Clt 3378: Folktale Heroines

ale type index

folktale motifs
single element/idea in story (e.g., magic ring)

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Motif-Index of Folk-Literature

folktale types
a) myth = gods; in remote pastb) legend = heroes; in recent pastc) folktale = lesser supernatural figures or ordinary people; no set time d) often overlap

AT Tale Type 720
“My Mother She Killed Me; My Father He Ate Me”

“The Juniper Tree”
German1. first wife dies when son is born; second wife has daughter 2. second wife kills son (beheaded)3.

black pudding4. daughter (named Marlinchen) puts brother’s bones under juniper tree 5. mist/fire = bird emerges from tree8.

gifts: gold chain, red shoes, millstone15. after death of step-mother = son appears from smoke/flames


“The Crow’s Nest”
hungary1. mother has daughter and son2. kills son3.

stewed cabbage4. daughter puts brother’s bones in tree 5. bones become crow/boy8. gifts: cloak, crutch-stick, millstone

“The Rose Tree”
England1. first wife has daughter; second wife has son 2. second wife kills daughter (beheaded)3.

stewed heart/liver4. son buries sister’s bones under rose tree5. white bird appears on tree8. gifts: red shoes, gold watch/chain, millstone

AT Folktale Type 425
“The Search for the Lost Husband”1. maiden promised in marriage to monster 2. monster = enchanted prince (or god)3.

maiden lives with husband in palace4. only spends time with husband at night 5. tricked by women into doing #66. causes husband to show true and/or monstrous form 7.

loses husband and palace8. searches for husband9. must perform seemingly impossible tasks10. tasks done to please other woman11. maiden is helped in tasks (by gods/animals) 12.

collects/uses magical items13. defeats/wins over other woman14. is reunited with husband15.

they live happily ever after

“Cupid and Psyche”
Psyche was the most beautiful in all the village Venus was jealous that she was being compared to her, sent cupid to make her ugly, cupid did but then he felt bad made her beautiful again. parents went to Apollo the oracle they told them that she was destined to marry a monster than is irresistible to gods and man. Went to the forest to cry because was going to marry a monster, when she woke up there was a house, she went in and servants told her it was hers. cupid would come but only at night when she couldn’t see him. Sisters came to visit convinced psyche to put lamp over cupid while sleeping and cut off his head. She did but could not kill him but injured him with the wax from the lamp. He left her for her betrayal. Went looking for cupid everywhere finally wen to Venus, she made her do three different tasks, organize grains, get wool, and get beauty.

cupid tried to help, last one she opened the box and it was a sleeping test, cupid ran away to help her so she could finish her task and then they lived happily ever after.

Baby with arrow, husband of psyche, son of venus

most beautiful girl in the village, compared to venus, venus does not like that sends cupid to take away beauty, cupid falls in love with her, curiosity messes everything up for her

Mother of cupid, most beautiful, jealous of psyche

Lucius Apuleius

“The Singing, Soaring Lark”
1. maiden promised in marriage to monster (lion)2.

monster = enchanted prince5. no #5 (but goes to weddings of sisters)6. causes husband to become dove (candlelight)12. collects magical items to complete tasks (casket, egg, nut) 11. maiden is helped in tasks (by “gods”: sun, moon, south wind) 10. tasks done to please princess (formerly dragon)13. defeats princess (griffin, nut)14. is reunited with husband15.

they find their son at home

Tale of Tulisa
1. Tulisa promised in marriage to voice in well2. monster = enchanted prince5. tricked by male demon Sarkasukis (in disguise as old women) into doing #6 6. causes husband to show true and monstrous form (snake; Basnak Dau)10. pre-#10 task11. Tulisa is helped in task (by squirrels, bees) 12.

collects egg from Huma bird10. tasks done to please mother-in-law (queen of snakes; Sarkasukis is henchman) 11. Tulisa is helped in tasks (by squirrels, bees)13. defeats mother-in-law when egg hatches (pecks out snake’s eyes)14.

is reunited with Basnak Dau (king of snakes)15. Tulisa becomes queen

origins of Tulisa

Daughter of woodchipper, courted by snake king

Father of Tulisa, woodcutter

Basnak Dau
Name of the Husband of Tulisa

Mother of snake king tricks Tulisa into asking husband for his name and releasing his power back to the mother