Indian Fairy Tales
By Joseph Jacobs
Public Domain Books
Notes and References
The story literature of India is in a large measure the outcome of the moral revolution of the peninsula connected with the name of Gautama Buddha. As the influence of his life and doctrines grew, a tendency arose to connect all the popular stories of India round the great teacher. This could be easily effected owing to the wide spread of the belief in metempsychosis. All that was told of the sages of the past could be interpreted of the Buddha by representing them as pre- incarnations of him. Even with Fables, or beast-tales, this could be done, for the Hindoos were Darwinists long before Darwin, and regarded beasts as cousins of men and stages of development in the progress of the soul through the ages. Thus, by identifying the Buddha with the heroes of all folk-tales and the chief characters in the beast-drolls, the Buddhists were enabled to incorporate the whole of the story-store of Hindostan in their sacred books, and enlist on their side the tale- telling instincts of men.
In making Buddha the centre figure of the popular literature of India, his followers also invented the Frame as a method of literary art. The idea of connecting a number of disconnected stories familiar to us from The Arabian Nights, Boccaccio’s Decamerone, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or even Pickwick, is directly traceable to the plan of making Buddha the central figure of India folk-literature. Curiously enough, the earliest instance of this in Buddhist literature was intended to be a Decameron, ten tales of Buddha’s previous births, told of each of the ten Perfections. Asvagosha, the earlier Boccaccio, died when he had completed thirty-four of the Birth-Tales. But other collections were made, and at last a corpus of the JATAKAS, or Birth-Tales of the Buddha, was carried over to Ceylon, possibly as early as the first introduction of Buddhism, 241 B.C. There they have remained till the present day, and have at last been made accessible in a complete edition in the original Pali by Prof. Fausböll.
These JATAKAS, as we now have them, are enshrined in a commentary on the gathas, or moral verses, written in Ceylon by one of Buddhaghosa’s school in the fifth century A.D. They invariably begin with a “Story of the Present,” an incident in Buddha’s life which calls up to him a “Story of the Past,” a folk-tale in which he had played a part during one of his former incarnations. Thus the fable of the Lion and the Crane, which opens the present collection, is introduced by a “Story of the Present” in the following words:–
“A service have we done thee” [the opening words of the gatha or moral verse]. “This the Master told while living at Jetavana concerning Devadatta’s treachery. Not only now, O Bhickkus, but in a former existence was Devadatta ungrateful. And having said this he told a tale” Then follows the tale as given above, and the commentary concludes: “The Master, having given the lesson, summed up the Jataka thus: ’At that time, the Lion was Devadatta, and the Crane was I myself.’” Similarly, with each story of the past the Buddha identifies himself, or is mentioned as identical with, the virtuous hero of the folk-tale. These Jatakas are 550 in number, and have been reckoned to include some 2000 tales. Some of these had been translated by Mr. Rhys-Davids (Buddhist Birth Stories, I., Trübner’s Oriental Library, 1880), Prof. Fausböll (Five Jatakas, Copenhagen), and Dr. R. Morris (Folk-Lore Journal, vols. ii.-v.). A few exist sculptured on the earliest Buddhist Stupas. Thus several of the circular figure designs on the reliefs from Amaravati, now on the grand staircase of the British Museum, represent Jatakas, or previous births of the Buddha.
Some of the Jatakas bear a remarkable resemblance to some of the most familiar FABLES OF AESOP. So close is the resemblance, indeed, that it is impossible not to surmise an historical relation between the two. What this relation is I have discussed at considerable length in the “History of the Aesopic Fable,” which forms the introductory volume to my edition of Caxton’s Esope (London, D. Nutt, “Bibliothèque de Carabas,” 1889). In this place I can only roughly summarise my results. I conjecture that a collection of fables existed in India before Buddha and independently of the Jatakas, and connected with the name of Kasyapa, who was afterwards made by the Buddhists into the latest of the twenty-seven pre-incarnations of the Buddha. This collection of the Fables of Kasyapa was brought to Europe with a deputation from the Cingalese King Chandra Muka Siwa (obiit 52 A.D.) to the Emperor Claudius about 50 A.D., and was done into Greek as the [Greek: Logoi Lubikoi] of “Kybises.” These were utilised by Babrius (from whom the Greek Aesop is derived) and Avian, and so came into the European Aesop. I have discussed all those that are to be found in the Jatakas in the “History” before mentioned, i. pp. 54-72 (see Notes i. xv. xx.). In these Notes henceforth I refer to this “History” as my Aesop.
There were probably other Buddhist collections of a similar nature to the Jatakas with a framework. When the Hindu reaction against Buddhism came, the Brahmins adapted these, with the omission of Buddha as the central figure. There is scarcely any doubt that the so-called FABLES OF BIDPAI were thus derived from Buddhistic sources. In its Indian form this is now extant as a Panchatantra or Pentateuch, five books of tales connected by a Frame. This collection is of special interest to us in the present connection, as it has come to Europe in various forms and shapes. I have edited Sir Thomas North’s English version of an Italian adaptation of a Spanish translation of a Latin version of a Hebrew translation of an Arabic adaptation of the Pehlevi version of the Indian original (Fables of Bidpai, London, D. Nutt, “Bibliothèque de Carabas,” 1888). In this I give a genealogical table of the various versions, from which I calculate that the tales have been translated into thirty-eight languages in 112 different versions, twenty different ones in English alone. Their influence on European folk-tales has been very great: it is probable that nearly one-tenth of these can be traced to the Bidpai literature. (See Notes v. ix. x. xiii. xv.)
Other collections of a similar character, arranged in a frame, and derived ultimately from Buddhistic sources, also reached Europe and formed popular reading in the Middle Ages. Among these may be mentioned THE TALES OF SINDIBAD, known to Europe as The Seven Sages of Rome: from this we get the Gellert story (cf. Celtic Fairy Tales), though it also occurs in the Bidpai. Another popular collection was that associated with the life of St. Buddha, who has been canonised as St. Josaphat: BARLAAM AND JOSAPHAT tells of his conversion and much else besides, including the tale of the Three Caskets, used by Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice.
Some of the Indian tales reached Europe at the time of the Crusades, either orally or in collections no longer extant. The earliest selection of these was the Disciplina Clericalis of Petrus Alphonsi, a Spanish Jew converted about 1106: his tales were to be used as seasoning for sermons, and strong seasoning they must have proved. Another Spanish collection of considerably later date was entitled El Conde Lucanor (Eng. trans. by W. York): this contains the fable of The Man, his Son, and their Ass, which they ride or carry as the popular voice decides. But the most famous collection of this kind was that known as GESTA ROMANORUM, much of which was certainly derived from Oriental and ultimately Indian sources, and so might more appropriately be termed Gesta Indorum.
All these collections, which reached Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, became very popular, and were used by monks and friars to enliven their sermons as EXEMPLA. Prof. Crane has given a full account of this very curious phenomenon in his erudite edition of the Exempla of Jacques de Vitry (Folk Lore Society, 1890). The Indian stories were also used by the Italian Novellieri, much of Boccaccio and his school being derived from this source. As these again gave material for the Elizabethan Drama, chiefly in W. Painter’s Palace of Pleasure, a collection of translated Novelle which I have edited (Lond., 3 vols. 1890), it is not surprising that we can at times trace portions of Shakespeare back to India. It should also be mentioned that one-half of La Fontaine’s Fables (Bks. vii.-xii.) are derived from Indian sources. (See Note on No. v.)
In India itself the collection of stories in frames went on and still goes on. Besides those already mentioned there are the stories of Vikram and the Vampire (Vetala), translated among others by the late Sir Richard Burton, and the seventy stories of a parrot (Suka Saptati.) The whole of this literature was summed up by Somnadeva, c. 1200 A.D. in a huge compilation entitled Katha Sarit Sagara ("Ocean of the Stream of Stories”). Of this work, written in very florid style, Mr. Tawney has produced a translation in two volumes in the Bibliotheca Indica. Unfortunately, there is a Divorce Court atmosphere about the whole book, and my selections from it have been accordingly restricted. (Notes, No. xi.)
So much for a short sketch of Indian folk-tales so far as they have been reduced to writing in the native literature. [Footnote: An admirable and full account of this literature was given by M. A. Barth in Mélusine, t. iv. No. 12, and t. v. No. 1. See also Table i. of Prof. Rhys-Davids’ Birth Stories.] The Jatakas are probably the oldest collection of such tales in literature, and the greater part of the rest are demonstrably more than a thousand years old. It is certain that much (perhaps one-fifth) of the popular literature of modern Europe is derived from those portions of this large bulk which came west with the Crusades through the medium of Arabs and Jews. In his elaborate Einleitung to the Pantschatantra, the Indian version of the Fables of Bidpai, Prof. Benfey contended with enormous erudition that the majority of folk-tale incidents were to be found in the Bidpai literature. His introduction consisted of over 200 monographs on the spread of Indian tales to Europe. He wrote in 1859, before the great outburst of folk-tale collection in Europe, and he had not thus adequate materials to go about in determining the extent of Indian influence on the popular mind of Europe. But he made it clear that for beast-tales and for drolls, the majority of those current in the mouths of occidental people were derived from Eastern and mainly Indian sources. He was not successful, in my opinion, in tracing the serious fairy tale to India. Few of the tales in the Indian literary collections could be dignified by the name of fairy tales, and it was clear that if these were to be traced to India, an examination of the contemporary folk-tales of the peninsula would have to be attempted.
The collection of current Indian folk-tales has been the work of the last quarter of a century, a work, even after what has been achieved, still in its initial stages. The credit of having begun the process is due to Miss Frere, who, while her father was Governor of the Bombay Presidency, took down from the lips of her ayah, Anna de Souza, one of a Lingaet family from Goa who had been Christian for three generations, the tales she afterwards published with Mr. Murray in 1868, under the title, “Old Deccan Days, or, Indian Fairy Legends current in Southern India, collected from oral tradition by M. Frere, with an introduction and notes by Sir Bartle Frere.” Her example was followed by Miss Stokes in her Indian Fairy Tales (London, Ellis & White, 1880), who took down her tales from two ayahs and a Khitmatgar, all of them Bengalese–the ayahs Hindus, and the man a Mohammedan. Mr. Ralston introduced the volume with some remarks which dealt too much with sun-myths for present-day taste. Another collection from Bengal was that of Lal Behari Day, a Hindu gentleman, in his Folk-Tales of Bengal (London, Macmillan, 1883). The Panjab and the Kashmir then had their turn: Mrs. Steel collected, and Captain (now Major) Temple edited and annotated, their Wideawake Stories (London, Trübner, 1884), stories capitally told and admirably annotated. Captain Temple increased the value of this collection by a remarkable analysis of all the incidents contained in the two hundred Indian folk-tales collected up to this date. It is not too much to say that this analysis marks an onward step in the scientific study of the folk-tale: there is such a thing, derided as it may be. I have throughout the Notes been able to draw attention to Indian parallels by a simple reference to Major Temple’s Analysis.
Major Temple has not alone himself collected: he has been the cause that many others have collected. In the pages of the Indian Antiquary, edited by him, there have appeared from time to time folk-tales collected from all parts of India. Some of these have been issued separately. Sets of tales from Southern India, collected by the Pandit Natesa Sastri, have been issued under the title Folk-Lore of Southern India, three fascicules of which have been recently re- issued by Mrs. Kingscote under the title, Tales of the Sun (W. H. Allen, 1891): it would have been well if the identity of the two works had been clearly explained. The largest addition to our knowledge of the Indian folk-tale that has been made since Wideawake Stories is that contained in Mr. Knowles’ Folk-Tales of Kashmir (Trübner’s Oriental Library, 1887), sixty-three stories, some of great length. These, with Mr. Campbell’s Santal Tales (1892); Ramaswami Raju’s Indian Fables (London, Sonnenschein, n. d.); M. Thornhill, Indian Fairy Tales (London, 1889); and E. J. Robinson, Tales of S. India (1885), together with those contained in books of travel like Thornton’s Bannu or Smeaton’s Karens of Burmah bring up the list of printed Indian folk-tales to over 350–a respectable total indeed, but a mere drop in the ocean of the stream of stories that must exist in such a huge population as that of India: the Central Provinces in particular are practically unexplored. There are doubtless many collections still unpublished. Col. Lewin has large numbers, besides the few published in his Lushai Grammar; and Mr. M. L. Dames has a number of Baluchi tales which I have been privileged to use. Altogether, India now ranks among the best represented countries for printed folk-tales, coming only after Russia (1500), Germany (1200), Italy and France (1000 each.) [Footnote: Finland boasts of 12,000 but most of these lie unprinted among the archives of the Helsingfors Literary Society.] Counting the ancient with the modern, India has probably some 600 to 700 folk-tales printed and translated in accessible form. There should be enough material to determine the vexed question of the relations between the European and the Indian collections.
This question has taken a new departure with the researches of M. Emanuel Cosquin in his Contes populaires de Lorraine (Paris, 1886, 2° tirage, 1890), undoubtedly the most important contribution to the scientific study of the folk-tale since the Grimms. M. Cosquin gives in the annotations to the eighty-four tales which he has collected in Lorraine a mass of information as to the various forms which the tales take in other countries of Europe and in the East. In my opinion, the work he has done for the European folk-tale is even more valuable than the conclusions he draws from it as to the relations with India. He has taken up the work which Wilhelm Grimm dropped in 1859, and shown from the huge accumulations of folk-tales that have appeared during the last thirty years that there is a common fund of folk-tales which every country of Europe without exception possesses, though this does not of course preclude them from possessing others that are not shared by the rest. M. Cosquin further contends that the whole of these have come from the East, ultimately from India, not by literary transmission, as Benfey contended, but by oral transmission. He has certainly shown that very many of the most striking incidents common to European folk-tales are also to be found in Eastern mährchen. What, however, he has failed to show is that some of these may not have been carried out to the Eastern world by Europeans. Borrowing tales is a mutual process, and when Indian meets European, European meets Indian; which borrowed from which, is a question which we have very few criteria to decide. It should be added that Mr W. A. Clouston has in England collected with exemplary industry a large number of parallels between Indian and European folk-tale incidents in his Popular Tales and Fictions (Edinburgh, 2 vols., 1887) and Book of Noodles (London, 1888). Mr Clouston has not openly expressed his conviction that all folk-tales are Indian in origin: he prefers to convince us non vi sed saepe cadendo. He has certainly made out a good case for tracing all European drolls, or comic folk- tales, from the East.
With the fairy tale strictly so called–i.e., the serious folk- tale of romantic adventure–I am more doubtful. It is mainly a modern product in India as in Europe, so far as literary evidence goes. The vast bulk of the Jatakas does not contain a single example worthy the name, nor does the Bidpai literature. Some of Somadeva’s tales, however, approach the nature of fairy tales, but there are several Celtic tales which can be traced to an earlier date than his (1200 A.D.) and are equally near to fairy tales. Yet it is dangerous to trust to mere non-appearance in literature as proof of non-existence among the folk. To take our own tales here in England, there is not a single instance of a reference to Jack and the Beanstalk for the last three hundred years, yet it is undoubtedly a true folk-tale. And it is indeed remarkable how many of the formulae of fairy tales have been found of recent years in India. Thus, the Magic Fiddle, found among the Santals by Mr. Campbell in two variants (see Notes on vi.), contains the germ idea of the wide-spread story represented in Great Britain by the ballad of Binnorie (see English Fairy Tales, No. ix.). Similarly, Mr. Knowles’ collection has added considerably to the number of Indian variants of European “formulae" beyond those noted by M. Cosquin.
It is still more striking as regards incidents. In a paper read before the Folk-Lore Congress of 1891, and reprinted in the Transactions, pp. 76 seq., I have drawn up a list of some 630 incidents found in common among European folk-tales (including drolls). Of these, I reckon that about 250 have been already found among Indian folk-tales, and the number is increased by each new collection that is made or printed. The moral of this is, that India belongs to a group of peoples who have a common store of stories; India belongs to Europe for purposes of comparative folk-tales.
Can we go further and say that India is the source of all the incidents that are held in common by European children? I think we may answer “Yes” as regards droll incidents, the travels of many of which we can trace, and we have the curious result that European children owe their earliest laughter to Hindu wags. As regards the serious incidents further inquiry is needed. Thus, we find the incident of an “external soul” (Life Index, Captain Temple very appropriately named it) in Asbjörnsen’s Norse Tales and in Miss Frere’s Old Deccan Days (see Notes on Punchkin). Yet the latter is a very suspicious source, since Miss Frere derived her tales from a Christian ayah whose family had been in Portuguese Goa for a hundred years. May they not have got the story of the giant with his soul outside his body from some European sailor touching at Goa? This is to a certain extent negatived by the fact of the frequent occurrence of the incident in Indian folk-tales (Captain Temple gave a large number of instances in Wideawake Stories, pp. 404-5). On the other hand, Mr. Frazer in his Golden Bough has shown the wide spread of the idea among all savage or semi-savage tribes. (See Note on No. iv.)
In this particular case we may be doubtful; but in others, again–as the incident of the rat’s tail up nose (see Notes on The Charmed Ring)–there can be little doubt of the Indian origin. And generally, so far as the incidents are marvellous and of true fairy- tale character, the presumption is in favour of India, because of the vitality of animism or metempsychosis in India throughout all historic time. No Hindu would doubt the fact of animals speaking or of men transformed into plants and animals. The European may once have had these beliefs, and may still hold them implicitly as “survivals"; but in the “survival” stage they cannot afford material for artistic creation, and the fact that the higher minds of Europe for the last thousand years have discountenanced these beliefs has not been entirely without influence. Of one thing there is practical certainty: the fairy tales that are common to the Indo-European world were invented once for all in a certain locality; and thence spread to all the countries in culture contact with the original source. The mere fact that contiguous countries have more similarities in their story store than distant ones is sufficient to prove this: indeed, the fact that any single country has spread throughout it a definite set of folk-tales as distinctive as its flora and fauna, is sufficient to prove it. It is equally certain that not all folk-tales have come from one source, for each country has tales peculiar to itself. The question is as to the source of the tales that are common to all European children, and increasing evidence seems to show that this common nucleus is derived from India and India alone. The Hindus have been more successful than others, because of two facts: they have had the appropriate “atmosphere” of metempsychosis, and they have also had spread among the people sufficient literary training and mental grip to invent plots. The Hindu tales have ousted the native European, which undoubtedly existed independently; indeed, many still survive, especially in Celtic lands. Exactly in the same way, Perrault’s tales have ousted the older English folk-tales, and it is with the utmost difficulty that one can get true English fairy tales because Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Blue Beard, Puss in Boots and the rest, have survived in the struggle for existence among English folk-tales. So far as Europe has a common store of fairy tales, it owes this to India.
I do not wish to be misunderstood. I do not hold with Benfey that all European folk-tales are derived from the Bidpai literature and similar literary products, nor with M. Cosquin that they are all derived from India. The latter scholar has proved that there is a nucleus of stories in every European land which is common to all. I calculate that this includes from 30 to 50 per cent. of the whole, and it is this common stock of Europe that I regard as coming from India mainly at the time of the Crusades, and chiefly by oral transmission. It includes all the beast tales and most of the drolls, but evidence is still lacking about the more serious fairy tales, though it is increasing with every fresh collection of folk-tales in India, the great importance of which is obvious from the above considerations.
In the following Notes I give, as on the two previous occasions, the source whence I derived the tale, then parallels, and finally remarks. For Indian parallels I have been able to refer to Major Temple’s remarkable Analysis of Indian Folk-tale incidents at the end of Wide-awake Stories (pp. 386-436), for European ones to my alphabetical List of Incidents, with bibliographical references, in Transactions of Folk-Lore Congress, 1892, pp. 87-98. My remarks have been mainly devoted to tracing the relation between the Indian and the European tales, with the object of showing that the latter have been derived from the former. I have, however, to some extent handicapped myself, as I have avoided giving again the Indian versions of stories already given in English Fairy Tales or Celtic Fairy Tales.
I. THE LION AND THE CRANE.
Source.–V. Fausböll, Five Jatakas; Copenhagen, 1861, pp. 35-8, text and translation of the Javasakuna Jataka. I have ventured to English Prof. Fausböll’s version, which was only intended as a “crib” to the Pali. For the omitted Introduction, see supra.
Parallels.–I have given a rather full collection of parallels, running to about a hundred numbers, in my Aesop, pp. 232-4. The chief of these are: (i) for the East, the Midrashic version ("Lion and Egyptian Partridge”), in the great Rabbinic commentary on Genesis (Bereshith-rabba, c. 64); (2) in classical antiquity, Phaedrus, i. 8 ("Wolf and Crane”), and Babrius, 94 ("Wolf and Heron”), and the Greek proverb Suidas, ii. 248 ("Out of the Wolf’s Mouth”); (3) in the Middle Ages, the so-called Greek Aesop, ed. Halm, 276 b, really prose versions of Babrius and “Romulus,” or prose of Phaedrus, i. 8, also the Romulus of Ademar (fl. 1030), 64; it occurs also on the Bayeux Tapestry, in Marie de France, 7, and in Benedict of Oxford’s Mishle Shualim (Heb.), 8; (4) Stainhöwel took it from the “Romulus” into his German Aesop (1480), whence all the modern European Aesops are derived.
Remarks.–I have selected The Wolf and the Crane as my typical example in my “History of the Aesopic Fable,” and can only give here a rough summary of the results I there arrived at concerning the fable, merely premising that these results are at present no more than hypotheses. The similarity of the Jataka form with that familiar to us, and derived by us in the last resort from Phaedrus, is so striking that few will deny some historical relation between them. I conjecture that the Fable originated in India, and came West by two different routes. First, it came by oral tradition to Egypt, as one of the Libyan Fables which the ancients themselves distinguished from the Aesopic Fables. It was, however, included by Demetrius Phalereus, tyrant of Athens, and founder of the Alexandrian library c. 300 B.C., in his Assemblies of Aesopic Fables, which I have shown to be the source of Phaedrus’ Fables c. 30 A.D. Besides this, it came from Ceylon in the Fables of Kybises–i.e., Kasyapa the Buddha–c. 50 A.D., was adapted into Hebrew, and used for political purposes, by Rabbi Joshua ben Chananyah in a harangue to the Jews c. 120 A.D., begging them to be patient while within the jaws of Rome. The Hebrew form uses the lion, not the wolf, as the ingrate, which enables us to decide on the Indian provenance of the Midrashic version. It may be remarked that the use of the lion in this and other Jatakas is indirectly a testimony to their great age, as the lion has become rarer and rarer in India during historic times, and is now confined to the Gir forest of Kathiáwar, where only a dozen specimens exist, and are strictly preserved.
The verses at the end are the earliest parts of the Jataka, being in more archaic Pali than the rest: the story is told by the commentator (c. 400 A.D.) to illustrate them. It is probable that they were brought over on the first introduction of Buddhism into Ceylon, c. 241 B.C. This would give them an age of over two thousand years, nearly three hundred years earlier than Phaedrus, from whom comes our Wolf and Crane.
II. PRINCESS LABAM.
Source.–Miss Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales, No. xxii. pp. 153-63, told by Múniyá, one of the ayahs. I have left it unaltered, except that I have replaced “God” by “Khuda,” the word originally used (see Notes l. c., p 237).
Parallels.–The tabu, as to a particular direction, occurs in other Indian stories as well as in European folk-tales (see notes on Stokes, p. 286). The grateful animals theme occurs in “The Soothsayer’s Son” (infra, No. x.), and frequently in Indian folk-tales (see Temple’s Analysis, III. i. 5-7; Wideawake Stories, pp. 412-3). The thorn in the tiger’s foot is especially common (Temple, l. c., 6, 9), and recalls the story of Androclus, which occurs in the derivates of Phaedrus, and may thus be Indian in origin (see Benfey, Panschatantra, i. 211, and the parallels given in my Aesop, Ro. iii. 1. p. 243). The theme is, however, equally frequent in European folk-tales: see my List of Incidents, Proc. Folk-Lore Congress, p. 91, s.v. “Grateful Animals” and “Gifts by Grateful Animals.” Similarly, the “Bride Wager" incident at the end is common to a large number of Indian and European folk-tales (Temple, Analysis, p. 430; my List, l. c. sub voce). The tasks are also equally common (cf. “Battle of the Birds” in Celtic Fairy Tales), though the exact forms as given in “Princess Labam” are not known in Europe.
Remarks.–We have here a concrete instance of the relation of Indian and European fairy-tales. The human mind may be the same everywhere, but it is not likely to hit upon the sequence of incidents, Direction tabu–Grateful Animals–Bride-wager–Tasks, by accident, or independently: Europe must have borrowed from India, or India from Europe. As this must have occurred within historic times, indeed within the last thousand years, when even European peasants are not likely to have invented, even if they believed, in the incident of the grateful animals, the probability is in favour of borrowing from India, possibly through the intermediation of Arabs at the time of the Crusades. It is only a probability, but we cannot in any case reach more than probability in this matter, just at present.
Source.–Steel-Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 69-72, originally published in Indian Antiquary, xii. 175. The droll is common throughout the Panjab.
Parallels.–The similarity of the concluding episode with the finish of the “Three Little Pigs” (Eng. Fairy Tales, No. xiv.) In my notes on that droll I have pointed out that the pigs were once goats or kids with “hair on their chinny chin chin.” This brings the tale a stage nearer to the Lambikin.
Remarks.–The similarity of Pig No. 3 rolling down hill in the churn and the Lambikin in the Drumikin can scarcely be accidental, though, it must be confessed, the tale has undergone considerable modification before it reached England.
Source.–Miss Frere, Old Deccan Days, pp. 1-16, from her ayah, Anna de Souza, of a Lingaet family settled and Christianised at Goa for three generations. I should perhaps add that a Prudhan is a Prime Minister, or Vizier; Punts are the same, and Sirdars, nobles.
Parallels.–The son of seven mothers is a characteristic Indian conception, for which see Notes on “The Son of Seven Queens” in this collection, No. xvi. The mother transformed, envious stepmother, ring recognition, are all incidents common to East and West; bibliographical references for parallels may be found under these titles in my List of Incidents. The external soul of the ogre has been studied by Mr. E. Clodd in Folk-Lore Journal, vol. ii., “The Philosophy of Punchkin,” and still more elaborately in the section, “The External Soul in Folk-tales,” in Mr. Frazer’s Golden Bough, ii. pp. 296- 326. See also Major Temple’s Analysis, II. iii., Wideawake Stories, pp. 404-5, who there gives the Indian parallels.
Remarks.–Both Mr. Clodd and Mr. Frazer regard the essence of the tale to consist in the conception of an external soul or “life- index,” and they both trace in this a “survival” of savage philosophy, which they consider occurs among all men at a certain stage of culture. But the most cursory examination of the sets of tales containing these incidents in Mr. Frazer’s analyses shows that many, indeed the majority, of these tales cannot be independent of one another; for they contain not alone the incident of an external materialised soul, but the further point that this is contained in something else, which is enclosed in another thing, which is again surrounded by a wrapper. This Chinese ball arrangement is found in the Deccan ("Punchkin”); in Bengal (Day, Folk-Tales of Bengal); in Russia (Ralston, p. 103 seq., “Koschkei the Deathless,” also in Mr. Lang’s Red Fairy Book); in Servia (Mijatovics, Servian Folk-Lore, p. 172); in South Slavonia (Wratislaw, p. 225); in Rome (Miss Busk, p. 164); in Albania (Dozon, p. 132 seq.); in Transylvania (Haltrich, No. 34); in Schleswig-Holstein (Müllenhoff, p. 404); in Norway (Asbjörnsen, No. 36, ap. Dasent, Pop. Tales, p. 55, “The Giant who had no Heart in his Body”); and finally, in the Hebrides (Campbell, Pop. Tales, p. 10, cf. Celtic Fairy Tales, No. xvii., “Sea Maiden”). Here we have the track of this remarkable idea of an external soul enclosed in a succession of wrappings, which we can trace from Hindostan to the Hebrides.
It is difficult to imagine that we have not here the actual migration of the tale from East to West. In Bengal we have the soul “in a necklace, in a box, in the heart of a boal fish, in a tank"; in Albania “it is in a pigeon, in a hare, in the silver tusk of a wild boar"; in Rome it is “in a stone, in the head of a bird, in the head of a leveret, in the middle head of a seven-headed hydra"; in Russia “it is in an egg, in a duck, in a hare, in a casket, in an oak"; in Servia it is “in a board, in the heart of a fox, in a mountain"; in Transylvania “it is in a light, in an egg, in a duck, in a pond, in a mountain;” in Norway it is “in an egg, in a duck, in a well, in a church, on an island, in a lake"; in the Hebrides it is “in an egg, in the belly of a duck, in the belly of a wether, under a flagstone on the threshold.” It is impossible to imagine the human mind independently imagining such bizarre convolutions. They were borrowed from one nation to the other, and till we have reason shown to the contrary, the original lender was a Hindu. I should add that the mere conception of an external soul occurs in the oldest Egyptian tale of “The Two Brothers,” but the wrappings are absent.
V. THE BROKEN POT.
Source.–Pantschatantra, V. ix., tr. Benfey, ii. 345-6.
Parallels.–Benfey, in § 209 of his Einleitung, gives bibliographical references to most of those which are given at length in Prof. M. Müller’s brilliant essay on “The Migration of Fables" (Selected Essays, i. 500-76), which is entirely devoted to the travels of the fable from India to La Fontaine. See also Mr. Clouston, Pop. Tales, ii. 432 seq. I have translated the Hebrew version in my essay, “Jewish Influence on the Diffusion of Folk-Tales,” pp. 6-7. Our proverb, “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched,” is ultimately to be derived from India.
Remarks–The stories of Alnaschar, the Barber’s fifth brother in the Arabian Nights, and of La Perette, who counted her chickens before they were hatched, in La Fontaine, are demonstrably derived from the same Indian original from which our story was obtained. The travels of the “Fables of Bidpai” from India to Europe are well known and distinctly traceable. I have given a rough summary of the chief critical results in the introduction to my edition of the earliest English version of the Fables of Bidpai, by Sir Thomas North, of Plutarch fame (London, D. Nutt, “Bibliothèque de Carabas,” 1888), where I have given an elaborate genealogical table of the multitudinous versions. La Fontaine’s version, which has rendered the fable so familiar to us all, comes from Bonaventure des Periers, Contes et Nouvelles, who got it from the Dialogus Creaturarum of Nicholaus Pergamenus, who derived it from the Sermones of Jacques de Vitry (see Prof. Crane’s edition, No. li.), who probably derived it from the Directorium Humanae Vitae of John of Capua, a converted Jew, who translated it from the Hebrew version of the Arabic Kalilah wa Dimnah, which was itself derived from the old Syriac version of a Pehlevi translation of the original Indian work, probably called after Karataka and Damanaka, the names of two jackals who figure in the earlier stories of the book. Prof. Rhys-Davids informs me that these names are more akin to Pali than to Sanskrit, which makes it still more probable that the whole literature is ultimately to be derived from a Buddhist source.
The theme of La Perette is of interest as showing the literary transmission of tales from Orient to Occident. It also shows the possibility of an influence of literary on oral tradition, as is shown by our proverb, and by the fact, which Benfey mentions, that La Fontaine’s story has had influence on two of Grimm’s tales, Nos. 164, 168.
VI. THE MAGIC FIDDLE.
Source.–A. Campbell, Santal Folk-Tales, 1892, pp. 52-6, with some verbal alterations. A Bonga is the presiding spirit of a certain kind of rice land; Doms and Hadis are low-caste aborigines, whose touch is considered polluting. The Santals are a forest tribe, who live in the Santal Parganas, 140 miles N. W. of Calcutta (Sir W. W. Hunter, The Indian Empire, 57-60).
Parallels.–Another version occurs in Campbell, p. 106 seq., which shows that the story is popular among the Santals. It is obvious, however, that neither version contains the real finish of the story, which must have contained the denunciation of the magic fiddle of the murderous sisters. This would bring it under the formula of The Singing Bone, which M. Monseur has recently been studying with a remarkable collection of European variants in the Bulletin of the Wallon Folk-Lore Society of Liège (cf. Eng. Fairy Tales, No. ix.). There is a singing bone in Steel-Temple’s Wideawake Stories, pp. 127 seq. ("Little Anklebone”).
Remarks.–Here we have another theme of the common store of European folk-tales found in India. Unfortunately, the form in which it occurs is mutilated, and we cannot draw any definite conclusion from it.
VII. THE CRUEL CRANE OUTWITTED.
Source.–The Baka-Jataka, Fausböll, No. 38, tr. Rhys-Davids, pp. 315-21. The Buddha this time is the Genius of the Tree.
Parallels.–This Jataka got into the Bidpai literature, and occurs in all its multitudinous offshoots (see Benfey, Einleitung, § 60) among others in the earliest English translation by North (my edition, pp. 118-22), where the crane becomes “a great Paragone of India (of those that live a hundredth yeares and never mue their feathers).” The crab, on hearing the ill news “called to Parliament all the Fishes of the Lake,” and before all are devoured destroys the Paragon, as in the Jataka, and returned to the remaining fishes, who “all with one consent gave hir many a thanke.”
Remarks.–An interesting point, to which I have drawn attention in my Introduction to North’s Bidpai, is the probability that the illustrations of the tales as well as the tales themselves, were translated, so to speak, from one country to another. We can trace them in Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic MSS., and a few are extant on Buddhist Stupas. Under these circumstances, it may be of interest to compare with Mr. Batten’s conception of the Crane and the Crab (supra, p. 50) that of the German artist who illustrated the first edition of the Latin Bidpai, probably following the traditional representations of the MS., which itself could probably trace back to India.
VIII. LOVING LAILI
Source.–Miss Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales, pp. 73-84. Majnun and Laili are conventional names for lovers, the Romeo and Juliet of Hindostan.
Parallels.–Living in animals’ bellies occurs elsewhere in Miss Stokes’ book, pp. 66, 124; also in Miss Frere’s, 188. The restoration of beauty by fire occurs as a frequent theme (Temple, Analysis, III. vi. f. p. 418). Readers will be reminded of the dénouement of Mr. Rider Haggard’s She. Resuscitation from ashes has been used very effectively by Mr. Lang in his delightful Prince Prigio.
Remarks.–The white skin and blue eyes of Prince Majnun deserve attention. They are possibly a relic of the days of Aryan conquest, when the fair-skinned, fair-haired Aryan conquered the swarthier aboriginals. The name for caste in Sanskrit is varna, “colour"; and one Hindu cannot insult another more effectually than by calling him a black man. Cf. Stokes, pp. 238-9, who suggests that the red hair is something solar, and derived from myths of the solar hero.
IX. THE TIGER, THE BRAHMAN, AND THE JACKAL.
Source.–Steel-Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 116-20; first published in Indian Antiquary, xii. p. 170 seq.
Parallels.–No less than 94 parallels are given by Prof. K. Krohn in his elaborate discussion of this fable in his dissertation, Mann und Fuchs, (Helsingfors, 1891), pp. 38-60; to which may be added three Indian variants, omitted by him, but mentioned by Capt. Temple, l. c., p. 324, in the Bhâgavata Purâna, the Gul Bakâoli and Ind. Ant. xii. 177; and a couple more in my Aesop, p. 253: add Smeaton, Karens, p. 126.
Remarks.–Prof. Krohn comes to the conclusion that the majority of the oral forms of the tale come from literary versions (p. 47), whereas the Reynard form has only had influence on a single variant. He reduces the century of variants to three type forms. The first occurs in two Egyptian versions collected in the present day, as well as in Petrus Alphonsi in the twelfth century, and the Fabulae Extravagantes of the thirteenth or fourteenth: here the ingrate animal is a crocodile, which asks to be carried away from a river about to dry up, and there is only one judge. The second is that current in India and represented by the story in the present collection: here the judges are three. The third is that current among Western Europeans, which has spread to S. Africa and N. and S. America: also three judges. Prof. K. Krohn counts the first the original form, owing to the single judge and the naturalness of the opening, by which the critical situation is brought about. The further question arises, whether this form, though found in Egypt now, is indigenous there, and if so, how it got to the East. Prof. Krohn grants the possibility of the Egyptian form having been invented in India and carried to Egypt, and he allows that the European forms have been influenced by the Indian. The “Egyptian” form is found in Burmah (Smeaton, l. c., p. 128), as well as the Indian, a fact of which Prof. K. Krohn was unaware though it turns his whole argument. The evidence we have of other folk-tales of the beast-epic emanating from India improves the chances of this also coming from that source. One thing at least is certain: all these hundred variants come ultimately from one source. The incident “Inside again” of the Arabian Nights (the Djinn and the bottle) and European tales is also a secondary derivate.
X. THE SOOTHSAYER’S SON.
Source.–Mrs. Kingscote, Tales of the Sun (p. 11 seq.), from Pandit Natesa Sastri’s Folk-Lore of Southern India, pt. ii., originally from Ind. Antiquary. I have considerably condensed and modified the somewhat Babu English of the original.
Parallels.–See Benfey, Pantschatantra, § 71, i. pp. 193- 222, who quotes the Karma Jataka as the ultimate source: it also occurs in the Saccankira Jataka (Fausböll, No. 73), trans. Rev. R. Morris, Folk-Lore Jour. iii. 348 seq. The story of the ingratitude of man compared with the gratitude of beasts came early to the West, where it occurs in the Gesta Romanorum, c. 119. It was possibly from an early form of this collection that Richard Coeur de Lion got the story, and used it to rebuke the ingratitude of the English nobles on his return in 1195. Matthew Paris tells the story, sub anno (it is an addition of his to Ralph Disset), Hist. Major, ed. Luard, ii. 413-6, how a lion and a serpent and a Venetian named Vitalis were saved from a pit by a woodman, Vitalis promising him half his fortune, fifty talents. The lion brings his benefactor a leveret, the serpent “gemmam pretiosam,” probably “the precious jewel in his head” to which Shakespeare alludes (As You Like It, ii. 1., cf. Benfey, l.c., p. 214, n.), but Vitalis refuses to have anything to do with him, and altogether repudiates the fifty talents. “Haec referebat Rex Richardus munificus, ingratos redarguendo.”
Remarks.–Apart from the interest of its wide travels, and its appearance in the standard mediaeval History of England by Matthew Paris, the modern story shows the remarkable persistence of folk-tales in the popular mind. Here we have collected from the Hindu peasant of to-day a tale which was probably told before Buddha, over two thousand years ago, and certainly included among the Jatakas before the Christian era. The same thing has occurred with The Tiger, Brahman, and Jackal (No. ix. supra).
Source.–Somadeva, Katha-Sarit-Sagara, trans. Tawney (Calcutta, 1880), i. pp. 272-4. I have slightly toned down the inflated style of the original.
Parallels.–Benfey has collected and discussed a number in Orient and Occident, i. 371 seq.; see also Tawney, ad loc. The most remarkable of the parallels is that afforded by the Grimms’ “Doctor Allwissend” (No. 98), which extends even to such a minute point as his exclamation, “Ach, ich armer Krebs,” whereupon a crab is discovered under a dish. The usual form of discovery of the thieves is for the Dr. Knowall to have so many days given him to discover the thieves, and at the end of the first day he calls out, “There’s one of them," meaning the days, just as one of the thieves peeps through at him. Hence the title and the plot of C. Lever’s One of Them.
XII. THE CHARMED RING.
Source.–Knowles, Folk-Tales of Kashmir, pp. 20-8.
Parallels.–The incident of the Aiding Animals is frequent in folk-tales: see bibliographical references, sub voce, in my List of Incidents, Trans. Folk-Lore Congress, p. 88; also Knowles, 21, n.; and Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 401, 412. The Magic Ring is also “common form” in folk-tales; cf. Köhler ap. Marie de France, Lais, ed. Warncke, p. lxxxiv. And the whole story is to be found very widely spread from India (Wideawake Stories, pp. 196-206) to England (Eng. Fairy Tales, No. xvii, “Jack and his Golden Snuff-box,” cf. Notes, ibid.), the most familiar form of it being “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.”
Remarks.–M. Cosquin has pointed out (Contes de Lorraine, p. xi. seq.) that the incident of the rat’s-tail-up-nose to recover the ring from the stomach of an ogress, is found among Arabs, Albanians, Bretons, and Russians. It is impossible to imagine that incident–occurring in the same series of incidents–to have been invented more than once, and if that part of the story has been borrowed from India, there is no reason why the whole of it should not have arisen in India, and have been spread to the West. The English variant was derived from an English Gipsy, and suggests the possibility that for this particular story the medium of transmission has been the Gipsies. This contains the incident of the loss of the ring by the faithful animal, which again could not have been independently invented.
XIII. THE TALKATIVE TORTOISE.
Source.–-The Kacchapa Jataka, Fausböll, No. 215; also in his Five Jatakas, pp. 16, 41, tr. Rhys-Davids, pp. viii-x.
Parallels.–It occurs also in the Bidpai literature, in nearly all its multitudinous offshoots. See Benfey, Einleitung, § 84; also my Bidpai, E, 4 a; and North’s text, pp. 170-5, where it is the taunts of the other birds that cause the catastrophe: “O here is a brave sight, looke, here is a goodly ieast, what bugge haue we here," said some. “See, see, she hangeth by the throte, and therefor she speaketh not,” saide others; “and the beast flieth not like a beast;” so she opened her mouth and “pashte hir all to pieces.”
Remarks.-I have reproduced in my edition the original illustration of the first English Bidpai, itself derived from the Italian block. A replica of it here may serve to show that it could be used equally well to illustrate the Pali original as its English great- great-great-great-great-great grand-child.
XIV. LAC OF RUPEES.
Source.–Knowles, Folk-Tales of Kashmir, pp. 32-41. I have reduced the pieces of advice to three, and curtailed somewhat.
Parallels.–See Celtic Fairy Tales, No. xxii., “Tale of Ivan,” from the old Cornish, now extinct, and notes ibid. Mr. Clouston points out (Pop. Tales, ii. 319) that it occurs in Buddhist literature, in “Buddaghoshas Parables,” as “The Story of Kulla Pauthaka.”
Remarks.–It is indeed curious to find the story better told in Cornwall than in the land of its birth, but there can be little doubt that the Buddhist version is the earliest and original form of the story. The piece of advice was originally a charm, in which a youth was to say to himself, “Why are you busy? Why are you busy?” He does so when thieves are about, and so saves the king’s treasures, of which he gets an appropriate share. It would perhaps be as well if many of us should say to ourselves “Ghatesa, ghatesa, kim kárana?“
XV. THE GOLD-GIVING SERPENT.
Source.–Pantschatantra, III. v., tr. Benfey, ii. 244-7.
Parallels given in my Aesop, Ro. ii. 10, p. 40. The chief points about them are–(1) though the tale does not exist in either Phaedrus or Babrius, it occurs in prose derivates from the Latin by Ademar, 65, and “Romulus,” ii. 10, and from Greek, in Gabrias, 45, and the prose Aesop, ed. Halm, 96; Gitlbauer has restored the Babrian form in his edition of Babrius, No. 160. (2) The fable occurs among folk-tales, Grimm, 105; Woycicki, Poln. Mähr. 105; Gering, Islensk. Aevent 59, possibly derived from La Fontaine, x. 12.
Remarks.–Benfey has proved most ingeniously and conclusively (Einl.) that the Indian fable is the source of both Latin and Greek fables. I may borrow from my Aesop, p. 93, parallel abstracts of the three versions, putting Benfey’s results in a graphic form, series of bars indicating the passages where the classical fables have failed to preserve the original.
A Brahmin once observed a snake in his field, and thinking it the tutelary spirit of the field, he offered it a libation of milk in a bowl. Next day he finds a piece of gold in the bowl, and he receives this each day after offering the libation. One day he had to go elsewhere, and he sent his son with the libation. The son sees the gold, and thinking the serpent’s hole full of treasure determines to slay the snake. He strikes at its head with a cudgel, and the enraged serpent stings him to death. The Brahmin mourns his son’s death, but next morning as usual brings the libation of milk (in the hope of getting the gold as before). The serpent appears after a long delay at the mouth of its lair, and declares their friendship at an end, as it could not forget the blow of the Brahmin’s son, nor the Brahmin his son’s death from the bite of the snake.
Pants. III. v. (Benf. 244-7).
––A good man had become friendly with the snake, who came into his house and brought luck with it, so that the man became rich through it.––One day he struck the serpent, which disappeared, and with it the man’s riches. The good man tries to make it up, but the serpent declares their friendship at an end, as it could not forget the blow.––
Phaed. Dressl. VII. 28 (Rom. II. xi.)
––––––––A serpent stung a farmer’s son to death. The father pursued the serpent with an axe, and struck off part of its tail. Afterwards fearing its vengeance he brought food and honey to its lair, and begged reconciliation. The serpent, however, declares friendship impossible, as it could not forget the blow–nor the farmer his son’s death from the bite of the snake.
Aesop; Halm 96b (Babrius-Gitlb. 160).
In the Indian fable every step of the action is thoroughly justified, whereas the Latin form does not explain why the snake was friendly in the first instance, or why the good man was enraged afterwards; and the Greek form starts abruptly, without explaining why the serpent had killed the farmer’s son. Make a composite of the Phaedrine and Babrian forms, and you get the Indian one, which is thus shown to be the original of both.
XVI. THE SON OF SEVEN QUEENS.
Source.–Steel Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 98-110, originally published in Ind. Antiq. x. 147 seq.
Parallels.–A long variant follows in Ind. Antiq., l. c. M. Cosquin refers to several Oriental variants, l. c. p. xxx. n. For the direction tabu, see Note on Princess Labam, supra, No. ii. The “letter to kill bearer” and “letter substituted" are frequent in both European (see my List s. v.) and Indian Folk-Tales (Temple, Analysis, II. iv. b, 6, p. 410). The idea of a son of seven mothers could only arise in a polygamous country. It occurs in “Punchkin,” supra, No. iv.; Day, Folk-Tales of Bengal, 117 seq.; Ind. Antiq. i. 170 (Temple, l. c., 398).
Remarks.–M. Cosquin (Contes de Lorraine, p. xxx.) points out how, in a Sicilian story, Gonzenbach (Sizil. Mähr. No. 80), the seven co-queens are transformed into seven step-daughters of the envious witch who causes their eyes to be taken out. It is thus probable, though M. Cosquin does not point this out, that the “envious step-mother” of folk-tales (see my List, s. v.) was originally an envious co-wife. But there can be little doubt of what M. Cosquin does point out–viz., that the Sicilian story is derived from the Indian one.
XVII. A LESSON FOR KINGS.
Source.–Rajovada Jataka, Fausböll, No. 151, tr. Rhys-Davids, pp. xxii.-vi.
Remarks.–This is one of the earliest of moral allegories in existence. The moralising tone of the Jatakas must be conspicuous to all reading them. Why, they can moralise even the Tar Baby (see infra, Note on “Demon with the Matted Hair,” No. xxv.).
XVIII. PRIDE GOETH BEFORE A FALL.
Source.–Kingscote, Tales of the Sun. I have changed the Indian mercantile numerals into those of English “back-slang,” which make a very good parallel.
XIX. RAJA RASALU.
Source.–Steel-Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 247-80, omitting “How Raja Rasalu was Born,” “How Raja Rasalu’s Friends Forsook Him,” “How Raja Rasalu Killed the Giants,” and “How Raja Rasalu became a Jogi.” A further version in Temple, Legends of Panjab, vol. i. Chaupur, I should explain, is a game played by two players with eight men, each on a board in the shape of a cross, four men to each cross covered with squares. The moves of the men are decided by the throws of a long form of dice. The object of the game is to see which of the players can first move all his men into the black centre square of the cross (Temple, l. c., p. 344, and Legends of Panjab, i. 243-5) It is sometimes said to be the origin of chess.
Parallels.–Rev. C. Swynnerton, “Four Legends about Raja Rasalu," in Folk-Lore Journal, p. 158 seq., also in separate book much enlarged, The Adventures of Raja Rasalu, Calcutta, 1884. Curiously enough, the real interest of the story comes after the end of our part of it, for Kokilan, when she grows up, is married to Raja Rasalu, and behaves as sometimes youthful wives behave to elderly husbands. He gives her her lover’s heart to eat, à la Decameron, and she dashes herself over the rocks. For the parallels of this part of the legend see my edition of Painter’s Palace of Pleasure, tom. i. Tale 39, or, better, the Programm of H. Patzig, Zur Geschichte der Herzmäre (Berlin, 1891). Gambling for life occurs in Celtic and other folk-tales; cf. my List of Incidents, s. v. “Gambling for Magic Objects.”
Remarks.–Raja Rasalu is possibly a historic personage, according to Capt. Temple, Calcutta Review, 1884, p. 397, flourishing in the eighth or ninth century. There is a place called Sirikap ka-kila in the neighbourhood of Sialkot, the traditional seat of Rasalu on the Indus, not far from Atlock.
Herr Patzig is strongly for the Eastern origin of the romance, and finds its earliest appearance in the West in the Anglo-Norman troubadour, Thomas’ Lai Guirun, where it becomes part of the Tristan cycle. There is, so far as I know, no proof of the earliest part of the Rasalu legend (our part) coming to Europe, except the existence of the gambling incidents of the same kind in Celtic and other folk-tales.
XX. THE ASS IN THE LION’S SKIN.
Source.–The Siha Camma Jataka, Fausböll, No. 189, trans. Rhys-Davids, pp. v. vi.
Parallels.–It also occurs in Somadeva, Katha Sarit Sagara, ed. Tawney, ii. 65, and n. For Aesopic parallels cf. my Aesop, Av. iv. It is in Babrius, ed. Gitlbaur, 218 (from Greek prose Aesop, ed. Halm, No. 323), and Avian, ed. Ellis, 5, whence it came into the modern Aesop.
Remarks.–Avian wrote towards the end of the third century, and put into Latin mainly those portions of Babrius which are unparalleled by Phaedrus. Consequently, as I have shown, he has a much larger proportion of Eastern elements than Phaedrus. There can be little doubt that the Ass in the Lion’s Skin is from India. As Prof. Rhys-Davids remarks, the Indian form gives a plausible motive for the masquerade which is wanting in the ordinary Aesopic version.
XXI. THE FARMER AND THE MONEY-LENDER.
Source.–Steel-Temple, Wideawake Stories, pp. 215-8.
Parallels enumerated in my Aesop, Av. xvii. See also Jacques de Vitry, Exempla, ed. Crane, No. 196 (see notes, p. 212), and Bozon, Contes moralisés, No. 112. It occurs in Avian, ed. Ellis, No. 22. Mr. Kipling has a very similar tale in his Life’s Handicap.
Remarks.–Here we have collected in modern India what one cannot help thinking is the Indian original of a fable of Avian. The preceding number showed one of his fables existing among the Jatakas, probably before the Christian era. This makes it likely that we shall find an earlier Indian original of the fable of the Avaricious and Envious, perhaps among the Jatakas still untranslated.
XXII. THE BOY WITH MOON ON FOREHEAD.
Source.–Miss Stokes’ Indian Fairy Tales, No. 20, pp. 119-137.
Parallels to heroes and heroines in European fairy tales, with stars on their foreheads, are given with some copiousness in Stokes, l. c., pp. 242-3. This is an essentially Indian trait; almost all Hindus have some tribal or caste mark on their bodies or faces. The choice of the hero disguised as a menial is also common property of Indian and European fairy tales: see Stokes, l. c., p. 231, and my List of Incidents (s. v. “Menial Disguise.”)
XXIII. THE PRINCE AND THE FAKIR.
Source.–Kindly communicated by Mr. M. L. Dames from his unpublished collection of Baluchi tales.
Remarks.–Unholy fakirs are rather rare. See Temple, Analysis, I. ii. a, p. 394.
XXIV. WHY THE FISH LAUGHED.
Source.–Knowles, Folk-Tales of Kashmir, pp. 484-90.
Parallels.–The latter part is the formula of the Clever Lass who guesses riddles. She has been bibliographised by Prof. Child, Eng. and Scotch Ballads, i. 485; see also Benfey, Kl. Schr. ii. 156 seq. The sex test at the end is different from any of those enumerated by Prof. Köhler on Gonzenbach, Sezil. Mähr. ii. 216.
Remarks.–Here we have a further example of a whole formula, or series of incidents, common to most European collections, found in India, and in a quarter, too, where European influence is little likely to penetrate. Prof. Benfey, in an elaborate dissertation ("Die Kluge Dirne,” in Ausland, 1859, Nos. 20-25, now reprinted in Kl. Schr. ii. 156 seq.), has shown the wide spread of the theme both in early Indian literature (though probably there derived from the folk) and in modern European folk literature.
XXV. THE DEMON WITH THE MATTED HAIR.
Source.–The Pancavudha Jataka, Fausböll, No. 55, kindly translated for this book by Mr. W. H. D. Rouse, of Christ’s College, Cambridge. There is a brief abstract of the Jataka in Prof. Estlin Carpenter’s sermon, Three Ways of Salvation, 1884, p. 27, where my attention was first called to this Jataka.
Parallels.–Most readers of these Notes will remember the central episode of Mr. J. C. Harris’ Uncle Remus, in which Brer Fox, annoyed at Brer Rabbit’s depredations, fits up “a contrapshun, what he calls a Tar Baby.” Brer Rabbit, coming along that way, passes the time of day with Tar Baby, and, annoyed at its obstinate silence, hits it with right fist and with left, with left fist and with right, which successively stick to the “contrapshun,” till at last he butts with his head, and that sticks too, whereupon Brer Fox, who all this time had “lain low,” saunters out, and complains of Brer Rabbit that he is too stuck up. In the sequel Brer Rabbits begs Brer Fox that he may “drown me as deep ez you please, skin me, scratch out my eyeballs, t’ar out my years by the roots, en cut off my legs, but do don’t fling me in dat brier patch;” which, of course, Brer Fox does, only to be informed by the cunning Brer Rabbit that he had been “bred en bawn in a brier patch.” The story is a favourite one with the negroes: it occurs in Col. Jones’ Negro Myths of the Georgia Coast (Uncle Remus is from S. Carolina), also among those of Brazil (Romero, Contos do Brazil), and in the West Indian Islands (Mr. Lang, “At the Sign of the Ship,” Longman’s Magazine, Feb. 1889). We can trace it to Africa, where it occurs in Cape Colony (South African Folk-Lore Journal, vol. i.).
Remarks.–The five-fold attack on the Demon and the Tar Baby is so preposterously ludicrous that it cannot have been independently invented, and we must therefore assume that they are causally connected, and the existence of the variant in South Africa clinches the matter, and gives us a landing-stage between India and America. There can be little doubt that the Jataka of Prince Five-Weapons came to Africa, possibly by Buddhist missionaries, spread among the negroes, and then took ship in the holds of slavers for the New World, where it is to be found in fuller form than any yet discovered in the home of its birth. I say Buddhist missionaries, because there is a certain amount of evidence that the negroes have Buddhistic symbols among them, and we can only explain the identification of Brer Rabbit with Prince Five Weapons, and so with Buddha himself, by supposing the change to have originated among Buddhists, where it would be quite natural. For one of the most celebrated metempsychoses of Buddha is that detailed in the Sasa Jataka (Fausböll, No. 316, tr. R. Morris, Folk-Lore Journal, ii. 336), in which the Buddha, as a hare, performs a sublime piece of self-sacrifice, and as a reward is translated to the moon, where he can be seen to this day as “the hare in the moon.” Every Buddhist is reminded of the virtue of self-sacrifice whenever the moon is full, and it is easy to understand how the Buddha became identified as the Hare or Rabbit. A striking confirmation of this, in connection with our immediate subject, is offered by Mr. Harris’ sequel volume, Nights with Uncle Remus. Here there is a whole chapter (xxx.) on “Brer Rabbit and his famous Foot,” and it is well known how the worship of Buddha’s foot developed in later Buddhism. No wonder Brer Rabbit is so ’cute: he is nothing less than an incarnation of Buddha. Among the Karens of Burmah, where Buddhist influence is still active, the Hare holds exactly the same place in their folk-lore as Brer Rabbit among the negroes. The sixth chapter of Mr. Smeaton’s book on them is devoted to “Fireside Stories,” and is entirely taken up with adventures of the Hare, all of which can be paralleled from Uncle Remus.
Curiously enough, the negro form of the five-fold attack–"fighting with five fists,” Mr. Barr would call it–is probably nearer to the original legend than that preserved in the Jataka, though 2000 years older. For we may be sure that the thunderbolt of Knowledge did not exist in the original, but was introduced by some Buddhist Mr. Barlow, who, like Alice’s Duchess, ended all his tales with: “And the moral of that is––” For no well-bred demon would have been taken in by so simple a “sell” as that indulged in by Prince Five-Weapons in our Jataka, and it is probable, therefore, that Uncle Remus preserves a reminiscence of the original Indian reading of the tale. On the other hand, it is probable that Carlyle’s Indian god with the fire in his belly was derived from Prince Five-Weapons.
The negro variant has also suggested to Mr. Batten an explanation of the whole story which is extremely plausible, though it introduces a method of folk-lore exegesis which has been overdriven to death. The Sasa Jataka identifies the Brer Rabbit Buddha with the hare in the moon. It is well known that Easterns explain an eclipse of the moon as due to its being swallowed up by a Dragon or Demon. May not, asks Mr. Batten, the Pancavudha Jataka be an idealised account of an eclipse of the moon? This suggestion receives strong confirmation from the Demon’s reference to Rahu, who does, in Indian myth swallow the moon at times of eclipse. The Jataka accordingly contains the Buddhist explanation why the moon–i.e. the hare in the moon, i.e. Buddha–is not altogether swallowed up by the Demon of Eclipse, the Demon with the Matted Hair. Mr. Batten adds that in imagining what kind of Demon the Eclipse Demon was, the Jataka writer was probably aided by recollections of some giant octopus, who has saucer eyes and a kind of hawk’s beak, knobs on its “tusks,” and a very variegated belly (gastropod). It is obviously unfair of Mr. Batten both to illustrate and also to explain so well the Tar Baby Jataka–taking the scientific 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.
XXVI. THE IVORY PALACE.
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.
XXVII. SUN, MOON, AND WIND.
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.
XXVIII. HOW WICKED SONS WERE DUPED.
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.
XXIX. THE PIGEON AND THE CROW.
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.