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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/422

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414
Cinderella and the

thinks, or thought, that I believed in the “Casual Theory” exclusively; so it seems does Professor Krohn. M. Bédier was of the same mind, but M. Bédier is not a Casualist, for he employed against me certain smooth pebbles from the wallet of M. Cosquin. Mr. Jacobs, indeed (Folk-Lore, iv, 3, 281), calls M. Bédier “quite the casualist”. Tête de Monsieur Bédier! as Gyp says. The young savant was rebuking me for being a Casualist, and he is accused of being a Casualist himself!

So far, I am not alone in misfortune. He “quotes Mr. Lang as his authority”. Why, on this point, he assails me, and would assail me justly, if only I held the opinions which he believed to be mine. M. Sudre, whom I have not read, says (it seems) that, to my mind, tout conte est autochthone. I am not certain that there is such a thing as an autochthonous man, still less an autochthonous conte, on the globe at this moment. The race has been shuffled and cut too often. Finally, Lieutenant Basset, with whose works and name I have the misfortune to be unacquainted, says that I “frankly acknowledge that I believe the details have been independently developed”.

Lieutenant Basset is perfectly right; I do believe that many of the details of story have been, or may have been, independently invented. But that has nothing, or nothing very obvious, to do with the question of the diffusion of story-plots. The details—magic, cannibalism, talking trees, helpful beasts, or heavenly bodies, many items of custom, and so forth—I certainly believe to have been evolved by human fancy everywhere, to have been part of the universal stuff of Belief. Of course man may have spread from a single centre, he may have developed the characteristic features of savage metaphysics, and opinion, and custom (the matter that märchen are made of) before he left that centre. These questions belong to a different science. If man had these intellectual opinions, and told tales, before he left the one cradle of the race, then there is no question of the separate invention, in different lands, of all the matters