Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/412

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


376 Reviews.

throne ; and another prince, saved from death by the charity of the shepherd of an afrit who has carried off his betrothed, at once follows her advice by murdering the shepherd as a preliminary to an attack on the afrit. On the other hand, we find the sage Sindabad instructing his pupil not to do to others what he would not have done to himself.

The editor has paid much attention to Indian parallels, and has brought out the Indian origin of many of the tales very strongly. But he has forgotten to note that the origin of some of the variants of the story of the Changed Sex may be traced back to the story of Sikhandin (the Caeneus of India) and the Yaksha, in the Maha- bharata. The version of the Ebony Horse in the Hundred and One Nights does not mention its movements, (as do some of the other variants), which strongly suggest the inflation of a balloon. I imagine that the Greek and Indian flying chariots, etc., are more likely to be traditions of aerial machines used in former civilised ages than reflections from dream-life, — as Havelock Ellis has lately suggested, — and that dragons and other monsters are traditions of extinct animals rather than the externalisation of dream-fancies. Perhaps we are always too much inclined to suppose that, because an explanation of one series of facts seems probable, it will explain all, overlooking the fact that similar phenomena may frequently be due to a variety of causes.

The European parallels of the Hundred and One Nights are interesting. Some of the incidents in the Histoire du roi et du dragon much resemble those in the story of the Water of Life, and in the Histoire dEtoile de Lumiere it is amusing to find an afrit saying, — "yi? sens I'odeur d^un etre humainP

The notes and variants on the story of the City of Brass {La ville de Cuivre) are specially interesting. The afrit in the pillar has eyes "fe7idus en long." This character is found in the story of Tokhfat El Kuloob, and in some tales from the Gotha Library, but I do not remember it in the Egyptian recension of the Thousand and One Nights proper. It suggests the oblique eyes of the Mongolian races, and it is very common to find alien races confused with demons in folk-traditions. The demons of Croyland are said to have spoken Welsh, and the language of the Esthonian water-demons is said " to have sounded like Lettish " ! The