Monday, May 4, 2015

AT 506 The Rescued Princess: A Grateful Dead Tale Type

It's time to return to some more discussion of the tale types found in The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series). Last week was more than a little hectic and I lost momentum in my blog posts, so let's see if I can some back.

Today's tale type--AT 506--is now one of the subsets of ATU 505. (Need a refresher? Go to Grateful Dead Motifs and Tale Types.) This is one of the less complicated Grateful Dead tale types and therefore often shorter in length than some of the other tale types, which is most likely one of the reasons it was folded into ATU 505 although there are plenty of examples of AT 506 for it to have warranted the separate designation Thompson gave it. In the days to come, I will be sharing examples of AT 506 in greater detail, but for today, I will give this brief description:

AT 506 The Rescued Princess, now folded into ATU 505, begins with the standard burial of an indebted dead man with the hero’s last resources. Soon a companion, the grateful dead man disguised, joins the hero on his journey. Along the way, the hero rescues a princess from slavery or robbers and is either married or betrothed to her. As they are returning to her father’s lands, the hero is thrown overboard by the rival for the princess’s hand and is presumed dead by all. The grateful dead man rescues the hero and helps him return to the princess’s kingdom where he is welcomed usually through some sort of recognition requirement, either with an object or a story. He is married to the princess, the rival is punished, and the hero gains the princess and her kingdom. After a period of time, the grateful dead man returns and demands his half of the hero’s increase including the princess and any offspring. The hero begs to keep his wife and children in exchange for the entire kingdom but finally agrees to the terms of their agreement. Then the grateful dead man relents and reveals all, giving everything to the hero as his final reward.

Several AT 506 tales are offered in the The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series). A fine example to also read online can be found in Fair Brow, an Italian tale presented by Thomas Crane in his Italian Popular Tales.

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