The principal object of this Foreword is to inform the expert Folkloreist and the case-hardened Mythologist (comparative or otherwise) that the following pages are intended for those who, being neither expert nor case-hardened, come under that gracious and catholic term—general reader. The writer addresses not the scholiast, but the ordinary person who likes to read about what he has not time to study.
nd there are many, doubtless, which are in some sort fragments of the old mythologies filtered to us through Greece. But, on the whole, it is more reasonable to conclude that the simple stories of the marvellous or irrational have their origin in 'the qualities of the uncivilized imagination.'
Thus, with regard to the current superstitions of our peasantry and of the Highlanders, it is much more rational to consider them, as Dr. Robert Chambers did, as 'springing from a disposition of the human mind to account for actual appearances by some imagined history which the appearances suggest,' than as relics of the old-world mythologies. The untutored mind disregards the natural, even in these days of applied science. There is an old weir across the Tweed which the common people, forgetting the mill, that had disappeared, pointed out as the work of one of the imps of Michael Scott, the wizard. Wherever there are three-topped hills there is sure to be a legend of the work of this same Michael, or some other