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went and smeared the first step of the staircase at intervals in his true form, returns to his place with pitch, that her shoe might stick in it.” And of concealment with an equal want of apparent so, as she fled from the ball on the third occa- reason, and is at last fortuitously recognized. sion, she left her shoe behind her. Vainly did The well-known German tale of “ The Iron all the fair maidens in the kingdom attempt to Man "* gives a very interesting version of the get it on. At last the unsightly Swine's Hide story, as also does the Norse tale of “The Widwas told to try her chance. And when the Prince ow's Son." As these are accessible to every saw that it fitted her exactly, “ he ripped up the English reader, it may be as well to quote here swinish hide, and tore it off the princess. Then one of the less generally available variants of this he took her by her white hand, led her to his fa- widely-spread narrative. The Russian tale of ther and mother, and sought and gained their “Neznaiko,” in Afanasief's collection (vii., No. permission to marry her."
10), relates how the young Ivan was persecuted In this story, as in the Norse tale of “ Katie by his step-mother, who tried several methods of Woodencloak,” the recognition is due to a Cinder- killing him, but was always foiled by the wise ella's slipper. But more often the discovery is advice given to him by a mysterious colt to which made in a different way. Thus in a modern he was tenderly attached. At length she perGreek version the despised goose-girl, who was suaded her husband to promise that the colt nicknamed “ Hairy" on account of the nature of should be killed. Hearing of this, Ivan ran to the hide in which she was always wrapped, the stable, mounted the colt in haste, and fled though she lost a shoe in flying the third time with it from his father's house. After a time from a ball at the palace, was not discovered by they came to a place where cattle were grazing. means of it. But when the maids were about to There the colt left Ivan, promising to return take a basin of water to the king before dinner one when summoned by the burning of one of the day, she obtained leave to carry it. Before she hairs from its tail, which it left with him for that entered the king's chamber, “she slit the hide a purpose. But before parting with its master it little at the knee, in order that her golden dress told him to kill one of the oxen, flay it, and don might become visible.” And so it came to pass its hide ; also to conceal his fair locks under a that “when she knelt down, the golden robe covering of bladder, and never to make any other gleamed through the slit,” and the recognition reply to whatsoever questions might be asked was soon accomplished. Another method of him than “I don't know.” Ivan did as he was recognition is employed in the class of variants told, and presently, to the surprise of all who to which the Sicilian " Betta Pilusa" belongs. met him, there was seen walking along ever When “ Hairy Betty" for the third time won the such a wonder; a beast not a beast, a man not a king's heart, at a ball in which she appeared in man, hide - bound, head bladder-covered,” anthe dress on which all the beasts and the flowers swering all questions with an “I don't know.” of the earth were to be seen, he presented her “Well, then,” said they, “as you can only say with a costly ring. One morning she came into Ne Znayıl, let your name be •Neznaiko,' or the kitchen while the cook was making the bread •Don't know.'” Even the king, to whom he was for the royal table, and she obtained leave to brought as an acceptable monster, could get nomake a loaf herself. Into it she slipped the ring. thing but his usual answer. So orders were givWhen the bread was drawn out of the oven, only en that he should be stationed in the garden, to her loaf proved eatable, so it was served up to the act as a scarecrow in order to keep the birds king himself, who, on cutting it, discovered the away from the fruit, but he was to get his meals ring. The cook was examined, and “ Hairy Bet- in the royal kitchen. Now it happened about ty” was produced in her catskin dress. This this time that an Arab prince proposed for the she flung aside, and appeared “young and love- hand of the king's daughter, and when his suit ly, as she really was, and in her beautiful gleam- was rejected, raised an immense.army and ining robe." The recognition by means of a ring vaded the king's realm. Ruin stared that monis, as every one knows, one of the commonestarch in the face. But Neznaiko doffed his bladcontrivances for bringing a story of adventure to der cap, Aung off his ox-hide, went out into the a close.
open field, and burned one of the magic horseNow with this tale of a radiant princess who hairs. Immediately there appeared by his side a adopts a degrading disguise, appears at times in wondrous steed. On to its back vaulted Neznaher natural glory, but conceals it again without iko, and rode against the infidel foe. To tear any apparent reason, till her own caprice, or an from a slain enemy his golden armor, and to don accident which she had not foreseen, leads to her it himself, was the work of a moment. Then final recognition, let us compare one of the nu- he dashed, irresistible, among the Arab ranks. merous stories about a radiant prince who disguises himself in a like manner, reveals himself *"Der Eisenhans," Grimm, No. 136.
" Whichever way he turned, there heads flew gold, but an account and explanation of the gildbefore him. It was exactly like mowing hay.” ing process are given. Into this, however, it is at With rapture did the king and his fair daughter present unnecessary to enter. It is sufficient for view his exploits from the walls of the belea- our purposes to show how closely the story of guered city. But when they came down to greet the radiant hero—who is persecuted by a stepthe victor, there was no such hero to be found. mother and aided by a supernatural horse, and In quite unheroic garb Ivan had returned to his whose brightness is temporarily concealed under task of scaring the crows from the palace-gar- a covering of skin or hide, but who finally emerges den. A second time did the Arab prince renew from it to remain permanently resplendent-corhis suit and his invasion, and again did Ivan, as responds with the story of the radiant heroine a warrior in golden armor, slaughter his troops who is ill used by a step-mother and assisted by and put him to flight. On this occasion he was a supernatural cow, and whose radiance is likeslightly wounded in the arm, and was also wise concealed, but only for a time, under some brought before the king. But he would not sort of unseemly exterior, frequently formed out stay at the palace: he must needs ride away for of some beast's hard or furry skin. The tales of a time into the open field. Before he rode off, Goldenlocks” and of Cinderella-Catskin' however, the king's daughter took a scarf from are evidently twin forms of the same narrative, her fair neck and with it bound up his wounded brother and sister developments of the same hisarm.
torical or mythological germ. In one instance Soon after this a great feast was given at the the two forms have been combined into one narpalace. As the guests strolled through the gar- rative, ending with a double recognition. The den they saw Ivan, and wondered at his strange Lithuanian story of “ The King's Fair Daughaspect. “What sort of monster is this?" they ter” (Schleicher, No. 7) tells how a princess was asked. “That is Neznaiko,” replied the king; urged to accept a hateful suitor after the death “acts for me in place of a scarecrow; keeps the of her mother, who had been a remarkable beaubirds away from the apple-trees.” But his daugh- ty, having “around her head the stars, on its ter saw that Neznaiko's arm was bound up, and front the sun, and on its back the moon.” An recognized the scarf she had given to the heroic old woman's friendly counsels enabled her to winner of the fight. “She blushed, but said no- obtain " a silver robe, a diamond ring, and gold thing at the time.” Only thenceforth “she took shoes," as well as a disguising cloak lined with to walking in the garden and gazing at Neznai- skins of an unattractive kind. With these she ko, and she quite forgot even so much as to think fled from court. After a time she came to a about feasts and other amusements.” At length piece of water, and was obliged to go on board a she asked her father to let her marry his scare- vessel. The sziporius or skipper wanted her to crow. Naturally surprised, he expostulated. But marry him, and, when she would not consent, he when she cried, “ If you don't make him my hus- threw her overboard. But "she jumped ashore,” band, I'll never marry any one; I'll live and die and pursued her journey. Coming one day to a an old maid,” he reluctantly gave his consent. place where stood great stones, she prayed that The marriage had just taken place when the a dwelling might be opened for her. And her Arab prince for the third time demanded the prayer was at once granted. In her dwelling hand of the princess. “My daughter is mar- within the rock, which always opened to let her ried,” replied the king. “ If you like, come and in or out, she left her fine raiment, and went see for yourself." The Arab came, saw that the forth to live in a grand house, performing the fair princess was married to “ever such a mon duties of a pelendruse or cinder-wench. In that ster," and challenged him to mortal combat. house she found her brother, who had also fled Then Ivan flung off his bladder cap and his garb from home, and was acting as a clerk. But he of hide, mounted his good steed, and rode away did not recognize in the grimy servant-maid his to the fight, manifesting himself to all eyes under princely sister. From time to time she used to his heroic aspect. The Arab suitor was soon go to her stone dwelling, don her fair raiment, knocked on the head. And when Ivan rode back and drive to church in a carriage which always triumphant, the king perceived that his son-in- appeared for the purpose, her beautiful visage law was “no monster, but a hero strong and and costume making a great impression on the fair."
mind of the astonished clerk. One day she left In this variant of the story, nothing definite the church rather later than usual, so she had is said as to the golden nature of the hero's hair. not time enough to change her dress, and merely But in many others, as in the German and Norse “put her every-day clothes over those fine ones.” tales already referred to, as well as in numerous That day she was summoned by the clerk to variants found in many lands, not only is great “dress his hair.” And while she dressed his stress laid upon the fact that his locks are of hair, his head resting on her knees, “ he took to
scratching her dress, and scratched through it certain, but by no means all, popular tales, it ofdown to the mantle” which it covered. “So fers an apparently reasonable solution of many when he had lifted his head from her knees, he problems. Just as it seems really true that at tore off her head-dress from her head, and im- least many of the stories of fair maidens released mediately perceived that she was his sister. from the captivity in which they were kept by Then they two went forth from that house, but demoniacal beings can be traced back to mythno one knew whither they went."
ological traditions about the Spring being reAll commentators will doubtless agree that leased from the bonds of Winter, the Sun being the stories of Cinderella and Goldenlocks spring rescued from the darkness of the Night, the from the same root. But they will differ widely Dawn being brought back from the far West, when the question arises as to whether that root the Waters being set free from the prison of the was or was not of a mythological nature, and Clouds," so it appears not unreasonable to supalso as to what was, in either case, its original pose that the large group of tales of the Cinderform and significance. The majority of the crit ella class may be referred for their origin to simiics who have lately handled the subject have not lar mythological traditions. In all the numerous the slightest doubt about the whole matter. “It narratives about brave princes and beautiful is the story of the Sun and the Dawn,” says Mr. princesses who, apparently without sufficient reaJ. Thackray Bunce, in the latest work on the son, conceal under a foul disguise their fair nasubject, a pretty little book on “Fairy Tales: ture, emerge at times from their seclusion and their Origin and Meaning"; "Cinderella, gray obscurity, but capriciously return to their deand dark and dull, is all neglected when she is graded positions, until they are finally revealed away from the Sun, obscured by the envious in their splendor by accident or destiny-in all Clouds, her sisters, and by her step-mother, the these stories about a Rashie-Coat, a Katie Night. So she is Aurora, the Dawn, and the Woodencloak, a Goldenlocks, or any other of fairy Prince is the Morning Sun, ever pursuing Cinderella's brothers and sisters, there appears to her to claim her for his bride.” According to be a mythological element capable of being not Professor de Gubernatis, in his “ Zoological My- unreasonably attributed to the feelings with thology” (ii., 281), “Ahalyâ (the evening Aurora) which, at an early myth-making period, prein the ashes is the germ of the story of Cinder- scientific man regarded the effect of the forces, ella, and of the daughter of the King of Dacia, the splendor of the phenomena of nature. But persecuted by her lover, her father himself.” It there is a vast difference between regarding as a seems unfortunate that so many “storiologists” nature-myth in general the germ of the legends have committed themselves to the support of from which have sprung the stories of the Cinthe cause of the Dawn and the Afterglow, the derella cycle, and identifying with precision the “Morning and Evening Auroras," before the particular atmospheric phenomenon which all its claims to consideration of other natural phenom- heroes and heroines are supposed to symbolize. ena or forces were fully considered and disposed And there is an equally wide difference between of in a manner satisfactory to at least the great the reasonableness of seeking for a mythological majority of judges. Too few of the writers on explanation of a legend when traced back to its the meaning of popular tales seem to have re- oldest known form, and the utter absurdity of · membered Professor Max Müller's warning that attempting to squeeze a mythical meaning out of " this is a subject which requires the most deli- every incident in a modern nursery-tale, which cate handling and the most careful analysis." has perhaps been either considerably enlarged or Instead of warily feeling their way over an ob- cruelly “clippit and nippit " by successive generscure and unfamiliar field, they race across it ations of rustic repeaters, and has most certainly toward their conclusions, bent upon taking every been greatly modified and dressed by its literary obstacle in their stride. The consequence is, that introducers into polite society. No one can fail they now and then meet, or to the eyes of un to perceive how great a gulf divides the system enthusiastic spectators appear to meet, with mis- of interpretation which Professor Max Müller haps of a somewhat ludicrous nature. Thus, has applied to Vedic myths from that adopted in when we are told that the justly saddened moth- the case of such manifest modernizations as er of Beanstalk Jack, by throwing her apron over “ Little Red Riding Hood” by critics who forget her head and weeping, figures “the night and that (to use his words) “ before any comparison the rain,” we are apt to be led by our perception can be instituted between nursery tales of Gerof the ridiculous toward an inclination to laugh many, England, and India, each tale must be at the whole system according to which so many traced back to a legend or myth from whence it stories are resolved into nature myths. But that arose, and in which it had a natural meaning; system, if used discreetly, appears to lead to results not otherwise attainable. In the case of
* Max Müller, “Chips," ii., 237.
otherwise we can not hope to arrive at any satis- allels in tales which are told by wild races unable factory results." (“Chips," ii., 249.)
to boast of a drop of Aryan blood. But the Let us turn now to other systems of interpre- dramatic narratives known to us as the stories tation. One school of critics utterly refuses to of Cinderella, " Puss in Boots," and the like, in accept any mythological solution of fairy-tale rid- which a regular sequence of acts or scenes is dles, another is at least inclined to reduce the maintained unaltered in various climes and cenmythological element in popular tales to a mini- turies, seem unknown to savage countries, unless mum, a third admits mythology into the field, but they have been introduced from more cultured objects to its assuming what is popularly known lands. A few of the incidents related in the as the “ solar” form, to which a fourth school is stories cited in the present article closely resemdevoted with intense zeal. At least four differ- ble parts of savage tales. We may take as an ent explanations of the Cinderella-Rashie-Coat example the Russian account of the sister who, story may therefore be offered to the considera- when pursued by her brother, sinks into the earth tion of an earnest inquirer into its significance. and so escapes. In a Zulu tale, * a sister whose It may be a nature-myth symbolizing the renewed brother is pursuing her with murderous intent, brightness of the earth after its nocturnal or exclaims, “ Open, earth, that I may enter, for I wintry eclipse. The rough skin or hide which am about to die this day," whereupon “the earth “ Hairy Betty" wears, not to speak of Katie opened and Untombi-yapansi entered.” In vain Woodencloak's still tougher covering, greatly re- did her brother Usilwane seek for her when he sembles the “husk" which hides the brilliance arrived. Her subsequent adventures, also, are of the beast to whom the Beauty of so many akin to those of Cinderella. Originally “ her body tales is married, and is therefore suggestive of an glistened, for she was like brass,” but she took origin connected with Indian mythology.* The some black earth and smeared her body with it,” "step-mother" opening of the story is too simple and so eclipsed her natural radiance. Eventualto require an explanation, and the appearance in ly, however, she was watched by " the chief,” fine clothes, at church or palace, of a usually ill- who saw her, "dirty and very black," enter a dressed damsel may be considered not incredible. pool, and emerge from it" with her body glistenAs to the "slipper” termination, the opinion has ing like brass," put on garments and ornaments already been expressed that it is merely a con- which arose out of the ground, and behave altovenient recognition makeshift.
gether like the brilliant heroine she really was. The "
unlawful-marriage" opening of the There seems to be good reason for looking upon Rashie-Coat story offers a difficulty, but it is ac- Untombi-yapansi as a Zulu Cinderella. But how counted for to their own satisfaction by critics far a foreign influence has been exercised upon both of the mythological and of the historical the Zulu tale, it would be difficult to decide. school. Mythologists say that all stories about How far, also, the story of Rashie-Coat's prosuch marriages mean nothing more than does posed marriage refers to ancient ideas about the the dialogue in the Veda between Yama and his lawfulness of unions now disallowed, is a questwin-sister Yamí, in which “she (the night) im- tion not easily to be answered. There is no plores her brother (the day) to make her his wife, doubt that the memory of obsolete customs may and he declines her offer because, as he says, be long preserved in folk-lore. We may take as 'they have thought it sin that a brother should an instance the Russian story of the Lubok or marry his sister.'”+ But by many eyes these Birch Bark, in which it would seem unreasonable narratives are regarded as ancient traditions which to look for a mythological kernel. There exist preserve the memory of customs long obsolete in many countries a number of stories showing and all but forgotten. It is because such stories how a man's unfilial conduct toward his father refer to savage times that they are so valuable, was brought to a close by a chance remark made it is said, and therefore it is well to compare them by his infant son. In the forms it assumes there with such tales and traditions as are now current is considerable variety, but the moral is always among existing savages. This opinion is one
the same. In a well-known German tale in the that is well worthy of discussion, but at present Grimm collection, an old man is obliged by his little more can be done than to point out that the son and his son's wife to eat apart, out of a woodpopular tales which are best known to us possess en bowl, on account of the slobbering habits due but few counterparts in genuine savage folk-lore. to his great age. His son's little boy is observed Some of their incidents, it is true, find their par one day to be fashioning a small wooden bowl.
When asked for what it is intended, he says: * For the mythological meaning of “Beauty and the
It's for father to eat out of when he's as old as Beast," see the “Nineteenth Century,” December, 1878.
† Max Müller, “Lectures on the Science of Lan * Bishop Callaway's “ Nursery Tales, etc., of the guage," sixth edition, ii., 557.
Zulus," i., 300, note.
grandfather." Whereupon the father's conscience expression, "a sardonic grin," has been supposed smites him, and the grandfather is allowed a plate by some philologists to contain a reference to it. at the table as before. In an Italian form of the For the ancient Sardones were in the habit, when story, borrowed from one of the French fabliaux, they grew old, of being killed and eaten by their a man follows the custom of the country and friends and relatives. Before their death they packs off his old father to die in what may be used to invite their kith and kin to come and eat called the workhouse, sending him a couple of them on a certain day. And they were expected shirts by the hands of his young son, the old to smile while uttering the words of invitation. man's grandson. The boy brings back one of But their smiles, on such occasions, were apt to them, and explains that it will do for his father be somewhat constrained, and even at times to wear when his turn comes to go to the work- ghastly. Wherefore, that particular kind of conhouse. Whereupon the man's heart is touched, traction of the risible muscles acquired the name and he fetches his aged parent home. The Rus- of the “ Sardonic grin." On so clear a point it sian story is more valuable, because it refers to a is unnecessary to dwell longer. But it will be as custom which undoubtedly once existed in many well to point out that there is sometimes risk in lands—that of killing off old people. Among attributing legends and traditions to an historical nomads, who would find it difficult to carry about rather than a mythical origin. Many customs with them their aged relations, such a custom are mentioned in popular tales which can scarcemight naturally arise. At all events, it is on such ly have prevailed among mankind at even the a custom that the tale is founded. It runs as most prehistoric period. There are a number of follows: In former days it was customary, when stories, for instance, about girls who are so fond old folks reached a certain age, for their sons, if of their relatives that they eat them up. In the they had any, to take them out into the forest, Russian “ Witch and Sun's Sister," and in the and there to leave them to die. Once upon a Avar“ Brother and Sister," a maiden of this kind time a son thus escorted from home, on what was is described as first devouring the whole of her meant to be his last journey, his aged father. family, and then attempting to eat the hero of Wishing to make that journey as comfortable as the tale, her last surviving brother. Now, a bepossible for the time-stricken traveler, he stretched lief in such hungry damsels, perpetually seeking a large piece of birch-tree bark in his cart, seat- what they may devour, is prevalent at the present ed the intended victim upon it, and drove off to day in Ceylon, the existence of such “poisonthe forest. Along with him went his own young girls," as they are called, being generally acson, a boy of tender years. Having reached the counted for by demoniacal possession. From appointed spot, he thereon deposited the aged such a wild belief tales of the kind just menman, having first, with filial attention, stretched tioned might naturally spring without their being on the possibly damp ground the sheet of bark founded upon any real custom. It is improbable for him to sit upon. Just as he was about to that at any period of the world's history it was drive away home with his boy, that innocent customary for sisters to eat their brothers. Nor child asked him if it would not be better to take is it likely that human fathers were ever in the back the bark. • Why so ?” he replied. · Be- habit of eating their children, as might be supcause,” said the boy, “it will do for you to sit posed, if we thought it necessary to see in the upon when the time comes for me to leave you tale of how Kronos devoured his offspring an in the forest." Touched by his child's simple allusion to a custom, or even an isolated fact. words, the father hastened to where the grand- What seems to be really demanded from every father was sitting, put him back into the cart, and interpreter of old tradition, every explorer of the drove him quickly home. From that time he dark field of popular fiction, is a wariness that carefully tended the old man till he died. And will not allow itself to be hoodwinked by any his example produced such an effect that all the prejudice in favor of this or that particular theory. other people in that land gave up the practice of Every piece of evidence ought to be carefully exposing their parents to death when they grew tested and fairly weighed, whether it confirms old.*
the examiner's own opinion or not. If this be Now it would be quite beside the mark to done, he will probably find that different classes suggest a mythological explanation of this pa- of legends must be explained in divers manners. thetic tale. It evidently refers to an actual cus- The more he becomes acquainted with popular tom once observed by real men, not to some sup- tales, the less he will be inclined to seek for any posed action attributed to imaginary gods. The single method of solving all their manifold probevidence for the former existence of the custom lems. Not over-often will he be able to satisfy is copious and undeniable. Even the familiar himself that he has arrived at even a fairy-tale's
ultimate reason for existence. The greater plea* Afanasief, “ Skazki," vol. vii., No. 51.
sure will he have when he is enabled to trace the