Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/65

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49
The Poison Maiden.

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

  1. See Annamite, Greek, Oliver, and Walewein. There is something approaching it in Rumanian I.
  2. Icelandic I.