Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/96

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80
The Grateful Dead.

have two children. When the old man comes back at the end of seven years, the hero gives up one of his children, and, after offering her whole, is ready to divide his wife. The old man renounces his claim, and disappears.

Every step in the narrative is here clearly marked, even to the conditional agreement with the ghost, which so frequently is wanting. The variant thus appears to be entirely normal as far as The Grateful Dead goes, though it does not have the rescue by the ghost—an important feature of The Ransomed Woman.

In Catalan[1] a young man on a journey has a poor man buried at his expense, and ransoms a princess. Later he goes to the court of her parents with a flag on which she has embroidered her name. They recognise this, and send the youth back for the lady. On the way he is cast into the sea by the sailors, but is saved by the thankful dead and brought to the court again, where he espouses the princess.

In Spanish[2] a young Venetian merchant pays the debts of a Christian at Tunis, and has him buried. At the house of the creditor he also buys a Christian slave girl. He takes her back to Venice and marries her. At the wedding a sea-captain recognizes the lady, and lures the couple aboard his ship. The young man is cast into the sea, but by clinging to a plank reaches land, where he lives seven months with a hermit. At the end of that time he is sent to the coast, where he finds a ship, and is transported to Ireland. There he is entrusted by the captain with two letters to the king. The one says that he is a great physician, who will heal the sick princess; the other that the plank, the hermit, and the captain who has brought him to Ireland are one and all the ghost of the man whom he buried. The hero is recognized at court by the princess, who has

  1. See Hippe, p. 151.
  2. Ibid.