Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/34

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

2 2 Presidential A ddress.

system. Totemism is heraldry, architecture, economics, sociology. I have only to point out that it all rests upon this bold stroke of imagination : — that there is between an animal or even an inanimate object and man a mysterious relation by which man can profit if he cares to do so.

21. Upon historic considerations, therefore, we have as yet met with nothing to disturb the inferences we drew from anthropological considerations. May I now, in the third place, turn to the literary aspect of the question ? Folklore takes the literary form so long after the appear- ance of the material upon which it is founded that we are at some disadvantage ; but at any rate we are safe in assuming that the more widely apart the peoples are among whom a folktale is spread, the more certainly it is ancient, for the same reasons as those we alleged in regard to customs. The collection of variants of Cinderella made by Miss Roalfe Cox and drawn from all four quarters of the globe is a case in point ; and the masterly introduc- tion to that work shows that we are justified in believing that that group of stories dates back to remote antiquity. One of the motives on which it turns is known as the Help- ful Animal, many instances of which have been collected by Mr. Hartland in the Legend of Perseus, and this is precisely the same stroke of imagination to which we have referred as bearing on totemism : that man is no stranger to the rest of the creation, but has relations with them by which they can be of service to him. The variants of no other folktale have been worked out in the same manner, but in some tales the leading motive is the imagination of a con- tinued existence after death, and there is no reason for questioning that many of these may be ancient. Take for example a few of the types described in the Handbook of Folklore, the Juniper-Tree type, the Snow- White type, and the Thankful Dead type, and possibly some others.

22. Thus the three strands of folklore, anthropological, historical, literary, may be twined together to form a cord