11 APRIL 1891, Page 24

The Testimony of Tradition. By David IlacRitchie. (Kegan Paul, Trench,

and Co.)—This somewhat vague title must not be supposed to have any reference to ecclesiastical or theological matters. The book deals with a curious subject in ethnology, an alleged domination exercised by the dwarfish people who are now penned up in an extreme corner of Scandinavia, over more southerly regions, To this quasi-historical fact are to be referred, in Mr. MacRitchie's view, the legends and folk-tales in which we hear of human beings and creatures of the sea, and others which speak of tyrannical dwarfs who took tribute from the taller races among whom they dwelt. Possibly the "troll" stories belong to the same class of traditions. The author has brought together a great mass of curious learning in support of this theory. It is not a matter on which we feel inclined to pronounce an opinion. Experts differ about it. Mr. Alfred Nutt, for instance, controverted the theory when it was first propounded in the pages of the Archxological Review. The reader, if he is curious in these matters, must weigh the arguments for himself.