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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/142

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134
Cinderella and Britain.

whom we meet with outside Perrault's influence. There shall be no red-hot shoes, nor spiked barrels, but the arrogant stepsisters shall be wedded to gentlemen of the Court and suitably provided for.

May we not carry this symbolising process somewhat further? We all know how the Prince was twice deceived; how, but for the little bird, he would, seemingly, have contented himself with the "clipit" bride. Is not this the picture of official science and official literature which have so long taken all manner of deceiving phantoms for the true expression of what the folk believes and fancies? And may we not look upon the folk-lore student as the little bird whose duty it is to denounce the pretender and reveal, no matter how disfiguring her disguise, the true princess? Doubtless, too, though the history is silent concerning them, there were partisans enough of the false brides to vilify the little bird as a pedantic nuisance who couldn't be content with things as they seemed to be, but must needs go grubbing in the ingle-nook and other obscure and unsavoury places.

To duly synthesize the mass of facts Miss Cox has analysed is a task to try the hardiest. Best perhaps that each student should select that aspect of the question to which he attaches special importance, and, neglecting all others, insist upon it alone. True, it will be forced into undue prominence, but amid the shock of conflicting pleas this defect will be remedied. This, at any rate, is the method I would here apply; the point which has struck me, and which I would impress upon you very briefly, and utilising solely the material brought together by Miss Cox, is the long and close connection between certain elements of the Cinderella story-group and the literature and legendary history of these islands.

Miss Cox's division of the Cinderella story-group is threefold (p. xxv), corresponding to the type-forms of Cinderella, Catskin, Cap o' Rushes. This last form opens with the heroine being driven forth on account of supposed