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TALE (O.Eng. talu, number, account, s...

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 370 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TALE (O.Eng. talu, number, account, story; the word is common to many Teutonic languages; cf. Ger. Zahl, number, Erzahlung, narrative, Du. taal, speech, language), a general term, in the usual acceptance of the word, for fictitious narratives, long or short, ancient or modern (see NovEL). In this article " tale " is used in a stricter sense, as equivalent to the German " Volks-marchen " or the French " conte populaire." Thus understood, popular tales mean the stories handed down by oral tradition from an unknown antiquity, among savage and civilized peoples. So understood, popular tales are a subject in mythology, and indeed in the general study of the development of man, of which the full interest and importance was long unrecognized. Popular tales won their way into literature, it is true, at a very distant period. The Homeric epics, especially the Odyssey, contain adventures (those, for example, of the Cyclops and the husband who returns in disguise) which are manifestly parts of the general human stock of popular narrative. Other examples are found in the Rigveda, and in the myths which were handled by the Greek dramatists. Collections of popular tales, more or less subjected to conscious literary treatment, are found in Sanskrit, as in the work of Somadeva, whose Katha Sarit Sagara, or " Ocean of the Streams of Story," has been translated by Mr Tawney (Calcutta, 188o). The THOUSAND
End of Article: TALE (O.Eng. talu, number, account, story; the word is common to many Teutonic languages; cf. Ger. Zahl, number, Erzahlung, narrative, Du. taal, speech, language)
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