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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/180

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English Folk-Drama.

one side, get it out of the way, by just affixing to it a label which at a glance appears to belong to it. I prefer to keep the elements before me, unlabelled, in a state of solution, ready to be readjusted in accordance with any fresh evidence that may come to hand. If I were asked to define the greatest danger which besets folk-lore, I should say it was the obvious. It was the obvious which caused the significance of children's games to be so long overlooked. It was the obvious which dismissed the Staffordshire Guisers' play as all St. George and the Dragon. It was the obvious which classified all the mumming-plays and the Easter plays as "versions of some dramatic piece written in commemoration of the Holy Wars". And I suppose Mr. Obvious, if he is here — or perhaps I should say the Messrs. Obvious — will have no patience with me because I hint that in the Easter play and this Plough-Monday play we have an episode which continues the tradition of the Summer and Winter champions.

I have a good deal to say about the character of the Doctor, which seems to be a kind of common denominator in these traditions ; but I think I must leave this over. Perhaps I may have another opportunity of reading some further notes on this widely-reaching subject.

I must, however, add a few words on another topic, the Horn-Dance. I exhibit three copies of an enlargement of the photograph, kindly sent to me by Mr. Frank Udale of Uttoxeter. One of these he presents to the Society, the others he presents to me personally. I shall look forward to seeing the photograph in the collection of the Society in the proposed Album. Mr. Udale has been extremely kind in his response to my requests : I feel greatly indebted to him; and I should feel gratified if a message of recognition were sent to him by the Society. The Rev. Dr. Cox has visited Abbots Bromley to inspect the horns, and he tells me he has not the slighest doubt that they are reindeer horns. This opens a vista into which at present I can only peer with the eyes of conjecture. When I have seen the