Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/55

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


The Voice of the Stone of Destiny, 43

dignitary of the church ; it is not that of an abbot, or a monk, or even of a simple priest, which lights ; it is the boy Innocent's white wand. The omen is refused on the first day; nor is it accepted until it has been repeated on the second and third days of the ceremony. At last the premier cardinal kneels before him, acknowledges him as pope and asks for his benediction. Thus Innocent becomes pope at Rome, by the will of God.^

The story of Pope Innocent belongs to the cycle of the Outcast Child, a well-known group of folktales, of which the examples most familiar to us are the story of King Lear and that of Joseph and his brethren. The hero (or heroine) of these tales is cast off by his relatives for reasons at the least excusable. Sometimes, as in the Teleut tale already mentioned, his life is attempted. But in the end he attains a place and dignity which enable him to compel recognition of his wrongs, and, after the infliction of retributive humilia- tion, to pardon the offenders. In these marchen the pope is not always chosen by the burning of a taper. In the Italian variants the favourite method is by a dove which alights on the hero's head. In a Swiss story from the Upper Valais two snow-white doves settle on his shoulders. In a Basque story, as the travellers approach Rome the bells begin to ring of themselves. In a story from Upper Brittany the will of Heaven is declared by a bell, which rings of itself when the destined pope passes beneath it. In a story from Normandy the new pope is indicated by " a portion of Heaven stooping upon him whom Jesus would choose to govern his church." The collector, while faithfully record- ing this singular phrase, is puzzled by it, and suggests that it must mean a cloud resting on him." In all cases it is quite clear that the falling of the lot, however it may be

' Luzel, L^gendes Chrt'tiennes de la Basse Bretagne, Paris, 1881, vol. i. p. 282 (pt. iii., Story No. 11) ; a variant, Melnsine, vol. i., col. 300.

- Folk- Lore Journal , vol. iv., p. 338, sqq.^ including the references at foot of P 348-