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


To recapitulate, my theory, then, is this:--The Gypsies quitted India at an unknown date, probably taking with them some scores of Indian folk-tales, as they certainly took with them many hundreds of Indian words. By way of Persia and Armenia, they arrived in the Greek-speaking Balkan Peninsula, and tarried there for several centuries, probably disseminating their Indian folk-tales, and themselves picking up Greek folk-tales, as they certainly gave Greek the Rómani word bakht, 'fortune,' and borrowed from it paramísi, 'story,' and about a hundred more terms. From the Balkan Peninsula they have spread since 1417, or possibly earlier, to Siberia, Norway, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Brazil, and the countries between, everywhere probably disseminating the folk-tales they started with and those they picked up by the way, and everywhere probably adding to their store. Thus, I take it, they picked up the complete Rhampsinitus story in the Balkan Peninsula, and carried it thence to Roumania and Scotland; in

p. lxxxiii

[paragraph continues] Scotland, if John MacDonald was any sort of a Gypsy, they seem to have picked up 'Osean after the Feen.'

It is not so smooth and rounded a theory as I hoped to be able to present to folklorists, or as I might easily have made it by suppressing a little here and filling out somewhat there. But at least I have pointed out a few fresh parallels; I have, thanks to Mr. Sampson's generosity, enriched our stock, not of English folk-tales, but of folk-tales collected in England and Wales; 1 and I have, I hope, stimulated a measure of curiosity in the strange, likeable, uncanny race, whom 'Hans Breitmann' has happily designated 'the Colporteurs of Folklore.' I let my little theory go reluctantly, but invite the fullest argument and discussion. There is nothing like argument. I was once at a meeting of a Learned Society, where a friend of mine read a most admirable paper. Then uprose another member of that Learned Society, and challenged his every contention. In a rich, sonorous voice he thus began: 'Max Müller has said (and I agree with Max Müller), that Sanskrit in dying left twins--Chinese and Semitic.'


lxxxiii:1 Only four years ago Mr. Joseph Jacobs wrote: 'It is at any rate clear, that the only considerable addition to our folklore knowledge in these isles must come from the Gaelic area.' And since then a folklorist has expressed himself in the Athenæum as 'pretty certain that as to complete stories of any length there are none such to be found in Wales at the present day.'

Next: No. 1.--The Dead Man's Gratitude