Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/543

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Reviews. 485

paratively few variations, have been invented independently. The flight from an ogre who is impeded by magical obstacles thrown in his way is an incident of this kind. It is often preceded by the incident of lousing the ogre, and thus discover- ing his real character and putting him to sleep. With or without the latter, it is found in almost every corner of the world. It is based on very primitive savage beliefs and practices ; and without the most minute analysis and tabulation of all the known variants it would be impossible to justify the conclusion, at which the author arrives, that all the variants were diffused on the one hand through Asia, Europe and Africa, and on the other hand through America, from a common centre in Eastern Asia. This analysis and tabulation exceed even Dr. Ehren- reich's researches, extensive though they have been.

The Coniraya story, on which the author lays great stress as an example of transmission, is a variant of the tale of the Lucky Fool, well known as a mdrchen in Europe. The mode of supernatural conception is considered with a number of analogues in the fifth chapter of my Legend of Perseus. That cited by Dr. Ehrenreich from Bastian is doubtless genuine, de- spite that, from the haste in which he always wrote, the latter omitted as usual to give his authority. Let it suffice here to say that the mode of conception is founded upon a savage belief of practically universal distribution, though, as we might expect from our knowledge of Peruvian and Siamese culture, not in its most primitive form. The scene where the child is set to identify his father is a representation of a mode of divination thoroughly in harmony with early ideas, as familiar in South America as in Asia. I see no reason here to suspect any "Asiatic character" in the Coniraya myth, still less to assert that it is " unmistakable."

The attention, in fact, of storyologists has been too ex- clusively concentrated on the stories as stories, rather than on the stories as embodiments of primitive ideas and customs. What is wanted is to analyse them with regard to these, and to enquire how far the stories of a nation represent ideas and things familiar to it. The place of origin and direction of transmission are of merely secondary importance wherever it