Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/27

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The Legend of Merlin.

The past year has been not uneventful for the study of Folk-Lore. Amongst the authors whose books have been published or announced are two well-known names, the pioneers of Australasian ethnology, Fison and Howitt. Mr. Fison's book, which by the way has not yet come out, I have seen in manuscript; as originally drafted it was a collection of the most delightful and racy letters, which contained many descriptions of Fijian legends and customs. Mr. Howitt's Native Tribes of South-East Australia is mainly a reprint of his scattered articles, but is not less valuable for that, since the articles are hardly accessible to students. Messrs. Spenser and Gillen have followed up their first great work by another, the Native Tribes of Central Australia, marked by the same scientific care and accuracy. The Cambridge expedition to the Torres Straits, whose leader needs no mention amongst us, has published its fifth volume on Sociology, Magic, and Religion: a volume most remarkable for the exactness of its method, which makes us wish for more students to be promoted from the study of dead nature to the study of man. Another book which ought to be out now, and cannot be long delayed, is Mr. W. W. Skeat's second volume on the Malay Tribes. It is worth while mentioning two others. The first by D. Kidd, called The Essential Kafir, contains a set of photographs, most original, and admirably executed. The second, Le Folklore de France (P. Sébillot), is a compilation which has been much wanted. The Archiv für Religionwissenschaft has passed into the hands of a new editor, and appears in a much improved form.

Most of the works I have mentioned are records of facts; and it cannot too often be said that the paramount duty of all students of folk-lore now is to record facts. There are always plenty of persons willing to spin theories, and not infrequently one or two who are competent to do so; nor is there reason to expect that their number will