Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/437

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
429
Diffusion of Tales.

Celtic variants of Cinderella are, to my mind, closely akin, though one Celtic version seems more primitive, and others are "contaminated" by "One Eye, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes", or wander into a conclusion derived from another formula. These peculiarities occur elsewhere in Europe, not in the Highlands alone. The exclusive believers in borrowing, of all people, should not deny that the Lowland Scots may have borrowed from their Highland neighbours and kindred, tales which, whether they were ever popular in England or not, are now, in England, conspicuous by their absence. I have little doubt that the English people, at one time, possessed a Cinderella and a Nicht, Nought, Nothing. To have lost them, if they are really lost, is, in my opinion, a characteristic misfortune of the English people. To have kept them, is a characteristic good fortune of the Scotch people. About origins, I know nothing. But, if the Lowland Scots never had these tales, or, having had them, lost them, they might, more readily than the English, acquire or recover them from the Celts. The two tales which I collected as a boy, the Scotch Cinderella, the Scotch Jason, were told by my maternal great-aunt, Miss Margaret Craig, of Darliston, Elgin, and .she had forgotten, or imperfectly remembered others. Her family was Lowland, connected, I believe, with the Craigs of Riccarton. But, behind Miss Craig, comes the Celtic figure of Miss Nelly McWilliam, whose young romance was stained with loyal blood in the Forty-Five. Miss Nelly was the family heroine, a Celte Celtisante, and it would not be surprising if these particular versions of two tales came into a Lowland Scots household from a Celtic source. I am not Casualist enough, at least, to deny this possibility. In Galloway, too, we have found the Hesione märchen connected with the tumulus of St. John's town of Dairy; the Whuppity Stoorie tale, and others, published some years ago in The Academy. Galloway is full of Celtic blood, and it is said that Gaelic has only been extinct for some two hundred years. For all that I