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The Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first time outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any known to the folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our attention and invite close examination. They are, for the most part, not only beautiful in themselves, but by reason of a peculiar flight of fancy and a powerful imagination are so unlike anything know The Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first time outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any known to the folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our attention and invite close examination. They are, for the most part, not only beautiful in themselves, but by reason of a peculiar flight of fancy and a powerful imagination are so unlike anything known in other collections of folk-lore that they raise problems far reaching, and, I venture to think, of the highest importance to the study of popular literature. We are moving in a religious atmosphere. Many of the tales start, as it were, from the beginning of creation. God, the Apostles, the Evil One seem to take a hand in the work and to rejoice more or less in the labour of their hands. We have, besides, animal fables pure and simple, tales designed for enjoyment, tales of fancy in which the nimble and small creatures outwit the burly and heavy ones. We have also fairy tales like those known to us in the West and made familiar to us by numerous collections. A prominent characteristic is the childlike simplicity of all the stories, the absence of any dualistic element. No “moral” has been tacked on to these tales, and probably they were not even intended to teach one. The questions which the study of folk-lore has raised, whether anthropological, psychological, or historical will be raised with a renewed force. I shall endeavour, however briefly, to deal with some of the problems in the light which this collection of Rumanian tales is able to shed upon the study of folk-lore. [2] The anthropological, historical and psychological problems underlying our studies must be attacked—I venture to think—from a fresh point of view. The view I hold is that the European nations form one spiritual unit, and that within that unit the various degrees of development through which one or the other has passed are still preserved. I believe that we must study the manifestations of the human spirit from a geographical angle of vision, that this development has spread directly from one group of men to another, and that, before going to the extreme ends of the earth for doubtful clues, we must first try to find them, and perhaps we shall succeed in finding them more easily and satisfactorily, among some of the European nations whose folk-lore has not yet been sufficiently investigated. We can find in Europe various stages of “culture,” and these we must trace by slow descent to the lowest rung of the ladder. At a certain stage of our descent we may strike the stratum of Asiatic folk-lore which may lead us further in our comparative study. Let me give some practical examples of my meaning. The relation between man and animal has been the subject of numerous highly speculative but none the less extremely interesting and acute investigations. We have had Totemism, we have had Animism and many other explanations, which by their number became simply bewildering. Students have gone to the Bushmen of Australia, and to the Red Indians of America for parallels and explanations, or for proofs of their highly ingenious theories. But are there no animal and bird stories in Europe which would show us how, to this day, the people understand the relations between man and other living creatures, what views they hold of birds and beasts and insects? Are the animals humanised—using the word in the sense of impersonating a human being? Do the people see any fundamental difference between the created things? In the fairy tale, at any rate, no such definite clear-cut distinction between man and animal can be discerned.


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The Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first time outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any known to the folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our attention and invite close examination. They are, for the most part, not only beautiful in themselves, but by reason of a peculiar flight of fancy and a powerful imagination are so unlike anything know The Rumanian animal tales, which appear here for the first time outside Rumania, are so weird, so different from any known to the folk-lore of the West, that they arrest our attention and invite close examination. They are, for the most part, not only beautiful in themselves, but by reason of a peculiar flight of fancy and a powerful imagination are so unlike anything known in other collections of folk-lore that they raise problems far reaching, and, I venture to think, of the highest importance to the study of popular literature. We are moving in a religious atmosphere. Many of the tales start, as it were, from the beginning of creation. God, the Apostles, the Evil One seem to take a hand in the work and to rejoice more or less in the labour of their hands. We have, besides, animal fables pure and simple, tales designed for enjoyment, tales of fancy in which the nimble and small creatures outwit the burly and heavy ones. We have also fairy tales like those known to us in the West and made familiar to us by numerous collections. A prominent characteristic is the childlike simplicity of all the stories, the absence of any dualistic element. No “moral” has been tacked on to these tales, and probably they were not even intended to teach one. The questions which the study of folk-lore has raised, whether anthropological, psychological, or historical will be raised with a renewed force. I shall endeavour, however briefly, to deal with some of the problems in the light which this collection of Rumanian tales is able to shed upon the study of folk-lore. [2] The anthropological, historical and psychological problems underlying our studies must be attacked—I venture to think—from a fresh point of view. The view I hold is that the European nations form one spiritual unit, and that within that unit the various degrees of development through which one or the other has passed are still preserved. I believe that we must study the manifestations of the human spirit from a geographical angle of vision, that this development has spread directly from one group of men to another, and that, before going to the extreme ends of the earth for doubtful clues, we must first try to find them, and perhaps we shall succeed in finding them more easily and satisfactorily, among some of the European nations whose folk-lore has not yet been sufficiently investigated. We can find in Europe various stages of “culture,” and these we must trace by slow descent to the lowest rung of the ladder. At a certain stage of our descent we may strike the stratum of Asiatic folk-lore which may lead us further in our comparative study. Let me give some practical examples of my meaning. The relation between man and animal has been the subject of numerous highly speculative but none the less extremely interesting and acute investigations. We have had Totemism, we have had Animism and many other explanations, which by their number became simply bewildering. Students have gone to the Bushmen of Australia, and to the Red Indians of America for parallels and explanations, or for proofs of their highly ingenious theories. But are there no animal and bird stories in Europe which would show us how, to this day, the people understand the relations between man and other living creatures, what views they hold of birds and beasts and insects? Are the animals humanised—using the word in the sense of impersonating a human being? Do the people see any fundamental difference between the created things? In the fairy tale, at any rate, no such definite clear-cut distinction between man and animal can be discerned.

15 review for Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Roberts

    This one is another folklore society gig. So seriousness abounds. There's some interesting stuff in here. Would you believe the odd charm against worms in animals? My sole objection is the tales are not written in a manner to be shared as stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  6. 5 out of 5

    aa

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill Lamede

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dora

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Finis

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zee

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eelco

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mica

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jo.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teea Eliade

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