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A distinguished English student of folk-lore has written: "Armenia offers a rich and hitherto almost untouched field to the folk-lorist, the difficulty of grappling with the language—the alphabet even of which was described by Byron as 'a very Waterloo of an alphabet'—having hitherto baffled European collectors."

So far as I can learn, the two volumes of Armenian folk-tales collected by Bishop Sirwantzdiants have hitherto been accessible to English and European readers only through the medium of a rare and more or less imperfect German translation. The late Ohannes Chatschumian had begun a compilation of Armenian folk-lore for Miss Alice Fletcher; but the work was cut short by his early death. Prof. Minas Tcheraz, of King's College, London, has published from time to time during the last eight years, in his paper "L'Armenie," a series of interesting articles on the folk-lore and fairy tales of the Armenians, under the title "L'Orient Inedit." He gathered these stories from the lips of the poorer classes in Constantinople, as Mr. Seklemian did in Erzroom. Prof. Tcheraz says: "The lowest strata of the population, having received no instruction, and not having changed perceptibly since the earliest centuries of our planet, keep still intact the traditions of the past. It is above all from the talk of the women of the common people, born in Constantinople or from the provinces, that these things are to be learned. Gifted with strong memories and brilliant imaginations, they still preserve all the legends bequeathed [vi]from the past." But the files of "L'Armenie," like the books of Bishop Sirwantzdiants, are inaccessible to the general public. Mr. Seklemian has therefore rendered a real service to students of folk-lore who are unacquainted with the Oriental languages, by bringing these curious and interesting tales within their reach.

Fiction & Literature
August 29
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