It has been a puzzling question to decide just where to draw the line in separating foreign from what we may call current American folk-lore. The traditions and superstitions that a mother as a child or girl heard in a foreign land, she tells her children born here, and the lore becomes, as it were, naturalized, though sometimes but little modified from the form in which it was current where the mother originally heard it. Whether to include any folk-lore collected from oral narrators or from correspondents, even if it had been very recently brought hither, was the question. At length it has been decided to print only items taken down from the narration of persons born in America, though frequent parallels and numberless variants have been obtained from persons now resident here, though reared in other countries.
ferentiation. Protestantism, by banishing complicated usages connected with sacred days, has caused English folk-lore to vary from Continental; so far this contrast seems a result of the alterations of the last three hundred years, rather than of more remote inconsistency.
If these remarks are in any degree valid, it follows that from the presence or absence of any particular item of belief in this or that English-speaking district no conclusion is to be drawn; the deficiency must be supposed to proceed from absence of record, and seldom to depend on the structure of the population. To this general doctrine, as usual with such propositions, may be observed minor exceptions. Whatever doubts may be cast on the operation of the principle as applicable to England, there can be no doubt that it is valid in the United States and Canada.
It is not, however, intended to assert that the contributions of the entire region covered in this collection are identical in character. On the contrary, it will be s
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