Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/419

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Reviews. '^^2>

and appears to be uninfluenced by foreign elements. I venture to say that these two qualities may be expected from the folklore of Poland, as the Polish nation forms, together with the Czechs and the Slovaks (inhabiting the northern portion of Hungary), the remnant of the North-western Slavonic peoples who formerly occupied all the country eastwards from the river Elbe. These peoples differ in many ways from the Eastern Slavonic stock, (the Ruthenians and the Russians), and still more from the South Slavonic, and any one of the three nations first mentioned could therefore be chosen as representative of this distinct type of the race. The Slovaks can hardly serve satisfactorily in that way, as it is only lately that any attempt has been made to investigate their folklore. With the Czechs much collection has been done,^ but from geographical configuration we should expect that the beliefs and customs of the Polish people would be less influenced by foreign contact than those of the Czechs, who form an ethnical island among German-speaking peoples. This supposition could be confirmed only by comparative study, and in any case a com- parison of Polish with Czech material would be of the highest interest. Much material has already been collected in Poland, although comparatively little has yet been done for its systematic investigation, and some of the older collections need to be revised, and probably also brought up to date on many points and controlled by a series of new and first-hand observations, while there is still time to record customs and beUefs which are rapidly vanishing.

The history of systematic and extensive collecting work in Poland starts with the nineteenth century, at the beginning of which the most eminent men of letters and scientists of the country sought to direct general attention to the necessity of ethnographic research. In 1802-3 H. KoUataj and J. P.Woronicz, two prominent writers and zealous patriots, pleaded the cause of

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^ There are the publications of the Ceskd Akad. of Prague, the periodical pubUcation Cesky Lid, and a whole series of collections in the Bohemian language. In foreign tongues there are K. J. Erber's A. W. Slav Legends and Fairy Stories, (London, 1897), A. Chodzko's Fairy Tales of the Slav Peasants, (London, 1896), and J. T. Naakt-'s Slavonic Fairy Tales, (London, 1874), which contain general Slavonic material, especially from the north-west area.