WE give two stories as specimens of animal tales, which are neither allegories, nor fables, and still less satires. The reader must remember the phrase, "This happened when animals and all things could talk." So thoroughly is this believed, that the first tale of this class recited to us completely puzzled us. The animals are in them placed so fully on a footing with human beings--not in the least as our "poor relations," but rather as sharper-witted, and quite as happy and well off as ourselves--that it is difficult at times to determine whether it is the beast or the man who is the speaker.
Of the latter part of our first story we have heard many variations. In one given by M. Cerquand, p. 29, note, 1 the fox is represented by Basa-Jauna; in a version from Baigorry, by the Tartaro; but in three others, from separate localities, he is a fox. The first two truths are the same in all the versions. In that here given, the fun is heightened by the fox talking and lisping throughout like a little child. All these versions we take to be merely fragments of a much longer story.
In M. Cerquand's "The Chandelier of St. Sauveur," p. 22, the hero's name is Acherihargaix--"the fox difficult to be caught;" and we suspect that he, too, was originally merely an animal.
42:1 "Légendes et Récits Populaires du Pays Basque," par M. Cerquand. Part I., Pau, 1875, and Part II., p. 28, Pau, 1876.