Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/544

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5o6 Reviews.

is a description by Monsieur A. Bel of some rites performed by the Mussulmans of Morocco in order to obtain rain in time of drought. Orthodox prayers, called Istisqua, are offered, like the Christian rogations, but sympathetic, or more precisely imitative, magic is chiefly relied on, operating by methods similar to those used in many other parts of the world. An instance is found in the Bible (i Kings xviii. 33), where the prophet Elijah acts as rainmaker.

Another Moroccan usage illustrative of primitive customs, the Kotba, a burlesque festival, is described by Monsieur E. Doutte. It is celebrated annually in the spring by the folba (students) either in the holy and learned city of Fez, or else in the city of Morocco, in whichever of the two the Sultan happens to be residing at the time. The students choose a mock sultan, who is treated regally, even by the real Sultan, for three weeks, when he flies like a thief at midnight. Mr. Budgett Meakin has also described the feast {The Moors, p. 312), giving some other interesting details, such as the sale at auction of the somewhat lucrative office, and the release of a prisoner at the mock Sultan's request. One need hardly refer to the Golden Bough.

There is one folktale, Le fils et la file du rot, relating the adventures of a wife and her children persecuted by her jealous sisters, a favourite among the few existing plots of popular invention, and widely spread. It is found in the collections of Grimm, Graal, Prohle, Wolf, Cosquin, Andrews, Riviere, Spitta, Straparola, Imbriani, Galland, and Madame d'Aulnoy. Carlo Gozzi made a play from it in L' Angellino Belverde, as he also did from another well-known folktale in Le tre melarance. The polygamous marriage of our variant, above all with three sisters, renders European influence improbable. Spitta's story, from Egypt, is the most like it. The hero bears the same name, but ours lacks a remarkable incident concerning the ogress. Riviere's story from Kabylia, though nearer locally, has less resemblance. The present one seems genuinely traditional, with a character of its own in the minor incidents. Galland inserted it in his version of the Arabian Nights, but it has not been found in any Oriental text of that work.

Some examples of Semitic influence upon the Egyptian