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Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, [1899], at

Gypsy Migrations.

In the Academy for 11th June 1887 Mr. Lang objected: 'Can M. Cosquin show that South Siberia and Zanzibar got their contes by oral transmission from India within the historical period? This is doubtful; but it seems still more unlikely that tales which originated in India could have reached Barra and Uist in the Hebrides, and Zululand, and the Samoyeds--not to mention America--by oral transmission, and all within the historical period.' My pp. xv.--xviii. and xxxv.--xlv. furnish a fairly good answer to much of this objection, for they show that during the last three centuries recent immigrants from India, possessed of folk-tales, have been passing to and fro between Lorraine and Italy, Scotland and North America, Portugal and Africa and Brazil, Poland and Siberia, Spain and Louisiana, the Basque Country and Africa, Hungary and Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, and Algeria, the Balkan Peninsula and Scandinavia, Italy and Asia Minor, Corfu and Corsica, the Levant and Liverpool, Hungary and Scotland. But, indeed, Mr. Lang's objection was, in part at least, answered already, by the discovery in Scandinavia, Orkney, and Lancashire of thousands of Cufic coins of the ninth and tenth centuries. For where coins could journey from Bagdad, so also of course could folk-tales.

I remember once in an English parsonage being shown a 'cannibal fork.' I do not think I rushed to the conclusion that the parson's grandmother had been a ghoul; no, I rather fancy there was talk of

p. lxxv

a son or a brother who was a missionary somewhere, perhaps in the South Sea Islands. And I remember also how a Suffolk vicar unearthed a Romano-British cemetery. One of his most treasured finds was a pair of brass compasses: 'Marvellous,' he would point out, 'how like they are to our own.' 'As well they may be,' old Mrs. C------ remarked to me (she was the daughter of a former vicar), for I can quite well remember my poor brother John losing them.'

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