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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/291

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current among all peoples." Scepticism is of course at the root of the literary and satirical voyages, but by no means of the far older and graver stories current everywhere, of which the voyage is only a variant found among nations dwelling by the sea. In dealing with the Argonauts Mr. Jacobs, as we might expect, declares for diffusion of all the variants of the tale from a single centre; but yet he is not happy, because the magical comb as an obstacle to pursuit has not been found in India. It is a pity there is no Lost Property Office to which he can apply. Mr. Jacobs thinks the story of Hasan of Bassorah is later than the tenth century in its present form in the Arabian Nights. "It is useless," he says, "to attempt to trace in Hasan any direct influence of" Mother-right, Marriage by Capture, Totemism, &c. "They may be primitive in origin, but as used in Hasan they are simply conventions of Arabic story-telling." All this everybody would admit. But the question is not whether there be any direct or conscious influence of the customs and superstitions in question in a highly literary and conventionalised form of the tale; but what is the ultimate origin of the conventions. The notes to all four of the stories are interesting, though less polemical than is often Mr. Jacobs' wont. Those to the Voyage of Maelduin are by Mr. Nutt, who epitomizes in a couple of pages the results of recent investigations by Celtic scholars.

The North-Western Provinces of India, their History, Ethnology, and Administration. By W. Crooke. London: Methuen & Co., 1897.

What are called the North-Western Provinces reach from the Himalayas to the Vindhya, from Delhi to the junction of the Ganges and the Gogra. Including Oudh, they chiefly consist of the wide alluvial valley watered by the Ganges, the Jumna, and their tributaries, with desolate mountain-districts on the north and the barren slopes of the Vindhyan plateau on the south. Situated thus in the heart of the Indian Empire, they form one of its most important members. Historically and ethnologically they are perhaps the most interesting and important part of the country. Buddha was born and began his mission just outside their border,