Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/440

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
432
Cinderella and the

why should we be always doing this, not only in place (where we speak as literary critics), but also out of place, where our object is, so to say, scientific? It is hard for us to improve on the garlands which Nodier, Sainte-Beuve, Saint-Victor, have thrown to the Fairy Queen. But it has not been so hard to push the science of the subject further than they pushed it. If anyone thinks that to be interested in the science of the fairy world is to neglect its enchantments, I may refer him, for my own part, to my edition oi Perrault, and to the preface of my Red Fairy Book (large paper edition). But better words far than mine for the fairy folk, he will find in the Memoirs of Dr. Adam Clarke, the biographer of the Wesleys. There the good man acknowledges his debt, not for amusement alone, nor for imaginative delight alone, but for the courage and chivalry in his character, to the ancient tales of fairyland, to the old indomitable boy heroes of those earliest romances. Being partly responsible for their circulation as schoolbooks, I trust that the new generation may know something about fairies, as well as too much "about their own insides". In any case I do not observe that other folklorists, M. Sebillot, M. Cosquin, M. Gaidoz, Professor Rhys, think it necessary to cry "How good! how artistic! how literary!" over each fairy tale, before analysing it and comparing it with others. "The most literary fellow in the world", the successor of Mr. Chevy Slime, might find these praises out of place, if frequently repeated in works which, after all, take it for granted that we regard popular tales as good reading, and in which we endeavour to show what they are, in addition to being "art" and "literature".

I am naturally grateful to all the distinguished students who have given me such copious opportunities of disavowing heresies which I do not hold. But I would have been still more grateful if they had not, somehow, evolved the myths that I am a Casualist, pur sang, and indifferent to literary merit in märchen. If a gentleman says that one robbed