Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/29

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Presidential Address. 17

material cannot be said to have been collected until each district has been worked.

There is already collected a great mass of material for modern Greece. The local patriotism of the people is intense, and nearly every considerable place has found its historian, who often gives notes on the dialect and, generally with some kind of apology, drops in a few legends and tales, or ballads, which he happens to know. Some of these collections, such as those of Epirus by Politis, of Cyprus by Sakellarios, of Chios by Paspatis, of Crete by Yannarakis, are full and good; but as a rule the compiler has no scientific method, and no care for accuracy. Hence those works must be used with caution, and checked one by another. There is also a great difficulty in getting them at all. A Greek pub- lisher never keeps his stock. When sales begin to drop he gets tired, and sells off the whole remainder to any one who will buy ; or he shuts up shop and turns to some other trade ; or perhaps he goes to prison. I have been collecting these Greek monographs for fifteen years, and I have about a quarter of them, nearly all bought from second-hand booksellers. For these reasons then — the inaccuracy of the record and its incompleteness — there is much work to be done in Greece. And there are still many places which are quite virgin soil ; one such is the island of Cos, from whence I have succeeded in getting together a collection of songs, tales, and customs from oral tradition which would already fill a volume. I have offered a selection of these already to the Society {Folk-Lore, vol. x., pp. 1 50-185), and a publisher for the whole has been found.

Greece offers to the student of folk-lore one great advantage: he is able to trace a great deal of myth and custom to an earlier source. In comparative studies we rest largely on analogy, and we have to make many assumptions, which may be justified but are open to the