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There is still doubt whether the bird in
the hazel tree was meant to represent the soul of the mother in whom,
we may even say, there is a double identification involved, as in the
Golden Bough. The tree rising from the mother's grave is obviously
connected spiritually with her; the relation of the bird in the tree
to the Cinder-Maid also implies a similar relation to the mother. In
my telling of the tale I have purposely avoided emphasizing this,
which might lead to inconvenient questionings from the little ones. In
the scheme of the story the guardian influence of the mother-soul is
prominent throughout but need not be too much emphasized for modern


This nonsense story is found widely spread, especially in Romance
tongues, French, Italian, Provencal, and Portuguese; but it is also
found in Ireland (see _Celtic Fairy Tales_), Hanover, Transylvania,
Esthonia, and Russia; so that it has claims to be included in the
fairy book of all Europe. Cosquin, ii., 209-14, gives a number of
Oriental stories, Annamite, Kalmuk, Kaffir, which contain the incident
of the girl in the bag, and Indian and Kabyle stories, which go
through the same exchanges as our story. In the latter case it is an
animal story in which the jackal has a thorn picked out of his paws by
an old woman, and gets an egg out of her in exchange for the thorn
which he has "lost." In this form the jackal helps considerably in the
disappearance of the successive exchanges. It is difficult to say
whether the European or the Indian form was the earlier. The animal
_dramatis personæ_ seem less incongruous and turn the scale in favour
of India.


This is practically the Perseus legend of antiquity, which has been
made the subject of an elaborate study by Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, _The
Legend of Perseus_, 3 vols., London, 1894-6. Mr. Hartland
distinguishes four chains of incidents in the story:

1. The Supernatural Birth.
2. The Life Token.
3. The Rescue of Andromeda.
4. The Medusa Witch.

Not all the variants, which are very numerous, running from Ireland to
Cambodia, include all these four incidents. The Greek Perseus legend,
for instance, has not the Life Token. Cosquin, i., 67, knows of only
eighteen which have the full contingent, one in Brittany, two in
Greece, one in Sicily, four in Italy, one each--Basque, Spanish,
Catalan, Portuguese, Danish, and Swedish; two German; one Lithuanian;
and a Russian variant. There must be many more in Bolte's notes to
Grimm, 60. These are sufficient to prove that the whole concatenation
of incident is European, though it is difficult to understand how the
Medusa incident got tacked on to the preceding three, with which it is
very loosely combined, the only point of connection being with the
Life Token. Strangely enough, in the ancient form of the folk-tale,
the Gorgon is an almost essential part of the story, though the Life
Token has disappeared, and the Supernatural Birth only applies to the
hero and not to his animal companions. In the modern European
folk-tales these animal friends are rather supernumeraries and are
occasionally replaced by the formula of the Grateful Animals, to whom
the hero does some service during his wanderings, in reward for which
they rescue him from some extremity. In some ancient variants of the
Perseus legend there are traces of the Substituted Champion in the
form of Pentheus, a former suitor of Andromeda, who had failed to meet
the dragon.

It would be impossible here to consider the folk-lore analogies of the
four chief incidents of the tale which have occupied Mr. Hartland for
three fairly large volumes to develop, out of which have grown two
more (_Primitive Paternity_, London, 1910). It is only necessary here
to refer to a few points in their relation to the tale itself. The
Supernatural Birth, which is also treated by M. Saintyves (?) is found
attributed to heroes among all nations; it is only of significance in
the story here in its bearing upon the Life Token of the hero, which
is connected with it. With regard to the Life Token, Major Temple has
a full analysis in the notes to _Wide Awake Stories_, 1884, pp. 404-5,
under the title of the "Life Index," and is closely connected with
the idea of the External Soul, which Sir James G. Frazer has studied
in his _Balder_, London, 1913, pp. 95-152. The Fight with the Dragon
is celebrated outside folk-tales in the lives of the saints (whence
St. George, the titular saint of England, gets his emblem) in the saga
of Siegfried, and in the poetry of Schiller, where it is made the
subject of a moral apologue. The Medusa-witch, who transforms into
stone, or destroys life in other ways, is quite a familiar figure in
folk tales, but is usually thwarted, as here, by some means of cure.

The chief interest, however, of the "King of the Fishes," from a
folk-tale point of view, is the remarkable similarity of the later
folk-tales with the Greek legend, from which they are separated by so
many centuries. The absence of the Life Token in the Greek version and
the comparative insignificance of Medusa in the modern tales are
sufficient evidence that these latter are not directly derived from
the former. Yet even Mr. Hartland, who is a strong adherent of the
anthropological treatment of folk-tales, fully agrees that this
particular tale must have, at one time, been composed in artistic
unity, if not containing all the four chains of incidents at least
containing two of them (_Legend of Perseus_, iii., 151). It should be
added that Rassmann and the Grimms connect the folk-tales with the
Siegfried saga (Bolte, i., 547, 555).


This familiar story is found as early as Pauli, "Schimpf und Ernst,"
No. 595. It is frequent in Italy, especially in Pitre's Selections.
Koehler has references to the other European versions in Bladé, p.
155. Crane, _Italian Popular Tales_, No. xcvi, has rendered one of
Pitre's versions.


This rather artificial tale has never-the-less spread through all
Europe. One finds it in Italy almost in the same form as in the
original French by the Princesse de Beaumont, from whom it has got
into the ordinary fairy books of England, France and Germany. See
Crane II., "Zelinda and the Monster," pp. 7-11, with note 6, p. 324,
which contain a reference to Miss Stokes's _Indian Fairy Tales_, p.
292. The Grimm story No. 108, "Hans the Hedgehog," is more primitive
in character, and we get there the story how the Beast obtained his
terrible form. I have, however, rejected this form of it as it is not
so widespread as "Beauty and the Beast," which is one of the few
stories that we can trace, spreading through Europe practically within
our own time. The artificiality of the leading motive is sufficient
proof of the late origin of the tale. But, after all, tradition does
not distinguish between primitive or later strata. Ralston dealt with
the whole formula from the sun-moon point of view in _Nineteenth
Century_, Dec., 1878.


The main incidents of "Reynard the Fox" occur in folk-tales throughout
Europe, and it has often been discussed whether the folk-tales were
the foundation of the beast epic or vice versa. Since, however, it has
been proven that many other incidents besides those used in the beast
satire are found among the folk, it is generally allowed nowadays
that, apart from a few Æsopic fables included in the satire, the main
incidents were derived from the folk. On this subject see my
introduction to "Reynard the Fox" in the Cranford Series.

I have selected a number of the most characteristic of these
folk-tales relating to the former friendship and later enmity of the
Fox and the Bear, basing my compilation on the admirable monographs
of Prof. K. Krohn of Helsingfors, "Mann und Fuchs," 1891, "Baer (Wolf)
und Fuchs; eine nordische Tiermärchenkette," in _Journal de la Société
Finno-Ougrienne_, vi., Helsingissa, 1889, and "Die geografische
Verbreitung einer nordischen in Finnland," in _Fennia_, iv., 4. The
latter monograph is accompanied by an interesting map of Finland,
showing the distribution of the Scandinavian form of these stories, in
which the Bear is the opponent of the Fox, and the Slavonic form in
which the Wolf takes that position. As there is obviously a
mythological tendency at the root of the stories, intending to account
for the shortness of the Bear's tail and the white tip of the Fox's,
it is clear that the Scandinavian form is the more original.

I have tried to collect together in a logical narrative:

(a) Fox and Bear in partnership--(Top-off, Half-gone, All-gone).
(b) Fox in fish cart.
(c) Iced Bear's tail.
(d) Fox and cream jug.
(e) Fox on Bear's back.
(f) Fox in briar bush.
(g) Man promises Fox two geese for freeing him from Bear.
(h) Gives him two dogs.
(k) Fox and limbs; sacrifices tail.

In his article in _Fennia_, Prof. Krohn refers to no less than 708
variants of these different episodes, of which, however, 362 are from
the enormous Finnish collections of folk lore in possession of the
Finnish Literary Society at Helsingfors. The others include the
majority of European folk-tale collections with a goodly sprinkling of
Asiatic, African and American ones, the last, however, being confined
to "Uncle Remus," in which four out of the ten incidents occur in
isolated adventures of Brer Rabbit.

Many of the incidents occur separately in early literature; (g) (h)
(k) for example, which form one sequence, are found not alone in
Renard but also in Alfonsi, 1115, and Waldis. (c) The iced bear's tail
occurs in the Latin _Ysengrimus_, of the twelfth century, in the
_Renart_ of the thirteenth, and, strangely enough, in the Hebrew _Fox
Fables_ of Berachyah ha-Nakadan, whom I have identified with an Oxford
Jew late in the twelfth century. See my edition of Caxton, _Fables of
Europe_, i., p. 176. The fact that ice is referred to in the last case
would seem to preclude an Indian origin for this part of the

It is not quite certain however that all the above incidents were
necessarily connected together originally.

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