before from the East
Cinderella and her slipper is older than all history, like half a dozen other baby legends.
The annals of the world do not go back far enough to tell us from where they first came.
All the boys' plays, like everything that amuses the child in the open air, are Asiatic.
will show you that they came somewhere from the banks of the Ganges
or the suburbs of Damascus
borrowed the incidents of his Roman stories from legends of a thousand years before.
, who has grouped the history of the novels of all Europe
into one essay, says that in the nations of modern Europe
there have been two hundred and fifty or three hundred distinct stories.
He says at least two hundred of these may be traced, before Christianity, to the other side of the Black Sea
If this were my topic, which it is not, I might tell you that even our newspaper jokes are enjoying a very respectable old age. Take Maria Edgeworth
's essay on Irish bulls and the laughable mistakes of the Irish.
Even the tale which either Maria Edgeworth
or her father thought the best is that famous story of a man writing a letter as follows: “My dear friend, I would write you in detail, more minutely, if there was not an impudent fellow looking over my shoulder, reading every word.”
“No, you lie; I've not read a word you have written!”
This is an Irish bull, still it is a very old one.
It is only two hundred and fifty years older than the New Testament.
dissented from Richard Lovell Edgeworth
, and thought the other Irish bull was the best,--of the man who said, “I would have been a very handsome man, but they changed me in the cradle.”
That comes from Don Quixote
, and is Spanish; but Cervantes
borrowed it from the Greek in the fourth century, and the Greek stole it from the Egyptian
hundreds of years back.