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° ENGLISH ESSAYS.

VOL. III.

HAM BURG:

OTTO MEISSN E R.

1870.

be brought within this class of epical legends, and yet exhibit, in spite of all differences of detail and of local colouring, a closeness of resemblance which sufficiently establishes their substantial identity. If among the stories which Hindoo, Persian, Greek, or Teutonic mothers recounted to their children we find tales which turn on the same incidents, and in their most delicate touches betray the influence of precisely the same feelings, we must conclude either that these legends were passed from the one tribe or clan to the other, or that before these tribes separated from their common home, they not only possessed the germs of the future epics of Europe and Asia, but had framed a number of stories which cannot be accounted for on any hy. pothesis of conscious borrowing by one distinct people from another. How far such an hypothesis may be fairly urged Professor Max Müller has endeavoured to determine in his remarks on Dr. Dasent's Norse Tales ;* but if the story of the Master Thief may have found its way into Northern Europe from the Indian tale as told in the Kalila and Dimna, the idea of any such lateral transmission becomes inadmissible when we deal with stories found in writers of different nations who never could have possessed any means of communication. The Hindoo and the Teuton assuredly lost sight of each other from the day when they parted, the ne to journey to the land of the five streams, the other to find his way beyond the Caspian and the Ural to the forests and marshes of the Elbe and the Rhine.

If then any such stories are still preserved, we are apparently forced to the conclusion that before the

* Chips from a German Workshop, vol. ii. p. 220, &c.

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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,

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