Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/227

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King Midas and his Ass's Ears. 197

animate trees have been collected by Professor Frazer, and Miss Cox has provided parallels to the case of the tree springing from the bones of the dead.^^ Some cases from India admirably illustrate the present story cycle. Thus, in a Santal story, the girl is drowned and becomes a bamboo out of which a Jugi makes a pipe which informs her relations of her fate.^^ In another story from the same people a gourd grows from the body of a dead monkey, and tells about the lost princess.^ In a third, the brothers murder their sister ; her corpse floats to the river bank, where a bamboo springs up ; when a Dom tries to cut it to make a flute, the spirit of the girl cries out, — " O Dom ! Do not cut high up ; cut low down." He obeys the voice, and makes a flute out of the wood, which every night turns into a woman.^ So, in a Deccan tale, the children who are turned into rose-bushes cry out when the girl touches the flowers.-^^ In a story from Ceylon the tree is a girl im- prisoned by the Rakshasas or demons ; when the prince cuts her in two, she becomes a tree ; when he drops the knife, she regains her original shape.**' The analogy of these tales to the cycle now under consideration is obvious. The most important question, however, is the explanation of the legend of Midas appearing with the ears of an ass. This explanation, which I now venture to propose, rests upon the well-known principle that the folk-tale is often a naive method of accounting for some incident of ritual

■'^ The Golden Bough", vol. i., pp. 178 et seq. ; Cox, Introduction to Folk- Lore, pp. 72 et seq.

^A. Campbell, Santal Folk Tales, pp. 52 et seq. ; cf. J. Jacobs, Indian Fairy Tales, pp. 240 et seq.

^' Ibid., pp. 102 et seq.

C. H. Bompas, Folklore of the Santal Parganas, p. 390. In one of the tales of Somadeva, {Kathd-sarii-sdgara, trans. C. H. Tawney), a woman comes out of a banyan tree, and a dry tree turns into a young Brahman {ibid., vol. ii., p. 148).

  • ' Miss M. Frere, Old Deccan Days-, p. 57.

^^ H. Parker, Village Folk-tales of Ceylon, vol. i. , pp. 264 et seq.