Leo Reinisch, 1874 (Wikipedia)

It is important to understand that, in contradistinction to the written literature which depends on the text as it is and do not allow deviation from the text in a single ‘littera’, the folklore in connection with its texts is a flexible, elastic, pliable thing: any reteller in any following generation is – in the same time – a co-author and “co-editor” of the folklore oral (unwritten) texts stored in his brain of illiterate man, women or child of any age beginning from three or four years of age. Most of these people are in the same time very good, artistic performers, and the folktales are transferred from one to another with no other means but personal oral storytelling. And their from-elder-to-younger-generation transfer take place in a closest family circle and in special evening or night times thus having an important moment of moral intimacy.

Another important thing is that folklore tales do not have titles like printed fairy tales do. The folklore tale is usually “named” by its hero, or opponent, or the significant event in the tale’s plot – mostly in a descriptive way: in Socotra it is “a tale about Be Nuwas”, or “a tale about Ali Bota’el”, or “Gimsh” (“a tale about Be Nuwas and a “gimsh” (lizard). Linguists and folklorists usually named recorded tales according to their own choice.

All the tales in D. Mueller’s Vol. I are entitled. We can suppose, that D. Mueller gave his titles to that Socotran tales while recording them in manuscripts. This can be indicated from Dr. Leo Reinisch Die Somali-Sprache , Vol. I book, which came out in 1900 – two years earlier than Mueller’s Vol. I – and in which L. Reinisch had published two tale texts taken by him from Mueller’s collection brought from South Arabia.

Of course, L Reinisch took not the Soqotri transcribed texts of the both but Dialectal Arabic translations of them and used them as texts in a language well-known to his Somali informant to be translated by him into Somali with maximal accuracy. Among these from-Soqotri-to-Dialectal-Arabic-translated texts there is the tale entitled just the same way as in Mueller’s Vol. I (1902): it is the “Geschichte zweier Brüder” . L. Reinisch wrote himself in a footnote: “Die folgenden zwei Märchen sind von Jusuf ‘Ali aus einem vulgär-aiabisclien Text übersetzt, welchen Professor D. H. Müller aus Südarabia mitgebracht hat. Das erste Märchen erinnert sehr auf das altägyptische des Papyrus Orbiney.”* (S. 259)

As Rector of the University of Vienna, 1896 (Wikipedia)

When we remember that Dr. Leo Reinisch from the 1860s was the leader of the Austrian Egyptology and the founder of scientific Egyptology in Austria-Hungary from 1873**, the famous field researcher and gifted and widely educated linguist as well as the author of Ägyptische Chrestomathie, in which second volume he published a copy of d’Orbiney ‘s Tale of Two Brothers Papyrus in 1875***, we would understand that D. Mueller had to take his elder colleague’s verdict into account. Especially, in his Vol. I of 1902, which was dedicated by him to the 70th anniversary of Dr. Leo Reinisch. ****


* L. Reinisch. Die Somali-Sprache I (1900), S. 259
** Only in 1873 a chair in Egyptology was created in Vienna University and Leo Simon Reinisch appointed its professor.
Since 1873 -“o. Prof. für ägyptische Altertumskunde”, from 1876 – “o. Prof. für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde”,
Hofrat since 1899. Leo Reinisch was also a founder of the Austrian Africanistic: Ethiopian and the pioneering Cushitic languages studies.
*** “Plates 22 to 40 (Reduced copy in black only)” – Papyrus D’Orbiney (British Museum). The Hieroglyphic Transcription. Ed. Charles E. Moldenke. The Elsinore Press, Watchung, N.J., 1900
**** “Leo Reinisch zum 26. October 1902 gewidmet” – Ibid., S. V

To be continued… >>>

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