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KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF CANTERBURY.
Stories resembling that contained in the following ballad are to be met 'with in the literature of most of the nations of Europe ; for example, in the Gesta Ro-manorum, (No. XIX. and [XXXV.] of Madden's Old English Versions,') in the amusing German tale Der Phaffe Amis, 98-180, in Eulenspiegel, (Marbach, p. 28,) and the English Owlglass (31st Adventure in the recent edition), in the Grimm's Kinder-und-Haus-mar-chen, No. 152, in Sacchetti's Novels, No. 4, the Pa-tranuelo of Juan Timoneda, Alcala, 1576 (Ritson, Arte. Songs, ii. 183), the Contes a rire, i. 182, (Gent. Mag. 65, i. 35,) etc., etc. King John and the Abbot, says Grundtvig (ii. 650), is universally known in Denmark in the form of a prose tale; and a copy is printed in Gamle danske Minder (1854) No. Ill, The King and the Miller.
Wynken de Worde, printed in 1511, a little collection of riddles, translated from the French, like those propounded by King John to the Abbot, with the title Demaundes Joyous. By this link the present ballad is connected with a curious class of compositions, peculiar to the Middle Ages—the Disputations, or Wit-Combats, of which the dialogues of Salomon and Marcolf (existing in many languages) are the most familiar, and those of Salomon and Saturn (in Anglo-Saxon) the oldest preserved specimens. These dialogues, in their earlier shape grave contests for