Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/94

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78
The Grateful Dead.

reunited with his wife. After renouncing his claim, the old man explains who he is, and disappears.

The most striking peculiarity of the variant is the loss of the burial, for which appears rather awkwardly the ransoming of some peasants on the hero's second voyage. That substitution has occurred is apparent, however, both from the clumsiness of the device by which the original trait is replaced, and from the angel in the form of an old man, who takes the rôle of the ghost. It will be remembered that the same substitution has already been met with in the case of Tobit and Russian II.

In Lithuanian I. is found a variant which, as we shall find, is of a common type. A king's son pays three hundred gold-pieces, all that he possesses, to release a dead man from his creditors and have him buried. The hero then becomes a merchant, and finds a princess on an island, whither she has been driven by a storm. He takes her to a city, where he makes his home, and marries her. A messenger, sent out by her father to seek her, arrives, takes them aboard ship, and pitches the hero into the sea in order to obtain the offered reward. He is saved by a man in a boat, who says that he is the ghost of the dead, and instructs him how to rejoin his bride. So everything ends happily.

The events as here related follow a very normal course, which is repeated again and again in stories of this type: a burial, a ransom, an act of treachery, a rescue by the ghost, and a happy reunion of the lovers. The agreement between the hero and the ghost, which is found in Servian I., and very frequently elsewhere, is lacking, however. A peculiarity of the variant is the change in status of the hero. He is a prince, but becomes a merchant, thus uniting the two characters given him in the other tales of this class.

Hungarian II. is in some respects more interesting than the variant just cited. A merchant's son while in