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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/146

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Cinderella and Britain.

story-telling, elaborated, if not originating, in Britain. We notice, then, that one English form, Matthew's Life of Offa, connects the incident with the legendary history of the Teutonic race-element of our people, whilst the other rather indicates a Celtic origin. The latter, again, is favoured by Alexandre's version, which makes the heroine St. Helena of Constantinople. The part played by Helena, wife of Constantius and mother of Constantine, in Welsh legend is too well known to need emphasising. And Cynewulfs poem of Elene shows that she was popular also among the Englishmen. In this connection it is worth noting that, in the version of the Manekine story found in the Anglo-Norman chronicle of Nicolas Trivet, the heroine's name is Constance, a name derived, I think, from the Romano-British cycle. In this version the Catskin opening is missing, as it also is in Chaucer and Gower, who seem to have followed Nicolas Trivet.[1] As regards Matthew, it has been said that he is influenced by Saxo Grammaticus; this is possible, but it only shifts back the question, as any legends told by Saxo of the Angle Offa are likely, to my mind, to be the reflex of tales heard by Saxo's Danish fellow-countrymen during their stay in England.

Personally, I see no reason to postulate the exclusive attribution of the incident to either Celts or Teutons. But those who are so minded can hardly fail to underestimate the import of the Irish story which I was able to communicate to Miss Cox in time to be noted on the last page of her volume. This tells how Raghallach, the seventh-century King of Connaught, being warned that evil would befall him from his offspring, charged his wife to have her child slain. But the swineherd to whom she

  1. Pp. 1-li. I do not, of course, quote this with any view of connecting Chaucer's Man of Lawe's tale with the Cinderella group. I am content if a probability is shown that it, like certain elements in the Cinderella stories, may be traced back, on one side, to the same stratum of legendary fiction.