I. TOM TIT TOT
SOURCE Contributed by Mrs Walter-Thomas (née Fison) to the 'Suffolk Notes and Queries' of the Ipswich Journal, 1877, and reprinted by Mr E. Clodd in a paper on 'The Philosophy of Rumpelstiltskin' in Folk-Lore Journal, vii, 138--43. I have reduced the Suffolk dialect.
PARALLELS In Yorkshire this occurs as 'Habetrot and Scantlie Mab', in Henderson's Folk-Lore of Northern Counties, 221-6; in Devonshire as 'Duffy and the Devil', in Hunt's Romances and Drolls of the West of England, 239-47; in Scotland two variants are given by Chambers, Popular Rhymes of Scotland, under the title 'Whuppity Stourie'. The 'name-guessing wager' is also found in 'Peerifool', printed by Mr Andrew Lang in Longman's Magazine, July 1889, also Folk-Lore, September 1890. It is clearly the same as Grimm's Rumpelstiltschen (No. 14); for other Continental parallels see Mr Clodd's article, and Cosquin, Contes pop. de Lorraine, i, 269 seq.
REMARKS One of the best folk-tales that have ever been collected, far superior to any of the Continental variants of this tale with which I am acquainted. Mr Clodd sees in the class of name-guessing stories a 'survival' of the superstition that to know a man's name gives you power over him, for which reason savages object to tell their names. It may be necessary, I find, to explain to the little one that Tom Tit Tot can only be referred to as 'that', because his name is not known till the end.
2. THE THREE SILLIES
SOURCE From Folk-Lore Journal, ii, 40-43; to which it was communicated by Miss C. Burne.
PARALLELS Prof. Stephens gave a variant from his own memory in Folk-Lore Record, iii, 155, as told in Essex at the beginning of the century. Mr Toulmin Smith gave another version in The Constitutional, July 1, 1853, which was translated by his daughter and contributed to Mélusine, t. ii. An Oxfordshire version was given in Notes and Queries, April 17, 1852. It occurs also in Ireland, Kennedy, Fireside Stories, p. 9. It is Grimm's Kluge Else (No. 34) and is spread through the world. Mr Clouston devotes the seventh chapter of his Book of Noodles to the Quest of the Three Noodles.
3. THE ROSE-TREE
SOURCE From the first edition of Henderson's Folk-Lore of Northern Counties, p. 314, to which it was communicated by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould.
PARALLELS This is better known under the title, 'Orange and Lemon', and with the refrain:
'My mother killed me,
My father picked up my bones,
My little sister buried me
Under the marble stones.'
I heard this in Australia, and a friend of mine heard it in her youth in County Meath, Ireland. Mr Jones gives part of it in Folk Tales of the Magyars, 418-20, and another version occurs in 4 Notes and Queries, vi, 496. Mr I. Gollancz informs me he remembers a version entitled 'Pepper, Salt, and Mustard', with the refrain just given. Abroad it is Grimm's Juniper Tree (No. 47), where see further parallels. The German rhyme is sung by Margaret in the mad scene of Goethe's Faust. See Mr Hartland's Perseus, chapter vii, on Death as Transformation.
4. OLD WOMAN AND PIG
SOURCE Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes and Tales, 114.
PARALLELS Cf. Miss Burne, Shropshire Folk-Lore, 529; also No. 34, infra ('Cat and Mouse'). It occurs also in Scotch, with the title 'The Wife and her Bush of Berries', Chambers's Pop. Rhymes, p. 57. Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, gives a game named 'Club-fist' (No. 75), founded on this, and in his notes refers to German, Danish, and Spanish variants. (Cf. Cosquin, ii, 36 seq. See also Celtic Fairy Tales, notes on 'Munachar and Manachar').
REMARKS One of the class of accumulative stories, which are well represented in England. (Cf. infra, Nos. 16, 20, 34, and 80 in More English Fairy Tales.)
5. HOW JACK SOUGHT HIS FORTUNE
SOURCE American Folk-Lore Journal, i, 227-8. I have eliminated a malodorous and un-English skunk.
PARALLELS Two other versions are given in the Journal, l. c. One of these, however, was probably derived from Grimm's Town Musicians of Bremen (No. 27). That the others came from the British Isles is shown by the fact that it occurs in Ireland (Kennedy, Fictions, pp. 5-10; see Celtic Fairy Tales, No. 14.) and Scotland (Campbell, No. 11). For other variants, see R. Köhler on Gonzenbach, Sicil. Märchen, ii, 245.
6. MR VINEGAR
SOURCE Halliwell, p. 149. From the West of England.
PARALLELS This is the Hans im Glück of Grimm (No. 83). Cf., too, 'Lazy Jack', infra, No. 27. Other variants are given by M. Cosquin, Contes pop. de Lorraine, i, 241. On surprising robbers, see preceding tale.
REMARKS In some of the variants the door is carried, because Mr Vinegar, or his equivalent, has been told to 'mind the door', or he acts on the principle, 'he that is master of the door is master of the house'. In other stories he makes the foolish exchanges to the entire satisfaction of his wife. (Cf. Cosquin, i, 156-7.)
7. NIX NOUGHT NOTHING
SOURCE From a Scotch tale, 'Nicht Nought Nothing', collected by Mr Andrew Lang in Morayshire, published by him first in Revue Celtique, t. iii; then in his Custom and Myth, p. 89; and again in Folk-Lore, September 1890. I have changed the name so as to retain the équivoque of the giant's reply to the king. I have also inserted the incidents of the flight, mainly from the Pentamerone version, and expanded the conclusion, which is very curtailed and confused in the original. The usual ending of tales of this class contains the 'sale of bed' incident, for which see Child, i,391.
PARALLELS Mr Lang, in the essay, A Far-travelled Tale, in which he gives the story, mentions several variants of it, including the classical myth of Jason and Medea. An American English variant was read by Mr Newell before the Folk-Lore Congress under the title, Lady Feather Flight. Mr Newell suggests that Shakespeare's Tempest owes something to the main idea of the tale, a warlock's daughter falling in love with his captive and helping him with tasks. A fuller study in Cosquin, l.c., ii, 12-28. For the finger ladder, see Köhler, in Orient und Occident, ii, III. Cf. also note on 'The Battle of the Birds' in Celtic Fairy Tale; and on the tale of the Argonauts in Wonder Voyages.
8. JACK HANNAFORD
SOURCE Henderson's Folk-Lore of Northern Counties (first edition), p. 319. Communicated by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould.
PARALLELS 'Pilgrims from Paradise' are enumerated in Clouston's Book of Noodles, pp. 205, 2 14-18. I have also two other English variants in MS., 'The Bob-tailed Mare' and 'Hereafterthis', the latter of which I have given in More English Fairy Tales. See also Cosquin, i.c., i, 239.
SOURCE From the ballad of the 'Twa Sisters o' Binnorie'. I have used the longer version in Roberts's Legendary Ballads, with one or two touches from Mr Allingham's shorter and more powerful variant in The Ballad Book. A tale is the better for length, a ballad for its curtness. 'Sweet pale face' occurs in the original, with all deference to my Saturday Reviewer.
PARALLELS The story is clearly that of Grimm's Singing Bone (No. 28), where one brother slays the other and buries him under a bush. Years after a shepherd passing by finds a bone under the bush and, blowing through this, hears the bone denounce the murderer. For numerous variants in ballads and folk-tales, see Prof. Child's English and Scotch Ballads (ed. 1886), i, 125, 493: iii, 499; and the paper of Prof. Monseur referred to in notes to 'The Magic Fiddle' in Indian Fairy Tales. There is an English version in T. Hughes's Scouring of the White Horse.
10. MOUSE AND MOUSER
SOURCE From memory by Lady Burne-Jones.
PARALLELS A fragment is given in Halliwell, 43 Chambers's Popular Rhymes has a Scotch version, 'The Cattie Sits in the Kilnring Spinning' (p. 53). The surprise at the end, similar to that in Perrault's Red Riding Hood, is a frequent device in English folk-tales. (Cf. infra, Nos. 12, 24, 29, 33, 41.)
11. CAP O' RUSHES
SOURCE Contributed by Mrs Walter-Thomas to 'Suffolk Notes and Queries' of the Ipswich Journal, published by Mr Lang in Longman's Magazine, vol. xiii, also in Folk-Lore, September 1890.
PARALLELS The beginning recalls King Lear. For 'loving like salt', see the parallels collected by Cosquin, i, 228; and for 'ring of recognition' my list of Folk-Tale Incidents in Transactions Folk-Lore Congres; 1892, sub voce. The whole story is a version of the numerous class of Cinderella stories, the particular variety being the Catskin sub-species analogous to Perrault's Peau d'Ane. 'Catskin' was told by Mr Burchell to the young Primroses in The Vicar of Wakefield, and has been elaborately studied by the late H. C. Coote, in Folk-Lore Record, iii, 1-25. It is now extant only in ballad form, of which 'Cap o' Rushes' may be regarded as a prose version. I have given a prose version in More English Fairy Tales.
In Miss Roalfe Cox's remarkable collection of variants on the Cinderella type of stories published by the Folk-Lore Society, she has given twenty-six variants of 'Cap o' Rushes' through Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Corsica, and Belgium. Almost all of these contain the 'loving-like-salt' episode and the heroine disguise. The essence of the tale as a tale is the same as that of the chief plot of King Lear. A father misunderstands the expression of affection given by his youngest daughter and drives her forth. After many adventures, during which she marries a young king or prince, the misunderstanding is cleared up and she is reconciled to her father. Now this is contained in Godfrey of Monmouth (sic), whose account thus becomes the earliest written form of the whole series of Cinderella variants. Mr Newell, the Hon. Sec. of the American Folk-Law Society, is accordingly inclined to hold that Godfrey's story is the source of the whole cycle. This seems a rather mechanical method of tracing sources, and he would have to explain by what means Godfrey's account became known to the Corsicans and the Basques, as well as how the loving-like-salt incident got introduced. It is much more likely that Godfrey himself only utilised an already existing folk-tale from which perhaps he omitted the loving-like-salt incident as unsuitable for his purposes. There is no sign that Shakespeare was acquainted with the folk-tale in composing his King Lear, though curiously enough, as I show later on, he refers in it to another folk-tale (see notes on Childe Rowland). On the other hand, it is possible that Shakespeare may have used for his Tempest the folk-tale which I have entitled 'Nix Nought Nothing', for hitherto no definite source has been discovered for that drama.
SOURCE Halliwell, 148.
PARALLELS Hunt, Drolls of West of England, p. 452.
13. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
SOURCE I tell this as it was told me in Australia, somewhere about the year 1860.
PARALLELS There is a chap-book version which is very poor; it is given by Mr E. S. Hartland, English Folk and Fairy Tales (Camelot Series,) p. 35 seq. In this, when Jack arrives at the top of the Beanstalk he is met by a fairy, who gravely informs him that the ogre had stolen all his possessions from Jack's father. The object of this was to prevent the tale becoming an encouragement to theft ! I have had greater confidence in my young friends, and have deleted the fairy who did not exist in the tale as told to me. For the Beanstalk elsewhere, see Ralston, Russian Folk Tales, 293-8. Cosquin has some remarks on magical ascents (i, 14).
14. THREE LITTLE PIGS
SOURCE Halliwell, p. 16.
PARALLELS The only known parallels are one from Venice, Bernoni, Trad. Pop., punt. iii, p. 65, given in Crane, Italian Popular Tales, p. 267, 'The Three Goslings'; and a Negro tale in Lippincott's Magazine, December 1877, p. 753 ('Tiny Pig'). Another English version is given in Mr Lang's Green Fairy Book.
REMARKS As little pigs do not have hair on their chinny chin-chins, I suspect that they were originally kids, who have. This would bring the tale close to the Grimms' Wolf and Seven Little Kids (No. 5). In Steele and Temple's 'Lambikin' (Wide Awake Stories, p. 71), the Lambikin gets inside a Drumikin, and so nearly escapes the jackal. See Indian Fairy Tales, No. iii and Notes.
15. MASTER AND PUPIL
SOURCE Henderson, Folk-Lore of Northern Counties, first edition, p. 343, communicated by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould. The rhymes on the open book have been supplied by Mr Batten, in whose family, if I understand him rightly, they have long been used for raising the --; something similar occurs in Halliwell, p. 243, as a riddle rhyme. The mystic signs in Greek are a familiar 'counting-out rhyme': these have been studied in a monograph by Mr H. C. Bolton; he thinks they are 'survivals' of incantations. Under the circumstances, it would be perhaps as well if the reader did not read the lines out when alone. One never knows what may happen.
PARALLELS Sorcerers' pupils seem to be generally selected for their stupidity - in folk-tales. Friar Bacon was defrauded of his labour in producing the Brazen Head in a similar way. In one of the legends about Virgil, he summoned a number of demons, who would have torn him to pieces if he had not set them at work (J. S. Tunison, Master Virgil, Cincinnati, 1888, p. 30). Our story is told of Donald McKay in Folk-Lore Record, vi, 153; cf., too, 'Why the Sea is Salt' in Dasent.
16. TITTY MOUSE AND TATTY MOUSE
SOURCE Halliwell, p. 115.
PARALLELS This curious droll is extremely widespread; references are given in Cosquin, i, 204 seq.: and Crane, Italian Popular Tales, 375-6. As a specimen I may indicate what is implied by such bibliographical references throughout these notes by drawing up a list of the variants of this tale noticed by these two authorities, adding one or two lately printed. Various versions have been discovered in
ENGLAND: Halliwell, Nursery Rhymes, p. 115.
SCOTLAND: K. Blind, in Arch. Rev., iii ('Fleakin and Louisikin', in the Shetlands).
FRANCE: Mélusine, 1877, col. 424; Sebillot, Contes pop. de la Haute Bretagne, No. 55; Littérature orale, p. 232; Magasin pittoresque, 1869, p. 82; Cosquin, Contes pop. de Lorraine, Nos. 18 and 74.
ITALY: Pitrè, Novelline popolari siciliane, No. 134 (translated in Crane, Ital. Pop. Tales, p. 257); Imbriani, La novellaja Fiorentina, p. 244; Bernoni, Tradizione popolari veneziane, punt. iii, p. 81; Gianandrea, Biblioteca delle tradizioni popolari marchigiane, p. 11; Papanti, Novelline popolari livornesi, p. 19 ('Vezzino e Madonna Salciccia'); Finamore, Trad. pop. abruzzesi, p. 244; Morosi, Studi sui Dialetti Greci della Terra d'Otranto, p. 75; Giamb. Basile, 1884, p. 37.
GERMANY: Grimm, Kinder-und-Haus-Märchen, No. 30; Kuhn und Schwarz, Nord-deutsche Sagen, No. 16.
NORWAY: Asbjörnsen, No. 103, translated in Fairy Tales from the far North (H. L. Braekstad), p. 183 ('The Cock who Fell into the Brewing Vat').
SPAIN: Maspons, Cuentos populars catalans, p. 12; Fernan Caballero, Cuentos y refrañes populares, p. 3 ('La Hormiguita').
PORTUGAL: Coelho, Contos popolares portuguezes, No. 1.
ROUMANIA: Kremnitz, Rumänische Mährchen, No. 15.
ASIA MINOR: Vohn Hahn, Griechische und Albanesisehe Mürchen, No. 56.
INDIA: Steele and Temple, Wide Awake Stories, p. 157 ('The Death and Burial of Poor Hen-Sparrow').
REMARKS These twenty-five variants of the same jingle scattered over the world from India to Spain present the problem of the diffusion of folk-tales in its simplest form. No one is likely to contend, with Prof. Muller and Sir George Cox, that we have here the detritus of archaic Aryan mythology, a parody of a sun-myth. There is little that is savage and archaic to attract the school of Dr Tylor, beyond the speaking powers of animals and inanimates. Yet even Mr Lang is not likely to hold that these variants arose by coincidence and independently in the different parts of the world where they have been found. The only solution is that the curious succession of incidents was invented once for all at some definite place and time by some definite entertainer for children, and spread thence through all the Old World. In a few instances we can actually trace the passage--e.g. the Shetland version was certainly brought over from Hamburg. Whether the centre of dispersion was India or not, it is impossible to say, as it might have spread east from Smyrna (Hahn, No. 56). Benfey (Einleitung zu Pantschatantra, i, 190-1) suggests that this class of accumulative story may be a sort of parody on the Indian stories, illustrating the moral, 'what great events from small occasions rise !' Thus a drop of honey falls on the ground, a fly goes after it, a bird snaps at the fly, a dog goes for the bird, another dog goes for the first, the masters of the two dogs--who happen to be kings--quarrel and go to war, whole provinces are devastated, and all for a drop of honey ! 'Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse' also ends in a universal calamity which seems to arise from a cause of no great importance. Benfey's suggestion is certainly ingenious, but perhaps too ingenious to be true.
17. JACK AND HIS SNUFF-BOX
SOURCE Mr F. Hindes Groome, In Gipsy Tents, p. 201 seq. I have eliminated a superfluous Gipsy who makes her appearance toward the end of a tale à propos des bottes, but otherwise have left the tale unaltered as one of the few English folk-tales that have been taken down from the mouths of the peasantry: this applies also to 1, 2, 11.
PARALLELS There is a magic snuff-box with a friendly power in it in Kennedy's Fictions of the Irish Celts, p. 49. The choice between a small cake with a blessing, etc., is frequent (cf. No. 23), but the closest parallel to the whole story, including the mice, is afforded by a tale in Carnoy and Nicolaides' Traditions populaires de l'Asie Mineure, which is translated as the first tale in Mr Lang's Blue Fairy Book. There is much in both that is similar to Aladdin, I beg his pardon, Allah-ed-din; in Grey Norris, F.L.J., i, 316; also in 'Penny Jack', a story given by Mr W. A. Clouston in Folk-Lore, No. iv., and in 'The Charmed Ring' of Indian Fairy Tales.
18. THE THREE BEARS
SOURCE Verbatim et literatim from Southey. The Doctor, &c., quarto edition, p. 327.
PARALLELS None in full, though not invented by Southey. There is an Italian translation, I tre Orsi, Turin, 1868, and it would be curious to see if the tale ever acclimatises itself in Italy. But the incident of sitting in the chairs, etc., is in the Grimms' Schneewitchen.
REMARKS The Three Bears is the only example I know of where a tale that can be definitely traced to a specific author has become a folk-tale. Not alone is this so, but the folk has developed the tale in a curious and instructive way, by substituting a pretty little girl with golden locks for the naughty old woman. In Southey's version there is nothing of little Silverhair as the heroine: she seems to have been introduced in a metrical version by G. N., much bepraised by Southey. Silverhair seems to have become a favourite, and in Mrs Valentine's version of 'The Three Bears' in The Old, Old Fairy Tales, the visit to the bearhouse is only the preliminary to a long succession of adventures of the pretty little girl, of which there is no trace in the original (and this in The Old, Old Fairy Tales. Oh ! Mrs Valentine !). I have, though somewhat reluctantly, cast back to the original form. After all, as Professor Dowden remarks, Southey's memory is kept alive more by 'The Three Bears' than anything else, and the text of such a nursery classic should be retained in all its purity.
Since the first publication of this book I have come across what appears to be the source from which Southey got the story of 'The Three Bears', though it still remains true that the popularity of the story among English children is due to Southey. I have published this interesting version in More English Fairy Tales, under the title of 'Scrapefoot', in which the old woman appears as a fox, so that the story is entirely a beast tale. Now there is found to exist among all countries of Europe a number of tales relating to the feud between the Fox and the Bear (or Wolf). These stories were worked up by a medieval artist into the Beast Epic known as Reynard the Fox. It is probable therefore that 'Scrapefoot', the original of Southey's 'Three Bears', is a survival of the English form of the Beast Epic. Altogether Southey's tale affords an extremely interesting example of the modifications which a story of this kind can undergo. As we have seen above, it has already been developed from its original form in Southey's book by popular tale writers who correspond nowadays to the bards of earlier times. And from the discovery of'Scrapefoot' we learn that Southey changed the fox (or vixen) of the original into an old woman, and thus disguised its representative character as the last survival of the Reynard cycle in English folk-tradition.
19. JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
SOURCE From two chap-books at the British Museum (London, 1805; Paisley, 1814?). I have taken some hints from 'Felix Summerly's' (Sir Henry Cole's) version, 1845. From the latter part, I have removed the incident of the Giant dragging the lady along by her hair.
PARALLELS The chap-book of 'Jack the Giant-Killer' is a curious jumble. The second part, as in most chap-books, is a weak and late invention of the enemy, and is not volkstümlich at all. The first part is compounded of a comic and a serious theme. The first is that of the Valiant Taylor (Grimm, No. 20); to this belong the incidents of the fleabite blows (for variants of which see Kohler in Jahrb. rom. eng. Phil., viii, 252) and that of the slit paunch (cf. Cosquin, I.c., ii, 51). The Thankful Dead episode, where the hero is assisted by the soul of a person whom he has caused to be buried, is found as early as the Cento novelle antiche; and Straparola, xi, 2. It has been best studied by Köhler in Germania, iii, 199-209 (cf. Cosquin, i, 214-15; ii, 14 and note; and Crane, Ital. Pop. Tales, 350, note 12). It occurs also in the curious play of Peele's The Old Wives' Tale, in which one of the characters is the Ghost of Jack. Fielding refers to Jack the Giant-Killer in the beginning of Joseph Andrews. Practically the same story as this part of Jack the Giant-Killer occurs in Kennedy, Fictions of the Irish Celts, p. 32, 'Jack the Master and Jack the Servant'; and Kennedy adds (p. 38), 'In some versions Jack the Servant is the spirit of the buried man.'
This incident of the Faithful Dead was also the subject of a Middle English verse romance, entitled Sir Amadace, an edition of which was produced by the late Prof. George Stephens of Copenhagen in the year 1854, with an introduction which gives some of the folk-lore parallels. The necessity of burial for 'laying' the spirit of a dead man runs throughout all primitive thought, and is at the root of most burial customs. It forms the central motif of the Antigone of Sophocles, and has not been without its influence on Christian theology.
Jack's invisibility recalls the Invisible Helmet which enabled Perseus to fulfil the tasks laid upon him. Upon this see Köhler in Jahrbuch, vii, 146, and in Kreutzwald, Estnische Mährchen, 359; also, Steele and Temple's Wide Awake Stories, 423. These gifts of magic armour cannot be regarded as primitive; they must at least be posterior to the Neolithic Age.
The 'Fee-fi-fo-fum' formula is common to all English stories of giants and ogres; it also occurs in Peele's play and in King Lear (see notes on Childe Rowland). Messrs Jones and Kropf have some remarks on it in their Magyar Tales, pp. 340-1; so has Mr Lang in his 'Perrault', p. lxiii, where he traces it to the Furies in Aeschylus' Eumenides.
SOURCE I give this as it was told to me in Australia in 1860. The fun consists in the avoidance of all pronouns, which results in jaw-breaking sentences almost equal to the celebrated 'She stood at the door of the fish-sauce shop, welcoming him in'.
PARALLELS Halliwell, p. 151, has the same with the title 'Chicken-Licken'. It occurs also in Chambers's Popular Rhymes, p. 59, with the same names of the dramatis personae as my version. Kennedy, Fireside Tales of Ireland, p. 25, has it under the title 'The End of the World'. For European parallels, see Crane, Ital. Pop. Tales, 377, and authorities there quoted.
21. CHILDE ROWLAND
SOURCE Jamieson's Illustrations of Northern Antiquities, 1814, p. 397 seq., who gives it as told by a tailor in his youth, c. 1770. I have Anglicised the Scotticisms, eliminated an unnecessary ox-herd and swine-herd, who lose their heads for directing the Childe, and I have called the Erlkônig's lair the Dark Tower on the strength of the description and of Shakespeare's reference. I have likewise suggested a reason why Burd Ellen fell into his power, chiefly in order to introduce a definition of 'widershins'. 'All the rest is the original horse', even including the erroneous description of the youngest son as the Childe or heir (cf. 'Childe Harold' and Childe Wynd, infra, No. 33) unless this is some 'survival' of Junior Right or 'Borough English', the archaic custom of letting the heirship pass to the younger son. I should add that, on the strength of the reference to Merlin, Jamieson calls Childe Rowland's mother Queen Guinevere, and introduces references to King Arthur and his Court. But as he confesses that these are his own improvements on the tailor's narrative, I have eliminated them. Since the first appearance of this book, I should add, Mr Grant Allen has made an ingenious use of Childe Rowland in one of his short stories now collected in the volume entitled Ivan Greet's Masterpiece.
PARALLELS The search for the Dark Tower is similar to that of the Red Ettin (cf. Köhler on Gonzenbach, ii 222). The formula 'Youngest best', in which the youngest of the three brothers succeeds after the others have failed, is one of the most familiar in folk-tales, amusingly parodied by Mr Lang in his Prince Prigio. The taboo against taking food in the underworld occurs in the myth of Proserpine, and is also frequent in folk-tales (Child, I, 322). But the folk-tale parallels to our tale fade into insignificance before its brilliant literary relationships. Browning has a poem under the title working upon a line of King Lear. There can be little doubt that Edgar, in his mad scene in King Lear, is alluding to our tale when he breaks into the lines:
'Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower came
His word was still: "Fie, foh and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man." '
King Lear, Act iii., sc. 4, ad fin.
['British' for 'English'. This is one of the points that settle 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).]
The latte reference is to the cry of the King of Elfland. That some such story was current in England in Shakespeare's time is proved by that curious mélange of nursery tales, Peele's The Old Wives' Tale. The main plot of this is the search of two brothers, Calypha and Thelea, for a lost sister, Delia, who had been bespelled by a sorcerer, Sacrapant (the names are taken from the Orlando Furioso). They are instructed by an old man (like Merlin 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 tide explains 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 enchanted food, just as Childe Rowland finally refuses. And ultimately the bespelled heroine is liberated by a liquid, which is applied to lips and finger-tips, just as Childe Rowland's brothers are unspelled by applying a liquid to their ears, eyelids, nostrils, lips, and finger-tips. There may be here a trace of the supreme unction of the Catholic Church. Such a minute resemblance as this cannot be accidental, and it is therefore 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 allegory. Certainly no other folk-tale in the world can claim so distinguished an offspring.
REMARKS Distinguished as 'Childe Rowland' will be henceforth as the origin of Comus, if my affiliation be accepted, it has even more remarkable points of interest, both in form and matter, for the folk-lorist, unless I am much mistaken. I will therefore touch upon these points, reserving a more detailed examination for another occasion.
First, as to the form of the narrative. This begins with verse, then turns to prose, and throughout drops again at intervals into poetry in a friendly way like Mr Wegg. Now this is a form of writing not unknown in other branches of literature, the cante-fable, 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 the Hamasa would be unintelligible without accompanying narrative, which is nowadays preserved in the commentary. The verses imbedded in the Arabian Nights 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 gathas of the Buddhist Jatakas. Even in remote Zanzibar, Mr Lang notes, the folk-tales are told as cante-fables. The contemporary Indian story-tellers, Mr Hartland notes, also commingle verse and prose. 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. (Cf. note on 'Connla' in Celtic Fairy Tales.)
Among folk-tales there are still many traces of the cante-fable. Thus, in Grimm's collection, verses occur in Nos. 1, 5, 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 30, 36, 38a, b, 39a, 40, 45, 46, 47, out of the first fifty tales, 36 per cent. Of Chambers's twenty-one folk-tales in the Popular Rhymes of Scotland, only five are without interspersed verses. Of the forty-three tales contained in this volume, three (9, 29, 33) are derived from ballads, and do not therefore count in the present connection. Of the remaining forty, 1, 3,7, 16, 19, 21, 23, 25, 31, 35, 38, 41 (made up from verses), 43, contain rhymed lines; while 14, 22, 26, and 37 contain 'survivals' of rhymes ('let me come in - chinny chin-chin'; 'once again . . . come to Spain'; 'it is not so - should be so'; 'and his lady, him behind'); and 10 and 32 are rhythmical If not rhyming. As most of the remainder are drolls, which have probably a different origin, there seems to be great probability that originally all folk-tales of a serious character were interspersed 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 probably 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.
The subject-matter of 'Childe Rowland' has also claims on our attention, especially with regard to recent views on the true nature and origin of elves, trolls, and fairies. I refer to the work of Mr D. MacRitchie, The Testimony of Tradition (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1889)--i.e. 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 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 instances traditions about trolls or 'good people' have attached themselves to mounds, which have afterwards, on investigation, turned out to be evidently the former residence of men of smaller build than the mortals of today. 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 concern 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 cottagers with their work at night, but disappear if their presence is noticed; human midwives are asked to help fairy mothers, fairy maidens marry ordinary men, or girls marry and live with fairy husbands. All such things may have happened and bear no such a priori marks of impossibility as speaking animals, flying through the air, and similar incidents of the folk-tale pure and simple. If, as archaeologists 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.
Certainly the description of the Dark Tower of the King of Elfland in 'Childe Rowland' has a remarkable resemblance to the dwellings of the 'good folk', which recent excavations have revealed. By the kindness of Mr MacRitchie, I am enabled to give the reader illustrations of one of the most interesting of these, the Maes-How of Orkney. 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 2 feet 4 inches high, for half of its length. This led into a central chamber, 15 feet square and open to the sky. The diagrams on the [opposite] page will give all further details.
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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. It is, of course, curious to contrast Mr Batten's frontispiece with the central chamber of the How, but the essential features are the same.
Even such a minute touch as the terraces on the hill have their bearing, I believe, on Mr MacRitchie's 'realistic' views of Faerie. For in quite another connection, Mr G. L. Gomme, in his book, The Village Community (W. Scott), pp. 75-98, has given reasons and examples [to these may be added lona (cf. Duke of Argyll, lona, p. 109).] 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 am enabled to give an illustration of this.
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Altogether it seems not improbable that in such a tale as 'Childe Rowland' we have an idealised picture of a 'marriage by capture' of one of the diminutive non-Aryan dwellers of the green hills with an Aryan maiden, and her recapture by her brothers. It is otherwise difficult to account for such a circumstantial description of the interior of these mounds, and especially of such a detail as the terrace cultivation on them. At the same time it must not be thought that Mr MacRitchie's views explain all fairy tales, or that his identifications of Finns = Fenians = Fairies = Sidhe = 'Pechs' = Picts, will necessarily be accepted. His interesting book, so far as it goes, seems to throw light on tales about mermaids (Finnish women in their 'kayaks') and trolls, but not necessarily on fairy tales in general. Thus, in the present volume, besides 'Childe Rowland', there is only 'Tom Tit Tot' in his hollow, the green hill in 'Kate Crackernuts', 'The Cauld Lad of Hilton', and perhaps the 'Fairy Ointment', that are affected by his views.
Though Childe Rowland may contain traces of primitive custom, it is clear that in its present state it is of tolerably late date. We can, indeed, separate in it successive strata of social conditions. The extreme unction is Roman Catholic, and yet the latest indication of the story, which must therefore date before 1530. The reference to the Childe, if meant to indicate the heir, is feudal in character, while the heirship of the younger son carries us back to 'Borough English' and Anglo-Saxon times. The good brand that never struck in vain is at least of the Iron Age, while the Dark Tower, the terraces on the hills, and the Elfin King recall neolithic man with his cannibalism implied in the 'Fee-fi-fo-fum'. The story thus carries us through all the stages of civilisation up to the verge of modem times.
Finally, there are a couple of words in the narrative that deserve a few words of explanation: 'Widershins' is probably, as Mr Batten suggests, analogous to the German 'wider Schein', against the appearance of the sun, 'counter-clockwise' as the mathematicians say--i.e. W., S., E., N., instead of with the sun and the hands of a clock; Mr Gollancz, in the Academy, suggests 'Wider Sinn', i.e. in an opposite direction. 'Bogle' is a provincial word for 'spectre', and is analogous to the Welsh bwg, 'goblin', and to the English insect of similar name, and still more curiously to the Russian 'Bog'--God, after which so many Russian rivers are named. I may add that 'Burd' is etymologically the same as 'bride', and is frequently used in the early romances for 'Lady'.
22. MOLLY WHUPPIE
SOURCE Folk-Lore Journal, ii, p. 68, forwarded by Rev. Walter Gregor. I have modified the dialect and changed 'Mally' into 'Molly'.
PARALLELS The first part is clearly the theme of 'Hop o' my Thumb', which Mr Lang has studied in his 'Perrault', pp. civ, cxi (cf. Köhler, Occident, ii, 301). The change of night-dresses occurs in Greek myths. The latter part wanders off into 'rob giant of three things', a familiar incident in folk-tales (Cosquin, i, 46-47), and finally winds up with the 'out of sack' trick, for which see Cosquin, i, 113; ii, 209; and Kohler, in Occident und Orient, ii, 489-506, on Campbell, No. xvii, Maol Chlioban, which was undoubtedly the source of our story. Kennedy's Fireside Stories, No. 1, 'Hairy Rouchy', is exactly similar, showing the story to be originally Celtic.
23. RED ETTIN
SOURCE 'The Red Etin', in Chambers's Pop. Rhymes of Scotland, p. 89. I have reduced the adventures from three to two, and cut down the herds and their answers. I have substituted riddles from the first English collection of riddles, The Demandes Joyous of Wynkyn de Worde, for the poor ones of the original, which are besides not solved. 'Ettin' is the English spelling of the word, as it is thus spelt in a passage of Beaumont and Fletcher (Knight of Burning Pestle, i, 1), which may refer to this very story, which, as we shall see, is quite as old as their time. It is the 'Jötunn' of the Eddas (Dasent, Norse Tales, p. cxxvii).
PARALLELS 'The Red Etin' is referred to in The Complaynt of Scotland, about 1548. It has some resemblance to 'Childe Rowland', which see. The 'death index', as we may call tokens that tell the state of health of a parted partner, is a usual incident in the theme of the Two Brothers, and has been studied by the Grimms, i, 421, 453; ii, 403; by Köhler on Campbell, 0cc. u. Or., ii, 119-20; on Gonzenbach, ii, 230; on Bladé, 248; by Cosquin, l.c., I, 70-72, 193; by Crane, Ital. Pop. Tales, 326; and by Jones and Kropf, Magyar Tales, 329. Mr Hartland devotes vol. ii of his Perseus to the 'Life Token'. Riddles generally come in the form of the 'riddle-bride-wager' (cf. Child, Ballads, i, 415-19; ii, 519), when the hero or heroine wins a spouse by guessing a riddle or riddles. Here it is the simpler Sphynx form of the 'riddle task', on which see Köhler in Jahrb. rom. Phil., vii, 273, and on Gonzenbach, 215.
24. GOLDEN ARM
SOURCE Henderson, l.c., p. 338, collected by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould in Devonshire. Sir E. Burne-Jones remembered hearing it in his youth in Warwickshire, where I have also traces of it as 'The Golden Leg'.
PARALLELS The first fragment at the end of Grimm (ii, 467, of Mrs Hunt's translation) tells of an innkeeper's wife who had used the liver of a man hanging on the gallows, whose ghost comes to her and tells her what has become of his hair, and his eyes, and the dialogue concludes
SHE: Where is thy liver?
IT: Thou hast devoured it!
For similar 'surprise packets' see Cosquin, ii, 77.
REMARKS It is doubtful how far such gruesome topics should be introduced into a book for children, but, as a matter of fact, the Κάθαρσισ of pity and terror among the little ones is as effective as among the spectators of a drama, and they take the same kind of pleasant thrill from such stories. They know it is all make-believe just as much as the spectators of a tragedy. Every one who has enjoyed the blessing of a romantic imagination has been trained up on such tales of wonder.
25. TOM THUMB
SOURCE From the chap-book contained in Halliwell, p. 199, and Mr Hartland's English Folk and Fairy Tales. I have omitted much of the second part.
PARALLELS Halliwell has also a version entirely in verse. 'Tom Thumb' is 'Le petit Poucet' of the French, 'Däumling' of the Germans, and similar diminutive heroes elsewhere (cf. Deulin, Contes de ma Mere l'Oye, 326), but of his adventures only that in the cow's stomach (cf. Cosquin, ii, 190) is common with his French and German cousins. M. Gaston Paris has a monograph on 'Tom Thumb'.
26. MR FOX
SOURCE Contributed by Blakeway to Malone's Variorum Shakespeare (1790), to illustrate Benedick's remark in Much Ado About Nothing (I, i, 146): 'Like the old tale, my Lord, "It is not so, nor t'was not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so" '; which clearly refers to the tale of Mr Fox. 'The Forbidden Chamber' has been studied by Mr Hartland, Folk-Lore Journal, iii, 193 seq. 'Be bold' is Britomart's motto in the Faërie Queene, and one may also refer to 'Bloody Jack' (Ingoldsby Legends).
PARALLELS Halliwell, p. 166, gives a similar tale of 'An Oxford Student', whose sweetheart saw him digging her grave. 'Mr Fox' is clearly a variant of the theme of 'The Robber Bridegroom' (Grimm, No. 40, Mrs Hunt's translation, i, 389, 395; and Cosquin, i, 180-1).
27. LAZY JACK
SOURCE Halliwell, 157, from Yorkshire.
PARALLELS The same story occurs in Lowland Scotch as 'Jock and his Mother', Chambers, l.c., 101; in Ireland as 'I'll be Wiser Next Time', Kennedy, l.c., 39-42, and his Fireside Stories, p. 30. Abroad it is Grimm's Hans im Glück (No. 83). The 'cure by laughing' incident is 'common form' in folk-tales (cf. Köhler on Gonzenbach, Sicil. Märchen, ii, 210, 224; Jones and Kropf, Magyar Tales, 312).
SOURCE American Journal of Folk-Lore, ii, 60 (cf. No. for July 1891).
PARALLELS Another variant is given in the same Journal, p. 277, where reference is also made to a version, 'The Gingerbread Boy', in St Nicholas, May 1875. Chambers gives two versions of the same story, under the title 'The Wee Bunnock', the first of which is one of the most dramatic and humorous of folk-tales. Unfortunately, the Scotticisms are so frequent as to render the Droll practically untranslatable. I have, however, made an attempt in More English Fairy Tales, 57. Also in Ireland as 'The Wonderful Cake' (Kennedy, Fireside Stories, p. 19). 'The Fate of Mr Jack Sparrow' in Uncle Remus is similar to that of Johnny-Cake.
29. EARL MAR'S DAUGHTER
SOURCE From the ballad of the same name as given in Mr Allingham's Ballad Book; it is clearly a fairy tale and not a ballad proper. The name Florentine is sufficient to prove that the tale does not belong to the Celtic area.
PARALLELS The lover visiting his spouse in guise of a bird is a frequent motif in folk-tales. The oldest known post-classic form occurs in Ireland in a prologue to the saga entitled 'Togail Brudne da Derga', 'The Destruction of da Derga's Fort', which must be as old as the early eleventh century, and is probably centuries older (cf. Mr Nutt, Folklore, ii, 87).
30. MR MIACCA
SOURCE From memory of Mrs B. Abrahams, who heard it from her mother some x years ago (x > 40). I have transposed the two incidents, as in her version Tommy Grimes was a clever carver and carried about with him a carven leg. This seemed to me to exceed the limits of vraisemblance even for a folk-tale.
PARALLELS Getting out of an ogre's clutches by playing on the simplicity of his wife, occurs in 'Molly Whuppie' (No. 22), and its similars. In the Grimms' Hansel and Grethel, Hansel pokes out a stick instead of his finger that the witch may not think him fat enough for the table.
REMARKS Mr Miacca seems to have played the double role of a domestic Providence. He not alone punished bad boys, as here, but also rewarded good, by leaving them gifts on appropriate occasions, like Santa Claus or Father Christmas, who, as is well known, only leaves things for good children. Mrs Abrahams remembers one occasion well when she nearly caught sight of Mr Miacca, just after he had left her a gift; she saw his shadow in the shape of a bright light passing down the garden.
31. DICK WHITTINGTON
SOURCE I have cobbled this up out of three chap-book versions: (1) that contained in Mr Hartland's English Folk-Tales; (2) that edited by Mr H. B. Wheatley for the Villon Society; (3) that appended to Messrs Besant and Rice's monograph.
PARALLELS Whittington's cat has made the fortune of his master in all parts of the Old World, as Mr W. A. Clouston, among others, has shown, Popular Tales and Fictions, ii, 65-78 (cf. Köhler on Gonzenbach, ii, 251).
REMARKS If Bow Bells had pealed in the exact accurate nineteenth century, they doubtless would have chimed
Turn again, Whittington,
Thrice and a half Lord Mayor of London.
For besides his three mayoralties of 1397, 1406, and 1419, he served as Lord Mayor in place of Adam Bamme, deceased, in the latter half of the mayoralty of 1396. It will be noticed that the chap-book puts the introduction of potatoes rather far back.
32. THE STRANGE VISITOR
SOURCE From Chambers, I.c., 64, much Anglicised. I have retained 'Aihlate wee moul', though I candidly confess I have not the slightest idea what it means; judging other children by myself, I do not think that makes the response less effective. The prosaic-minded may substitute 'Up-late-and-little-food'.
PARALLELS The man made by instalments occurs in the Grimms, No. 4, and something like it in an English folk-tale, The Golden Ball, ap. Henderson, l.c., p. 333; cf. 'The Sprightly Tailor' in my Celtic Fairy Tales.
33. THE LAIDLY WORM
SOURCE From an eighteenth-century ballad of the Rev. Mr Lamb of Norham, as given in Prof. Child's Ballads; with a few touches and verses from the more ancient version, 'Kempion'. A florid prose version appeared in Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore for May 1890. I have made the obvious emendation of
'O quit your sword, unbend your bow,'
'O quit your sword, and bend your bow.'
The story is still extant near Bamborough, Mrs Balfour informs me.
PARALLELS The ballad of 'Kempe Owein' is a more general version which 'The Laidly Worm' has localised near Bamborough. We learn from this that the original herd was Kempe or Champion Owain, the Welsh hero who flourished in the sixth century. Childe Wynd therefore = Childe Owain. The 'Deliverance Kiss' has been studied by Prof. Child, l.c., ii, 306. A noteworthy example occurs in Boiardo's Orlando Inamorato, cc, xxv, xxvi. REMARKS It is perhaps unnecessary to give the equations, 'Laidly Worm = Loathly Worm = Loathsome Dragon' and 'borrowed-changed'. On the rowan-tree, see Rhys's Hibbert Lectures. There is certainly something Celtic about the Laidly being and the deliverance kiss, as Mr Nutt has pointed out, Academy, April 30, 1892; and Miss Weston has shown the connection in her Legend of Sir Gawain, p. 49. Indeed, may not Owein be identical with Gawain ?
34. CAT AND MOUSE
SOURCE Halliwell, p. 154.
PARALLELS Scarcely more than a variant of 'The Old Woman and her Pig' (No. 4), which see. It is curious that a very similar 'run' is added by Bengali women at the end of every folk-tale they tell (Lal Behari Day, Folk-Tales of Bengal, Pref. ad fin.).
35. THE FISH AND THE RING
SOURCE Henderson, l.c., p. 326, from a communication by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould. There is a similar legend told of Stepney Church.
PARALLELS 'Jonah rings' have been put together by Mr Clouston in his Popular Tales, i, 398, etc.; the most famous are those of Polycrates, of Solomon, and the Sanskrit drama of 'Sakuntala', the plot of which turns upon such a ring. 'Letters to kill bearer' have been traced from Homer downwards by Prof. Köhler on Gonzenbach, ii, 220, and 'the substituted letter' by the same authority in 0cc. u. Or., ii, 289. Mr Baring-Gould, who was one of the pioneers of the study of folk-tales in this country, has given a large number of instances of 'the preordained marriage' in folk-tales in Henderson, l.c.
REMARKS The tale is the feminine form of the legend of 'The Man Born to be King', familiar to us from Mr Morris's setting in his Earthly Paradise. He derived this from Nouvelles Françoises du Treizième Siècle, which he has himself translated under the title Old French Romances. In my introduction to his translation I have pointed out that this particular romance has a Byzantine source, an Ethiopic version of which has recently been discovered by Dr E. Kuhn. The story is, indeed, told under the title of Constant the Emperor as a sort of folk etymology of the name Constantinople. It seems probable that the tale was thus brought from Byzantium to France and England and became localised in different forms at Stepney and York. Curiously enough, the letter to 'kill bearer' is found in India, and is, of course, familiar from the Iliad. But whatever its ultimate source, there can be little doubt that this tale is more immediately derived from the Byzantine Romance of the Emperor Constant.
36. THE MAGPIE'S NEST
SOURCE I have built up 'The Magpie's Nest' from two nidification myths, as a German professor would call them, in the Rev. Mr Swainson's Folk-Lore of British Birds, pp. 80 and 166. I have received instruction about the relative values of nests from a little friend of mine named Katie, who knows all about it. If there is any mistake in the order of neatness in the various birds' nests, I must have learnt my lesson badly.
REMARKS English popular tradition is curiously at variance about the magpie's nidificatory powers, for another legend given by Mr Swainson represents her as refusing to be instructed by the birds, and that is why she does not make a good nest. The latter part of our tale occurs in the Welsh 'Fables of Catwg' in the Iola MS.
37. KATE CRACKERNUTS
SOURCE Given by Mr Lang in Longman's Magazine, vol. xiv, and reprinted in Folk-Lore, Sept. 1890. It is very corrupt, both girls being called Kate, and I have had largely to rewrite.
PARALLELS There is a tale which is clearly a cousin if not a parent of this in Kennedy's Fictions, 54 seq., containing the visit to the green hill (for which see 'Childe Rowland'), a reference to nuts, and even the sesame rhyme. The Prince is here a corpse who becomes revivified; the same story is in Campbell, No. 13. The jealous stepmother is 'universally human'. (Cf. Köhler on Gonzenbach, ii, 206). Though I have suggested in Indian Fairy Tales that she was originally a jealous co-wife.
38. THE CAULD LAD OF HILTON
SOURCE Henderson's Folk-Lore of Northern Counties, 2nd edition, published by the Folk-Lore Society, pp. 266-7. I have written the introductory paragraph so as to convey some information about Brownies, Bogies, and Redcaps, for which Henderson, l.c., 246-53, is my authority. Mr Batten's portrait renders this somewhat superfluous.
PARALLELS The Grimms' Elves (No. 39) behave in like manner on being rewarded for their services. Milton's 'lub-bar-fiend' in L'Allegro has all the characteristics of a Brownie.
39. ASS, TABLE, AND STICK
SOURCE Henderson, l.c., first edition, pp. 327-9, by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould.
PARALLELS Mr Baring-Gould gives another version from the East Riding, l.c., 329, in which there are three brothers who go through the adventures. He also refers to European Variants, p. 311, which could now be largely supplemented from Cosquin, i, 53-54; ii, 66, 171. To these add the Irish versions of Kennedy, Fireside Stories, p. 25, 'The Three Gifts', and Croker, Fairy Legends, 'The Legend of Bottle Hill'.
REMARKS As an example of the sun-myth explanation of folk-tales I will quote the same authority (p. 314): 'The Master who gives the three precious gifts is the All Father, the Supreme Spirit. The gold and jewel-dropping ass is the spring cloud, hanging in the sky and shedding the bright productive vernal showers. The table which covers itself is the earth becoming covered with flowers and fruit at the bidding of the new year. But there is a check; rain is withheld, the process of vegetation is stayed by some evil influence. Then comes the thunder-cloud, out of which leaps the bolt; the rains pour down, the earth receives them, and is covered with abundance - all that was lost is recovered.'
40. FAIRY OINTMENT
SOURCE Mrs Bray, The Tamar and the Tavy, i, 74 (letters to Southey), as quoted by Mr Hartland in Folk-Lore, i, 207-8. I have christened the anonymous midwife and euphemised her profession.
PARALLELS Mr Hartland has studied Human Midwives in the Archaeol. Review, iv, and parallels to our story in Folk-Lore, i, 209 seq.; the most interesting of these is from Gervase of Tilbury (thirteenth century), Otia Imper., iii, 85, and three Breton tales given by M. Sébillot (Contes, ii, 42; Litt. orale, 23; Trad. et Superst., i, 109). Cf. Prof. Child, i, 339; ii, 505. A Welsh one is given in Y Cymmrodor, vii, 197. Mr Hartland has summarised his conclusions in his Science of Fairy Tales.
41. THE WELL OF THE WORLD'S END
SOURCE Leyden's edition of The Complaynt of Scotland, p. 234 seq., with additional touches from Halliwell, 162-3, who makes up a slightly different version from the rhymes. The opening formula I have taken from Mayhew, London Labour, iii, 390, who gives it as the usual one when tramps tell folk-tales. I also added it to No. 17.
PARALLELS Sir W. Scott remembered a similar story; see Taylor's Gammer Grethel, ad fin. In Scotland it is Chambers's tale of The Paddo, p. 87; Leyden supposes it is referred to in the Complaynt (c. 1548), as 'The Wolf of the World's End'. The well of this name occurs also in the Scotch version of the 'Three Heads of the Well' (No. 43). Abroad it is the Grimms' first tale, while frogs who would a-wooing go are discussed by Prof. Kohler, 0cc. u. Orient., ii, 330; by Prof. Child, i, 298; and by Messrs Jones and Kropf, l.c., p. 404. The sieve-bucket task is widespread from the Danaids of the Greeks to the leverets of Uncle Remus, who, curiously enough, use the same rhyme: 'Fill it wid moss en dob it wid clay.' Cf., too, No. 23.
42. MASTER OF ALL MASTERS
SOURCE I have taken what suited me from a number of sources which shows how widespread this quaint droll is in England: (i) In Mayhew, London Poor, iii, 391, told by a lad in a workhouse; (ii) several versions in 7 Notes and Queries, iii 35, 87, 159, 398.
PARALLELS Rev. W. Gregor gives a Scotch version under the title 'The Clever Apprentice', in Folk-Lore Journal, vii, 166. An Irish version with the Gaelic was given in Folk-Lore for March 1891. Mr Hartland, in Notes and Queries, l.c., 87, refers to Pitré's Fiabi sicil., iii, 120, for a variant.
REMARKS According to Mr Hartland, the story is designed as a satire on pedantry, and is as old in Italy as Straparola (sixteenth century). In passionate Sicily, a wife disgusted with her husband's pedantry sets the house on fire, and informs her husband of the fact in his own unintelligible gibberish; he, not understanding his own lingo, falls a victim to the flames, and she marries the servant who had taken the message.
43. THE THREE HEADS OF THE WELL
SOURCE Halliwell, p. 158, from a chap-book. The second wish has been somewhat euphemised.
PARALLELS The story forms part of Peele's Old Wives' Tale, where the rhyme was
'A Head rises in the well,
Fair maiden, white and red,
Stroke me smooth and comb my head,
And thou shalt have some cockell-bread.'
It is also in Chambers, l.c., 105, where the well is at the World's End (cf. No. 41). The contrasted fates of two step-sisters is the Frau Holle (Grimm, No. 24) type of folk-tale studied by Cosquin, i, 250 seq. 'Kate Crackernuts' (No. 37) is a pleasant contrast to this.