Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/98

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82
The Grateful Dead.

by a song; and, by the aid of the two minstrels, he wins her hand in a tournament. Later the two friends reveal themselves as the saints whose bones he had rescued from the Moors.

Though this version clearly belongs in the category now under discussion, it has certain features that can be explained only on the supposition that Trancoso altered his source to suit his personal fancy. The clever substitute for actual burial, the duplication of that trait (which occurs nowhere else), the humorous touch with reference to the hero's success in selling relics, and the appearance of the ghosts as minstrels, are all strokes of individual invention. The wanderings of the hero and his manner of revealing himself to the princess are doubtless reminiscences from the popular romances of Spain, while the tournament probably comes, as Menéndez y Pelayo hints,[1] from an earlier version of our theme, Oliver, which will be treated below. In spite of these peculiarities, the ordinary features of the combined theme are not more obscured than in the two preceding variants. The agreement, the division, and the rescue are the only ones that disappear.

In the fourteenth century variant from Scala Celi, Nicholas, our story is altogether transformed into a legend. The only son of a widow[2] of Bordeaux is sent as a merchant to a distant city with fifty pounds. He gives it all to help rebuild a church of St. Nicholas, and returns home empty-handed. Much later he is sent out with one hundred pounds, and buys the Sultan's daughter. His mother disowns him, and he is supported by the embroidery which the princess makes. With her wares he goes to a festival at Alexandria, but, at her bidding, keeps away from the castle. When he journeys to

  1. Origenes de la Novela, ii. xcv.
  2. An odd inconsistency appears in the statement of the Latin that after the hero's second voyage "pater suus et mater" were angry with him.