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THE Esthonians appear to be very compassionate towards orphans, for many of their tales relate to the adventures of neglected or ill-used orphan children, and the wonderful events by which their welfare was finally secured. Nevertheless, wicked stepmothers and farmers’ wives are just as common as in other folk-tales.
The first story of this class which we have selected, “The Wood of Tontla,”1 is specially interesting from its resemblance to Tieck’s well-known German story of “The Elves,” which must originally have been derived from the same source as the present narrative.
With the Orphan Stories proper I have placed others relating to stolen or friendless children.
1 Tont is a common name for a house-spirit.