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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/436

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428
Cinderella and the

death-blow to the Indian hypothesis. No doubt the friends of the hypothesis are insensible of the wound. But M. Bédier, so far from being a Casualist (as has been said), replies to my supposed Casualism with the arguments of M. Cosquin. It is, apparently, because he rejects the Indian theory, that the charge of Casualism, and of quoting me (whom he here rejects) as his authority, is brought against M. Bédier. He says that I put aside the Indian theory, without argument. In fact, he employs, only far more successfully than I, many of my own arguments. He shows, as I have often shown, that ancient Egypt and pre-Homeric Greece were rich in märchen of the common type, while nothing suggests that Egypt and Greece borrowed from an India of which they probably knew nothing. Though they knew not India, tales may have filtered to them thence, but there is no proof of it: we cannot say that there were tale-tellers of the usual type in India before the age of the Ramessids. Probably there were, but it is just as likely that their stories had come to them from Egypt, or anywhere else, as the reverse. This argument, combined with the utter absence of features peculiarly Indian in the diffused tales (where all is characteristic of early humanity in general), is, by itself, fatal to the Indian theory. It used to be alleged that the contes, everywhere, contained traces of ideas purely Indian. I have shown that the ideas are universal. "It is possible", says M. Cosquin, (indeed it is certain), "but the true argument against the Indian origin would be to prove that they are in contradiction with Indian ideas." To say this is to confess defeat. Why should the ideas be in contradiction with early Indian ideas? They, too, are human. But one does not expect this to be recognised by the advocates of that hypothesis. If they will not hear M. Bedier, certainly they will not hear me.

As to the propriety of calling a tale "English", which occurs six or seven times in Scotland, in England (so far) never, it is needless to argue. The Lowland Scots and