on an animal by hauling up and letting him down with a run—occurs in an African Märchen.
Now this strangely diffused story of the slaying of the frog which had swallowed all the water seems to be a savage myth of which the more heroic conflict of Indra with Vrittra (the dragon which had swallowed all the waters) is an epic and sublimer version. "The heavenly water, which Vrittra withholds from the world, is usually the prize of the contest."
The serpent of Vedic myth is, perhaps, rather the robber-guardian than the swallower of the waters, but Indra is still, like the Iroquois Ioskeha, "he whowounds the full one." This example of the wide distribution of a myth shows how the question of diffusion, though connected with, is yet distinct from that of origin. The advantage of our method will prove to be, that it discovers an historical and demonstrable state of mind as the origin of the wild element in myth. Again, the wide prevalence in the earliest times of this mental condition will, to a certain extent, explain the distribution of myth. But room must be left, of course, for processes of borrowing and transmission. Finally, our hypothesis is not involved in dubious theories of race. To us, myths appear to be
- Brough Smyth, Aborigines of Victoria, i. 429, 430; Brinton, American Hery Myths, i. 55. Cf. also Relations de la Nouvelle France, 1636, 1640, 1671; [Sagard, Hist. du Canada, 1636, p. 451;] Journal Anthrop. Inst., 1881.
- Ludwig, Der Rig-Veda, iii. p. 337. See postea, "Divine Myths of India."
- Gubernatis, Zoological Myth, ii. 395, note 2. "When Indra kills the serpent he opens the torrent of the waters" (p. 393). See also Aitareya Brahmana, translated by Haug, ii. 483.