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complains of a smell of Christian blood, and nous power by a union of patience, boldis always answered by the formula, that a ness, and honest skill, or even by undecrow flew over the chimney and must have grading stratagem, the collection affords dropped a bone down it; the hero almost no instance that we remember. always meets three old women, or three The story of Shortshanks may be takTrolls, or three enchanted beasts or birds, en as a fair, and even a favorable example of whom he in that case always asks the of the tone of these Norse tales. Shortsame questions, receiving the same replies, shanks and King Sturdy are twin brotliverbatim. There is a reason for this same- ers, who set out to seek their fortunes ness, which is indicative of the rude con- within a few minutes of their birth, driven dition of the people among whom the tales thereto by a precocious perception of the have been perpetuated; but the sameness res anguste domi. They part at two roads palls none the less upon more cultivated almost immediately, and the story follows minds. Mr. Dasent characterizes these the fortunes of Shortshanks, the younger; people as an honest and manly race.- not for in these miniature romances the elder the race of the towns and cities, but of the is, as usual, continually snubbed, and the dales and fells, free and unsubdued, hold- younger is always the great man. Shorting its own in a country where there are shanks has not gone far before he meets neither lords nor ladies, but simple men "an old crook-backed bag," who has onand women. Brave men and fair women,” ly one eye; and he commences his caetc. (p. Ixviii.) And he says of the tales, reer by gouging out or “snapping up" that in no other collection is “ the general the single comfort of this helpless creatone so chaste, are the great principles of ture. To get her eye back again, she morality better worked out, and right and gives Shortshanks a sword that will put wrong kept so steadily in sight." (p. Ixii.) a whole army to flight; and he, charmed We cannot agree with him in this appre
with the result of his first manauvre, puts ciation of the moral tone of the stories, it in practice successively upon two othmany of which certainly speak ill for the er decrepit, half-blind women, who, to get honesty and manliness of the race among their eyes again, give him, one, a ship that which they have been for centuries cher- can sail over fresh water and salt water ished household-treasures. For in a large and over high hills and deep dales, the proportion of those that have a successful other, the art how to brew a hundred hero, he obtains his success either by lying lasts of malt at one strike. The ship or some kind of deceit or treachery, by takes him to the king's palace, on arrivstealing, or by imposing upon the cre- ing at which he puts his vessel in his dulity or feebleness of age; and of those pocket, when he summons his craft to in which the hero is himselt victorious his aid, and gets a place in the king's over oppression, we are not able to recol- kitchen to carry wood and water for the lect one which exhibits the beauty of maid. The king's daughter bas for some moderation and magnanimity, not to say inscrutable reason been promised to three of Christian charity and forgiveness. Mr. ogres, who come successively to fetch her; Dasent mentions it as an admirable trait and a certain Ritter Red professes to be of the tales, that, “in the midst of every man enough to rescue her, but on the difficulty and danger, arises that old Norse approach of the first ogre proves to be a feeling of making the best of everything coward and climbs a tree. But Shortand keeping a good face to the foe.” Cer- shanks slips off from his scullery; and tainly the heroes of these tales do make having a weapon which can put a whole the best of everything, but they are not army to flight by a single stroke, he is at all scrupulous as to their way of mak- very brave, and keeps a remarkably good ing it; and they do also keep a good face face to the foe, giving him with his tongue to the foe, when (often by craft, theft, or as good as he sends, and, laughing the violence) they have obtained some imple- ogres' clubs to scorn, cuts off the ogrous ment or other gift of supernatural power heads, (there are five on the first indiwhich places their opponents entirely at vidual, ten on the second, and fifteen on their mercy and with no risk to them- the third,) and carries off much treasure selves. But of a manful contest on equal from the ships in which his foes came to terms, or of a victory obtained over tyran- fetch their victim. Ritter Red descends, and takes the lungs and the tongues of the rude practical jokes, or the bloody overogres, (though, as the latter were thirty in reaching of the poor thick-headed Trolls, number and of gigantic size, he must have who are the butts of the stories and the had trouble in carrying them,) and wishes victims of their heroes. There is good to pass them off as evidence that he is ethnological and mythological reason why the deliverer of the princess, of which the Trolls should be butts and victims, it they would seem to have been very satis- is true; but that is not to the present purfactory proof: but the gold, silver, and pose. diamonds carry the day; Shortshanks has But although this judgment must be the princess and half the kingdom, and passed upon the collection, considered Ritter Red is thrown into a pit full of merely as tales to be told and read at snakes,
-on the French general's princi- this stage of the world's progress, there ple, we suppose, who hung his cowards are several notable exceptions to it, - tales " pour encourager les autres.” But the king which are based upon healthy instincts, has another daughter, whom an ogre has and which appeal to sympathies that are carried off to the bottom of the sea. never entirely undeveloped in the breasts Shortshanks discovers her while the ogre of human beings above the grade of Bushis out looking for a man who can brew a men, or in which the fun does not depend hundred lasts of malt at one strike. He upon the exhibition of unexpected modes finds the man at home, of course, and puts of inflicting death, pain, or discomfort. It him to his task. Shortshanks gets the is not, however, in these that we are to ogre and all his kith and kin to help the look for the chief attraction and compenbrew, and brews the wort so strong, that, sating value of the collection. Those are on tasting it, they all fall down dead, ex- to be found, as we have already hinted, in cept one, an old woman, "who lay bed- the relative aspects of the tales, which the ridden in the chimney-corner,” and to her general reader might consider for a long our hero carries his wort and kills her too. time fruitlessly, save for the belp of Mr. He then carries off the treasure of the Dasent’s Introductory Essay. This is at ogres, and gives this princess and the other once an acute and learned commentary half of the kingdom to his brother Sturdy. upon the tales themselves, and a thor
Now we have no particular fault to find oughly elaborated monograph upon mywith such stories as these, when they are thology in its ethnological relations. We produced as characteristic specimens of know no other essay upon this subject the folk-lore of a people; as such, they that is so comprehensive, so compact, so have a value beside their intrinsic inter- clear, and so well adapted to interest intelest;- but when we are asked to receive ligent readers who have little previous them as part of the evidence that that knowledge on the subject, as Mr. Dapeople is an honest and manly race, and sent's, although, of necessity, it presents as an acceptable addition to our stock of us with results, not processes. A perusal household tales, we demur. The truth of this Essay will give the intelligent and is, that the very worth of these tales is to attentive reader so just a general notion be found not only in the fact that they of the last results of philological and form a part of the stock from which our ethnological investigation into the hisown are derived, but in the other fact that tory of the origin and progress of the they represent that stock as it existed at Indo-European races, that he can listen an earlier and ruder stage of humanitarian with understanding to the conversation development. They were told by savage of men who have made that subject their mothers to savage children; and although special study, and appreciate, in a meassome of them teach the few virtues com- ure at least, the value of the many refermon to barbarism and civilization, they ences to it which he meets in the course are filled with the glorification of savage of his miscellaneous reading. And should vice and crime; – deceit, theft, violence, he be led by the contagion of Mr. Daeven ruthless vengeance upon a cruel sent's intelligent enthusiasm to desire a parent, are constantly practised by the more intimate acquaintance with a topic characters which they hold up to favor. which rarely fails to fascinate those whose Such humor as they have, too, is of the tastes lead them to enter at all upon it, he coarsest kind, and is expressed chiefly in may start from this Essay with hints as to
the plan and purpose of his reading which fate, outlived them. From a person she bewill save him much otherwise blind and came a place; and all the Northern nations, fruitless labor.
from the Goth to the Norseman, agreed in beThis, however, is not all. It is but lieving Hell to be the abode of the Devil and right also to say that the readers whose
his wicked spirits, the place prepared from religion is one of extreme orthodoxy, that
the beginning for the everlasting torments
of the damned. One curious fact connected is, who deem it their bounden duty to be
with this explanation of Hell's origin will not lieve exactly and literally as somebody
escape the reader's attention. The Christian else believed before them,- such readers notion of Hell is that of a place of heat; for will find their orthodoxy often shocked in the East, whence Christianity came, heat by the tales which Mr. Dasent has trans- is often an intolerable torment, and cold, on lated, and yet oftener and more violently the other hand, everything that is pleasant by conclusions which Mr. Dasent draws and delightful. But to the dweller in the from a comparison of these stories with North heat brings with it sensations of joy others that bear the same relation to other and comfort, and life without fire has a dreary races which these do to the Norsemen. The
outlook; so their Hel ruled in a cold region, man who believes that Hell is a particular
over those who were cowards by implication, part of the universe, filled with flames and
— while the mead-cup went round, and huge
logs blazed and crackled, for the brave and melted brimstone, into which actual devils,
beautiful who had dared to die on the field with horns, hoofs, and tails, dip, or are to
of battle. But under Christianity the exdip, wicked people, whom, for greater con
tremes of heat and cold have met, and Hel, venience, they have previously perforated
the cold, uncomfortable goddess, is now our with three-tined pitchforks,- such a man Hell, where flames and fires abound, and where will be puzzled by the story, "Why the the devils abide in everlasting flame." Sea is Salt," and horrified with this comment in Mr. Dasent's Essay :
Still more will orthodoxy be shocked
by Mr. Dasent's neglect to except Chris“ The North had its own notion on this point. Its mythology was not without its
tianity from the conclusion, (no new one, own dark powers; but though they, too, were
it need hardly be said, to those who know ejected and dispossesseil, they, according to
anything of the subject,) that the mytholthat mythology, had rights of their own. To ogies or personal histories of all religions them belonged all the universe that had not have been evolved the one from the other, been seized and reclaimed by the younger or grafted the one upon the other,-and by race of Odin and Æsir; and though this up- his intimation, that Christianity, keeping start dynasty, as the Frost-Giants in Æschy- pure in its spirit and undiverted from its lean phrase would have called it, well knew
purpose, has yet not hesitated to adapt its that Hel, one of this giant progeny, was fated outward forms to the tough popular tradito do them all mischief, and to outlive them,
tions which it found deeply rooted in the they took her and m:ide her queen of Nifl
soil where it sought to grow, thus making heim, and mistress over nine worlds. There,
itself “ all things to all men, that it might in a bitterly cold place, she received the souls of all who died of sickness or old age; care
by all means save some." was her bed, hunger her dish, starvation her
It will be seen that this book is not knife. Her walls were high and strong, and her
milk for babes, but meat for strong men. bolts and bars huge. • Ha'f blue was her skin,
Among the tales are some - and those, and half the color of human flesh. A goddess perhaps, the most interesting - which Mr. easy to know, and in all things very stern and Dasent justly characterizes as “intensely grim.' But though severe, she was not an heathen," and yet in which the Saviour evil spirit. She only received those who died of the world or his apostles appear as as no Norseman wished to die. For those
interlocutors or actors, which alone unwho fell on the gory battle-field, or sank be
fits the volume for the book-table of the neath the waves, Valhalla was prepared, and
household room. We are led to insist endless mirth and bliss with Odin. Those
upon this trait of the collection the more, went to Hel who were rather unfortunate
because the translator's choice of language than wicked, who died before they could be killed. But when Christianity came in and
often seems to be the result of a desire to ejected Odin and his crew of false divinities,
adapt himself to very youthful readers, declaring them to be lying gods and demons, though why should even they be led to then Hel fell with the rest,- but, fulfilling her
believe that such phrases as the following are correct by seeing them in print? – pardon in writers of the Great Nation,“ Tore it up like nothing"; "ran away admit that the author is wild and fanciful like anything"; "it was no good ” li.e. in many of his statements, that he talks of no use]; “in all my born days"; "after of a state of society of which it has been a bit” [i.e. a little while] ; "she had to let said that the law is that a man shall hate him in, and when he was, he lay,” etc.; his neighbor and love his neighbor's wife, “the Giant got up cruelly early.” These, - admit all this and what lesser faults and others like them, are profusely scat- may be added to them, its great lessons tered through the tales, apparently from are on the side of humanity, and espethe mistaken notion that they have some cially of justice to woman, founded on a idiomatic force. They jar upon the ear study of her organic and spiritual limitaof the reader who comes to them from tions. Mr. Dasent's admirably written Introduc- Woman is an invalid. This is the first tory Essay.
axiom, out of which flow the precepts of The book is one which we can heartily care, bodily and mental, of tenderness, recommend to all who are interested in of consideration, with which the book popular traditions for their own sake, or abounds. To show this, M. Michelet has in their ethnological relations.
recourse to the investigations of the physiologists who during the present century
have studied the special conditions which Love. From the French of M. J. Michelet. according to the old axiom make woman
Translated from the Fourth Paris Edi- what she is. As nothing short of this can tion, by J. W. PALMER, M.D., Author by any possibility enable us to understand of “The New and The Old,” “Up and the feminine nature, we must not find Down the Irawaddi,” etc.
fault with some details not commonly
thought adapted to the general reader. M. MICHELET perhaps longs, like An- They are given delicately, but they are acreon, to tell the story of the Atrides and given, and suggest a certain reserve in inof Cadmus, but here we find him singing troducing the book to the reading classes. only of Love. It is a surprise to us that Not only is woman an invalid, but the the historian should have chosen this sub- rhythmic character of her life, “ as if scanned ject; -- the book itself is another surprise. by Nature,” is an element not to be negIt starts from a few facts which it bor- lected without total failure to read her in rows from science, and out of them it health and in disease. There is a great builds a poem,
-- a drama in five acts deal relating to this matter, some of it called Books, to disguise them. Two char- seeming fanciful and overwrought, but acters figure chiefly on the stage,-a hus- not more so than the natures of many band and a wife. The unity of time is not women. For woman herself is an hypervery strictly kept, for the pair are traced bole, and the plainest statement of her from youth to age, and even beyond their condition is a figure of speech. Some of mortal years. Moral reflections and oc- those chapters that are written, as we casional rhapsodies are wreathed about might say, in hysteric paragraphs, only this physiological and psychological love- more fitly express the extravagances which drama.
belong to the nervous movements of the Here, then, is a book with the most woman's nature. taking word in the language for its title, The husband must create the wife. Much and one of the most distinguished per- of the book is taken up with the precepts sonages in contemporary literature for its by which this new birth of the woman is author. It has been extensively read in to be brought about. M. Michelet's "enFrance, and is attracting general notice in tire affection " hateth those“ nicer hands" this country. Opinions are divided among which would refuse any, even the humus concerning it; it is extravagantly prais- blest offices. The busband should be at ed, and hastily condemned.
once nurse and physician. He should regOn the whole, the book is destined, we ulate the food of the body, and measure believe, to do much more good than harm. out the doses of mental nourishment. All Admit all its high-flown sentimentalism to this is kind and good and affectionate; but be half-unconscious affectation, such as we there is just a suspicion excited that Madame might become slightly ennuyée, if she eternal punishment, though she may have were subjected to this minute surveillance received other ideas from you, still, in her over her physical and spiritual hygiene. suffering and debility, has painful foreEverything must depend on individual shadowings of the future state.” tendencies and aptitudes; we have known But here are physiological statements husbands that were born for nurses,- and which we take the liberty to question on others, not less affectionate, that worried our own responsibility. more than they helped in that capacity. "A French girl of fifteen is as mature
We cannot follow M. Michelet through as an English one of eighteen.” What his study of the reaction of the characters will Mr. Roberton of Manchester, who of the husband and wife upon each other, has exploded so many of our fancies about of the influence of maternity on conjugal the women of the East, say to this ? relations, of the languishing of love and “A wound, for which the German its rejuvenescence. Still less can we do woman would require surgical aid, in more than remotely allude to those chap- the French woman cures itself.” We ters in which his model woman is repre- must say of such an unproved assertion as sented as ready on the slightest occasion the French General said of the charge at to prove the name of her sex synonymous Balaklava, -C"est magnifique, mais ce n'est with frailty. We really do not know what pas la" - médecine. to make of such things. The cool calcu- Generally, slie (woman) is sick from lations of temptation as certain, and fail- love,- man, from indigestion." What a ure as probable, — the serious advice not pity Nature never makes such pretty to strike a wife under any circumstances, epigrams with her facts as wits do with - such words have literally no meaning to their words ! most of our own American readers. Our We have enough, too, of that self-asserwomen are educated to self-reliance,- and tion which Carlyle and Ruskin and some our men are, at least, too busy for the of our clerical neighbors have made us trade of tempters.
familiar with, and which gives flavor to In a word, this book was written for a work of genius. “I was worth more French people, and is adjusted to the than my writings, more than my dismeridian of Paris. We must remember courses. I brought to this teaching of this always in reading it, and also remem- philosophy and history a soul as yet enber that a Frenchman does not think En- tire,-a great freshness of mind, under glish any more than he talks it. We forms often subtle,- a true simplicity of sometimes flatter ourselves with the idea heart," etc. that we as a people are original in our M. Michelet does not undervalue the tendency to extravagance of thought and importance of his work. He thinks he language. It is a conceit of ours. Re- has ruined the danciny-gardens by the member Sterne's perruquier.
startling revelations respecting woman You may immerge it,' replied he, “in- contained in his book. He announces a to the ocean, and it will stand.'
still greater triumph :-“I believe I have “"What a great scale is everything up- effectually suppressed old women. They on, in this city!' thought I. 'The utmost will no longer be met with.” M. Michestretch of an English periwig-maker's let has not seen the columns of some of ideas could have gone no farther than to our weekly newspapers. have dipped it into a pail of water.'” These are scales from the husk of his
book, which, with all its fantasies, is a How much such experiences as the fol- generous plea for woman. lowing amount to we must leave to the may safely read it, though they be not ecclesiastical bodies to settle.
Parisians. “ The Church is openly against her, The translation is, and is generally con(woman,] owing her a grudge for the sin sidered, excellent. We notice two errors, of Eve.”
- Jerres, instead of Serres,- and would, for " It is very easy for us, educated in the should, after the Scotch and Southern proreligion of the indulgent God of Nature, vincial fashion ; — with some questionable to look our common destiny in the face. words, as reliable, for which we have Sir But she, impressed with the dogma of Robert Peel's authority, which cannot