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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/143

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135
Cinderella and Britain.

undutifulness to her father. As Mr. Hartland showed long ago (The Outcast Child, Folk-Lore Journal, IV) the earliest medieval example of this incident is Geoffrey of Monmouth's story of Lear and his Daughters, a tale we may regard with every reason as drawn from then current Welsh tradition. So far, British origin (immediate origin, at least) of a not unimportant element of the story-cvcle as certain. It should be noted that in this oldest example the outcast heroine, daughter of a British king, weds a French prince, as happens in so many stories of the second type-form, now about to be discussed

The second, the Catskin type-form, opens as a rule with he unnatural marriage incident. Moved by his daughter's likeness to, or by her ability to wear some special part of the dead mother's attire, a king seeks his daughter in marriage She resists, and is cast forth or flees. Often, her hands are hewed off and she is set adrift in a boat. The theme was a favourite one in the Middle Ages, and the numerous examples collected by Miss Cox (pp.xliii-lxvi) may be grouped as follows. I cite the continental versions (i.e. such as are not written in England or by Englishmen) first:—

A. The father is a king or lord in France; the heroine seeks refuge in England, whose king she weds. Thus in the fifteenth century Spanish romance Victorial, the story there being told to account for the origin of the wars between France and England.[1] A fifteenth century Italian version of the story by Bart. Fazio avows the same object but the rôles are inverted: the unnatural father is an Edward of England, the heroine weds a French dauphin[2] In the fifteenth century German romance of Hans der Buheler (p. Ini) the heroine is a French princess, and it is at London that she weds the English king.

B. In the oldest[3] continental version, the twelfth century

  1. P. xlvi.
  2. P. lxiii.
  3. I give this on the authority of Merzdorf, quoted by Miss Cox P. liii.), who follows, however, as far as I can judge, a much later redaction than the alleged twelfth century original.