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Ciommetella Zellosa, and Giacova Squacquarata, denominations and epithets as expressive to the Neapolitan ear, as the more harmo. nious names of the Naiads of Homer were to the Grecians.' The Pentamerone is one of those racy national works which defy translation. Basile seems to gesticulate and laugh aloud. His writing. is as the discourse of the story-teller of the Piazza addressing an audience of gaping urchins and fullgrown Lazzaroni, basking in the sunshine.
Of the traditionary tales of Spain little can be said, except that we know that all the beasts used to speak in the days of Maricas. tana. Maricastaña flourished in the reign of King Bamba when the slashed petticoat of black velvet which the curate borrowed of the inn-keeper's wife was yet a new one. The good dog Scipio, * who spoke in times nearer to our own, has noticed the stories of the • Horse without a Head,' and the 'Rod of Virtue' with which the old women were wont to entertain themselves when sitting by the fire-side in the long nights of winter.' In order that the horse, without a head may travel to posterity, we think it right to add, that this marvellous monster haunts the Moorish ramparts of the Alhambra, in company with another non-descript beast ycleped the Belludo, on account of his woolly hide: both have a local habitation and a name in the guard-soom by the side of the principal portal of the palace, from whence they occasionally sally forth, and terrify the sentries.
The most important addition to nursery literature has been effected in Germany, by the diligence of John and William Grimm, two antiquarian brethren of the highest reputation. Under the title of Kinder und Hausmärchen’ they have published a collection of German popular stories, singular in its kind, both for extent and variety, and from which we have acquired much information. In this collection, we recognize a host of English and French and Italian stories of the saine genus and species, and extant in printed books; but the greater part of the German popular or nursery stories are stated by the editors to be traditionary, some local, others more widely known; and MM. Grimm say that they are confident that all those which they have so gathered from oral tradition, with the exception indeed of Puss in Boots, are pure German, and not borrowed from the stranger. In their annotations, Messrs. Grimm
* In the dialogue between Scipio and Berganza, the former speaks of the · cuentos de viejas, como aquellos del cavallo sin cabeza, y de la Varilla de Virtudes con que se entretenien al fuego las dilatadas noches del invierno.' But the Horse without a Head sometimes migrates into this country, and we have frequently fled before his imaginary approach, in the days of our naughtiness. A friend has pointed out to us a passage in Plato (De Legibus, l. vi.) in which the sage alludes to a similar superstition amongst the Greeks.
have taken considerable pains, and often with considerable success to shew the relationship between these Kinder Märchen,' or Children's Tales, and the venerable Sagas of the North, which, in good sooth, were only intended for children of larger growth. The real worth of these tales, continue Messrs. Grimm, is indeed to be highly estimated, as they give a new and more complete elucidation of our ancient German heroic fictions than could be obtained from any other source. Thornrosa, who is set a sleeping in consequence of the wounds inflicted by her spindle, is Brynhilda cast into słumber by the sleep-thorn of Odin. The manner in which Loke hangs to the giant-eagle is better understood after a perusal of the story of the Golden Goose, to which the lads and lasses who touch it, adhere inseparably. In the stories of the Wicked Goldsmith, the Speaking Bird, and the Eating of the Bird's Heart, who does not recognize the fable of Sigurd ?* In these popular stories is concealed the pure and primitive mythology of the Teutons which has been considered as lost for ever; and we are convinced that if such researches are continued in the different districts of Germany, the traditions of this nature, which are now neglected, will change into treasuries of incredible worth, and assist in affording a new basis for the study of the origin of our ancient poetical fictions.'—Kin. dermärchen, vol. ii. p. 7.
Messrs. Grimm are ardent and enthusiastic. Our lamented Leyden, who took an analogous view of popular parrative, was rather inclined to connect its history with ancient romance, as he overlooked the mythological basis of the system. In the repetition of an unskilful reciter the metrical romance or fabliau seems often to have degenerated into a popular story; and it is a curious fact that the subjects of some of the popular stories which I have heard repeated in Scotland, do not differ essentially from those of some of the ancient Norman fabliaux, presented to the public in an elegant form by Le Grand. Thus when I first perused the fabliaux of the Poor Scholar, the Three Thieves, and the Sexton of Cluni, I was surprised to recognize the popular stories which
* These fables, familiar to Messrs. Grimm, are not equally so to our readers. Sigurd passes through the flames which surround the castle, where he finds Brynhilda cast in a magic slumber: he releases her, and she speaks.— Two kings warred upon cach other, the one was named Hialmgunnar, and he was old and a mighty warrior, and to him had Odin promised viciory. The name of the other was Agnar, the brother of Aud. I killed Hialmgunnar in battle, and Odin wounded me in the head, with the thorn of sleep. The corresponding traditionary story is nearly the same as Perrault's Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, which, as we have observed, is also said to be founded in tradition.
The Golden Goose and the other adventures are too long to be epitomized in this place: those who choose may consult the Volsunga Saga, and the Second Part of the edition of Resenius, c. 12.
had often heard repeated in infancy, and 'which I had often reeated myself when the song or the tale repeated by turns, amused he tedious evenings of winter. From this circumstance I am inlined to think that many of the Scottish popular stories may have been common to the Norman French.' Whether these tales be derived immediately from the French during their long and intimate intercourse with the Scotch nation, or whether both nations borrowed them from the Celtic, may admit of some doubt.'
In ascribing a common origin to the popular fictions of our island and the continent we cannot be far from the truth; but since the people of England and the Scottish Lowlands are undoubtedly offsets and grafts from the Teutonic stock, it is probable that our popular fables also are chiefly of Teutonic origin. These idle stories boast a higher antiquity than romances and poems of much greater pretensions. Our proud baronial families can trace their line only, up to Battle Abbey Roll, whilst the yeomen and franklins of Essex and , Sussex, and Kent, the Spongs and the Pungs, and the Wapshotts' and the Eppses, bear in their names the evidence of their descent from the Saxon and Danish conquerors of Britain: and even the knights of the romances of the Round Table in their present form are mere striplings when compared to the acquaintance of our early childhood, who troop along by the side of the go-cart and help to rock the cradle. Jack, commonly called the Giant Killer, and Thomas Thumb landed in England from the very same keels and warships which couveyed Hengist and Horsa, and Ebba the Saxon.
To begin with the rudest species of these inventions, we may notice the nursery tale heard by Dr. Leyden, and reported by him to be very similar, in many respects, to the “ Grim white woman” of Mr. Lewis, in which the spirit of a child in the form of a bird is supposed to whistle the following verse to its father:
My minny me slew. It would occupy too much room to abstract the tale of the · Machandel Boom, or the Holly Tree, which was substantially the same; but the Nether-Saxon stanza, corresponding with the Scottish verse, may be given for the sake of comparison.
Min ·Moder de mi slacht't,
Kyritt! Kyvitt ! ach wat een schön vogel bin ick.
den' recollected to have heard a story, wherein a spirit gives the following injunction to a terrified ghost seer;' which, by the way, has settled the important doubts respecting the gender of a gib cat.
• Mader Wait! Mader Watt!
your gib cat
Auld Girniegae o' Cragend's dead.' The same story is told in Denmark as having occurred at a town called Lyng, near Soroe. Not far distant from this village is a hill, called • Brondhoë, which is inhabited by the Troldfolk-a set of beings somewhat between men and devils, though more akin to the latter. Amongst these Trolds was an old sickly devil, peevish and ill-tempered, because he was married to a young wife: this unhappy Trold often set the rest by the ears, whence they nick-named him knurre-Murre,' or Rumble Grumble. Now, it came to pass that Knurre-Murre discovered that his young wife was inclined to honour him with a supplemental pair of horns ; and, to avoid Knurre-Murre's vengeance, the amorous Trold who excited his jealousy was forced to fly for his life from the cairn, and take refuge, in the shape of a tortoise-shell cat, in the house of Goodmun Platt; who harboured him with much hospitality, let him lie on the great wicker chair, and fed him twice a day with bread and milk out of a red earthenware pipkin. One evening the goodman came home, at a late hour, full of wonderment - Goody, exclaimed he to his wife,' as I was passing by Brondhoë, there came out a Trold, who spake to me, saying
“ Hör du Plat,
Siig til din kat
Hear thou Platt,
That Knurre-Murre is dead. The tortoise-shell cat was lying on the great wicker chair and eating his supper of bread and milk out of the red earthenware pipkin when the Goodman came in; but as soon as the message was delivered he jumped bolt upright upon his two hind legs, for all the world like a Christian, and kicking the red earthenware pipkin and the rest of the bread and milk before him, he whisked through the cottage door, mewing. What! is Knurre Murre dead! then I may go home again!
The tale of the frog-lover, given by Dr. Leyden, and popular in Scotland, is known in every part of Germany under the name of the King of the Froys, and is alluded to in several ancient German writers. The rhythmical address of the aquatic lover;
who is, of course, an enchanted prince, corresponds in the two languages.
• Open the door, my hinny, my heart,
Mach mir auf.' These enchanted frogs have migrated from afar, and we suspect that they were originally crocodiles; we trace them in a tale forming part of a series of stories entitled • The Relations of Ssidi Kur,' extant amongst the Calmuck Tartars. It appears that the • adventures which befel the wandering Chan’ were originally written in Thibet, and the author commences with an invocation to one of the lesser gods of Lamaism. Glorified Naugasuna Garbi! thou art radiant within and without!--the holy vessel of existence, the second of our instructors, I bow before thee. The tales of witchery learnt from the wonderful bird Ssidi are singularly wild and strange, and the scene of the romance is placed in the middle kingdom of India. All the magical machinery of the popular tales of Europe is to be found in these tales, which have a genuine Tartar character: there are wishing-caps and Aying swords, and hobgoblios and fairies in abundavce. Ssidi also tells a story of a benevolent Bramin, who receives the grateful assistance of a mouse, a bear, and a monkey, whom he had severally rescued from the hands of their tormentors. A fable founded on nearly the same plot is given in the Gesta Romanorum, though the details differ widely; Calila and Dimnah furnish, others of the same class : but we consider it as an extraordinary fact, that a fable precisely of the same iinport is yet a favourite anjongst the peasantry in the Schwalmgegend, (somewhere in Hesse,) where, as Messrs. Grimm inform us, it has been preserved by tradition: they do not seem to be aware of its Tartar origin. It will be shewn below that even Jack the Giant Killer is under some obligation to the fictions of the Calmucks. We learn from Mr. Morier's entertaining narrative that Whittington's cat realized his price in India; the story rested in Italy by the way, and
merry priest, Arlotto, told it before the Lord Mayor was born or thought of,* These circumstances, tritling as the subject may ap
pear, * Facezie del Piorano Arlotto, p. 23.--Arlotto relates how the adventure betela