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Giant (Hunt, p. 36) and must thus have occurred to the French Barbe bleue, he is really labouring under an enchantment. Here too we have the three sisters-no princesses but daughters to a poor widow, who go out in succession to drive away a large white horse from their kail-yard. They strike him with their distaff, and then cannot detach it, but are dragged on to a hill side, where a door opens, and the horse assumes a human shape. The keys are entrusted, the lady is curious, the door is opened with the usual result, except that the blood adheres to her feet instead of to the key, and a little cat offers to lick it off for the small reward of a drop of milk. The elder sisters disdain the cat, fail to remove the blood, and are consequently detected and disposed of in the secret chamber, but the youngest not only accepts the cat's kind offer to cleanse her feet, but receives directions to revive her sisters, place them in two chests, and reserving a third for herself, insist on her lord rewarding her obedience by bestowing three boxes of treasure on her mother. Thus, when he has brought all three home safely, she stands behind the door, and when he comes to look for her, she fells him with an iron bar, and thus destroys the enchantment, and makes him a royal husband. In the Norse story of the Widow and her Hen,' the three sisters go in search of their only hen, and fall into the power of the Old Man of the Hill, but here neither the White Lady nor the Cat appear; only the elder sisters offend him and are killed, the younger learns his magic, restores their lives, makes him carry all three home in sacks, employs a sharpshooter to destroy him, and though he escapes this danger, he bursts before he gets home. The allegory once lost, the legends fall further and further from the original, as in the game of Russian Scandal, where the point of an anecdote having been dropped, clever players try to supply one, and invent fresh incidents.

The three sisters seem inevitable in modern stories, probably from the sense of the luck residing in the third time. Rhodope, the Greek damsel, whose sandal was carried off by an eagle, and dropped at Memphis, causing King Psammetichus such admiration that he never rested till he had made her his queen, was not troubled with sisters; but we have them in the old German Aschenputtel, whom the Comtesse d'Aulnoy produced as her Finette in the court dress that adheres to Cinderella. It is also an independent Italian tradition found in Straparola's Pentamerone, and Mr. Edgar Taylor tells us that not only may it be found among Welsh, Poles, and Germans, but that Luther even appealed to it to illustrate the subjection of Abel to Cain.

Another universal story is that of which Mr. S. B. Gould gives a Devonshire version, at p. 314 of Norse Folk Lore, under

the name of The Rose Tree,' the same which in Scotland is the Milk White Doe, and in Germany the Machandal Baum. It is also found in Languedoc, in Hungary, in Modern Greece, and even among the Bechuanas in South Africa. In each case there is a mysterious connexion between a tree and two children, one of whom is killed by the wicked stepmother, and served up to the father for supper, but the bones are saved by the other child, and when buried under a tree, develop into a bird, which flies about singing the story of its wrongs. In the French version

'Ma mavalie
Pique Patre

M'a fait bouillie
Mon Père
Le laboureur

M'a mané

Ma jeune sœur
La Lisette

M'a pleuré

Et soupiré

Sous un arbre

M'a enterré

Tsiou tsiou

Je suis encore en vie.'

The bird is rewarded by the listeners-by the shoemaker with a pair of red shoes, by the jeweller with a gold watch, by a miller with a mill-stone. All these it conveys to the roof of the house, and calling out sister, father, and stepmother in succession, by thundering with the stones, gives one the shoes, the other the watch, and demolishes the murderer with the mill stone. An old Devon nurse, whose solitary story this was, made the bird summon the family in a rhyme :

'Sister, sister, come to me,

Something good I have for thee.'

The children were called Orange and Lemon, and the mill stone had become a headstone for the grave, just as the watch must have undergone some prior transformation. Mr. Gould only says there must be a mythological root to the story, but Mr. Taylor had traced the Machandel to the Almond tree as the parent of the Phrygian Atys, and the child's murder by his stepmother to the slaughter and boiling of the Cretan Zagreus by the Titans at command of Juno, and his burial by his brother Apollo, while the murderers were blasted by thunderbolts. The eating of the murdered son and the change to the bird occurs in the story of Itys and Progne, and in many another Thyestian banquet, such as Mr. Coxe has traced to the allegory of the Sun maturing or cooking his children, the fruits of the earth, then absorbing their

juices and devouring them, as we find in a charming episode of the Legend of Hiawatha.

Multitudes more of the favourite legends and stories crop up again and again in unexpected places, till they go far beyond enumeration, and have almost brought the students of such comparisons to believe that every story they find repeated is originally a myth-like the Wild huntsman, the Wind, who having started from India with his moaning hounds, has roamed over heathen Europe as Odin, also called Wish, with his wisht-dogs, then assumed the names of Charlemagne, King Arthur, Henry IV., of every imaginable personage who had impressed the popular imagination and latterly became a wicked hunter, to whom wild stories of all kinds were fitted, the Knight Hakelnburg of Germany, or the wild priest Dando of S. Germans in Cornwall. Or again, the faithful hound Gellert, whose ill-requited devotion has wrung many a heart, is a true weasel in Arabia, a pole-cat in Mongolia, a cat in Persia, an ichneumon in the Sanskrit tale, whence the legend started.

Cats, Mr. Kelly tells us, owe their weird qualities in popular faith, to their sensitiveness to atmospherical influences, and but that our space runs short, we could trace a wonderful genealogy of Cat stories, starting from the White Cat, and touching on Puss in Boots, with the curious satirical termination given from Straparola, by Mr. Keightly on to the numberless perplexing versions of Whittington and his Cat, in Denmark, Italy, and almost everywhere else. All the reality of Sir Richard Whittington, his grand foundations, and his having provided wedding clothes for the daughters of Henry IV., have not availed to save his Cat, and her cause has been further hurt by that over zealous artist who transformed the hour-glass and skull on which Whittington, in his portrait, once rested his hand, into Pussey herself. And yet the circumstance is not so unlikely but that it might occur more than once. It is not so many years ago that the 'Plain Woman in Africa' was bargaining with a mouse-ridden Zulu chief, who was willing to give a considerable price for a kitten, and we have heard of two cats left behind by a ship in a savage island who were actually objects of adoration.

And thus, though William Tell is repeated time after time and in place after place, we still think the device not so very abstruse but that the proof of skill might have occurred to more than one brutal tyrant; indeed the very currency of the story would suggest the idea, as it is probable the tale of the destruction of Hippolytus, son of Theseus, suggested the mode of martyrdom of his namesake, S. Hippolytus, the martyr. Man is imitative, and the very fact that an action has taken place stimulates its repetition. If Alfred creeps with his harp into

the Danish camp, his example is followed by Anlaff in order to reconnoitre that of Athelstane. Other resemblances lie in human nature; some circumstances, for ever recurring, must work out results as certainly as three terms in a problem of proportion will find their fourth, and even the marvels of permutations and combinations,' in old arithmetical books, shew as plainly as Mr. Buckle and his statistics that certain conditions and facts will recur again and again.

History tells the same story-Parallels of events and characters repeat themselves; David, Alexander, and the Mahomedan chief pour on the ground the water that was too precious to drink; Constantine, Philip II, and Peter I, alike mysteriously sacrifice their unhappy first-born; Julian and Frederick II. each keep a pet philosopher and quarrel with him. The mountains of Judea and of the Tyrol, the granite moors of Cornwall and Brittany, and the orchards of Brittany, all become the home of patriotic loyalty. All these are capable of explanation, character and circumstance produce their consequences, and perhaps the same may be said of the summonses of innocent victims to their murderers to meet them before the highest tribunal within a certain time, such as that of the last Grand Master of the Temple to the Pope and King of France, and of Giles of Brittany to his brother the Duke, both of which probably worked their own fulfilment. So again the eager watching for a hero-king who had vanished in a lost battle, the hopes of the return of Roderick the Goth, of Harold, of Frederick Barbarossa, of James IV, of Don Sebastian, was surely the natural yearning after a 'hope that keeps alive despair' rather than the revival of any old legend of Arthur, or even of the myth of the returning day. Hence may have sprung on the one hand the grand fables of Holgar Danske, of Charlemagne, of Barbarossa, and we know not of whom besides, sitting in their grand quiescence underground till the time should come; and on the other hand that perpetual brood of impostors, the false sons of Germanicus, the Baldwin of Flanders, the Waldemar, the Lambert Simnel, the Perkin Warbeck. the Dmitri of Russia, the Sebastian, nay, even the Louis XVII, who have continually risen to take the place of any one who perished mysteriously. Surely they tell us that the repetition of an event does not lessen its probability. Nay-even the much more unaccountable fact of the prediction of the place of death, being fulfilled to the ear, though not to the letter, has occurred again and again-as in the cases of Robert Guiscard, our own Henry IV, Ferdinand the Catholic, and Catherine de Medicis, persons who could hardly have imitated one another.

We all know the stock magazine article, debating whether parallel passages of poetry are real plagiarisms, and no one can

fail to observe how the same event or idea, acting on the same class of mind, without possibility of borrowing, produces curiously similar inventions; and thus we do not think the conclusion safe that all similar tales must be mere copies from an identical


That principle applied to history has knocked off half our old beliefs. Eleanor did not suck the poison, because the same story is told of Sybilla of Conversana, and all the princes who went about in disguise, from Haroun al Raschid down to Henry VIII. naturally demolish each other's adventures. But the maxim is a dangerous one. We are willing to allow that full evidence is required to prove a story that has a suspicious resemblance to other floating tales; but non proven is not the same as disproved, and the principle of repetition being disproof may in these perilous times,-nay has been, applied to the facts that stand on the truly highest authority-the patriarchal precaution respecting the wife, the meeting of the bride by the well of water, the miracles of Elijah and Elisha.

Mr. Baring Gould is aware of this danger. He gives an account of a clever French Abbé's argument to prove that Napoleon I. was a mere myth-Ne-Apolleon-the New Apollo. Bonaparte -the good part, or day, out of the twenty-four hours, born in an isle of the Eastern sea, the Mediterranean, of Letitia, another form of Leto or Latona,-having four brothers, the seasons-twelve marshals, the signs of the zodiac, putting down Revolution, etymologically demonstrated to be the coiled serpent or hydra, victorious in the South, but driven back by the forces of the North, and finally, as he had risen in the East sea, sinking in the Western ocean.

To those who see in Samson the image of the Sun, the 'correlative of the classic. Hereules, this clever skit of the 'accomplished French Abbé may prove of value as a caution,' says Mr. Gould, in his Curious Myths, and thus, when he boldly puts Samson root' at the head of his summary of the treachery of Delilah, we accept it as not betokening any doubt of the fact, though Hercules root' stands just below it.

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It is true that the heroic cycle of every poetical Aryan nation, Homeric, Ossianic, or of the Nibelung, has numerous ideas traceable too to a single root, but like our words to the stage above it. Ægeus, Roostem, Hildebrand, all have unknown sons, who fight with them before the token discovers them. Achilles, Diarmid, Sigurid, Orlando, all love and lose their cherished maid, have a species of restoration, and perish by a treacherous wound in their only vulnerable spot: Diarmid not only resembling Achilles by this spot being in the heel, but Meleager and Hercules in the battle being with a boar.

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