Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

B116b. A wet book.. 21.22.24.-.

A book containing sacred knowledge ends up in the water at a crossing or otherwise gets wet. After that, the book disappears or the text cannot be read. Or the book dies (deteriorates) when it is dried. Either she dies while she is unattended on the shore, and the people who kept her bathe; or she burns down, although traces remain.

Khasi, Kachin, Karen, Palaung, Ami, Bunun, Miao (China), Jino, Yi, Ancient China, Turkmens, Altaians, Teleuts, Dagurs, Nivkhs.

Tibet is the Northeast of India. Khasi [to restore his lost knowledge of the divine order, the creator ordered two men, a Khasi and a stranger, to come to meet him on the mountain; three days later, he handed each a book with written down laws; on the way back, the water in the river rose because of the rains; the stranger had long hair, he tied it in a knot and attached a book to it; and the Khasi held his teeth, sank under water, The book turned into a mess; when he returned to the mountain, he did not find a god who rose back to heaven; therefore, Khashi rely on oral tradition for their knowledge, and foreigners read books]: Rafy 1920, No. 21: 137-139; kachins [The Great Spirit distributes writing, he gives it to Burmese and Shans on palm leaves, to Chinese and Europeans on paper, and kachin on parchment. Kachin, who carries a leather document under his arm, sweats so that the parchment gets wet through and through and is hung out to dry over the fire. There rats grab it, drag it into a rice basket and gnaw it. People think about preserving the content of the scripture, starting to soak rice and drinking water. So every dumsa (priest) still drinks rice vodka to absorb knowledge before starting to prophesy]: Scherman, Scherman 1922:99-100.

Burma - Indochina. Karen: Tyutchev, Stoykovich 1846 [Good spirit, wanting to give religion to all peoples, sets a day for the Karen to adopt holy laws, but their ancestors, busy with everyday affairs, are late to the appointed date and come when the spirit, having finished its work, has already left. Sad Karen cry so much that an infinitely merciful spirit shows compassion and gives them laws written on buffalo skin. The Karen fathers, delighted with this mercy, begin to feast, but while they are having fun, a new misfortune overshadows their joy. Since the "skin of laws" is damp, it is hung out to dry, and when they come to take it off, there is not a single letter left on the skin - the chickens have scratched everything, the words of the great spirit die irrevocably and the karen forever remain ignorant]: 435-436; Mason 1865 [red karen say that when God called nations to learn to read and write, the Karen were negligent; yet they were also given a book; however, the wife scolded her husband and sent him to work, and during his absence, the book once fell into the fire and burned down; but the Karen studied its traces on the ash and began to reproduce them embroidered on clothes]: 177; palaung [creator Hulu ("gorlyanka pumpkin") planted Kalebas, from which 72 peoples came out, including Palaung, Wa, Lili, Bai, Moso and Han; they came to two towers, whose owner ordered them to go to the creator and receive sacred ones texts; they would have to be read when someone died to find their way to their ancestors; on the way home, you had to cross the river; Palaung dropped his book in the water, and when he went ashore, put it to dry; grazing the ox ate it, so the cows have a book-shaped stomach; when he saw what happened, the khan was smarter, put his book in his pocket and it was preserved; only a part was swallowed by fish; the owner of the towers advised me to cut it out wooden fish and knock on it during rituals; Taoist monks do so; wooden fish is a kind of drum]: Oppitz 2008:10-11]: Oppitz 2008:10-11.

Malaysia-Indonesia. Dayaki (Sarawak) ["When I tried to teach Dayak to read, he replied that he could not read because his book was gone; during the flood, a white man put his book on his head; a Malay and The Chinese, with crooked and complex writings, held his books under his arms, washed away some of the signs; the Dayak put his book in his apron and was carried away with water]: Labuan 1863:27-28.

Taiwan - Philippines. Ami [three found writing; one had it on a hinoki tree (it is light and floats in the water); the other had it on an araway tree (heavy and almost sinks); the third on a stone; all three the material was in the water; the hinoko writings were not damaged, their owner became the ancestor of the Japanese; the araway writings were badly washed away, their owner became the ancestor of the Taiwanese aborigines; the stone drowned, its the owner is the ancestor of savages who have no writing at all]: Kōno 1915:19 in Yamada 2019, No. 3:46; Bunun [Taiwanese Aborigines used to have their own writing; it was on stone, and the Chinese ( Japanese) - on a tree (bamboo); Aboriginal writing has disappeared because the stones drowned in the water]: Yamada 2002, No. 45:331 (with details in the personal message on September 14, 2017); Bilaan [at first there were three peoples - Americans, Muslims, and Bilaans; the supreme deity ordered each of the three nations to send one person to heaven for sacred advice; the nations obeyed; when the council was over, all three were given according to the book for everyone to carry it to their people; on the way back, you had to swim across the river; the American raised his hand with the book high above his head, the Muslim tied the book to his head, and the Bilaan, entering the water, put the book under his arm; when he swam, the book slipped out and the river carried it away; that's why the Bilaans still can't read or write; that book was picked up by a white dove; since the Bilaan was going to do something or go somewhere, he listens first to this bird cooing; she says whether it will succeed or fail]: Rybkina 1975, No. 2:29.

China - Korea. Miao (China): Clarke 1911 [Miao live next door to the Chinese, but the Chinese are too cunning for them, so they decide to move west and live on their own. At that time, they were written in hieroglyphic writing. After many days, they approach a vast expanse of water and, without boats, are unable to continue their journey. Standing perplexed at the water's edge, they notice water spiders gliding over its surface. Miao say to each other, "If these little creatures can walk on water, why can't we?" Trying to walk across the water surface, they almost drowned. They manage to return to shore again, they drank water and swallowed their hieroglyphs with the water]: 39-40; Graham 1954 (Chuan Miao) [Miao and a Chinese man went to the Living Buddha for holy books and they had them gave; on their return, both decided to swim in the river; at this time, Miao's book was eaten by the Western Cow (mythical cow or buffalo), and part of the Chinese book was eaten by fish; Miao and the Chinese returned to Buddha; he refused give new books, but ordered Miao to pull cowhide over the drum and beat it during the ritual, and ordered the Chinese to take a wooden image of a fish and knock on it; while performing the ritual Miao tell this story]: 129; Scott 2009 [Miao (Hmong) fled from the Chinese, went to bed, and at that time the horses ate their books; or the books were eaten by the people themselves, accidentally putting them in a cauldron and cooking]: 223; jino [{in the source, the text refers to Bulang/Jinuo/Dai (i.e. bulang, jino, liu); since it is Jino (Tibeto-Burmese of the Ngwi branch) who are declared to have preserved the language of the first ancestors, the myth belongs they are most likely}; husband and wife lived on the mountain; when the flood began, they placed their son and daughter in a drum cut down from a whole piece of wood, giving them food; after 9 days the water came down, brother with they went to the ground as a sister; saw a pumpkin from which human heads were heard; the pumpkin was growing; when brother and sister decided to marry, they heated an iron pin and punched a hole; they began to make a pumpkin people go out; bulang was the first to come out, and because he smeared himself on the charred peel, the dark-skinned bulang; the bulang did not know how to speak, and the sister advised them to listen to the murmur of water; so the bulang speech resembles the murmur of water; then Jino (Tibeto-Burmese) came out, tripped over a chestnut stump, which is neither dark nor light; since then, Jino's skin is dark, but not like bulang; Jino spoke They did not have to learn another language as brother and sister; then liu (dai) came out and tripped over a banana stump, so Liu was light-skinned; Liu learned the Bulang and Jino languages, which made their own language; the supreme god gave each nation his own culture, including writing; bulang signs were written on flatbread, Jino on ox skin, liu on banana leaves; when they went to their villages, people crossed the river and everything got wet; while they were drying, bulang and jino were hungry and ate tortillas and skins; and pigeon droppings fell on banana leaves, liu's writing was preserved]: Oppitz 2008:7-9; yi [during the flood the deity sends three shamans to teach people; each sits on the back of an ox, and the book is tied to horns; before the water came down, the books were wet and the shamans hung them to dry on the black beech; part the pages stuck to the branches, so some knowledge was lost; during the ritual, black beech branches are stuck into the ground]: Oppitz 2008:14-16; Ancient China [Journey to the West; in Tang while the monk, accompanied by a monkey, a pig and a servant, went to India for sacred texts; on their way home they had to swim across the river; the monkey agreed with the turtle to transport them; however In the middle of the river, the turtle went under water; the monk laid out the manuscripts on the rock to dry, but they stuck to the rock, so only scraps were presented to the emperor]: Oppitz 2008:23-24.

Iran - Central Asia. Turkmens [Burkut had a book sent by Allah with prayers that could be used to revive the dead. Once Burkut Baba's friend was dying and he wanted to save him. To prevent the violation of his established order, Allah sent Jabrayil to meet him. He met Burkut on a narrow bridge over a turbulent river: "Where are you going?" - "I want to save a friend." - "How can I do this?" Burkut Baba showed the book. Jabrayil hit the book and it fell into the stream. Burkut has only a few pages left in his hands. The prayers that are now known were written on these pages. And there used to be much more prayers]: Basilov 1970:27-28.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Altaians [The Altaians had a written language, and later it was lost. The letters were printed on birch bark. Once the birch bark got wet and needed to be dried in the sun. The dried birch bark was eaten by a cow. As a result, the Altaians lost their literacy... The Oirats, who went to the lower reaches of the Volga, take their writing with them from Altai, and the only remaining book has been soaked and, when it is dried, it is eaten by a cow]: Potapov 1983:108-109; Teleuts [Before The Teleuts were the Oyroth language and there were books. Most of their people went to the Saratov steppes - Sart Ayman - and took their books with them. The Teleuts had only one book left, but the cow ate the one when it was soaked and laid out for drying in a woodpile]: Verbitsky 1893:137; Dagurs [Tang Seng went west for Buddhist manuscripts; reached the sea he could not cross; a 1000-year-old turtle promised to transport him if he later told her how long it would live; TS agreed, crossed the sea; After spending years in the West, he went back with many Buddhist manuscripts; reached the sea again; the turtle asked how long it had to live; TS first promised to tell her that when they reached the in the middle of the sea, then when they get to the shore; the turtle threw TS into the water and ate it; her life increased to 10,000 years; all the manuscripts were in the water; people found out what happened, saved some of them; other manuscripts drowned; those saved became the writing of the peoples who have it; the drowned were the writing of other peoples; this is why the Dagurs do not have it]: Stuart et al. 1994:79.

Amur - Sakhalin. Nivhi ["A few weeks before his death, writer Tugut told me a legend about how tajr nd nig yv eun gave people letters. After writing two kinds, one from the ground and the other from the lightest part of the ashes lying on him in the form of a white coating, he made a box. Dividing the box into two halves with a partition, he put a bear, a gilak and a letter made of earth in one half of the box, and in the other half he put ducks, deer, fox and letters made of earth light ash coating. After gluing the lid tightly to the drawer, he told the box to swim to the ground and hit the shore with its long, not short side, so that everyone could immediately jump ashore. The box floated, but when it reached the ground, it hit it with its short side. The lid bounced, and deer, ducks, fox and letters made of ashes jumped ashore, and letters made of earth, gilyak and bear drowned as the box broke and they did not have time to jump out ashore. Therefore, the giliaks have no letters, as their writings have drowned"]: Kreinovich 1929:91.