Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/400

This page needs to be proofread.

364 Reviews.

Blason Populaire de Franche-Comte. Par Charles Beau- QUiER. ParisĀ : Le Chevallicr et Leroux.

Monsieur Charles Beauquier, who has already published a collection of the popular chufisons of Franche-Comte, and an etymological vocabulary of the provincialisms made use of in the department of Doubs, not to speak of other works, now gives us the sobriquets, proverbial sayings, and stories which he has been able to glean in relation to the villages of Doubs, Jura, and Haute- Saone. The volume containing them is a valuable storehouse of mocking, and it must be added unedifying, epithets and anec- dotes, some of which are amusing enough to readers whose modesty, or sense of religious propriety, it is not easy to shock. " One half of the human race laughs at the other," says Monsieur Beauquier in his introduction. " This innate need to caricature, to blasonner one's neighbour, to ridicule his physical or moral deformities, to indulge in wit at his expense, is met with every- where in all epochs and at all ages of life. Savages themselves have a very exact sentiment of the ludicrous and the comic. They ridicule their defects of body or mind, gives nicknames and invent absurd anecdotes, which they attribute to those whom they wish to turn into jest. Among peoples which are yet young, and among the still rude populations of our country districts where civiUsation has not yet introduced the Jwnnete hypocrisie de la poliiesse, these satires are particularly in favour. The child for the same reason is a terrible distributor of nicknames." This collection, like others of the same nature, demonstrates how extremely limited is the number of ideas on which the foundations of gross and un- seemly jests and stories are based. It also affords further illus- tration of the fact that in folklore nothing is new under the sun. Several of the stories given here are current not only in other parts of France but far beyond its borders. At Anteuil, for instance, the people strangled their bull by hoisting it up with a rope to eat the grass on the church tower, an anecdote quite familiar to the English folklorist. And it was from Moirans, where the girls are supposed to be very simple-minded, that a young man set out, like the hero of one of our own folktales, to find three people as foolish as his betrothed and her parents. Of the natives of Ravil- loles v,\j are told that they are nicknamed les Burdaiiies, or cock-