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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/21

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13
Annual Address by the President.

have to be careful in our application of the term "borrowers". These are not the peasant-class of modern Europe who have succeeded to the uncivilisation of the indigenous populations. The borrowers are those races who appear as conquerors, and who adopted and adapted some of the beliefs of the indigenes among whom they settled. It is a fact, says Dalton, that while the mass of the Kols have not taken to the worship of any Hindoo idols, the Hindoos settled in the province think it expedient to propitiate the gods of the Kols. When the Gaulish cohort erected an altar on the limits of Caledonia, dedicated to the field-deities and deities of Britain, he was borrowing from the beliefs of the Britons—the incomer borrowing from the indigenous dweller—and this was a practice sanctioned by the religious principles of Greece and Rome. In point of fact, borrowing in folk-lore is an ethnic process, not an historical one, and it most be studied from that point of view.

If this helps to explain the borrowing theory—and except for modern days I think it does—we may turn for one moment to the casualistic theory, as Mr. Jacobs in his scorn has called it. It is important to bear this in mind, because its leading facts and influences are being so constantly overlooked, or narrowed down into an impossibly small compass when dealing with survivals with reference to their origin. There is no excuse for such forgetfulness when the most important of all the evidence has been so clearly set forth from the ascertained facts of gesture-language by "a man called Tylor", as Rudyard Kipling might put it into the mouth of a folk-lorist who is perpetually forgetting his masters in the science. I allude to this part of our subject the more particularly, because in the discussion which followed Mr. Stuart-Glennie's extremely suggestive code of queries on animism, I remember the subject came to the fore.

I first turn to custom. Near Inverary, it is the custom among the fisher-folk, and has been so within the memory