Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/18

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The Grateful Dead.

range of his material, as later studies have shown. Nearly all the versions he cited have the motive of a ransomed princess, though the majority of the stories now known to be members of the cycle do not contain it.

Three years after the publication of Simrock's monograph Benfey treated some features of the theme in a note appended to his discussion of The Thankful Beasts in the monumental Pantschatantra[1] Though he named but a few variants, he found an Armenian tale which he compared with the European versions, coming to the conclusion not only that the motive proceeded from the Orient but also that the Armenian version had the original form of it. That is, he took the ransom and burial of the dead, the parting of a woman possessed by a serpent, and the saving of the hero on the bridal night as the essential features. This was a step in advance.

George Stephens in his edition of Sir Amadas[2] held much the same view. He added several important versions, and scored Simrock for admitting Der gute Gerhard, saying that he could not see that it had "any direct connection" with The Grateful Dead.[3] He was at least partly in the right, even though his statement was misleading. According to his opinion,[4] "the peculiar feature of the Princess (Maiden) being freed from demonic influence by celestial aid, is undoubtedly the original form of the tale."

In a series of notes beginning in the year 1858 Köhler[5] supplied a large number of variants, which have been invaluable for succeeding study of the theme. Nowhere,

  1. 1859, i. 219-221.
  2. Ghost-Thanks or The Grateful Unburied, A Mythic Tale in its Oldest European Form, Sir Amadace, 1860.
  3. P. 7.
  4. P. 9.
  5. Germania, iii. 199-210, xii. 55 ff.; Or. u. Occ. ii. 322-329, iii. 93-103; Arch. f. Slav. Phil. ii. 631-634, v. 40 ff.; Gonzenbach, Sicilianische Märchen, 1870, ii. 248-250.