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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/204

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We may now go a step farther back. Where did our nurses, whence did Grimm obtain their tales of kobolds, gnomes, dwarfs, pixies, brownies, etc? They derived them from traditions of the past, handed down from generation to generation.

But to go to the root of the matter. In what did the prevailing belief in the existence of these small people originate I do not myself hold that a widely extended belief, curiously coinciding, whether found in Scandinavia, in Germany, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, can have sprung out of nothing. Everything comes out of an egg or a seed. And I suspect that there did exist a small people, not so small as these imps are represented, but comparatively small beside the Aryans who lived in all those countries in which the tradition of their existence lingers on. They were not, I take it, the Dolmen builders--these are supposed to have been giants because of the gigantic character of their structures. They were a people who did not build at all. They lived in caves, or, if in the open, in huts made by bending branches over and covering then with sods of turf. Consequently in folktales they are alway~ represented as either emerging from caverns or from under mounds