The first twenty-five stories in this book were told me at Calcutta and Simla by two Ayahs, Dunkní and Múniyá, and by Karím, a Khidmatgar. The last five were told Mother by Múniyá. At first the servants would only tell their stories to me, because I was a child and would not laugh at them, but afterwards the Ayahs lost their shyness and told almost all their stories over again to Mother when they were passing through the press. Karím would never tell his to her or before her. The stories were all told in Hindústání, which is the only language that these servants know.
ined "seven little dolls, who were all little fairies."
* * * * *
Of more general interest than the few peculiarities of these tales are the many points in which they resemble and illustrate some of the familiar features of European folk-lore. As an example of the latter may be taken a "husk-myth," which is a valuable contribution to the literature of the "Beauty and the Beast" cycle. In all the stories belonging to that group, the action turns upon the union of the human hero or heroine with a spouse who is really or apparently an inferior animal. In the modified version of the story with which our nurseries have become acquainted through a French literary medium, the species of Beast to which the Beauty is wedded is not stated, and its transformation into a princely husband is attributed to her unaided love. But in by far the greater part of the variants of the folk-tale on which it seems to have been founded, as well as of the other stories in which a similar transformation is the principal f
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