Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/542

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504 Reviews.

of his tales. It is curious that his bibliography does not include the Pausanias of Dr. Frazer, who there accumulates references to many story cycles in his usual encyclopaedic fashion. If the author seems at times hardly to exhibit the deftness with which workers like Miss Cox or Mr. Hartland thread their way through the complicated incidents from which the tales have been built up, his exposition is always lucid and readable.

The book, then, consists of a series of disquisitions on the leading incidents of the corpus of folk-tales — the Water of Life, the Separable Soul, Friendly Animals, Beast Marriages, Cannibalism, as in the tale of the Cyclops, Tabu in Folk-tales, The Clever Youngest Son, the Dragon Sacrifice, and so on. European folk-tales, he remarks, " exhibit traces of two worlds — that of the irrational past, that of the existing present every- where tending to modify the other; while that other, in turn, has its marvels magnified." And he traces various strata of influence — the prehistoric, corresponding largely to the beliefs of the modern savage; secondly, that resulting from barbaric civilisation, and the story-teller's exaggerated conceptions of it ; and, last of all, the later strata, consisting of ideas derived either from the new religious beliefs of the time, Buddhist, Mohammedan, Christian, or from the ever-evolving conditions of modern social life. The separate incidents, of which any folk-tale usually contains two or more, were, he suggests, once separate stories. In their origin, he supposes, folk-tales may have had some other purpose than mere amusement; "they may have embodied the traditions, histories, beliefs, ideas, and customs of men at an early stage of civilisation. It was only later that they became mere stories told to amuse, delight, or terrify an entranced audience." He discards the idea that the centre of diffusion can be limited to India or the East ; " it is inevitable that man's psychic life being everywhere one and the same, similar' conditions, social, geographical, etc., will inevitably produce similar ideas, beliefs, and stories." And "wherever there was communication between race and race, whether by migration, war, and consequent capture of prisoners and slavery, trade or marriage, the stories of one race were bound to be communicated to other races." He supposes that