The Grateful Dead, by Gordon Hall Gerould, , at sacred-texts.com
ONE of the most prevalent types of The Grateful Dead is that in which it has combined with The Poison Maiden, a theme almost world-wide in distribution and application. From the time of Benfey and Stephens 1 the connection between the two themes has been regarded as vital. Though Hippe recognised that the stories were perhaps originally independent, 2 he took the compound as his point of departure and derived all other forms from it. As will be seen in the course of our study, such a filiation is exceedingly improbable, if the essential features of The Grateful Dead and The Poison Maiden be closely examined. Hippe went wrong, I should say, in failing to differentiate between what traits belong to the former and what to the latter theme.
As a matter of fact, The Poison Maiden exists in a cycle of its own. Any doubt about this and any necessity of studying the theme in detail here is removed by the valuable monograph of Wilhelm Hertz, Die Sage vom Giftmädchen, 3 in which the literature of the subject has been marshalled with masterly skill. Starting with the
stories of how a maiden, who had been fed with snake-poison, was sent to Alexander the Great from India by an enemy, and how the plot to kill the emperor through her embraces was foiled by the cunning of Aristotle, 1 Hertz shows 2 that the central idea of the tale is the belief that a man could be killed by sexual connection with a woman who had been nourished on poison. In most of the variants, to be sure, it is the bite of the woman that is venomous, while in others it is her glance or her breath; but these are natural modifications. Without following the study into details, the important fact to remember is that there has existed from early times a tale relating how a man was saved by a watchful friend on his bridal night from a maiden whose embraces were certain death. 3 With this in mind we can safely proceed to a consideration of the variants of The Grateful Dead which have similar features.
Twenty-four of the stories in my list fall into this category, viz.: Tobit, Armenian, Gypsy, Siberian, Russian
I., II., III., and IV., Servian II., III., and IV, Bulgarian, Esthonian II., Finnish, Rumanian I., Irish I., II., and III., Breton I., Danish III., Norwegian II., Simrock X., Harz I., Jack the Giant Killer, and Old Wives Tale. All but three of them 1 are folk-tales, a fact that considerably simplifies the discussion.
According to the apocryphal story, Tobit buries by night the dead who lie in the street. He is thrown into prison, and later becomes blind and poverty-stricken. He sends his son Tobias to his brother Gabael for the return of a loan. The youth is accompanied by the angel Raphael in disguise, who calls himself Azarias. On the journey Tobias catches a fish and preserves the heart, liver, and gall at the bidding of his companion. When they arrive at their journey's end, the angel, as go-between, asks Gabael's daughter Sara in wedlock for Tobias, though seven men have died while consummating their marriage with her. By burning the heart and liver of the fish at the command of the angel, and by prayer, Tobias escapes; for the demon Asmodeus is driven out of the maiden and bound by Raphael. With his bride and companion Tobias goes home, where he cures Tobit's blindness by means of the gall of the fish. After being offered half of the wealth that he has brought the family, Raphael explains his identity and disappears.
This variant is peculiar in that the father does the good action, while the son is chiefly rewarded. Indeed, it is the son whose life is saved from the possessed woman whom he marries. Moreover, the grateful dead is replaced by an angel, who indeed commends Tobit for his good deed, but is certainly a substitute for the ghost. Obviously Tobit with such peculiarities as these cannot be regarded as the general source of the widespread folk-tale. At the same time we must not forget that it has been, perhaps, the best-loved story in the
[paragraph continues] Apocrypha, 1 and that its influence on details of the narrative may be looked for almost anywhere in Christendom.
In the Armenian story from Transcaucasia 2 a man finds a corpse hanging in a tree and being beaten by his late creditors. The man pays the debt and buries the body. Some years later he becomes poor. A rich man offers him in marriage his daughter, with whom five bridegrooms have already met death on the wedding night. While thinking over the proposition, he is approached by a man who offers to become his servant for half of his future possessions, and counsels him to marry the woman. On the night of the marriage the servant stands with a sword in the chamber, cuts off the head of a serpent that comes from the bride's mouth, and pulls out its body. Later he asks for his share of his master's gains. When he is about to split the woman through the middle, a second snake glides from her mouth. The servant then says that he is the ghost of the corpse long ago rescued, and disappears. Here the story appears in a very normal form, except that the hero is not taking a journey at the time of his kind deed, and that he waits several years for his reward. Moreover, the second snake appears to be due to reduplication.
In Gypsy a youth gives his last twelve piasters for the release of a corpse, which is being maltreated by Jews. The ghost of the dead man follows him and promises to get him a bride if he will share her with him. The youth consents and marries a woman whose five bridegrooms have died on the wedding night. The companion keeps watch in the chamber and cuts off the head of a dragon that comes from the bride's mouth.
[paragraph continues] Later he demands his half of the woman, and takes a sword to cut her asunder, when she screams and disgorges the dragon's body. The ghost then explains the situation and disappears. 1
With the Siberian variant some very important modifications enter. A soldier buys a picture of the Saviour from a peasant and maltreats it. A merchant's son then buys it out of reverence and takes it to his mother. Later he helps an old man on a raft and goes with him to market. There he meets the daughter of a priest and, by the advice of his friend, marries her. When the old man strikes her with a whip, she splits open, and the devil comes out. She is put together again by the mysterious companion, and accompanies them home, where the old man asks for a division of the gains they have made together. Again he divides the woman. After she has been burned, she is found living and purified. Then the old man says that he is God and departs.
This tale, found among the Turkish race of southern Siberia, has transformed the opening incident altogether. For the burial of the corpse it substitutes a good deed, which is entirely different from the original trait. Yet it is evident that we have to do with The Grateful Dead, after all, since the divine image is rescued from senseless contumely and God himself appears in the rôle of the thankful ghost. It is evident also that the theme is combined with The Poison Maiden. Though we do not hear of any misadventures of other men with the priest's daughter, the marvels which attend her purification indicate the danger in which the hero stood.
Russian I. is likewise peculiar in several respects. The younger of two brothers angers his parents by going
to the wars without their permission. He is killed. Later he appears to his brother, asking him to implore pardon of their mother, whose anger prevents him from resting quietly in his grave. The elder brother thus succeeds in giving peace to the ghost. Later, when he marries a merchant's daughter, whose first two husbands have been killed by a dragon on the wedding night, he is saved by the ghost of the dead, which keeps watch in the chamber with a sword and kills the nine-headed dragon.
This tale stands almost alone 1 in giving the two chief characters personal relations, since it is nearly always a total stranger whom the hero benefits. That actual burial of the dead does not come in question is not so remarkable, as various changes have been made in this trait. One story, 2 indeed, which otherwise has no likeness, similarly makes the dead man uneasy in his grave. The beginning of Russian I. has thus suffered considerable modification. The ending is also different from the normal type in that the division of the property and the woman has entirely disappeared.
Russian II. has also some peculiarities, though none which is difficult to explain. A youth named Hans receives three hundred rubles from his uncle, who has taken his inheritance, and goes into the world. In another province he ransoms with his whole stock of money an unbeliever, who is being bled by the people. He has the poor man baptised, but is not able to save his life, so sorely has he been wounded. The people, however, pay for proper burial. Hans goes on and is joined by an angel, who proposes that he take him as uncle and divide with him whatever they get while in one another's company. They come to a city where
the king proposes that Hans marry his daughter, and to this the hero agrees at his companion's advice, despite the protests of the citizens, who say that the princess has already strangled six bridegrooms. On the wedding night the uncle keeps watch, and slays a dragon which is approaching to kill the young man. After two months the pair set out for home with the uncle. On the way they are saved by the old man from robbers, and get a store of gold. When they arrive at the place where the uncle first appeared, he calls for a fulfilment of their agreement, and saws the bride asunder. Young dragons come out of her; but, when she has been washed and sprinkled with water, she is made whole. The angel thereupon parts with the couple.
For the burial of the dead we have in this tale the interesting substitution of an unsuccessful attempt of the hero to save a man's life by paying his entire inheritance as ransom. That the man dies and is buried shows how the change probably arose, Strangely enough, as in the case of Tobit, an angel appears in the rôle of the grateful dead, and, even more oddly, takes the form of the hero's uncle, who gave him the money with which he set forth on his journey. The recurrence of the angel in this and in one other variant 1 inclines me to the belief that the essential feature of the reward in the original story was that it came from heaven. The remainder of Russian II. has no characteristic unusual in the tales where the woman is actually divided to get rid of the snakes or dragons.
In Russian III. 2 the youngest of three brothers rescues a swimming coffin from the sea and takes it on his ship. From the coffin comes a man clothed in a white shirt, who enters the service of his rescuer, and helps him win a beautiful princess as wife. A six-headed dragon has hitherto killed all her bridegrooms on the wedding night,
but it is overcome by the hero through his obedience to the advice of his servant. The latter cleanses the bride's body of the dragon brood and goes away. Here the opening has been modified, though not beyond recognition, since the rescued man is clearly enough the grateful dead.
Russian IV., taken like the preceding from a folk-book, differs from that in only minor points, though the ampler form in which I have found it makes it of more importance. The three sons of a czar go out in separate ships to see the world. The youngest, named Sila, rescues a swimming coffin, which his brothers have not heeded, and buries it on shore. There he leaves his companions, and goes on alone till joined by a man dressed in a shroud, who says that he is the rescued corpse and proposes that Sila win a certain Princess Truda as wife by his aid. The hero is dismayed when he sees the walls of her city decorated with the heads of countless former suitors, but he is told by his servant not to fear. On the bridal night he is counselled to keep silence, and, when his wife presses her hand on his breast, to beat her, as she is in league with a six-headed dragon. Sila obeys, the dragon appears, and the servant cuts off two of its heads. Two more heads are cut off on the second night, and the remaining two on the third. The bride is not completely cleansed, however, till the end of a year, when the servant cuts her in two, burns the evil things that emerge from her body, and sprinkles her with living water to make her well again. He then disappears.
Here the grateful dead appears with perfect clearness, as he did not in Russian III. The course of events by which the lady is won does not differ materially from that of Russian II. Presumably III. would follow the same procedure, had we an adequate summary. III. and IV. are like I., and different from II., in omitting
all mention of any division of property or of the woman between hero and assistant. The division for the sake of cleansing in IV. is, however, actual.
Not without contamination from another source, Russian V. and VI. still belong to the class containing variants with The Poison Maiden. In Russian V. the only son of a rich man went out into the world to seek his fortune. On the road he gave a large sum of money for two horses. Later he stopped at an inn, where the widow of the landlord was weeping because she had no money to pay the debts of her husband, who was cursed by all the people, though he had been dead two years. The hero gave all his money to save the memory of the dead man, and proceeded. Soon he met two unsatisfied creditors, who still cursed the dead landlord, and to them he gave his two horses. Not long afterward he was joined by a man, who accompanied him on condition of receiving half of what they might win together. They came to a place where a lord offered a thousand rubles to anyone who would watch his daughter's corpse over night in a chapel. The hero undertook the adventure, and received payment in advance. At dark his companion came to him, and gave him a cross as protection. At midnight the lady came out of her coffin, but could not find the man because he held the cross. The same adventure was repeated the next night. On the third night the hero, according to his companion's advice, got into the coffin when the vampire rose, and would not get out for all her entreaties, being protected by the cross. So in the morning both were found alive, and were betrothed. Then came the companion, cut the maiden into halves, took out her entrails, and put her together again, when she became very beautiful. Next day he called the hero aside, explained his identity with the dead landlord, and disappeared.
Russian VI. differs from the above in several points,
but is closely allied to it. There were two brothers, one good and the other stingy. The former expended in benevolence all his wealth, save a hundred rubles, while the latter grew richer and richer. A poor man borrowed a hundred rubles from the miser, calling St. George as witness that he would pay; but he died in debt. The rich brother came to the widow, and said that he would get his money from St. George if not from the dead man. He pulled down an image of the saint from the wall, dug up the corpse, and spat upon them both. At this juncture the good brother came by, and gave his last hundred rubles to put the matter right. He then went to a large city, where the king's daughter had eaten all the deacons who watched with her dead body. So when volunteers were called for to stay with her, the hero offered to undertake the task at the advice of an old man, who promised to pray for his safety on condition of receiving half his winnings. He received payment in advance from the king, and divided with the old man, by whom he was given a sanctified coal, a taper, a cross, and a scapulary, together with advice how to act. So he entered the chapel, lighted his taper, closed his eyes, made the sign of the cross, and enclosed himself in a circle marked with the coal near the head of the bier. At cockcrow the vampire came out all blue and grinning; but, though she yelled horribly, she could not touch the man in the circle, who put the cross in the coffin. At the second cockcrow she tried to get into the coffin, and unavailingly begged him to take out the cross. At the third cockcrow he put the scapulary on her, whereupon she rose and thanked him, promising to be his wife and servant. So in the morning the hero married her and received the kingdom from her father. To their chamber that night came the old man, and recalled the agreement to divide. He cut the lady into halves, minced her flesh on the table, and blew on the bits, whereupon she came
together more beautiful than ever. The helper then threw off his gaberdine, and showed himself to be St. George.
In the two stories just summarized The Grateful Dead is clear enough, though in VI. St. George has ousted the ghost from part of its proper functions, just as the angel does in Tobit, Russian II., and Simrock IV., God in Siberian, and various saints elsewhere. The introduction in VI. is a unique trait, as far as I know. In both the variants the main features of the theme appear without distortion, including the picturesque cleansing of the woman by actual division. The Poison Maiden, however, has been replaced by a story of similar character, but of different content, which I have not elsewhere found compounded with The Grateful Dead. A vampire infests a church (or a churchyard). A soldier is sent to watch nights, and to try to dislodge her. He successfully counters her tricks, and finally gets hold of something belonging to her, which he refuses to return. Thereupon she is reduced to submission, promises him happiness, and is married to him with the consent of the king. 1 This tale, it will be evident, bears a strong likeness to The Poison Maiden in the figure of the
heroine, though it certainly is independent. The vital difference between the two is the absence of any helping friend in the story of the vampire. Because of the lack of this figure it seems improbable that the tale was compounded with The Grateful Dead without the intermediary stage in which The Poison Maiden appears. I regard the vampire as usurping the place of the possessed maiden, and the two Russian variants as a secondary growth. Given the normal form of the compound as it appears in Russian II., for instance, there would be no difficulty in substituting an even more gruesome figure for that of the heroine there depicted, and in making the hero's danger lie in a prenuptial attack on her part.
The three Servian tales, which fall in this section, differ widely in their characteristics. The first of them, Servian II., 1 is the most nearly normal. Vlatko goes into the world to trade, but pays all his money to free from debt a corpse, which creditors are digging up in order to vent their spite upon it. He returns home, and is sent out again by his parents, receiving a greater sum of money and, from his mother, an apple by means of which he can tell the intentions of anyone who desires his friendship by the way. 2 He is joined by a man, who cuts the apple into two exact halves, and so is accepted as a friend. After Vlatko has prospered in trade, the friend proposes that he marry the emperor's daughter, with whom ninety-nine men have already died on the wedding night. Arrangements are made, and the friend keeps watch in the bridal chamber. During the night he cuts off the heads of three snakes, which come from the lady's mouth. Sometime afterwards all three set out for Vlatko's home; and on the way the hero divides his property with his friend.
[paragraph continues] Jestingly the latter proposes that they divide the wife, and, after blindfolding the husband, shakes her three times, when three dead snakes come out of her. Thereupon he disappears.
Like Armenian and Gypsy, this variant has the ghost cut off the head of the monster (here three snakes) that possesses the maiden. The actual division of the woman as it appears in those tales occurs here as a mere jest, which is the case with most of the European versions. 1
Servian III. has a more romantic character. The daughter of an emperor had been married thirteen times, but each of her bridegrooms had died on the wedding night. A certain prince, who had fallen in love with her through a dream, set out for her castle. On the way he paid the debts of a poor man, whose corpse was held by creditors, and buried him. Soon after, he was met by a man who became his servant, and won a castle for him by a wonderful adventure. After the wedding this man killed the snakes that came out of the bride, and also caused her to disgorge three snake eggs by threatening her with his drawn sword. He then disappeared.
This variant shows traces of foreign substance in the dream and the winning of the castle by the unrevealed companion. Possibly the latter trait unites it with the combined type of which The Water of Life is one of the elements. It will be noticed that the division of the property and of the woman is not brought into question, though the sword is used somewhat incongruously for the removal of the last traces of the heroine's snaky infestation. Thus, by an evident change in structure,
the identity of the hero's companion is never explained.
With Servian IV. 1 we encounter a most serious problem, which must receive special treatment later on, 2 the relation of The Grateful Dead to The Thankful Beasts theme. A poor youth three times set free a gold-fish which he had three times caught. Later he was cast out of his father's house and sent into the world. He was joined by a man, who swore friendship with him on a sword, and accompanied him to a city where many men had been mysteriously slain while undertaking to pass a night with the king's daughter. The hero undertook the adventure, and was saved by his companion, who cut off the head of a serpent that came from the princess's mouth. In the morning the youth was married to the lady, and divided all his property with his helper. On their way home the latter demanded half of the bride, and, while she was held by two servants, swung a sword above her. With a shriek she cast first two sections, and finally the tail, of a serpent from her mouth. Thereupon the friend leaped into the sea, for he was the gold-fish.
The burial of the dead has here been ousted by a good deed which the hero does to a gold-fish. That the trait is foreign to the type, however, seems clear. From the time when the companion appears to the hero, the story follows the normal course until the very end, when the man unexpectedly leaps into the sea. The thankful dead has been replaced by the thankful beast, but the tale really belongs to the present category, since otherwise it has all the characteristics of the type. Thus the division of the woman is almost precisely similar to that of Armenian and Gypsythat is, the sword is raised, and the woman disgorges the serpent with a scream. That it comes out piecemeal may be a faulty recollection
of the actual division. As so often, it is not stated that the companion made a share of the gains a condition of his help.
Bulgarian is in some respects very primitive, though fragmentary. A father sends his son out into the world to gain experience. The youth is joined by an archangel, who promises him assistance on condition that he will pay their joint expenses and will be obedient. The companion kills a negro and a serpent, and goes with the hero into their den, where the adventurers find, but leave, great treasure. They come to a city where the king's daughter has been thrice married, each time only to have her bridegroom die on the wedding night. Now she is to be given to any man who can live with her one night; and many wooers have died in the attempt. The youth offers himself as a suitor, and is saved by the archangel, who draws a serpent out of the woman. Later he helps the hero to get the wealth previously found in the cave, and demands the division of everything, even the wife. When he cuts her in two, many little snakes fall out of her body. He then unites her, and gives the hero all the riches they have obtained.
The burial of the dead has entirely disappeared, as will be observed, though the other traits of the story show that we must regard it as of the type now under consideration. The appearance of the archangel as companion, and the plunder which they take by the way, suggest the influence of Tobit, which indeed appears as a folk-tale in the same collection. 1 The conditions made by the angel are only slightly altered from the normal form, while every other feature is found intact, even to the actual division of the woman.
Esthonian II. has altogether lost the essential features of our theme; and it has besides put in several traits from a märchen, which, as we shall soon see, is joined
to ours with considerable frequency. The inclusion of this variant here is justified only by some vague traces indicating that the extraneous parts of the narrative have replaced others which, if preserved, would make it an ordinary representative of The Grateful Dead.
A certain couple had a weak-minded son, who could not learn. Wishing to get rid of him, the father took the boy into a forest and gave him gladly to an old man whom he chanced to meet. From the man the youth received books in foreign tongues, which he learned to read in a day. He then wandered till he came to a city, where lived a princess who was in the power of devils and went to church with them every night. The hero watched in the church for three nights, with three, six, and twelve candles, successively. Thus on the third night he freed the princess and married her, receiving half the kingdom. He then sought the old man, who told him to cut the woman in halves and divide her. The old man halved her himself, when there sprang out a serpent, a toad, and a lizard. After this he gave her back to her husband.
The obscurity of motivation in this tale makes apparent the extensive revision that it has undergone. The introduction is nowhere else found combined, as far as I know, with the stories of our cycle. The characteristics of The Poison Maiden are sufficiently evident in the conclusion; but there seems to be no way to account for the peculiar form of demonic possession, together with the actual division of the woman, except by supposing, with Dutz, 1 that the variant has lost the part concerning the burial of the dead man. If this be true, the story belongs in the category where it is here placed.
The Finnish variant 2 presents difficulties of a somewhat different sort. A merchant's son, to whom it has been foretold that he will marry a three-horned maiden,
goes abroad to escape this fate. There he sees the corpse of a debtor hanging nailed to a church wall, and insulted by the passers-by. He expends all but nine silver kopecks in rescuing the body, and turns homeward. He is joined by a companion, who makes the money last three days, and on the fourth arranges for him to marry the three-horned daughter of a king. On the wedding night the helper brings the hero fresh-cut twigs. By beating the maiden with these her blood is purified, the horns drop off, and she becomes very beautiful.
No new material is here introduced; but the handling is considerably changed, and the narrative abridged. The woman in the case is three-horned instead of possessed by snakes, nor is there any hint of harm to the bridegroom. A reminiscence of the division of the woman, though not of the dowry, appears in the beating which the ghostly companion gives her, whereby she is freed from her horns and made very beautiful. The variant appears to be weakened by frequent retelling.
Rumanian I. is more striking, since it has undergone both revision and addition. The only daughter of an emperor wears out twelve pairs of slippers every night, until her father offers her hand and the heirship of the kingdom to any man who can explain this extraordinary and costly habit. Many men of high birth and low make the attempt unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, a certain peasant, whose servant had died when his year of service was but half ended, had placed the body in a chest under the roof in revenge for his disappointment. The new servant had discovered this, and had given the corpse the rites due the dead, as far as permitted by his master. When he departs at the end of his year of service, the dead man comes from the earth, thanks him, and proposes that they swear on the cross to be brothers. So they do, and go on together till they come to an iron wood. The vampire breaks off a twig, and casts it to
the earth in the place where the emperor's daughter comes at night with the sons of the dragon. When she appears, she sees the broken twig, and is afraid. So she goes to the copper wood, where she sees another twig broken by the vampire, and hastens on to the place where the sons of the dragon dwell. It is in going so far that she wears out her slippers. When she comes to the place, and is about to sit down at table, she drops her handkerchief. The vampire, who has followed her from the copper wood in the form of a cat, takes it away, as he does also the spoon that falls from her hand and the ring that falls from her finger. He goes back to the copper wood with them, and explains everything to his friend. The latter takes them to the emperor and wins the lady.
This curious tale has several elements which make it difficult to classify. As far as the kindness to the dead goes, the matter is simple. Instead of an agreement between the companions to divide their gains, however, an oath of brotherhood is introduced. This is probably a local substitution, since it has long been a custom of the Slays of the south to swear brotherhood on the cross, 1 but it necessitates the further loss of important features at the end of the narrative such as the saving of the bridegroom on the wedding night and the division of the maiden (or some modification of that feature) by the vampire. Indeed, the heroine is rather enchanted than possessed. The whole series of acts by which she is freed introduces traits into the narrative which we have hitherto met only in Esthonian II. Were it not that they are repeated in all the other members of the group save Breton I., which we have still to consider, there would be considerable doubt about placing
this variant under the category of The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden. As it is, we can with security say that this and the following versions belong here. They have simply modified the normal form by the addition of certain elements from another theme.
The three Irish versions all have this form. In Irish I. a king's son, while hunting, pays five pounds to the creditors of a dead man, so that he may be buried. Later the prince kills a raven, and declares that he will marry only that woman who has hair as black as the raven, skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood upon the snow. 1 On his way to find her he meets a red-haired youth, who takes service with him for half of what they may gain in a year and a day. The youth obtains for him from various giants by threats of what his master will do 2 horses of gold and silver, a sword of light, a cloak of darkness, and the slippery shoes. When they come to the castle of the maiden, he helps the Prince to keep over night a comb and a pair of scissors in spite of enchantment, and he obtains at her bidding the lips of the giant enchanter, which are the last that she has kissed. He then tells the prince and the maiden's father to strike her three times, when three devils come from her mouth in fire. So the prince marries her, and is ready at the end of a year and a day to divide his child 3 at the servant's command. But the latter explains that he is the soul of the dead man, and disappears.
Irish II. differs little except in details from the above. The king of Ireland's son sets forth to find a woman with hair as black as the raven, skin as white as snow,
and cheeks as red as blood. Ten pounds of the twenty which he takes with him he pays to release the corpse of a man on which writs are laid. He meets a short green man, who goes with him for his wife's first kiss; and he comes upon a gunner, a man listening to the growing grass, a swift runner, a man blowing a windmill with one nostril, and a strong man, all of whom accompany him for the promise of a house and garden apiece. After various adventures in the castles of giants, they arrive in the east, where the prince's lady dwells. She says that her suitor must loose her geasa from her before she can marry him. With the help of the short green man he gives her the scissors, the comb, and the King of Porson's head, which she requires. He is then told to get three bottles of healing water from the well of the western world. The runner sets out for them, and is stopped and put to sleep by an old hag on the way back; but the earman hears him snoring, the gunman sees him and wakes him up, and the windman keeps the hag back till he returns. Finally the strong man crushes three miles of steel needles so that the prince can walk over them. Thus the bride is won. The short green man claims the first kiss, and finds her full of serpents, which he picks out of her. He then tells the youth that he is the man who was in the coffin, and disappears with his fellows.
In Irish III. three brothers set out from home with three pounds apiece. The youngest gives his all to pay a dead man's debts to three giants. He shares his food with a poor man, who offers to be his servant, saying that the corpse was his brother, and had appeared to him in a dream. 1 Jack the servant frightens the first giant into giving up his sword of sharpness, the second giant his cloak of darkness, and the third giant his shoes
of swiftness. The two Jacks come to the castle of a king, whose daughter has to be wooed by accomplishing three tasks. Jack the servant follows the princess in the cloak of darkness to the demon king of Moróco and rescues her scissors. Next day Jack the master runs a race with the king and beats him because shod with the shoes of swiftness. That night Jack the servant goes again to the demon king and cuts off his head with the sword of sharpness, thus accomplishing the third task. So Jack the master marries the princess.
These three variants make evident the nature of the foreign material in Esthonian II. and Rumanian I. The whole sub-group, indeed, has in combination with The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden important elements from the themes of The Water of Life and The Lady and the Monster. These features will be considered in detail in a later chapter, 1 when we study the general type The Grateful Dead + The Water of Life. For the present it is enough to indicate how the addition has affected the type with which we are immediately concerned.
Of the three Irish tales, the first two have best preserved the characteristics of the compound as found in Asia and Eastern Europe. Irish I. has all the essential features of Armenian and Gypsy,for example, the burial, the agreement to divide what is gained, and the removal of the evil things by which the woman is possessed. To be sure, the latter are devils, not serpents, and the woman is beaten, not divided. Yet the division appears in another form, since the hero is ready to share his child with the red-haired man, a trait connected with the theme of Amis and Amiloun. 2 Irish II. is in some respects more changed, and in some respects less, than Irish I. The agreement to divide is changed to a promise that the green man shall have the first kiss of
the bride. On the other hand, the serpents in the woman's body are retained, a trait which is very primitive and very important in enabling us to identify the position of these variants. Irish III. has lost most of the typical features of the compound. Kennedy's evidence shows that Jack the servant is to be regarded as really the thankful dead; but the agreement to divide the gains and the removal of the demons or serpents have entirely disappeared under pressure from the secondary theme, the essential idea of which is the accomplishment by the hero of certain unspelling tasks. In conjunction with the other two variants, however, the position of Irish III. is clear.
Very different from the Irish tales is Breton I., since under the influence of a tendency very common in Brittany, the narrative has become a Mary legend and has lost its clearness of outline in the process. Yet it really belongs to this group, replacing by a dragon-fight and a rescue of the hero from the villain the cleansing of the bride. At least, I am led to the belief that such is the case by the fact that the story fits into no other category. Nor is it surprising that the position of the tale should be obscure in view of the grotesque transformation which it has undergone.
A youth named Mao pays all his money to have the body of a beggar interred. The spirit of the dead man helps him win the daughter of a rich man after killing a dragon in the stables. The lady's treacherous cousin tries to burn him alive in an old mill, whence he is saved by the ghost. He forgives the man, and is tricked into promising him half of all his possessions in order to save his wife. When a son is born, the villain demands its division. At the hero's appeal, the Virgin comes with the ghost and takes Mao and his family to heaven, while the cousin is sent to hell.
Norwegian II. and Danish III. stand together, since the relation of the latter (Andersen's Reisekammeraten) to the former is simply that of a literary redaction to its original. A brief analysis of each is, however, necessary.
In Norwegian II. a young peasant on account of a dream sets forth to win the hand of a princess. On his way he gives most of his money to bury a dishonest tapster, who has been executed and left frozen in a block of ice outside a church for passers-by to spit upon. As he proceeds, the youth is joined by the ghost of the tapster, who accompanies him. They go to a hill, where they get a magic sword from one witch, a golden ball of yarn from another, and a magical hat from a third. Of the yarn they make a bridge, and so come to the princess's castle. The hero is told to keep her scissors overnight and loses them; but the companion rides behind the princess on her goat in the hat of invisibility, when she goes to her troll lover, and so rescues them. The hero is told to keep a golden ball overnight, and the same adventure is repeated. The hero is then told to bring what the princess is thinking of. The companion rides again with the princess and beats her with his sword, gets the troll's head for his master, and so enables him to win the lady. On the wedding night the hero flogs his wife at the advice of the companion, only just in time to save himself, indeed, as she is about to kill him with a butcher-knife. He dips her into a tub of whey, whence she comes out black as a raven, but after a rubbing with buttermilk and new milk she becomes very beautiful. The companion discovers his identity and disappears.
In Danish III. poor John, whose father has died, dreams of a beautiful princess, and sets forth to find her. He does various kind deeds by the way, and one night takes refuge from the storm in a church. There
he sees two evil men dragging a corpse from its coffin, and pays his all that it may be buried. He is joined by the ghost of the dead man, who accompanies him. They get three rods from an old woman, who is healed by the comrade's salve, and they come to a city, where they get a sword from a showman, whose puppets are made alive by the salve. They come to a mountain, where the companion cuts off the wings of a great white swan and carries them along. They come at length to the city of the beautiful princess, who is a witch. Anyone can marry her who guesses three things, but every man who has tried has failed and been killed. John tells the king that he will try to win her, and is told to come the next day. In the night the comrade puts on the wings of the swan, takes the largest of the rods, and follows the princess when she flies out to the palace of her wizard lover. There he hears that she is to think of her shoe when her suitor comes in the morning. All the way to the mountain and back the comrade beats her so that the blood flows. The next morning he tells John to guess her shoe when asked what she has thought of. Everyone save the princess rejoices when the youth guesses right. The next night the companion beats the princess with two rods as she flies, and learns that she is to think of her glove. Again everyone is pleased with John's answer. The third night the companion takes all three rods and the sword. He cuts off the wizard's head when he learns that the princess is to think of that, and he gives it to John, wrapped in a handkerchief. John produces this when asked by the Princess what she has thought about, and so he wins her. That night, at the bidding of the companion, he dips her three times in a tub of water, into which have been shaken three swan's feathers and some drops from a flask. The first time she becomes a black swan, the second a white swan, and the third a more
beautiful princess than ever. The next day the comrade explains his identity and disappears.
It will be seen that Andersen simply embroidered the Norwegian tale as was his wont, adding a good many picturesque details, and softening some features. The changes do not materially affect the course of the narrative, nor need they delay us here, interesting though they are of themselves, 1 since the position of the variant with reference to the story-type under consideration is perfectly clear. Norwegian II. demands further attention. Like Esthonian II., Rumanian I., and Irish I., II., and III., it has the form The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden + The Water of Life. The burial of the dead is undisturbed, but the agreement between the companions to divide their gains has entirely disappeared, perhaps because the secondary theme takes so large a place. The removal of the poisonous habitants of the bride is clearly indicated, though it has been weakened into a flogging, which is given, however, only just in time to save the bridegroom from death. The subsequent milk bath seems to show a conflict between the conclusions of the two subsidiary motivesthe end of The Poison Maiden being release from something like demonic possession, and that of The Water of Life in this form being release from a spellthough perhaps the bath is only a reduplication of the purifying process.
Simrock X. is not unlike the two variants just cited. A king's son wastes his property, and is sent out to shift for himself. He pays the debts of a naked corpse, and has only enough money left to pay his reckoning at his inn. So he takes the body to a wood, and buries it there. As he goes his way, he is met by a man, who becomes his follower and secures three rods, a sword, and a pair of wings from a dead raven. They come to
a castle, where to win the king's daughter the prince has to guess her thoughts for three days in succession. The companion flies with her each night when she goes to her wizard for counsel, and learns that the prince must say "bread," "the princess's jewels," and "the wizard's head" in turn. On the last night he cuts off the wizard's head and brings it to his master, who displays it at court and so breaks the spell. When the couple are married, the companion explains that he is the spirit of the dead man, and disappears.
This variant obviously belongs to the same type as those preceding. As in Irish I. and II. the hero is a prince instead of a youth of low birth; but there is no general uniformity in this trait. The agreement of division and the violent dispossession of the heroine have disappeared. Indeed, so far has The Water of Life supplanted the other motives that the position of the tale is only evident when it is placed side by side with other versions of the same class. When so considered, however, the peculiar features of the succession of feats by which the bride is won appear very prominently, and establish the type.
Harz I. stands closer to Norwegian II. than the preceding. A youth pays his all for the burial of a poor man, whose ghost joins him. They go to a city, where a bespelled princess kills all her suitors who cannot answer a riddle. The companion spirit tells the youth to save her, explaining his own identity. He gives wings and an iron rod to the hero, who flies with the princess to a mountain spirit, and hears that he must guess that she is thinking of her father's white horse. The next night the youth follows her with two rods and is thus enabled to guess that she is thinking of her father's sword. The third night he follows her with two rods and a sword, with which he cuts off the monster's head. This he shows her in the morning when asked
the usual question, and so he breaks the spell. On the wedding night he dips her thrice in water. The first time she comes from the bath a raven, the second time a dove, and the third time in her own shape, but purified.
The burial is here retained, but the agreement is entirely lost. Though the variant follows Norwegian II. in general, even to such details as the preliminary beating of the lady, and the bath of final purification, the important trait of flogging the bride, by which the hero is saved on the wedding night, has altogether disappeared. Like Simrock X., the tale has obscured the first of the two secondary themes for the benefit of the second. Its position seems sure, however, as a member of the little group now being considered.
Jack the Giant-Killer clearly belongs to this group, approaching Irish I. in form. The earliest complete version that I know is unfortunately not older than the eighteenth century, and perhaps has lost several features of interest which might be found in earlier forms. King Arthur's son sets forth to free a lady possessed of seven spirits. At a market town in Wales he pays almost all his money to release the body of a man who died in debt. He gives his last twopence to an old woman, who meets him after he has left the town. Jack the Giant-Killer is so pleased with these good deeds that he becomes the prince's servant. They go to a giant's castle together. Jack tells the giant that a mighty prince is coming 1 and locks him up, so that the two take all his gold. Jack takes also an old coat and cap, a rusty sword, and a pair of slippers. They arrive at the lady's house. She tells the prince to show her in the morning a handkerchief, which she conceals in her dress. By putting on the coat of darkness, and the shoes of swiftness, and following her when she goes to
her demon lover, Jack gets the handkerchief for his master. Next day the lady tells the prince to get the lips which she will kiss the last that night. Jack follows her again and cuts off the demon's head, which the prince produces, thus breaking the spell that has bound her to the evil spirits.
This variant, even in what is probably a mutilated state, is strikingly similar to Irish I. in such details as the means used to follow the lady, and the tasks imposed upon the suitor. Indeed, the fact that the adventures take place in Wales might lead one to suppose that the story in this form was Celtic, were not the knowledge of it so persistent in England also. Several features are obscured, at least in the form from which I cite. Though the burial of the dead is given clearly enough, and the fact that the lady is possessed is insisted on, the prince is kind to an old woman as well as to a dead man, and Jack is certainly not understood to be a ghost. All mention of an agreement between the companions, and of the means taken to free the heroine from her possession by dividing her or flogging her, has likewise disappeared. However, the correspondence both in outline and in detail with Irish I. is sufficient to establish the position of the variant.
In the Old Wives Tale the theme of The Grateful Dead is imbedded in such a mass of folk-lore and folk-tales that it is quite impossible to restore adequately the narrative as Peele found it. He treated the story as a literary artist, of course, modifying and adding details to suit the scheme of his play. The outline of the story, as Peele gives it, is as follows: A king, or a lord, or a duke, has a daughter as white as snow and as red as blood, who is carried off by a conjurer in the form of a dragon. Her two brothers set forth to seek her, and by a cross meet an old man named Erestus, who calls himself the White Bear of England's Wood.
[paragraph continues] He, they learn, has been enchanted by the conjurer, and is a man by day and a bear by night. He tells them of his own troubles, and gives them good advice. Later he is met by the wandering knight Eumenides, who likewise is seeking the lady Delia and is counselled:
[paragraph continues] Eumenides pays all his money except three farthings to bury the body of Jack, while the conjurer compels Delia to goad her brothers at the work to which he has set them. Eumenides is overtaken by the ghost of Jack, who becomes his servant, or "copartner," provides him with money, and slays the conjurer while invisible, thus breaking the spell of all the enchanted persons. Jack then demands his half of Delia, refuses to take her whole, and, when Eumenides prepares to cut her in twain, explains that he has asked this only as a trial of constancy. He quickly disappears.
Dutz has already shown 1 that Old Wives Tale has three of the essential features of The Grateful Dead, viz.: the burial of the dead with the peculiar prophetic advice of Erestus, the reward of the hero by assistance in getting a wife, and the sharing of the woman. Because of the non-schematic nature of his discussion he did not make any attempt to classify the variant more specifically. In his edition of the play, 2 Professor Gummere, in indicating some of the folk-lore which Peele used, has likewise called attention 3 to the connection with our theme. Of particular importance is his hint as to the likeness of the variant to the story which I call Irish III. It is practicable, however, to carry the matter somewhat further. The adventures of Delia, Eumenides, and Jack are all that really concern us. It will be seen that
these conform in essentials to the type under consideration. There is the burial, the agreement, the death of the wizard, and the division. To be sure, as in other instances, the dispossession of the woman has been obscured by other elements; yet the type is unmistakable, it seems to me. One trait in particular connects Old Wives Tale with Irish I. and II. In all three the hero seeks a maiden who is white as snow and red as blood. On the other hand, the ghost is called Jack as in Irish III. and the English tale which bears Jack's name. Because of these similarities and discrepancies one is forced to conclude that for this part of his play Peele drew upon some version of Jack the Giant-Killer, which was far better preserved than the forms known to-day. His original must have had many points in common with the tale as extant in Ireland, though we need not believe that he knew it in other than English dress.
It yet remains to consider the relations of the two sets of variants discussed in this chapter to The Poison Maiden and to one another. The group is peculiar in that all the members of it are folk-tales, save three: Tobit, Danish III. and Old Wives Tale. The two latter are, however, immediately derived from popular narratives of an easily discernible type. Thus Tobit is an anomaly from almost any point of view, obscure in its origin and possessed of only trivial influence upon the other tales belonging to the same group. Of the twenty-six variants, fifteen have The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden simply, while the other eleven add thereto more or less distinct elements of The Water of Life.
In the following versions the hero is saved on the wedding night, or the bride is purified by some means: Tobit, Armenian, Gypsy, Siberian, Russian I., Russian II., Russian III., Russian IV., Russian V., Russian VI., Servian II., Servian III., Servian IV., Bulgarian,
[paragraph continues] Esthonian II., Irish I., Irish II., Danish III., Norwegian II., and Harz I. Not all the stories which I have placed in the group, it will be observed, have this feature; but, out of all the variants of The Grateful Dead enumerated in the bibliographical list, not one has it except members of the group. Now this purification of the bride, by means of which the hero is saved, is precisely the element of The Poison Maiden which is most essential. There can be no doubt, therefore, that this theme actually united with a more primitive form of The Grateful Dead to form the compound discussed in this chapter. The combination must have been made very early and in Asia, as Tobit and Armenian bear witness. It will be noted that all the variants, save Finnish, which have the simple compound, retain the rescue of the bridegroom, while only half of those where a subsidiary motive has been introduced have the like, Apparently the intrusion of new matter of a very romantic sort tended to obscure the original climax of the combined type.
Another feature of much importance in this connection is the division of the woman, or whatever is substituted for it. In a large majority of the variants studied, which have the trait at all, the purpose of the division proposed or accomplished is to test the fidelity of the hero. Hippe believed 1 that this was a modification of the original trait, an opinion which would be justified if the compound type The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden only were considered. The versions which have the purification are the following: Armenian, Gypsy, Siberian, Russian II., Russian IV., Russian V., Russian VI., Servian II., Servian III., Servian IV., Bulgarian, Esthonian II., Finnish, Irish I., Irish II., and Old Wives Tale. In these the purpose of the division, or beating, whether actually performed or not, is the disposal of
serpents or other venomous creatures by which the woman is possessed. 1 It will be noted, however, that all of these variants are of the type treated in the present chapter. If the division for the sake of purification were then regarded as more primitive and older than the division for the sake of sharing the gains or of testing the hero, it would naturally follow that all the combined types must proceed from The Grateful Dead + The Poison Maiden. Hippe followed the logical course from his premises in so regarding the relationship of the groups. 2 However, it seems clear to meand it will be increasingly evident as we study the other groupsthat the division for purification belongs solely to the compound treated in this chapter. It would follow logically from combining The Poison Maiden, where a friend saves the hero from the fatal embraces of a woman, with The Grateful Dead, where the hero is willing to divide his wife to satisfy the agreement which he has made with his benefactor. Only by such an explanation is it possible to account for the development of the several groups from a common root. The barbarous character of the division for purification, and the softening which it has undergone in the group which we have been studying, give it an appearance of antiquity to which it has no right. In point of fact, it belongs only to this group, which is thus clearly set off from all the others as an independent branch. The division for the sake of fulfilling an obligation is more widespread, though it has suffered many modifications.
44:1 See pp. 1 and 2.
44:2 P. 181.
44:3 Abhandlungen der k. bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1893, pp. 89-166. Reprinted, with some additional notes by the editor, in Gesammelte Abhandlungen von Wilhelm Hertz, ed. F. von der Leyen, 1905, pp. 156-277.
45:1 The existing versions go back to the pseudo-Aristotelian De secretis secretorum or De regimine principum, which was taken from the Arabic in the twelfth century (Hertz, p. 92). It is probable, however, that the tale existed far earlier than this and came from India (Hertz, pp. 151-155).
45:2 Pp. 115 ff.
45:3 Two Asiatic parallels not cited by Hertz will serve to illustrate the theme further. One of these is "The Story of Swet-Basanta" from Lal Behari Day, Folk-tales of Bengal, 1883, pp. 100 f. The hero is found by an elephant and made king of a land, where the successive sovereigns are killed every night mysteriously. He watches and sees something like a thread coming from the queen's nostrils. This proves to be a great serpent, which he kills, thus remaining as king. The other is from J. H. Knowles, Folk-tales of Kashmir, 1888, pp. 32 ff., "A Lach of Rupees for a Bit of Advice." A prince pays a lach of rupees for a paper containing four rules of conduct. His father exiles him for this extravagance. In his wanderings the prince finds a potter alternately laughing and crying because his son must soon marry a princess, who has to be wedded anew each night. So the prince marries the woman instead and kills two serpents that come from her nostrils, thus retaining the kingdom. In these two stories there is no question of aid coming to the hero; he is saved by his own watchfulness.
46:1 Tobit, Danish III. (Andersen's tale), and Peele's Old Wives Tale.
47:1 For example, it appears in Schischmánoff's Légendes religieuses bulgares, 1896, pp. 194-201, side by side with our Bulgarian tale.
47:2 I summarise from Köhler's reprint in Germania, iii. pp. 202 ff.
48:1 Paspati's tale on pp. 605 ff. also has a dragon slain on a wedding night by a youth, who keeps watch. This single trait in a totally different setting must be borrowed from a Gypsy form of the simple or compound theme.
49:1 See Annamite, Greek, Oliver, and Walewein. There is something approaching it in Rumanian I.
49:2 Icelandic I.
50:1 Simrock IV.
50:2 See Hippe, p. 145.
54:1 References to this story have been collected by G. Polívka, and printed in Archiv f. slav. Phil. xix. 251, in citing our Russian V. He says: "Vgl. Романовъ, iv. S. 124, Nr. 65; Weryho, Pod. białoruskie, S. 46; Худяковъ, i. Nr. 11, 12; Садовниковъ, S. 44, 310; Манжура, 61; Драгомановъ Мапор. Преп, S. 268 f.; Dowojna Sylwestrowicz, ii. 129 f.; Karłowicz, Nr. 19; Kolberg, viii. S. 138 f., Nr. 55, 56; xiv. S. 72 f., Nr. 16, 17; Ciszewski, i. Nr. 128; Kulda, iii. Nr. 14; Strohal, Nr. 18, 19; Kres, iv. S. 350, Nr. 19; Tb. Vernaleken, Oesterr. K.H.M. S. 44f.; Ul. Jahn, i. 92, 356; Pröhle, Märchen für die Jugend, S. 42; Wolf, D.H.M. 258 f.; Sébillot, Contes des marins, S. 38." As far as I have been able to ascertain, these references are all to the tale sketched above, uncompounded with The Grateful Dead. I must thank Professor Wiener for my knowledge of the Slavic forms, which he very generously examined for me as far as the books were available, viz. Romanov, Khudyakov, Sadovnikov, Manžura, Dragomanov, Sylwestrowicz, and Kolberg.
55:1 See Hippe, pp. 145 f.
55:2 For the test of friendship with an apple, see Köhler's notes in Gonzenbach, Sicil. Märchen, ii. 259 f., and in Arch. f. slav. Phil. v. 44 ff.
56:1 Hippe is in error, however, when he says (p. 178) that the division is everywhere modified in the European variants. See Russian II., IV., V. and VI., Bulgarian, and Esthonian II. Moreover, I believe that Hippe's theory puts the cart before the horsethat the actual division is not so ancient a trait as it seems. See pp. 74, 75 below.
57:1 See Hippe, p. 246.
57:2 See chapter vii.
58:1 See p. 47, note, above.
59:1 P. 19.
59:2 See Hippe, pp. 148 f.
61:1 See note by Schott, p. 473, in which he gives evidence based on personal knowledge, and Grimm, Geschichte der deutschen Sprache, p. 92. I have touched on the matter in Engl. Stud. xxxvi. 195-201.
62:1 This trait is found not infrequently in other settings. See, for example, Vernaleken, Oesterreichische Kinder- and Hausmärchen, p. 141.
62:2 This trait recalls Puss in Boots, which is otherwise compounded with The Grateful Dead. See preceding chapter, p. 42, and p. 70 below.
62:3 See chapter vii.
63:1 Kennedy says, p. 38: "In some versions of 'Jack the Master,' etc., Jack the servant is the spirit of the dead man."
64:1 Chapter vi.
64:2 See chapter vii.
68:1 The three rods with which the princess is flogged are found in Harz I. See pp. 69, 70 below.
70:1 See p. 62, note 2.
72:1 Pp. 10 f.
72:2 Gayley, Representative English Comedies, 1903, pp. 333-384.
72:3 P. 345.
74:1 Pp. 176-178.
75:1 Russian V. and VI. are, of course, exceptions, since the woman is there a vampire.
75:2 See his scheme on page 181.