Towards the close of the seventies I began to collect Welsh folklore. I did so partly because others had set the example elsewhere, and partly in order to see whether Wales could boast of any story-tellers of the kind that delight the readers of Campbell's PopularTales of the West Highlands. I soon found what I was not wholly unprepared for, that as a rule I could not get a single story of any length from the mouths of any of my fellow countrymen, but a considerable number of bits of stories. In some instances these were so scrappy that it took me years to discover how to fit them into their proper context ; but, speaking generally, I may say, that, as the materials, such as they were, accumulated, my initial difficulties dis appeared. I was, however, always a little afraid of
refreshing my memory with the legends of other landslest I should read into those of my own, ideas possibly foreign to them. While one is busy collecting, it is safest probably not to be too much engaged in comparison : when the work of collecting is done that of comparing may begin. But after all I have not attempted to proceed very far in that direction, only just far enough to find elucidation here and there for the meaning of items of folklore brought under my notice.
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