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November 08 , 2007

Specimens of Ainu Folk-lore


The following specimens of Ainu folk-lore form a small portion of matter which the writer has himself collected, from time to time, during a period of nearly six years. They are merely specimens. Many other examples might be given. But it is presumed that the following half-dozen samples will be fully sufficient to illustrate the manner in which this crude race of men, in the absence of books, keep their legends, fables, and traditions alive. It is not pretended that all such legends are interesting to general readers, for some of them may be said to be quite ridiculous and nonsensical. Nevertheless, they are all curious in their way, and are certainly well worth studying from a linguistical, philosophical and anthropological standpoint; hence it is hoped that the following specimens of Ainu folk-lore will not come amiss to the ethnologist. Some of the Ainu legends and traditions are recited in prose, and others in a kind of verse. Those given in verse are recited in a sort of sing-song monotone, whilst those in prose are chanted more in the natural tone of voice.

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