Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/489

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Reviews. 447

and it is a great pity that he did not exclude the excursions which I have mentioned, and use the space for completing his own record. Something might have been done, too, by arrangement. All the texts might have been collected in the Appendix, and much space might then have been saved in the printing. If the book produces the impression of being padded, Mr. Abbott has only himself to thank for this ; and it certainly does produce that impression at first. Nor is it quite fair to suggest that the book is a corpics of Macedonian folklore, when the material has obviously been gathered in three or four towns only. If there is a great deal here, there must be far more behind ; and it would have been better, if it had been possible, for Mr. Abbott to take a longer time in collecting, and to cover as far as possible all the ground.

At the same time, it is pleasant to add that the book contains a quantity of original matter of great value. There are stories, songs, distiches, charms, and riddles which are quite new, so far as my knowledge goes ; and some of them very good. Mr. Abbott is quite within his province in citing parallels from ancient Greek literature, which he does fully ; and although some of these are rather vague echoes of the thought, they yet have interest, not least in testifying to the continuity of thought and sentiment in Greek lands. The persistence of those things is marvellous when we consider the ruinous devastations which have swept over these unhappy provinces. Charon and his ferry are already familiar, so are the Neraidhes ; but there is new matter, if only a little, in what is said of Lamia (why did not Mr. Abbott give us some more in the Greek, if he was too nice to give it in English ?), and episodes in his stories remind us of Perseus and Andromeda, of Bellerophon, and of other old friends. The ceremonies performed at death have many ancient echoes ; in fact, we never go far from an- tiquity. The most original matter, however, is to be found in the superstitious observances of the people, the charms and incanta- tions, and the folk-medicine. Mr. Abbott has been so lucky as to get hold of one or two medicine-books, of which he gives extracts ; and with a general resemblance to others (such as that published in these pages in 1897) there are always interesting novelties. Another novelty is the were-boar, which reminds us of Arcadia. And for the student of folk-custom, the very detailed accounts given of ceremonies at birth, death, and marriage have sreat value.