Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/42

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CHAPTER III.


TALES WITH THE SIMPLE THEME AND MISCELLANEOUS COMBINATIONS.


Of the tales enumerated in the previous chapter, over one hundred in number, all but seventeen fall into well-defined categories as having The Grateful Dead combined with one or more of three given themes: The Possessed Woman, The Ransomed Woman, and The Water of Life. Of these seventeen variants, moreover, only four can be regarded as having the simple motive of The Grateful Dead; and they are in part doubtful members of the family.

The first of them is Simonides, thus related by Cicero: "Unum de Simonide: qui cum ignotum quendam proiectum mortuum vidisisset eumque humavisset haberetque in animo navem conscendere, moneri visus est ne id faceret ab eo, quem sepultura adfecerat; si navigavisset, eum naufragio esse periturum; itaque Simonidem redisse, perisse ceteros, qui tum navigavissent." The source of Cicero's story we do not know, but in all probability it was Greek. Whether it really belongs to our cycle, being so simple in form and nearly two centuries earlier in date than any other version yet unearthed, is a matter for very great doubt. It may have arisen quite independently of other similar tales in various parts of the world, and have no essential connection with our tale; but it deserves special consideration, not only from its antiquity, but also from its subsequent history in lineal descent through Valerius