Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/28

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


1 6 Presidential Address.

grow less. But the facts are fast disappearing from off the face of the earth. It is most unlucky, that wherever book-education goes, the natural culture of the folk is destroyed. Possibly more is gained than lost ; on that point I shall express no opinion until I have retired from the scholastic profession, when I shall be able to offer the ripe fruits of my experience ; but the old cus- toms are lost, and the old culture, fairy tales, and folk- songs are replaced by the Golliwog and the Absent- Minded Beggar. Hence, in all countries which are called civilized, the present generation will probably be the last when such collection is possible ; and in the rest of the world, local authors are either becoming contami- nated or are even there disappearing. Let us then, so far as in us lies, gather the harvest while it is ripe, or at least the gleanings. In Europe there are still two dis- tricts which have a rich crop ready for the reaper, the Slavonic area and Greece. Fortunately the Russians are alive to the importance of this work, as their excellent folk-lore journal testifies, not to mention the numerous collections of Skaaki and Bylini. The same is true of Bohemia, and, I believe, of Bulgaria, although I only know the last area by hearsay. Greece may be divided into two parts : the Greek Kingdom and Turkish Greece. The former is overrun with schoolmasters and politicians, who unfortunately despise the popular language and all its works, and wherever daily papers go the old lore is fast dying. But the one good deed with which we may credit the Turks, is that they keep their own Greek districts in complete isolation, not only from the rest of the world, but island from island, city from city. Hence these parts of Greece, and especially the isles of the Aegean, are almost as provincial, as independent in , character, as they have ever been. Customs, legends, songs, dialects — all, with certain general resemblances, differ in detail in a remarkable degree ; so that the