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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/425

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417
Diffusion of Tales.

plain, for does he not say openly that "something is due to transmission"? This is a quaint logic. But the origin of the myth which makes me a Casual hero I take to be this: I have tried to explain many curious similarities in human culture by the theory of similar minds working on similar matter. Therefore the scholars who did me the honour to dip into my books, expected to find me explaining the similarity of märchen by that theory, and by no other. It was a case of "expectant attention"—or inattention. What they expected to find, they found, only, as it happened, what they expected to find was not there, or, if there, was greatly qualified, as I have shown. They did find my statement "wherever human communication is or has been possible, there the story can go" (1886). They did find similar remarks, about the drifting of a tale as far as Samoa, in Custom and Myth (p. 97, 1884). But that was not what they had expected to find, so "they heard as if they heard me not", and found something else. Thus "expectant inattention" explains the myth in part, but not wholly. For scholars who looked into my arid pages also discovered that I was not prepared to deny the possibilities of independent evolution. In Myth, Ritual, ana Religion (ii, 319) I say that "it is better to confess ignorance of the original centre of the märchen, and inability to decide dogmatically which stories must have been invented, only once for all, and which may have come together by the mere blending of the universal elements of imagination." Here, of course, there is no assertion of the Casual Theory as absolute, I only confess that I was (or that we were?) in 1886, unable to say which tales were diffused by borrowing, and which were separately evolved. Now I may think that I can discriminate better, though, in face of modern coincidences, not positively. I went on to remark that only one thing was certain, namely, that "no

phrase. Other admissions of phrases dubious, or misleading, or no longer expressive of my views, I have made in the Preface to Miss Cox's Cinderella.