Notes on Orendel and other Stories, 295
in this Society ; but it has to be asked with a difference in each several case, especially when the stories compared are not of the same order, — when, for instance, one of the examples is taken from Grimm or Campbell, or some such record of oral tradition, and the other from professional or rhetorical literature.
When romantic literature is brought into comparison with stories of popular tradition, there is always the difficulty of deciding where resemblances are evidence of direct obligation or affinity, and where they are coincidences — due not directly to any one form of a popular story, but indirectly to the common imaginative machinery and pro- perties which go free over all the world unattached to any particular plots. The story of Orendel's wanderings is like the plots of a number of popular tales, but it is not to be identified straight off with any of these, because there is always the possibility that the author may have used, not a particular definite story, but merely the more generic type of adventures, such as might come into anyone's head, combining in his own way the obvious and commonplace motives of an adventurous journey in such a way as acci- dentally or coincidentally to make something like the plot of a well-known class of marchen.
The case of Orendel may be compared with others in which there is no doubt that a romance has used a definite traditional plot ; for example, the romance of Walewein as compared with the Gaelic popular tale of Mac Iain Direach} or again the romance of Sir Amadas, which is the story of the Travelling Companion^ the Grateful Ghost, and which contains not merely the common motive of the dead man returning to help his benefactor, which might possibly be invented independently by different authors, but the par- ticular incidents that belong to this story in tradition, the almost inseparable accidents of a definite and coherent story-formula. It does not seem a priori necessary that
' Folklore, vol. v., p. 121, sqq.