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How Myths Originate

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No doobt ntany legenda of tho aöciínt world, tbongh not really history, are mythe whioh have arisen byreasoning ou actual events, as definité as that wüich, some four years ago, was terriíying the peasant-mind in North Gerliíary, and especially in Posen. The report had spread far and wlde that all Catholie ciiildren with black hair and blue oyes were to be sent out of the country, some said to Eussia, while others deelared that it was the King of Prussia who had been playing cards With the Sultan of Turkey, and had staked and lost forty thousand fairhaired, blue-cyed children; and there were Moors traveling about in covered carts to collcct them; and the schoolmasters were helping, for they were to have live dollars for every child they handed over. For a time the popular exeitement was quite serious; the parents kept the children away from school and hid them, and when they appeared in the strcets of the market-town the little ones clung to them with terrified looks. Dr. Schwartze, the well-known mythologist, took the pains to trace the rumor to its One thing was qnitc plain, that its prime cause was that grave and learned body, the An thropological Society of Berlin, who. without a thonght of the commotion they were stirring up, had, in order to class the population as to race, induced the authorities to have a census made throughout the local schools to ascertain the color of the children' s skin, hair and eyes. Had it been only the boys, to the Government inspection of whom for military conscription the Gorman peasants are only too well accustomcd, nothing would have been thonght of it; but why should the officials want to know about the little girls1 hair and eyes? The whole,group of stories which suddenly sprang up were myths created to answer this question; and even the details which Decame embodied with them could all be tracod to their sources, such as the memories of Germán Princes selüng regiments of their people to pay thcir debts, the late politica! negotiations between Germany a:iü Rufsia, ete. The fact that a caravan of Moors had been traveling about as a show accotmted for the covered carts with which they vrere fco fetch the children ; while the schoolmasters were naturally implieated, as having drawn up the census. One schoolmaster, who evidently knew his poople, assured the terrilied parent8 that it was only the children with blue hair and green eyes that were wantod - an explanation which sent them home


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