Thursday, May 14, 2015

Simonides of Ceos: A Grateful Dead Tale

Today I am sharing another Grateful Dead story, one that is 2,000 years old. It's the simplest form of the story, a rare rendition in which the Grateful Dead motif is the central theme.

From my introduction to The Grateful Dead Tales From Around the World (SurLaLune Fairy Tale Series)

Another early example of a Grateful Dead tale is that of Simonides of Ceos found in Cicero's De Divinatione, written circa 44 BC. Simonides was a Greek lyric poet who lived circa 556–468 BC. Centuries later, Cicero recorded the following brief story:

And who, pray, can make light of the two following dreams which are so often recounted by Stoic writers? The first one is about Simonides, who once saw the dead body of some unknown man lying exposed and buried it. Later, when he had it in mind to go on board a ship he was warned in a vision by the person to whom he had given burial not to do so and that if he did he would perish in a shipwreck. Therefore he turned back and all the others who sailed were lost.
I really like this story because it says so much with so little. It's not a perfect example of ATU 505 but it is certainly an early ancestor of the tales that followed in the millenia since.

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