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Similar states of mind might account for
similar incidents arising in different areas independently, but not
for whole series of incidents artistically woven together to form a
definite plot which must, I contended, arise in a single artist mind.
The similarities in plot would thus be simply due to borrowing from
one nation to another, though incidents or series of incidents might
be inserted or omitted during the process. Mr. Lang ultimately yielded
this point and indeed insisted that he had never denied the
possibility of the transmission of complete folk-tale formulæ from one
nation and language to another.

During all this discussion as to the causes of the similarity of
folk-tale plots no attempt has been made to reconstitute any of these
formulæ in their original shape. Inquirers have been content to point
out the parallelisms to be found in the various folk-tale collections,
and of course these parallelisms have bred and mustered with the
growth of the collections. In some cases the parallels have run into
the hundreds. (See "Reynard and Bruin.") In only one case have
practically all the parallels been brought together in a single volume
by Miss Roalfe Cox on Cinderella (Folk-Lore Society Publication for
1893; see notes on "Cinder-Maid"). These variants of incidents
obviously resemble the _variæ lectiones_ of MSS. and naturally suggest
the possibility of getting what may be termed the original readings.
In 1889 the following suggestion was made by Mr. (now Sir) James G.
Frazer in an essay on the "Language of Animals," in the _Archæological
Review_, i., p. 84:

"In the case of authors who wrote before the invention of printing,
scholars are familiar with the process of comparing the various MSS.
of a single work in order from such a comparison to reconstruct the
archetype or original MS., from which the various existing MSS. are
derived. Similarly in Folk-Lore, by comparing the different versions
of a single tale, it may be possible to arrive, with tolerable
certainty, at the original story, of which the different versions are
more or less imperfect and incorrect representations."

Independently of Sir James Frazer's suggestion, which I have only
recently come across, I have endeavoured in the present book to carry
it out as applied to a considerable number of the common formulas of
European folk-tales, and I hope in a succeeding volume to complete the
task and thus give to the students of the folk-tale as close approach
as possible to the original form of the common folk-tales of Europe as
the materials at our disposal permit.

My procedure has been entirely similar to that of an editor of a text.
Having collected together all the variants, I have reduced them to
families of types and from these families have conjectured the
original concatenation of incidents into plot. I have assumed that the
original teller of the tale was animated by the same artistic logic as
the contemporary writers of _Contes_ (see notes on "Cinder-Maid,"
"Language of Animals"), and have thus occasionally introduced an
incident which seemed vital to the plot, though it occurs only in some
of the families of the variants. My procedure can only be justified by
the success of my versions and their internal coherence. As regards
the actual form of the narrative, this does not profess to be European
but follows the general style of the English fairy tale, of which I
have published two collections (_English Fairy Tales_, 1890; _More
English Fairy Tales_, 1894).

In the following notes I have not wasted space on proving the European
character of the various tales by enumerating the different variants,
being content for the most part to give references to special
discussions of the story where the requisite bibliography is given.
With the more serious tales I have rather concerned myself with trying
to restore the original formula and to establish its artistic
coherence. Though I have occasionally discussed an incident of
primitive character, I have not made a point of drawing attention to
savage parallels, nor again have I systematically given references to
the appearance of whole tales or separate incidents in mediæval
literature or in the Indian collections. For the time being I have
concentrated myself on the task of getting back as near as possible to
the original form of the fairy tales common to all Europe. Only when
that has been done satisfactorily can we begin to argue as to the
causes or origin of the separate items in these originals. It must, of
course, always be remembered that, outside this common nucleus, each
country or linguistic area has its own story-store, which is equally
deserving of special investigation by the serious student of the
folk-tale. I have myself dealt with some of these non-European or
national folk-tales for the English, Celtic and Indian areas and hope
in the near future to treat of other folk-tale districts, like the
French, the Scandinavian, the Teutonic or the Slavonian.

I had gone through three-quarters of the tales and notes contained in
the present book before I became acquainted with the modestly named
_Anmerkungen zu Grimm's Mährchen_, 2 vols., 1913-15, by J. Bolte and
E. Polivka. This is one of those works of colossal erudition of which
German savants alone seem to have the secret. It sums up the enormous
amount of research that has been going on in Europe for the last
hundred years, on the parallelism and provenance of the folk-tales of
Europe, and in a measure does for all the Grimm stories what Miss
Roalfe Cox did for Cinderella. Only two volumes have as yet appeared
dealing with the first 120 numbers of the Grimm collection in over a
thousand pages crammed with references and filled with details as to
variants. The book has obviously been planned and worked out by Dr.
Bolte, who had previously edited the collected works of his chief
predecessor, R. Koehler. Dr. Polivka's contribution mainly consists in
the collection and collation of the Slavonic variants, which are here
made accessible for the first time. I therefore refer to the volume
henceforth by Dr. Bolte's name. The book is indispensable for the
serious students of the folk-tale, and would have saved me an immense
amount of trouble if I had become acquainted with it earlier.

In thirty-eight or nearly a third of the tales Dr. Bolte gives a
formula, or radicle, summing up the "common form" of the story, and I
am happy to find that in those cases, which occur in the early part of
the present volume, my own formulæ, agree with his, though of course
for the purposes of this book I have had to go into more detail. Dr.
Bolte has not as yet expounded any theory of the origin of the Folk
Tale, but, with true scientific caution, judges each case on its
merits. But his whole treatment assumes the organic unity of each
particular formula, and one cannot conceive him regarding the
similarities of the tales as due to similar mental workings of the
folk mind at a particular stage of social development.

Finally, I should perhaps explain that in my selection of typical
folk-tales for the present volume, I have included not only those
which could possibly be traced back to real primitive times and mental
conditions, like the "Cupid and Psyche" formula, but others of more
recent date and composition, provided they have spread throughout
Europe, which is my criterion. For instance "Beauty and the Beast" in
its current shape was composed in the eighteenth century, but has
found its place in the story-store of European children. A couple,
like "Androcles and the Lion" and "Day Dreaming," owe a similar spread
to literary communication even though in the latter case it is the
popular literature of the _Arabian Nights_. These must be regarded as
specimens only of a large class of stories that are found among the
folk and can be traced in the popular mediæval collections like
Alfonsi's _Disciplina-Clericalis_ or Jacques de Vitry's _Exempla_, not
to speak of the _Fables of Bidpai_ or _The Seven Wise Masters of
Rome_. These form quite a class by themselves and though they have
come to be in many cases Folk-Lore of European spread, they differ in
quality from the ordinary folk-tale which is characterized by its
tendency to variation as it passes from mouth to mouth. Still one has
to recognize that they are now European and take their place among the
folk and for that reason I have given a couple of specimens of them,
but of course my main attention has been directed to attempting to
reconstruct the original form of the true folk-tale from the
innumerable variants now current among the folk.


_Source._--Miss Roalfe Cox's volume on Cinderella, published by the
Folk-Lore Society (London: David Nutt, 1893), contains 130 abstracts
and tabulations of the pure Cinderella "formula," found in Finland,
the Riviera, Scotland, Italy, Armenia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden,
France, Greece, Germany, Spain, Calcutta, Ireland, Servia, Poland,
Russia, Denmark, Albania, Cyprus, Galicia Lithuania, Catalonia,
Portugal, Sicily, Hungary, Martinique, Holland, Bohemia, Bulgaria,
and the Tyrol. Besides these there are 31 intermediate stories
approximating to the Cinderella type, from Russia, Asia Minor, Italy,
Lorraine, The Deccan, Poland, Hungary, Catalonia, Corsica, Finland,
Switzerland, and in Basque, Spain. The earliest form in which the pure
type occurs is in Basile's _Pentamerone_, 1634, and of the
indeterminate type in Bonaventure des Periers _Nouvelles Récréations_,
1557, though the latter seems more cognate to the Catskin formula.

In many of the variants there is an introductory series of incidents
in which the heroine, after the loss of her mother, is set tasks by
the envious step-mother and sisters, which she is aided to perform by
means of an animal helper, mainly sheep or cow, which, in some of the
versions, is clearly identified with her mother either in a
transformed or a natural state. In these versions the magic dresses,
for example, are taken out of the ear of the cow or sheep! These
incidents however seem to me to be incongruous with the rest of the
story, which involves a monogamous society with fairly fixed social
grades and with the wearing of shoes at least among the upper strata
of society.

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