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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/152

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144
The False Bride.

in the light of further knowledge. Taking, for clearness' sake, Grozdanka as a type of the legends, it may be well to justify this appeal for more facts by noting the chief points of interest.

The Greek version has all the appearance of that commonest form of Greek myth—technically known as the ætiological myth; in which a popular story grows up round some ancient rite, of which rite the old meaning has become obsolete in the progress of thought and idea, but of which the prescribed ritual is still faithfully observed. This is not the place in which to discuss the ætiology of the Greek sacred legend; so, only noting that an ancient religious rite (i.e., the Dædala festival) will probably be found to stand behind, or beside, the Greek myth, one asks. Is there any European rite or custom that may account for the parallel European legend?

The gist of Grozdanka's story seems to be the date, St. George's Day (April 23rd); the nine years' dumbness[1]; the consequent supplanting by the False Bride; the discovery of the fraud; and reunion of bride and bridegroom.

I should like, first, to specially emphasise the time of year, which this version has preserved, scanty though its other details are. Can anyone quote any other legends of False Brides discovered, and true brides reinstated and happily married, in the spring or early summer? Or—which would be far more valuable—any temple or popular ceremonies where a Sacred Wedding is celebrated with these traits? I should expect to find the latter in India: can anyone versed in Indian cults supply any clue or reference?

The Spring Bride is, of course, of universal occurrence in European peasant custom; the Maibraut, and our own

  1. This tempts comparison with the exact parallel of the Greek έννσετηρίς. See Handbuch der griechischen Chronologie., Adolf Schmidt, i, § 8, p. 56; and p. 420.