The folk-tale represented by the second story may of course be derived ultimately from some ancient custom; cf. Beow.
These conditions are twice fulfilled in the history of a folk-tale.
They were the first to present the folk-tale in its genuine unadulterated form.
In the development of the folk-tale, we can in a general way mark three grades.
I have no doubt that it is a reference to some folk-tale, but have not yet been able to identify it.
It ignores it, and confines the problem to legend and folk-tale.
The truly distinctive characteristics of heroic poetry are rather those which differentiate it from the folk-tale.
So much for the present as regards our folk-tale as a whole.
Nine distinct features recur, in the same order, in the Beowulf-story and in this folk-tale.
These are features which would be in place either in myth or folk-tale.