Tuesday, May 5, 2015

AT 508 The Bride won in a Tournament: A Grateful Dead Tale Type

There is a short description for today's tale type, AT 508, found in The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series), but that is misleading for the type offers usually the longest versions of the tale--or at least sustained versions with the Grateful Dead motif figuring throughout the story. In the near future, I will be sharing some of the medieval romances that fall into this tale type. This tale type is also one of the types I have the greatest affection for in the Grateful Dead group. Stay tuned and I'll explain more in coming days.

Many of the oldest known tales with Grateful Dead motifs are also AT 508 tales. More about that to come, too. I feel like I am a big tease today, but most of the AT 508s that appear in The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series) deserve their own blog posts, so I am anticipating those instead of cramming them all into this one post.

In AT 508 The Bride won in a Tournament, now folded into ATU 505 also, the hero again gains a traveling companion through his personal sacrifice to bury a stranger’s indebted corpse. The companion asks for the same division of spoils and then helps the hero win a princess’s hand by winning a tournament. The grateful dead companion provides the means—horses, servants, and weaponry—for the tournament to be won although the hero’s own strengths and honor in battle also help him. Many of the medieval romances that include the Grateful Dead motif, to be discussed a little later, follow this tale type. Again, this tale type usually ends with the hero’s honor tested by the grateful dead man’s demanded division of spoils before all is revealed and rewarded to a happily ever after.
Just about the only AT 508 I won't be discussing--I think--is "The Story of Thorsteinn, The King's Son." It is in the new book, of course, but you can also read it online in Icelandic Legends by Jón Árnason. And really, this is the tale type that would make a fun action adventure movie.

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