Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/279

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243
Reviews.

grouping and attempted reduction to a primitive form, which according to him contained three gifts, later on reduced to two, and then dwindling to one. He has an inkling, however, that the subject is not by any means exhausted by the mere study of the folk-tales gathered in comparatively modern times from the mouths of the people, and it may be mentioned that, though his reading is extensive,—proof of it appearing in the long bibliography appended to the volume,—it has by no means covered the whole ground of the existing material, for there is a goodly number of collections to which he does not refer. He endeavours to follow up the literary variants (pp. 68 et seq.), but these are limited to Basile's Pentamerone (I, 1.), a Georgian tale, and a Mongolian tale from the Siddhi-kur. In spite of these limitations he arrives at a very singular and definite conclusion as to the home and origin of this cycle of tales; he dismisses the Orient, although there are many variants in that part of the world, and, by a somewhat confused argument, he comes to the conclusion that the tale originated somewhere in the south of Europe, in one of the Mediterranean countries, and that it has been communicated to the northern and western parts through the intermediary of the nations of the Balkan Peninsula; from this centre the tale has migrated to Asia, and found its way to India. But there is no cogent reason given why the reverse may not have taken place, i.e. that, originating in India, the tale may have migrated thence to the Balkan peoples, and then spread over Europe, as most of these tales have done.

It is a pity that the author has not followed the matter up a little further so as to arrive at a better understanding of the history of the tale, for it should not be studied in isolation. It is no doubt a further development of older tales, some of which have been in great vogue and enjoyed exceptional popularity during the Middle Ages. I refer specially to the well-known story of Fortunatus (Dunlop-Liebrecht, p. 478, No. 219, referring to Graesse and to a number of other parallels), and also to the famous story of Jonathas in the Gesta Romanorum (ed. Oesterley, No. 120, and the literary references to it, p. 731). This leads us to the other cycle of the Three Wishes, of which Pentamerone I, 3. is one of the best known variants, and the large literature given by