Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/100

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Report on Folk-tale Research.

Mr. Jacobs has not always indicated the adaptations he has deemed necessary for the English nursery; but he has happily and properly exhibited his sources.

M. Sébillot has published an analytical table of the incidents, personages, and machinery of his many and valuable collections of tales from Upper Brittany. This is a labour covering a larger ground than Mr. Jacobs' list; for it is intended primarily to serve the purpose of an index to the stories. It will in effect do much more: it will enable us to add to the number of incidents enumerated by him, and thus assist materially in the preparation of a standard list. Meanwhile, its utility will be appreciated by the readers of M. Sébillot's volumes—in other words, by all students of folk-tales.

In M. Andree's study of the Deluge myth we are introduced to a different region. The author collects eighty-eight variants of the story of the Flood, and discusses their distribution, transmission, and origin. His conclusions are that Flood sagas, though widely scattered, are not universal, the exceptions being those of China, Japan, Arabia, Northern and Central Asia, the whole of Africa, and the whole of Europe save Greece; that the traditions of the other parts of Europe are founded on the Bible; that many of the traditions found elsewhere have been modified by Christian influence; and that there is no common foundation for the traditions where they are found, but that they are due to local catastrophes, in the causes of which he considers earthquake-waves have played a considerable part. Some of these conclusions are startling. If local catastrophes have given rise to Flood sagas, it is strange that a country so devastated by floods as China should yield no variant: it is enough of itself to make us doubt the theory. M. Andree does not discuss Dr. Brinton's suggestion (or is it Prescott's, whom the Doctor quotes?) that these myths are the result of an effort of the .savage imagination to break up the illimitable past into distinct cycles or periods of time. And is he not rather hasty in assuming that, because he has not found any