Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/124

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108
The Grateful Dead.

they meet one of the king's ships, and go aboard. The hero is cast into the sea by the captain, but is saved by a black fellow and brought back to the ship. Again he is cast overboard. When the princess arrives at home, she agrees to marry whoever can paint three rooms to her liking. The hero, meanwhile, is again saved by the black man, and in return for the promise of his first child on its twelfth birthday he is given the power of obtaining his wishes. After a year and a day he is taken to court by his friend, where by wishing he paints the three rooms, the third with the story of his life. So he is recognized. On the twelfth birthday of his first child the black man comes to him and is offered the boy, but instead of taking him explains his identity.

As far as The Grateful Dead, The Ransomed Woman, and the sacrifice of the child are concerned, this follows the normal course of events, except perhaps as to the child, of actually dividing which there is no question. Like Lithuanian II., Jean de Calais III., IV., V., and X., Basque II., and Norwegian I, it makes the hero and heroine set out for her father's court together and of their own free will.[1] The colour of the thankful dead is a peculiar trait. Yet the element which complicates the question, as mentioned above, is the feat by which the hero obtains his wife. If I am not mistaken, this allies the variant on one side with stories of the type of The Water of Life, where the bride is gained by the performance of some task obviously set as impossible. The questions involving the relations of such motives with The Grateful Dead will occupy the next chapter, so that it needs simply to be mentioned at this point.

In Simrock II. a miller's son goes with merchandise to England. In London he pays all his money for the debts and the burial of a poor man. He is again sent to England by his father, and this time he gives his

  1. In Jean de Calais IX. they set out together, but to the hero's home.