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Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, [1899], at


Märchen and Sagen der Transilvanischen Zigeuner (Berlin, 1886, 157 pages), by Dr. Heinrich von Wlislocki, differs from all other Continental collections of Rómani folk-tales in this, that its sixty-three stories are published for their intrinsic interest, not solely as linguistic curiosities. They are

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given in German only, not in the original. Hence they are open to a suspicion of having been here and there touched up, a suspicion somewhat confirmed in the rare cases where the original is appended in a footnote, as on p. 88. They are interesting, but only as a 'restored' building may be interesting; one doubts, one can never feel quite sure of anything. At the same time, I believe that such 'improvements' apply solely to the language, not to the subject-matter, of these stories. Their general genuineness is attested by their occasional lacunæ, as in 'Godfather Death,' which is closely identical with Grimm's No. 44, but lacks the entire episode of the sick princess. Besides, except that his work is dedicated to Liebrecht, Dr. von Wlislocki gives no indication of acquaintance with the subject of folk-tales, whilst he has approved himself a master of Rómani by his Grammar of the Dialect of the Transylvanian Gypsies (Leipzig, 1884). He tells us in the preface to his Märchen that for several months of the summer of 1883 he wandered with a band of tented Gypsies through Transylvania and south-east Hungary, and that during his wanderings he collected these sixty-three stories, every one of which he was careful to verify from the lips of a second member of the race. His little work is easily accessible to every folklorist, so to the folklorists I leave the task of analysing its stories in detail, premising merely that, like their predecessors, they offer numerous analogies to non-Gypsy folk-tales, but that fourteen of them bear a distinctively Gypsy character, especially Nos. 15, 24, 31, 36, 51, 55. Haltrich also gives some Transylvanian-Gypsy stories (Zur Volkskunde der siebenbürgischen Sachsen, Vienna, 1885); and Vladislav Kornel, Ritter von Zielinski, contributed four Hungarian-Gypsy ones to the Gypsy Lore Journal for April 1890, pp. 65-73.

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