework, with variation of incident.

The sneaking regard of the folk-mind for the clever rogue who can outwit the guardians of order (the ever-present enemy of the folk) was shown in early days by the myth of Rhampsinitus in Herodotus, ii., 121, which is found to this day among the Italians (see Crane, No. 44, and S. Prato, La Leggenda del Tesoro di Rampsinite, Como, 1882). But the more usual European form is that I have chosen for the text, the formula of which might be summed up as follows:

Apprenticeship in thievery—Purse or life—Hanging "sell"—Master Thief—Three Tests—Horse from Stable—Sheet off bed—Priest in bag—Horse from under (Thumb-Bung).

Almost the whole of this is found as early as Straparola i., 2, where Cassandrino is ordered by the provost of Perugia to steal his bed and his horse and to bring to him in a sack the rector of the village.

The purse incident occurs in Brittany, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Tyrol; in Iceland (Arnason, p. 609) occurs the man twice hanged which also occurs in Norway, Ireland, Saxony, Tuscany, and in Germany (Kuhn and Schwartz, 362); in Servia (Vuk, 46) the Master Thief steals sheep by throwing two shoes successively in the road, which also occurs in Bengal (Day, xi.); the theft of the horse occurs in Brittany, Norway, Ireland, Tuscany, Scotland (Campbell, 40), Flanders, in Basque and Catalan, Russia and Servia. The third test of kidnapping the priest occurs in Brittany, Flanders, Norway, Basque, Catalan, Scotland, Ireland, Lithuania, Tuscany. In Iceland the persons carried away are a king and a queen.

The three tests of the Master Thief, the stealing of bed, horse, and priest, occur as early as Straparola, i., 2, who also has a somewhat similar story of the "Scholar in Magic," viii., 5, which contains the zigzag transformation of the Arabian Nights. Both forms occur in Grimm, 68, 192. While the three tests are fairly uniform throughout Europe, the introduction by which the lad becomes a thief and proves himself a Master Thief varies considerably; and I have had to make a selection rather than a collation.

In some forms the farmer has three sons, of whom the youngest adopts thievery as a profession, which indeed it was in the Middle Ages (as we know from the Cul-le-jatte of The Cloister and the Hearth). In Hahn, 3, the Master Thief has to bring a "Drakos" instead of a priest. Curiously enough, in Gonzenbach, 83, the Master Thief has to bring back a "dragu."

In many of the variants the Master Thief executes his tricks in order to gain the King's daughter by a sort of Bride Wager. But in most cases he does them in order to escape the natural consequences of his thievery.

The adult reader will of course recognize that this is the story of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apuleius, and translated with such felicity by Pater in his Marius, Pt. i., ch. 5. Though the names of the gods and goddesses Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Juno, Proserpine, etc.—are scattered through the tale, it is now acknowledged on all hands that it has nothing to do with mythology but is a fairy tale pure and simple, as indeed is acknowledged by Apuleius who calls it a "fabella anilis." From this point of view it is of extreme interest to the student of the folk-tale as practically the same tale, with the Unseen Bridegroom, the Sight Taboo, the Jealous Mother-in-law, the Tasks, and the Visit to the Nether-World, occur in contemporary folk-tales scattered throughout Europe, from Norway (Dasent, "East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon") to Italy (Gonzenbach No. 15, Pitre No. 18 given in Crane No. I, King of Love); for the variants elsewhere see Koehler on Gonzenbach. The earliest form of the modern versions is found in Basile (1637), Pentamerone v., 4, The Golden Root.

Now there are several circumstances showing the identity of the ancient and modern forms of this story. All of them contain the punishment for curiosity motive, which is doubled both in Apuleius (with the coffer at the end) and in Basile and Crane. In several of the folk-tales the Ant-Help occurs in the performance of the tasks, and in Apuleius the successive visits to Juno and Ceres evidently represent the visits to the Queen-mother's sisters, often known as ogresses, found in Dasent, Basile, and in Grimm 88. It is possible, of course, that in some cases dim memories of Apuleius have percolated down to the folk, as is shown by the name of the hero in Pitre's version Il R ed'Amore. Kawczynski (Abh. d. Krakauer Akad. 1909, xlv. i) declares for the derivation of the whole series of folk-tales from Apuleius but against this is the doubt whether this author was at all known during the Middle Ages.

But, to prove that the folk-tales were not derived directly or solely from the classical romance they, in almost every case, had a series of adventures not found there, including the incidents, Obstacles to Pursuit, False Bride, and Sale of Bed. Now these incidents really belong to another formula, that of the Master-Maid, in which an ogre's or giant's daughter, helps the hero to perform tasks, flees away with him, is pursued by the ogre, loses her beloved through an Oblivion Kiss and has to win him again from his False Bride by purchasing the right of spending three nights with him. These incidents come in logically in the Master-Maid formula but are dragged in without real relevance into Cupid and Psyche; yet they occur as early as Basile where there is a dim reminiscence of the Oblivion Kiss. In reconstructing the formula I have therefore omitted these incidents, reserving them for their proper place (see Master-Maid).

Cupid and Psyche is of special interest to the student of the folk-tale since it is a means of testing the mythological, the anthropological, and the Indian theories of its origin. The mythological interpretation is nowadays so discredited that it is needless to discuss it, especially as we have seen that the mythological names given by Apuleius are only dragged in perforce. The anthropological explanation, given most fully by Andrew Lang in his admirable introduction to Addington's translation of Apuleius in the Bibliotheque de Carabas, gives savage parallels from all quarters of the globe to the seven chief incidents making up the tale, but leaves altogether out of account the artistic concatenation of the incidents in the tale itself and does not consider the later complications of the European folk-tales connected with it. M. Cosquin and others bring in the Vedic myth of Urvasi and Pururavas, but we have seen reason to reject the notion that the tale is, in its essence, mythological, and therefore need not consider its relation to Indian mythology. Cosquin, however, gives reference to the tale of Tulisa taken down from a washerwoman of Benares in 1833 (Asiatic Journal, new series, vol. 2), which has the invisible husband and the breaking of taboo, the jealous mother-in-law, and the tasks. This is indeed a close parallelism sufficient to raise the general question of relation between the Indian and the European folk-tale. But the earlier existence of the tale in Apuleius and Basile would give the preference to European influence on India rather than vice versa.

I should add that I have followed Apuleius in giving a symbolic name to the heroine of the tale, in order to suggest its relation to the classical folk-tale of Cupid and Psyche, but not of course to indicate that it is in any sense mythological. The Descent-to-hell incident, which is found both in the classical and in the modern European forms and therefore in my reconstruction is only, after all, the application of a common form to the notion of difficult Tasks, which is of the essence of the story

This is one of the oldest and widest spread tales of the world, and the resultant formula was, therefore, more than usually difficult to reconstruct. The essence of the tale consists in the Menial Hero—Three Tasks—Master-Maid Help—Obstacles to Pursuit—Oblivion Kiss—False Bride—Sale of Bed—Happy Marriage. In essentials this is the story of Jason and Medea, where we have the Tasks, the Pursuit, and the False Bride, though the dramatic genius of the Greeks has given a tragic ending to the tale. Lang, in his Custom and Myth, pp. 87-102, has pointed out parallels, not alone in modern folk-tales, like Grimm 92, Campbell 2, Dasent 11, and Basile 11, but even in Madagascar (Folk-Lore Journal, Aug., 1883), and Samoa (Turner 102) while the Flight and Obstacles are found in Japan and Zululand. Even in America there is the Algonquin form of the Tasks (School-craft, Algic Researches ii., 94-104), and the Flight is given in an interesting article in the Century Magazine, 1884. According to Lang's general views, he seems to regard these incidents as being universally human and having no affiliation with one another, though he entitles his essay, "A Far Travelled Tale."

The modern Folk-Tales, however, make it practically impossible that these at least could have arisen independently. Many of them have an introductory set of incidents, Jephtha-Vow, Herd-Boy, Shepherd-Boy, Prince; this I have adopted in my version. But besides this the Tasks are often identical, Cleaning Stable (Dasent, Campbell), Finger-Ladder (Campbell, trace in Cosquin 32), Building Castle (Grimm 113, Hahn 54); the Oblivion Kiss occurs in Scotland, Germany, Spain, Tyrol, Tuscany, Sicily, and Rome, all in connection with similar stories.

The tale has been especially popular in Celtdom. I have enumerated no less than fourteen versions in my notes on the "Battle of the Birds" (Celtic Fairy Tales, p. 265). There we have the Obstacles to Pursuit mainly in the form of forest, mountain, and river, which the late Mr. Alfred Nutt pointed out to be the natural boundaries of the Nether-World in Teutonic Paganism. It is, therefore, possible that our story has been "contaminated" or influenced by the notion of the "Descent to Hell."

Here, as in the parallel case of Cupid and Psyche, we find a classical story, with many of the incidents clearly reproduced in modern Folk-Tales, while others have been inserted to make the tale longer or more of the folk-tale character.

At the same time the story as a whole is found spread from America to Samoa, from India to Scotland, with indubitable signs of being the same story dressed up according to local requirements. The Master-Maid is, accordingly, one of the most instructive of all folk-tales, from the point of view of the problem of diffusion.

This droll, in its two parts, occurs throughout Europe as has been shown by Cosquin in his elaborate Notes to No. 22. The Visitor from Paradise, for example, occurs in Brittany, Germany, Norway, and Sweden, England, Roumania, Tyrol, and Ireland. In some of the versions the silly wife gives some household treasure to a passer-by because her husband had said that he was keeping this for Christmas, for Easter, or for "Hereafterthis" and the Visitor claims it in that name. (See More English Fairy Tales.) The idea also occurs in the literature of jests in Pauli, 1519, Hans Sachs, and in Tresor du Ridicule, Paris, 1644. Cosquin has also traced it to Ceylon, Orientalist, 1884, p. 62.

The adventure of the door and the robbers is equally widely spread in Normandy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia, Rome, Catalonia, and Sicily. (Gonz., i., 251-2.) It forms part of the tale of "Mr. Vinegar" in English Fairy Tales. The two adventures are, however, rarely combined; Cosquin knows of only two instances. I have, however, ventured to combine them here instead of making two separate tales of them.

In telling the story one has to slur over the pronunciation of "Paradise," making the last vowel short, so as to explain the misunderstanding about "Paris." I have retained the Paris motif as all through the Middle Ages, wayfarers from and to Paris (wandering scholars or clerics) would be familiar sights to the peasantry throughout Europe.

Bolte gives in full (ii., 441-6) a Latin poem by Wickram in 1509 entitled, "De Barta et marito eius per studentem Parisiensem subtiliter deceptis," which is practically identical with the early part of our story and has this misunderstanding about Paris and Paradise. It accordingly occurs in most of the German books of Drolls as those by Bebel and Pauli, and it is possible that the folk versions were derived from this, though they stretch as far as Cairo and North India. See Clouston, Book of Noodles, pp. 205, 214. In some of the folk-tales, there is an introduction in which the Foolish Wife sells three cows, but keeps one of the three as a pledge. Thereupon her husband leaves her until he can find any one as silly, which he does by posing as a Visitor from Paradise. This is more suitable for an introduction for "The Three Sillies."

This story is one of the most interesting in the study of the popular diffusion of tales, and I therefore give it here though I have given an excellent version from Temple and Steel in Indian Fairy Tales, ix., "The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal," and have there discussed the original form. Its interest, from the point of view of diffusion, lies in the fact that it occurs in India, both early (see Benfey, i., 117) and late (Temple, 12, Frere, 14), in Greece, both classical Æsopic fable of the serpent in the bosom) and modern (Hahn, 87, Schmidt, p. 3), and in the earliest mediaeval collection of popular tales by Petrus Alfonsi (Disciplina clericalis, vii.), as well as in the Reynard cycle. Besides these quasi-literary sources ranging over more than two thousand years, there are innumerable folk-versions collected in the last century and ranging from Burmah (Semeaton, The Karens, 128) to America (Harris, Uncle Remus, 86). These are all enumerated by Professor Krohn in an elaborate dissertation, "Mann und Fuchs" (Helsingfors, 1891). In essentials the trick by which the fisherman gets the djin inside the bottle again, in the first story within the frame of the Arabian Nights (adapted so admirably by Mr. Anstey in his Brass Bottle), is practically the same device. Richard I. is said, by Matthew Paris (ed. Luard, ii., 413-16), to have told the nobles of England, after his return from captivity in the East, a similar apologue proving the innate ingratitude of man. This is derived from the Karma Jataka, which was possibly the ultimate source of the whole series of tales.

Amid all these hundred variants there is one common idea, that of the ingratitude of a rescued animal (crocodile, snake, tiger, etc.), which is thwarted by its being placed back in the situation from which it was rescued. In some cases the bystander who restores equilibrium is alone; in most instances there are three of them; the first two having suffered from man's ingratitude see no reason for interfering. This is the "common form" which I have adopted in my version. In India the sufferer from ingratitude is sometimes a tree (a mulberry tree, in Indian Fairy Tales), but the European versions prefer horses or dogs.

Now it is obvious that such an artificial apologue on man's ingratitude could not have been invented twice for that particular purpose; and thus the hundred different versions (to which Dr. Bolte could probably add another century) must all, in the last resort, have emanated from a single source. When and where that original was concocted is one of the most interesting problems of folk-tale diffusion; the moralizing tendency of the tale, the animistic note underlying it, all point to India, where we find it in the Bidpai literature before the Christian era and current among the folk at the present day. The case for Indian origin is strongest for drolls of this kind.

I may add that the ingratitude of the man towards the fox at the end is not so universal a tail piece to the story as the rest of it, and is ultimately derived from the Reynard cycle, in which I have also introduced it (see "Bruin and Reynard").

But it occurs in many of the variants and comes in so appropriately that I thought it desirable to add it also here. The substitution of a dog for something else desired also occurs in the story of the Hobyahs in More English Fairy Tales, where Mr. Batten's released dog is so fierce (p. 125) that it drives one of the Hobyahs over on to the next page belonging to altogether another story.

I have followed Bolte's formula "Anmerkungen" 45, keeping however as far as possible to the alternatives nearest to Basile, iv., 9, and where that fails making use of the Grimms' "Faithful John," No. 6, one of their best told tales. The story is popular in Italy where Crane, 344, refers to six other versions. It is also found in Greece (Hahn 29), and Roumania (Schott, p. 144), and indeed throughout the east of Europe. Traces of it in British Isles are but slight.

In India, however, there are a number of very close parallels (Day, 17-52; Knowles, 421-41; Frere, 98; and Somadeva; edit. Tawney, i., 519, ii., 251, which contains the similar story of Vivara the True); Benfey, i., 417, draws attention to other Oriental traits in the story and aptly compares the half-marble figure of the King of the Black Islands in the Arabian Nights. The probabilities of an Indian origin for this formula are rendered greater by the early age of the Pantschatantra and Somadeva parallels.

On the other hand the sacrifice of the children for the faithful servant has its closest parallel in the old French romance of Amis and Amilun, where Amis smears Amilun with the blood of his child to cure him of leprosy. The analogy is so close as almost to force the assumption of derivation. Koehler accordingly in his Aufsaetze, 1894, pp. 24-35, regards the tale as a development of the Indian story influenced by the romance of Amis.

I have followed Bolte's formula s. v. Hansel and Gretel, 15, i., 115, though with some misgivings. Very few of his variants have his section F, which he divides into three variants: F 1. Ducks or angels carry the children over the stream. F 2. Or they throw out obstacles to pursuit. F 3. Or the witch drinks up the stream and bursts. F 2 is obviously "contaminated" by the similar incident in the Master Maid, and the existence of such alternatives indicates, to my mind, an absence of a consistent tradition as to the ending of the story, which obviously ended with the baking of the witch in the oven. I have combined, in my ending F 1 and F 2, the former from the Grimms' "Hansel and Gretel"; I have also adapted their title, with a reminiscence of Sir James Barrie.

The predicament of the farmer must have often really occurred in the Middle Ages when famine was the rule rather than the exception; and the decision to "expose" the children recalls the general practice in ancient Greece and Rome and in Arabia. A touch of comedy, however, is given to this grim beginning of our tale by the house made of cookies and sweetmeats, probably derived from the myth of a Schlarafenland of the Germans and similar imaginations of the Celts (see More Celtic Fairy Tales).

The beginning of the tale occurs early in Basile, v., 8, "Nennillo and Nennila," in which the three kings' children find their way home twice by similar devices, but at the third time scatter peas, which the birds eat up. Perrault has the same beginning in his "Petit Poucet," which has been Englished as "Hop o' my Thumb," who shares some of the adventures of Tom Thumb, as well as of the valiant Tailor. Lang has an interesting but, as usual, inconclusive discussion of the incidents of our tale in his Perrault civ.—cxi., and finds many of the incidents among the Kaffirs, Zulus, and other savage tribes, but scarcely the whole set of incidents from A to F, and that is what we want to find in studying the story. Dr. Bolte finds several instances where the full formula still exists in popular tradition. It is surely easiest to assume that they were once brought together by a folk artist whose bright little tale has spread among various folks, with the alterations suggested by the divergent fancy of the different folk minds.


The Clever Lass is of exceptional interest to the student of the Folk-Tale because of its exceptionally wide spread throughout Europe and Asia, and also because it is one of those tales which have been made the basis of the theory of the Eastern origin of all Folk-Tales. Bolte, in his elaborate monograph on the formula ("Anmerkungen," ii., 349-73), enumerates no less than eighty-six variants, twelve in Germany, six in other Teutonic lands, thirteen in Romance countries, no less than thirty-seven in Slavonic dialects, seven in Finnish, Hungarian and Tartar, six in the Semitic tongues, and also five in India, though there the parallelism is only partial. But in the European variants the parallels are so close and the riddles answered by the Clever Lass are in so many cases identical, and the order of incidents is so uniform that none can doubt the practical identity of the story throughout the Western area. There occurs some variation in the opening which, at times, takes the form of the father of the Clever Girl finding a golden mortar and giving it to the King, against the advice of his daughter who foresees that the monarch will demand the accompanying pestle. This seems however to be confined to the Teutonic lands or those in immediate cultural connection with them. The riddles about strongest, richest, most beautiful, form the opening elsewhere, and I have therefore chosen this alternative. The variations, both in questions and answers, are many, as is perhaps natural considering the popularity of the riddle in the folk mind, which would make it easy for a storyteller to make changes.

The King or Prince, in some of the variants, discovers the cleverness of the farmer's daughter on a visit to the farmer, when he elaborately carves and divides a chicken on a method which the Clever Lass discerns. This however does not occur so frequently except in Italy, and I have therefore omitted it. The discovery of the theft by the King's messenger is much more widely spread. (See Crane, 382, and compare "Gobborn Seer," in More English Fairy Tales.)

The Grimms, in their notes, point to a remarkable parallel in the Saga of Aslaug, the daughter of Brunhild and Sigurd. Here the King Ragnar demands that Aslaug should come to him naked yet clothed, eating yet not eating, not alone but without companion. She uses the fish-net as in the Folk-Tale, bites into an onion, and takes her dog along with her. From the last incident some of the Folk-Tales have possibly taken the awkward attitude of limping along with one of her feet on the back of a dog. But the first incident, being dragged along in a fish-net, is so unlikely to occur to anybody's mind without prompting, that one cannot help agreeing with the Grimms that the incident was taken into the Folk-Tale from the Saga, or that both were derived from a common source. On the whole subject of the curious ride, R. Kohler has an elaborate treatment in his Gessammelte Schriften, i., 446-56.

The attraction of the riddle for the folk mind is well known, and before the spread of cards appears to have been one of the chief forms of gambling in which even life was staked, as in the case of Samson or the Sphinx. In the Folk-Tale it often occurs in the form of the Riddle-Bride-Wager, in which a princess is married to him that can guess some elaborate conundrum. The first two of Child's Ballads deal with similar riddles, and his notes are a mine of erudition on the subject: on the Clever Lass herself see his elaborate treatment, English Ballads, i., 485 seq.

It is perhaps worthy of note that the questions as to the strongest, most beautiful, and richest occur in Plutarch's Symposium, 152 a, and it is a striking coincidence that, in the same treatise, 151 b, occurs another practical riddle, how to drink up the ocean, which occurs in several variants of the Clever Lass. But there is no evidence of any story connection between the two riddles in Plutarch, and one can easily imagine this sort of verbal amusement spreading from the learned to the folk.

The plan by which the Clever Lass becomes reconciled to the King, by carrying off what is dearest to her, is found in the Midrash probably as early as the eighth century. A still more remarkable parallel is that of the True Wives of Weinsberg who, when that town was invested, were allowed by the besiegers to carry off with them whatever they liked best. When the town gate was opened they tottered forth, each of them carrying her husband on her shoulders. But whether the incident ever really occurred, and if it occurred, whether the ruse was suggested by the Folk-Tale, cannot now be ascertained.

Benfey, in an elaborate dissertation, first communicated to "Ausland" in 1859, but now included in his Kleinere Schriften, ii., 156—223, argues for the Eastern origin of the whole cycle, which he traces back to the "Seventy Tales of the Parrot" (Suka Saptati) probably as early as the sixth century. Here the vizier Sakatala of the King Nanda is released from prison in order to determine which of two identical horses is mare and which is foal, and which part of a truncated log is root or branch. Benfey traces this and similar riddlesome difficulties to a good deal of Eastern literature in Tibet, Mongolia and Persia, and Arabia. But he fails to find any very exact parallels in the European area which, at that time, was very little explored. He finds the nearest parallel in Wuk, No. 25, but this is by no means a full variant of the other European tales and may have even been "contaminated" from the East. Benfey notices the Saga parallel but goes so far as even to claim this as being influenced by Eastern stories. Since his time a much closer parallel has been found in Kashmir by Knowles' Folk Tales of Kashmir, pages 484-90, repeated in Indian Fairy Tales, No. xxiv., "Why the Fish Laughed." But the parallelism here extends only to the cleverness of the girl and the ingenuity of her answers to the riddles, not to the actual plot of the story which is so uniform in Europe. Altogether we must reject Benfey's contention, at any rate for this particular story.


I have followed, for the most part, Bolte's reconstruction, which practically consists of a combination of Grimm, 37 and 45. But in combining the two I have found it necessary to omit sections D and E of Bolte's formula which form the beginning of Grimm, 45, "Thumbkin as Journeyman."

The notion of a baby the size of a doll might be regarded as "universally human"; even the Greeks knew of manikins no bigger than their thumbs and weighing not more than an obolus (Athenæus, xii., 77); there is an epigram of the same subject in the Greek Anthology, ii., 350. But the particular adventures of Thumbkin are so consistently identical throughout Europe, especially with regard to the adventures in the cow's stomach, that it is impossible to consider the stories as independent. Cosquin, 53, has more difficulty than usual in finding real parallels in the Orient. In England, of course, Thumbkin is known as Tom Thumb (see English Fairy Tales). In the days when mythological explanations of folk-tales were popular, Gaston Paris, in a special monograph ("Petit Poucet," Paris 1875) tried to prove that Tom Thumb was a stellar hero because his French name was given to the smallest star in the Great Bear. But it is more likely that the name came from the tale than the tale from the star.

According to Gaston Paris, the chief variants known to him were Teutonic and Slav. Those of the Roumanians, Albanians, and Greeks were drived from the Slavs. He concludes that the French form must have been borrowed from the Germans, and declares that it is not found in Italy or Spain, but Cosquin, ii., gives Basque and Catalan variants, as well as a Portuguese one, and Crane gives a Tuscan variant, 242, with other occurrences in Italy in note 3, p. 372. This only shows the danger of deciding questions of origin on an imperfect induction.

The opening is not found in Grimm; I have taken it from Andrews, for which an excellent parallel is given in Crane, lxxvii., "Little Chick-pea." A similar beginning occurs in Hahn, 56, "Pepper-corn."


Snowwhite is of special interest to the students of the folk-tale as being obviously a late product combining many motifs from different, more primitive, or at least earlier formulæ. E. Boeklen, in his Schneewitchen Studien, I, Leipzig 1910, suggests influence by Hansel and Gretel: The Seven Ravens; The Sleeping Beauty; The Maiden without Hands; One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes; False Bride, etc.; and Bolte, i., 453, appears to agree with him. Certainly almost every one of the incidents can be paralleled in other sets of folk-tales. The combination "white as snow," "red as blood," "black as ebony," has already been given in the present volume (see p. 173). Bringing back an animal's heart instead of the proposed victim's is common form as early as the Book of Genesis; and the trial of the three beds is familiar to English children in Southey's "Three Bears." It would seem that a story something like "Snowwhite" was known in Shakespeare's time, as there appears to be a reference to it in the main plot of "Cymbeline" (see Germania, ix., 458).

The form I have given to the formula follows very closely that of the Grimms' 53. It is one of their best stories and occurs widely spread throughout Germany. Whether that implies original composition in Central Europe cannot at present be determined, but it certainly looks that way. I have, however, omitted Bolte's F referring to the punishment of the Queen, which is wanting in the majority of the variants. No editor of a text would under similar circumstances take account of so rare a variant.