Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/431

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423
Diffusion of Tales.

whether the argument from distinction of rank is valid. In any case, certainly, the tale could not have been invented by shoeless savages, as we now have it. But we have it in many forms, from Perrault's refinements to the almost Totemistic rudeness of Mr. McLeod's Celtic form, where the heroine is the daughter of an ewe. Who can tell what form of Cinderella existed behind that wild shape? The tales (in my belief) have filtered down through uncounted generations, clearly not unaltered. Perrault, for instance, drops the helpful beast, the talking birds; and Scotch and Celtic forms, apart from Mr. McLeod's, drop the bestial mother. The inference is obvious. Cinderella, as we know have it, cannot have arisen in a shoeless country; mocassins, at lowest, had been invented when the tale, as we now possess it, was told. But in Kaffir and Santhal, as in old Egyptian, the place of the "Shoe-recognition" is taken by recognition of a lock of hair. There is no reason why Cinderella should not once have included recognition by a lock of hair; the shoe may be no more ancient than the tale of Rhodopis. Say that the hero cuts a lock of the girl's hair—will marry a girl whose hair answers to that. This involves many alterations, but my argument is that long ages do and must alter a story.

Again, the essence (as we now have it) is the rise in social life, or the restoration to an order from which she has fallen, of a girl who makes a fortunate marriage. But why should this not occur in savage or prehistoric life? Except Australians, Eskimo, Bushmen, and Fuegians, I know of few savages who are not aristocratic. There is not "little variation" (variety?), but great variety of hereditary social status among Zulus, and, eminently, among Maoris. Thus it is not "idle" to look for the origin of the tale in such societies. A Rangatira Maori is more remote from a slave, or a simple freeman, than a marquis from a dustman. "But Cinderella is monogamous." The change from polygamy or polyandry to monogamy is so ancient, in civilised countries, that, if the tale arose among a polygamous people,