The truth is, my folk-lore friends and my Saturday Reviewer differ with me on the important problem of the origin of folk-tales. They think that a tale probably originated where it was found.
In 1893, Miss M. Roalfe Cox brought together, in a volume of the Folk-Lore Society, no less than 345 variants of ‘Cinderella’ and kindred stories showing how widespread this particular formula was throughout Europe and how substantially identical the various incidents as reproduced in each particular country.
Children, and sometimes those of larger growth, will not read dialect.
I have come to the conclusion that a goodly number of the fables that pass under the name of the Samian slave, Aesop, were derived from India, probably from the same source whence the same tales were utilised in the Jatakas, or Birth-stories of Buddha.
The first glimpse that we have of the notions which the Greeks possessed of the shape and the inhabitants of the earth is afforded by the poems passing under the name of Homer.
One might almost say that the history of geographical discovery, properly so called, begins with Captain Cook, the motive of whose voyages was purely scientific curiosity.
Up to 1870, it was equally said of France and of Italy that they possessed no folk-tales. Yet, within fifteen years from that date, over 1000 tales had been collected in each country.
Soils and national characters differ, but fairy tales are the same in plot and incidents, if not in treatment.
Obscure as still remains the origin of that ‘genre’ of romance to which the tales before us belong, there is little doubt that their models, if not their originals, were once extant at Constantinople.
The first two crusades brought the flower of European chivalry to Constantinople and restored that spiritual union between Eastern and Western Christendom that had been interrupted by the great schism of the Greek and Roman Churches.