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f4$ fpt^t 



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Folk - Lore 




[Incorporating Th^ ARCHiCOLOCiCAL Review and 
The Folk-Lore Journal.] 

VOL. II.— 1891. 



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I.— (March, 1891.) 


Opening Address to the Folk- Lore Society for the Session 

1890-91.— G. L. GOMME - - - - I 

Magic Songs of the Finns, No. III. — Hon. J. Abercromby - 31 

The Legend of the Grail, No. L — Dr. M. Gaster - - 50 

Slava.— Col. Grant Maxwell - - - - 65 

The Scotch Fisher Child.— Rev. Walter Gregor - - 73 
An Early Irish Version of the Jealous Stepmother and the 

Exposed Child.— Alfred Nutt - - - 87 

Bhuridatta.— R. F. St. Andrew St. John - - 90 

Report on Folk-tale Research, 1890.— E. Sidney Hartland - 99 

XL— OUNE, 1891.) 

Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. Part I. — Mrs. M. C. 

Balfour - - - - - - 145 

An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. — Hon J. Abercromby 171 

Childe Rowland.— Joseph Jacobs - - - 182 

The Legend of the Grail. No. II.— Dr. M. Gaster - - 198 

Remarks on preceding article. — Alfred NuTT - - 211 

Report on Greek Mythology.— Prof F. B. Jevons - - 220 

III.— (September, 1891.) * 

Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. Part II. — Mrs. M. C. 

Balfour ------ 257 

Manx Folk- Lore and Superstitions. — Prof. J . Rhys - - 284 

Folk-Drama.— T. Fairman-Ordish, F.S.A. - - 314 

The Folk-Lore of Malagasy Birds. — Rev. James Sibree, Jun. - 336 
Mr. Stuart-Glennie on the Origins of Matriarchy. — Alfred 

Nutt and Joseph Jacobs . . - - 367 

f^ The International Folk-Lore Congress, 1891 - - 373 



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IV Contents. 

IV. — (December, 1891.) 

Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. Part IIL — Mrs. M. C. 

Balfour - - - - - - 401 

Notes upon the Religion of the Apache Indians. — Capt. John 

G. BOURK.E - - - - - 419 

Samoan Stories. I.— Hon. John Abercromby - - 455 

Weather Folk- Lore of the Sea.— Walter Gregor - - 468 

An Explanation . . . . . 483 

Recent Research on Institutions. — G. Laurence Gomme, Esq., 

F.S.A. - - - - - - 485 

Folk- Lore Society. — Annual Report of the Council - - 502 

Title- Page and Contents for Vol II. 

Notes and News - - - 120, 242, 392, 500 

Reviews : 

The Science 0/ Fairy Tales. — JOSEPH Jacobs - - 123 

Superstitious Beliefs and Practices of the Finns, — Hon. John 

Abercromby ----- 244 

Le Polme et la Ugende des Nibelungen, — Alfred Nutt - 381 
Canti popolari Siciliani and Bibliografia Tradizioni popolari 
cf Italia.— "Mass R. H. Busk - - - -390 

Correspondence : 
Modem Greek Folk-lore, W. R. Paton and Lucy M. J. 
Garnett. — Story of the Girl who Plucked out her omti 
Eyes, W. A. Clouston.— Irish Tales among the Redskins, 
Alfred Nutt - - - - - 128 

Tom-Tit-Tot, Prof. Reinhard Kohler - - - 246 

Miscellanea ----- 132,247,510 
Folk-lore Bibliography - - - 139, 249, 394, 514 

Indexes— Articles— Bibliography - - - - 5^3 

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Vol. II.] MARCH, 1891. [No. I. 

LORE SOCIETY, Nov. 26, 1890. 

THE twelfth session of the Society was marked by 
some very useful contributions— contributions which 
compel us to look back, but which also enable us to 
look forward. They appear to me to be properly classified 
as follows, and I will point out that the value of such classi- 
fication lies in the fact that we may readily understand 
whether, and how far, our science has advanced by the work 
of the past session. We have, then — 

1. Descriptive Folk-lore : 

Legends from Torres Straits, by Prof Haddon. 
Legends of the Island Frisians, by W. G. Black. 
Marriage Customs of the Mordvins, by the Hon. 

J. Abercromby. 
An Inedited English Folk-tale, by J. Jacobs. 

2. Collective Folk-lore : 

Notes on the Folk-lore of Beetles, by W. F. 

3. Contributive Folk-lore : 

Legend of the Lady Godiva, by E. S. Hartland. 
The Grail and Local Palestinian Legends, by Dr. 

The Collection of English Folk-lore, by Miss 



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2 Annual Address to tJie Folk-Lore Society. 

Recent Theories on the Nibelungenlied, by A. 

A Highland Tale and its Foundation in Usage, 
by G. L. Gomme. 
I think that, looked at in this way, it will be generally 
conceded that last session's papers were all of them highly 
interesting and important to our science. 

Well, we are now entering upon our thirteenth session, 
and with these papers — typical of the most recent research 
— as an immediate guide, we may indeed ask ourselves 
what stage have we reached ? 

My reply to this will take me into some discursive 
topics ; but I want, if possible, to unify the results of my 
observation of the year's work so as to bring out some 
clear issues for the Society's consideration. 

At first sight we certainly seem to be divided into two 
camps — the anthropological and the literary : just those 
two camps which existed at the beginning of the Society, 
when Mr. Thoms simply followed the footsteps of John 
Aubrey, some two hundred years earlier, and considered 
that what was recorded chronologically earlier must be the 
parent of that which was recorded later, the record being 
the central point of importance, not the thing recorded. 
What I shall venture to say upon this subject to- 
night will, I hope, emphasise the fact that folk-lore, 
however and wherever recorded, so long as the record 
is of itself good, is one of the elements which must be 
taken into account before the last word has been said 
on the connection between the prehistoric races and those 
of history. 

I must confess to a feeling of rather acrimonious 
jealousy when I see how persistently folk-lore is ignored by 
authorities in reckoning up the factors which contribute 
towards the history of prehistoric man. Philology for a 
long time usurped the whole place to herself She 
attempted to tell us all about our primitive ancestors — the 
noble Aryans — and in doing so she appropriated a whole 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 3 

section of folk-lore — namely, folk-tales — and coolly put an 
interpretation upon them which folk-lorists could never find 
in the tales themselves. But Philology has now to retire 
almost into the background, while Archaeology and Crani- 
ology attempt to settle the matter. It is a gain to science 
that it has at last been recognised that we cannot penetrate 
far back into man's history without appealing to more than 
one element in that history. Some day it will be recog- 
nised that we must appeal to all elements in that history. 
In the meantime, the conjunction of philology, archaeology, 
and craniology has brought about a revolution in scientific 
thought as to the prehistoric races in Europe ; and my 
belief is, before anything like good order is again restored 
after this revolution, folk-lore must be taken into account 
I do not suppose we can any more restore order in the 
" Aryan household"; but at least we may discover some- 
thing definite about the relationship between Teuton, Celt, 
and their non- Aryan-speaking contemporaries. 

What, for instance, have Philology and Archaeology to 
say to Mr. Frazer's folk-lore researches into agricultural 
customs and rites ? It is declared now that the primitive 
Aryan knew nothing about agriculture — knew of only one 
grain, and cultivated, if at all, on that sporadic system of 
burning a piece of forest land as occasion required, culti- 
vating it for a year or two, and then going elsewhere, which 
is characteristic of many barbarous tribes in India. But 
Mr. Frazer proves that the agriculturists of Europe pos- 
sessed a ritual and ceremonial attached to their occupation 
which, savage as it is in conception, is also part of a system 
of no recent or sudden growth. Such an accumulation of 
evidence must have a place allotted to it I myself am not 
inclined, as Mr. Frazer seems to be, to allot it to the culture 
history of the primitive Aryans — agricultures non student was 
the classical summing-up of the historical Aryan, and it is the 
scientific summing-up of the prehistoric Aryan. Studying 
agriculture from its institutional side, I have concluded that 
it is of non-Aryan origin and of primitive development 

B 2 

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4 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

And though this conclusion is to some extent met by 
Canon Taylor's ingenious summary of the evidence in 
favour of neolithic Aryans and of an unbroken develop- 
ment from neolithic to historic times, it appears to me that 
the evidence of folk-lore supports the evidence of institutions 
and introduces us to an agricultural system which, in the 
savage nature of its ceremonial festivals, in the primitive 
characteristics of the institutions it fostered and supported, 
indicates a considerable amount of prehistoric culture 
which is represented by nothing that is at present known 
in Aryan history. But we cannot go further into such 
questions here. I only draw attention to them and their 
profound significance, to drive home my contention that 
folk-lore is one of the factors which inquirers into the 
prehistoric races must no longer pass by with pedantic 
contempt or with wilful neglect 

After all, however, I am inclined to think this halting 
recognition of folk-lore as an element, and an important 
one, in prehistoric research is very much the fault of folk- 
lorists themselves. We have been eclectic rather than 
syncretic We have not often enough insisted upon the 
absolute necessity of precision in the arrangement of our 
material when collected, and we have not insisted upon 
correct and complete collection. We are, for instance, con- 
tent with the general remark of a collector that this or that 
custom or superstition is prevalent all over England, or 
even all over Europe. There are few, if any, examples of 
this general prevalence, and the topographical as well as 
the geographical distribution of custom and belief, and also 
of folk-tale and legend, is an important necessity in the 
study of folk-lore. The result of these faults in method 
is, that careful studies like that which Mr. Hartland has 
given us during the last year on the legend of Lady 
Godiva are almost ignored in the general evidence they 
afford on the whole question of legend and tradition. It is 
only one small fragment, and I am willing to admit, nay, to 
advocate, the doctrine that this explanation of the Godiva 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 5 

legend, if it stood alone, might be called into question. 
But, besides other studies of Mr. Hartland's, which I am 
happy to think will soon be published in a collected form, 
this Godiva study stands alongside of Mr. Clodd's Rumpel- 
stiltskin, Mr. Lang's interpretation of Grimm's stories, 
Mr. Nutf s discussion of the Holy Grail legend. But all 
these can be true only if all the branches of folk-lore tend 
towards the same direction. Folk-tale, legend, and saga 
cannot point one way, while folk-custom and belief point 
another way ; and I would go further, and say that one 
section of either of these groups cannot point one way 
if all other sections point in the opposite direction. In a 
word, I believe that the results of folk-lore are scientific 

If, therefore, practical agreement about the elements of 
folk-lore, or on the vital question of origins, does not in 
general obtain, either of two results must happen. 
We must amend our definition of the object and scope 
of our science, or we must go in for a delimitation of 
boundaries (rather a popular thing to do just now), 
and surrender to other branches of research some 
important material, hitherto reckoned as belonging to 
folk-lore. Of the two alternatives, I personally would 
prefer delimitation, as being by far the most scientific ; 
but I shall not consider these " hateful" alternatives any 
further, because I believe that in the bulk of the pheno- 
mena sanctioned by tradition we have along with the 
uniformity of the sanction practical uniformity of origin. 

This brings me very near to a dangerous topic, which 
cannot be altogether ignored. Does literature produce 
folk-lore ? or, rather, has it produced folk-lore ? I do not 
mean to say that absolutely no modem traditional tales 
are literary in origin ; I only deny that any great group of 
genuine peasant tradition is literary in origin. And I 
further qualify this denial by saying that it does not 
apply so much to the present age, which is the age of 
literature, not of tradition. 

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6 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

Unfortunately, Dr. Caster's paper on the Holy Grail 
legend has not yet been published, so I do not know with 
precision what the exact effect his theory has upon the 
general theory of folk-lore. But I think it comes to this 
— that folk-lore is modem, or rather historical in origin, 
and represents the culture of the few when at last it has 
penetrated to the masses. I shall leave Mr. Nutt to do 
battle on his own ground, and turn to Professor Crane's 
valuable book which he has just edited for the Society. 
He there points out how the mediaeval clergy used 
" exempla" in their sermons, and that these exempla, in 
the shape of fables, apologues, and stories, have an 
important bearing upon the question of the diffusion of 
popular tales. So they have. But then we must ask 
what class of tales? Certainly not the kind of tales 
we find in Campbell's Highland Tales, nor Grimm's 
German stories, nor Kennedy's Irish stories. But be- 
cause Jacques de Vitry, Etienne de Bourbon, and others 
were shrewd enough to use fabliaux vulgares to push home 
their religious teaching to the " vulgares", it does not prove 
a literary origin for the fabliaux — rather to me it proves 
the reverse. 

We have an almost parallel state of things going on 
now. My friend, Mr. Jacobs, wishes to put into the hands 
of reading English children a collection of English tradi- 
tional tales. He finds them too incomplete or too rude in 
their traditional form, so he " eliminates a malodorous and 
un-English skunk" from one tale, " removes the incident 
of the Giant dragging the lady along by her hair" from 
another tale, " reduces" the dialect of such a tale as Tom 
Tit Tot, " inserts incidents in the flight, and expands the 
conclusion" in another tale, turns ballads into prose, and 
tells us of all these gay doings in his notes. I am sure my 
friend, Mr. Jacobs, will forgive me for using his production 
as a literary artist to push home my argument as a folk- 
lorist. These tales will be read, not told; read by the 
children who are brought up on bright and well-pictured 

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Anntcal Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

books, not by the peasant children from whom the tales 
are originally taken ; and the appeal with those who use 
them will always be from book to book, not from tradition 
to tradition. Literature such as this may, and does, kill 
tradition, but it does not create it 

It seems to me we have two areas within which folk- 
tales are found — two areas sharply defined, in this as in 
other things, and always distinct and separate. The one 
area is occupied by literary influences, and has been 
insensibly increasing from the times of Jacques de Vitry 
to the times of Madame D'Aulnoy and tfie modem fairy- 
tale books ; the second area is occupied by tradition, and 
has been insensibly decreasing from its origin in primitive 
times to its survival in modern times. I can conceive of 
little or no overlapping here. Tales that are told in the 
literary area are a group by themselves, literary in form, 
and dependent upon literature for their life. Occasionally 
it may happen, and has happened, that some story more 
popular than ordinary has become known orally, and 
perhaps may have been transmitted through a generation 
by tradition. But the tradition soon dies out unless it is 
constantly refreshed by literature. I represent this area to 
myself as a triangle whose apex just touches primitive 
life, and whose base extends to modern times, and is ever 




The traditional area is sharply marked off from this ; 

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8 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

and to continue my figure, it seems to me that it may be 
represented by an inverted triangle, with its base resting 
on the primitive h'fe of long past ages, and its apex ex- 
tending to modem times. The tales here are dependent 
upon tradition, and never upon literature. The people 
who know these tales are the peasantry, unlettered and 
untravelled, and who have lived a life of unchanging 
routine, surrounded by unchanging custom and belief, the 
antiquity of which is attested in every way. The tales 
themselves are loved and treasured of the folk, jealously 
guarded by them lest they should be captured by the 
cultured, are known to people whose capacity for tradition 
takes the place of capacity for literature. They never had 
" Blue Fairy Tale" books, or " English Fairy Tale" books ; 
they could not have read them, they would not have acade- 
mically learnt them. A folk-tale of the Veys, a North 
African people, explains this view most graphically in its 
opening sentences. The narrator begins his tale by 
saying : " I speak of the long time past ; hear ! It is 
written in our old-time-palaver-books — I do not say then ; 
in old time the Vey people had no books, but the old men 
told it to their children and they kept it ; afterwards it was 
written" {Joum, EthnoL 5^r.,N.S., vi, 354). Yes, afterwards 
it was written ; that is the entire question, and it is answered 
by this savage folk-lorist 

That this dual division is, therefore, supported by the 
data of popular tradition in modem times, may now, I 
think, be granted. It is confirmed by what is known of 
popular tradition in classical times. The subject is too 
long to enter upon now, but let any one consider for a 
moment how such a division helps to explain much of the 
phenomena of classical myth. No one supposes that the 
whole of classical myth is contained in Homer, Hesiod 
Virgil, or Ovid. If they do, let me refer them to 
Mr. Frazer's admirable paper in FOLK-LoRE on some 
popular superstitions of the ancients, published during 
the present year. Scattered up and down the extant 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 9 

works of the poets, historians, philosophers, and parti- 
cularly the lesser writers of classical times, are innumer- 
able notices of myth, tradition, and superstition, which 
when put together show clearly enough a sub-stratum of 
folk-lore residing among the people which no poet had 
worked up into the lore of the cultured. The Apollo of 
the cultured and of the poets was different from the Apollo 
of the people : it is true we know both from literary 
sources ; but the literature which tells us of the one is the 
greatest epic ever woven by man, the literature which tells 
us of the other, putting on one side purely hfstorical works 
like those of Pausanias, is contained in the epigrams and 
sneers, or in the accidental notings of the satirist, in the 
haphazard allusions of the poets and dramatists, and in 
the discussions of the philosophers when philosophy was 
just beginning to throw off the spell of poetry and art. 
This is not a literary origin, therefore — it is the unin- 
tentional mention by literature of folk-lore. The way 
that literature treats folk-lore is thus clearly shown. It 
poetises it into a system, or it treats it with derision ; 
neither of which processes are operative in the traditional 
treatment of folk-lore, where details are attended to with 
scrupulous exactness, and formulae are repeated in the 
accepted manner, because variation would be a fatal 

I have said that the anthropological method of studying 
folk-lore must be proved by its results in showing that all 
branches tend in the same direction. This direction, so 
far as we have gone at present, is that folk-lore contains 
the survivals of the oldest and rudest culture of man. An 
example of the manner in which one branch of folk-lore 
complements or supplements another — an example con- 
spicuous by its lucid reasoning — is Mr. Hartland's Lady 
Godiva study given to us last session. This really adds 
a chapter to Mr. Frazer's Agrictdturcd Myth and Custom, 
It is an additional brick in the building-up of the unre- 
corded history of the past from folk-lore. And when one 

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10 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

recognises that two great authorities like Mr. Frazer and 
Mr. Hartland, each in their own line of study, practically 
bring their respective studies to a converging point, the 
time has come to lay stress upon the fact as an argument 
for the interpretation they give to folk-lore. 

Before passing away from Mr. Hartland's subject, I want 
to add one word on the detail of the legend itself I am 
perfectly aware that in this I am adding not one syllable 
to Mr. Hartland's knowledge ; and, as he is present, I 
most heartily apologise for my intrusion into his preserves. 
But my reason for thus poaching is, that I quite well 
remember, during the discussion that took place on this 
paper, great and very proper stress was laid upon the 
absence of the Peeping Tom incident in the earliest 
versions of the story. This was held to be an argument 
against Mr. Hartland's views. Well, I am of a different 
opinion. I believe it helps Mr. Hartland's views, and, in 
my own way, I put the case as follows. 

It will be remembered that Mr. Hartland pointed out 
that the earliest form of this legend appears in the 
thirteenth-century chronicle of Roger of Wendover, and 
that an undoubted parallel to the Coventry ceremony is 
recorded at St Briavel's, in Somersetshire. Here, then, we 
have as starting points — 

{a) The Coventry legend and ceremony kept up as 
municipal custom, and mentioned as early as 
the thirteenth century. 

ip) The St. BriaveFs legend, the ceremony fallen into 
disuse, and no literary mention of it at all. 

Mr. Hartland rightly considers the record of Roger of 
Wendover as one of those pleasing accidents which shows 
that our early chroniclers were sometimes ready to note 
folk-lore, and he does not suggest that the literary record 
started the legend. The fact of it obtaining in two places, 
in two different counties, is to me of great importance for 
the interpretation of the story. But it is to be observed 

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Anntial Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 1 1 

that, both in the oldest version of the Coventry legend and 
in the St Briavel's legend, no mention is made of the 
Peeping Tom incident Mr. Hartland looks upon* this as 
an essential part of the legend ; I am, however, inclined 
to think it is only an accidental part of the legend. 
The reasons for this opinion are sufficiently illustrative of 
the points I have chosen for discussion to-night to warrant 
my setting them forth somewhat fully, and the subject is 
attractive as one of the few genuine English traditions 

The ride of Lady Godiva is, according to Mr, Hartland, 
a survival of a pagan belief and worship concerned with a 
being awful and mysterious as Hertha. Pliny mentions 
just such a festival as Mr. Hartland notes in India as 
occurring actually in Britain, and the passage is interesting 
enough to quote. The ceremonial described by Pliny 
would doubtless be an annual one, and in its primitive 
form the incident of Peeping Tom would certainly not be 
a recognised part of it : — 

" Both matrons and girls among the people of Britain are 
in the habit of staining their body all over with glastum 
when taking part in the performance of certain sacred 
rites ; rivalling thereby the swarthy hue of the Ethiopians, 
they go in a state of nature." 

We are not told what these sacred rites were ; but there is 
little reason to doubt their general assimilation to such rites 
among savage and barbarous people. For instance, among 
the Tshi-speaking people, 'according to Ellis, in time of war 
" the wives of the men who are with the army paint them- 
selves white, and make a daily procession through the town. 
.... The ceremony is generally performed in a complete 
state of nudity, and any man, except the aged and infirm, 
who may be discovered is at once assailed with torrents of 
abuse, assaulted with stones, and driven out of the town." 
Thus, amongst these African tribes the incident sug- 
gested by Peeping Tom would occur over and over again, 
but it is not an essential part of the ceremonial itself. 

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12 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

This ancient ceremony in Britain, then, survived at St. 
BriaveFs in legend^ at Coventry in custom. Let us note 
in passing the intimate connection that is here afforded 
between legend and custom. At Coventry the ancient 
rites stamped themselves upon the memory of the people 
with such force that they converted, in course of time, the 
heathen goddess ceremony into a municipal and, conse- 
quently, secular ceremony. To account for the existence 
of the municipal ceremony a municipal legend was 
necessary, and thus the old heathen legend was con- 
verted into a municipal legend. In process of time, 
where the legend and the ceremony kept alive, accretion 
would take place in the incidents, either from some 
actual local occurrence or for the purpose of adding 
point to the original legend, whose reed point had of 
course been lost. Add to this the fact that the ancient 
prohibition against the presence of men at the ceremony, 
which Mr. Hartland shows is part of the primitive cere- 
mony, might certainly introduce such an idea as the Peep- 
ing Tom incident, quite natural in itself, and we should have 
the late introduction of Peeping Tom properly accounted 
for. This would leave the ride and its heathen purpose 
free from all intrusion of foreign or late elements — leave it, 
in point of fact, in its simple primitive form as the ride of 
a rain goddess or an earth goddess. 

I should have liked to say something about two very valu- 
able papers which have appeared in the Society's Journal 
during this last year — namely, Mr. Abcrcromby's " Magic 
Songs of the Finns" and Professor Haddon's " Tales of the 
Torres Straits People". At this time, when the Finns arc 
being brought into such close contact with the prehistoric 
Aryan-speaking people, it is particularly fortunate that we 
have one scholar in the Society who will give us such im- 
portant material as Mr. Abercromby has done. But I am 
anxious to pass on to some rather dry details, with which I 
think itnecessary to trouble the Society to-night, and so do 

Digitized by 


Annual Address to th6 Folk-Lore Society. 13 

not propose to touch upon these enticing subjects. I must, 
however, just point out that the Society is entitled to con- 
gratulate itself upon a veritable capture it has achieved 
during the present year. Professor Haddon went out to 
the Torres Straits on an expedition on behalf of natural 
science ; he returned an ardent folk-lorist, and immediately 
joined us. As a scientific man, he knows the value of pre- 
cision in recording facts, and I do not know a more perfect 
model of genuine story-collecting than his. He is now 
pursuing his folk-lore work in Ireland, and I, for one, 
expect great things from him. 

I must now pass on to what I want to say about the 
methods of classifying, docketing, and analysing the 
materials of folk-lore. I will suggest that the only way of 
studying folk-lore is by syncretic analysis, if the expres- 
sion is not almost paradoxical. The Society is helping 
towards this object by its forms of analysis and tabulation 
which have been adopted for folk-tales, and custom and 
belief. And it is only fair to point out to members that 
several ladies are now busy upon the tabulation of folk-tales, 
one group of which — the Cinderella group — ^will be analysed 
and examined by Miss Roalfe Cox, and the results placed 
before the members. The tabulations are the first step, 
not the final one, in the study of folk-tales. Having got 
all folk-tales grouped together, either in story-types or in 
geographical order, the next step is analysis. 

It would be premature to speculate as to the result 
of this analysis, but, as an example of its value to the 
anthropological method of interpretation, let us take 
Grimm's collection of folk-tales. They have been already 
largely tabulated upon the Society's plan, and if we pro- 
ceed to analyse the first twelve of them, say, what is the 
result ? 

Dividing each tale so as to bring out the features which 
mark — 

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14 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

(i) The story radicals or essential plot ; 

(2) The story accidentals or illustrative points ; 

(3) Modern gloss upon the events in the story — 

we get the following results with regard to seven out of the 
twelve : — 

I.— Frog Prince, 

Story nulicals. 

Story aoodentals. 

Added features. 

Modem gloss. 

Yonngest dan^- 

Fountain or well 
the locaUt7 of 
leading tnadent 


Frog-pnnoe stays 
at the house of 
his future wife. 

Exosanous mar* 
riage,the prince 
coming from a 
foreign country. 




a. Fantastic element 



Faithful servant 
whose heart is 
bound by iron 

3. Rank and splendour 




Kingly state and 
iu trapping*— 
the princess 
wears a crown 
on ordinary oo* 
casions, and yet 
opens the door 
to a visitor while 
at dinner. 

III.— Our Lady's Child, 

Story radicals. 

Story accidentals. 

Added features. 

Modem gloss. 

X. Savage elemenU.. 


Naked forest wo- 
man captured 
for wife. 

Suspicion that 
she is a cannibal 



3. Rank and splendour 




Virgin Mary and 
heaven the cen- 
tral feature of 
the heroine's ad- 

4. Moral character- 

Punishment for 




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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 15 

IV.— The Youth who wants to learn to shudder. 

Story accidentals. 

Added features. 

Modem gloss. 

X. SaTage dements.. 

Winning of wife 

by service. 
Succession to 
kingship through 


Treasure {[uard- 

ed by spirits. 




3. Fantastic element 


The adventures 
in the haunted 



3. Rank and splendour 




Kingly sUte. 

4. Moral character- 





v.— The Wolf and Seven Little Kids. 

z. Savage elem e n t s .. 

Story radicals. Story acddentak. Added features. Modem glosa. 

Talking ani- 

Cutting open of 
the animal to 
free the swal- 
lowed Idds, and 
re-fiUiofl; the 
stomach with 

Criddsm upon 
men as com- 
pared with ani- 
mals, " truly 
men are like 

VL— Faithful John. 

Story radicals. 

Story accidentals 

Added featiu^s. 

Modem gloss. 

X. Savage elemenU.. 

Capture of bride. 
Talking of ani- 

Three taboos- 
sucking of 
Sacrifice of child- 
ren and sprink- 
ling their blood 
on a stone. 
Human origin of 
stone pillar. 




3. Rank and splendour 




Kingly sUte and 
great wealth in 
gold snd riches. 

4. Moral character- 


Punishment for 



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1 6 Annual Address to the Folk- Lore Society. 

IX.— The Twelve Brothers. 

Story radicals. 

Stovy accidentals. 

Added featmea. 

Modem glosi. 

X. Savage dements.. 

Going (causing 
to go] away of 
sons 80 that the 
should fidl to the 

Change of broth* 
ers into ravens. 

on an outside 

Forest Hfe. 

a. Rank and splendour 




Kingly state. 

Moral character- 





XI.— Brother and Sister. 

Story radicals. 

Story accidentals. 

Added features. 

Modem glo 

X. Savage elements . . 

Transformation of 
hero into roe- 
buck after drink- 
ing at stream. 

There is no time to do more than to give these few 
examples of story analysis, but they are sufficient, I think^ 
to show the value and interest of it It brings out the 
statistical side of folk-lore methods, and in folk-lore we need 
statistics, if we would be exact and scientific. 

I pass from analysis of tales to that of custom and 
belief. Nothing of this has, so far as I am aware, yet been 
done. Some five years or so ago I began the task of com- 
piling a dictionary of the folk-lore of the British Isles, and 
when, about a year ago, I began to arrange my collections, 
the need of a proper analytical system at once occurred to 
me. The plan for analysing custom and belief prepared 
for the Society was the result of my experience of what 
was necessary, and I have been working upon it ever 

We have no right to discuss custom and belief in folk- 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 1 7 

lore until we know something of its plac>*, in folk-lore 
analysis. Working this out in some exai .pies chosen 
almost at random from my collections, let me first note 
some customs of considerable significance which allow us 
at once to penetrate beneath the stratum of Christianity 
into the paganism beneath. 

Remember, I am trying to show the importance of 
analysing the component elements of folk-lore. Baptism, 
an essentially Christian ceremony, might oflT-hand be sup- 
posed to contain nothing but evidence for Christianity. It 
might at most be expected that the details of the ceremony 
would contain relics of adapted pagan rites, and this we 
know is the case. But my point is, that we can go beyond 
even this, and discover in the popular conception of the rite 
very clear indications of the early antagonism between 
Christianity and paganism — an antagonism which is cer- 
tainly some eighteen hundred years old — in this country, 
and though so old is still contained in the evidence of 

An analysis of baptismal folk-lore shows us that its 
most important section is contained under the group which 
deals with the effect of non-baptism. 
^ ' In England we have it prevailing in the border counties, 

in Cornwall, Devonshire, Durham, Lancashire, Middlesex, 
Northumberland, and Yorkshire, and in north-east Scot- 
land, that children joined the ranks of the fairies if they 
died unchristened, or that their souls wandered about in 
the air, restless and unhappy, until Judgment Day. Various 
penalties attended the condition of non-baptism, but 
perhaps the most significant is the Northumberland custom 
of burying an unbaptised babe at the feet of an adult 
Christian corpse — surely a relic of the old sacrifice at a 
burial which is indicated so frequently in the graves of 
prehistoric times, particularly of the long-barrow period. 
In Ireland we have the effect of non-baptism in a still 
more grim form. In the sixteenth century the rude Irish 
used to leave the right arms of their male children un- 

VOL. II. c 

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1 8 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society, 

christened, to the intent that they might give a more 
ungracious and deadly blow. 

These, and their allied and variant customs, are relics, not 
so much of the absorption by Christian baptism of rites 
belonging to early paganism as of the struggle between 
Christianity and paganism for the mastery, of the ana- 
themas of Christians against pagans, and of the terrible 
answer of the pagan. And what are we to say to it ? Is 
It that the struggle itself has lasted all these centuries, or 
only its memory ? My belief is that the struggle itself has 
lasted in reality though not in name. 

But if we have been able to look through the very 
portals of Christianity to the regions of paganism behind, 
can we not boldly pass through altogether and recover 
from folk-lore much of the lost evidence of our prehistoric 
ancestors? I put the question in this way purposely^ 
because it is the way which is indicated by the methods 
and data of folk-lore, and it is a question which has much 
to do with the different views held of the province of folk- 

Let us first note the pre-baptismal rites of washing. In 
Northumberland we meet with the analogue of the six- 
teenth century Irish practice, for there the child's right 
hand is left unwashed that it may gather riches better — 
the golden coin being the modern weapon in this as in 
other features of civilisation. Not only is the water used 
for this purpose heated in the old-fashioned way by placing 
red-hot irons in it {ix,^ the modern equivalent for stone- 
boiling); but in Yorkshire we have the custom that the 
new-bom infant must be placed in the arms of a maiden 
before anyone else touches it, two practices represented 
exactly in the customs of the Canary Islanders, who were 
in the stone age of culture and are considered to be the last 
remnants of a race which once included Britain among its 
lands of occupation. 

Of course we cannot, on the present occasion, deal ex- 
haustively with any of these subjects. I can only indicate 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. \ 9 

the results. But I should next like to draw attention to 
the clavie burning at Burghead. It has been described 
over and over again with but little additional information 
until the ceremony of 1889, which was described in greater 
minuteness than usual in our FoLK-LORE JOURNAL. I will 
not, however, describe the whole ceremony, which is very 
well known, but draw attention to the additional features 
which are not so well known. 

At the making of the clavie no stranger may join the 
band of workers but as an onlooker only. The sons of the 
original inhabitants only handle the primitive tools that 
make the clavie. Unwritten, but invariable, laws regulate 
all their actions, and every article required is borrowed, 
not bought 

The barrel having been sawn in two, the lower half is 
nailed into a long spoke of firewood, which serves for a 
handle. This nail must not be struck by a hammer^ but 
driven in by a stone. The half-barrel is then filled with 
dry wood saturated with tar, and built up like a pyramid, 
leaving only a hollow to receive a burning peat, for no 
lucifer-match must be applied. Should the bearer stumble 
or fall, the consequences would be unlucky to the town and 
to himself The clavie is thrown down the western side of 
the hill, and a desperate scramble ensues for the burning 
brands, possession of which is accounted to bring good 
luck, and the embers are carried home and carefully pre- 
served till the following year as a safeguard against all 
manner of evil. In bygone times it was thought necessary 
that one man should carry it right round the town, so the 
strongest was selected for the purpose. It was also cus- 
tomary to carry the clavie round every ship in the harbour, 
a part of the ceremony which has lately been discon- 

The analysis of the whole custom gives us the following 
important details : — 

(i) The limitation of the ceremonial to members of the 
community by blood descent 

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20 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

(2) The construction of the clavie with stone imple- 


(3) The lighting of the clavie with a burning peat, and 

the taboo against a lucifer. 

(4) The honour received by being the bearer of the 


(5) The want of pity shown if an accident happen to 

the bearer and the unluck caused to the town by 
such accident 

(6) The circuit of the burning clavie round the old 

boundaries and round the ships. 

(7) The final placing of the clavie on the circular heap 

of stones. 

(8) The hurling of the blazing pile down the hill. 

(9) The struggle for the lighted brand by members of 

the community. 

(10) The lighting of the house-fire with the lighted 


(11) The perpetuation of the house-fire throughout the 

year until the next clavie day. 

(12) The sacredness attributed to the possession of a 


This custom is comparable with others of equal signifi- 
cance, and its more ancient features preserved to us from 
the early seventeenth century supply us with further 
details ; but the comparison is not needed, because the 
custom contains within itself a perfect record of the pre- 
historic original. 

At Whitsuntide, in the parish of King's Teignton, Devon- 
shire, a custom is thus described. A lamb is drawn about 
the parish on Whitsun Monday in a cart covered with 
garlands of lilac, laburnum, and other flowers, when persons 
are requested to give something towards the animal and 
attendant expenses; on Tuesday it is then killed and 
roasted whole in the middle of the village. The lamb is 
then sold in slices to the poor at a cheap rate. The origin 
of the custom is forc^otten, but a tradition, supposed* to 

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Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 2 1 

trace back to heathen days, is to this effect : The village 
suffered from a dearth of water, when the inhabitants were 
advised by their priests to pray to the gods for water, 
whereupon the water sprang up spontaneously in a meadow 
about a third of a mile above the river, in an estate now 
called Rydon, amply sufficient to supply the wants of the 
place, and at present adequate, even in a dry summer, to 
work three mills. A lamb, it is said, has ever since that 
time been sacrificed as a votive thankoffering at Whitsun- 
tide in the manner before mentioned. The said water 
appears like a large pond, from which in rainy weather 
may be seen jets of water springing up some inches above 
the surface in many parts. It has ever Had the name of 
" Fair Water". 

Analysing this, we get the following results : — 

(i) The decoration of the victim lamb with garlands. 

(2) The killing and roasting of the victim by villagers. 

(3) The place of the ceremony in the middle of the 


(4) The selling of the roasted flesh to the poor. 

(5) - 

(6) - 

(7) - 

(8) The traditional origin of the custom as a sacrifice for 


Now, let us turn to a parallel custom in the same 
county. At the village of Holne, situated on one of the 
spurs of Dartmoor, is a field of about two acres, the pro- 
perty of the parish, and called the Ploy Field. In the 
centre of this field stands a granite pillar (Menhir) six or 
seven feet high. On May-morning before daybreak the 
young men of the village used to assemble there, and then 
proceed to the moor, where they selected a ram lamb, and 
after running it down, brought it in triumph to the Ploy 
Field, fastened it to the pillar, cut its throat, and then 
roasted it whole, skin, wool, etc. At midday a struggle 

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2 2 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

took place, at the risk of cut hands, for a slice, it being 
supposed to confer luck for the ensuing year on the fortu- 
nate devourer. As an act of gallantry the young men 
sometimes fought their way through the crowd to get a 
slice for the chosen amongst the young women, all of whom, 
in their best dresses, attended the Ram Feast, as it was 
called. Dancing, wrestling, and other games, assisted by 
copious libations of cider during the afternoon, prolonged 
the festivity till midnight 

Analysing this example, we have the following re- 
sults : — 

(1) - 

(2) The killing and roasting of the victim ram by vil- 


(3) The place of the ceremony at a stone pillar in a field 

which is common property. 

(4) The struggie for pieces of raw flesh " at the risk of 

cut hands". 

(5) The time of the ceremony before daybreak. 

(6) The luck conferred by the possession of a slice of 

the flesh. 

(7) The festivities attending the ceremony. 

(8) - 

Thus, of the five elements in the King's Teignton cus- 
tom, three are retained in the Holne custom, and three 
additional ones of importance are added. 

I think we may conclude, first, that the Holne custom is 
a more primitive form of a common original from which 
both have descended ; secondly, that we may strike out the 
" roasting" as an entirely civilised element due to modern 
influences. The final form of the analysis might then be 
restored from the two fragmentary ones as follows : — 

f i) The decoration of the victim with garlands. 

(2) The killing of the victim by the community. 

(3) The place of the ceremony on lands belonging to the 

CQiniBUnityj and at a stone pillar. 



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Anntial Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 23 

(4) The struggle for pieces of flesh by members of the 


(5) The time of the ceremony before daybreak. 

(6) The sacred power of the piece of flesh. 

(7) The festivities attending the ceremony. 

(8) The origin of the ceremony as a sacrifice to the god 

of waters. 

Need I go further than this, with Mr. Frazer's book 
quite fresh in our minds t At least, I will mention the 
nearest parallel to this custom from another famous book. 
Professor Robertson Smith thus quotes from an early book 
on Arab custom {Religion of Semites^ p. 320): — 

" A camel is chosen as the victim, and is bound upon a 
rude altar of stones piled together. When the leader of 
the band has thrice led the worshippers round the altar in 
a solemn procession, accompanied with chants, he inflicts 
the first wound while the last words of the hymn are still 
upon the lips of the congregation, and, in all haste, drinks 
of the blood that gushes forth. Forthwith the whole com- 
pany fall on the victim with their swords, hacking off 
pieces of the quivering flesh and devouring them raw with 
such wild haste that, in the short interval between the rise 
of the day star, which marked the hour for the service to 
begin, and the disappearance of its rays before the rising 
sun, the entire camel, body and bones, skin, blood, and 
entrails, is wholly devoured." 

Now, what would an analysis of this give us ? Just those 
points which have been produced from two Devonshire 
customs, and which help, therefore, to stamp the latter as 
survivals from savagery which, if borrowed, must have been 
borrowed in savage times by savage people. 

Witchcraft in killing an enemy by causing his image 
to be made, and inflicting injury upon the image, which 
injury will be transferred to the individual represented, is 
well known. But it is not so well known that in Scotland 
the method of thus producing vicarious injury upon an 
enemy takes us back to the stone age. On July 22, 1590, 

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24 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

Katherine Ross, Lady Fowlis, was tried for witchcraft in 
Scotland, and the articles of accusation set forth that on 
All Hallowmas in 1577 she, with others, made "twa 
pictouris of clay, the ane maid for the distructioune and 
consumptioune of the young Laird of Fowlis and the 
vthir for the young Ladie Balnagowne .... quhilkis twa 
pictouris being sett on the north syd of the chalmer, the 
said Loskie Loncart tuik twa elf arrow heides and del- 
yuerit ane to ye, Katherene, and the vther the said 
Cristian Rois Malcumsone held in her awin hand ; and 
thow schott twa schottis with the said arrow heid att the 
said Lady Bulnagowne and Loskie Loncart schott thrie 
schottis at the said young Laird of Fowlis." Putting this 
extraordinary narrative by the side of what we know 
already about witchcraft — and I cannot now go further with 
details — is it not clear that we are taken back to the culture 
of the stone age for the first step in our analysis ? 

Well, I fear to weary you with too much dry analysis, 
but the conclusions to be drawn from these examples — and 
they are but specimens of many others — appear to me clear 
enough. They indicate, at the very least, pre-Christian 
origins in folk-lore. The unchristened arm of the Eliza- 
bethan Irishman ; the old sacrificial rites of the Victorian 
Devonshire men ; the stone-hammered clavie and the 
stone-arrowed Scottish witch, the one Victorian, the other 
Elizabethan : each and all represent the oldest untouched 
detail of early life in the forms which have survived in 
folk-lore, and it is these untouched oldest fragments, not 
their modem additions or developments, which must be 
accentuated by the student in his analysis of custom and 
belief — they clearly must be the starting-point of any 
explanation which may be given of the customs to which 
they belong. To the anthropological school they are the 
starting-point of research into origins which are thus shown 
to be primitive. To the literary school they must also be 
the starting-point of research, because their presence must 
be explained in some way or other. 

Digitized by 


Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 25 

Anthropological methods are laborious and lengthy. 
Each item must be carefully collated with its surroundings, 
its parallels and its originals. We are gradually doing this. 
Mr. Campbell, years ago, set us on the right lines ; Mr. 
Lang has shown us some of the results that may be 
expected. And yearly, in our own transactions, in studies 
like those of Mr. Hartland, Mr. Clodd, Mr. Nutt, and 
outside our own circle, but assisted by us as I firmly 
believe, studies like Mr. Frazer's Golden Bough and 
Professor Robertson Smith's Religion of tJie Semites^ the 
evidence for the anthropological school of folk-lore is 
gradually but surely accumulating. It is the production 
of evidence all along the line that is so much needed. As 
this is accomplished we shall see that such an example, for 
instance, as the use of stone celts in witchcraft is not 
isolated or peculiar. Such stone implements in the British 
Isles, as among savage people, are called lightning stoned, 
and they are, as Mr. Hickson says, but one example 
out of many which help to support the view that the 
fundamental ideas of primitive man are the same all the 
world over. "Just as the little black baby of the negro, the 
brown baby of the Malay, the yellow baby of the Chinaman, 
are in face and form, in gestures and habits, as well as in 
the first articulate sound they mutter, very much alike, so 
the mind of man, whether he be Aryan or Malay, Mongo- 
lian or Negrito, has, in the course of its evolution, passed 
through stages which are practically identical. In the 
intellectual childhood of mankind natural phenomena, or 
some other causes, of which we are at present ignorant, 
have induced thoughts, stories, legends, and myths, that 
in their essentials are identical among all the races of the 
world with which we are acquainted." (Hickson's North 
Celebes^ 240.) 

There is no room for the borrowing theory if this be the 
true way of looking at folk-lore. But there is another 
point to notice. Mr. Jacobs has, in the third number of our 
Journal, very ingeniously and suggestively introduced us to 

Digitized by 


26 Anntial Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

what I would venture to call an anthropological borrowing 
theory. He has suggested the application of the latest 
theories of comparative philology to explain the pheno- 
mena of folk-lore. Comparative philology has before now 
had " new" theories, which were readily accepted in years 
gone by, and now they are rejected, not without some 
show of petulant scorn, by those who have learnt the new 
ways. At least it seems to me to be premature to accept 
the latest "new" theories of comparative philology as a 
guide to folk-lorists. Why should folk-lore be perpetually 
asked to lean upon philology? I altogether reject an 
alliance upon such a basis. I believe that folk-lore has 
methods of its own quite as exact as those of philology, 
and that the true course to pursue is to keep to those 
methods. They are to be determined by folk-lore data, 
and not by the data of other sciences, however closely 
allied ; they depend upon the inter-relationship of the 
various component parts of folk-lore, and must be ascer- 
tained and set forth in scientific order and precision — an 
order and precision attainable, as I believe, to a much 
greater degree of perfection than most of us have any 
idea of. It may well be that by its own methods folk-lore 
will be in a position to teach something to philology and 
the other allied sciences. 

Thus, then, it seems tKat our work in the future must lie 
more and more in the direction of analysis and classifica- 
tion. To do this properly we want first of all absolutely 
exhaustive collection. Collection is twofold: (i) among the 
people for those items which are even yet unrecorded, as, 
for instance, such an item as Professor Haddon a week or 
two ago told me he had noted in Ireland — the custom of 
loosening the nails of a coflfin just before consignment to 
the grave, so that the spirit may have less trouble in getting 
to the spirit world ; (2) among the scattered literature not 
specially devoted to folk-lore. This last need has been 
noted in the Handbook^ but I will recall to the members 
the admirable paper which Miss Burne sent up to the 

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Annual Address to the Folk- Lore Society, 27 

Society, and which contained so many important sugges- 

Recognising, therefore, as we do, the needs of folk-lore, 
there is not much doubt as to what the duty of the Society 
is in the future. Folk-lore of late years has become 
popular, and is becoming more so ; and, this being the 
case, we find there is much that can now be accomplished 
by the private student through publishers, which in the 
past could only have been accomplished by the Society. 
Such a state of things is one of the surest indications of the 
Society's success in the past And it points to a defining 
line for its work in the future. In the admirable biblio- 
graphy given in our Journal, we are made acquainted with 
the folk-lore that does not pass through our own hands. 
Whatever work publishers will now undertake, therefore, 
the Society should gladly leave to their care. But there is 
a large balance of very necessary work which can only be 
taken up by the Society, and which, in my humble 
judgment, should be taken up at once in a comprehensive 
manner. We want to get at the statistics of folk-lore. 
We want definite plans laid down upon every branch of 
work which needs to be done, the order in which it is 
required, the form which it is to take, the methods of 
obtaining the co-operation of all our working members. 
Some of this has been begun, some of it has been neglected, 
some of it has not been attempted. The organisation of 
County Committees is still an unfinished plan of the 
Council. Complete and exhaustive bibliography is another 
subject which needs almost immediate attention at our 
hands. The English portion of it was begun by myself 
soon after the Society started ; another department of it 
has been taken in hand by Mr. Kirby. My ideal of the 
work of the Society in the future is, I am afraid, not a 
very exhilarating one, and is certainly devoid of the fasci- 
nation and enchantment which our distinguished President 
has given to folk-lore study generally, and to his utterances 
from this chair. But I am earnest in my contention that 

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28 Annual Address to tlie Folk- Lore Society. 

It is essential to accomplish a certain amount of dry work 
before we can get folk-lore fully recognised, as it should 
be, in the historical sciences. Folk-lore has suffered by 
being studied in piecemeal, because all attacks upon it 
have been directed against one or two of its regiments, 
which have been mistaken for its main army. Only the 
Society, in its collective capacity, can prepare for the 
student what he requires all along the line ; the Society 
should always be scientific, let its individual members work 
as they may. Scientific methods may not be popular 
methods, but popularity is quite a secondary consideration. 
This has been the policy I have advocated ever since the 
Society has been in existence, and, while I have not lost 
one scrap of faith in the wisdom of such a policy, I have 
lost faith in my own capacity for successfully advo- 
cating it. 

This brings me to speak here of our new Journal. I 
think the Society is to be congratulated upon the com- 
pletion of the first volume of FoLK-LORE with such con- 
spicuous success, and I think it owes a debt of gratitude to 
Mr. Nutt and Mr. Jacobs. But, in my opinion, the new 
Journal lacks something from the Society's point of view, 
and I only found what this something was in looking over 
the pages of the old FOLK-LORE JOURNAL. In an early 
volume of that work is a letter from Mr. Kinahan, which sug- 
gests the need of a place of record for the trifles which may 
come under the notice of an observer at all times and 
places, when but for a printed record it might be lost. 
Notes and Queries has long held this place; our Journal 
should now hold it. And for this to be accomplished we 
want a section of FOLK- LORE exclusively devoted to collec- 
tion. I know there are pages devoted to notes, but we 
want, I think, a Collectors^ Note-Booh section definitely set 
out for those of our members who come across stray bits of 
folk-lore, whether printed in a non-folk-lore book or in 
tradition among the folk. With this properly organised, 
we might get members to search among the newspapers 

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A nnual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 29 

and journals, and maybe discover another Tom Tit Tot — 
to search, I mean, systematically for the Society, and, 
having finished any particular section, to record the fact in 
our Journal, even if the results are nil so far as folk-lore is 
concerned. At least, this will secure work not being done 
twice over. 

One other matter of organisation is of somewhat more 
importance to the Society and to folk-lore, and it lies 
outside the Society's immediate control. I mean the 
establishment of a folk-lore section of the British Associa- 
tion. I think the time has come for this. Anthropology 
has long since been recognised there ; folk-lore should also 
now be recognised, and independently. I think, until this 
is done, it would be well if the Council of the Society sent 
a representative to the meetings of the Association,, who 
should draw up a report of folk-lore matters dealt with 
there, and their relationship to other subjects. The 
Society, in my humble judgment, should assert itself, and 
put itself into communication with such other societies as 
take up any branch of its work, or illustrate any important 
feature of the science. It would thereby spread its useful- 
ness, and would, I am convinced, increase its members. 

Taking the work done, and noting the work to be done, 
it occurs to me that the record of the past session has been 
substantial and good. Such of it as I have been able to 
note indicates that we are proceeding slowly, no doubt, but 
systematically. We are urging forward collection, and 
our handbook for collectors is the best evidence of our 
action under this branch of work. We are urging forward 
analysis and scientific arrangement, and our tabulation 
work, under the superintendence of Miss Roalfe Cox, will 
show this. We are formulating our interpretation of 
certain phenomena in folk-tales, our materials, perhaps, in 
all cases not being quite perfect. We are discussing and 
taking careful note of our methods of work. We are 
watching the progress of other scientific work which bears 
upon our own. Wc already find that philology has beaten 

Digitized by 


30 Annual Address to the Folk-Lore Society. 

a retreat, while archaeology and craniology are bringing 
themselves to the front in the interpretation of man's pre- 
historic past We await the time for folk-lore to range 
Itself alongside of these great studies, fully recognised and 
fully used in the sense that Edmund Spenser wrote three 
centuries ago : ** By these old customes the descent of 
nations can only be proved, where other monuments of 
writings are not remayning." 


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XXV.— The Origin of Iron. 


The aerial God himself, Z/kko^ the Creator up above, 
Rubbed together both his pahns upon the end of his left knee. 
From that originated three maidens — all the three Luonotars^ 
To be mothers of iron ore (F. rust), to be generators of " blue 

The maidens walk with swinging gait, the girls advance along 

the atmospheric rim 
With swollen breasts, with smarting teats. 
They milked their milk upon the ground— <aused their breasts 

to discharge. 
Milked over lands, milked over swamps, milked over still 

One, the eldest of the girls, milked out black milk, 
The second, the middle one, jetted forth red milk. 
The third, the youngest of the girls, poured forth white milk. 
One had milked black milk, from hers originated soft iron. 
One had jetted forth red milk, from hers brittle iron is obtained. 
One had poured forth white milk, from hers things of steel are 
There was a short interval of time. 
Iron desired to meet his elder brother, to make acquaintance 

with fire. 
Fire became insolent — grew exceeding terrible, 
Burnt swamps, burnt lands, burnt great wooded wildernesses, 

* The Thunder God. « /.^., blue-edged steeL 

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32 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

Was on the point of burning poor iron, his wretched brother. 
Iron manages to take to flight, to take to flight, to hide himself 
In dark Pohjola^ in Lapland's wide and furthest bounds, 
Upon the greatest reach of swamp, on a wild mountain-top, 
A\Tiere swans lay their eggs — z. goose hatches its young. 
Iron lies stretched upon a swamp — lies idly in a watery place, 
Hid a whole year, hid for a second, forthwith hid for a third. 
He did not manage certainly to escape the raging hands of 

A second time he iiad to go — ^to enter rooms of fire 
When being made into a weapon, when being forged into a 

A wolf was running o'er a swamp, a bear was hurrying o'er a 

sandy heath. 
The swamp rose under the wolfs feet — the sandy heath under 

the bear's paws. 
Iron bars, balls of steel grew up 

On the tracks of the wolf, on the dints of the bear's heel. 
( The smith Ilmarinen^ the very skilful hammerer 
( V. Good old Vdin&mdinen^ the time-old soothsayer {ttetdja) 
(Who) was wending his way, was pursuing his course, 
Came by chance on the wolfs tracks— on the dints of the 

bear's heel. 
Saw the iron sprouts, the balls of steel. 
On the wolfs huge tracks, on the dints of the bear's heel, 
(And) to this speech gives utterance : 
" Alas for thee, unlucky iron. 

For thou art in a wretched plight— in a lowly situation. 
In a wolfs footmarks on a swamp, quite in the footsteps of a 

Wouldst thou not grow beautiful — increase in loveliness. 
If I extricated thee from the swamp^onveyed thee to a 

Forced thee into a fireplace, set thee down in a forge ?" 
Poor iron gave a sudden start, gave a sudden start, took sudden 

When he heard fire mentioned, when he heard speak of raging 


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Magic Songs of the Finns. 33 

Smith Ilmarinen said : 

" Thou art not, wretched iron, produced, 

Thy kindred are not formed, thy relatives will not grow up 

Without violent fire, without being taken to a smithy. 

Without being put into a forge, without being blown upon by 

But heed it not, pray do not pay the least regard. 
Fire will not burn his acquaintance — will not bum a relative. 
When thou enterest rooms of fire — the receptacle of coals, 
Thou wilt grow beautiful — wilt become extremely fair, 
(Wilt be made) into trusty swords for men — into terminals for 

women's belts." 
Ever since that day iron has been kneaded out of swamps, 
Been trampled out of watery spots, been obtained from clay. 
The smith himself stood in the swamp, up to his knees in black 

While digging iron from the swamp, while extracting ore 

(F. earth) from the mire. 
He seized the iron sprouts — the balls of steel, 
From the huge footprints of the wolf, from the dints of the 

bear's paws. ' 
The smith Ilmarinen 

Set up his bellows there, established his forge there. 
On the huge tracks of the wolf, on the scratches of the bear's 

He plunged the iron into the fire. 
Blew the bellows all night without resting — all day without 

Blew the bellows a whole day, blew them a second, blew them 

forthwith a third day too. 
The iron expands like pap — bubbles like slag. 
Expanded like wheaten dough — like rye-meal dough. 
In the smith's huge fire, when in the hands of glowing heat 
Then smith Ilmarinen looked at the bottom of the forge. 
What the forge perchance may yield — what his bellows can 

squeeze out. 
First he obtained brittle iron, then he got slag. 
Then let white (iron) trickle from the bellows, below. 
Then wretched iron shouted out : " Oho ! smith Ilmarineny 
VOL. 11. D 

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34 Magic Songs of the Finns, 

Take me away from here, from the torments of malignant 

Smith Umarinen said : " If I took thee from the fire 
Perhaps thou wilt grow terrible — wilt begin to grow extremely 

Wilt also cut thy brother,^ wilt lacerate thy mother's child." 
Then miserable iron swore — swore his solemn oath 
Upon the forge, upon the anvil, upon the hammers, upon the 

" I shall not touch flesh, I shall not cause blood to flow. 
There is wood for me to bite — a fallen tree for me to munch, 
A young fir for me to nip, a stone's heart for me to eat. 
So that I shall not cut my brother — shan't lacerate my mother's 

Tis better for me to be — more pleasant for me to live 
As comrade to a traveller, as a weapon in a wayfarer's hand. 
Than touch a kinsman with my * mouth', than injure my own 

kith and kin." 
Then smith limarineny the time-old hammerer. 
Snatched the iron from the fire, set it on the anvil 
To make it malleable, to hammer it into sharp implements. 
Into axes, into spears, into every sort of implement 
He hammers with repeated blows, cling, clang resounds 

But iron will not take a point, an edge of steel is not pro- 
J The iron does not harden, the iron edge is not durable. 
iv. Iron does not take an edge without being dipt in water. 
Smith Umarinen accordingly keeps pondering in his mind 
What could be procured, what could be brought 
To form a toughening-fluid^ for steel — a hardening-water for 

He prepared a little ashes, he dissolved some lye. 
Tried it with his tongue, tasted it with intelligence. 
Expressed himself in words : " These are not food for me 

1 Le,y a human being, as man also owed his origin to the 

« F. "manufacture-fluid". 

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Magic Songs of the Finns, 35 

As toughening-fluid for steel, as a substance for preparing 

A bee rose from the ground, a " blue-wing" from a knoll, 
Keeps flying round, keeps hovering around the smithy of the 

Smith Ilmarinen ordered it to Mcisola^ 
To bring honey from Metsola^ virgin honey from a virgin honey 

For the steel about to be made, for the iron about to be 

A hornet, " HiisTs bird", a " bird of Hiisi!\ " Lempds cat", 
Was flying round the smithy, offiering for sale its sicknesses,^ 
Keeps flying round, keeps listening to the smith's clear 

Concerning the steel about to be made, the iron about to be 

It was nimble of wing, it was very swift on its pinions. 
It managed to get on in front. 

It caught up HiisVs horrors, bore off* a snake's poison, 
The black venom of a " worm", the itch-causing fluid of an 

The hidden poison of a frog, 
J As toughening-fluid for steel, as hardening water for iron. 
( V, To the door of the smith's forge, and upset it into the 

hardening water. 
Smith Ilmarinen himself, the incessant hammerer. 
Believes, keeps supposing that the bee has returned. 
That it has brought honey — has fetched virgin honey. 
He uttered a speech, and spake thus : " Lo I these are good 

for me 
As toughening-fluid for steel, as a substance for preparing 

He dipt the poor iron into it, into it plunged the steel 
When he had extracted it from the fire — had taken it from the 

Therefore steel became evil — iron began to go raging mad, 

* The forest home. 
2 Or "pains'*. 

D 2 

Digitized by 


36 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

Cut his wretched brother, touched with his "mouth" his 

Caused blood to flow, caused foaming blood to bubble forth. 

Certainly I know the genesis of iron, I guess the origin of 

Formerly the winds blew otherwise, formerly storms whistled 

The heads of birches tore up the ground, young shoots of pine 

(tore up) the fields. 
Then it blew for six years, stormed for seven summers. 
The wind broke off the heads of oaks — smashed branching^ 

sallows {raita\ 
Knocked off a hillock from the ground, conveyed it to the sea. 
From it an isle was formed by spells upon the clear and open 

A lovely wood (is) on the island, a smooth meadow in the 


V, a young girl near the wood. 
On this two girls grew up, all three brides. 
Well, the maidens walk along to a nameless mead. 
Sat with their breasts to the east, with their heads to the 

They milked their milk upon the ground, their paps' contents 

upon the mead 
The milk began to flow, flowed over swamps, flowed over 

Flowed over sandy fields run wild, flowed into a hillock on a 

Into a honeyed knoll, into the golden turf. 
Hence poor iron originated, hence originated and appeared 
Within a swamp, on a knoll of earth, on ground of medium 

Sprouts of iron grew up, the height of a human being's thumb. 
Good old Vdindmoifun^ a soothsayer as old as time, 

' Ruheva [v. rutevd\^ sec FOLK-LoRE, II (xxii, a, '^nttimon 

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Magic Songs of the Finns. 37 

Was wending his way, was pursuing his course, 

Found the sprouts of iron — the steely shoots of growing com. 

He looks about, turns here and there, uttered a speech, spake 

" What sort of growing com is this, and what these budding 

shoots ? 
Something would come from them at a dexterous hammerer's." 
He gathered them into his pouch, he carried them into a 

smith's hands. 
Smith Ilmarinen seeks for a place for his forge, 
Found a tiny bit of ground — an extremely small dell. 
Where he set up his bellows, where he established his forge. 
But wretched iron does not grow, the genus steel is not 

In a doorless smithy, on a fireless forge. 
The iron-smith had lack of wood, the iron-hammerer of fire. 
He gets wood, he fetches fire, but still iron is not produced 
Unless there be a bellows-man — a man to press the bellows. 
He took a servant to blow — a hireling to press them. 
Looked undemeath the forge — at the edge of the bellows. 
Already the production (F. birth) of iron had taken place, the 
Genus steel had appeared 

The genesis of steel is known, the origin of iron is guessed. 
Water is the eldest of the brothers, iron the youngest. 
Paltry fire the middle one. 
Water is the outcome of a mountain, fire's genesis is from the 

Iron's origin from iron-ore (F. rust). 
Fire became violent, worked itself into a fury. 
Evil fire burnt much land, much land, much swamp, 
Burnt sandy fields run wild, bumt sandy heaths. 
Wretched iron lay concealed from his malignant brother's 

Where did poor iron hide, where did he hide and save 

[n that prodigious year of drought, that summer bad for forest 

Digitized by 


38 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

Poor iron did not hide in old Vdindtnoineiis belt, 

In his tripartite scabbard — not there certainly. 

Poor iron did not hide 

Inside a youthful maiden's paps, under a growing maiden's 

Upon a long bank of cloud, upon an oak tree's level head. 
Iron did not hide there, nor yet in yonder place 
Inside a blue ewe, in the belly of a copper sheep. 
In the bosom of a blue \y. red] pig. 
It certainly did not hide in the sea, under deep billows, 
Inside a blue guiniad,^ in the bosom of a red salmon, 
Nor yet exactly in the sky, above six speckled firmaments, 
( Inside a blue fox, inside a golden tall-crowned hat, 
( V. in the belly of a golden cock. 

There, then, iron hid, both hid and saved itself. 
In the interval between two stumps, under a birch tree's triple 

( On a land devoid of knolls, on a land wholly unknown, 
( V. In dark Fohjoia, in Lapland's widely reaching bounds. 
Where a hazel grouse keeps her nest — a hen rears her young. 
A wolf raised mould from a swamp, a bear dug some from a 

Iron-ore (F. rust) sprang up there, a bar of steel grew 
From where the wolf has raised its foot, from the dint of the 

bear's heel. 
It may have been brought to a smithy — may have been cast 

into a forge fire. 
Then iron was produced from it — steel was undoubtedly 



Formerly much land was burnt, much land, much swamp, 

In a summer bad for forest fires, in a hapless conflagration 

A little bit remained unbumt 

On a wild mountain top, on the greatest reach of swamp. 
One wretched man remained upon the spot unburnt. 
Already a little of him was burnt. 

Salmo 1. Corregonus lavaretus. 

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Magic Songs of the Finns, 39 

His knees were burning, the flesh of his thighs was scorched, 
The narrow portions of the heels, the toes of the left foot. 
The tip of his toes were badly burnt, the nails had burnt into 

He ran to a pool in his distress. 
Scraped off the soot, scratched off the scabby crust 
Into an unfrozen pool. 

Hence iron ore (F. rust) originated — ordinary black mire. 
In an unfrozen pool, in a bubbling spring. 


Whence originated wretched iron, whence originated and was 

produced ? 
Hence originated wretched iron, hence originated and was 

A golden fish spawns, a salmon plunges close at hand 
In an unfrozen pool, in a bubbling spring. 
Four maidens were engendered— all three brides. 
From the spawn of the golden fish, from the natural aperture 

of the salmon, 
To be mothers of iron ore (F. rust), to be generators of " blue 

The maidens stood in a dell, the *' tin-breasts" lay powerless 
On a little bank of land, on a narrow piece of ground. 
There they made (F. built) iron, and by degrees formed steel, 
Pulverised iron seeds, pounded lumps of steel 
God happens to arrive at the place where the iron seeds were, 
Found the pounded bits of iron, the manufactured lumps of 

Carries them to the smithy of a smith — ^under the forge of 

Then smith limarinen 

Thrust them into the fire, shoves them under his forge. 
From the forge (they are taken) to the anvil. 
He hammers with repeated blows, keeps striking with incessant 

Sweat trickled from the Creator's head— dew from the face of 

While forging iron, while making steel 

Digitized by 


40 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

Hence originated wretched iron, wretched iron, useless slag. 
It originated in the smithy of a smith— under the forge of 


1-6 Jesus has two hands, both uniform. 
He rubbed together both his palms — ground together his two 

Hence originated two maidens — all the three Luonnotars, 


Ho ! thou wretched iron, wretched iron, useless slag. 

Certainly I know thy stock, thy stock and thine origin. 

Thou are Vuolankoineris^ \v. Vuolahainen'sY son — ^wast brought 

forth by Vuolahatar?- 
4 Thy father is from the knolls (napd) of Vuojala? thy mother 

from the well of Lempi.^ 
Thine origin is from swamp knolls, from swamp knolls, from 

earth knolls in a swamp. 
Thy father is from a swamp, thy mother from a swamp, 
All thy other relatives are from a swamp. 
A rust-coloured sedge* grew on a swamp^in a pool purple 

melic grass,^ 
Rocked by Tuuletar^ swung to and fro by Ldnnetdr^ [v. 


^ All these three names are mentioned by Ganander (p. 109). 
Vuolahatar = Mrs. Vuolahainen. 

2 Also written Vuojela. Among the variants in the Old Kalevala 
6.5) vuojela is substituted for luotola \ also written luotela^ an alias 
of Pohjolay and both have vainold ( Vdindmbinen's home) as a parallel 
word in the following line. 

^ The Being that excited love. Elsewhere in the Loitsurunoja 
p. 46*) this well seems to be called the " maidens' " {}mpt) well. 

* Ruoste-heifuL This word is applied to purple melic, mat grass, 
and various sedges. 

^ TerdS'heind translates the Swedish staal-gras, steel grass purple 
melic grass. 

• West Wind's daughter. 
^ The goddess of love. 

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Magic Songs of the Finns, 41 

Hblma^ comes from Tuonda — Manala's son from under the 

Found the rust-coloured sedge on the swamp — in the pool the 

purple melic grass, 
Carries it to the smithy of a smith — ^under UmarinerCs forge 
To be forged into iron, to be made into steel. 


4 Mother iron is Ruopahaiar^ 
4 Thy mother is from Aijo's pen. 

The greater part of {a) will be found in the Kcdevala^ ix, 
39-266, with occasional differences. 

XXVI.— The Origin of Arrows. 

A tall fir grew upon a heath, on the summit of the Hill of Pain 

FroiA it a sorcerer {jioita) formed arrows — an "archer" evil 

He made a single-feathered' arrow out of the lowest boughs. 
Made a double-feathered arrow of boughs from the middle of 

the tree, 
Made a triple-feathered arrow out of the highest boughs. 
The sorcerer shot his arrows — angrily launched his pointed 

Anywhere, wherever he could. 
For a sorcerer cares nothing at all 
Whether they enter a human skin or the body (F. hair) of a 

beast (kave). 

^ Mentioned by Ganander (p. 18), who quotes this and the following 
lines. The word means " stupid fool, simpleton". 

2 From ruopUy ** mud, bog earth". She seems to be the same as 
Ganander's Ruojuatar. 

' An arrow feathered on one side only. 

Digitized by 


42 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

Annikki^ the Island maiden, went to the war of Istero^ 

A tin plug fell down, a silver terminal slipt off 

Into the space between two rocks. 

A sorcerer seized it in his hands 

Before it had time to reach the ground, before its contact with 

the earth. 
He took it to a forge of smiths— a smith formed out of it a 

Forged from it a sorcerer's arrows — an " archer's" evil instru- 
The sorcerer shot his arrows — shot an arrow at the sky. 
The sky was like (F. wished) to split — the aerial vaults to 

Portions of the air to rend, the aerial canopy to slant 
From the torment of the " fiery" arrow, from the pointed shaft 

of Aijo's son. 
The arrow receded thither where nought was ever heard of it 

Then he shot another arrow into the earth under his feet. 
14 The earth was like to go to Mana^ — the hills to break up 

into mould, 
Sandy ridges to split, sandy heaths to break in two 
From the torment of the " fier)r** arrow, from the btiming pain 

(F. sparks) of the red wood. 
The arrow constantly receded thither where nought was ever 

heard of it again. 
Forthwith he shot a third, a final and malignant arrow, 
Through lands, through swamps, through deep gloomy forest 

Against a steel \y. silver] mountain, against an iron \v. stony] 

The arrow rebounded from the stone^ — recoiled against the 


^ Elsewhere this man's name appears in the form Isversko^ which 
L6nnrot derives from the Russian isverg^ " a monster," an untimely 

^ Was like to die. 

Digitized by 



Magic Songs of the Finns. 43 

Entered a human skin — the body of a wretched man. 
The shaft may be extricated, the arrow can be drawn out 
By virtue of the word of God, through the mercy of the Lord 


14 The earth was about to ignite — to sparkle with fiery sparks. 

XXVII.— The Origin of the Boat. 

Good old Vdindmdineny the soothsayer as old as time, 

Made a boat by (magic) knowledge, prepared a skifif by means 

of song 
From the fragments of a single oak, from the breakage of a 

brittle tree. 
He cut the boat upon a mountain — caused a loud clatter on a 

He sang a song, he fixed the keel ; he sang another, he joined 

a plank. 
Immediately he sang a third while setting in its place the prow, 
While ending off a timber knee, while he was clinching end to 

While setting up the gunwale boards, while he was cutting at 

the tholes. 
A boat was completely finished that could bowl along with 

speed, * 

Both stiff when sailing with the wind and safe when sailing 

against the wind. 

XXVIII.— The Origin of the Net. 

At night flax was sown — by moonlight was ploughed. 

Was cleansed, was heckled, was plucked, was rippled. 

Was sharply tugged, was violently teazled. 

The flax was taken to steep, soon it was steeped, 

Quickly was lifted out, hastily was dried. 

Then it was brought home — was soon freed from husks. 

Was noisily broken on flax-brakes, was diligently swingled, 

Digitized by 



44 Magic Songs of the Finns, 

Was combed out with avidity, was brushed in the hours of 

Immediately it was put on a distaff— in a trice upon a spinning- 
Sisters^ spin it, sisters-in law put it on the netting-needle, 
Brothers net it into a net, fathers-in-law attach lines. 
The netting-needle turned — the mesh-stick moved backwards 

and forwards 
Before the seine was completed — the yam lines were attached 
During a single summer , night, in the middle between two 

The net was finished, the yam lines were attached, 
A hundred fathoms at the far end, seven hundred fathoms at 
the sides. 


At night the flax was sown, at night was heckled, 

At night was rippled, at night was steeped in water, 

At night was removed from the water, at night the flax was 

broken in flax-brakes. 
At night the threads were spun, at night the nets were woven. 
The nets were completely finished, the seine was fitted with 

During a single summer night, in half another one besides. 
The nets were woven by brothers, wer^ spun by sisters, 
Were netted by sisters-in-law, were fitted with lines by a 

They neatly fitted it with sinks, they attached the floats 


Tuoni's three-fingered girl, Lapland's three-toothed crone 
Spun a hundred (fathom) seine during a single summer night 
Lapland's three-fingered old man was the weaver of nets. 
The mesh-stick turned in his hand, a knot was formed on the 

1 The sisters that helped Vdindmoinen to make a net' (Kalevala^ 
xlvii, 322). The whole of {a) is in the KaUvala (xlviii, 35 -68). 

Digitized by ' 

C oogle 



Magic Songs of the Finns. 45 

He wove a hundred (fathom) seine — stitched one of a thousand 

During a single summer night, in the interval between two 


XXIX.— The Origin of Ague. 

I well know ague's genesis, I guess the villain's origin. 
Ague was rocked by wind — was put to sleep by chilly air, 
Brought by wind, by water drawn, brought forward by hard 

Came in the whirlwind of a storm — in the sleigh-tracks of a 

cold wind 
Against us wretched sufferers, against poor unfortunates. 

XXX. — The Origin of Cancer. 

A furious \v, iron-toothed] old woman. 

That moves along with the wind, with the water, with all the 

Carried a heavy womb— a belly full of suffering 
For thirty summers, for the same number of winters. 
Finally she got a malignant boy, an eater of flesh, a biter of 

She fashioned him into a cancer. 
She reared her boy, she protected her offspring 
In bloody clothing, in gory garments. 
Then she sent him away to devour, to gnaw. 
To lacerate a Christian, to destroy a baptised one, 
To cause his flesh to rot, and to gnaw his bones. 

XXXI.— The Origix\ of Colic (Gripes). 

Colic a groaning boy, a second an aggravating boy, 
2 A third like a pole. 
Are not made of what is good — not of anything exactly 

They are made of swamp — made out of earth, 

Digitized by 



46 Magic Songs of the Finns, 

Composed of coarse sail needle-points, wound up from woman's 

Scratched up from heaps of twigs, 
Broken off from heather, stript off from grasses. 
Collected from a rapid's foam, poured out from the sea's froth, 
Roughly botched out of feathers. 

From the inward parts of Sydjdidr^ from under the liver of 

2 A third has a fist \v, throat, v. skin] like a pole. 

Gripes, the panting, moaning, insolent, stupid boy, 

A stay-at-home and good for nothing. 

Certainly I know thy stock. 

Thou wast made from nothing good, from nothing good, from 

something bad. 
Thou wast gathered from hard wood — made from tar wood 
Fashioned out of aspen's fungus, twisted out of birch agaric. 

A lean Lapp boy 

Was making his way beneath the path, travels along beneath 

the ground, 
With a bloody axe on his shoulder. 
He struck a man against the heart — cut him sharply on the 

From that colic originated — the groaning (boy) was stirred to 


XXXII. — The Origin of Rickets, Atrophy {Riisi), 

A maiden rose from a dell \v, water] — a " soft skirts" from a 

clump of grass, 
Who was beautiful to behold — the delight of those living in the 

She pays no regard to suitors — has no fancy for the good men. 

* See FoLK-LORE, i, 45, note. 

Digitized by 


Magic Songs of the Finns. 47 

There came a giant (turilas) man — a shirt-wearing monster 

(tursas) of the sea. 
The wretch, indeed, had planned a scheme — had thought upon 

a fine affair. 
He sent a nightmare upon her. 
He caused the unwilling one to sleep -brought her at last to 

seek repose 
Upon a honey-dropping sward, upon the liver-coloured earth. 
He lay there with the girl, 

Made the girl parturient, quickened her into pregnancy ; 
He himself takes his departure. 
The miscreant began to move away — the wretch to wander 

The girl becomes oppressed with pain, her womb becomes 

In her sufferings she laments : 
"Whither shall I, poor wretch, whither shall I, most luckless, 

In these my days of great distress, with cruel torments in the 

womb T 
The Creator \y. Jesus] uttered from the sky : "To be confined, 

O harlot, go. 
Into a deep forest, into a wooded wilderness recess. 
There other harlots were confined — strumpets \y, mares] dropt 

their young." 
She went thence in another direction — walked ahead with rapid 

Strides from stone to stone, sprang from fallen tree to fallen 

Into the homes of those " dogs*V as far as (the abodes) of 

" woolly whelps". 
There she discharged her womb — ^gave birth to her progeny. 
Produced a son of evil sort — the boy Rickets that causes 

pining away, 
That gnaws the roots of the navel — ^keeps cutting into the 


^ /.^., harlots. 

Digitized by 


48 Magic Songs of the Finns. 

They sought for one to christen him — one to baptise the 
gnawing boy 

At the well of KaUva's son, upon the props^ of a little hand- 

But no place was found there, 

Not in ten villages, not at seven door-hinges. 

However, Rickets was baptised, the ill-omened boy was 

31 ( On a beach, on a water-girt stone, 
( z;. On a stone upon the open sea, 

32 Passed over by a wave, lightly touched by a wave. 
Was the water clean with which Rickets was baptised ? 

The water was not clean, that water was commixed with blood. 
Harlots had washed (in it) their linen caps — bad women their 

Their jackets ragged at the edge, their smelling petticoats. 
Therein Rickets was baptised — the ill-omened boy was 

A name was given to the evil boy — the name of Rickets to the 



31, 32 In the bloody house of Hiitola, while swine were being 

32 On the water-lily leaf of a pond. 
In a doorless room, entirely windowless. 

How was Rickets possessed — the " evil snail" sent 
The " bloody dog" (sent) to eat—" HiisVs cur" to lacerate ? 
Thus was Rickets possessed— the "evil snail" sent 
To devour, to gnaw, to bite, to irritate. 
A raven fluttered in the sky, blood spirted from its beak 
Down on the end of a small pine (bench), down on the end of 
an iron bench. 

From that filthy Rickets originated-the evil offspring set 
itself ^ ^ 

I Short wooden props fitted into runners to support the bottom of 
e sleigb. 

Digitized by 


Magic Songs of the Finns. 49 

To derange the veins,i to lap up blood-broth, 

To eat the substance of the heart, 

To burrow into the navel, to bore into the navel's root, 

To rack with pain the spinal bone, 

To bore through the sides, to lacerate the groin, 

To cause the eyes to run with tears, to nip the organs of sight, 

To swell beneath the temples 

Either of a girl or of a boy. 

XXXIII.— The Origin of Scabs. 

A brown, scabby crone \y. girl, v, lord], the evil mother \v, 

housefather] of boils,* 
Gave birth to a scabby son, screeched over an ill-tempered 

With one foot (F. root), with eight heads, upon a scabby bed, 
(A son) begotten of a scabby sire 
Out of a scabby dam — a mother covered with boils.^ 
She flung her malignant son 

Against a human being's skin, at the body (F. body hairs) of a 
woman's (kapo) son. 

* Or sinews. 
^ Or tumours. 
' Or abscesses. 

John Abercromby. 

[^ II. 

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IN the history of mediaeval romances there is none so 
comph'cated as that of the romance of the Holy GraiL 
Many a scholar has tried to solve the problem of its origin, 
and yet a final solution is still wanting. 

No one who has ever trodden the enchanted land on 
which the castle which contained the Holy Grail stood 
could entirely escape the charm that overhangs it Just as 
difficult as was the ancient quest in romance, is the modem 
quest after the origin and sources of this remarkable and 
weird tale. 

This romance now exists in various forms, more or less 
akin to one another. These have been subdivided into 
groups, according to the affinity in which the incidents 
narrated therein stand to one another, and also in how far 
one tale is developed more than the other : a work which 
has been successfully carried out by Mr. Nutt, who, in his 
admirable Studies on the Grail, has endeavoured to dis- 
entangle the skein of this complicated problem, and to 
make some order in the mass of versions, texts, and 
alterations in which this legend has been preserved. Mr. 
Nutt rightly distinguishes between an Early history of the 
Grail and the Quest; the former containing the origin and 
source of the Grail, and the Quest, on the other hand, 
consisting of the description of the adventures the expected 
hero had to undergo until he finally reached his goal. 
Stripped of all the embellishments which made out of 
these simple facts the most renowned of mediaeval 
romances, the numerous versions of it are practically one. 
The differences begin with the detailed accounts given in 
the Early history, and still more with the peculiarities of 
th^ Grail, of the hero and his achievements, Jhp frame- 

Digitized by 



The Legend of the Grail. 5 1 

work is the same, but the contents vary almost in every 

At the head of the whole literature stands Chrestien de 
Troyes, the famous minstrel, who, as far as our present 
knowledge goes, was the first to sing the praise of the 
Grail, and of the hero in search of it Next in point of 
time, and, as I may at once add, first in importance, is the 
German follower of Chrestien, Wolfram von Eschenbach. 
In spite of the likeness, there is also a very great diver- 
sity in the treatment of the Grail by both these writers. 
Besides, Wolfram claims an independent source for his 
poetical composition, ridiculing Chrestien for not following 
the original closely. 

Everything tends to make us believe that there must 
have existed a common primary source whence both 
Chrestien and Wolfram drew their tale. Of what kind 
was this primary source, and how much did it contain? 
Were both those parts which we find afterwards united, or 
was only one of them contained in the original? Did 
Chrestien and Wolfram know the Early history of the Grail 
or not ? I entirely agree with Mr. Nutt that they, or even 
the original they followed, did not know much of it, the 
origin and properties of the Grail being only vaguely in- 
dicated. It is chiefly the Quest which plays the most 
important part in their poems. Whence did they take it 
from ? It is round this question that a literary battle has 
now been fought for over fifty years. I do not flatter 
myself that I shall be able to bring the battle to an end, 
but I intend attacking this question from a different point 
of view altogether. 

It is a futile attempt to reduce every incident of these 
poems to one and the same source. Every work of art, 
every poetical production is, to some extent, a kind of 
mosaic, a kind of blending in one of a mass of different, 
sometimes widely divergent, elements. Composite as our 
modem knowledge is, so must also have been that of the 
ancient or mediaeval author who drew the elements of the 

Digitized by 


52 The Legend of the Grail. 

romance, not from one source alone, but from many, some- 
times quite different ones. 

Two main sources of inspiration have been suggested 
by the various writers on this subject To some, the 
legend in its entirety owes its origin to Christian lore; 
others have divided the matter, assigning the Early history 
to the Christian source, whilst the other — Quest — would 
be of Celtic (Welsh) origin. It is remarkable, however, 
that both sections have totally ignored another main 
source of mediaeval poetry and of modem civilisation ; I 
mean the old classical literature of Greece and Rome. 
But before proceeding further, I must first make clear my 

The Celtic origin does not rest upon documentary proof, 
upon older texts and MSS. than Chrestien's poem, but on 
parallels to be found in Celtic folk-lore, and some later 
versions. I still hold to the theory that these versions are, 
in fact, only variations of Chrestien's poem of later origin, 
and that, through the instrumentality of such versions and 
adaptations, these romances entered into the possession of 
the people, and became its unwritten lore, the modem folk- 

Far, therefore, from being the primitive source for 
Chrestien or his predecessor, modem tales are merely the 
reflex of that written literature, and are by no means 
anterior to it Parallels adduced from modem tales do 
not therefore prove that these tales were the direct sources 
whence Chrestien drew the elements of his poem, but, as 
I contend, they are the outcome of that literature. 

We must look for older parallels than the time of 
Chrestien, older than the second half of the twelfth cen- 
tury. We must study first the surroundings in which 
Chrestien grew up, what amount of knowledge was ac- 
cessible to him, what great events stirred the nations of 
Europe, and what kind of literary currents swayed 
the people at that time. It is only by answering such 
questions that we can come to a more positive result, and 

Digitized by 



The Legend of the Grail. 53 

then draw our inference also for Wolfram, and for the 
host of Chrestien's continuators. These also must have 
had access to some store of similar learning, to be able to 
tread in his footsteps, and to take up the thread where his 
dying hand let it fall. A few lays cannot, and could not, 
suffice for the explanation of the great mass of incidents 
embodied in these romances. 

It must also first be proved how such Celtic tales, if 
they existed at all, could come to the knowledge of a 
French poet, living as he did in France, of whose sojourn 
in England not a trace -has been found. One has only to 
compare the widely different parallels adduced from Celtic 
lore, to be convinced that Chrestien, or the author of the 
original which he adopted, must have had a herculean 
task to perform, to alter and change, to blend and to 
assimilate, an immense mass of tales, m}^hical and heroical, 
and mould them together into one tale, which, after all, does 
not appear in a coherent form in any of its modem parallels. 
For it must be borne in mind that such a Celtic tale, con- 
taining most of the striking incidents, and older than the 
time of Chrestien, has not yet been discovered. What we 
have instead is a number of lays, or other tales, where 
either the one or the other incident is said to occur, the 
similarity not being absolutely identical, and in very many 
cases only the result of skilful interpretation. 

If one would follow the same line of argumentation, one 
could easily adduce parallels to those Celtic lays and tales 
from various quarters of the globe, which would thus 
destroy the claim of the Celtic origin. The moment 
the same incident could be proved to exist elsewhere, 
we might just as well consider it to have originated 
there also, and not be limited to Celtic lore alone. We 
would have then one source more for the supposed origin 
of the legend : the folk-lore of Europe. 

The natural way, however, is to look for one central 
tale, containing a sufficient number of incidents complete 
in itself; and round that tale, other minor incidents 

Digitized by 


54 "The Legend of the Grail. 

drawn from various quarters, could have been added 
afterwards by the continuator and amplifier of the tale. 

But that primary one must already contain the most 
important incidents, and at the same time this primitive 
tale must contain that of the Grail as one of its incidents, 
but only in a vague, indefinite form, so as to aflford the 
possibility for the double interpretation of the Grail as 
presented on one side by Chrestien, and on the other by 

The problem, therefore, is to find a tale containing some 
of the principal elements of the Quest, the Grail or some- 
thing akin to it being an important one ; this Grail, or 
whatever would be standing for it, must be conceived in 
a vague, indefinite form, so as to be able to be filled with 
any kind of interpretation — religious, material, metaphysical, 
according to the poetical bent and the intentions of the 
poets. It is, further, an absolute necessity that such a 
tale should be of an older date than the time of Chrestien, 
and also it will have to be shown that it was, or could have 
been, accessible to him. 

Before I proceed further, let us first examine the state of 
things as they existed in Europe at the end of the twelfth 
century, the psychological condition, in the midst of which 
Chrestien lived, and moved, and wrote. 

It is in the twelfth century that the great French epical 
poetry flourished. Through patient investigation it has 
been proved that the history of the old Merovingian 
period was changed by the trouveur in some of these 
epopees into the history of Charlemagne. A battle at 
Roncevalles became the theme of one of the most cele- 
brated old French romances, the chanson de Roland, and 
this was soon followed by a stately line of Chansons de 
Geste. Once started on the line of changing old history 
into modem, poets took a bolder course, and changed 
heroes of antiquity into national ones. Very well known 
is the tendency of the age to connect their own national 
history with that of the Greeks and Romans. The Roman 
de Brut of Wace, the old chronicles of GeofTrey and others, 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 55 

are examples of this tendency. Homer, ix.y Dictys and 
Dares, Virgil, and other writers of classical antiquity, 
furnished the materials for the writers of the middle 
ages, who drew upon them largely, only altering them, 
so that from Greek and Latin they became French and 

The crusades had furnished further new themes for the 
fancy of the irouveur of the time. The whole world was 
stirred to its innermost depth by that general upheaving ; 
the exploits of the first and second crusade had already 
begun to belong to the history of the past, when Chrestien 
began his poem. How many oriental legends were brought 
home and circulated by various pilgrims, especially such 
as were in Jerusalem, now once again in the hands of the 
infidels ? The highest aim of the Christian world of that 
epoch was to regain possession of those sacred places ; 
and the Order of the Templars represented the most 
ideal aspirations of the time — to live a chaste life, and to 
be found worthy to keep watch over the Lord's sanctuary. 

Rumours of a great Christian kingdom in the far East, 
the kingdom of Prester John, reached Europe at the time, 
and like lightning these tidings spread from country to 
country, reviving the hopes of the crusaders by announcing 
help from an unexpected quarter in the deadly fight against 
the Mahommedan power. 

At the same time a great dogmatic change was taking 
place in the teachings of the Church. The theory of 
Paschasius Radbertus found many adversaries, but no 
less adherents, and the twelfth century is the time when 
that dispute reached its climax, and the dogma of Tran- 
substantiation was finally settled. The mystery of the 
sacrament, and the more than symbolic meaning of the 
Eucharist, was the central point of this dogma which has 
profoundly altered the Catholic Church, and was in later 
times one of the principal elements of discord between the 
Reformed church and the Church of Rome. 

In naming these factors, classical literature, so to say 

Digitized by 


56 The Legend of the Grail. 

modernised in an epical form, the French Chansons de Geste, 
the Crusades and the legends of Palestine, and, finally, the 
question of transubstantiation and the pseudo-epigraphic 
literature of the mystery of the sacrament, I have pointed 
out the chief sources to which the romance of the Holy 
Grail owes its origin, without any further admixture 
of Celtic tales or lays, or Celtic mythology. The 
life that is described in the romances is that of the 
authors' time. Knightly deeds, adventures, miracles, and 
spells all belong to the machinery of the romantic litera- 
ture of the time, and though important for determining the 
exact character of the surroundings, vary, as is natural, 
in every version, and if more MSS. had been preserved the 
number of variations might have increased. 

I shall now proceed to prove my case as far as possible 
in the order indicated. 

Classical Influence, — Working the romance backwards to 
its primitive form, we shall find that the main feature of 
the Quest may be summarised as follows : 

A young man starts on an unheard of adventure, which 
no human being has ever achieved before him. It is by 
mere chance that he alights at the very spot where he 
had determined to go, although nothing definite is said as 
to the nature of that adventure. What he has to do, or to 
see, or to accomplish, is by no means clear. He himself 
does not know what to do, and fails thus in his first 

According to Chrestien,^ he comes to a river, upon which 
there is a boat, wherein are two men fishing. One of them, 
in reply to his questions, directs him for a night's shelter 
to his own castle hard by. Perceval starts for it, and at 
first, unable to find it, reproaches the fisher. Suddenly he 
perceives the castle before him, enters therein, is disarmed, 
clad in a scarlet mantle, and led into a great hall. Therein 
is a couch, upon which lies an old man ; near him is a 

* Nutt, p. II, Incid. 7. 

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The Legend of the Grail. 57 

fire, around which some four hundred men are sitting. 
Perceval tells his host that he has come from Beau-Repaire. 
A squire enters, bearing a sword, and on it is written that 
it will never break, save in one peril, and that known only 
to the maker of it. *Tis a present from the host's niece, 
to be bestowed where it will be well employed. The host 
gives it to Perceval, " to whom it was adjudged and des- 
tined." Hereupon enters another squire, bearing in his 
hand a lance, from the head of which a drop of blood runs 
down on the squire's hand. Perceval would have asked 
concerning this wonder, but he minds him of Goneman's 
counsel not to speak or inquire too much. Two more 
squires enter, holding each a ten-branched candlestick, and 
with them a damsel, a " Graal" in her hands. The Graal 
shines so that it puts out the light of the candles, as the 
sun does that of the stars. Thereafter follows a damsel 
holding a (silver) plate. ^ All defile past between the fire 
and the couch, but Perceval does not venture to ask where- 
fore the Grail is used. Supper follows, and the Grail is 
again brought, and Perceval knowing not its use, had fain 
asked, but always refrains when he thinks of Gonemans, and 
finally puts off his questions till the morrow. After supper 
the guest is led to his chamber, and on the morrow, 
awakening, finds the castle deserted. Issuing forth, he 
finds his horse saddled, and the drawbridge down. Think- 
ing to find the castle dwellers in the forest, he rides forth, 
but the drawbridge closes so suddenly behind him, that 
had not the horse leapt quickly forward, it had gone hard 
with steed and rider. In vain Perceval calls: none 

More elaborate is the version of Heinrich von dem 
Turlin.^ "After monthlong wanderings, he meets with 
Lancelot and Calocreant, and all three come to the Grail 
castle. They are led into a hall, which passes in splendour 
aught earthly eye ever saw. The floor is strewn with 
roses ; on a bed lies an old man in gold-embroidered gar- 

1 Nutt, 27. 

Digitized by 


5^ The Legend of the Grail. 

ments, and watches two youths playing at chess. Towards 
night the hall fills with knights and dames; a youth 
enters, bearing a sword, which he lays before the old man. 
. . . Then enter two damsels, bearing lights, followed by 
two knights, with a spear, and two more damsels, with a 
toblier of gold and jewels. After them comes the fairest 
woman ever God created, and with her a maiden weeping. 
The spear is laid on the table, by it the ' toblier*, wherein 
arc three drops of blood. In the box borne by the fair 
lady is a piece of bread, one-third part of which she breaks 
oflfand gives to the old man. Gawain, recognising in her 
Gansguoter's sister, stays no longer, but asks what these 
wonders mean. Straightway knights and dames, all with 
mighty shout, leap from table, and great joy arises. The 
old man says what he has seen is the Grail ; none saw it 
before save Parzival, and he asked not By his question 
Gawain has delivered from long waiting and suffering both 
those which are dead and those which live. The old man 
himself and his companions are really dead, though they 
seem it not, but the lady and her damsels are living ; for 
their unstained womanhood God has granted them to have 
the Grail, and therewith yearly to feed the old man." 

So in all the versions it is a magnificent castle, wherein 
the one constantly-recurring figfure is that of an old, sick or 
dead man, surrounded by jewels, plates or dishes of gold, 
and a mysterious thing, a cup with blood, or a box with 
bread, and a bloody lance. Only in Wolfram is it a 
mysterious rock or a jewel upon which a dove lays once 
a year a holy wafer. The hero asks, or omits to ask, and 
upon that action the whole tale turns. It is not, however, 
clear from the beginning what kind of task the hero has 
to achieve, nor is it more clear afterwards when he has 
achieved it This portion seems not to be in the original, as 
not one version can clearly account for it The original 
tale must have been also quite obscure on this point, thus 
affording free scope to the poet to interpret and to use it 
according to his own fancy. The less definite the task 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 59 

was the easier it was for the subsequent author to introduce 
into it what was nearest to him, and to give to it either a 
material or a spiritual meaning ; the whole history of the 
legend points to such a kind of development as that 
which it really did undergo. 

But whence comes that fundamental motive, an adven- 
turous knight endowed with superior gifts, striving after an 
undertaking quite unique, never attempted before and 
never afterwards ? 

A glance over the literary activity in France at the 
time will give us the answer. 

It was in the middle of the twelfth century that the 
Trojan war had been made the theme of an elaborate epos of 
30,000 verses by Benoit de St More, who, basing his work 
upon that of Dares Phrygius, Paulus Orosius, Ovid, etc., 
wrote his Roman de Troie. At about the same time 
the fabulous history of Alexander tfie Great was 
changed into a national epos by Alberic de Besan9on, 
Alexander de Bemay {c, 1 1 50), and very much amplified 
by Lambert H Tort (c, 11 90- 1200), the contemporary of 
Chrestien. One has only to see how they dealt with their 
originals, how they transferred the whole scenery from 
hoary antiquity to their own time, and to their own courts, 
to understand the liberty a poet of those times could take 
with his originals. 

Seeing the manner in which the old kings and heroes 
were changed into knights and squires, the old gods into 
magicians and fairies, I do not think that I shall be con- 
sidered very bold if I say that the legend of the Quest is 
nothing else but also a transformation of the most interest- 
ing episodes of that very legend of Alexander ; the hero of 
the Grail romance is none else but Alexander, the Quest 
the counterpart of his attempt to force the Gates of 
Paradise, and the wonderful castle or temple, the one that 
Alexander saw in his marvellous expedition. 

There is not one old version in which that journey — 
the Iter ad Paradisum — is not contained either in an 

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Th€ Legend of the Grail. 

amply developed form, or in an abridged oni 
idl contain the description of that marvellous 
As we shall see presently^ not only is it containct 
Greek text know^n under the name of Callisthenes (i 
ch, 28), but also in the Latin version of Julius Valer 
in that of the Archipresbjter Leo. The oldest 
versions and the German of Lamprecht, which t 
upon these French poems, contain it also- Thus, 
no difficulty from a historical and literary point o 
this legend was earlier than Chrestien, this legend w 
not only accessible, but surely tmil kmnvn to Chrest 

Starting from the oldest v'crston, I \^--ill gi^'e 1 
accurate translation of the " Pseud o- Callisthenes* " ^ 

*'We sailed ai^-ay from that river, and came to 
island^ 1 50 furlongs distant from the mainland, an 
\vc found the cit>^ of the sun. This city had twelve 
built of gold and emerald. The walls, the circun 
of which w^as about 150 furlongs, were made of 
sloncs. In the middle of the town there mus a 
built, like the towers, of gold and emerald* Sev€ 
led up to the altar, at the top there stood a chari 
horses and driver, made likewise of gold and c 
But all these things ^-ere partly invisible on ace 
the fog. The priest of the sun, Aeteops, was ck 
real Cy^ssus He spoke to 11s in a sav^age ton| 
ord^^ us to leax-e that cit>% After we had left 1 
dered about for seven days. Ever>'where was d^ 
not even fire lit up those paits^ So u^ turned back, aj 
to the fields of Nysa, and there we saw a high m 
We climbed to the top, and there beautiful house 
gold and ^ih'er, met our \iew ; and these were 1 
by a wall of sapphire, uith 1 50 steps cut into it, a: 
the top stood a round temple, wth seven pillars of ; 
and too steps. Inside and outside were images \ 
gcxls, l>aochantcs^ satyTS, and of others initiatec 
sacred m>'steries. but old Maron sat on a beast of 
-^Hch v^iLs placed in the middle of the tern 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 6i 

this couch lay a man clothed in silk. I could not see his face, 
for it was veiled ; but I saw strength and greatness. In 
the middle of the temple there was a golden chain 
weighing a hundred pounds, and suspended from it was 
a transparent wreath; a precious stone which illumined 
the whole temple, took the place of fire. From the ceil- 
ing hung also a gold cage, in which was a bird about the 
size of a dove. This bird called out to me in the voice 
resembling man's, the following, in Greek : — * Alexander, 
cease now to oppose (the) god ; return to your home, and 
hasten not through thoughtlessness (recklessness) your 
transit to the celestial regions.' And as I was about to 
take down the bird and the lamp, which I intended to 
send to you, it seemed to me as if he who was resting on 
the couch moved. Then my friends said to me, *Forbear, 
for it is holy.' And as I was going out into the grounds 
of the temple, I saw two amphoras of gold which were 
capable of holding sixty metretes ; we measured them at 
table. I commanded the soldiers to encamp there, and to 
enjoy themselves. 

"A house also stood there, and it contained many beauti- 
ful and valuable goblets of precious stones. But just as we 
and the army were on the point of sitting down to the 
repast, there was heard suddenly a heavy thunder of flutes 
and cymbals, and pipes and trumpets, and kettledrums and 
zitters ; and the whole mountain was covered with smoke, 
as if a heavy storm had broken down on us. Seized with 
fear, we hastened away, and wandered on until we came to 
the castle of Cyrus ; and we came across many deserted 
towns, and one beautiful city, in which there was a house, 
in which the king himself received. I was told that there 
was a bird that spoke with human voice. I went into the 
house, and saw many wonderful sights, for the whole house 
was of gold. From the middle of the ceiling hung sus- 
pended a golden cage, like the one which I have mentioned 
before. In it was a bird like a dove, of gold colour ; it was 
told to me that this bird prophesied to the king through 

Digitized by 


62 The Legend of the Grail. 

its different tones, and that it was holy. I also saw an 
amphora capable of holding sixty metretes. The gold- 
work was marvellous, for all round it were figfures, and 
above these a sea-battle, and in the middle was an inscrip- 
tion ; everything was made and finished with gold. This 
amphora was said to be Egyptian, having been brought 
from the city of Memphis at the time when the Persians 
conquered Egypt There was a house there, built in Greek 
style, in which the king had held his receptions, and in 
which there was a picture of the sea-fight of Xerxes. In 
this house there stood also a golden throne, inlaid with 
precious stones ; and there was also a sweet-sounding 
zitter, whose strings moved of their own accord. Around 
it there stood a golden sideboard sixteen ells wide, and 
next to it another twenty ells wide ; six steps led the way 
to it, and on the top of these stood an eagle with his wings 
spread out over the whole sideboard. There was also of 
gold a wild vine, with seven branches all worked in gold." 
So far Pseudo-Callisthenes. The text of Valerius has some 
variations, which I think essential, and I therefore mention 
them here. In fact, we have here two accounts, one of the 
temple of the sun, and the other of the palace of Cyrus 
and Xerxes. Being very much like one another, these two 
have been blended into one tale, some of the first description 
being left out by ignorant copyists, who took the former to 
be a mere narration of the latter {Z acker, pp. 170, 171). 

The text of Valerius has now the following very remark- 
able detail in the description as he says of the palace, 
whilst, in fact, the temple is meant, as will be seen from the 
very wording, which runs as follows : 

"In the temple hung from the ceiling a tropheum 
aureum {Cod, Mediolan,: stropaeum aureum), from that 
'trophaeum' hung a ball in the form of 'vertiginis ccelitis* 
(the heavenly). Upon that ball sat the image of a dove, 
which prophesied to the king. And as I was about to 
take down that 'trophaeum' which I intended to send to 
you, those present counselled me not to do it, as it was ^ 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail, 63 

sacred place, and that I should not expose myself to the 
dangers awaiting the intruder." 

It is obvious that this passage here belongs to the de- 
scription of the temple, as it has nothing whatsoever to do 
with the palace of Xerxes ; and so we find it also afterwards 
in the Latin and French versions of the Alexander legend. 

Substituting Perceval for Alexander, we have in this 
chapter the central motives of the Grail legend : the mar- 
vellous castle or temple Alexander had been the only 
mortal who could reach after long and severe hardship; 
the mysterious old man on the couch, who appears in the 
romances as the maimed, sick king; the marvellous 
stone or cage, with the mysterious dove endowed with 
supernatural gifts — what could be more welcome for a poet 
than such a figure as that of the unknown powerful and yet 
half-concealed man lying on a couch ? Fancy was quite 
free to picture in him either an ideal or a physical sufferer, 
tortured by a wound, inflicted either by a shaft, or by the 
dart of sin. Nothing could therefore adapt itself better to 
another cycle of tales and legends than the things seen in 
the temple ; the jewel, or the dove, the huge amphoras 
and cauldrons, the numerous demi-gods and mystics, they 
could afterwards be substituted by Christian emblems or 
by other conceptions, drawn from different sources. The 
vagueness of the objects beheld in the temple, which can 
be seen already in the Latin versions of Valerius, whose 
words (almost unintelligible) I have retained, is the same 
which clings to the Grail, to the castle, its inmates, and 
the task of the hero. 

It is, therefore, neither a feud-quest nor an unspelling- 
quest, to which two formulas Mr. Nutt has reduced the 
legend (p. 181), but simply the journey to the earthly 
Paradise, and the marvellous castle or temple of the sun, 
which form the primitive nucleus of the romance. 

Following up that clue we shall be able to explain many 
an incident in the romance through the legend of Alexan- 
der. There is in the roniance the chief fisher standing by 

Digitized by 


64 The Legend of the Grail. 

the river, who directs Perceval to the castle. In the l^^nd 
it is not a fisher, but a fish^ which is quickened to life by 
being dipped into the water of the river, which attracts the 
attention of Alexander and arouses his curiosity. He 
follows up the river, and is thus led to Paradise. Out of 
that fish there grew the fisher-king. I need not further 
insist upon the almost identical l^end of the dove sitting 
on the ball (or jewel) and prophesying to the king in a 
human voice — ix.^ to the man lying on the couch — and the 
dove which lays a holy wafer upon the stone in Wolfram's, 
and the bread by which the sick king is kept alive in Hein- 
rich's poem. Perceval is led by lights to the magic castle, 
which are almost identical with the lights that go before 
Alexander in the version of Valerius. 

We shall see presently how deeply these elements taken 
from the l^end of Alexander, have been modified throu^ 
the agency of Christian ideas and Christian conceptions. 
This episode with the lights, and especially that of the 
tree full of lights whereupon one child (two children) sits, 
will find its explanation later on. 

M. Gaster. 

(To be continued,) 

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THE Servian national custom called ''Slavd* (literall}^ 
" Glory and Celebration"), and sometimes ^^ Krone 
ini^' (or Baptism), is one which distinguishes the Servian 
people not only from races of Latin and Germanic origin, 
but also from all other Slavonians. 

During their pagan period each Servian household had 
a particular deity as its patron and protector. Annually, 
on an appointed day, the family offered to its especial 
deity special sacrifices. Of all religious rites in those early 
days this annual celebration was the most important, and 
was always accompanied by much feasting and varied 

This act of household worship was a deeply-rooted 
custom with the Servians. When baptised Christians, in 
the seventh century, they would not surrender this cherished 
usage, so the Byzantine missionaries, in the spirit of com- 
promise then prevalent, instead of abolishing all heathen 
ceremonies, substituted the worship of saints for that of 
pagan deities. So the Slava custom remained, only, on re- 
ceiving Christian baptism, each Servian family chose a saint 
of the Eastern Church as its special guardiah. And to the 
ancient appellation of the household festival " Slava" was 
added, as a synonyme, the new name " Krono ime", or 

The favourite family patron-saints of Servia are St 
Nicholas, St John, and St George. The archangel 
Michael is also very popular. Households having the 
same patron-saint consider themselves in a holy relation- 
ship to each other, so much that in some districts they 
do not intermarry. The Slava aids in deciding to which 


Digitized by 


66 Slava. 

family a Servian belongs — ^the son inheriting with the 
father's name his father's patron-saint, the daughters like- 
wise until married, when they change to the patrons of 
their husbands and keep to the same even if widowed. 

Slava is probably the only ancient national custom that 
is still zealously preserved by all classes of Servians, city 
and country, the unlettered peasant and the most highly- 
educated scholar, alike cherishing it Formerly, each 
Servian kept especially two annual feasts, Slava-day and 
the birthday anniversary. The latter festival is now in the 
towns frequently forgotten ; but very few Servian house- 
holds fail to celebrate their Slava-day to the utmost of 
their means. 

As my present object, however, is to describe the country 
customs of Servia, I will speak of Slava as yet kept in a 
well-to-do peasant household. 

Several days prior to the Slava-day the parish priest 
comes to the house to read prayers and sprinkle the walls 
with holy water. All the family are busy cleaning and 
decorating the home, that on their great f&te-day it may 
appear bright and gladsome. The day preceding the f&te 
is particularly bustling. The house-mother's first duty is 
to make two immense cakes, each divided on its surface by 
a cross into four equal parts. On each division is a circle 
inscribed " Jesus, the Victor", and surrounded by a wreath 
made with her utmost skill. In the middle of the cakes is 
put a small bunch of besitikum. These details are essen- 
tial to a Slava-cake. It must also be made with yeast, and 
of the whitest wheat flour. 

With equal pleasure, and even more devotion, she pre- 
pares what is called " KoUivo". A quantity (according to 
the number of expected guests) of the finest wheat is first 
baked thoroughly, and then boiled until it is soft and 
readily digestible. This is afterwards thoroughly mixed 
with sugar or honey, and walnuts, and moulded into a 
pyramid, the sides covered with small crosses and other 
figures made from different coloured sugars, It is intended 

Digitized by 


Slava. 67 

as a sacrifice to the patron-saints, its name implying what 
in olden times such annual sacrifice must have been. 
" Kollivo", meaning literally something which is cut with 
a knife while alive. The verb " Klats, Kollyim", signifying 
in all Slavonian dialects to kill with a knife. 

While the mother is busy making these cakes and 
kollivo, the house-father is roasting as much mutton or 
pork, and procuring as large a stock of wine, as his means 
permit The younger members of the household go 
through the neighbourhood inviting friends to the f6te. 
The invitation runs, in a stereotyped form, thus: "God's 
house be yours ! Our father (or uncle) sends greeting, and 
invites you this evening to a glass of wine, that we may 
talk a little and shorten thus the night. What our Saint 

has brought will not be hidden from you : do not 

hesitate, but come!" The answer being, "Thanks, we 
well know where to come, and what we shall meet" 

At the time of Vesper service the master of the house- 
hold carries, as a present, to the nearest church or cloister 
a large wax candle, a bottle of wine, and some olive oil. 
The house-mother meanwhile, with a short, improvised 
prayer, placing a lighted oil-lamp before the picture of 
their patron-saint, usually hung in a comer of the principal 

At evening the guests arrive, each one stepping into the 
house with this greeting : " Good evening ; happy be the 
day of your saint ! God grant you may celebrate it yet 
many years in joy and health I" 

The master of the house (who, from this time to the end 
of the Slava feast, is called " Joechat", or the Celebrator) 
answers, " God grant it Thou art welcome : happy be thy 
soul I" 

Each guest kisses and embraces the host, and brings an 
apple or citron as a present to the house-mother. 

They sit in the spacious kitchen drinking coffee and 
brandy until all arrive, when the master leads them into 
the best room, which on this occasion is spread with carpets 

F 2 

Digitized by 



68 Slava. 

made in the house. There the young women of the family 
approach the guests, hand them sandals, and, as a mark of 
utmost respect, wash their feet The guests then wash 
their faces and hands, and ranging themselves, with the 
master in the centre, before the picture of the saint, pray 

After this the guests choose a president of the feast, who 
must be a man thoroughly conversant with the Slava 
routine, and ready at the proper intervals with the appro- 
priate and traditional toasts. In placing themselves around 
the liberally-loaded table, the oldest take the higher seats. 

The master does not sit down, it being essential that he 
should personally serve the wine to his guests. When 
handing the first cup around, he gives the first toast of the 
evening, which is a prayer that, by God's grace, to-morrow, 
the day of his patron-saint, may auspiciously dawn upon 
all present, and that every one may be his Slava-guest 
again next year, and many other years to come. 

The president, rising, crosses himself, repeats the toast, 
with the wish that the patron-saint may increase and 
strengthen the friends and confound the enemies of the 

As the cup goes round, each guest adds a word or two; 
the last one asking God to forgive all improper requests 
and change them to good ones. 

A second toast goes alike around; and when the cup 
again reaches the president, turning to the master, who fills 
it, he says : " Thou givest us a third cup, may God give thee 
joy, health, and love to the end." Then to the guests he 
says : " My brethren, to your feet This toast is to the 
Name of God, and to His exalted Glory, strong and able 
to help us." 

All arise ; the master brings in a pan of lighted coals, 
and, while someone reads a long church-prayer, bums 
incense before the illuminated picture of the patron-saint 
This invocation ended, the president continues the third 
toast, thus : " This toast is to the One and Undivided 


Digitized by 


Slava. 69 

Triune God ! May He grant that His beautiful Glory 
may ever dawn upon this and all Christian homes until the 
end of Time ! May He help and guide us now and for 
ever ! and especially help all those who do, or (if they could) 
would, keep Slava to-day, enabling them to keep it in all 
coming years, until we, altogether, celebrate the anniversary 
in the celestial Kingdom." 

Turning again to the master of the house, he adds : 
" Brother, drink to the honour of your Saint ! May he aid 
thee and thine to-day and for evermore." They embrace 
and kiss each other. . The master, replying, desires that all 
Slava good wishes " uttered now on Earth may be regis- 
tered and granted in Heaven." 

The cup goes round again, each guest giving a short 
toast and kissing his neighbour. The cup then circulates 
throughout the entire household, every member having to 
drink from it and embrace the next one to him ; this, con- 
sidered the chief act of the evening, is called " the toast of 

The orthodox usage includes seven toasts. The fifth 
being very long ; commencing with mentioning " The 
Church of Jerusalem lying precisely at the central point of 
the White world like a lovely flower", a vestige of the 
mediaeval geography. It includes all priests, monks, 
cloisters, churches, and, by name, every one of the house- 
hold of which they ar^ the guests on " this ever-memorable 

After the seventh toast, designated "honourable", the 
party quit the table and repair, if in winter, to the kitchen 
fire, or, in summer, to the gardens, where they listen to the 
recital of patriotic ballads and others like " The Slava of 
Czar Dushan", or " The Dream of St. Nicholas". A very 
popular recitation is "The Archangel's Slava", which I 
may translate hereafter, as it gives a lively version of the 
commingled pagan and Christian views of Paradise preva- 
lent in Oriental lands during the Middle Ages. 

In what is now the kingdom of Servia, the guests wend 

Digitized by 


70 Stava. 

their way homeward at midnight But in other parts of 
the old Servian lands, as Bosnia, they remain to sleep in 
the house whose Slava they are celebrating. 

Next morning the master carries the KoUivo and Slava- 
cakes to the nearest church, placing them, with a lighted 
wax-taper, before the altar. After matins the priest reads 
a prayer over the Kollivo and Slava-cakes, cuts the cakes 
underneath into four equal parts, pours a little red wine 
over the cross-cuttings, lifting the cakes in his hands, 
intones a chant, commencing " Great be your joy", and then, 
assisted by the master, breaks the portions, retaining half 
of each for himself The other halves and the Kollivo the 
master takes home. 

In wealthier households this visit to the church is 
dispensed with, the parish priest being invited to the family 
festival, where the cakes are cut and broken with similar 

By this time the friends have again gathered together, 
and with new congratulations, the master, bareheaded, 
serves them with wine and fo6d, the guests remaining with 
covered heads. 

About midday all rise "to the Glory of God", The 
Kollivo and pieces of Slava-cakes are brought into the 
best room, where wax tapers are lighted and incense burnt 
All remove their hats, and the master himself drinks to 
" God's Glory", giving a toast filled with good wishes, to 
which all answer, " Amen, God grant it" While the cup 
passes around the party, some of the younger guests sing a 
popular song, beginning : 

** Whoever drinks to the Glory of God, 
May God and His Glory help hinu** 

After which come toasts " To the Memory of THE Baptism" 
and to the Trinity. The Kollivo is then served around by 
the master, the eating, drinking, singing, talking, and merri- 
ment continuing some hours, broken by occasional toasts to 
the family, the saints, the king, and nation. 

Digitized by 


Slava. 7 1 

Should the weather permit, the young people gather in 
the yard or street with bagpipes and flutes, and dance 
until nightfall From time to time guns are fired, as the 
Servians, consider no celebration complete without the 
noisy explosion of powder. 

In territories under Turkish rule, the use of firearms is 
sometimes forbidden ; and, in years gone by, the Servian 
Slava celebrations in districts under Turkish authority had 
usually to be held privately and at midnight 

It is to be remarked that however lengthy and profuse 
the Slava-toasts, though many and reiterated good wishes 
for the members of the household are expressed by the 
visitors, a woman's name is never mentioned; the Servian 
etiquette preventing the peasant speaking before men of 
his wife or daughter by name. But with happy delicacy, 
while none can name the modest and almost invisible 
mistress of the home, the president, in proposing the toast 
of the Slava-cakes, in reality gives the health of the house- 
wife, thus: "Let us now drink to the honour of these 
Slava-cakes ! God give that where they have now been 
broken, such may be broken many years, and that the 
hands which made them may continue handsome and dis- 
tinguished amongst all other hands, as the Morning Star 
outshines all other stars.'' 

When alluding to his help-mate in company, the Servian 
peasant usually says : " My wife, I beg pardon for mention- 
ing her, said (or did) so-and-so." 

The Slava festivals formerly continued three days. Even 
now, and in large cities, the household must be prepared to 
receive and regale guests at least two days. Slava was 
consequently a heavy draft upon the family income. In 
the kingdom of Servia the advice of the priests and other 
authorities against too costly feasting is having a good 
effect But with the Servians in Bosnia and Herzegovina the 
end of the Slava ffite is still the last drop of wine : the guests 
remaining until they see the casks and wine-skins are 
empty. They then reluctantly leave, with effusive hopes 

Digitized by 


72 Slava. 

to meet again the next year and many successive years. A 
standard farewell wish is that their host may long live to 
celebrate his " Slava, the day of the baptism of his fore- 
fathers, twelve hundred years ago." 

Perhaps one of the best of the stereotyped Servian Slava 
parting-phrases is : 

^ May God teach us to know what true 
Friendship is, and how to appreciate it." 

Grant Maxwell. 

Digitized by 



IT may be safely said that children's amusements, as 
distinguished from children's games, have not 
engaged the attention of the students of man to the 
extent they merit Many of these amusements are 
imitations of the work of men, and thus become a 
training for the work of life. Others, again, are in all 
likelihood the survivals of what were once customs 
followed by men. For example, can it be that the 
amusement of imitating burying alive in the sand is the 
survival of any sacrificial custom, or of the custom of 
burying a victim below the foundation stone of any large 
building ? 

Another question of much weight is : Do these amuse- 
ments shew the mental development of the children ? If 
so, it becomes a matter of much moment to collect not 
merely civilised children's amusements to as wide an 
extent as possible, but the amusements of uncivilised 
tribes and nations, so as to form a comparison between 
the mental development of the uncivilised man and that of 
the civilised child. 

Another point worthy of comparison is the amusements 
followed by different classes of children, e.g., those of the 
fisher-folks' children with those of the children of the 
rural population. Such a comparison would probably 
bring out modes of thought, and traits of character, 
peculiar to each class, as it would assuredly set in clear 
light the differences of their occupations. 

An attempt has been made to set forth some account of 
the child-life of the fisher-folks of the north-east coast of 
Scotland. My information has come from only a few of 
the villages, so that one must not judge that, because only 

Digitized by 


74 The Scotch Fisher Child 

one or two villages are mentioned as the home of an 
amusement or game, it may not be found in the same, or 
in a somewhat different form in other villages. 

M. Sebillot has devoted much attention to this subject, 
and has given the fruits of his labours in LHotntney 2^ 
Annte, No. 16, 25 Aout 1885, pp. 481-90, and in Revue 
des TrculiHons Populaires^ i" Ann^, No. i, 1886, pp. 5-12, 
in which he formulates a series of questions for the inves- 
tigators of this branch of the knowledge of man. 

There is a very striking agreement of the amusements 
of the children of the fisher-folks on the coast of France 
with those of the same class of children on the north-east 
coast of Scotland. Is it because both have sprung from 
the same home in the north ? A collection of the amuse- 
ments of the fisher-folks' children on the coasts of Denmark 
and the Scandinavian Peninsula would no doubt give 
results of considerable value. My wish is that others 
more competent for this interesting task may enter upon 
it, and work it out to a good end. Much remains to be 
done with regard to the manners, customs, work, and 
beliefs of a most useful, worthy, and interesting portion of 
the inhabitants of the British islands — the fisher-folks. 

I have arranged the paper as follows : — 

I. The baby and the cradle. 
II. Amusements of imitation. 

III. Amusements with living creatures. 

IV. Amusements with shells and seaweed. 
V. Amusements with tide and waves. 

VI. Amusements with the sand on the beach. 
VII. Dslnces and games. 

I. — The Baby and the Cradle. 

A. The Baby. 

(a) The " twalt oor" (twelfth hour), whether midday or 
midnight, is accounted an unlucky hour for the birth of a 
child (Pennan, Rosehearty) 

Digitized by 


The Scotch Pis her Child. 75 

{b) If a child is born during the time the tide is "flowwin" 
(rising), the saying is, that "the waride (worid) flowws 
onV (Pennan). 

{c) When a new-bom child is being washed, if a boy, he 
is rubbed gently to make him good-tempered. A girl is 
rubbed more roughly to make her firm (Portessie). If the 
child cries much when bom, its wrist is at times scratched 
to draw blood, so that the "ill-natured" blood might 
escape. This was done not many years ago by a midwife 
in Rosehearty, and she said that unless she did so, the 
child would be ill-tempered. 

{d) In nursing their babies, the mothers or nurses often 
dandle them in a way to imitate the rocking of a boat on 
the sea (Portessie, Macduff, Rosehearty). Here is a nursing 
rhyme — 

" Reekie, reekie, rairig, 
Rin t' the fairy, 

An yell get a pease-meal bannock, 
Fin he comes back." 

This rhyme was repeated to the child, as the mother or 
nurse sat in front of a fire, from which a good deal of 
smoke was rising. 

Does the rhyme refer to the custom of the trial by fire ? 
When a child was " dwinin", it was suspected that the real 
child had been stolen by the fairies, and one of their own 
left in its room. It was tried by fire. A lai^e fire of peat 
was heaped on the hearth, the child put into a basket, 
which was hung in the " crook" over the fire. If the 
" dwinin" child was one of fairy origin, it made its escape 
by the " lum" (chimney), and the true child was restored. 

{/) A necklace of amber beads ("lamer") was worn 
round the child's neck to keep off ill-luck (Rosehearty). 

(/) The belief in the influence of the planets on human 
life was at one time not uncommon. An old woman, that 
lately lived in Pennan, had an expression she used when 
she was nursing a child much given to crying: "YeVe 
been born aneth an ill planet", or " an unlucky planet"^ 

Digitized by 


76 The Scotch Fisher Child. 

(g) Shells form common playthings for little children. 
When the infant's teeth begin to cause trouble, a piece of 
" casle tangle" — the stem of LanUnavia digitata is given, 
instead of a teething ring. 

(A) On market-days, and at Christmas, many had the 
custom of giving a penny or half-penny to each child of 
the family. This coin went by the name of " the market 
bawbee", and "the Yeel bawbee". It was sometimes given 
by the grandfather, or grandmother, or aunt; and the 
children regularly, as the occasion came round, went to get 
the " bawbee" from the kind donor (Macduff). 

(/) To frighten the children from going to the sea, they 
are told that a sea-otter or water-kelpie (Macduff), or otters 
or " selchs" (seals) (Portessie, Rosehearty) will come and 
take them. 

B. The Cradle. 

(a) If a cradle was borrowed, a fiery peat was thrown 
into it at the door by the borrower (Pennan). 

(6) A cradle, if borrowed, was never sent empty, neither 
was it returned empty. 

(c) The cradle is always carried with its head foremost, 
that is, the opposite way a coffin is carried (Rosehearty, 

(d) In Buckie and Portessie a small wooden bowl, — 
"a cap" — ^lay constantly in the cradle. It was called "the 
craidle cap". My informant told me that her mother made 
her a present of one, and told her to keep it always in the 
cradle when in use. She did so, and when there was no 
baby the " cap" was laid up carefully till the next baby 

(e) The cradle was sometimes called by old folks (Pennan) 
"the life-boat", and they spoke of putting the child into 
the life-boat when they laid it in the cradle. 

(/) It is a common notion that if a mother meets a boy 
as her " first fit", the first time she goes out after having a 

Digitized by 


The Scotch Fisher Child, 77 

baby, she will have a son as her next child, and if she meets 
a girl, she will bear a girl (Portessie, Rosehearty). 

II.— Amusements of Imitation. 

(tf) Boys and young men construct boats and ships, 
commonly fashioning them with a knife. They rig them 
with much neatness. They are named and launched with 
due ceremony, and it is a source of much amusement to 
sail these boats and ships (generally round the coast). In 
many of the villages (Macduff, Pennan, Rosehearty) sailing 
matches or regattas were common, and betting was rife 
(Macduff). At the village of Pennan, not many years ago, 
there was a regatta on New Year's Day for some years in 
succession on the mill-pond of the farm of Clenterty, when 
many from the village, as well as many from the neigh- 
bouring farms, met to witness the race. Prizes were 
awarded for the victors. In Rosehearty, New Year's Day 
was specially devoted to the sailing of their ships by the 

{b) In sailing their ships they at times put small stones 
or shells on them to represent sailors. When the ships 
came to land they were carefully examined to see whether 
the men had been swept overboard. At times, two or more 
were launched in such a way as to run into each other, and 
so run one of them down. Great is the exultation of the 
owner of the stouter ship (Macduff). 

{c) But almost anything that will float, a piece of cork, 
or wood, with a feather stuck into it, the carapace of a 
crab, a shell, etc., is used as a boat. Rock-pools, pools left 
by the tide, pools near streams, mill-ponds, if at hand and 
of convenient form. 

{d) A favourite pastime is the making of canals and 
harbours in the sand. The children dig little ditches, 
allow the water to run into them, and then place in them 
as ships and boats small pieces of cork, wood, shells, the 
carapaces of crabs, paper boats. The water is confined. 

Digitized by 


78 The Scotch Fisher Child. 

and, when everything is ready, the sluice is removed, and 
the water flows away, carrying with it all the little craft. 
A wide space is often made at one end in imitation of a 
harbour, and at other times a harbour is made at each end. 
The children of Rosehearty used to make " bridges", that is, 
locks in their canals, in imitation of the Caledonian Canal. 
The boys of Macduff built harbours, filled them with 
water, and at times put pieces of wood across their mouths 
in imitation of booms. In Portessie such structures are 
called " shories". This name arises, likely, from the fact 
that there were in many of the fishing villages no built 
harbours, but only natural creeks, or well-sheltered pieces 
of shore, commonly called " the shore". 

{e) The catching of fish is often imitated. So many of 
the players act as fish, and so many as fishermen. The 
lines are thrown, and the children that represent fish seize 
the line, sometimes in their teeth, and sometimes the line 
is thrown round them. They are pulled ashore, and then the 
whole process of cleaning the fish is gone through, the first 
step always being to imitate the cutting of the throat After 
being dressed, sand is sprinkled over them for salt (Por- 
tessie, Macduff, Rosehearty). 

(/) The boys and girls often imitate the arrival of the 
boats from the fishing ground. The fish, for which small 
stones are used, are divided in the usual way, and then 
carried up and dressed, and the " skulls", or baskets with 
the lines, are brought ashore with all formality (Portessie, 
Macduff, Rosehearty). 

{g) A common amusement is the making of " houses" 
and gardens on the beach or smooth grassy spots con- 
venient This is done by laying stones in a line on the 
sand or grass in the form of a house. Porches are some- 
times added, as well as other houses for other purposes. 
Furniture, in the shape of small stones, pieces of wood, 
limpets, or the bones of the larger fish are put into them. 
There are always two pieces of furniture, " the bench", a 
kind of open cupboard for holding stoneware, of which 

Digitized by 


The Scotch Fisher Child. 79 

fisher-folks are commonly very fond, and "the dresser", 
which in the fisherman's, as well as in the country kitchens, 
stands underneath the " bench". Shells of various kinds, 
broken pieces of stone and earthenware, often called 
" lehmns", are used for dishes. The fisher-girl seats herself 
inside the house, and busies herself with the arrangement 
of her furniture and crockery. 

(h) Gardens or "yards" are enclosed with a row of 
stones, or with a line of sand thrown up by the hand, and 
planted with pieces of seaweed for flowers and trees 
(Portessie, Macduff, Pennan, Rosehearty). The children 
of the country do the same. Only they plant their 
gardens or "yards" with flowers. 

{{) Keeping a shop, or acting the merchant, and buying 
and selling, are favourite pastimes. A house is made as a 
shop, and the various kinds of goods are put into it 
Shells, chiefly, but often pieces of broken stone and 
earthenware are used for money. The penny is repre- 
sented by a large shell, or piece of stone or earthenware, 
the halfpenny by a less piece or shell. Silver coins are 
represented by the smallest shells, or fragments of ware 
(Portessie, Macduff, Pennan, Rosehearty). 

(y') In bathing, boys pretend to be salmon, eels, or any 
other fish ; and in Rosehearty the boys have in bathing a 
leap called the salmon-leap. The boys of Macduff use 
the expression " to dive like an eel". They also use the 
expression "to dive like a scrath", and they speak of 
" scrathian" to indicate clever diving. 

III. — Amusements with Living Creatures. 

{a) A great amusement is to catch eels and transfer 
them to other ponds, repeating the words : 

** Eelie, eelie, cast a knot, 
An ye'U win into the salmon-pot." 


Digitized by 


8o The Scotch Fisher Child. 

A variant of the last line is : 

" An yell win into the water-pot" 

The formula in Macduff is : 

" Eelie, eelie, cast yir knottie, 
An yell get in o* yir water-pottie." 

{V) The children amuse themselves by catching the 
green shore-crab {Carcinus Mcenas)^ called "the craib" in 
Macduff, and the eatable crab, or "parten" {Cancer pagurus), 
and using them as horses. They tie pieces of cork, wood, 
or any other light substance behind him, in imitation of 
carts and coaches, and then set them off to pull them. 
They at times take a few of them, hold them in line, and 
then let them go, as if in a race, on a given signal (Macduff, 
Rosehearty, Portessie). They also use them as cows and 
horses, and tether them in imitation of the agricultural 

{c) The boys and girls at times amuse themselves by 
catching fish among the rocks and pools, cooking them on 
fires they kindle on the beach, and then feasting on them 

IV.— Amusements with Shells and Seaweed. 

{a) The children of Macduff have a custom of taking 
limpet shells, boring out the centre of them, and then 
sticking them on their ^y^ts under the name of spectacles. 
They carry them in this way for a considerable time when 
amusing themselves. 

{b) The girls often gather shells, bore them, and make 
necklaces of them (Rosehearty). 

{c) They deck themselves in seaweed. Some of them, 
as " belly-waar" {Fucus nochsuSy and F. vesciculosus), they 
use as curls for their hair. The larger ponds of " bather- 
lyocks" {Lanunavia digitated) are used as waistbands, whilst 
the smaller ones are formed into bands for the brow and 

Digitized by 


The Scotch Fisher Child. 8i 

the neck. Sometimes chaplets are woven and placed 
round the head. 

The girls of Pennan make thimbles of the air-vessels of 
** belly-waar'^ 

{d) The children amuse themselves with " carle tangles", 
the stems of Lanunavia digitata^ in the following way. 
Each player selects a few ; one holds up one, the others 
strike it crosswise. If it breaks, the player holds up the 
one that broke it, whilst it is in turn struck till it is broken. 
This is playing at " sodgers". Instead of tangle, " carle 
doddies" [Plantago lanceolatd) are used. Country children, 
and sometimes grown-up folks, amuse themselves with 
playing at " sodgers" with " carle doddies". 

v.— Amusements with the Tide and the 

{a) An amusement is to gather stones and build a little 
hillock, or to heap up one of sand, when the tide is rising, 
and then to take their stand upon it, and cry out : 

"WiUie, Willie Weet-feet 
Winna get me." (Pennan.) 

"Willie, WUlie Weet-feet, 
Dinna weet me, 
An a'll gee ye a Scots bawbee." (Macduff.) 

They wait till they are nearly surrounded by the rising 
tide, and then jump. Such a little mound is called a 
" lockie-on" (Macduff). 

{b) In Rosehearty this hillock is called " a prop", and 
the formula is : 

" Knockie, knockie, nocean wash me awa*, 
Ten mile, ten mile, ten mile jaw." 

When the sea struck it, the player jumped and roared. 
Girls, in doing this, often took off their shoes and stockings, 
and tucked up their clothes to keep them dry. 
vou IL G 

Digitized by 


82 The Scotch Fisher Child. 

(c) A similar amusement is for the children to run up to 
meet the rising tide, and then to run back out of the way 
of the wave, shouting the same words. In doing this, the 
girls often kilt up their clothes to keep them dry (Rose- 

During a storm the children run up to meet the wave, 
shouting : 

" The nineteent jaw. 
Come, an wash me awa' 
Ower the sea an far awa*." • (Rosehearty.) 

(d) They plunge into the masses of foam that are 
thrown up during a storm, and shout and dance in face of 
the gale (Macduff). 

(e) When the tide is rising, the children cast up dykes 
or ridges of sand to stem the water, and then watch their 
overthrow. They proceed to build another to meet the 
same fate, and so on for any length of time. 

VI.— Amusements with the Sand on the 

(a) It is a great amusement to lie down on the soft sand 
and leave an impression of the body on it The same 
thing is done when there is snow. 

(d) Another amusement is for one to lie down on the 
sand, when it is damp or hard, and stretch out every limb 
to the widest, and for another to take a sharp-pointed stone 
or piece of stick and draw the outline of the figure. Some- 
times it is an imprint of only a hand with the fingers fully 
spread out, or of a foot, that is taken. The same thing is 
done in snow. 

(c) The children amuse themselves by imprinting their 
footsteps on the sand, and after a time returning to see if 
the impression still remains. 

{d) Another amusement is to make drawings of houses, 
men, or of anything that strikes the fancy, on the firm 
sand. A boat is a very common object to be dra^lll. It 

Digitized by 


The Scotch Fisher Child. 83 

IS done in profile, and its name written on it At times it 
is drawn bird's-eyewise, and the boys then go within it, sit 
down, and act as if fishing. 

{f) Writing their- names on the sand is a favourite 
amusement, and a bo/s and a girl's name are often written 
together. They are called "the man and the wife" (Rose- 

(/) It is an amusement to make or build up of wet sand 
the image of a man, then to run past it and strike with the 
hand to break it This amusement is called " Vullin* the 
Rooshians" (Rosehearty). 

i^g) One goes along the beach making as long paces as 
possible. The other players follow, and their aim is to 
place their feet in the footsteps of the leader. The one 
that fails to do so is beaten (Rosehearty). The same thing 
is done in snow. 

(A) A not uncommon amusement is to dig a hole and 
allow the water to fill it The water is then carefully 
covered, often by sprinkling fine dry sand over the water. 
The one on whom the trick is to be played is enticed to 
walk along in the direction of it, so as to stumble into it 
and have his foot made wet or get a fall (Macduff). In 
Macduff this amusement is called " Maskin* a trap". In 
other villages (Portessie, Rosehearty) the hole is not filled 
with water, but covered over with anything found con- 
venient, so as to conceal it 

(1) As an amusement, burying in the sand is not uncom- 
mon. At Macduff the boys dig graves in the sand or 
shingle, put stones or pieces of wood into them, cover them 
up, and then set up stones at the head of the grave. A not 
unfrequent amusement is burying one of the players. A 
grave is dug, and one stone is placed at the top and 
another at the bottom. After it is finished, the one to be 
buried is laid flat on his back in the hole — if a girl, with 
her clothes tightly tucked round her — and all covered up 
with small sand or shingle, according to the nature of the 


Digitized by 


84 The Scotch Fisher Child 

beach, except the face. After lying a time an exit is 
made in the best way the buried one can (Portessie, Mac- 
duff, Penan, Rosehearty). 

VI L— Dances and Games. 

{a) The boys and girls at times amuse themselves by 
dancing on the sands any of the ordinary dances. One, 
however, used to be danced called " Sea-brackin*'. The 
players take their stand behind each other, and, on a given 
signal, the first one in the line stoops, then suddenly rises 
and throws up the arms, and then sets off at a run, stoop- 
ing and rising and throwing up the arms. The others do 
the same. Thus they run on, imitating the rising and 
falling of the waves or roll of the sea. If one falls it is 
called a "shipwreck", and the unfortunate one must lie 
and allow the players behind to leap over (Rosehearty).^ 

{b) A game, called " Beat the Bear", is played by the 
children of Portessie in the following way. One is chosen 
as the bear and another as the guard. A circle is drawn, 
and a stone is placed in the centre of the circle. On this 
stone the bear seats himself, and gets into his hand a piece 
of string by one end. His guard takes hold of the other 
end of the string, and sets himself in a position to defend 
the bear. He holds in his other hand his cap, or handker- 
chief plaited. The other players all stand round ready to 
fall on the bear and pelt him with their caps or plaited 
handkerchiefs. The one the guard strikes first becomes in 
his turn the bear, and the former bear becomes the guard. 
The game continues as long as the players wish. 

The same game was played at Keith when I was a boy, 
with this difference, that the bear crouched on his hands 
and knees with his head stuck down between his hands as 

1 I think Miss Gordon Gumming somewhere gives a description of 
a similar dance in one of the South Sea Islands, but I cannot find the 
exact reference. 

Digitized by 


The Scjotch Fisher Child. 85 

far as possible to save it from the blows inflicted by the 
players. The game is played in the island of Samos, 
under the name of ^\vkv Kpaal, or " sweet wine".^ 

{c) At Portessie there is a rock called the " Scatt Craigs", 
which is left dry by the retiring tide. The children take 
their stand on it, when the tide is ebb, and shout : 

** I warn you once, 
I warn you twice, 
I warn you three times over. 
Take up your wings 
And flee awa*, for fear o' Johnnie Rover." 

They then jump from the rock, and run as fast as they can 

back to the top of the rock, to repeat the words and the 

action till they become tired. 

{d) A round stone, called the ** tamie", is placed upon 
another. The players then take their stand at any con- 
siderable distance agreed on and throw stones to displace 
the " tamie". The first who knocks it off a certain number 
Df times previously agreed on wins the game (Portessie). 

(e) A stone is thrown a certain distance. The one that 
hrows it leaps the distance. The other players try to do 
he same. Those that fall short of the distance lose. 
Vhen all have leaped, the stone is again thrown, and the 
raping proceeded with as before. This goes on for any 
?ngth of time (Rosehearty). 

(/*) A great source of amusement was to place a stone, 
r, best of all, a bottle, at a considerable distance, and 
irow stones to break the bottle or knock down the stone. 

(<?*) " Corking the bottle" is a common pastime both by 
rls and boys. A longish, somewhat tapering stone is 
lected, and the boy or girl goes to a deep pool and drops 
e stone with the sharp end down into the water, and 
en watches for the air-bubbles rising when the bottle is 
(A) " Skifiin" is another amusement with a stone. This 

' Folk' Lore Journal^ vol. ii, p. 58. 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

86 The Scotch Fisher Child. 

is done only when the sea is smooth. A flat stone is 
taken and thrown along the surface of the water. The aim 
of the player is to make it rebound the greatest number of 
times on the surface before it. The children inland, that 
live near streams, lochs, or ponds, have the same pastime. 
It is called " skippin* " (Keith), and the first stroke on the 
water used to be called "the drake", the second "the 
deuk", and the rest " the young deuks" (Personal). 

(/) Another pastime among boys inland was " cuttin' the 
water". A thin, sharp-edged stone was chosen, and the 
boy took his stand beside the pool or pond (if a little above 
the level of the water so much the better), and tried to 
strike the water without dashing it up. To do so with 
neatness requires a good deal of practice. 

Walter Gregor. 

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THE Togail Bruidne Daderga (Destruction of Brudin 
Daderga), an Irish hero-tale, belonging to the oldest 
stratum of heroic legend, contains the following incident. 
Cormac mac Airt, King of Ulster, wedded to the daughter 
of Eochaid Feidlech, High King of Ireland, puts her away 
" because she was unfruitful, save that she bore a daughter 
to Cormac". He then weds Etain, a dame from faery, 
who had been the lady-love of his father-in-law, Eochaid. 
" Her demand was that the daughter of the woman who 
had been abandoned before her should be killed. Cormac 
would not give her (the child) to her mother to be nursed. 
His two servants took her afterwards to a pit, and sh^ 
laughed a love laugh at them when being put into the pit. 
Their courage left them. They placed her subsequently in 
the calf-shed of the cowherds of Etirscel, great-grandson of 
lar. King of Tara, and these nurtured her till she was a 
good embroideress ; and there was not in Ireland a king's 
daughter more beautiful than she." She is afterwards 
possessed by one of the fairy folk, who comes in to her as 
a bird and then assumes human shape, and he tells her that 
the king, report to whom of her beauty has been made, will 
send for her, " she will be fruitful from him (the bird-man), 
and will bear a son, and that son shall not kill birds." This 
happens, and the son (Conaire Mor) afterwards becomes 
High King of Ireland, and is the hero of the tale. 

The Destruction of Daderga's fort (the tale is so called 
because, when resting there for the night, Conaire is 
attacked by pirates, slain with most of his following, and the 

Digitized by 


88 Jealous Stepmother and Exposed Child. 

house destroyed), is found in the oldest Irish MS., Leabhar 
n-a A* £/iV///r^ (copied at the end of the eleventh century 
from MSS. of the early eleventh century) in a fragmentary 
form. It is also found in a more complete form in the 
well-known fourteenth century MS., the Book of Lecan 
(H. 2.16), from which ?t has been edited and translated by 
the late W, H. Hennessy, who died before he had com- 
pleted his edition. The above cited passages are from a 
copy of the proof-sheets I purchased at the sale 6f his 
library. They are only to be found now in the Book of 
Lecan and in younger MSS., as L.n.H. is imperfect just at 
the beginning of the tale. It is, therefore, impossible to 
be absolutely certain that they were in the eleventh century 
MS. But this is almost certain, as the L.aH. and B. L. 
versions are very similar in the passages they have in com- 
mon. Moreover, Prof Zimmer (Z. F.5., 1887, p. 583) has 
shown strong reasons for believing that the B. L. version 
was copied from the Book of Druim Snechtay a now lost MS . 
of the tenth or early eleventh century, and that it was one 
of those used by the compiler of L.n.H. for making up his 
version, which is obviously badly pieced together from at 
least two older, and at times contradictory, versions. We 
may, therefore, be almost certain that the episode of the 
jealous stepmother and of the exposed child was current in 
Ireland in the early eleventh century at the latest I need not 
point out that the form of the other folk-tale incident, the 
bird-lover, is also considerably older than that which has 
hitherto been looked upon as its earliest appearance in 
European literature, the Yonec of Marie de France (late 
twelfth century). 

The incident of the exposed child occurs in the Vita 
Meriadoci, an as yet unpublished text, the MS. of which 
{Fausty B. 6) is in the British Museum. Meriadoc is son 
of Caradoc, king of the district around "Snaudone". 
Caradoc is slain by his brother, who sends his nephew and 
niece into the wood of Arglud to be slain. The king's 
huntsman takes pity on them and hides them ; they are seen 

Digitized by 


Jealous Stepmother and Exposed Child. 89 

by Urien as he is riding through the wood and brought up 

by Urien and Arthur, who avenges Caradoc's death. The 

MS. is early fourteenth century (cf. Y Cytnmrodor, xi,p. 75), 

but the text must be old, as it has preserved the original 

northern locale of the legend, Arglud = Arecluta — />., the 

district about the Clyde — although the last transcriber 

most probably thought of Caradoc as a Welsh prince.^ It 

would be unsafe, however, to argue from this fact that the 

theme of the Babes in the Wood was known to the Welsh 

of the ninth or tenth century, the period during which the 

transference to South-west Britain of North Cumbrian 

legend probably took place ; but it may be safely asserted 

that it was current in Wales in the twelfth century. 

It should be noticed that both incidents occur quite 

casually in the tale, little insistence is laid upon them, and 

I do not think it possible for one moment that such chance 

and passing references can have originated the folk-tales 

current to this day. On the contrary, it seems evident to 

me that we have here folk-tale incidents which must have 

been perfectly familiar to the author and hearers of our 

stories — which were, in fact, commonplaces. If this is so, it 

shows that at least two well-known types of folk-tale were 

popular in Ireland in the tenth century, and one in Wales 

in the twelfth century 

^ The '* Snaudone"is almost certainly*Stirling and not the Welsh 
mountain, though the last transcriber probably had Snowdon in his 

Alfred Nutt. 

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IN FOLK-LORE, i, p. 278, there is an extract regarding the 
Cherokees' belief relative to the connection between 
serpents and precious stones, and, at page 209 of the same 
issue, there is a passage on Dracs in the Rhone, that are 
so similar to incidents in the Bhuridatta Jitaka of the 
Buddhist literature, that I venture to think that a sketch 
of that legend, as taken from the Burmo-Pali version, would 
be of interest to the readers of FOLK-LORE, and, without 
further preface, proceed to give it 

Once upon a time, there reigned in Benares a king who 
was afraid that his eldest son was becoming too powerful, 
so he ordered him to leave the country until the time 
should come for him to ascend the throne. The prince 
accordingly went into the forest on the banks of the 
Jumna, and lived there in a hut as an ascetic Just at that 
time a Nigf (serpent-lady), who had lost her husband, 
came wandering in search of another, and, seeing the 
empty hut, wondered whether the owner was a real hermit 
or an ordinary man ; and, in order to find it out, covered 
the couch with flowers and fairy scents, and went away. 
In the cool of the evening the prince returned from the 
forest, where he had been searching for fruits and roots. 
He wondered who had been decorating his bed with 
flowers, and then went to sleep on it ; a hermit would have 
first thrown them all away. Next day the serpent-lady 
came back, and, seeing he had slept on the flowers, knew 
he was not a real hermit, and redecorated the bed. As she 
was going away, however, the prince, who had been on the 
watch, came up and asked her who she was. She told 
him, and, as she was very beautiful, he married her. She 

Digitized by 


Bhuridatta, 91 

created a fairy palace in the forest, in which they dwelt, 
and bore him a son named Sagara,^ and, two or three years 
afterwards, a daughter named SamuddajA.^ The prince is 
then discovered by a hunter and informed of his father's 
death. The nobles come out from the city and insist on 
his returning to the kingdom. The serpent-lady says she 
cannot accompany him, because she is afraid that in her 
anger she may destroy some of his people, seeing that the 
serpent-people are very irritable and unable to restrain 
their poison. She says, " Though my duty and inclination 
are to follow my husband, yet, if I were to see anything to 
anger me, the person who caused my anger to arise would 
be reduced to ashes." Next morning she hands over the 
children to him, and begs him to take the greatest care of 
them, and be careful to let them have plenty of water to 
play in, as they are half serpent by nature. When he got 
to Benares he had some tanks made for the children to play 
in. C5ne day, when the prince and princess were swimming 
in the pond, a fresh-water tortoise put its head up and 
looked at them, which so frightened the children that they 
fled to their father and told him there was a devil in the 
pond. The king had the pond dragged, and the tortoise 
was caught and brought before the king. His nobles 
advised that it should be put to death in various ways ; but 
one of them, who was very much afraid of water, thought 
that it ought to be punished by being hurled into the river. 
On hearing this, the tortoise put his head out, and said: "My 
Lord King, I have done no harm, but I am nevertheless 
willing to undergo any punishment rather than that." 

The king at once ordered him to be thrown into the 
whirlpool in the Jumna. Now, this whirlpool was the 
direct road to Serpent-land, and the tortoise fell close to 
a Ndga, who was the son of Dhatarattha, the Niga king. 
He was immediately arrested, and, to save himself from 
punishment, cried out that he was an ambassador from the 

* Sigara means ** The Ocean". 
' Samuddaj4 means ^ Sea-bom". 

Digitized by 


92 Bhuridatta. 

King of Benares, sent to offer his daughter in marriage to 
King Dhatarattha. At first he was not believed, but, after 
some argument, he prevailed on the Serpent king to send 
some young Nigas back with him to Benares. On the 
road the tortoise got away and hid himself, and the Ndgas 
arrived at the palace alone The King of Benares asked 
what they had come for, and on being informed, got angry, 
and declared that he could not give the lady Samuddaji 
in marriage to such a creature as a serpent The Ndgas at 
this were highly incensed, but, being ambassadors, could 
not destroy Benares, so went back to make their report 
King Dhatarattha thereupon summoned his hosts, and 
ordered them to spread themselves all over the city of 
Benares, but not to hurt anyone. At this the people of 
Benares were so terrified that they cried out to know why 
they were so plagfued by serpents ; and on being informed, 
they begged the Niga king to allow them to go to their 
own king to entreat him. The people cried out to the 
king to give the Princess SamuddajA in marriage to Dha- 
tarattha. The king was so terrified at the noise made by 
his people, and the hissing of the Ndgas, that he consented 
to give his daughter to the N4ga king. After the wedding 
they went back to Niga land, and the King Dhatarattha 
gave an order that no one was to show himself to Queen 
SamuddajA in serpent form.^ 

SamuddajA bore four sons, viz., Sudassana (good- 
looking), Datta (given ?), Subhoga (wealth), and Arittha. 
Datta was the Bodhisat (/>., one who is on the road to the 
Buddhaship), and he grew so wise that Indra gave him the 
name of Bhuri-datta. Bhuridatta was filled with a desire to 
progress in wisdom, and on his return to N«iga land from the 
kingdom of Indra, informed his parents that he intended to 
fast regularly on the proper days. They acquiesced in his 
proposal, but told him he had better not do so on the surface 
of the world, as he would be exposed to many dangers. 

^ The offspring of man and Ndga could not change into a serpent, 
but had only some of the Ndga characteristics. 

Digitized by 


Bhuridatta. 93 

However he found that whilst he was fasting in Serpent-land 
the distractions were too many for him, so he determined 
to go up to the land of men, and calling his wives and 
ladies, he informed them that he should keep his fasts 
coiled on the top of an ant-hill at the foot of a banyan- 
tree near the bank of the Jumna, and on the morning after 
the fast they were to come and fetch him. 

Now there dwelt in a village near the gate of Benares a 
Brahman hunter, and one day he was following a deer 
with his son Somadatta, and being belated, climbed up 
into the tree at whose foot Bhuridatta was coiled. In the 
early morning the Brahman was aroused by the sound of 
music, and looking, saw Bhuridatta sitting surrounded by 
his queens, dressed in all their fairy jewels. He went up 
to Bhuridatta, and said : 

" Who art thou with eyes so red, 
Gleaming in thy noble head, 
Strong of limb and broad of chest. 
Girt with fair ones proudly dressed ?" 

To which Bhuridatta made reply : 

" Brahman, I am Bhuridatta, 
Son of Raja Dhatarattha, 
When my eye in anger flashes. 
Human realms are burnt to ashes." 

As Bhuridatta could see that this Brahman was a wicked 
old fellow, likely to betray him to others who would come 
and injure him whilst fasting (when he would be powerless), 
he determined to carry him off to Ndga land, and endow 
him with great wealth. He took Somadatta there too, 
after reciting several stanzas descriptive of the beauties of 
Serpent-land. The Brahman dwelt there for a long time 
in great luxury, and Bhuridatta gave him all that he 
wanted ; but at last a desire to return home and see his wife 
made him discontented, and he determined to go, notwith- 
standing Bhuridatta's offer of further wealth. The old 
Brahman declared all he wanted was to see his wife, and 

Digitized by 


94 Bhuridatta. 

then turn ascetic ; so Bhuridatta allowed them to depart, 
telling them that if they changed their minds and came 
back, he would give them further riches. 

The Brahman and his son return home, and on the road 
see a pond, in which they bathe ; and as soon as they do 
so all their fancy garments fall off and disappear, and their 
old clothes are restored to them. Seeing this, Somadatta 
wept, but his father consoled him by pointing out the 
pleasure of hunting. 

When they got to the house, the Brahman's wife came 
out to welcome them ; and they told her where they had 
been, but, on hearing they had brought back none of the 
splendid things that were given them, and that the old 
Brahman had even refused a splendid ruby that would give 
everything tftat one wished for, she flew into a passion, 
abused her husband, and drove him out of the house. 

About that time a Garula^ (fabulous eagle) was looking 
out' for Ndgas (their hereditary enemies), and having 
seized one, carried it off towards the Himavanta forest 
The serpent, in its struggle, caught hold *of a banyan- 
tree in the country of Benares, at the foot of which 
a hermit was sitting. The Garula carried off both 
serpent and tree to Himavanta, and, after eating the fat of 
the serpent, discovered he had brought the tree too. 
Recognising the tree, he was terrified lest the hermit should 
lay a curse on him. So he went to the hermit and ques- 
tioned him as to whether the Garula who carried off the 
tree was to be blamed. Finding that the hermit was not 
angry with the Garula, he admitted that it was he who 
had unwittingly done it, and taught the hermit the charm 
for subduing serpents. 

Not long afterwards, a poor Brahman came to this hermit 
and served him, and in return the hermit taught him the 
snake charm. The Brahman then went off, and as he was 
travelling along one morning, he came across a number of 

^ The Garulas, or Galunas, when they wish to catch a Nd^, divide 
the waters of the sea by flapping their wings over it 

Digitized by 


Bhuiidatta. 95 

serpent-ladies dancing on the river-bank round the great 
wishing-ruby. The Nigas, hearing the Brahman reciting 
the charm, thought it was a Garula, and dived into the 
earth in a fright, leaving the ruby, which the Brahman at 
once seized with delight 

Shortly after, he met Nesida, the hunter, and his son 
Somadatta, and NesAda, recognising the ruby which had 
been offered to him, was seized with a desire to get it from 
the snake charmer. 

He proposes to get it by artifice, but Somadatta will 
have nothing to say to the matter, rebukes his father for 
his wickedness in trying to take what he had already 
refused when it was offered to him, and forsakes his father 
to become a hermit Nes4da then goes up to the snake 
charmer, and asks him what he will take for his ruby ; the 
snake charmer refuses, at first, to part with it, saying : — 

"Ne'er will I my ruby barter 
For earth's treasures, or for silver ; 
Tis a stone of wondrous power, 
Such a ruby none can purchase." ^ 

On being again pressed by Nes4da to name a price for 
the ruby, he agrees to give it to the man who can point 
out to him the King of Serpents, Nesida, after some 
further conversation, takes the Brahman to the place where 
Bhuridatta lies coiled round the ant-hill,* and pointing him 

out, says : 

" Seize, then, the Serpent king. 
Give me that jewel : 
Like fireflies sparkling 
Of that one 's the red head : 
Like well-carded cotton, 
His body behold there ; 
He sleeps on the ant-hill, 
Fast seize him, O Brahman." 

Bhuridatta opens his eyes, and seeing the two Brahmans, 

^ The conversation is carried on mostly in short verses. 
' White-ant hills are a favourite resort of serpents. 

Digitized by 


96 Bkuridatta. 

immediately takes in the situation, and, after some reflec- 
tion on the wickedness and treachery of NesAda, elects to 
permit himself to be captured rather than give way to 
passion. The snake-charmer hands over the ruby to 
Nesdda, when it slips through his fingers and disappears. 

The snake-charmer then smears himself with some 
unguent, and, seizing Bhuridatta by the tail, draws him 
quickly through the other hand until he grips him by the 
throat, and then opening his jaws, spits some chewed drugs 
into his mouth. When the drugs have taken effect he 
holds him up by the tail and makes him vomit all his food, 
and then laying him on the ground, kneads him with his 
feet from the tail towards the head ; he then bangs him on 
the ground till he is quite limp and almost lifeless, crams 
him into a small wicker-basket, and goes off to make him 
perform at the various villages. 

The scene now changes back to Serpent-land, where 
Bhuridatta's mother and wives are alarmed at his not 
returning home. His brothers come at the usual time to 
pay their respects to their mother, and, after considerable 
talking and weeping, his brothers agree to go in search of 

Sudassana directs Arittha to go to Deva-land, Subhoga 
to Himavanta, and says he himself will go to the land of 

A cousin of Bhuridatta, named Ajamukhi, says she 
will accompany Sudassana, and, as Sudassana is going in 
the form of a hermit, she changes herself into a frog, and 
hfdciJ in his top knot of hair. Bhuridatta's wives take him 
to the ant-hill, and there they find the shavings and 
cuttings of twigs where the snake charmer had made 
the basket, and feel sure that he has been caught 
Sudassatia, therefore, goes to the nearest village, and hears 
that a snake charmer had been there holding a perform- 
ance, and he follows on from village to village until he gets 
to the king's city. The snake charmer had just made 
himself ready to give a performance before the king. 


Digitized by 


Bkuridatta. gy 

Sudassana mixes in the crowd, and follows. The snake 
charmer spreads his carpet, puts down his cages, and calls 
on the great serpent to come forth. Bhuridatta, recog- 
nising his brother, came out and made straight towards him. 
The people ran away, but Sudassana stood firm, and the 
serpent, having rested his head on Sudassana*s instep, 
returned to his cage. 

The snake charmer asked Sudassana if he was bitten, 
and told him not to be afraid, for he could at once cure 

Sudassana answered, " Fear not, O snake charmer, thy 
serpent dared not bite me, for I am a very powerful snake 

The snake charmer gets angry, and wants to know who 
he is; whereupon Sudassana offers to fight the serpent with 
his frog for 5,000 pieces of silver. 

The snake charmer asks him to put down the money, or 
get a surety, whereupon Sudassana walks into the palace 
and gets the king to stand security. Seeing the king 
come out with Sudassana, the snake charmer tries to 
frighten Sudassana, but Sudassana tells him his serpent 
has no poison in his fangs, and cannot hurt 

At this the snake charmer gets more angry, and, after 
some further talk, Sudassana calls to Ajamukhi, and she 
hops down into his hand, where she lets fall three drops of 
poison. Then Sudassana, with a loud voice, cries out, 
" Now shall this kingdom of Benares be destroyed." 

The king asks him to explain himself, and he says he 
cannot see anywhere that he can throw away the poison so 
as to prevent its doing harm. If he were to throw it on 
the earth, all the herbs and trees would be burnt up ; if he 
were to throw it in the water, everything in the water 
would be killed. On begging him not to destroy the 
country, Sudassana tells the king to have three holes dug 
in a row. The first he filled with drugs, the second with 
cow-dung, and the third with some unknown charm ; and, 
on his casting the three drops of poison into the first hole, 


Digitized by 


9$ Bhuridatta. 

flames burst forth, which passed on to the second hole, and 
were extinguished in the third. The snake charmer was 
so terrified that he cried out, " I release the great serpent," 
and his whole body became a leper as white as snow. 
Bhuridatta then came forth in his proper form, and Sudas- 
sana explains to the king that they are the children of 
Samuddaji. The king is much pleased, and entertains 
them, and they all return to Ndga land. 

Subhoga, in the meantime, had searched the Himavanta 
forest, and all the seas and rivers, and at last came back to 
the river Jumna. Nesdda also went down to the Jumna to 
cleanse hiniself from the effects of his sin in betraying 
Bhuridatta, and got to the bathing-place just as Subhoga 
returned there. Hearing Nesdda's lamentations, he thought, 
"This is the wretch who caused all the trouble to my 
brother; I will slay him." So, circling his tail round 
NesdddslegSy he dragged hint under the water. The Brahman, 
however, got his head above water, and a conversation 
ensues between them, the result of which is that Subhoga 
is not clear as to whether it would be right to slay a 
Brahman, so he takes him away to Ndga land, and brings 
him before Bhuridatta, to see what he says about the 
matter. Arittha takes the part of the Brahman, and quotes 
the stanzas which explain how Brahm, the creator, divided 
men into four classes, viz. : The Brahmans, to teach ; the 
Kshatryas, to rule ; the Vesyas, for cultivating ; and the 
Sudras, to be the slaves of the other three classes. He 
also adduces other proofs of their value and holiness. 

The Bodhisat Bhuridatta then refutes Arittha in a 
number of stanzas, proving that Brahm is a very poor 
ruler of the universe if he cannot make everyone happy 
and eliminate misery altogether. 

R. F. St. Andrew St. John. 

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IN 1 889- 1 890. 

1. Korean TaU^ : boing a coUection of stories translated from the 

Korean Folk-lore, by H. N. Allen, M.D. New York and 
London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1889. 

2. Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-tales^ by George Bird Grinnell. 

New York, Forest and Stream Publishing Company, 1889. 

3. Yorkshire Legends €md Traditions as told by her Ancient Chroni- 

clers^ her Poets and Journalists^ by the Rev. Thomas Parkin- 
son, F.R.Hist.S. 2nd series. London, Elliot Stock, 1889. 

4. Les Contes Moralish de Nicole Bozon Frlre Mineur^ publics 

pour la premiere fois d'apr^s les manuscrits de Londres et de 
Cheltenham, par Lucy Toulmin Smith et Paul Meyer. Paris, 
Firmin Didotet Cie., 18S9, 

5. Folk-lore and Legends, 6 vols., vii. : German, Oriental, Scotland, 

Ireland, England, Scandinavian. London, W- W. Gibbings, 

6. Myths and Folk-lore qf Irelastd^ by Jeremiah Curtin. London, 

Sampson Low and Co., 189a 

7. English Fairy and other Folk Tales, Selected and edited, with 

an Introduction, by Edwin Sidney Hartland. London, Walter 
Scott, n.d, [1890]. 

8. Tales and Legends from the Lcmd of the Tzctr : a collection of 

Russian Stories. Translated from the original Russian by 
Edith M. S. Hodgetts. London, Griffith, Farran and Co., 189a 

9. Tales of the Sunj or^ Folk-lore of Southern India. Collected 

by Mrs. Howard Kingscote and Pandit Nat^sd Sdstrt. 
London, W. H. Allen and Co., 1890. 

ID. Waifs and Sircfys of Celtic Tradition, Argyllshire Series^ No, I L 
Folk and Hero Tales, Collected, edited, and translated by 
the Rev. D. Maclnnes. With Notes by the Editor and Alfred 
Nutt London, Folk- Lore Society, 1890. 

1 1. The Exempla, or Illustrative Stories from the Sermcnes Vulgares 
of Jacques de Vitry, Edited, with introduction, analysis, 
and notes, by Thomas Fre4eric)c Prane^ M.A. London, Folk- 
Lore Society, 1890, 

Digitized V^OOglC 

TOO Report on Folk-tale Research. 

12. English Fairy Tales. Collected by Joseph Jacobs. London, 

D. Nutt, 1890. 

13. Skadowland in Ellon Vanniny oty Folk-tales of the Isle of Afan^ 

by J. H. Leney (Mrs. J. W. Russell). London, £. Stock, 189a 

14. The Red Fairy Book, Edited by Andrew Lang. London, Long- 

mans, Green and Co., 1890. 

15. Kurdische Sammlungen. Zweite Abteilung, Erzdhlungen und 

Ueder im Dialekte von Bohtan, Gesammelt, heransgegeben 
und iibersetzt von Albert Socin. St. Pdtersbourg, Commis- 
sionnaires de PAcaddmie Imp^riale des Sciences, 189a 

16. Les Chants et les Traditions Populaires des AnnamiteSy recueillis 

et traduits par G. Dumontier. Paris, E. Leroux, 189a 

17. Folk-lore of East Yorkshire^ by John Nicholson. London, 

Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 189a 

18. The Women of Turkey and their Folk-lore^ by Lucy M. J. 

Gamett The Christum Women, London, D. Nutt, 1890. 

19. Volksglaube und religibser Brauch der SOdslaven. Vorwi^^d 

nach eigenen Ermittlungen von Dr. Friedrich S. Krauss. 
Miinster-L-W., 189a 

20. The Testimony of Tradition^ by David MacRitchie. London, 

Kegan Paul and Co. Limited, 1890. 

21. John Lane's Continuation of Chaucer^ s " Squires Tali*. Edited 

by Fredk. J. Fumivall, M.A., Hon. Dr. PhiL, with Notes on the 
Magical Elements in Chaucer's " Squire's Tale", and Analo- 
gues, by W. A. Clouston. Chaucer Society, 1888, 189a 

22. Griechische Marchen von dankbaren Tieren und verwandtes^ von 

August Marx. Stuttgart, W. Kohlhanuner, 1889. 

23. Novellitu Popolari Sarde, raccolte e annotate dal Dott Fran- 

cesco Mango. Palermo, Carlo Clausen, 189a 

24. Mammds Black Nurse Stories. West Indian Folk-lore, by 

Mary Pamela Milne-Home. Edinburgh and London, W. 
Blackwood and Sons, 189a 

25. The Doyle Fairy Book; consisting of twenty-nine Fairy Tales, 

translated from various languages by Anthony R. Montalba, 
with thirty illustrations by Richard Doyle. London, Dean 
and Son, 1890. 

26. ^^'ifVilf/^/Vr/.* a collection of Irish Gaelic Folk Stories. Edited, 

translated, and annotated by Douglas Hyde, LL.D., M.R.IA., 
with additional notes by Alfred Nutt. London, David Nutt, 

TO Students of folk-tales, the most important event of 
the year 1890 has been the definite formulation, 
in the columns of MHusine^ of the charges against Dr. 

Digitized by 


Report on Folk-tale Research. loi 

Edmund Veckenstedt In the year 1883, Dr. Veckenstedt 
published, at Heidelberg, what purported to be a collection 
of folk-tales of the Zhamaites, a Lithuanian people on the 
shores of the Baltic, identified with the Samogitians. 
Doubts had long been hinted by M. Gaidoz as to the real 
character of this collection ; but there the matter remained. 
Last year, however, a severe article in MHtmne on a sub- 
sequent essay by Dr. Veckenstedt called forth from him a 
retort, which it must be admitted was mere abuse of 
his distinguished critic. By way of answer to this, in 
the September-October number of Mdusine appeared an 
article of twenty-four columns by M. J. Carlowicz, a Polish 
savant, containing the following definite charges against 
Dr. Veckenstedt, which were then for the first time pub- 
lished in a tongufe accessible to Western students. M. 
Carlowicz declares Dr. Veckenstedt to be absolutely 
Ignorant alike of the Zhamaite speech, and of Polish and 
Russian. His philologies are pronounced mistaken ; the 
names of the Zhamaite deities whom he brings upon the 
scene are sometimes impossible, sometimes mere blunders, 
sometimes names of common objects ennobled by capital 
letters. As often as not the gods and their names are 
taken from a work by John Lasicki, written in 1580 and 
printed in 161 5, entitled De diis Samagitarum, which, 
under the guise of a Zhamaite mythology, was a satire 
upon the superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church. A 
large portion of Dr. Veckenstedt*s work deals with the 
legends of a mythical king. In 1880 the Doctor had pub- 
ished a volume of Wendish sagas from Lusatia, of which 
L considerable number were occupied with a mythical king 
>f the Wends. M. Carlowicz gives a long list of identical 
particulars relating to both these kings, such as the age 
fourteen years) of his first manifestation, his curing men 
nd cattle, his reception by his people with scorn and 
^S^T^ dogs are silenced at the sight of him, he is invulner- 
Dle, his boat, his flying chariot, his leathern bridge which 
v-ists together at his will, his sword adorned with a 
trpent, his military manoeuvres, his soldiers made of 

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102 Report on Folk-tale Research, 

chopped straw, his cloud-chariot, his death and burial, etc 
On these and other similarities of detail it is remarked that 
" they are something more than the simple parallels with 
which the comparative mythology of the Aryan peoples 
deals, and it is especially the great number of these details 
concentrated on a single theme which can but weaken our 
faith in the authenticity of the one book or the other, or of 
both. There exists, indeed, a special relationship between 
the Slaves and Lithuanians ; it is reflected in their languages 
and also in their myths. But it is the degree of this 
relationship which here plays the principal part We 
willingly admit the existence of features common to the 
stories of Slaves and Lithuanians, as, for example, in that 
of the three brothers of whom one is stupid, in that of the 
man without fear, of Cinderella, etc ; but a legend of a 
character entirely national supposes a colouring quite 
different and distinctive — in fact, a national colouring. If 
we had been told similar tales concerning the kings of the 
Lithuanians and of the Letts resembling one another as 
strongly as the Lusatian and Samogitian legends with 
which Dr. Veckenstedt regales us, we should have 
expressed doubts ; much more, then, when we are asked to 
believe that the political legends of two peoples, as far 
apart ethnographically and geographically as the Lithuan- 
ians and Lusatians, have a mass of identical details 
gathered round the single figure of a king. No, it is 
impossible. Even an elementary knowledge of the things, 
the places, the men, and the circumstances is enough to 
enable us to understand that we have here nothing but a 
mystification, an invention, an imposture" M. Carlowicz, 
in pressing home this accusation, does not fail to Insist 
upon Dr. Veckenstedt's admission, already seized upon by 
M. Gaidoz, that he had put these legends into literary 
shape. While pointing out a number of resemblances, 
which he contends cannot be fortuitous, to Lasicki's 
account of the Zhamaite gods, he regrets that the Doctor 
should have neglected the works of AfanasiefTon the Slave 

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Report on Folk- tale Research. 103 

mythology and other learned works which he enumerates, 
but which are, unfortunately, written in languages unknown 
to the author of the Zhamaite and Wendish myths. Dr. 
Veckenstedt boasts that he has unveiled to science more 
than a hundred figures, before unknown, of Zhamaite 
mythology and tradition; but an acquaintance with the 
works referred to would have relieved him from the 
necessity of so large a creation, for he would there have 
found more than forty m5^ical figures undoubtedly 
known to the modem Lithuanians, and more or less 
exactly described by different authors. 

If it should be asked, how could a man, wholly 
ignorant of the language of the people whose traditions 
he professes to have gathered, invent these traditions? 
M. Carlowicz has his theory ready. He quotes the 
Abb^ Bielenstein, a member of the Society of Lettish 
Literature at Mitau, to the effect that Dr. Veckenstedt's 
assistants in the work were his scholars at the Gym- 
nasium at Libau, who themselves were very often not 
proficient in the Lithuanian tongue, and certainly had 
not sufficient experience ; whence too often, without any 
ill intent, they furnished suspicious materials. It was 
even said, we are told, that some of these pupils made 
up the "popular traditions" for their master in the class itself, 
and during the lesson ; and it is positively asserted that 
Dr. Veckenstedt fixed the number of tales, traditions, etc., 
which was required by every scholar when he went away 
for his holidays. If the youth was unable to collect the 
number allotted to him, he furnished the rest out of his 
own head. This allegation is supported by extracts from 
letters from former pupils and others, testifying to Dr. 
Veckenstedt's ignorance of Lithuanian, and to the fact that 
the stories were the inventions of his pupils, *' especially", 
says one letter, " of the Jews, who did it to be received 
into his good graces*'; while another letter states that he 
caused his pupils to relate Lithuanian stories^ which he 
** verified" by comparing them with the writings of Strij- 
kowski and of Narbutt, which were translated for him. 

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I04 Report on Folk-tale Research. 

The Abb6 Bielenstein is not the only learned man, we 
are assured, who has denied the authenticity of these 
tales. Other Slavonic scholars — Bezzenberger, Professor 
Briickner, and Wolter — have expressed more than 
doubts ; and the last-named has publicly called on Dr. 
Veckenstedt to produce the Lithuanian texts, and to 
answer twenty-seven questions framed with a view to test 
their value. 

In summarising these grave charges, I have endeavoured 
to give their substance faithfully, while avoiding, as far as 
possible, both the philological details, which it would not 
be possible to give without running to too great a length, 
and also the tone of sarcasm employed by M. Carlowicz. 
Whether this tone be justified depends on the accuracy of 
the accusation. What answer has Dr. Veckenstedt made 
to it? In the November number of the Zeitschrift 
fur VolkskundCy which he edits, he has inserted two • 
pages of small type, wherein he refers to M. Carlowicz's 
article, not naming him, but describing him as M. 
Gaidoz*s Polish assistant. Dr. Veckenstedt declares at 
the outset that he is not going to analyse every detail of 
his article, but only to exhibit enough to prove the slipshod 
knowledge, untruth, and slanderousness of "the Polish 
gentleman"; for it is not his custom to reply to every 
attack, as nobody knows better than " the Polish gentle- 
man", whose article was really written years ago. Coming 
after awhile to the substance of the chaises, he states that 
no defence is possible to the accusations by ^is former 
scholars against their fellow-pupils, since the latter are not 
named. M. Carlowicz, he says, impugns the credibility of 
Jews as such ; but, talking of credibility, he will give some 
examples of the credibility of "the Polish gentleman's" 
friends, Gaidoz, Jahn, and Krauss. The instance given 
of M. Gaidoz is one concerning an alleged error in 
the date of the publication of Milusine ; and the others 
are equally important and relevant He further com- 
plains that M. Carlowicz denies the existence of his 
('Dr. Veckenstedt's) former pupil and present friend, Hen- 

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Report on Folk-tale Research. 105 

Fiedorowicz- Weber, because he has failed to trace him, 
and that he represents the historical connections and 
the nature of the country of the Zhamaites in a false 
light in order to discredit his statements. In regard 
to the charge that he has overlooked a number of 
genuine mythical figures on which he offers no sagas nor 
myths, "the Polish gentleman" indirectly admits that he 
must have taken the figures mentioned in his book from 
the people rather than from books, since it would have 
been impossible for him to discover even the names of the 
figures he has omitted if he did not know a single word of 

He then turns to discuss whether the word Zhamaite 
should be written with an ^ or an ^ in the first 
syllable, and invokes Professor Bezzenberger against " the 
Polish gentleman" on this point, as well as on the exist- 
ence in popular belief of Pijokas, the demon of the culture- 
drink, which M. Carlowicz had denied. On the etymology 
of Perdoytus he has a word to say also, arraying on this 
point Hartknoch, Frenzel, and Schwenck against "the 
Polish gentleman", who, after all, had no need to prove 
by this etymology the meanness of his intellect and 

This is practically the whole of Dr. Veckenstedt's answer : 
a defence he himself does not call it Of the extraordinary 
parallelisms alleged between his Wendish and his Zhamaite 
sagas, of Lasicki, of Wolter's twenty-seven interrogatories, 
not a syllable ! He treats as a charge against nameless 
pupils one of the most serious charges against himself, and 
calls it a calumny which the slandered persons cannot answer 
because no names are mentioned. He plays with the ety- 
mology of Zhamaite and Perdoytus when he should be 
vindicating his own good faith and the authenticity of his 
books. But Dr. Veckenstedt should understand that a 
heavy indictment has been laid against him, and that he 
has been brought to the bar of scientific opinion on the 
question whether he is an honest man, a distinguished con- 
ributor to the sum of anthropological knowledge, or an 

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io6 Report on Polk-tate Research. 

ignorant impostor of the type of George Psalmaiiazar. It 
is no affair of vulgar abuse, or reckless slander, but distinct 
and specific charges supported by evidence that must be 
dealt with. I earnestly hope, I would fain believe, that he 
has a full and complete refutation to give to these charges. 
If so, he owes it to science even more than to himself 
to give it, and to give it quickly. He is the president 
of a new German Folk-Lore Society, the editor of the 
Zeitschrift fiir Volkskunde^ and he holds a public and 
responsible position in Germany as a teacher of youth. 
Trifling with an accusation like the one before us is hardly 
calculated to inspire confidence in him in either of these 

It is needless for me to disclaim any personal or national 
feeling ; if I had any it would be in Dr. Veckenstedt's 
favour, as the person attacked. Indeed, were the question 
a personal one, or even a national one, it would find no 
place in these pages. But it is far more than personal 
or national. Folk-lore is a science dealing with pheno- 
mena, the evidence of which — especially in the department 
of Folk-tales — is more liable to distortion, conscious or 
unconscious, and presents greater opportunities for impos- 
ture, especially in this age of literary activity on every 
side, than many others. It Is, therefore, of supreme 
importance to ensure the good faith, the competence, 4nd 
the accuracy of collectors ; for on these depend the entire 
conclusions of the science. Dr. Veckenstedt claims to be 
a collector who has rendered signal service to science. lie 
has, he tells us, discovered for science more than a hundred 
figures of Lithuanian deities previously unknown. Results 
so amazing naturally challenge scepticism ; and it is but 
reasonable that they should be submitted to the most 
searching scrutiny. Truth can only shine the clearer for 
such a scrutiny ; and to refuse, or parry, inquiry is to take 
up the weapons and resort to the tactics of error, if not of 
imposture. Far be It from me to suggest that Dr. Vecken* 
8tedt is guilty of imposture : I only desire to point out 
that the scientific public has a right to know every detail of 

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the facts connected with the collection and record of these, 
and all other, items of folk-lore, and that the more remark- 
able, the more unusual, the phenomenon recorded, the 
more careful must the collector be, not only to record it 
accurately, but also to preserve and present to the world 
every possible means of verification. When Mr. Campbell, 
Dr. Pitr^, M. Luzel, or M. S^billot obtains a folk-tale, he sets 
down when, where, to whom and by whom it was told, the 
age, occupation, and culture of the teller, and so far 
as is possible similar particulars concerning the person 
from whom the teller professes to have heard it ; and the 
two former collectors give all their important stories in the 
language or dialect in which they were told, with a view to 
preserving the very words uttered. It is thus open to anyone 
who desires, and is able to do so, to verify the phenomena 
for himself. This course inspires confidence ; and since it 
is not the method adopted by Dr. Veckenstedt, and since, 
moreover, he admits a certain amount of literary manipula- 
tion, he must not be sqrprised or offended at doubts 
concerning his allied discoveries. He has done nothing 
in seven years to remove those doubts, and they have 
grown into charges. Unless he hasten fully and completely 
to answer the charges, they will stiffen into certainties, 
which will not only overwhelm Dr. Veckenstedt, but (a 
much greater thing) be in danger of throwing discredit 
upon the science of folk-lore itself. 

The long list of books at the head of this paper shows 
that, during the twelve or eighteen months ended in 
December last, the business of folk-tale collection and 
publication went briskly on. The collections may be 
divided into four classes, namely : — 

I. Stories for the first time taken down from oral tradi- 
tiouj consisting of Nos. 2, 6, lo, i6, 23, and 24 of 
the list 
IL Stories all previously on record, consisting of Nos. 1, 

4,5.7, II, 14, and 25. 
III. Stories, some of which are taken down for the first 

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io8 Report on Folk4ale Research. 

time, and the remainder of which are republished, 
consisting of Nos, 8, 9, 12, 15, and 26. 
IV. Stories wrought up for literary purposes, consisting 
of Nos, 3 and 13. 

To these four classes must be added a fifth, in which 
stories are included among general collections of folk-lore, 
comprising Nos. 17, 18, and 19. 

Of the collections containing stories direct from oral 
traditions, it must be confessed that not more than two or 
three of them reach the high standard of Campbell, Pitr^, 
Luzel, and S^billot, in the precision with which their 
authorities are recorded. Mr. Maclnnes' Folk and Hero 
Tales is one of these. It is in the hands of every 
member of the Society, and has doubtless by this time 
received the study it so well deserves. From the mode of 
presentation, as well as the substance of the stories, this 
book is probably the most valuable contribution of the 
year 1890 to folk-tale research, and its worth has been greatly 
enhanced by the notes contributed by Mr. Alfred Nutt 
These notes deal with the separate story incidents, and 
with details of manner, like the "runs", which are a little 
apt to be overlooked in our preoccupation with the inci- 
dents, but which are important elements to be taken into 
account in estimating the authenticity and age of a docu- 
ment offered as a folk-tale. Mr. Nutt*s timely note, or 
rather essay, on the "Development of the Fenian or 
Ossianic Saga", will repay careful study as a piece of 
scientific reasoning and a keen, though moderate, criticism 
of Dr. Skene's position with regard to the Irish texts, and 
Mr. MacRitchie's crude and unscientific, but ably advo- 
cated, theory on the Fairy Mythology. 

So complete an account of Mr. Curtin's Myths and Folk- 
lore of Ireland has recently been given by Mr. Nutt in 
these pages that it is unnecessary for me to do more than 
express the hope that a second edition will soon be called 
for, and that Mr. Curtin will then give the information 

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Report on Folk-tale Research. 109 

as to the narrators which ought to have been affixed to 
every tale. 

The Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-tales^ published by 
Mr. Grinnell, are very valuable, as. giving us an authentic 
glimpse of the traditions and mode of life (for the author 
has added a number of interesting anthropological notes) 
of a North- American tribe, of which only too little , is 
known. In my report last year I drew attention to the 
importance of the historical, as well as the mythical, tradi- 
tions of the Maoris. One section of Mr. Grinnell's book 
is devoted to corresponding Pawnee traditions, called by 
him " Hero Stories". The mythical traditions deal chiefly 
with the relations conceived to exist between men and 
the lower animals. Two of them narrate the origin of 
the bear and deer dances. Others are legends of persons 
who have died and been restored to life. None can safely 
be overlooked by students of savage thought 

M. Dumontier has included a dozen stories in his 
Annamite collection, which is of much inferior interest to 
those of Landes and Des Michels, and, indeed, if tales only 
be considered, to his own previous Ligendes Historiques 
de FAnnam et du Tonkin. The tradition of the first man 
is curious, the human race, according to it, being derived 
from a man who was hatched from a square egg dropped 
by a bird, one of a pair produced from a tree. Three of 
the stories are comic ; one turning on the effect of a mirror 
on persons who had never seen such a thing before, 
another an analogue of the barber's blind brother in the 
Arabian Nights, and the third a well-known variant of 
" The Three Wishes". We have also a Travelling Deity 
story, a story of a brother and sister who married without 
being aware of their kinship, and two stories turning on 
the superstition that he who succeeded in placing his 
father's bones inside the mouth of a subaqueous dragon 
would become a king. The remainder are beast tales, one 
of which — "The Opium-smoker and the Tiger" — is ob- 
viously of quite modem origin. 

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I lo Report on Folk-tale Research. 

New ground, or almost new ground, has been broken by 
Dr. Francesco Mango in his Sardinian Folk-tales, Twelve 
or fourteen folk-tales from the island of Sardinia at most had 
previously appeared in black and white, of which eleven were 
published in early volumes of the A rcAiviOy and one is practi- 
cally inaccessible to English students, having been printed 
in a limited edition on the occasion of Prof. Guamerio's 
wedding. Dr. Mango mentions also two others by Prof. 
Bariola, but where and when they were published he does 
not say. It is to us a curious custom, that of printing 
a tale in a dainty little pamphlet as a wedding compliment; 
but it is common among folk-lore students in Italy, and 
quite a number have thus appeared. Only a few of these 
have been translated by Prof Crane in his Italian Populat 
Tales, He seems to have access, in that wonderful library 
at Harvard, to them all. Could he not be induced by the 
Council of the Folk-Lore Society to add to our heavy debt 
to him by translating the rest for the pages of Folk-Lore? 
This is by the way. The book before us consists of twenty- 
six tales in their original dialect, followed by literal trans- 
lations. Dr. Mango only names one of the peasants from 
whom he and his two fair assistants obtained them. The 
difficulties of collection, he says, were so great that he 
would have abandoned the enterprise but for the help and 
encouragement of Dr. Pitr^, under whose editorship the 
volume appeared. The stories are obviously genuine, and 
they present Some interesting variants of well-known 

A portion of Mrs, Milne-Home's little book consists of a 

reprint of the Ananci stories somewhat incongruously 

appended to Sir G. W. Dasent's Popular Tales from the 

~\q remainder is new, and comprises fourteen 

fly variants of Uncle Remus' collection, where 

Brer Rabbit is played by the Anansi, Brother 

rver^ is a new character in such a company. 

iCtion deserves to be read for the writer's obser- 

the n^o customs and superstitions in Jamaica, 


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Report on Folk-tale Research. 1 1 1 

and on the modifications undergone by the stories to adapt 
them to West Indian surroundings. Here, again, no parti- 
culars of the mode of collection are given. 

Mr. Allen's Korean Tales, though placed before Western 
readers for the first time, are translated from a literary 
original. There can be little doubt, however, as to their 
being at bottom traditional. The series opens with a few 
beast tales, whence we pass to " The Enchanted Wine-jug", 
in which an old man is befriended by a Travelling Deity, 
to whom he had shown kindness, and who in return gifts 
him with an amulet that causes his wine-jug never to be 
empty. The story concerns the loss of the amulet, and its 
recovery by his two faithful servants, his cat and dog, at 
the expense, however, of perpetual enmity between cats 
and dogs ever since. Among the other stories is one of 
two brothers, one rich and covetous, the other poor and 
virtuous ; and another illustrating the power of fate, in 
which we read of the son of a nobleman's concubine who is 
cast out and joins a band of robbers, but ultimately makes 
his peace with the king, and, by supernatural aid, conquers 
an island for himself, rescuing a fair maiden with the 
usual result. The stories are preceded by an interesting 
account of Korea, 

It is not easy to know for what purpose the collection 
entitled Folklore and Legends has been published, beyond 
that of producing pleasant little books good in print and 
paper, and suitable for whiling away an idle hour. At all 
events, it contains little or nothing that the student will not 
easily find elsewhere. It only purports to be '♦a selec- 
tion", and no hint is afforded as to the source of any of the 
tales, except in the Scandinavian volume, where half-a- 
dozen purport to be taken from the Prose Edda. This 
precludes all scientific use of the volumes. And yet the 
author is evidently impressed with a genuine love of folk- 
tales, and has some knowledge of the subject. He might 
do good work, if he would go about it in the right way. 

Prof. Crane's edition of Tl\e B^empla of Jacques de Vitry, 

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112 Report on Folk-tale Research, 

on the other hand, is one of the most valuable books issued 
by the Folk-Lore Society. It forms an admirable com- 
panion-volume to the Contes Moralises of Nicholas Bozon, 
put forth a few months earlier by the Soci6t6 des Anciens 
Textes Fran^ais, under the editorship of Miss Toulmin 
Smith and M. Paul Meyer. The introduction to the latter 
work, written by M. Paul Meyer, is learned and judicial ; 
and it would have been still more complete had he been 
able to refer to Mr. Jacobs* edition of The Fables of ^sop, 
reported on last year. The notes to both the Exempla and 
the Contes Moralises greatly enhance their usefulness. 
Those of Prof Crane display wider research in the literary 
history of the fable, and his whole book is a model of 
editing. I may note, incidentally, that the thirteenth 
example, that of the mouse in the dish, has survived in 
England as a traditional apologue until the present day. I 
remember my own nurse, a Cambridgeshire woman, often 
repeating it to me as a child. Prof. Crane notices its sur- 
vival in Italy, but he refers to no case in England, nor to 
any English writer who has mentioned it beside Swift 

Miss Hodgetts leaves us to find out which of the items 
included in her Tales and Legends from the Land of tfu 
Tzar are translations from existing collections. Some of 
them are easily recognised from Mr. Ralston's versions, and 
it was hardly necessary to present them afresh to English 
readers. Much more real service would have been done 
had she taken the trouble to give us chapter and verse for 
all that she has obtained from Afanasief and other writers, 
and stated concerning the rest when, where, and from 
whom she heard them. Thus much said, however, let me 
hasten to add that thirty of the eight-and-thirty stories 
here brought together are new, in their Russian form, 
to English readers ; and there are few English men or 
women who have the opportunity of obtaining Russian 
folk-tales at first hand. To those who have the opportunity 
and use it, we may well be grateful. 

In Tales of the Sun^ Mrs Howard Kingscote has com- 

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Report on Folk-tale Research. 113 

mitted the same fault as Miss Hodgetts. Indeed, she 

admits that she only obtained the stories which are her 

contribution to the volume from the old women in the 

bazaars, through her native servants— of what town she 

carefully refrains from telling us. It is evident that the 

collection would have been of little value had it not been 

for Pandit Natfisa Sdstri's help; and Mrs. Kingscote has 

done wisely in retaining Mr. Clouston's long and important 

note on " The King and his Four Ministers" (here given 

under the name of "The Lost Camel and other Tales"), as 

well as the smaller notes by Mr. Clouston and Captain 

Temple to Pandit Sdstrf s tales. The remaining notes are 

presumably to be attributed to Mrs. Kingscote herself. 

They are short and to the point Altogether, folk-lore 

students will not regret to have this supplement to the 

folk-lore of Southern India already published by Pandit 

Sdstrt, though it is much to be regretted that we are not 

even told to which of the numerous populations of that 

land we are indebted for the various tales. 

English Fairy Tales is the first form of the first instal- 
ment of Mr. Jacobs' promised collection of English folk- 
tales, and the most delightful book of fairy tales, taking 
form and contents together, ever presented to children. Of 
its abundant popularity among the public to which it is 
specially addressed, nobody who has made the experiment 
will doubt Treating it from a scientific point of view, it 
may be said to consist of forty-three tales, roughly 
divisible into twenty mdrcheity four sagas, seven drolls, 
three cumulative tales, two beast tales, and seven nonsense 
tales, tales working up to a climax of comic grimace, and 
so forth, classes for which specific names have yet to be 
found. One of these, " The Three Bears," Mr. Jacobs says, 
\s of literary origin, having been invented by Sou they. This 
statement requires some qualification. The likeness of the 
3lot to a portion of the tale of " Little Snow-white", and 
the identity of some of the phrases, render it probable that 
;he most that can be attributed to Southey is the giving of 

VOL. 11. I 

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1 14 Report on J'oik-tale Research. 

a new turn to a well-known mdrc/ten, I must also make a 
protest on another point Glad as I shall be to find that 
the opinion I ventured to express in the introduction to 
English Fairy and other Folk Tales^ that the marchen 
recorded in England are very few, is unfounded, still I 
must, in all fairness, object to the inclusion among English 
fairy tales of some that Mr. Jacobs has added to his list 
It may be probable — nay, I think we may assume as 
certain — that the stories of " Nicht Nought Nothing", 
" Childe Rowland", " The Red Etin", and others, were in 
substance told in England generations ago. This is, how- 
ever, a mere inference ; and we do not know in what 
precise form they were repeated to our forefathers. It 
may have been that in which they are here presented : it is 
equally likely not to have been. Ag^in, Mr. Jacobs has 
paraphrased ballads in order to obtain some of his stories, 
like "Binnorie", "The Laidly Worm", "Earl Mar's 
Daughter". Here, again, there can be little doubt that the 
stories once existed in other forms than verse ; nor would it 
be reasonable to complain of their being put into prose 
for the purpose of the present volume. But it must not be 
forgotten that these prose versions are not themselves 
genuine folk-tales, but only literary reconstructions which 
may be more or less accurate. The careful and scholarly 
notes appended to the book display with frankness the 
alterations Mr. Jacobs has deemed proper to make for the 
little ones of the present day, and give us a slight foretaste 
of the banquet he is preparing " for students only". 

Of The Red Fairy Book I need only say that it is a 
worthy companion to The Blue Fairy Booky published last 
year. The stories are, except " Jack and the Beanstalk", 
from foreigfn, and some of them from unfamiliar, sources, 
and so will be the more welcome to the audience to whom 
they are addressed — the same audience as that to which 
English Fairy Tales is intended to appeal. May both 
^itors succeed in making many youthful disciples, to 

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Report on Folk4ale Research. 1 1 5 

become in future years enthusiastic recruits for the Folk- 
Lore Society ! 

The second part of the Kurdish Collections of MM. Prym 
and Socin consists of tales and songs in the dialect of 
Bohtan translated by M. Socin. Nearly all of these are 
from written originals, and most of them are tribal or 
religious sagas. Literary influences have been at work on 
them for many a year ; but they are by no means without 
interest for students of the problems of the diffusion of 
folk-tales. The wild exaggerations of oriental fancy, still 
more marked perhaps in the Siberian collection published 
by M. Radloff*, in whose footsteps the present editor walks, 
are here abundantly exemplified. The poetical provenance 
of the tales is evidenced by the sad catastrophes which 
close them, as well as by the verbiage wherein they are 
clad. The first tale is noticeable as repeating the incident 
which opens the immortal story of " Camaralzaman and 

A book half the size of Mr. Parkinson's Yorkshire 
Legends and Traditions, omitting all the verses and rhetori- 
cal clap-trap, might be made of some scientific value if 
care were taken to specify the source of each tradition, 
and, where possible, to obtain it direct from the mouths of 
the natives. Many of the traditions are still living, as Mr. 
Nicholson has shown in his Folk-lore of East Yorkshire — 
a better book in every way, though one that still leaves 
much to be desired as to exactness of record. Some of 
the narratives Mr. Nicholson gives are very interesting : 
among these may be mentioned the legend of Willey How, 
which is told, first of all, by William of Newbridge. In 
Willey How the fairies had their dwelling; but I may 
state, for the information of Mr. MacRitchie, that the How 
in question was never in fact inhabited either by the living 
or the dead. Lord Londesborough caused it to be opened 
in the year 1857, but found nothing. Thirty years later 
Canon Greenwell reopened it, and ascertained that, in spite 
of its size and the enormous care evidently bestowed upoq 


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1 16 Report on Folk-tale Research. 

its construction, it was merely a cenotaph. A grave there 
was, sunk more than twelve feet deep in the chalk rock ; 
but no corporeal tenant had ever occupied it Picts and 
Finns were alike foreign to it; yet here is a legend just like 
some of those Mr. MacRitchie relies on, of a fairy festi- 
val within its earthen walls, which has persisted to our 
certain knowledge for seven hundred years. I have dealt 
elsewhere with Mr. MacRitchie's book, and have no inten- 
tion of discussing it again. It is an argument to prove a 
thesis quite untenable, namely, that the fairies of tradition 
were the prehistoric, dwarfish, races of Northern Europe 
driven out by the ancestors of the present peoples. In 
Scotland and Ireland, the author tells us, these races were 
called Picts and Finns, and they inhabited barrows, such 
as are still known in Scotland as Picts' Houses. Many of 
these barrows seem, in fact, to have been used as resi- 
dences : to some of them fairy traditions yet cling, and 
they are quoted by Mr. MacRitchie in proof of his posi- 
tion. The legend of Willey How is an instance of a 
tradition of this kind, attaching with great persistency 
to a barrow that never was a place of human abode ; and 
it is not an unfair test of the value of the evidence Mr. 
MacRitchie brings forward to support this branch of his 

Of Miss Garnett's book on The Christian Women of 
Turkey^ it will be enough to say here that the folk-tales it 
contains were all, or nearly all, previously in print, though 
scarcely any of them were known to English readers. 
They are all interesting, and their importance is enhanced 
by the full and vivid account of native life and supersti- 
tions in which they are embedded. Dr. Krauss has 
included a number of sagas illustrative of South Slavonic 
superstitions in his work on that subject The narratives 
have been gathered at first hand, and the particulars rela- 
tive to them are carefully recorded. 

The Doyle Fairy Book and (except for the last chapter) 
Shadowland in Elian Vannin hardly fall within the limits 

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Report on Folk-tale Research. 1 1 7 

of this report The chief point of the former is the illus- 
trations by the late Richard Doyle, repeatedly recalling the 
same artist's design for the cover of Punch, The latter 
book causes me to r^ret that with Mrs. Russell's abilities, 
opportunities, and enthusiasm, she has not given us a 
collection of the genuine and unadorned folk-lore, all duly 
ticketed and pigeon-holed, of the island she loves so well. 
It is not too late to hope that she may be induced to make 
so desirable a contribution to science. Waldron's is the 
only book on the subject, for the chapters given by Train 
are somewhat grudgingly devoted to it in a larger work ; 
and Waldron labours under the difficulty of having 
written in a pre-scientific age. From The Deemster we 
learned what wealth lay buried in the mountain recesses of 
the Isle of Man; and Mrs. Russell's little book confirms 
the knowledge. But in neither case is the store, by its 
form, available for students, save in Mrs. Russell's last 
chapter, however, where she gives an account of a few 
superstitions, and relates some stories not hitherto recorded; 
but they, alas! only whet the appetite. 

I have left but little space to deal with Mr. Clouston's 
treatise (for this it is) on Chaucer's " Squire's Tale", and 
Herr Marx's work on Greek Folk-tales of Grateful Beasts, 
The importance of the former will be understood when I 
say that Mr. Clouston has filled more than two hundred 
pages with abstracts of analogues of the tale and of the 
various magical instruments — horses, chariots, mirrors, 
images, rings, gems, swords, and spears — with which it is 
concerned. He has ransacked literature and tradition, 
with a result that every one who knows his writings would 
have anticipated. The reader is presented with a cyclo- 
paedia of information ; and the pity is that it is intended only 
for the members of the Chaucer Society, for it is worthy of 
a wider audience. Incidentally Mr. Clouston administers 
a rebuke to the late Sir R. F. Burton for his " explanation" 
of the ebony horse in the Arabian tale as simply Pegasus, 
** which". Sir Richard lucidly declares, " is a Greek 

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1 1 8 Report on Folk4ate Research. 

travesty of an Egyptian myth developed in India"! In 
emphatically repudiating this " explanation", Mr. Clouston, 
as most readers of this review will be glad to learn, states 
his belief that the identities found in savage folk-lore with 
the mythologies of ancient nations and the folk-lore of 
modem Europe and Asia, are impossible to explain by any 
theory of transmission, and therefore "have been inde- 
pendently developed by widely different and widely sepa- 
rated races in similar conditions of life, and having more 
or less similar modes of thought". 

Herr Marx has studied with great care and acuteness 
the literary history of ancient Greek folk-tales concerning 
Grateful Beasts. The chief animals dealt with are the 
dolphin, eagle, stork, lion, dog, horse, elephant, and snake. 
The last-named is studied with special fulness, and should 
not be overlooked by any one interested in the relations of 
snakes with the spirits of the dead. The author is by no 
means a partisan of the Buddhist origin of the Grateful 
Beast ; on the contrary, he maintains, in opposition even to 
Benfey, that the fable of the Lion and the Mouse originated 
in Greece, and migrated to India, where the lion's part is 
played by an elephant 

The preceding paragraphs had all been written when 
Mr. Douglas Hyde's Beside the Fire was issued. The 
key-note of Dr. Hyde's work is struck in one of his open- 
ing-pages. " The folk-lore of Ireland", he says, " remains 
practically unexploited and ungathered. Attempts have^ 
been made from time to time during the present century to 
collect Irish folk-lore, but these attempts, though interest- 
ing from a literary point of view, are not always successes 
from a scientific one." The attempt before us is on scientific 
lines. It consists of fifteen stories, six of which are given 
in their native Irish, with translations opposite, according 
to the plan adopted by Campbell and Maclnnes ; and the 
remainder are from an Irish work by the same author pre- 
viously published. All of them are chosen " on account of 
their dissimilarity to any published Highland tales, for, as 

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Report on Folk-tale Research. 1 19 

a general rule, the main body of tales in Ireland and 

Scotland bear a very near relation to each other". This 

principle of selection adds to the importance of the book, 

which thus gives us a better notion of the vast wealth 

of Celtic tradition. Some of the illustrations it affords of 

the fairy superstitions, like that of " Leeam O'Rooney's 

Burial", are especially valuable. Dr. Hyde's Preface, and 

Mr. Alfred Nutt's Postscript, contain a discussion deserving 

of careful consideration concerning the relations of bardic 

stories, and of heroic sagas in general, to folk-tales. It is 

to be regretted that Mr. Nutt was unable to comment on 

the stories themselves so fully as he intended. Perhaps 

we may hope for a further instalment of tales from Dr. 

Hyde. So able and conscientious a collector is wanted to 

gather the folk-lore of Ireland and give it to the world 

before it vanishes away with the language. 

Let me, in conclusion, quote two sentences from an 
article in the first volume of the Folk-Lore Record, by 
the late Mr. W. R. S. Ralston, whose loss we have so much 
cause continually to regret " It is impossible", he says, 
" to impress too strongly on collectors the absolute neces- 
sity of accurately recording the stories they hear, and of 
accompanying them by ample references for the sake of 
verification. The temptation to alter, to piece together, and 
to improve, is one which many minds find extremely 
seductive, but yielding to it deprives the result* of any 
value, except for purposes of mere amusement" Would 
that these golden words could be written on the conscience 
of every one who goes about to publish a book of folk- 
tales! Thirteen years have passed since they were first 
penned, but, if we may judge by the works mentioned in 
this report, how few have yet taken them to heart ! 

E. Sidney Hartland. 

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The next number of Folk-Lore, for June, will contain 
the conclusion of Dr. Caster's paper on the Holy Grail ; 
Mr. Jacobs's paper on " Childe Rowland"; Rev. F. Sibree on 
"The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds"; and Mr. Cecil Smith's 
Report on Greek Archaeology. 

The date of the Folk-lore Congress has been slightly 
advanced. The meetings will be held in the rooms of the 
Society of Antiquaries, which have been kindly placed 
at the disposal of the Congress by the Society. The first 
meeting will be held on Thursday, ist October. 

A NUMBER of foreigfn folk*lorists have expressed their 
intention of attending the Congress, some coming from as 
far as Russia and Finland. 

Dr. Westermarck, the Finnish scholar, will shortly 
publish a work on Primitive Marriage. The learned 
Doctor writes in English, and publishes with Messrs. Mac- 
millan. Dr. E. Tylor has been for some time engaged on 
a somewhat similar topic, and is also approaching a stage 
of his inquiries at which publication will be possible. 

The Handbook of Folk-lore has nearly run out of print 
Preparations are being made for a second edition. Copies 
are placed at the disposal of travellers to unexplored 
regions by the Royal Geographical Society. 

Arrangements are being made for closer relations 
being established between the Folk-Lore Society and the 
local antiquarian societies throughout the kingdom. 

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Notes and News. 121 

A Conference will shortly be held between represen- 
tative members of the Folk-Lore Society and of the 
Anthropological Institute, to settle certain questions of 
common interest to the two Societies. 

Meetings have been held on January i6th, when a 
paper was read by Rev. F. Sibree on " The Folk-lore of 
Malagasy Birds", and on February i8th, when Mr. Alfred 
Nutt discussed " Recent Theories on the Arthurian Ro- 
mances". Members of the Cymmrodorion Society were 
also invited to attend Mr. Nutt's lecture. 

It is proposed in future to read short papers before the 
paper of the evening at the meetings of the Society. 
Members desiring to put queries on subjects they are 
studying may also adopt this method of making known 
their wants to the Society. 

The first number of the new journal of the new German 
Folk-lore Society, Zeitschrift der Vereinsfur Volkskunde^ is 
now before us. It is practically a continuation of the 
Zeitschrift fur Volkerpsychologie of Profs. Steinthal and 
Lazarus, but its scope has been widened till it includes all 
folk-lore, and more also. Thus, costume, philology, dialects, 
will receive attention in its pages, as well as customs, tales, 
institutions, and myths. The programme is wide, the 
workers are able, may the result be commensurate with 
their skill and lofty aims. 

The list of members of the new German Verein fiir 
Volkskunde reminds us that they do some things better in 
Germany. The list is crowded with names of professors, 
some of them, like Grimm (Hermann), Lazarus, Mobins, 
Steinthal, Virchow, of European reputation. Among the 
150 names already enrolled, at least two-thirds are of 
Academic standing. Would that the English Universities 
would follow suit I 

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ti^ Notes and News. 

The appearance of another part of Pro£ Child's ex- 
haustive work on English and Scotch Ballads deserves 
additional record to the bare mention of the Bibliography. 
No other country of Europe has so complete a record of 
its ballad store so adequately commented upon. 

The Panjab Notes and Queries^ which did such good 
work under Captain (now Major) Temple, but was dis- 
continued in 1887, is to be revived under the title North 
Indian Notes and Queries. 

Communications for the next (June) number should 
reach the Office of FOLK-LORE, 270, Strand, W.C, before 
May 1st 

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The Science of Fairy Tales : an Inquiry into Fairy 
Mythology. By E. SIDNEY Hartland, F.S.A. 
(W. Scott) 

Mr. Hartland's volume would deserve notice, if for 
nothing else, as the work of the most learned English 
student of the Folk-tale. He has at command the whole 
literature of a subject which nowadays ranges over all 
languages, and makes its appearance in the most unex- 
pected quarters. One consequence of this is, that, in his 
study of any particular tale or group of tales, Mr. Hartland 
deals with the whole mass of ascertainable facts ; his 
inductions are of the widest, and consequently his in- 
ferences, according to the logician, should be of the 
soundest Another point, too, which should be noticed in 
his method, is the constant criticism to which he submits 
his materials. No tale is allowed to rank as a genuine 
folk-tale that cannot give date and place for its existence 
among the folk. We poor caterers for the depraved taste 
of the juvenile public, who write at home at ease, are 
warned off from the very threshold of the inquiry. This 
is indeed as it should be : this is in truth a science of 

It is, however, only with one department of that science 
that Mr. Hartland deals on the present occasion. When 
he speaks of fairy tales, he, strange to say, means what he 
says, and does not use the term in that vague and unsci- 
entific way that the aforesaid popular caterers indulge in. 
By fairy tales our writer means tales about fairies, and his 
work treats of five groups of tales that deal with the 
manners and ways of the fairy people as conceived by the 
folk. Fairies love their lords, and require the assistance of 

Digitized by 


1 24 Review. 

human Mrs. Gramps. Fairies take fancies to human infants, 
and exchange their own brats for the babies. Humans 
obtain various gifts from Fairyland by stealth or gift 
Humans can enter the land of Faerie, but find time passes 
only too pleasantly and swiftly within its confines. Human 
lovers can get fairy wives by robbing them of their fairy 
robes or "husks." These five Topica — Fairy Births and 
Human Midwives, Changelings, Robberies from Fairyland, 
the Supernatural Lapse of Time in Fairyland, and Swan- 
maidens — ^these form Mr. Hartland's themes. What has 
his science to say of them ? This leads on to another 
question : What does he seek to find in them ? What, in 
other words, is his problem ? 

Mr. Hartland seeks origins ; we are all on the scent for 
origins nowadays. How did these curious ideas about a 
fairy world, where things are other than they seem, where 
no Newton has discovered a law of gravitation, where 
time has wings and clocks spell years for minutes, where 
human beings lose their sense of time, and fairy maidens 
doff their quaint garbs — how did mankind come to think 
such things ? Mr. Hartland answers in short : men have 
been savages, and savages regard all these things as natural, 
just as much a part of the normal course of things as 
marrying many wives or eating human beings for food. 
Civilised men hare grown out of all these things, but 
— here is the important point — civilised mankind has 
passed through them alL The fairy world is a survival of 
savage imagination, and the science of fairy tales consists 
in tracing these survivals. 

So far, Mr. Hartland is only applying to a well-defined 
group of tales the method first suggested, as far as I know, 
by Mr. J. H. Farrer in his " Savage Life", but developed and 
made popular by the keen insight and literary skill of Mr. 
Andrew Lang. So far as this theory professes to explain 
the origin of ideas occurring in folk-tales that are manifestly 
absurd, yet equally manifestly believed in, it has won the 
battle all down the line. Men changed to beasts, beasts 

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Review. 125 

turned to men,dead men resuscitated, human beings sleeping 

for centimes — these things never were on sea or land, and 

belief in them must be due to a state of mind which no 

longer exists among civilised folk — ^they are savage in origin. 

So far so good ; so far we are all, or nearly all, agreed. 

But when the further question is asked — Does the modem 

existence of tales embodying these ideas necessarily involve 

the existence of those beliefs among the nations where the 

tales are now found? — here we reach a point where we 

must distinguish. To invent such stories au sMeux requires 

no doubt a belief in the ideas underlying them. But 

merely to take them and hand them on as stories when 

once invented, does not necessarily involve such an active 

belief in metamorphosis, totemism, and the rest. The 

stories cannot, therefore, be used as archaeolc^cal evidence 

of the beliefs in the countries where they are found, unless 

we can be certain that they originated there. In other 

words, the problem of diffusion is of prior urgency to that 

of origin. 

Mr. Hartland does not think so. He does not consider 
it necessary to take into account the possibility of a story 
having been diffused from a single centre before discussing 
what it means. If stories are found alike, whether in 
adjacent or distant countries, it was the similarity of the 
human minds producing them that produced the similarity. 
Against this is the fact that adjacent countries do as a 
matter of fact have a larger common store of tales than 
distant ones. There are more tales in common between 
Denmark and Scotland, say, than between Scotland and 
Russia Again, while single incidents may have arisen in- 
dei>endently in different countries, the weaving of them into 
a connected story, with incident following incident in the 
same order, this cannot have happened casually, as Mr. Lang 
and Mr. Hartland would contend. And if they point to a 
few cases where such series of incidents — e,g,i the Jason and 
Medea tjrpe— occur in widely remote districts where diffu- 
sion by borrowing seems impossible, I would turn the tables, 

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1 26 Review. 

and produce the same as prcx>fs of the insidiousness of 
diffusion. Thus, to take an example from Mr. Hartland's 
book, if the celebrated test for the fairy changeling — 
laughter at water boiled in egg-shells — were found in Japan 
I should not be content to say that the similarity of the 
Japanese mind had produced a similar story. I should try 
and trace where the story first arose. That test, one may 
safely say, was never invented twice. 

On the important subject of method — and it is a sign of 
youth and vigour in a science for its methods to be still 
undetermined — I venture therefore to disagree with Mr. 
Hartland. But this by no means causes me to overlook 
the grasp of material and skill of arrangement shown in 
his book. His choice of subject, too, argues great judgment. 
Fairy tales, properly so called, />, tales about fairies, 
are not so much stories as incidents. Hence the Casual 
Method, as I would venture to call it, can deal with these 
anecdotes without raising the inconvenient question of 
diffusion. It would have been impossible, I should fancy, 
to deal with even any one of the types of story — e,g.j Puss- 
in-Boots — ^with anything like the same detail as is shown 
here, without raising the question of diffusion. Mr. 
Lang's sketches in his Perrault were only sketches after 
all, and scarcely touched the crucial problems of the 

Mr. Hartland dismisses rather cavalierly Mr. MacRitchie's 
" realistic" theory of the origin of fairies, rather too cava- 
lierly, I think. His chief argument against it is, that where 
you find stories of fairies, you ought to find traces of Finns. 
To that there is a twofold answer. First, the stories may 
have been brought from places where there had been Finns. 
Secondly, in nearly all places where such stories are told the 
present inhabitants have been preceded by a shorter race, 
whom they have exterminated. Tradition about these 
autochthones might give rise to fairy tales in Mr. Hart- 
land's sense of the word. 

I have only touched on Mr. Hartlan^'s main topics ; tp 

Digitized by 


Review. 127 

go into detail on his many interesting suggestions, notably 
that on Lady Godiva, which is somewhat dragged into the 
book, would be beyond the purpose of this notice. I desire 
to welcome, in as warm terms as possible, the first serious 
attempt in English to deal with fairy mythology in a 
sufficiently wide induction of the facts. Mr. Hartland's 
conclusions are, I think, only part of the truth ; but his facts 
and his arrangement of them must form the basis of future 
investigation into the subject for a good while to come. 

Joseph Jacobs. 

Digitized by 



To the Editor of FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — I may mention, with regard to Mr. Frazer's note 
on " May Day in Greece" (voL i, p. 519), a curious custom 
which exists in Calymnos, and possibly elsewhere. Every- 
one must eat figs on the ist of May, otherwise they will be 
bitten by a donkey. Why a donkey, I cannot tell. 

The custom of jumping over fires on St John's Eve 
alluded to by Mr. Frazer, is universal in Greece. The 
reason for so doing is the same as that given in many other 
countries : it is to protect oneself from fleas. 

With r^;ard to the same writer's remarks on " Pytha- 
gorean Maxims" (vol. i, p. 148), is it certain that the 
precept, /l^ iaOUiv am-o Bi(f>pov (this is the MS. reading 
in Plutarchy p. 290^, hii in the other passage, p. 354^), 
means, " Do not eat in a chariot"? I should suppose that 
it means, " Do not eat of food placed on a stool": it would 
thus be closely connected with the other precept, " Do not 
sit on a bushel," with which Plutarch twice couples it 

W. R. Paton. 
Grandhome^ Aberdeen, 

Sir, — The Greek May-day song, contributed by Mr. 
Frazer to the last number of FOLK-LORE, is almost 
identical with one sung in Epirus, and included in my 
translations of Greek Folk-songs^ edited by Mr. Stuart- 
Glennie (1885 and 1888). The last ten lines of the Corfu 
song are not given by Aravaudinos, whose version I 
followed, simply because they are a common form appended 

Digitized by 


Correspondence. \ 2 9 

to all festival-songs which are sung for largesse before the 
doors of wealthy houses. I venture to think, however, 
that Mr. Frazer's informant is wrong in saying that " the 
festival of the First of May originated in Corcyra during 
the time of the Venetian domination". For May-day is 
celebrated with songs and floral rites similar to those he 
describes, not only in the Greek kingdom generally, but 
throughout Turkey, and the custom is evidently an ex- 
tremely ancient one, dating back to pagan times. 

The St. John's Eve customs alluded to by Mr. Frazer 
may be found fully described in The Women of Turkey 
(p. 120) ; as also what he terms the " rain-charm" {Perperid 
or Perperoimd)^ with the invocation sung on the occasion 
(p. 123), both observances being common throughout the 

Lucy M. J. Garnett. 


To the Editor of FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — The Zanzibar/ parallel to the story in the Exempla 
of Jacques de Vitry — which Etienne de Bourbon took into 
his Liber de Donis, etc. — of the devout girl who plucked 
out her eyes, which had caused a man to become 
enamoured of her, giveo by Miss Barclay in the last 
number of FOLK-LORE (vol. i, p. 515), is very interesting. 
The same legend i$ told of St. Bridget, for which see 
Three Middle-Irish Homilies, by Mr. Whitley Stokes 
(p. 65), and it is probably of Buddhist extraction. With a 
royal ascetic in place of a girl, a similar story is told in 
the famous Hindu collection, Kathd Sarit Sdgara (Ocean 
of the Streams of Narrative), to this effect : 

A prince, who had abandoned his kingdom and become 
a wandering ascetic, entered the house of a merchant one 


Digitized by 


1 30 Correspondence. 

day to ask alms, and the young wife of the merchant, on 
seeing him, exclaimed, " How came such a handsome man 
as you to undertake such a severe vow as this ? Happy is 
the woman who is gazed upon with such eyes as yours !" 
Upon this the begging ascetic tore out one eye and asked 
her what there was in it to be so attractive. He then told 
the lady a story of a hermit who conquered his anger, after 
which she bowed before him ; and he, being regardless of 
his body, lovely though it was, passed on to perfection. 

It is well known that Christian hagiology is largely 
indebted to Indian, and especially to Buddhist, writings. 
Even before the commencement of our era the mild and 
benevolent doctrines of the illustrious Siddhartha had 
found their way into Europe. 

W. A. Clouston. 

P.S. — In my paper on " The Frog Prince", in the last 
number of Folk-Lore (vol. i), I find two errors which 
may as well be corrected : 

Page 497, top line,y&r** William of Malmesbury" read 
"Sir John Mandeville" — the reference to the 1725 ed. is 
all right 

Page 503, last line,/^r "German" r^orf "Scotch". 


To tfie Editor of FOLK- LORE. 

Dear Sir, — The following extracts from letters recently 
received may be of interest. Dr. Douglas Hyde writes 
from Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he has been 
passing the winter : — 

"You will be interested to hear that I got many curious 
parallels to my Irish stories from the Indians. I was out hunting 
cariboo with three of them for a fortmght at Christmas, and 
though I could not get a story, good or bad, from them in their 
own houses, yet I got a number round the camp fire every evening, 
and told tbem in return every story in my repertoire^ to their great 

Digitized by 


Correspondence. 131 

delight. Many of their stories were certainly derived from 
Gaelic or French sources, from the Hudson Bay voyageurs^ pro- 
bably, most of whom were Scotch. The purely Indian stories, 
they said, they could not tell properly in English; and though I 
learned a lot of their language, I could not understand them." 

A propos of Dr. Hyde's own book (Beside the Fire)^ the 
Rev. Euseby D. Cleaver writes to me: — 

" Dr. Hyde's Leabhar Sgeulaighteachta caused a great stir last 
summer in Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Galway, etc., and the school- 
boys who had copies were sent for to read it to the men in the 
fields during the dinner-hour, and all over the country at night. 

" Hyde is somewhat of a pessimist about the future of the 
Irish language. The language and the folk-lore will live on for 
another half century in any case." 

These facts are of considerable importance in discussing 
the vexed question of the transmission of tales. Dr. 
Hyde's statement should be carefully considered by all 
students of modern collections of Indian legends. I 
confess it confirms suspicions I have long had with regard 
to Mr. Leland's Algonquin collection. It may be said that 
Dr. Hyde, an experienced and enthusiastic folk-lorist, is 
by no means in the position of an ordinary Hudson's Bay 
vqyageur, but it is quite possible that a professional Gaelic 
story-teller, with a repertoire as large as, if not larger than 
Dr. Hyde's, may have got over to New Brunswick in the 
last century or the beginning of this. The distinction 
made by the Indians between the English tales and their 
own should be noted. 

Alfred Nutt. 


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Tom-Tit-Tot— I remember the following verses, which clearly refer 
to some form of this story (see Folk- Lore Journal^ vii/138-143) • 
" Merrily my course I take, 
To-day I brew, to-morrow bake ; 
Merrily Til dance and sing. 
For next day will a stranger bring. 
Little does my lady wot 
That my name is Trit-a-trot." 

I do not remember the source, but am nearly sure it was in print. 

W. F. KiRBY. 

A Basque Superstition.— Can any reader of Folk-Lore throw any 
light on a superstition prevalent apparently among the Basques of 
Navarre and the Aragonese of the Pyrenees, to the effect that the 
bear acts as a sort of watch-dog to St. Peter at the gate of Heaven. 
My informants are two Navarese Basques, a man and woman, 
whom I saw exhibiting a bear in Biarritz. I have no doubt that, if I 
could have spoken Basque, I could have extracted much more in- 
formation than I did, but it was difficult for them to speak Spanish, 
the only language except their own with which they were at all 
acquainted, and also they were shy and reticent, and it required a 
good deal of persuasion to win their confidence in the slightest degree. 
They told me that their bear, when they were not travelling about, 
lived with them in their hut in the mountains, and that they were 
always careful to treat him kindly and feed him well. For example, 
if they had not enough of fish (which they looked upon as a luxury) 
for themselves and the bear, the latter must be fed and satisfied first. 
They declared that the animal understands all that is said about him, 
and observes and comprehends any household work, trade or occu- 
pation which may be going on ; " and that is the reason that a bear 
who has lived with men should never be allowed to return to the 
forest and mountains, for he will tell the other bears of what he has 
seen and learnt, and they, being very cunning, will come down into 
the valleys, and by means of their great strength, added to the know- 
ledge they have thus gained, will be able to rule men as they did 

Digitized by 


Miscellanea. 133 

before !" I enciravoured to learn when this sad state of affairs 
existed, but could only ascertain that it was antes — before, in other 
times. " El Orso," said his keepers, " is el perso de Dios, el perso de 
San Pedro ; he is very wise and thoughtful ; he sits beside the blessed 
saint at the gate of Heaven, and if those who seek to enter have 
been cruel and unkind to the bears in this world, the saint will turn 
them away, and they will have to go and live in hell, with the devils 
and the wolves." "Que ay mas per deeir !" concluded the woman, 
" el orso es el perso de Dios." The bear's name was Belts; I spell 
it as it was pronounced. Throughout the conversation the peasants 
would constantly interrupt themselves to speak to the animal, assuring 
me that he perfectly understood all that was said. 

What is the origin of the custom which prevails in Hy^res, and 
which I have also seen in Bagn^res de Bigorre, of driving two oxen 
decorated with collars and green wreaths or branches through the 
town on one or more of the days of Holy Week ? The oxen are 
accompanied by men and boys beating a drum or blowing horns. 

Th. Hollingsworth. 

" Making Weather' in Denmark.— A most curious custom is still ob- 
served in some parts of Denmark. During the months of February and 
March, the farmer, housewives, thereafter their husbands, and at last 
their servants, female and male, " make weather'\ Commonly, the 
parsonage being No. i on the list, the parson's wife " makes weather' 
on the first of February. Is the weather that day good, Mrs. N. N. 
is said to be a very benevolent lady, in good humour, and neigh - 
boresses go visiting her, congratulating on the fair weather, and are 
friendly received, treated to coffee and cakes. Is the weather on the 
contrary foul, Mrs. N. N. is in bad humour ; we will go to punish her 
or to divert her. Maybe she is pulled out into the yard and tied to 
the waterpump, that she may herself try her own weather. Her neigh- 
bours come wrapped up in lai-ge cloaks and shawls, whereas they 
come summerclad when the weather is fair. Otherwise a neighbour 
may creep cautiously along the housewall and tie some hards on the 
doorlatch. It is instantly understood, and everything ends with a 
cup of coffee, given by the person who "makes" the foul weather, 
some jokes, and everybody goes home again. For further 
particulars see Feilberg's Bondeliv^ P- 255. I possess but one quota- 
tion pointing indistinctly to a similar custom: Kuhn, Sagen aus 
WesiphaUn, ii, 91, 284 : " Die Frauen sind im Februar wetterregen- 
tinnen." Is this custom known anywhere else ? Wherefrom may this 
" making weather" be derived t Why in the months of February and 


H. T. Feilberg. 

Digitized by 


1 34 Miscellanea. 

" Liver-rhyme" in Denmark.— A century or so ago it has been cus- 
tomary in Denmark, for instance at the marriage table, and certainly 
on other festivals, that a liver taken from a hen or another fowl or 
animal was passed from hand to hand on a plate. The person to 
whom the liver was handed had to pronounce a rhyme — "liver-rhyme'*. 
Most'part of those were senseless — for instance, "This liver is not from 
a fish ; may God give us all His Holy Ghost !" Many of them are 
still remembered by old people. In Norway and Sweden a spoonful 
of boiled rice was passed ; on the Faroe islands a cowtail trimmed up 
with coloured ribbons, quite, for the same purpose. I take the liberty 
of asking, May any such custom be recorded from Brittany ? From 
North Germany I know the same, but from nowhere else. 

H. T. Feilberg. 

Italian Peeping: Toms. — Bearing on the facts given in the article, 
" Peeping Tom and Lady Godiva", in Folk- Lore, vol. i, p. 207, 
seq,^ seems to be the following from Roma Antiqua et Recens; or^ 
The Conformity of Ancient and Modern Ceremonies ^ a republication 
by Elliot Stock ot a last-century book : — 

" I will, moreover, affirm this, that as, in the procession of the 
sacrament, the streets through which that is to pass are hung with 
tapestry, pursuant to an order of the Roman ritual, so did the pagans 
also. * All the places through which the pomp was to pass were 
hung as is practised by us,' says Blondus and Polidore Virgil. This 
last acquaints us that in Italy boys and girls are forbidden to see the 
procession from windows — that is, from on high downwards. The 
pagans forbade the same, for which Verrius Flaccus assigns this 
reason : That when the plague was at Rome, the oracles answered 
that it was because the gods were gazed at from on high downwards. 
The Latin word despicere^ made use of in the oracle, having a double 
meaning, and signifying * to look down', as well as to contemn or 
despise, the whole city was uneasy to know the true meaning of the 
oracle ; whereupon it happened that, on the day of the procession of 
Diana, a lad, who had seen the show from the highest story of the 
house, and told his mother that he had seen in what order the mys- 
teries, which were carried in a chariot, were disposed ; the Senate 
being informed of this, it was ordered that all places hereafter through 
which the procession was to pass should be blinded with tapestry. 
The lad having cleared up the ambiguity of the oracle, the plague 
presently ceased. And thus it was discovered that the gods com- 
plained they were gazed at from on high, which was a matter, it 
seems, that polluted the sacred ceremonies. * From thence,' saith 
Polidore Virgil, * it is that boys and girls are forbidden to look upon 
the procession from windows.' " (P. 63.) L. Kennedy. 

Digitized by 


Miscellanea, 135 

St John's Eve Custom.— The Stromberg, with Druidical remains 
and traditions, is a noted place for worship of the sun. Until recently, 
perhaps at the present day, every Midsummer night saw the historic 
cdrdmonie de la roue enflammie observed on its summit. On St. John's 
Eve a colossal sheaf was manufactured of straw, contributed from 
neighbouring farms, and fixed on a big pole as on a pivot, that it 
might turn round and round. After the sounding of the Angelus, 
some hundreds of men marched up to the mountain-top carrying 
lighted torches. No women were allowed to take part. When quite 
dark, the sheaf was set on fire and turned rapidly round so as to 
present the appearance of a huge fiery wheel — symbol of the sun. 
Similar customs, not unlike the old Celtic beltan or belsteitiy survive 
likewise in Alsace and the Black Forest. (Notes from article in 
National Review^ Dec 1890, p. 536, Chdteau Malbrouk^ by Henry 
W. Wolff.) Marian Roalfe Cox. 

An Irish Variant of *' Master of all Masters."— A scholar called 
one evening at the house of a farmer and asked for a night's lodging. 
The farmer, to test his progress in his studies, asked him the names 
of various things in Irish. 

Farmer, Now, what do you call me ? 

Scholar, Fear an Tfghe — " Man of the house." 

F, No. Rfgh 'n tighe— " King of the house.'* What do you call 
that— the dog? 

S, Madadh no cu no gadhair. 

F, No. Soclair—" Trotting." A dog trots. What do you call 
these — shoes ? 

S. Br6ga. 

F, No. Socair boinn — '* Comfort of the soles." What do you call 
that— the fire ? 

S, Teinne no lasair. 

F, No. G16ir — "Glory": a fire sparkles and shines like glory. 
What do you call that — the end of the house ? 

S, Beam tighe — " Peaked end of the house." 

F, No. Z6in an tighe—" Buttock of the house." What do you 
call that — water } 

S, Uisge— "Water." 

F, No. lomadamhlacht — "Abundance": because water is so 
abundant What do you call this— house ? 

5. Teach—" House." 

F. No. S6mis— ** Comfort": a house is comfortable. 

After they had gone to bed, the scholar rose, greased the farmer's 

Digitized by 


1 36 Miscellanea. 

shoes, which the dog then began to eat. The scholar went out and 
set fire to the end of the house, and spoke the following lines : 

" Rfgh 'n tighe biodh do shuidhe, 
Duadh sodar socair boinn, 
T4 colladh trom air Aillfn, 
Td an gl6ire id-t6in s6mds, 
Mar a sdbhdlfhadh an iomadamhlacht, 
B^idh do rioghacht d6ite." 


" King of the house, be sitting (getting) up, 
The trotting (dog) has eaten the comfort of the soles (shoes), 
There is heavy sleep on AHHn (the housekeep, * the fair one'), 
The glory is in the buttock of the comfort (end of the house). 
If the plenty (water) will not save (it) 
Thy kingdom will be burned." 

This queer pedagoguish puzzle I got from a Fr. Moran, bom about 
fifty years ago in Fermanagh ; he heard it from his mother. 

St Louis. James Keegan. 

Folk-names of British Birds.- Mr. Swainson's Folk-lore of British 
Birds is an interesting and useful work ; yet, like every other book of 
folk-lore, it may be supplemented. He seems to have omitted to 
consult Gray's Birds of the West of Scotland^ Glasgow, 187 1, 520 pp., 
from which I take the following notes : — 

Kestrel.-^^^ I find, from Don's Fauna of Forfarshire^ that this bird 
in his day was, not inappropriately, called Willie Whip the Windy 
p. 36. 

Kitey " or salmon-tailed gledy as it is called," p. 42. 

Golden Oriole. — "A recent contributor to Chambers's Journal re- 
marks that * the song of this splendid bird— a flute-like whistle, with 
a cadence not unlike speech - sounds ominous to the Low German 
short of coin ; for Hans, drinking before the ale-house door, hears 
the Oriole sing from the lindens, Hast du gesopen ? so betahl du 
(Hast thou quaffed? then pay),' " p. 81. 

Common Whitethroaty " or Whishey whey beard^ as it is called in 
many parts of Scotland," p. 95. 

Great Tit. — Its note " has obtained for it the name oijacksaw in 
many parts of the country," p. 102. 

Pied Wagtail — ** The Gaelic name of the bird — Breac-an-f'Sil— 
signifies a plaid^ and has probably been applied to this wagtail from 
a resemblance which the contrasting colours of its plumage on the 
breast bears to that article of apparel when wrappe d closely round 

Digitized by 


Miscellanea, 137 

the upper part of the body, as many Highlanders are in the habit of 
wearing it,** p. in. 

Snow Bunting. — " Numbers are taken at this season [end of April] 
to the bird'Stuffers of Brechin and Kerriemuir, and are called in these 
towns mountain finches^'' p. 128. 

Yellow Hammer, — " The familiar Yellow Yite or Yeldrin^ as it is 
called in Scotland,*' p. 130. [Mr. Swainson gives Yellow Yale, but 
not the second form.] 

Hooded Crow. — 

" The Guil, the Gordon, and the Hooded Craw, 
Were the three worst things Murray ever saw. 

The gule is a well-known weed infecting growing crops, and Lord 
Lewis Gordon, who made plundering excursions into Morayshire 
from the Castle of Rothes, is referred to as the second * worst thing' 
in the county.*' [A variant of lines and explanation as given by 
Swainson, pp. 178, 179.] "The Gaelic name of this bird is Feannag^ 
which means to skin^ ox play ^^ p. 178. 

Jackdaw^ called A^eiy, p. 183. 

Magpie. — " Not more than thirty years ago a worthy Dunbar bailie, 
whose residence was about two miles distant from the town, was in 
the habit of turning back if he happened to encounter a pair of mag- 
pies on his way either to administer justice or attend divine service," 
p. 187. 

/?/«^<i<j?t/^.— "Throughout western Scotland the Ring Dove is best 
known by the name of Cushat ^^ p. 219. [Mr. Swainson gives 
^''Cushat (Berks; Bucks; Craven; Westmoreland). Cruchet (North.)," 
p. 165 ; yet certainly Cushat, and not Cruchet, is the usual Scottish 
name. Cf. Bums — 

" On lofty aiks the cushats wail, 
And echo cons the doolfu' tale ; 
The lintwhites in the hazel braes, 
Delighted, rival ither's lays. * 

Bessie and Her Spinning-wheel, 

By-theway, Mr. Swainson attributes, p. 65, lintwhite for linnet only 
to " Orkney Isles."] " * Wood-pigeons should be kept down, they are 
so destructive.' * Very true,* rejoined my friend ; * but that's not the 
name we gi'e the bird here.' 'And what name do you give it V I 
inquired. * Oh,' said he, apparently unconscious of any parody, * we 
just ca* them Timmer doos/^*^ p. 219. [Tinmier = wood. Cf. 
Bums — 

Digitized by 


138 Miscellanea, 

" Except for breaking o' their Hmtner, 
Or speaking lightly o' their limmer, 
Or shootin' o' a hare or moor-cock, 
The ne'er-a-bit they're ill to poor folk." 

The Twa Do^s,} 

Virginian Colin,- -" This beautiful quail, which is so well known in 
North America under the name of Bob IVkiUy was introduced into 
East Lothian in 1857," p. 244. 

Common Sandpiper,— ^^ In some places it is called killileepie^ a 
name evidently derived from its oft-repeated cry," p. 297. [Killie- 
leepsie in Swainson, p. 196.] 

/>««//>!.--" The Gaelic name of Pollaireun^ given to the Dunlin in 
the Long Island, signifying bird of the mud-pits^ expresses in a single 
word its habits better than any English or Scottish synonym," 
p. 322. 

Sclavonian Grebe, — " The suggestive names of Water Witch and 
Hell Divery applied to this bird in various parts of America, would 
lead us to suppose that collectors have had some difficulty in securing 
specimens for their cabinets,'* p. 407. 

Black-throated Diver, — Its cry in dry weather. "The natives of 
Benbecula and North Uist compare it to Deoch! deoch! deoch! tha'n 
loch a traoghadhy which may be interpreted by the words ' Drink ! 
drink ! drink ! the lake is nearly dried up!' *' p. 415. 

Common Guillemot^ as the Gaelic Eun an /' a Sgadan " implies, is 
the Herring-bird of the Hebrides," p. 420. 

Ringed Guillemot, -^^^ Weeping guillemot^ silver-eyed scouts and 
bridled marroty are instances of local distinction among the fisher- 
men ; but these names have evidently been acquired through inter- 
course with collectors," p. 425. 

Little Auk, — Seafaring people on the shores of East Lothian and 
Fifeshire " call it the rctchie or sea-dove," p. 432. [They are "thought 
to indicate rough weather out at sea," says Dr. Wm. Anderson, 
writing from Brigus, Newfoundland, to Mr. Gray, on 8th Nov. 1869, 

p. 433.] 

Fulmar, — " The oil which this bird yields by vomiting when caught 
is highly valued by the natives of St. Kilda as a cure for all diseases," 
p. 502. [A chemical analysis of the oil is given : " It is certainly a 
fish-oil, and it possesses nearly all the properties of cod-liver oil," 
etc.] William George Black. 

Digitized by 





[English books published in London^ French books in Paris ^ 
unless otherwise mentioned^ 


Annuaire des Traditions Populaires. i2mo. 44 pp. 1890. 
Bl^mont (E.) L'esth^tique de la tradition. i6rao. viii, 124 pp. 

Brunnhofer (H.) Culturwandel u. Volkerverkehr. 8vo. 280 pp. 

Leipzig. 1890. 
De la Porterie (J.) Les traditions en Chalosse. 8vo. Caen. 

Hartland (E. S.) The Science of Fairy-tales. An Inquiry into 

Fairy Mythology. Crown 8vo. viii, 372 pp. W. Scott. 1890. 
Kotelmann (L) Gesundheitspflege in Mittelalter. Kulturgeschicht- 
liche Studien nach Predigten der 13, 14, 15 Jahrh. 8vo. viii, 
276 pp. Hamburg. 1890. 
Krauss (F. S.) Volksglaube und religioser Branch der Siidslaven. 

8vo. xvi, 176 pp. Miinster-i.-W. 1890. 
Leland (A. G.) Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune-telling. 4to. xvi. 

271 pp. Unwin. 
Nicholson (J.) Folk-lore of East Yorkshire. Cr. 8vo. xviii, 168 pp. 

London : Simpkin, Marshall and Co. 1890. 
Pitr6 (G.) Bibliografia delle tradizione popolare. 8vo. Turin. 


Andrian (F. v.) Der Hohencultus Asiatischer und Europaischer 

Volker. Eine ethnologische Studien. 8vo. 385 pp. Vienna, 

B£ER (R.) Heilige Hohen der alten Griechen und R6mer. Eine 

Erganzung zu F. v. Andrian's Schrift. 8vo. x, 86 pp. Vienna. 


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BOTTGER (H.) Sonnencult der Indogermanen (Indoeuropaer), ins- 

besondere der Indoteutonen, aus 125 hebr., gricch., latein. 

u. altnord. Orig.- u. 278 sonst Quellcn geschopft u. erwiesen. 

Breslau. 1890. 
Brugsch (H.) Religion und Mythologie der alten Aegypter. 2nd 

edition. 8vo. xxvi, 772 pp., 65 cuts, one plate. Leipzig. 
DUMONTIER (G.) Les Chants et les Traditions populaires des An- 

namites. i2mo. xxxiv, 215 pp. Paris. 1890. 
FORCHHAMMER (P. W.) Prolegomena zur Mythologie als Wissen- 

schaft und Lexicon der Mythensprache. 8vo. Kiel 
Gregor (Rev. W.) The Horse in Scottish Folk-lore. i2mo. 10 pp. 

Banff. 1890. 
Grundriss der germanischen Philologie. VoL i, part v, con- 
tains first instalment of Mogk's article on Teutonic Mythology. 
Jeremias (A.) Izdubar-Nimrod. Eine altbabylonische Heldensage. 

Nach den Keilschriftfragmenten dargestellt. 8vo. 73 pp., 4 

plates. Leipzig. 
Petitot (Abb^ E.) Accord des mythologies dans la cosmogonie 

des Danites arctiques. i2mo. 1890. 


Child (F. J.) The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Part vii , 
Roy. 8vo., 254 pp. Boston : Houghton, Mifflin and Co. 1890. 

CURTiN Q.) Myth and Folk-tales of the Russians, Western Slavs, 
and Magyars. Cr. 8vo. xxvi, 525 pp. Sampson Low and Co. 

Hyde (D.) Beside the Fire. A collection of Irish-Gaelic Folk- 
stories, edited, translated, and annotated by D. H., with 
additional notes by Alfred Nutt. 8vo. Iviii, 203 pp. D. Nutt 

Mango (F.) Novelline populari Sarde. 8vo. vi, 144 pp. Palermo . 

Milne-Home (Mrs. M. P.) Mamma's Black Nurse Stories. West 
Indian Folk-lore. Cr. 8vo. Edmburgh : W. Blackwood and 
Sons. 1890. 

SCHLOSSAR (A.) Deutsche Volksschausspiele. In Steiermark gesam- 
ihelt, mit Anmerkungen und Erlauterungen, nebst einem 
Anhange: das Leiden Christi Spiel aus dem Gurkthale im 
Karnten. 2 vols. i2mo, viii, 343,404 pp. Halle. 

SOCIN (A.) Kurdische Sammlungcn. Zweite Abteilung. Erzalungen 
und Lieder im Dialekte von Bohtan. 8vo., 2 vols., one contain- 
ing the text, the other the German translation. St. Petersburg. 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography. 141 


Clouston (W. a.) On the Magical Elements in Chaucer's Squire's 
Tale, with analogues. 8vo. Chaucer Society. 189a 

Etudes romanes, declines k Gaston Paris par des ^^ves frangais et 
Grangers. 8vo. 552 pp. 

♦»♦ Among the contents the following are of interest to folk-lorists : 
y. Bidiery Lc fabliau de Richeut ; J, Couraye du ParCy Chants 
populaires de la Basse Normandie ; G> Raynaud^ La mesnie 
Hellequin ; A. Thomas^ Vivien d'Aliscans etlal^gende de Saint- 
Vidian ; /. Flacky Le compagnonage dans lc Chansons de Geste; 
A* Salmoriy Remddes populaires au Moyen-Age ; Ch, Jotety La 
l^gende de la rose au Moyen-Age chez les nations romanes et 

Ledieu (A.) Les vilains dans les ceuvres des trouv^rcs i6mo. 
1 16 pp. 189a 

MURKO (M.) Die Geschichte der sieben Weisen bei den Slaven. 
(Esctr, Sitzungsberichte d. K. K. Akad. d. Wiss.) 4to. 138 pp. 
Vienna. 1890. 


Babcock (W. H.) The Two Lost Centuries of British History. 
i6mo. 239 pp. Philadelphia. (An interesting rhumk of the 
Arthurian period.) 


KOVALEVSKY (M.) Modem Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia, 
being the Ilchester Lectures for 1889-90. 8vo. x, 260 pp. D. 

Letourneau (Ch.) Ldvolution juridique dans les diverscs races 
humaines. 8vo. 1890 

Digitized by 


142 Folk-lore Bibliography. 


Academy, Jan. 3, 10, 17. /. Gollancz dtXid J, Jacobs y " Widershins'* 

Asiatic Quarterly, Jan. The Raja of Jasin^ Legends and Songs of 

Athenaeum, Feb. 7. W, A, Clouston^ Source of Man and Unicorn 
parable in Barlaam and Joasaph. 

Church Times, various Nos., Jan. and Feb. 1891. ^^ Peter LombarcT'^'m 

" Varia", discusses items of Folk-lore. 
Classical Review, v, i, 2 (Feb. 1891). /. G. Frazer^ Swallows in the 


Journal of the Gypsy-Lore Society, ii, 5 (Jan.). K, Meyer^ On the 
Irish Origin and the Age of Shelta. Isid, Kopemicki^ Polish 
Gypsy Folk-tales. Bu Bacchar^ Gypsy Acrobats in Ancient 

Maryport News, Dec. 13. Lecture on Folk-lore. 

Nature, Dec. 11, 1890. H, W. Henshaw^ Who are the American 

Indians ? 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, xiii, i (Nov. 

1890). P. le Page Renoufy Nile Mythology.— Feb. 1891. F. L, 

Griffith, The Proverbs of Ptah-Hotep. 

West Cumberland Times, Dec. 13. Report of Lecture on Cumberland 

M^lusine, v, 7. H, Gaidoz, La fde Melusine ^ Luxembourg. La 
lecture de la pens^. La chanson du Petit Jean. Les rites de la 
construction. LesAqueducs. Le digues. Oblations k la mer. Le 
suicide. /^ S. KrausSy L'op^ration d'Esculape. J, Tuchmantty La 
fascination (suite), E, Emault, Chansons populaires de la Basse 
Bretagne : xxv, Le passage de la Ligne. 

Revue Celtique, xii, i. Whitley Stokes, The Second Battle of Moy- 
tura (text and translation of one of the most important texts of 
the Irish mythological cycle). 

Revue des Traditions Populaires, 1890, 12. Ch, Hardouin, Traditions 
et superstitions siamoises {suite) : iv, Contes et L^gendes ; v, 
Histoires de revenants et de sorciers. C, Rubbens, Pr^jug^s en 
Louisiane. /. Tiersot, La Fille d^guisde en dragon, chanson du 
Morvan. D. Bourchenin^ Coutumes de mariage {suite): vii, Une 
noce en Bdam. P, Sibillot, Les Traditions populaires el les 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography, 143 

^crivains fran^ais {suite): vii, Voiture. R, Basset y La L6gende 
de Didon (i) {suite), G, M. O. Beaut egard^ Proverbeset dictons 
malays. Quelques devinettes. Z. Morin^ Contes troyens ; 
i, Boule-de-Neige ; ii, Les trois poils du Diable ; iii, UOiseau 
qui dit tout Z. Sichler^ Ran et les Filles de Flots. R, Blanchardy 
Traditions et superstitions de la Touraine {suite) : ii, Petit guide 
medical. A, Certeux^ Fac^ties suisses. P, Sibillot^ Seconde 
vue : Intersignes {suite): ii, Les Pronostiques de mort prochaine. 
— ^Jan. 1 891, vi, I. P, Sibillot^ Traditions et superstitions des 
ponts et chauss^es : i, Les routes ; ii, Les chemins de fer. 
Questionnaire des traditions des ponts et chauss^es. Mtne, 
Barbety Chansons du renouvellement de Tann^e : i, Lou Bon 
an. A, Harou^ Miettes de Folk-lore parisien, xiv. D, 
Donjon^ La F6te des Rois: xv, Chanson des Rois d Caen. Z. 
Brueyre^ Le petit homrae rouge et Napoleon. R, Basset, Allu- 
sions d des contes populaires {suite). A, Descubes, Superstitions 
et coutumes des mariniers : iii, Les Pilotes Egyptiens. P,'S,y 
iv, L'Invention des flottages : v, Rivage hant^. G, de Rialle, 
Le Batelier avare, vi. Mme. P, Sebillot, Renaud et ses femmes; 
ii, Haute-Bretagne. M, de Zmidgrodzki, La M^re et TEnfant. 

A. Certeuxy Rites et usages fun^raires, ix. Z. Desaivre, La 
l^ende de Th^ophile de Viau. R, Rosi^res^ La Mgende de 
Dijon {suite). G. FoujUy L^gendeset superstitions pr^historiques: 
vii, La pierre de Saint-Martin d'Assevilliers (Somme). A. Harou, 
Coutumes scolaires: iv, En Belgique. 

La Tradition, 1890, zz. A. Lang, La vie sociale chez les sauvages. 

B. Beckkety Croyances et superstitions des lapons. B&anger- 
Firaudy Souto-fueillo (conte provengal). A. HaroUy Folk-lore de 
la Belgique, xi. S: PratOy Proverbes relatifs d la mer, iv. A, 
DesrousseauXy Monstres et grants: viii, Les Grants de Nivelles. 
H. Camoyy Chansons populaires de la Picardie. V. Brunet, 
Contes populaires du Bocage Normand, iv.-— 12. M. de Zmi- 
grodzkiy Le Folk-lore polonais, iii {Jin), H. C, La Littdrature 
li^geoise. M. Hadji-Dimitriusy Saint-Gerasimus et le Lion. 
/. PlantadiSy Des Usages de pr^libation et des coutumes de 
manage en France, iii. /. Brunety L'^e dans les proverbes 
proven^aux, iii. E, B.y Les vieilles chansons populaires. F. 
Ortoliy Moyen de retrouver le corps d'un noy^, ii. V, Brufiety 
Contes populaires du bocage Normand, v. A. Chaboseau^ Proems 
centre les animaux {suite). Dupitty Chanson de briolage. Vic, 
de Collevilley Proverbes Ni9ois.— 1891, i. La DirectioUy Aux 
lecteurs de "La Tradition". A. Nicoty La Saint-Eloi. T, 
Davidsotiy Elements de traditionnisme du foik-lore: i, La th^orie 

Digitized by 


144 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

moderae de Tanimisme. A, Millien^ La berg^re aux champs. 
A, Desrousseauxy Monstres et grants: ix, Les Geants de Bruxelles. 
/. Lemoine^ Le tirage au sort en Belgique. P, RisUlhuber^ Contes 
Alsaciens (troisi^me sdrie). H, Camoy^ Folk-lore et histoire des 
religions. C Lanceli/ty Chanson berrichonne. F. de Beaure- 
paire, Chansons populaires de Quercy. 

Sitzung^sberichte der K. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften, Stiick 
29 ( 1 890). Weinholdy Krieg der Asen und der Wanen in der ger- 
manischen Mythologie. (In this important essay the author 
argues that the Wanes were divinities of light, whilst Odin par- 
took of the nature of a Chthonian divinity.) 

Wiener Zeitschrift flir die Kunde des Morgenlands, iv, 3 (1890). 
DashioHy Die Abgar Edessenische Sage. IVintemttz, Toten- und 
Ahnencultus bei den Indoeuropaem (with special reference to 
Ancient India) 

Zeitschrift fUr VolkerpsTcholog^e, xx, 3 (1890). Steinihal^ Periodische 
Wiedergeburt der Sage. 

Zeitschrift des Vereins ftir Volkskonde, Erster Jahrgang, Heft i. K. 
Weinhold^ Zur Einlietung. Prof. Steinthaly An den Leser. W. 
Schwartz^ Volkstumliche Schlaglichter. K, Maurer^ Zur Volks- 
kunde Islands. /?. Kohler^ Ein deutsches Marchen von der 
Nachtigall und sein franzosisches Original. M, Reksenet^ Wind, 
Wetter, u.s.w.,5in Vorstellung und Ride des Tiroler Volkes. Jcthn 
und Cohn^ Tamund bei Coslin [description of its folk-lore]. Klein e 
Mitteilungen, Bucheranzeigen, Bibliographie des Jahres 1890. 

Aarboeger for Nordisk Oldkyndijhed, 2, 3 (1890). H. Petersen^ The 
alleged religious significance of the Peat and Bog Finds in the 
North (instead of being portion of a sacred treasure, they are 
battle spoils hidden away for safety). 

Digitized by 



Vol. II.] JUNE, 1891. [No. II. 


I FANCY that many people still picture Lincolnshire 
to themselves as a region of bogs and swamps, of 
fever-haunted marshes, and ague-infested lowlands. I 
know that I, personally, expected something of the sort, 
when I first entered the county, and in speaking about it 
to strangers, their first remark is apt to be, that we must 
have suflfered much in those " dreadful fens". Now this 
is an entirely mistaken idea of the shire. 

Even in the South, the true fen district, the drainage 

system has been so widely carried out, that I am told the 

great marshes have been almost entirely reclaimed, and 

many hundreds of useless acres are now turned into fertile 

farm-lands. If this be true of the South, it is much more 

so of the Northern Division, which, to begin with, has in 

general a higher average level, and is more uneven in its 

surface, being also traversed by two long low hill ranges 

from N.W. to S.E. In the parts of Lindsey, there are no 

fens, their place being taken by the Cars, which were once 

wide swamps, bordering the course of a small stream or 

river. These have been drained, and I do not think that 

any now exist in their old barren condition, so great is the 

change that has taken place during the last half century. 

Broad dykes now intersect the fertile fields, and run beside 

the roads, on their way to join a central canal which 


Digitized by 


146 Legends of the Cars. 

carries the waters of the district to the sea, the original 
river meandering now on one side now on the other, a 
mere brook of but a few feet wide, often dried up in 
summer. Drained cars like these lie along the wide 
shallow valley of the Ancholme, between the parallel 
ranges of the Wolds and the Cliffs ; the original Ancholme, 
a tiny twisted stream, being replaced, both in name and 
use, by a broad canal, which runs northwards for some 
thirty miles, as straight as an arrow, to join at last the 
wide Estuary of the Humber. 

Were this the place, I might speak of the elaborate 
system for regulating the outlet of the water; of the 
yawning dykes that border or cross the roads, making 
them by no means safe on dark nights, holding, as they 
do, from two to ten feet of water and many more of shiny 
treacherous mud ; or of the lonely dwellings along the 
Ancholme banks, only to be reached by a narrow bridle- 
path, with bewildering lanes of water on either hand, 
where a horse must be blindfolded before it will cross the 
frail wooden bridges over the noisy water gates at the 
joining of the dykes with the main Canal ; but I am more 
concerned at present with memories of the Cars as they 
once were, a wild desolate dreary marsh, full of strange 
sights and sounds, than as they now exist. 

Nevertheless they are still worth seeing, and have a 
beauty, or rather an attraction of their own. Stunted 
willows mark the dyke-sides, and in winter there are wide 
stretches of black glistening peat-lands and damp pastures ; 
here and there great black snags work their way up from 
submerged forests below. When the mists rise at dusk in 
shifting wreaths, and the bleak wind from the North Sea 
moans and whistles across the valley, it is not difficult to 
people the Cars once more with all the uncanny dwellers, 
whose memory is preserved in the old stories. Then in 
summer, with its charm of wide vision, and something of 
the amplitude and serenity of the sea, in its stretching 
levels and far-off horizon, it seems to hold the brightness 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Cars, 147 

and reflect the gloom of the great arch of heaven overhead, 
in plots of vivid greenery and waving corn, and a maze of 
glittering dancing lanes of water. At all times, it seems a 
fit resting-place for the last days of a dying mythology. 

With the barren Cars of the older times is connected a 
peasantry that is changing as the soil itself has changed, 
only more gradually, for the sluggish current of their life 
and habit is but slowly beaten back by the impetus of 
modern innovations. Still, in time, the running water 
carries away the stagnant, and so already, it is only here 
and there that one can find traces of the poor ague-shaken, 
opium-eating creatures of earlier times. Many an old 
woman eats opium openly, and I fear all the men who can 
get it — will drink gin. But the days are gone by when 
the one or the other was in constant and daily need, to 
still the shaking or deaden the misery born of the fever- 
mists and stagnant pools. Nevertheless, whether it be 
due to the climate, or the scarcity of railways, or the 
character of the people themselves, civilization seems a 
long way behindhand in North Lincolnshire, when com- 
pared with other parts of England. 

It seems as if it were off the high-road, so to speak, 
of busy modern English life. Lindsey is entirely agricul- 
tural, and in these days of depression amongst farmers, 
and of absentee landlords, it is visited by few strangers ; 
and the only resident upper class is represented by the 
clergy, and a very mixed set of tenant-farmers, who, in 
trouble themselves, generally care little for the people 
under them, except as regards their work and pay. 

This is, I dare say, unavoidable ; but it throws the 
people back on themselves, and accounts, no doubt, for the 
survival of much amongst them which has decayed else- 
where. Even their speech sounds strange to a modern 
English ear, for it is almost pure Saxon, and keeps many 
of the original inflexions which we have lost. Certainly 
it bears signs of the many races that have dwelt in Lincoln- 
shire, and surely no county in England has known more 


Digitized by 


148 Legends of the Cars. 

varied masters ; there are many Norse and Danish words, 
and some Roman and Norman names ; but in the common 
speech, French and Latin derivatives are conspicuous by 
their absence. 

The people themselves are not easy to make friends 
with, for they are strongly suspicious of strangers ; but 
once won over, are said to be staunch and faithful. They 
are grave, long-featured, and rather melancholy in face, 
touchy and reserved in disposition, and intensely averse to 
change or innovation of any sort ; many of them live and 
die within the limits of a narrow parish, outside of which 
they never set foot. The younger generations are chang- 
ing ; but they show less disbelief in the old legends than 
indifference to them ; they seem growing, not so much 
less superstitious, as less impressionable. But in some of 
the old people, there is still a simple serious faith that is 
delightful, and I do not think that elsewhere in England 
one could nowadays find such a childlike certainty of un- 
seen things or such an unquestioning belief in supernatural 

I have given this slight outline of the district and some 
of its inhabitants, in order to show amid what surround- 
ings linger these wild tales of witchcraft, and the spirit- 
world, in this little isolated home of folk-lore. Here, in 
this bleak and lonely tract, scarcely yet won over to 
civilization, has dwelt for ages a people, ignorant, poverty- 
stricken, weakened by malaria, and strongly affected by 
their wild home ; and here still, amongst a few elders, who 
remember the traditions of their youth, and the beliefs of 
their fathers, linger tales that tell of the old pagan customs, 
that have perhaps existed in these parts since the very 
dawn of history. 

I have gathered together a number of these stories — 
some of them were told me by devout believers, mostly 
aged folk, who dated from the days of universal credulity ; 
some were repeated as " my grandad used to tell" — by 
younger people, and some were pieced together by scraps 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Cars. 149 

gained from several sources. One, which I call " The 
Dead Moon", I first heard of in a sort of nursery rhyme 
some children were singing. I have listened to awesome 
tales of " boggarts" and " todlowries" that have still local 
habitations as well as names ; and to weird stories of 
witches, and woe-women and their spells, till I nearly 
believed in them myself; and to strange, rambling histories 
that seemed like peeps into a bygone world, where the 
fantastic spirits were more real than the trembling, fearing, 
conciliating people they alternately helped and oppressed. 
I fear I cannot preserve the rude poetry and grace of the 
vernacular ; but I tell these stories of the Cars of the Anc- 
holme Valley exactly as told to me, lest in altering I 
might spoil them. I heard the first from an aged woman, a 
life-long dweller in these Cars, who in her young days her- 
self observed the rite she describes, though she would not 
confess to it within the hearing of her grand-children, whose 
indifference and disbelief shocked her greatly. To her, 
" Tiddy Mun" was a perfect reality, and one to be loved as 
well as feared. She is now dead, and I doubt whether 
anyone else knows the legend, which she said had been 
forgotten for many, many years, by all but herself and one 
or two old friends, all gone before her. 

I think the legend is, if not so poetical as some, at least 
a curious one ; and particularly so, as showing the innately 
heathen idea of propitiation by offerings. There is an 
inconsequence and an incompleteness about it for which I 
am not responsible ; I tell it as it was told to me, and I 
have tried to keep to the old woman's words as closely as 
possible, only changing them where they would certainly 
not be " understanded of the people" without an intimate 
knowledge of the dialect 

"TiDDY Mun." 

Whiles syne, afore tha dykes wor made, an' tha river-bed 
changed, whan tha Cars wor nobbut bog-lands, an* full o' 
watter-holes ; tha wor teemin, as thou mayst a* heerd wi' 

Digitized by 


1 50 Legends of the Cars, 

Boggarts and Will-o*-tha-Wykes, an' sich loike ; voices o' 
deed folks, an* hands wi*outen airms, that came i* tha 
darklins, moanin' an* cryin an* beckonin* all night thruff; 
todlowries dancin* on tha tussocks, an* witches ridin* on tha 
great black snags, that turned to snakes, an* raced about 
wi* *em i* tha watter ; my word ! *twor a stra-ange an* ill 
place to be in, come evens. 

Folk wor gey skeered on un nat*rally, an* wouldna goo 
nigh un wi*outen a charm o' some sort, just a witches pink 
or a Bible-ball, or the loike o* that. A*ll tell thee *bout 
them another toime. Tha shook wi* froight, a tell thee, 
whan tha found their sels i* tha Cars at darklins. For 
sartain, tha wor mostly shakin i* they toimes ; for tha agur 
an* fever Vere terrible bad, an' thar wor poor weak crysoms, 
fit for nowt but to soop gin an* eat op*um. In ma young 
days, we*d all tha agur ; tha women ower tha fire, tha men 
out i* tha garth, even tha bairns had tha shakes reg*lar. 
Ay mebbe, tha*s better off noo, but a don*t know, a don't 
know, tha's lost Tiddy Mun, Weel, weel. Tha kenned 
foine that tha fever an* agur comed fra tha bogs, but so 
come as tha heerd tell, that tha ma-ashes mun be drained 
as tha ca* it, tha wor sore miscontented, for tha wor used 
to un, an* ther feythers afore em*, an* tha thowt, as tha 
sayin* is, bad*s bad, but meddlins wuss. 

Tha teirt un fine tales, *at tha mists *ud lift, an* tha 
bogs *ud come i* tha molds, an* th*ud be no'on agur; but tha 
misliked tha changement, an* wor main fratched wi* tha 
Dutchies, who comed across tha seas for tha delvin. 

Tha folk would na give tha Duchies vittles, or beddin*, or 
fair words ; no*on let *em cross tha door-sill ; an* tha said to 
each ither, tha said, as t*ud be ill days for the Cars, an* tha 
poor Car-folk, so-be tha bog-holes wor meddled wi*, an* 
" Tiddy Mun ** wor unhapped. 

For thee know'st, Tiddy Mun dwelt in tha watter-holes 
doun deep i* tha green still watter, an* a comed out nobbut 
of evens, whan tha mists rose. Than a comed crappelin 
out i'tha darklins, limpelty lobelty, like a dearie wee au*d 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Cars, 1 5 1 

gran'ther, wi' lang white hair, an' a lang white beardie, 
all cotted an' tangled together ; limpelty-lobelty, an' a 
gowned i' gray, while tha could scarce see un thruff tha 
mist, an' a come wi' a sound o' rinnin' watter, an' a sough 
o' wind, an^ laughin* like tha pyewipe screech. Tha wor 
none so skeered on Tiddy Mun like tha boggarts an' such 
hawiver. A worn't wicked an' tantrummy like tha watter- 
wives ; an' a worn't white an' creepy like tha Dead Hands. 
But natheless, 'twor sort o' shivery like when tha set round 
tha fire, to hear the screechin' laugh out by the door, 
passin' in a skirl o' wind an' watter ; still tha only pulled 
in a bit nigher together, an* lispit wi* a keek ower tha 
shouther, "'Arken to Tiddy Mun !" 

Mind ye, tha au'd Mun hurted none, nay, a wor real good 
to un at times. Whan tha year wor geyan wet, and tha 
watter rose i' tha marshes, while it creepit up to the door- 
sill, an' covered tha pads, come tha fust New Moon, tha 
feyther an' mither, an' a' tha brats, ud go out i' tha darklins, 
an' lookin' ower the bog, called out together, thoff mappen 
a bit skeered an* quavery like : 

" Tiddy Mun, wi'-out a name, 
tha watters thruff ! " 

an' all holdin' on togither an' tremblin', a'd stan' shakin' an* 
shiverin^ while tha heerd tha pyewipe screech 'cross tha 
swamp ; 'twor tha au'd Mun's holla ! anM'tha mom, sure 
'nough, tha watter ud be doun, an' tha pads dry. Tiddy 
Mun a done tha job for un. 

What's that ? Ay' a called 'un Tiddy Mun, for a wor 
none bigger 'n a three year's bairn, but a hadn't rightly no 
sort of a name — a niver had none. Someday a'll tell thee 
how that comed. 

So's a wor sayin'. Tiddy Mun dwelt i^ tha watter-holes, 
an' noo tha Dutchies wor a emptyin' 'em out, while a wor 
dry as a two year au'd Motherin cake — an' thou'll no take 
much o* that. Hast heard tha au'd rhyme, as says : 

Digitized by 


152 Legends of the Cars. 

" Tiddy Mun, wi-out a name 
* White heed, walkin' lame ; 
WTiile tha waiter teems tha fen 
Tiddy Mun 11 harm nane." 

An' this wor tha pother ! for tha watter-holes wor most 
dry, an* tha watter wor drawd off into big dykes, so that tha 
soppy, quiverin' bog wor tumin' in firm molds, an* wheer*d 
Tiddy Mun be than ? I very body said, as ill times wor 
comin' for tha Cars. 

But, however, tha wor no help for 't ; tha Dutchies delved, 
an' tha' Dutchies drawd tha watter off, an' tha dykes gotten 
ever langer an' langer, an' deeper an^ deeper ; tha watter 
runned away, an'runned away down to tha river, an' tha 
black soft bog-lands 'ud soon be turned to green closin's. 

But thoff tha work gotten done, it wor no'on wi' out 
trouble. At the Inn o' nights, on tha great settle, an' i' tha 
garths, an' i' tha kitchens to home, tha lispit strange an' 
queer tales, ay dearie me, stra'ange an' queer, but ^true's 
death ! an^ tha au'd folk wagged ther heads, an' tha young 
uns wagged ther tongues, an' tha anes thowt, an' tha ithers 
said : 

" Ay, an* for sure, it's ill comes o* crossin' Tiddy Mun ! " 
For mark ma words ! *twar first ane, syne anither o'tha 
Dutchies wor gone, clean sperrited away ! not a sight o'un 
anywheres ! tha sowt for un, an' sowt for un, but no'on 
a shadow of un wor iver seen more, an' tha Car-folk kenned 
fine, that a'd niver find un, nay, not if a sowt till tha 
gowden Beasts o' Judgement come a-roarin' an* a rampin' 
ower tha land, for to fett tha sinners. 

Tiddy Mun a'd fetted un away, an' drooned un i* tha 
mud holes, wheer tha hadn't drawed off all tha watter ! 

An* tha Car-folk nodded an' said : 

" Ay, that comed o' crossin' Tiddy Mun ! " 

But tha browt more Dutchies for tha work, an* thoff 
Tiddy Mun fetted un, an' fetted un, tha work gotten on 
natheless an' tha wor no help for *t 

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Legends of the Cars. 153 

An' soon tha poor Car-folk kennt that tha au'd Mun 
wor sore fratched wi iverybody. 

For soon a sneepit all i' turn : tha coos pined, tha pigs 
starved, an* tha pownies went lame ; tha brats took sick, 
tha lambs dwined, tha creed meal brunt 'issen, an' tha new 
milk craddled ; tha thatch fell in, an' tha walls burst out, 
an' all an' anders went arsy-varsy. 

At first tha Car-folk couldna think 'at tha au'd Mun 'ud 
worritt 's ain people sich an' away ; an' a thought mayhap 
'twor tha witches or tha tod-lowries, as done it. So tha 
lads stoned tha wall-eyed witch up to Gorby out o' tha 
Market-Place, an' Sally to Wadham wi' tha Evil Eye, she 
as charmed the dead men out o' ther graves, i' tha kirk 
garths ; tha ducked she in tha horse-pond while a wor most 
dead ; an* tha all said " our father" back'ards an' spat to 
the east to keep tha tod-lowries' pranks of ; but 'twor no'on 
helping ; for Tiddy Mun 'isself wor angered, an* a wor 
visitin' it on 's poor Car-folks. An' what could tha do? 

The bairns sickened i' ther mothers' airms ; an' ther poor 
white faces niver brightened oop ; an' tha feythers sat an' 
smoked, while tha mothers grat, ower tha tiddy innocent 
babbies lyin' theer so white an' smilin* an' peaceful. 'Twor 
like a frost 'at comes an' kills the bonniest flowers. But 
tha hearts wor sore, an' ther stomachs empty, wi' all this 
sickness an' bad harvest an' what not ; an' somethin* mun 
be done, or the Car-folk 'ud soon be a' deed an' gone. 

Endlins, some 'un minded how, whan tha watters rose 
i' tha marshes, afore tha delvin' ; an' tha folk ca'ed out to 
Tiddy Mun, come New Moon i* tha darklins ; a heerd un 
an* did as a wor axed. An* tha thowt, mappen if tha 
ca'd un age'an, so's to show un like, as tha Car-folk wished 
un well, an' that a'd give un tha watter back if tha only 
could — maybe a'd take tha bad spell undone, and forgive 
*un again. 

So tha fixed 'at tha should a' meet togither come tha 
next New Moon doun by tha cross dyke, ly tha au'd stope 
nigh on to John Ratton's garth. 

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1 54 Legends of the Cars. 

Weel, *twor a reglar gathVin', there wor au*d Tom o' tha 
Hatch an' Willem, his sister's son, from Priestrigg; an' 
crooked Fred Lidgitt, an' Brock o' Hell-gate, an' Ted 
Badley, as wor feyther's brothers to me ; an' lots more on 
'em, wi' women-folk an' bairns. A'll no say a wama theer 
masel, just mappen, thee knawst ! 

Tha comed i' threes an' fowers, joompin' at ivery sough 
o' wind, an' screechin' at ivery snag, but tha didn't need, 
for tha poor au'd Boggarts an' Jack o' Lanterns wor clean 
delved away. Mebbe ther's boggarts an' bogles still, an' 
witches an* things, a dunnot say ; but they good au'd times 
is gone i' tha marshes, an' tha poor swamp-bogles mun flit 
wi' tha watter an' a seen 'em go, mysel. 

But, hawiver, as a wor sayin, tha comed, every one wi' a 
stoup o' fresh watter in 's hand ; an' whiles it darkened, 
tha stood a' togithur, lispin' an' flusterin', keekin' i' tha 
shades ower tha shouthers, an' 'arkenin' oneasy-like to 
tha skirlin' o' tha wind, an' tha lip-lap o' tha rinnin' watter. 

Come tha darklins at long last, an' tha stood all on 'em 
at tha dyke-edge, an' lookin ower to tha new River, tha 
ca'd out a' togither, stra'ange an' loud, 

" Tiddy Mun, wi-out a name, 
Here's watter for thee, tak' tha spell undone ! " 

an' tha teemed tha watter out o' tha stoups in tha dyke 
splash sploppert ! 

'Twor geyan skeerful, stannin' holdin' on togither, i tha 
stillness. Tha 'arkened wi' all ther might, to hear if Tiddy 
Mun answered 'em ; but ther wor nothing but on-natral 
stillness. An' then, just whan tha thowt ^twor no'on 
good, ther broke out tha awfullest wailin' an' whimperin' 
all round about 'em ; it comed back'ards an' for'ards, for 
all tha world like a lot o' little cryin' babbies greetin' as ilT 
to break ther hearts, an' none to comfort 'em : a sobbed an' 
sobbed thersels most quiet, an' then began again louder 'n 
ever, wailin' an moanin' till a made uns heart ache to 
hear 'em. 

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Legends of the Cars, 1 5 5 

An* all to wanst the mothers cried out as 'twor ther dead 
bairns, callin' on Tiddy Mun to talc tha spell undone, an' 
let tha childer live an* grow strong ; an* tha pore innocents, 
fleein* above us i* tha darklins, moaned an* whimpered 
soft-like,as if thea kenned ther mothers* voices an* wor tryin* 
to reach ther bosom. An* tha wor women as said *at tiddy 
hands 'ad touched *em, an* cold lips kissed *em, an* soft 
wings fluttered round 'em that night, as tha stood waitin* 
an* arkenin* to tha woful greetin*. Then all at once, tha 
wor stillness agean, an* tha could hear tha watter lappin* 
at ther feet, an* tha dog ye'ppin* i' tha garth. But then 
comed soft an* fond-like from tha river hissen, th* aud 
pyewipe screech, once an* again a comed, an' fortrue, *twor 
tha aud man*s holler. An* tha kenned a*d tak tha spell 
undone, for *twor so kind an* broodlin* an* sorry-like as 
never was. 

Ay dearie day! how tha laughed an* grat together, 
runnin* an* jumpin* about, like a pack o* brats comin* out 
o* school, as tha set off home, wi' light hearts, an* never a 
thought on tha boggarts. Only tha mothers thought o* 
ther dead babies an* ther arms felt empty an* ther hearts 
lonesome an' wearyin' for tha cold kiss an* tha flutterin' o* 
tha tiddy fingers, an* tha grat wi' thinkin^ on ther poor wee 
bodies, driftin' aboot i* tha soughin* o* tha night win*. 

But fro' that day, mark ma words ! ^twor strange an* 
thrivin* i* tha Cars. Tha sick bairns gotten well, an* tha 
cattle throve, an* tha bacon-pigs fattened ; tha men folk 
addled good wages, an* bread wor plenty ; fur Tiddy Mun 
had taken tha bad spell undone. But every New Moon as 
was, out tha went in tha darklins, to tha gainest dyke- 
edge, feyther an* mither an* brats; an* tha teemed tha 
watter i* tha dyke cryin*, 

" Tiddy Mun wi-out a name 
Here's watter for thee ! " 

An* tha pyewipe screech 'ud come back, soft and tender an' 
pleased. But for certain-sure, if wan o' un didna go out, 

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156 Legends of the Cars, 

c*ep a wor sick, Tiddy Mun missed un, an wor angered wi' 
un, an' laid tha spell on *un *arder nor ever ; while a went 
wi* tha others, come next New Moon, to ax tha spell 
undone. An' whan tha bairns wor bad, a tellt un as 
Tiddy Mun *ud fett 'em away ; an' a wor good as gold to 
once, for tha kenned as a'd do it. 

But thae days is gone by, an' folk now ken nowt about 
un. Ay, faix, is it true for a* that ; a've seen un mysel, 
limpin* by i' tha fog, all grey an' white an' screechin' like 
tha pyewipe, but 'tis lang syne a's ben by, an* a've teemed 
tha watter out o' tha stoup too, but a'm too aud now, thou 
seest, an' a cannot walk, since years gone. But a guess 
Tiddy Mun 's bin' frighted away wi' a' tha new ways an' 
gear, for folk dinna ken un no more, an' a niver hear say 
now, as we used to say when a wor young, an' annybody 
had a mort o'trouble an* mischance, an' wry luck, us 

" Ah, thou amt bin out i^ tha New Moon lately, an' for 
certain-sure, it's ill to cross Tiddy Mun wi-out a name ! " 

The next legend was obtained from a young girl of nine, 
a cripple, who stated that she had heard it from her " gran." 
But I think it was tinged by her own fancy, which seemed 
to lean to eerie things, and she certainly revelled in the 
gruesome descriptions, fairly making my flesh creep with 
her words and gestures. I have kept not only to the 
outline of her story, but in great part to her very words, 
which I think I could not have made more effective even 
if I had wished to do so. 

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Legends of the Cars. 1 5 7 

The Dead Moon. 

Long agone, i *ma gran's toime, th' Car-lan's doun by wor 
a* in bogs, as thee's heerd tell, mebbe : gra'at pools o* black 
watter, an' creepin' trickles o' green watter, an' squishy mools 
as'd soock owt in, as stept on un. 

Weel, my gran' used to sa'ay, how, long afwore her toime, 
tha moon's sel' wor towanst de'ad an* buried i' tha ma-ashes ; 
an' if thee will, a'll tell thee aboot it as she used for to tell 

Tha moon up yond', shone an' shone to than, jest as she 
do now, thoff thou moightn't ha' thowt it; an' whan she 
shone, she loighted oop a' tha bog-pads so's a body cu'd 
wa'alk aboot, most 's safe as o'days. But when she didna 
shine, then oot cam' a tha Things 'at dool i' tha Darkness, 
an' want aboot seekin' to do evil an' harm to all as woma 
safe beside ther ain he'arths. Harm an' mischance 
an' mischief : Bogles, an* de'ad Things, an' crawlin' 
Horrors : tha a' coomed oot o* noights when the moon 
didna shine. 

Weel, it comed so; 'at tha Moon heerd tell on a' this; an' 
bein' kin* an' good — as she be, sure^^, a-shoinin' fur us a' 
noights, 'stead o* takin* her nat'ral rest; she wor main 
troubled to think o' what went on ahint her back, loike ; 
an* says she : " A*ll see fur mysel, a wull ; it mebbe, *at its 
none so bad *s fo'ak mak' oot." 

So sewer 'nuff, come tha month end, doun she stept 
hapt oop wi* a black cloak, an^ a black hood o'wer her 
yaller shinin' hair ; an' straight she went to tha Bog edge, 
an' looked aboot her. Watter here, an' watter there ; 
wavin' tussocks, an' trem'Hn' mools, an' gra'at black snags a' 
twisted and bent ; an' afwore her, a' dark — dark, but the 
glimmer o' tha stars on tha pools, an' tha loight as comed 
fro' 's 'ain white feet, stealin' oot o' s black clo'ak. On a 
went, fair into the mid* o' tha bogs ; an' aye lookin' about 

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158 Legends of the Cars. 

her ; an' *twor a mortal quare soight as *a looked on, Tha 
witches girned as tha rode past on ther gra'at black cats ; 
an* tha evil Eye glowered fro* tha da*arkest comers — an* tha 
will-o*-tha-wykes danced a* aboot wi*ther lanterns swingin* 
o* ther backs. Than tha de*ad fo'ak rose i' tha watter, 
an* lookit roon* *em in white twisted fa'aces an* hell fire i* 
ther empty een-holes ; an* tha slimy drippin' De*ad Han*s 
slithered aboot, beckonin' an' p'intin*, and makin* yer skin 
crawl wi' ther cowld wet feel. 

Tha moon drew *s clo*ak faster aboot her, an* tremmelt ; 
but a wouldna gaw back, wi*oot seein' a' ther wor to be seen, 
so on she went, steppin* light as tha win' in summer fro* tuft 
to tuft, atween tha greedy gurglin* watter ho'als ; an* jest 
as she comed nigh a big black pool, *s fut slipt, and a wor 
nigh toomlin' in — an* a grabbed wi* bo*oth han*s at a snag 
near by, to steady 'asel* wi* ; but so cum as she touched it, 
a twined itsel* round her wrists loike a pa'ir o' han*cuflFs, an* 
gript her so *s she culdna move. She pulled, an* twisted, 
an* fowt, but twor no*on good : a wor fast, an* a mo*ost sta'ay 
fast ; so a* lookit aboot, an* wunnerd if help 'd coom by ; 
but a saw nowt but shiftin' flurryin* evil Things, comin' 
an' goin* here an' there busy wi* ther ain ill wark. 

But presently, as a stood trem*lin* 1' tha da*ark a heerd 
summat ca'allin* i* tha distance — a voice *at ca'alled an* 
ca^aird, an* than de*ed away wi* a sob; an' then began 
agean wi* a screech o* pain or fear, an* ca*d an' ca*d, till tha 
ma-ashes weer full on tha pitiful cryin* voice ; an* than a 
heerd steps floonderin* along, squishin* i* tha muck, an* 
slippin* on' tha tufts ; an* throff tha darkness, a saw han*s 
catchin* at the snags an* tha tussocks, an* a white face wi* 
gre*at feared eyen. 

'Twor a man strayed i* tha bogs ; an* a* roon* about un 
tha gimin* bogles, an* tha de'ad fo*ak, an* tha creepin* 
Horrors crawled an* crooded ; tha voices mocked un, an* 
the De*ad Han*s ploocked at un, an* ahead, tha will o' tha 
wykes dangelt ther lanterns, an' shuk wi' evil glee as a 
led un furder *n furder fro* tha reet track. Ma-azed wi* fear 

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Legends of the Cars. 159 

an' loathin' for tha Things aboot un, a stroogled on tords 
tha flickVin' loights 'at looked loike he'p an' sa'afety. 

"Thou yonder," a'd shriek, "Thou!— a'm catched i' tha 
bog-lan's ! — dost hear ? — God an' Mary save 's fro' the 
Horrors — he'p, thou yonder !" An' then a'd stop an' sob 
an' moan an* ca' on a* tha saints an' wise women an' God 
'issel to fetch un oot. 

An' than 'a 'd break oot in a shriek age'an, as tha slimy 
slithery things crawled round un, till a couldna even see 
the fause lights afwore un. An' than, 's if 'tworna bad 
aneugh a'ready, the horrors 'd tak a* sorts o' shapes ; an' 
rampin' lasses 'd keek at un wi' bright eyen, an' stretch oot 
soft he'pin' ban's ; but when a'd try to catch hoi' on un, a'd 
cha'ange in 's grip to slimy things an' shapeless worms, 
an' tha wicked voices 'd mock un wi' foul glee. An a' tha 
evil thoughts an' deeds o's life cam' an* whispet in 's ears, 
an' da'anced aboot an' shooted oot tha secret things o's 
ain heart, till a shrieked an' sobbed wi' pain an' shame, an' 
the Horrors crawled an' gibbered roon' aboot an* mocked 
un. An* when tha poor Moon saw 'at he wor coomin* 
nigher an* nigher to the deep holes an* tha deadly quicks, 
an' furder 'n furder fro' the pad, a wor so mad an' so sorry, 
'at she stroogled an' fowt an' pulled, harder nor iver. An' 
thoff a couldna get loose, wi' a' her twistin' an' toogin', the 
black hood fell ba'ack off 'a shoinin' yaller hair, an' tha 
beautiful light as coomed fro't druv away tha darkness. 

Ooh ! but tha man grat wi' joy to see God's ain light 
age'an ; an' towanst tha evil things fled ba'ack into tha 
da'ark corners ; fur tha canna boide tha light. So tha left 
un, an' fled ; an' a could see whur a wor, and whur tha pad 
wor, an' hoo a'd hev to gaw fur to get oot o' tha ma'ash. 
An' a wor in sich a ha-aste to get awa-ay fro' tha quicks 
an' tha boglan's, an' tha things 'at doolt thur, 'at a sca'arce 
lookit at tha bra'ave light 'at coomed fro' tha beautiful 
shinin' yaller hair streamin' oot o'er the black cloak, an' 
fallin' to the watter at's feet. An' tha Moon's sel wor so 
tuk oop wi' sa'avin' he, an* wi' rejoicin* *at a wor ba'ack on 

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i6o Legends of the Cars. 

tha reet pad, *at a cle'an furgot 'at a needed he'p 'aseF, an' 
*at a wor held fast by the Black Snag. 

So off a went ; spent an' gaspin' an' stumblin', an* sobbin* 
wi* joy, fleein* fur's life oot o' tha tur'ble Bogs. Than it 
coom ower the Moon, 'at 'ad loike main to gaw wi' un ; an' 
a gra'at fear coom to 'a ; an* a pulled an' fowt *sif a wor 
mad, till a fell on's knees, spent wi' toogin', at tha fut o' 
tha snag. An* as a la'ay thur, gaspin' fur bre'ath, tha 
bla'ack hood fell for'ard ower her he'ad ; an' thoff she tried 
to throw un ba'ack, 'twor catched in her hair, an' wudna 
gaw. So oot want tha blessed light, an' back coomed tha 
darkness wi' a* its evil things, wi' a screech an' a howl. 
They cam croodin' round her, mockin' an' snatchin' an' 
beatin* ; shriekin' wi' rage an* spite, an' swearin' wi* foul 
tongues, spittin' an' snarlin', fur tha kenned her fur ther 
au'd enemy, tha' bra'ave bright Moon, as druv 'em ba'ack 
into tha comers, an' kep'em fro' warkin' their wicked wills 
My — what a clapperdatch 'twor — an* tha poor Moon 
crooched tremblin' an' sick i'tha mid, an' won'erd when 
tha'd make an en' o't, an' o' she. 

" Dom' tha !" yelled tha witch-bodies, " thou'st spiled oor 
spells this year agone !" 

" An' thou keeps us in wer stra'ight coffins o'noights !" 
mo'aned tha de'id Fo*ak. 

" An* us thou sen's to brood i' tha comers !*' howled tha 

An' a' tha Things joined in wi' a gra'at " Ho, ho !" till 
tha varry tussocks shuk, and tha watter gui^led. An' tha 
began age'an. 

" Us'll poison her — poison her !" shrieked the witches. 

An' " Ho, ho !" howled the Things age'an. 

" Us'll smother her — smother her !" whispered the craw- 
lin' Horrors, an' twined therseFs roon* her knees. 

An* " Ho, ho !" mocked the rest o'un. 

" Us'll strangle her — strangle her !'* screeched tha De'ad 
Han*s, an' ploocked at *a throat wi* could fingers. 

An' " Ho, ho !** they yelled age'an. 

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Legends of the Cars. i6i 

But tha dead Fo'ak writhed an' girned about 'a, an' 
chuckled to thersel's. 

"We'se bury thee, bury thee, doun wi' us i' tha black 
mools !" 

An' age'an tha a' shouted wi' spite an' ill-will. An' tha 
poor Moon crooched doun, an' wished a wor de'ad, an' 
done wi'. 

An' tha fowt an' squabbled what tha should do wi' her, 

till a pale gray light began to coom i' tha sky ; an' it drew 

nigh the dawning. An' when tha saw that, tha wor feared 

lest tha shouldna hev toime to work ther wull ; an* tha 

catched hoi' on her, wi' horrid bony fingers, an' laid her 

deep i' tha watter at fut o' tha snag. An' tha dead fo'ak 

held her doun, while tha bogles fo't a stra'ange big sto'an 

an' rowled it o'top o' her, to keep her fro* rising. An' tha 

towld twae o' tha will o' tha wykes to ta'ake turns i' watchin', 

on tha black snag, to see 'at a lay safe an' still, an' couldna 

get oot to spoil ther sport wi' her loight, nor to he'p tha 

poor car-fo'ak to keep oot o' tha quicks an' ho'als o'nights. 

An' then, as tha g^rey light corned brighter i' tha sky, tha 

shapeless Things fled away to seek tha da'ark comers, an' 

tha dead fo'ak crept ba'ack into tha watter, or crammed 

thersel's into ther coffins, and tha witches went ho'am to 

ther ill-dd'ins. An' tha green slimy watter shone i' tha 

dawnin' 'sif nae ill thing 'd aye coom nigh it. 

An' thur lay tha poor moon, de'ad an' buried i' tha bog 
till sum 'un 'd set her loose ; an' who'd ken whur to look 
fur a? 

Weel, tha days pa'assed, an' 'twpr tha toime fur tha new 
moon's coomin'; an' tha fo'ak put pennies i* ther pockets, 
and straws i' ther caps so's to be ready fur a, an lookit 
aboot onquietly, fur tha moon wor a good frien' to tha 
ma'ash fo'ak, an' tha wor main glad when tha da'ark toime 
wor ga'an, an' tha pads wor safe age'an, an' tha Evil Things 
wor druv back by the blessed Light into the darkness an' 
tha watter ho'als. 


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1 62 Legends of the Cars. 

But days an' da'ays passed, an' tha new moon niver 
ca'ame,an' tha nights wor aye da'ark, an' th' Evil Things wor 
badder nor iver. Ther wor no 'on a loaning safe to travel, 
an' tha boggarts crept an* wailed roon' tha hooses an' 
keekit in at the winders, an' sneepit at tha latches, till tha 
poor bodies mun ke'p lights a' night, else tha horrors 'd a 
coomed ower tha varry doorsils. 

Aye so, tha bogles o' a' sorts seemed to ha' lost a' fearin'. 
Tha howled an' lafft an' screecht aroon', fit to wa'ake tha 
de'id thersel's, an' tha Car-fo'ak mun sit tremmlin* an* 
shakin' by tha foire, an' could nor sleep nor rast, nor pit fit 
across tha sil*, a' thae da'ark an' dreary nights. 

An' still tha da'ays went on, an' tha new moon niver 

Nat'rally tha poor fo'ak were stra'ange feared and mazed, 
an' a lot o' un went to the wise. woman wha doolt i' th' 
'owd mill, an' axed ef so be 's tha could fin' oot wheer tha 
moon wor q^a'an. 

" Weel," said she, arter lookin' i' tha brewpot, and i' tha 
mirror, an' i' tha Book, " it be main quare, but a canna 
reetly tell ye what's hapt wi' her. It be dark, dark, an' a 
canna see nowt i' tha spells. Go'a slow, childer, a '11 
think on it, an' mappen a '11 can he'p ye yet If ye hear o' 
a'wthing, coom by 'n tell ma ; 'n an ny ways pit a pinch o' 
salt, a stra'aw, an' a button on the door sil o' nights, an' tha 
Horrors '11 no can coom ower it, light or no light" 

So tha want ther wa'ays ; an' as da'ays want by, an* 
niver a moon come, nat'rally tha talked — ma word ! a 
reckon tha did ta'alk! ther tongues wagged like kenna 
what, at ho'am, an' at th' inn, an i' tha garth. But so come 
one da'ay, as tha sat on tha gra'at settle i' th' Inn, a man 
fro' tha fa'ar en' o' th' boglan's was smokin' an listenin*, 
when all to wanst, a sat oop 'n slapt *s knee. " Ma faicks !" 
sa'ays 'e, " A 'd clean furgot, but a reckon a kens wheer tha 
moon be !*' an' he tellt 'em hoo a wor lost i' tha bogs, an' 
hoo when a wor nigh de'ad wi' fright, tha loight shone oot, 
an' a' tha Evil Things fled awa'ay, an' a fund tha pad 'n got 
ho'am safe. 

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Legends of the Cars. 163 

" An' a wor so mazed wi' fear, loike," says he, " a didn't 
reetly look wheer the light corned fro'; but a mind fine 
'twor saft an' white like tha moon's sel'. An 't comed fro' 
suthin' da'ark stannin' nigh a black snag i' tha watter. An' 
a didn't reetly look," says he age'an, " but a seem to mind a 
shinin' fa'ace an' yaller hair i' the mid'^o' the dazzle, an' 
't'ad a sort o' kin' look, loike th' aud moon 'asel aboon tha 
Cars o' nights. 

So aflF tha a' want to tha wise woman, an' tellt un aboot 
it, an' a looked lang i' the pot an' tha Book age'an, an' than 
a nodded 's he'ad. 

" Its da'ark still, childer, da'ark !" says she, " an' a canna 
reetly see owt, but do 's a tell ye, an' ye'll fin' out for 
yersel's. Go'a all on ye, just afwore the night gathers, pit a 
sto'on i' yer gobs, an* tak' a hazel twig i' yer ban's, an* 
say ne'er a word till yer safe ho'am age'an. Than wa'alk on 
an' fear nowt, fair into tha mid' o' tha ma'ash, till ye fin' a 
coffin, a can'Ue, an' a cross. Than ye '11 no be far frae 
yer moon ; look, and mappen ye '11 fin*. 

Tha lookit each at ither, an' scratched the'r heads. 

" But wheer '11 us fin' her, mother?" says ane. 

" An' hoo '11 us goa ?" says t'other. 

" An wull na' tha bogles fett us?" says another, an' so on. 

" Houts ! " said she, fratched loike. " Passel o' fools ! 
A can tell ye nae more ; do as a tellt ee 'n fear nowt ; 'n* ef 
ye don't loike, than sta'ay by tha hoose, an' do wi' outen 
yer moon ef ye wull." 

So cum tha nex* night 1' tha darklin's, oot tha want a' 
thegether, ivery man wi' a sto'on in's moath, an* a hazel- 
twig in's han*, an' feelin', thou mayst reckon, main feared 
an' creepy. An' tha stummelt an' stottered along tha pads 
into the mid o' tha bogs ; tha seed nowt, mirover, thoff tha 
heerd sighin's an' flust'rin's i' ther ears, an' felt cowld wet 
fingers techin' 'em ; but on tha want, lookin* aroon' for tha 
coffin, tha can'le, an' tha cross, while tha comed nigh to 
the pool a side o' tha great snag, wheer the moon lay buried. 
An' a' towanst tha stopt, quakin' an* mazed an* skeery, fur 
theer wor tha gra'at sto'an, half in, half oot, o' tha watter, 

M 2 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

164 Legends of the Cars. 

fur a' th' war!' loike a stra'ange big coffin ; an' at tha he'ad 
wor tha black snag, stretchin' oot*s twae arms in a dark 
grewsome cross ; an* on it a tiddy light flickered, like a 
deein' can'le. An' tha a' knelt down i' tha muck, an' 
crossed thersel's, an' said, " Our Lord", fu'st for'ard 'cause o' 
tha cross, an' then back'ard, to ke'p off tha Bogles ; but 
wi'oot sp'akin' out, fur tha kenned as tha Evil Things 'd 
catch 'em, ef tha didna do as tha wise woman tellt 'em. 

Than tha want nigher, an' tha took hoi' on tha big 
sto'an, an' shoved un oop, an' arterwards tha said 'at fur 
wan tiddy minute, thi seed a stra'ange an' beautiful fa'ace 
lookin' oop at 'em glad loike oot o' tha black watter ; but 
tha light coomed so quick 'an so white an' shinin', 'at tha 
stept ba'ack mazed wi' it, an' wi* tha gre'at angry wail as 
coomed fro' tha fleein' Horrors ; an' tha varry nex' minute, 
when they could see age'an, theer wor tha full moon i' tha 
sky, bright an' beautiful an' kin' 's 'iver, shinin' an' smilin' 
doun at 'em, an' makin' tha bogs an' tha pads as clear as 
da'ay, an^ stealin' into tha varry comers, as thoff she'd ha' 
druv tha darkness an' tha Bogles clean awa'ay ef a could. 

So ho'am tha Car-fo'ak want, gladly and wi' light hearts ; 
an' iver sence tha moon shines brighter 'n clearer ower tha 
Bogs than ither wheers ; fur a mind's fine, 'at tha Horrors 
coom wi' tha da'ark, an' mischance an' mischief an' a' evil 
things, an' 'at tha Car-fo'ak sowt her an' found her, whan 
a wor de'ad an' buried i' tha Bog, an* ma'rk my wo'ds, it be 
a' true, fur ma gran 'asel a seed the snag wi' its twae arms, 
fur a* tha warl* loike a gre'at cross, an' tha green slimy 
watter at 's fut, wheer tha poor moon wor buried, an' the 
sto'an near by 'at kep' a doun, while tha wise woman sent 's 
Car-fo'ak to set a loose, an' pit a in's sky age'an. 

The following story is of a different character, more of 
what is known among folk-lorists as a Droll. It seems to 
be a continuation of the story Coat d Clay, which I sent to 
Mr. Lang some time ago, and which was printed by him 
in LongTnafis Magazine^ and afterwards in FOLK-LORE. 
It was told me by the same person. 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Cars. 165 

A Pottle o' Brains. 

Once i' these parts, an' not so long gone nayther, there 
was a fool as wanted to buy a pottle o' brains, for he was 
iver gettin' into scrapes through his foolishness, an' bein* 
laughed at by iveryone. Fo'ak tellt him as he could get 
everything a liked from tha wise woman as lived on 
the top o' the hill, an' dealt in potions an' herbs an' spells 
an' things, an' could tell thee all as 'd come to thee or 
thy folk. So he tellt 's mother, 'n axed her if a should 
seek tha wise woman 'n' buy a pottle o* brains. 

" That ye should," says she : " thou'st sore need o' them, 
my son ; an' ef a should dee, who'd take care o' a poor 
fool such 's thou, no more fit to look arter thysel' than an 
unborn babby? but min' thy manners, an' speak her 
pretty, my lad ; fur they wise fo'ak are gey'an light 

So off he went after 's tea, an' there she was, sittin' by 
tha fire, an' stirrin' a big pot. 

" Good e'en, missis," says he, " its a fine night." 

" Aye," says she, an* went on stirring. 

" It'll mebbe rain," says he, an* fidgetted from one foot 
to t'other. 

" Mebbe," says she. 

" An* mappen 't 'ull no," says he, an' looked out o' the 

" Mappen," says she. 

An' he scratched 's head, an' twisted 's hat 

" Weel," says he, " a can't min' nuthin' else aboot tha 
weather, but lemme see ; the crops is gittin' on fine." 

" Fine," says she. 

" An' — an' — tha beasts is fattcnin*,*' says he. 

" They are," says she. 

"An' — an* — " says he, 'n comes to a stop — "a reckon 
we'll tackle business noo, hevin' done tha perlite like. 
Hev' ye ony brains fur to sell ? " 

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1 66 Legends of the Cars. 

" That depen's," says she, " ef thou wants king's brains, 
or sodger's brains, or schoolme'aster's brains, a dinna 
keep *em." 

"Hout no," says he, "jist ord'nar brains — fit fur any 
fool — same *s every one has *bout here ; suthin* clean 

" Aye so," says tha wise woman, " a* might manage that, 
ef so be thou'U help thysel*." 

" Hoo *s that fur, missis ? " says he. 

" Jest so," says she, lookin' in *s pot ; " bring me the 
heart o* tha thing thou likes best o' all, an* a 11 tell thee 
where to get thy pottle o' brains." 

"But," says he, scratching his head, "hoo can a do 

" That *s no *on fur me to say," says she, " fin' oot fur 
thyser, my lad ! ef thou disna want to be a fool a' thy 
days. But thou '11 hev' to read me a riddle so *s a can see 
thou 'st brought the reet thing, an* ef thy brains is 'boot 
thee. An' a 've suthin* else to see to," says she, "so 
gode'en to 'ee," and she carried the pot away wi* her into 
tha back place. 

So off goes the fool to 's mother, an' tellt her what, tha 
wise woman said. 

" An' a reckon a *11 hev to kill that pig," says he, " fur a 
like fat bacon better nor iverythin'." 

" Then do 't, my lad," said *s mother, " fur sartain 't 'ull 
be a stra'ange an* good thing fur 'ee, ef thou canst buy 
a pottle o' brains, an' be able to look arter thy ain 

So he killed 's pig, an' nex' day off a went to tha wise 
woman's cottage, an' there she sat, readin' in a great 

" Gode'en, missis," say he, " a 've brought thee tha heart 
o' tha thing a likes best o' all ; an' a put it hapt i' paper 
on tha table." 

" Aye so ?" says she, an' looked at him through her 
spec'itals. " Tell me this then, what rins wi'oot feet ?" 

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Legends of the Cars. 167 

He scratched 's head, an' thowt, an' thowt, but a couldn't 

" Go thy ways/* says she, " thou'st no fo't me the reet 
thing yet. I'se no'on brains fur 'ee to-day". An' she clapt 
the book togither, an' t'orned 's back. 

So off* tha fool went to tell 's mother. 

But as a got nigh the hoose, oot came fo'ak runnin' to' 
tell un 'at 's mother was deein'. 

An' when he got in, 's mother ony looked at un, an' 
smiled, 's if to say she could leave un wi' a quiet min, 
sence a'd got brains 'nuff* noo to look arter 's sel* — an' then 
she dee'd. 

So doun a sat, an' the more a thowt aboot it the badder 
a feeled. He minded hoo she'd nuss't un when a wor a 
tiddy brat, an' he'ped un wi' 's lessons, an' cooked 's dinners, 
an' mended 's clouts, an' born wi' 's foolishness ; an' a felt 
sorrier 'n' sorrier, while a began to sob an' greet. 

" Oh, mother, mother !" says he, " who'll tak' care on me 
noo ! Thou shouldn't hev' lef me alo'an, fur a liked thee 
better nor iverything !" 

An' as he said that, he thowt of the words o' the wise 
woman. " Hi, yi !" says he, "must a cut oot mother's heart 
an' tak' it to her ? A disna like the job," an' he took oot 
a knife an' felt 's edge. 

" No ! a can't do 't," says he. " What'll a do ! what'll a 
do to get that pottle o' brains, noo a'm alone i' the worl'?" 
So a thowt an' thowt, an' next day a went an' borrowed a 
sack, an* bundelt 's mother in, an' carried it on 's showther 
up to th' wise woman's cottage. 

" Gode'en, missis," says he, " a reckon a 've fo't 'ee the 
reet thing this time, sure^," an' he plumped the sack down 
kerflap ! in the doorsil. 

" Mcbbe," says the wise woman, " but read me this, 
noo, what's yaller an' shinin' but isna goold ?" 

An* he scratched 's head, an' thowt, an' thowt, but a 
couldna tell. 

" Thou'st no hit the reet thing, my lad," says she. " I 

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1 68 Legends of the Cars, 

doubt thou's a bigger fool nor a thought !" an' shut the 
door in 's face. 

" See there !" says he, an* sets doun by tha road side an' 

" AVe lost tha on'y twae things as a cared for, an* what 
else can a fin' to buy a pottle o' brains wi' !" an' he fair 
howled, till tha tears ran doun into 's mooth. An' oop came 
a lass as lived gainhand, an* looked at un. 

" What's oop wi' thee, fool?" says she. 

" Oo a's killed ma pig, 'n lost my mother, an' a'm nobbut 
a fool mysel'," says he, sobbin'. 

"That's bad," says she; "an'hevna thee anybody to look 
arter thee ?" 

" Naw," says he, " an* a canna buy my pottle o' brains 
fur thurs nuthin' a like best lef ! " 

" What art ta'alkin' aboot" ! says she. 

An' doun she sets by him, an* he tellt her all aboot the 
wise woman an' the pig, an' 's mother an' the riddles, an* 
'at he was alo'an i' the warld. 

" Weel," says she, " a wouldn't min' lookin' arter thee 

"Could thee do 't ?" says he. 

"Ou, ay!" says she, "fo'ak says as fools mak' good 
husban's, an' a reckon a'll hev thee, ef thou'st willin'." 

" Can'st cook ?" says he. 

" Ay, a can," says she. 

" An' scrub ?" says he. 

" Surely," says she. 

" An* men' ma clouts ?" says he. 

" A can that," says she. 

" A reckon thou'lt do then 's weel *s anybody,'* says he; 
" but what '11 a do 'bout this wise woman ?" 

" Oh, wait a bit," says she, "suthin' mowt turn up, an' it *11 
no matter ef thou *rt a fool, s* long 's thou*st got me to 
look arter thee." 

" That's true," says he, an' off tha went and got married. 

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Legends of the Cars. 169 

An' she kept 's house so clean an' neat, an' cooked 's 
dinner so fine, 'at one night a says to her : 

" Lass, a 'm thinkin' a like thee best o' iverything, arter 

" That's good hearin'," says she, " an' what then ?" 

" Hev 'a got to kill thee, dost think, an' take thy heart 
oop to the wise woman for that pottle o' brains ?" 

" Laws, no !" says she, lookin' skeered, " a winna hev' that 
But see here ; thou didn't cut oot thy mother's heart, did 

"Naw; but if a had, mebbe a'd a got my pottle o' 
brains," says he. 

"Not a bit o't," says she; "jist thou take me 's a be, 
heart 'n all, 'n a wager a '11 help thee read the riddles." 

" Can thee so ?" says he, doubtful like ; " a reckon thon 's 
too hard for wimmen fo'ak." 

" Weel," says she, " let 's see noo. Tell 's the first 'un." 

" What rins wi' oot feet ?" says he. 

" Why, watter !" says she. 

" It do," says he, an' scratched 's head. 

" An' what 's yaller an' shinin', but isna goold ?" 

" Why, the sun !" says she. 

" Faix, it be !" says he. " Coom, us '11 go oop to the wise 
woman towanst," and off they went. An' as they comed 
oop the pad, she wor sittin* at the door, twinin' straws. 

" Gode'en, missis," says he. 

" Gode'en, fool," says she. 

" A reckon a 's fo't 'e the reet thing to last," says he, 
" thoff a hevn't azac'ly cut th' heart oot, it be so moocky 

The wise woman looked at 'em both, an' wiped her 

" Canst tell me what that be, as has first nae legs, an* 
then twae legs, an' en's wi' fower legs ?" 

An' the fool scratched 's head, an' thowt, an' thowt ; but 
a couldna tell. 

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170 Legends of the Cars, 

An* the lass whispered in 's ear : 

" It be a tadpole." 

" Mappen," says he then, " it mout be a tadpole, missis." 

The wise woman nodded *s head. 

•* That *s reet," says she, " an' thou'st got thy pottle o' 
brains aVeady.*' 

" Wheer be they ?" says he, lookin* aboot, an* feelin* in 's 

"In thy wife's head,** says she. " The on*y cure fur a 
fool *s a good wife to look arter *n, an* that thou'st got ; 
so gode'en to *ee !** An* wi* that she nodded to *em, an* up 
and into the hoose. 

So they went ho'am together, an* a niver wanted to buy 
a pottle o* brains age*an, fur *s wife 'ad enuff fur both. 

M. C. Balfour. 

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ONE of the best known legends of classical authors 
relates to a fabled nation of warlike women, 
deprived of the use of one breast by a process of cauterisa- 
tion and known as Amazons. According to a well- 
authenticated custom, still current among the Cherkes or 
Adigh6, the Abkhas, and to some extent among the Osets,^ 
the growth of both breasts during maidenhood is artificially 
repressed by means of a leather corset. The object of this 
paper is to offer an explanation for the origin of the 
modem custom, and to show reason for believing it to be 
lineally descended from an older one anterior to the time 
of Herodotus, and having, therefore, a possible ancestry of 
twenty-five centuries. 

In Asia, which at that period was separated from 
Europe by the river Don, the ancient Greeks knew of 
Amazons in two localities : on the banks of the Ther- 
modon near Sinope, and on the isthmus north of the great 
chain of the Caucasus. It is probable they first became 
acquainted with those that lay nearest them, and accounted 
for those they heard of afterwards in the neighbourhood of 
the Caucasus by an imaginary migration, such as Herodotus 
relates. Some of the reports that may have been true of 

^ According to Klaproth, this custom is confined to the Osetan 
nobility, and it, together with the dress and other fashions, seems to 
have been adopted from the dominant Adigh6 race. The Osets are a 
comparatively small, not very important people, located in nearly equal 
numbers on both sides of the Great Chain. Nothing is known for 
certain when this Aryan-speaking population entered the Caucasus. 
To judge from various peculiarities in their language, it is probable 
that they migrated from the south-east, and that their earliest settle- 
ments were on the south side of the mountains. 

Digitized by 


172 An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. 

the Amazons of the Thermodon were very likely trans- 
ferred without sufficient ground to the Amazons of the 
Caucasus. Whether there existed any nearer connection 
between the two g^roups than that both performed some 
operation upon the right breast, and had some customs in 
common, does not concern us here. We may, therefore, 
dismiss the legends referring to the westerly Amazons, and 
confine our attention to the easterly variety. 

First, we have to establish as nearly as possible their 
actual geographical position. According to Herodotus, 
Amazons were found among the Sauromatai, who lived 
between four and five days' journey north-east of the upper 
end of the Sea of Azov. Hippocrates places the Sauromatai 
in Europe, that is to say, west of the Don and of the 
Sea of Azov. But Scylax, in his Periplus of the Euxine, 
locates them much in the same position as Herodotus, on 
the left bank of the Don and contiguous to the Maiotai. 
Scymnus of Chios and the second anonymous author of 
the Periplus, place them in Europe, and identify the 
Maiotai with the Sauromatai, who were themselves a tribe 
of the Sarmatai. Strabo gives us three versions, which do 
not greatly differ. According to one, the Amazons were 
believed to live among the mountains above Albania (the 
lower valley of the Kur), but separated from the Albanians 
by the Scythian tribes of Gelai and Legai,^ and by the 
Mermadalis river^ (Terek?). Others maintained that 
the Amazons bordered upon the Gargarenses, who lived at 
the northern foot of the Caucasian mountains, called 
Ceraunia, by which Strabo meant the south-eastern end of 
the range. According to a third report, the country of the 
Amazons and of the Siracene* was traversed by a rapid 

* Perhaps the Galgai, a Chechents tribe on the northern slope of 
the main Chain and the Lesgians, in Georgian Leki. 

* A tributary of the Terek still bears the name of Mermedik. 

* According to Strabo, they nomadised along the Akhardeus, 
which had its source in the Caucasus and emptied into the Sea of 

Digitized by 


An Amazonian Custom tn the Caucasus. 173 

torrent called the Mermodas, which descended from the 
mountains and discharged into the Sea of Azov. 

From these accounts it may be assumed that certain cus- 
toms, summarised under the term Amazon, prevailed among 
tribes that occupied an area bounded on the south by the 
northern slopes of the Caucasus, though, perhaps, only as 
far south as the Terek from the point where this river 
bends eastwards ; on the east by the Caspian Sea ; on the 
west by the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Don, 
perhaps even by an undefined line to the west of that 
river ; on the north the limits were undetermined by any 
natural feature, but extended for a distance of three or of 
fifteen days* march — Herodotus gives both distances in 
different passages — north of the mouth of the Don. 

Having localised the area within which Amazonian 
customs were disseminated, the next step is to identify, if 
possible, the Sauromatai, a tribe, as we have seen, of the 
Sarmatai, with some of the existing nations of the 
Caucasus. As ethnic names, both of these are undoubtedly 
lost, though it is alleged by a native Cherkes author that 
the word Shartnat is still remembered, and that some 
Cherkes families claim to be descended from the ancient 
Sarmatians.^ Herodotus distinguishes between the 
Scythians west of the Don and the non-Scythians to the 
east of the river, though at the same time he supposes the 
Sauromatai to be a mixed race of Scythian men and 
Amazon women from the banks of the Thermodon. His 
theory that the people were half-breeds seems to have 
been framed by himself or his informants to account for 
two facts, or supposed facts : the prevalence of certain 
customs known to exist in another part of Asia, which 
could only be explained, so far as he or his informant 
could see, by a migration — in reality fictitious — from there 
to the Don region ; the fact, probably quite erroneous, that 
the Sauromatai spoke broken Scythian, as the women 

^ Schora Bekmursin Nogmow, Sagen u, Ueder des Tscherkessen 
Volks, p. 8. 

Digitized by 


1 74 An Amazoman Custom in the Caucasus. 

descended from the Amazons of the Thermodon had never 
leamt perfectly the language of their husbands. Here I 
take it the word Scythian is used in a wider and looser 
sense than in that generally employed by Herodotus, for 
he gained the information through hearsay, and may there- 
fore be taken to include a Caucasian language. If there is 
a grain of truth in the statement, it is that the men and 
women did not always speak the same dialect : that the 
Sauromatai were, in fact, like the Cherkes, exogamous. 
Hippocrates, who wrote a little later than Herodotus, 
though he places the Sauromatai west of the Don, is very 
positive in his assertion that they were different from other 
nations, and therefore from the Scyths. Strabo, writing 
shortly before the beginning of the Christian era, says of 
seventy nations, all speaking different languages, that used 
to assemble at the Colchidian mart of Dioscurias, that they 
were chiefly Sarmatians, but all of them Caucasian tribes. 
Talking of the Iberians, the modern Imeretians and 
Georgians, he mentions that those of them inhabiting the 
mountains lived like the Sarmatians and Scythians, on 
whose country they bordered and with whom they were 
connected by affinity of race. The Scythians here referred 
to are no doubt the Gelai and Legal tribes, belonging to 
the Caucasus. He places the Albanians in the lower 
valley of the Kur, east of the Alazan, and makes the 
Caucasus their northern boundary, apparently confining 
them to the plain. But as they were reported to speak 
twenty-six languages, and could bring a larger force into 
the field than the Iberians, it is evident that many hill 
tribes must be included in their number, and this people is 
now doubtless represented by the Lesgians. Of the nation- 
alities occupying the northern slopes of the main Chain, 
the Lesgians, therefore, and perhaps the Chechents, if the 
Gelai are represented by the Galgai, are to be excluded 
from the Sarmatai, and then we are left with the Cherkes 
and the Abkhas. A few centuries ago, the Adigh6 
occupied a great part of the area previously inhabited 

Digitized by 


An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. 175 

by the Sauromatai, Maiotai, and other Sarmatian tribes. 
When Georgio Interiano visited them in the middle of the 
15th century the Cherkes extended from the Don along the 
Sea of Azov as far south as Abkhasia, which thus gave 
them, according to his estimation, a coast line of five 
hundred miles. Before his time, till driven out by the 
Tartars, they had settlements in the Crimea. Until 
recently they peopled the country between Taman and the 
confines of the Abkhas country, as well as the great and 
little Kabardd. There is, therefore, considerable ground 
for assuming that the Sarmatai, including the Sauromatai, 
Maiotai, and the many other tribes into which they were 
sub-divided, whom ancient writers aver to have been 
Caucasians, to have had racial affinity with the Iberians, to 
have been different from Scythians, in Herodotus* narrow 
sense of the word, and to have had Amazons among them, 
are now represented by the Cherkes and Abkhas, or Absne, 
who occupy, or have occupied, much of the same 
geographical area, who are Caucasians, who are certainly 
more nearly related to the Georgians than to any non- 
Caucasian people, who are anaryan and allophyl as regards . 
Tatars, Mongols, and Finno-ugrians, and who retain the 
custom of flattening the breasts during maidenhood.^ 

It now remains to compare what is reported of the 
Amazons with existing customs of the Cherkes and 

^ This proposed identification of the Sarmatai with Caucasian races 
runs counter to the general opinion that they were an Aryan-speaking 
people now represented by some of the Slav nationalities. For 
undoubtedly in later times Roman writers apply the term Sarmatian 
to tribes dwelling as far west as the Dniester and the Vistula ; but 
this may be explained. They were dubbed Sarmatians from possess- 
ing certain test customs and from living in Sarmatia, a geographical 
expression of elastic nature which gradually expanded from a small 
area north of the Caucasus till it covered the whole of Eastern 
Europe ; just as Siberia, which once meant a small territory east of 
the Ural Mountains, now serves to designate the whole of Northern 
Asia, and includes several distinct races, each of which may loosely be 
spoken of as Siberian. 

Digitized by 


176 An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. 

Abkhas. According to Herodotus, the women of the 
Sauromatai did not form a distinct nation like the Amazons 
of the Thermodon, from whom they were imagined to 
descend. Though they wore the same dress as men, and 
fought and hunted on horseback, this was not always or 
necessarily by themselves, for they also did so in company 
with their husbands. Girls, however, could not marry till 
they had killed a man in battle, from which custom they 
received from their Scythian neighbours the epithet of 
" manslayers". Hippocrates, discoursing on the Sauromatai, 
mentions that the women, armed with bow and javelin, 
fought their enemies on horseback, but only so long as 
they were in an unmarried state. They might not enter 
matrimony till they had slain three enemies, and did not 
live with their husbands till they had offered the sacrifice 
prescribed by law. After marriage women ceased to ride, 
save on a special emergency. During infancy mothers 
cauterised the right breast of their female children, by 
applying a heated metal instrument made for the purpose. 
Strabo enters into rather fuller particulars, but refers to 
tribes dwelling south of the Sauromatai on the counter- 
forts of the main Chain. From infancy the Amazons had 
the right breast cauterised to allow of the arm being used 
with greater ease, especially when throwing the javelin. 
When at home they ploughed, planted, pastured cattle, and 
trained horses. The strongest spent much time in hunting 
on horseback, and in practising warlike exercises. In 
spring, they passed two months on a neighbouring mountain, 
the boundary between them and the Gargarenses. The 
latter also ascended the mountain, in conformity with 
ancient custom, to perform common sacrifices, and to have 
intercourse with the women in secret and darkness, for the 
purpose of obtaining offspring, each man taking the first 
woman he met When the women became pregnant they 
were sent away. The female children were retained by the 
Amazons, the males were taken by the Gargarenses to be 
brought up. The children were distributed among families 

Digitized by 


An Amazonian Custom in ike Caucasus. 177 

in which the master treated them entirely as his own. 
This evidently implies a system of fosterage. 

Interweaving the substance of the above reports, after 
making due allowance for the evident tincture of the 
fabulous they contain, with what is known of existing cus- 
toms among the Cherkes and Abkhas, a slight summary 
may be constructed of manners and customs that may, I 
think, with more or less reason be attributed to the Sar- 
matians about the sixth century B.C., though, of course, 
their origin must be much older. It may not be amiss to 
mention here that rich traces of a very considerable degree 
of civilisation, to which archaeologists like Virchow and E. 
Chantre assign a date of about 1000 B.C., but culminating 
about 700 B.C., have been found in the sepulchres of Kobdn, 
near the northern entrance of the Pass of Dariel. Though 
most of the metallic objects are of bronze, iron was known, 
and they belong to the early iron period. 

The Sarmatians, though without fixed habitations, were 
possessed of a certain social organisation, being divided, ^X 
any rate, into nobles and vassals, many of whom were only 
slaves. They were also separated into exogamous tribes, 
for marriage within the tribe was regarded as incest, and 
punishable with death, perhaps by drowning, as was re- 
cently the case. Children of both sexes were not brought 
up at home, but were transferred to the care of foster- 
parents, and only returned to the parental hearth when they 
had attained the age of manhood or womanhood. Though 
the women were ferocious enough towards tribal enemies 
their status at home was very low, little better than that of 
a slave, at any rate after marriage. All outdoor labour, such 
as ploughing and reaping, tending sheep, cattle, and horses, 
was performed entirely by them, and in defence of their 
charge, when attacked, they fought as savagely as the men. 
Unmarried women — for the care of herding fell chiefly on 
them— dressed like men, and by reason of their duties were 
armed with bows and javelins. Perhaps the belief that a 
woman could not bear courageous children, and was un- 


Digitized by 


1 78 An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. 

worthy of becoming a mother, unless she herself had given 
proof of her own courage by slaying at least one tribal 
enemy, gave rise to the usage that a girl might not marry 
till she had killed one, perhaps three individuals. And re- 
ciprocally it is far from improbable that among a race of 
warriors a man might not take a wife till he had shown 
his bravery in battle by bringing home at least one head. 
The whole duty of man lay in fighting, robbing, avenging 
the death of relatives, man stealing, and, for those that 
lived on the coast, in piracy. Still, the wild, untutored 
instinct that glorified acts like these was tempered by a 
sentiment that made a virtue of generosity and hospitality 
on the part of the nobles, and demanded respect towards 
old age from all ranks of society. Largely on account of 
their vocations, but partly from a superstitious dislike 
of the men, with their manly instin<::ts, to be seen much in 
company with women, the sexes lived on the whole 
rather separate lives, and intercourse between married 
couples W2LS of a clandestine nature. At certain annual 
festivals in honour of some divinity celebrated in sacred 
groves, where sacrifice was made, accompanied by games 
and athletic sports, promiscuous intercourse was carried on 
after dark. It may be the worship in spring of certain 
deities demanded it as a necessary rite. To obtain a wife 
a man had to pay a price for her in sheep, cattle, horses, 
or other valuables. But concurrent with this usage women 
were sometimes carried off, and sometimes they simply 
consented to live with a man, without further ceremony, 
though unions of this nature were chiefly prevalent in the 
lowest class. After marriage a woman lost much of her 
maidenly freedom, no longer roved after her flocks and 
herds in society with other girls, but had to follow her 
husband for the purpose of performing the necessary 
menial duties he would have disdained to do for himself. At 
an early age, perhaps between the ages of seven and ten as 
nowadays, mothers began to flatten the breasts of their female 
children by compressing them with a broad leather belt 

Digitized by 


An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus, 1 79 

or corset, which was sewn round the chest, and was only 
cut open by the bridegroom on the wedding day by means 
of a dagger. Such at least is the modern practice. 

In the above reconstruction of facts stated or hinted by 
Greek writers I have suggested how it happened that the 
Amazons were thought to be almost a race by themselves. 
It arose in a great measure from their occupation. It was 
women's work to pasture the flocks and herds, and there- 
fore to defend them if attacked. To do this they must be 
armed. It need not be supposed that the men never pro- 
tected the herds themselves. They probably did so when 
actual danger was anticipated, but under ordinary circum- 
stances it was left to the unmarried women to shield the 
sheep and cattle from the assaults of casual marauders. 
That cauterisation of the right breast was ever practised 
in the Caucasus seems to me highly improbable, though 
it may have been done elsewhere. Some writers. Professor 
Sayce among them, maintain that the Amazons that 
overran Asia Minor, and left traces of themselves at 
Ephesus, Smyrna, Cyme, and other places were priestesses 
of the Great Goddess. And it is conceivable these may have 
sacrificed their right breasts to her by searing them with 
a hot iron in such a way as to destroy their development. 
Even Greek and Latin writers were sceptical on this point, 
and the reason alleged for the custom, to allow greater 
freedom in casting a javelin or drawing a bow, seems 
unnecessary from a physiological point of view. Yet, 
undoubtedly, some operation was performed, or the Greek 
legend would have had no foundation. If the reason for 
flattening the breasts about to be proposed is the true one, 
there is nothing improbable in believing that the existing 
custom has a long row of centuries behind it, quite enough 
to throw it back in time beyond the sixth century B.C. 

The great desire of women, more especially during a 
period of warlike barbarism, is to bear male children. 
Turning our attention to the result of flattening a girl's 
breasts and letting her wear male attire, it is obvious that 

N 2 

Digitized by 


i8o An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus. 

a sex distinction has been obliterated, and she has become 
externally assimilated to a male youth. Moreover, the 
object has evidently been intentional. It would be no 
outrage to the reasoning powers of the Sarmatians to 
suppose that they believed a woman's chances of bearing 
male children were vastly enhanced by her wearing a man's 
dress, and by being conformed in some degree to the 
male type by forcible compression of the breasts during 
maidenhood. They would argue thus : a woman wants to 
bear male children, therefore she ought to be made as 
much like a man as possible. A conviction of this kind 
is gained by a process identical with the immature rea- 
soning that underlies what is called sympathetic magic. 
Here a postulant by a symbolical act expresses the long- 
ings of his heart in the mute language of signs, under 
the vague hope that his wish will be granted either by 
the spirit or deity in whose power it lies to bestow such a 
desire, or by virtue of an irresistible necessity, the exact 
nature of which he cannot fathom, but in which he has 
nevertheless, the profoundest belief. In applying this state- 
ment to the reasoning of the Sarmatians there seems to be 
a hiatus. For how is a spirit or an all-compelling neces- 
sity to understand what a girl means by dressing like a 
man and repressing the growth of the breasts? That 
every Amazon was expected to marry and bear children, 
and had herself the wish to do so, was regarded as so 
natural as to be implicit, and to be understood by any- 
body. All she had to do, therefore, to be fully compre- 
hended by the powers that grant such desires was to hoist, 
as it were, a signal to indicate the sex of the child she 
desired to conceive, and this she did naturally enough by 
donning male attire and exhibiting her flattened bosom. 
It may be asked why this was done only in maidenhood, 
and not during the married state, when it would seem 
more appropriate ? It is obvious repression of the breasts 
could not be maintained when a woman became a mother, 
and for all we know she may have continued to wear 

Digitized by 


An Amazonian Custom in the Caucasus, 18 1 

men's clothing all her life; but the act was performed 
before marriage to ensure the first child being, if possible, 
a boy. A similar explanation would account for the false 
beards worn by Argive brides when they slept with their 
husbands,^ and for the widespread custom, alluded to by 
Mr. J. G. Frazer,^ of men dressing as women and women 
as men at marriage, if it could be assumed that the older 
custom was for women alone to dress in that way, and 
when the meaning of the ceremony was forgotten that 
bridegrooms also dressed like women ; a change which 
might arise from a growing spirit of buffoonery and frolic 
such as is never absent from rustic weddings. 

* J. G. Frazer, Totemism^ p. 79. 
' Toiemism, p. 79. 

John Abercromby. 

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AMONG the English folk-tales that I have lately been 
collecting and investigating, by far the most interest- 
ing is that of " Childe Rowland". I have already called 
attention to some of the points of interest in my notes on 
the version of it that I published in my volume on English 
Fairy Tales, pp. 238-45. But it was impossible in such a 
way to deal at all adequately with the folk-lore aspects of 
the tale, and I am glad of the present opportunity to do so 
at more length. Especially I desire to make accessible the 
actual form in which the tale was published by Jamieson 
in his Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, 18 14, pp. 397 
seq. For the purposes of my book I had to deviate from 
the pristine form in various ways. I proceed at once to 
give it in its original form. 


When on a former occasion, in " Popular Ballads and Songs", 
vol. ii, p. 22, the present writer laid before the public a translation 
of the first ballad of " Rosmer", he expressed an opinion that 
this was the identical romance quoted by Edgar in King Lear, 
which, in Shakespeare's time, was well known in England, and is 
still preserved, in however mutilated a state, in Scotland. Having 
the outline of the story so happily sketched to his hand, it would 
have required no very great exertion of talents or industry, for one 
exercised in these studies, to have presented this romance in a 
poetical dress, far more correct and generally engaging than that 
in which it can be expected to be found ; but as he accounts an 
original, however imperfect, which bears the genuine marks of 
the age which produced it, and of the taste of those who have 
preserved it, much more interesting to the historian or antiquary 

Digitized by 


Ckilde Rowland. 183 

than any mere modem tale of the same kind, however artfully 
constructed, he has preferred subjoining the Scottish legend in 
puris naturalibus, in the hope that the publication of it may be 
the means of exciting curiosity and procuring a more perfect 
copy of this singular relic : 

" King Arthur's sons 0* merry Cariisle 
Were playing at the ba*; 
And there was their sister Burd Ellen, 
r the mids amang them a*. 

" Child Rowland kick'd it wi' his foot, 
And keppit it in his knee ; 
And ay, as he pla/d out o'er them a\ 
O'er the kirk he gar'd it flee. 

" Burd Ellen round about the isle 
To seek the ba' is gane ; 
But they bade lang and ay langer, 
And she camena back again. 

" They sought her east, they sought her west, 
They sought her up and down ; 
And wae were the hearts [in merry Carlisle], 
For she was nae gait found ! ** 

At last her elder brother went to the Warluck Merlin (Myrddin 
Wyldt\ and asked if he knew where his sister, the fair burd 
Ellen, was. "The fair burd Ellen," said the Warluck Merlin, 
" is carried away by the fairies, and is now in the castle of the 
King of Elfland ; and it were too bold an undertaking for the 
stoutest knight in Christendom to bring her back." "Is it 
possible to bring her back ? " said her brother, " and I will do 
it, or perish in the attempt." " Possible ? indeed it is," said the 
Warluck Merlin ; " but woe to the man or mother's son who 
attempts it, if he is not well instructed beforehand of what he 
is to do." 

Inflamed no less by the glory of such an enterprise than by 
the desire of rescuing his sister, the brother of the fair burd 
Ellen resolved to undertake the adventure ; and, after proper 
instructions from Merlin (which he failed in observing), he set 
out on his perilous expedition. 

Digitized by 


184 Childe Rowland, 

*' But they bade lang and ay langer, 
Wi* dout and mickle maen ; 
And wae were the hearts [in merry Carlisle], 
For he camena back again.'' 

The second brother, in like manner, set out, but failed in 
observing the instructions of the Warluck Merlin, and — 

^ They bade lang and ay langer, 
Wi' mickle dout and maen ; 
And wae were the hearts [in merry Carlisle], 
For he camena back again." 

Child Rowland, the youngest brother of the fair burd Ellen, then 
resolved to go, but was strenuously opposed by the good queen 
[Gwenevra], who was afraid of losing all her children. 

At last the good queen [Gwenevra] gave him her consent and 
her blessing. He girt on (in great form, and with all due 
solemnity of sacerdotal consecration) his father^s good claymore 
[Excalibar], that never struck in vain, and repaired to the cave of 
the Warluck Merlin. 

The Warluck Merlin gave him all necessary instructions for his 
journey and conduct, the most important of which were that he 
should kill every person he met with after entering the land of 
Fairy, and should neither eat nor drink of what was offered him 
in that country, whatever his hunger or thirst might be, for if he 
lasted or touched in Elfland, he must remain in the power of the 
Elves, and never see middle eard again. 

So Child Rowland set out on his journey, and travelled " on 
and ay farther on", till he came to where (as he had been fore- 
warned by the Warluck Merlin) he found the King of Elfland's 
horse-herd feeding his horses. "Canst thou tell me", said 
Rowland to the horse-herd, " where the King of Elfland's castle 
is ? " "I cannot tell thee", said the horse-herd, " but go on a 
little farther, and thou wilt come to the cow-herd, and he, 
perhaps, may tell thee." So Child Rowland drew the good clay- 
more [Excalibar] that never struck in vain, and hewed off the 
head of the horse-herd. Child Rowland then went on a little 
farther, till he came to the King of Elfland's cow-henj, who was 
feeding his cows. " Canst thou tell me", said Child Rowland to 
the cow-herd, "where the King of Elfland's castle i$?" "I 

Digitized by 


Childe Rowland, 185 

cannot tell thee", said the cow-herd, " but go on a little farther, 
and thou wilt come to the sheep-herd, and he, perhaps, may tell 
thee." So Child Rowland drew the good claymore [Excalibar], 
that never struck in vain, and hewed off the head of the cow-herd. 
He then went a little farther, till he came to the sheep-herd. . . . 

[The sheep-herd^ goat-herd^ and swine-herd are all^ each in his 
iurn^ served in the same manner ; and lastly^ he is referred to the 

" Go on yet a little farther", said the hen-wife, " till thou come 
to a round green hill surrounded with rings {terraces) from the 
bottom to the top ; go round it three times widershinSy and every 
time say : * Open, door ! open, door ! and let me come in' ; and 
the third time the door will open, and you may go in." So Child 
Rowland drew the good claymore [Excalibar], that never struck 
in vain, and hewed off the head of the hen-wife. Then went he 
three times widershins round the green hill, crying: "Open, 
door ! open, door ! and let me come in"; and the third time the 
door opened, and he went in. It immediately closed behind 
him, and he proceeded through a long passage, where the air 
was soft and agreeably warm, like a May evening, as is all the air 
of Elfland. The light was a sort of twilight or gloaming, but 
there were neither windows nor candles, and he knew not whence 
it came, if it was not from the walls and roof, which were rough 
and arched like a grotto, and composed of a clear and trans- 
parent rock, incrusted with sheep' s-siiver and spar, and various 
bright stones. At last he came to two wide and lofty folding- 
doors, which stood ajar. He opened them, and entered a large 
and spacious hall, whose richness and brilliance no tongue can 
tell. It seemed to extend the whole length and height of the 
hill. The superb Gothic pillars, by which the roof was supported, 
were so large and so lofty (said my scannachy) that the pillars 
of the Chanry Kirk, or of Pluscardin Abbey, are no more to be 
compared to them than the Knock of Alves is to be compared to 
Balrinnes or Ben-a-chi. They were of gold and silver, and were 
fretted, like the west window of the Chanry Kirk,^ with wreaths of 
flowers composed of diamonds and precious stones of all manner 
of beautiful colours. The key-stones of the arch above, instead 

^ The Cathedral of Elgin, naturally enough, furnished similes to a 
man who had never in his life been twenty miles distant from it.— Jam. 

Digitized by 


1 86 Childe Rowland, 

of coats of arms and other devices, were ornamented with clusters 
of diamonds in the same manner. And from the middle of the 
roof, where the principal arches met, was hung, by a gold chain, 
an immense lamp of one hollowed pearl, perfectly transparent, in 
the midst of which was suspended a large carbuncle that, by the 
power of magic, continuaUy turned round, and shed over all the 
hall a clear and mild light like the setting sun ; but the hall was 
so large, and these dazzling objects so far removed, that their 
blended radiance cast no more than a pleasing lustre, and excited 
no other than agreeable sensations in the eyes of Child Rowland 
The furniture of the hall was suitable to its architecture ; and 
at the farther end, under a splendid canopy, seated on a gorgeous 
sofa of velvet, silk, and gold, and — 

" Kembing her yellow hair wi* a silver kemb. 

There was his sister burd Ellen ; 

She stood up him before.*' 
Says — 

" * God rue thee, poor luckless fode,^ . 

What hast thou to do here ? ' 

" And hear ye this, my youngest brither, 
Why badena ye at hame ? 
Had ye a hunder and thousand lives, 
Yc canno brook ane o' them. 

** And sit thou down ; and wae, O wae. 
That ever thou was bom ; 
For come the King o' Elfland in, 
Thy leccam^ is forlorn ! " 

A long conversation then takes place. Child Rowland tells her 
the news [of merry Carlisle] and of his own expedition, and con- 
cludes with the obser>'ation that, after his long and fatiguing 
journey to the castle of the King of Elfland, he is very hungry, 

Burd Ellen looked wistfully and mournfully at him, and shook 
her head, but said nothing. Acting under the influence of a 
magic which she could not resist, she arose, and brought him a 
golden bowl full of bread and milk, which she presented to 
him with the same timid, tender, and anxious expression of 

^ Fode — man, * Leccam — body. 

Digitized by 


Childe Rowland, 187 

Remembering the instructions of the Warluck Merlin. " Burd 
Ellen**, said Child Rowland, " I will neither taste nor touch till 
I have set thee free ! " Immediately the folding-doors burst 
open with tremendous violence, and in came the King of Elfland : 

"With/,/,/?, 3Xi^fum/ 

I smell the blood of a Christian man ! 
Be he dead, be he living, wi* my brand 
rU clash his hams frae his ham-pan ! " 

" Strike, then, Bogle of Hell, if thou darest ! " exclaimed the 
undaunted Child Rowland, starting up, and drawing the good 
claymore [Excalibar], that never struck in vain. 

A furious combat ensued, and the King of Elfland was felled 
to the ground, but Child Rowland spared him, on condition that 
he should restore him his two brothers, who lay in a trance in a 
comer of the hall, and his sister, the fair burd Ellen. The King 
of Elfland then produced a small crystal phial, containing a bright 
red liquor, with which he anointed the lips, nostrils, eyelids, ears, 
and finger-ends^ of the two young men, who immediately awoke, 
as from a profound sleep, during which their souls had quitted 
their bodies, and they had seen, etc., etc., etc. So they all four 
returned in triumph to [merry Carlisle]. 

Such was the rude outline of the Romance of Child Rowland, 
as it was told to me when I was about seven or eight years old, 
by a country tailor then at work in my father's house. He was 
an ignorant and dull, good sort of honest man, who seemed never 
to have questioned the tmth of what he related. Where the 
et cateras are put down, many curious particulars have been 
omitted, because I was afraid of being deceived by my memory, 
and substituting one thing for another. It is light also to admonish 
the reader that "The Wariuck Meriin, Child Rowland, and 

' This anointing the seats of the five senses seems borrowed firom 
the sacrament of extreme unction in the Catholic Church ; but extreme 
unction (with blood), lustration by water, the sign of the cross^breaking 
o/breadydJid drinking 0/ tvine, tiCy vf^rt in use among the Goths 
long before the introduction of Christianity ; and the Mitres of our 
bishops are lineally descended from the radiated turbans of the 
priests of Mithra^ the Persian God of the Sun, The Rosary is used 
by the followers of Lama, among the Kalmucks, etc. — Jamieson. 

Digitized by 


1 88 Childe Rowiana. 

Burd Ellen" were the only names introduced in his recitation, and 
that the others inclosed within brackets are assumed upon the 
authority of the locality given to the story by the mention of 
Merlin, In every other respect I have been as faithful as 

It was recited in a sort of formal, drowsy, measured, monotonous 
recitative, mixing prose and verse, in the manner of the Icelandic 
Sagas, and as is still the manner of reciting tales and fabulas 
aniles in the winter evenings, not only among the Islanders, 
Norwegians, and Swedes, but also among the Lowlanders in the 
north of Scotland, and among the Highlanders and Irish. This 
peculiarity, so far as my memory could serve me, I have 
endeavoured to preserve; but of the verses which have been 
introduced, I cannot answer for the exactness of any, except the 
stanza put into the mouth of the King of Elfland, which was 
indelibly impressed upon my memory, long before I knew any- 
thing of Shakespeare, by the odd and whimsical manner in 
which the tailor curled up his nose, and sniffed all about, to 
imitate the action which " fi, fi, fo, fum ! " is intended to 

Jamieson's reference to Shakespeare may lead us to 
direct our attention in the first place to the very distin- 
guished literary history of our story, at least according to 
my opinion. Browning found in King Lear a line of dark 
import — 

"Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower came," 

and made out of it a mystical poem. He little thought he 
was dealing with a fragment of a fairy tale. Yet there 
can be little doubt that Edgar, in his mad scene in King 
Lear^ is alluding to our tale, which indeed has some faint 
analogy with its plot, when he breaks into the lines : 

" Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower came .... 
His word was still : * Fie, fob, and fum, 
I smell the blood of a British^ man.*" 

King Lear^ act iii, sc. 4, ad fin, 

I " British" for " English". This is one of^c points that settles 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

Childe Rowland. 189 

The latter reference is to the cry of the King of Elfland. 
That some such story was current in England in Shake- 
speare's time, is proved by that curious niUange of nursery 
tales, Peek's The Old Wives' Tale, The main plot of this 
is the search of two brothers, Calopha and Thelea, for a lost 
sister, Delia, who has been bespelled by a sorcerer, 
Sacrapant (the names are taken from the Orlando 
Furiosd), They are instructed by an old man (like Mer- 
lin in " Childe Rowland") how to rescue their sister, and 
ultimately succeed. The play has besides this the themes 
of the Thankful Dead, the Three Heads of the Well 
(which see), the Life Index, and a transformation ; so that 
it is not to be wondered at if some of the traits of "Childe 
Rowland" are observed in it, especially as the name implies 
that it was made up of folk-tales. 

But a still closer parallel is afforded by Milton's Comus, 
Here again we have two brothers in search of a sister, 
who has got into the power of an enchanter. But besides 
this, there is the refusal of the heroine to touch the en- 
chanted food, just as Childe Rowland finally refuses. And 
ultimately the bespelled heroine is liberated by a liquid, 
which is applied to her lips and finger-tips, just as Childe 
Rowland's brothers are unspelled by applying a liquid to 
their eyelids, nostrils, lips, and finger-tips. Such a minute 
resemblance as this cannot be accidental, and it is there- 
fore probable that Milton used the original form of "Childe 
Rowland", or some variant of it, as heard in his youth, and 
adapted it to the purposes of the masque at Ludlow Castle, 
and of his allegorj*. Certainly no other folk-tale in the 
world can claim so distinguished an offspring. 

Whether this be so or no, these literary parallels prove 
at least that our tale has been told in these islands for 
at least 250 years, from Shakespeare's youth till Mother- 

the date of the play ; James I was declared King of Great Britain, 
October 1604. I may add that Motherwell, in his Minstrelsy , p. xiv, 
note, testifies that the story was still extant in the nursery at the time 
he wrote (1828). 

Digitized by 


1 90 Childe Rowland. 

well's time, who declares {supra^ p. 189, «.) that it was 
recited in his day, 1828, in Scotch nurseries. This 
independent testimony saves us the trouble of investigating 
very closely the authenticity of Jamieson's version, even if 
his accompanying remarks did not prove, on the face of 
them, his obvious bona fides. 

Here, then, we have happening in our own land what we 
folk-lorists so often assume to happen elsewhere. The 
story existed before Shakespeare, yet does not get written 
down till 200 years after his death. The mere fact that it 
is ultimately written down in the Lowlands of Scotland 
need not, I think, disturb us from the conclusion that it 
existed in Elizabethan England, for I have been able to 
trace every one of the folk-stories which are preserved 
in Lowland Scotch either to England or to the Highlands. 
The story of " Childe Rowland" does not, therefore, arise 
in Lowland Scotland, and as it is known by Shakespeare's 
quotation to have been in England in the sixteenth 
century, it is, notwithstanding all Saturday Reviewers may 
say, an English fairy tale. But it bears within it marks 
of still higher antiquity than the sixteenth century. Here 
we reach those points of contrast between Folk-tale and 
Customary Archaeology with which Messrs. Gomme, 
Hartland, and Lang have familiarised us. We may 
profitably, I think, devote some attention to the "survivals" 
of archaic life, which are, I believe, to be found in unusual 
profusion in " Childe Rowland". 

I. Unction of Extremities, — We may dismiss rather 
curtly the youngest antiquity. Jamieson has already 
noticed that the way in which Burd Ellen's elder brothers 
are restored to life by anointment of the seats of the five 
senses — " unction of the extremities" we might call it — is 
derived from the extreme unction of the Roman Catholic 
Church. This involves that the tale received its final 
form while England was still Roman Catholic, />., before 
the sixteenth century. It does not necessarily follow that 
this touch was a part of the original when first composed. 

Digitized by 


Ckilde Rowland. \<)\ 

We shall soon see, I think, that its atmosphere was not 
within the Christian fold. Jamieson remarks, in an 
off-hand manner, that extreme unction with blood was in 
use among the Goths long before the introduction of 
Christianity, but I have failed to find any authentic 
justification for this statement It will be observed, 
however, that it was with " a bright red liquor" that the 
unction of the extremities was performed in our tale. 

II. We may next take the notion contained in the 
curious word widershins. In my book I adopted a 
friend's suggestion that this word is derived from the 
words wider, against, and shine, " the course of the sun". 
For this I have been taken to task by my friend Mr. J. 
Gollonez in the Academy, who informs us, with an appalling 
array of Teutonic learning, that it is rather from wider, and 
a word sinn, equivalent to " sense", but the very existence 
of which in English has to be assumed ad fwc; so that the 
word simply means " contrariwise". On my pointing out 
that this does not explain the sh in " widershins", nor the 
special sense " opposite to the sun*s course", Mr. Gollonez 
allows that " shine" had some influence on the word as a 
folk-etymology. "'Twas Tweedledum," I said. "No," 
says Mr. Gollonez, " 'tis Tweedledee, with only an infusion 
of Tweedledum." But that etymology is so exact a science, 
one would feel tempted to smile. 

But whether "contrariwise" or "counterclockwise", as 
the mathematicians say, the idea attached to widershins is 
ancient, though not archaic. It points to a time of 
opposition between Christendom and paganism. To do 
things in a way opposite to the Church way was to league 
oneself with the enemies of the Church. Hence the door 
of the Dark Tower opens to him that has gone round it 
three times widershins, just as the Devil appeared to those 
who said the Paternoster backwards. This element in the 
story points, then, to a time when Christianity was intro- 
duced into these islands, and had the upperhand. 

III. Yet there are, seemingly, elements in it which must 

Digitized by 


1()2 Childe Rowland, 

trace back long before that time for their origin. Our 
hero is the youngest of three brothers, yet he is called 
the childe or heir. Have we here a trace of the time 
when the youngest son was the heir?^ That custom 
has left traces even upon English land, where it is known 
as " Borough English", and exists still, I believe, in some 
few English manors. Yet it most probably traces from 
the very earliest times when Englishmen were still 
wandering, and had not settled into tuns, 

IV. The taboo against taking food in the enemy's land 
has something savage and archaic about it, as is the case 
with all taboos. It is an incident tolerably frequent in folk- 
tales or fairy tales, and there is a classical example of it in 
the myth of Persephone. Mr. Hartland, who has recently 
studied the matter, comes to the conclusion that there is 
some relation between the taboo against taking food in 
Elfland and that against eating the food of the dead. If 
we carried out this explanation in the present instance, it 
would follow that the Dark Tower — if we may so call the 
hilly palace of the Erlkonig of our tale — is the Underworld 
peopled by the dead, and the King of Elfland is a variant of 
Pluto. Our story would thus be another instance of the 
well-known theme of the Descent to Hell. This involves, 
of course, that Fairies are Ghosts, which needs an explana- 
tion why people should believe both in fairies and ghosts. 

V. Against this there are certain indications in our 
story that tell for a recent theory of fairies that is more 
substantial in so far as it supposes them to have really 
existed. I refer to the recently published work of Mr. 
D. MacRitchie, The Testimony of Tradition (Kegan 
Paul, Trench, Triibner & Co.) /.^., of tradition about the 
fairies and the rest. Briefly put, Mr. MacRitchie's view is 
that the elves, trolls, and fairies represented in popular 
tradition are really the mound-dwellers, whose remains 
have been discovered in some abundance in the form of 

^ Not too much stress need be laid upon this, however, owing to the 
conventional use of " Childe" in the Romances. 

Digitized by 


Childe Rowland. 193 

green hillocks, which have been artificially raised over a 
long and low passage leading to a central chamber open 
to the sky. Mr. MacRitchie shows that in several in- 
stances traditions about trolls or "good people*' have 
attached themselves to mounds, which have afterwards on 
investigation turned out to be evidently the former resi- 
dence of men of smaller build than the mortals of to-day. 
He goes on further to identify these with the Picts — fairies 
are called " Pechs** in Scotland — and other early races, but 
with these ethnological equations we need not much con- 
cern ourselves. It is otherwise with the mound-traditions 
and their relation, if not to fairy tales in general, to tales 
about fairies, trolls, elves, etc. These are very few in 
number, and generally bear the character of anecdotes. 
The fairies, etc., steal a child, they help a wanderer to a 
drink, and then disappear into a green hill ; they help cot- 
tagers with their work at night, but disappear if their pre- 
sence is noticed ; human midwives are asked to help fair}' 
mothers, fairy maidens marry ordinary men, or girls marry 
and live with fairy husbands. All such things may have 
happened, and bear no such i priori marks of impossibility 
as speaking animals, flying through the air, and similar 
incidents of the folk-tale pure and simple. If, as archaeo- 
logists tell us, there was once a race of men in Northern 
Europe, very short and hairy, that dwelt in underground 
chambers artificially concealed by green hillocks, it does 
not seem unlikely that odd survivors of the race should 
have lived on after they had been conquered and nearly 
exterminated by Aryan invaders, and should occasionally 
have performed something like the pranks told of fairies 
and trolls. 

VI. Certainly the description of the Dark Tower of 
the King of Elfland in " Childe Rowland" has a remark- 
able resemblance to the dwellings of the "good folk" 
which recent excavations have revealed. Mr. MacRitchie 
gives illustrations of one of the most interesting of these, 
the Maes How of Orkney ; by his kindness I was enabled 

VOL. 11. o 

Digitized by 


194 Childe Rowland. 

to reproduce this in my English Fairy Tales, page 243. 
This IS a green mound some 100 feet in length and 35 in 
breadth at its broadest part. Tradition had long located 
a goblin in its centre, but it was not till 1861 that it was 
discovered to be pierced by a long passage 53 feet in 
length, and only two feet four inches high, for half of its 
length. This led into a central chamber 15 feet square 
and open to the sky. 

Now it is remarkable how accurately all this corresponds 
to the Dark Tower of "Childe Rowland", allowing for a 
little idealisation on the part of the narrator. We have 
the long dark passage leading into the well-lit central 
chamber, and all enclosed in a green hill or mound. Mr. 
MacRitchie in a private communication points out that 
the brilliant decorations of the interior may have some 
connection with the brightly decorated mats hung on the 
walls of Esquimaux huts. This is perhaps going a little 
too much into minutiae. 

VII. Even such a minute touch as the terraces on the hill 
in our story have their bearing, I believe, on Mr. Mac- 
Ritchie's " realistic" views of Faerie. For in quite another 
connection Mr. G. L. Gomme, in his recent Village Com- 
munity (W. Scott), pp. 75-98, has given reasons and 
examples^ for believing that terrace cultivation along the 
sides of hills was a practice of the non-Aryan and pre- 
Aryan inhabitants of these isles. Here, then, from a 
quarter quite unexpected by Mr. MacRitchie, we have 
evidence of the association of the King of Elfland with a 
non-Aryan mode of cultivation of the soil. By Mr. 
Gomme's kindness I was enabled to give an illustration of 
this in my English Fairy Tales, p. 244. 

If there is anything in these points, our story may have 
a certain amount of historic basis, and give a record which 
history fails to give 01 the very earliest conflict of races in 
these isles. I do not wish to press the point unduly, but 
it certainly seems to me that it would be worth while 
* To these may be added lona (cf. Duke of Argyll, lona, p. 109). 

Digitized by 


Childe Rowland. 


seeing if there are any sufficient number of terraced hills 
with enclosed chambers that are associated in the popular 
mind with the fairies, elfs, pixies, " good folk", and the 
thousand-and-one other names the people give to these 
enigmatic beings. I have myself collected a list of the 
local names which are thus associated with fairies, and the 
near future may perhaps lead to something more tangible 
about the fairies than might be expected. 

VIII. I have left to the last a trait that certainly seems 
archaic and savage, though I have no theory to account 
for it It is the curious " off with their head" method by 
which Childe Rowland rewards the service of the herds and 
the hen-wife for telling him his way. Why this should be 
done on any folk-lore principles I am at a loss to under- 

The story of Childe Rowland would thus be an idealised 
account of a marriage by capture — another savage trait — 
by one of the pre-Aryan dwellers, with an Aryan maiden, 
and her recapture by her brothers, an incident which was 
probably not uncommon when the two races dwelt side by 
side, but in a state of permanent hostility. That is the 
conclusion that some of the above indications would lead 
us to if we study the tale merely with the view of tracing 
" survivals". 

But there is another way of looking at it, that of the 
Science of Fairy Tales properly so-called, which deals with 
tales as tales, and without reference to their archaeo- 
logical references. This has first to do with the origin of 
the tale in the sense of asking when and where it was first 
told as a tale. Luckily here our problem is simple. There 
IS nothing exactly parallel to the whole story outside 
England, so England was its original home.^ The nearest 
parallel is the story of the Red Ettin, where we have the 

* The formula "Fee ^ fo fum* is essentially English, though 
analogous ones occur almost everywhere, and can be traced as far 
back as i^schylus. 

O 2 

Digitized by 


196 Childe Rowland. 

enchanted castle and the successful youngest brother. 
The latter trait is of course one of the most frequent of 
folk-tale formulae ; I have drawn out a list extending to 
some hundreds of tales in which the youngest son or 
daughter is successful after the elder ones had failed, but 
I am convinced that the choice of the youngest son as a 
hero is due to artistic, not archaeological causes. But there 
is one contribution that the science of the folk-tale may 
make to the problem of antiquity which we have been 
hitherto discussing, and that is by directing our first 
attention to ^^form of "Childe Rowland". 

This begins with verse, then turns to prose, and through- 
out drops again at intervals into poetry in a friendly way, 
like Mr. Wegg. Now this is a form of writing not un- 
known in other branches of literature, the cante-fabU^ of 
which " Aucassin et Nicolette" is the most distinguished 
example. Nor is the cante-fable confined to France. 
Many of the heroic verses of the Arabs contained in tlje 
Hamdsa would be unintelligible without accompanying 
narrative, which is nowadays preserved in the commentary. 
The verses imbedded in the Arabian NiglUs give them 
something of the character of a cante-fable^ and the same 
may be said of the Indian and Persian story-books, though 
the verse is usually of a sententious and moral kind, as in 
the gdthas of the Buddhist Jatakas. The contemporary 
Hindoo storytellers, Mr. Hartland remarks, also commingle 
verse and prose. Even as remote as Zanzibar, Mr. Lang 
notes, the folk-tales are told as cante-fables. There are 
even traces in the Old Testament of such screeds of verse 
amid the prose narrative, as in the story of Lamech or that 
of Balaam. All this suggests that this is a very early and 
common form of narrative. 

Among folk-tales there are still many traces of the 
cante-fable. Thus, In Grimm's collection, verses occur in 
Nos. I, 5, II, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 30, 36, 38^, b, 39a, 
40, 45, 46, 47, out of the first fifty tales, 36 per cent Of 
Chambers* twenty-one folk-tales, in the Popular Rhymes of 

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Childe Rowland. 197 

Scotland, only five are without interspersed verses. Of the 
forty tales contained in my volume, thirteen contain 
rhymed lines, while four contain "survivals" of rhymes, 
and two others are rhythmical if not rhyming. As most 
of the remainder are drolls, which have probably a dif- 
ferent origin, there seems to be great probability that 
originally all folk-tales of a serious character were inter- 
spersed with rhyme, and took therefore the form of the 
cante-fable. It is indeed unlikely that the ballad itself 
began as continuous verse, and the cante-fable is pro- 
bably the protoplasm out of which both ballad and 
folk-tale have been differentiated, the ballad by omitting 
the narrative prose, the folk-tale by expanding it In 
" Childe Rowland" we have the nearest example to such 
protoplasm, and it is not difficult to see how it could have 
been shortened into a ballad or reduced to a prose folk- 
tale pure and simple. 

Thus a consideration of its form confirms our impression 
of the antiquity of our story even in its present form, and 
combines with our folk-lore discussion of the archaic 
elements of the tale to prove that in "Childe Rowland" 
we have the oldest of extant English fairy tales. That 
it is connected with such names as Shakespeare, Milton 
and Browning enables me to contend as I did at the 
beginning of this paper that "Childe Rowland" is the most 
interesting of our native fairy tales. 

Joseph Jacobs. 

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THERE is, further, that peculiar country Sarras^ men- 
tioned as the land whence the Saracens came. 
The nomenclature in these romances, both that of persons 
and that of places, is one which deserves a careful investi- 
gation. • If we could succeed in fixing some of the most im- 
portant localities, much will be won for the date, age, and 
probable origin of the sources. I cannot linger over that 
important question here, nor even touch it more than I 
have done. It opens a wide prospect where fancy would 
display itself in etymological plays, riddles and solutions. 
The country of Sarras is one of these. As far as I have 
been able to investigate there is no trace of a country 
bearing such a name in the East Looking to the legend 
of Alexander, I think the mystery will be solved. After 
leaving the Temple of the Sun, Alexander went to the 
country of Xerxes and delivered decisive battles (so in 
Valerius). In the French version {v. G. Paris, i, p. 
189-190) of Thomas of Kent, we have there (chap, ccxxx) 
substituted for Xerxes and his army : " de gens touz nuz 
sunt apellez serres" and in ch. ccxxxii, ccxxxiii, "del 
pople qu'est apellfe Serres et de lur dreiture", " coment les 
Serres guierent Alix." The gymnosophists take the place 
of the Persians and are called the people of Xerxes. Out 
of this SerreS'Xerxes grew the Sarras of the Grail cycle. 
These few examples suffice to establish a close connection 
also between minor details in the Alexandreid and in the 
Grail. The central portion has been taken over bodily and 
forms the central portion of the Grail, with all the pecu- 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 199 

Harities which tend to explain the further development this 
legend went through, until it reached that stage in which 
we find it. 

By being connected with Alexander's journey to Paradise 
the legend of the Quest, which in its primitive form must 
also have been a search after it, is brought into close alliance 
with the numerous tales of saints journeying to Paradise : 
the legend of the three monks, that of St. Macarius in 
the desert^ (in itself only a modification of Alexander's), and 
St. Brendan, not to mention ever so many more. 

The description of the palace or castle is revived and 
amplified in the famous letter of Prester John, which became 
known at that time, and is directly quoted by Wolfram. 
Here the Christian element begins to creep in and leads 
the way to the other profound modifications which the 
legend underwent. We can see the transition from the 
heathen temple to a Christian palace (church) with a king 
(priest) ; coming thus nearer to certain forms of tho Grail 
legend. In another place I intend studying the letter 
of Prester John, and of showing the sources whence it was 
derived. It will be shown there that it owes its origin, to 
some extent, to Jewish tales and Jewish descriptions of 
travels ; and some light may be thrown on Flegetanis the 
Jew, to whom, according to Wolfram, Kyot owed the 
original of the Grail legend. 

I must incidentally mention that a careful comparison 
of Chrestien's poem with the French " Chansons de Geste" 
will reveal the great dependence of the former upon the 
latter. Many an incident, many a description is un- 
doubtedly taken over. I limit myself here to one, because 
Mr. Nutt gives it such prominence ; I mean the Stag hunt. 
Instead of having anything to do with the " lay of the fool", 
the connection with it being far from clear, or convincing, 
the true explanation is given in incident 70 of the Queste 
(Nutt, p. 49) ; there we read : " On the morrow they meet 

^ V. Graf, Paradiso terrestrOy Torino, 1878. 

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200 The Legend of the Grail. 

a white stag led by four lions ; these come to a hermitage, 
and hear mass, the stag becomes a man and sits on the altar ; 
the lions become a man, an eagle, a lion, and an ox, all 
winged." There is not the slightest doubt as to who is 
represented here under the guise of a stag: it is Christ with 
the four Apostles, each in that form in which they have 
been represented by art 

This symbolism is not the author of the Queste's own 
invention. We meet it more than once in the " Chansons 
de Geste" (V. P. Rajna. Le origini delT epopea francese^ 
Florence, 1884, p. 252 and p. 706 flf). It can be traced 
even to a much older source, viz., the famous life of St 
Eustachius Placida, so closely resembling the frame work 
of a romance, that it has indeed become a popular tale, 
and it has been incorporated into the Gesta Romanorum^ 
eA Oesterley (ch. no), and Legenda aurea of Jacobus k 
Voragine. This hero-saint is drawn away from his com- 
panions by the appearance of a stag, whom he pursues, and 
which turns out afterwards to be Christ himself The stag 
has thus a symbolical meaning, and is of purely Christian 

The greatest modification in the tale, however, is that 
wrought in the character and attributes of the Holy GraiL 
I proceed, therefore, to investigate this second most impor- 
tant element of the legend. 

There is, first, the question whence the name } What is the 
meaning of it ? This question is the more necessary, as 
the oldest writers themselves do not know its exact meaning 
and have recourse to explanations which in the best case 
are mere plays upon the word. Paulin Paris, in his 
''Romans de la Table Ronde'\ suggests that the name Grail is 
nothing else but a modification of the Latin Graduate, the 
name of a book used in the liturgy of the Church, wherein 
the tale was written down. The romances themselves afford 
examples enough to connect the tale with books preserved 
in the Church ; the introduction to the Grand St Graal lets 
the book come down directly from heaven. 

Digitized by 


Tlie Legend of the Grail. 20 r 

I can adduce another positive proof, viz., that a book 
used in the Church did bear the name of Grael Philipp 
of Thaiin, one of the oldest Norman poets (i loo-i 135), who 
wrote his Computus undoubtedly before the first half of the 
1 2th century, ^>., at least 50 years before Chrestien, gives 
a list of books which every good clergyman is expected to 
possess. He says : I90 fut 

li saltiers 

E li antefiniers 

Baptisteries, Gratis 

Hymniers e li messels 

Tropiers e le9unier, etc. 
(M. F. Mann, Physiologus, I, Halle, 1884, p. 6-7:) 
This being the case, the Grail must have been either a 
book containing psalms chanted during the liturgy, or a 
description of some sort of theological legend or tale 
connected with the liturgy. 

If the book was called Sanct Grael, and by popular 
etymology connected with sang (blood), we can easily un- 
derstand one of the main developments of the legend, for 
nothing would be simpler than to explain it first as the 
blood of Christ, and then as the vessel destined to receive 
it But this is undoubtedly the youngest of all the vari- 
ations, and must be studied together with the sources and 
origin of the early history. 

Chrestien and Gautier knew nothing of its previous 
history, and in the few passages in which the Grail occurs 
it is vaguely indicated as having food-giving properties 
without any other spiritual or theological gifts. Again, in 
Wolfram's version it has quite a different character alto- 
gether : it is a stone which yields all manner of food and 
drink, the power of which is sustained by a dove which 
every week lays a wafer upon it, is given, after the fall 
of the rebel angels, in charge to Titurel and his dynasty, 
is by them preserved in the Grail castle, Mont Salvatsch, 
and is guarded by a sacred order of knighthood whom it 
chooses Itself (Nutt, p. 25). 

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202 The Legend of the GraiL 

If we follow up closely the difterent versions, we can 
easily observe the increase of the properties assigned to 
the Grail, and through the Grail to the Grail- keeper and 
Grail-seeker. We can see how the author of each new 
version tried to outdo his predecessor, and thus in time a 
complete history of the Grail appears, of which nothing was 
known before. 

The connection, further, with Britain is one of the latest 
developments, and has nothing whatsoever to do with 
the primitive history of the Grail, with which it became 
later connected. I must leave that point untouched, as 
I wish to go straight to the question of the Grail itself I 
have already stated, at the beginning, that the temple of the 
Grail in the poem is the temple of Jerusalem, and the 
Grail in its double character a certain sacred stone in the 
Holy place. 

The change from the temple of the sun to a Christian 
church is only natural and quite in accordance with the 
spirit of the time. Besides, the legend of Prester John with 
his palace-church paved the way for the transition, and 
certainly none was better known or more renowned than 
that of Jerusalem, of which numerous legends were circu- 
lated by pilgrims from the Holy Land swarming through 
Europe, not to speak of the crusades and the numerous 
expeditions to Palestine. We can trace those legends, 
which I shall mention later on more fully, through a great 
number of Christian writers, ranging from the twelfth 
century back to the third. From such legends is derived 
also the double character assigned to the Grail, that of a 
holy cup or vessel, with an eucharistical symbolism, and 
that of a sacred stone existing from the creation of the 
world, and carried about by the angels of heaven. Both 
are derived from a more primitive notion, viz., from the 
legends connected with a sacred stone which served as 
an altar in that very church. In this peculiar character 
we can trace it back to the first century, and, perhaps* 
to an earlier tradition preserved by Jewish writers. 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 203 

It IS well known that many ancient legends connected 
with the temple of Solomon have been adapted in later 
times to serve Christian notions. I mention, for instance, 
the legend of Golgotha and the head of Adam, the legend of 
the beam in the temple which became afterwards the cross, 
that of the queen of Sheba, and the Sybilla, and so very 
many other legends and apocryphal tales, some of which 
are also to be found in the Grand St Graal, nay, form the 
greater part of its contents. 

Now there was current at the time a peculiar legend 
connected with a certain stone that is still in existence ; it 
is that stone which stands under a baldachin in the 
HaratHy more precisely, in the KubbeUes-Sachray the 
Temple of the Rock, It is that famous building erected by 
sultan El-Melik towards the end of the seventh century, 
which so deeply impressed the Crusaders and the Tem- 
plars, that they thought it was the real temple of Solomon. 
In order to watch this temple and keep it against the 
infidels, the knighthood of the Templars arose at the 
beginning of the eleventh century. They took the image 
of that dome as a crest Many a church in Europe was 
built after this model ; if I am not mistaken, the Temple 
Church in London, where the quarters of the Knights 
Templar were, as well as similar buildings in Laon, 
Metz, etc. 

The centre of that building is the rock, famous alike in 
Jewish, Mohamedan, and Christian legends ; it is surrounded 
by a trellis of iron, with four lattice doors wrought by 
French artizans of the twelfth century, and is covered 
with red samite and gold fringes. 

It would be almost impossible to give here all the 
legends that are told of this rock. I select only a few 
bearing on our subject I begin with the oldest, that 
taken from the Jewish literature. 

The first impulse to legendary development is the 
passage of the Bible : (Isaiah, xxviii, 16) " Therefore, thus 
saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a founda- 

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204 The Legend of the Grail. 

tion a stone, a precious corner stone of sure foundation." 
(Cf. I Pet li, V. 6.) Later fancy saw in that rock the 
stone of foundation, endowed it with supernatural origin 
and power, and gave it the name of " Eben shatya", " the 
stone of foundation. This stone is the centre of the 
world, upon it stands the Temple, and that is the stone 
upon which Jacob slept and saw the wonderful ladder 
with God standing on top of it" So runs one legend. 

Another, more elaborate one, says : "When God created 
the world he took a stone (undoubtedly a precious one), 
engraved His holy and mysterious Name upon it, and sank 
it in the abyss to stem the underground waters ; for when 
they behold the Holy Name they get overawed, and shrink 
back into their natural boundaries. Whenever a man 
utters an oath that stone comes up and receives that oath, 
and returns to its former place. If the oath is a true one, 
then the letters of the Holy Name get more deeply engraved, 
but if it is a false oath the letters are washed away by the 
waves, which surge and rise, and would overflow the world, 
if God did not send an angel, Jaazriel, who possesses the 
seventy keys to the mysterious name of God, to engrave 
them anew, and thus to drive the flood back, for other- 
wise the world would be flooded." 

As a continuation of this legend there exists another, 
according to which David, when he intended to lay 
the foundation of the Temple, brought that stone up from 
the depth, and if not for Divine intervention, would have 
brought about a second flood. 

More ancient is the belief that upon that rock the holy 
ark, with the stone tables of the ten commandments, used 
to rest, and that they were hidden inside the rock at the 
moment of the destruction of the first temple.^ 

In the second book of the Maccabees the concealing of 

1 Jomoy f. 53^, f. 546 ; TanhumOy ed Buber, ii, p. 59, No. 59, 60, 
61 ; Levit. rab,^ sect 20; Numb, rab.y sect 12 ; Cant, rab.^ ad. ch. iii, v. 
18; Pesikia rab.^ sect 47; Midrash Psalm, Ps. 91, v. 12; Yalkut 
Sim., i, f. 35, § 120, f. 44d, § i45> etc. 

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The Legend of the GraiL 205 

the holy vessels in a rock sealed with the ineffable name 
of God, is attributed to the Prophet Jeremiah — as is also the 
case in a certain apocryphal legend of Jeremiah, wherein 
also an incident occurs, which is absolutely identical with 
the legend of the Holy GraiL Both the keys of the temple 
and the Holy Grail are taken up to heaven by a mysterious 
hand reaching down from on high. But this I mention 
only incidentally. Let us proceed further with the Eben 

As the oldest tradition will have it, it was in the temple 
from the time of the first prophets, that is, it is recorded 
as having been from that time. It was therefore placed in 
the portion where the ark used to be before, in the Holy of 
Holies of the Temple ; the High-priest entered there once 
a year to bum " sweet incense". This act was considered 
to be of symbolic importance, and the popular belief 
endows the rock with food-giving properties. " It is thence 
that Israel got abundance of food" ; so runs the passage 
in the original. To complete the characteristics of this stone 
I have only to add another legend, which brings us directly 
in . connection with Christianity. An old anti-Christian 
writing — perhaps that mentioned in the seventh century, 
but modified in later times^ — ^has a peculiar tale about this 

It runs as follows : — 

"Now, at this time (/>., in the time of Jesus) the 
unutterable name of God was engraved in the temple 
on the Eben Shatya, For when King David laid the 
foundations, he found there a stone in the ground on 
which the name of God was engraved, and he took it and 
placed it in the Holy of Holies. But as the wise men 
feared lest some inquisitive youth should learn this Name, 
and be able thereby to destroy the world, they made by 
magic two brazen lions, which they sat before the entrance 
of the Holy of Holies, one on the right, the other on the 


* Lipsius, Pilatus AcUn^ p. 29. 

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2o6 The Legend of the Grail. 

" Now if anyone were to go within and learn the Holy 
Name, then the lions would begin to roar as he came out, 
so that out of alarm and bewilderment he would lose his 
presence of mind, and forget the Name. 

"And Jesus left upper Galilee and came secretly to 
Jerusalem, and went into the temple, and learned there the 
holy writing, and after he had written the ineffable Name 
on parchment, he uttered it, with intent that he might feel 
no pain, and then he cut into his flesh, and hid the parch- 
ment with the inscription therein. Then he uttered the 
Name once more, and made so that his flesh healed up 

" And when he went out of the door the lions roared, 
and he forgot the Name. Therefore he hastened outside 
the town, cut into his flesh, took the writing out, and when 
he had sufficiently studied the signs he retained the Name 
in memory, * and thus he wrought all the miracles through 
the agency of the ineffable name of God.'"^ 

Taking all these elements together we have here clearly 
all the properties assigned to the Grail : the precious stone, 
the centre of the temple, and further, the Keeper of the 
great secret, the mysterious words given to Joseph, and 
handed down by him to his descendants, the lions at the 
entrance against which Lancelot fought 

These are the primary elements for the later develop- 
ments by Christians and Mohamedans ; as that stone was 
equally holy to both, and the primitive legends were 
adapted to the altered circumstances, so, as we shall see, it 
became the altar upon which mass was celebrated, and the 
table of the Last Supper, the primitive form from which 
the later spiritual one was derived. 

Well known is the interpretation of the text of Isaiah 
from which I started. In the first Epistle of Peter, c. ii, v. 6, 
these very words are quoted, together with those from Psalm 
cxviii, 22, and Jesus is identified with the comer-stone, 
which in its turn was identified with the Eben Shatya, the 

^ Baring-Gould, Lost Gospels^ p. 77-78. 

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The Legend of the Grail. 20J 

stone of the world's foundation : He the stone, the altar, the 
sacrifice, thus the Eucharist 

At the place where the Temple stood a church was erected, 
or the Temple transformed into a church, called the Church 
of Mount Zion, first the abode of the Virgin Mary, then the 
Church of St. James. One of the first pilgrims whose 
record is in existence, one from Bordeaux, ca, 333, shows the 
first phase of this transformation ; he saw already there the 
" big comer-stone of which the Psalmist speaks."^ 

Antoninus, another, of the year 570, knows already more 
about it, for he says : " When you put your ear to it, you 
can hear the voices of many men." According to the 
Mohamedan legend one hears the noise of water. Both tales 
derived from the old legend mentioned above, that the stone 
shuts up the waters of the depth. 

This church founded there is the mother church founded 
by the Apostles ; and with this agrees the whole Christian 
antiquity. In the same manner Evodius, Epiphanius, 
Hieronymus, and many other ecclesiastical historians, 
unanimously assert that the scene of the Last Supper took 
place on Mount Zion. John of Wurzburg (i 160-70; an older 
contemporary of Chriestien) says : " The Coenaculuiri' is on 
Mount Sion, in the very spot where Solomon reared his 
splendid building, of which he speaks in his *Song of 
Songs'." The table of the Last Supper was also shown there 
as late as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and this table 
was identified with the altar upon which the Apostle John 
celebrated mass, which altar stands for that comer-stone. 

There is a very interesting passage inMandeville's descrip- 
tion, a synchretistic account of what he saw on Mount Sion : 
"And 120 paces from that church (St. James) is Mount 
Sion, where there is a fair church of Our Lady, where she 

dwelt and died, and there is the stone which the 

angel brought to Our Lady from Mount Sinai, which is of 

^ A. N. Wesselofsky, Razyskaniya vii oblasii russkago duhovnago 
stiha^ iii, St. Petersburg, 1881, p. 4, ff. 

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2o8 The Legend of the Grail. 

the same colour as that of St Catharine." And further on : 
" There is a part of the table on which Our Lord made His 
Supper, when he made his Maundy with his disciples and 
gave them his flesh and blood in form of bread and wine. 
And under that chapel, by a descent of thirty-two steps, is 
the place where Our Lord washed his disciples' feet, and 
the vessel which contained the water is still preserved. . . . 
And there is the altar where Our Lord heard the angels- 
sing mass." 

Almost identical with this description is that of Philip, 
of the twelfth or thirteenth century. The identification of 
stone and altar, and further altar and mass, is to be met 
with also elsewhere. It is in fact no more than a simple 
adaptation of the old notion, that the ark stood upon that 
stone and that the stone took the place of the altar. To 
identify the altar in the church and the sacrament with the 
fundamental events in the life and the teachings of Jesus 
is in perfect accord with the allegorical and mystical inter- 
pretations indulged in since ancient times. The mass in 
the oriental church has throughout only a symbolical 
meaning, and the Grail partakes thus of a double interpre- 
tation. To one it is merely a vessel or a cup, a portion for 
the whole, the natural change from the altar and mass to 
the most prominent portion of it ; to another it is still 
a primitive rock made by hands of angels, and the food- 
giving wafer is brought by the dove which represents the 
Holy Spirit 

In one the change is more radical, and with the time 
becomes more mystical and symbolical; in the other the 
original form is better retained, and oflers thus more elements 
for the reconstruction of the oldest form of the legend. 
The Munsalvasche, where the castle stands, is nothing else 
than the " Mount of Salvation" — the Armenian church on 
Mount Sion is dedicated to the " Holy Saviour" the Salvator ; 
and Wolfram was not altogether wrong when he accused 
Chrestien of having departed too much from the original 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 209 

In connection with the preceding, I will add now the 
interpretation of another name, Corbenic^ not infrequent in 
the Grail romances, a name of some importance. According 
to Queste, Incident 13 (Nutt,^p. 73), Castle Corbenic is the 
place wherein the maimed king dwells ; further, Incident 76 
(p. so) the same is again mentioned as the Castle of Peleur, 
or the Maimed King, />., the resting-place of the Grail. 
In the Grand St. Graal, Incident 51 (p. 63) we read : " Here 
is the resting-place of the Holy Grail, a lordly castle is 
built for it hight Corbenic^ which is Cluddee^ and signifies 
* holy vessel *." 

This interpretation is only half true, in so far as the word 
Corbenic can be traced to a Hebrew or Chaldee word 
Corbana, the meaning of which is, offering, sacrifice, and not 
that which is assigned to it by the author of the Grand St. 
Graal, that of holy vessel 

This explanation agrees perfectly with the identification 
of the Grail with the Altar-stone, the place of sacrifices, 
mystical, symbolical or material. 

Starting from the Slavonic, especially Russian legends, 
about the mysterious Altar-stone, which he brought in 
connection with the Grail, Prof. Wesselofsky has tried to 
prove its identity with that stone of the Christian Church 
of Zion mentioned by the pilgrims quoted above. The 
Jewish legends, however, which I have been able to add, 
have enabled me to trace that identity further, and to furnish 
those links which were missing, and to show the last sources 
to whom those Christian legends owed their origin. The 
name " Alatyr", which remained unexplained, is nothing else 
but the AUar-stone, as I have proved it to be. 

The same causes, i.e., the same Palestinian legends, had 
the same result, viz., to produce an ideal stone both for the 
East and the West of Europe, but it remained to the 
genius of the different trouveurs, or Kal^ki perehojie, to 
develop that idea according to the skill and perfection 
possible in those two regions. The one introduced it into 
the famous legend of Alexander, in order to substitute it 

VOL. II. p 

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210 Tlie Legend of the GraiL 

for the meaningless stone mentioned there ; the other 
connected it with other apocryphal tales and legends, and 
formed the famous Golubinaya Kniga of the Russian 

The legend of the Holy Grail had still to pass another 
stage of development, before it became what it is in 
some at least of the romances. It had to be entirely 
spiritualised. The Christian element so prominent in the 
Crusades pervaded the poem so thoroughly that to some 
it was nothing but the outcome of purely Christian 
canonical and non-canonical writings. By leaving the 
classical and local elements out of account, the Grail had 
still remained a puzzle to be solved. 

I do not even attempt now to show all the parallels to 
the Christian apocryphal literature which we meet with in 
the different versions of the romance. The whole early 
history gives itself as such a tale ; later on I may be per- 
mitted to show how inextricably interwoven with it are the 
apocryphal legends of Adam and Seth, the history of the 
Cross, a peculiar legend of Solomon and the Queen of 
Sheba, the legend of Sunday, and ever so many more 
allusions to such and similar apocryphal tales. 

But there still remains the liturgical character which is 
given to the Grail in some of the versions of the romance. 
It serves to bring home to the reader or hearer a certain 
dogmatic teaching about the mystery of the Eucharist. 
The mystical procession, with the description of everything 
that occurred, points clearly to the fact of the transub- 
stantiation of the sacrament, as a thing that did occur in 
the sight of the bystanders, as if it were a proof more to 
the truth and accuracy of this dogmatic teaching. 

Has the author of the romance evolved it out of his own 
fancy, or does he follow here also some legend, which he 
adapts to his purposes? 

There is no doubt that the question of the reality or 
non-reality of transubstantiation was at the time a burning 
one. The author or authors have shown themselves well 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Gf-atL 2 1 1 

versed in Christian and heathen lore, and on the other 
hand not much given to invent out of their own brains. 

I do not know whether anybody has already pointed 
this out, or has brought in connection with it the legend, 
which occurs to me as an almost direct source for that 
portion of the romances of the Grail. 

It is besides localised in Jerusalem, and is directly con- 
nected with that very same church on Mount Sion of which 
the other stone legends speak. I will deal now with this 
legend before concluding this, necessarily short, attempt 
to solve the question of the origin of the Grail. I have 
had to confine myself in many cases merely to indicating 
in a few words what required a special monograph, and I 
may return at another time to the study of those details 
at gfreater length. 

M. Gaster. 

{To be concluded,) 

By Alfred Nutt. 

According to Dr. Gaster, to explain the origin of the 
Grail legends we must "look for one central tale, con- 
taining a sufficient number of incidents, complete in 
itself .... it must contain the most important incidents, 
and that of the Grail as one of them" (supra, pp. 53-54)- 
He finds this tale in a particular episode of the Alexander 
legend (pp. 59-63). Herein he makes no new discovery. 
In 1850, Weismann, in his edition of Lamprecht*s 
Alexander, commented as follows upon the same epi- 
sode: "This description shows marked similarity with 
that of the Grail in mediaeval texts. As the legend 
has its origin in the East, and may have taken shape in the 

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2 1 2 TAc Legend of the GraiL 

first century, it is not strange to find it noticed here ; 
this passage probably contains one of the earliest re- 
ferences to it" {op, ciL, vol. li, p. 212, note). Lamprecht's 
poem and Weismann*s ambiguous hint were probably 
familiar to other students of the Grail cycle as they 
were to me. Dr. Gaster is the first, to my knowledge, 
to take Weismann's hint au sMeux, 

Before examining the hypothesis. I would note a state- 
ment in which, if I may venture to say so, the fallacy 
underlying Dr. Gaster's whole argument is especially 
prominent I refer to the characterisation of the twelfth- 
century French Alexander romances {supra, p. 59) : " One 
has only to see how they dealt with their originals, how 
they transferred the whole scenery from hoary antiquity 
to their own time, and to their own courts, to understand 
the liberty a poet of those times could take with his 
originals." So far from the mediaeval poet transferring 
hoary antiquity to his own time, he projected his own 
time back into hoary antiquity — a very different matter — 
and this he did because he was unconscious of any 
difference between the two. In the words of the most 
eminent living master of mediaeval literature, " Le moyen 
§ge n'a jamais eu conscience de ce qui le distinguait 
profondement de Tantiquit^ ; il s'est toujours repr^sent^ 
le monde comme ayant ^te de tout temps ce qu*il le 
voyait etre ; il se figurait naYvement Alexandre avec ses 
capitaines comme un roi de France ou d'Angleterre 
entourd de ses barons."* What follows? this — the me- 
diaeval poet never felt the need of renaming his antique 
heroes, of shifting the scenes of their exploits. An hypo- 
thesis which starts with the assumption that a .twelfth- 
century writer took an Alexander story and transferred 
it into the Arthur cycle, changing names and localCy at 
once excites suspicion. The thing is not, indeed, im- 
possible, but it is extremely unlikely. We know almost 

^ Gaston Paris, Litt. Frang. au Moyen-dge, p. 75. 

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The Legend of the Grail. 2 1 3 

exactly how a mediaeval poet would have acted. In this 
very cycle we have an instance which could not well be 
bettered. Wolfram von Eschenbach lays the scene of his 
Parzival at Arthur's court, or in the Arthurian region, but 
the father of his Arthurian hero is a knight-errant in the 
pay of the Soldar of Babylon. Not the least attempt is 
made to disguise the Oriental locale. It may safely be 
said that if any mediseval poet had formed the idea of 
the Grail legend in the Alexander cycle, he would have 
retained some, if not most, of the names of persons and 

I pass from this preliminary objection to the considera- 
tion of the eJ>isode which Dr. Gaster seeks to equate with 
the Grail Quest. And I would at once ask Dr. Gaster 
why he quotes from Pseudo-Callisthenes and from Julius 
Valerius instead of from the French romances based upon 
these works, and which alone could have been used by 
Chrestien or any other of the Grail romance writers? I think 
I shall have little difficulty in answering the question pre- 
sently. In Pseudo-Callisthenes the episode forms part of 
Alexander's account, in his letter to his mother, of the 
marvels he witnesses and the adventures he passes through 
after he has overcome the Amazons ; he describes this 
struggle, then his visit to the temple of the sun, to the 
mountain of Nysa, and to the palace of Cyrus (the passages 
quoted by Dr. Gaster), then his strife with the cannibals, 
and his walling up of them and their leaders, Gog and 
Magog, and finally his delivery of Candaules, son of the 
Indian queen Candace, from the Turks and Armenians. 
The letter fills seven pages in Weismann's edition, of which 
two are devoted to the temple of the sun and to Mount 
Nysa, and half-a-page to Cyrus' palace. In Julius Valerius 
the letter fills a page only in Weismann's edition, the sun 
temple is described in four lines, Xerxes' palace in five, 
Alexander's visit to Paradise, the marvels of which he 
beholds quite at his ease, had already been described, as in 
Pseudo-Callisthenes, at a much earlier period and in a quite 

Digitized by 


2 1 4 The Legend of the Grail. 

different connection. The two episodes have absolutely 
nothing to do with each other. The oldest form of the 
French romance (that of Aubry of Besan^on or Briangon) 
has been lost, save a small fragment, but the substance of 
it has been preserved by the German translation of Lamp- 
recht There is nothing corresponding to the temple of 
the sun nor to the palace of Cyrus in Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
only the middle portion of the passage quoted by Dr. Gaster 
(/.^., the description of the mountain of Nysa) is reproduced 
by Aubry-Lamprecht The differences between the two 
are as follows : In Lamprecht, access to the castle on the 
hill is given by golden chains, which hang down, and up 
which the visitors climb ; there are 2,000 steps instead of 
1 50 ; there is no mention of the images of gods nor of an old 
man, but there is of a golden vine, which encompasses the 
bed, and the grapes of which are jewels ; the old man on 
the bed is described as asleep ; there is no attempt on 
Alexander's part to carry off any precious objects ; no 
threatening bird ; no stirring of the old man ; no remon- 
strance on the part of Alexander's friends (Lamprecht, 
verses 5260-5319). 

I think it is now perfectly plain why Dr. Gaster did not 
quote the French version (which alone could have been 
known to Chrestien), and why he did quote the much 
older Greek and Latin versions. Had he quoted from the 
French it would at once have been evident that the only 
point of contact between the two cycles is this : In some 
of the Grail romances the hero comes to a castle, in the 
hall of which he finds an old man lying on a bed (in one, 
Chrestien, he had already met this old man fishing, in 
others the old man is at once described as dangerously ill, 
in none is he described as sleeping) ; in the Alexander 
story the hero comes to a castle in which is an old man 
lying asleep on a bed. With the best will in the world 
there is no possibility of building a theory on such a 
foundation as this. 

Now for the Iter ad Paradisum^ of which, according to 

Digitized by 


The Legend of tlie Grail. 2 1 5 

Dr. Gaster, the passages he has quoted form a part, a state- 
ment for which there is absolutely no foundation whatever.^ 
This is an addition, probably of Jewish origin, to the 
account given by the Greek and Latin writers, and, accord- 
ing to M. Paul Meyer {Alexandre le Grand^ ii, 49), may be 
ascribed to the first half of the 12th century. It has been 
edited in Latin by Zacher in 1859, and in French by M. 
Paul Meyer {Romania, xi, pp. 228-241), and is in Lamp- 
recht's German version of Aubry (verses 6438 ad fineni). 
The contents are briefly as follows : Alexander having 
conquered the known world, full of presumption, sets forth 
to exact tribute from Paradise. He embarks on the Ganges, 
and after a month's journey comes to a walled city ; one of 
the inhabitants hands the king a jewel in the form of a 
human eye, and bids him begone. The stone is of this 
nature which none but an aged Jew can explain ; it out- 
weighs any amount of gold, but is itself outweighed by a 
handful of dust ; it is a symbol of human desire which no 
gold can satisfy, but which at last must be content with a 
little earth. Alexander humbles himself, repents, and in 
due course dies an edifying death. 

It will be admitted, I think, that it would be difficult to 
pick out two legends which have less fundamental kinship 
or less similarity in detail than the story of Alexander's 
fruitless attempt on Paradise, and the story of Percival's 
or Gawain's visit to the Grail castle. 

The reader has now before him the facts necessary for 
the appreciation of Dr. Gaster's hypothesis ; but even if 
these testified in its favour, I fail to see how any theory of 
development could be based upon them. We must assume, 
in fairness to Dr. Gaster, a stage intermediate between the 
Alexander romances and Chrestien, the oldest of the Grail 
legend writers. Let us call this stage ;r, and try and 

* The Iter ad Paradisum is quite different from the visit to paradise 
described in Alexander's letter to Aristotle (Book iii, ch. 17, oi Pseudo- 
Call.). The chief marvels described in the visit to paradise are the 
male and female prophetic trees of the sun and moon, 

Digitized by 


2 1 6 The Legend of the Grail, 

realise in what way the author of jr went to work. Having 
before him the French romance of Aubry, he picked out a 
particular episode upon which absolutely no stress what- 
ever is laid, which is but one of twenty or thirty other 
episodes, all possessing equal interest of conception and 
detail ; he carefully eliminated all traces of the original 
personages and locale^ he then modified every detail, and 
finally worked it into the Arthurian cycle. As Aubry's loo 
lines did not give him enough matter, this I2th century writer 
went back to Julius Valerius and to Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
and spiced his narrative with a miscellaneous assortment 
of features, selected now from one now from the other. 
But even then he was not content, but went on a roving 
expedition through the Talmudic and Midrashic literature 
of the day, culling what he thought would fit in with his 
plan. All this while, with the severest self-denial, he rejected 
the many marvellous episodes which must have come 
before him in the course of his reading, and scrupulously 
refrained from retaining anything that could betray the 
Eastern origin of his narrative. 

The assumption of ;r is a sufficient tax upon our 
credulity, but nothing to what is involved in the after 
development of the legend according to Dr. Caster's 
theory. The legend writers fall into two classes: (i) the 
oldest of them all, Chrestien ; (2) all the later writers. But 
these latter contain a host of details not to be found in 
Chrestien, argal they must have been present in ;r, for 
I do not suppose that Dr. Gaster imagines there was a 
bevy of writers at the close of the 12th century capable of 
harmonising Pseudo-Callisthenes and the Talmud. Now, 
how did these later writers act? They would seem to 
have gone upon the principle — when in doubt, consult x. 
For while in the main their presentment of the legend is 
that of Chrestien, each writer picked out some special 
feature of x which took his fancy, and added it to Chres- 
tien's account. 

All who are acquainted with the methods and nature of 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 217 

mediaeval romance need no assurance that not a writer of the 
period ever acted as Dr. Gaster postulates half-a-dozen 
having acted. 

Is there, then, nothing at all in the series of parallels 
brought forward by Dr. Gaster? Just this much. One 
version of the Grail quest, that of Wolfram von Eschenbach, 
does undoubtedly show traces of Oriental influence, as he 
himself states. Whether these are due to Wolfram himself 
or to the French model he followed it is impossible to say. 
The nature and origin of the Oriental traits in Wolfram are 
well worth discussing, and Dr. Gaster has brought together 
some valuable illustrative material. But it must be clearly 
understood that light is thus thrown, not upon the origin of 
the Grail legend, not upon the nature of the Grail, but 
simply and solely upon the special secondary form of the 
legend found in Wolfram.^ 

I have thought it best to deal at once with the only 
solid portion of Dr. Gaster's argument, and to show how 
baseless it is. Because I say nothing of the other points 
which he adduces, I would not have it thought that I have 
no objections to urge against them. As a matter of fact 
I do not think there is a single definite conclusion of his 
concerning the Grail legends to which I do not take ex- 
ception, not one which I could not, if space were allowed 
me, show to be improbable if not impossible. 

At the end of this number of FOLK-LORE will be found 
the reprint of an article which appeared in the last number 
of the Revue Celtique^ to the courtesy of whose director, 
Monsieur H. d*Arbois de Jubainville, I am indebted for its 
appearance here. In it I defend myself against the 
strictures passed upon my " Studies on the Legend of the 
Holy Grail" by three eminent German scholars. As the 
Folk-lore Society did me the honour of issuing my work 

^ It will not have escaped notice that most of Dr. Gaster's Jewish 
parallels are to Wolfram. Under the circumstances, surely Dr. 
Gaster's first object should have been to prove that Wolfram repre- 
sents an earlier stage of the legend than Chrestien. 

Digitized by 


2 1 8 The Legend of tlte Grail. 

to its members, I felt it was right, a feeling shared by the 
Director of the Society and by the Editor of FOLK-LoRE, 
that these should have the opportunity of seeing what I 
had to say in my defence. 

I may be permitted to add a few general considerations 
upon the criticism of the Grail romances. No theory con- 
cerning the origin and signification of the legend can be 
acceptable which does not explain the relation to one another 
of the various romances, which does not account in a fairly 
intelligible manner for the development of the ideas and 
incidents contained in them. Nothing is easier than to 
pick out, as Dr. Gaster has done, this or that feature in this 
immense body of romance, to adduce parallels to it, and to 
fancy the problem solved ; nothing harder than to fit all 
the features of all the versions into an orderly scheme of 

At the same time no theory can, I think, be successful 
which makes any one existing version the fons et origo of 
the whole cycle. Even if we had not positive statements, 
which there is no reason to disbelieve, we should be com- 
pelled to assume an earlier written stage than any we now 
possess. Behind this written stage we discern an oral stage 
in which the incidents of the legend were singularly vague 
and formless, but in which they still hung together. I con- 
jectured that they did this because they came to the French 
wandering minstrels or story tellers, to whom the first 
spread of the legend in France was due, mainly from one 
source and connected with one group of personages. The 
facts that the majority of these personages bear Celtic 
names, some perfectly recognisable, others greatly dis- 
figured, and that the scene of their exploits is, in the main, 
lands dwelt in by Celtic-speaking populations, seemed to me 
to warrant the conclusion that the traditions underlying 
the romance came to the French from Celts (whether 
Bretons or Welshmen is indifferent), and were essentially 
Celtic, ie,, had passed through the mind of Celts (whether 

Digitized by 


The Legend of the Grail. 2 1 9 

raels or Brythons is indifferent), and had received the dis- 
nctive stamp of the Celtic temperament. 
Three years have passed since I formulated these con- 
usions. I have striven to keep touch of the subject since 
len ; I have recently had occasion to review it in all its 
jarings. With all respect to my learned opponents, I 
ay venture to assert, not only that my conclusions have 
)t been controverted, they have not even been seriously 

Digitized by 



Selene und Verwandtes von W. H. Roscher. Mit einem Anhange 

von N. G. Politis iibcr die bei den Neugriechen vorhandenen 

Vorstcllungen vom Monde. Leipzig, Teubner. 
Die griechischen Sakrcdaltertumer. By Dr. Paul Stengel. Being 

vol. iii of I. V. Muller*s Handbuchder klassischen Altertumswissen- 

schaft Miinchen, 1890. 
DicHonnaire des AntiquiUs Grecques et Romaines, Daremberg et 

Saglio. Fascicules 13 et 14. Paris, 189a 

THAT Selene is the moon is, perhaps, one of the few 
things which even a mythologist with a theory would 
not venture to deny. It is therefore a testimony to the spread 
of folk-lore methods that even a treatise on the mythology 
of an acknowledged nature-goddess is unable nowadays 
to ignore the folk-lore of the subject And the testimony 
is still more striking when the treatise in question is written 
by one of the straitest of the sect of meteorologfical 
mythologists. For of such we must consider Roscher to 
be, in spite of his protests. He protests that, if in his pre- 
vious mythological studies he has found nothing but wind 
and weather myths, the reason simply is that wind and 
weather myths have accidentally happened to form the 
subject of his previous studies. Be this as it may, it is 
matter for much satisfaction that he tells us in the preface 
he has employed the comparative method, and has sought 
for parallels not only amongst peoples related to the 
Greeks, but also amongst peoples not related to them. 
Still more satisfactory is it to hear him express his " con- 
viction that genuine folk-myths are for the most part much 
older than the writers who have accidentally transmitted 

Digitized by 


Report on Greek Mythology. 22 1 

them to us", and consequently that the genuinely antique 
" is very often preserved in its purest form in late, and 
even in the latest, authorities". It is to be regretted that 
Roscher has not formally stated on what principle he 
decides whether the version of a myth presented by a late 
authority is or is not primeval ; for though he sometimes 
acts on the right principle, he also sometimes acts on the 
wrong one. Indeed, it seems as though he had never faced 
this question of mythological method, or even realised the 
existence of the question. The result is that his book is 
valuable principally as a comprehensive collection of 
material from the classics. The value of his conclusions 
seems to me extremely uneven ; but let me place some of 
them before the reader, in order that he may judge for 
himself. And I will begin by giving some instances in 
which Roscher has, as it seems to me, acted on the right 
principle — the principle that a belief, tale, rite, or custom, 
however late the authority for its existence, may be re- 
garded as primitive, provided that it can be shown to exist, 
or have existed, among some other savage or primitive 
people. The wrong principle, which I will also illustrate 
from Roscher, is that a belief, etc., may be regarded as 
primeval because it appears "simple", or because it is 
common in classical poetry, or because Aristotle or Galen 
adopted it 

Thus, the belief that the spirits of the dead take up their 
abode in the moon, even if the belief were mentioned as 
existing in Greece by no authority earlier than Plutarch, 
would be rightly regarded, as it is regarded by Roscher, as 
primitive, on the ground that some South American tribes 
also entertain it. Readers of Folk- Lore, remembering Mr. 
Frazer's demonstration (vol. i, pp. 148 flf.) that the wisdom 
of Pythagoras was but the folk-lore of the peasant, will be 
pleased to find that Pythagoras also regarded the moon as 
the abode of the departed (lamblichus, Vita Pythag,, xviii, 
82). Again, that the sun and moon are a pair of lovers, or 
a married couple, is a conception which is rightly vin- 

Digitized by 


^22 Report on Greek Mythology. 

dicated by Roscher as primitive, with a reference to 
Lithuanian and Russian folk-songs, and Lettish, Teutonic, 
and Otaheitian sagas. So, too, the belief that the moon is 
an all-seeing eye is shown by Roscher to be primitive by 
a reference to its existence among the Germans, Egyptians, 
and Mongols. Finally, the belief that anj^ing done or 
suffered by man on a waxing moon tends to develop, 
whereas anything done or suffered on a waning moon tends 
to diminish, is rightly claimed as primitive by Roscher on 
the ground that it is widely spread amongst all peoples. 

On the other hand, the connection between the moon 
and menstruation, on which Roscher bases a good many 
of his inferences, cannot be regarded as primeval merely 
because it seems to Roscher "extremely simple and 
natural". To primitive man the connection may or may 
not seem obvious ; but his notion of simplicity is not 
always the same as ours, and, until instances are produced 
of ►savages believing in the connection, we have no right to 
say that the idea is so simple and " natural" that it must 
be primitive. Nor does this idea of Roscher's necessarily 
derive support, as he imagines, from the primitive belief 
that pregnancy and delivery are affected by the moon. 
This belief can be satisfactorily explained as a case of that 
general sympathy between the waxing or the waning of 
the moon and the fortunes of man (or woman), which we 
noticed in the last paragraph. Again, Aristotle, Cicero, 
Pliny, the Stoics, and others may have imagined that dew 
was deposited by the moon, and that for this reason the 
growth of vegetation was the work of the moon ; but we 
must refuse to accept the speculations of late philosophers 
as evidence of what primitive man thinks on the subject. 
For one thing, it is not dew that the savage prays to the 
moon for. He prays for what he wants. Thus the 
Hottentots say, or said, to the moon : " I salute you ; you 
are welcome. Grant us fodder for our cattle, and milk in 
abundance" (Kolben, Present State of the Cape of Good 
Hope, 1731). For another thing, the crops are frequently 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 22% 

imagined to grow sympathetically with the waxing of the 
moon. Again, Roscher industriously collects the various 
epithets lavished by the classical poets on the moon ; but 
the moon as it appears to the poet may be a different thing 
from the moon as it appears to a plain citizen, and is pretty 
certainly very different from the ideas entertained by 
primitive man or the ancient Greek peasant 

The above are instances in which, as it seems to me, Ros- 
cher, on insufficient or erroneous grounds, ascribes to primi- 
tive man conceptions or beliefs which are only found in later 
authorities. There are also other errors of method in 
Selene which naturally fall to be mentioned here. Thus, 
Roscher's demonstration that Artemis is a moon-goddess 
(to which he calls the reader's special attention in the pre- 
face) is effected largely by ignoring the possibility of the 
plurality of causes. For instance, the inference that be- 
cause Artemis makes trees and plants to flourish, and the 
moon does the same, therefore Artemis is the moon, can 
only hold good as long as we overlook the possibility that 
other goddesses than moon-goddesses may make vegeta- 
tion prosper — in other words, Artemis may be a goddess 
of vegetation. So, too, it does not follow that because 
cows are offered to Artemis as well as to the moon, or 
because both goddesses are represented in cow shape, 
therefore the moon and Artemis are identical. The reader 
of the Golden Bough knows that the tree-spirit appears as 
a bull or cow amongst primitive men ; and the writer of 
the Golden Bought if he adopted Roscher's method of 
mythologising, might with equal justice claim that Selene 
is a tree-spirit and not the moon at all. Again, the 
" sacred marriage" celebrated at Athens between the Sun 
and the Moon does not, when compared with the sacred 
marriage celebrated elsewhere in Greece between Zeus and 
Hera, prove that Zeus is the Sun, and Hera the Moon, 
any more than it proves that Helios and Selene are the 
Lord and the Lady of the May respectively. 

Roscher concludes his researches with an appendix on 

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224 Report on Greek Mythology. 

the myth of Pan and Selene ; and as he expressly refers to 
it in his preface as an illustration of the principle that a 
late authority may preserve the primitive form of a myth, 
it will, I hope, not be considered hypercritical if this 
attempt to estimate the value of Roscher's mythological 
methods concludes with an examination of his appendix. 
The myth, as preserved in the words of Philargyrius (ad 
Virg., Georg,^ iii, 391) is, " Pan cum Lunae amore flagraret, 
ut illi formosus videretur, niveis velleribus se circumdedit 
atque ita eam ad rem veneream illexit." The problem is 
to explain the myth. The solution which Roscher offers, 
after making every inquiry into Pan's antecedents — 
as indeed he was bound to do, if he was to put Pan's 
alleged conduct in the proper light — is that " originally 
Pan was not a god of light or a sun-god" — as under the 
circumstances one might have hastily inferred — "but 
nothing more than a divine or supernatural type of the 
goatherds and shepherds of ancient Greece." He was, if 
we may explain Roscher's meaning, the avro-i/o/^u?, the 
Herdsman an sich^ or Herd-in-himself, living, of course, 
hf ovpavixp roirtp. This conception is so "simple and 
natural" that some of Roscher's readers perhaps will 
require no further proof that it is primitive. Never- 
theless, Roscher proceeds to prove it. Shepherds live in . 
caves ; Theocritus and Achilles Tatius say that Pan lives 
in caves. Shepherds move with their flocks from place to 
place : " precisely the same roving life is led by Pan ac- 
cording to the Homeric Hymn, v. 8 ff." Many herdsmen 
fish, and so does Pan (" 0pp. Ha/, 3, 18 ; mehr b. Welcker 
Gr, Gdtterl, 2 S. 662"). Does the shepherd love his pipe ? 
Pan loves Syrinx too (poets passim). Shepherds love to 
lie in the shade, and " this universal custom of the herds- 
men has obviously given rise to the idea that Pan thus lies 
and sleeps at noon. Cf especially Th. i, 15 ff." 

Now to say that all this only shows how poets delighted 
to picture Pan to themselves, and that it does not show 
what conception their peasant contemporaries had of him. 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 225 

still less how Pan appeared to the mind's eye of their 
primitive ancestors, would only be to repeat what has been 
said above. My complaint here is that Roscher*s explana- 
tion does not explain. Let us grant that Pan is a hunter, 
that the hunter sleeps out of nights, that the Moon looks 
down on him, or visits him, even as she visited Endymion 
— still the most remarkable feature in Philargyrius' myth 
requires explaining, that is, why did Pan wrap himself 
"niveis velleribus"? As for Philargyrius' explanation 
that it was "ut illi formosus videretur" — credat Ros- 
cherius. Or if this sounds disrespectful to Roscher — and 
Roscher is entitled, as the editor of the Ausfuhrliches 
Lexikon^ to the respect and gratitude of every student 
of mythology — let me put it this way: — Roscher has 
proved many things, but he ha^ omitted to prove that 
the garb in question was considered de rigueur in a 
wooer, by the shepherd swains of Greece and their mays. 
Yet it was evidently indispensable on this occasion. With- 
out it Pan would not have worked his wicked will. In 
fine, it is of the essence of the myth ; and if it had been an 
ordinary costume for the purpose, Philargyrius would not 
have mentioned it, or would not have thought an explana- 
tion necessary. 

And here I must mention it as one of the deficiencies of 
Selene, that Roscher never uses ritual to account for 
moon-myths. It may of course be suggested that it acci- 
dentally happens that no moon-myth can be explained 
from ritual. But I would venture to point to this myth of 
Pan and Selene. If Mannhardt and Frazer are right in 
regarding the "sacred marriage" of Zeus and Hera as a 
piece of " sympathetic magic" designed by primitive man 
to effect the union of two spirits of vegetation, and so to 
ensure the fertility of his fields and flocks ; and if, further, 
they are right in regarding Pan as a spirit of vegetation, 
who appears most frequently as a goat, or in semi-goat 
shape ; then it is obvious that the myth of Pan and 
Selene is a myth having its origin in ritual. Somewhere 

VOL. 11. g 

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226 Report on Greek Mythology. 

in Greece a sacred marriage was celebrated between Pan, 
as a tree-spirit, and Selene, as a goddess influencing the 
growth of vegetation ; and in this rite the person who re- 
presented Pan played the part in the dress appropriate to 
a goat-god. 

That Selene did figure in Greece in a sacred marriage is 
proved by Proclus ad Hes., O, et Z?., 780 : the Athenians 
united Selene and Helios in such a marriage. In Athens 
this " theogamy" took place at the time of the new moon, 
and the new moon is regarded by the folk as a good time 
for marrying, in many places {e.g, the Highlands, Kirk- 
michael. Statistical Account of Scotland^ xii, 457). Again, 
that such ceremonies took a dramatic form in Greece 
appears from Euseb., Prcup. Ev,^ iii, xii, 3, where it is stated 
that in the mysteries at Eleusis one celebrant got into the 
image of Helios and another into that of Selene. 

If the myth of Pan and Selene may be explained from 
ritual, then the myths of two moon-heroines, Europa and 
Pasiphae, may be explained in the same way. The kernel 
of both myths is the union of the moon-spirit (in human 
shape) with a bull. Both myths, then, have to do with a 
sacred marriage ; the only question is, what spirit was 
represented in the rite as a bull ? On the one hand we 
know both that Selene was united at Athens to Helios, 
and that the victim offered to (and therefore representative 
oO Helios was a bull. On the other hand, Selene marries 
Pan, a spirit of vegetation ; and such spirits frequently 
manifest themselves as bull, cow, or ox. Of course, if Zeus 
turns out to be the spirit of the oak-tree, as Mr. Frazer 
wishes, the question would be settled as regards Europa. 
Meanwhile, it seems probable that the sacred marriage 
was in both cases between the Moon-spirit and the Sun- 
spirit Perhaps I may add that the Moon-spirit not un- 
frequently appeared to primitive man in the shape of a 
cow, and the Sun-spirit in human shape. The sacred mar- 
riages in which both spirits were human, or both oxen, 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 227 

have naturally given rise to no myths, whereas the ritual 
in the case of Europa and Pasiphae required explanation. 

Since Roscher has resolutely declined to seek the ex- 
planation of any piece of Greek moon-lore in primitive 
ritual, just as he has refused to refer to the possibility that 
Artemis, Hera, and Pan may be spirits of vegetation, it is 
perhaps allowable to point out that ritual may possibly 
afford the explanation of that practice of drawing down 
the moon which appears in both modern and ancient 
Greek folk-lore. Indeed, it is as certain as things of this 
kind can be that on the occasion of a sacred marriage the 
Moon-spirit must have been conjured into the cow which 
represented the goddess ; and it is not improbable that 
this way of bringing down the Moon survives in later 
folk-lore as a piece of witchcraft (cf Lucian, Pliilops,^ 14). 

But if this were all the evidence, there would be nothing 
more than a presumption in favour of the supposition. 
The presumption, however, may be strengthened. To 
begin with, there is a difference between bringing down the 
moon for the purpose of a sacred marriage, and bringing 
her down as a piece of witchcraft. In the former case the 
object is to ensure fertility to field and flock ; in the latter 
usually to gain information not otherwise to be obtained. 
Now in folk-tales spirits may be caught, as the sea-spirit, 
Proteus, was caught by Menelaus, in order that questions 
may be answered by them ; and the moon-spirit may have 
been caught by primitive man for the same purpose. The 
question is, whether primitive man did as a matter of fact 
(and not merely in tales) bring the moon-spirit down to 
earth and obtain information from him. It is possible, 
fortunately, to show that he did. Strabo (503) tells us that 
the Albanians of the Caucasus worshipped Selene above 
all other gods. The priest of her temple was the most 
honourable man in the country next to the king, and was 
ruler both over the land dedicated to the temple, which 
was extensive and populous, and over the sacred slaves, 
who at times became possessed, and who frequently pro- 


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228 Report on Greek Mythology. 

phesied. When any of them was so far possessed as to 
wander in the woods alone, the priest, if he could catch 
him and fasten him with a certain sacred chain, entertained 
him luxuriously for a year ; and at the end of the year he 
was offered as a sacrifice to the goddess along with other 
victims ; and prognostications were drawn from his corpse. 
It is plain that here we have an instance of " killing the 
god", which is parallel to those given in chapter iii of 
TIte Golden Bough, The moon -spirit resided in the human 
victim, in the same way as she was conveyed into the cow 
at a sacred marriage ; and part at least of the purpose 
with which she was conjured into the human victim was in 
order that she might afford information not otherwise to 
be obtained. Doubtless part of the purpose was also to 
ensure the safe and continued existence of a spirit so 
important as the Moon. 

When once the practice of bringing down the moon had 
become familiar to the primitive Greek, who saw it done at 
sacred marriages and other rites, he was provided with an 
explanation of lunar eclipses: some other fellow was 
bringing down the moon for his private ends. And at the 
present day in Greece the proper way to stop a lunar 
eclipse is to call out, " I see you !" and thus make the 
worker of this deed of darkness desist So completely did 
this theory of eclipses, which we must regard as peculiarly 
Greek, establish itself in ancient Greece, that, strange to 
say, not a trace of the earlier primitive theory, according to 
which some monster swallows the eclipsed moon, is to be 
found in classical Greek literature, unless the beating of 
metal instruments to frighten away the monster (Theoc, 
ii, 36) be a survival of primitive practice. 

One more survival from primitive ritual : Roscher quotes, 
but makes no attempt to explain, Pollux, vi, j6^ where it 
is stated that cakes called " moons", from their shape, were 
offered to Selene. In China, cakes on which is stamped 
the image of the moon, or which sometimes are circular, in 
imitation of the shape of the moon, play a part in the 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 229 

festival known as "congratulating" or "rewarding" the 
moon (M. Hue, Travels in Tartary^ etc.^ ii 6i> and J. Doo- 
little, Social Life of the Chinese, ii, 65). In Lancashire 
" there exists a precisely similar custom of making cakes 
in honour of the Queen of Heaven" (Dennys, Folk-lore of 
China, p. 28). Jeremiah, vii, 18, says, "The women knead 
dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven." Plainly 
these are all survivals of the primitive rite of " eating the 
god". Fertility was thereby secured in this case. In 
modem Greek folk-lore a " magic cake" is used as a bait 
wherewith to catch the moon. 

Finally, there remains the savage theory which is implied 
in the terms a-€\r)vt4i^6/i€voCy lunatici, inoon-struck. Ros- 
cher's view is that the moon influences menstruation, as 
Aristotle holds; that irregular menstruation produces dis- 
eases, as Galen hath it; and therefore all diseases, including 
epilepsy, are ascribed to the influence of the moon. But 
primitive man did not read Aristotle, or even Galen. We 
want some less recondite explanation. One thing is cer- 
tain : the connection between the moon and disease was 
something that to primitive man was self-evident. It is 
recognised in Brazil (Brinton, Myths of tlie New World, 
134) as well as in Denmark (J. T. Bunce, Fairy Tales, 131), 
in Mexico (Brinton, 132) as well as in Iceland (J6n Arna- 
son. Legends of Iceland, 635). Another thing we know, 
that is that diseases are regarded by primitive man as the 
work of spirits entering into possession of the sick person. 
And we have already seen that the moon is held by primi- 
tive folk, including Pythagoras, to be the abode of departed 
spirits. Is not this the connecting link? Do not the 
spirits dart straight from the moon into any person who 
is not on his guard against them, or is for any special 
reason an easy prey for them ? According to Porphyr., 
De Antro Ny., 28, 29, "theologians" say the sun and the 
moon are the gates by which departed souls pass from and 
to the earth ; and the moon is the gate by which they 
come down to the earth. In Iceland, "if a pregnant 

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230 Report on Greek Mythology, 

woman sits with her face turned towards the moon, her 
child will be a lunatic" (Arnason, supra), ** The Brazilian 
mother carefully shielded her infant from the lunar rays, 
believing that they would produce sickness" (Brinton, 
supra). In Greece, " nurses take every precaution to avoid 
exposing infants to the moon" (Plutarch, Q, Conv,y ill, x, 
3). And it is hardly necessary to remark that new-bom 
children and puerperse are alike tabu, and particularly 
liable to possession (as regards classical antiquity, cf Suid., 
afuf>iBp6fAia^ and Censorin., De die nat,^ c 11, 7, p. 28, 

Dr. Stengel's book on the Ritual Antiquities of Greece 
is part of Iwan von Miiller's valuable series of manuals 
of classical antiquities. We may, perhaps, not unreason- 
ably regard it as a sign of the times worth noting in FOLK- 
LORE that the German school-boy will be henceforward 
taught that the Greek religion was no " nature-religion", 
that the attempt to identify Greek gods with nature- 
powers or natural phenomena is a failure. He is further 
to be taught that similarity between the myths of different 
nations does not necessarily imply borrowing, or even 
joint inheritance from the beliefs of common ancestors : 
it presumably points only to similarity in the mental 
constitution of different peoples. And, further, the capacity 
to believe in the actual, visible, and tangible appearance of 
supernatural beings was not confined to pre-historic times, 
but lived ever fresh and flourishing right throughout his- 
toric times. All this is most excellent But it is quite as 
necessary in folk-lore as in politics " to be always asking 
for everything you can think of, to be always taking all 
you can get, and be always grumbling about what you 
have not got" Then come, let us grumble. 

In the first place it is strange that, in a work dealing 
with ritual from the point of view just described, there 
is no recognition of the fact that, amongst the things 
which myths are invented to explain, are rites themselves. 
And this is the more surprising because the Dionysia are 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 231 

admitted in Roscher's Lexikan to be the source of some of 
the Dionysos myths. In the next place, although we may 
admit that in a manual there is not room for illustrations 
from the rites and beliefs of non-classical peoples, and that 
Dr. Stengel has only to do with Greek ritual, as he pleads 
(p. 97); still, we must protest that it is impossible to 
construct a sound account of even Greek ritual without a 
previous scaffolding of non-Greeic material. For instance, 
though the Greeks may have borrowed the notion of " sin" 
and " sinrofferings" from Semitic sources, no one who is 
aware how widespread, indeed universal, is the belief in 
the possibility of transferring sickness and other ills (from 
warts upwards) from the sufferer to animate or inanimate 
objects, will admit that the notion of the " sgape-goat" was 
at any time foreigjn to the Greek mind. The absence of 
any reference to this mode of purification in Homer can 
scarcely be regarded as conclusive. And this brings us to 
a third grumble — on a question of method. Dr. Stengel 
begins by laying down the statement that, in the matter 
of myths and gods, foreign influence is only to be detected 
in post-Homeric times, and for several centuries after the 
Homeric age it was extremely small. This, taken as a 
statement of results, is, perhaps, somewhat too sweeping ; 
but regarded as the expression of a resolve to admit 
borrowing to have taken place only where and when 
intercourse between the people borrowing and the people 
lending can be demonstrated to have existed on satis- 
factory grounds, it is a laudable position to take up. It 
is the method of carrying out this praiseworthy resolve 
that is open to protest Thus, Dr. Stengel is apparently 
satisfied that purification (and also human sacrifice) must 
have been borrowed by the Greeks from the East Neither 
rite is mentioned in Homer. Intercourse between Greece 
and the East was constant and active in post-Homeric 
times. Therefore the rites were borrowed in historic 
times. The whole issue, then, turns on the question 
whether it is justifiable to assume that a rite did not 

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232 Report on Greek Mythology. 

exist in Homeric times because it is not ment . 
Homer. This is a question of the same nature as 
we are justified in assuming that a myth or a foil ^ 
not exist at a time earlier than its first recorded 
in literature; and the answer seems to be the .♦ 
the rite or myth can be shown to be one common 
primitive peoples, the argument e silentio has little weight ; 
and as regards human sacrifice and purification, Mr. 
Frazer has amply proved that they are primitive. There 
is no more reason to imagine that the Greeks borrowed 
them from the East, whether in pre- or post-Homeric 
times, than that the East borrowed them from the 

As I have spoken of Dr. Stengel's book as one for 
school-boys, I ought, perhaps, to add that it is also intended 
for university students, and anyhow that it is a very 
valuable collection of facts and references, which folk- 
lorists will find useful. Those interested in tabu and 
totemism will note that the priest of Poseidon at Megara 
and the priestess of Hera in Argos were forbidden to 6at 
fish. They will also note that the priestess of Athena 
Polias at Athens was forbidden to eat the native cheese. 
Finally, Dr. Stengel's treatment of Mysteries is rather 
disappointing. He is, doubtless, quite right in saying that 
the hold which they took over the minds of the Greeks 
was due to the fact that they taught the doctrine of a 
future life ; and it is not improbable that the scenic repre- 
sentations which took place were dramatisations of myths 
whose central feature was the resurrection of some god. 
But it is also probable that some of the central rites 
round which this teaching gathered were survivals from 
savage ritual. One such rite at Eleusis is that in which 
Helios and Selene figured (Eusebius, /. r.), whether the 
interpretation be that which I suggested above or not 

If we may take Daremberg and Saglio's magnificent 
Dictionary of Classical Antiquities as fairly representative 
of the attitude of classical scholars in France, there is no 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 233 

country in Europe in which folk-lore methods have made 
so little impression on students of classical antiquities. 
In the two numbers of the dictionary last issued there 
are three articles of importance to folk-lorists : Dionysia, 
Dioscuri, and Divinatio. M. Reinach, the writer of the 
article Dioscuri^ is indeed not ignorant of what has been 
done from the side of folk-lore on his subject. He can 
even quote, from La Mythologie par Andrew Langy 
parallels to the Dioscuri amongst the aboriginal Aus- 
tralians and the Bushmen. But, alas! he only quotes 
them as curiosities. With the article Divinatio^ which is a 
marvellously comprehensive collection of material, things 
are still worse. The numerous survivals still extant of pri- 
mitive methods of forecasting the future are not quoted even 
d titre de curiositL And, what is worse, the writer deli- 
berately declines to consider parallels from other nations 
than the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans, on the ground 
that so much are all nations alike in these beliefs that 
study of other peoples would probably only add a mul- 
titude of facts similar to those already known to the 
classical students, but would not open up any new 
points of view ! 

Consistently enough, M. Bouchi-Leclerq's method is 
purely d priori: gfrant him a couple of propositions which 
are self-evident to educated man of the nineteenth century, 
and he will deduce from them the faith in divination in 
all its branches. And yet if there is a thing which 
civilised educated man can not do, it is to say A priori 
how things will strike the savage mind. For illustration 
we need go no further than M. Bouch6-Leclerq's funda- 
mental assumptions, viz., that all we require to assume 
in order to believe in divination is that the gods are 
able to communicate information, and that being able 
they are willing. But M. Bouch^-Leclerq has at the very 
beginning overlooked a contingency which is not unknown 
in savage experience, however unlikely to occur d priori 
to a modern savant: the gods may not be willing. In 

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234 Report on Greek Mythology. 

that case they have to be made to tell; and primitive 
man wrestles (in the case of Proteus literally) with them. 
Thus, the modem savant's two assumptions may be 
reduced to one, vit., that the gods are able to communicate 
information ; and is not that superfluous ? In many or 
most of the methods of divination common in modem 
folk-lore there is no suggestion that the desired inform- 
ation is obtained from supematural beings. Nor is it 
relevant to rejoin that the modem methods are survivals 
from modes which were in the first instance interrogations 
addressed to supematural beings. Be this true or not, the 
fact remains that the folk believes in the possibility of 
divining the future without supematural aid. You can 
tell from the state of the moon what the weather is going 
to be, and you can also tell of what sex your next child 
will be. But the many educated persons who still divine 
changes in the weather, and the uneducated few who 
practise the other form of divination, are both innocent 
of any attempt to obtain their information from super- 
natural beings. In fine, primitive man has other modes 
than the supematural of forecasting coming events, just 
as much as scientific man ; and if there ever was a stage 
in human evolution when man had not yet attained to 
the idea of the supematural, divination may well have 
been practised in that stage. Doubtless, the inference that 
beings who are supernatural have knowledge of the future 
is a conclusion which naturally follows from the premises. 
But we do not find that all the gods in the same pantheon 
have alike the power of prophecy; and if some gods 
have it not, it is evidently not a necessary attribute of 
supematural beings. In this connection it may be in- 
teresting to point out that even Apollo did not always 
forecast the future by the exercise of an inherent power 
of supematural foresight. Like Pythagoras, he (or the 
workers of his oracle) put his faith in folk-lore. At any 
rate, this is the inference which I draw from the answer 
given by the god of Delphi (and preserved in Euseb., 

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Report on Greek Mythology. 235 

Praep, Ev,, vi, i, 2) to a person inquiring what sex his 
next child would be. The oracle is indeed somewhat 
obscure; but when illustrated by the folk-lore recorded 
in F,-L. /., V, p. 208, and vi, 91, it may be seen to be based 
on the belief that if a birth takes place on the growing of 
the moon, the next child will be of the same sex ; if on 
a waning moon, not. 

In fine, it is impossible to divide primitive modes of 
forecasting the future into supernatural and non-super- 
natural, and confine the term "divination" to the former 
class. There is scarcely a member of either class which 
may not pass over into the other class. What may have 
been supernatural in its origin, survives as something 
not supernatural. What was in its origin possibly illo- 
gical but certainly not supernatural, comes to be explained 
as supernatural in ages when belief in this mode of com- 
munication between man and god is orthodox, as, for 
instance, in the time of the Stoics. This method of classi- 
fication, then, confounds together things which have their 
origin in very different tendencies of the human mind. 
At the same time it obscures the relation of divination 
to " sympathetic magic", both of which are based on the 
belief that if one of two similar (or related) things is 
affected in any way, the other will be affected in a similar 
way. This belief when employed in Observation results 
in divination ; when employed in Experiment, results in 
what may be conveniently called sympathetic magic, 
though there is not necessarily or originally anything 
supernatural about it It is a mere matter of logic — 
savage, perhaps, rather than scientific, but still of logic, not 
of superstition — that if one member of a pair of similar or 
related things is in your power, you can affect the other 
as you wish ; and that if one member is within the range 
of your observation you can tell how the other is faring. 
Thus, a lock of hair places the person from whose head 
it is cut (and to whom it is related, according to the 
primitive interpretation of the category of Relation) in 

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236 Report on Greek Mythology, 

the power of the person into whose hands it is given. 
Thus in the Alcestis, Death draws his sword to cut off a 
tress of the hair of Alcestis, 

" for sacred to us gods below, 
That head whose hair this sword shall sanctify." 

And amongst modem Greeks at a christening, "three 
tiny locks of hair, if these can be found, are cut from the 
baby's head and thrown into the font, ' in the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost*" (Miss Garnett, The 
Women of Turkey^ p. 73). So, too, in folk-tales, a portion 
of the hero's apparel, etc., serves to inform him or her 
with whom it is left whether the hero is or is not still 
alive. May not the custom of preserving locks of hair in 
ockets, etc., have had its origin in some belief of this 

Be this as it may, in dealing with divination the im- 
portant thing is to remember that in the definition of it 
as " supernatural communication" we have a theory em- 
bodied. That theory is one originated by the Stoics ; and 
conformable as it may have been to the knowledge of the 
age in which it was formulated, it does not satisfy the 
requirements of scientific folk-lore. When some Mill of the 
future comes to write the " Principles of Savage Logic", 
it will be clear to all that many modes of divination 
and much magic are but methods of observation and 
experiment which in one age were, and in a subsequent 
age were not, considered valid by logicians. It will be 
also clear that there is not that absolute hiatus between 
savage and scientific logic which is generally assumed. 
On the contrary, the Law of Continuity holds here as else- 
where. The difference between the two logics is not, for 
instance, that the Methods of Agreement and Difference are 
known to the one and not known to the other ; nor even 
that the savage imagines points of likeness or difference 
where they do not exist; but that savage and scientific 
man differ as to what points of similarity or dissimilarity 

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Report on Greek Mythology, 237 

are essential — and not even Mill professes to lay down 
rules for distinguishing the essential from the non-essen- 
tial features of the phenomena to be investigated. The 
difference between scientific and primitive procedure is in 
this case entirely extra-logical. Again, the Method of 
Concomitant Variations is, as we have seen, the basis of 
much divination and magic ; and here again the difference 
between the two logics is largely extra-logical. Related 
or similar things vary together ; but what things are related 
or similar? The similarity which the primitive logician 
detects between the variations of the apparent size of the 
moon on the one hand, and of the actual size of sub-lunar 
growing or decaying objects on the other, is not regarded 
as essential by the man of science ; and, speaking generally, 
we may say that is impossible to say A priori what points 
of similarity or dissimilarity primitive man will seize on 
as cardinal. And this amounts to saying that a complete 
history of logic from primitive times can only be written 
by the aid of folk-lore. 

Hypothesis is another instrument of thought which is 
common to both stages of logic, and which is of interest to 
the folk-lorist. Indeed, if we accept the definition of folk- 
lore given in /^-Z./., iv, p. 196, that it is "the popular ex- 
planation of observed facts", then Hypothesis is the whole 
of folk-lore. But even if we limit ourselves to the state- 
ment that all popular explanations of observed facts are 
folk-lore (and this has the advantage of not excluding rites 
and customs), the importance of Hypothesis is] still con- 
siderable. And here, again, the difference between savage 
and scientific man is not so considerable : both may 
accept Mill's definition that " an hypothesis is any supposi- 
tion which we make in order to endeavour to deduce from 
it conclusions in accordance with facts which are known to 
be real". The principal difference lies in a difference of 
opinion as to the nature and necessity of verification ; and 
with regard to primitive hypothesis as preserved in myths, 
we may say that it consists in explaining the thing that is 

Digitized by 


238 Report on Greek Mythology. 

by the thing that is not. The bearing of these remarks 
may be seen in their application to some of the myths 
quoted in the article Dionysia, in Daremberg and Saglio. 
The writer of the article, M. Jules Girard, rightly follows 
Roscher's Lexikon in various points, but unfortunately does 
not follow the Lexikon in adopting Mannhardt's explana- 
tion of the orgiastic elements in the worship of Dionysos. 
Again, he is unfortunate in following the Lexikon in 
deriving the orgiastic elements from Thrace, and dating 
their spread in the time after Homer. I say unfortunate 
for two reasons; first, because while accepting the Lexikon* s 
view, he apparently unconsciously rejects the evidence on 
which alone it is based ; and, second, because the view is, 
as I will proceed to suggest, itself unsatisfactory. If 
Mannhardt's explanation ( WWit/- und FeldkulteX 534 f) is 
correct, then the mad dances and shouts, which are the 
orgiastic elements, date from at least Aryan times, and 
must have been known to the Greeks not only before the 
time of Homer, but before the Greeks appeared in Greece. 
They are primitive man's way of wakening the spirit of 
vegetation from its winter slumber. There can have 
been no borrowing by one Greek tribe from another ; each 
Greek tribe brought this piece of primitive magic along 
with it. What, then, is the evidence for the assertion that 
these orgiastic rites were borrowed from Thrace ? It is, 
first, that they were not known to Homer (or as Lobeck, 
Aglaoph,^ 288, more cautiously says, were at the most 
known to the Greeks only by rumour); next, that the 
worship of Dionysos has every mark of having existed 
from the hoariest antiquity amongst the Thracians ; and, 
third, certain legends or myths about the introduction of 
the mad rites into certain places in Greece. With regard 
to the first item, there is a passage in Homer (//., vi, 
132 ff.) which all admit to refer to the orgiastic worship 
of Dionysos, but not all admit to be genuine. Now, we 
may either reject this passage, with F. A. Voigt, the writer 
in the Lexikon ; or retain it, with M. Girard. But it does 

Digitized by 


Report on Greek Mythology. 239 

not seem admissible to do as M. Girard does, and accept 
Vbigt's conclusion while disagreeing with his premises. 
In other words, if the orgiastic rites existed in Homeric 
Greece, the second piece of evidence given above loses its 
value : the inference, that the Greeks borrowed the rites 
from the Thracians, has some cogency only so long as we 
believe that the latter were earlier in possession of the rites 
than the former. There remain the myths alluded to. 
These agree amongst themselves in representing the god 
as punishing those who resisted the introduction of his 
orgies, and they are regarded as " evidently reminiscences 
of opposition offered to the introduction of a new and 
foreign worship". But to find reminiscences of historical 
fact in myths is to extract gold from the sunbeams. If 
myths are folk-lore, and folk-lore is primitive hypothesis, 
the one thing certain is that the assumed historical 
occurrence which the "popular explanation" uses to 
account for its " observed facts" is not historical at all. 
Whatever the etymology of "Shotover" Hill, it was never 
shot over by Little John ; nor does this primitive hypo- 
thesis contain a reminiscence of any historical fact The 
one thing we can infer with certainty is that the original 
name of the hill was near enough for the folk to confound 
it with the words " shot over". So, too, the one thing we 
can be certain of in these myths is that they were designed 
to explain the orgies. Why did the women of Eleutherae, 
a village at the foot of Cithaeron, dance in this mad way 
at the Dionysia? Because Dionysos sends the madness 
on them. What! on his worshippers? Ah! but they 
were not always worshippers of his : once Dionysos ap- 
peared in a black goat-skin to the daughters of Eleuther, 
and they derided him ; so he sent his madness on them, 
and did not withdraw it until their father, after consulting 
Apollo, adopted the cult of Dionysos of the Black Goat- 
skin (Suidas s, v. iieKavalriiZa Atowaov). So, too, the 
daughters of Proetus of Tiryns were driven mad by the 
god because they refused to enter into his orgiastic rites 

Digitized by 


240 Report on Greek Mythology. 

(Apollod., II, 11, 2). In the Eleutherae myth it is Dionysos 
who himself introduces his own worship, sends the mad- 
ness, and cures it. In the Tiryns myth, Dionysos sends 
the madness and Melampus, the seer, cures it. But inas- 
much as Herodotus (ii, 49) says that Melampus introduced 
the worship of Dionysos into Greece, and in view of the 
resemblance between the names Melampus and Melanaigis, 
is it fanciful to suggest that " Black-foot" was an epithet of 
the god in Argos, just as " Black-skin" was at Eleutherae ? 
Leaving this suggestion for what it is worth, let us turn to 
the most famous of this class of myths, that of Lycurgus, 
the son of Dryas, who chased the nurses of frenzied 
Dionysos, and smote them with the murderous pole-axe, 
while Dionysos fled trembling to Thetis for refuge in the 
sea (//., vi, 142). Here it is not the women of Thrace, but 
the king who resists the god. The king, however, is 
punished with madness because of his resistance (Apollod., 
Ill, V, i.), like the daughters of Eleutherae and the women 
of Argos ; and we might not unreasonably class all three 
myths together as primitive hypotheses of the same kind. 
But the mention of the pole-axe, and the retreat of 
Dionysos, may point to an instance of " killing the god". 
The god may have appeared as a bull in this rite, in the 
same way that he did at Bouphonia — hence the /SovTrXiyf. 
The Bouphonia, according to the story, was instituted in 
order to put an end to drought and famine, and is there- 
fore probably a harvest festival [Golden Bough, ii, 41). 
Drought and famine also play a part in the story of 
Lycurgus ( ApolL, /. ^.) ; and we may perhaps regard this 
myth as the " popular explanation" of a harvest festival in 
which the god of vegetation was killed. Originally the 
god was killed " only as a necessary step to his revival or 
resurrection in a better form". But when this was for- 
gotten, the killing required explanation. An enemy alone 
would kill the god, and he must have killed him because 
he objected to his mad rites. He must, therefore, have 
been some one having authority — a king. But the god 

Digitized by 


Report on Greek Mythology. 241 

was unlikely to let his enemy go unpunished ; therefore he 
sent drought and famine, as a god of vegetation naturally 
might. And in commemoration of the termination of the 
drought, which ended when Lycurgus had been torn in 
pieces by horses, this very harvest festival was instituted. 
This may or may not be the explanation of the Lycurgus 
myth ; but it is more in accordance with folk-lore methods 
than the " reminiscence" theory. Anyhow, the upholders 
of the theory that the worship of Dionysos was borrowed 
by the Greeks from Thrace, ought not to cite Lycurgus in 
their support ; for if his myth is a " reminiscence of opposi- 
tion offered to the introduction of a new foreign worship", 
then, as Lycurgus was a Thracian king, the new and foreign 
worship did not originate in Thrace. 



Digitized by 



Among the papers to appear in the ensuing numbers of 
FOLK-LORE will be a symposium on "Cinderella", by- 
Messrs. E. Clodd, G. L. Gomme, E. S. Hartland, Joseph 
Jacobs, Alfred Nutt, and others ; Professor Rhys' paper 
on Manx Folk-Lore, the conclusion of Dr. Gaster's paper 
on the Holy Grail, Rev. F. Sibree's paper on Malagasy 
Bird-lore, and Mr. Cecil Smith's Report on Greek Arch- 

Dr. Westermarck's work on the Origin of Marriage 
will be published by Messrs. Macmillan almost imme- 
diately. Mr. Wallace prefaces the volume. 

The "Statutory" Ninth International Congress of 
Orientalists, which is to be held this year from the ist to 
the loth September, has a section on " Comparative Reli- 
gion, including Mythology and Folk-lore, Philosophy and 
Law, and Oriental History and Sciences". 

Mr. Risley's paper on the progress of Ethnographic 
Research in India (see Bibliog,^ s.v. Journal of Anthrop. 
Institute) urges that custom should be henceforth used as 
a means of research. Mr. Risley, however, does not seem 
to be aware of the Folk-Lore Society's Handbook, as he 
recommends the use of the Anthropological Notes and 
Queries^ a very excellent but now somewhat obsolete 
volume, which is, besides, out of print 

Two new volumes of Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tra- 
dition will be published almost immediately. Folk and 
Hero Tales from Argyllshire^ collected, edited, translated, 

Digitized by 


Notes and News. 243 

and annotated by the Rev. James MacDougall, with an 
Introduction by Alfred Nutt ; also The Fians, traditions 
in prose and verse, collected during the last forty years 
by the Rev. J. G. Campbell of Tiree. 

The prospects of the Folk-lore Congress are very 
promising. Papers and addresses will be forthcoming 
from the president, Mr. Andrew Lang, and from Sir 
Fredei:ick Pollock, Professors F. B. Jevons, Rhys, and 
Sayce, Drs. Gaster, Tylor, and Wintemitz, Messrs. E. 
Clodd, J. G. Frazer, F. H. Groome, G. L. Gomme, E. 
S. Hartland, Joseph Jacobs, Alfred Nutt, besides others 
from foreign folk-lorists. 

The fourth and coiicluding part of the Rev. S. Baring- 
Gould's Songs oftlie West merits record in this place, both 
for the important mass of materials it contains on the 
English Folk-Song and for the detailed analysis of the 
whole work, with parallels, etc., contained in the introduc- 
tion to this part. 

The second and concluding volume of Miss Garnett's 
work on the Folk-lore of Turkey will be shortly issued by 
Mr. Nutt. 

Papers for the next (September) number of Folk- 
lore must reach the Oflfice, 270, Strand, on or before 
August 1st. 


Digitized by 



Superstitious Beliefs and Practices of the Finns. 
I. Those relating to Hunting and Trapping. {Suomen 
kansan muinaisia taikoja, I. Metsdstys taikoja), Hels- 
ingfors, 1891, pp. 243. 

Mr. Matti Varonen, the editor of this collection, has 
with great skill and success grouped together in logical 
order, and classified under many headings, a perfect mine 
of folk-lore material. It contains 782 items, in as many 
sections, not including a considerable number of variants 
given in the Appendix. To each section is appended in a 
footnote the name of the collector, the place of collection, 
together with the age and sex of the narrator. 

The variety of game in Finland is still very considerable, 
and includes the bear, reindeer, stag, wolf, lynx, fox, otter, 
martin, hare, and squirrel, not to mention birds of various 
kinds. But to be a successful hunter or trapper many 
precautions are necessary. The guardian spirits of the 
forest must be propitiated, though this may be less 
necessary if the hunter, like Esau, is a hairy man from his 
birth, for that always ensures success at the chase. His 
luck may be destroyed by the evil eye of another, though 
there are several ways of counteracting this malign in- 
fluence, such as by bringing a litter of young foxes 
secretly into his house and feeding them in a dark place ; 
or it may be injured through his own imprudence, by play- 
ing, for instance, with his daughters late at night Much 
depends on having a good dog, but more on being the 
owner of a straight shooting gun. During the shooting 
season, to keep it in good condition, it should be given a 
vapour bath every Saturday. If it won't go off, the best 

Digitized by 


Review. 245 

plan is to put breadcrumbs under the bullet when loading*. 
The eflfect of putting in breadcrumbs over the ball is that 
the missile enters the body of the animal shot at for certain. 
A gun shoots straight if washed with the blood of a carrion- 
eating bird, or if rubbed with the fat of a corpse ; it kills 
dead if the inside of the barrel is smeared with snake-fat 
or mercurial ointment. A gun will kill if at the time of 
purchase it is rubbed thrice against the left leg, or if put 
into an ant-heap for the night, or if the muzzle is heated in 
a fire and then plunged into water. If it won't kill, the 
hunter must take off his coat, suspend it to a branch beside 
the gun, take three knives, and then slash at his coat in a 
towering passion. If a gun is washed inside and outside 
with water and the blood of the grossbeak, it not only kills 
well but remains unaffected by hostile spells. A gun is 
often spoilt for shooting by an enemy without his ever 
having seen it For if the enemy, on hearing the hunter's 
shot, turns on his right heel with the words, " A snake into 
the gun, a lizard for a plug ! '' the latter might shoot for ever 
so long without hitting till he had cleaned his gun. The 
same result would ensue were the enemy, on hearing the 
report of the gun, to fling himself upon the ground on his 
belly. The shooting powers of a gun are destroyed by 
putting down the barrel the fat of a spawning fish, or by 
mixing sugar with the powder, or by wiping it with the 
dirty frock of an old harlot. These powers, however, can 
be renewed by leaving the gun all night in the sheep-pen, 
or by digging a hole through an ant-heap and then passing 
through it thrice, gun in hand. If a gun has been so 
ruined by the evil eye that it won't kill, won't even go off, 
a snake should be induced to crawl down the barrel and 
act as a wad to the charge. The gun is then fired into the 
air. The worst of this treatment is that it usually bursts 
the gun. The hunter's chances of sport are injured if he 
mentions animals by their real names, and the animals 
themselves seem sometimes to take it amiss. Hence the 
l)mx IS termed euphuistically "the forest cat", lest it should 

Digitized by 


246 Review. 

devour the sheep. The fox and hare are only spoken of 
as " game", and the latter during the hunting season must 
never be called " bad". It is unlucky to shoot the black 
woodpecker, and it is a bad omen should one be caught in 
a trap or a snare. So, too, to shoot a cuckoo, " the birds' 
priest", is to incur misfortune. 

John Abercromby. 



To t/te Editor of FOLK-LORE. 

Sir, — With regard to the note of Mr. W. F. Kirby in 
FOLK-LORE (vol. ii, p. 132), I would point out the fol- 
lowing remark of E. Taylor to his translation of the 
Grimms' folk-tale, " Rumpelstitzchen" (which word he 
changed into " Rumpelstiltskin") : " We remember to have 
heard a similar story from Ireland, in which the song ran: 

" * Little does my Lady wot 
That my name is Trit-a-Trot.* " 

I drew attention to this remark of Taylor's so long ago 
as 1870, in my notes to p. 81 of Gonzenbach's Sicilianische 
Mdrcltetiy which Mr. E. Clodd appears to have overlooked. 

Rein HARD Kohler. 

Weimar^ March 14, 1891. 

Digitized by 



Excommiinicated Persons.— Dumont, in his Voyage to the Levant 
(translated 1696), mentions two superstitions concerning excommuni- 
cated persons. In 1. 10, pp. 116-7, he describes a fearful storm he 
encountered in a passage from Leghorn to Malta. The ship was 
struck by lightning, and her motion was so violent that " one of the 
Ship-Boys who lay sculking in the Fore-Castle, was thrown upon the 
Hatches in the other end of the Ship, and so bruis'd, and black with 
Contusions . . . that we have still reason to doubt of his recovery. 
The M ariners concluded that the Devil was the Author of all these 
Disorders, and that there was some Person in the Company under a 
Sentence of Excommunication,^^ Again, in let. 22, p. 295 : " You have 
doubtless observed that the Romanists have an extreme Veneration 
for those Persons whose Bodies remain free from Putrefaction after 
their death . . . whereas the Greeks pretend that *tis only- an Effect of 
Excommunication; and when they find a Body in that Condition, they 
never leave Praying for the soul of the dead Person, till his Body be 
putrefyd and corrupted." 

Turkish Superstition. — " I shall in the next place proceed to give 
you a brief account of the Turks that live in Egypt^ before I finish 
my Letter. They are so extreamly Superstitious, that when they go 
abroad in the morning, if the first Person they meet be a Christian^ 
they return immediately, and having washed themselves, stay at home 
all the rest of the day ; for they believe that some great Misfortune 
wou'd certainly befall 'em, if they should venture to go abroad 
again." {Jbid,^ let. 16, p. 109.) Geraldine Gosselin. 

Post-Mortem Marriage. — A writer in the North China Daily News 
records a case of something like z,post'mortem marriage, in which a 
Chinese girl, recently deceased, was married to a dead boy in another 
village. " It not unfrequently happens", he explains, " that the son in 
the family dies before he is married, and that it is desirable to adopt 
a grandson. The family cast about for some young girl who has also 
died recently, and a proposition is made for the union of the two 
corpses in the bonds of matrimony. If it is accepted there is a com- 
bination of a wedding and a funeral, in the process of which the 
deceased bride is taken by a large number of bearers to the cemetery 
of the other family and laid beside her husband.'* {Pall Mall Gazette^ 
5 Nov. 1890.) 

Digitized by 


248 Miscellanea. 

Beayers. — The following quotation from " An Account of the Mic- 
makes and Maricheets, dependent on the Government of Cape 
Breton" (1758), pp. 37-38, mentions the superstitious use made by 
native jugglers of river-water in which beavers built their huts. " The 
great secret of these jugglers consists in having a great oorakin 
[bowl] full of water, from any river in which it was known there were 
beaver huts. Then he takes a certain number of circular turns round 
this oorakin, as it stands on the ground, pronouncing all the time with 
a low voice a kind of gibberish of broken words. After this he draws 
near to the bowl, and bending very low, or rather lying over it, looks 
at himself in it as in a glass. If he see the water in the least muddy 
or unsettled, he recovers his erect posture and begins his rounds 
again, till be finds the water as clear as he could wish it for his 
purpose, and then he pronounces over it his magfic words. If, after 
having repeated them twice or thrice, he does not find the question 
proposed to him resolved by this inspection of the water, nor the 
wonders he wants operated by it, he says with a loud voice and a 
grave tone, that the Manitoo . . . would not declare himself till every 
one of the assistants should have told him (the juggler) in the ear 
what were his actual thoughts or greatest secret." 

Witches in Cornwall.— Belief in witches and ill-wishing still 
lingers in Cornwall. Within two miles of Penzance live two families 
on adjacent farms. For twelve months the whole of the Jilbart 
household have believed that Mrs. Clarke, their neighbour, who is 
seventy-one years of age, was a witch, and had ill-wished their 
horses, so that they suddenly refused to pull, and started kicking. 
On Tuesday evening two young men of the Jilbart family went to 
Mrs. Clarke's farm, and threatened to murder Mrs. Clarke, who com- 
plained to the police, and warrants were issued. At the Penzance 
Police-court yesterday the elder brother swore that he believed Mrs. 
Clarke ill- wished their horses, causing them to kick and jib. Both 
young men were bound in ;£2o each, with a surety of ;^2o, to keep 
the peace for six months. {Standard^ March 7, 1890.) 

Huns^arian Custom.—'* Shamokin (Penn). Fifty Hungarian women 
were thrown into the river by a gang of miners, and kept in the water 
until almost drowned. The women provoked the miners by following 
a custom alleged to be in vogue among the Hungarian peasants in 
Europe. The men are supposed to bathe at Eastertide, and, by way 
of a hint, the women threw water over all the men they met for the 
first day or two after Easter Sunday. This was the miners' way of 
retaliating.*' {Echo^ April loth, 1890, p. 3.) 

Geraldine Gosselin. 

Digitized by 





{English books published in London^ French books in Paris^ 
unless otherwise mentioned^ 

Atkinson (Rev. J. C.) Forty Years in a Moorland Parish. Remini- 
scences and Researches in Danby in Cleveland. 8vo. 457 pp. 

Maps and illustrations. Macmillan. 
Burton (A.) Rush-bearing: a History of the Old Custom. (Hull 

Lit. Club.) 
GOMis (D. Cels.) Botanica popular. i2mo. vi, 152 pp. Barcelona. 
Goblet d'Alviella. La migration des symboles. 8vo. 342 pp. 

Numerous cuts. 
Hellwald (F. von). Ethnographische Rosselspriinge. Kultur- 

und vorgeschichtliche Bilder und Skizzen. 8vo. Leipzig. 
iNDicuLUS superstitionum et paganiarum. Ein Verzeichniss 

heidnischer und aberglaubischer Gebrauche und Meinungen aus 

der Zeit Karls des Grossen, aus zumeist gleichzeitigen Schriften 

erlautert von H. A. Sauppe. 4to. 34 pp. Leipzig. 
Knoop (Otto). Plattdeutsches aus Hinterpommem. Zweite Samm- 

lung. 4to. Rogasen. 
Krause (E.) Tuisko-Land, der arischen Stamme und Gotter 

Urhcimat. Erlauterungen zum Sagenschalze der Veden, Edda, 

Ilias und Odysee. 8vo. Glogau. 
Mallery (G.) Greeting by Gesture (from Pop, Science Monthly), 

New York (Appleton). 
PiTRE (P.) II Pesce d*Aprile. sta. ediz. Palermo. 8vo. pp. 25. 
Tuckwell (Rev. W.) Tongues in Trees and Sermons in Stones. 

G. Allen. (Contains chapters on plant folk-lore.) 

Brakelmann (J.) Les plus anciens chansonniers frangais (12* 

si^cle). Feuilles i k 14. Paris (Bouillon). 
Erman (A.) Die Marchen des Papyrus Westcar. Uebersetzung, 

Einleitung und Commentar. (Mittheilungen aus den orientalis- 

chen Sanmilungen. Heft V.) Sm. fol. 72 pp., 10 photo-facsimile 

plates. Berlin. 1890. 
Folk-lore and Legends. Second Series: (3) Russian ; (4) North 

American Indians* Gibbings. 

Digitized by 


550 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

MiLLiEN (A.) Chants populaires de la Gr^ce, de la Serbie, et du 

Mont^n^o. 8vo. iii, 175 pp. 
PiNEAU (L.) Les contes populaires du Poitou. i2mo. v, 316 pp. 
TOBLER (A.) Kiihreihen od Kiihreigen, lodel und lodellied in 

Appenzell 8vo. Zurich. 


Andree (A.) Die Flutsagen, Ethnographisch betrachtet Mit eincn 
TafeL 8vo. xi, 1 52 pp. Brunswick. 

Meyer (E. H.) Die eddische Kosmogonie. Ein Bcitrag zur 
Geschichte der Kosmogonie des Altertums und der Mittclalters. 
Svo. Freiburg (Mohr). 

MuLLER (Max). Physical Religion : The Gifford Lectures delivered 
before the University of Glasgo^lr in 1890. 8vo. Longmans. 

Rhys (John). Studies in the Arthurian Legend. Svo. 410 pp. Claren- 
don Press. 

ScHWARZ (P.) Reste der Wodankultus in der Gegenwart. 8vo. 


Arthour und Merlin. Nach des Auchinleck-Hs. nebst zwei 
Beilagen herausgegeben von E. Kolbing. i2mo. clxxxix, 500 pp. 
Leipzig. 1890. 

Hazlitt (W. Carew). Studies in Jocular Literature. Elliot Stock. 

MUSSAFIA (A.) Studien zu den mittelalterlichen Marienlegenden. 
Part iv. Svo. Leipzig. 

ZiMMER (H.) Ueber die friihesten Beriihrungen der Iren mit den 
Nordgermanen. {Extr, Sitzungsberichte des koniglich preussis- 
chen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. No. xvi, 1891.) 


Academy, Feb. 14. Alf, Nutty Prof. Zimmer's Theory of the Ossianic 
Saga. — Feb. 28. Whitley Stokes ^ Etymology of Fiann and F^ne. 
— Mar. 21. K. K'dhler^ The Eagle of Etan-Gilgamos and his 
kindred in Folk-lore. 

Archsolog^a Cambrensis, Jan. 1891. Rev, Elias Owen^ Holy Wells, 
a Water Veneration. 

Fashion and Fancy, v, 7, May 1891 (St. Louis, Missouri). The Re- 
strictions and Obligations of CuchuUaind. A heroic tale trans- 
lated from the Irish {^Book oj Leinster\ and now first published 
by the Rev. J(ames) K(eegan). 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography, 251 

Jonmal of American Folk-lore, Jan. to Mar. 1891. F.Boas^ Dissemi- 
nation of Tales among the Natives of North America. H. C 
Bolton^ Some Hawaiian Pastimes. F. Starry Folk-lore of Stone 
Tools. G, F. Kunzy Exhibition of Gems used as Amulets, 
etc y. Deansy The Daughter of the Sun. A Creation Myth 
of the Tsimshians of North-west British Columbia. E. A. P, de 
Guerrero f Games and Popular Superstitions of Nicaragua. W, 
M, Beauchamp^ Iroquois Notes. C Z. Edwards^ Some Tales 
from Bahama Folk-lore. F, Starr^ A Page of Child-Lore. Alice 
C, Fletcher^ The Indian Messiah. G. B. Grinnell^ Account of 
the Northern Cheyennes concerning the Messiah Superstition . 

Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xx, 3. Rev, L, O, Warner^ A 
Fetish, or Ula, from Lake Nyassa. H, H. Risley, The Study of 
Ethnology in India [raising important questions as to the relation 
between folk-lore and race]. 71 Bent^ The Yourouks of Asia 
Minor. — ^xx, 4. Hon. Lady Welby, An apparent Paradox in Mental 

Notes and Queries, Jan.-May 1891. Jan. 3, Swedish Folk-lore, Rain- 
bow Folk-lore.— Jan. 10, Unfastening a Door at Death.— Jan. 17, 
Yorkshire Witchcraft— Jan. 24, Thessalian Folk-lore. — Jan. 31, 
Superstition in Essex.— Feb. 14, W. G.' Blacky Folk-lore of 
Lettuce. — Feb. 21, Threads and Cords. Unfastening Door at 
Death. — Feb. 28, W, A. Cloustotiy Cumulative Nursery Stories. 
Old Oxford Customs: Last Observance of an Old Custom. — 
Mar. 7, Superstition in Essex. — Mar. 14, W. A. Cloustotiy Persian 
Analogue of an >Esop's Fable. Northumbrian Folk-lore. — Mar. 
28, Funeral Custom, Hungarian Custom, Turning the Candle- 
stick. — April 4, Baptismal Superstition. — May 2, Funeral Cus- 
toms, Singular Superstition, Baptismal Superstition, Baby's First 
Tooth.— May 18, W, A, Cloustotiy Fountain of Job. — May 23, 
" Spiting" a Neighbour, Gipsy Charms. 

Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Ardueology, xiii, 4. Miss Z. 
Macdonaldy Inscriptions relating to Sorcery in Cyprus. 

Providence (New Brunswick). Sunday Journal, April 13. On some 
Indian Folk-lore. Algonquin Stories, by An Chraobhon Aoibhinn 
(Douglas Hyde.) 

M^lusine, v, 8. La Fraternisation : ix, En Ukraine, Th, Volkov; x, 
Boire Schmollis, H, Gaidoz. Ristelhubery Les Acqueducs. O, 
CrusiuSy L'Op^ration d'Esculape. H, GaidoZy Les d^vinettes de 
la Mdt^orologie. Jean de I'Ours. Les cheveux rouges. J. 
Tuckmantiy La Fascination. H, GaidoZy Les Soniou de M. Luztl. 
Les chemins de fer. 

Digitized by 


252 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

Revue de rHistoire des Religions, i, 1891. S, Uvi^ Le Bouddhisme 
et las Grecs. P, Paris, Bulletin arch^ologique de la religion 
grecque. Z. Sichler^ L^gendes chr^tiennes russes. 

Revue des Religions, i. 1891, Abb^ Loisy, Etudes sur la religion 
Chald^s-Assyrienne (continued in No. ii). Castonnet des Fosses, 
Les origines et la religion du peuple Mexicain.— ii, F. RobioUy 
Les mythes. 

Revue des Traditions Populaires, Feb, 1891. D, Fitzgerald, Sur 
quelques origines de la tradition celtique, i {suite). Sources 
historiques. G, Walhen, La ponne Femme ^s Brunes: i, 
Normandie. P, 5*., Haute-Bretagne, ii. P, Sibillot, Tradi- 
ditions et superstitions des ponts et chauss^es : viii, Les 
Fonts (Ponts hant^s. Superstitions di verses). A, Harou, Les 
chemins de fer {suite) ; ii, Superstitions. P. S,, Fac^ties et 
expressions pittoresques. Z. Morin, Devinettes. P, Sinkquier, 
Les Routes, ii {suite). M, de Ztnigrodzki, Bibliographie du Folk- 
lore en Pologne. A, Certeux, Pterins et p^lerinages: viii, PMe- 
rinages aux CMres du Liban. P, 5., Les mines et les mineurs: 
ix, Les Statues dans les Mines. E, Penny, F^tes et Croyances, 
X. Reni Basset, Allusions ^ des Contes populaires {suite), G,de 
Launay, Les Cloches : ii. Presages et Superstitions. Raoul 
Bayou, Le Peuple et les Monuments: i, Pierres gravies. Raphael 
Blanchard, Extraits et Lectures: Sorcellerie dans les Hautes- 
Alpes. — March, P, Sebillot, Traditions et superstitions des 
ponts et chaussdes : vii, Les Ponts ; Rites de la construc- 
tion. H, Heinecke, Le Pont d'Artos, chant albanais. Far- 
gue, Pieces de monnaie dans les fondations. Libations d la 
pose de la clef de vodte. P, S., Les ^gouts, viii. Z. Ruffi/, 
Chanson des livr^es: i, Ari^ge. P, Chardin, Les poissons fan- 
tastiques: i, Le poisson Nicole. R, M, Lacuve, Les cent Ethius, 
conte poitevin. G, de Castelnau, Les mines et les mineurs: viii, 
Additions. R, Basset, Solalman dans les Mgendes musulmanes: 
vi, Les Objets merveilleux {suite), J, Tiersot, Pastiches de 
chansons populaires, ii. A, Perraud, Traditions et superstitions 
du Dauphin^, ii. A, Certeux, La Galette de pain, i^gende arabe. 
H, Pellisson, Superstitions bfeamaises. D. Bellet, Voyageurs 
fran^ais et Strangers : i, Thevenard. Mme, Murray Aynsley, 
Une l^gende de sorcellerie en Angleterre. R, Basset, Le Culte 
du marteau: i, Chez les Lithuaniens ; le soleil captif. G,Fouju, 
L^gendes et superstitions prdhistoriques : viii, Pierres qui toument 
en Eure-et- Loire. R, Basset, Les Villes englouties: ii, Baies. 
P,'M, Lavenot, La L^gende du Diable dans le pays de Vannes. 
R, Basset, Les Rites de la Construction: i, Sacrifices humains en 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography. 253 

Oc6anie. W. Gregor, En Ecosse, ii. L, Morin^ Livres popu- 
laires : ii, Chanson en forme de complainte de Jehan Dubus, 
Deux rondes d*enfants: Aube. /. Tiersoty Scepticisme populaire. 
A, Harou, Origine des roses mousseuses, l^gende d'Anvers. A. 
Boscy La Danse des F^es, l^gende d'Auvergne. 

Romania, January. Th, Batiouchkofy Le debats du corps et de I'&me, i. 
G, Doncieuxy La chanson de la Pernette. G, Paris, Review of 
Fdrster's Erec u. Enide. 

La Tradition, Feb. 1891. T. Davidson^ Elements de Traditionnisme 
ou Folk-lore: ii, Le Culte des Anc^tres. H, Van Elven^ La 
Sorcellerie au Moyen-Age: i, Coup d*oeil historique. H. Camoy 
ety. Nicolatdesy Le Folk-lore de Constantinople: i, Superstitions 
et Croyances des Turcs. H, Camoy , Les Pommiers en fleur. 
P, CombeSy Littdrature populaire de Villeneuvc-sur-Lot. A, 
HaroUy Le Folk-lore de la Belgique: xii, Les Grants. /. Plan- 
tadtSy Les Chevaliers du Papegai, i. F. de Beaurepaire, Chan- 
sons populaires de Quercy. A. Chaboseau^ Les empreintes mer- 
veilleuses, vi.— March 1891. H, Camoy et/. Nkolatdes, Le Folk- 
lore de Constantinople: i, Superstitions et Croyances des Turcs 
{suite), F, de Beaurepairej Chansons populaires du Quercy: iii, 
Les Sabots; iv, Verdurette, Verduron. T. Davidson, Elements 
de Traditionnisme ou Folk-lore: iii, Le Culte des Animaux. C. 
de Warloy, Saint Bamab^, patron des Amoureux. M, de 
Zmigrodskiy Le Folk-lore polonais. Cracovie et ses environs: 
iv, La Mddecine. H. C, Le mois de Mai, xiv. A, ChaboseaUy 
Les empreintes marveilleuses, vii. Dr, Birenger-Firaudy Contes 
de Provence, i. F, Ortoli, Les Saints chiti^s. P, Ristelhuber, 
Les Vosen6ttes en Alsace-Lorraine. 

Archivio per lo studio delle Tradizioni Popolari, viii, 4. G, PiM, II 
Pesce d'Aprile. Isabelo de los Reyes y FlorentinOy Seres y 
Objectos Suprenaturales de Filipinas. C, Simiam\ Usi, Leg- 
gende e Pregiudizi pop. Trapanesi. G, Ferraroy Canti pop. 
Parmigiani e Monferrini. H, H. Giglioli, Usi e Credenze 
Giapponesi. G, Schird, Letteratura pop. dclla Colonia 
Albanese di Piani dei Greci. V. Giuffrida, Poesia pop. 
Drammatica in Sicilia. B. Vigon, Folklore del Mar. F, Seves, 
Le Serenate pei SS. Crispino e Crispiniano in Pinerolo. — ix, i, 
C. Simianiy Usi, Leggende e Pregiudizi pop. Trapanesi. F, 
Musoni, Usi e Costumi degli Sloveni Veneti. A, T, Pires, 
Cantos Maritimos de Portugal. M. Afenghiniy Canti pop. 
Romani. L, De PasquaUy Raccolta di Proverbi Calabri. S, PratOy 
II Mare. P, Mazzucchiy Usi e Costumi del Popolo nell* Alto 
Polesine. 5. Salomone-Marinoy Exenia Nuptialia in Sicilia. /^ 

Digitized by 


254 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

Gabotto, Due Sacre Rappresentazioni in Torino nel Secolo xv. 
G. B, Ccrstj Vita Senese.— ix, 2, G, Finamore^ Trad. pop. 
Abbruzzesi. P, Mazztuchi^ Proverbi pop. del Polesine. A. 
Nardo-CibeUy La Coltivazione del Canape nel Bellundse. A, 
Ramtfty Les jeux en Finlande. K Cian^ Una Preghiera di Pelle- 
grini del Secolo xv. G. Ragusa-Moleti^ Canti Funebri. • Vitu- 
suUanu. L. DePasquale^ Race, di Proverbi Calabri. P, Sibillot^ 
Contes de Marins. C Simtani^ Usi, etc., pop. Trapanese. M. 
Menghini^ Canti pop. Romani. S. Salomone-Marino^ II "Tab- 
baranu^\ G, Ferraro^ Canti pop. Parmigiani e Monferrini. — ix, 
3, C, Musattiy II San Giovanni Battista a Venezia. D, F, 
Pellegrini, II S. G. B. nelP Agordino. A, Nardo-Cibele, Sul 
S. G. B. F. SeveSy La Festa di S. G. B. in Piemonte. G. £, 
Corsif II Braccio e il Giorao di S. G. B. in Siena. Evelyn 
MartinengO'CesarescOy Fiori di S. G. F, S. KrausSy La F6te de la 
Saint- Jean chez les Slaves du Sud. M, Roslery II Fuoco di S. G. 
sull' Isergebirg. M, Di MartinOy La Festa di S. G. in Finlandia. 
P. Vetriy II Sonno di S. G. B. A, De NinOy La Festa di S. G. 
nelV Abruzzo. H. CarstenSy Usie Cred. di S. G. nello Schleswig- 
Holstein. G, Ragusa-Moletiy Canti Funebri. G, Piiriy La 
Leggenda di Cola Pesce. G, M. Columbuy Note di Tradizioni e 
Leggende. G. Nerucciy Storielle pop. A, E, LumbrosOy Usi, 
Credcnze, Leggende. M. Menghiniy Canti pop. Romani. F, 
Musoniy Usi e Costumi degli Sloveni Veneti. P, Sibilloty Contes 
de Marins. — ix, 4, A. Nardo-Cibele, La Coltivazione del Canape 
nel Bellunese. F, S, KrausSy Le Afflizioni di Trojano. G, Ruuy 
Dal Novelliere di Celio Malespini. P. SSilioty Contes de 
Marins. A. E. LumbrosOy Usi, Cred., Legg. G, B. Corsij Sena 
Vetus. G, Crimito GiudicCy Costumanzi Nasitane. G. Pitrcy 
Folk-lore Giuridico dei Fanciulli in Sicilia. P, Maszucchiy Prov. 
pop. del Polesine. F, Musoniy Pepeluhar, Nov. pop. Slovena. 
M, Menghiniy Canti pop. Romani. J, Sanesiy II Vespro Siciliano. 
V, Ostermanny Due Giuochi Fanciulleschi in Friuli. 

Alemannia, xviii, 2 (1890). Lachmanny Volkssagen in Uebcrlingen. 
BirlingeTy Vorarlberger Sagen. 

Am Urquell, II, i. A, S, Gaischcty Die Windhose. Handelmanny 
Zur norwegischen Sagenforschung (cont. in iii). M, WintemitZy 
Das Kind bei den Juden (cont. in ii). J, Karlowiczy Die Liebes- 
taufe bei den Polen (cont. in ii). KrausSy Die Menschenwerdung 
des heiligen Panteleimon. G, KupczankOy Volksmedizin (cont. in 
ii, iii, iv). KrausSy Die Prinzessin von England (Slovak ballad). 
//. Volksmanny Volkswitz in Ratseln. J. Sembrzyckiy Ostpreus- 
sischc SprichwSrter, Volksreime und Provinzialismen (cont. in 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography. 255 

ii-vi). H, V, Wislocki^ Zigeunertaufe in Nordungam Krauss^ 
Geheime Sprachweisen (cont. in ii-vi). W, v, Hagen und H, 
VolksmanUy Volksglauben. ii. H, Gaidosy Ransom by Weight 
(cont. in iii, iv). Pordes, Trinkgefasse in Bosnien. iii. H. v. 
Wislockiy Magyarischer Liebeszauber. H. Frischbier^ Der Eid 
im Volksleben. K. Knauthey Sagen und Marchen. iv. A, H, 
Posty Das Volksleben als wissenschaftliches Problem. K, 
Knauthty Das Alpdriicken in Schlesien. O. Schelly St. Martins- 
tag im Bergischen. v. /. Mooneyy Die Kosmogonie der 
Cherokee. M, LandaUy " Non olet." M, Hoeflery Das Sterben in 
Oberbayem. H, Sundermanny Ostfriesisches Volkstum. H, 
Volksmantiy Volksmedizin. 

Berichte des freien deutschen Hochstiltes zu Frankfurt a. M. Zicheity 
Die Mythen im Alterthum. 

Berichte der sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Part i ( 1 890). 
Windischy Magische Formeln in Alt-irischen (substantially re- 
printed in the Revue Celtiquey xii, i). Zamckey Die Ecbasis 
captivi (assigns a date of about 925-30). 

Germania, xxv, 2 (1890). Liebrechiy Zur Volkskunde (supplement to 
his well-known work). 

Gdttiiigische gelehrte Anzeigen, No. 5 (March i). H. Zimmer 
reviews De Smedfs and De Backer's Acta Sanctorum Hibemia 
ex cod. SalmaticemOy and discusses traces of Northern heathenism 
in the Irish Saints' lives. 

Jahrbuch ftir Geschichte, Sprache und Litteratnr Elsass-Lothringens, 
vol. vi (1890). StehUy Elasssische Volksfesten und Volkssitten. 

Mansfelder Blatter, iv (1890). Grosslery Mansfelder Volkssitten und 

Mittheilungen des anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, xxi, i. 
B, Jelineky Materialien zur Vorgeschichte und Volkskunde 
Bdhmens, i. ^^ cuts. 

Zeitschrift Hir deutsche Philologie, xxiii, 2-3 (1890). Jcukely Die 
germanische Gottin Hludana (equates her with Ertha and makes 
her wife of Tins). 

Zeitschrift fUr deutsches Alterthum und deutsche Literatnr, xxxv. //. 
ZimmeTy KeltischeBeitrage: iii^Weitere nordgermanischeeinflusse 
in der altesten Ueberlieferung der irischen Heldensage; Ursprung 
und Entwickelung der Finn- (Ossian-) sage ; die vikinger Irlands 
in Sage, Geschichtc und Recht des \xtn,—See supray Academy. 

Digitized by 


256 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

Zeitschrift des Vereins flir Volkskunde» Heft 2. A. Meitzen^ Land 
und Leute der Saalegegenden. F. S, Krauss^ Der Tod in Sitte, 
Brauch und Glauben der Siidslavcn. 0, v, ZingerUy Sagen und 
Hulmittel aus einer HS. der xv Jahrhts. H, Praln^ Glaube und 
Brauch in der Mark Brandenburg. J, 71 Ammason^ Volkssagen 
aus den Bobmerwald. Kleine Mitteilungen. Bucheranzeigen 

Zeitschrift fUr Volkskunde, vol. iii, 6. Diimwirth^ Deutsches Element 
in slovenischen Sagen des kamtischen Oberrosenthales. Mailand^ 
Der Fluch in siebenburgisch-rumanischen Volkspoesie. Vecken- 
stedt^ Wendische Sagen der Niederlausitz. Jarnik^ Albanesische 
Marchen und Schwanke. Btanky^ Volksuberlieferungen aus 
Oesterreich. Gadde^ Volkslieder aus Hinterpommern. Kcmf- 
mann, Findlinge zur Volkskunde. Knoop^ Polnischer und 
deutscher Aberglaube und Brauch aus Posen.— 7. Krohn^ Die 
Kalewala vom asthetischen Standpunkte betrachtet Knoofiy 
Die Influenza. Veckensiedt^ Wendische Sagen der Niederlausitz. 
Jamik^ Albanesische Marchen und Schwanke. Branky^ Volks- 
iiberlieferungen aus Oesterreich. Lund^ Die alten nordischen 
Friihlingsfeste. — 8, Krohn^ Die Kalewala vom asthetischen Stand- 
punkt betrachtet. Jamik^ Albanesische Marchen und Schwanke. 
Branky^ Volksiiberlieferungen aus Oesterreich. Prexl^ Ruma- 
nische Volksromanzen. Aus Sachsen : i, Der Festkalender von 
Homburg in Sitte, Brauch und Schwank, mitgeteilt von E. 
VeckenstedL TroelSj Die alten nordischen Friihlingsfeste. E, 
Veckenstedt^ Biicherbesprechungen (criticisms on Mannhardt's 
methods and results, and communications respecting his own 

Digitized by 





[Dans cet article, dont la majeure partie ^crite avant le mois de novembrc 
n*a pas pu, par suite d*UD accident de poste, ^tre ins^r^ dans le num^ro 
de Janvier, je renvoie surtout aux ouvrages ou aux articles suivants : 

Erec. Erec und Enide von Christian von Troyes, hrsg. von Wendelin 

Foerster. Halle, 1890. 
ZiMMER. Gdttingische gelehrte Anzeigen. N^ 12. 10 juin 1890. (Ce nu- 
m^ro contient un compte rendu de mes Studies on the Legend of the Holy 
Grail, qui occupe les pages 488-528. Tous les renvois ^ M. Zimmer 
sans autre mention s'y rapportent.) 
Zimmer. G6ttingische gelehrte Anzeigen. No 20. i Oct. 1890. Pages 785- 
852. Contient un compte rendu du t. XXX deTHist. lit. de la France. 
Zimmer. Zeitschrift fur franz. Sprache und Literatur. XII, i. Bretonische 
Elemente in der Arthursage des Gottfried von Monmouth. 

(Ces deux derniers articles, ainsi que la preface de TErec, et les 

travaux de M. Golther dont T^num^ration suit, sont surtout occup^s 

i combattre les id^es de M. Gaston Paris sur I'origine et le d^velop- 

pement des romans arthuriens. J'ai laiss^ de c6t^ tout ce qui se rap- 

porte A cette pol^mique qui, du reste, importe fort peu i la th^ 

soutenue dans mon ouvrage, estimant qu'il fallaitattendre la r^ponse 

de M. Gaston Paris). 

Golther. Sitzungsberichte der philos.-philol . und histor. Classe der K. 

Bayer. Akademie der Wissenschaften. 1890. II. 11. Pages 171-217: 

Chrestien's conte del Graal in seinem verhahniss zum walschen Peredar 

und zum englischen Sir Perceval. (Tous les renvois i M. Golther sans 

autre mention se rapportent d cet article.) 

Golther. Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte etc. Neuc 

Folge, Bd. Ill, pages 409-433 : Beziehungen zwischen franzdsischer 

und keltischer Litteratur in Mittelalter (cit^ Z. v, L). 

Digitized by 


n Alfred Nutt, 

GoLTHER. Beilage zur Allegmeinen Zeitung, 1890, No 209, 30 juillet. Per- 
ceval und der Gral. 

Je cite mes Studies, etc., par Tabr^iation Grail. Les renvois i Arg. Talis 
ou Tola se rapportent i : Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Argyllshire 
Series, vol. II. Folk- and Hero Tales from Argyllshire, collected, edited and 
translated by the Rev. D. Mac Innes, with notes by the editor and Alfred 
Nutt, 1890.] 

Dans la preface de son Edition de TErec, M. Foerster con- 
tinue sa campagne contre les theories de M. Gaston Paris sur 
Torigine et le d^veloppement des romans Arthuriens. En 
mSme temps, M. W. Golther, dans les articles pr^cit^s, 
applique la doctrine de M. Foerster aux romans appartenant 
au cycle du Graal, et cherche i d^montrer que ceux-ci, dans 
leur ensemble, ont pour source unique le roman inacheve de 
Chrestien. L'un et I'autre se prevalent de la critique qu'a faite 
M. Zimmer de mes Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail 
pour ^carter ceux de mes r^sultats qui pourraient les gener. 
Ces deux savants jouissent d'une legitime autorit^; je les 
crois dans Terreur, aussi je veux me hiter de leur r^pondre 
pour ne point me laisser condamner par d^faut. II y a aussi, 
je Tavoue, un autre motif qui me fait agir. On ne s'emeut 
point de certaineschoseslorsqu'ellessontditespar M. Zimmer; 
on a pour elles le sourire indulgent accorde aux boutades d'un 
enfant gdtc auquel on passe ses caprices en raison de la vie et 
de la vigueur dont il deborde. Mais, jusqu'i present du 
moins, ni M. Foerster, ni M. Golther ne se sont fait la repu- 
tation peu enviable du professeur de Greifswald. Aussi ai-je 
ht6 surpris d'entendre chez eux r(^cho des reproches que 
m'avait adresses M. Zimmer, et ne faudra-t-il pas s'^tonner 
de trouver un Element personnel dans Tarticle que Ton va lire. 
Je ticherai, du reste, de le restreindre autant que possible. 
Ceux qui m'ont lu savent quel cas il faut faire de la plupan 
des observations blessantes de M. Zimmer. Quant i ceux qui 

Digitized by 


Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint Graal, iii 

ne sont pas au fait du d^bat, j'essaierai de les mettre i rhtme 
de se former un jugement ichiri. S'il m'ichappe parfois un 
blJme pour les proc6d6s de controverse qu'emploient 
MM. Golther et Foerster, c'est moins parce que je suis la vic- 
time de ces proc^d^s, que parce qu'ils d^rogent i Tid^al d'ami- 
nit^, d'impartialiti et de loyauti que doit se proposer tout 

L'article de M. Zimmer, sur lequel s'appuient MM. Gol- 
ther et Foerster, sans qu'ils aient fait le moindre effon appa- 
rent pour en contr61er les assertions, se divise en trois par- 
ties, d'6tendue et de valeur fort inigales. D y a le compte 
rendu de mon ouvrage ; cela occupe peu de place et cela a, 
j'ose le dire, encore moins d'importance. II y a ensuite une 
s^rie de dissertations de omnibus rebus, qui pour la plupart ne 
se rattachent que faiblement i la donnie de mon livre. Ces 
dissertations sont nourries et int^ressantes ; tout celtisant les 
lira avec fruit. En troisifeme lieu, M. Zimmer esquisse une 
th^orie du cycle Arthurien, sur laquelle il revient dans le 
compte rendu du tome XXX de VHist. liHeraire de la France, 
et que je m'abstiens pour le moment de discuter, me per- 
mettant seulement de mettre en regard des conclusions de 
M. Foerster celles auxquelles est arriv^ M. Zimmer. Cette 
confrontation est instructive et je crois qu'elle donnera fort i 
r^fl^chir aux sectateurs de la doctrine foersterienne. 

I . Je tiens d afHrmer in limine ma sincere admiration pour i'oeuvre de 
M Zimmer, admiration dont j*ai timoign^ en me faisant dans la mesure 
de mes forces Tinterpr^te de ses travaux aupr^s du public anglais. M. Zim- 
mer est un des plus torts travailleurs devant TEternel dans ce pays de grands 
et vaillanis travailleurs qui s*appelle I'Allemagne. En outre, par son talent 
divinatoire, son esprit subtil et sa puissance synth^tique il renouvelle tout 
sujet auquel il touche. Ses erreurs m^mes oiit une valeur que n'ont sou- 
vent pas les conclusions les plus sages et les mieux appuy^es d*autres eru- 
dits. Quel dommage qu'il ne reconnaisse pas lui-m^me qu*il possWe les 
d^fauts de ses qualites et que son amour de Tin^dit le fait verser souvent 
dans le paradoxe. Quel dommage surtout au'il ne puisse se d^barrasser de 
CCS fdcheuses habitudes de controverse qui lui ont valu la position de « pri- 
vileged person » ; j'emploie ici une expression an^laise qu'il est impossible 
de rendre en fran^ais, attendu que le genre d'individu qu'elle vise n'existe 

f)as dans un pays oil la courtoisie, la mesure et le savoir-vivre sont des qua- 
it^ exig^es ae tout homme qui se produit en public, i moins toutefois que 
ce ne soit dans un r61e politique. 

Digitized by 


IV Alfred NuU, 

Avant d'aborder rexamen de Tarticle de M. Zimmer, 
je me permets de mettre en relief Tidie qui sert de lien i 
Tensemble d'6tudes indipendantes, et parfois, il se peut, d^ 
cousues, done se compose mon livre. Quand j'ai commence 
I'etude des romans du Graal, la doctrine rignante etait celle 
de M. Birch-Hirschfeld qui faisait de la trilogie de Roben de 
Borron le point de depart du cycle entier, qui cherchait dans 
la Icgende chr^tienne I'unique source du Graal lui-mfeme, et 
qui r^duisait T^liment celtique i quelques emprunts secon- 
daires et sans importance. La lecture des textes me convainquit 
que Tordre de developpement des divers romans pr6conis6 
par M. Birch-Hirschfeld 6tait erron6, et je fus ameni i assi- 
gner au roman de Chrestien la premiere place dans le rang 
d'anciennet^ des textes qui nous sont parvenus. J'eus le bon- 
heur de me rencontrer avec M. Gaston Paris qui 6mit la 
mfeme doctrine sans que j'eusse eu connaissance de ses recher- 
ches. Cette doctrine est maintenant universellement accept^e, 
et la valeur de ma demonstration est reconnue par chacun de 
mes trois adversaires. J'en fais mention, non pour en tirer 
vanite, mais pour constater que nous sommes d'accord sur la 
base de toute discussion scientifique, c'est-i-dire sur I'ordre de 
developpement des textes firan^ais. L'examen attentif du conte 
du Graal, tantde la partie due i Chrestien que des suites sue- 
cessives qui lui fiirent ajout^es, me fit penser qu'il y avait li 
le remaniement de deux themes de contes populaires ; dans 
le conte gallois de Peredur, qui est en partie une adaptation 
du roman inachevi de Chrestien, je crus reconnaitre un de 
ces thimes dans une forme plus ancienne et plus pure que 
chez Chrestien. 

Arrive i ce point je me suis efforc^ de rassembler tous les 
similaires de ces deux themes que je pourrais trouver dans la 
tradition celtique, soit dans des l^gendes h^roiques gailiques 
(irlandaises) qui remontent aux vii*-xii* sitcles de notre ire, 
soit chez les seules populations celtiques de la Grande-Bretagne 
qui aient conserve une tradition orale, c'est-i-dire chez les 
paysans gadiques de Tlrlande et de I'Ecosse. 

Ici se placent les deux objections de principe que me fait 
M. Zimmer : 

Digitized by 


Derniers travaux allemands sur la legende du saint Graal. v 

(i) Je n'aurais pas dii comparer des textes gadiques avec 
une legende Wroique kymrique (galloise), c*est-i-dire laligende 

(2) Je n'aurais pas dii comparer des contes recueillis dans 
ce si^cle-ci avec des textes du xii* sifecle. 

La premiere objection n'est formulae nulle part d'une fagon 
precise. Mais M. Zimmer dit (p. 489) « den Grundlagen und 
dem Princip derForschung widerspreche ich », et il me de- 
mande (p. 492) « wie kommt es dass gerade die irischc Lite- 
ratur bei der Untersuchung eine so grosse ja die entsclieidende 
Roile spielt ? » II continue en me disant que I'^pop^e h^roique 
pan-celtique (« gemeinkeltische Heldensage ») ne peut fetre 
reconstruite m6me « in den grobsten Umrissen », et que 
quand j'emploie le mot « celtique » i regard de la legende 
arthurienne ce mot « besagt einzig und allein kymrisch-bre- 
tonisch ». Je ne crois done pas me tromper ou 6tre injuste 
envers M. Zimmer en formulant son objection de la fa^on 
pr^citie. Eh bien, M. Zimmer m'a ^pargn^ la peine de lui 
ripondre. A la page 493 il nous affirme qu'Arthur « ist 
keine gemeinkeltische oder urkeltische Figur ». A la page 516 
il se demande ce qu'il y a de probablement « gemeinkel- 
tisch » dans les plus anciens textes du cycle arthurien. II 
r6pond en citant Tepisode des traces du sang dans la neige qui 
se trouve et dans le r^cit de la mort du fils d'Usnech et dans 
le roman de Chrestien ; il compare T^p^e d'Arthur, Caledvwkh, 
i r^p^e de Fergus, Caladbolg, dans le Tain ho Ctlalnge (les 
deux 6p^es proviennent du royaume des ftes) ; il met en regard 
des traits caract^ristiques de Kei, tels qu'on les trouve dans 
Kulhwch, et de Cuchulain, tels qu'on les trouve dans le Tain; 
il compare les h6ros de la Table-Ronde d'Arthur avec ceux 
de la table de festin de Conchobar et rappelle que de part et 
d' autre on s'en va « errant » a la recherche des aventures ; il 
cite les obligations d'honneur (« geasa » en irlandais, ce qu'il 
traduit excellemment par « tabuartige Verpflichtungen ») qui 
pfesent egalement sur les h^ros d'Arthur et sur ceux de Con- 
chobar. II compare les « enfances » de Cfichulain avec celles 
de Perceval : « die Aehnlichkeit springt in die Augen » (p. 520). 
Je suis tellement enchant^ de cette demonstration qui occupe 

Digitized by 


VI Alfred Nutt. 

quatre pages, que c'est k peine si j'ose faire remarquer que 
beaucoup des 616ments en sont emprunt^s k mon livre et no- 
tamment aux pages 230-234. Rappelons-nous en outre que 
tous ces points de comparaison sont ^tablis entre des textes 
kymriques, dont la tradition diplomatique ne pent 6tre pour- 
suivie au deli du xii* siicle (bien entendu je ne parte pas de 
Tanciennet^ des ligendes elles-mfemes) et des textes ga^liques 
dont M. Zimmer lui-mfeme a plac^ la redaction aux vii*- 
vni* sifecles; rappelons-nous que M. Zimmer ajoute (p. 520) 
« der Beziehungen zu dem Stoff der Arthursagentexte lassen 
sich in der alten Heldensage und in den Stiicken des mytho- 
logischen Cyklus noch manche nachweisen » (les italiques sont 
de moi), et que « Nutt hat einiges sicher richtig verglichen », 
cet a einiges » se rapportant i des comparaisons du genre de 
celle que venait de feire M. Zimmer, et Ton conviendra que 
de Taveu et de Texemple de mon critique lui-mSme, la com- 
paraison que j'ai faite d'incidents appartenant aux cycles h^ 
ro'ico-mythiques des deux peuples celtiques n'est pas en prin- 
cipe contraire i une saine m^thode. II me semble done que je 
suis dispense de r^pondre lorsque M. Zimmer me demandc 
pourquoi j'ai fait une si large place k Tancienne litt^rature 
irlandaise, mais je veux bien lui dire que je m'6tais naivement 
imaging qu'il fallait rechercher des « origines » dans les plus 
anciens textes connus et dans une tradition orale manifes- 
tement apparentie i celle de ces textes. 

A vrai dire, cette question des rapports entre les cycles de 
traditions h^roico-mythiques des deux peuples celtiques m^rite 
un instant d'examen. Les trois cycles qui sont en jeu — le 
cycle ultonien, celui de Finn et celui d'Arthur — ont eu leur 
origine sous leur forme actuelle et sont parvenues i cette forme 
dans le courant des ^•I*-XII* slides. Or, pendant toute la dur^ 
de cette piriode de 700 ans les rapports entre Gael et Kymry 
furent continus, intimes, et s'^tendirent i la vie privie et 
publique de ces deux peuples. Les faits i Tappui de ce que je 
dis li sont tellement nombreux qu'ils rempliraient un volume 
de la Revue Celtique, tellement notoires que je n'ai cenes pas 
besoin de les citer ici. Je n'en relfeverai qu'un qui me parait 
avoir un rapport tout special au sujet qui nous occupe. Cot- 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint Craal. vii 

mac, le roi-£v£que de Cashel, xu6 en 903, donne dans son 
Glossaire sub voce Mug-iime une sirie de traditions relatives i 
la supr^matie des Gaels dans la Grande-Bretagne, au courant 
de laquelle il parle de « Glastonbury des Gaels ». Qu'on se rap- 
pelle la position de Glastonbury dans la kgende arthurienne 
telle que nous la trouvons dans les romans du xii' si^cle, et 
I'importance de ce t^moignage est ividente^ 

Ces rapports s^culaires se seraient produits sans exercer 
aucune influence sur Tipopie hiroique, soit de Tun, soit de 
Tautre peuple ? Cela n'est point croyable. Du reste cela n'est 
pas, et M. Zimmer lui-mfemea cii6 quelques exemples (p. 512, 
note) : le poime gallois bien connu sur Curoi mac Daire, le 
&it que le nom de plusieurs personnages dans les Mabinogion 
(Math, Mathonwy, Matholwch) dicfelent clairement leur ori- 
gine irlandaise, quoique ce dernier fait soit loin d'etre aussi 
certain que le pretend M. Zimmer, etc. Encore une fois je 
suis trop content de voir M. Zimmer dans cette bonne voie 
pour lui tenir rigueur de ce qu'il passe complfctement sous 
silence le fait que j'ai cit6 il y a sept i huit ans dans mon 
etude sur Branwen ^, plusieurs autres points de contact entre 
les Mabinogion proprement dits et la tradition irlandaise. Je 
m'^tonne seulement que M. Zimmer n'ait pas pouss^ un peu 
plus avant. Quiconque lit avec attention des ricits gallois teis 
que Kulhwch et le Songe de Rhonabwy, et les compare k des 
r^cits irlandais des vii«-x* sifccles tels que Mesca Ulad ou Bruden 
da Derga, ne pent manquer d'etre frappi, non seulement par 
une communaut^ de ton et de coloris (cela pourrait et, peut- 
fitre, doit Stre mis sur le compte du ginie celtique), mais encore 
par une communaut^ de proc6d6s littiraires3. Si cela est, on 

1 . Je cite Cormac souvent, aussi je tiens i dire que je ne pr^juge nulle- 
ment la question de I'dge des plus anciennes parties du Glossaire. Mais 
quand m^me cellcs-ci seraient d'une redaction plus ricente que I'dge dc 
Cormac lui-m6me, les faits, tant historiques que linguistiques qui y sont 
not^s, doivent remonter aux ixe-x^ si^cles. 

2. Mabinogion Studies, I.: Branwen daughter of Llyr. Folk-Lore Re- 
cord, vol. V, 1882. II y'a beaucoup d'omissions dans cet article, mais je 
crois aue les faits y sont vus de la bonne mani^re. 

3 . J'ai d^ji insist^ sur ce point dans mon compte rendu de Mesca Ulad, 
Archaeological Review, vol. IV, 1889. 

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VIII Alfred Nutt. 

ne peut guire douterde quelc6t4 vient Tinfluence. La grande 
6cole des rhapsodes irlandais des vii*-x' siicles ne nous a proba- 
blement pas laiss^ la vingd^me partie de ce qu'elle a compost, 
n^anmoins ce qui nous reste de Tancienne litt^rature h^roique 
des Gaels d^passe au moins dans la proportion de lo ^ i ce 
queles Gallois nous ont ligui. Du reste, les quelques exem- 
pies que je viens de citer d'apr^s M. Zimmer sont concluants. 
Cette influence s'est-elle itendue au fond de ces ricits ? 
M. Zimmer semble pencher i croire que les quatre branches 
des Mabinogion sont pour le fond, autant que pour certains 
noms, d'origine irlandaise. Je puis me tromper, car tout ce 
qu'il dit la-dessus (p. 512, 13, notes) est fort peu clair. Je 
crois que Ton ne peut pas encore se prononcer, et jesuis loin 
de vouloir faire de la tradition galloise un simple dcho de 
celle des Irlandais. 

II reste toutefois un point k itablir. Un des principaux griefe 
de M. Zimmer est que je fasse usage de textes appartenant au 
cycle de Finn, lesquels ne remontent pas au deli du xv* sifecle 
et sont souvent beaucoup plus jeunes. II faut done determiner 
autant que cela se peut I'antiquit^ de certains Episodes des 
deux cycles, celui deFinn et celui d'Arthur. Disons auparavant 
qu'i part les rapports cit& soit par M. Zimmer soil par moi 
dans mon itude sur Branwen, k part aussi la communaute 
de proced^s litt^raires sur laquelle je viens d'insister, il y a 
fort peu de points communs entre Tancienne litterature irlan- 
daise, en tant que celle-ci comprend le cycle ultonien et les 
r^cits historico-ligendaires d'^v^nements des v*-ix* sitclcs, et 
la litterature galloise, soit en prose, soit en vers, en dehors 
de la legende arthurienne. Par contre celle-ci a, avec le cycle 
de Finn, au moins deux de ces points de contact qui t^moi- 
gnent d'une reelle afEnit^. Ce sont I'infid^lite de la femme du 
principal personnage de la legende et le fait que par I'histoire 
de leur naissance et de leurs « enfances » ces personnages se 
rattachent tous deux i cette sirie de r^cits h^roYques dtudi^s 
pour la premiere fois par feu J. G. v. Hahn sous le nom de 
Arische Aussetzungs- und Ruckkehr-Formel ^ 

I . Sagwissenschaftliche Studien. lena, 1876. 

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Demurs travaux allemands sur la ligende du saint Graai ix 

La plus ancienne trace, dont nous connaissions la date, du 
premier de ces incidents dans le cycle d'Arthur se trouve, on 
le sait, dans Gaufrei (Lib. X, cap. xiii) qui accuse trfes nette- 
ment Ganhumara d'adultfcre avec le neveu de son mari. 
L'histoire racont^e dans la Vita S. Gildae est probablement 
aussi ancienne que Gaufrei pour la forme et certainement 
plus ancienne quant au fond. Li la femme s'appelle Guen- 
nimar (c'est-i-dire Guenuimar = Gwen(h)wyfar) ^ d'apris 
la lecture du plus ancien ms., et elle est enlevie par un chef 
du nom de Meluas ^. On sait que d'aprfc M. Gaston Paris 
V enlevement de la femme constitue le fond primitif et my thique 
du ricit que nous trouvons au xii* siicle dans le roman de 
Lancelot. Quel est I'ige veritable de ce ricit, a-t-il toujours 
appanenu au cycle d* Arthur, quelle est sa forme primitive et 
quelles alt^Tations il a subies, voila des questions qui sont 
toujours i iclaircir. Mais s'il faut s'en tenir strictement au t6- 
moignage des textes, on n'est pas fondi i le faire remonter au 
dela du xi* siicle. 

Dans le cycle de Finn, au contraire, cet Episode pent fetre 
suivi jusqu'au commencement du x^ sifecle, puisqu'il y est fait 
allusion par un vers cit^ dans le commentaire sur TAmra Cho- 
luim Chilli, duquel il existc des textes qui remontent certai- 
nement au commencement du xi' sitcle 3. II faut noter que 
d'apris ce vers la femme de Finn n'est pas enlev^e, elle est 
infidile. II faut aussi noter que si le ricit bien connu de la 
fuite de Diarmaid et Grainne, dont, il est vrai, les textes ma- 
nuscrits ne remontent pas au deli du xv* si^cle, si ce r^cit, 
dis-je, avait kii introduit dans le cycle de Finn d'aprts les 
romans fran^ais de Lancelot, il n'y aurait eu aucune raison 
pour faire de Diarmaid le neveu de Finn. Or il Test, comme 
Mordred est le neveu d'Arthur chez Gaufrei 4. 

L*exemple des « enfances » est encore plus frappant. Pour 
Arthur, Gaufrei est de nouveau le premier garant pour la 

1 . Y Cymmrodor, XI, 79 . 

2. Edition Schulz, p. 123. 

3. Cf. Argyll. Talcs, p. 403. 

4. Du reste, VAithed urainne re Diarmaid figure dans la liste d'histoires 
du Livrc dc Leinster, c'cst-i-dire Thistoirc iuii connuc k la fin du x« siicle. 

Digitized by 


X Alfred Nutt. 

naissance merveilleuse du hivos. On a compart son ricit a 
celui de la naissance d'Ambrosius chez Nennius, et on a pensi 
i la fable classique de Jupiter et Alcmfene. Pour ma part, tout 
en estimant que Gaufrei a beaucoup arrange ce r^cit, je crois 
que celui-ci forme nianmoins une panie du fond primitif de 
la l^gende. Mais encore une fois on ne peut en suivre la tra- 
dition plus loin que le xi* sifecle. Or il est certain qu'un conte 
populaire sur les a enfances » de Finn itait courant au 
X* sitcle. II existe en effet un r^cit insM dans le Leabhar na 
hUidhre qui contient presque tous les il^ments de la formule 
itudiie par J.-G. von Hahn, mais pr&ent6s de telle fa^on 
qu'ils ont Tair d'une chronique de faits riels. C'est le Fotha 
Catha Cnucha, traduit par feu Hennessy dans le premier volume 
de la Revue Celtique. Notons aussi qu'un poeme de Gilla in 
Chomded, mort au plus tard en 1124, insert dans le Livre de 
Leinster, fait allusion i une foule de recits sur Finn qui ont 
entitrement disparu, mais dont quelques-uns devaient res- 
sembler au conte populaire sur les « enfances » dont il existe 
un texte du xv* sifecle. Pour plus de details a ce sujet, je 
renvoie ^ mon article « The Aryan Expulsion and Return- 
formula among the Celts », paru il y a plus de neuf ans (Folk- 
Lore Record, vol. IV 0^ 

Encore une fois je ne pretends pas que la l^gende d' Arthur 
soit calquie sur celle de Finn. Je ne puis me permettre aucune 
hypothfese i ce sujet. J'entends seulement d^montrer que je 
n'ai pas fait erreur en me servant de textes appartenant au cycle 
de Finn; loin d'etre plus jeunes, ceux-ci sont au contraire plus 
anciens que ceux du cycle Arthurien. Voili done la premiire 
objection de M. Zimmer mise a niant, plutot, dois-je dire, 

1 . II y a certainement bien des erreurs de detail dans cet article, mais 
je crois que j'y ai vu les faits de la bonne mani^re et qu*en somme les con- 
clusions en sont justes. 

2 . Tout ce que je dis au sujet de Finn doit etre compart avec la nou- 
vellc th^orie de M. Zimmer (TCelt. Beitraege, IIO. J'ai d^ji exprira^ mon 
.idumvitioii poiir ce trt^ rcm.;rq^i.ibk-tr,iv.i^! ( AciHemy, I4ftvrier 1891), mais 
%\ c^i evident que les conclusions en devront C'tre soumises a une critique ngou- 
reuj;eavAnt d'etre liTL^pr^es. Du rcste, M, ZimmcT aurait-il raison, la saga 
de Finn sseniT-eUc une imponatton itrangtrc tft nl'cente, ce que je dis au 
si^et 6c *cs rapports avec (a It^j^nd^ arthuriennc n\;n scrait pas moins vrai. 

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Derniers iravaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint GraaL xi 

par lui-mfeme que par moi. II est vraiment ficheux que 
M. Golther n*ait pas su dimfeler la veritable pensie de 
M. Zimraer. En effet il me reproche (Z. v. L. p. 425) de 
me servir d'un « Material welches fur die daraus gezogenen 
Schliisse unbrauchbar ist, indem es irisch-gaelisch ist wahrend 
die Erklarung der Artusepen, falls ihr etwaiger keltischer 
Ursprung erortertwird, sich ans bretonisch-armorische halten 
muss ». Comment M. Golther n'a-t-il pas vu que M. Zimmer 
agit pr^cis^ment de m&me dans les exemples que j'ai cit6s 
d'apris lui (supra p. 185). Si les comparaisons que fait 
M. Zimmer sont justes, alors les rapports entre les deux tra- 
ditions sont possibles, mais dans ce cas que devient le « muss » 
de M. Golther? 

J'aurai encore moins de peine i d^montrer la nulliti de la 
seconde objection de M. Zimmer. Je pourrais simplement 
r^cuser la competence de mon critique, et je n'aurais qu'i 
citer la phrase ou M. Zimmer veut bien m'apprendre quelle est 
I'opinion scientifique en AUemagne sur Torigine des contes 
populaires depuis la publication du Pantshatantra de Benfey 
(p. 492). Quiconque est au fait de ces questions sait fort bien 
que la thdse de M. Benfey ne s'applique qu'i une partie seule- 
ment des contes populaires, qu'elle est fort contestable (dans 
la forme sous laquelle il Ta pr^sent^e) mteie pour cette partie, 
et qu'elle ne s'applique pas plus i beaucoup de « marchen » 
proprement dits, a fortiori aux epopees h^roiques, qu'elle ne 
s'applique aux anneaux de Saturne ou i la theorie atomique. 
Si je voulais imiter M. Zimmer, je ne manquerais pas ici de 
luid^cocherune longue dissertation sur TtJtat actuel des Etudes 
folk-loristiques, et notamment sur les travaux et les resultats 
de feu Mannhardt et de MM. Maclennan, Tylor, Lang, 
Gomme et Frazer. Citons un autre exemple frappant du savoir 
de M. Zimmer dans cet ordre d'^tudes. II me demande pour- 
quoi je n'ai pas recherchtJ les traces de la legende arthurienne 
chez les Bretons, et il ajoute : « Dasjenige was von Luzel, Se- 
billot u. A. von wirklich volkstumlichcr bretonischer Literatur 
gesammelt und veroffentlicht ist, iibertrifft an Umfang in jeder 
Hinsicht Campbell's Popular Tales und Kennedy's Legendary 
Fictions ». Cela doit signifier que la tradition orale des 

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XI! Alfred Nutt. 

Bretons est plus importante que celle des Ga^ls. Or il n'en 
est rien. M. Zimmer ne sait-il done pas que Campbell a publii 
le « Leab. na Feinne » aussi bien que les <c Popular Tales », et 
que ces deux publications ne reprfeentent pas la trentifeme 
partie de ses collections ? Ne connait-il pas d'apris le Scottish 
Celtic Review et le Celtic Review les grandes collections de 
M. Campbell de Tiree, de M. A. Carmichael, de M. K. Mac- 
kenzie ? Ignore- t-il la collection de M. Mac Innes ? Ne sait-il 
pas que Kennedy a public deux autres volumes de folk-lore en 
outre des « Legendary Fictions » ? Ne connait-il pas la collection 
de M. Douglas Hyde (dont je viens d'^diter un ^chantillon 
seulement)? Le livre de M. Curtin lui est-il rest^ inconnu? 
N'a-t-il jamais entendu parler des collections de M. Larminie 
et de M. David Fitzgerald ? Je parle en pleine connaissance 
de tout ce qui a 6th public et de la plupart des collections 
manuscrites du folk-lore celtique, soit dans les Iles-Britanniques, 
soit en Bretagne, et je n'h&ite pas i affirmer que Titendue, 
la valeurscientifique, I'importance enfin des traditions gailiques 
dipassent celles des Bretons dans la proportion de 20 i i . 

Je pourrais aussi me contenter d'opposer k M. Zimmer les 
opinions de M. Golther, savant fort vers^ dans ces questions. 
Le conte de Peredur « ist ofters in den marchenhaften Ton 
verfallen » (p. 186), Tessai de T^pie dans Peredur a ist ein 
weit verbreiteter Marchenzug » (p. 189), Thistoire du fils 
de la veuve qui venge son pfere « ist eine weitverbreitete 
Marchenerzahlung » (p. 205), « die volkstumliche Sage und 
die Marchenzuge sind wie eine ewig fliessende Quelle ; gewiss 
ist ein grosser Theil der Kunstliteratur der mittelalterlichen 
Kulturvolker daraus hervorgegangen » (p. 205), Chrestien a 
fa^onne son pofeme « aus umlaufenden volkstiimlichen Sagen- 
elementen » (p. 216). Voili ce que je lis chez M. Golther. 
Je ne demande pas autre chose que ces v^ritis soient recon- 
nues et appliqu6es. II a done exists des contes populaires avant 
les romans de chevalerie, ils ont meme influence ces derniers. 
Que sont-ils devenus, ces contes, ont-ils disparu de la terre ? 
ne faut-il pas plut6t au contraire leur rattacher les contes que 
Ton recueille actuellement ? 

Eh bien, voili toute I'etendue de mon crime. Sachant que 

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Derniers travaux alkmands sur la Ugende da saint GraaL xiii 

les vicixs romantiques du moyen Jge, de m^me que ceux de 
Tandquiti classique et de TOrient, fourmillent de thimes de 
contes populaires, il ne m'est jamais venu i I'esprit que Ton 
pouvait me chicaner sur Temploi de ces derniers comme de- 
ments de comparaison. Qu'il faille y mettre de la critique, 
beaucoup de critique, plus de critique peut-6tre que dans n'im- 
porte quel autre genre de recherches historiques, j'en con- 
viens et j'ai toujours essayi de m'en souvenir. Mais quant au 
principe, M. Zimmer ne peut le contester que parce qu'il 
ignore I'a b c de ces itudes, et M. Golther ne peut pas le con- 
tester sans se mettre en contradiction ouverte avec lui-m6me. 
Du reste, M. Golther precise; c'est heureux pour moi, carcela 
me permet de montrer bien clairement de quel c6t6 est la 
v^rit6. En effet, d'aprte M. Golther (Z. v. L. 425), j'ai le tort 
de me servir de « nur ganz junge Volkssagen und Marchen, 
welche zum Theil halbliterarischer Entstehung und fremden 
Ursprunges fiir die Zeit der Artusgedichte uberhaupt gar nicht 
in Betracht kommen konnen ». Voyons: 

Ainsi que je Tai d^ji dit ^ j'ai cru d^mder deux themes de 
contes populaires dans le roman inachev^ de Chrestien. L'un 
de ces thimes est celui dont j'ai d^ji fait mention sous le nom 
d'« Aryan Expulsion and Return formula ». II correspond au 
ricit des a enfances » de Perceval. Je I'ai d^ja dit, ce thtme 
a ^t^ incorpor^ dans la l^gende h^roique de Finn au plus tard 
i la fin du X' siecle, puisque, profond^ment altiri, il figure 
sous une forme pseudo-historique dans un nis. de la fin du 
XI* slide copi6 sur un autre ms. du commencement de ce 
sitcle. Ce thime figure aussi dans la l^gende heroique de CA- 
chulain, c'est-i-dire qu'il remonte certainement au viii' sifecle. 
M. Zimmer le constate lui-m6me (supra p. 185), mais il 
oublie de dire que cette constatation est de moi et que je Tai 
faite il y a neuf ans. 

Presque partout oil se retrouve ce thime, il est itroitement 
lii i un autre dont le sujet est le combat du hiros contre des 
monstres et la d^livrance par lui de Th^roine expos^e i un 
grand p^ril. Ainsi Pers^e tue le monstre et d^livre Andro- 

1 . Supra p. 184. 

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XIV Alfred Nutt. 

m&de, ainsi Siegfried tue Fafiiir et d^livre Brunhild. II en est 
de mftme chez les Celtes. Cfichulain dans un r^cit dont on 
ne pent, il est vrai, suivre la tradition diplomatique au deh 
du XII' sitcle, tue les Fomors et dilivre la fiUe de Ruad. Ces 
deux themes sont encore de nos jours tr^s r^pandus panni 
les paysans ga^liques, soit de Tlrlande, soit de I'Ecosse ; je 
connais, tant imprim^es que manuscrites, plus d'une tren- 
taine de variantes, dont au moins une douzaine se rattachent 
itroitement k la ligende de Finn et racontent cette m6me his- 
toire dont nous avons une version populaire du xv* sifecle et 
une version pseudo-historique du x' sidcle. J'ai &it usage de 
ces variantes orales, mais peut-on pr^tendre que ce sont \k 
de « ganz junge Marchen und Volkssagen »? II m'a sembli 
aussi que, puisque les « enfances » de Perceval sont mani- 
festement une variante d'un de ces themes, il ^tait ^ la fois 
plus conforme au simple bon sens et plus strictement scienti- 
fique de rattacher cette variante (que Chretien n'a pas pu in- 
venter, qu'il a dil trouver quelque part) aux autres versions 

Le second thime que j*ai cru demSler dans le conte du 
Graal est celui du h^ros qui entreprend une vengeance a Tins- 
tigation et avec Taide d'un 6tre qui en b^neficie, puisque seul 
Taccomplissement de cette vengeance pent le delivrer, lui, 
d'un enchantement. Ce thfeme ne peut ^tre dim616 dans le 
roman fran?ais que lorsqu'on confronte celui-ci avec le conte 
gallois de Peredur qui, lui, le pr^sente sous une forme claire 
et logique. II est vrai que je n'ai pas pu trouver une variante 
exacie de ce th^me dans Tancienne litt^rature irlandaise, en 
d'autres mots que je n'ai pas pu le suivre au dela de Peredur. 
Mais j'ai trouv^ un exemple d'une des deux donnies de ce 
theme — la quete accomplie avec I'aide d'un ^tre qui en beni- 
ficie — dans un des plus anciens monuments que nous ayons 
de la litt^rature irlandaise, c'est-i-dire dans le glossaire de 
Cormac. J'ai ^tudii cet exemple tres remarquable i tous les 
points de vue (voy. Tales, 467-468) et je renvoie i cette 
^tude. II faut remarquer que les variantes modernes de ce 
thfeme (i I'exception de I'Amadan Mor dont je parlerai tout i 
rheure) n'ont rien qui rappelle la forme sous laquelle il se pr^- 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la ligende du saint Graal. xv 

sente dans Peredur. Encore une fois n'est-il pas plus scienti- 
fique de rattacher Peredur i la filifere traditionnelle qui va du 
viii« sifecle (conte de G)rmac) i nos jours, que d'en faire la 
source de toutes les versions, quelque diverses qu'elles soient, 
recueillies post^rieurement ? 

Un autre thfcme de conte populaire qui entre tris certai- 
nement dans le G^nte du Graal et que les divers auteurs de 
ce vaste pofeme n'ont certainement pas pu inventer, car il ne 
ripond i rien dans les croyances courantes du xii« sifecle, est 
celui de la visite du hiros au pays de « Tautre monde ». J'ai 
essayi de montrer {Grail , ch. vii) que la manifere dont ce 
th^me est pr^senti dans le conte du Graal, tant dans son en- 
semble que dans ses details, ne pent s'expliquer qu'en la com- 
parant i la tradition celtique. Quels sont les « nur ganz 
junge Marchen etc. » dont je me suis servi comme termes 
de comparaison? J'ai cit^ (p. 184) une tradition sur les 
Tuatha de Danann, rapponee par Keating qui ^crivait au 
xvn* sifecle et qui a suivi des sources plus anciennes dont 
beaucoup sont perdues. J'ai cit^ (p. 185) la bataille de Magh 
Rath, roman pseudo-historique du xii* siicle, et j'ai renvoy^ 
k des contes du cycle Ultonien (c'est-i-dire du viii*-x' si^cle) ; 
j'ai cit6 le Mabinogi de Branwen, qui d'apris M. Golther lui- 
mSme (p. 197, note) est ant^rieur au Conte du Graal ; j'ai 
cit^ le conte gadique de Manus, au sujet duquel je renvoie 
k mon itude, Arg. Tales, pp. 483-84. Je dirai seulement ici 
qu'il me parait trfes improbable que ce conte moderne, qui 
pr^sente de fortes analogies avec le conte du Graal, derive 
de ce dernier. Je dirai aussi que le conte de Manus est tout i 
fait distinct de la ballade de Manus, qui appartient en effet i 
un stage assez recent du cycle de Finn ; il faut done se garder 
de rapporter i Tune des constatations faites sur I'autre. J'ai 
citi (p. 193) la visite de Cormac mac Art au royaume de 
Manannan mac Lir. Ce recit ne nous est parvenu que sous 
une forme trfes recente, mais un recit de ce genre 6tait connu 
au X* sitcle, puisque le titre en a ^t^ conserve dans la grande 
Enumeration du Livre de Leinster. Du reste, le conte actuel a 
beaucoup de rapports avec d'autres variantes de la visite au 
pays de I'autre monde, notamment avec I'histoire de Bran 

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XVI Alfred NiOt. 

mac Febail, histoire qui se trouve dans le Leabhar na h'Uidhre 
et qui remonte certainement i TApoque pr6-chritienne de 
rirlande. N'est-il done pas plus naturel de rattacher le conte 
de G)rmac qui nous est parvenu au conte perdu du x' siicle 
que d'en faire un d^riv^ du Conte du Graal ? En tout cas, 
que Ton dise franchement si Ton priconise ou non cette 
demiire thtorie. Dans le cas affirmatif, je me fids fort d'en 
dimontrer le n^ant. J'ai citi aussi (p. 202) plusieurs variantes 
d'un thfcme qui figure la visite d'un hiros dans le pays des 
ombres oil il est exposi soit i des dangers, soit i des humi- 
liations. La plus ancienne remonte au xi^ si^cle au moins, 
puisqu'elle se trouve dans le Livre de Leinster. Cest le poime 
qui a tti traduit ici-m6me par M. Whitley Stokes (VII, 
p. 289). Ils'y trouve le trait bien connu de la disparition des 
puissances ennemies (contre lesquelles lutte le hiros) au lever 
du soleil, trait que j'ai not6 plusieurs fois, sous une forme un 
peu difRrente, dans le Conte du Graal. M. Zimmer me citera 
peut-Stre TAlwismal, et pr^tendra que ce trait est emprunt^ 
aux traditions scandinaves. Je n'en crois rien. J'ai discut6 cet 
incident (p. 202) et je ne vois absolument rien qui en justifie 
I'attribution aux Teutons plutot qu*aux Celtes, aux Celtes 
plutot qu'aux Teutons. Une autre variante cit^e par moi est 
beaucoup plus r^cente et pent bien, sous sa forme actuelle, ne 
pas remonter au deli du xvii* sitcle ; c'est le texte bien connu 
a les illusions de Conan dans la maison de Ceash ». II pr&ente 
des analogies frappantes avec la visite de Thor i Utgarth 
Loki, telle qu'elle est racont^e dans TEdda de Snorri. Eh 
bien, j'ai signale cette analogic et j'ai fait des reserves expresses 
au sujet de ce texte (p. 201). J'ai aussi citi une version re- 
cueillie dans la tradition orale (imprim^e ici meme par feu 
Campbell, I, p. 154) et j'ai constat^ que cette version, toute 
moderne qu'elle est dans un sens, se rattache non pas au 
texte en prose du xvii* siicle, mais au pofeme du xi* sifecle. 
Enfin j'ai cit6 des contes modernes qui offraient un parallfele 
i la visite de Perceval au chateau des Pucelles ; mais cet epi- 
sode remonte a une tris haute antiquity en Irlande, puisqu'il 
se trouve dans le voyage de Maelduin (voyez la traduction de 
M. Stokes, supra Tome IX, et ma note, X. 34) qui d'aprfes la 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint GraaL xvii 

belle demonstration de M. Zimmer lui-m^me doit remonter aux 
viii*-ix* siecles. Or, dans le voyage de Maelduin, il se trouve 
d^ji d^natur^ dans un sens chr6tien et il est moins archaique 
que dans les contes recueillis en Ecosse il y a une trentaine 
d'ann^es. Je ne puis poursuivre cette demonstration en detail, 
aussi me contenterai-je d'une simple statistique. J'ai fait entre 
le Conte du Graal et la tradition ga^lique environ 28 com- 
paraisons dont 10 sont empruntees i des textes qui remontent 
au del^ du xi^ si^cle, i ^ un texte du xii'' si^cle, i ^ un texte 
du XV* siicle, 3 i des textes des xvi*-xvn* siicles, et le reste k 
des contes recueillis dans la tradition orale. Mais la plupart de 
ces derniers, ainsi que je viens de le dire, se rattachent ^troi- 
tement aux anciens textes. 

Les faits que je viens de citer se trouvent consignis soit 
dans mes travaux de 1881-8^, travaux auxquels je renvoie 
friquemment dans le Graily soit dans le Grail lui-m6me, 
oil j'ai consacri deux pages a repondre d'avance aux objections 
de M. Zimmer (p. 158-59), soit, developp(5s plus amplement, 
dans Arg, Tales. Le lecteur pourra done appr^cier le bien fondi 
et, je regrette d'etre oblig^ d'employer ce mot, la loyaut^ de la 
critique qu'on m'a faite « de m'^tre servi exclusivement de 
textes tout ricents, d'une origine ^ demi-littiraire et itran- 
gfcre ». 

M. Zimmer s'en tient presque exclusivement i des critiques 
g^nerales de ma methode, formulies de telle fa?on que celui 
qui ne connaitrait pas mon travail en aurait Tid^e la plus 
&usse ; aussi m'a-t-il bien fallu esquisser i grands traits la 
demonstration que j'ai diveloppie en detail dans mon livre. 
J'arrive maintenant aux objections de detail. Elle se r^duisent 
i trois : 

(i) P. 508-09. J'ai tort de dire que I'ipisodedela sorcifcre, 
chez Gerbert, est puis^ dans la tradition celtique. 

(2) J'ai tort de faire usage du poime gadique I'Amadan 
Mor, dont le plus ancien texte se trouve dans un ms. qui 
contient aussi une traduction irlandaise d'un romanarthurien. 

Done, ajoute M. Zimmer, « sapienti sat » (p. 5 10). 

(3) P. 518-15. J'ai tort de dire que le conte gallois de 
Peredur est un ramassis d'incidents qui n'ont de lien que la 

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xviii Alfred Nutt. 

personnaliti du h^ros. Au contraire, dans Peredur, « die Art 
der Bearbeitung ist voUkommen dieselbe » que pour le Che- 
valier au Lion ou Geraint, et il n*existe pas une seule trace de 
I'activiti que j'attribue i Tauteur de Peredur. 

Quant au premier point, je pourrais me contenter d'opposer 
i I'assertion de M. Zimmer celle de M. Golther. En effet, ce 
dernier, tout en contestant le bien fondi des deductions que 
j'avais tiries de ce fait, reconnait (p. 197, note) « dass die 
bei Gerbert verwendete Episode, deren Unursprunglichkeit 
leicht einzsusehen ist, an letzter Stelle auf kymrische Sage zu- 
riickgeht ». Mais ce serait un proc^d^ peu courtois vis-i-vis de 
M. Zimmer. Du reste, il est bien entendu, M. Zimmer le crie 
sur tous les tons, que je suis un parfait ignorant en tout ce 
qui touche i I'histoire litt^raire du moyenige. Voici une 
occasion de m'instruire, je m'assieds humblement aux pieds 
de ce Gamaliel et je recueille avec empressement la pr^cieuse 
doctrine que je vais exposer. 

Afin qu'on soit i m^me d'en gouter toute la saveur et 
toute — Toriginalit^ — il me faut dire quelques mots sur 
cet Episode. II se trouve chez Gerbert (Potvin, t. VI, p. 181-84. 
Grail, p. 165-66) : Perceval rencontre 4 chevaliers qui trans- 
portent leur pire, cruellement bless^, il apprend que c'est son 
oncle, et qu'il lutte centre des ennemis qu'il tue le jour, mais 
qui sont ressuscit& la nuit par une hideuse vieille au moyen 
d'un philtre dont elle leur frotte la bouche. EUe est Temissaire 
du roi de la « Gaste Chite ». Elle reconnait son vainqueur 
dans Perceval, qui s'empare d'un peu de baume et ainsi tue 
les ressuscit^s et se gu^rit de ses blessures. Le Sir Perceval du 
ms. Thornton a le m^me incident, mais d^naturi. Le hiros 
rencontre son oncle et ses cousins (il y a neuf fils, 3X3) qui 
ont peur de lui, le prenant pour le Chevalier Rouge, dont il 
porte les armes. Mais Perceval a d^ji tu^ et le Chevalier 
Rouge et la mfere de ce dernier, la vieille sorciere. J'ai citA 
des variantes de ce thtme empruntees i la tradition orale 
gaelique — eh bien, celles-ci ne s'accordent pas avec le potme 
anglais du xv* siicle, mais avec le roman fran^ais du xiii* siicle. 
II me semble que cela donne i reflechir. Mais c'^tait la des- 
cription de la hideuse vieille qui m'avait le plus frappi chez 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint GraaL xix 

Gerbert, description qui ripond itroitement i celle qu'endonne 
le paysan gailique d'aujourd*hui. II m'a sembli que ces faits 
justifiaient la conclusion que, chez Gerbert, cet Episode qui, 
ainsi que M. Golther Ta bien remarqui, n'est manifestement 
pas de son invention, remontait i un conte populaire celtique. 
Que dit M. Zimmer ? II cite une variante gailique de cet Epi- 
sode, beaucoup plus ancienne, quant k la date de sa trans- 
cription, que celle dont j'avais fait usage; elle est du commen- 
cement du xvn* siicle. Li, la hideuse vieille se trouve dans 
Tarm^e de Lochlann contre laquelle lutte Finn. II continue 
« Dass diese nordgemanische caillech die nordgermanische 
Hilde in irischer AufFassung ist, kann fuglich nicht in Zweifel 
gezogen werden ». Ainsi la parent^ entre Gerbert, le poeme 
gadique du xvn' sitcle, et le conte gadique d'aujourd'hui' 
provient de ce que ce sont trois emprunts faits a la « nordger- 
manische Hildesage », laquelle a dH exister au xii* sitcle, 
puisque Gerbert ^crivait au xiu*. Voyons les faits ^. 

Les deux plus anciennes versions que nous ayons de la « Hil- 
desage » se trouvent dans I'Edda de Snorri et d^ns I'Historia 
danica de Saxo Grammaticus. Chez Snorri, Hilde est la fille de 
Hogne, enlevie par Hedin, poursuivie par son pere qui atteint 
les fuyards. La lutte s'engage. Elle durera jusqu*au dernier 
jour, parce que chaque nuit Hilde reveille tons les morts. Saxo 
raconte i peu pres la meme histoire. Hilde voit combattre son 
mari et son fr^re, et elle reveille les morts au moyen de ses 
chants magiques. Voila les deux seules versions de la Hildesage 
dont on puisse dire avec raison qu'elles soient plus anciennes 
que le roman de Gerbert. Or, je me demande quel rapport 
il y a entre la hideuse vieille de Gerbert, Tennemie du h^ros, 
qui fait la guerre a son oncle et qui ressuscite seulement ses 

1 . M. Zimmer ne parle pas du Sir Perceval. Evidemment il ignorait que 
rincident s'y trouvait. Pourtant je Tavais bien constat^ dans mon ouvrage 
dont son article a la pretention d'etre un compte rendu. Je dis: il ne le sa- 
vait pas, car il ne peut certainement pas I'avoir ignore de parti pris parce 
que ce fait d^molirait sa critique de fond en comble. 

2 . Dans ce qui suit je renvoie k I'excellente Edition de Gudrun par M. B. 
Symons, Halle, 1883. On y trouvera une ^tude courte, mais suftlsante, du 
d^veloppement de la l^gende. Qjiant i ses rapports avec la mythologie 
germanique, je renvoie d mon etude sur Branwen, Folk-Lore Record, 1882. 

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XX Alfred Nuti. 

adversaires, et Hilde, « femme si belle qu'on ne trouve pas 
sa pareille sur la terra » (Kudrun, st. 21 1), Tamante du h^ros, 
qui ressuscite egalement et les guerriers de celui-ci et ceux de 
son pcTC. Si Gerbert a connu la Hildesage, comme le pretend 
M. Zimmer, comment cette transformation s'est-elle faite ? 
M. Zimmer devrait bien nous le dire. Mais comment aussi 
r^minent professeur de Greifswald, ce connaisseur si appro- 
fondi de la litt^rature romantique, est-il arriv^ k ces con- 
clusions ? Trfes simplement ; il a pris une ballade courante 
aux lies Faroe dans le xvii* siicle, oil la tradition est tellement 
alterie que Hilde ne s'appelle plus Hilde, mais Gudrun ^ etou 
en effet elle est d^crite sous des traits qui rappellent la 
« Vieille » de Gerbert, et il a argue de cette version r^cente 
et d^natur^e, au lieu de se rapporter i la veritable « nordgerma- 
nische Hildesage » du xii* si^cle. En outre, d'apr^s M. Sy- 
mons, le seul incident (la resurrection des morts) qui soit 
commun i la Hildesage et au r^cit de Gerbert n'appartient 
pas originellement au premier ; il manque en effet i la legende 
de Walther et Hildegonde, et il aurait ^t^ ajout^ apres que 
le mythe germanique eut pen^tr^ aux pays scandinaves. Je ne 
puis m'associer a ces conclusions de M. Symons, mais qui ne 
voit que, si elles sont vraies, elles enlivent jusqu'i la pauvre 
feuille dont la th^orie de M. Zimmer voile sa nuditi? En 
tout cas, M. Zimmer aurait certainement dil en tenir compte. 
II convient de noter que deux des donnces dont se com- 
pose la Hildesage de Snorri se trouvent dans la litt^rature 
celtique. C'est d*abord le combat se proloiigeant i Tinfini 
pour rheroi'ne : pour Krciddylad se battent et se battront 
chaque premier jour de mai, jusqu'au jour du jugement, 
Gwythyr, filsde Greidiawl et Gwynn, fils de Nudd (Kulhwch, 
6d. Loth, p. 224). Or, le conte de Kulhwch, tel que nous Tavons, 
est ant^rieur a toute influence fran^aise (voir ce qu'en dit 

I . C*est-d-dire que le trait caract^ristique de la m^re a ^t^ report^ sur la 
fille. Peut ^tre aussi cette version a-t-elle M influenc^e par la legende dc 
Kriemhild-Gudrun. En effet, la Hvens'che Chronik du commencement du 
xviie si^cle, qui denature I'histoire des Nibelung aussi fortement que la 
ballade des iles Faroe denature celle de Hilde, reprcJsente Kriemhild-Gudrun 
sous des trails defavorables. Voir Branwen, p. 22. 

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Derniers traiaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint Graal. xxi 

M. Zimmer, p. 523). C'est ensuite la resurrection des guer- 
riers tu^s. M. Symons pense aux einherjar de la mythologie 
scandinave (Kudrun, p. 50). Toutefois il faut remarquer que 
les einherjar ne sont pas census renaitre dans cette vie. Or, 
cet incident se trouve dans le Mabinogi de Bran wen ^ dont 
M. Golther derive T^pisode de Gerbert (p. 197, note) et que 
M. Zimmer place au nombre des ricits gallois qui corres- 
pondent pour la forme aux plus anciens r^cits irlandais (G. 
G. A. p. 808), ce qui vient i I'appui de Tattribution que 
j 'avals faite de ce r^cit aux x*-xi* sifecles. On pent aussi com* 
parer la l^gende sur les Pictes telle, qu'on la trouve dans les 
additions auNennius irlandais(6d. de Todd, p. 125), additions 
qui sont probablement du xi* sitcle. Les Pictes blesses doivent 
se baigner dans du kit frais, et ils se reinvent sains et saufe. 

Voila done les ressemblances entrela Hildesage et la tradition 
celtique du x*-xii* sifecle. Je ne crois pas que Ton puisse les 
mettre sur le compte d'emprunts faits par les Celtes aux Scan- 
dinaves. Voyons maintenant les ressemblances beaucoup plus 
grandes entre le recit de Gerbert et celui de Sir Perceval et 
Tancienne tradition celtique. J'ai d^ji parle de la resurrection 
des morts ; il est Evident que la lutte du h^ros contre la vieille 
sorcifere, mfere de son ennemi (Sir Perceval), a au moins 
autant d'importance dans ce recit que la resurrection. Or, 
nous retrouvons cet incident dans la forme la plus ancienne 
du Tochmarc Emere, texte public et traduit par M. Kuno 
Meyer, ici m^me (X, 4). II est i noter que, tandis que cette 
redaction que M. Meyer assigne au viii*sifecle ne donne qu'un 
fils iTadversaire deCuchulain, lavulgate luien donne 3 (Arch. 
Review, I, p. 302). II me semble que la vulgate, quoique - 
d'une redaction posterieure, a garde un trait primitif. Notons 
aussi qu'un des premiers exploits de Ciichulain est son 

I . Corame dans mon etude sur Branwen j'ai indiaui que ce come a tris 
probablement et«J influence et par des r^cits du cycle Nibelung et par des 
r^cits du cycle Hilde-Gudrun, ce qui montre inter alia que je n*ai aucun 
parti pris contre I'influence allemande quand elle est bien dtJmontrt^e, je 
tiens i dire ici que je ne crois pas que Tid^e de la rt^surrection de guerriers 
tu^ fClt inconnue aux Celtes avant qu'ils eussent entendu des r^cits alle- 
mands, comme le veut M. Zimmer (S09, note). 

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XXII Alfred Nutt. 

combat contre les 3 Mac Nechtain. O'Curry dans son analyse 
(M. C. II, 366) parle d'une mire de ces trois personnages; 
Tanalyse de M. Zimmer (Z. v. S., 1887, p. 448) n'en fait 
pas mention. Si O'Curry a raison, je crois que voili une 
autre variante du m^me incident. 

R&umons. La Hildesage ne peut 6tre i'origine de Tipisode 
chez Gerbert, a fortiori de celui de Sir Perceval ; il est tris 
douteuxqu'elle ait influence le Cath Finntragha, comme le veut 
M. Zimmer (p. 509, note). Pour appuyer une conclusion 
fausse en tous points, M. Zimmer se pr^vaut d'un texte recent 
et corrompu qui a bien pu, lui, ^tre influence par la tradition 

Ajoutons que la plupart des faits pricitfe se trouvent dans 
mon itude sur Branwen. Si M. Zimmer s'itait report^ au 
travail diji ancien de Thomme qu'il tan^ait si superbement de 
Tignorance la plus grossitre, il se serait ipargni Tincroyable 
b^vue que j'ai dix exposer. J'emprunte i M. Zimmer, en y 
changeant un mot, une phrase qui donne bien la morality de 
cette histoire : « Das Beispiel ist instructiv, aber in einem 
anderem Sinne als Zimmer meint ». 

M. Zimmer a parfaitement raison dans une partie de ce 
qu'il me reproche au sujet de TAmaadan Mor. J'aurais du re- 
marquer qu'O'Donovan, en parlant du texte du Ms. H. 2. 6 
I'avait ainsi qualifii : 38 pages of pure Irish prose, supposed 
to be a translation from Welsh ; a story in which king Arthur's 
knights are introduced and necromancers ». Du reste, comme 
cela arrive souvent, j'ai retrouve ce passage quand il ^tait trop 
tard et j'en ai pris bonne note pour ma seconde edition, si 
jamais celle-ci doit paraitre. Mais M. Zimmer se contente de 
constater cette erreur. Vindication d'O'Donovan suffit-elle 
pour d(5montrer que j'avais tort en croyant i I'origine pure- 
ment irlandaise de I'Amadan Mor ? Voyons les faits. En pre- 
mier lieu, le texte de 17 16 (c'est la date du Ms. H. 2.6) est en 
prose, tandis que c'est une ballade que j'ai ctudiee. Le texte 
de 17 16 a-t-il it6 mis en vers dans le courant du xviir siicle 
en Irlande, a-t-il p^n^tre en Ecosse dans le courant des der- 
niires 150 annees ? Sinon, la ballade n'est-elle pas plus an- 
cienne que le texte en prose, et dans ce cas le hit que ce 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint Craal. xxiii 

dernier se trouve accol6 dans un manuscrit recent i un texte 
qui est certainement d'origine arthurienne (la traduction du 
Chevalier au Lion) ne perd-il pas toute sa valeur ? Pourquoi 
M. Zinimer n'a-t-il dclairci ce point, au lieu de se contenter 
d'une constatation qui pent ^blouir les ignorants, mais qui, 
prise isol^ment, ne prouve absolument rien centre la th^se que 
j'ai soutenue. J'avais esp^r^ pouvoir ^claircir ce point moi- 
mfime, mais des renseignements precis sur le texte de H. 2. 6 
me font d^faut. Je ne puis done que communiquer une liste 
des textes contenus dans le Ms. H. 2. 6, liste que je dois i 
I'obligeance du Rev. T. K. Abbott, biblioth^caire de Trinity 
College: i. Lifeof the son of Magnus M*= Guire; 2. Life of St 
Magog ; 3 . The enchanted castle (a Fenian romance) ; 4. His- 
tory of the Gilla Duan (Fenian) ; S • A- satire on the vulgar 
by R. Nugent; 6. Hugh Feardy son of Danan, a story; 8. 
Songs ; 9. The story history of the sons of the King of Hirroe; 
10. The history of the sons of the King of Spain; 11. The 
little feast of Almain ; 1,2. The history of the Knight and the 
lion; 13. The history of the great fool. On le voit, les 
textes rassembles dans ce Ms. sont ividemment de prove- 
nances tres diverses. Peut-on dire que le seul fait de se trouver 
i c6t^ d'un r^cit arthurien sufEse pour 6tablir la nature arthu- 
rienne du n° 13 ? Dans ce cas-li, pourquoi n'en serait-il pas 
ainsi du n° 1 1 ? Je me demande du reste si 0*Donovan ne s'est 
pas tromp^ et si indication pr<Jcitee ne se rapporte pas au 
n** 12 et non pasau n** 13 ? Esp^rons que les celtistes de Dublin 
r^soudront ce point int^ressant. En tout cas, aprts avoir relu 
de nouveau la ballade de TAmadan Mor, je me refuse i y 
voir une adaptation du roman arthurien. Je puis me tromper, 
mais il faut qu'on le d^montrc. C'est li ce que M. Zimmer 
aurait dii faire, c'est li ce qu'il n'a pas fait. 

J'arrive au troisiime grief de M. Zimmer, celui de m'fetre 
servi du conte gallois de Peredur pour eclaircir Torigine du conte 
du Graal, alors que le premier n'est que le dcriv^ du second. 
M. Zimmer se contente d'assertions i Tappui desquelles il ne 
produit pas un seul argument; c'est M. Golther qui se charge 
de fournir des preuves, et la doctrine qu'il professe mt^rite une 
discussion s<^rieuse. Mais auparavant examinons un peu les 

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XXIV Alfred Nutt, 

assertions de M. Zimmer. J'avais icrit que le conte gallois de 
Peredur « est un compost factice d'incidents divers auxquels la 
personnalit6 du h^ros seule sert de trait d'union, et dont Tau- 
teur a ividemment glan6 les matiriaux un peu au hasard ». 
A grand renfort d'italiques, M. Zimmer declare qu'on ne peut 
observer chez le conteur gallois aucune trace des proc^is que 
je lui attribue (p. 514). Void les faits : 

Le conte de Peredur remplit les pages 45-1 10 du fascicule 11 
de la traduction des Mabinogion de M. Loth. On peut le di- 
viser en 25 Episodes ou incidents diff^rents, comme je Tai fait 
dans le Grail (p. 33-37). Je donne en note la concordance de 
ces a incidents » avec la pagination de M. Loth^ 

La concordance du Peredur et du conte de Graal se trouve 
p. 132-33 du Grail. II suffit de dire ici que les « incidents » 
I i 9 et 20 k 22 ont des rapports avec Chrestien, et les inci- 
dents 24-25 avec une des continuations de Chrestien. Restent 
les incidents 10 et 12 h 19 qui n'ont aucun rapport ou n'ont 
qu'un rapport tr^s 61oign6 avec le roman fran^ais. lis occupent 
une vingtaine des 65 pages dont se compose le conte, c'est-i- 
dire qu'ils en forment presque le tiers. Ni M. Zimmer ni 
M. Golther n'en tiennent aucun compte. Je reparlerai tout i 
rheure de ces incidents ; pour le moment il me suffit de cons- 
tater qu'ils sont trfes disparates. 

Aussi M. Golther aurait-il parfaitement raison, les parties 
du Peredur qui ont des rapports avec le conte du Graal n'en 
seraient-elles qu'une simple traduction abrigie, qu'il serait 
nianmoins vrai, litt^ralement et textuellement vrai, que le 

Inc. I Loth, p. 46-49. Inc. 14, p. 80-82. 

Inc. 2, p. 49-51. Inc. IS, p. 82-86. 

Inc. 3, p. 51-56. Inc. 16, p. 86-90. 

Inc. 4, p. 56. Inc. 17, p. 90. 

Inc. 5, p. 56-58. Inc. 18, p. 90-92. 

Inc. 6, p. 58-60. Inc. 19, p. 92-96. 

Inc. 7, p. 60-62. Inc. 20. p. 96-98. 

Inc. 8, p. 62-68. Inc. 21, p. 98-101. 

Inc. 9, p. 68-69. ^^^- 22, p. 101-102. 

Inc. 10, p. 69-70. Inc. 23, p. 102-105. 

Inc. II, p. 70-75. Inc. 24, p. 106-108. 

Inc. 12, p. 75-76. Inc. 25, p. 108-110. 

Inc. 13, p. 76-80. 

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Derniers travaux alUmands sur la ligende du saint GraaL xxv 

conte gallois tel que nous Tavons est un compost d'incidents 
de provenances diverses. M. Zimmer Ta nii, mais c'est en 
ignorant de parti pris le tiers du conte. M. Zimmer ajoute des 
reflexions que je ne veux pas lui rendre le mauvais service de 
r^pdter, et qu'il regrette peut-6tre k cette heure — du moins 
je Tespfere. 

Mais M. Golther a-t-il parfaitement raison ? II n'expose 
nulle part sa thtse d'une fagon claire, mais je ne crois pas 
aller au deli de sa pensie en la formulant ainsi : Chrestien a le 
premier trait<^ le sujet de la quSte du Graal et de la lance qui 
saigne ; tout ce qui a 6t6 icrit depuis relive de son roman 
inachev6 et a 6th 6crit dans le but de le completer; k la viriti 
il avoue avoir puis^ i une source antirieure, mais cette source 
est enti^rement perdue et n'a eu aucune influence sur les autres 
^crivains du cycle. 

Avant d'aborder Texamen de cette thfese, qu'il me soit 
permis de dire deux mots sur les parties du Peredur pour 
lesquelles M. Golther n'a su trouver aucun original fran^ais. 
II s'agit surtout de deux Episodes : Peredur se fait le champion 
des jeunes hommes tu6s chaque jour par le monstre lacustre 
et ressuscit^s le lendemain i Taide d'un baume merveilleux. 
II tue le monstre grJce aux conseils d'une dame dite du Mont. 
A cet endroit du recit, Peredur passe au milieu d'une valine i 
travers laquelle coule une riviire, un troupeau de moutons 
Wanes se trouve d'un cot^, un troupeau de moutons noirs de 
I'autre; dfes qu'ils traversentla rivifere ilschangent decouleur. 
Or cet incident se trouve (et il ne se trouve nulle part ailleurs 
k ma connaissance) dans le voyage de Maelduin, texte irlan- 
dais qui, d'aprfes la belle demonstration de M. Zimmer, 
remonte aux viii*-ix* slides. Quant au reste de I'episode, sans 
vouloir abuser du mot « celtique », il est impossible, me 
semble-t-il, de n'y pas reconnaitre le tour et le ton des recits 
celtiques, soit de I'ancienne ^popie irlandaise, soit des contes 
populaires d'aujourd'hui. L' autre episode est celui ou Peredur 
assiste incognito i un tournoi, il y est vainqueur, I'impcratrice 
le fait chercher, il ne se rend qu'a la quatriime sommation, 
aprts avoir repousstb les messagers qui voulaient I'amener de 
force. L'impira trice se trouve Stre la dame du Mont, et ils 

Digitized by 


XXVI Alfred Nutt, 

vivent ensemble quatorze ans. M. Golther insiste sur le ton 
franfais de cet Episode, le toumoi, la courtoisie, le service des 
dames. II a raison dans une certaine mesure, et je ne pre- 
tends pas que cet (Episode soit aussi archaique que Tautre ; il a 
^t^ ridigi au xii* sifecle au plus tdt. Mais le fond de T^pisode 
est un thime de conte tris r^pandu. M. Golther pr^tend-il 
que toutes les versions ga^liques dirivent du conte gallois ? 
Sinon, n'est-il pas plus simple de voir dans Tipisode du Pe- 
redur une variante de ce thtme populaire mise au goflt du 
jour ? Rappelons-nous que dans un r6cit irlandais qui remonte 
certainement au xi*' siecle Cuchulain lutte incognito contre les 
trois Fomors et se d^robe aux recherches'. 

Revenons i la thise de M. Golther. Je reprocherai a ce 
savant de n' avoir pas envisage le problfeme du Graal en son 
entier ; autrement il ne lui aurait pas ^chapp^ que la solution 
qu'il en propose n'explique que certains faits et en laisse 
d'autres encore plus inintelligibles que chez M. Birch-Hirsch- 
feld ou chez moi. Quelques mots suffiront pour mettre au 
feit ceux qui ne connaissent pas de premitrre main le cycle da 
Graal. Celui-ci comprend, outre le conte du Graal (environ 
60,000 vers) etses imitations (Wolfram, Heinrich v. d.Turlin), 
plusieurs romans, soit en vers (Robert de Borron), soit en 
prose (la Queste del Saint Graal, le Perceval le Gallois, le 
Grand Saint Graal), dont Titendue, pris ensemble, ^gale celle 
du Conte del Graal. Dans cette vaste litt^rature on distingue 
nettement deux parties : 1° Thistoire du Graal en Palestine 
et le recit de son transport jusqu'en Grande-Bretagne ; 2** le 
rtjcit de la quete faite pour le trouver par des chevaliers de la 
cour d' Arthur. Je d^signe ces deux parties par les noms gene- 
riques d'histoire et de quite, 

II est certain que la seconde partie est en realiti la plus an- 

I . Uon m'objectera peut-fitre que ce trait se irouve dans la deuxiteie nJ- 
daction du Tochmarc Emcre dans laquelle MM. Zimmer et Kuno Meyer ont 
distingutJ une influence scandinave. J'admets parfaitement ce qu*a dit 
M. Meyer ici-m€me (XI, p. 414 d seq.) de Tinfluence scandinave, mais je 
ne puis admettre que toutes les differences qu'il signale entre le texte du 
vine et le texte du xi" si6cle soient des emprunts faits aux Scandinaves. Le 
texte qu'a public M. Meyer me fait Teffet d'etre tres abr^gi, et je ne puis 
croire qu'il rcpr&ente la redaction orale d'un ollamb du vin« siecle. 

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Derniers travaux alUmands sur la Ugende du saint Graal xxvii 

cienne ; il est igalement hors de doute que le roman inachev6 
deChrestien, qui d^crit la quite seulement, est la plus ancienne 
redaction d'aucun r6cit du cycle qui nous soit parvenu ; hors 
de doute aussi que Ton ne saurait dire d'une fa?on absolu- 
ment certaine si oui ou non Vhtstoire a exists avant Chrestien, 
ni comment celui-ci aurait achev6 son roman. Ce sont li, si je 
ne me trompe, les seules certitudes que Ton ait. Aussi toute 
solution du probl^me devra forc^ment se contenter de n'&tre 
qu'un a peu prfes. Trois questions se posent : une version de 
Vhistjnre a-t-elle exist^ avant Chrestien ; les continuateurs de 
Chrestien ont-ils eu d'autre source que lui ; en est-il de mfime 
pour le Peredur gallois et le Sir Perceval en vers anglais ? 

M. Golther decide la premitre question nigativement. 
Chrestien, on le sait, laisse planer un mystfere profond sur la 
provenance et la nature du Graal et de la lance qui saigne. 
Ce mystfere a piqu^ la curiosit^ d'un continuateur anonyme 
qui a eu Tid^e de mettre ces objets merveilleux en rapport 
avec la Passion de Notre-Seigneur et avec Joseph d'Ari- 
math^e. Ensuite, ou peut-^tre auparavant, Robert de Borron 
a d^veloppe cette donn6e dans son pofeme bien connu. Les 
6crivains plus r&ents tels que les auteurs du Perceval en 
prose et de la Queste del Saint Graal se sont servis et de 
Chrestien et de Robert; enfin les derniers continuateurs de 
Chrestien, Mennecier et Gerbert, suivent surtout les romans 
en prose ^ 

II faut comparer cette Evolution des romans du Graal avec 
celle que j'ai priconis^e (firail, 95) et qui en difffere surtout 
en ceci que je n'attribue au poeme de Robert aucune influence 
sur les romans postirieurs, si ce n'est sur le Grand Saint 
Graal. On voit que M. Golther h^site k nous afErmer que 
Robert de Borron ait eu le premier Tid^e de completer Chres- 
tien. C'est pourtant li un point d'une importance capitale. 
L'on s'itonne que M. Golther ne soit pas frapp6 du fait que 
chez Chrestien la lance qui saigne a une importance tout au 
moins egale d celle du Graal, et que chez Robert (du moins 

I Zcitschrifl fur Vgl. Lit. 419-20. 

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XXVIII Alfred Nutt. 

dans le Joseph) il n'en est £ait aucune mention ^ Est-ce bien 14 
le procedi d'un homme qui n'icrit que pour ^daircir les points 
myst^rieux dans Toeuvre de son prWecesseur ? G)ntinuons : 
trois hypotheses sont possibles si la throne de M. Golther est 
vraie. Ou le continuateur anonyme a connu Roben, ou celui- 
ci a connu le continuateur, ou les deux ont eu I'idie indipen- 
damment Tun de Tautre d'imaginer la mfime fable pour expli- 
quer et completer le roman de Chrestien. Si M. Golther 
pr^conise la premitre hypothfese, je lui ferai observer que le 
r^cit chez Robert est infiniment plus ditaill6 que chez le conti- 
nuateur et que Ton ne comprend absolument pas pourquoi 
celui-ci Taurait nigligi en £aveur de la version banale et con- 
fuse qu*il nous offre^. D'autre part, si Robert a connu le 
continuateur, ou a-t-il pris les personnages nouveaux, Brons, 
Enygeus, Alain, Petrus, de son pofeme ? Quant a la troisifeme 
hypoth^se, il sera temps de la discuter si jamais elle est pos^e 

Quelle est ma doctrine a ce sujet ? Je croyais, et je crois 
encore qu'il a exist<^ avant Chrestien des legendes qui attri- 
buaient la conversion de la Grande-Bretagne a Joseph d'Ari- 
mathie et qui ^tablissaient un rapport quelconque entre lui et 
r^pop(5e arthurienne. Je suis tent^ de croire, et que d^s avant 
Chrestien ce rapport portait sur le vase myst^rieux, et que si 
Chrestien avait acheve son oeuvre il aurait donn6 une signifi- 
cation chr^tienne et a la lance et au Graal. Mais, je le repfete, 
il est impossible de se prononcer li-dessus. En tout cas, je 
crois fermement que Robert aussi bien que les autres ^crivains 
qui nous ont donn^ Vhistoire ont puis6 dans une tradition d^ji 
^tablie et ne Tout pas creee de toutes pieces. Du reste, que 
Ton relise Chrestien et que Ton dise si I'id^e de completer 
son oeuvre en la rattachant i Thistoire de Joseph d'Arimathie 
est aussi simple que le pretend M. Golther. 

Dfes le d6but, on le voit, M. Golther ne se rend pas bien 
compte des consequences de son hypothcse. Quand mfeme 

1 . Cest, on le sait, une des raisons qui ont poridM. Birch-Hirschfeld i 
attribuer k Robert une date plus ancienne que celle de Chrestien . 

2. Le lexte se trouve i la fin du tome IV du Conte del Graal, Edition 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint GraaL xxix 

aussi Yhistoire d^riverait tout entifere du roman de Chrestien, 
cela ne prouverait en aucune fa^on que la quite fflt Tinvention 
du poite fran^ais. Mais si le contraire est vrai, si Yhistoire est 
plus ancienne que Chrestien, it fortiori peut-on dire la mSme 
chose de la quAe. Continuons i examiner la thtorie de 
M. Golther et voyons comment il explique les rapports de 
Chrestien et des continuateurs auxquels il pretend donner le 
poite champenois comme source unique. 

D'apris Chrestien, Perceval, apris avoir vaincu le cheva- 
lier rouge, re?u Tinstruction chevaleresque de Goenemans et 
d^livr^ sa cousine Blanchefleur, est arriv^ chez le roi pficheur. 
Li on lui fait cadeau d'une ipie qui lui est destin^e et il voit 
passer la lance qui saigne, le Graal et le plat d'argent. II ne 
demande pas qui Ton sert avec ces objets, et le lendemain, 
lorsqu'il s'en va, il trouve le chateau desert, et il essuie de 
vife reproches de la part de sa cousine ; elle lui apprend que 
s'il avait pos6 cette question il aurait gu^ri le roi p^cheur 
blesse dans une bataille. II doit aussi avoir bien soin de Tip^e 
qui se brisera autrement, mais qui pourra 6tre raccommod^e si 
on la trempe dans un lac prfes duquel habite son forgeron, 
Trebucet. Plus tard, Perceval essuie de nouveaux reproches 
de la part de la demoiselle hideuse S et il se met en quete^du 
chateau du roi p^cheur. En m^me temps Gauvain s'en va a 
Montesclaire delivrer une princesse, et Giflet se met i la re- 
cherche du Chateau Orgueilleux. Perceval apprend d'un 
ermite, son oncle, que son pech6 en quittant sa m^re lui a 
ferm^ la bouche lorsqu'il est arriv6 pour la premiere fois chez 
le roi pecheur. Puis Chrestien d^crit les aventures de Gauvain 
dans le ChJteau des Merveilles, et li son podme s'arr^te 

L'oeuvre de Chrestien ne forme que la sixi^me partie du 
Conte del Graal. On s'accorde main tenant k reconnaitre 
quatre continuations * : (i) celled'un anonyme, vers 10602- 

1 . M. Golther a n^glig^ le beau rapprochement qu*a fait M. Kuno Meyer 
de la demoiselle hideuse avec Leborcham la m^nag^e du roi Conchobar 
dans I'ancienne ^pop^e irlandaise et que j'ai signals (Academy, 1889, join). 
Encore un point de contact entre la tradition gadique et le roman fran^ais. 

2. Dans mon Grail j'aisuivi M. Birch-Hirschfeld en attribuant les deux 

Digitized by 


XXX Alfred NutL 

21916 (Inc. 1-5 de mon analyse, Grail, p. 13-16). Gauvain 
y achdve les aventures du Chateau des merveilles, et aprfes una 
foule d'autres arrive chez le roi pScheur oil il subit une aven- 
ture i peu prfes identique i celle de Perceval chez Chrestien. 
II y a toutefois un nouvel incident : on veut lui faire resouder 
une ipee bris^e, il n'y parvient pas. 

II est vrai, corame le veut M. Golther, que le continuateur 
aurait pu inventer cet incident nouveau, mais il convient de 
faire remarquer que tout cet Episode est d'un ton plus ar- 
chaique que chez Chrestien. Ainsi Gauvain, parce qu'il accom- 
pUt Tepreuve a moiti^, fait refleurir la campagne qui itait 
devenue d^serte i la suite de Tenchantement qui pesait sur le 
roi p^cheur. Or Chrestien a lui-mSme pris soin d'indiquer 
quels resultats eussent ete produits si Perceval avait pos^ la 
question, et il ne se trouve rien de semblable parmi eux^ Doit- 
on attribuer ce trait a Tinvention d'un ecrivain du xiii* siecle? 
Je ne le crois pas. 

La seconde continuation, de Gaucher de Dourdan, s'itend 
du vers 219 17 au vers 34943 (Inc. 6-22 de mon analyse, 
Grail, p. 16-19). Perceval y accomplit les aventures du Cha- 
teau i Techiquier, revolt Blanchefleur et la quitte une seconde 
fois, visite le Chateau aux Pucelles et arrive pour la seconde 
fois chez le roi pfecheur ; de nouveau il voit la lance qui saigne 
et le Graal ; on lui pr^sente aussi I'ep^e bris^e qu'il ressoude, 
apr^s avoir cette fois-ci pose la question lib^ratrice. 

Je parlerai tout i I'heure de Tepisode du Chateau i T^chi- 
quicr. Si Ton s'en tient simplement a ce que Gaucher dit du 
roi p^cheur et du Graal, il n'y a li, j'en conviens, rien qu'il ne 
puisse avoir invente. Mais ajoutons que Tincident de I'^pie 
brisee est escamote par M. Golther avec une singuhfere d^sin- 
volture. Je cite ses paroles : « Nun war das geheimnissvoUe 
Schwert, welches Perceval nach Chrestien bei seinem Gral- 
besuch erhielt, iiber dessen Bedeutung wir aber nichts erfa- 
hren, dazu ausersehen eine RoUe zu spielen » (p. 200), mais 

premieres continuations k Gaucher de Dourdan. Mais j ai fait des reserves 
formelles sur Thomog^n^it^ de cette partie du conte. 
I . Chrestien, v. 4763-67, cf. aussi Grail, p. 87. 

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Derniers travaux allemands swr la Ugende du saint CraaL xxxi 

rtp^e brisie du premier continuateur et de Gaucher n'a rien i 
faire avec T^p^e que revolt Perceval chez le roi pfecheur lors 
de sa premiere visite (cf. Chrestien, v. 4831, et Gaucher, 
34750-51), et je ne comprends pas comment I'incident chez 
Chrestien eiit pu donner lieu i celui de ses continuateurs. Au 
contraire, les paroles de Chrestien sont de nature i suggerer 
des aventures d'un tout autre genre ; pourquoi les continua- 
teurs ne se seraient-ils pas tenus tout simplement i leur module 
et auraient-ils d^natur^ i plaisir cet incident ? 

La troisifcme continuation, celle de Mennecier, comprend 
quelque 10,000 lignes. Le roi pScheur y raconte avec un 
grand luxe de details (ce que du reste avait d^ji fait le pre- 
mier continuateur) tout ce qui se rapporte i la lance, au 
Graal, aux diverses autres merveilles de son chateau, enfin k 
Yipie bris^e. Son frire (I'oncle de Perceval) a h& tu^ traltreu- 
sement par Partinal dont I'^p^e se brisa en portant le coup 
felon. C'est en maniant les fragments de cette 6pie que le roi 
pScheur s'est bless^. Aprfes beaucoup d'aventures Perceval 
arrive chez Tr^bucet qui raccommode son ^p6e (celle de Chres- 
tien, non pas celle des continuateurs, cf. Chr., v. 4831, et 
Mennecier, v. 41537), revoit Blanchefleur denouveau, trouve 
Partinal, le tue, pend sa tSte i son ar^on, et apris avoir err6 
pendant une ann^e, retrouve, par accident, le chiteau du roi 
p6cheur. Celui-ci est imm^diatement gu6ri, on plante la tete 
de Partinal sur un pieu tout en haut du chateau, et apris la 
mort du roi pScheur, Perceval lui succ^de. 

Or il y a ici contradiction formelle entre Mennecier et 
Chrestien, qui est, d'apris M. Golther, son unique source. 
Chrestien dit formellement que le roi p^cheur fut bless^ en 
bataille. Quel motif a pu determiner k rompre avec son mo- 
dule le copiste ignorant qu'est Mennecier d'apres la th^orie 
de M. Golther (p. 200) ? Voili ce que devrait nous expliquer 
celui-ci. Je crois pour ma part que T^pisode de Partinal faisait 
partie de la source de Chrestien, que celui-ci avait Tintention 
de r^liminer, qu'i cet effet il a fait plusieurs changements, 
notamment dans ce qui se rapporte i Tip^e, et que Mennecier 
a reproduit la donnie primitive sans se soucier de ce qu'il se 
mettait en disaccord avec Chrestien. Considirons bien Tepi- 

Digitized by 


xxxii Alfted Nutt, 

sode lui-mtoe ; cette tSte que Ton pend k Tarpon, cette t^te 
que Ton plante sur un pieu en haut d'un chateau — sont-ce 
li des traits de moeurs franfaises du xiii* siicle, peut-on les 
attribuer h, Tinvention d'un rimeur fran^ais de ce slide ? Ce 
sont, au contraire, les moeurs de la plus ancienne ^popie irlan- 
daise, dont les guerriers sont de v^ritables chasseurs de tStes, 
et dans laquelle les palais royaux pr&entent Taspect d'un vil- 
lage Dyak ou d'un kraal africain, entour^s qu'ils sont de pieux 
couronnes de tetes de guerriers ennemis^ 

La quatrifeme interpolation, celle de Gerbert, comprend 
quelque 15,000 lignes. Dans ce qu'il rapporte du Graal il ne 
se trouve rien, j'en conviens, qui ne pourrait ^tre de son in- 
vention. Mais il faut tenir compte des rapports probables de 
Gerbert avec le poeme fran^ais perdu qui a servi de modele a 
Wolfram von Eschenbach, et que chez ce dernier le ton du 
r^cit est souvent plus archaique que chez Chrestien (cf. Grail, 
262), fait qu'on doit attribuer au module fran(;ais; aussi est- 
il peu probable que, soit ce dernier, soit Gerbert, derivent 
entiirement de Chrestien comme le veut M. Golther. Ger- 
bert contient aussi Tepisode de la sorcifere qui, nous Tavons 
d^ja vu, se rattache en toute probability i I'ancien fond de tra- 
ditions celtiques. 

R^sumons. Get examen hitif des romans fran^ais qui s'oc- 
cupent du Graal n'appuie en aucune fa^on la theorie d'apris 
laquelle ils ont leur source unique dans Chrestien. Au con- 
traire, cette theorie fourmille de difficultes ; elle ne peut rendre 
compte de lagen^se soit de Robert de Borron, soit de la version 
de Vhistoire du Graal qui se trouve chez les continuateurs ; 
elle n*explique pas les divergences entre Chrestien et ses conti- 
nuateurs, et surtout elle rend parfaitement inexplicable le di- 
saccord formel entre Chrestien et Mennecier. 

Passons aux rapports du conte gallois et du roman en vers 
anglais avec le conte du Graal. Ces deux ouvrages contiennent 
des Episodes qui ne sont pas dans Chrestien. Ou bien ils les 

1 . Cf. Arg, Tales, 413. U faudraii y ajouter le passage des cnfanccs de 
COchulain ou celui-ci emporte les idtes des 3 Mac Sncchtain, les premiers 
guerriers quHl a tu^s (Manners and Customs, II, 366). 

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De:niers travaux alUmands sur la Ugende da saint Graai xxxiii 

ont pris i la source de Chrestien ou bien k ses continuateurs. 
M. Golther est logique, c'est k cette seconde alternative qu'il 
s'arrSte, et il prouve encore une fois combien la logique est 
mauvaise conseill^re dans les investigations historiques. 

Dans le Peredur, le hdros, parvenu chez le roi pfecheur, voit 
passer devant lui non pas une lance et un « Graal », maisune 
lance et une t^te couple dans un plat. Pourquoi une tfite? 
C'est que, ripond M. Golther, Chrestien ne s'explique pas 
sur la nature et la provenance de son a Graal » ; ce mot a di- 
rout^ le traducteur gallois et il lui a tout bonnement substitu^ 
une tSte. Mais quel motif a poussi le conteur gallois k faire 
choix du mot tfete de preference i tout autre ? La riponse de 
M. Golther est 6tonnante. Le gallois Ta pris chez Mennecier. 
Suivons avec attention ce raisonnement. Le mot Graal itait 
inconnu au traducteur, il n'en devine pas la nature, il n*ap- 
proche pas le moins du monde de sa vraie signification, mfime 
aprfa avoir lu les trois descriptions longues et detaill6es de I'objet 
myst^rieux qui se trouvent chez les continuateurs. Ce n'est 
qu'aprfes avoir lu quelque 40,000 lignes que la lumifere se 
fait dans son esprit : il trouve une tfete couple qui, soit dit en 
passant, n'a absolument rien i voir avec le Graal lui-m6me, et 
il assimile cette tSte au Graal, quoiqu'il eiit li sous ses yeux, 
non pas une fois, mais deux et trois fois tout ce qu'il fallaitpour 
r^claircir sur la veritable nature de Tobjet qui I'avait intrigue 
chez Chrestien. Voili, on en conviendra, un beau trait, et 
Ton ne peutqu'Stre reconnaissant au savant qui nous procure 
quelques moments de douce gait^, au milieu d'^tudes aussi 
arides que le sont celles sur les romans du Graal. 

Sans m'arr&ter i une refutation que je me permets de regarder 
comme inutile, je dois pourtant faire remarquer que Mennecier 
icrivait vers 1225, et que si le Peredur Ta connu, il ne pent 
remonter au dela de 1230. Voili une date bien r^cente pour 
ce conte ; MM. Rhys et Evans auront certainement des re- 
serves k faire sur ce sujet. Du reste, i cette date, la Queste del 
Saint Graal (qui donne, on le sait, une version d^taill^e de 
I'histoire) etait tr^s probablement connue dans le Pays de 
Galles ; il existe une traduction galloise de ce roman, faite 
d'aprfes une redaction plus ancienne qu'aucun des textes 

Digitized by 


XXXIV Alfred Nuit. 

fraiK^is qui nous soient parvenus. On ne peut gu&re croire 
que Tauteur de Peredur, s'il terivait aux abords de 1230, ait 
ignore cette traduction ou que, la connaissant, il Tait n^glig^e. 

Le croirait-on ? La th^orie que je viens d'exposer charmc 
tant M. Golther, qu'elie iui sert aussi pour expliqaer le Sir 
Perceval anglais ^ Ce petit poime estdu xv^ sifccle dans sa re- 
daction actuelle. Mais je n'ai pu que me rencontrer avec des 
irudits distingu&, en y reconnaissant des traits archaiques. 
L'auteur, on le salt, iaisse absolument de c6t^ tout ce qui, 
chez Chrestien, se rapporte au Graal. La £aute en est toujours, 
d'apris M. Golther, aux allures ^nigmatiques du poite fran- 
?ais ; dans le doute, le traducteur anglais s'est abstenu. Voili 
une reserve dont on trouverait difEcilement un second exemple 
chez les icrivains du moyen kge, Mais Iui aussi a connu non 
seulement Mennecier, auquel, d'apr^ Tindication formelle de 
M. Golther, il a emprunt^ la fin de son roman, mais aussi 
Gerbert, auquel, ex hypothesi, il a dii emprunter, en le d^na- 
turant ^trangement, T^pisode de la vieille sorciire. Lui done 
aussi, il a neglige les indications formelles de ses modules sur 
la nature et la provenance du Graal ; lui qui ex hypothesi Got- 
theri icnvM vers 1250 au plus tot (Gerbert est de 1230-1240), 
a ignori Timmense litterature qui existait dts lors sur Ihis- 
toire du Graal. 

Passons a un autre ordre de faits. Un des episodes les plus 
int^ressants de la continuation de Gaucher de Dourdan est 
celui du Chateau ^ Techiquier et de la Chasse du cerf Wane. II 
se trouve aussi et dans le Peredur gallois et dans le Perceval 
en prose qui nous est parvenu dans deux manuscrits i la 
suite du Joseph et du Merlin de Robert de Borron. J'ai ^tudie 

I. En 1 881 j'avais dit de I'hypoth^se de M. Schulz sur Torigine de ce 
po^me « that it was probably correct ». C*etait la une erreur. En 1888 j'ai 
consacr^ cinq pages i ce po^me et Ton y trouvera, je le crois, la theorie la 
plus conforme i tons les taits qu'on ait encore expos^e i cet egard. M. Gol- 
ther (p. 204) citel'opinion de 1881, mais ne souffle mot de celle de 1888, 
qui lui a evidemment ^chappt^. C'est facheux pour lui, car j'y signale un 
fait qui d^montre que le Sir Perceval actuel n est qu*un abr^g^ et qu'il a dH 
suivre un module plus archaique que le po^me de Chrestien. Si M. Golther 
Tavait vu, il aurait Evidemment EvitE les erreurs dans lesquelles il est tombE 
au sujet de ce r^cit. 

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Derniers travaux alkmands sur la ligende du saint Graai xxxv 

cet Episode, pp. 139-142 de mon Grail, et void les r^sul- 
tats auxquels je suis parvenu : le Peredur gallois prfaente 
d'une £a^on ciaire et logique tous les ^l^ments d'un thirae 
de conte populaire qui peut se r&umer ainsi : les parents du 
h^ros sont en butte aux attaques d'ennemis surnaturels, un 
cousin est tu6, un oncle est blessd ; c'est le h^ros qui doit 
^tre rinstrument de vengeance. Mais auparavant, il lui faut 
accomplir des ^preuves; il n'y riussirait jamais s'il n'^tait 
poussd et aid6 par un cousin qui, k cet effet, revfet plusieurs 
diguisements. Un des dements de ce thfeme rappelle, on le 
voit, rhistoire qui se trouve chez Mennecier, et en mfeme 
temps, c'est une variante de T^pisode de la sorciire qui se 
trouve et dans Gerbert et dans le Sir Perceval. Quant k Tautre 
Element, celui de Taide donnie au hiros par un personnage, 
qui subit des transformations, nous Tavons diji retrouvi chez 
Cormac, c'est-i-dire dans Tlrlandedu ix* slide (suprUy p. 194) 
et il est actuellement tr^s ripandu parmi les populations ga6- 
liques, ainsi que dans toute TEurope moderne. Notons tou- 
tefois que le folk-lore actuel a conserve un trait absent dans 
le Peredur ; Tauxiliaire du hiros a un intirit direct i la rius- 
site de Taventure, k ce prix seulement il pourra fetre dilivri 
d'un enchantement qui pise sur lui. Ce trait, qu'on ne peut 
pas attribuer i Tinvention des paysans d'aujourd'hui, empiche 
de considirer le Peredur comme la source des contes actnels. 
Du reste, si M. Zimmer ou M. Golther veulent soutenir cette 
derniire thise, qu'ils le disent. Quant au Conte du Graal, on 
y trouve, soit chez Chrestien, soit chez Gaucher, presque tous 
les Aliments du thime priciti, mais ipars, point combines de 
fa^on i faire un tout organique comme cela se trouve dans le 
Peredur; de plus, Teliment final manque complitement. C'est 
done le conteur gallois qui Taurait invent^, qui aurait recueilli 
et coordonni une foule de details pris au hasard, dont per- 
sonne avant moi n'a reconnu le vrai caractire, ce qui m'a iti 
possible, grke seulement a ma connaissance des contes mo- 
dernes ! Gest lui qui aurait fa(;onni un recit dont on trouve 
des variantes dans tous les coins de I'Europe ! 

On ne peut pas dire que cette supposition soit impossible, 
mais, i coup siir, elle est peu probable. Quelle est au contraire 

Digitized by 


XXXVI Alfred Nutt. 

ma doctrine ? Je pars d'une donn^e certaine, Tasserrion fbr- 
melle de Chrestien au sujet d'une source ant^rieure ; celle-d 
se rattachait d'une fa^on qu'il est impossible de prtciser a des 
traditions celtiques, qu'elles fussent gadiques ou kymriques, on 
ne peut le savoir ; elle fut fortement remaniie par Chrestien, 
tandis que sos continuateurs, auxquels il manquait sa force 
cr^atrice, la suivirent plus fidfelement. Elle 6tait apparent^e 
i des ricits qu'on peut dimSIer encore et dans le Peredur 
gallois et dans le Sir Perceval anglais, ou toutefois Tinfluence 
de Chrestien (mais aucunement celle de ses continuateurs) se 
fait sentir, et a produit un bizarre melange. 

M. Golther trouve que c'est li « une hypothise pinibienaent 
construite, dont Texamen des faits d^montre Tentier manque 
de fondement ». Je crois avoir expos6 les faits avec assez de 
details pour que chacun puisse en juger. Mes lecteurs dicide- 
ront si mon hypothise, ou celle de M. Golther, a le plus de 
fondement, offre le moins de difEcult^s, r^pond le mieux i 
tout ce que nous savons et sur Tactivit^ litt^raire au moyen 
ige et sur les manifestations de I'esprit de tradition i toutes 
les 6poques et dans tous les pays. 

II arrive presque toujours que celui qui pousse une hypo- 
thtse i Textr^me, se charge lui-mSme d'en faire la reductio ad 
absurdum. C'est le cas de M. Golther. Voici ce que je lis 
Z. v. L., p. 425 « Die Triade welche von Bran (Hebron) als 
Bekehrer Britanniens spricht (bei Loth, Mab. II, 284, Nutt, 
p. 219) diirfte fiiglich wie so vieles andere eher aus den fran- 
zosischen Romanen stammen alszu ihrer Erklarung dienen ». 
Ceci m^rite un examen. Relevons d'abord une inexactitude: la 
triade de M. Loth ne parle pas de Bran (Hebron), comme on . 
pourrait le croire d'apres M. Golther, mais seulement de Bran. 

Voici quelques faits qui mettront le lecteur i m^me d'ap- 
pr^cierThypoth^se deM. Golther. Chez Robert le roi p^cheur, 
le premier gardien du Graal, et celui qui Tapporte dans la 
Grande-Bretagne, s'appelle ou Hebron (cette forme ou les 
formes apparent^es de Hebrons ou Hebruns se trouvent douze 
fois) ou Brons (cette forme ou celle de Bron se trouve dix- 
sept fois); il a pour femme Enygeus (2 fois) ou Enyseus 
(2 fois, on trouve aussi la forme Anysgeus), pour fils Alein. 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la ligende du saint Graal. xxxvii 

Ce dernier nom est certainement celtique, celui d'Enygeus 
Test probablement. Dans la tradition galloise, il y a un roi 
Bran, auquel on donne T^pithite de « b6ni », par exemple, 
dans le Mabinogi de Branwen (r6cit dont la redaction manus- 
crite est assez r^cente, mais dont le fond remonte certainement 
au deli de T^panouissement du roman Arthurien), dans la 
triade du xiii* si^cle (Loth, 11, p. 217) et dans la triade ri- 
cente, seulecit^eparM. Golther. Cette dernifere triade explique 
r^pithfete; dans les deux autres cas on ne trouve que T^pithete 
elle-mfime, ce qui donne i supposer que la ligende qu'elle im- 
plique itait familiire aux Gallois. II m'a sembl^ que le roi 
Bran le b6ni, et le Brons du pofete fran^ais itaient au fond 
le mime personnage, c*est aussi I'avis de M. Golther. Mais 
au lieu de rattacher Brons a la tradition galloise, comme je 
I'avais fait, M. Golther fait deriver celle-ci du roman fran^ais. 
C'est-a-dire que Robert aurait invent^ le nom et le personnage 
de Brons ou Hebrons, lui aurait donn^ une femme et un fils, 
dont Tun est celtique a coup sur, et Tautre Test proba- 
blement, ce qui ne laisse pas d'^tonner, puisque son Brons est 
le beau-frtre de Joseph, de sorte que Ton attendrait un nom 
biblique ou quasi oriental; un gallois inconnu aurait lu le 
poime de Robert, n'en aurait retenu que le nom et le r61e 
de Brons ou Hebrons (car des autres details du recit de 
Robert il ne se trouve pas une seule trace dans la litt^rature 
galloise), aurait pris en main le Mabinogi de Branwen (r^cit 
pr6-Arthurien) et Taurait ameliori en ajoutant T^pithite de 
« b^ni » au nom de Bran, partout ou il trouvait celui-ci ; il 
en aurait agi de meme avec la triade du xiii'' siicle, laquelle 
serattache itroitement au Mabinogi; finalement, un autre dcri- 
vain. gallois aurait forgi la triade plus r^cente a seule fin d'ex- 
pliquer ce surnom de « bini^ ». Voild jusqu'ou Tesprit deso- 
phisme pent conduire un savant aussi estimable que M. Golther^. 

1 . Du reste, cette derni^re supposition pourrait ^tre vraie sans que pour 
cela il ffit n^cessaire de rattacher I't^pith^te « b^ni » i Toeuvre de Robert. 

2. Bien entendu, M. Golther na pas fait ce raisonnement, il en aurait 
lui-m^me vu i'absurdit^. mais il dt^coule logiquement de sa th^se. II y a 
dans le travail de M. Golther une foule d autres aper^us qui ont Tair ing^- 
nieux au premier abord, mais qui ne soutiennent pas I'eMmcn. 

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xxxviii Alfred ^utt, 

Presque chaque page dc Tarticle de M. Golther me don- 
nerait matiire k de pareilles objections. C'est un travail que 
je ne puis entreprendre ici; du reste jc crois qu'il paraitra 
inutile apris les ichantillons que j'ai donnas. Je desire seu- 
lement que le ton dogmatique de M. Golther ne fasse pas 
prejuger la question chez ceux qui ne connaissent pas les 
textes de premiere main. 

J'ai voulu me d^fendre contre les critiques de MM. Zimmer 
et Golther ; on m'accordera, je Tespere, leur peu de fonde- 
ment, et Ton ne trouvera pas, comme Tout fait ces messieurs, 
que j'ai forfait aux regies d'une saine m^thode historique, en 
me servant des continuateurs de Chrestien, du Peredur gal- 
lois et du Sir Perceval anglais pour ^claircir les origines et le 
diveloppement de la QuSte du St Graal. 

Je regrette d'avoir d6 entreprendre une longue pol^mique 
contre M. Zimmer, parce qu'elle est inutile ; au fond, 
M. Zimmer et moi sommes bien du mSme avis sur T^popce 
arthurienne. On ne le penserait jamais en lisant ses attaques 
intemperantes contre certains cotes de mon travail, aussi me 
faut-il citer ses propres paroles : 

P. 516. « Ich bin durchaus nicht der Ansicht dass nur die 
Namen der Personlichkeiten und die Ortstaffage den fran- 
zosischen Dichtern durch diekymrisch-bretonischeArthursage 
gegeben wird » . 

P. 521. « Eine kymrisch-bretonische Arthursage war im 
II. und 12. Jarhrhundert vorhanden... Alte keltische Helden- 
und Gottersagen, die uns in Irland in der Cuchulinnsage und 
in einzelnen anderen alten Sagentexten in irischer Enrwick* 
elung erhalten sind, gaben ein Hauptbestandtheil des Ge- 
webes ab. Aber ebensowenig wie in Irland die Finnsage 
Anspruch erheben kann rein keltisches Sagenmaterial zu 
bieten, sondern eine enge Vermischung der alten Sagenele- 
mente mit klassischen und nordgermanischen Sagenelemcnten 
aufweist, so wird auch die kymrisch-bretonische Arthursage 
des 8-1 1 Jahr. alles das mit verarbeitet haben was in dem 
Ideenkreis der Kymren und Bretonen getreten war und trat. » 

Ainsi, M. Zimmer croit que les poetes fran^ais ont pris 
dans une tradition (laquelle est galloise aussi bien que bre- 

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Derniers travaux alUmands sur la legende du saint Graal. xxxix 

tonne) autre chose encore que la simple nomenclature de leurs 
personnages et Templacement de leurs r^cits. Je le crois aussi. 
M. Zimmer est plus precis que moi, il croit que les poites 
fran^ais ont connu une forme surtout, pour ne pas dire 
exclusivement, bretonne de cette tradition. Cela se peut, et 
j'avoue avoir 6t& trfes impressionni par les arguments de 
M. Zimmer, mais quand mSme cela serait, il ne serait pas 
nicessaire de changer une seule ligne k mon ouvrage. Car, 
de Taveu mSme de M. Zimmer, il y a des rapports ind^niables 
entre cette « kymrisch-bretonischesage » et la tradition ga^- 
lique d'oii j'ai tir^ la plupan de mes exemples. M. Zimmer 
reconnait aussi qu'une 6pop6e arthurienne a exists aux xi*- 
XII* siicles, c'est-i-dire avant que les pontes fran^ais eussent 
commence i icrire. — Cet aveu me suffirait, mais il va plus 
loin ; selon lui, cette ipop^e se composait dans une grande 
mesure des mfimes l^gendes historiques ou mythiques qui 
nous ont donn^, sous une forme gaelique, le cycle de Ciichu- 
lain, et d'autres anciens r^cits (Jpiques de 1 Irlande. C'est 
parfaitement mon opinion, jamais je n'aipr^tendu autre chose, 
mais jamais je n'ai os6 formuler cette opinion aussi nettemeni 
que le fait M. Zimmer. II proteste, il est vrai, contre Tidee 
que cette 6pop6e ffit purement celtique, « rein-keltisch ». 
Mais i qui en veut-il avec cette protestation ? A coup siir, ce 
ne peut fetre i moi. Je serais fort embarrass^, comme le serait 
du reste M. Zimmer, de trouver quoi que ce soit de « rein- 
keltisches », et tousdeux nous eprouverions un 6gal embarrasi 
d^terrer quelque chose de purement teutonique ou purement 
hell^nique. Ce serait m^connaitre les faits les plus ^l^men- 
taires du folk-lore compare, que de croire qu*aucune race ait 
jamais developpe une Epopee mythique ou heroi'que qui lui 
fut absolument sp^ciale. Mais je crois que chaque race arrange 
k sa fa<;on des elements qui sont communs k I'humanit^, et je 
crois que Ton peut designer cet arrangement par le nom de 
la race. J'ai employ^ le mot « celtique » dans ce sens, en 
opposition i fran^ais ou allemand. Si Chrestien a pris un 
incident dans un conte ou dans un lai breton, pour moi, il 
puise i la tradition celtique, ce qu'il ne fait pas s'il le prend 
dans un conte de recente origine orientale, ou dans des tra- 

Digitized by 


XL Alfred Nutt. 

ditions normandes qui remontent i T^popie germanique. 
L'origine premiere de I'incident du come breton, gallois ou 
irlandais est une autre question, et peut, comme routes les 
questions d'origine, Stre sinon impossible, du moins trfes dif- 
ficile i risoudre. II m'a sembl^ que si cet incident se trouvait 
a la fois dans la litt^rature legendaire des Irlandais des vn*- 
XI* sitcles et dans la tradition populaire !des Gaels d'aujour- 
d'hui, et qu'il n'y eut pas de raison sirieuse pour faire d^river 
cette dernifere des romans fi-an^ais, on pouvait alors lui attri- 
buer un caractfere celtique, et cela serait vrai dans le sens de 
ma thise quand mSme cet incident aurait 6ii emprunt^ par 
un Celte (Gael ou Kymro) du vii* ou viii* siicle aux tra- 
ditions classiques, bibliques ou teutoniques. On le voit, il 
n'y a reellement qu'un point de divergence entre M. Zimmer 
et moi ; je fais une part beaucoup plus large que lui k la tra- 
dition populaire d'aujourd'hui; je crois qu'elle a conscrvt^ une 
infinite de traits anciens, et quand elle se rencontre avec un 
ricit litteraire du moyen ige, je ne crois pas qu'elle en soit 
n^cessairement d6riv6e. Du reste, je crois pouvoir affirmer 
que j'ai itudie k fond tous les cotes de ce probl^me si com- 
plexe et si touflFu de I'origine et de la distribution des tra- 
ditions populaires. M. Zimmer parait peu versi dans ces 
questions. II n'y a done rien de surprenant k ce que nous soyons 
d'avis different li-dessus, c'est le contraire qui ^tonnerait. 

Jusqu'ici les citations que j'ai fiutes de M. Zimmer ont 
porte sur la question Arthurienne prise dans son ensemble ; 
je vais maintenant en donner sur la question plus limitte de 
I'origine des poimes de Chrestien : 

G. G. A. N° 20, p. 832. a Die Form in der die Stoffe der 
bretonischen Arthursage durch die franzosisch redenden breto- 
nischen Conteurs nachNordfrankreich und der Normandie ka- 
men, war vomehmlich die Prosaerzahlung undzwar in wenig 
kiinstlerischer Anlage mit Vorliebe for das rein Stoffliche. 
Solche Prosaerzahlungen lieferten Chretien das Material, das 
er, wohl auch umdichtend und durch eigene Erfindung be- 
reichernd seinen dichterischen Ideen dienstbar machte ». 
Tout en faisant mes r&erves, et sur la nature poitique ou 
prosaique des r^cits qui ser\urent de modules i Chrestien, 

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Derniers travaux allemands sur la ligende du saint GraaL xli 

(quoique, je Tavoue, Targumentation de M. Zimmer me 
semble difficile i r^futer), et sur leur provenance purement 
bretonne, j'accepte le reste du passage comme tout i fait con- 
forme aux r^sultats de mes propres recherches. Je me suis 
exprim^ d'une fa<;on aussi d^cid^e que le fait ici M. Zimmer 
sur les changements qu'a faits Chrestien k ses modules 
(Grail, p. 146). Je continue i citer : a Dass weniger schopfer- 
ische Naturen als Chretien weniger selbststandigmit dem Stoff 
vcrfahren ist natiirlich. Es ist daher nicht unmoglich, dass 
jungere Dichter in manchen Abweichungen von Ch. die Er- 
zahlungen der Bretonen treuer widerspiegeln als unsere al- 
teste Quelle fiir dieselben, Chretiens Epen ». On le voit, de 
meme qu'auparavant je n'ai eu qu'i citer M. Golther pour 
confondreM. Zimmer {supra^p, 192), icic'estM. Zimmer qui, 
d'une seule observation pleine de bon sens, d^molit I'^difice 
si p6niblement ^lev^ par M. Golther. Je n'ai pas i exprimer 
mon accord avec M. Zimmer, je n'ai qu'i me feliciter de ce 
qu'il approuve les id6es ^mises par moi il y a plus de trois ans 
et brifevement retrac^es dans les pages pr^c^dentes. 

On connait les premieres id6es de M. Foerster sur les ro- 
mans Arthuriens ; elles sont expos^es dans la preface de son 
Yvain. Ce r^cit, de mSme que ses semblables, ne contient de 
celtique que la seine et les noms des personnages, le reste est 
Tinvention de Chrestien, ou plutdt le renouvellement heureux 
d'un sujet oriental connu depuis longtemps, celui de la Ma- 
trone d'Ephfese. Le roman Arthurien est au point de vue des 
idies, des mceurs et des sentiments (« seinem geistigen Inhalt 
nach ») une creation fran^aise. Comme dans la trag^die clas- 
sique du xvii^ siicle, c'est Tesprit fran<jais qui s'exprime, quoi- 
qu'il revete une forme itrangfere (Yvain, xxxi). 

Pendant les trois ans qui s^parent TErec de I'Yvain, M. Foer- 
ster a fr^quente M. Zimmer ; celui-ci lui a ouvert les trisors 
de son Erudition, et M. Foerster a du reconnaitre que ses pre- 
mieres opinions ^taient trop absolues. Comme il le dit lui- 
mfime, il a mis de Teau dans son vin. Les amateurs du vin 
pur n'auront pas trop de reproche i lui faire. II reconnait 
qu'il a existe une Epopee Arthurienne celtique, et il en voit 
les derniires traces dans les romans en prose (il ne dit pas 

Digitized by 


XLii Alfred Nutt. 

quels romans, mais ce doivent 6tre le Merlin, le Lancelot, la 
Mort Arthur) qui, selon lui, sont les representants des r^cits 
que les conteurs bretons ont popularises dans tout le nord de 
la France. Cette ^cole de ricits (si Ton pent s'exprimer ainsi) 
a atteint son apogee avant Chrestien; une convention s'est 
ainsi form^e, dont le pofete champenois s'est servi pour mieux 
recommander ses creations i ses contemporains (cf. Erec, 
XXVII, xxviii). On le voit, M. Foerster n'admet plus de com- 
promis dfes qu'il s'agit de Chrestien. 

Notons, en passant, que les raisons qui d^cident M. Foer- 
ster i donner cette place d'honneur aux romans en prose 
sont bien les mfemes qui ont anient M. Zimmer k ne pas 
chercher I'origine des romans Arthuriens dans la Grande, mais 
bien plutot dans la Petite-Bretagne. M. Foerster est frapp6 des 
details precis et quasi historiques dont fourmillent les romans 
en prose, de leurs rapports ^vidents avec la l^gende Anhu- 
rienne telle qu'on la retrouve dans Gaufrei. M. Zimmer, lui, 
distingue deux couches de tradition Arthurienne : i° une 
couche armoricainc qui conserve la vraie tradition locale (du 
pays des Kymris du Nord), mais qui, desinteressee du senti- 
ment historique de la race, a tourni au merveilleux ; 2** une 
couche galloise qui a gard^ plus vivant le souvenir d'Arthur 
comme personnage historique ayant v^cu et combattu, mais 
qui Ta transporte dans le sud et dans Touest de la Grande- 
Bretagne, et lui a fait assimiler une foule d'^v^nements his- 
toriques plus ricents. C'est parce que, selon M. Zimmer, les 
romans fran^ais ne dec^lent rien de cette transformation, 
parce qu'Arthury est unroidea faerie », que le savant deGreifs- 
wald leur refuse une origine galloise. On le voit, les deux 
^rudits se contredisent et se complttent i la fois, et, on pent le 
dire, il y a du vrai dans Tune et I'autre hypothtee. Pour des 
raisons d^ja expos^es, je ne veux point m'attarder ici i ce 
qu'il y a aussi de faux. Mais ce qu'il me faut signaler, c'est le 
peu de cas que fait M. Foerster des opinions de M. Zimmer, 
lorsque celles-ci ne lui plaisent pas. M. Foerster ne laisse pas 
de s'en prevaloir lorsqu'il veut ^carter mes recherches comme 
celles d'un celtomane et d'un songe-creux. II ne souffle mot 
de la profonde divergence qu'il y a entre elles et ses propres 

Digitized by 


Derniers travaux allemands sur la ligende du saint GraaL xliii 

vues. Le professeur de Grcifewald lui est un excellent bdton 
pour assommer rimportun qui le gSne, mais il refuse son 
aide pour guider ses pas dans lessentiers inconnus et difficiles 
de TarcWologie celtique. Apris ce court aper^u sur ses pro- 
c^dis de controverse, je me crois dispense de commenter en 
detail la phrase injurieuse dontil ni-'honore. Quelles que soient 
les erreufs dont j'ai pu me rendre coupable, j'ai toujours 
essay^ de d^gager la v^rit6 avec sinc^riti et loyaut^, j'ai citi 
en leur entier les opinions qui ^taient opposees aux miennes, 
j'ai exposi le plus amplement que j'ai pu tout ce qui 6tait i 
I'avantage de mes adversaires et i mon propre d^savantage. 
Sachant cela, je prefere ne pas avoir i caract^riser des proc^des 
qui different essentiellement des miens. 

Mais il est nicessaire, en vue de la legitime autorit^ dont 
jouit M. Foerster comme romaniste, d'^clairer par un seul 
exemple son incompetence comme « celtiste ». Ayant i rendre 
compte(Folk-Lore, II) du travail de son dive, M. K. Othmer, 
sur les rapports de I'Erec et du Geraint, j'ai dii en critiquer 
assez vivement les erreurs dans le domaine de I'histoire et de 
la litt^rature celtiques. Je regrette fort de le dire, le professeur 
me paralt dans le m^me cas que I'ilive. On connait I'histoire, 
d'Erec (Geraint) ; le prince qui Spouse la pauvre fille, qui 
oublie dans son amour ses devoirs de chevalier, qui inter- 
prfete mal les regrets de sa femme et la soumet k de dures 
epreuves dont elle sort victorieuse. Voili I'expression d'idies 
fran(jaises, dit M. Foerster. Le point d'honneur chevaleresque, 
la tendresse conjugale intime (« innige gattenliebe ») voili 
des choses complitement etrangeres aux Celtes, d'origine pu- 
rement continentale et fran^aise (Erec, xlviii). On est vrai- 
ment imerveilli de voir que le pays et I'dpoque qui ont in- 
vente Tamour chevaleresque, c'est-a-dire I'amour en dehors 
du mariage, qui ont discute si I'amour ^tait possible entre 
mari et femme, qui ont inscrit I'adultire au code de la soci^te 
mondaine, ont eu le monopole de la tendresse conjugale. 
Mais M. Foerster ne s'en tient pas la, il n'a pas sufBsamment 
rabattu le fol orgueil de ces Celtes qui s'imaginaient avoir 
quelques notions d'honneur et de vertu. « Si Ton croit en- 
core », dit-il (Erec, lhi), « a la celticit^ des trois recits gallois 

Digitized by 


XLiv Alfred Nutt. 

qui se rapportent i Arthur, que Ton Use les viritables textes 
celtiques du Livre Rouge. L'on y verra que le hiros parle de 
I'h^roTne comme d'une « belle ginisse qui n'a pas encore 6t6 
saillie par le taureau », et Ton cessera d'attribuer des motife 
comme ceux de I'amour conjugal le plus tendre (Erec) aux 
Celtes ». Que Ton lise ces textes en effet (on les trouvcra 
dans le premier volume des Mabinogion de M. Loth), et Ton 
n'y verra pas un seul mot de ce que citeM. Foerster. Loin de 
li, ces ricits gallois r^igis aux x*-xii* siicles sont non seule- 
ment trfes chastes de ton, mais timoignent sou vent d'uoe 
grande ddicatesse et elevation de sentiment. NuUe part meme 
dans cette charmante litt^irature fran^iise du moyen age, qui 
compte tant de ddicieuses descriptions de jeunes fiUes, y a-t-il 
rien de plus charmant que la description d'Olwen (Loth, I, 
233-34). Voyez encore la conduite de PwtU dans le Mabi- 
nogi de ce nom, celle de Manawyddan et de Kicva dans le 
Mabinogi de Manawyddan; on ne trouvera pas facilement 
dans les romans fran^ais un ideal d'amiti^ plus loyal et plus 
d^licat. Et si Ton compare le roman de Perceval avec le conte 
gallois de Peredur, on verra que sur un point le Gallois Tem- 
porte infiniment sur le Fran(jais. Lorsque Perceval arrive au 
chateau de Blanchefleur, celle-ci vient s'offrir k lui sans faire 
guire plus de famous qu'une fille d'auberge interlope (Ch., 
V. 5100-350). Dans le conte gallois, au contraire, ce sont les 
frtres de Blanchefleur qui la poussent k agir de cene fa^on, 
elle s'y refuse d'abord : « Aller me proposer i lui avant qu'il 
ne m'ait fait la cour ! Je ne le saurais pour rien au monde » 
(Loth, n, p. 64), dit-elle, et elle ne cede qu'aux menaces, 
Peredur, lui, ne se comporte pas comme le Perceval fran^ais, 
mais comme un « gentleman » moderne, il la rassure et la 
renvoie avec courtoisie et respect. II me semble que le conteur 
gallois n*avait pas i recevoir de Chrestien des lemons de deli- 
catesse sur les rapports des sexes. Mais d'ou vient Terreur de 
M. Foerster, d'ou vient la citation dont il fait si grand usage ? 
De rhistoire desfils d'Usnech, conte irlandais dont la redaaion 
remonte i coup sur a la fin du x* si^cle et tres probable- 
ment au vi^ ou vii* siecle. Quand Noise voit Derdriu, « elle est 
belle Ji, dit-il, « la ginisse qui passe prfcs de moi ». « II £aiut 

Digitized by 


Derniers travaux allemands sur la legende du saint Graal. xlv 

de grandes g^nisses li oil sont les taureaux » rtpliqua-t-elle ^ 
Voili certes un parler franc et primitif. Les gens qui parlaient 
ainsi ne devaient gufere d^passer le niveau des Zoulous ou 
des Maoris actuels. Cast pr^cis^ment le m^rite des anciennes 
traditions irlandaises de nous r^v^ler une soci^t^ trts archaique. 
Mais r^tat social pent 6tre rude sans que pour cela la ten- 
dresse conjugale fasse d^faut, je n'en veux pour preuve que 
riliade ou la Gentjse, je n'en veux pour preuve que ce mfime 
conte des fils d'Usnech. Quand Nois^ a et6 tu^ par trahison, 
Deirdre se lamente sur lui : 

« Ch^ri, joli ! s^duisante ^tait ta beaut^. Bel homme, fleur attrayante ! 
La cause de ma tristesse est que d^rmais je n*attends plus le retour du 
fils d'Usncch. 

Bien-aim^ i Tesprit ferme et droit ! Bien-aim^, guerrier noble et mo* 
deste ! Apr^ avoir traverse les bois dlrlande, doux ^uit avec lui le repos 
de la nuit. 

Bien-aim^ i, Toeil bleu, amour de sa femme, mais redoutable aux enoe- 
mis ! Apr6s avoir parcouru la forfit, on se retrouvait au noble rendez-vous. 
Bien-aim^ sa voix de t^or i travers les bois noirs. 

Je ne dors plus moiti^ de la nuit dans mon lit. Mon esprit voyage autour 
des foules, mais je ne mange ni ne souris. 

Ne brise pas aujourd*hui mon coeur ; j*atteindrai bient6t ma tombe pri- 
matur^. La douleur est plus forte que les vagues de la mer, le sais-tu, 6 
Conchobar ? » » 

M. Foerster peut-il citer dans la plus ancienne litterature 
frangaise un passage aussi passionn^, aussi tendre, aussi « in- 
nig )) que celui-la ? 

Si M. Foerster 6tait tant soit peu au fait de la plus ancienne 
litterature celtique, il saurait que tout ce qui se rattache a la 
vie conjugale y joue un grand role. Rappelons seulement 
qu'un des genres dans lesquels ^taient divis^es les histoires que 
devait connaitre un ollatnh 6tait celui des « tochmarca » ou 
^pousailles, un autre celui des <c aitheda » ou enlevements, et 

1. Je cite d'aprfcs la traduction de M. Ponsinet, Rev. des Trad. Pop., 
Ill, 201-207 M. Ponsinet parait avoir fait un contresens dans sa traduction. 

2. Comme ce po^me nest pas narratif, je pense que M. Zimmer ne 
I'annexera pas au profit des Vikings qui, selon lui, ont appris aux Celtes 
Tart de raconter en vers. 

Digitized by 


XLVi Alfred Nutt. 

que dans la grande liste des r^cits du Livre de Leinster qui 
comprend en tout 187 titres, 25 appartiennent i ces deux 
classes, et il y a au moins une douzaine d'autres que Ton 
peut aussi ranger parmi les histoires d'amour. Cette liste, il 
faut s'en souvenir, tout en donnant une id^e assez juste de 
r^tat de la litt^rature traditionneile en Irlande au d^but du 
XI* sifecle, ne pretend pas fetre tout i fait complete. Parmi 
les histoires qui y sont cittes et qui nous sont parvenues, je 
signalerai surtout celles du Tochmarc Enure (trad, par M. Kuno 
Meyer, Arcb. Review, t. I), du Tochmarc Etain (analyst par 
M. Zimmer, Z. v. S., 1887, p. 585 et seq.), de V Aided Conrui 
(cf. Keating, ^d. O'Mahony, p. 282) et j'y ajouterai le Serg- 
ligi Coiichulainn (trad, par O'Curry, Atlantis i 362 et seq. 
ii 96, et analyst par le mfeme M. C. ii, 195-198; ce conte 
qui se trouve dans LnH n'est pas mentionnc^ dans la liste du 
Livre de Leinster) comme exemples de la large part que fei- 
saient les anciens Irlandais aux manifestations de Tamour. 
Quant i la position qu'y occupait la femme, on n'a qu'i voir 
I'ouverture du Tain bo Cuailgne ou Medhbh traite avec sea 
mari sur un pied d'6galit6 parfaite, ou le Fled Bricrend oil ce 
sont en partie les jalousies des femmes des principaux h^ros 
qui d^terminent Taction du r^cit. A moins toutefois que 
M. Zimmer ne veuille voir dans ce dernier trait un 6cho de la 
querelle entre Kriemhild et Brunhild. Quand done M. Foers- 
ter recuse Torigine celtique de TErec, parce que ce conte 
roule sur le th^me de I'amour conjugal, il se fourvoie aussi 
compl^tement que lorsque dans TYvain il refuse aux Celtes la 
conception du point d'honneur chevaleresque (a Ritterehre »). 
II serait difficile, au contraire, de pousser cette derniire con- 
ception i des limites plus extravagantes que ne le fait Tancienne 
^pop^e irlandaise des viii^'-xi^ siecles, et je ne crois pas m'etre 
trompe en affirmant {Grail, ch. X) que la predominance de 
ce sentiment dans les recits celtiques etait une des principales 
raisons de leur vogue parmi les hommes du xii* siecle. 

M. Foerster s'appuie surtout sur la longue dissertation 
(Zeitschrift fiir deutsches Alterthum, 1889, pp. 281-284) <!"'* 
consacr^e M. Zimmer i I'eternel feminin dans Tancienne Htt^ 
rature irlandaise. M. Zimmer, dont la pudeur s'effarouche aussi 

Digitized by 


Derniers iravaux allemands sur la Ugende du saint CraaL xlvii 

ais^ment que celle de la « miss anglaise » traditionnelle, a ^t^ 
tris choqu6 de la pro^minence donn^e i cet dement de la vie 
par les Irlandais ; aussi s'est-il appliqu^ k ^puiser la chronique 
scandaleuse de T^pop^e gadique i seule fin d'appuyer son dire 
« Die Frauengestalten in Heldensage und Legende (der Iren) 
tragen, mit wenigen Ausnahmen, einen gemeinen Charakter, 
wie es mir in der Art bei meinen Studien nirgends sonst be- 
gegnet ist ». M. Zimmer se calomnie i plaisir, ses Etudes 
n'ont pas et^ aussi born^es qu'il veut bien le dire. Aussi faut- 
il croire que les r^formes de Tempereur d'AUemagne ont eu 
un effet retroactif et que la culture littdraire de I'^minent pro- 
fesseur de Greifswald s'est arrfit^e dans les environs de Ross- 
bach, mettons a la Messiade de Klopstock. Autrement il ne 
lui aurait point ^chapp6 que Ton raconte des histoires peu ^di- 
fiantes sur Aphrodite et sur Helene, sur Dana^ et sur L^da, 
sur M^d^e et sur Rh6a Silvia. Et s'il veut relire Lokasena, il 
verra que la chronique scandaleuse de TOlympe des Germains 
n'avait rien i envier i celle des Hellenes ou des Celtes. 
M. Zimmer n'a pas vu le point curieux et int^ressant de la 
question feminine dans Tancienne litterature gadique. Je 
m'^tais pourtant 6tendu assez longuement li-dessus dans le 
ch. IX de mon Grail. L' epopee h^roi'co-mythique irlandaise 
se joue dans un milieu social beaucoup plus primitif que 
r^pop^e h^roique des Germains, i fortiori que T^popee fi*anco- 
germaine. Le niveau social est aussi archaique que dans les plus 
anciens r^cits de la mythologie hell^nique. Cela fait que Vhi- 
roi'ne irlandaise se distingue bien nettement de Th^rome des 
r^cits (^piques allemands ou fran^ais des vii*-xii* siecles, et 
par cela mSme se recommandait aux hommes des xii*-xiii* sii- 
cles, epoque ou la condition de la femme, grke k un en- 
semble de faits politiques sociaux et moraux, a subi une Evo- 
lution trfes marquee. Quant i la « Gemeinheit » (mot que je 
ne saurais rendre en fran^ais) speciale de I'^pop^e irlandaise, il 
faut dire qu'ici, comme cela lui arrive ailleurs, M. Zimmer 
voit certains faits avec une telle intensity que sa vision en est 
troublee. II y a des choses tr^s naives, tr^s archaiques dans 
ces r^cits, mais on y trouve peu, si je ne me trompe, d*obs- 
c^ne. M. Zimmer cite, il est vrai, Tanecdote bien connue du 

Digitized by 


XLViii Alfred Nutt, 

jugement de Niall Frosach (LL. 273'^), mais c'est li un 
exemple de casuistique sexuelle comme il s'en trouve des mil- 
Hers dans les traites sp^ciaux de confesseurs ou de m^ecins- 
l^gistes. On ne juge pas les Fran^ais ou les Allemands d'au- 
jourd'hui d'apris M. Tardieu ou M. KrafFt Ebing. 

Je me permets done de consid^rer que les resultats exposes 
dans mes Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail n'ont pas 
^ti ^branl^s jusqu'i present. La critique de M. Zimmer ne 
porte que sur des points tout a fait secondaires ; elle est, en 
outre, ou mal renseign^e, ou erronie, ou incomplete; la critique 
de M. Golther est entierement mal venue, ainsi que celle de 
M. Foerster, si toutefois on pent appeler critique la simple 
ripitition des griefs d'autrui qu'on ne s'est pas donni la peine 
de comprendre et qu'on a exageres par cela m6me. II est heu- 
reux que les textes qu'^dite M. Foerster soient ^tablis avec 
plus de conscience que lorsqu'il s'agit pour lui d'attaquer 
les travaux d'autrui. 

Je voudrais aussiespererquepartout on cesse dene voir dans 
les recherches d'autrui sur la mati^re de Bretagne, de quelque 
cot^ qu'elles viennent, qu'une occasion de diployerson propre 
talent de critique. J*estime que dans ces probldmes si touffiis 
on peut et doit faire usage de la bonne volont^ et des capacity 
detouslestravailleurs, et pour cela qu'il faut surtout rechercher 
et reconnaltre ce qu'il y a de nouveau et de f^cond chez les 
autres. II me semble qu'une des oeuvres dont T^tude des ro- 
mans arthuriens profiterait le plus serait la compilation d'un 
Onomastican Arthurianum qui tiendrait compte de Tensemble 
des textes tant manuscrits qu'imprim^s. Ce serait li une oeuvre 
gigantesque, mais qui pourrait Stre men^e i bonne fin si tous les 
^rudits qui s'occupent de ces etudes y apportaient un concours 
actif. Les travaux de M. Sommer sur Malory qui donne, on 
le sait, un abr^g^ des textes les plus importants du cycle, 
pourraient servir de base. Je serais pour ma part heureux de 
concourir dans la mesure de mes forces i la realisation de cettc • 

Alfred Nurr. 

Digitized by 



Vol. II.] SEPTEMBER, 1891. [No. III. 




IN the last number of FOLK-LORE were given three 
tales, collected, along with some others, during my 
residence in the northern districts of Lincolnshire ; when 
I also described, so far as possible, the country and 
surroundings in which dwell the people amongst whom 
these legends have originated. It is not easy, in so short 
a notice, to present vividly the curious mixture of rusticity 
and savagery, of superstition and indifference, of ignorance 
and shrewdness, which is found in these peasants, and it 
would require greater powers than I possess to do justice to 
them in a more finished study. During the comparatively 
short time I spent amongst them, close observance of their 
ways of life and thought assured me that the old and 
simple heathendom still lay untouched, though hidden, 
below successive varnishes of superstition, religion, and 

Perhaps some other time I may be permitted to show 
how this betrays itself, even in the vulgar speech and com- 
mon life, and amongst those, moreover, whom one would 
have thought to be above the reach of it; but the leaven of 
the ancient paganism has spread itself throughout the mass, 

VOL. II. s 

Digitized by 


«5* I^gemdt 0fiie Umc3< 

fill fWe are feir rr» -•fu^ci vxa^ rrxnt z£ 5c jmawju I- 

MMf»"//f ^7U I>5a/i Mvx;', bet t-ryfr iVryrrrH on tfc 
niirriif//f, und theie (^.or were tr>4d b^ caea wi&o bad aota 
^tfrrfijj Mfi/l iutiir^.tivt §er^ut of tfac dnunatic art of stwy- 
ffml< If iif t m;ky %^y, in Sf4te of their r c<j e ^% eness topvaids 
tf)fr<g« rrtirv#rllMn, tF*^ they were otherwise practical »! 
*ytiUwwhn\ HuUtii^0ni»i\'^t, and accepted the tales they i^d 
h»*iiMl if urn thz-lr hthtr%, with respect indeed, but cooteot 
Wi\ Ut mk Ih^rnvrlve* for abv>lute belieC Thus it is more 
AJA VMnH^i'^ fft Si \fyy/ft\c religion that these talcs may 
||iU*ii'iif^ \Unn ««» *t;impl/:% of modem crednUty. 

ill llii^ ♦Wir^/n Mi«>t''and -The Strangers' Share", for 
lUNlfilM II, \WfV atf*. iraccn of ancient rites, faithful of ob- 
itMVUhfis ((*ii i'iu\i\Uu\ of their primitive devotion, which 
Imiil m Im'h IntoH very dim and misty r^on before the 
\^\\\\\ prf lU^l^ry wad lit to light the way. And in * The 
\Wm\ Ihtinr' lli'^f^ l*« an intimate acquaintance with the 
t(M|| >i|ftili< itiMt ((intraMtM oddly with the later influence of 
iHml(tiii ( lNi>ttlMMlty In the almost biblical lamentation of 
thi< (MMUMilHn mother. 

I j^i^i f. ntlll by mo the notes from one or two talcs 

Uviilii»M '^' <t»^rtlh ttn<l the after-life, and at least one which 
iKmu** Hu' niilnM« niic'<»nHci(>us immorality of very primitive 
It^^ul'i Hi*^ liiMnorwIlty which is reflected in our most 
dtMUi^i l^»'»V* \^\^'^k wl\rre murder and thefl and lying arc 
u|\mH fii^^U ''*'*' *^^ ^'^^ nfttural path towards success, as well 
\\\ \\\v llvt " <»l thrMc wonderful cold-blooded barbaric 
lulMv**» »*^'*' (idnu^^nc^ of 8torydom, the ideals of our child- 
Lunl, <!• i** ll**' simpler but jKrhaps more poetic legends 
%\\\\ H^Hh ***Hi «^*^^'^' ^^^'^ jHH^plc in this lonely comer of the 


Digitized by 


Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 259 

"The Green Mist." 

So thou 'st heerd tell o' th' boggarts an' all the horrid 
things o' th' au'd toimes ? Ay ; they wor mischancy, on- 
pleasant sort o' bodies to do wi', an' a 'm main glad as they 
wor all go'an afore ma da'ays. I ha' niver seed nowt o' 
that sort; cep' mappen a bogle or so— nuthin wu'th 
tellin' of. But if thou likes them sort o' ta'ales, a can 
tell 'ee some as ma au'd gran'ther tould us when a wor 
nobbut a tiddy brat. He wor main au'd, nigh a hunner 
year, fo'ak said ; an' a wor ma fa'ather's gran'ther reetly 
speakin', so thou can b'leeve as a knowed a lot 'bout th' au'd 
toimes. Mind, a wunnut say as ahl th' ta'ales be tre-ue ; 
but ma gran'ther said as they wor, and a b'leeved un ahl 
hissel*. Annyways a '11 tell um as a heerd um ; and that's 
ahl as a can do. 

Wa'al, i' they toimes fo'ak mun ha' bin geyan unloike 
to now. 'Stead o' doin' their work o' da'ays, 'n smokin' 
ther pipes o' Sundays, i' pe'ace 'n comfort, tha wor alius 
botherin' ther he'ads 'bout summat 'r other — or the cho'ch 
wor doin' it for 'um. Th' priests wor alius at 'un 'bout 
thur sowls ; an', what wi' hell an' th' boggarts, ther moinds 
wor niver aisy. An' ther wor things as didn't 'long to th' 
cho'ch, an' yit — a can't reetly 'splain to 'ee ; but th' fo'ak 
had idees o' ther o'an, an' wa'ays o' ther o'an, as 'a'd kep' 
oop years 'n years, 'n hunnerds o' years, since th' toime 
when ther wom't no cho'ch, leastwise no cho'ch o' that 
sort ; but tha gi'n things to th' bogles 'n sich, to ke'p un 
friendly. Ma gran'ther said 's how the bogles 'd wanst bin 
thowt a deal more on, an' at da'arklins ivery noight th' 
fo'ak 'd bear loights 1 ther ban's roon' ther ha'ouses, sa'ain' 
wo'ds to ke'p 'um off; an' a 'd smear blo'od o' th' door-sil' to 
skeer awa'ay th' horrors ; an' a*d put bre'ad and salt o' th' 
flat stouns set oop by th' la'ane side to get a good ha'ar- 
vest ; an' a'd spill watter i' th' fower co'ners o' th' fields, 
when a wanted ra'in ; an' they thowt a deal on th' sun, fur 



Digitized by 


26o Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

tha reckoned as a ma'ade th' yarth, an' brout th' good an ill 
chances an' a do'ant know what ahl. A can't tell 'ee reetly 
what they b'leeved ; fur 'twor afore ma gran'ther's toirae, 
ahl that ; an' that's more'na hunnerd 'n fifty years agone, 
seest-tha ; but a reckon tha made nigh iverythin' as they 
seed 'n heerd into sort o* gre'at bogles ; an' tha wor alius 
gi'un 'um things, or sa'ayin' so't o' prayers loike, to keep 
um fro' doin' th' fo'ak anny evil. 

Wa'al that was a long toime agone, as a said afore, an* 
twor no'on so bad i' ma gran'ther's da'ay ; but, natheless, 
'twom't furgot, an* some o' th' foak bleeved it ahl still, an' 
said ther au'd prayers or spells-loike, o' th' sly. So ther wor, 
so to sa'ay, two cho'ches ; th' wan wi' priests an' can'lles, 
an' a' that ; th' other jist a lot o* au'd wa'ays, kep 'oop ahl 
onbeknown an' hidden-loike, mid th* fo'ak thersels ; an' 
they thowt a deal more, ma gran'ther said, on th' au'd spells, 
's on th' sarvice i' th* cho'ch itsel.' But *s toime want on 
tha two got so't o' mixed oop ; an' some o' tha fo'aks cudn't 
ha' tould thee, ef 'twor fur won or t' other as tha done th' 

To Yule, i th' cho'ches, thur wor gran' sarvices, wi' can'lles 
an' flags an' what not ; an' i' th' cottages thur wor can'lles 
'ii ca akcs \\ gran' doin's ; but tha priests niver knowed as 
mony o' th' foak wor on'y wakin' th' dyin' year, an' 'at tha 
wine teemed upo' tha door-sil to first cock-crow wor to 
bring good luck in th' new year. An a' reckon some o' th' 
fo'ak thersells 'd do th' au'd heathen wa'ays 'n sing hymns 
meantime, wi' ncer a thowt of tha stra'angeness o't 

Still, thur wor many 's kep' to th' au'd wa'ays ahl to- 
gither, thoff tha done it hidden loike ; an' a'm goin' to tell 
ce of wan fam'bly as ma gran'ther knowed fine, and how 
they waked th' spring wan year. 

As a said afore, a can't, even ef a wud, tell'-ee ahl th* 

things as tha useter do ; but theer wos wan toime o'th 

year *s they p'rticlarly want in fur ther spells 'n prayers, 

an' that wor th' yarly spring. Tha thout as th' yarth wor 

S " ' * ^ *h' winter ; an* at th' bogles — ca'all um what ee 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 261 

wull — 'd nobbut to do but mischief, fur they'd nowt to see 
to i' tha fields ; so they wor feared on th' long da'ark winter 
days 'n noights, i' tha mid' o ahl so'ts o unseen fearsome 
things, ready 'n waitin' fur a chance to pla'ay un evil tricks. 
But as tha winter want by they thout as 'twor toime to 
wake th' yarth fro 'ts sleepin' 'n set the bogles to wo'k, 
care'n' fur th' growin' things 'n bringin' th' harvest. Efter 
that th' yarth wor toired, an' wor sinkin' to sleep agean ; 
an' tha useter sing hushieby songs i' tha fields o' th' A'tum 
evens. But i' th' spring, tha want — tha fo'ak did as b'leeved 
in th' au'd wa'ays — to every field in to'n, 'n lifted a spud o' 
yarth fro' th' mools ; an' tha said stra'ange 'n quare wo'ds, 
as tha cudn't sca'arce unnerstan' thersel's ; but th' same as' 'd 
bin said for hunnerds o' ye'ars. An' ivery mornin' at th' 
first dawn, tha stood o' th' door-sil, wi' salt an' bread i' ther 
ban's, watchin' 'n waitin' for th' green mist 's rose fro th' 
fields 'n tould at th' yarth wor awake agean ; an' th' life wor 
comin' to th' trees an' the pla'ants, an' th' seeds wor bustin' 
wi' th' beginning o' th* spring. 

Wa'al ther wor wan fam'bly as 'd done ahl that, year 
arter year, fro^s long as they knowd of, jest 's ther gran- 
'thers 'd done it afore un ; an' wan winter e'n, nigh on a 
hunnerd n' thutty year gone to now, tha wor makin' ready 
for wakin' the spring. Th' 'ad had a lot o' trooble thruff th' 
winter, sickness 'n what not 'd bin bad i' th' pla'ace ; an' th' 
darter, a rampin' young maid, wor grow'd whoite 'n wafflin' 
loike a bag o' bo'ans, stead o' bein* th' purtiest lass i' th' 
village as a'd bin afore. Day arter da'ay a growed whiter 
'n sillier, till a cudn't stan upo's feet more 'n a new born 
babby, an' a cud on'y lay at th' winder watchin' an' watchin' 
th' winter crep' awa'ay. An' " Oh mother," a'd kep sa'ayin' 
ower 'n ower agin ; " ef a cud on'y wake th' spring with 'ee 
agin, mebbe th' Green Mist 'd mek ma strong 'n well, loike 
th' trees an' th' flowers an' th' co'n i' th' fields." 

An' tha mother 'd comfort her loike, 'n promise 'at she'd 
coom wi' em agean to th' wakin', an' grow 's strong 'n 
straight 's iver. But da'ay arter da'ay a got whiter 'n 

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262 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

wanner, till a looked, ma granther said, loike a snow-fla'ake 
fadin' i' th' sun ; an' day arter da'ay' th* winter crep by, an' 
th' wakin' o' th' spring wor amost theer. Th* pore maid 
watched 'n waited for th' toime fur goin' to th' fields ; b«t 
a 'd got so weak 'n sick 'at a knowed a cudn't git ther wi' 
th' rest But a wudn't gi'n oop fur ahl that ; an' 's mother 
mun sweer 'at she M lift th' lass to th' door-sil, at th' comin' 
o' the Green Mist, so 's a mowt toss oot th' bread 'n salt o' 
th' yarth her o'an sel* an' wi' her o'an pore thin ban's. 

An' still th' da'ays went by, an' th' foak wor goin' o' 
yarly moms, to lift the spud i' th' fields ; an' th' comin' 
o' th' Green Mist wor lookit for ivery dawning. 

An wan even th' lass, as 'd bin layin', wi 's eyne fixed 
o' th' little gy'arden said to 's mother : 

" Ef tha Green Mist don't come i' tha mom's dawnin' — all 
not can wait fur 't longer. Th' mools is ca'allin' ma, an' tha 
seeds is brilstin' as'll bloom ower ma he'ad; a know't wa'al, 
mother — 'n yit, if a cud on'y see th' spring wake wanst agin ! 
— mother — a sweer a'd axe no more 'n to live 's long 's wan 
o' them cowslips as coom ivery year by th' ga'ate, an' to 
die wi' th' fust on 'em when tha summer 's in." 

The mother whisht tha maid in fear ; fur tha bogles 'n 
things as they b'leeved in wor alius gainhand, an' cud 
hear owt as wor said. They wor niver sa'afe, niver aloan, 
the pore fo'ak to than, wi' th' things as tha cudn't see, an' 
cudn't he'ar, alius roon 'em. But th' dawn o' th' nex' da'ay 
browt th' Green Mist A comed fro' th' mools, an' happed 
asel' roon' iverythin', green 's th' grass i' summer sunshine, 
'n sweet-smellin 's th' yarbs o' th' spring ; an' th' lass wor 
carried to th' door-sil, wheer a croom'led th' bread 'n salt on 
to th' yarth wi' 's o'an ban's an' said the stra'ange au'd 
wo'ds o' welcoming to th' new spring. An a lookit to the 
ga'ate, wheer th' cowslips growed, an' than wor took ba'ack 
to 's bed by th' winder, when a slep loike a babby, an' 
dreamt o' summer an' flowers an' happiness. Fur fither 
'twor th' Green Mist as done it, a can't tell'ee more 'n ma 
gran'ther said, but fro' that da'ay a growed stronger 'n 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 263 

prettier nor iver, an' by th' toime th' cowslips wor buddin' 
a wor runnin' aboot, an' laughin' loike a very sunbeam i* th' 
au'd cottage. But ma gran'ther tould 's as a wor alius so 
white 'n wan, while a lookit loike a will-o-th'-wyke flittin' 
aboot ; an' o th* could da'ays a'd sit shakin' ower th' foire, 
an' 'd look nigh de'ad, but whan th' sun 'd coom oot, a'd 
da'ance an' sing i' th' loight, 'n stretch oot 's arms to 't 'sif a 
on'y lived i' th' warmness o' t An' by 'n by th' cowslips 
brust ther buds, an' coom i' flower, an' th' maid wor growed 
so stra'ange an' beautiful 'at they wor nigh feared on her 
— an' ivery momin' a'd kneel by th' cowslips 'n watter 
'n tend 'em 'n da'ance to 'em i th' sunshine, while th' mother 
*d Stan' beggin' her to leave 'em, 'n cried 'at she'd have 'em 
pu'd oop by th' ixx>ts 'n throwed awe'ay. But th' lass 'd on'y 
look stra'ange at a, 'n sa'ay — soft 'n low loike : 

" Ef thee are'nt tired o' ma, mother — niver pick wan o' 
them flowers ; they'll fade o' ther sel's soon enuff— ay, soon 
enuff — thou knows !" An' tha mother 'd go'a back to th' 
cottage 'n greet ower th' wo'k ; but a niver said nowt of her 
trooble to th' neebors — not till arter'ds. But wan da'ay a 
lad o' th' village stopped at th' ga'ate to chat wi 'em, an' by- 
'n-by, whiles a wor gossipin' a picked a cowslip 'n pla'ayed 
wi 't Th' lass didn't see what a'd done ; but as he said 
goodbye, a seed th' flower as 'd fa'allen to th' yarth at 's 
feet. " Did thee pull that cowslip?" a said — lookin' stra'ange 
'n white wi' wan han' laid ower her he'art. 

"Ay" said he — 'n liftin' 't oop, a gi'n it to her smilin' 
loike, 'n thinkin' what 'n 'a pretty maid it wor. 

She looked at th' flower an' at th* lad, an' ahl roon' aboot 
her ; at th' green trees, an' th' sproutin' grass, an' th' yaller 
blossoms ; an' oop at th' gowlden shinin' sun itsel'; an' ahl 
to wanst, shrinkin' 's if th' light a 'd loved so mooch wor 
brennin' her, a ran into th' hoose, wi' oot a spoken wo'd, on'y 
a so't o' cry, loike a dumb beast i* pain, an' th* cowslip 
catched close agin her bre^ast 

An' tjjpn^b*leeve it or not as *ee wull — a niverspo'ak agin, 
but la'ay on th* bed, starin' at th* flower in 's han* an' fadin' 

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264 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

as it faded ahl thruff th' da'ay. An' at th' dawnin' ther 
wor on'y layin' o' th* bed a wrinkled, whoite, shrunken dead 
thing, wi'in 's han' a shrivelled cowslip ; an' th' mother 
covered 't ower wi' th' clo's an' thowt o' th* beautiful joyful 
maid da'ancin' loike a bird i' th' sunshine by th' gowden 
noddin' blossoms, on'y th' da'ay go'an by. Th' bogles 'd 
heerd a an' a'd gi'n 's wish ; a'd bloomed wi' th* cowslips an' 
a'd fa'ded wi' th* first on 'em! and ma gran'ther said as 'twor 
ahl 's treue 's de'ath ! 

"Yallery Brown." 

A've heerd tell as how tha bogles an' boggarts wor main 
bad in tha au'd toimes, but a can't reetly sa'ay as a iver 
seed ony o' un masel' ; not reetly bogles, that is, but a'U 
tell thee 'bout Yallery Brown — ef a womt a boggart, a wor 
main near it, an' a knowed un masel'. So its a'al true — 
stra'ange an' true a' tell thee. 

A wor workin' on tha High Farm to than, an' nobbut a 
lad o' sixteen or mebbe aw'teen years — an' ma mither an' 
foaks doolt down by tha pond yonner, at tha far en' o' tha 
village. A had tha stables 'n such to see to, an' tha bosses 
to he'p wi', an' odd jobs to do, an' tha wo'k wor ha'ard, but 
tha pay good. A reckon a wor an idle scamp, fur I cudn't 
abide ha'ard wo'k, an a lookit forrard a'al tha week to Sun- 
days, when a'd wa'alk doon hoam, an* not go'a back till 
darklins. By tha green lane a cud get to tha fa'arm in a 
matter o' twenty minutes, but ther used ter be a pa'ad 'cross 
tha west field yonner, by tha side o' tha spinney, an' on past 
tha fox cover an' so to tha ramper, an' a used ter go'a that 
aw-a'ay ; 'twor longer for one thing, an' a worn't niver in a 
hurry to get ba'ack to tha wo'k', an' t'wor still an' pleasant 
loikc o' summer notghts, oot i' tha broad silent fields, mid tha 
smell o* tha growin' things. Fo'ak said as tha spinney wor 
ha'anted, an' fur sure a ha' seed lots o* fairy stones an' rings 
an* that, "long tha grass edge ; but a niver seed nout i' tha 
way o' horrors an' boggarts, let alone Yallery Brown, as a 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 265 

sa'aid afore. But theer, a must git on fa'aster. Wan Sun- 
day a wor wa'alkin* 'cross tha west field, 'twer a beautiful 
July noight, wa*arm an' still an' th' air wor full o' little 
sounds 's thofftha trees' 'n grass wor chatterin' to ther-sels. 
An a'al to wanst ther cam a bit ahead o' me the pitifullest 
greetin' 's 'iver a heerd, sob, sobbin', loike a barn spent wi' 
fear, an' nigh heart-bro'aken ; breakin' aff into a moan an' 
thin risin' agean in a long whimperin' wailin' 'at ma'ade ma 
feel sick nobbut to ha'ark to 't A wor alius fon' o' babbies, 
too, an' a began to look iverywheers fur tha pore creetur. 
" Mun be Sally Bratton's", a thout to masel' ; " a wor alius a 
floighty thing, an* niver looked arter th' brat Like 's not, 
a's fla'antin' 'bout th' la'anes, an 's clean furgot tha babby." 
But thoff a looked an' looked, a cud see nowt Na'athless 
tha sobbin' wor at ma very ear, so tired loike 'n sorrowful 
that a kep' cryin' oot — " Whisht, bam, whist 1 a'll tak thee 
ba'ack to tha mither ef thee'lt on'y hush tha greetin'." 

But fur a'al ma lookin* a' cud fin' nowL A keekit unner 
tha hedge by tha spinney side, an' a dumb ower *t, an* a 
sowt up an' doon by, an' mid tha trees, an' throff tha long 
grass an' weeds, but a on'y froighted some sleepin' birds, an' 
sting'd ma own ha'ands wi' tha nettles. A fa'ound nowt, 
an' a fair' guv' oop to la'ast ; so a stood ther scra'atchin' ma 
hee-ad an' clean be't wi' 't a'al, an' presently tha wimperin' 
gat louder 'n stronger i' tha quietness, an' a thout a cud mak' 
oot wo'ds o' some so't A barkened wi' a'al ma ears, an' 
tha sorry thing wor sa'ayin' a'al mixed oop wi' sobbin' — 

" O, oh ! tha stoan, tha great big stoan ! ooh 1 ooh ! tha 
stoan on top 1" 

Natrally a won'ered wheer tha stoan mowt be, an* a lookit 
agean, an' theer by tha hedge bottom wor a gre'at flat sto'an, 
nigh buried i' tha mools, an' hid i' tha cotted grass an' weeds. 
Won o' they stoans as wer used to ca'all tha " Strangers' 
Tables"— what sa'ay— Oh! a'll tell thee 'bout 'em efter'ds, 
but tha Stra'angers (tha'at 's tha good fo'ak, seest tha) 
da'anced on un o' moonloight noights 'n so a wor niver 
maddled wi', nat'rally; 't is ill luck, thou knaws't, t' cross tha 

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266 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

Tiddy People. Hawiver, doon a fell on ma knee-bones by 
tha stoan, an' barkened agean. Clearer nor iver, but tired 
an* spent wi' greetin' cam tha little sobbin' voice — " Ooh ! 
ooh! tha stoan, tha stoan on top." A wor gey'an mis- 
loiken' to maddle wi' tha thing, but a cudna stan' tha whim- 
perm' babby, an' a tore loike mad at the stoan, till a felt un 
liftin' fro' tha mools, an' a'al to wanst a cam wi' a sough, 
oot o' tha damp yarth an' tha tangl'd grass 'n growin' 
things. An' ther, i' tha ho'al la'ay a tiddy thing on 's ba'ack, 
blinkin' oop at tha moon an' at me. 'Twor no'an bigger 'n a 
ye'ar au'd brat, but a'd long cotted hair an' beard, twisted 
roon' an* roon's body so's a cudna see's clouts ; an' tha hair 
wer a'al yaller an' shinin' an' silky, loike a barn's ; but tha 
face o't wor au'd an^ 's if t'wer hunnerds o' years sin' 'twer 
young an' smooth. Just a he'ap o' wrinkles, an' two bright 
bla'ack eyne i' tha mid, set in a lot o' shinin' yaller hair ; an' 
tha skin wor tha colour o' tha fresh turned yarth i' tha spring 
— brown 's brown cud be, an's barehan's an' feet wor brown 
loike the fa'ace o' un. Tha greetin' 'd stoppit, but tha tears 
wor stannin' on's cheek, an' tha tiddy thing looked mazed 
loike i' tha moonshine an' tha night air. A wor wonnerin' 
what a'd do, but by en by he scrammell'd oot o' tha ho*al, 
an' studd lookin' 'bowt un, an' at masel'. He wor'nt oop 
to ma knee, but a wor tha quarest creetur a iver set eyes on. 
Brown an' yaller a'al over ; yaller an' brown, as a towd tha 
afwore, an' wi' sich 'n a glint in 's eyne, an' sich 'n a weezen'd 
fa'ace, 'at a felt feared on un, fur a'al 's wor so tiddy 'n 

Tha creetur's eyne got some used loike to tha moonloight» 
an* presently a lookit oop i* ma fa'ace 's bould 's iver wor. 
" Tom," says he, ** thou'st a good lad !" 's cool *s thou can 
think, says he, " Tom, thou'st a good lad !" an's voice wor 
soft an' high an' pipin' loike a little bird twitterin'. 

A touched ma hat, an* b^[an to think what a'd oughter 
sa'ay ; but a wer clemmed wi' froight an' a cudn't open ma 
gob. " Houts !" says tha thing agean, " Tha needn't be 
feared o' me ; thou'st done me a better to'n nor tha knowst, 

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ma lad, an' a'll do *s much fur thee." A cudn't speak yet, 
but a thowt, " Lord ! fur sure 'tis a bogle 1" 

" Noa !" says he 's quick 's quick, " a be no'on a bogle, 
but tha best not ask ma what a be ; annyways a be a good 
friend o' thine." Ma very knee-bones struck, for sartainly 
soi ord'ner body cudn't ha' know'd what a'd been thinkin' to 
masef , bat lie loofaed sae iooiiid toike, an' ^efee sse fair^ 
tha'at a ma'ade bold to get oot, a bit quavery loike — 

" Mowt a be axin' to know'a yer honour's neame ?" 

" H'm," sa'ays he, pullin' 's beard, " as for tha'at"— an' he 
thow't a bit — ^** ay so," he went on to la'ast, " Yallery Brown 
tha may'st ca'al me, Yallery Brown ; t'is ma natur seest tha, 
an' as for a neame 't will do 's well 's on'y other. Yallery 
Brown, Tom, Yallery Brown 's thy friend, ma lad." 

" Thankee, measter," sa'ays a, quite meek loike. 

" An' now," he sa'ays, " a *m in a hurry to noight, but tell 
me quick, wha'at '11 a do fur tha. Wilt hev^ a wife ? A can 
give tha tha rampinist lass i^ tha toun. Wilt be rich ? A '11 
give thee gould 's much as thou can carry ; or wilt have 
he'p wi' thy wo'k ? On'y say tha wo'd." 

A scrach't ma he'ad. " Well, 's fur a wife, a hev no han- 
kerin' efter sich ; they're but bothersome bodies, an' a 
hev wimmen fo'ak to hoam as '11 men' ma clouts ; an' fur 
gou'd tha'at 's as may be," fur, seest thou, a thowt he wor 
ta'alkin' on'y ; an mebbe he cudna do 's much 's he sa'aid, 
"but for wo'k, theer, I cayn't abide wo'k, an' ef thou 'It give 
ma a he'pin' hand in 't a '11 tJiank" — "Stop," sa'ays he, 
quick 's lightenin', " a '11 he'p tha 'n welcome, but ef iver 
tha sa'ayst tha-at to ma — if ever tha thdank ma, seest tha? 
thou 'It niver see ma more. Min' that now ; a wa'ant no 
tha'anks, a '11 /lev no tha'anks, do' tha hear?" an' he stampt 's 
tiddy foot on tha yarth an' looked 's wicked 's a ragin' 

" Min' tha'at now, grea'at lump 's tha be," he we'ent on, 
ca'almin' doun a bit, " an' ef iver tha need 's he'p, or gets 
into trooble, call on ma an' jist sa'ay, * Yallery Brown, 
come fro tha moob, a want tha !' an' a '11 be wi' tha to 

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268 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

wanst ; an' now," says he, pickin' a dandelion puff, " good 
noight to tha," an* he blowed It oop, an' it a'al coom in ma 
eyne an' ears. Soon 's a cud see agean tha tiddy creetur 
wor go'one, an but fur tha stoan on en' an' tha ho'al at 
ma feet, a 'd a thowt a 'd bin dreamin'. 

Well, a want ho'am an' to bed ; an' by tha mo'nin' a'd 
nigh furgot ahl aboot *un. But when a went to th' wo'k, 
thur wor none to do ! ahl wor done a'ready, th' bosses seen 
to, tha stables cleaned oot, iverythin' in 's proper pla'ace, 
an' a 'd nowt to do but sit wi* ma ban's in ma pockets. An' 
so 't went on da'ay arter da'ay, ahl th* wo'k done by Yallery 
Brown, 'n better done, too, than a cud ha' done 't masel*. 
An' ef tha measter gi*n ma more wo'k, a sat doon by, an' 
tha wo'k done itsel*, tha singin* irons, or tha besom, or 
what not, 'set to, an' wi* ne'er a han' put to un' 'd get thruff 
in no toime. Fur a riiver seed Yallery Brown o' da'ay- 
light ; on'y in th' da'arklins a ha seed un hoppin' aboot, 
loike a wull-o-th'-wyke wi'oot 's lanthorn. 

To fust, 'twor mighty fine fur ma ; a 'd nowt to do'a, an' 
good pa'ay fur 't ; but by-'n-by, things 'gun to go arsy- 
varsy. Ef tha wo'k wor done fur me'a, 'twor ««done fur th' 
other lads ; ef ma boockets wor filled, theers wor oopset ; ef 
ma tools wor sha'arped, theers wor blunted 'n sp'iled ; ^{ma 
bosses wor cle'an *s daisies, theers wor spla*ashed wi' moock, 
an' so on ; day in an' da*ay oot, 'swor alius the se'ame. An' 
th' lads seed Yallery Brown flittin' aboot o' noights, an' tha 
seed tha things wo'kin' wi'oot ban's o' da'ays, an' tha seed 
as ma wo'k wor done fur ma, an theers unAont fur them ; 
an* nat*rally they 'gun to look shy on ma, an* tha wudn*t 
spe*ak or coom nigh ma, an* tha carried ta*ales to th* measter 
an* so things want fro* bad to wuss. 

Fur, seest tha? a cud do nothin* masel*; tha brooms wud'nt 
sta*ay in ma ban*, th' plough ran awa'ay fro* ma, th* hoe kep' 
oot o* ma grip. A*d thowt oft as* a*d do ma o*an wo*k arter 
all, so*s mebbe Yallery Brown M leave me *n ma neebours 
alo'an. But a cudn*t — treue *s de*ath a cudn*t. A cud on*y 
sit by 'n look on, *n hev th* could shouther to*ned on ma. 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 269 

whiles th* onnat'ral thing wor maddlin' wi' th' others, 'n 
wo'kin* fur me'a. 

To last, things got so bad that th' measter gi*n ma tha 
sack, 'n ef he hadn't, a do b'leeve as ahl th' rest o' th' lads 'd 
a sacked him^ fur tha swore as tha'd not sta'ay on sa^ame 
garth wi' mea. Well, nat'rally a felt bad ; 'twor a main 
good pla'ace, an' good pa'ay too ; an' a wor fair mad wi' 
Yallery Brown, as 'd got ma into sich 'n a trooble. So afore 
a knowt a shuk ma fist i' th' air an' called oot 's lood 's a cud, 
" Yallery Brown, coom fra tha mools ; thou scamp, a want 
tha !" 

Thou'll sca'arce b'leeve it, but a 'd 'ardly brung oot th' 
wo'ds as a felt suthin' tweakin' ma leg behin', while a 
joomped wi' th' smart o' 't ; and soon 's a looked doon, 
theer wor th' tiddy thing, wi' 's shinin' hair, 'n wrinkled 
fa'ace, an' wicked glintin' black eyne. 

A wor in a fine rage, an' 'd loiked to ha' kicked un, but 
'twor no'on good, there wom't enuff on un to git ma boot 
agin'; but a said to-wanst, " Look here, measter, ahl thank 
thee to leave ma alo'an arter this, dost hear ? a want none 
o thy he'p, an* a'll hev nowt more to do with ee — see now." 

Th' horrid thing brak oot wi' a screechin' laugh, an' 
p'inted 's brown finger at ma. " Ho, ho, Tom 1" says a. 
" Thoust tha'anked me, ma lad, an* a towld thee not, a towld 
thee not !" 

" A don't want thy he'p, a tell thee," a yelled at un — " a 
ony want niver to see thee agean, an' to ha' nowt more to 
do with 'ee — thou can go — " but a won't tell 'ee ahl a said, 
fur a wor fair ma'ad. 

Tha thing on'y laught' 'n screeched 'n mocked, 's long 's 
a went on sweerin', but so soon 's ma bre'ath gi'n oot, — 

" Tom, ma lad," he said wi' a grin, " a'll tell'ee summat, 
Tom. True 's tre-ue a'll niver he'p thee ag'ean, an' call 's 
thou will, thou'll niver see ma arter to-da'ay ; but a niver 
said 's a 'd leave thee alo'an, Tom, an' a niver wull, ma lad ! 
A wor nice an' sa'afe unner th' stoun, Tom, an' cud do no 
ha'arm ; but thou let ma oot thy-sel*, an' thou can't put ma 

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270 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

back agean ! A wud ha bin thy friend *n wo'k fur'ee ef thou 
'd a bin wise ; but sin thou bee'st no more 'n a bom fool 
a'l give 'ee no more 'n 'a born fool's luck ; an' when all goes 
arsy-varsy, an iverythin' a gee — thou'll mind as its Yallery 
Brown's doin', thoff mappen thou disn't see un. Ma'ark 
ma wo'ds, wull ee ?" 

An he 'gan to sing, dancin' roon' ma, loike a barn wi' 's 
yaller hair, but lookin' au'der nor iver wi' 's grinnin' 
wrinkled bit o' a fa'ace : 

"Wolcas thou wull 

Thou'll niver do well ; 

Wo'k as thou mowt 

Thoull niver gain owt ; 
Fur harm an' mischance an' Yalleiy Brown 
Thou 's let oot thy-sel' fro' unner th' sto'aa" 

A ! a said they very wo'ds, an* they ha ringed in ma ears 
iver sence, over 'n over agean, loike a bell toUin' fur tha 
buryin', an' facks, it wor th' buryin' o' ma luck — fur a niver 
'd any sence. Hawiver, th' imp stood theer mockin' 'n 
grinin' at ma, an' choocklin' loike th' au'd de'il's o'an wicked 

An', man ! — a can't reetly min' what he said nex'. 'Twor 
ahl cussin' 'n callin' doon' misfortin on ma ; but a wor so 
ma'azed in froight that a cud on'y stan' theer, shakin* all 
ower ma, 'n starin* doon at th' horrid thing ; an' a reckon 
ef he'd a gone on long, a 'd a tummelt doon in a fit But 
by-'n-by, 's yaller shin in' hair — a can't abide yaller hair 
sence that — ^riz oop in th' air, an' wrapt itsel roon' un, while 
a lookit fur all th' worl' loike a great dandelion puff ; 'n a 
flo'ated awa'ay on th' win' ower tha wa'll 'n out o' soight, wi' 
a partin' skirl o 's wicked voice 'n sneerin' laugh. 

A tell thee, a wor nigh de'ad wi fear, an' a cayn't sca'arcely 
tell how a iver got hoam at all, but a did somehow, a 

Well, that's all ; it's not much of a ta'ale, but it's tre-ue, 
ivery wo'd o't, an' theer's others aside mea as ha seed 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 271 

Yallery Brown an* know'd 's evil tricks — an* did it come 
treuey sayst tha ? Ma wo*d ! but it did, sure *s de*ath ! A ha* 
wo'ked here an' theer, an* to*ned ma han' to this *n that, but 
it alius want agee, an* tis ahl Yallery Brown's doin*. The 
childer died, an' my wife didn't — ^thou knows what she be, 
thou can hear her tongue a mile off; *n a cud ha spa*ared her 
— tha beasts niver fatted, an' nuthin* ever did well wi*ma; a'm 
geyan au'd noo, an* a*ll must en* ma da*ays in th' Hoose, a 
reckon, but till a'm de'ad an' buried, an' mappen even arter'ds, 
theer'll be no'on en' to Yallery Brown's spite at ma ; an' da'ay 
in an' da'ay oot a hear un sa'ayin' whiles a sit here trem'lin' — 

"Wo'kas thou wull 

Thoull niver do wfell ; 

Wo'k as thou mowt 

Thou'll niver gain owt ; 
Fur harm an' mischance an' Yallery Brown 
Thou's let oot thy-sel* fro' unner th' sto'an." 

" The Dead Hand." 

Ay, the Cars wor a fearsome pla'ace i' they da'ays if all 
ta'ales be true. 'Twor afore my toime ; but I hev heerd 
mony a stra'ange thing aboot un as 'd make thy skin creep 
to harken to. A can't sa'ay if they be all true ; but a 
wudn't loike to sa'ay 'at they be'nt A reckon theer wor 
quare things to than, an' mappen, fur all a knows, jest 's 
quare aboot 's to year ; ony w'er growed too gran* to seen 
un. Anyways — a wudn't loike to do-'s Long Tom Pattison 
did, 'case a mout come to th' sa'ame en'. Niver heerd on un ? 
ooh, a'l can thee 'bout that^ an' a reckon thats a true ta'alc 

He wor a wild slip of a lad, alius in mische^f, nobody 'd 
an evil wo'd agin un ; fur wi' all *s tricks, a wor a decent 
lad, on'y too full o' 's fun, an' too waggle-headed to min' 
what a wor doin* most toimes. Well, to than, as a said 
afore, theer wor he'aps o' ta'ales aboot, of boggarts 'n horrors 
'n sich, a cayn't tell thee reetly what all ; fo'ak wor geyan 

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272 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

skeered o' gruesome things an* 'ud niver goa oot o' noights 
alo'an by thersels. In th' inn o' evens all th' men-fo'ak 'ud 
wait, wan upon other, while tha cud all go ho'am togither ; 
an' even then, tha misloiked tha shadows an' tha da'ark 
comer-pla'aces, an' fingered ther safe-keeps all th' wa'ay 
ho'am. — What? — Oh, tha wor sort o' spells loike; nigh 
ivery wan had suthin' to ke'p th' evil things off, an' ma 
father ha' tould ma on many as a 'd seed. Ay, an' a ha 
seed un masel', bits o' paper wi' varses oot o' th' Bible, 
crinkled oop in a nutshell ; three straws 'n a clover leaf tied 
wi a hair off of a dead man ; or mebbe the clippins o' a 
dead wumman's nails, ef a cud get un. That wor a main 
good safe-keep, a ha' heered sa'ay. But i' ma toime, 'twor 
mostly Bible-spells or varses writ by a wise woman 'n 

Wal, Long Tom wor nigh th* on'y man i' th' pla'ace as 'd 
niver a safe-keep at all ; an' ivery wan said as he 'd rue 't 
some da'ay, an *s mother wor alius beggin' an' prayin* un 
to carry wan wi' un as she 'd got fro' au'd Molly, the wise 
woman as doolt gainhan* to th' mill. 

But he on'y laughed, an' niver a safe-keep would a hev. 
An' o' noights he 'd mock at th' men-fo'ak 'case they wor 
feared o' th' darklins, an' he 'd mak' oot as he seed things 
i' tha black corners, so 's to set them skeereder nor iver. 

But wan noight at th* inn th' men-bodies to'ned on 
th' lad, an' said as he wor main ready to get 's fun oot o* 
them, but fur all that he wom't no'on better nor th* rest of 
'um, when 't cum to maddlin* wi' th' bogles, or crossin' th' 
cars to evens i' tha darklins. An' tha silly lad, as 'd 
mebbe took more beer 'n he 'd oughter, fired oop, an' 
swore as a feared nowt, seen or unseen, an' a 'd cross th' 
cars wi* nobbut a lanthorn o' th* da'arkest noight o' th' 
year. Theer wor nigh a row at th' inn that noight, but to 
last they ca'almed thersel's doon a bit, an' 'twor sattled as 
Long Tom 'ud goa by tha pad 'cross tha Car' en', an' 
round by tha willow-snag on th* verry nex' noight 's iver 
wor ; an* ef a rued it, a mun gi'n oop floutin' at ither 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 273 

fo'aks fur gittin' fe'ared i' th' da'arklins ; " Begox," said th' 
silly creetur, "a'l not rue from ma wo'd, a promise 'ee; 
pack o' fools as y* are, what fur shu'd a cum to ha'arm i' th* 
Cars, whcer a mun goa nigh ivery da'ay in ma regular wo'k ?" 

An' a spak so bould an' easy-loike that some o' th' 
youngsters 'gun to think 'at mebbe a wor reet arter all, 'n 
that tha bogles wor no'on so bla'ack, 's th' sa'ayin' is, 's tha 
wor pa'inted. But th* au'd uns know'd better'n that, an' 
shuk ther he'ads, an' wished 'at no ha'arm 'd cum o' th' 
boy's folly an* onbelievin' wa'ays. Well, nex' da'ay, they 
all thowt as Tom 'd rue 's wo'd soon's a'd thowt on it 
a bit ; but fur all that th' men an' lads met at th' corner o' 
th' green lane, agin the cottage wheer a doolt wi's mother, 
cum the da'arklins. Whan they got theer tha cud hear 
tha au'd woman sobbin' an' scoldin' i' th' kitchen ; an they 
'gan to wun'ner if, arter all, th' lad ra'aly meant to cross 
th' Cars alo'an. An by'n by tha door wor Hinged open, 
'n oot he cam' laughin' loike mad, an* pullin' awa^ay fro's 
au'd mother, as wor tryin* to put suthin' in 's pocket, an' 
greetin' fit to break her heart 

** No'a, mother, a tell tha," tha lad wor sa'ayin', " a'l hev 
none o' tha spells 'n bobberies ; stop tha whimperin', wilt 
tho'. A'U cum back sa'afe 'n soun' bye *n bye; don't 
tha be a fool loike tha rest o' um, dost hear?" An' a 
sna'atched tha la'anthorn fra th' au'd woman, an' runn'd aff 
a-aughin' 'n floutin' th* la'ads, t'ords the Car'en*. 

Tha men, some of un, tried t' stop th' la'ad, an' begged 
un not to goa, seest tha ? an' Willie Kirby sa'aid : " A'll 
rue ma wo'ds ef tha do'a-ant rue thine ; an' tha can flout 's 
so much as thee loikes, on'y sta-ay by, 'n do'ant goa 
yonner. Tha do'ant knaw what mowt 'appen to tha"; 
but Tom on'y la'aughed agean, an' snappit *s fingers i' 
Willy's fa'ace. " That fur tha boggart, an' thee to'oa !" a 
cried, an' ra'an th' fa'aster. So th* au*d fo'ak waggled ther 
he'ads an' went hoam hopin' fur th' best, but feelin' sore 
mischancy. Howiver, some o* th' youngsters thought 
sha'ame t' be feared, seein* as Tom recked nowt o' 


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274 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

th* horrors, an' mebbe a dozen o' um follered un down 
th' pa'ad 's led to th' Cars ; but tha wor no so sure o' ther- 
sels, an' wor skeery enuff whe'en tha fa'and th' squishy 
yarth unner foot, an* saw tha glint o' tha lanthom 
fa'allin' on tha bla'ack watter hoals, gainha'and to th' 
pa'ad ; but on tha went, Long To'am mebbe thu'ty 
ya'ards ahead, singin' an' whistlin' 's bould 's cud be, an' 
behoind, tha la'ads, keepin' clo'ase t'gither, but gettin' less 
feared as tha got furder 'n furder into th' Cars, wi'oot seein' 
owt o' tha bogles 'n tha horrors. Hawiver, as tha coom 
nigh tha willa'-snag, th' win' coom oop tha valley, wi' a la'ang 
soughin' moa-an — chill 'n da'amp a coom'd fro* th' sea — 
wa'ailin' 's if a carried wi't a'ahl th' evil thin's as dool i* 
th' da'arkness an' tha shadows. Oot we'ent To'am's la'an- 
thom, an' sich*n a skeery so'ort o' chill cum wi' th' 
soughin' win', 'at th' la'ad stop't 's singin* 'n sto'od stock 
still by tha willa-sna'ag. Tha boys ahoind wor wuss nor 
him, tha dars'nt goa ba'ack an' tha dars'nt goa forra'd, tha 
cud on'y stan' trem'lin' an' prayin' 'n holdin' on to ther 
sa'afe-keeps i' th' da'arkness, an' waitin' fur suthin' ta 

An' than, tha things 'at To'am wor so onbeleevin' 
about, tha'ay coomed, tha'ay did — th' horrors o' th' air, an' 
th' horrors o' th' watters, an' tha slimy, creepin' things, 
an' th' cryin' wa'ailin' things — till tha noight, as 'd bin so 
quiet 'n still, wor full o' movin' shadows an' dim gimin' 
fa'aces wi' bla'azin' eyne 'n wa'ailin' voices. 

An' closer 'n closer tha coom roond La'ang To'am 
as a stood wi 's ba'ack agen tha sna'ag an 's ha'ands in 
's pockets, tryin' to keep 's heart oop. Tha very da'ark- 
ness seemed aloive wi' un, an' th' air wor thick wi' ther 
wa'ailin'. Tha la'ads ahoind un, wor on ther knee-boanes by 
ne'ow, prayin' for dear loife,an' ca'allin' on tha sa'aints an' th' 
Vargin an' tha wise wimmen to sa'ave um ; but tha cud see 
as To'am wor sta'an'in' wi 's ba'ack agen the sna'ag, an* seed 
's whoite fa'ace an' angry eyne thruff tha throngin' shadows 
atween um. An' presently, tha sa'aid efter'rds, tha heerd 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 275 

To'am shoutin' an' sweer'n' as tha bla'ack things cum 
clo'aser 'n clo'aser, so 's tha cud onV glimpse um now an' 
tha'an, an' then's 's arms wor thrown oop an' a 'pear'd to 
be foightin' an' strooglin' wi tha things aboot um, an' 
bye an' bye tha cud hear nobbut th' skirlin', la'affin', 'n 
wa'aih'n', an' moanin' o' th* horrors, an' tha cud see nobbut th' 
shiftin' bla'ackness o' tha crowdin' shapes, till a'al to wanst 
tha da'arkness open'd oot an' straight afore um they seed 
Long To'am sta'anin' by tha sna'ag, 's fa'ace 's whoite 's 
de-ath an' starin' eyne, holdin' on wi wan ha'an to tha 
willa an' wi th' other stretch'd oot an' cla'asp'd in a ha'an 
wi' oot a body, as pulled un an' pulled un wi' a dreadful 
strongness t'ords tha bla'ack bog beyont th' pa'ad. An' 
tha cud see 'at tha loight as flickered on Tom's fa'ace 
coom fro' tha Dead Han' itsel, wi th' rottin* flesh droppin' 
off tha mouldy bo'ans, an' its dreadful fingers grippin' tight 
hoi' o' Tom's han', 'zif tha wor growed together. Stronger 
'n stronger it pulled, 'an to last tha lad gi'n oop 's hold, 
an* wor dragged fro' tha snag an' off tha pad, an' shriekin' 
wi' a great cry, loike mebbe a sowl in hell, a wor swallered 
oop i* tha da*arkness. Efter that th' lads cud sca'arce tell 
what hapt wi *em. Th* horrors cum roond um, an' skirled 
an' flouted 'em ; but tha niver ha'armed un 'case of their 
safe-keeps an' ther prayers ; but tha howled at un, an' 
ploocked at un, till tha pore things wor cle'an mazed wi' 
froight, an' sick wi' tha a'afulness o* it An' a can't ra'ly 
tell *ee what*n a wa*ay tha wor got oot o' tha ter'ble bogs ; 
a've heerd tell as wan creepit oop th' pad on 's ban's an' 
kneebo'ans, an' another wor fun' layin' in a watter-ho'al, 
an' so, by *n by, th* foak as*d coom doon fro' th* toon, got 
'em ahl oot ; but tha lads wor fair oot o' ther wits wi' fear, 
an' tha cudn't tell what 'd coom o' Long Tom. Wheniver 
tha fo'ak axed wheer a mowt be, tha 'gun to screech an' 
sob wi' terror, so tha cud get nuthin' oot o' th' critters 
that noight But tha nex' da'ay, when they heerd ahl 
aboot 'un, th* fo*ak went, nat*rally i' th' good sun loight, 
into th' cars, an' tha sowt, an' sowt fur Long Tom, an* 's 


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276 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

poor au*d mother ca'alled an' cried on *un, an' swore 'at a 
cudna live wi'oot her on'y son, her babby, an' she a pore 
widder woman. But ne'er a tra'ace o' tha lad cud a fin'. 
Tha women tuk th' au'd mother ba'ack to th' cottage, an' 
tried to comfort her *n hush her greetin' ; but tha creetur 
tore awa'ay from un, loike a mad thing, an' rin back to 
th' Cars, an* 'gun ca'allin' 'n ca'allin' on her son, jist 's afore, 
to cum back to 's poor lone mother, 'n she a widow. Ower 
'n ower agin a cried 'n wailed arter a' son, an' tha cud do 
nowt to hush a'. So tha mun le'ave her alo'an, fur tha 
cud fin' nowt o' tha lad, an' as th* da'ays went on th' fo'ak 
want to ther wo'k agin, an' th' boys as 'd follered Tom into 
th' ma'ashes crep aboot scared 'n whoite 'n tremlin', an' a'd 
amost think as iverythin' wor th' sa'ame as 'd bin afore, but 
Tom 'd nivercoom back. An* noight arter noight thur wor 
a la'amp flarin' in th' winder o' th' cottage at th' lane en', 
an' th' au'd mother sat theer waitin' on her bo'oy, an' tha 
door stud open fro' tha darklins to tha dawnin'. An* ahl 
da'ay long, the au'd woman wan'ered aboot th' Cars, 
ca'allin' an' ca'allin' on her son to coom ba'ack, coom back 
to s' mother, 'n she a widder ! 

Tha foak wor sort o* skeered on her, an' 'd git oot o's 
wa'ay to let her go by, fur a flitted aboot loike wan o' th' 
bog things thersel's, a wor so grey 'n bent 'n wrinkled 'n 

So tha da'ays want on, an' 'twor m' seventh even sence 
Tom 'd bin dra'agged into th' ma'ashes, when all to wanst 
jist afore th' da'arklins, th' fo'ak sa'anterin' by th' edge o' th' 
Cars, as a 'd took to doin' since th' lad 'd bin lost, well, th' 
fo'ak heerd a gre'at cry, *n agean a great cry, so full o' 
wunner 'n joy, 'at it wor sort o' gruesome to ha'arken to 't 
An' as tha stood waitin' an' wonnerin' tha seed tha au'd 
mother scurryin' along o' th' pad t'ords un, beckonin' 'n 
wavin' loike mad. 'Twor a bit skeery, but nath'eless, off 
tha went arter a, so fa'ast as ther bo'ans 'd tak 'um, oot 
into th' ma'ashes, an' oop to th* willer-snag, an' theer, 
while tha ca'ht oop wi' a, sat Long Tom, wi 's back agin 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 277 

th* snag, an' 's feet i' th' watter ! Theer a sat, wi' 's mother 
greetin* ower un, an* kissin' ivry bit o' un by to'ns ; but 
ma faith! what 'n 'a cha'anged creetur a wor ! A's back 
wor bent, an* 's limbs wor shakin' loike an au'd gran'ther, 
*s gre'at bla'azin' eyne glared in 's whoite wrinkled fa'ace, 
an' 's hair, as *d bin so bra'oun 'n co'ly, wor hangin' i* long 
wisps o' whoite 'n gray ivcry wa'ays to wanst. 

Wi' wan han', a kep' p'intin', p'intin' at suthin', an' starin' 
at suthin', 's if a seed nowt else ; an' whur th* other han' 'd 
oughter bin, th' han' as 'd bin gript by th' dreadful Dead 
Fingers — ther wor nobbut a ragged bleedin' stump — th' 
han' 'd bin pulled clean off! An' theer a sat, gibbering, 
gimin', an' grinnin' at th* horrors, as nobbut hisself cud 
see ! Ah 1 — an' none iver knowed what a did see, or what 
a 'd seed ahl th' awfull noights 'n da'ays, as 'd doolt wi' th' 
horrors, none iver knowed wheer a M bin, or what wa'ay a 
coom back, more'n tha bleedin' stump cud tell um of a 
stroogle an' a tooggin' fur dear loife, wi' th' a-hful Han', 
fur Long Tom Pattison niver spo'ak a wo'd agin, arter a 
wor fun' by th' snag, wi's mother croonin' an' fondlin' aboot 
un. Ahl da'ay long a'd sit i' th' sun, or by th' foire, 
grinnin' an' gimin' ; an' ahl noight long, a 'd wan'ner roon 
th' edge o' th' Cars, screechin' an' moanin' loike a thing i' 
torment, wi' 's pore au'd mother follerin' loike a dog at heel, 
beggin' an' prayin' un to coom ho'am, 'n 'if won o' 's au'd 
ma'ates *d stop to look at un, 's mother 'd sa'ay — pattin' th' 
he'ad o' th' pore silly creetur — " A said a'd coom hoam, an** 
a did ; ma babby did acoom ho'am to 's mother, 'n she a 
widder woman !" 

Ay — that's ahl theer wor of it ; it's not much of a story — 
but seest tha, 't ahl coom o* 's onbelievin' ways, as led un 
into 't to fust What ? Noa, a didn't live more'n aboot 
a year, mappen. An' whan a wor de'ad th' women took 's 
mother awa'ay, an' tried to kep' a fro' gittin' ba'ack to un ; 
but when tha want to put th' lad in 's coffin fur th' buryin', 
theer she wor, stoock oop i* th' co'ner of th' bed, wi' him i' 
her a'arms, nussin' un as 'd used to do while a wor a tiddy 

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278 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

thing, an' de'ad— de'ad — loike tha son upo' her knees. Tha 
fo'ak said as how she wor smilin' loike a babby sleepin* ; 
but o' th' fa'ace o' him, ah, theer wor 'n ahful look, 's if th' 
horrors 'd follered un an* fott un fur ther o'an. 

An' tha do tell 's Long Tom niver rested in *s pla'ace T 
th' kirkgarth, an' that o* dark noights afore th' Cars wor 
dra'ained, a want moanin' oop an' doon by th' edge o' th' 
bog, wi' 's au'd mother trailin' efter 'm, an' i' th' mid o' th' 
shriekin' an' sobbin' fo'ak said as tha cu'd hear tha au'd 
woman's voice, whimperin' oot, as 'd done so often i' li'fe : 

" A coom back to 's mother, 'n she a widder !" 

The Strangers' Share. 

A dessa'ay 's fo'ak ha' tellt 'ee he'aps 'bout 'n tha bogles 
'n ahl o' they things i' th' au'd toimes. A ha' heerd 
stra'ange ta'ales masel', from th* gran'ther 'n gran'mur ; but 
tha wor main grewsome loike ta'ales, as a set ma shakin' 
on'y to harken to when a wor a brat ; a loiked better whan 
tha ta'alked o' th' Stra 'angers. Hasn't thou heerd tell on 
them ? That's odd, now. Theer wor he'aps on 'em, to than ; 
ay, an' a be still, a tell 'ee — a've seed un no la'ater 'n — ^but, 
theer, thou '11 on'y flout at ma, ef a tell *ee they au'd ta'ales. 
Wa'al^-ef 'ee wull — mun ha' thy wa'ay ! Maids be frac- 
tious bodies when they're crossed — nigh so bad 's th' 
Stra'angers thersel's ! 

' But, moind, thou'll no tell th' wimmen-fo'ak ; fur ef they 
thowt as a b'leeved they ta'ales, tha 'd set th' pa'asson 
'bout ma yearn to wansL Ef a do b'leeve *em ra'aly ? 
Ou — let that fle'a bide ! Mappen th' pa'asson fo'ak bea'nt 
so wise 's tha set oop to be'a ; an' 't'ud be ahk'ard ef 
arter a body died, a fun' as th' au'd fo'ak 'd bin i* th' roight 
arter ahl ! Annywa'ays a koind o' reckon 'tis well to 
ke'p in wi' bo'ath — see'st tha ? — an' sort o' b'leeve nuthin* 
an' iverythin' — in a wa'ay. 

But 'bout th' Stra'angers. Thou knows what they 
be — ay — thou 's geyan ready wi' th' wo'd, but it be'nt 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars, 279 

chancy to ca'all 'em sich! Noa; an* ef thou'd seed 's 
much on *em as a done, thou'd twist thy tongue into 'nother 
sha'ape, thou 'ould. Fo'ak i' these pa'arts, tha ca'alled um 
mostly tha " Stra'angers" ; or th*^ " tiddy people", 'ca'se tha 
wor none so big *s a new-bom babby ; or th' " Greencoaties", 
fro' ther green jackets ; or mebbe th' " Yarthkin", sence tha 
doolt i' th' mools. But mostly th' Stra'angers, as a said 
afore : fur stra'ange tha be — i' looks 'n wa'ays — an' quare 
i' ther loikin's, an' stra'angers i* th' mid o' th' fo'ak. — Hev a 
seed un ? — Ay, that a hev ; often 'n often, an' no later 'n 
last spring. Tha be main tiddy critters, no more'n a span 
hoigh, wi' a'arms 'n legs 's thin 's thread, but gre'at big feet 
'n han'ds, 'n he'ads rowjlin' 'bout on ther shouthers. Tha 
weers gra'ass-green jackets 'n breeches, 'n yaller bonnets, 
fur ahl th' wo'ld loike towdie-stools o' ther he'ads ; 'n quare 
bit fa'aces, wi' long nosen, an' wide gobs, 'n great red 
tongues hangin' oot 'n flap-flappin' aboot A niver heerd 
un sp'akin' 's a can moind on ; but whan tha be fratched 
wi' owt, tha girns 'n ye'ps loike 'n angry hound, an' whan 
tha feels ga'ay 'n croodlesome, tha twitters an' cheeps 's 
soft an' fond 's th' tiddy bi'ds. 

In ma yoong da'ays, an' i' ma gran'ther's afore ma, tha 
Stra'angers wor more aba'out 'n to now, an' fo'ak wor no'on 
so feared on 'un 's thou'd ha* thowt Tha wor mischeevious 
fractious bodies ef tha wor crossed, but so be's tha wor let 
alo'an tha done no'on ha'arm nor maddled wi' annybody ; 
an' ef fo'ak wor good to 'm, tha niver furgot it, an' tha'd do 
owt to he'p un i' s* to'n. 

O' summer noights tha da'anced i' tha moonshine o' th' 
great flat sto'ans *s thou sees aba*out ; a do'ant knaw'a wheer 
tha come from, but ma gran'ther said 's how 's gran'ther's 
g^an'ther 'd tou'd 'em, 'at long agone th' fo'ak set fire on tha 
sto'ans, *n smeared 'un wi' blood, an* thowt a deal more on 
*un than o' th' pa'asson bodies an' th' cho'ch. 

An' o' winter evens tha Stra'angers 'd d'aance o' nights 
o' th' fire-pla'ace, whan tha fo'ak wor to bed ; an* tha crickets 
pla'ayed fur 'n wi' roight good will. An* tha wor alius theer. 

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28o Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

whativer wor goin' on. V th* har'st field, tha pu'd aboot th' 
yearn o' co'n, 'n tumbled mid th' stooble, 'n wrastled wi' th' 
poppie he'ads ; an* i' th' spring o' th' year tha want to 
sha'akin' 'n pinchin' the tree-buds to mak' 'em come o'pen ; 
an' tweakin' tha flower-buds, 'n cha'asin' th' butterflees, 'n 
toogin' th' wo'ms oot o' th' yarth ; alius pla'ayin' loike tom- 
fools, but happy mischeevious bit creeturs, so long 's tha 
wor'nt crossed. Thou'd on'y to ho'd qui't 'n kep still 's de'ath 
an' thou'd see th' busy tiddy things rinnin' 'n pla'ayin' ahl 
roond tha. 

Fo'ak thowt as tha Stra'angers he'ped th' co'n to ripen, an' 
ahl th' green things to grow'a ; an' as tha p'inted th' purty 
colours o' th' flowers, an' th* reds *n bra'owns o' th' fruit i' 
Yatum' an' th' yallerin' leaves. An' tha thowt 's how, ef tha 
wor fratched, th* things 'd dwine an' widder, an' th' har'st 'd 
fail, an' th' fo'ak go hungered. So tha did ahl's tha cud 
think on' to ple'ase th' tiddy people, an' kep' friends wi' 
un. r th' gy'ardens th' first flowers, 'n th' first fruit, 'n th' 
first cabbage, or what not, 'd be took to th' nighest flat 
sto'an, 'n laid theer fur tha Stra'angers ; i' th' fields th' fust 
yearn o' co'n, or th' fust taters, wor guv to th' tiddy people ; 
an' to ho'am, afore tha 'gun to y'cat their vittles, a bit o' 
bre'ad 'n a drop o' milk or beer, wor spilled o' th' fire place, 
to kep' th* greencoaties fro' hunger 'n thu'st But 's toime 
went on th' foak growed so't o' careless. Tha want mappen 
more to th' cho'ch an' thowt less on th' Stra'angers, an' th' 
au'd wa'ays o' ther fa'athers afore un ; tha furgot th' au'd 
ta'ales as 'd bin towld 'em by thur gran'thers ; or mebbe tha 
thowt tha wor got so wise as tha knowed better nor ahl th' 
fo'ak o' da'ays gone by. Annyways, an' hawiver 't coom, 
th' flat sto'ans o' th' Stra'angers wor bare, an' th' fust'lins o' 
th' yarth wor kep' ba'ack, an' th' vittles wor swallowed, wi' 
ne'er a crumb fur th' fire pla'ace ; an' th' tiddy people wor 
left to look arter thersel's an' to hunger 'n thu'st as tha 

A reckon tha Stra'angers cudn't mak' 't oot to fu'st 
Mebbe tha ta'alked it ower 'mang thursel's, a cay n't sa'ay ; 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars, 281 

hawiver, fur long toime tha kep' still, an' niver showed 's 
tha wor fratched wi* th' fo'aks onfriendly wa'ays. Mappen 
to fust tha cudn't b'leeve as th* people 'd to'n careless on th' 
yarthkin* as 'd bin good neebors to 'm sence longer *n a can 
tell *ee ; but 's toime want on tha cudn*t he*p ta'akin' it fur 
treue, fur th' fo'ak got wuss *n wusser ivery da*ay. Ay, 
an' tha tuk tha very sto'ans o* th' Stra'angers fro' th' fields 
an' th' la'ane sides, an' thrung 'em awa'ay. 

So 't want on, an' th' yoongsters growed oop to men 'n 
wimmen. an' sca'arce heerd tell on th' tiddy people as 'd 
bin so friendly-loike wi' ther forbears. An' th' au'd fo'ak 'd 
nigh furgot ahl aboot 'em. But th' Stra'angers had'nt 
furgot — noa ! tha minded wa'al, tha did, an' tha wor nobbut 
waitin' fur a good cha'ance to pay ba'ack the fo'ak fur ther 
mismanners. An' to last 't coom. 'Twor slow — jist as th' 
fo'ak 'd bin slow i' furgettin' ther wa'ays wi' th' tiddy people ; 
but 'twor sure — 'twor sure 's hell-fire. Soomer arter Soomer 
th' har'st fa'ailed, an' th' green things dwined, an' th' beasts 
took sick ; Soomer arter Soomer the crops coom to nowt, 
an' th' faver growed wuss, 'n th' childer peaked 'n died, 'n 
iverythin' tha put ther ban's to want wrong n' arsy-varsy. 
Soomer arter Soomer 'twor, till th' fo'ak lost heart, 'n stead 
o' wo'kin i' th* fields a sat o' th' doorsil', or by th' foire, 'n 
waited fur th' coomin' o' better loock. But niver a soight 
o' better loock coom by ; an' tha vittles got sca'arce, an' th' 
childer grat wi' hunger, an' th* babbies pined awa'ay. An* 
whan th* fa'athers looked to th' wimmin fo'ak, wi' ther dead 
babbies at ther breasts, 'n ther hungered eyne to'ned fro* th* 
sickly brats as grat fur bread, what cud tha do but drink 
till tha wor jolly *n ther troobles furgot till nex' da*ay ? 
An' by *n by some o' th* wimmen took to th* sa*ame so't o' 
comfort, an' th' others took to eatin' thersel's stoopid wi* 
op'um, *s oft 's tha cud get it, an* tha childer died th* fa*aster, 
an* ahl wor so ter*ble 'at th' fo'ak thout as 'twor tha joodge- 
ment an' th* beginnin* o* hell *tse*f. 

But wan da'ay th* wise women met together an* tha did 
th* drefful things *s tha niver spe*ak on, an* wi* th* foire *n 

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282 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

th' blood tha fund oot th' reets o*t An' tha want thniff 
th' ta'ouns an* thruff th' garths, an' into th* inns, 'n oop 
*n da'oun th* la'ands, *n tha ca'ahled oot to th' fo'ak to met 
'em th' nex' even coom da'arklins. An th' fo'ak wunnerd 
an' scratched ther he'ads, but th' nex* night, tha coom ahl 
to th' meetin'-pla'ace by th* cross-roads to year th' wise- 

An* tha tellt un ahl as 'd fund oot ; tha tellt era as' th* 
Stra*angers wor wo*kin agin 'em, maddlin' wi' iverythin' ; 
wi* th* crops an' tha beasts, an* tha babes 'n th* childer ; 
an' 'at ther on'y cha'ance, wor to mak *t oop wi* th' tiddy 
people. An* tha tellt un, how ther forbears 'd used ter 
kep friendly wi'th Stra'angers ; an' how tha gi'n 'em th' 
fustlings o' ahl — i 'th' fields an' th' gyardens, *n th' vittles, 
an' how by'n by tha gi'n oop ahl o' that so't, 'n fair to'ned 
ther ba'acks o' th' greencoaties. An tha tellt em as th* 
tiddy people 'd bin main pa'atient *n 'd wa'aited *n wa'aited 
fur long, to see ef tha fo*ak *d coom back to *m ; an' how 
to last, th* toime *d coom to pa'ay *m ba'ack, an' th' trooble 
an' th' bad toimes 'd coom as tha knowed wa'al. An' tha 
cried on ivery man as *d seed *s beasts dwinin* an* ahl as a 
put han* to go'an arsy-varsy ; an* to ivery woman as 'd 
heerd th* brats greet fur bre'ad 'n had none to gi' un, an* 
as 'd buried th* little weakly wans fro 's arms, to tak* oop 
wi' th' au'd wa'ays, 'n th' au'd ta*ales, 'n mak' friends 
age'an wi th* tiddy people *n git th* ill cha*ance took off of 
*em ; an* by 'n by th* men wor grippin* ban's *pon it an th* 
wimmen wor greetin' as tha thowt on th* dead babbies *n th' 
hunger'd childer — an' tha ahl want ho'am to do ther best 
to put th' wrong reet 

Wa'al !— a caynt till 'ee 't ahl, but as' th' cuss o' th' 
Stra'angers coom, so 'tging; slowly, slowly th' mischance 
wor bettered. Tha tiddy people wor fratched, an' 'twom't 
wan da'ay nor yit wan Soomer as 'd win ba'ack th' au'd 
toimes. But th' fustlins wor laid 'pon th* stoans, wheer- 
iver tha cud be fund ; an' th' bre'ad an* th' drink wor spillt 
o' th' hearth-side as afore toime, an' th' au'd fo*ak teirt th' 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 283 

childer ahl th' au'd ta'ales, an tow't *em to b'leeeve *em an* 
to think a deal on th' bogles an' boggarts *n th* green 
co'ated Stra'angers. An' slowly, slowly, tha tiddy people 
gi'n oop ther fractiousness, an' tha took oop agean wi* th' 
fo'ak, 'n took off th' mischance as 'd laid on *em ; an' 
slowly, slowly, th' har'sts bettered an' th' be'asts fatted, an' 
th* childer he'd oop ther he'ads, but t'wom't natheless ahl 's 
it us'ter bin. Tha men 'd took to th' gin an' th' wimmen to 
th' op'um ; tha favers shuk 'em allers, an' th' brats wor yaller 
'n illgrowed, an' thoff th' toimes bettered, an' th' fo'ak thruv, 
an' th' Stra'angers wor no'on onfriendly, still t'wom't none so 
ga'ay 's afore th' evil da'ays, whan tha hadn't knowd what 
'twor to hunger 'n thu'st, an' afore th' kirkgarth wor so full 
wi' th' tiddy graves, an' th' cradles to ho'am so teem 's to 
than. Ah ! 'n ahl that coom o' to'nin' fro' th' au'd wa'ays, 
an' a reckon 't's best to kep to 'm, lest mischance *d be sent 
i' pa'ayment fur mismanners. 

M. C. Balfour. 

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THE following paper exhausts no part of the subject : 
it simply embodies the substance of my notes of 
conversations which I have had with Manx men and Manx 
women, whose names, together with such other particulars 
as I could get, are in my possession. I have purposely 
avoided reading up the subject in printed books ; but those 
who wish to see it exhaustively treated may be directed to 
Mr. Arthur W. Moore's book on The Folk-lore of the Isle 
of Matty which has just been published by Mr. Nutt 

For the student of folk-lore the Isle of Man is very 
fairly stocked with inhabitants of the imaginary order. 
She has her fairies and her giants, her mermen and brownies, 
her kelpies and water-bulls. 

The water-bull or tarroo ushtey, as he is called in Manx, 
is a creature about which I have not been able to learn 
much, but he is described as a sort of bull who disports 
himself about the pools and swamps. For instance, I was 
told at the village of Andreas, in the flat country forming 
the northern end of the island and known as the Ayre, 
that there used to be a tarroo ushtey between Andreas and 
the sea to the west : that was before the ground had been 
drained as it is now. And an octogenarian captain at Peel 
related to me how he had once when a boy heard a tarroo 
ushtey : the bellowings of the brute made the ground 
tremble, but otherwise the captain was unable to give me 
any very intelligible description. This bull is by no means 
of the same breed as the bull that comes from Welsh 
lakes to mix with the farmer's cattle, for in Wales the 
result is great fertility among the stock and an overflow of 

Digitized by 


Manx Folk' lore and Superstitions. 285 

milk and dairy produce, but in the Isle of Man the tarroo 
ushtey only begets monsters and strangely formed beasts. 

The kelpie, or, rather, what I take to be a kelpie, was 
called by my informants a glashtyn ; and Kelly, in his Manx 
Dictionary, describes the object meant as " a goblin, an 
imaginary animal which rises out of the water". One or 
two of my informants confused the glashtyn with the 
Manx brownie. On the other hand, one of them was very 
definite in his belief that it had nothing human about it, 
but was a sort of grey colt, frequenting the banks of lakes 
at night, and never seen except at night. 

Mermen and mermaids disport themselves on the coasts 
of Man, but I have to confess that I have made no careful 
inquiry into what is related about them ; and my inform- 
ation about the giants of the island is equally scanty. To 
tell you the truth, I do not recollect hearing of more than 
one giant, but that was a giant; for I have seen the marks 
of his huge hands impressed on the top of two massive 
monoliths. They stand in a field at Balla Keeill Pherick, 
on the way down from the Sloe tp Colby. I was told 
there were originally five of these stones standing in a 
circle, all of them marked in the same way by the same 
giant as he hurled them down there from where he stood, 
miles away on the top of the mountain called Cronk yn 
Irree Laa. Here I may mention that the Manx word for 
a giant is foawr, in which a vowel-flanked m has been 
spirited away, as shown by the modem Irish spelling, 
fomhor. This, in the plural in old Irish, appears as the name 
of the Fomori^ so well known in Irish legend, which, how- 
ever, docs not always represent them as giants, but rather 
as monsters. I have been in the habit of explaining the 
word as meaning submarini; but no more are they invariably 
connected with the sea. So another etymology recommends 
itself, namely, one which makes the mar in fomori to be of 
the same origin as the mare in the English nightw^r*?, 
French cauchei«ar, German mahr, *an elf, and cognate 
words. This suggestion comes from Dr. Whitley Stokes. 

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286 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions, 

The Manx brownie is called the Fenodyree^ and he is 
described as a hairy, clumsy fellow, who would, for instance, 
thrash a whole bamful of com in a single night for ihe 
people to whom he felt well disposed ; and once on a time 
he undertook to bring down for the farmer his wethers 
from Snaefell. When the Fenodyree had safely put them 
in an outhouse, he said that he had some trouble with the 
little ram, as it had run three times round Snaefell that 
morning. The farmer did not quite understand him, but on 
going to look at the sheep, he found, to his infinite surprise, 
that the little ram was no other than a hare, which, poor 
creature, was dying of fright and fatigue. I need scarcely 
point out the similarity between this and the story of 
Peredur, who, as a boy, drove home a doe with his mother's 
goats from the forest : he owned, as you will remember, 
to having had some trouble with the goat that had so long 
run wild as to have lost her horns, a circumstance which 
had greatly impressed him.^ To return to the Fenodyree, I 
am not sure that there were more than one in Man ; but two 
localities at least are assigned to him, namely, a farm called 
Ballachrink, in Colby, in the south, and a farm called Lan- 
jaghan in the parish of Conchan, near Douglas. Much the 
same stories, however, appear to be current about him in the 
two places, and one of the most curious of them is that which 
relates how he left The farmer so valued the services of 
the Fenodyree, that one day he took it into his head to 
provide clothing for him. The Fenodyree examined each 
article carefully, and expressed his idea of it, and specified 
the kind of disease it was calculated to produce. In a 
word, he found that the clothes would make head and foot 
sick, and he departed in disgust, saying to the farmer, 
" Though this place is thine, the great Glen of Rushen is 
not." Glen Rushen is one of the most retired glens in the 
island, and it drains down through Glen Meay to the coast, 

^ For the text see the Oxford edition of the Mabinogion^ pp. 193-4, 
and for comparisons of the incident see Nutt*s Holy Grail^ p. 154 
et seq, ; and Rhys* Arthurian Legend^ pp. 75-6. 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 287 

some miles to the south of Peel. It is to Glen Rushen, 
then, that the Fenodyree is supposed to be gone ; but on 
visiting that valley last year in quest of Manx-speaking 
peasants, I could find nobody there who knew anything of 
him. I suspect that the spread of the English language 
even there has forced him to leave the island altogether. 
Lastly, with regard to the term Fenodyree^ I may mention 
that it is the word used in the Manx Bible of 18 19 for 
satyr in Is. xxxiv, 14,^ where we read in the English Bible 
as follows : " The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet 
with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry 
to his fellow." In the Vulgate the latter clause reads : " et 
pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum." The term Fenodyree 
has been explained by Cregeen in his Manx Dictionary to 
mean one who has hair for stockings or hose. That answers 
to the description of the hairy satyr, and seems fairly well 
to satisfy the phonetics of the case, the words from which 
he derives the compound being fynney} ' hair', and oashyr^ 
* a stocking'; but as oashyr seems to come from the old 
Norse hosur, the plural of hosa, * hose or stocking', the term 
Fenodyree cannot date before the coming of the Norsemen ; 
and I am inclined to think the idea more Teutonic than 
Celtic ; at any rate I need not point out to you the English 
counterparts of this hairy satyr in the hobgoblin, * Lob lie 
by the Fire*, and Milton's Lubber Fiend, whom he describes 
as one that 

" Basks at the fire his hairy strength, 

And crop-full out of doors he flings, 

Ere the first cock his matin rings." 

* The spelling there used is fhynnodderee^ to the perversity of 
which Cregeen calls attention in Sxi^ Dictionary* 

* I am inclined to thmk that the first part of the word fenodyree is 
not fynney^ the Manx word for ' hair*, but the Scandinavian word 
which survives in the Swedish ;^wfft * down*. Thns fjun-hosur {iox 
t]ie fjun-hma suggested by analogy) would explain the ^or A fenodyree , 
except its final ee^ which is obscure. Compare also the magic breeks 
called finn-brc^kr (see V'jgfusson's Die, s. v. finnr\ to which Mr. 
Plumnier kindly calls my attention. 

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288 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

The fairies claim our attention next, and as the only 
other fairies tolerably well known to me are those of 
Wales, I can only compare, or contrast, the Manx fairies 
with the Welsh ones. They are called in Manx, Sleih 
Beggey, or Little People, and Ferrishyn^ from the English 
word fairies^ as it would seem. Like the Welsh fairies, 
they kidnap babies ; and I have, heard it related how a 
woman in Dalby had a struggle with the fairies over her 
baby, which they were trying to drag out of the bed from 
her. Like Welsh fairies, also, they take possession of the 
hearth after the farmer and his family are gone to bed. A 
farmer in Dalby used to hear them making a big fire in 
his kitchen : he used to hear the crackling and burning of 
the fire when nobody else could have been there except 
the fairies and their friends. I said " friends", for they 
sometimes take a man with them, and allow him to eat 
with them at the expense of others. Thus, some men 
from the northernmost parish. Kirk Bride, went once on a 
time to Port Erin, in the South, to buy a supply of fish for 
the winter, and with them went a Kirk Michael man who 
had the reputation of being a persona grata with the 
fairies. Now one of the Port Erin men asked a man from 
the North who the Michael man might be : he was curious 
to know his name, as he had seen him once before, and then 
the Michael man was with the fairies at his house — the 
Port Erin man's house — regaling himself with bread and 
cheese in company with the fairies. 

Like Welsh fairies, the Manx ones take men away with 
tliem and detain them for years. Thus a Kirk Andreas 
man was absent from his people for four years, which he 
spent with the fairies. He could not tell how he returned, 
but it seemed as if, having been unconscious, he woke up 
at last in this world. The other world, however, in which he 
was for the four years was not far away, as he could see what 
his brothers and the rest of the family were doing every 
day, although they could not see him. To prove this, he 
mentioned to them how they were occupied on such and such 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

Manx Folk'lare and Superstitions. 289 

a day, and, among other things, how they took their corn 
on a particular day to Ramsey. He reminded them also 
of their having heard a sudden sharp crack as they were 
passing by a thorn-bush he named, and how they were so 
startled that one of them would have run back home. He 
asked them if they remembered that, and they said they 
did, only too well. He then explained to them the mean- 
ing of the noise, namely, that one of the fairies with whom 
he had been galloping about the whole time was about to 
let fly an arrow at his brothers, but that as he was going 
to do this, he (the missing brother) raised a plate and inter- 
cepted the arrow; that was the sharp noise they had heard. 
Such was the account he had to give of his sojourn in 
Faery. This representation of the world of the fairies, as 
contained within the ordinary world of mortals, is very 
remarkable ; but it is not a new idea, as we seem to detect 
it in the Irish story of the abduction of Conla Riiad^ : the 
fairy who comes to fetch him tells him that the Folk of 
Tethra, whom she represents, behold him every day as he 
takes part in the assemblies of his country and sits among 
his friends. The commoner way of putting it is simply to 
represent the fairies as invisible to mortals at will ; and 
one kind of Welsh story relates how the mortal midwife 
accidentally touches her eyes, while dressing a fairy baby, 
with an ointment which makes the fairy world visible 
to her. 

Like Welsh fairies, the Manx ones had, as you have seen 
from this, horses to ride ; they had also dogs, just as the 
Welsh ones had. This I learn from another story, to the 
effect that a fisherman, taking a fresh fish home, was 
pursued by a pack of fairy dogs, so that it was only with 
great trouble he reached his own door. Then he picked 
up a stone and threw it at the dogs, which at once dis- 
appeared ; but he did not escape, as he was shot by the 
fairies, and so hurt that he lay ill for fully six months 
from that day. He would have been left alone by the 
See Windisch's Irische Grammaiik^ p. 120. 


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290 Manx Folk'lore and Superstitions. 

fairies, I was told, if he had only taken care to put a pinch 
of salt in the fish's mouth before setting out, for the Manx 
fairies cannot stand salt or baptism. So children that 
have been baptized are, as in Wales, less liable to be 
kidnapped by these elves than those that have not I 
scarcely need add that a twig of cuirn^ or rowan is also as 
effective against fairies in Man as it is against them in 
Wales. Manx fairies seem to have been musical, like their 
kinsmen elsewhere ; for I have heard of an Orrisdale man 
crossing the neighbouring mountains at night and hearing 
fairy music, which took his fancy so much that he listened, 
and tried to remember it He had, however, to return, it 
is said, three times to the place before he could carry it 
away complete in his mind, which he succeeded in doing 
at last just as the day was breaking and the musicians 
disappearing. This air, I am told, is now known by the 
name of the Bollan Bane, or White Wort. I believe that 
there are certain Welsh airs similarly supposed to have 
been derived from the fairies. 

So far I have pointed out hardly anything but simi- 
larities between Manx fairies and Welsh ones, and I find 
very little indicative of a difference. First, with regard to 
salt, I am unable to say anything in this direction, as I do 
not happen to know how Welsh fairies regard salt ; it is 
not improbable that they eschew salt as well as baptism, 
especially as the Church of Rome has long associated salt 
with baptism. There is, however, one point at least of 
difference between the fairies of Man and of Wales : the 
latter are, so far as I can call to mind, never known to 

^ The Manx word for the rowan-tree, incorrectly called a mountain 
ash, is cuim^ which is in Irish caorththainn^ Scotch Gaelic caorunn; 
but in Welsh books it is cerdditis singular cerddinen^ and in the 
spoken language mostly cerdin^ cerding, singular cerdingen* This 
variation seems to indicate that these words have been borrowed by 
the Welsh from a Goidelic source ; but the berry is known in Wales 
by the native name of criafol, from which the wood is frequently 
called, especially in North Wales, coed criafol, singular cotdat 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 291 

discharge arrows at men or women, or to handle a bow^ at 
all, whereas Manx fairies are always ready to shoot. May 
we, therefore, provisionally regard this trait of the Manx 
fairies as derived from a Teutonic source ? At any rate 
English and Scotch elves were supposed to shoot, and I 
am indebted to the kindness of my colleague, Prof Napier, 
for calling my attention to the Saxon LeecJidom^ for cases 
in point. 

Now that most of the imaginary inhabitants of Man 
and its coasts have been rapidly passed in review before 
you, I may say something of others whom I regard as 
semi-imaginary, real human beings to whom impossible 
attributes are ascribed ; I mean chiefly the witches, or, as 
they are sometimes called in Manx English, hutches? That 
term I take to be a variant of the English word witch^ 
produced under the influence of the verb beivttch^ which 
was reduced in Manx English to a form butch, especially if 
one bear in mind the Cumbrian and Scotch pronunciation 
of these words, as wutch and bewutch. Now witches shift 
their form, and I have heard of one old witch changing 
herself into a pigeon ; but that I am bound to regard as 
exceptional, the regular form into which Manx witches 
pass at their pleasure being that of the hare, and such a 
swift and thick-skinned hare that no greyhound, except a 
black one without a single white hair, can catch it, and no 
shot, except a silver coin, penetrate its body. Both these 
peculiarities are also well known in Wales. I notice a 
difference, however, between Wales and Man with regard 

^ I am sorry to say that it never occurred to me to ask whether the 
shooting was done with such modem things as guns. But Mr. 
Moore, to whom I have submitted the proof-sheets of this paper, 
assures me that it is always understood to be bows and arrows, not 

* Edited by Oswald Cockayne for the Master of the Rolls (Lon- 
don, 1864-6) ; see more especially voL ii, pp. 156, 157 ; 290, 291 ; 
401 ; vol. iii, pp. 54 and 55. 

'Mr. Moore is not familiar with this term, but I heard it at Surby, 
in the South. 

U 2 

Digitized by 


292 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

to the hare witches: in Wales only the women can become 
hares, and this property runs, so far as I know, in certain 
families. I have known many such, and my own nurse 
belonged to one of them, so that my mother was reckoned 
to be rather reckless in entrusting me to y gota^ or " the 
Cutty One", as she might run away at any moment, 
leaving her charge to take care of itself. But I have 
never heard of any man or boy of any such family turning, 
himself into a hare, whereas in the Isle of Man the witches 
may belong, if I may say so, to either sex. I am not sure, 
however, that a man who turns himself into a hare would 
be called a wizard or witch ; and I recollect hearing in 
the neighbourhood of Ramsey of a man nicknamed the 
gaaue mwaaghy that is to say, " the hare smith", the reason 
being that this particular smith now and then assumes the 
form of a hare. I am not quite sure that gaaue mwaagh 
is the name of a class, though I rather infer that it is. If 
so, it must be regarded as a survival of the magic skill 
associated with smiths in ancient Ireland, as evidenced, 
for instance, in St Patrick's Hymn in the eleventh or 
twelfth century manuscript at Trinity College, Dublin, 
known as the Liber Hymnorum, in which we have a 
prayer against "the spells of women, and of smiths and 

The persons who had the power of turning themselves 
into hares were believed to be abroad and very active, 
together with the whole demon world, on the eve of May-day 
of the Old Style. And a middle-aged man from the parish 
of Andreas related to me how he came three or four times 
across a woman, reputed to be a witch, carrying on her 
evil practices at the junction of cross-roads, or the meeting 
of three boundaries. This happened once very early on 
old May morning, and afterwards he met her several times 
as he was returning home from visiting his sweetheart 
He warned the witch that if he found her again that he 
would kick her : that is what he says. Well, after a while 
he did surprise her again at work at four cross-roads. 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 293 

somewhere near Lezayre. She had a circle, he said, as 
large as that made by horses in threshing, swept clean 
around her. He kicked her and took away her besom, 
which he hid till the middle of the day. Then he made 
the farm boys fetch some dry gorse, and he put the witch's 
besom on the top of it. Thereupon fire was set to the 
gorse and, wonderful to relate, the besom, as it burned, 
crackled and made reports like guns going off. In fact, 
the noise could be heard from Andreas Church — that is to 
say, miles away. The besom had on it "seventeen sorts 
of knots", he said, and the woman ought to have been 
burned ; in fact, he added that she did not long survive 
her besom. The man who related this to me is hale and 
strong, living now in the parish of Michael, and not in that 
of Andreas, where he was born. 

There is a tradition at St. John's, which is overlooked 
by the mountain called Slieau Whuallian, that witches 
used at one time to be punished by being set to roll down 
the steep side of the mountain in spiked barrels ; but, 
short of putting them to death, there were various ways of 
rendering the machinations of witches innocuous, or of 
undoing the mischief done by them ; for the charmers 
supply various means of meeting them triumphantly, and 
in case an animal is the victim, the burning of it always 
proves an effective means of bringing the offender to 
book. I shall have occasion to return to this under 
another heading. There is a belief that if you can draw 
blood, however little, from a witch or one who has the 
evil eye, he loses his power of harming you ; and I 
have been told that formerly this belief was sometimes 
acted upon. Thus, on leaving church, for instance, the 
man who fancied himself in danger from another would 
go up to him, or walk by his side, and inflict on him a 
slight scratch, or some other trivial wound, which elicited 
blood ; but this must have been a course always attended 
with more or less danger. 

The persons able to undo the witches' work, and re- 

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294 Manx Folk- lore and Superstitions. 

move the malignant influence of the evil eye, are kno\ra 
in Manx English as charmers, and something must now 
be said of them. They have various ways of proceeding 
to their work. A lady of about thirty-five, living at Peel, 
related to me, how, when she was a child suffering from a 
swelling in the neck, she had it charmed by an old woman. 
This charmer brought with her no less than nine pieces of 
iron, consisting of bits of old pokers, old nails, and other 
odds and ends of the same metal, making in all nine 
pieces. After invoking the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost, she began to rub the girl's neck with the old 
irons ; nor was she satisfied with that, for she rubbed the 
doors, the walls, and the furniture likewise, with the metal. 
The result, I was assured, was highly satisfactory, as she 
has never been troubled with a swelling in the throat since 
that day. Sometimes a passage from the Bible is made 
use of in charming, as, for instance, in the case of bleeding. 
One of the verses then pronounced is Ezekiel xvi, 6, which 
runs thus: — "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee 
polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou 
wast in thy blood, Live ; yea, I said unto thee when thou 
wast in thy blood, Live." This was told me by a Laxey 
man, who is over seventy years of age. The methods of 
charming away warts are various. A woman from the 
neighbourhood of St. John's explained to me how a charmer 
told her to get rid of the warts on her hands. She was to 
take a string and make a knot on it for every wart she 
had, and then tie the string round her hand, or fingers — I 
forget which ; and I think my informant, on her part, 
forgot to tell me a vital part of the formula, namely, that 
the string was to be destroyed. However, she assured me 
that the warts disappeared, and never returned since. A 
lady at Andreas has a still simpler method of getting rid 
of warts. She rubs a snail on the warts, and then places 
the snail on one of the points of a blackthorn, and, in fact, 
leaves the snail to die, transfixed by the thorn ; and as the 
snail dies, the warts disappear. She has done this in the 

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Manx Folk'lore and Superstitions, 295 

case of her niece with complete success, so far as the wart 
was concerned ; but she was sorry to say that she had 
forgotten to notice whether the snail had also succumbed. 

The lady who in this case applied the remedy cannot be 
in any sense called a charmer, however much one may 
insist on calling what she did a charm. In fact, the term 
charmer tends to be associated with a particular class of 
charm involving the use of herbs. Thus there used at one 
time to be a famous charmer living near Kirk Michael to 
whom the fishermen were in the habit of resorting, and my 
informant told me that he had been deputed more than 
once by his fellow-fishermen to go to him in consequence 
of their lack of success in the fishing. This charmer gave 
him a packet of herbs, cut small, with directions that they 
should be boiled, and the water mixed with some spirits— 
rum, I think — and partly drunk in the boat by the captain 
and the crew, and partly sprinkled over the boat and 
everything in it The charmer clearly defined his position 
in the matter to my informant " I cannot", he said, "put 
the fish in your nets for you ; but if there is any mischief 
in the way of your luck, I can remove that for you." The 
fishermen themselves had, however, more exaggerated 
notions of the charmer's functions ; for once on a time my 
informant spent on drink for his boon companions the money 
which he was to give the charmer, and then he collected 
herbs himself — it did not much matter what herbs — and 
took them to his captain, who, with the crew, went through 
the proper ritual, and made a most successful haul that 
night. In fact, the only source of discontent was the 
charmer's not having distributed the fish over two nights, 
instead of endangering their nets by an excessive haul all 
in one night They regarded him as able to do almost 
anything he liked in the matter. 

A lady at Andreas gave me an account of a celebrated 
charmer who lived between there and the coast He worked 
on her husband's farm, but used to be frequently called away 
to be consulted. He usually cut up wormwood for the people 

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296 Manx Folk' lore and Superstitions. 

who came to him, and if there was none to be had, he 
did not scruple to rob the garden of any small sprouts it 
contained of cabbage or the like. He would chop them 
small, and give directions about boiling them and 
drinking the water. He usually charged anyone leaving 
him to speak to nobody on the way, lest he break the 
charm, and this mysteriousness was evidently an impor- 
tant element in his profession. But he was, nevertheless, 
a thriftless fellow, and when he went to Peel, and sent the 
crier round to announce his arrival, and received a good deal 
of money from the fishermen, he seldom so conducted him- 
self as to bring much of it home. He died miserably some 
seven or eight years ago at Ramsey, and left a widow 
in great poverty. As to the present day, the daughter of 
a charmer now dead is married to a man living in a village 
on the southern side of the island, and she appears to 
have inherited her father's reputation for charming, as the 
fishermen from all parts are said to flock to her for luck. 
Incidentally, I have heard in the South more than once of 
her being consulted in cases of sudden and dangerous ill- 
ness, even after the best medical advice has been obtained : 
in fact, she seems to have a considerable practice. 

In answer to my question, how the charmer, who died 
at Ramsey, used to give the sailors luck in the fishing, my 
informant at Andreas could not say, except that he gave 
them herbs as already described, and she thought also 
that he sold them wisps to place under their pillows. I 
gather that the charms were chiefly directed to the re- 
moval of supposed impediments to success in the fishing, 
rather than to any act of a more positive nature. So far 
as I have been able to ascertain, charming is hereditary, 
and they say that it descends from father to daughter, and 
then from daughter to son, and so on — a remarkable kind 
of descent, on which I should be glad to have the opinion 
of Mr. Elton. One of the best Manx scholars in the 
island related to me how some fishermen once insisted on 
his doing the charmer for them because of his being of 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 297 

such and such a family, and how he made fools of them. 
It is my impression that the charming families are com- 
paratively few in number, and this looks as if they descended 
from the family physicians or druids of one or two chief- 
tains in ancient times. It is very likely a question 
which could be cleared up by a local man familiar with 
the island and all that which tradition has to say on the 
subject of Manx pedigrees. 

In the case of animals ailing, the herbs were also 
resorted to ; and, if the beasts happened to be milch cows, 
the herbs had to be boiled in some of their milk. This was 
supposed to produce wonderful results, described as follows 
by a man living on the way from Castletown up South 
Barrule. A farmer in his parish had a cow that milked 
blood, as he described it, and that in consequence of 
a witch's ill-will. He went to the charmer, who gave him 
some herbs, which he was to boil in the ailing cow*s milk, 
and the charmer charged him, whatever he did, not to quit 
the concoction while it was on the fire, in spite of any 
noises he might hear. The farmer went home and pro- 
ceeded that night to boil the herbs as directed, but he 
suddenly heard a violent tapping at the door, a terrible 
lowing of the cattle in the cow-house, and stones coming 
down the " chumley": the end of it was that he suddenly 
fled and sprang into bed to take shelter behind his wife. 
He went to the charmer again, and related to him what 
had happened : he was told that he must have more 
courage the next time, unless he wished his cow to die. 
He promised to do his best, and this time he stood his 
ground in spite of the noises and the creaking of the 
windows — until, in fact, a back-window burst into pieces 
and bodily let a witch in, who craved his pardon, and 
promised never more to molest him or his. This all 
happened at the farm in question in the time of the 
present farmer's grandfather. The boiling of the charmer's 
herbs in milk always produces a great commotion and 
lowing among the cattle, and it invariably cures the ailing 

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298 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

ones : this is firmly believed by respectable farmers whom 
I could name, in the North of the island in particular, and 
I am alluding to men whom you might consider fairly 
educated members of their class. 

Magic takes us back to a very primitive and loose way 
of thinking ; so the marvellously easy way in which it 
identifies any tie of association, however flimsy, with the 
insoluble bond of relationship which educated men and 
women regard as connecting cause and effect, renders even 
simpler means than I have described quite equal to the 
undoing of the evils resulting from the activity of the evil 
eye. Thus, let us suppose that a person endowed with 
the evil eye has just passed by the farmer's herd of cattle, 
and a calf has suddenly been seized with a serious illness, 
the farmer hurries after the man of the evil eye to get the 
dust from under his feet. If he objects, he may, as has 
sometimes been very unceremoniously done, throw him 
down by force, take off his shoes, and scrape off the dust 
adhering to their soles, and carry it back to throw over the 
calf. Even that is not always necessary, as it appears to 
be quite enough if he takes up dust where he of the evil 
eye has just trod the ground. There are innumerable 
cases on folk record of both means proving entirely effec- 
tive. A similar question of psychology presents itself in a 
practice, intended as a preservative against the evil eye 
rather than as a cure. I allude to what I have heard 
about two maiden ladies living in a Manx village which 
I know very well : they are natives of a neighbouring 
parish, and I am assured that whenever a stranger enters 
their house they proceed, as soon as he goes away, to 
strew a little dust or sand over the spot where he stood. 
That is understood to prevent any malignant influence 
resulting from his visit This tacit identifying of a man 
with his footprints may be detected in a more precarious 
and pleasing form in a quaint conceit familiar to me in the 
lyrics of rustic life in Wales, when, for example, a coy 
maiden leaves her lovesick swain hotly avowing his perfect 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 299 

readiness to aisanu ol ei thraedy that is, to do on his 
knees all the stages of her path across the meadow, kiss- 
ing the ground wherever it has been honoured with the 
tread of her dainty foot. Let me take another case, in 
which the cord of association is not so inconceivably 
slender, when two or more persons standing in a close 
relation to one another are mistakenly treated a little too 
much as if mutually independent, the objection may be 
made that it matters not whether it is A or B, that it is, 
in fact, all the same, as they belong to the same concern : 
in Welsh this is sometimes expressed by saying, Yr un 
pethyw Huw'r Glyn di glocs, that is, " Whether you talk of 
HuwV Glyn, or of his wooden shoes, it is all the same." 
Then, when you speak in English of a man "standing in 
another's shoes", I am by no means certain that you are 
not employing an expression which meant something more 
to those who first used it than it does to us. Our modern 
idioms, with all their straining after the abstract, are but 
primitive man's mental tools adapted to the requirements 
of civilised life : they betray the form and shape which the 
neolithic worker's chipping and polishing gave them. 

It is difficult to arrange these scraps under any clearly 
classified headings, and now that I have led you into the 
midst of matters magical, perhaps I may just as well go on 
to the mention of a few more : I alluded to the boiling of 
the herbs according to the charmer's orders, with the result, 
among other things, of bringing the witch to the spot. This 
is, however, not the only instance of the importance and 
strange efficacy of fire. For when a beast dies on a farm, 
of course it dies, according to the old-fa.shioned view of 
things, as I understand it, from the influence of the evil 
eye, or the interposition of a witch ; and if you want to 
know to whom you are indebted for the loss of the beast, 
you have simply to burn its carcase in the open air 
and watch who comes first on the spot or who first 
passes by; for that is the criminal to be charged with the 
death of the animal, and he cannot help coming there : 

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3CX) Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

such IS the effect of the fire. A Michael woman, who 
is now about thirty, related to me how she watched 
while the carcase of a bewitched colt was burning, and 
how she saw the witch coming, and how she remembers 
her shrivelled face, with nose and chin in close proximity. 
According to another native of Michael, a well-informed 
middle-aged man, the animal in question was oftenest a 
calf, and it was wont to be burnt whole, skin and alL The 
object, according to him, is invariably to bring the bewitcher 
on the spot, and he always comes ; but I am not clear what 
happens to him, when he appears. My informant added, 
however, that it was believed that, unless the bewitcher got 
possession of the heart of the beast burning, he lost all his 
power of bewitching. He related, also, how his father and 
three other men were once out fishing on the west coast of 
the island, when one of the three suddenly expressed his 
wish to land. As they were fishing successfully some two 
or three miles from the shore, they would not hear of it 
He, however, insisted that they must put him ashore at 
once, which made his comrades highly indignant ; but they 
had soon to give way, as they found that he was determined 
to leap overboard unless they complied. When he got on 
shore they watched him hurrying away towards a smoke 
where a beast was burning in the corner of a field. 

Manx stories merge this burning in a very perplexing 
fashion with what may be termed a sacrifice for luck. The 
following scraps of information will make it clear what I 
mean: — A respectable farmer from Andreas told me that 
he was driving with his wife to the neighbouring parish of 
Jurby some years ago, and that on the way they beheld the 
carcase of a cow or an ox burning in a field, with a woman 
engaged in stirring the fire. On reaching the village to 
which they were going, they found that the burning beast 
belonged to a farmer whom they knew. They were further 
told it was no wonder that the said farmer had one of his 
cattle burnt, as several of them had recently died. Whether 
this was a case of sacrifice or not I cannot say. But let 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 301 

me give you another instance : a man whom I have already 
mentiotied, saw at a farm nearer the centre of the island a 
live calf being burnt. The owner bears an English name, 
but his family has long been settled in Man. The farmer's 
explanation to my informant was that the calf was burnt to 
secure luck for the rest of the herd, some of which were 
threatening to die. My informant thought there was 
absolutely nothing the matter with them, except that 
they had too little to eat. Be that as it may, the one 
calf was sacrificed as a burnt-offering to secure luck for 
the rest of the cattle. Let me here also quote Mr. Moore's 
note in his Manx Surnames ^ p. 184, on the place-name 
Cabbalyn Oural Losht, or the Chapel of the Burnt Sacrifice. 
" This name", he says, " records a circumstance which took 
place in the nineteenth century, but which, it is to be hoped, 
was never customary in the Isle of Man. A farmer*', he 
goes on to say, " who had lost a number of his sheep and 
cattle by murrain, burned a calf as a propitiatory offering 
to the Deity on this spot, where a chapel was afterwards 
built. Hence the name." Particulars, I may say, of time, 
place, and person could be easily added to Mr. Moore's 
statement, excepting, perhaps, as to the deity in question ; 
on that point I have never been informed, but Mr. Moore 
is probably right in the use of the capital dy as the sacrificer 
is, according to all accounts, a highly devout Christian. 

One more instance: an octogenarian woman, bom in the 
parish of Bride, and now living at Kirk Andreas, saw, when 
she was a " lump of a girl" of ten or fifteen years of age, a 
live sheep being burnt in a field in the parish of Andreas, 
on May-day, whereby she meant the first of May reckoned 
according to the Old Style. She asserts very decidedly that 
it was son ouraly " as a sacrifice", as she put it, and " for an 
object to the public" : those were her words when she ex- 
pressed herself in English. Further, she made the statement 
that it was a custom to burn a sheep on old May-day for a 
sacrifice. I was fully alive to the interest of this evidence, 
and cross-examined her so far as her age allows of it, and 

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302 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

I find that she adheres to her statement with all firmness. 
I distinguish two or three points in her evidence: i. I 
have no doubt that she saw, as she was passing by a 
certain field on the borders of Andreas parish, a live sheep 
being burnt on old May-day. 2. But her statement that it 
was son aural ^ or as a sacrifice, was probably only an in- 
ference drawn by her, possibly years afterwards, on hearing 
things of the kind discussed. 3. Lastly I am convinced 
that she did hear the May-day sacrifice discussed, both in 
Manx and in English: her words, "for an object to the 
public", are her imperfect recollection of a phrase used in her 
hearing by somebody more ambitious of employing English 
abstract terms than she is ; and the formal nature of her 
statement in Manx, that it was customary on May-day to 
bum as a sacrifice one head of sheep {Laa Baaldyn va 
cliaghtey dy lostey son oural un baagh keyrragh\ produces 
the same impression on my mind, that she is only 
repeating somebody else's words. I mention this more 
especially as I have failed to find anybody else in Andreas 
or Bride, or indeed in the whole island, who will now 
confess to having ever heard of the sheep sacrifice on old 

The time assigned to the sheep sacrifice, namely May-day, 
leads me to make some remarks on the importance of 
that day among the Celts. The day meant is, as I have 
already said, old May-day, in Manx Shenn Laa Boaldyn, 
This was a day when systematic efforts were made to pro- 
tect man and beast against elves and witches ; for it was 
then that people carried crosses of rowan in their hats and 
put May flowers on the tops of their doors and elsewhere as 
preservativesagainstall malignant influences. With the same 
object also in view crosses of rowan were likewise fastened 
to the tails of cattle, small crosses which had to be made 
without the help of a knife. Early on May morning one 
went out to gather the dew as a thing of great virtue, as in 
other countries. One woman who had been out on this 
errand years ago told me that she washed her face with 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 303 

the dew in order to secure luck, a good complexion, and 
immunity against witches. The break of this day is also the 
signal for firing the ling or the gorse, which used to be 
done in order to burn out the witches fond of taking the 
form of the hare ; and even guns, I am told, were freely 
used to shoot any game met with on that morning. With 
the proper charge some of the witches were now and then 
hit and wounded, whereupon they resumed the human form 
and remained cripples for the rest of their lives. Fire, 
however, appears to have been the chief agency relied on to 
clear away the witches and other malignant beings ; and I 
have heard of this use of fire having been carried so far that 
a practice was sometimes observed — as, for example in 
Lezayre — of burning gorse, however little, in the hedge of 
each field on a farm in order to drive away the witches and 
secure luck. 

The man who told me this, on being asked whether he 
had ever heard of cattle being driven through fire or be- 
tween two fires on May-day, replied that it was not 
known to him as a Manx custom, but that it was as an 
Irish one. A cattle-dealer whom he named used on May- 
day to drive his cattle through fire so as to singe them a 
little, as he believed that would preserve them from harm. 
He was an Irishman, who came to the island for many 
years, and whose children are settled in the island now. On 
my asking him if he knew whence the dealer came, he 
answered, ** From the mountains over there", pointing to the 
Mountains of Mourne looming indefinite in the mists on the 
western horizon. The Irish custom known to my Manx 
informant is interesting both as throwing light on the Manx 
custom, and as being the continuation of a very ancient 
rite mentioned by Cormac. That writer, or somebody in 
his name, says that Beltane, May-day, was sq called from 
the "lucky fire", or the "two fires" which the druids of 
Erinn used to make on that day with great incantations; 
and cattle, he adds, used to be brought to those fires, 
or driven between them, as a safeguard against the diseases 

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304 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

of the year. Cormac* says nothing, it will be noticed, as to 
one of the cattle or the sheep being sacrificed for the sake of 
prosperity to the rest However, Scotch* May-day customs 
point to a sacrifice having been once usual, and that 
possibly of human beings, and not of sheep, as in the Isle of 
Man. I have elsewhere* tried to equate these Celtic May- 
day practices with the Thargelia* of the Athenians of 
antiquity. The Thargelia were characterised by peculiar 
rites, and among other things then done, two adult persons 
were lead about, as it were scapegoats, and at the end they 
were sacrified and burnt, so that their ashes might be 
dispersed. Here we seem to be on the track of a very 
ancient Aryan practice, although the Celtic date does not 
quite coincide with the Greek one. 

It is probably in some ancient May-day custom that we 
are to look for the key to a remarkable place-name occurring 
several times in the island : I allude to that of Crank yn 
Irree Laa, which literally means the Hill of the Rise of the 
Day. This is the name of one of the mountains in the 
south of the island, but it is also borne by one of the knolls 
near the eastern end of the range of low hills ending 
abruptly on the coast between Ramsey and Bride Parish, 
and quite a small knoll bears the name near the church of 
Jurby.^ I have heard of a fourth instance, which, however, 

' See the Stokes -O'Donovan edition of Cormac (Calcutta, 1868), 

pp. I9i 23. 

• Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland^ x', 620 ; 
Pennant's Tour in Scotland in 1769 (3rd edition, Warrington, 1774, 
i, 97, 186, 291) ; Thomas Stephens' Gododin^ pp. 124-6 ; and Dr. 
Murray in the New English Dictionary ^ s. v. Beltane, 

'In my Hibbert Lectures on Celtic Heathendcm, pp 517-21. 

* As to the Thargelia and Delia, see Preller*s Griechische Mytho- 
logies i, 209-10, and A. Mommsen's Heortologie, pp. 414-25. 

^ It is my impression that it is crowned with a small tumulus, and 
that it forms the highest ground in Jurby, which was once an island by 
itself. The one between Ramsey and Bride is also probably the 
highest point of the range. But these are questions which I should 
like to see further examined, say in the pages of the Manx Journal, 
edited by Mr. P. M. C. Kermode, the Uoar Manninagh, 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions, 305 

has escaped both my memory and note-book. It has been 
attempted to explain the name as meaning the Hill of the 
Watch by Day, in reference to the old institution of Watch 
and Ward on conspicuous places in the island ; but that ex- 
planation is inadmissible as doing violence to the phonetics 
of the words in question.^ I am rather inclined to think that 
the name everywhere refers to an eminence to which the 
surrounding inhabitants resorted for a religious purpose 
on a particular day in the year. I should suggest that it 
was to do homage to the Sun on May morning, but this 
conjecture is offered only to await a better explanation. 

The next great day in the pagan calendar of the Celts 
is called in Manx Laa Lhunys, in Irish Lugnassad^ which 
was associated with the name of the god Lug. This 
should correspond to Lammas, but, reckoned as it is, 
according to the Old Style, it falls on the twelfth of August, 
which used to be a great day for business fairs in the 
Isle of Man as in Wales. But for holiday-making the 
twelfth only suited when it happened to be a Sunday ; 
when that was not the case, the first Sunday after the 
twelfth was fixed upon. It is known, accordingly, as the 
First Sunday of Harvest, and it used to be celebrated by 
crowds of people visiting the tops of the mountains. The 
kind of interference to which I have alluded with regard 
to an ancient holiday, is one of the regular results of the 
transition from Roman Catholicism to a Protestant system 

* Cronk yn Irree Laa is the name as it is used by all Manxmen 
whose pronunciation has not been tampered with by antiquarians. 
To convey the other meaning, referring to the day-watchi the name 
would have to be Cronk ny Harrey Laa; in fact, a part of the Howe 
in the south of the Island is called Cronk ny Harrey^ " the Hill of the 
Watch". Mr. Moore teUs me that the Jurby Cronk was one of the 
eminences for ^ Watch and Ward"; but he is now of opinion that the 
high mountain of Cronk yn Irree Laa in the South was not. As to 
the duty of the inhabitants to keep " Watch and Ward" over the 
island, see the passage concerning it extracted from the Manx 
Statutes (vol. i, p. 65), by Mr. Moore in his Manx Surnames^ pp. 182- 
83 ; also my preface to the same work, pp. v-viii. 


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3o6 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions, 

with only one fixed holiday, namely, Sunday. The same 
shifting has partly happened in Wales, where Lammas is 
Gwyl Awsty or the festival of Augustus, since the birth- 
day of Augustus, auspiciously for him and the celebrity of 
his day, fell in with the great day of the god Lug in the 
Celtic world. Now the day for going up the Van Vadi 
mountain in Brecknock was Lammas, but under a Pro- 
testant church it became the first Sunday in August, 
and even modified in that way it could not long survive 
under a vigorous Protestant riginu either in Wales or 
Man. As to the latter in particular, I have heard it related 
by persons who were present, how the crowds on the top 
of South Barrule on the first Sunday in Harvest were de- 
nounced as pagans, by a preacher called William Gick, some 
seventy years ago; and how another man called Paric Beg, 
or Little Patrick, preaching to the crowds on Snxfell, 
in milder terms, used to wind up the service with a collec- 
tion, which appears to have proved a speedier method of 
reducing the dimensions of these meetings on the moun- 
tain-tops. Be that as it may, they seem to have dwindled 
since then to comparative insignificance 

If you ask the reason for this custom now, for it is not 
yet quite extinct, you are told, first, that it is merely to 
gather ling berries ; but now and then a quasi-religious 
reason is given, namely, that it is the day on which 
Jephthah's Daughter and her companions went forth on 
the mountains to bewail her virginity: somehow, some 
Manx people make believe that they are doing likewise. 
That is not all, for people who have never themselves 
thought of going up the mountains on the first Sunday of 
Harvest or any other, will be found devoutly reading at 
home about Jephthah's Daughter on that day. I was told 
this first in the South by a clergyman's wife, who, finding a 
woman in the parish reading the chapter in question on 
that day, asked the reason for her fixing on that particular 
portion of the Bible. She then had the Manx view of the 
matter fully explained to her, and she has since found 

Digitized by ' 

Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 307 

more information about it, and so have I. This is a 
very curious instance of a pagan practice profoundly 
modified to procure a new lease of life ; but it is needless 
for me to say that I do not quite understand how 
Jephthah's Daughter came to be introduced, and that I 
should be glad to have light shed on the question. 

I notice, with regard to most of the mountains climbed 
on the first Sunday of Harvest, that they seem to have 
near their summits wells of some celebrity ; and these 
wells appear to be the goal of the visitors' peregrinations. 
This is the case with South Barrule, the spring near the 
top of which cannot, it is said, be found when sought a 
second time ; also with Snaefell and Maughold Head, 
which boasts one of the most famous springs in the island. 
When I visited it last summer, in company with Mr. 
Kermode, we found it to contain a considerable number of 
pins, some of which were bent, and many buttons. Some 
of the pins were not of a kind usually carried by men, and 
most of the buttons decidedly belonged to the dress of the 
other sex. Several people who had resorted many years 
ago to St Maughold's Well told me that the water is 
good for sore eyes, and that after using it on the spot, or 
filling a bottle with it to take home, one was wont to drop 
a pin, or bead, or button, into the well. But it had its full 
virtue only when visited on the first Sunday of Harvest, 
and that only during the hour the books were open at 
church, which, shifted back to Roman Catholic times, 
means doubtless the hour when the priest is engaged 
saying Mass. This restriction, however, is not peculiar to 
St Maughold's Well, as I have heard of it in connection 
with other wells, such as Chibbyr Lansh in Lezayre parish, 
and with a well on Slieau Maggyl, in which some Kirk 
Michael people have a great belief But even sea-water 
was believed to have considerable virtues if you washed in 
it while the books were open at church, as I was told by a 
woman who had many years ago repeatedly taken her own 
sister to divers wells and to the sea during the service on 

X 2 

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3o8 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

Sunday, in order to have her eyes cured of their chronic 

The remaining great day in the Celtic year is called 
Sauin or Laa Houney ; in Irish, Samhain, genitive Samhna ; 
the Manx call it in English Hollantide,^ word derived from 
the English genitive plural, AlUiallown} for All Hallowen 
Tide or Day. This day is also reckoned in Man according to 
the Old Style,so that it is our I2th of November. That is the 
day when the tenure of land terminates, and when servant- 
men go to their places. In other words, it is the beginning of 
a new year; and Kelly, in his Manx-English Dictionary y has, 
under the word blein^ "year", the following note : " Valancey 
says the Celts began their year with January ; yet in the 
Isle of Man the first of November is called New Year's 
Day by the Mummers, who, on the eve, begin their petition 
in these words : * To-night is New Year's night, Hog-un- 
naa,* etc.* *' It is a pity that Kelly, whilst he was on this 
subject, did not give the rhyme in Manx, and all the more 
so, as the mummers of the present day have changed their 
words into Nog/tt oie Houney^ that is to say. To-night is 
Sauin Night (or Halloween). So I had despaired of finding 
anybody who could corroborate Kelly in his statement, 
when I happened last summer to find a man at Kirk Michael 
who was quite familiar with this way of treating the year. 
I asked him if he could explain Kelly's absurd statement — 
I put my question designedly in that form. He said 
he could, but that there was nothing absurd in it He 
then told me how he had heard some old people talk of 
it; he is himself now about sixty-seven. He had been a farm- 
servant from the age of sixteen till he was twenty-six to the 
same man, near Regaby in the parish of Andreas, and he re- 

1 See the New English DicL^ s. v. Allkallows, 

' This comes near the pronunciation usual in Roxburghshire and 
the South of Scotland generally, which is, as Dr. Murray informs mc, 
Hunganay without the m occurring in the other forms to be men- 
tioned presently. But so far as I have been able to find, the Manx 
r ' now Hob dy naa, which I have heard in the North, 

the prevalent form in the South. 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 309 

members his master and a near neighbour of his discussing 
the term New Year's Day as applied to the first of November 
and explaining to the younger men that it had always been 
so in old times. In fact, it seemed to him natural enough, as 
all tenure of land ends at that time, and as all servant-men 
begin their service at that date. I cross-examined him, 
without succeeding in any way in shaking his evidence. I 
should have been glad a few years ago to have come across 
this piece of information, or eVen Kelly's note, when I was 
discussing the Celtic year and trying to prove^ that it began 
at the beginning of winter, with May-day as the beginning 
of its second half 

One of the characteristics of the beginning of the Celtic 
year with the commencement of winter was the belief that 
indications can be obtained on the eve of that day regarding 
the events of the year ; but with the calendar year gaining 
ground it would be natural to expect that the Calends of 
January would have some of the associations of the Calends 
of Winter transferred to them, and vice versa. In fact, this 
can, as it were, be watched now going on in the Isle of Man. 
First, I may mention that the Manx mummers used to go 
about singing, in Manx, a sort of Hogmanay song,* re- 
minding one of that usual in Yorkshire and other parts of 

^ See my Hibbert Lecture^y pp. SHS- 

* I am indebted to Mr. Elton, M.P., for references on this subject 
to Hazlitt's edition of Brands Popular Antiquities (London, 1870), 
i, 247-8, and Robert Bell's Songs of the Peasantry (London, 1857), 
pp. 186, 187, where the following is given as sung at Richmond in 
Yorkshire : 

** To-night it is the New- Year's night, to-morrow is the day, 
And we are come for our right, and for our ray, 
As we used to do in old King Henry's day. 

Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh. 

"If you go to the bacon-flick, cut me a good bit ; 
Cut, cut and low, beware of your maw ; 
Cut, cut and round, beware of your thumb, 
That me and my merry men may have some. 

Sing, etc. 

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3 lo Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

Great Britain, and supposed to be of Scandinavian origin. 
The time for it in this country was New Year's Eve, 
according to the ordinary calendar, but in the Isle of Man it 
has always been Hollantide Eve, according to the Old Style, 
and this is the night when boys now go about continuing 
the custom of the old mummers. There is no hesitation in 
this case between Hollantide Eve and New Year's Eve. 
But with the prognostications for the year it is different, 
and the following practices have been usual. I may, how- 
ever, premise that as a rule I have abstained from inquiring 
too closely whether they still go on, but here and there I 
have had the information volunteered that they do. 

1. I may mention first a salt prognostication, which was 
described to me by a farmer in the North, whose wife prac- 
tises it once a year regularly. She carefully fills a thimble 
with salt in the evening and upsets it in a neat little heap 
on a plate : she does that for every member of the family, 
and every guest, too, if there happen to be any. The plate 
is then left undisturbed till the morning, when she examines 
the heaps of salt to see if any of them have fallen ; for 
whoever is found represented by a fallen heap will die 
during the year. She does not herself, I am assured, 
believe in it, but she likes to continue a custom which she 
has learned from her mother. 

2. Next may be mentioned the ashes being carefully 
swept to the open hearth, and nicely flattened down by the 
women just before going to bed. In the morning they 
look for footmarks on the hearth, and if they find such 
footmarks directed towards the door, it means, in the course 
of the year, a death in the family, and if the reverse, they 
expect an addition to it by marriage.^ 

" If you go to the black-ark bring me X mark ; 
Ten mark, ten pound, throw it down upon the ground. 
That me and my merry men may have some. 

Sing, etc." 

* On being asked, after reading this paper, who was supposed to 
make the footmarks in the ashes, I had to confess that I had been 


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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 3 1 1 

3. Then there is an elaborate process of eaves-dropping 
recommended to young women curious to know their 
husbands' names : a girl would go with her mouth full of 
water and her hands full of salt to the door of the nearest 
neighbour's house, or rather to that of the nearest neigh- 
bour but one, for I have been carefully corrected more 
than once on that point. There she would listen, and the 
first name she caught would prove to be that of her 
future husband. Once a girl did so, as I was told by a 
blind fisherman in the South, and heard two brothers 
quarrelling inside the house at whose door she was listen- 
ing. Presently the young men's mother exclaimed that 
the devil would not let Tom leave John alone. At the 
mention of that triad the girl burst into the house, laughing 
and spilling the mouthful of water most incontinently. 
The end of it was that before the year was out she married 
Tom, the second person mentioned : the first either did not 
count or proved an unassailable bachelor. 

4. There is also a ritual for enabling a girl to obtain 
other information respecting her future husband : vessels 
placed about the room have various things put into them, 
such as clean water, earth, meal, a piece of a net, or any 
other article thought appropriate. The candidate for 
matrimony, with her eyes bandaged, feels her way about 
the house until she puts her hand in one of the aforesaid 
vessels. If what she lays her hand on is the clean water, 
her husband will be a handsome man^; if it is the earth, he 
will be a farmer; if the meal, a miller; if the net, a fisherman, 
and so on into as many of the walks in life as may be 
thought worthy of consideration. 

careless enough never to have asked the question. I have referred 
it to Mr. Moore, who informs me that nobody, as I expected, will 
venture on an explanation, by whom the foot-marks are made. 

' This seems to imply the application of the same adjective, some 
time or other, to dean water and a handsome man, just as we speak 
in North Cardiganshire of dwr gldn, " pure water", and bachgen gldn^ 
^ a handsome boy." 

Digitized by 


312 Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions. 

5. Lastly, recourse may be had to a ritual of the same 
nature as that obser\'ed by the druid of ancient Elrinn, when, 
burdened with a heavy meal of the flesh of a red pig, 
he laid him down for the night in order to await a imx>- 
phetic dream as to the manner of man the nobles of Elrinn 
assembled at Tara were to elect to he their king. The inci- 
dent is given in the story of Cuchulainn's sick-bed; and 
you all know the passage about Brian and the tagkairm in 
the 4th Canto of Scott's Lady of the Lake. But the Manx 
girl has only to eat a salt herring, bones and all, without 
drinking or uttering a word, and to retire backwards to 
bed. When she sleeps and dreams, she will behold her 
future husband approaching to give her drink. 

Probably none of the practices which I have enume- 
rated, or similar ones mentioned to me, are in any sense 
peculiar to the Isle of Man ; but what interests me in 
them is the divided opinion as to the proper night for them 
in the year. I am sorry to say that I have very little 
information as to the blindman's-buff ritual (Na 4); what 
information I have, to wit, the evidence of two p>ersons 
in the South, fixes it on HoUantide Eve. But as to 
the others (Nos. i, 2, 3, 5), they are observed by some on 
that night, and by others on New Year's Eve, sometimes 
according to the Old Style^ and sometimes the New. 
Further, those who are wont to practise the Salt Heap 
ritual, for instance, on HoUantide Eve, would be very 
indignant to hear that anybody should think New Years 
Eve the proper night, and vice versa So by bringing 
women bred and bom in different parishes to compare 
notes on this point, I have witnessed arguing hardly 
less earnest than that which characterised the ancient 
controversy between British and Italian ecclesiastics . as 
to the proper time for keeping Easter. I have not 
been able to map the island according to the practices pre- 

* This is called in Phillips' Prayer-book Ld nolick y biggy^ " Little 
Nativity Day," and LA ghian blieny^ "The Day of the Year's End," 
pieanin^ of course the former, not the latter, end of the year. 

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Manx Folk-lore and Superstitions . 3 1 3 

valent at Hollantide and the beginning of January, but 
local folk-lorists could probably do it without much 
difficulty.^ My impression, however, is that January is 
gradually acquiring the upper hand. In Wales this must 
have been decidedly helped by the influence of Roman 
rule and Roman ideas; but even in Wales the adjuncts of the 
Winter Calends have never been wholly transferred to the 
Calends of January. Witness, for instance, the women who 
used to congregate in the parish church to discover who of 
the parishioners should die during the year.* That custom, 
in the neighbourhoods reported to have practised it, con- 
tinued to attach itself to the last, so far as I know, to the 
beginning of November. In the Isle of Man the fact of the 
ancient Celtic year having so firmly held its own, seems 
to point to the probable fact that the year of the pagan 
Norsemen pretty nearly coincided with that of the Celts.* 
For there are reasons to think, as I have endeavoured else- 
where to show, that the Norse Yule was originally at the 
end of summer or the commencement of winter, in other 
words, the days afterwards known as the Feast of the Winter 
Nights. This was the favourite date in Iceland for listening 
to soothsayers prophesying with regard to the winter then 
beginning. The late Dr. Vigfusson had much to say on 
this subject, and how the local Sybil, resuming her elevated 
seat at the opening of each successive winter, gave the 
author of the Volospd his plan of that remarkable poem, 
which has been described by the same authority as the 
highest spiritual effort of the heathen poetry of the North. 

^ Here, again, I must appeal to Mr. Kermode and Mr. Moore. 

* Sec my Hibbert Lectures^ pp. 514-5, and the ^ry/A^« for 1859, 
pp. 20, 120. 

' 1 his has been touched upon in my Hibbert Lectures^ p. 676 ; but 
to the reasons there briefly mentioned should be added the position 
allotted to intercalary months in the Norse calendar, namely, at the 
end of the summer, that is, as I think, at the end of the ancient Nor^e 

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IN the following pages I shall not emulate the example 
of writers on English dramatic history, who ascribe the 
origin of our drama to the mediaeval miracle-plays in a truly 
traditionary manner. If they could be questioned as to 
why they did this, I feel persuaded they could give no 
better answer than that which ever delights the ears of the 
folk-lore collector : " Because our fathers did it" I feel 
that FOLK-LORE is not the place to trample on tradition ; 
but this particular tradition is of literary origin, and I hope 
the mention of that fact alone will enlist the reader's sym- 
pathies on the side of the iconoclast 

The author of a recent work on the English stage — a 
work in many respects of great importance and usefulness — 
even protests against the taking into account of early acting 
in rural districts and provincial towns in connection with 
" the general history of the stage". All such matters he 
leaves aside as having no place in a book intended ** as an 
aid to the literary student". 

The English drama, it is evident, is regarded as a literary 
institution, for which an arbitrary literary origin is to be 
accepted. Conformably with this conception, the same 
author remarks : " The principal reason for the existence 
of any players at all must be looked for in Court fashion 
and Royal patronage" It is very clear that the people, 
the folk, are nowhere in this account The usual concep- 
tion of the origin of our drama may be stated in a few 
words as follows ; It arose from the miracle-plays and mys- 
teries, which gave way to moralities and interludes ; these 
were succeeded by the Elizabethan drama, which was a 


Digitized by 


Folk-Drama. 3 1 5 

child of the Renaissance, whose playwrights wrought 
under the inspiration of the classical drama of Greece 
and Rome. 

It is to be noted, in the first place, that the Elizabethan 
theatre was before all things a popular institution. Now if 
we consider on the one hand the character of the plays 
presented, and on the other the average culture of the 
people, that popularity is surprising. It seems to me the 
explanation is to be found in the natural aptitude of the 
English people for the drama, an aptitude which shows 
itself thi'oughout our history. There were hundreds of 
dramas extant in the Elizabethan time which are now lost 
to us ; if that is so, it is highly probable there were many 
more belonging to an earlier period similarly lost. The few 
morality-plays and interludes that have come down to us 
do not represent the pre-Elizabethan drama. There was no 
reason for the preservation of obsolete plays ; in the more 
conscious days of Elizabeth's time, the old plays were 
rejected and scorned from the art standpoint, and the MSS 
decayed or were destroyed. The few that have survived prob- 
ably did so by selection, and ^o are not representative. The 
same people who in their youth listened absorbed at the 
performance of interludes and moralities, in middle-age saw 
them caricatured in the humours of Bottom and his fellows. 
But the satireof the interlude in-^ Midsummer Nighfs Dream 
is levelled at the player rather than the old plays ; it is the 
gibe of the professional at the amateur. All over England 
before Shakespeare's time there were companies of players, 
and they were all amateurs ; servants attached to the great 
houses of the land, who, with allowances for caricature, 
rehearsed plays in the manner of Bottom and Quince and 
Snug, and on festive occasions were admitted into the great 
houses and gave their performances in presence of the 
company assembled. These players, too, were permitted, 
by license of their masters, to visit neighbouring towns, and 
perform there for the sake of the rewards bestowed on them. 

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3i6 Folk-Drama. 

Entries of rewards to such players swarm in Corporation 
Accounts, and it is the doings of these companies of actors 
which are ruled out of court by the author I have alluded 

The dramatic activity in our country before the Shake- 
speare epos is extraordinary, if we consider its quantity 
merely. But because it was crude, and was immediately 
followed by surpassing art, it cannot be divorced from 
that art. The dramatic aptitude of the English folk, 
and the energy that must have been thrown into obsolete, 
lost, and forgotten dramas, had their reward when culture 
and genius condescended to them. They had made a con- 
duit pipe through which could flow music and wisdom from 
the highest to the lowest. But the making of that pipe 
belongs to the folk. And we are to consider that however 
open to ridicule the folk-players might be, as in Midsum- 
mer Nighfs Dream, or to correction as in Hamlet, the 
acting of the best of them, who naturally gravitated to the 
metropolis, must have been good to have attracted and 
retained the attention of culture. The word "drama" 
primarily signifies " action"; and however the playwrights 
may have ransacked classical sources for their plays, the 
dramatic action they could not borrow. That at least was 
original, and if not original, traditional. 

All symbolic or concerted action and gesture are exceed- 
ingly traditionary. It is a point to which I shall allude in 
another connection presently ; but I introduce it now 
because it applies to every stage of development In this 
matter we are still children, and resent variation. We all 
remember that when Mr. Irving was unfolding his series of 
Shakespearean conceptions some years ago at the Lyceum, 
L _... iii.> new renderings were rejected by many. We always 
want to see plays acted as we have seen them acted before. 
It is only recently that the venerable stage-tradition in 
Hamkf, by which the First Gravedigger was made to take off 
innumerable waistcoats before setting to work, has given 

Digitized by 


Folk-Drama, 3 1 7 

way to criticism — a tradition among players from the 
Elizabethan period. Those who regard Elizabethan plays 
as literature only, surely forget that they were written for 
actors already in existence, with their traditions and plays 
of a cruder form. But the remembrance of that fact is neces- 
sary to the criticism of the plays as literary masterpieces. 
We should not have had the plays but for the conditions. 
It was the popular drama and quick dramatic sense which 
begot the higher drama of culture and classical colour. 

There are facts antecedent to the Shakespeare drama, 
facts of folk-lore essentially, to which the attention of 
students of the drama may be appropriately invited in 
these pages. When we are told that the origin of the 
English drama was the miracle and mystery-plays, which 
were organised by the priests and monks of religious 
houses, we, who seek for causes, ask : Why did the Church 
organise these dramatic representations? In most cases 
we receive no answer. But "a French writer", quoted 
by Warton, and others from him, hints that the object 
was to "supersede the dancing, music, mimicry, and 
profane mummeries" to which the folk were addicted. 
Still questioning, we inquire into the nature of these 
dancing and profane mummeries. But the historians 
cannot tell us : they paid no heed to tradition ; their 
object is literary criticism. Again we ask : Why it was 
thought advisable or necessary to provide these dramatic 
representations of Scripture and Church legends ; but 
we receive no answer. In fact, we cannot get beyond 
the miracles and mysteries ; this was the beginning, a 
starting-point which has become traditional in dramatic 

The explanation is the same as in the case of those 
writers who can see no connection between the sudden 
perfection of the Elizabethan drama and the crudities 
that preceded it. The miracle-plays and the mysteries 
exist The MSS. have been preserved, have been 

Digitized by 


3i8 Folk' Drama. 

printed, edited, furnished with copious exegesis and com- 
mentary. They have been studied as literature. Now 
their value as literature is surely taken on trust The 
pieces were written down to the rude pagan mind, and 
their value lies in that circumstance They were devised 
to captivate the eye, to arrest attention, to impress on 
unwilling or indifferent minds, innocent of all cultivation, 
the personalities and the stories of the Christian cult If 
we may not deny them a place as literature, we may 
regard them as they are, exotics, foreign to the people in 
their origin. Their position in relation to literature cor- 
responds, perhaps, to that of chap-books ; rude versions of 
literary subjects prepared for unlettered people The 
Bible is literature, and Homer, and the Sagas : but these 
plays, devised by ecclesiastics for didactic purposes, have a 
very different origin and development In relation to the 
mediaeval history of England they are extremely im- 
portant ; and when they are so studied, the obvious 
direction of inquiry will be into the condition of things 
amid which they were introduced, into those pagan per- 
formances of a dramatic character which they were devised 
to supplant 

For the sake of clearness it is perhaps not superfluous to 
set down the fact that the Saxon invasion of England 
preceded the introduction of Christianity. From this 
source, and from the later Danish immig^tions, are derived 
the original elements, Teutonic and Scandinavian, of 
English folk-lore . Of these elements, those of which it 
may be predicated most clearly that they belong to the 
Northern mythology, are song and dance, and combined 
or concerted imitative action of any kind. Why these 
elements never intermarried, and so never produced a 
Northern literary drama, is due probably to political causes; 
because in the poetry of the Eddas, in the religious rites 
of the warlike worship of Odin, in the power of expression 
as shown by the scalds, and the musical capacity as shown 

Digitized by 


Folk-Drama. 319 

by the Saxon gleemen, we have the constituents of the 
drama as clearly as in the South and in India, In the 
sword-dance performed by young warriors in honour of 
the chief Teutonic god, as described by Tacitus, we have a 
parallel to the Dorian choral dances representing military 
movements, in honour of Apollo, the god of war and 
music. To the Rhapsodists, in whose union with the Dorian 
choruses, the Bacchic dances, and the Dionysian rites we 
find the origin of Greek drama, we may oppose the 
Northern scalds. And may we not conclude that had it 
not been for the introduction of Christianity we should 
have had in the North a drama corresponding to that of 
Greece, a direct outcome of the mythology of the Eddas 
and the rites of the worship of Odin ? The constituents 
existed: the combination was wanting. Now it is the 
survivals of those elements in the folk-lore and traditionary 
customs of our country that I venture to call English 
folk-drama. These various links of tradition, when com- 
pleted and placed in order, will carry us up to that 
embryonic state of natural dramatic development which 
preceded the introduction of a foreign element in the 
shape of miracle-plays and mysteries. 

In the accompanying diagram I have attempted to place 
in parallel lines the development of the drama among the 
European divisions of the Indo-Germanic race. It will be 
seen then that while the Greek and Roman drama have 
developed regularly and independently from pagan religious 
observances, in the case of the Teutonic and Scandinavian 
branches the development has been deflected by the intro- 
duction of Christianity. 

In India the development has been normal throughout. 
Monier Williams, in his Indian Wisdom^ thus describes 
the origin of the Hindu drama : — 

" In all likelihood the germ of the dramatic representations of 
the Hindus, as of the Greeks, is to be sought for in public exhi- 
bitions of dancing, which consisted at first of simple movements 

Digitized by 


320 Folk' Drama. 

of the body, executed in harmony with singing and music. 
Indeed, the root nat and the nouns n&tya and nataka^ which are 
now applied to dramatic acting, are probably mere corruptions of 
«r//, to * dance', nritya^ * dancing', and nartaka^ * a dancer*. Of 
this dancing various styles were gradually invented, such as the 
Zdsya and T&ndava^ to express different actions or various sen- 
timents and emotions. 

"Very soon dancing was extended to include pantomimic gesti- 
culations accompanied with more elaborate musical performances, 
and these gesticulations were aided by occasional exclamations 
between the intervals of singing. Finally, natural language took 
the place of music and singing, while gesticulation became 
merely subservient to emphasis in dramatic dialogue." 

Such was the origin of the Indian drama, and dramatic 
literature, comparable in every sense with that of Greece 
and Rome : and a development of the drama in northern 
Europe, in the absence of Greece, and Rome, and of 
Christianity, would probably have yielded a very close 
parallel to that of India. But it is to the actual effect 
of Christianity upon the drama of Europe to which I 
desire to direct attention. 

In the following diagram I have endeavoured to give in 
graphic form my conception of the lines of development 
of the classical and European drama, with the special object 
of showing the influence of Christianity on the latter. It 
will be observed that there is nothing to correspond to 
classical drama in Teutonic countries, in which to some 
extent the actual classical drama was utilised. 

Digitized by 





VN Religious Observances. 


GssBK AND Roman. 

Tbutonic and Scandinavian. 





to corre- 













Drama. Folk 









^^ • Diminishing f 

; Folk Drama: 

• Folk Drama / 

* of Romance : 

'. of Teutonic : 

\Coantnes. • 

• Countries. : 

Literary Elizabethan : 

Drama Drama: with 

of folkelementt 

Romance and folk-colour 

Countries. but larxely 

reBective of 




My reading of the genealogy of the English epic drama 
is the meeting of two forces, Pagan and Christian, resulting 
in the concession of the miracle-play and mystery ; that 
alongside the miracle-plays, the traditional embryonic drama 
continued to exist, competition with which led eventually 
to mixing or debasing the miracle-play representations and 
ultimately to their abolition ; that at the Renaissance the 
popular actors became provided with written secular plays 
founded partly on traditional subjects ; that in the compo- 
sition of pageants or masques the popular pagan traditions 
became combined with reproductions of Greek and Roman 

VOL. iL y 

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322 Folk' Drama. 

classical themes ; that a similar combination occurred in 
the Elizabethan drama, notably in Shakespeare, where the 
fairy mythology of the folk is interweaved with the plots 
and stories of the plays. And thus, by repeated efforts, 
the development was brought back as far as possible to the 
line, and the racial character of our drama was redeemed. 

It seems to me that this is to give our drama a more 
illustrious lineage, and a more natural origin, than by 
ascribing it to the miracle-plays of the Middle Ages. What 
may have been contributed by the miracle-play — but we 
cannot be sure — is the form of dialogue, the conduct of a 
story by speaking characters. But this the ecclesiastics 
borrowed from Greece and Rome. Our Saxon forefathers 
may even have had a rude form of it themselves. It is 
possible that traditions of the dramatic action used by the 
scalds in their recitals of the Eddas — parts of which are in 
dialogue form — may have lingered among them ; nor 
should it be foi^otten that the folk-tales of a race with such 
remarkable dramatic propensities would receive a dramatic 
rendering in recitation. In the Elizabethan drama I find 
not a trace of the miracle-play. On the other hand, I do 
find/1t!y>'some of the elements which were thrust into the 
miracle-plays, when the dramatic genius ofthe people, rude 
as it may have been, could no longer be restrained, and 
unconsciously strove to make the religious plays hold the 
mirror up to nature. And when I come to Shakespeare I 
feel that the clash of arms, the battles, the warlike proces- 
sions, belong by right of blood and ancestry to the sword- 
dance of Odin. 

The facility with which folk-drama became combined 
with the literary drama is explainable by the fact of their 
common origin. The combination was of crude and un- 
developed dramatic elements, existing in the body of the 
national tradition, with the reflected drama of classical 
Greece and Rome, both having a common origin, the Northern 
undeveloped, the Southern developed. In this sense English 
drama has carried on the spirit ofthe ancient classical 

Digitized by 


Folk' Drama. 323 

drama from the point of decadence. If it were necessary to 
demonstrate that the early Elizabethan dramatic writers 
reflected the ancient classic literature, it could be done by 
enumerating the plays, when it would appear that an over- 
whelming proportion of them were taken from this source. 
But the way in which the native elements entered into this 
reflected drama is equally clear — the combination of the 
folk-drama with the literary. In Shakespeare himself it is 
peculiarly evident ; and the latter-day German appreciation 
of Shakespeare is explainable on this ground. He is full of 
the Teutonic spirit, as well as of the Southern culture ; and 
his power rests upon his extraordinary educational influence. 
He not only poetised the national history ; he interpreted 
to his nation the higher mental furniture of another branch 
of the same race. He personifies in himself the union of 
folk-drama with the literary drama. 

As in the case of folk-tales, so with folk-drama, the tra- 
ditional becomes absorbed by the literary, and the tradi- 
tional goes on just the same, in obedience to the laws of its 
existence, splitting up, taking fresh colour, changing and 
yet retaining identity; and by-and-bye comes the com- 
mentator, who, noting the resemblances to the literary form 
would, if he could, dismiss these poor honest waifs and 
strays as mere limbs of literary origin. Because all that 
was artistically possible in folk-drama became absorbed in 
the literary drama, we will not feel less, but more, interest 
in these traditionary contributions to a noble art By way 
of taking a nearer view of folk-drama, let us examine one 
of the chief channels by which the traditions flowed. 

The Gilds were a thoroughly Saxon institution. Dr. E. 
W. Wilda, in his Das Gildenwesen in Mittelalter^ ascribes 
their origin to the sacrificial feasts of the Teutonic peoples. 
Lappenberg adopts the same view, which is supported also 
by Thorpe in his Diplomatarium Anglicum, Grimm has 
the following on the origin of the word " Gild": " Gildan, 
keltan among its many meanings, has also to do with 
worship and sacrifice ; it was from the old sacrificial ban- 

Y 2 

Digitized by 


3^4 Folk-Drama. 

quets that our guilds took their name." Dr. Lujo Brentano, 
in his Essay on the History and Development of Gilds, claims 
that the first gilds were formed on the basis of the family, 
and that they were sacrificial unions, from which later on 
the religious gilds were developed for association in prayer 
and good works. Mr. Tpulmin Smith denies the origin in 
pagan sacrificial feasts ; but on the antiquity of English 
gilds he is emphatic He says : ** English Gilds, as a system 
of widespread practical institutions, are older than any 
kings of England. They are told of in the books that con- 
tain the oldest relics of English laws. The old laws of 
King Alfred, of King Ina, of King Athelstan, of King 
Henry I, reproduce still older laws in which the universal 
existence of Gilds is treated as a matter of well-known fact, 
and in which it is taken to be a matter of course that every- 
one belonged to some Gild." An origin that looks back 
from the time of Alfred is practically speaking Teutonic or 
Scandinavian ; and here we have a channel from which the 
traditions of sacrificial rites flowed with less interruption 
than where the folk were more immediately under priestly 
influence. It is true that the religious character of the 
gilds changed from pagan to Christian, and as Christian 
became ultimately associated with the miracle-plays ; but 
the point is the independence belonging to an aggregation of 
individuals, organised according to tradition, as an agency 
for maintaining tradition. In his interesting little book on 
Stratford-on-Avon, Mr. Lee has the following passage, 
which describes these institutions when they had become 
clearly English as distinct from Teutonic : — 

" The early English guilds must not be confounded with the 
modem survival in the City of London. The guilds owed their 
origin to popular religious observances, and developed into insti- 
tutions of local self-help. They were societies at once religious 
and friendly, * collected for the love of God and our soul's need*. 
Members of both sexes — and the women were almost as numerous 
as the men — were admitted on payment of a small annual subscrip- 

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Folk'Dranta. 325 

tion. This primarily secured for them the performances of certain 
religious rites, which were more valued than life itself. While the 
members lived, but more especially after their death, lighted 
tapers were duly distributed in their behalf, before the altars of 
the Virgin and of their patron saints in the parish church. A 
poor man in the Middle Ages found it very difficult, without the 
intervention of the guilds, to keep this road to salvation always 
open. Relief of the poor and of necessitous members also formed 
part of the guild's objects, and gifts were frequently awarded to 
members anxious to make pilgrimage to Canterbury, and at times 
the spinster members received dowries from the association. The 
regulation which compelled the members to attend the funeral of 
any of their fellows united them among themselves in close bonds 
of intimacy. 

" But the social spirit was mainly fostered by a great annual 
meeting. On that occasion all members were expected to attend 
in special uniform. With banners flying, they marched in pro- 
cession to church, anA subsequently sat down together to a 
liberal feast. The guilds were strictly lay associations. Priests, 
in many towns, were excluded from them, and where they were 
admitted held no more prominent place than the laymen. The 
guilds employed mass priests to celebrate their religious services, 
but they were the paid servants of the fraternity. Every member 
was expected to leave at his death as much property as he could 
spare to the guilds, and thus in course of time they became 
wealthy corporations. They all were governed by their own 
elected officers — wardens, aldermen, beadles, and clerks, and a 
common council formed of their representatives kept watch over 
their property and rights." 

That shows a perfectly independent organisation, and if 
such an organisation undertook the performance of miracle- 
plays, it was at no priestly dictation. The gradation was 
perfectly natural, by which traditionary rites were replaced 
by miracle-plays on the occasions of the gild festivals. 
And the body of tradition thus sheltered under the wing 
of the gilds far into the mediaeval period, was consider- 
able ; nor did it become wholly displaced or absorbed, 
but has continued a slowly diminishing quantity ever 

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326 Folk-Drama. 

since. This was the channel by which a lai^e part of 
English folk-drama kept an independent existence. 

Thus it is we must look to municipal and local custom 
and observance for traditions of dramatic import We 
find that at Coventry, one of the chief homes of the 
miracle-play, on the occasions of royal visits to the city, 
was exhibited, among other pageants, the pageant of " St 
George", which was secular and legendary in character. 
The word pageant seems to have undergone a good deal 
of modification in its application and meaning — from being 
employed to describe the performance itself, it came to be 
applied to the movable stage on which miracle-plays were 
presented, and its use appears to have some connection 
with the dissociation of the miracle-plays from the churches 
where they were originally performed. This transition 
probably did not escape Warton, and he points out that 
the pageants, which on civil occasions derived great part 
of their decorations and characters from historical fact, 
were a nearer approximation to the regular drama than 
the mysteries. Mysteries and miracle-plays, and pageants 
consisting of the dramatic presentation of legendary 
subjects, seem to have alternated as occasion served or 
suggested. Let us take a particular town — Leicester. 
Here the religious gilds flourished ; miracle-plays were 
performed, and pageants were presented. In this town 
one of the religious gilds was dedicated to St George, 
the patron saint of England, whose festival is on the 23rd 
April, and hence at Leicester the popular celebrations in 
honour of St George were kept up with remarkable vigfour. 
Now I am not going to identify St George, or analyse 
the legend ; I am not even at this moment going to inquire 
whether the Saint has been fastened upon a legend that 
came here with our Teutonic or Scandinavian fathers. 
But I find the celebrations in his honour at Leicester to be 
entirely secular, popular, organised by a gild, and unin- 
fluenced by ecclesiasticism. The same celebrations took 
ce every year at Stratford-on-Avon, and in this con- 

Digitized by 


Folk' Drama. 327 

nection it is curious to note the date of the festival of St. 
George, the 23rd April, Shakespeare's birthday. That 
day used to be a general holiday in Stratford in the Middle 
Ages, as it ought to be now for a prouder cause. There 
are some notices of these celebrations at Leicester, at 
Stratford, at London, and elsewhere, which 1 will briefly 
refer to, in order that we may note the elements of the 
legend and their dramatic presentation. 

In 141 6, at Windsor, a performance took place before 
the Emperor Sigismund and Henry V, divided into three 
parts, first, " the armyng of Seint Georgfe, and an Angel 
doyng on his spores" [spurs] ; secondly, " Saint George 
ridyng and fightyng with the dragon, with his spear in his 
hand"; and thirdly, " a castell, and Saint George and the 
Kynge's daughter ledyng the lambe in at the castel gates." 
No speeches are mentioned ; probably it was all panto- 
mime, as we should say now, the original meaning of the 
word drama having become changed. But assuredly a 
very pretty spectacle, in the year after Agincourt, where, 
doubtless, many a spirited chaise was made in the name 
of the English saint, as Shakespeare makes the King 
invoke him in Henry V, before Harfleur : 

" Upon this charge 
Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George I" 

This was a royal affair ; we will glance at some local 
celebrations. It is to be noted, by the way, that the 
spectacles of St George were invariably arranged in con- 
nection with a well or water-conduit. In a description of 
the reception of Prince Edward at Coventry in 1474, 
printed in Sharpens C<rventry Mysteries^ among various 
pageants, and speeches, and minstrelsy, the following 
occurs : " Upon the Condite in the Crosse Chepyng was 
seint George armed and Kynges dought' knelyng afore 
hym w* a lambe and the fader and the moder beying in 
a toure a boven beholdyng seint George savyng their 
dought' from the dragon. And the Condite rennying wine 

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328 Folk-Drama. 

in iiij places and mynstralsey of Oi^an pleyinge and seint 
Geoi^e havying this speche under wrytten " 

In proof of the legend having been the subject of a 
folk-play, it is to be noted that at the performance of 
the play of "St George" at Basingboume in 1511, John 
Hobard, a brotherhood priest, received 2j. &/. for " bear- 
ing the book", or, in other words, for filling the office of 
prompter (J. P. Collier, Hist, Dram, Poet.). Throsby, 
the historian of Leicester, describes the "Riding of the 
George" as "the grandest solemnity of the town". It was 
a point of honour with the Gild of St Geoi^e in Leicester 
to maintain the custom. An Act of the Corporation 
Common Hall, passed in 1467, made it incumbent on all 
the inhabitants to attend the mayor " for the Riding of the 
George." Penalties were inflicted by the Corporation upon 
itself, or its officers, for failure to uphold the ceremony. 
In 1523 it was ordered by the Common Hall that whoever 
should be master of St George's Gild, " should cause the 
George to be ridden, according to the old ancient custom^ 
that is to say, between St George's day and Whitsunday." 
In case of neglect a penalty of five pounds was to be 
inflicted; and if the mayor and chamberlains failed to 
enforce it, they were to be fined respectively 26s. &/. and 
dr. id. From an entry in the Chamberlain's Account in 
1536, of an item "for dressing of the dragon", we may 
infer that the Leicester ceremony was of the usual kind, 
although it is always quaintly styled " the Riding of the 
George". There was a Gild of St George at Norwich, and 
the pageant of "St George and the Dragon" always accom- 
panied the mayor and corporation in their processions. 

Passing now from the dramatised versions of the legend 
of St George and the Dragon, let us briefly review another 
folk-drama, the Robin Hood play. This play, which is 
printed in Gutch's Robin Hood, is the direct outcome of the 
May Games, When we survey the early English celebra- 
tion of the great spring festival we become already con- 
scious of resemblances to the folk-lore of other races ; the 

Digitized by 


Folk' Drama. 329 

May-pole, as the May-tree, may be claimed as the Celtic 
variant of the world-tree, an Eastern legend, which again 
has been identified with the ash Ygdrasill ; and the original 
of the most interesting personage of the May game or play 
may be denied to the North and ascribed to the Southern 
goddess Flora, who by this supposition was brought hither 
by the early missionaries. But that the spring festival was 
celebrated independently by the Northern peoples there can 
be no doubt 

In connection with the popular custom of celebrating the 
strife between winter and summer— common to both 
Teuton and Celt — Grimm says : 

" I hope I have proved the antiquity and significance of the 
conceptions of Summer and Winter, but there is one point I wish 
to dwell upon more minutely. The dressing-up of the two 
champions in foliage and flowers^ in straw and moss^ the dialogue 
that probably passed between them, the accompanying chorus 
of spectators, all exhibit the first rude shifts of dramatic art, and 
a history of the German stage ought to begin with such perform- 
ances. The wrappage of leaves represents the stage-dress and 
masks of a later time. Once before (p. 594), in the solemn 
procession for rain, we saw such leafy garb. Popular custom 
exhibits a number of variations, having preserved one fragment 
here and another there, of the original whole.'* (Grimm's 
Teutonic Mythology^ ii, 784.) 

In the worship and ritual of Odin and in the celebrations 
of the seasons lie the beginnings of our Northern drama ; 
and there is no call to regard the devious stream of tradi- 
tion from this source in the spirit that denies, or with 
wilful scepticism. The adaptive power of tradition is a 
source of difficulty to the student, but it is that which 
gives its peculiar value to tradition. Robin Hood became 
King of the May, a genuine English product; and the 
Queen of the May became indiflferently. Maid Marian, 
lady, or queen. The king and queen, or lord and lady, 
presided over the May games. They led the processions. 
Spoken words were introduced ; Friar Tuck and other 

Digitized by 


330 Folk-Drama. 

characters were added, and so the Robin Hood play was 
evolved. A genuine folk-play, which, by the way, has 
been the theme of the libretto of a recent comic opera. 

As to the national character of this folk-play, I have no 
wish to exaggerate, but I fancy there is hardly a district in 
England where it was unknown. Nearly all the parochial 
records and accounts contain notices of it It is frequently 
described as the King Play or the King Game, or the Game 
of King and Queen. One of the earliest notices I know of 
is contained in the 38th Canon of the Council of Worcester, 
held in 1240, where, in reference to the fact that Robin 
Hood, outlaw as he was, found sanctuary within the church, 
clergymen, after being forbidden to join in disreputable 
games or dancings, or to play at dice, are enjoined that 
they shall not allow games of King and Queen to be acted. 
In Machyn's Diary, under date 24th June 1559, we read : 
" There was a May-game, with a giant, and drums, and guns, 
and the ix worthies, with speeches ; and then Saint George 
and the Dragon, the morris-dance, and after Robin Hood, 
and Little John, and Maid Marion, and friar Tuck, and they 
had speeches, round about London. The xxv'** day of 
June the same May-game went unto the palace at Green- 
wich, playing afore the Queen and Council." The reference 
to the Nine Worthies " with speeches", is to the Pageant of 
" The ix Worthys and King Arthur'*, which is recorded as 
having been performed at Coventry on the occasion of the 
visit to that town of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry 
VII, in 1498 ; and the reference to Robin Hood and his 
fellows " with speeches" is to the " Robin Hood" play. 

It is noticeable here that the combination of various 
distinct plays or pageants are spoken of as a " May Game". 
And the same entertainment was often given at Easter and 
Whitsuntide. Other plays which occasionally figured in 
the programme were the pageant of the " Three Kings of 
Cologne", and the pageant of the "Lord of Misrule", 
although this latter was more frequently represented at 

Digitized by 


Folk-Dra7na, 331 

Perhaps it was from this custom of acting several 
pageants, or plays, on the same occasion that they lost indi- 
viduality at a later date. Another cause of confusion never 
to be lost sight of, was the break of continuity under the 
Puritan domination. The various traditional plays which, 
roughly speaking, have been recorded during the past 1 50 
years are certainly mixed in character. These are almost 
always associated with Christmas. I will not now enter 
upon a detailed analysis of these plays, generally known as 
Mummers' Plays, some of which have been printed in the 
Record and Journal of the Folk-lore Society. In the 
Cornish version we have St. George and the Dragon and 
the King of Egypt's Daughter ; in all of them we have St 
George, in most of them the Dragon figures. We may 
safely conclude that the body of these traditional plays is 
derived from the pageant of "St. George and the Dragon"; 
and the Turkish Knight, who invariably figures in the plays 
and fights with St. George, may have been introduced after 
the Crusades, as is generally supposed. The Doctor, who 
heals the combatants when they are supposed to be slain 
in the fights that always take place, was no doubt origin- 
ally a magician, and the long staff which he usually carries 
supports that conclusion. For a long time I could not see 
the application of the rhyme in Scott's Marmion — 

** Who lists may in their Mumming see 
Traces of ancient mystery." 

But a version printed by Halliwell in The ArchtBologisty 
which I have now made acquaintance with, contains the 
character of Judas, no doubt taken from the mysteries. 
He enters saying : 

" Here comes in Judas — Judas is my name. 
Come drop some silver in the bag — it was for that I came." 

There is a reference, at the beginning of this play, to this 
Feast of Fools. In many versions, St. George became 
Prince George, or King George, in compliment to our 

Digitized by 


332 Folk- Drama, 

Hanover sovereigjns. In this particular version, both occur 
— St George, and Prince George. A title is given to this 
piece, apparently taken from an old black-letter edition of 
the play : " Christmas ; his Pageant Play, or Mysterie, of 
St. George, as played by the Itinerant Actors and Mummers 
in the Courts of the Nobility and Gentry, the Coll^jes, in 
the halls of the ancient Corporations and Guild Merchants, 
and in Public Hostelries and Taverns." 

Another version, which may not be known to the readers 
of FOLK-LORE, is the mummer-play performed at St Mary 
Bourne, Hants, printed by Mr. Stevens in his Parockial 
History of St Mary Bourne^ 1888. The characters are: 
Old Father Christmas, Mince Pie, A Turkish Knight, St 
George, An Italian Doctor, Little John. The last, " Little 
John", was a character in the Robin Hood play. He is 
introduced, as Judas was in the version above referred to, 
to collect the money. 

The piece entitle " The Morrice Dancers at Revesby" 
which was edited by me and printed in vol. vii of the 
Folk-lore Journal, is the most strangely composite piece of 
folk-drama I have yet encountered. The essential part of 
it, the most ancient, the part to which the dialogue may 
have been fitted from recollections of a mummer's play, is 
the various dances, which are dances in concert, a fact 
which raises a presumption of integrity as to their descent 
It is an amalgam of the rites of the Plough Monday 
festival and a Christmas mumming-play, a thing of later 
date. But the element of the plough, with the element of 
the sword-dance and the chorus of swords, are Teutonic 
remnants of the worship of the goddess Frieg. One of 
the characters of the piece is called " the Fool", and the 
others tell him he must die. The Fool kneelsdown, and 
they all place their swords about his neck. Then there is 
some parleying, chiefly by the Fool, who makes a ridiculous 
will. This is followed by action, for which the direction 
is : " Then they draw their swords, and the Fool falls on 
thp floor, and the Dancers walk once round the Fool, and 

Digitized by 


Folk-Drama. 333 

Pickle Herring [one of the characters] stamps with his 
foot, and the Fool rises on his knees again." A little 
more parleying, and "Then the Dancers, putting their 
swords round the Fool's neck again," the Fool proceeds to 
make further absurd bequests. The same kind of thing is 
repeated, with scraps of song and dialogue between the 
placing of swords about the Fool and the threats that he 
is to die. This action, taken in connection with the title 
of the piece, " The Plow Boys or Morris Dancers," esta- 
blishes it as a Teutonic tradition — a Lincolnshire variant of 
the combination of the sword-dance with the " Fool Plough" 
festival which was peculiar to the northern counties — as 
the following passage from Grimm will show : — 

^^ Frigg^ the daughter of Fiorgynn, as consort of the highest 
god, takes rank above all other goddesses : she knows the fates 
of men, is consulted by Odinn, administers oaths, handmaids 
fulfil her hest, she presides over marriages^ and her aid is implored 
by the childless; hence hionagras is also called Friggjargras, 
We may remember those maidens yet unmarried being yoked to 
the plough of the goddess whose commands they had too long 
defied. In some parts of Northern England, in Yorkshire, 
especially Hallamshire, popular customs show remnants of the 
worship of Frieg. In the neighbourhood of Dent, at certain 
seasons of the year, especially autumn, the country folk hold 
a procession and perform old dances, one called the giant's 
dance : the leading giant they name Woden^ and his wife Frigga^ 
the principal action of the play consisting in two swords being 
swung and clashed together about the neck of a boy without 
hurting him."^ 

In this case, perhaps, the importance of the action of the 
piece is so clear that it need not be insisted upon. But in 
all folk-drama it is the same. What is of first conse- 
quence is the action and the characters represented ; the 

* Communicated by J. M. Kemble, from the mouth of "an old 
Yorkshireman". I account for the sword by the ancient use of that 
weapon at weddings. 

Digitized by 



334 Folk-Drama. 

diak^ue is of secondary importance altogether. Those of 
my hearers who have seen these traditionary plays per- 
formed, cannot fail to have remarked the unalterable 
adherence to custom and tradition by the actors ; not a 
step is allowed to be changed, not a gesture. A folk-play 
as performed by one generation is an exact reproduction 
of the play as performed in the previous generation. Very 
often the performers themselves are obviously oblivious of 
the meaning of their gestures and words ; old words are 
used, which are quite obsolete in the dialect of the district; 
actions are rendered with a studious adherence to tradition, 
but sometimes a little removed from the exact part of the 
dialogue to which they belong, and when that happens the 
solemnity of the actors appears a little grotesque. But 
what is important for us to note, is the fact that that 
permanence of traditional acting gives us something far 
older in these folk-dramas than the dialogue, which in 
most cases appears to belong to the seventeenth century. 
So, too, with regard to the popular dances. They are all 
called, almost without exception, " Morris Dances". But, 
as in the piece I have been alluding to — ** The Morrice 
Dancers at Revesby*' — the dance is the sword-dance, or 
variants of it, or popular traditional dances, to which 
something of the Morisco became added, just as the folk- 
plays took in allusions to the Crusades, and in modem 
times turned St Geoi^e into Prince George. 

I hope in a future paper to present the results of an 
analysis of English traditional plays, or folk-plays, side by 
side with an analysis of the pre-Shakespearean drama, on 
the lines laid down in the present paper. This will yield 
a two-fold contribution to folk-lore and the drama respect- 
ively ; and I am not without hope that collectors of folk- 
lore, on the one hand, may be induced to look to this 
department of the subject with increased interest, while, on 
the other, literary students may be convinced of the im- 
portance of traditionary beginnings. Let it be understood 
that the aim is to reconstruct from tradition the embryo on 

Digitized by 


Folk-Drama. 335 

which the miracle-play was grafted ; let the prior import- 
ance of dramatic action, of which so much has passed away 
without record, not be lost sight of, and folk-lore may 
bring its light to bear on yet another of the branches of 

T. Fairman Ordish. 

Digitized by 




DURING previous furloughs in England — from twelve 
to eight years ago — I had the pleasure of contribut- 
ing several papers on Madagascar folk-lore to the Record^ 
and to the Journal of this society, my latest contributions 
being a series of articles on "The Oratory, Songs, Legends, 
and Folk-tales of the Malagasy",* with translations of 
numerous specimens of these productions of the native 
mind. In these papers a few references were made to 
Malagasy superstitions about the birds of their country ; 
but as I have recently paid some attention to Madagascar 
ornithology, and have written several articles on the subject 
for an annual publication which I have edited for several 
years past, and which is printed at Antananarivo, the 
capital of the island,* I have collected together much addi- 
tional information on the folk-lore of Malagasy birds. My 
papers will be given in full, with further additions, in the 
quarterly numbers of the Ibis for this year ; but I thought 
it might be interesting to select from them what is most 
noteworthy as regards the bird-lore of the people, including 
the legends, popular notions, and proverbs relating to this 
subject, together with a few references to the very signifi- 
cant native names for many of the birds of Madagascar. I 
shall now proceed to do this, noticing the birds in the order 
of their present classification by the best ornithologists, 
especially that followed by Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, F.Z.S. 

* See " Malagasy Folk-lore and Popular Superstitions", Folk-Ion 
Record^ 1879 1 PP- 19-46. '' Some Additional Folk-lore from Mada- 
gascar", ibid,^ 1881 ; pp. 45-51. 

* See Folk' hre Journal, Jan.-Nov. 1883 ; p. 109. 

' The Antananarivo Annual and Madagascar Magazines edited 
by Rev. J. Sibree, F.R.G.S., and Rev. R. Baron, F.L.S., F.G.S. ; Nos. 
xiii (1889) and xiv (1890). 

Digitized by 


The Folk' lore of Malagasy Birds. ^^Vl 

Before, however, giving the results of my researches on 
these various points, I will venture to indicate in half-a- 
dozen sentences what it is that gives great interest to the 
study of Madagascar ornithology. 

The avi-fauna of the island comprises, as at present ascer- 
tained, about 240 species, including sea-birds, among which 
there are naturally numerous wide-ranging forms common 
to many other countries ; and among these latter there is, 
of course, little that is peculiar or of any special interest. 
It is among the land-birds proper, numbering 150 species — 
and omitting many shore and water birds, as well as several 
of powerful flight and therefore of wide distribution — that 
we find some of those peculiar and isolated types of bird 
which, as Mr. Alfred R. Wallace remarks, " speak to us 
plainly of enormous antiquity, of long-continued isolation, 
and not less plainly of a lost .... continental island 
[or archipelago of large islands], in which so many, and 
various, and peculiarly organised creatures could have been 
gradually developed in a connected fauna, of which we have 
here but the fragmentary remains". 

Madagascar possesses a considerable number of genera 
and species of birds peculiar to itself; 35 genera and 129 
species, distributed among 55 families, one of which is also 
peculiar and confined to the island. The result of a detailed 
study of the Malagasy avi-fauna is, says M. Grandidier, 
"that it has a very specialised character, and that, not- 
withstanding the small distance which separates Madagas- 
car from the African continent, its affinities are much 
greater with the extreme East than with Africa ; since, if 
we leave on one side all the birds of powerful flight, there 
are about twice as many more allied to Oriental than to 
African species, besides which, the greater part of the 
characteristic African genera are entirely wanting." 

Madagascar is indeed a kind of museum of antiquities 
as regards its animal life as a whole, and this is eminently 
the case wHh respect to many of its birds. For, while on 
the continents innumerable ancient forms of life have 

VOL. II. z 

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338 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

become extinct, either from changes of climate, or from the 
introduction of other and more powerful forms, better fitted 
to hold their own in the struggle for existence, here, in this 
great island, on the contrary, freed from the incursion of 
other creatures, they have maintained their ground, and thus 
are still living witnesses to a very antique fauna, extinct 
everywhere else. And so it comes to pass that many 
Malagasy birds stand alone, isolated from all other living 
forms, and have thus been a puzzle to naturalists, being 
extremely difficult to class, so that in some cases a special 
family has had to be formed for their reception. It is not 
that the Madagascar birds are remarkably beautiful or large, 
or striking in appearance — although there are plenty of 
beautiful forms among them — it is the remote affinities of 
many of them which gives such an interest to the avi-fauna 
of the island. 

I. — There are twenty-two species of Rapacious birds 
in Madagascar, the majority being various kinds of hawks, 
kites, and buzzards, but including several owls and two 

The most common bird of this order is the Papdngo, or 
Egyptian Kite {Milvus ^gypitcus), SilsirgG bird of almost 
world-wide distribution, and found all over the island. It 
is the dread and detestation of the country-dwelling Mala- 
gasy, for it swoops down upon their chickens and pigeons 
and is only scared away by their loud cries and execrations. 
From these habits comes one of its provincial names, 
TsifHo/d/to, t.e,, " The-one-who-does-not-ask", but takes 
without saying " By your leave". Several Malagasy proverbs 
refer to the Papingo, eg.y to its rapacity and boldness, in 
the following: "Acting like a kite's claws: not taking 
gently, but greedily" ; and " The wild-cat is weary, for the 
fowl (it was seeking) is carried off by the kite". Occasion- 
ally it seems that it catches more than it can eat, for another 

verb says : " The kite that caught a tortoise : it certainly 
fc, but it did not get much after all." And its occasional 
of locusts is mentioned in this : " Not (like) a little 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 339 

swarm of locusts and afraid of a kite." One of the native 
Hain-thty or " oratorical flourishes" says : " The kite is an 
arrant thief, the crow is blear-eyed, and the brown stork is 
long-necked : all are rogues and abuse one another." 

Another very widely-spread rapacious bird is the little 
lively and noisy Hltsikltsika^ or Kestrel, which is found in 
or about every village, often perched upon the gable 
" horns" of the houses, or even on the extreme point of the 
lightning-conductors. Its widely-spread name is probably 
an imitation of its peculiar querulous cry. Several native 
proverbs refer to the kestrel's quick restless flight and its 
frequent habit of hovering aloft, poised almost motionless, 
or with an occasional quivering of the wings ; and this, as 
it is very like the Malagasy so-called dancing, which consists 
rather of a graceful posturing and movement of the hands 
than of the feet, is also called by the people "dancing" (man- 
dihy). E.g., " The kestrel is at home in dancing, and the 
little-grebe is at home in the water"; " The kestrel is not 
hovering (///. * dancing*) without reason, for there below is 
something (in the shape of prey;"; and again : " Dance, 
O kestrel, that we may also learn (to do it) in harvest-time." 
And its habit of driving away the robber Papingo, but it- 
self appropriating the kite's intended prey, is referred to in 
a proverb applied to one who was expected to be a bene- 
factor, but turns out an oppressor, thus : " He was thought 
to be a kestrel to be honoured (or, to protect the birds), but 
becomes a falcon ( Vbromah^ry) carrying off the chickens." 
Among some tribes, or, perhaps, only certain families, the 
kestrel is a sacred or tabooed bird. M. Pollen says : "Being 
one day hunting in the neighbourhood of An6rontsinga, I 
killed one of these kestrels, when a farmer came to meet us, 
saying that I had committed sacrilege in killing, as he said, 
a sacred bird. He begged me to leave it to him, so that he 
might bury it in a sacred place. I hesitated, except to 
grant him the beak of the kestrel, which had been broken 
by the shot. The good man, accompanied by a slave 
carrying a load of sugar-cane, and happy to take away 

z 2 

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340 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

any part of the sacred bird, tried to express his gratitude 
by offering me half the load. I have, however, observed 
that this bird is not sacred among the Antankirana, the 
B^tsimisitraka, and other tribes." It seems pretty certain 
that the kestrel was formerly worshipped, and a small piece 
of the legs or wings or body was given by the diviners to 
be used as a charm, or presented as a sort of sacrifice when 
praying to the ody^ or idol. Many of the ignorant Malagasy 
still venerate the bird and^ make supplication to it 

Another noticeable Malagasy hawk, although much less 
common than the two previously mentioned ones, is the 
Vbroma/iiry^ or Lesser Falcon, a small but very courage- 
ous bird, which has long attracted the attention of the 
Malagasy for its swiftness and fearlessness. Its native 
name, which means "Powerful bird", is also that of the 
tribe of Hova Malagasy who inhabit the capital and its 
near neighbourhood ; and probably from that circumstance 
this falcon has been adopted as a kind of crest or emblem 
by the central Government, and it is engraved on some of 
the official seals. Large metal figures of a bird, popularly 
supposed to be this V6romah^ry, are fixed on the ridge of 
the roofs of the two largest royal palaces, and also over 
the palace gateway. One of the proverbs referring to this 
falcon has already been quoted. Another says : " Falcon's 
eggs on the face of the cliff: that which screams out is its 

The voracious tearing up of their prey is noticed in the 
names given to several of the Malagasy hawks, those in 
which the words Firdsa or Fandrdsa^ the "Tearer" or 
" Divider", or, more freely, the " Butcher", appear either in 
these simple forms or combined with other words. This 
is the name of the Madagascar Sparrow-Hawk, which is 
also called Vandraskibo, " Quail-eater". Another hawk is 
termed Pariafbdy, " Disperser-of-cardinal-birds", as it feeds 
largely on these brightly-coloured little birds; and it is 
also named -^w/<?/«^i^^/^Aa«/-^id^, "Quails'-head -breaker". 
Fandrdsaldmbo^ " Wild-boar-butcher", is the name of other 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 341 

hawks. Others, again, are known by the name of Hindry 
or Fanlndry^ words derived from roots meaning " to press 
down", "to pounce on", and doubtless referring to their 
swooping down upon their prey. The long pinions of the 
Grey Hobby, projecting even beyond the tail, are noticed 
in its name of Lavelatra, i.e., " Long-wings". These birds 
appear in Madagascar only in the rainy season, coming 
from Africa in pursuit of the clouds of locusts which 
frequently cross the Mozambique Channel, and on which 
they principally feed. Their flight is rapid, like that of 
a swallow, and they may be seen pursuing the locusts as 
the swallows do gnats. A Sctkaliva name of this bird is 
Tsiasdra, i.e., " Not-found-in-the-dry-season". It will be 
seen that this group of rapacious birds presents good 
examples of the Malagasy power of giving striking and 
appropriate names to the living creatures of their country. 

Two species of eagle are found in Madagascar, of one 
of which, the Ankody, a fishing or sea eagle, much that 
is interesting has been observed as regards its habits ; but 
I know of nothing yet as to any native superstitions con- 
nected with it, as the western tribes are still little known 
and this bird is only found on the west side of the island. 

Six or seven species of owl are known in Madagascar 
two of which, the Scops and the Barn Owl, are very 
plentiful. The last mentioned appears to be exactly iden- 
tical with the almost world-wide bird of that name. As 
among most other peoples, the owl is regarded by the 
Malagasy as a bird of ill-omen ; they call it Vbrondblo, i.e., 
" Spirit-bird", or " Ghost-bird", thinking it an embodiment 
of the spirits of the wicked ; and when its startling screech 
is heard in the night, they believe it to be a presage of 
misfortune to someone. There are numerous fables and 
stories about the owl, illustrating the popular dread of and 
dislike to the bird. M. Grandidier says the provincial 
name of the Scops Owl, Athroko, means " I am going to 
say" (more exactly, " to point out"), and that some Mala- 
gasy consider it as a menace when they hear it Like the 

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342 The Folk lore of Malagasy^ Birds, 

owls in all other parts of the world, the Madagascar 
species are really public benefactors, by keeping down the 
large numbers of rats and mice; but their nocturnal 
habits, their large staring eyes, the "uncanny" ear-like 
feathers of some, and especially their unearthly screech, 
have all combined to make them objects of dread. These 
and other popular notions, as well as observation as to the 
habits of the bird, are shown in the following proverbs : 
" Don't act like an owl : sulky in another person's house" ; 
"A wild-cat laughing at an owl: the one that creeps 
ridicules the one that flies." (Wild-cats — Kary — are as 
much objects of dislike as owls, and are frequently classed 
with them by the Malagasy.) And again : " Bent down 
in grief and dejection, although nothing has befallen you, 
like an owl" ; " It is the tufted umber {Scopus umbrettd) 
that finishes a nest, but it is the owl who swells out and 
gives itself airs" ; " An owl appearing in the daytime, so 
all who see it swoop down upon it." 

The last-mentioned proverb is illustrated by the follow- 
ing Malagasy fable : — 

'* Once upon a time, they say, all the birds of the air assembled 
and agreed to choose one of their number to be king and leader ; 
but the owl, it is said, did not come, for his mate chanced to be 
silting just then. So all the birds agreed together that anyone 
who should see the owl, and did not attack him, should be 
expelled the community and be accounted an enemy. And that 
is why the owl does not %o about in the daytime, but only at 
night ; for if any birds see him, they all set upon him to beat 

"And the falcon also, it is said, wanted to be king, and 
appointed himself, but the rest did not agree to it ; so he left all 
his companions and became their enemy. So if the falcon sees 
any other bird^ he carries it off forthwith, because it is his enemy ; 
and so the birds chose one of themselves to be their king. And 
their choice fell on the fork-tailed shrike i^Dicrurus forficatus^ L.), 
because of his good behaviour and his long crest, and also on 
account of his many-toned voice. 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 343 

"And that, they say, is why this shrike is considered by the 
people to be king of the birds." 

II. — The second Order of birds (PlCARl^E) comprises 
those which in sonie points resenible the woodpeckers in 
their habits, although the woodpeckers proper have no 
representative in Madagascar. Of the seven families of 
the first sub-order, the Climbing-birds, two only are re- 
presented in the island, viz., the Parrots and the Cuckoos, 
as to each of which there are some interesting points to be 
noted. The two Madagascar species of parrot have none 
of those brilliant tints which adorn many of this family of 
birds in other parts of the tropics, one being dark-grey in 
colour and the other slaty black. A native proverb, whose 
" moraP' is to reprove a too easy-going, changeable dispo- 
sition, speaks of " a parrot seeking fruit in the forest : he 
finds a luscious morsel here, but in an instant is off to get 
another there." The Grey Parrot, M. Grandidier says, is 
fMyy or sacred, to one of the royal families of the V^zo 
Sikalctva, and he gives the following story as accounting 
for the veneration in which they hold it : — 

" L^himerisa, King of Fiherfenana, told me that one of his 
ancestors was one day walking alone in one of his manioc plan- 
tations at some distance from the royal village, when he was 
surprised by a band of robbers on a marauding expedition from 
the B^a country. They did not know the king, who had nothing 
in his appearance or dress to denote his rank. But seeing his 
thick chain of gold gleaming under the knobs of hair covered 
with grease and white clay, they took him unawares, speared him, 
and possessing themselves of the coveted prize, threw the body 
into a hastily dug grave, and decamped. How long he remained 
there he could not tell; but he was not dead, only seriously 
wounded ; and on recovering consciousness, and seeing nothing 
but darkness around him, and feeling the earth pressing heavily 
on his chest, he believed himself in the other world. He was in 
profound distress ; when suddenly he seemed to hear shrill piercing 
cries, as if a flock of parrots had passed over his head. He 

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344 ^^^ Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

listened attentively; the cries which met his ears were approaching 
nearer. Doubtless a babbling and restless crowd of them was 
perched on a neighbouring tree. * But there are no parrots in 
the other world,* thought our hero; *I am not dead !' He took 
courage, and freeing himself by a tremendous effort from the 
layer of earth which covered his body, he perceived the bright 
shining of the sun, in whose rays the parrots were sporting in the 
trees around him. Hope revived within him, and he made his 
way, not without difficulty, to his village, where, after the needful 
care and nursing, he eventually recovered strength. In thank- 
fulness to the birds whose cries had roused him from his torpor, 
and given him courage to free himself from his tomb, he solemnly 
vowed for himself and his descendants to the latest generation, 
that they would never kill parrots." 

Most of the names by which these birds are knovm 
appear to be imitative of their harsh cry ; while some of 
those by which the Madagascar Parrakeet is known mean 
" degenerated", or " become small", the people apparently 
holding the strange notion that it is a dwarfed species of 

There are no less than fourteen species of Cuckoo found 
in Madagascar, of which twelve belong to a genus, Catia^ 
peculiar to the island, and are among those numerous birds 
which give a special character to its avi-fauna. Of the 
Blue Coua, the people say that when its cry is heard the 
day will be wet and drizzly. Several of these birds' names 
are descriptive of their habits, as " Road-crosser", "Climber", 
and " Shell-breaker". 

The most common bird of this family is the Kankafotra^ 
or Grey-headed Cuckoo, which comes up into the higher 
interior region as the warm season approaches, and its 
monotonous but not unpleasing cry of kow-kow, kow-kow^ 
may be heard wherever there are trees, all day long. The 
Malagasy make its arrival a signal for clearing their ground 
for planting the later crop of rice; in some native Hain- 
thty or "oratorical adornments" the Kankifotra is said to 
manbva ny taona, />., " to change", or rather, " to announce 

Digitized by 


The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds, 345 

the change of the year". Its various names seem to be all 
more or less descriptive of its note, like the name of our 
English species of cuckoo. This bird has the same habit 
as its European cousin, of laying its eggs in other birds' 
nests, the intruder when hatched pushing the young of the 
proper owner out of the nest. Several children's songs 
refer to the cuckoo and its injuring other birds, especially 
a species of Fan-tailed Warbler {jCisticola ntadagascar- 
iensis). Here is an example : — 

" Kao-kao, Kafotra, " Kao-kao, Cuckoo, 

Maty Ratsintsina ; Dead is Mr. Warbler ; 

Kao-kao^ Kafotra^' Kao-kao, Cuckoo, 

Levoko omaly ; I buried him yesterday; 

Kao-kao^ Kafotra^ Kao-kao, Cuckoo, 

Maimbo sahady^ He smells already." 

The remaining bird of this group, the Tolbho or Lark- 
heeled Cuckoo, utters a mellow, flute-like whistle, which 
consists of several notes running down the scale. This 
bird is considered as fddy, tabooed or sacred, by one of 
the principal tribes of M^nab^ (W. Coast). M. Grandidier 
says that, having on one occasion shot one of these birds, 
he was obliged, in order not to grieve the family of the 
chief, to leave the body of the cuckoo, which was imme- 
diately reverently buried. The reason of the extreme 
respect in which these Sikalavel hold the Tol6ho is as 
follows : " One of their ancestors, who was fearlessly 
swimming across the river Tsijob6nina, was caught on the 
way by a crocodile. It is well known that these fearful 
reptiles do not devour their prey on the shore, but carry it 
to their lurking-places under or close to the water, so that 
it may become half putrid before being eaten there. Our 
hero was carried, quite senseless, to a large hole in the 
bank of the stream, which served as the habitual retreat 
of the monster, and which the ebbing tide had left partly 
dry. It was from this fortunate chance that the victim's 
head was left just above the surface of the water. Suddenly 

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346 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

he was roused from his torpor by the repeated cry of a 
Tol6ho. Now, we know that this cuckoo chooses damp 
places, and hops about from bush to bush on the river 
banks ; it was then very natural that the loud, mellow notes 
of the Tol6ho should reach the ears of a man who was 
lying only a slight depth below ground. Starting out of 
his lethargy, it was not long before he comprehended that 
he was not buried very deeply, since the notes of the bird 
could be recognised ; and so, without waiting for the return 
of the reptile, which was waiting patiently at the entrance 
of the cave, he used his hands and nails to such effect that 
in a little time he saw daylight. He was saved. In recog- 
nition of the service, all unconscious and involuntary as it 
was, which the bird had rendered to their ancestor, his 
children and grandchildren vowed that neither they nor 
their descendants would ever kill a Tol6ho ; and so," con- 
cludes M. Grandidier, " that is why the Paris Museum has 
one specimen less of the Centropus madagascariensisr 

There is a B^tsimlsiraka saying that if you throw 
a Tol6ho over the house three times, you will be able to 
roast it If you do not do this, they say it all runs to grease, 
and you only get the bare bones. The Malagasy have an 
amusing fable about this bird and the Tdkatra, or Bro\\Ti 
Stork, in which the former is described as invited to 
a feast at the house of the latter ; but he disgracefully re- 
pays the hospitality of the stork by turning him out of 
house and home and taking possession of it himself From 
this fable (which probably embodies some facts as to this 
bird), it would appear that this cuckoo, like the Kankifotra, 
has something of the habits of its European cousin in 
making use of other birds* nests. Perhaps this is also 
referred to in one of its provincial names of Abllimbbrona^ 
ix.y " Base, or Slavish bird". 

The second sub-order of the Picaria^, that of the Wide- 
gaping birds, includes twelve families, half of which are 
represented in Madagascar. 

First to be noticed here of these is the beautiful little 

Digitized by 


The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 347 

purplish-blue Kingfisher, or Vintsy. By some tribes it is 
called Vbrombbla, " Money (or Silver) bird", and some 
native superstitions are connected with it ; thus we find it 
said that "The kingfisher and the black-moth are dead 
people who have been changed into animals. The common 
people reverence them, and say that they are their ancestors." 
And, again, they say, " If you take the nest of a kingfisher, 
you become bald ; if that of a brown stork, you become 
a leper." By the Taim6ro people (S.E. Coast) its name is 
personified by the prefix Ra : Raviutsy, 

Passing by the Hoopoes and Bee-eaters, of which I have 
nothing to remark as regards folk-lore, we come to another 
family, that of the Ground Rollers, birds which live entirely 
on the ground, and only come out at dusk. One of these, 
the Kirimbo Roller, called also Vbrondreo by the Malagasy, 
plays a prominent part in the chants and religious observ- 
ances of the western tribes. It is considered unlucky by 
the people, and it is said that if one of them settles on 
a house, the owners will leave it. There are a number of 
folk-tales in which a strange hairy monster called Itrlmob^ 
plays a prominent part ; and in one of these the V6roridrto 
appears and delivers the heroine from danger, as follows : — 

** After that a Rfeo bird came, repeating its cry, * Rio^ rio^ rloy 
which, when If^a saw, she called to thus : 

" * O yonder R^o, O yonder Reo ! 
Take me to father's well, 
And I will smooth thy tail.' 
"*^^^, tio, rh^ said the bird, *come, let me carry you away, 
my lass, for I feel for the sorrowful.' So the bird took her 
away and placed her on a tree just above the well of her father 
and mother." 

This Roller also figures to advantage in the following 
piece, entitled " Don't send a fool on an errand" : — 

"The weaver-finch (Tsikiritv) longs for, and the sun-bird 
i^Sby) is sorrowful— but don't send the warbler {Fltatra), for 
when he goes into the plantation, he will be off. The weaver- 

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348 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds, 

finch longs for, and the sun-bird is sorrowful — but don't send 
the cardinal-bird {Fhdy\ for when he meets a friend, he will 
forget all about it. The weaver-bird longs for, and the sun- 
bird is sorrowful — so send the roller {Vbrondrh)^ for he will 
both chirp and deliver his message." 

The names of most of these Rollers are descriptive of 
their habits; and the Violet Roller is called VbronHka, 
which would appear to mean "Enemy", probably from 
some superstition about it. 

Of the two other families of Wide-gaping birds found 
in Madagascar, the Goatsuckers and the Swifts, I have only 
to remark that their native names clearly recognise the 
nocturnal habits of the first, which are called Maibridndro^ 
i.e,, "Day-sleepers"; while the Swifts are termed "Day- 
watchmen", " Day-birds", and " Day-bats", in addition to 
their more common name of Tsldintsldina^ />., "Fliers", 
par excellence. 

III. — The third Order into which birds are divided by 
most naturalists is the one which contains that lai^e and 
delightful group of feathered creatures which are the prin- 
cipal songsters of the woods. There are about sixty 
species of PERCHING BIRDS found in Madagascar, the 
greater proportion of them being seen only in the lower 
and wooded regions of the island. The majority of these 
are of somewhat sombre plumage of browns and greys, 
with the exception of the Sun-birds, the Orioles, some of 
the Shrikes, the two species of Paradise-birds, and the 
Weavers. Many of the birds found in Madagascar arc 
by no means deficient in the power of producing sweet 
sounds with considerable variety of note, and there are 
some few whose song has been considered to equal that 
of our European nightingale. 

In several accounts which have been given by travellers 
of their journeys through various parts of the country, 
reference is made to the silence of the woods and to the 
apparent paucity of animal life. Now, while it is quite 


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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 349 

true that the mammalian life of Madagascar is very scanty, 
I think these descriptions have been somewhat exag- 
gerated ; indeed, most of such journeys have been made 
in the cold season, when the woods are comparatively 
silent. But they are certainly not so at all times of the 
year; and during the warmer months, especially from 
November to January, the note of one bird or another is 
never silent all the day long, while some are heard also 
late into the night 

The first bird to be noticed here in the arrangement of 
this Order is the Collared Crow, a very prominent member 
of the Madagascar avi-fauna. This bird, called Goiiika by 
the Malagasy, probably from his harsh croak, has glossy 
black plumage, but with a collar of pure white and a square 
white patch on his breast, so that he has a somewhat 
clerical appearance, and is not nearly so sombre and 
undertaker-like as his English cousin. He is a bold and 
impudent bird, and, as might be expected, is referred to in 
many Malagasy proverbs, two or three of which may be 
here quoted. Thus : ** Like the crow's coat : finished 
while it is young" ; " Don't be lustrous outside only, like 
a crow" ; " Many are the crows, and one can't tell which 
is male and which female, for all have white necks" ; " Do 
like the soldiers : get up before the crows, awake before 
the warblers". This bird is also alluded to in a native 
song, in the verses of which the kite, the brown stork, 
the lark, and the cardinal-bird are successively men- 
tioned ; and the last verse runs as follows : " Where are 
you from, old fellow, you crow there ?" " I come from 
Antananarivo." "How about the proclamation there?" 
said I. " The proclamation", said he, " was severe enough." 
" What was it all about ?" said I. " Thieves," said he, " are 
to be killed !" 

One of the Madagascar Shrikes, called Railbvy oxRailhmbo 
by the natives, is alluded to in several of their fables and 
tales as " a well-behaved bird, with a long crest, and having 
a variety of note". One of its provincial names comes from 

Digitized by 


350 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

a root, dbvy^ an enemy, probably from some superstition 
connected with it 

With regard to the Warblers, Bulbuls, Babblers, and other 
allied birds, we have at present no information in the depart- 
ment of folk-lore ; some of their names, however, are 
descriptive of their vocal powers, and others of their appear- 
ance and habits. Thus, one of them is from a root meaning 
" well delivered" or " recited" ; another is " Beautiful ^y^^ ; 
while several mean " Watchman", or " Spy". Our present 
folk-lore knowledge is equally defective with regard to 
the Shrikes, Flycatchers, Butcher-birds, and Nuthatches, 
although much that is interesting might be said about their 

The beautiful little Sun-birds have already been referred 
to as being mentioned in many fables and stories in connec- 
tion with other feathered creatures ; they seem to be re- 
garded as melancholy birds on account of their plaintive 
little note ; while their beautiful plumage is referred to in 
some of their names. 

In the central regions of Madagascar no bird is more 
frequently seen in considerable numbers during the hot 
season than the brilliant little scarlet Fbdy^ or Cardinal- 
bird. The male bird only takes on this bright colouring 
during the pairing season, the hen being as soberly coloured 
as a sparrow, as is also her mate during the colder season. 
These little birds — that is, the males — are most pugnacious, 
and in the months of October and November pass the time 
in fierce conflict for the possession of the hen-birds, who 
appear to be far less numerous than the males. Being so 
plentiful and conspicuous, it is not to be wondered at that the 
F6dy — at least, the male bird, or Fbdildhimena, as they call it 
(that is, " Red-male-f6dy") — has long attracted the attention 
of the Malagasy, and is frequently alluded to in their folk- 
tales, proverbs, and children's games. Of the first of these 
classes of native wisdom one or two examples have been 
already given in speaking of other birds ; of the proverbs 
referring to this bird, the following may serve as specimens : 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 35 1 

" Do not forbid to eat, like a f6dy", probably meaning that 
the bird eats so much rice that there is little left for the 
owner. The same voracious habit is referred to again in 
the saying : " It is not right to act like a f6dy when the 
rice is ripe : tasting before the owner." Again, presuming 
to be equal to one's betters is reproved in another proverb, 
which says : " A rice-bird {Tsikirity) going together with 
a f6dy : it is not the leader, but only a follower." This 
Tsikirity is a bird of the same family as the f6dy, but of a 
different genus and much smaller. Other species of Weaver 
are known as " Forest F6dy", and " Crafty F6dy", from the 
ingenious way in which their retort-shaped nests are 
suspended over streams at the extremity of a branch, so as 
to protect the young from serpents and other enemies. 

Before leaving the weaver-birds, I will just give a speci- 
men of children's games, in which the cardinal-bird plays 
a prominent part, quoting from a paper of my friend and 
brother missionary, the Rev. J. Richardson. 

" The native songs," he says, " are sung to a kind of chant, 
one or two voices leading in the song, and the others joining 
in as a chorus at the end of each stanza. The children join 
hands, and the first two take up the strain, saying : 

* We bid you come, we bid you.* 
Then they are answered by the whole body : 

* We'll not go there, we'll not go.' 

The leaders again sing out : 

* And why [not come], and why [not] ? 
The whole body then reply again : 

* It's neither rice nor yam.' 

The leaders cry out, and lift up their arms with hands 
joined, as in a country dance : 

* It's the cardinal-bird's house.* 

To which the whole troop of children cry out as they 
pass under : 

* It's a red house.* 

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352 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

And these last 
passed under. 

two strains are repeated until all have 
I append music and words in the original : 


: 8 

The leaders :Man- 
The rest : Tsy ho 
The leaders: Na- 
The rest : Tsy ho 

8 :— .8 : m 

a - sa re 
k - ny re 
h6a-na re 
vi - ry re 

r:--.r : d 

Ik - hy, roan- 
li - hy,tsyho 
li - hy, na- 
Ik - hy, tsy 

d: — t — :- 



8: — 


h \ 


The leaders : Trdnon-drafodili- 
The rest : Trdno m^- 

d ' 


This little thing is very popular among the youngsters, 
and they spend hours upon hours over it" 

A species of Lark is a native of Madagascar, and is very 
common on the bare downs of the interior provinces. In 
habits and appearance this bird is very much like the 
European species, but its song is less full and varied. 
Many native proverbs refer to the Sorhhitra^ the Ho\'a 
name for this lark, some of which are obscure ; but the 
following seem to refer to its peculiar flight, suddenly fall- 
ing to the ground as if shot or hurt : " A lark falling in the 
forest, because it doesn't know how to fly" (lit " is a fool in 
flying")- " Thrown at, but not to be eaten, like a lark on a 
grave." The unprotected state of the young birds when 
the hen is driven off the nest is referred to in the following : 
" A lark's nestlings by the roadside : I did not cast them 
off, but they were forsaken by their mother." The Hova 
name appears to be derived from a root, rbhitra^ meaning 
" to go With a rush", or "to go in companies". Its SikalAva 
name of Kblokblotdny apparently refers to its nesting on 
the bare ground, from khlokblo^ " cherished, cared for", and 
tdiny, " earth, ground". 

Although I know nothing as regards its folk-lore, I will 
just mention that the last bird in the arrangement of the 
Order of Passeres, the Euryceros Prevosti^ or Provost's 
Helmet-bird, is one of the most curious and interesting of 
the whole Malagasy avi-fauna, from its abnormal structure 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 353 

and remote relationships. The zoological affinities of this 
remarkable bird were for a long time a puzzle to ornitholo- 
gists, who successively placed it among or near the Toucans, 
the Hombills, the Swallows, the Crows, the Starlings, and 
the Speckled Pies. It is, however, so different from any other 
family that a special one has been formed for its reception 
(Eurycerotidae), of which this bird is the solitary genus and 
species. The Euryceros is remarkable for a beak formed 
like a very capacious helmet, which is considerably larger 
than the skull. It is about the size of a starling, velvety 
black in colour, and with a saddle-shaped patch of light 
brown on the back. 

IV. — The Pigeons and some few allied birds form, in 
Mr. R. B. Sharpens classification, an Order of themselves, 
and include the extinct Dodos, of which five species at least 
lived in the Mascarene Islands until within the last 250 
years, but no remains have yet been found in Madagascar 

Of the four species of pigeon known in Madagascar, their 
names are chiefly descriptive. One, however, has the strange 
appellation of Tsidzotonbnina^ /.^., " Unspeakable", or " Un- 
mentionable", among the TanAla or forest tribes, possibly 
because its more common name of Kathto had become 
tabooed or sacred through having formed part of the name 
of one of their chiefs. This seems to be confirmed by the 
fact that this other name is said to belong to'' a bird of bad 
omen." Mr. Cowan says, speaking of the B4ra country : 
" The Kat6to is tabooed or sacred here, even to its name, 
so it is spoken of as the Tsi-tondnina (* Not-to-be-men- 
tioned*). It is a remarkable fact that most, if not all, of 
the birds common to Eastern Africa and Madagascar are 
sacred, or regarded with a kind of superstitious fear. Of 
these the Kat6to, the tufted umber, the owl, etc., are 

v.— The fifth Order, that of the Gallinae or Game birds, 
has a few representatives in Madagascar, of which the 


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354 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

Guinea-fowl is mentioned in a good many native proverbs. 
Thus, an assemblage of people who are subject to the same 
chieftain is termed " Akdnga tsy rba volo'\ i,e.y " Guinea- 
fowls of the same plumage", something like our saying, 
" Birds of a feather flock together". Again, " A guinea- 
fowl going into the forest : waiting for the rain to clear off, 
but caught by a steady downpour." The difficulty of 
catching the bird is referred to in the saying, " Seeing a 
beautifully marked guinea-fowl, and throwing away the 
fowl at home in one's house"; reminding one that " A bird 
in the hand is worth two in the bush". And again, the 
maxim that " Union is strength", is enforced by the proverb, 
" Guinea-fowls going in a flock are not scattered by the 
dogs". Here is a fable referring to this bird : " Once upon 
a time, they say, a guinea-fowl went to visit his friends 
beyond the forest ; but when he got into the midst of the 
woods he grew giddy and fell, breaking his wing. Then 
he lamented and said : * To go on, to go on, I cannot ; if I 
return, I long for my relations.' And from that, they say, 
the people got their song, which says, *A guinea-fowl 
entering the forest : go on, he cannot ; return, wing broken; 
stop where he is, he longs for his relatives.* " 

Of the Madagascar Partridge, M. Grandidier says that 
it lays from fifteen to twenty eggs, and that, according to 
S4kal4va belief, any one who, having found the nest of the 
Tsiphy (as it is called), does not break the eggs, causes the 
death of his mother ; but if, on the contrary, he destroys 
them, he causes the death of his father ! This superstition, 
as he says, probably comes from the rarity of finding the 
nest at all The Quail is called Kibodblo^ />., "Spirit- 
quail", by the Bira, and about this bird the B6tsile<S have 
a saying that " The quail delays its proper work in the 
autumn, and leaves it until the spring" ; and that then they 
know by its note the proper time for planting rice. Of the 
Bustard-quail, whose names are all compounds of the same 

*d (Kibo) as that by which the other quail is known, 
'ollcn says that the foot of this bird, hung round the 

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The Folk' lore of Malagasy Birds. 355 

neck, is believed by the S4kal^va to bean infallible remedy 
for disorders of the stomach, the native word for which is 
also klbo, I think it is probable that the two words are of 
independent and different origin, and that the belief in 
the remedial value of the bird for stomach complaints has 
arisen from the similarity of the two words, a kind of 
homoeopathic principle of which Malagasy folk-lore (espe- 
cially plant-lore) and superstition are full of examples, as 
may be seen by looking at Mr. Dahle's papers on Vintana 
and 5/>tW|'(" Destiny and Divination") in the Antananarivo 
Annual^ Nos. x, xi, and xii, or indeed by carefully examining 
the Malagasy English Dictionary, M. Grandidier relates a 
story about two young Miihafily women having been 
saved from death by some of these quails, in consequence 
of which the bird has become a sacred or tabooed bird to 
their descendants. 

VI. — Of the Order of Grallae or Wading birds, with 
its thirty species found in Madagascar, there is but little to 
be said from a folk-lorist*s point of view, except that the 
names of many of them are very descriptive and appro- 
priate. Thus, those of the Jacanas seem to contain a root 
tity^ " passed through", " walked on", and would therefore 
refer to the habits of these birds in stepping from leaf to 
leaf of the water-plants. Then those of some of the Rails 
mean " artifice, deceit, snare", and so refer to their tricks to 
escape capture ; while another name means " ambush", no 
doubt from the bird rapidly taking to cover when hunted. 
So again with the Water-hens, some of whose names mean 
" to dip", " to plunge", referring to their constant habit of 
diving. In the same descriptive fashion the Sandpiper 
is called ** Sand-stepper" and " Water-skimmer"; and the 
Plovers are termed "Runners", "Shore-birds'*, and "Roving- 
birds"; while the Turnstone, from its habit of warning 
other birds of approaching danger, is called Kitbry^ that 
is, " Proclaimer", or " Accuser". 

The Madagascar Rail is r^arded with great respect by 

A A 2 

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356 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

the north-western SikalAva, as they believe it brings them 
rain in very dry weather, so they will not kill it Among 
the birds of this Order are two species classed by M. 
Grandidier in a distinct family, and termed Mesitinae ; he 
speaks of them as "very curious and specialised birds, 
taking their place between the Rails and the Herons". He 
says further, that, according to the native accounts, when 
the nests of these Mesites^ which are mostly placed in a 
low situation, are flooded, the parent birds drag them to 
where they will be free from injury by the water. If any 
one takes their young, they follow them into the village, 
and on account of this love for their offspring, they are 
considered sacred {fady) by the B^tsimis4raka, because, 
say the natives, they are in this like human beings, 

Vn. — The four families into which the Order of HERONS 
is divided are all represented in Madagascar, and include 
five-and-twenty species belonging to the true Herons, the 
Storks, the Spoonbills and Ibises, and the Flamingoes. 
Of these birds, more than half the number (fourteen) 
belong to one genus, the herons, which is thus the most 
numerously represented genus in the island. 

The most common of the herons, as well as perhaps 
the most noticeable bird one sees when travelling in any 
part of Madagascar, is the White-egret, or Vorhmpbtsy^ ix, 
" White-bird". Wherever herds of cattle are feeding, there 
it will be seen in numbers proportionate to those of the 
oxen. These animals it follows, to feed upon the ticks 
which infest their skin and torment them incessantly. One 
may often see these egrets perched on the back of the 
oxen, and thus clearing them of their tormentors. It is, 
therefore, not surprising that such useful birds are venerated 
by the Malagasy, so that they cannot see one of them 
shot by foreigners without extreme displeasure, and they 
would think it a kind of sacrilege were they themselves to 
chase or injure them. Some of this egret's names refer to 
its habit of following the cattle, as Vhronabmbyy " Ox-bird*', 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 357 

and F^n^w/iaw^w/^/'Bird-loved-by-oxen". Their pure white 
plumage is referred to in one of the p roverbs : " Clean 
clothing, like the white-egret, but he gets his living by 
picking up scraps." Its mounting on the back of the oxen 
is referred to in another proverb : " Don't seek to be 
* number one*, like an egret" And again, its sharp-eyed 
vigilance is noted in another, which says : " An egret perched 
on a crooked branch : I spy him, but he keeps his eye 
on me." 

Another heron, known as Fbtsialatra^ />., " White-wings", 
is also known by the queer name of Fangdlantbtivody^ 
which may be translated " Crocodile's-eye-cleaner**; so that 
it probably does the same kind offices for the crocodiles 
that the white egret does for the oxen. 

The family of the Storks contains in Madagascar three 
species, one of them peculiar to the island. The most 
well-known bird of this family is the Tdkatra^ or Tufted 
Umber, a brown stork, frequently seen in the marshes and 
rice-fields. This bird builds an extraordinarily large nest, 
often visible at a considerable distance, and is placed either 
on the fork of a large tree, or on the very edge of over- 
hanging rocks, and is from four-and-a-half to six feet in 
diameter. Probably from this conspicuous nest, as well 
as from the grave and sedate way in which the Tikatra 
marches about seeking for its food, many native super- 
stitions have gathered about this bird, one of which is, 
that those who destroy its nest will become lepers. And 
while the Hova and central tribes were still idolaters, it 
was believed that it was very unlucky should a Tikatra 
fly across the path along which the idols were being carried ; 
in such case they were immediately taken back to their 
dwelling-house. Another belief is that, if the Tikatra 
takes the hair of any person from whose head it has just 
been cut, and uses it as material in building its nest, such 
person becomes at once bald. 

A considerable number of Malagasy proverbs refer to 
this bird, some of which may be here translated. Thus, 

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35^ The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

its plume or crest at the back of the head is mentioned in 
these : " Stooping down and showing the crest, like a 
stork stalking after a frog"; "Hair in a large knot, like a 
stork's plume." Its habits are noticed in the following: 
"Going along the stream, like the stork"; and, "A stork by 
the water-side ; not sleeping, but in deep thought"; and 
its nest in these : " The stork finished a nest, so the owl 
gave him5elf airs"; and, " A stork's nest entered by an 
owl, the stingy one is injured by the evil one." (See also 
the fable previously given, p. 346, about the Tol6ho cuckoo 
and the stork.) There is a pun, or at least a play of words, 
in these two: ^^ Izay idkatry ny aina^ hoy Hay namahan- 
TAkatral' />., " Doing one's utmost (Jdkatra), said the one 
who was entertained by a Tikatra"; and, "Tijy ny alahelon- 
Tdkatra : raha faly^ mtara-UlTOKAKA ; raAa ory^ miara- 
MITOKIKY," />., " Like the Tikatra's sympathy : when you 
are glad, he laughs with you ; when you are sorrowful, he 
shrinks back with you"; that is, I suppose, it is all the 
same to him whatever befalls you, for his note never 

The names for some of this Order of birds are very 
descriptive ; thus, the Open-billed Stork is called Farndki- 
akbray or " Shell-breaker"; and the Spoonbill's name 
{Sbtrovdva) is of exactly the same meaning as in English ; 
it is also called *' Spade-mouthed". Several of the Ibises, 
as well as the Cormorants, are named from a word which 
means to " gratify, satiate, or indulge"; while the Flamingo's 
very long legs give its name of Sdmaka^ i.e., "Disunited" or 
*? Split". It is also called Sdmabi, " Large-mouthed", and 
Anjbmbonay from its trumpeting cry, anjbmbona being the 
name for a large species of Triton shell used as a trumpet 

VIII.— There are ten species of WiLD-DUCK, WlLD- 
GEESE, and Water-fowl found in Madagascar, and these 
are found in immense numbers in the numerous marshes 
and many small lakes and meres, as well as in the exten- 
sive lagoons of the eastern coast Here again, as with so 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 359 

many of the other Malagasy birds, many of the names are 
descriptive, some of their screaming cries, and others of 
their appearance. The White-winged Diving-duck is 
known as Addladdla^ ix.^ " Foolish", because it does not 
fly away until one is very near it, and is consequently very 
easily shot. The natives say that the hen-bird experiences 
some difficulty in the laying of her eggs, which are very 
large in proportion to the size of her body. Indeed, the 
passage of the egg is said to make the bird faint and be- 
come unconscious. If found just at this time she may be 
taken off her nest with the hand. On account of this 
peculiarity, this bird is fddyy or tabooed, by all native 
women, who think that they would experience a similar 
difficulty in childbirth were they to eat the bird. 

IX. — Of the ninth Order of birds (Pelicans), including 
the Frigate-birds, Tropic-birds, and Pelicans proper, all 
represented in or around Madagascar, I can say but little — 
nothing, indeed, of the two first-named families — as regards 
folk-lore, although there is much that is interesting about 
them from a naturalist's point of view. The names of the 
African Cormorant describe its habits, the SikalAva calling 
it Rinivody, />., "Mother (or Guardian)-of-Crocodiles", 
for they insist that it acts as a sentinel for these reptiles. 
They say that when one of the birds is seen perched on a 
tree by the river, one is certain to see, not far off, a number 
of crocodiles. Other and similar names for this cormorant 
are Sakaizambodyy " Crocodiles'-friend ", and Arondbvy^ 
" Guardian-of-the-enemy", />., the crocodile, tlie cn^my par 
excellence^ and the most feared of all the living creatures 
in the island. It is also termed Vorbmpisdkyy />., the 
" Bird-that-takes(prey)-from-the-water", and Famdfikan- 
gdty, " Shell-breaker*'. 

X. — As regards the Sea-BIRDS proper, including a score 
species of Tern, Noddy, Gull, and Petrel, I can say even 
less than about the previous Order, as but few Europeans 

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360 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

living on the coasts of Madagascar have paid attention to 
the habits of these powerfully winged species, or collected 
whatever fragments of folk-lore may happen to exist 
among the coast-dwelling Malagasy with regard to these 
oceanic birds. 

XL— The last Order of birds, called in Mr. R. B. Sharpens 
classification, the DiVERS, includes in Madagascar two 
species of Puffin and two of Grebe. Of these latter, the 
lesser species, or Dabchick, appears to be almost identical 
with the bird found over Europe, Africa, and part of Asia. 
It is very common in all pieces of fresh water, where it 
may be seen swimming, diving down at any alarm, to 
reappear in a minute or two at a considerable distance. 
It is known by the name of Vivy^ probably imitative of its 
plaintive little cry. 

Although our rapid survey of the birds indigenous to 
Madagascar, and still to be found throughout its forests 
and plains, and its rivers and sea-coasts, is now completed, 
a word or two may be added as regards two or three 
species of BIRDS NOW EXTINCT, but which, at no very 
remote period, scoured its plains, and must have been very 
striking members of its avi-fauna. These were species of 
a struthious bird, allied to the ostrich, and still more nearly 
to the only recently extinct Moa or Dinomis of New 
Zealand. The largest species of this bird, named jEpyomis 
waximus, appears to have been about as large as a full-sized 
ostrich, but with extremely massive legs and feet. But it 
was still more peculiar from having laid the largest of all 
known eggs ; these have a longer axis of twelve-and-a- 
quarter inches, with a shorter one of nine-and-three-eighth 
inches ; they were therefore equal in capacity to six ostrich 
eggs, and to 1 50 average-sized hens* eggs. 

In the opinion of some writers the strange stories in the 
Arabian Nights about an enormous bird called the Roc^ or 
Rukhy which was able to take up an elephant in its talons, 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 361 

and which darkened the air as it soared aloft — with other 
like marvels — took their rise, or were suggested by, the 
existence of these immense yEpyomis eggs from Mada- 
gascar. It is well known that the Arabs have had inter- 
course with the island from very ancient times, and it is 
possible that, having seen an egg that so largely exceeded 
in size that of any other bird, they concluded that the bird 
laying such an egg must have been able to do the wonderful 
things ascribed to it in their popular stories. As may be 
seen, however, by looking at the structure of its feet, the 
iEpyomis was not only incapable of holding even a mouse 
in its claws, but it probably could never have lifted itself a 
yard from the ground. Yet, in the absence of any know- 
ledge of the bird itself, the conclusions the Arabs drew from 
the size of the eggs were not very absurd, especially in an 
age when all the unknown was marvellous, and when so 
much that was both wonderful and true was being constantly 
discovered by their daring navigators and explorers. 

In this concluding section of the paper I will gather 
together a few particulars about the DOMESTICATED BIRDS 
of Madagascar, about which there is naturally more folk-lore 
material available than is the case with regard to those birds 
which are only occasionally — some of them rarely — seen and 
observed by the people. The most important and valuable 
additions made to the indigenous avi-fauna of the country are 
the Fowl, the Duck, the Goose, the Turkey, and the Muscovy 
Duck. The last of these is the least common, although it 
is still tolerably plentiful, but all the others are very widely 
spread over the country, and form most valuable additions 
to its food-supply. Almost every cottage in the island 
has its fowls, and in the interior provinces large quantities 
of ducks and geese are reared, not only for home consump- 
tion, but also for sending down to the coast, and for sale to 
the foreign shipping. 

The Turkey is called by the Malagasy Vbrontsilbza^ 
which literally means the " Not-fierce-bird" — an odd name 

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362 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

which has probably come about in the following way: 
when first introduced, its loud gobble, bright red crest and 
wattles, alarmed the people, as belonging to a savage bird, 
a veritable vbrondbza ; but it was soon seen that there was 
nothing much to be feared, and so its name became Vbron- 
TSl/bsa, "the bird which is not savage", after all. So one 
of the native proverbs says : " Vdrontsilbza: not fierce {Ibza) ; 
still, when taken, fierce enough." Another one says : "Don't 
brai,^ like a turkey : whistled for, and then spreading out 
its feathers." Another describes its appearance and habits 
thus : " Don't act like the turkey : who but he, though not 
a girli drags his clothing on the ground? who but he, though 
there's no bull-fight, hoots and shouts ? who but he, though 
not a matron, wears a coral necklace ? who but he, though 
not a drum, makes a terrible din ?" 

The Goose is known in Imirina by the name of Vbrombiy 
"Big-bird", on account of its size, and is also called Glsa^ 
from the English " geese" (the plural, be it observed, not the 
singular "goose"). Amongst the Sih^naka the rearing of 
geese and ducks is an occupation only second in import- 
ance to the keeping of cattle. They are bred in immense 
numbers, and geese, either alive or killed, are always pre- 
sented as a mark of respect to strangers. Goose-quills for 
pens form part of the annual tribute paid by the Sihinaka 
to the sovereign at Antananarivo. Two or three proverbs 
may here be quoted ; e,g,, " Big-bird ( Vbrombi), little egg"; 
"A gander eating growing rice ; the one taking other folks' 
property makes the loudest noise" ; " Giving one's self airs, 
like n goose not fit for eating." This bird forms a favourite 
dish with the lower-class Malagasy at various times of feast- 
ing or family gatherings, and its value, as compared with a 
fowl, is noticed in the following: "As for killing a fowl, 
that's all right ; but to kill a goose, that makes one faint" 
{as by far too great a stretch of hospitality). 

The Duck is hardly less plentiful in the interior of Mada- 
gascar than are hens and chickens, and in the marshy 
districts very large flocks of them are reared. It is called 

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The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 363 

in Im^rina Vbrombasdha^ i. £., " Foreigner's bird", and so is 
probably of comparatively recent introduction. In other 
parts of the countrj' it is known by the name of Drakidriky 
and GanagAnay the first certainly, and the latter probably, 
imitative of its quack. The following proverbs refer to this 
bird : "Thin and flat-mouthed, like a duck" ; "Do like the 
ducks : the drake who leads has least to say" ; "It is the 
ducks that make a noise, so the frogs are alarmed" ; "If 
turning head over heels is to be done, the duck will get 
something first" ; " Like a duck lying on its back, its feet 
are flat and thin ; bending down, its beak is flat and thin." 

Last, but by no means least in importance, to the Mala- 
gasy, is the domestic Fowl, reared everywhere, and called 
by them AkbJio, a word most probably onomatopoetic in 
origin, although it may be more immediately connected 
with the Swahili kuku. It was no doubt introduced into 
Madagascar in very early times, and the numerous words, 
verbal forms, and compound words, derived from the name 
of the bird, as well as the innumerable references to it in 
native folk-lore, legends, oratory, and proverbs, all testify 
to the prominent place it holds in the estimation of the 
people. In the fullest collection of Malagasy proverbs yet 
published there are more than ninety which refer to fowls — 
whether as cocks, hens, or chickens — and there are several 
also about eggs, from each of which classes a few of the 
most noteworthy will now be quoted. 

First, then, as to Chickens : a bit of natural theology is 
seen in the following : " A chicken drinking water : it 
observes what is on the earth, but also looks up to heaven." 
The anxieties of a hen who has brought up a brood of 
ducklings is thus noticed : " As a hen which has hatched 
ducklings : if she clucks after them, they are not hers ; if 
she leaves them alone, they are a troublesome family." 
Others will explain themselves : " A chicken fallen into a 
ditch : it struggles to get out, btit can't ; it calls out, but its 
voice is weak ; it stops there, it is in danger of the wild- 
cat" ; " Chickens having rice thrown to them : they arc 

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364 The Folk-lore 0/ Malagasy Birds. 

both frightened and glad"; "We are not chickens hatched 
in the winter, down-hearted, and weak-winged ; but gos- 
lings hatched in the summer [when food is more plentiful], 
and therefore strong and lusty." 

Of course there are many references to the Cock and to 
cock-crowing, as, " A cock coming into the market : not 
[proof of] strength, but regrtX, for the village he has left"; 
" Many cocks in the compound, everyone wants to crow"; 
" A cock's spur : it 's sharp enough, but it 's low down"; 
" Honoured as the father of the brood, and yet picking up 
scraps under the rice-pounder"; " The cock regrets he has 
wings, for he is caught by the wild-cat" 

Promises not borne out by performances are spoken of 
in these : " Don't do like the fowl's early rising : he wakes 
early enough, but is still south of the hearth" (that is, he 
is still in that part of a native house where the fowls roost, 
he has not gone out to do any work). So again, " Up 
early, yet not gone far, like a fowl." His place in the 
house, again, is mentioned thus : " It is not the fowl's folly 
that he lives in the comer, for that is his share of the 
dwelling." Here is a piece of good advice about married 
life : " Let wedlock be like the fowl's clothing, only parted 
with at death." Native superstitions about treading on the 
tomb of one of the Vazlmba (the supposed aboriginal in- 
habitants of I marina, the central province) are thus referred 
to : " The Vazlmba has been trampled on, so the fowl's 
head must be cut ofF' — that is, as a sacrifice. Taking much 
trouble for small results is thus spoken of: ** It's absurd to 
seek for an axe, when you only want to carve a fowl" 
Our last specimen needs no remark : " Like a cock's tail, 
the best of him is behind." 

Here is a fable explaining why fowls scratch the earth, 
and why kites scream as they fly: "A fowl borrowed a 
needle from a kite, but the needle being lost, the kite said, 
' I am not contented with your losing my needle'; so that 
is why the fowl scratches the ground, and why the kite 
carries away the chickens instead of his needle. And so, 

Digitized by 


The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 365 

when it is spring-time, the kite screams out, * Fllokbhokbho\ 
[filoy a needle ; akbhoy a fowl], calling on the fowl for his 
lost needle." 

Here are two or three proverbs about Eggs, mostly re- 
ferring to those of the fowl : " Eggs can't fight with stones"; 
"Eggs not sat on won't become chickens"; " Words are 
like eggs, when hatched, they have wings." There are 
several popular superstitions about eggs ; thus, for a hen 
to lay either a very large or a very small egg, is considered 
to be ominous of evil or good ; and so, also, an egg laid 
without a proper shell (atbdimalimy) is thought to forebode 

Two or three quotations from the proverbs referring to 
birds generally may conclude this section ; thus : "Don't 
cry for a bird all but obtained"; " Don't reckon on (or cry 
for) a bird still in the air"; " Words are carried by a flying 
bird" (cf Eccles. x, 20) ; " The bird may forget the snare, 
but the snare does not forget the bird." 

I have now completed what I proposed to do at the 
outset of this paper, viz., to gather together all that I 
believe is at present known as to the folk-lore of the birds 
of Madagascar. It is, of course, a very small contribution 
to the subject, especially when contrasted with such a 
charming and complete book as that of the Rev. C. 
Swainson on the Folk-lore of British Birds, and issued by 
this Society three or four years ago. But I ask that it may 
be remembered that this is new ground ; that there are 
still comparatively few Europeans living in Madagascar, 
and that of these there are probably hardly half-a-dozen 
who take much interest in folk-lore. Besides this, a good 
many Malagasy tribes are only very slightly known, and 
even from those peoples whom we know best, but little 
information on folk-lore matters has yet been collected. 
Doubtless there is still very much in all such subjects to 
reward the efforts of those who may travel more widely in 
the great island, and who will more thoroughly investigate 

Digitized by 


366 The Folk-lore of Malagasy Birds. 

the superstitions, proverbs, and folk-tales of the Malagasy 
people as a whole. 

Meanwhile, I offer the foregoing as a small instalment of 
a large subject ; and I trust what I have been able here to 
gather together has not been without interest 

James Sibree, Jun. 

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TO the second volume of Miss Gamett's Women of 
Turkey and their Folk-lore ("Jewish and Moslem 
Women"), Mr. Stuart-Glennie has added a study on the 
" Origins of Matriarchy", in which he treats this puzzling 
institution as an exemplification of his general theory of thfe 
origins of civilisation, and seeks support for his contention 
in the folk-tale. His argument thus has especial interest 
for folk-lorists, and, pending a detailed notice of the work 
to appear shortly in FOLK-LORE, I wish to call attention to 
the importance of the points raised by Mr. Stuart-Glennie. 
As is well known, Mr. Stuart-Glennie seeks the deter- 
mining impetus towards our present state of civilisation in 
the relations between primitive white races (whom he 
designates Archaian) and coloured races of an altogether 
inferior mental and moral strain. These relation swere in- 
variably ones of subordination on the part of the lower races. 
But this subordination varied in degree, and was at times 
and in places consistent with marriage between women of 
the higher and men of the lower race. In these cases the 
wife would retain such political, social, and personal rights 
as we find in matriarchal communities. To verify the hypo- 
thesis, Mr. Stuart-Glennie analyses the folk-lore relating to 
marriage of the peoples living around the eastern Medi- 
terranean, under three heads: (i) Family usages; (2) 
marriage sanctions ; (3) wedding ceremonies. Historic- 
ally, as he points out, the patriarchal family has been the 
dominant type in this region for over 2,000 years ; yet, in 
spite of this, the folk-lore presents marked matriarchal 
features. Thus, the chief sanctions of the patriarchal 

Digitized by 


368 The Origins of Matriarchy. 

marriage are race-identity, contract, assent ; the chief cere- 
mony is the propitiation of ancestors. But of matri- 
archal marriage the chief sanctions are non-kinship, cap- 
ture, consent ; the chief ceremony is propitiation of the 
powers of nature. Numerous are the still surviving customs 
which can best be explained by the matriarchal conception 
of society. But it is in folk-poesy, even more than in folk- 
custom, that Mr. Stuart-Glennie seeks for matriarchal 
survivals, and it is especially in the Swan-Maiden group 
of tales that he finds them. Here he polemises against 
Mr. Hartland in what seems to me an unnecessary way, 
the polemic having little bearing upon the main conten- 
tion. But I will leave Mr. Hartland to defend his views, 
as he is so well able to do. It is urged, then, that in the 
Swan-Maid group the father is either unmentioned or 
subordinate, the wife or mother is supreme, the family and 
not the father consent to or refuse the marriage, the hero 
is, as a rule, a fatherless child. Again, the Swan-Maid is 
always described in terms that differentiate her racially 
from the hero; she is only to be won by achievement, 
whether capture of herself, killing of her guardian, or 
performance of tasks ; finally, the tale nearly always includes 
submission of the husband to a taboo, the breaking of 
which entails for him the loss of the wife. 

This brief recapitulation of Mr. Stuart-Glennie's points 
will show of what importance his argument is to all 
who essay to explain the facts of folk-lore. I may at 
once express my opinion that little would be needed to 
bring Mr. Stuart-Glennie's and Mr. Hartland's explana- 
tions into line with each other. They impress me as being 
complementary rather than antagonistic Both writers, 
in effect, treat the stories as evidence of a bygone social, 
intellectual, and moral state, which state dates back to 
a hoary antiquity. That in interpreting the survivals 
from such a remote period divergences should arise is but 
natural. But if it is once agreed that the stories do 
contain traces of a past state of humanity, correct inter- 

Digitized by 


The Origins of Matriarchy. 369 

pretation can only be a matter of time and study. But 
what if the stories contain no such traces, or at least only 
traces of a state of affairs which obtained amongst a small 
section of humanity, and if the development of the stories 
has not been conditioned by custom, but by the simple 
desire to make the tale varied and exciting? How are 
we, then, to discriminate between what is the record or the 
symbol of custom or of belief, and what is simply the play 
of free fancy ? Here, again, the fundamental question of 
folk-lore crops. Is this lore in the main the outcome of 
the social and mental phases through which a race has 
passed, or is it a miscellaneous and meaningless collec- 
tion of borrowings ? 

It is evident that any historical theory of progress which 
fits the facts of folk-lore into the general scheme favours 
the first of these views. In so far I hold the anthropo- 
logical school may claim Mr. Stuart-Glennie as their 
partisan, however much divergence there be on questions 
of method and nomenclature, even of historical evolution 
at large. The main point is that there has been evolu- 
tion, and that folk-lore testifies thereto. 

I do not think that Mr. Stuart-Glennie's working out of 
his views is as yet sufficiently exhaustive to allow of satis- 
factory criticism. It has the most ingenious and taking 
look ; but acceptance must be deferred until not only the 
Swan-Maid group of tales has been analysed in greater 
detail, but until other groups of folk-tales have shown 
themselves susceptible of a like interpretation. It is greatly 
to be hoped that some workers at folk-tales will apply Mr. 
Stuart-Glennie's principles and methods. The examina- 
tion of the mdrclun corpus is too formidable a task for one 

As regards Mr. Stuart-Glennie's general theory of matri- 
archalism, I would urge that it does not derive support 
from recent history. When of late higher races have 
come in contact with lower ones, marriage between women 
of the former and men of the latter has seldom obtained. 


Digitized by 


37 o The Origins of Matriarchy. 

True, one of the conditions of matriarchalism obtains in 
such instances of race-contact — the practical fatherless- 
ness of many children of the women belonging to the 
lower race. But, as Mr. Stuart-Glennie most rightly 
insists, the problem of matriarchalism lies not in uncertain, 
or rather undeclared paternity, but in the supremacy of 
the woman. Mr. Stuart-Glennie's explanation of this 
problem is fascinating, but is it true? In any case it 
deserves most serious attention. 

Alfred Nutt. 

Since I became acquainted with Mr. Stuart- Glen nie's 
ingenious views of the origin of civilisation, I have been 
especially interested in it We that are content if we reach 
what we consider to be some approximation of the truth 
in one small department of some limited section of a 
definite division of the knowable, cannot but admire the 
confidence and the vigour with which Mr. Stuart-Glennie 
settles the affairs of humanity in the epochs before history. 
There is something Titanic about the whole of his re- 
searches that compels admiration for the exploit. Per- 
sonally I have a sneaking regard for a theory of civilisation 
which makes it one huge example of the Borrowing-Theory, 
to which I have, most unscientifically, I fear, pinned my 
partiality, so that I am ready to welcome it even where no 
facts exist on which to base our judgment. But where no 
facts, or few facts, or still unverified facts exist, we have no 
choice but to revert to hypothesis — provided we have the 
courage of Mr. Stuart-Glennie, and are content to fall with 
our hypothesis when facts prove unkind and refuse to fall 
into the pigeon-holes we have prepared for them. 

There is one main principle of human nature which tells 
strongly for Mr. Glennie*s hypothesis to which I desire on 
the present occasion to draw attention. Civilisation is a 
matter of culture ; culture, again, is a matter of leisure. 
Now, under early economic conditions (are they much 

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The Origins of Matriarchy. 371 

different nowadays ?) leisure is only possible with slave- 
labour. Again, slave-labour as an organised institution is 
only possible on a large scale when there is a strong and 
marked difference of race between slave-owner and slave. 
Hence it becomes d priori possible, and even likely, that 
when the elements of civilisation arose — a dignified archi- 
tecture, a norm of manners and ceremonial — there must 
have existed a marked difference of race, with consequent 
slave-labour. All this tells for Mr. Stuart-Glennie. 

But whether matriarchy arose as a result of this, with 
connubium between female slave-owners and their slaves, 
depends on evidence, and evidence is sadly wanting both 
in ancient and modern times in this direction. Indeed, so 
far as it goes, it tends otherwards : the status of the child 
follows that of the mother, it is true, in all archaic eyot 
systems ; but how rarely, when status differs between the 
parents, is that of the mother the higher ! Just at present, 
too, with Dr. Westermarck's book before us, need we hypo- 
thesise about matriarchy as a theory when matriarchy as a 
fact is on its trial ? 

Again, as to Mr. Glennie's views on the Swan-Maiden 
story, is it not somewhat embarrassing for him that the 
interest and sympathy of the audience are always invoked 
for the husband who loses his eerie wife ? Qad man, is he 
not regarded as the superior of the fickle, mysterious maid 
that leaves him for the break of a taboo ? And what evi- 
dence, again, have we that the Swan-Maiden type of 
story has lasted on from the times of the White Archaian 
Race, whose earliest visible beginnings on the banks of the 
Nile are anterior to 14,700 years ago, whenabouts the 
Zodiac was invented ? 

I have thought it right to express my doubts about these 
more recent developments of Mr. Stuart-Glennie's views, 
as they might cause attention to be detracted from the 
more promising part of his hypothesis, the probabilities 
that civilisation had its origin in some dominant race, and 
was parsed on from that race to others. Half the battle is 

B B 2 

Digitized by 


372 The Origins of Matriarchy. 

won in a scientific problem when we know where to look 
for a solution : all the rest is but detail work. If Mr. 
Stuart-Glennie is not looking just at present at the right 
objects, I think there can be little doubt he is looking in 
the right direction. 

Joseph Jacobs. 

Digitized by 




THE arrangements for the Congress are now practically 
complete, and promise well for its success. The func- 
tions of such a meeting are twofold, social and scientific, and 
both sides of the Congress have been efficiently cared fon 
Some ridicule has of late years been cast upon the social 
side of Congresses. Yet the idea of bringing into friendly 
contact the common adherents of a doctrine, or the fellow- 
students of a particular branch of knowledge, is obviously a 
sound one* It only ceases to be sound when carried on for 
too long a period, when the kabituds of a Congress have 
become well known to one another. This is obviously not 
the case with the International Folk-lore Congress of 1S91, 
which is only the second that has been held, and is the first 
gathering of British folk-lorists yet held* For the first 
tim^ since the science has taken a position among the 
organised methods of studying the past, its adherents meet 
•pf becoming known to one another and 
lutting M,^ ^ together to discover the best methods of 
roxno^f^^ avourite study. 

11 British folk-lorists meet their fellow- 

grcss assembled, but they will have an 

meeting several of the most eminent 

stv^^ - ^^iHBlBtn abroad. Among the distin- 

tinent may be mentioned M, 

f Onics de^L^r^^mt, and t^ 

unless we have to except Pro- 

o is unfortunately prevented 

374 International Folk-lore Congress^ 1 89 1 . 

too, we are to have the presence of M. Ploix, president of the 
Soci6t^ des Traditions populaires, and of M. Paul S^billot, 
the indefatigable secretary of the Soci^t6 and the collector 
of French contes populaires. M. Cordier will also attend 
the Congress. Professor Monseur of Lifege, president of 
the Soci6t6 du Folk-lore Wallon, will attend in his official 
capacity. The American Folk-lore Society will be repre- 
sented by its erudite secretary, Mr. W. W. Newell. Far- 
off Finland will send M. E. Krohn, member of a family 
that have done much for Finnish folk-lore. Mr. C. G. 
Leland, of Hans Breitmann fame, will form the point of 
contact between the Congress and the Gipsy-lore Society, 
which will also be represented by Mr. F. Hindes Groome. 
The Anthropological Institute has delegated Mr.C.H.Reid, 
of the British Museum, to represent a closely-allied science. 
The Glasgow Society of Antiquaries sends Mr. W. G. Black, 
known to readers of FOLK-LORE as the author of that 
interesting volume. Folk Medicine ; and Ireland sends Mr. 
Cockran. Altogether, it will be seen, a goodly number 
of foreign and affiliated British societies will be repre- 
sented by some of their most distinguished members. 

The social interests of this concourse of fellow-students 
have been considered by the Organising Committee, as may 
be judged from the following programme of the Congress 
which has been issued to members — under revision, of 
course, as modification may be made up to the last 
moment, of which due notification will be given to the 
members. The meetings will be held in the rooms of the 
Society ot Antiquaries, the Council of which body have 
kindly placed their apartments at the service of the 

Thursday, Oct. 1,2.30 p.m.— Opening ot the Congress— Reception 
and Address by the President, Mr. ANDREW Lang. 
Appointment of an International Folk-lore Council. 

Friday, Oct. 2, 1 1 a.m. — Meeting of the Folk-Tale Section — 
Address of the Chairman, Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, 
F.S.A., and Papers. 

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International Folk'lore Congress, 1891. 375 

2.30 p.m. — Papers on subjects relating to this Section. 

9.0 p.m.— Reception at the Misses Hawkins Demster*s, 24, 
Portman Square. 

Saturday, Oct. 3, 10.5 a.m.— From Paddington to Oxford ; Luncheon 
at Merton College, by invitation of the President of the 
Congress, and at Jesus College at the invitation of Pro- 
fessor Rhys ; Visit to the Pitts-River Museum. 

Visit to the British Museum. 

Monday, Oct. 5, 1 1 a.m.— Meeting of the Mythological Section 
— Address of the Chairman, Professor John Rhys, M.A., 
and Papers. 

2.30 p.m.— Papers on subjects relating to this Section. 

8.30 p.m. — ^At the Mercers' Hall, by kind permission of the 
Mercers* Company. Conversazione, with representation 
of English Mumming Play, Children's Games, Sword 
Dance, Savage Music, and Folk-Songs. 

Tuesday, Oct. 6, i i.o a.m.— Meeting of the Institutions Section— 
Address of the Chairman, Sir Frederick Pollock, 
Bart., and Papers. 

2.30 p.m.— "Papers on subjects relating to this Section. 

7.0 p.m. — Congress dinner (details will be announced). 

Wednesday, Oct. 7.^Reports of Committees and Business Meeting- 
concluding the Congress. 

One item of the programme will attract attention for its 
combination of amusement and instruction. The Conver- 
sazione will consist in a large measure of an entertainment 
in which every item will be of folk-lore interest, as will be 
seen by the following list of the items, which, however, is 
only issued as a preliminary announcement. The children's 
games, it should be observed, have been left entirely un- 
altered in form, the supervision extending only to the 
time allotted to each game, and some trifling necessary 

Digitized by 


376 International Folk-lore Congress, 1 89 1 . 


Children's Games— Thread-the-Needle Game : Oranges and Le- 
mons ; Choral Games : Poor Mary is a 
Weeping {Surrey) \ Oats and Beans and 
Barley {Shropshire) ; In and Out the Win- 
dows {Surrey), 
By the children of Barnes Village School, under the 
supervision of Mrs. Gomme. 


Folk-Song Hunting Song. 

Accompanied by Miss L. Smith. 


Folk-Tale "TomTitTot"(5i{^/(6). 

By Edward Clodd, Esq. 


Highland Sword-Dance and Bagpipe Accx)mpaniment. 
Folk-Songs Accompanied by Miss Smith. 


Children's GAMSS—Dramatic Games : Three Sailors {Middlesex)-, 
Nuts in May ; Jenny Jones {Shropshire); 
When I was a Young Girl {Essex). 
By the Barnes Village School, under the supervision 
of Mrs. GOMME. 


9.4s Pm. 

Gaelic Recitation By — Carmichael, Esq. 


Guisers Play (Staffordshire). 

Open the Door W. C. H. Burne, Esq. 

Sir Guy W. H. Cannon, Esq. 

King George G. Vaughan Brown, Esq. 

Noble Soldier R. H. Burne, Esq. 

Little Doctor H. W. Milne, Esq. 

Black Prince of Paradise v 

Digitized by 


International Folk-lore Congress, 1891. 377 

Billy Belhebub F. A. MiLNE, Esq. 

Utile Jack Dont J. Midwinter, Esq. 


Folk-Tale Recitation, "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury. 

By E. Sidney Hartland, Esq. 


Sailors' Chanty and Hornpipe. 


Irish Jig. 


Folk-Tale Recitation " Cap o' Rushes." 

By Edward Clodd, Esq. 

Italian Incantation C. G. Leland, Esq. 

Exhibition of Objects. 

The following are some of the objects promised up to 
the time of going to press : — 

Zulu Objects, lent by Miss Lyon. 

Elf Stones, lent by Dr. John Evans, President of the Society of 

Portraits of Eminent Folk-Lorists, lent by Alfred Nutt, Esq., 

Miss Burne, G. L. Gomme, Esq., Miss Lyon, Miss Lloyd, 

F. Green, Esq., Miss Busk, and others. 
Ancient Mystic Account of the Godiva Ceremony, lent by 

.W. G. Fritton, Esq. 
The Dumb Borsholder of Chart, lent by the Rev. S. H. Phillips. 
Ceylon Charms, written on palm leaves, lent by Hugh Nevill, Esq. 
Witches* Ladder. 

Shepherds' Crooks, lent by B. H. Baverstock, Esq. 
Amulets and Hindoo Gods, lent by H. S. Ashbee, Esq., F.S.A 
Japanese Shrine for Domestic Worship, and other objects, lent 

by E. Sidney Hartland, Esq., F.S.A. 
Kern Babies, lent by Miss Burne, Professor Henry Balfour, Mrs. 

Gomme, and J. G. Frazer, Esq. 
Bull Roarer, lent by Professor Haddon. 
Russian Charms (2), lent by Miss Toulmin Smith. 
Neolithic Celt, used as a Charm, lent by Professor Balfour. 
Pace Eggs, lent by Miss Burne. 

Digitized by 


378 Intematioftal Folk-lore Congress, 1891. 

Figures of Deities, lent by W. Rome, Esq., F.S.A. 
Art Illustrations of Folk-Custom. 
Old MSS., Chapbooks, etc 
Charms, Amulets, etc 

The refreshments will, as far as possible, be in character 
with the occasion. A very large number of commemora- 
tive cakes have disappeared from local custom in England, 
but the Entertainment Committee have obtained as many 
as could be procured, in the hope that attention may be 
directed to these interesting relics of byegone custom. 

It is hoped that any readers of FOLK-LORE who may 
have objects likely to be of interest to th^ students of the 
science will lend them at the Conversazione, and commu- 
nicate for that purpose with the Hon. Secretary of the 
Entertainment Committee, Mrs. G. L. Gomme, i, Beverley 
Villas, Barnes Common, S.W. In particular it is desired to 
have reliable portraits of great foreign folk-lorists of the past 
and present, and as complete a collection as possible of por- 
traits of English folk-lore worthies who are no longer with us. 
The Entertainment Committee have drawn up the follow- 
ing provisional list of portraits they would like to have: — 

Foreign, — Asbjornsen, H. Andersen, Madame d'Aulnoy, 
Benfy, Comparetti, De Gubemat, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm 
Grimm, Fernan Caballero, von Hahn, K. Krohn, Kulm, 
Liebrecht, Mannhardt, G. Paris, Perrault, Giuseppe Pitr^, 

British. — Aubrey, Bourne, Brand, Campbell of I slay, 
Bottrel, W. Chambers, Coote, Sir W. Dasent, Halliwell- 
Phillipps, Henderson, Hunt, Kennedy, Ralston, Stephens, 
Sir W. Scott, Thorns, Thorpe. 

Any reader of this list who possesses a portrait of any 
of these worthies is requested to communicate with Mrs. 

As regards the excursion to Oxford, arrangements have 
been made with the railway for special facilities to mem- 
bers. When in Oxford the Congress will visit the 
Museum, with its unrivalled Pitt-Rivers collection. Nor 

Digitized by 


International Folk-lore Congress, 1891. 379 

will the material comforts of the visitors be disregarded. 
The President will offer lunch to part of the excursionists 
at his old College, Merton, while Professor Rhys proffers 
the hospitality of Jesus College to the remainder. 

So much for the social side of the Congress, which, owing 
to the youth of the science, is, as we have seen, of greater 
importance than in more firmly established sciences. Yet 
the youth of the science has advantages in the more severe 
and theoretical sides also. With science past the formation 
period all that remains to be done is the amplification of 
detail and the development of method already made use of 
In folk-lore there is still the pleasure of hope to attract 
the researcher. He may hope to solve problems which 
have evaded the skill of former inquirers. He may even 
discover new methods of arriving at the truth of things 
folk-lorical, if that be the proper adjective. The papers of 
the Congress will not be devoted to minute details, but 
will mainly deal with the broader problems of the subject, 
chiefly on the lines laid down by the Literary Committee 
of the Congress, and expounded in their circulars of last 
September (printed in FOLK- Lore, vol. i, p. 510). 

First come the four presidential addresses — of the Pre- 
sident, Mr. Andrew Lang, the Chairman of the Folk-tale 
section, Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, the Chairman of the 
Mythological section, Professor Rhys, and the Chairman 
of the Institutions section, Professor Sir Frederick Pollockj 
Bart. On the Folk-tale day papers are to be read, among 
others, by M. E. Cosquin, on "Incidents common to 
European and Eastern Folk-tales" ; by Mr. Joseph Jacobs, 
on "the Problem of Diffusion"; by Mr. F. Hindes Groome, 
on " the Gipsy Element in European Folk-tales" ; and by 
Mr. MacRitchie, on " the Historical Basis of certain Folk- 
tale Personages". On the day set apart for Mythology, 
among the papers read will be one by Mr. J. F. Frazer, on 
" Deluge Myths" ; by Mr. W. B. Paton, on "Holy Names 
of the Eleusinian Priests" ; and by Mr. F. B. Jevons, on 
the " Primitive Home of the Aryans" ; by Miss Owen, on 

Digitized by 


3 8o International Folk-lore Congress, 1 89 1 . 

" Voodoo Magic" ; by Mr. C, G. Leland, on " Etruscan 
Magic*'. The section on Institutions will include a paper 
by Mr. G. L. Gomme, on " The Non- Aryan Elements of 
British Institutions"; and Dr. E. Wintemitz, on "Aryan 
Burial Customs" ; besides papers on the Folk-origin of 
the Jury System, and of Borough English. Besides these 
more general papers, special and more particular communi- 
cations will be interspersed among them. Discussion will 
be welcomed from all members on any of the papers. In 
addition to the papers, there will be held, outside Congress 
hours, meetings of a Methodological Committee, which 
will, it is anticipated, afford a point dappui for continuous 
work for any future Congresses. These gentlemen will 
have to consider such questions as a standard list of 
folk-tale incidents, a standard nomenclature for folk-lore 
research, a common plan for a folk-lore bibliography, and 
a universal questionnaire of folk-lore. If this committee 
sets international committees at work on these important 
subjects, to be reported on at future Congresses, its work 
will be not the least important or useful of the Congress 
of 1891. 

Almost for the first time, English Folk-lore is about to 
emerge before the public gaze, and to show its claims for 
treatment as an object worthy of study and research. The 
leaders of the Congress have done their best that this 
debut shall be worthy of the science. It remains for the 
members to help towards this consummation by aiding 
the various committees to the best of their power. The 
day is past when exaggerated hopes were held of the 
action of Congresses on the progress of science. But the 
day will never be past when a touch of good-fellowship 
did not promote the personal side of research. Let us 
hope that the Folk-lore Congress of 1891 will not be 
Nvanting in that particular side of the promotion of re- 

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H. LiCHTENBERGER. 8vo. 432 pp. Paris : Hachette. 

After the Homeric poems more discussion has been given 
to the Nibelungenh'ed than to any other of the great 
impersonal heroic sagas. Discussion began shortly after 
the rediscovery of the poem, and has been carried on ever 
since in scores of special treatises, in hundreds of pamphlets 
and articles. In the course of research certain results have 
come to be generally admitted ; experts are fairly agreed 
as to the orthodox theory by which a singularly complex 
mass of facts should be explained. Up to the present 
there has been no work in which the history and results 
of the research applied to the Nibelungen legend have been 
clearly set forth for the general reader of France and 
England. M. Lichtenberger has now written that work, 
and has made every educated man free of what hitherto 
was the sole domain of the specialist 

To say this is sufficient to recommend this work to many. 
Let me add that M. Lichtenberger has brought to his task 
the national gifts of lucid and orderly arrangement, 
of clear and lively presentment, that he deals with his 
text at first hand, that he is (with some exceptions to 
be noted presently) familiar with the entire range, vast 
though it be, of the literature devoted to his subject, and 
that he everywhere approves himself sane and sensible. 
In this latter respect he is at one with most German inves- 
tigators of the past ten or fifteen years. A certain pedes- 
trian soberness has of late characterised German erudition, 
a somewhat monotonous uniformity of method and tone. 
To carry oneself back from the pages of Paul's Grundriss, 
that most admirable and t)T)ical example of contemporary 

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382 Reviews. 

German scholarship, to the world of Grimm and Lachmann. 
F. H. V. d. Hagen and W. Miiller, is to say good-bye to the 
Prussian drill sergeant with the last edition of the Exercir 
riglement in his hand, and to stand beside der grimmt 
Hagen as he holds the door of the fated hall alone against 
the onset of the Hunnish host. 

But the adventurous daring of the pioneer must give 
place to the more humdrum virtues of the settler. It is no 
disparagement of M. Lichtenberger to say that in the 
absence of marked enthusiasm for his subject-matter, in the 
preservation of a dispassionately judicial frame of mind, he 
faithfully reflects the current tone of scientific research. 

M. Lichtenberger*s view of the development of the 
Nibelungen legend is as follows : — 

" In the year 436 Gundicarius, King of the Burgundians, is 
slain, and his people well-nigh exterminated by the Huns. 
A remnant take refuge in Savoy. About the year 500 
their king Gondioc promulgates a code in which he names 
as his predecessors Gibica, Gondomar, Gislahar, Gundahar. 
In these historical Burgundian kings we have the Gibich and 
his three sons, Gunther, Giselher, and Gemot of the legend. 

" In 45 3 Attila weds Ildico and perishes mysteriously the 
same night The imagination of the German tribes, struck 
by these facts, connected them. Attila became the 
destroyer of the Burgundian kings, for which his own death 
was an act of revenge wrought by Ildico, who was figured 
as a Burgundian princess." 

So far the second part of the story; the first is furnished 
by the adventures of Siegfried,posthumous son of Siegmund, 
brought up in the forest by a wizard smith, slayer of a 
dragon, winner of a magic treasure, waker of a maiden 
sunk in supernatural slumber, husband of Gunther's sister 
(Grimhild = Ildico), wooer of Brunhild for his brother-in-law, 
treacherously assassinated by Gunther and his chiefest 
warrior Hagen. 

The two portions of the story thus easily fall into one. 

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Reviews. 383 

After Siegfried's murder the treasure passes into Gunther's 
hands. It is to gain possession of the treasure that Attila 
weds the Burgundian princess, invites her brothers to his 
court, and there has them treacherously slaughtered. It is 
to avenge her brethren that Grimhild first slays the two 
children she had by Attila, and then fires the latter's hall 
and thereby slays him too. 

This is the form of the legend as it ^ust have existed 
towards the middle of the fifth century, and as it occurs 
substantially in the Northern version (in certain heroic 
poems found in a collection commonly know^n as the 
Song Edda, and ranging in date from the ninth to the 
eleventh centuries, and in the twelfth-century Volsunga 
Saga based upon those poems and upon others now lost). 
The chief difference to be noted in the Northern version 
is that the heroine is styled Gudrun, and not Grimhild, 
the latter name being assigned to her mother, who gives 
Siegfried a magic potion and thereby ensures his wooing of 
Brunhild for Gunther. But to effect this wooing Siegfried 
must deceive the warrior maiden. This deceit is the tragic 
cause of his own death, whilst the faithlessness of Gunther 
to his blood-brother and the avaricious lust of Atli (Attila) 
for the Niblung treasure, ar*e the tragic causes of the woe 
pictured in the second part of the story. 

Between the legend as it is found in the Norse sources 
and as it appears in the German ones (whether the Low- 
German ballads paraphrased in the thirteenth century 
Norse Thidreks saga or the High-German Nibelungenlied) 
there is a profound difference. Siegfried is no longer 
moved to wed Kriemhild by the power of a magic potion ; 
they have loved one another from the first, they are destined 
for each other. Kriemhild's love survives beyond the grave. 
Instead of being, as in the earlier stage of the legend, the 
representative of the principle of the blood-feud in its most 
extreme form, sacrificing children and husband to avenge 
her brothers, she becomes the incarnation of wifely devotion, 
consumed by passion for her husband during his life, by 

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384 Reviews. 

the desire to avenge him even upon her own brothers after 
his death. The legend resolves itself into a struggle 
between Siegfried and Hagen, terminated by the former's 
treacherous slaughter, and followed by the vengeance 
taken upon Hagen by Siegfried's widow. The character 
of Etzel (Attila) changes in consequence ; he is no longer 
the treacherous and avaricious despot who lures the 
Burgundians to their doom, but sinks into a mere nonentity. 
Again many of Siegfried's youthful feats are omitted as 
inconsistent with his passion for Kriemhild. The Brunhild 
episode is seriously modified and its tragic import ob- 

Such is the legend as we have it in the Nibelungenlied, 
though careful scrutiny reveals many traces of the earlier 
version. The Nibelungenlied itself is a recueil factice of 
ballads woven into a continuous series. In its present form it 
dates from the end of the twelfth century. In the descrip- 
tion of manners, customs, and feelings it shows the marked 
influence of the poems of knight-errantry introduced into 
Germany from France. In the characterisation of the 
personages it frequently accepts the conventions current in 
the contemporary narrative poems of the Rhenish valley, 
such as King Rother or Orendel. Yet through the twelfth- 
century dress we can plainly distinguish the stem and 
gigantic forms of the fifth-century warriors. 

So far M. Lichtenberger summarising and harmonising the 
views of many German scholars. One is at once struck by 
the infinitesimal influence which historic fact has exercised 
upon the growth of the legend. The historic Attila had 
no hand in the destruction of the historic Gunther ; the 
historic Ildico, if she had any hand in the death of Attila — 
and this is doubtful in the last degree — had nothing what- 
ever to do with the Burgundian chiefs, slain when she was a 
babe, or perhaps even before her birth. If the legend really 
started with these two historic events (overthrow of the 
Burgundians, sudden death of Attila) it forthwith utterly 
transformed them. But did it start thus ? The first part 

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Reviews. 385 

of the legend (the saga of Siegfried) has admittedly no 
historic basis that we can trace. It is by common consent 
mythic, though whether the myth represents a natural or 
an historic process is not settled. But as the legend comes 
before us in its oldest, the Northern, form it is an organic 
whole. We cannot separate the youth and tragic fate of 
the hero from the doom wrought upon his slayers, and 
from the final catastrophe which the same doom brings 
with it We cannot, even if there were not present in the 
story an element I have hitherto left unnoticed. Apart 
from the moral forces involved, sufficient themselves alone 
to furnish the thread and to necessitate the tragic result, 
there is a mythological force — the curse upon the Nibelung 
treasure pronounced by the first owner from whom it was 
wrung by craft and violence. This /we?/// mingles with, and 
singularly reinforces, the human passions, the growth and 
shock of which make up the story. Hatred, treachery, and 
lust of gold are thereby invested with a fateful character 
from which they gain dignity and pathos. This is so in 
the Northern version, but in the Nibelungenlied the signi- 
ficance of the hoard is completely obscured. It continues 
to exist in the story, but the story-tellers know not what to 
make of it So far from reinforcing the moral motive, 
the hoard weakens it Kriemhild, who can only win our 
sympathy in virtue of her overpowering love for her 
treacherously slain lord, is made to hanker after the trea- 
sure in a repulsive fashion ; at times avarice seems to 
guide her as much as revenge. 

Beaiing all the facts in mind, I ask. Is it likely that the 
second part of the legend (the doom on Siegfried's slayers) 
originated solely in certain historic occurrences of the fifth 
century, and that the Nibelung saga is the result of the 
fusion of this narrative with one of the birth, youth, and 
tragic death of Siegfried ? It may be so, but then the, 
presumably. Northern poet to whom we owe the version 
preserved in the Edda and the Volsunga saga sliould have 
his due as one of the greatest creative poets of all time. 

VOL. II. c c 

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386 Reviews. 

Or, rather, is not the legend as a whole far older than the 
fifth century, but, as it has come down to us, influenced by 
certain events, and partly adapted (how slightly we have 
seen) to the lives of certain personages of that century ? 
On these questions M. Lichtenberger*s attitude is agnostic 
Here again he faithfully reflects the temper of current 
German scholarship. But his analysis of each incident, 
and of the life-history of each personage, is so full and 
acute, that his readers are enabled to form a more definite 
conclusion if they like. 

If the legend as a whole existed prior to the fifth century 
there would be a likelihood of its being pan-Germanic ; 
and in this case the differences between the versions might 
be set down to the original legend-germ having produced 
different growths in North and South. Against this pos- 
sibih'ty is the undoubted fact that the Northern version, as 
we have it, shows unmistakable traces of derivation from 
Germany, and in especial from the Rhine valley. Again, 
if it can be shown that the later version, differ howsomuch 
it may from the earlier one, has yet preserved distinct 
traces of it, a strong presumption is created that the 
legend had its origin among one distinct race and in 
one distinct series of events. I have already alluded to 
M. Lichtenberger's ingenious explanation of the differ- 
ence between the Atli of the Volsunga saga and of the 
Etzel of the Nibelungenlied — the latter has transferred 
his active evil rdle to Kriemhild. Another instance is 
made much of by M. Lichtenberger. In the Volsunga saga 
Gudrun slays her children by Atli as part of her vengeance 
upon her kinsmen's murderer. In the Nibelungenlied, 
Kriemhild's child by Etzel is also slain, apparently with her 
consent. Evidently, says M. Lichtenberger, although the 
motive for the child slaughter has disappeared, the incident 
itself has subsisted. 

In this connection I may be allowed to note one of the 
few instances in which M. Lichtenberger has remained 
ignorant of previous research. Nearly ten years ago I 

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Reviews. 387 

showed in these pages that the Welsh tale of Branwen, 
was probably influenced by the Siegfried Nibelung cycle. 
Now the child-slaughter incident is found here in sub- 
stantially the same form as in the Nibelunglicd. If I am 
correct, and borrowing has taken place, the Welshman 
borrowed from the second version of the Nibelung legend. 
Now Branwen, as a whole, is certainly anterior to the intro- 
duction of the French form of the Arthurian romance into 
Wales, />., anterior to the twelfth century. In all probability 
it was redacted in the late tenth or early eleventh century. 
From whom at that date (or, indeed, at any other) could 
a Welsh story-teller have heard the second version of the 
Nibelung saga ? The first, the Northern version, was well 
known in Norse England. Stones, upon which episodes from 
it were graven, are standing to this day. But the second 
version ! save Branwen ex hypothesis there is no trace of it in 
Britain. Under these circumstances, the question arises 
whether M. Lichtenberger's contention is sound, and 
whether the child-slaughter incident of the Nibelungenlied 
and Thidreks saga is indeed wholly derived from that other 
incident preserved by .the Volsunga saga. 

Much, of course, would depend upon the date assigned 
to the transformation of the early into the later form of the 
legend. M. Lichtenberger does not dogmatise upon this 
point. Rightly so, in my opinion, the criteria relied upon 
by some German scholars for establishing a precise chrono- 
logy of the different versions being ofa secondary character. 
Nor is our author more dogmatic concerning the cause of 
this transformation. He seems to view it as belonging to the 
domain of historic psychology. The heroine of the early 
version typifies the virtue of fidelity to the kin. A time 
came when this virtue ceased to appeal to the ballad-singer's 
hearers, and that of wifely devotion was substituted for it. 

The problem i? complicated by the fact, which M. 
Lichtenberger notices but upon which he lays no stress, 
that the Vol sunga saga (t>., the chief representative of the 
early form of the legend) has a close parallel to the second 

c c 2 

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388 Reviews. 

part of the story. The grandmother of Siegfried is wedded, 
even as his wife is later, to a surly and treacherous tyrant ; 
he invites her father and brethren and has them slaughtered ; 
she avenges her kin even to the death of her husband and 
children. Have we here the representative of the conclu- 
sion of the original Siegfried-Nibelung saga before it was 
remodelled to fit a framework furnished by the lives of fifth- 
century personages, or is the story of Siegfried's grand- 
mother a Northern imitation of the doom wrought upon his 
slayers, and of the vengeance enacted therefor ? M. Lich- 
tenberger's failure to grapple with these questions is to my 
mind the chief defect in his work. 

The growth of the legend, according to M. Lichtenberger, 
is chiefly due to the individual singers who made it their 
theme, and who were subject to all the influences, social and 
literary, of their day. This insistence on the part played by 
those countless minstrels, who wandered from land to land 
keeping the old stories alive, is timely. But M. Lichten- 
berger should not have passed over Dr. Wolfgang Golther's 
theory accounting for the shapes which the legend succes- 
sively assumed by the fusion in it of independent, and at 
times contradictory, folk-tales. The harmonising process 
needed to weld these into an organic whole determined the 
form of the whole. 

The problems of the Nibelung saga are those of heroic 
legend generally. In how far is the latter indebted to his- 
toric fact ; in what manner does it transform historic fact 
to its own needs ; what is the nature of the portion which 
owes nothing to history and which we call mythic ; does this 
picture forth man's memory of his past, or embody his 
ancient imaginings of the material universe ; is the marked 
similarity which obtains between the great heroic cycles due 
to a common conception of life, to descent from a common 
original, or to borrowing one from another ? Any answer 
to these questions must satisfy the case of each special 
saga. The first requisite is to grasp clearly all the elements 
of the problem. This M. Lichtenberger enables us to do 

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Reviews. 389 

for one of the most famous and noblest of heroic stories, 
the story of Siegfried's fate and of the stress of the 

M. Lichtenberger's remarks (ch. 13-15) upon the con- 
ventional character of the personages in the twelfth-century 
minstrel narrative-poems are full of interest to the folk- 
lorist The conventions are largely those which obtain 
in the ordinary mdrchen. We have the king, father of 
a beautiful princess, whom he denies to all suitors; the 
king or prince who goes in quest of the heroine, or of 
some other adventure ; the king or prince who can accom- 
plish no adventure unaided, but has at his side a bold and 
cunning servant or relation (in one case, Oswalt, this 
factotum is an animal, a crow); skill and cunning are 
greatly insisted upon, and form as essential a part of the 
hero's equipment as strength or valour ; finally, the heroine 
is always fain, always prepared to trick her father and 
turn her back upon her kin when the hero whistles. In 
all these respects these poems differ greatly from those of 
the matikre de Bretagne, But it should be noted that the 
earlier prose stratum of Arthurian tales, of which Kilhwch 
is the only representative, shows the same characteristics. 
A feature of these German minstrel-narratives is the 
almost invariable Crusading framework in which they are 
set I would suggest that they are greatly spun-out versions 
of the folk-tales current at the time, provided with named 
personages, and fitted into what was, for twelfth-century 
Germany, the most picturesque and interesting cadre. 

In App.G, M. Lichtenberger discusses Professor Zimmer's 
views respecting the influence of the Nibelung upon the 
Cuchullan cycle, which I commented upon in these pages 
{Arch, Rev,, Oct. 1888). M. Lichtenberger is inclined to 
concede more to Professor Zimmer than I should, but in 
the main he rejects the theory as decisively as I do. 

Alfred Nutt. 

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3 go Reviews. 

Canti popolari Siciliani, raccolti ed illustrati di 
Giuseppe Pitre. Preceduti da uno studio critico a 
seguiti da melodic popolari. Nuova edizione, intera- 
menta rifusa. Carlo Clausen, Torino and Palmero, 
1 89 1. 2 vols. 8vo. 

Compilata da GIUSEPPE PiTRi. Scherie intema- 
zionali. Same publishers, i vol. crown 8vo., 700 pp., 
on hand-made paper. 

The first of these two works is a reprint, with additional 
notes up to date, which has long been a desideratum, 
of Dr. Pitrfe's splendid collection of Sicilian folk-songs. 
Some very few of these have been made known to folk- 
lorists in their restricted place in my Folk-songs of Italy y but 
the complete collection is a model of scholarly work of its 
class, and the Treatise on the subject in the Preface (173 pp.) 
is a most instructive account of the place Sicily holds, a 
highly important one, in the scientific regions of folk-lore — 
a place which some may think is a significant landmark of 
the migrations of folk-songs. The work has been entirely 
recast {rifusa), and numerous additions incorporated. 

The work which stands second on our heading is even 
more important for the non-Italian folk-lorists, as, with the 
great linguistic knowledge and professional perseverance he 
has at command, Dr. Pitrfe knows how to bring together an 
exhaustive cyclopaedia of works in all languages bearing 
on the folk-lore of Italy. The whole family of folk-lore is 
so intimately inter-connected, that nothing which is import- 
ant to one branch of it can be without bearing on every 
other. And just as the specimen-programme we have 
received shows that neither the works which English nor 
American writers have contributed to the subject are want- 
ing to the list, among purely Italian ones will appear many 
which are at present little, if at all, known in this country. 

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Reviews. 391 

At the same time exact titles of works and magazine 
articles, etc., cognate to the subject, are invited, and maybe 
sent to the publishers. Those subsequent to the letter B 
will still be in time for insertion. 

This universality will make it indispensable to the 
library of all students of folk-lore in every country, while 
the specimen further shows that it will be a handsome 
volume of some 600 or 700 pages, an ornament to their 
shelves. It may truly be described by the Italian epithet 
of un lavoro di Benedettino — a labour of collection of mate- 
rials for more hurried labourers to " enter into". 

R. H. Busk. 

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The present number of Folk-Lore has been delayed in 
issue in order to contain as late, as full, and as authentic 
iii formation of the forthcoming Congress as possible. It is 
hoped that the details given in these pages may determine 
those readers of FOLK-LORE who have not yet made up 
their minds to attend and aid the success of the first Folk- 
lore Congress held in England. 

Among the papers to be published in the December 
number of FoLK-LORE will be two important Reports, one 
lunp promised, by Mr. Cecil Smith, on Greek Archaeology ; 
atid one on Recent Research in Institutions, by Mr. G. L. 
Gomme. Other papers have been previously announced. 

Among the announcements of the forthcoming pub- 
lishing season are several of interest to students of folk- 
lore, viz.: — 

Prof. M. MuLLER, Anthropological Religion, (Longmans.) 

Dr. C. HoRSTMANN, Legenda Anglia. (Clar. Press.) 

Prof. DE LA Saussaye, Manual of the Science of Religion. 

Prof. Rhys and J. M. Jones, The Elucidarium, Welsh text, 

(Clar. Press.) 
E. Faulkener, Games^ Ancient and Oriental, (Longmans.) 
G. E. Northall, Descriptive Collection of English Folk- 

Rhymes, (Kegan Paul, Triibner and Co.) 
Joseph Jacobs, Celtic Fairy Tales, (Nutt.) 
W. B. Yeats, Irish Fairy Tales, (Unwin.) 
Rev. J. C. Atkinson, English Fairy Tales, (Macmillan.) 

The revived interest in the folk-tales of the British Isles 
is a striking characteristic of these announcements. 

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Notes and News. 393 

Mr. G. L. Gomme is writing a volume on Folk-lore and 
Ethnology, which will contain a definitive and exhaustive 
statement of his views on the functions of folk-lore as a 
means of ethnological research, and the principles to be 
applied in the scientific analysis of custom and belief. 

The Handbook of Folk-lore^ prepared for the Folk-lore 
Society, is now nearly out of print. A second edition is in 

Miss Roalfe Cox's volume of variants of Cinderella 
has been sent to press, and may be expected as one of the 
publications of the Folk-lore Society for 1892. It will pro- 
bably be preceded by a symposium on the subject by 
prominent students of the folk-tale. 

The Denham Tracts are passing through the press, and 
the volume is to be issued to the members of the Folk-lore 
Society as the issue for 1891. 

Communications for the next number of Folk-Lore 
shoufd reach the Office, 270, Strand, W.C., on or before 
Nov. loth. 

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[English books published in London^ French books in Paris^ 
unless otherwise mentioned,'] 


Andrews (W.) Old Church Lore. 8vo. 257 pp. Simpkin. 
BOURKE (J. G.) Scatalogic Rites of all Nations. A Dissertation on 

the Employment of Excrementitious Remedial Agents in Religion, 

Therapeutics, Divination, Witchcraft, Love- Philters, etc. 8vo, 

500 pp. Lowdermilk (Washington, U.S.). 
Garnett (L. M. J.) The Women of Turkey and their Folk-lore. 

With concluding 'chapters on the Origin of Matriarchy, by John 

S. Stuart-Glennie. The Jewish and Moslem Women. 8vo xvi, 

616 pp. D. Nutt. 
Moore (A. W.) The Folk-lore of the Isle of Man : being an account 

of its Myths, Legends, Superstitions, Customs, and Proverbs. 

i2mo. X, 192 pp. D. Nutt. 
Parliamentary Papers. China, No. 3. Anti-Foreign Riots in 

China. Eyre and Spottiswoode. [Contains some curious items ] 


James (M. H.) Bogie Tales of East Anglia. Pawsey and Hayes 

Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition. Argyllshire Series. 
Vol. iii. Folk and Hero Tales. Collected, edited, and translated 
by the Rev. J. MacDougall. With an Introduction by Alfred 
Nutt. 8vo. xxii, 312 pp. D. Nutt. 

Vol. iv. The Fians ; or, Stories, Poems, and Traditions ot 

Fionn and his Warrior Band. Collected entirely from Oral 
Sources by J. G. Campbell, Minister of Tiree. With Introduction 
and Bibliographical Notes by Alfred Nutt, and Portrait of 
Campbell of Islay. 8vo. be, 291 pp. D. Nutt 

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Folk-lore Bibliography. 395 

Ragusa-Moletti (G.) Poesia dei Popoli selvaggi poco civili. 
Loescher (Turin). 

Steenstrup. Vore Folkeviser fra Middelaldaren. [Praised by 
M. Gaston Paris in the Revue Critique as important for the com- 
parative history of European ballad poetry.] 


Becker (J. H.) Die Zwillingssage also Schliissel zur Deutung 

urzeitlicher Ueberlieferung. 8vo. Fock (Leipzig). 
Dyer (L.) Studies of the Gods in Greece. 8vo. 462 pp. Macmillan. 
Glock (J. P.) Die Symbolik der Bienen und ihrer Produkte in 

Sage, Dichtung, Kultus, Kunst und Brauchen der Volker. Weiss 

Irische Texte mit Uebersetzungen und Worterbuch. Heraus- 

gegeben von Whitley Stokes und E. Windisch. Vol. iii, i. 8vo. 

iii, 283 pp. Leipzig. [Comprises text and translation of several 

important mythological texts.] 
LiCHTENBERGER ^H.) Le po^me et la 16gende des Nibelungen. 8vo. 

442 pp. 
Lyall (Sir A.) Natural Religion in India. The Rede Lecture. 8vo. 

MULLENHOFF (K.) Deutsche Altertumskunde. Funfter Band. 

8vo. 417 pp. Weidmann (Berlin). [Contains essay on Balder 

Saga in answer to Bugge.] 


Brinton (D. G.) The American Race. A Linguistic Classification 
and Ethnographic Description of the Native Tribes of North and 
South America. 8vo. 392 pp. Hodges (Boston, U.S.). 

BUCKLAND (A W.) Anthropological Studies. 8vo. 310 pp. Ward 
and Downey. 

Clodd (E.) Myths and Dreams. Second edition. Longmans. 

CODRINGTON (R. H.) The Melanesians. Studies in their Anthro- 
pology and Folk-lore. 8vo. 456 pages. Clarendon Press. 


Gaster (M.) Chrestomathie Roumaine. Textes imprimis et manu- 
scrits du i6« au 196 si^cle, accompagnds d'une grammaire et d'un 
glossaire roumain-fran^ais. 2 vols. 8vo. cxlix, 368, 562 pp. 
Leipzig. [Section V is devoted to " Littdrature populaire'*.] 

Heeger (Dr. G.) Ueber die Trojanersagen der Franken und Nor- 
mannen. 8vo. Landau. 

Digitized by 


396 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

NOLDEKE (Th.) Das arabische Marchen vom Doctor und Garcoch 

Herausgegeben, iibersetzt und in seinem litterar. Zusammenhange 

beleuchtet. 4to. 54 pp. Berlin. 
ZiBST. Listy z ceskychdejin kulturnich. [These "Fragments of a 

History of Civilisation in Bohemia" contain, according to M. L. 

Leger, a study of the Melusina legend in Bohemia.] 


Errera (P.) Les Masuirs : recherches sur quelques vestiges dcs 
formes anciennes de la propri^t^ en Belgique. 

Westermarck (E.) The History of Human Marriage. 8vo. 664 pp. 

[Review will follow in December number. Meanwhile atten- 
tion may be called to the important nature of this volume as con- 
tainmg the largest induction of facts on the subject of which it 

WissowA (G.) De feriis anni Romanorum vetustissimi observationes 
selectae. 4to. 15 pp. Marburg. 


Jonmal of American Folk-lore, April to June 1891. O.T, Mason^ 
Natural History of Folk-lore. W, ^T. A^., The Indian Messiah. L. 
Vossion^ Nat-Worship among the Burmese, y. IV, Fewkes^ A 
Suofgestion as to the meaning of the Moki Snake-dance. T. 
Wilson, Amulet Collection of Prof. Belucci. 5. Hayward^ Popular 
Names of American Plants. F, D, Bergen and W, W, Newell^ 
Topics for collection of Folk-lore. Bibliographical Notes. 

American Anthropologist, April 1891, vol. iv, No. 2. (Washington.) 
A'. P. Phister^ The Indian Messiah. C. Thomas^ The Story of 
a Mound ; or, the Shawnees in pre-Columbian Times. IV, H. 
Holmes^ The Thruston Tablet. J, W, FcwkeSy On Zemes from 
Santo Domingo. W, W, Rockhill, Notes on some of the 
Laws, Customs, and Superstitions of Korea. R. Fletcher^ 
Quarterly Bibliography of American Literature. 

American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal, March 1891, voL xiii, 
No. 2. (Mendon, 111.) IV, J. McGee^ Some Principles of 
Evidence relating to the Antiquity of Man. E, Guernsey ^ The 
Alaskan Natives of Fort WrangeL /. Deans^ The Story of 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography. 397 

Skaga Belus. 5. D. Peet, Altar Mounds and Ash Pits. 
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American Notes and Queries, March 7, 1891. (Philadelphia.) Pot- 
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Archaeolo£:ia, vol. lii, pt. 2. E. A, Waiiis-Bud^ey On the Hieratic 
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Journal of the Gypsy Folk-lore Society, April 1891, vol. ii, No. 6. 
(Edinburgh.) C, G, Leland^ Shelta. R. v. Sowa^ O Phiiro Sasos : 
a Slovak-Gypsy Tale. /. Kopemickiy The Witch: a Polish 
Gipsy Folk-tale. D. MacRitchiCy Scottish Gypsies under the 
Stewarts. V. K. deZielinskiy Notes on the Gypsies of Russia. 
Lcuiy Buriofty An Episode from the Life of Sir Richard Burton. 
Reviews. Notes and Queries. 

Journal of the Anthropological Institute, August 1891, vol. xxi. No. i. 
Rev. C. Harrison, Religion and Family among the Haidas 
(Queen Charlotte Islands). /./. Lister, Notes on the Natives 
of Fakaofu (Bowditch Island), Union Group. 

Bulletin de la Sod6t& de Folk-lore Wallon, i. M. Wilmottey La 
chanson populaire au moyen-dge. O. Colsotiy Jeux d'enfants: 
Rimes des doigts. E. Monseury L'os qui chante. O. Colsoriy Les 
noces de la M^sange. J. DefrecheuXy Formulettes de possession. 
A. GitUey Spectres et fant6mes. 

M^lusine, iv, 9. GaidoSy Le chevalier au lion — Incantation enumdra- 
tive — La fraternisation — La coupe de la vie. Rollandy Le courroux 
de Tenfant Jdsus —La berg^re r^signde. Tuchmanuy La fascination 

Mos^on, No. 2. Harlewy Les Religions de la Chine: i. La Religion des 
premiers Chinois, le Dieu supreme, Shang-Ti et le Ciel ou Fien. 

Revne Arch^ologiqne, Jan.-Feb. H. dArbois de Jubainville, Les 
Temoignages linguistiques de la civilisation commune aux Celtes 
ct aux Germains pendant le 5« et 6« Si^cles avant J.C. 

Rcfne de rHistoire des Religions, No. 2. Babelouy La Tradition 
phrygienne du D^uge. 

Revne des Traditions Populaires, May 189 1. G. Doncieuxy Le Cycle 
de sainte Marie-Madeleine dans la chanson populaire. Mme. P. 
Sibilloty Le Rossignol, chanson de la Haute-Bretagne. A. HaroUy 
Les Rites de la construction: iii, La cath^drale de Tr^es. P. Sibil- 

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J98 Folk-lore Bibliography. 

lot^ Traditions et superstitions des Fonts et Chauss^es : vii, Les 
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le Font de paille. R. Kerviler^ Sec. i {suite\ Les Rites dc la 
construction ; Le Font Callec ; Le Pont de KerventhaL R. Basul, 
vi, Les chauss6es et lcs digues : iii, Les Phares. A. Harau^ Les 
Cloches: iii, Cloches englouties. M, de Zmigrodzki^ iv, Devi- 
nettes ct croyances de PUkraine. P. CkardiHy Mdlusine en 
Champagne. P. 5., Poesies sur des themes populaires : xx, Emile 
Bl^mont et Achille Millien. Mme. Murray-Aynslay^ Quelqnes 
usages de la Semaine sainte. R, Basset^ Contes arabes et orien- 
taux : V, Le D^positaire infidMe (suite). A, Certeuxy Les Eaux 
thermales et min^rales, iii. A, Ferrand^ Traditions et Super- 
stitions du Dauphin^ : ix, Le bon Dieu et les pays : x, La R^volle. 
H, Le Boumisietiy Le Premier dimanche de Cardme : ii, Dans 
TArtois et le Boulonnais. A, Harou^ Les Mines et les Mineurs 
xi, Superstitions diverses (Belgique). A, Millieriy Les Pourquoi : 
Iv, Pourquoi le lifevre a la babine fendue. —June. R, Rosih^es^ 
Anciennetd de quelques locutions usuelles. F.Amaudin^ Quelques 
usages de la Semaine sainte : ii, Dans les Landes. /. Ttersoi^ 
Si j'^tais Hirondelle : i, Forme morvandelle ; ii, Forme normande 
R, Bassety La Ldgende de Didon (suite) : i, La pcau de boeuf 
coupde en lani^res ; ii, La Delimitation par la voix ; v, D^imi- 
tation par la vue. M, de Zmigrodzkiy Les Mines et les Mineurs, 
xiii : Coutumes, croyances et chansons des mineurs polonais. 
M, Ortolan^ Traditions et superstitions des Fonts et Chauss^es : 
vii, Les Fonts {suite) ; L^gende du pont de la Calade k Saint- 
Raphael. R, Bassety Les destructeurs de ponts ; les Fonts 
myihiques ; Les chaussdes et les digues, vi (suite), L, Morin^ 
Les Chemins de Fer, ii. A, de LazarquCy Folk-lore de Lorraine : 
la Massue. P, Biziery Blason populaire de la Loire-Inf^rieure. 
R, Bassety La Chanson de Bricou, vi (suite), P, 5., Second 
Congrfes des Traditions populaires P. S. Le Carguety Supersti- 
tions du Cap-Sizun. — July. P, Sibilloty Le peuple et Thistoire : vi, 
La Ldgende Napoldonienne. C Lecocqy Deux Chansons bourgui- 
gnonnes : i, Le fr^re et la soeur ; ii, Le Galant de village. 
M, Blacquey Seconde vue et intersignes: iii, Enterrement vu k 
Pavance. L, Morin et P. S., Bapt^mes de ponts. L. PineaUy 
Les Ponts du Diable : le Pont de Gen^ay. T, Volkov, Les 
ponts hantds : ii, Les Chemins de fer (suite) : vi, Une question 
d'Ethnographie. P, M. Lavenoty La l^ende du Diable chez les 
Bretons du pays de Vannes (suite), G, FoujUy Les pr^curseurs 
de nos Etudes : vii, L^gendes normandes du mus^ de Dieppe. 
R, Bassety Les Ordalies ; i, Par le fer rouge ; ii, Par Teau bouil- 

Digitized by 


Folk-lore Bibliography. 399 

lante. G, de Launay^ M^ecine superstitieuse : iv, En Anjou. 
G, de la Chenelilre^ Les Charitds en Normandie. F. Fertiault^ 
Les Charivaris : v, Lc Charidane en Saintonge. A, Certeux^ 
Second Congr^s des Traditions populaires. R, Basset^ Les villes 
englouties {suite\ iii-vii. Z. Fargue^ viii, La lague de Xain- 
trailles. /^.5.,ix, LavilledeGardanne. — August. R, Basset, Conies 
arabes et orientaux : vii, Les Cent nuits et le Kitab ech Chelh'a; 
viii, L'Alhambra et le chdteau de Kaouarnaq. D. Daujon, Le 
mal mari6. Version normande. E, Chanire, Superstitions des 
Tatars de FAderbeidjan. P, Sibillot^ Les Traditions populaires 
et les dcrivains fran^ais : vii, Sarasin. H. Heinecke, Les pourquoi : 
vii, Pourquoi les plumes de paon portent malheur. M. A, Barbet^ 
La chanson des Petignot, pays de Montbdliard. E, Binder^ 
Saint-Blaise, iv. L, Morin, Contes troyens (suite). A, Certeux^ 
La Bataille des Roses en Orient. Z. C. Musters^ Superstitions 
du sud du pays de Galles. A, Harou, Les Mines et les Mineurs. 
R, Basset^ Le feu Saint-£lme : ii, Le pont des morts k Java. 
Peiravicky Le pont qui conduit au ciel. /?. Basset. Le pont 
de Mautribles ; Le pont de Misarella. M. Cheguillaume^ ii, Les 
chemins de fer {suite), F, Fertiault^ La pri^re du Cath^re en 
Champagne. P. S., Miettes de Folk-lore parisien, xvii ; Blason 
populaire au xvii« si^cle. R, Basset, Les villes englouties (suite), 
Mme, DestriclU, Les roseaux qui chantent, iv. 

La Tradition, May 1891. Dr, Bkrenger-Fdraud, Le Feu de Prom^th^ 
chez les Provengaux de nos jours. D, S, Prato^XJn Conte d*Andr^e 
de Nerciat dans une nouvelle populaire livoumaise in^dite. 
M, de Zmigrodzki, Le Folk-lore polonais : iv, Mddecine populaire 
(suite), H, van Elven, Les Proems de Sorcellerie au Moyen-Age : 
ii, Jurisprudence et Procedure en mati^re de Sorcellerie. 
H, Carnoy eXj, Nicolatdes, Le Folk-lore de Constantinople: ii, 
Superstitions et Croyances des Chretiens grecs de Constantinople. 
A> Desruosseaux, Monstres et Grants : xi, Les Grants et POp 
Signorken de Malines. /. Planiadis, Les Chevaliers du Papegai, 
ii. — June. D, Birenger-F&aud, Le Crime d'GEdipe dans un conte 
provenqal contemporain. A, GrUnn, Chansons populaires de la 
Camiole, xiii et xiv (fin). Traduction de Mile, F, de Nemithy 
et G, Doncieux, Dr, S, Prato, Un Conte de Gr^court dans une 
nouvelle populaire de Cavallasca. 7. SalleSy Lous Sept Debis dou 
Gascoun. H. van Elven, Les Proems de Sorcellerie au Moyen- 
Age, ii (suite), F, de Beaurepaire, Chansons populaires du 
^uercy, vii et viii. /. Plantadis, Les Chevaliers du Papegai, ii. 
T, Cannizzaroy Chansons populaires Siciliennes. P, Vigni, 
Croyances et Coutumes au Dahomey. G, Doncieux, Lc roi 

Digitized by 


400 Folk-lore Bibliography, 

Renaud : version limousine. H. Menuy Chansons populaires de 
la Picardie, iv. V. de Colleville^ Vieille Berceuse. 

Volkskniide Tijdachrift Toor NederUndsche Folk-lore, Jaarg. iv, aflev. 
5. A, GitUi^ Volkshumor in Geestelijke Zaken (continued). 

Zeicschrilt fiir romaiiisdie Philol<^e, 3-4. Osterhage^ Studien im 
G^biete der frankischen Heldensage. 

Zeitscbiift fiir Volksknnde, Band iii, heft 9. O. Knoopy Die neu 
entdeckten Gottergestalten am Harz. /. Krohn^ Die Kalewala. 
A. Schlossar^ Sagen vom Schratel. Schweloy Die "grossc" 
u-cndische Hochzeit. — Heft 10. Krohn^ (cont. transl. from 
Finnish). F, Branky^ Volksiiberlieferungen aus Oesterrdch. 
B' Hiiser^ Der Schwerttanz von Atteln. 

Zdtschriit des Vereins fiir Volksknnde, 3. M, Roediger^ Die Sage von 
Ermenrich und Schwanhild. W, Nehring^ Die ethnographischen 
A rbeiten der Slaven vornehmlich Oskar Kolbergs. W, Schwartz^ 
Volkstumliche Schlaglichter, ii. M, HoeJUr^ Die Kalendcr- 
Heiligen als Krankheits Patrone in Bayern. /. /. Ammann^ 
Volkssegen aus dem Bohmerwald. O. v. ZingerU^ S^en und 
Heilmittel aus c. Wolfsthumer Hs. des 15 Jahrh. C. Arendi^ 
Alodeme chinesische Tierfabeln und Schwanke. U. John u. 
A, Cohn^ Jamund bei Coslin. 


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Vol. II.] DECEMBER, 1891. [No. IV. 

CARS.— Part III. 

THE following three tales require, I think, a short 
explanation. They differ, in almost every way, from 
the stories I have already given. They are, in the first 
place, less legends than drolls, though their subjects are 
grim enough. They are, besides, less effective as stories. 
It was probably for this reason that I did not write them 
out fully from my short notes taken at the time. In the 
case of all the other tales I did this on arriving home 
within a day of hearing the stories ; but in the case of 
the following three I had only the rough notes, and have 
had to write them out from these. At the suggestion of 
the Editor of FOLK-LORE, I have appended in each case 
the rough notes, so that those who may use them for 
scientific folk-lore purposes may know exactly the charac- 
ter of the material they are using. I have endeavoured to 
keep strictly to what I heard, and I have tried to truly 
present them in all their inconsequence, and even inco- 
herency. All three resemble, at least in parts, those tales 
which are called "drolls"; and none of them can be said 
to be looked on by the narrators as in any sense true. The 
two latter are, I imagine, portions of the same tale, al- 
though told me at different times and by different people. 
I have given titles to these, as the narrators gave none, 
but otherwise I have added and altered nothing. 


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402 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

Of each, in turn, I would like to say a few words. " The 
Flying Childer" was told me under that name, though, 
considering the tale itself, it might as appropriately have 
been called anything else. I regret to say I can remember 
little about the person who told it to me ; I never knew 
his name. I met him in a small inn some distance from 
where I lived, where I had one day to spend an hour ; and 
except that he came from the Wolds, and that I after- 
wards saw him once or twice driving towards the market- 
town, I know no more of him. He did not believe in 
bogles nor witches ; but he confessed to a good many- 
superstitions, and to a real dread of the Evil Eye, which 
he declared he knew to be a true and terrible thing. 

He was a poor story-teller, and did not seem to realise 
the incoherency of the tale. He said quite simply that he 
did not suppose it was true, but he implied a very strong 
reservation as to murderers being pursued, after death, by 
their victims. I also found that he believed — and I think 
it is not an uncommon theory — that all dead persons are 
" bogles", capable of feeling, speaking, appearing to living 
eyes, and of working good and evil, till corruption has 
finally completed its work, and the bodies no longer 

These two ideas granted as possible beliefs, the tale is 
no longer quite so uninteresting or absurd as it seems on 
first sight, and it may be that it was very different in its 
original form. There can be little doubt that it is either 
vastly incomplete, or has become confused with another 
tale, which, perhaps, fills the gap where the true version 
has been forgotten. However it came to pass, it is certain 
that the whole episode of the Tailor, the Wise Woman, and 
the Old Man, is apt to make the reader quote Mr. Kipling, 
and exclaim, " But that is another story !" 

I should like to add that cutting off the feet and hands 
of a dead body often occurs in folk-tales, though I cannot 
remember that it has ever been remarked on. In Lincoln- 
shire, 1 found it appearing in Jack the Giant-Killer, Beauty 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 403 

and the Beast, and one fragment (I think) of Cinderella, 
besides " The Flying Childer" ; and I have come across it 
in at least one Scotch tale. Perhaps someone learned in 
the subject may be able to explain it 

" Fred the Fool" was told me by the same person as the 
first tale, and needs little explanation. It seems to be a 
droll, or to resemble one, and I am inclined to think that 
it is really the first portion of the last tale, which I have 
called " Saml's Ghost", though somewhat incorrectly, as 
the latter is not a Lincolnshire word. This was told me 
by Fanny, the child who narrated "The Dead Moon"; but 
she was very much less interested in it, and it is altogether 
a lower class of story. She knew nothing of the life of 
" Sam'l", nor how he came to be burnt 

The Flyin' Childer. 

A*m skers sure ef a can tell 'ee *t ahl right, but a guess a 
mind it as 't wor teirt me'a. Le'ssee, na'ow ! Theer wor 
wanst a chap 's wor gra*at fur tha wimmen-fo'ak, an' cud'n't 
kep out o' tha wa'ay ef a tried ever so ; th* varry soight 
o* a pittyco't ha*f a mile off 'n th* road *d ca'all un fur to 
foller 'n. 'N' wan da'ay, as *t mout be, a come ker-bang 
ra'ound a corner, 'n' theer wor a rampin' maid, settin' her 
lo'an an* washin' asel*, an' th* fond chap wor ahl outer 's 
wit's to wanst An' th' upshot o* 't wor, 's a sweer a 'd 
wed her, ef her 'd come ho'am wi* 'm ; 'n' says she : 

" A'U come, 'n welcome !" says she, " but thou'U mun 
sweer as thou'll wed ma." 

" A will," says he, " a sweer 't !" — an' a thowt to 'msel', 
" ower th' lef showther, that 1" 

" Thou'll mun wed ma i' cho'ch," says she. 

" A will !" says he — '' Ef a iver put foot in," he thowt to 

" An' ef thou do'ant, what'll a forspell 'ee ?" says she. 

" Lawks," says he, fur a wor feared o' bein' forspellt, 


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404 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

which be main mischancy, seest tha ; ** do'ant 'ee overlook 
ma, do'ant 'ee ! Ef a do'ant wed tha, mout th' wo*ms e'at 
ma" — " (Ther ba'oun* fur to do 't annywa'ays !" thinks 
he to 'msel; — " an' th* childer hev wings 'n' fly awa'ay." (An* 
none gra*at matter ef tha do !" says he to 'msel'.) 

But th* maid didn't know as a wor thinkin', an' a want 
wi' 'm. An' by-'n'-by tha coom to 'n' cho'ch. 

" Thou'U can wed ma here-by," says she, tweakin 's arm. 

" No'a !" says he, "th' pa'asson 's a-huntin'." So tha went 
on a bit furder, an' coom to 'nother cho'ch. 

" Wal', here-by ?" says she. 

" No'a !" says he ; "pa'asson *s none sober *nuff, *n' clerk's 

" Wal' !" says she, " mebbe tha'll can wed 's, fur ahl thar 
i' liquor." 

" Houts !" says he, an' gi's her a kick. 

So on tha want ag'ean, an' by-'n'-by, a meets wi' a t'ylor- 
man, an* a says, says a, " Wheer's th' me'aster ?" 

" Ooh, da'own-by ! " says th' au'd feller. 

So a went on a bit furder, while tha coom to a wise 
woman, plaitin' straws, an' a says to a, " Wheer's th* au'd 
mun ?" 

" Da'own-by !" says she. 

So on tha want, while a coom to 'n bit cottage by th* 
la'ane side, an' a knockit an' kicked at th' door tell 't 
shuk, but niver a wo'd coom f'um inn'ard. So a wa'alked 
ra'at in, an' theer wor 'n au'd mun lyin' slepin' 'n' snorin* 
on *s bed. 

Wal*, th' young chap keck't aba'out *un fur summat 
handy, 'n* seen 'n axe, so a oop wi' *t 'n' brained th' au'd 
feller, 'n' chopped 's feet *n' ban's ofT'n 'um. An' than a set 
to 'n* cle'aned oop th' pla'ace, *n' thrung th* corp out o* 
winder, 'n' lat fire i* th* hearth, while ahl wor smart *n' natty. 

An' by-'n'-by, keckin' ower *s showther, a seed th' wise 
woman stealin' th* corp awa*ay wi' a. 

" Hi !" says th* chap ; " th* corp*s mine, seest tha. What 
thou do*n* wi* *m ?** 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 405 

*' A*ll barry *m fur tha," says she. 

** No*a thou wunt." says he, " a*ll do 't maselV 

"Wall, then," says she, " A'll stan' by." 

" No'a, thou wunt !'* says he, " a'U can do 't better ma 

" Ta'ake thy wa'ay, fool," says she, ** but gi* ma th* axe, 
then, 'stead o' th* corp." 

" No*a, a wunt !" says he ; " a mout want her age'an." 

" Hi !" says th' wise woman, " none give, none have ; red 
han' an' lyin' lips !" 

An' a want awa'ay, mutterin' an' twistin' *s fingers. 

So th' chap buried th' corp, but less a furgot wheer 't wor, 
a lef * wan arm stickin' oot o' th' gra'oun', an' th' feet 'n* 
han's a chuck to th' pigs, an' says he to th' gal : 

** A'll ga 'n snare a cony ; see thou kep to th' ha'ouse" ; 
'n' off a want. 

Th' gal diddle-daddled aba'out, 'n' presently th' pigs 
'gun squealin' 's if a wor kill't. 

" An' oh !" says th' gal, " what 'n 's amiss wi' 'm, fur so to 
squeal ?" 

An' th* dead feet up an' said, " We be amiss, us'l) trample 
th' pigs tell thou bury us !" 

So a took th' feet, an' put 'em i' yarth. 

An' by-'n'-by th' pigs la'ay da'own 'n' died. 

" Oh ! oh !" says th' gal, " what be th' matter wi' 'm fur 
so to die ?" 

An' th' dead han's up an' cried, " We be th' matter, we's 
chocked um !" 

So a want 'n' harried 'em too. 

An* by-'n'-by a heerd summat a-callin', 'n' a-callin' on 
her, an* a want fur to see what a wanted. 

" Who be a-ca'allin' ?" says she. 

" Thou 's put us wrong !" said th' feet an* han's ; " we be 
feelin', an* we be creepin', an' we ca'ant fin' th' rest o* 's 
annywheers. Put us by th* au'd mun, wheer 's arm sticks 
oot o' groun', or we'll tickle tha wi' fingers an' tread tha 
wi' toes, till thou loss tha wits." 

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4o6 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

So a dug 'em up, 'n' put 'em by th* au'd mun. 

An' by-'n'-by th' young chap coom back, an' ca'alled fur 
's dinner. 

" Wheer's th' childer ?" says he. 

" Ooh, gath'rin' berries !" says she. 

" Berries i' spring ?" says he ; an' kep on wi' 's eatin'. 

But when noight coom an' tha womt ho'am : 

« Wheer's th' childer ?" says he. 

" Gone a fishin'," says she. 

" Ay," says he, " 'n' th' babby, too ?" 

An' coom th' mornin', a shuk th' gal oop sudden, an* 
bawled in 's earn : 

" Wheer's th' CHILDER ?" 

" Ooh !" says she 'n a hurry, " flown awa'ay, th' childer 
hev !" 

" Tha hev ?" says he. " Then thou'll can goo arter *m !" 
An' a oop wi' th' axe 'n' chopped her i' pieces 'n' shuv th' 
bits unner th' bed. 

Wal, by-'n'-by, th* childer coom flyin' back, an' keck't 
aba'out fur th' mother, but tha seed nowt 

" Wheer's mother ?" tha said to th' chap. 

" Gone to buy bacon," says he, feelin' oneasy. 

" Bacon ?" says tha ; " an' wi* flitches hangin' ready ?" 

'N' presently tha comes age'an, 'n' says : 

" Wheer's mother ndaw?'' 

" Gone to seek thoUy' says a, shakin' unner th* clo'es. 

« Ay ?" says tha, " an' we here !" 

An' fore a cud get oot o' bed tha coom ahl ra ound un, 
an* pointed at un wi' 's fingers : 

" Wheer's mother TO-NA*OW ?" 

" Ooh !" a squealed, " unner th' bed 1" An' a put 's head 
unner th' blunket 

Tha childer pulled oot th' bits, an' fell to weepin' an' 

wailin' as tha pieced un togither. An' th' chap, a want fur 

to crep to th' door 'n' get awa'ay, but tha cot un, an' took 

axe 'n' chopped un oop loike th' gal, an' lef un lyin' 

es tha want awa'ay grattin'. 

Digitized by 


Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 407 

Soon 's a wor sure a wor de'ad, up a got 'n' shook 's sel', 
an' theer wor th' gal, stannin' waitin' fur *n wi* 's long claws 
a*out, an' *s teeth gibberin' an' 's eyne blazin' loike a green 
cat, gan' to spring. An' nat'rally th' chap wor feared, an' 
a runned, an' runned, an' runned, so 's to git awa'ay ; but 
she runned efter, wi' 's long claws strot out, till a cu'd feel 
un ticklin' th' back o' 's neck, an' strainin' wi' th' longin' to 
chock un. An' a ca'lled a'out to the thunner : 

"Strike ma de'ad!" 

But th* thunner wud'n't, for a wor de'ad a'ready. 

An' a runned to th' fire an' begged : 

" Bum ma oop !" 

But tha fire wud'n't, fur th' chill o' de'ath put 'n 

An' a thrung 's sel' in th' water, an' said : 

" Draown me blue !" 

But th' watter wudn't, fur th' death-colour wor comin' 
in 's fa'ace a'ready. 

An' a tuk th' axe 'n' tried to cut 's thro'at, but th' axe 

An' to last, a thrung 's sel' into th' gra'ound, an' ca'alled 
fur th' wo'ms to eat un, so 's a cu'd rest in 's grave an' be 
quit o^ th' woman. 

But by-'n'-by oop crep a gra'at wo'm, an' a stra'ange an' 
gra'at thing 't wor, wi' th' gal's head o' th' en' o' its long 
slimy body, an' 't crep oop aside un an' ra'oun' about, 'n* 
over un, while a druv awa'ay all th' other wo'ms, an' than 
a set to, to eat un 's sel'. 

" Ooh, eat ma quick, eat ma quick ! " a squeels. 

" Stiddy, na'ow 1" says th' wo'm, " good food's wuth th' 
meal-toime. Thou ho'd still, 'n' let ma 'njoy masel'." 

" Eat ma quick, eat ma quick !" said he. 

" Do'ant thou haste ma, a tell 'ee," says th' wo'm, " a 's 
gettin' on fine. Thou'st nigh gone na'ow." An' a smacked 
's lips wi' th' goodness o' 't 

" Quick !" a whispit age'an. 

" Whist, thou'st 'n onpatient chap," says th' wo'm. 

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4o8 Legends of the Lifuolnshire Cars. 

An' a swallered th* last bit, an' th' lad wor all go'an, arV 
'd got awa'ay f um th* gal to last. 
An' that's ahL 


Noi quite sure if remember — think can tell as told me. Once 
was a ikd — fond of girls — couldn't keep away from petticoats. 
Came round comer "kerbang" on girl washing herself — swore 
h<-'d svod her, if she'd follow him. She makes him swear — he 
does it ** ower th* lef shouther*'. In church, she says. Says he 
will, ** if ever he goes in" (aside). Threatens to " forespell" him M 
he doesn*t. He says, " Mout th* wo*ms eat ma ef a donV — 
" Bound do it anyway" — and children fly away — " no great matter" 
(a^iidt). So they went on — came to church — girl wants to go 
in. He says no, parson hunting. Go on to next church — says, 
'* No : parson's tipsy, and clerk's drunk." She says might wed 
iht^rn for all that. He kicks her. Meet a tailor — ask him for 
the master. " Down-by". • Meet wise woman plaiting straws. 
" V\ beer's au'd mun T " Down-by." Come to cottage, knock — 
no ani^wer, go in — old man asleep on bed. Lad takes axe, 
brains liim, chops feet and hands — throws out of window. Cleaned 
pjace — lit fire. Wise woman tries to steal corpse. '* Hi, that's 
mine." **ril bury it/' "No, do 't masel'." "I'll stand by." 
"Nc>^ do better alone." "Give axe instead." "No, might need 
it," " None give, none have; red hand, lying lips." He buries 
cornse— leaves arm sticking up — feet and hands to the pigs. 
Sayii to gal, " Get cony ; you keep house." Girl diddle-daddles 
— pigfi Jiqueal. " What's amiss ?" Dead feet say, " We trample 
pigs- hiiryus." She does. Pigs die. "What's matter?" Dead 
hands say, " Choking pigs — bury us." She does. They call — she 
goes. Say, " Can't feel body — must be buried by it, or haunt her." 
She does. Lad comes home. "Where's childer?" "Gathering 
berrit's.** "In spring?" Night comes. "W'here's childer?" "Fish- 
ing." **Baby too?" Morning — wakes her suddenly. "IVA^re's 
M/dtrf "Flown away." "You go too." Chops her — puts under 
bed. Children come back. "Where's mother?" "Buying bacon." 
*M\ith flitches here?" " Wheer's mother ?" " Seeking you." "We 
here?'^ Crowd round bed. ''Wher^smotherr "Under bed!" They 
pull Hlt out — weep — chop him up too. He gets up — shakes. Girl 
U]> trjo — " wi' long claws out" — gibbering — eyes green. He runs 
— ^she runs after — claws out — tickle his neck — longs to choke him. 
He calls thunder — strike him dead. "No, dead already." To 
fire, '' Hum ma oop." " No, * chill o' death' put out fire." Water, 
" Drown ma blue." " No, dead blue already." Axe, " Cut throat" 
V\'Diildii*t. Went to ground, calls worms — ^great worm comes — 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 409 

drives off others. Girl's head. " Eat ma quick." " Good food's 
worth meal-time." "Eat ma quick." "No haste — nigh gone." 
"Quick." "You're impatient." Last bit — all gone — got rid of 
girl. That's all. 

Suppose all rubbish — but murderers may be chased by people 
they kill— think likely. 

Fred th' Fool. 

Theer's an au'd mun wi' us as 's heard tell on a lad — 
Fred wor 's to name, an* 's fo'ak wor Baddeleys : leastwise, 
a think 's much ; a'm not jist sartain. A tuk sarvice wi' 
a fa'armer, t'other side th' Wolds an' a coom to a main 
bad en, a did. 

A dunno as 'ts 'reetly tre-ue^ that's as mebbe, but a reckon 
they wor hell 'n' rough toimes tothan, and like enuff 't 
mout be true. Annyways, th' au'd mun tells 't so, an' says 
a heerd it fro' *s gran'ther or sich. Its nobbut a shart ta'ale. 
Wal', Fred wor a fond sort o' critter 'n' wor alius gittin' in 
a muss wi' summat 'r other, an* a wor, th' au'd chap says, 
th' ahfullest lad to e'at 's iver tha *d see annywheers. 

Bacon an' 'taters an' bre'ad — sides an' sacks 'n' bakin's of 
'm — a'd swaller 'm da'own *s if a'd a battomless pit, as th' 
pa'asson says, 'stead o* a Chris'en stummick, loike other 
fo'ak; an' yit a wor a thin smahl slip o' a lad, as looked 's 
if a niver ate owt. 

Wal', th' fa'armer seed un, as a wor stannin* wi' th* rest 
o' 'm to th' hirin's. 

" Theer's a chap as '11 not cost much to kip !" says a ; 
"a'll niver ate th' la'arder bare, not he— a's got no room fur 
a store o* vittlcs ! Wheer gan', lad ?" 

"Wheer tha'll tak' ma," says Fred; fur th* fa*armers o* 
Cliff wa'ay 'd hev nowt to do wi' un, what wi' 's eatin', an' 
's mussin' an 's fond wa'ays. 

" A guess thou aren't wuth a wa'age," says th' fa'armer, 
wi' a eye to bettin* a bargain. 

" A reckon a aren't much," says the lad, fur a wor used 
to bein* tellt that 

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4IO Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

" War, thou are a fool !" says th' fa'armer, scratchin' *s 
he'ad, " tellin* me that! a shan't giv* tha no wa'ages, then, a 
vum. Wilt coom fur tha kep ?" 

" That a will," says Fred, peckin' oop, " ef thou'U kep 
ma honest i* vittles an* clo'es." 

" A'll do that,'' says the fa'armer, cardatin* as au'd clo'es 
an* ha'ouse bits 'd nigh kep un gooin*. But, lord ! a knowed 
nowt o' Fred ! Thou may reckon as *t worn't long afore 
a fun* out as a*d ma'ade none such a stra'ange 'n* aisy 
bargain nayther. A'd ca*ounted 's cattle wi' a pair o' 
calves to ivery heifer, 's th* sayin* is, fur Fred 'd ate th* 
ha*ouse bare, an* then vow a wor clemmed wi' hunger. 

An *t wor no*on use fur to bet un, 't on*y ma*ade un wusser ; 
an* so wi* wo*kin* an* kickin* an* such, a*d ate more 'n iver 
arter'ds, while th* me'aster thowt as *d be fair *n* cle'an 
done fur. 

" Wal*,** says Fred to 's sel', " here a be, an* loike to split 
wi* hunger. A*d niver a bite to *mom, nobbut a boocket o' 
'taters an* a ca*ake o* bread, or mebbe two; an* what's that? 
A can*t mind such tiddy bits, an* a*m reg*lar teemin* empty. 
Th* measter said as 'd kip ma wi* vittles, an a guess a'U goo 
*n' try th* storehouse. Theer*s a side o* bacon theer, an' 
mebbe beef ; th* winder*s barred, but th' Lord be pra*ised ! 
a'm thin. A*ll mebbe git thruflf.** 

So off a went. 

But soon as th* fon* critter got 's head an' showthers 
atwecn th' bars, a stoock fa'ast ! — a did, an' cud'n't goo back 
nor for'ards. Wal*, a hadn*t no sense, as a said afoore, so 
'stead o' waitin' an' mebbe thinkin' o* summat as *d git un 
a*out, what *d a do but screech a*out, 's if a wor kilt an' 
murthered, while th* me'aster 's sel* coom, an' fun* un, ha*af 
in, an* bigger ha*af a*out, o* th* storehouse winder ! 

"What thou doin* thur, dom tha?'* roared th* fa'armer. 
" Coom a'out o' that, a tell 'ee !" 

" Goddle-moighty, ef a cu'd a got a'out, a cu'd a got in 
too !" says Fred, fair 'n' angered. " Can't thou see as 'm 
stoock ?" 

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s - 



Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 411 

" An' what fur thou gan', then, bom fool ?" screeched th' 
me'aster, clean tuk a-back — Fred wor so simple. 

" A coom to git summat t' ate, o* coorse" says th' critter, 
kickin* awa'ay ahl th' toime, wi' 's hind legs. " Mistress wor 

"Throng, says a?" yelled th' fa'armer, dancin' wi' rage, 
« Thou 'rt a thief; a thief, a tell 'ee, an' all I'am 'ee to ste'al 
ma me'at !" 

An' a oop wi* 's stick, an' 'gun to bet un wi^ ahl 's moight. 
An' Fred, seest tha, wor in a stra'ange 'n' handy attichoode, 
as a mowt say, an* guv' a fine pla'ace fur the bettin' to fall 
on. But by-*n'-by oop coom th* mistress an' squeels a'out : 

" Stop!" wi' a v'ice loike a pig ben' kil't "Ef thou bet un, 
me'aster, a'U ate us out er ha'ouse 'n' home, a will ; do'ant 
'ee, doant 'ee now, whativer thou do'a !" 

"That's so !" says th' fa'armer, stroock ahl o' a he'ap; an' 
thowt a bit. 

" Wal', a reckon, a'll mak' tha min' as a cot tha ste'alin' 
annyways !" says a; an' a set to 'n* pulled off a nail fum 
Fred's thoomb an' let un goo wi' a las' kick. 

Fred wor main glad to ha' done wi' 't, 's thou may reckon, 
an' didn't seem to fret 'ba'outs nail to speak on. 

But by-'n'-by a fun *s clo'es ahl to rags, an' a cu'dn't 
barely ho'd un togither, so 's to hide un's skin. 

" A mun be dacent, a guess," says a to 's sel'. " Tha'll 
niver lemme goo nackt, a reckon. Ay, th' me'aster said 's 
'd kip ma 'i' clo'es, an' 's got he'aps o' 's o'an, so '11 goo 'n' 
git summat to wanst" 

An' a off to th' ha'ouse, 'n' tuk th' fa'armer's new 
breeches an 's best co'at, an' who so fain o' 's sel' as Fred, 
thoff tha wor so wide as a mun ho'd 'em oop in 's two ban's. 

But jist as a got to th* door, th' me'aster an' 's wife cot 
un age'an. 

"What thou got theer?'' screeches th' missis. "Ma 
me'aster's bes' clo'es. A niver! What '11 a do nex' ?" Thou 's 
th' biggest fool an' th' fon'est" 

" Th' domdist thief tha be !" yells th' fa'armer, green wi' 

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412 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

anger an' bristlin' loike a pricky-otchin. " Ahl kick tha 
while tha be black 's rotten to'nips, a will !** 

" Nay !*' cries th* missis. " Thou'll niver ! a'U ate ahl ma 
bacon, ef tha do !" 

But what wi' 's wife hangin' on 's arm, an blin' wi' rage, 
th* me'aster oop wi' th' axe in 's other han*, an' stroock at 
Fred, an' off fell 's han' at th' wris'-bo'an. 

Th' me'aster scratched *s he'ad, an' Fred howled. 

" Wal'. a didn't goo fur to do 't !" says th' fa'armer, a 
bit feared loike ; " but ef thou tells fo'ak as a done 't, a'll 
ca'ahl th' poHs an' gin *ee oop fur thievin'; so theer !" 

But, Lor' bless *ee! Fred wor such'n a fool, a'd niver 
'n idee as a cu'd a had oop th' me'aster fur 't, an' a tuk 't 
*^tead o' a bettin'; but a reckon a'd rather bin bet, a 

Wal', thou unnerstan' as 't worn't long afore Fred got 
*n a muss age'an ; an' this toime 't wor wi' stealin' money. 
A don't min' jist how a coom to fin' it, but ann^nvays a 
tliJ, an' a tuk 't, an' .'t wor a hell o' a row — beggin' yer 
[>a'ardon ! — fur th' se'ame. 

Th' me'aster wor jist cle'an out o' 's wits wi' fur}' : an* this 
loime a thrung sum mat as flatted Fred o' th' gra'ound, an' 
bruck 's arm an' 't had to be tuk off. A misremember that 
[lart o' th' ta'ale a bit, but that's what coom to 'm. An' 
•so Fred los' 's arm; an* thou'd think a'd a gone awa'ay, 
v^'u'dn't 'ee ? But a didn't, th' pore fool ! A said : 

" Ooh ! a'd los' ma han' afuore, an' ma nail afuore that, 
an' a 's got kin' o' used to 't, seest tha ; so a reckon a'll 
stay. 'T'ull hev to be ma he'ad nex' toime, an' that's none 
so aisy to pull off!" 

But a wor wrong, thou'll see. 

Th* fa'armer wor stra'ange an' misloiked i' th' country- 
side, an' *d heerd sa'ay as some da'ay a'd git oop i' mom, 
an' fin* *s ricks brunt ; an' a wor geyan' skeary o* *t. An' 
ivery noight wan o' th' ban's mun kep watch i' th' garth 
while th' dawnin*. 

Wal', soon 's Fred wor a'out o' th' doctor's ban's th' 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 413 

me'aster tellt un off fur th' watchin', as a worn't much good 
r th' fields. 

" A'll do *t," says Fred, « ef thou'll lemma slep i' da'ay/' 

But no'a, th' me'aster wu'dn't do that. A mun run 
erran's o' da'ay, an' do light jobs, sin' a cu'dn't wo'k proper ; 
an' that wor nuthin'. A mun am 's kep, an' watch ahl 
noight, or 'd to'n 'm a'out 

" Wal', here's tryin'!" says Fred, " an' th' Lord kep 'm 
off th' ricks, ef a goo t' slep !" 

Th' fust noight or two a kep 'wa'ake most ahl th' toime, 
but efterd's a tuk to slepin' 's soun' 's if a wor in 's bed. 
An' nat'rally to last, 't coom as 'd bin thowt. 

Th* fa'armer wor woke oop wi' a bright shinin', an' soon 
's a looked a'out o' winder, theer wor 's ricks ahl a blazin'. 

Da'oun a gan' in 's bare legs, ragin' 'n' sweerin' while th' 
divil's sel' 'd a bin 'shamed on 'im. 

" Wheer's that scoundrel ?" a yelled. 

An' ahl to wanst a seed un, slepin' i' th' moock, soun* 's 
a babby, 'side th' pigs, i* th' garth. 

Wal', a reckon th' fa'armer 'd nowt strong *nuff 1' th* 
sweerin' wa'ay to fall back on. A jist said nowt, but a 
looked loike a white devil, shinin' throff wi' evil an' spite 
an' choked wi' bad wo'ds. 

A jist wa'alked over 'n' pick oop th' lad an' dragged un 
arter 'm to th' blazin' ricks ; an' 'fore Fred 'd cle'an ma'ade 
oop 's min' ef th' pigs wor tuk bad wi' th' colic, or ef 't wor 
a yarthquick, the fa'armer oop wi* 'n 'n' heaved un i' th' 
mid o' th' blazin' rick. 

"Kep off!" a said, stutterin' an' stammlin' wi' anger; 
" a'll kill anny wan as lifs a han' to he'p un I" an* a tuk 
ho'd on a gre'at sto'on' an' look round 's wicked 's wicked. 

An* th' fellers wor feared on un, an' so cum 'at 'fore tha'd 
cle'an sattled what tha'd do, Fred wor burnt ahl oop i' th* 
mid o' th*rick, wheera'd cot 1' th'roops *n* cu'dn't git loose. 

An' that's th' en*. Wal*, *t maut be true, *s a tellt 'ee ; 
tha wor stra'ange 'n quare fo'ak to than. Anny ways 
that's as a heerd it 

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4 1 4 Legends of the L incolnshire Cars. 


Old man told me. Lad Fred — ^folk, Baddeley — took servkc 
yont the Wolds — bad end- May be true — rough times, " hell 'n' 
rough". Old man says had it from grandfather. Fred — "fond" lad 
— always in scrapes, and terrible eater — bacon, potatoes, bread— 
load^ — no "Christen stummick" — bottomless pit Thin, small 
lad. Farmer sees him at the hirings — won't cost much keep — no 
room much food. " Where going ?" " Where I can." " Not wcHtb 
wage." " No ; used to hear that" " Bom fool to say that — won*i 
give wage. Keep?" "Yes — ^honest vittles and clothes." Farmer 
thinks old stuflf *ll do — found wrong. Fred eats house bare- 
still hungry. Beaten — ^got hungrier — working — ^ate more — master 
near mined. Fred says, "Splitting with hunger — nothing to eat 
— bucket o' taters, etc. — not worth mentioning — try storehouse — 
bacon, maybe beef — barred — but Fm thin." Stuck fast — ^yells — 
master comes. "What doing there? Come out" "Can't" 
"What you stealing?" "Food, * Mistress throng*." Master furious 
— beats him— position handy. Wife comes. "Stop — make him eat 
more — don't beat him." Farmer pulls off nail — lets him ga 
Fred's clothes ragged. " Niver lemme goo nackt Master has 
lots — help myself." Takes best suit — too big — holds them up — 
meets master and missis — very angry. " Bet tha 's black 's rotten 
to'nips !" Wife stops him, as before. He cuts off Fred's hand 
— threatens call police if he tells — Fred fool — says nothing. 
Next he steals money. " Hell of a row." Farmer throws something 
— Fred gets arm broken — has to be taken off (teller forgets 
particulars here). Fred stays on — says getting used. " Head next 
time — not so easy." Wrong. 

Farmer unpopular — ricks threatened — watched nights. Fred 
better — night work — not let sleep by day — kept wake first nights 
—afterwards slept sound. 

Farmer wakes — sees light — goes down — ^bare legs — swearing — 
devil ashamed. "Where's scoundrel?" Fred asleep with pigs. 
Master too angry to speak — drags him to ricks — throws him in. 
Fred barely awake. "Kill anybody helps." Men frightened. 
Fred caught in rope — ^bumt to death. Queer folk then — that's as 
totd me. 

Sam'l's Ghost. 

A do'ant know as a unnerstan' what tha me'an by 
"C^ostis". Ef tha spe'aks o' bogles, na'ow, or corps or 
such ? Ooh — ! De'ad fo'ak as wa'alk's ? A Ve heerd un 
ca'alled Bogles an' Fetches, an' a've heerd on he'aps, but a 
can't sa'ay as a seed ony masel'. Theer's a red wummin 


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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars, 415 

as wa'alks i* th' spinney nigh wheer a dool, an' theer wor 
a lad wi* ne'er a he'ad on un 'at ma mother seed, whan 
a wor a maid. An o' Yule, therms a loight as is car't 
aba'out th' ta'own, on'y none can't see th' han' as car's it ; 
an* ef 't stops at a doorsil', summun '11 die i' that ha'ouse 
afore th' year's a'out 

Theer's lots o' ta'ales 'ba^out bogles o' that sort, but th' 
aren't purty, th' aren't creepy, loike th' Moon ta'ale 's a 
towd tha on. A likes th' creepy wans, do'ant thou ? An' 
a can't sort o' min' they so't ; they's nobbut wimmen an' 
loights an' things, an* no sense in 'em. But theer, a'd 
rawther not meet wi' 'm fur ahl that I A guess they be 
fearsome to see, ef ther nobbut silly to yarken to. 

Ay, a mind wan 'ta'ale 'ba'out a de'ad man, but t'aint 

much ; but ef thou loike 

It's mebbe on'y a ta'ale, fur a guess fo'ak do'an't know 's 
what '11 coom to 's when we'r' de'ad ; leastwise, *cep' what 
th' pa'asson says, an' that's mebbe true ! 

Annywa'ays, tha towd ma as theer wor a lad — gran'ther 
ca'alled un Sam'l — as wor brunt to de'ath, an' ahl gan' to 
ashes, an' mebbe cinders. But mebbe 'n while, a got oop 
— th' inside o* un, a me'an (thou unnerstan' ?) an' gin 'sel' 
a sha'ake, an' thowt what a mun do nex', fur nat'rally a 
worn't used to things, an' a wor kin' o' stra'ange loike. 
An* 'twould be so't o' quare, a reckon — lots o* bogles an' 
things ahl 'ba'out un. Mebbe a wor a bit fe'ared-loike to 
fust. Wall, by-'n'-by, suthin' said to 'n : 

"Thou mun goo in th' yarth-pla'ace, an' tell th' Big 
Wo'm *s thou's de'ad, 'n' axe un fur to hev tha ate oop, or 
thou'll niver rest i' tha mools." 
" Mun a ?" says th' lad. " Wal', a'm willin'." 
So a gan* on, axin' 's wa'ay, an' rubbin' showthers wi* 
ahl th' horrid things 's glowered roun' 'ba'out 'im. 

An' by-'n'-by a coom to a gra'at pla'ace wheer 't wor 
da'ark, wi' glimmerin' loights crossin' *t, an' full o' a yarthy 
smell loike th' mools o* spring, an* whiffs o' a ahful stmk, 
as 'd to'n un sick *n' feared ; an* unnerfoot wor creepin* 

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41 6 Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 

things, an *ara'ound wor crawlin' flutterin' things, an* th' air 
wor hot an* moocky ; an' at th' en' o' th' pla'ace wor a 
horrid gra'at wo'm, co'led oop 'n a flat sto'on, wi' 's slimy 
he'ad movin* and swingin* f urn side to side 's if a wor 
smellin' fur 's dinner. 

A reckon Sam'l wor main feared when a heer'd 's ne'am 
ca'alled, an* th' wo'm shot a'out 's horrid he'ad reet in 's 

" Thou, Sam'l ? So thou're de'ad an' buried, an' food fur 
th* wo'ms, be tha ? Wal', wheer's tha body ?" 

" Ple'ase, yer wushup" — Sam*l didn't want fur t* anger 'n, 
natrally— " A'm ahl here." 

" No'a," said th' wo'm, " does thou think as we can ate 
thou ? Th* art de'ad, ma lad ; mun fot tha corp, ef tha 
wants to rest i' th' mools." 

" But wheer is 't ? Ma corp ?" said Sam'l, scratch'n* 's head. 

" Wheer is 't buried ?" said th* wo'm. 

" 'Tain't buried ; that's jist it !" said Sam'l. " T'is ashes ; 
a wor brunt oop." 

" Hi !" said th' wo'm, " that's bad ; thou'll ta'aste no'on 
so good. Niver fret ; go fot th' ashes, an* bring 'm here, 
an' wer'll do ahl wer can." 

Wal*, Sam'l want back, an* a looked an' looked, an* by- 
'n'-by a got ahl th' ashes together 's a cu'd see, an* tuk *m 
off in a sack to th* gra'at wo'm. 

An* a opened th* sack, an' th' wo'm cra'alled da'oun an' 
smelt 'm an' to'ned 'm over *n' over. 

"Sam'l," says he, by-'n'-by, "sulhin's missin'," says he. 
" Thou'st no'on ahl here. Sam'l, wheer's th' rest on tha ? 
Thou'll hev to seek it." 

" A've brung ahl a cu'd fin'," said Sam'l, shakin* 's head. 

" Nay !" said the wo'm, " theer's an arm missin'." 

"Ooh ! thats so !" said Sam'l, noddin'. *' A'd los' 'n arm, 
a had : cut off, 't wor." 

" Thou mun fot it, Sam'l." 

" Wal*, a've no'on idee wheer th* doctor put her, but a'll 
gan' see." 

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Legends of the Lincolnshire Cars. 417 

So off a want age*an, an* looked here an looked theer, 
an' by-'n'-by a got it 

Back a want to th' wo'm. 

** Here's th' arm," says he. 

An' the wo'm to'ned it o'er. 

" No'a, theer's summat still, Sam'l," says a. *' Had thou 
los* annythin' else ?" 

" Lemme see," says Saml, thinkin' ; " a'd los' a nail, an' 
't niver grow'd age'an." 

"That's 't, a reckon," says the wo'm. " Thou's got to fot 
it, Sam'l." 

"A reckon a'U niver fun* that, then, me'aster," says 
Sam'l, " but a'm willin' to try." 

An' off a want 

But a nail 's an aisy matter to loss, seest tha, an' a ha'ard 
thing to fin', an' thoff a so't an' a so't, a cu'd'nt fin' nuthin', 
so to las' a want back to th' wo'm. 

"A've so't an* a've so't, an' a've fun* nowt," says he. 
"Thou mun tak* ma wi'out ma nail — its no gra'at loss, 
a'm thinkin'. Can't 'ee mak' shift wi'out it?" 

" No'a !" said th' wo'm, " a can't ; an* ef thou can't fin' it 
— are thou sartain-sure thou can't, Sam'l ?" 

" Sartain, wuss luck !" 

"Thou'U mun wa'alk th' yarth while thou do fin' it, 

" But ef a can't niver ?'* 

" Then thou'U mun wa'alk ahl th' toime ! A'm main 
sorry fur tha, Sam'l, but thou'U hev lots o' compiny !'* 

An' ahl th' crepin* things an' th' crawlin' things tuk 'n* 
to'ned Sam'l a'out ; 'n' iver sence, ef a's not fun' *s nail, a's 
wa'alkin' 'ba'out seekin' fur 't 

That's ahl ; gran'ther tell 't ma wan da'ay 's a wor axin* 
wheer ahl th' bogles coom f 'um. 'T's not much on a ta'ale, 
but a can't min' anuther to na'ow, and it's so't o' funny, 
ain't it ? 


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4 1 8 Legends of the L incolnskire Cars. 


Whaf s ghost ?— bogles ?— corps ?— " Oh, dead folk walks." Call 
them bogles and fetches — ^heard of lots — seen none — Red woman 
in spinney at home. Lad — headless — seen by mother when maid. 
Light at Yule — invisible hand — if stop at door, someone dies. Not 
pretty or creepy — prefer creepy tales, Uke " Moon". No sense in 
these. Don't want meet bogles — ^fearsome to see — stupid to teil 
of. One tale of dead man — mebbe not true — don't know whatll 
come when dead. Lad called Sam'l — burnt — gets up — shakes 
self. Not used — feels queer — bogles round him. Something 
says, " Go to great worm — tell you're dead — ^ask to be eaten — ^then 
you'll rest in grave." "I'll go." Asks way — comes to place — 
dark — flickering lights — ^smell of earth — ^bad smells — creeping and 
crawling things — great worm on flat stone — slimy — waving head 
— Saml's name called. " Want to be eaten." " Where's body ?" 
"Here." "No— corpse— fetch it" SamT says, "Burnt" "Taste 
bad — fetch ashes." Sam'l gets them — in sack — worm smells them. 
"Not all here — arm missing." "Lost arm — cut off"." "Must fetch 
it" " Don't know where doctor put it" Sought and sought — got it 
— took it worm — worm looks at it " Not all here yet Lost any- 
thing more?" " Yes; nail." "Must fetch it" "I'll never find that 
Nail easy to lose, hard to find." Seeks everywhere, " Found nothing. 
Can't you do without?" "No. Sure can't find?" "Yes." 
"Then must walk till you do." "But if never?" "Then walk all time 
— ^plenty of company." Creeping and crawling things turn him out 
If he's not found nail, walking yet 

Grandmother told me tale — I asked where bogles come from. 
Can't mind another. " So't o' funny." 

M. C. Balfour. 

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THE religious sentiment of the Apache Indian is the 
underlying principle of his nature, entering into 
all the acts of his life, and infusing among those of a 
more commonplace character a feeling of dependence 
upon the spiritual powers not to be expected from a 
savage whose best-defined attribute is a ferocious self- 

The foundation-stone of this religion is fear: fear of 
the unseen, the unknown, the unknowable. It may at 
first glance seem inconsistent that a people whose exist- 
ence has been an uninterrupted Ishmaelitish warfare, 
conquering all tribes about them and maintaining against 
the European the most obstinate and successful resistance 
he has encountered on the American continent, should, in 
dealings with the invisible world, be a prey to puerile 
apprehensions ; yet such is the fact 

A second, and equally marked, peculiarity is the jea- 
lousy with which the Apache preserves from the know- 
ledge of the profane the meaning of rites, ceremonies, 
and incantations which he could, under no circumstances, 
be induced to neglect. No matter how great may be his 
friendship for the white man, he imparts with reluctance 
any information which may serve as clue to the arcanum 
of his religious belief and practices. 

From the moment of his birth until the silent grave 
claims him as its victim, the Apache is completely en- 
slaved by his superstitions. In sickness, in health, in peace, 
or in war, he looks for guidance and counsel to the Izz6' 
nantan, or " medicine-man", who combines in himself the 
functions of priest, prophet, and physician. 

£ E 2 

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420 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

The Apache is blessed or cursed, as we may choose to 
view, with a multiplicity of ghostly guardians, many of 
whom may be ignored in times of prosperity, but none of 
whom it would be wise to contemn in the hour of danger 
and adversity. 

It may be well to commence with the 

Chidin or Chindi. 

The interpretation given for this word by the Mexican 
captives, living among the Apaches and Navajoes, is 
diablos^ or devils, but the correct translation is "ghosts". 
They are the spirits of the dead, who, in a collective 
sense, may be taken as the ancestors of the tribe, and 
consequently, at the outset, there is formed a cult almost 
identical with the ancestor-worship of the Chinese and 
Romans. It is not improbable that, in the earlier periods 
of their histor}', the dwellers along the Yang-tze and the 
Tiber offered to the collective manes of their horde or 
clan the sacrifices afterwards reserved by each family for 
its founders. 

This ghost-worship, or ancestor-worship — there is no 
need to quibble about names — is the most widely-recog- 
nised feature of American aboriginal religion. 

The earliest Spanish missionaries ascertained that the 
Pueblo Indians in the valley of the Rio Grande were in 
the habit of making oblations of food to the spirits of 
their dead : a fact taken advantage of by the shrewd friars, 
who quietly substituted the Feast of All Saints for the 
pagan festival occurring almost on the same date (Novem- 
ber 1st). Until the present time the Indians of Jeleta 
(New Mexico) cover the floor of their church with delicious 
specimens of culinary skill at the high-mass of the sub- 
stituted festival.^ In like manner, among the Hurons : 

1 Many of our Indians to this day will at each meal throw a 
crust of bread or fra^ptnent of meat into the fire, saying at the same 
time : " Eat, spirits of my ancestors.*' 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 421 

Parkman^ narrates that the French priests who first pene- 
trated to the interior of Canada found these people in 
great fear of the Oki, or spirits which flitted about them. 

Suggestions of the same worship obtrude themselves in 
the sun dance of the Sioux of Dakota. 

These' Chidin are generally maleficent genii, addicted to 
hovering in the vicinity of their mundane haunts, and not 
above a petty and spiteful tormenting of the relatives left 
behind. They are given to holding converse with mortals, 
either in dreams, in visions, or in sober reality, in the 
darkness of night The mortal thus favoured, or pestered, 
loses no time in making known the character of his 
conversation to the nearest surviving kin of the deceased, 
who thereupon summon the "medicine-men" to lay the 
unquiet manes to rest with the necessary dancing and 

The Indian who has conversed with the Chidin must 
be presented with a pony or something else of value ; and 
his participation in the subsequent exercises is believed 
to be attended with particular efficacy. 

A failure to thus appease the spirits, all informants 
agree, would be followed by new deaths and grievous 
misfortunes. Communications with the spirit-world are 
not invariably through the ghosts of the departed as such. 
Frequently, mediums are selected, the most general one 
being that bird of ill-omen the BO, or owl. The hooting 
of the BO at night is portentous of trouble ; it always 
means that some one of the hearers is soon to be called 
away. Severiano and Antonio both assert that it means 
tu vas d morir ("thou art going to die**). 

The oracular powers attributed to the BO may be 
summed up in the belief that it is the repository of some 
human souL 

The Apaches have in their theology a faint trace of the 
doctrine of transmigration of souls, which shall be more 
fully outlined in its proper place. 

* Jesuits in North America. 

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422 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

Not many years since, a party of General Crook's 
Apache soldiers had camped by night close to a pretty 
mountain-spring under the shadow of a clump of scrub- 
oaks. They were all warriors of repute, priding them- 
selves upon valour in battle. Conversation flowed un- 
checked, with no thought of danger to mar its merri- 
ment Suddenly, from the branches above their heads, 
rang out the ominous cry, " Boo-hoo 1 Boo-hoo ! " Fear 
lent speed to their limbs and drove them in flight from 
their camp-fire. 

The names of the dead are never mentioned among the 
Apaches. They preserve upon this subject a religious 
silence, broken only in those exceptional instances where, 
after the lapse of years, the clansmen of the deceased may 
see fit to perpetuate his memory by imposing his name 
upon a young child. 

The Apaches on the Verde (Arizona) Reservation, in 
1873, used to be very fond of frequenting the trader's 
store. They soon wore out their welcome, and became a 
great nuisance. The clerk, a young gentleman of leisure, 
was desirous of introducing a system of hours which should 
give him from half-past nine in the morning until six in the 
evening for a siesta upon the counter. He was one of 
those persons who, as we are told, were bom tired. Just 
as soon as he had stretched himself out for a snooze, 
the door would fly wide open, letting in a stream of sun- 
light. Apaches, and flies. The Apaches would squat on 
the floor, while the burning rays would irradiate the young 
counter-jumper's face and the buzzing flies seek a roosting- 
place in his gaping mouth. Such a state of things could 
not be allowed to continue unchecked. Our mercantile 
fledgling was only human, and eased his weary soul as much 
as possible by copious profanity, none of which did him the 
slightest good, the Apaches not understanding a word of it 
But, by chance, he learned of this abhorrence of anything 
connected with the names of the dead. 

One of his tormentors died suddenly, and George — that 

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Religion of ike Apache Indians. 423 

was the clerk's name — hit upon the novel plan of driving 
out the Indians who infested the store, by repeating the 
sobriquet of him who had just joined the angel band, or 
whatever it may be that Apaches join when they die. 
When the usual throng assembled next morning and 
crouched down on their hams along the sides of the room, 
a muffled groan issued from behind the counter, " Espidf, 
(Quail) ! Espidf !" Hark ! It was the dead man's name. 
It was repeated with emphasis, the wooden vault of the 
counter acting as a sounding-board and adding volume to 
the cry " Espid{ ! Espid{ !" The Apaches looked at each 
other, ceased smoking, and gathered up their blankets 
and calico mantles. 

While in this stage of worry and uncertainty, George 
turned the scale of their fears and put them to precipitate 
flight by springing over the counter, yelling the slogan — 
"Espid{! Espid{! 

The bravest fled in panic, nor would they again venture 
inside while George showed the slightest disposition to 
sound the dreaded word. But it came to pass that the 
servant who prepared the hash and other luxuries of 
George's mess, was called from this vale of sorrow, and the 
Indian boys gloated as they assured themselves that now 
indeed was the hour of sweet revenge. They hurried to 
the entrance of the store, and shouted at the top of their 
voices : " Jack ! Jack ! Jack !" looking with delight upon 
George, whose discomfiture they awaited with a chuckle. 
To their astonishment, George did not move, and laughed 
as heartily as they did. 

The repugnance to mention the names of the dead 
extended to their own names. No Apache will give his 
name to a stranger, fearing some hidden power may thus 
be placed in the stranger's hand to his detriment ; neither 
will they name their mother-in-law, or, for that matter, 
speak to or look at the amiable old lady. This disincli- 
nation does not apply to the American nicknames of which 
soldiers are so lavish. An Apache scout does not require 

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424 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

much persuasion to induce him to admit that he is " Skinny", 
** Nosey", or ** Pat Murphy" ; but when his questioner goes 
further, and seeks his tribal appellation — ^his name in his 
own language and among his own people — ^he will remain 
obstinately silent until a friend approaches and tells who he 

All that pertains to the dead is treated by the Apaches 
with a commendable respect The " wickyup" is burned 
down, or, among the Navajoes, the hogan^ is allowed to 
fall into ruin. Graves are never crossed. A notable 
example occurred in General Crook's campaign in the 
Sierra Madre (Mexico), in 1883. 

A prairie-fire threatened the camp with destruction, and 
all hands— officers, soldiers, packers, Apache scouts, and 
the surrendered Chiricahuos — men, women, and children, 
were turned out to suppress it Armed with brooms of 
willow-bush, the A.paches did noble work, and soon had the 
flames under control ; but, in doing this, they carefully 
avoided crossing or sweeping two or three half-obliterated 
graves which lay directly in the path of the devouring 


As a direct corollary of ancestor-worship, spiritualism, 
as we understand the term, may be looked for and found. 
All American Indians are earnest believers in spiritualism. 
In the Apache tribe, " medicine men" are almost daily 
announcing to credulous hearers communications from the 
Chidin. Their claims go farther ; they boldly assert that 
they can and do, in trances, visit the Chidin-Kungiuiy or 
'* house of ghosts", and there learn the view of the immortals 
most interested in the welfare of their people. One or two 

* "Hogans" are the houses of the Navajoes. The word is of 
Spanish origin, being derived from kogar, "a hearth". The word 
for ** house**, in the idiom of Navajoes and Apaches, is Kungika. 
" Wickyup", in the vernacular of Arizona, is the shelter of boughs 
and branches erected by the Apaches. 


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Religion of the Apache Indians. 425 

lucky hits are sufficient to establish the reputation of a 
clairvoyant In this class are to be found individuals 
superior to their fellows in shrewdness, perspicacity, and 
general worldly knowledge ; it is, therefore, not surprising 
that a succession of verified forecasts should lift a prophet 
to the highest pinnacle of respect and influence. 

In 1 88 1, a seer, prophet, or Shaman^ named Na-kay- 
da-klinni, or, as he was known to the white men, Bobby- 
da-klinni, rose to eminence among the Apaches. He 
arrogated to himself great powers of divination, held 
constant communication with the Chidin, and asserted 
that he had power to raise the dead from their graves. 
One dead man he had pulled out of his tomb as far as the 
knees, but could not get him any further ; the reason for 
the failure being that the spirit declined to come back to 
Arizona so long as the whites remained in the country. 
He prophesied that the whites would have to leave 
when the corn ripened. He preached that the red men 
must cease fighting each other and must unite and be one 
people as they once had been. He drilled the various 
bands near Fort Apache in a dance to which they 
attached great importance. It was entirely different from 
anything ever before seen among them. The participants, 
men and women, arranged themselves in files, facing a 
common centre, like the spokes of a wheel, and, while thus 
dancing, Hoddentin and corn-meal were thrown upon them 
in profusion. 

This " prophet", or " doctor", was killed in the engage- 
ment in the Cibicu Cafton, Arizona, August 30, 1881.^ 

In all that relates to war, from the blessing of the war- 
bonnet to the march upon the trail and a selection of the 
auspicious moment for attack, the influence of the "medicine- 
man" is supreme. He superintends the war-dance before 

^ The power possessed over the minds of the Indians of the 
Mississippi Valley, one generation ago, by the Prophet, equalled, if 
it did not surpass, that wielded by the great chief Teemuseh 

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426 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

starting, he consults the spirits nightly, and predicts success 
or advises retreat ; and to him are committed the arrange- 
ment of the dance held upon the return to the rancheria of 
the raiders, driving before them the spoil of the Na-kdy-de, 
or Mexicans. 

It is not essential that a "medicine-man" be old m 
years ; anyone, possessing the requisite shrewdness, pene- 
tration, plausibility, and " cheek", can aspire to and attain 
this proud dignity. Even Mexican captives are not 
debarred from the office. Antonio Besias, while a slave 
among the Apaches, became one of their most influential 
" medicine-men", and other instances may be cited were it 
deemed necessary. Hand in hand with this goes a sort of 
hereditary succession, exemplified in the persons of young 
boys, who can be seen on most important occasions sitting 
apart with the old men, engaged in the work of divination. 

Women are not absolutely excluded from participation 
in the minor offices, but to the more recondite, such as are 
celebrated in sacred caves, they are rigorously denied 
admission, the theory obtaining among Apaches (as it 
does among Sioux, Cheyennes, and others) that the 
mere presence of women, in certain conditions, would 
render nugatory the best directed efforts of the most 
potent " medicine-men". 


Omens are constantly watched by the Apaches. Not 
such as the Roman soothsayers noted — the entrails of 
animals or the peckings of chickens — but as already 
written, the hooting of owls, the flight of parrots, and the 
trail of serpents. 

On the Sierra Madre expedition, one of the commanders 
(Mr. Randall) caught an owlet, which he fastened to the 
pommel of his saddle. When the ugly bird began its low- 
muttered notes, the excitement among the Apache scouts 
was something wonderful to witness. Their head-men 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 427 

approached General Crook and remonstrated against the 
retention of this sure prognostic of defeat 


Zunis and Moynis possess many idols, not merely 
fetiches, but well-defined images of wood and stone, and 
the gigantic Koyamashe,^ or terror-inspiring exaggerations 
of the human form, composed of basket framework, covered 
with sacred blankets, and surrounded by a fearful head 
with an ugly, projecting beak or snout of hard wood. 

These Koyamashe, or Shalocu, are borne openly through 
the streets of Zuni upon the shoulders of the " medicine- 
men", who acknowledge the humble prayers and sacrifices 
of the devotees by making the idol's beak snap with a 
series of loud, sharp cracks ; and by calling out from their 
coverlet in shrill cries, which may or may not be oracular 

Among the Apaches no such idols are to be seen, but 
their " medicine-men" certainly act as oracles at times. 


Three divisions of prayers may be recognised among the 
Apaches : smoking, vocal supplications, and gibberish. 

Smoking is at all times an act of praise, or prayer, or 
a thankoffering, and this whether among the Indians of 
the great plains of the Missouri or the fierce denizens of 
the mountains of Arizona and Sonora. 

^ This form of idols was, in the prehistoric days, worshipped by all 
the sedentary Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. The arrival of 
the Spaniards was followed by their overthrow. History relates that 
in the revolt of the Rio Grande tribes, in 1680, the old religion was 
restored with exuberant joy. The re-conquest in 1694 witnessed the 
re-investment of Spanish government and faith at the same moment, 
the subjugated aborigines chanting the "Alabados** (a form of Litany), 
and promising a discontinuance of their old religious rites, which 
henceforth were practised only in the darkness and seclusion of the 

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428 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

When an Apache smokes, he blows first to the sky, then 
to the earth, then in a horizontal plane to the four winds, 
making a sucking, grunting noise with each motion ; then 
he prays as follows : 

Gun/iile. Chigo-na-dy. I-shin-a-ydle. Gon/ule. 

Be good. O Sun ! Keep me from death. Be good. 

Didsen. Shili. Ana/ile. Tudishtndiyu-di. 

O gods ! My fathers. Keep me from death. Don't let me sicken. 

Ett^ga Tu-datzd-da. Inguzin. Gun/ule. 

(a word of emphasis.) Don't kill me. Good earth. Be good. 

Ishana/ile. Gunydle. IltchL Ishana/ile. 

Keep me from death. Be good. O winds 1 Keep me from death, 

and chills and fever.^ 

^ This last request is not so odd as it may, at first reading, 
seem. Malaria has always been a scourge to the ill-dressed, and 
sometimes, ill-fed savage, exposed to the cold, damp valleys and 
ravines of Arizona. Not alone to the Apache of to-day, but as well 
to the inhabitants whom he dispossessed, and whose ruined stone 
dwellings line the cliffs and dot the highest '' mesas*' of our south- 
western territory. In no case can these prehistoric ruins be found 
elsewhere than on the most elevated stations, where they would not 
only be secure against human foes, but protected from the more 
malign influences of malaria of the cienagas (marshes). 

It may be interesting to know that the same prayer has been in 
use among nations widely separated. The Israelites were threatened 
with a "burning ague** (chills and fever), in Leviticus, cap. xxvi, v. i6. 
In the Record^ of Philadelphia, of February 1884, appeared a most 
interesting description of travels made to and among the Kaffirs of 
Afghanistan, by Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone and Mr. McNair. The 
latter, in the disguise of a native habib^ or doctor, succeeded in 
reaching the interior of their territory, and obtained much useful infor- 
mation. Among other items, he states that their prayer is : " Ward 
off fever from us. Increase our stores, kill the Mussulmans, and, 
after death, admit us to Paradise." In several other respects these 
Kaffirs of the Hindu- Kush resemble the Moyni and Zuni Indians : in 
form and material of houses, entrance thereto by ladders, use of dried 
manure of cattle as fuel ; in the shape and position of temples, 
corresponding to the Estufas or Kibas of the tribes above named, and 
in other features. 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 429 

The word "Gun/iile" is an important contribution to 
linguistics, since it comprehends the imperative form, of 
the copulative verb.^ 

The word " Di6sen" is evidently an innovation of Spanish 
origin, supplanting a former substantive like "Chfdin". 
Taken in connection with '* Shild", we may make bold to 
translate it : " O ! sacred ghosts of my fathers 1" 

" Ana/die" is an abbreviation of " Ishana/dle". " Tu— da" 
is equivalent to the French "ne — pas", but differs from it in 
being applicable to a negation of nouns, adjectives, and 
adverbs as well as verbs. 

" Inguzin" is a compound of Iiyii (good) or Inchd (great), 
and Guz^n or Guz^nutli (Earth), the Goddess — Earth — 
mother — adored by Apaches, Navajoes, Pueblos, and 
Indians formerly living in the Mississippi Valley. 

" Ett^go" contains the word " Ett6" do not, or " be sure 
not", and is a petition or supplication that a certain thing 
be not done. 

•The correct translation of this prayer would then seem 
to be : 

" Be good (to me) O ! Sun ! Keep me from death (or 
harm). Be Good (to me) 01 Sacred ghosts of my 
ancestors ! Keep me from all danger, I implore. Pro- 
tect me from sickness, be good (to me) O ! Great (or 
Good) Mother — Earth ! Keep me from harm 1 Be good 
(to me) O ! ye winds ! Keep me from harm 1 Keep me 
from chills and fever !" 

y, in italics in Guiyiile, etc., has the pronunciation of the 
French/ in jeune^jeunesse. 

^ The following remarks by an eminent scholar bear upon the 
point : '* The complexity of the North American languages is, in a 
great measure, due to the absence of the copulative verb. The 
auxiliary verb ' to be* is entirely absent in most American languages, 
and the consequence is that they turn all their adjectives and nouns 
into verbs, and conjugate them through all the tenses, persons and 
moods." Gallatin, quoted by Lubbock, Origins of CivilizaHon^ 
p. 279. 

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430 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

Gibberish b employed by the " medicine-men" in their 
incantations. The fidelity with which all apparently 
adhere to one set of words suggests that these may have 
descended from a language long since passed out of common 

A variation from the above rule should be noticed. One 
of the Apahe-Tonto scouts being desperately sick of 
pneumonia during the Sierra Madre campaign, the " medi- 
cine-men" were duly consulted and applied all their skill, 
but in vain. The doomed man became more and more 
feeble, until at last life hung by a thread. Then it was 
that the most able of the Izz^-nantan was called upon 
to make a last effort for the restoration of his broken-down 
brother. The singling redoubled in volume, the music of 
rattles and drums waxed louder, while high above all 
sounded, in rude rhyme, a refrain like this : 

" Clawpur, Clawpur, suickum slawpur, 
* * • * * 

Clukum, Clukum, suickum, sawpur," * 

in which were incorporated the names of Crawford, the 
officer immediately in command of them, and of General 
Crook. The surrounding Indians watched and listened 
with breathless anxiety. The liberal use of these military 
names proved of efficacy, and " John" began to improve 
from that night 

The "medicine-man" enjoys no sinecure among the 
Apaches. His services are in requisition at almost all 

1 Upon this subject N. H. Bancroft says : " The song language of 
the Musquitoes (of Central America) differs greatly from that 
employed in conversation^ a quaint, old-time style being apparently 
preserved in their lyrics" {Native RaceSy Pacific Slope^ vol. ii, 727). 
A similar difference between the language of incantation and that of 
cvery-day life has been described by the author of Life in Fijiy who 
speaks of •* the unknown tongue of Fiji in which songs are sung". 
Frangois Lenormant, in Chaldean Magic^ shows that the Chaldeans, 
in their ritual, preserved the language of their predecessors, the 
Accadians, as a sort of gibberish. 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 431 

times, especially at night In cases of difficult labour his 
rattling and singing are freely heard. 

Newly-born children are washed in tepid water. For- 
merly, the " medicine-men" rubbed them with fine ashes. 
The latter custom was once widely disseminated. It is 
not unknown to me Zunis and Rio Grande Pueblos, and 
was in vogue among the Mayas of Southern Mexico.^ 

The knowledge of the medical properties of the herbs, 
roots, and flowers of his own mountains, the Izz^-nantan 
possesses to a greater extent than is generally supposed, 
and he has some acquaintance with human and animal 
anatomy. When a bone is broken he can make a service- 
able splint of willow twigs: he has good ideas of the 
time and manner of administering diaphoretics, enemas, 
and emetics, and, in cases of no consequence, effects cures 
without much delay, aided always by the fine constitutions 
of his patients. Generally, simple ailments are cured, or 
alleviated, by exposure to the heat and moisture of the 
Ta-a-chi or Surat Lodge. 

In diseases of a graver type he falls back upon his 
powers as an exorcist With drum and rattle and song, 
he seeks to drive away from the sick man the bad Chfdin 
who has seized upon him. Localities of pain are early 
ascertained and attacked by the doctor, who sucks with 
such severity as to raise blisters. These may often, by 
counter-irritation, induce a cure ; but if they do not, the 
next thing to be done by the " medicine-man" is to spit 
out little frogs, stones, thorns, or anything else the cre- 
dulity of the sick man and his friends may accept as 
the cause of disease. 

Among other instances may be mentioned Sequonya, 
chief of the Hualpuis, who was stricken down with spinal 
paralysis. His back was sucked and blistered in half-a- 
dozen places, just below the short ribs, and worms, stones, 

^ ''Ashes were nibbed on new-bom babes to strengthen them 
and prevent their bones from becoming loose.* (Bancroft, Native 
Races^ Pacific Slope^ voL ii, 377 and 664.) 

Digitized by 


432 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

and other alleged sources of infirmity ejected from the 
mouth of the officiating " medicine-man". All this availed 
nothing, and Sequonya, a few weeks before his death, 
sought the advice and treatment of army surgeons. 

The Apache, while yielding implicit respect to these 
" medicine-men", prophets, soothsayers, or Shamans (they 
partake of the characters of all these) visits upon those 
who are proved deficient in medical knowledge and skill 
a punishment that might well be imitated by the Cau- 
casian in his dealing with quacks. 

A " medicine-man" who fails to save a given number of 
patients is put to death. What the exact number is, it is 
difficult to tell, as different numbers are given by different 
Indians at different . times : some say three, some five, 
others seven. They all agree in the statement that death 
is meted out after several failures have stamped the "medi- 
cine-man" as a fraud. 

This leads up to the topic of 


All Indians believe in it, and all are in dread of witches 
or wizards. The line of separation between the Izz^- 
nantan and the wizard would be hard to define. In 
general terms, the latter may be regarded as an inde- 
pendent performer who, if fortunate in his predictions and 
medical practice, may draw about him a group of admiring 
clients; but, if he fail, will receive the worst fate the 
influence of the legitimate practitioners can secure — that 
of being stoned to death. 

Another characteristic ascribed to witches and wizards 
is maleficence. The "medicine-man" is credited with a 
patriotic interest in the welfare of the tribe: the witch 
plans and plots only for evil to crops, to cattle, to health 
of persons or of the whole tribe, bringing upon them 
blight, disease, and destruction. 

This malignant work is concocted and carried out with 

Digitized by 


Religion of the Apache Indians. 433 

circumspection and secrecy. Detection of the criminal 
is consequently rare. Severiano — a Mexican captive, 
brought up in the ideas of the Apaches and married in 
the tribe^omplained that no less than four of his 
children had been bewitched and had died. Mr. Cooley, 
the chief of scouts at the neighbouring post of Fort 
Apache, a gentleman familiar with the facts, diagnosed 
the disease as scarlet-fever. 

Amulets and Talismans. 

Associated with the idea of prayer, often, if not always, 
will be discovered amulets and talismans. 

The Apaches have no fetiches, at least none of the 
small animal-figures treasured by Moquis, Zunis, and Rio 
Grande Pueblos ; but no one of them is so poor that he 
cannot provide himself with talismans of conceded potency. 
These may be the rattle of a snake, the beak or claw of 
an eagle, the claws of the bear, or, more frequently, 
small fragments of petrified wood, quartz crystals, or 
twigjp which have been knocked by the lightning from 
the parent stem. Bear-claws will be worn as a necklace, 
serving the double purpose of amulet and decoration. 

No explanation has been obtained why petrified wood 
should be venerated. In the country of the Moquis (who 
live north of the Apaches and west of the Navajoes) this 
silicified wood occurs in great quantity and in large 
pieces. Petrified forests furnish an inexhaustible supply. 
The Moquis make the larger fragments do duty as idols. 

It is not strange that crystalline quartz should be re- 
garded as " medicine", because, in the form of dog-tooth 
spar, it bears a strong resemblance to the fang of a wolf 
or other wild animal, capable of doing harm. 

If the people of Ceylon, with their comparatively 
greater enlightenment, can bend the knee to a fossil 
elephant's tusk, saying it is the tooth of Buddha, it is not 


Digitized by 


434 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

surprising that the Apache should look with awe upon 
the pretty, denticulated crystals of silica.^ 

Twigs cut down by lightning are, perhaps, the most 
highly regarded of all talismans employed. This results 
logically from the worship paid to lightning — a worship 
prevailing as well among the Sioux and Cheyennes of the 
Great Plains, where lightning is so vivid and destructive.* 

On the Sierra Madre expedition, one of the young 
" medicine-men" excited curiosity by the carefulness wth 
which he preserved from scrutiny a little buckskin bag. 
elaborately dotted with brass-headed tacks. After much 
persuasion, he allowed several officers to examine it, to 
feel it, and to peer into, but not to empty it. It contained 
a couple of these twigs and one or more pieces of stone 
of some kind. 

Under the head of mortuary customs, the Apache treat- 
ment of the bodies of the dead should be more fully 

1 Father Baeza, in the Registro Yucateco^ says they (ihe Ma>*as) 
consulted a crystal, or transparent stone, called Zalzul, by which they 
pretended to divine the origin and cause of any sickness. (Bancroft, 
NaHve Races, Pacific Slope, vol. ii, page 667.) 

' The following is the prayer of the Sioux upon cutting down tbc 
sacred tree for their sun-dance : 
" We are making a good world, we are making a good day. 
My rrleii(3$, look at me ; I am making medicine. 
I hope you will have a happyflife. 
Great Spirit I you promised me a bull robe. 
Who is our friend ? The Lightning is our friend. 
Who is our friend ? The Lightning is our friend." 

(The hands of the " medicine-men'' were here extended, palms 
towards the sky^ but not joined.) 
'' Who \% om fnend? The Thunder is our friend 
Who is our friend ? The Thunder is our friend. 
Who.our^end.. The Bull (/..., the buffalo bull) is our fnend' 
It might be added that the smokine nraver ut>a «,^^- r ,. 

Sioux exhibit .he same dose resemblance r^TthTtfi^^'^^^^^^ 
-^xigermada bv friction «f e.;.u. -.1 ^'^J'^^^ ^^ although 


by friction of sticks i«5 af *u^ ^ . " . 

Sioux "medicine-men" with mnl ^d «2l '^^77 ""f" 
md Mu. ^^^ instead of matches. 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 437 

there is also a relation between the spirits of other animals 
and those of his own dead, which amounts to an enuncia- 
tion of a belief in the doctrine of transmigration. 

Some of them think, after death, they turn into cayotes, 
beiars, and other animals. On the other hand, many con- 
tend that they are to enact the rdle of unquiet ghosts, and 
flit about at night infesting the scene of their abode 
on earth until "laid" with the ceremonies and offerings 
already pointed out.^ 

In the rooms of the Secret Society of the Zunis, to 
which the writer was introduced by Mr. Gushing, was to 
be noticed the image of the cliff-swallow, a bird which 
would naturally be found in the list of gods of a tribe 
addicted to ancestor-worship, from the fact that it builds 
its nests in the cliffs in which the ancestors of the Zunis 
once dwelt The Apaches do not admit that this little bird 
is comprehended among their deities, but they say they 
have traditions to show that it is entitled to a great 
amount of respect from having been the first creature to 
build houses. 

The following animals occur among the gods of the 
Zunis, Moquis, and Rio Grande Pueblos : — The wild cat, 
cayote, elk, deer, antelope, rabbit, porcupine, eagle, mole, 
bear. Rocky Mountain lion. Representations of these are 
depicted upon the walls of EstufaSy or other places 
devoted to religious ceremonies. The veneration of the 
rabbit (jackass rabbit) ought to obtain among all the 
tribes roaming over what was once known as the Great 

^ The Mojaves, living along the Colorado river, are more distinct 
in their explanation. They assert that after death the soul of man 
passes through four different animals, the last being always the 
water-beetle ; after which it becomes nothing, or enters into what 
might be called Nirvana. 

The authority for this statement in reference to the Mojaves is 
Captain F. E. Price, ist Infantry, U.S. Army, commanding Fort 
Mojave, Orizona ; and personal statements from members of that 
tribe to the author. 

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438 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

American Desert It bore to them almost the same 
economic relation that the camel does to the Bedouin, the 
reindeer to the Laplander. It supplied, with scarcely any 
labour, a nutritious meat-food, and furnished from its pelt 
a coat, cloak, and blanket noticeable for warmth, lightness, 
and elegance, and used by all tribes west of the Rocky 
Mountains from Alaska to Mexico. 

The elk, deer, or antelope might, and did at times, 
capriciously desert favourite ranges, but the rabbit re- 
mained constant to its burrow under the shadow of the 

The Rocky Mountain lion occupies a conspicuous place in 
the religious system of all Indians west of the Missouri.* 

The Apaches, being less given to pictographic work 
than other native tribes, are so much the better able to 
conceal their religious symbolism from profane gaze, but 
to all the above are assigned positions of honour in so 
much of their religion as relates to animal worship. 

Before going out on hunts for deer, antelope, or elk, it 

. was their custom to resort to sacred caves, in which, with 

prayer and sacrifices, the " medicine-men" endeavoured to 

propitiate the animal gods whose progeny they intended 

to destroy. 

An old Navajo chief once explained that when his 
people made an antelope "drive", one at least of the 
animals was allowed to escape from the enclosure. 

Both Navajoes and Apaches look upon the lion as a 
hunting-god, and quivers made of its skin are in great 
demand as a " medicine" for those who are about to pursue 
elk or deer. 

In these hunting sacrifices, offerings are made of baskets, 

^ Above the Pueblo of Cochiti, on the Rio Grande, is a ruined 
town of good size, where are two large stone idols, carved in the 
semblance of this terrible beast. The inhabitants of the Pueblo 
below still stain the mouths of these deities with red paint, a 
souvenir, no doubt, of the good old days when human blood smoked 
on their altars. 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 439 

branches of pine and cedar, stone, petrified wood, and 
pluipe-sticks. These last, consisting of little twigs, tipped 
with the down of eagles and other birds, are buried in their 
fields by Zunis, Moquis and other Pueblo Indians, but 
the above is the only example of their use among the 

The turkey, quail, squirrel, and rat are, or have been, 
important sources of food-supply to the Apache, Posi- 
tions of prominence should have been accorded them 
in the Olympus of their beneficiaries.^ The Apache 
religious system is based, however, almost entirely upon a 
sense of fear and apprehension, and in no degree upon one 
of gratitude. 

None of the animals now mentioned is endowed with 
power ; and none, excepting may be the turkey, has the 
ability to move over great distances. In this they differ 
from the venison, every variety of which is deified and 
worshipped with becoming honours. 

It should be remarked that from the hunting-sacrifices 
made in the caves, care is taken to exclude women ; 
Severiano, Antonio Besias, Nott, and Inju-na-klesh ("He 
made it good") all concurring in the statement that were 
a pregnant woman to be present her child would be born 
looking like a deer. 

The antiquity as well as the religious significance of 
these ceremonies is demonstrated by the circumstance that 
fire is made by the friction of pieces of dry wood, in place 
of matches, or flint and steel. 

The conservative character of religion is a well-established 
fact. It is quite likely that in these cave-meetings the 
Apaches commemorate troglodyte or cave-dwelling an- 
cestors. They and the Navajoes have traditions that their 
people "came up out of the ground", that is, that they 
dwelt in caverns. 

^ There is a tradition among the Apaches of a deluge which nearly 
swept away the earth. In this story the turkey figuies as the friend 
and saviour of the human race. 

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440 Religion of the Apacke Indians. 

Eagle and hawk feathers adorn the bonnets of warriors. 
The plumage of the wild turkey, cut to simulate velvet, is 
extensively used in the same manufacture. These war- 
bonnets are solemnly blessed by the " medicine-men", and 
made as much as possible of materials of reputed potency 
in warding off danger, and in imparting valour and skill to 
the wearer. It may be surmised that here is a hint as to 
the " medicine" powers of the turkey. 

The bear is foremost in the esteem or fear of this brave 
people. He is never mentioned except in terms of 
respect, and always with the prefix of " Ostin" (literally 
" old man", but a reverential corresponding to the Latin 
word senator,) 

The killing of a grizzly is the signal for a war-dance, in 
which the " medicine-men" appear in all their glorj'. The 
pelt is carried about in a circle, borne first on the shoulders 
of the slayer, and then upon those of the other warriors. 

Strange to say, that peculiar animal, the mule, receives 
from the Apaches a reverent consideration. Whether this 
be from fear of a sudden and deadly kick, or for some other 
reason, cannot be positively asserted. Revered as a god 
during life, the mule, after death, is ravenously eaten by 
the savage devotee who so short a time before had referred 
to it with the same reverential term, " Ostin", applied to 
bear, snake, and lightning. 

A sacred origin is ascribed to the horse. In this all 
American Indian tribes agree. History tells that the 
Aztecs were disposed to fall down and worship the horses 
brought in by Cortez, sprinkling the air with flour of sacri- 
fice, and in every way treating them as gods ; so did the 
Moquis the horses of Don Antonio Espejo in 158a The 
Sioux call the horse the " great medicine" {ie., the sacred) 
dog. The Cheyennes style it the " great medicine elk". 
The Apache word is Thlin or Jhliu. 

One of the divisions of the great Tinneh race, living 
under the Arctic circle, to which the Arizona, Navajoes, 
and Apaches belong, designates itself the Thlin-cha, or dc^- 

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Religion of the Apache Indians. 441 

rib people. This would show that the Apache word for 
horse is in reality their old word for dog, that now given 
being Tchlin-cha. 

Among the Indians along the Rio Grande parrots are 
venerated. The feathers of these birds are preserved with 
great care by these Indians, as well as by Moquis and 
Zunis. The birds themselves are kept in cages in the 
Pueblo of Santo Domingo. Neither the parrot nor the 
macaw belongs to Arizona, although the former appears 
occasionally near Mount Graham, a short distance north 
of the Mexican boundary. It is frequently seen in the 
Sierra Madre, Mexico; and when General Crook led 
his expedition into that precipitous range, his Apache 
scouts let no opportunity escape for securing each one 
which came near camp. 

The centipede, tarantula, scorpion, or "gila monster", 
and all varieties of lizard, are reverenced in the direct 
ratio of their real or imputed virulence. Upon this point 
Antonio Besias may be quoted, giving his exact langfuage, 
as transcribed at the moment : " I was once a ' medicine- 
man*, and I want you to know what is the very last thing 
that the Apache * medicine-men' can do for their sick ; it 
is all the same if a ' padre' (priest) were to go visit a dying 
Christian." (Meaning that the ceremonies to be described 
partook of the sacred and solemn import of the adminis- 
tration of the last sacrament of the Church.) " When a 
man is sick, and has about reached his last hour, the final 
remedy is this : They (the " medicine-men") make a circle, 
in which they erect a close 'jacal' (lodge) of branches, 
sprinkling its floor with fine sand. They next gather 
together and grind up different coloured earths, yellow, 
red, etc., and with these make upon the sanded floor 
a representation of a big centipede, around which are 
delineated, in the coloured earths, rattlesnakes, 'gila 
monsters', lizards, swifts, deer, toads, etc. After this they 
paint *monos' (literally "monkeys", but explained by 
Antonio as clown-like figures of men, that is to say, gods 

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442 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

of different kinds, some with crowns (head-dresses) and 
some without. They draw the figure of the * mono*, called 
in the Apache language KAn^ which is represented as 
dancing with a high, double-pointed cap and mask. 

** After having painted or drawn all these in the sand, 
they bring in the sick man and put him in the middle of 
the ring, face downward, upon the figure of the centipede. 
Upon the sick man's face and back have been painted a 
scorpion and a centipede. They (the "medicine-men") 
pick up a pinch of earth from each figure of reptile de- 
lineated upon the sand, and rub this dust upon the body of 
the sick man, at same time blowing upon him, singing and 
dancing. Then at a given signal, they all run out, masked 
men and all." (He had previously said that four of the head 
" medicine-men" wore masks during the incantation.) " This 
is the very last thing the Apache * doctors* can do for a 
sick man." It corresponds, so Antonio piously reiterated, 
to Extreme Unction ! 

A better idea of the appearance of these " monos" will 
be derived by examining the representations of war-shirts 
and sashes of a pictograph obtained in Pueblo of Jemez, 
N.M., and of wall decoration in school-buildings at San 
Carlos Agency, A. T.^ 

The limbs and bodies of Apaches are rarely disfigured 
by tattooing, but when they are so marked the desigfns wil 1 
almost invariably be snakes, centipedes, and scorpions, or 
the same rain and cloud symbol as is used by the Zunis 
and Moquis. The Zunis and Moquis worship every one of 

1 The natives of Mexico had religious usages, almost identical with 
the foregoing, at the birth of children ; these " to a modified extent 
exist to the present day. When a woman was about to be confined 
the relatives assembled in the hut and commenced to draw on the 
floor figures of various animals, rubbing each one out as soon as it 
was completed. This operation continued until the moment of birth, 
and the figures or figure that then remained sketched upon the 
ground was called the child's iona^ or second self.'' (Bancroft (speaking 
of Zapotees), Native Races^ Pacific Slope^ ii, 66 1.) 

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Religion of t fie Apache Indians. 443 

the animals included in the above list Neither Moquis 
nor Apaches worship the buffalo ; at least, the Arizona 
Apaches do not, for the very good reason that the buffalo 
has never been in their country. 

Variations and petty discrepancies of this kind count 
for nothing. Ceremonies may change with surroundings, 
and so, too, an animal revered in one locality on account of 
its venomous nature, or because it is a staple article of 
food, may in another hot be venerated at all ; and the 
reason in each case will be either that it does not live in 
the new locality, or that its place in the dietary has been 
taken by something else. 

To the elements, fire, water, earth, and air — or, to speak 
more strictly, the four winds — the Apache pays the same 
earnest devotion rendered by all red men. An old and 
very intelligent chief met in one of the Pueblos, north of 
Santa F6 (New Mexico), insisted that the tribes of the 
south-west had once the same belief and the same ob- 
servances. The more the matter is looked into, the more 
clear will it become that he was both truthful and accurate. 

It is true that feasts of fire are not celebrated by the 
Apaches as by the Zunis and others ; but, in the hunting- 
sacrifice outlined above, it has been shown that one of the 
features was the kindling of fire by rubbing sticks together, 
and in the harvest dance, given after the crops have been 
gathered, the same ceremonial ignition is observed. 

Water, as water, does not appear to be venerated ; but 
the frog and the toad, inseparably associated with this 
worship by the Pueblos, are found among the Apache 

The Zunis and Moquis have sacred springs. One, near 
the Moqui village of Mushangnewy, Arizona, is furnished 
with an altar or shrine, and has received many votive 
offerings of petrified wood and plume-sticks. Springs of 
this kind are not seen in the country of the Apaches. 

Rain, hail, and the rainbow occur in all symbolism of the 

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444 Religion of the Alxuhe Indians. 

Thunder is a god among the American aborigines, with- 
out distinction of tribe ; in every case it is represented as 
a bird. It thus appears among the Sioux, Cheyennes, 
and Assinaboines ; on the basket-»work of the Moquis ; on 
the walls of the old Catholic church in the pueblo of 
Acoma (N.M.); and in the few pictographs of Apache 

Allusion has been made to the religious importance of 
lightning, both in describing talismans and in repeating 
one of the prayers of the Sioux " medicine-men" at their 
sun-dance ; there only remains to be added that when an 
Apache or Navajo is killed by lightning, the subsequent 
funeral services embody an unusual amount of singing 
and dancing by the " medicine-men".^ 

The prayer to the wind -deities has been mentioned under 
the reference to smoking. 

The last element, the earth, is personified by a goddess 
— " Guzanutli", or, as known to the Navajoes, " Assunutli." 
She is the giver of many blessings: the introducer of 
corn, melons, and fruits ; the one who is the special guardian 
of both Navajoes and Apaches, to whom she imparted 
a knowledge of beads and of the " Chalchihuitr. She is " the 
woman of double sex"; her home is in the ocean, in the 
West Many of the Navajoes speak of her as " the Woman 
in the West" — a title suggestive of a migration from, and 
a former home closer to, the Pacific Ocean.^ 

^ Bancroft says that ^ the Indians of Northern Mexico would not 
touch a man who had been struck by lightning ; would leave him to 
die alone, or, if dead, would not bury him." {Native RaceSy eic, 
vol. ii, 588.) 

' The Nehannis of Alaska, a branch of the Tinneh stock, from 
which Navajoes and Apaches are an offshoot, pay homage to the 
same goddess. 

" It is not a little remarkable that this warlike and turbulent horde 
was at one time governed by a woman. Fame gives her a fair com- 
plexion, with regular features, and great intelligence. Her influence 
over her fiery people, it is said, was perfect, while her warriors, the 
terror and scourge of the surrounding country, quailed before her 

Digitized by 


Religion of the Apache Indians. 445 

This goddess is well known to the Pueblos along the 
Upper Rio Grande, who ascribe to her the same attributes 
as do the Navajoes and Apaches, but persist in speaking 
of her as Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of 
Soledad — a distortion of title which gives ground to the 
inference that the Spanish missionaries eased the labours 
of conversion by quietly adopting this goddess into their 
calendar of saints. 

The diffusion of the worship of the earth-mother among 
the native tribes was more extended than is commonly 
supposed. Attention may be called to the remark of 
Tecumseh, in his conference with the American general, 
Harrison : " The earth is my mother, and upon her bosom 
will I repose." 

The prayer to Guzanutli has been given at length supra 
on p. 428. 

There is another goddess, almost equally powerful 
among the Apaches, of whom an account was given by an 
old man, Eshk^-endesti (the Brave Man who hid away), 
a member of the Kiyajanni ox Alkali clan. The name is 

eye. Her word was law, and was obeyed with marvellous alacrity. 
Through her influence, the condition of the women of her tribe was 
greatly raised.'' (Bancroft, Native RaceSy Pacific Slope, ii, 125.) 

This undoubtedly refers to Guzanutli, although a compromise may 
be effected upon the hypothesis that Guzanutli is a deified Amazon. 
The Nehanni would preserve her memory as that of a mighty ruler ; 
while to the Apaches, farther removed from the scene of her exploits, 
she would readily present herself as of divine origin. 

It may be well to remember that Navajo women are not always 
silent, or without influence, in the tribal councils, neither are those 
of the Apaches. 

The goddess Kuanon, of the Japanese, might, in all but name, be 
substituted for Guzanutli, and no one could detect the difference. 

The deity here spoken of as female is generally described as male, 
and as accompanied by To-vas-di-chini ("The Mist rising on the 
Water'*)i another god of power. There are other gods in great number, 
with mythical animals, genii, ogres of different sorts, guarding preci- 
pices, etc., but no further reference will be made to them on the 
present occasion, on account «f limitations of space. 

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446 Religion of the Apache Indians. 

Ya-yennas-gann6. Antonio persisted in translating this as 
Maria Santissima. 

" When God was assassinated, she remained on earth, 
taking care of his children, and when God came up from 
the ground again, she united with him." Antonio Besias 
was determined to colour the conversation with his own 
views, but it is unmistakably evident that the Roman 
Catholic ideas of his childhood, blended no doubt with 
some absorbed by the old man from Mexican captives, 
had mingled with the aboriginal theology. 

Such an admixture is to be vigilantly watched for in all 
cases. Both Apaches and Navajoes have, at times, had 
much association with the Mexicans. Many of the women 
and children of each race have been taken captive by the 
other, and thus confused notions of Roman Catholic 
theology, saints and festivals, have crept in among the 
savages. Ya-yennas-gann6 is, in all likelihood, the goddess 
of Salt Such a goddess is adored by the Zunis.^ The 
most sacred ceremonies of the Apache ritual are celebrated 
in caves at the Salt Springs on the Rio Prieto, which 
makes the assumption less violent. 

Eshk6-endesti continued : "When the day dawns, we 
commend ourselves to the Light, and do the same to the 
Sun when he appears. The Sun is a god, and so is the 

In a conversation with Eskiminzin, one of the pro- 
minent Apache chiefs, it was learned "that when the 
Apaches go on the war-path, hunt, or plant, they always 
throw a pinch of corn-meal or Hoddentin to the sun, 
saying, * with the favour of the Sun, or permission of the 
Sun, I am going out to fight (hunt or plant, as the case 
may be), and I want the Sun to help me.' The Apaches 
believe in the sun's power, because they always see him 
going round the earth, and even whe