Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/411

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volumes (xiv.-xvii.) of his great compilation of the Folklore of Sicily — a compilation so painstaking that one of the first folklorists has pronounced that no other country possesses anything to be compared with it for completeness.

At first blush a superficial observer might be inclined to remark, " This is very fortunate for Sicily, but this remote province has but small interest for us." But really our interest — the interest of all students of this interesting science — in the Folklore of Sicily is enor- mous. The important position of Sicily in the chain of communication with the East is obvious when once pointed out.* And secondly, in Sicily up to the time when Dr. Pitre began collecting, the ideas of the people remained less interfered with than in any other part of Europe; traditions which have to be searched out with infinite pains from faded memories imperfect at best, elsewhere, were here living and rampant as fresh as when first stereotyped at various ages of the past. Dr. Pitre stepped in just at the right moment to phonograph, as we may say, these ancient voices in their full vigour.

By reference to these, which we may thus almost call original ver- sions, the student may check and comptrol many a rambling and mixed- up one, may trace a connecting link for many not well understood, and clear up many a puzzle and many a dispute.

Before proceeding to notice these four new volumes, it may be well to recapitulate the contents of the preceding fourteen. They are : — 1 — 2, Canti popolari (Folksongs j") ; 5 — 7, Fiabe e Leggende {Fiahe includes what we call " Popular Tales " and "Fairy Stories) ; " 8 — 10, Proverbi; 11, Spettacoli e feste ; 12, Giuochi fanmUleschz ,- 13, Studj sulla poesia popolare.

The four new volumes, 14 — 17, present us with a general collection of customs, usages, sayings and superstitions. And no better view of the vast importance and interest of the contents can be conveyed than by the following brief statement of the bare outline of the con-

  • As it has been lately in Folksongs of Italy ^ by R. H. Busk. Sonneuschein,

pp. 25 and 45.

f Considerable extracts from the admirable treatise on Folksongs as well as some specimens of the songs are given in the work named in the last note.

Vol. 7.— Part 4. 2 v.