Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/542

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484 Reviews.

has at last arisen which recognises the value of the labours of Mannhardt, Lang and Frazer. To this school I gather Dr. Ehrenreich belongs, though he still explains many stories as sun- or moon-myths in a somewhat arbitrary fashion. It seems impossible, for instance, that the incident of the hero swallowed by a monster and brought up alive again (Jonah) can be always a sun-myth, though it is conceivable that the phenomena of eclipses, of sunset and sunrise, may in some cases have influenced the development of a story. Direct evidence also would be required to show that the incident of the hero cut to pieces and afterwards put together again and restored to life (Osiris) is a myth of the waning and waxing moon. As much might be said of other incidents referred by the author to nature-myths. It is not of course to be denied that nature-myths exist. One would be a hardened Euhemerist to do that, for, among savage peoples particularly, the heroes are often expressly stated to be sun, moon, wind and other phenomena. Incidents may indeed be taken over from nature- myths into other stories. That, however, does not constitute the latter nature-myths, any more than the adoption of a cork- leg makes a man a cork-tree. I believe such instances are far fewer than Dr. Ehrenreich thinks. Again; it is perfectly true that, as he points out, many cases in which borrowing has been suggested are simply examples of the independent working up of ideas common, if not to the race, at all events to peoples in a certain stage of culture. But it does not follow that these ideas are mythological, in the sense of being stories concern- ing the heavenly bodies or the phenomena of day and night, and so forth. The universal love for story-telling has to be taken into account, and the capacity of human imagination to exercise itself upon any material presented to it.

If I rightly interpret the author, he thinks that every story which cannot be referred to a mythological source in the sense just mentioned, and indeed many stories which can, must be borrowed — must have originated in one definite centre and spread thence over the world. It is true that there is a difficulty in supposing that certain complicated incidents, sometimes following one another in a definite series with com-