The contents of the work which gave such pleasure to this learned antiquary are as follows:—
I. Introduction—Similarity of Arts and Customs—Similarity of Names—Origin of the Work—Imitation—Casual Coincidence—Milton—Dante.
II. The Thousand and One Nights—Bedoween Audience around a Story-teller—Cleomades and Claremond—Enchanted Horses—Peter of Provence and the fair Maguelone.
III. The Pleasant Nights—The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Beautiful Green Bird—The Three Little Birds—Lactantius—Ulysses and Sindbad.
IV. The Shâh-Nâmeh—Roostem and Soohrâb—Conloch and Cuchullin—Macpherson's Ossian—Irish Antiquities.
V. The Pentamerone—Tale of the Serpent—Hindoo Legend.
VI. Jack the Giant-killer—The Brave Tailoring—Thor's Journey to Ut-gard—Ameen of Isfahan and the Ghool—The Lion and the Goat—The Lion and the Ass.
VII. Whittington and his Cat—Danish Legends—Italian Stories—Persian Legend.
VIII. The Edda—Sigurd and Brynhilda—Völund—Helgi—Holger Danske—Ogier le Danois—Toko—William Tell.
IX. Peruonto—Peter the Fool—Emelyan the Fool—Conclusion. Appendix.
ORIGIN OF THE BELIEF IN FAIRIES:
According to a well-known law of our nature, effects suggest causes; and another law, perhaps equally general, impels us to ascribe to the actual and efficient cause the attribute of intelligence. The mind of the deepest philosopher is thus acted upon equally with that of the peasant or the savage; the only difference lies in the nature of the intelligent cause at which they respectively stop. The one pursues the chain of cause and effect, and traces out its various links till he arrives at the great intelligent cause of all, however he may designate him; the other, when unusual phenomena excite his attention, ascribes their production to the immediate agency of some of the inferior beings recognised by his legendary creed.
The action of this latter principle must forcibly strike the minds of those who disdain not to bestow a portion of their attention on the popular legends and traditions of different countries.
Every extraordinary appearance is found to have its extraordinary cause assigned; a cause always connected with the history or religion, ancient or modern, of the country, and not unfrequently varying with a change of faith.