Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/34

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

22 Presidential Address.

so, and she changed into a dog, a snake, a camel, and fire ; he held fast, however, and obtained her for his bride. Not one word would she speak until, on the advice of the same witch, he made a big fire, and threatened to burn the child. She then cried, "Leave my child alone, dog ! " seized the child, and disappeared from before his eyes. This story was told about 1825 by an old man who heard it from his grandfather; hence two transmissions carry us back close on two centuries. The same trans- formations are told in Eleusis of a fighting man.^ In Zakynthos we hear of giants, huge in size, with one eye in their foreheads.^ When one is born the mother dips him in a certain river, which makes him invulnerable except in the ankle by which he is held : a peculiarity which reminds us of Achilles. The whole incident of the blinding of the Cyclops, opening of the cave, and escape of the hero under a sheep, is found in an Athenian story .^ In Astypolaia, an island out of the track of travellers, whose stores I am hoping to reap soon, we hear of a winged horse, and in the same story of our old friend the wooden horse of Troy.* Two brothers wish to gain access to a beautiful girl ; and, says one to the other, " Brother, I have devised a plan, and let me tell it to you, that you may see if you like it. Let us find a good craftsman and tell him to make us a horse big enough for a man to go in ; let him make it with screws and machinery so that it can show all its paces ; let us gild it all over, and set it here and there with diamonds and gems, make a saddle with gold tassels and a golden bridle, and let it go, lacking only a voice. God willing, our business will speed that way, else we shall lose both the eggs and the basket." Another tale from the same island runs as follows : " A King had a daughter who was very beautiful, and to keep her safe from suitors he built a

^ Greek Folk Poesy, Garnett, ii. 175. -Schmidt, p. 200.

^ Greek Folk Poesy, ii. 84. ■• Conies Populaires Grecs, Pio, p. S5.