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p. 144

p. 145


Esthonian Folk-Tales

THESE are very numerous, and, while some are of course identical with well-known stories of world-wide distribution, others have a peculiarly original character of their own. We have divided them into sections, but this classification must not be taken as too stringent, for many tales would fall equally well under two or three of our separate headings. In so far as any foreign elements are visible, they are apparently Scandinavian or German. Finnish tales show more trace of Russian influence, but there is seldom any visible in Esthonian tales, and even in the Kalevipoeg there is no resemblance to the Russian hero-legends. It is, however, noteworthy that even in the most heathenish tales, the heroes usually have names of p. 146 Christian origin; though not in the Kalevipoeg. It is possible that the Gospel of Nicodemus, which describes the descent into hell, may have suggested the name of Nicodemus for Slyboots.