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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/434

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Cinderella and the

shift into any other, almost; Cinderella probably began as an inchoate shape, and even now many variants wander a good deal from the type, as it were, of the tale. A type we have, somewhat vague, indeed, but still a type. That must, to my mind, have been evolved, once for all, out of something less definite, and must have wandered far and wide. But, if so, it is urged, "if the stories have been imported into civilised lands, the savage element in them cannot prove anything as to the primitive conceptions of these civilised lands." When a civilised land had "primitive conceptions", I fancy that those were very like other primitive conceptions. A land of primitive conceptions is hardly a civilised land. The United States are a civilised land, but the primitive conceptions of the land were such as arise in the minds of Hurons and Eskimo. Again, I never supposed that savage tales were pitch-forked, except as recognised folk-lore, into the midst of a civilised people, and that the savage element in the tales took root there. To my mind the chief of the borrowing, say the drifting of a tale from ancient Egypt, or where you will, to Samoa, or Lake Superior, was done very long ago. The Germans may well have handed, for example, their form of Cinderella to the Gauls, long before the days of Arminius, or the Gauls may have given it to the Celts, or both may have known it before the "Aryan separation". Long ere Germany was civilised these tales were old in the Egypt of the Ramessids. Pal├Žolithic man may have had his own forms of them. Diffusion, in such times, was not like the importation of Callaway's Tales from the Zulu into England. That does not infect us with savage ideas; the old borrowers and lenders, our remote ancestors, were on a very different footing. This seems obvious. There are very few considerable cases of modern borrowing in civilised times. England took over Perrault, wholesale; that is a rare instance. But England had no Cinderella of her own, no Sleeping Beauty, no Puss in Boots; she was obliged to borrow.