Folk-Lore/Volume 2/An Explanation
IN Mr. E. S. Hartland’s report on "Folk-tale Research" (supra, p. 99), reference was made to charges that had been formulated against Dr. E. Veckenstedt with regard to the authenticity of certain Lithuanian myths, märchen, and legends published by him. The Council of the International Folk-lore Congress called Dr. Veckenstedt’s attention to these charges, and demanded some explanation before they could proceed to nominate Dr. Veckenstedt on the International Folk-lore Council. At the same time the pages of Folk-lore were thrown open to any defence Dr. Veckenstedt might desire to offer to charges repeated in its pages. A paper was ultimately sent by Dr. Veckenstedt which was felt to be unsatisfactory, and in Dr. Veckenstedt’s interest was returned to him with a request for further details on various points. This was sent with the required modifications and additions, and was put up in type in the original German for the present number of Folk-lore. Proof was sent early in October to Dr. Veckenstedt, with request for its speedy return. No answer was given to this, and as the time of publication of Folk-lore drew near. Dr. Veckenstedt was requested by telegraph to return the proof corrected. A letter dated Nov. 27th, which reached the editor’s hands Nov. 29th, absolutely refused permission to publish the defence, on the ostensible ground that he had intended it to appear before the Congress, which was already over more than six weeks. If that had been Dr. Veckenstedt’s intention, he should surely have communicated it as soon as he received the proof of his article, and his omission to do so was a grave infraction of the laws of courtesy.
Dr. Veckenstedt may possibly be acting in his own best interest in thus arbitrarily withdrawing his defence. Certainly our readers have not lost much by its withdrawal, except so far as it has caused some delay in the issue of the present number. But we desire to put on record that the pages of this review have been duly thrown open to a defence to charges made in it, and that after that favour had been accepted at the hands of the incriminated party, it was ungraciously refused at the last and most inconvenient moment. Every folk-lorist will be easily able to put his own construction on Dr. Veckenstedt's action.