Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/300

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264 Reviews.

protests against criticisms of Confucianism (e.g. pp. 300-17), to defensive expositions of beliefs that are not active in his district, and to continual, and sometimes rather far-fetched, comparisons with Western beliefs. It is odd, for example, to find the Athanasian Creed intruding into a discussion whether the Chinese really credit that an eclipse is caused by a devouring dog or dragon (p. 420). On pp. 295-8 he describes the han-pa, a corpse so vitalized by the mourners' tears falling on its flesh as to grow wings with which it attracts all rain from the clouds to its grave, which alone is moist amidst surrounding drought. This he connects with the Highland superstition that weeping hurts the dead and the English prejudice against certain feathers in beds, by way of a Bohemian belief that a drought was caused by burying a corpse with its head on a feather cushion ! Perhaps he would regard the chain as strength- ened, because the Yoruba must shed tears upon a corpse, and also believe that the dead rise {Nigerian Studies, p. 31) ?

Mr, Johnston first sets out the physical and historical environ- ment of his district, — a duty too much neglected by collectors, who forget that much folklore must be interpreted by its aid, and that myths and stories are often, as here, told to explain place- names, peculiar rock formations, cliff caves, or the sanctity of some nameless mountain shrine. Then follows a description of litigation before the British Courts, in which we see folk belief and custom in life and action, a particularly interesting account of village life and land tenure, and a discussion of the national drama which suggests that its evolution may have been, as in Japan, from gesture dances commemorating historical events. The close connection between China and Japan is shown most strikingly by many of the customs in this corner of the Shantung Peninsula, and the reader will also be surprised by the amount of folklore of a universal character. He might almost fancy himself dipping into a volume of County Folklore as he reads of the burial of amputated limbs, of the Celestial Dog which causes ill-temper in children, of the proverb " From the end of the rod peeps forth a filial son," that mirrors must be covered and cats excluded after a death, and that the house must not be swept at the New Year, when, too, the year's harvest can be foretold. One wishes more had been told about Chinese fortune-telling, the