Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- Indian Fairy Tales - 38/38 -

bread, so to speak, out of a poor folklorist's mouth--but his explanations seem to me so convincing that I cannot avoid including them in these Notes.

I am, however, not so much concerned with the original explanation of the Jataka as to trace its travels across the continents of Asia, Africa, and America. I think I have done this satisfactorily, and will have thereby largely strengthened the case for less extensive travels of other tales. I have sufficient confidence of the method employed to venture on that most hazardous of employments, scientific prophecy. I venture to predict that the Tar Baby story will be found in Madagascar in a form nearer the Indian than Uncle Remus, and I will go further, and say that it will _not_ be found in the grand Helsingfors collection of folk-tales, though this includes 12,000, of which 1000 are beast-tales.


_Source_.--Knowles, _Folk-Tales of Kashmir_, pp. 211--25, with some slight omissions. Gulizar is Persian for rosy-cheeked.

_Parallels_.--Stokes, _Indian Fairy Tales_, No. 27. "Panwpatti Rani," pp. 208-15, is the same story. Another version in the collection _Baital Pachisi_, No. 1.

_Remarks_.--The themes of love by mirror, and the faithful friend, are common European, though the calm attempt at poisoning is perhaps characteristically Indian, and reads like a page from Mr. Kipling.


_Source_.--Miss Frere, _Old Deccan Days_, No. 10 pp. 153-5.

_Remarks_.--Miss Frere observes that she has not altered the traditional mode of the Moon's conveyance of dinner to her mother the Star, though it must, she fears, impair the value of the story as a moral lesson in the eyes of all instructors of youth.


_Source_.--Knowles, _Folk-Tales of Kashmir_, pp. 241-2.

_Parallels_.--A Gaelic parallel was given by Campbell in _Trans. Ethnol. Soc._, ii. p. 336; an Anglo-Latin one from the Middle Ages by T. Wright in _Latin Stories_ (Percy Soc.), No. 26; and for these and points of anthropological interest in the Celtic variant see Mr. Gomme's article in _Folk-Lore_, i. pp. 197-206, "A Highland Folk-Tale and its Origin in Custom."

_Remarks_.--Mr. Gomme is of opinion that the tale arose from certain rhyming formulae occurring in the Gaelic and Latin tales as written on a mallet left by the old man in the box opened after his death. The rhymes are to the effect that a father who gives up his wealth to his children in his own lifetime deserves to be put to death with the mallet. Mr. Gomme gives evidence that it was an archaic custom to put oldsters to death after they had become helpless. He also points out that it was customary for estates to be divided and surrendered during the owners' lifetime, and generally he connects a good deal of primitive custom with our story. I have already pointed out in _Folk- Lore_, p. 403, that the existence of the tale in Kashmir without any reference to the mallet makes it impossible for the rhymes on the mallet to be the source of the story. As a matter of fact, it is a very embarrassing addition to it, since the rhyme tells against the parent, and the story is intended to tell against the ungrateful children. The existence of the tale in India renders it likely enough that it is not indigenous to the British Isles, but an Oriental importation. It is obvious, therefore, that it cannot be used as anthropological evidence of the existence of the primitive customs to be found in it. The whole incident, indeed, is a striking example of the dangers of the anthropological method of dealing with folk-tales before some attempt is made to settle the questions of origin and diffusion.


_Source_.--The _Lola Jataka_, Fausböll, No. 274, kindly translated and slightly abridged for this book by Mr. W. H. D. Rouse.

_Remarks_.--We began with an animal Jataka, and may appropriately finish with one which shows how effectively the writers of the Jatakas could represent animal folk, and how terribly moral they invariably were in their tales. I should perhaps add that the Bodhisat is not precisely the Buddha himself but a character which is on its way to becoming perfectly enlightened, and so may be called a future Buddha.

Indian Fairy Tales - 38/38

Previous Page

  1   10   20   30   33   34   35   36   37   38 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything