The Perceval story is an admirable folk-tale, the Grail problem is the most fascinating problem of medieval literature; the two combined form a romance of quite unique charm and interest.
There is a modern Greek folk-tale which preserves some features of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, but for the Minotaur has been substituted a seven-headed snake.
This, the Perceval story proper, has been recognized by scholars as a variant of a widespread folk-tale theme, designated by J.
It is thus demonstrable that the material for our Grail legend, in its present form, existed long anterior to any extant text, and there is no improbability in holding that a confused tradition of pagan mysteries which had assumed the form of a popular folk-tale, became finally Christianized by combination with an equally popular ecclesiastical legend, the point of contact being the vessel of the common ritual feast.
The coarse myth told by Ovid, in which Anna plays a trick on Mars when in love with Minerva, is probably an old Italian folk-tale, poetically applied to the persons of these deities when they became partially anthropomorphized under Greek influence.
In fact, the whole of the Lanzelet has much more the character of a fairy or folk-tale than that of a knightly romance.