Page:The Grateful Dead.djvu/99

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The Ransomed Woman.

Alexandria a second time, however, he goes to the castle and is imprisoned, as the handiwork of the princess is recognized. She is sent for, while the hero is released and goes home. Since he does not find the maiden there, he returns to Alexandria with a piece of embroidery which she has sent him, meets her, and elopes by the aid of St. Nicholas, who sends them a ship opportunely.

Because of its legendary character the variant has been materially transformed, but not beyond recognition. The thankful dead is replaced by the saint throughout, so that the burial is altered into church building, and both the agreement and the division of the gains disappear. The various elements of The Ransomed Woman fare better: the act of treachery done the hero is the only one lacking, and that perhaps is replaced by his imprisonment in the Sultan's castle. It is remarkable that the details of the narrative have been so little altered in spite of its complete change of purpose.

In the Gasconian folk-tale Jean du Boucau, the son of a mariner, goes to fight the corsairs. On the shore of the sea he rescues a man named Uartia, who is pretending death to escape from his creditors. Later this man becomes a prosperous freebooter, and is sailing with a load of captives when met again by Jean. The latter is so shocked by his evil deeds that he encloses him in the coffin prepared for him on the previous occasion, and throws him into the sea. Jean then marries the most beautiful of the captives, who is the daughter of the King of Bilbao.

The variant is excessively rationalized, it will be observed, and most traces of The Grateful Dead have disappeared. Though various substitutions for the burial are found in each of the groups, this is the only case that I know where the man plays 'possum to escape his creditors. The story is likewise unique in making the hero take vengeance on the man whom he has helped