He, they learn, has been enchanted by the conjurer, and is a man by day and a bear by night. He tells them of his own troubles, and gives them good advice. Later he is met by the wandering knight Eumenides, who likewise is seeking the lady Delia and is counselled:
"Bestowe thy almes, give more than all,
Till dead men's bones come at thy call."
Eumenides pays all his money except three farthings to bury the body of Jack, while the conjurer compels Delia to goad her brothers at the work to which he has set them. Eumenides is overtaken by the ghost of Jack, who becomes his servant, or "copartner," provides him with money, and slays the conjurer while invisible, thus breaking the spell of all the enchanted persons. Jack then demands his half of Delia, refuses to take her whole, and, when Eumenides prepares to cut her in twain, explains that he has asked this only as a trial of constancy. He quickly disappears.
Dutz has already shown that Old Wives' Tale has three of the essential features of The Grateful Dead, viz.: the burial of the dead with the peculiar prophetic advice of Erestus, the reward of the hero by assistance in getting a wife, and the sharing of the woman. Because of the non-schematic nature of his discussion he did not make any attempt to classify the variant more specifically. In his edition of the play, Professor Gummere, in indicating some of the folk-lore which Peele used, has likewise called attention to the connection with our theme. Of particular importance is his hint as to the likeness of the variant to the story which I call Irish III. It is practicable, however, to carry the matter somewhat further. The adventures of Delia, Eumenides, and Jack are all that really concern us. It will be seen that
- Pp. 10f.
- Gayley, Representative English Comedies, 1903, pp. 333-384.
- P. 345.