The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World--the 10th SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series release!-- will be officially released on 5/4/15. Any links I include may not be working yet, but they will be by then. The ebook may be a little later, I'm not sure yet if it will be available simultaneously. This is the front cover and I have the book description below. The book is 828 pages and stuffed full with Grateful Dead tales, discussions, and other miscellanea.
Next week and in the weeks that follow, I will be posting quite a bit about The Grateful Dead folklore and all of its varieties. I always hope to whet your appetite to learn more, not bore you, so stay tuned and see if I manage that feat with this lesser known tale. I will keep the posts shortish so they won't be much to read in little bites.
The Grateful Dead folktale type can be traced back at least 2,000 years. The tales of earthly rewards received for providing decent burial to the dead are both didactical and entertaining, with some of the earliest examples appearing in scripture and mythology. In modern times where laws heavily regulate burial practices, the tales have lost much of their social impact, but they still provide entertaining insight into past times.
In 1908, Gordon Hall Gerould wrote a monograph—The Grateful Dead: The History of a Folk Story—in which he discussed over 100 variants of the tale, a remarkable and diverse piece of scholarship that has received higher recognition in recent years. The full text of Gerould’s work is provided in this volume.
This collection also includes over 45 folktales and ballads with Grateful Dead motifs.
In addition, the full text of four English plays that use the motif are provided, including:
- The Old Wives’ Tale by George Peele
- The Fatal Dowry by Nathan Field & Philip Massinger
- The Fair Penitent by Nicholas Rowe
- The Insolvent: or Filial Piety, A Tragedy by Aaron Hill
Other pieces of scholarship and miscellanea are offered, too, including an English translation of The History of Oliver and Arthur, a fifteenth century French romance.
When combined in one convenient volume, these materials provide a fascinating overview of an often neglected folktale type for both the formal scholar and armchair enthusiast.