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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/299

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Reviews. 275

incidents of folktales occur again and again, as the Hero's Tasks, the Helpful Beasts, and so forth. The Life-token often occurs.

But in both verse and prose the greatest interest attaches to those things which are peculiar to the Greek race ; to their manners, their beliefs, and their mode of regarding the universe. All this comes out more strongly in the poems than in the tales ; for in these the incidents of ordinary life are alluded to merely, in those they are more fully described, and we can follow in detail the thoughts that run through a Greek peasant's mind at all the great moments of life. We see him marrying and giving in mar- riage, dancing at his feasts or mourning at the funeral, and we can trace those strange and sombre beliefs which make up his religion. So long as God and the Saints appear in popular story, and God is rebuked as being less just than Death (ii. 408),^ while the Saints take bribes to betray their votaries (i. 105, 398), great Pan is not yet dead. But the personages of Christian story appear sel- dom. More often it is the dread " Outside Powers " whom we encounter : the Nereids, with their baleful influence, wedding men to destroy them ; the Fates, who must be propitiated at every turn ; and the Dhrakos, the Vampire, the Lamia (sometimes associated with snakes, i. 104), or Charon, merciless and cruel, dragging off his victims by the hair of their head to his " dark tent."

The number of allusions to ancient mythology and legend will come as a surprise to many ; and as the editor has not done justice to this subject in his essay on the Survival of Paganism^ it may not be amiss to collect them here. The Fates and Nereids have been already mentioned ; and it is interesting to notice that the malignant " Outside Powers " are called the Lucky Ones, just as they used to be called the Eumenides, or Kindly Ones (ii. 446), and the milk and honey which used to be offered to the Furies are now offered to the Nereids (447). The Gorgons are here (229); nor lacks the stolen eye of the Weird Old Sisters, now transferred to a Dhrako (228). A Golden Citron-tree is guarded by lions (17), and the Golden Apples by a dragon (77). A hero kills a three-headed hydra in a swamp (70), and afterwards a boar (71). The adventure of infant Heracles with the snakes has been appropriated by Digenes, as already stated. A son journeys abroad to find his father, bearing a pistol for token, as Theseus

' It must, however, be observed that this story is rather Slavonic than Greek in spirit, and I suspect Slavonic influence.

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