Grateful dead (folklore)
Grateful dead (or grateful ghost) is a folktale present in many cultures throughout the world. The most common story involves a traveler who encounters a corpse of someone who never received a proper burial, typically stemming from an unpaid debt. The traveler then either pays off the dead person's debt or pays for burial. The traveler is later rewarded or has their life saved by a person or animal who is actually the soul of the dead person; the grateful dead is a form of the donor.
One variant is the Book of Tobit. The chivalric romance Amadas has the title knight pay his last coins for such a burial. It appears in various fairy tales, such as the Italian Fair Brow, the Swedish The Bird 'Grip' and H. C. Andersen's The Traveling Companion.
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- Gerould, G. H. The Grateful Dead: The History of a Folk Story, Folk-Lore Society, 1908. D. Nutt, London.
- The Grateful Dead: folktales of Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 505, various folk tales
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