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The Grateful Dead: The History of a Folk Story

Author: Gordon Hall Gerould

Publication date: 1908

Published for the Folk Lore Society by David Nutt, London

Reprint 2000, University of Illinois Press

Reprint 2008, Forgotten Books

Publishers description: "In this classic study, originally published in 1908, Gordon Hall Gerould explores a body of literature devoted to the ghosts of the departed, lost souls who showed gratitude to those who took care of their bodies and assisted in getting rid of demons. Typically, the grateful dead stories concern a young hero who takes on the responsibility of seeing that an unburied corpse receives a proper burial. A stranger who offers to accompany and assist him turns out to be the ghost of the dead man, repaying the hero for his good deed. Gerould surveys more than a hundred grateful dead stories, tracing their lineages, describing their common traits, and unraveling their variations. Through a close study of secular as well as religious stories, Gerould demonstrates the remarkable durability and adaptability of the grateful dead. With this book, Gerould established methods that laid the foundations for modern folklore scholarship." Contents:

  • A Review
  • Bibliography
  • Tales With The Simple Theme And Miscellaneous Combinations
  • The Grateful Dead And The Poison Maiden
  • The Grateful Dead And The Ransomed Woman
  • The Grateful Dead And The Water Of Life Or Kindred Themes
  • The Relations Of The Grateful Dead To The Spendthrift Knight, The Two Friends, And The Thankful Beasts
  • Conclusion
The text of the book can be viewed online on the Internet Sacred Text Archive

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