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several branches of the Aryan race separated from their common home, they had in their language the germs of all future mythological systems, and in their folklore or nursery tales a number of tales, the ideas of which were impressed on their minds scarcely less firmly than certain mythical words and expressions were impressed on their memories. For it must not be forgotten that even in the tales which exhibit the closest likeness, the points of difference in detail and colouring are so striking as to leave no room for doubt that the ancestors of the modern Aryan nations carried

away with them for these stories no fixed type to which they were compelled to adhere with Egyptian slavishness,

but living ideas which each tribe might from time to time clothe in a different garb.

It becomes therefore of the utmost importance in such an inquiry as this to bring together and compare the popular traditions of nations whose geographical positions show that their parting when they left the common home was for them a final separation. No one could have the hardihood to maintain that the countrymen of Hermann had access to the pages of Pausanias, or that the soldiers of Varus had in their childhood listened to stories borrowed from the epic of Wainamoinen. Yet the children's tales gathered by the brothers Grimm established the general affinity between the mythical systems of Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Scandinavians; and the same astounding agreement between the popular tales of these races and those of the Hindoo is displayed in Miss Frere's volume of Deccan legends which will take their place by the side of the Arabian Nights,' the 'Kinder- und HausMärchen' of Grimm, and the collections of Scottish, Norse, aud Icelandic legends for which we are indebted to Asbjörnsen and Moe, to Campbell and Dasent, Magnussen and Powell.

If at first sight the harvest thus reaped from lands so distant from each other seems a goodly one, it must be remembered that the grain is falling from the stalk, and the time for gathering it fast passing away. Steam and telegraphs, the hurry and whirl, the prosaic cares and selfish toil of modern life will soon leave little to be gleaned in fields which fifty years ago were laden with crops of indescribable richness; and each labourer in his turn as, to the best of his power,

he

goes through his self-imposed task, mourns that if much has been gathered much more has been lost irretrievably. The readers of Miss Frere's Deccan Tales will feel that nowhere, perhaps, may so much of popular folk-lore be still recovered as in that vast country in which Englishmen have special facilities for rescuing these memorials of the far past from the changes and chances of oral tradition. We rejoice that a golden opportunity has not been lost. Many an English child has past its early years in parts of India without hearing from native servants any one of the picturesque legends here gathered from the lips of Anna Liberata de Souza. If this woman still lives, it may convey to her a true pleasure, in the evening of a life which has had sore troubles, to know that she has made thousands of English children happy, and that here, if not in her own land, her name will be remembered with feelings of lively gratitude. The story of her life is prefixed to these tales, as nearly as possible in her own imperfect English. It can scarcely fail to make the reader anxious that not a fragment should be lost of

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the crumbs which may still be gathered among the genuine country folk of Hindostan. A temper critical as to facts gives the deathblow to the growth of mythology, and is scarcely less fatal to the preservation of legends which have not been reduced to writing. With the rise of a sceptical spirit the myth loses some portion of its charm, and, with this, of its hold on the narrator's heart; and the beautiful cows which the glistening Dawn drives every morning to their pastures, the gleaming Harits who bear aloft the chariot of the Lord of light, the lovely Charites who play with Aphroditê as she rises from the white sea - foam, the nymph who leaves her coral caves with invincible armour for her son, the Gorgon face which can turn every living thing to stone, all fade and must at last vanish away as the cold question is repeated 'How can these things be? That this spirit is growing in every part of India, the ayah's narrative leaves no room for doubt; and, were it not for precious relics of Aryan tradition still to be rescued, we have no reason to regret it.

Still it gives one an insight into the old life of all the Aryan nations, when we learn that hearing stories from the old people was the pleasant substitute for going to school. The freezing winters of Northern Europe, we may be sure, were spent in a manner not unlike that in which Hindoo children got through their scorching monsoons.

6666 Come here, children, out of the sun, and I'll tell you a story. Come in; you'll all get headaches.' So my grandmother used to get us together," says the ayah, "(there were nine of us, and great little fidgets like all children) into the house, and there she'd sit on the floor, and tell us one of the stories I tell you. But then she used to make them last much longer, the different people telling their own stories from the beginning as often as possible; so that by the time she'd got to the end, she had told the beginning over five or six times. And so she went on, talk, talk, talk, Mera Bap reh! Such a long time she'd go on for, till all the children got quite tired and fell asleep. Now there are plenty of schools to which to send the children, but there were no schools when I was a young girl; and the old women who could do nothing else used to tell them stories to keep them out of mischief."

We shrink from doing anything to weaken the props of so excellent an institution; but we may {be thankful that old women, who doubtless thought themselves fit for nothing, have preserved to us a series of exquisite legends which pour a flood of light on the early history of the human mind. We see that the Hindoo child was at once roused and soothed by the stories of the sweet Star - Lady, and the lovely Queen of the Five Flowers, just as the young German and Norseman listened to the tale of the beautiful Briar-rose sleeping in death - like stillness until the kiss of the pure knight roused her from her slumber.

When we add that not only this ayah, but even her grandmother, was a Christian, we may well feel a further satisfaction in the little mischief which change of religion has inflicted on their folk-lore. We cannot regard it as a genuine or wholesome result of Christianity that the convert, because he deposes Zeus, Brahma, or Odin from their ancient throne, should transform all the beings of his pantheon into malignant and loathsome devils. If the Hindoo Christian still bows her head before the shrine of the old god of wisdom, thinking that after all the rite may not be without its meaning, this is surely better than that she should tremble like the Norseman at the approach of the wild huntsman, or regard the graceful creations of mythical speech and fancy as beings who would do her harm they could. Such a condition of thought (which must be necessarily. transitional) may lead the convert finally to see that these old myths form a vast storehouse of the highest and truest poetry.

Of all the stories related in this volume, although they may be arranged in at least three distinct classes, there are very few, perhaps none, which fail to exhibit some parallelism with Greek, Arabian, Teutonic, or Scandinavian tales. There is also perhaps not one on which the genius of the Hindoo people has not stamped its own peculiar character. This character, however,

. is by no means what in England it is popularly taken to be. As the Homeric poems assign to women a condition very different from their state in the days of Perikles, so these stories bring before us in Seventee Bai, and Panchphul Ranee, maidens as pure, as brave, and as beautiful as Nausikaâ, and the men not unfrequently treat a king as familiarly as Themistokles is said to have addressed Artaxerxes. When the Rajah in the story of Truth's Triumph' wishes to marry the gardener's daughter, he receives the blunt answer: Rajah or no rajah is all one to me. If you mean what you say, if you care for my daughter and wish to be married to her, come and be married; but I'll have none of your new - fangled forms and court ceremonies, hard to be understood.' The language has all the simplicity of a Quaker's address; but the contrast to ordinary Oriental servility is both wholesome and refreshing.

Although by far the larger number of these tales turn on incidents which in some one of their many

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