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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/141

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Vol IV.]
[No. II.
JUNE, 1893.


The following paper is the first of a series in which, it is hoped, students of folk-tales will discuss and criticise the immense mass of material brought together by Miss M. Roalfe Cox in her volume Cinderella, recently published by the Folk-lore Society. As, in spite of a sufficiently definite statement of the purport of this paper in the third paragraph, it seems to have been misapprehended by some of those who did me the honour of criticising it when it was read before the Folk-lore Society, I would again insist: (a) that I deal not with the Cinderella tale as a whole, but with certain elements of it alone; (b) that I deal with these briefly, and by way of reference to Miss Cox's pages, where fuller details should be sought; (c) that, with a few trifling exceptions, I confine myself to the material brought together by Miss Cox. All references, save where explicitly stated otherwise, are to Miss Cox's volume.

THE Society, no less than Miss Cox, may be proud indeed of the noble volume in which are retold the varied chances and adventures that befell the despised stay-at-home sister, to whom in the end came riches, and power, and princely rank. Have we not here a symbol of our study's fate? Long relegated to the cinder-heap and the goose-green, is not Folk-lore now essaying her hidden robes of golden cloth and starry sheen? And may we not cherish the hope that she shall be set in her rightful place, to which the envious sisters have so long denied her access? When that comes, we may, I think, engage on her behalf that she will act like Perrault's heroine rather than like those fiercer representatives of a prehistoric savage past