Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/283

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Reviews. 247

there has been an organised plan for collecting the traditional tales, carried out by the local Folklore Society, but Mr. Kiihnau does not give the details, as we should have liked. He does, however, give his authorities most scrupulously. Kiihnau, like all recent writers, has classified his tales by subject ; but it is very difficult, even when all are agreed on this, to choose the subject. So many tales have more than one characteristic episode, or " motive," and it is not easy always to see the dominant one. Moreover, it is often not one, but a series of episodes, that is the crucial point. The classification in the first volume is based on the presence of a ghost or the like, which may be an accident in a tale, from our point of view, even if the tale centres round it. If Cinderella's fairy godmother had been a ghost, that should not have been a reason to take her out of Miss Cox's book and put her in Kiihnau's.

However, these are ghost stories, and an amazing number there are, — more than six hundred in this volume. The editor prefixes an explanation of the ideas that are implied by each kind of ghost, — grave-ghost, house-ghost, and so forth. This is a little solemn : it might have been done more briefly. Then come the stories.

The ghosts, as we have hinted, are classified by the place they appear in ; we find this sometimes artificial, e.g. when separate sections are given to the house-ghost and the ruined-house-ghost. Even so this does not exhaust all possibilities, and there is another principle of classification crossing it. We have the beneficent house-ghost and the maleficent house-ghost, the vampire (which may also be a house-ghost), maidens who appear in snake form, and others. Of course we have plenty of ghostly ideas, ghostly worshippers, and the like. A section is given to tales that describe the laying, or getting rid of, the ghost.

All existing collections have been used for this book, but apparently not all tales have been included ; at least, the author warns us that tales collected in the first half of the nineteenth century are suspect, because that was the age of Romance. He trusts, however, those based on earlier authorities, or quoted from old chronicles. For each tale is given its place and its authority, from which we see that a large number are now orally collected