Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/278

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REVIEWS.




Die Zaubergaben. Eine vergleichende märchen-untersuchung. Von Antti Aarne. (Journal de la Société Finno-ougrienne XXVII.) Helsingfors: Soc. Finno-ougrienne, 1909. Large 8vo, pp. 96.

The author of this monograph has selected the cycle of tales of the Magical Gifts for his special investigation. He has drawn his circle rather narrowly, and has limited himself to the study of those tales in which either three, or two, or one magical gift appears,—consisting mostly of a table or table-cloth that provides food, or an ass that provides gold, and a stick that beats the cheating host, who is then compelled to restore the gifts which he has stolen from his unsuspecting guest. The gifts are mostly from supernatural beings, either out of gratitude for kindness shown by the hero to some one near and dear or as compensation for loss sustained through the agency of this supernatural being, e.g. crops destroyed. Mr. Aarne groups the tales concerning the magical gifts according to nations, taking the Finnish, Russian, Greek, etc., separately, and he next very skilfully tabulates the gifts according to the tales in which they occur. He then examines each incident separately, and tries to arrive at the primitive form from which have been derived these tales, the existence of which he proves in Europe, Asia, and to some extent also in Africa. It is interesting to note the affinities which correspond with geographical proximity; the tales of nations that live close to one another, e.g. Finnish and Russian, agree more closely even in details than the versions found among other nations that live at a greater distance from one another. Mr. Aarne has, however, with all his diligence, been unable to carry the investigation much further than this systematic