Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

B21. The destruction of the world tree. (.13.) .18. (.24.57.) .70.72.

People go up the tree to hunt, fish, or collect honey. The tree has fallen down, people fall down and metamorphose, or they remain in the upper world.

Sudan - East Africa. Uduk [Arum created man and the world; after death, people go to the underworld of Arum; the sky was close to the ground, the Birapinya tree reached the sky; the inhabitants of earth and sky went to visit each other, going up and down the tree; the old woman was hurt, she destroyed the tree; the sky moved off the ground, people stopped reborn after death]: Scheub 2000:16.

Australia. Votzhobaluk [a man lent six dogs to young hunters, and they ate one; the young went hunting in the sky, climbing a tall pine tree; the dog owner drilled a hole in the trunk, put a hole in the trunk coal there; the tree burned down, fell, the hunters remained in the sky, visible as a cluster of stars; the top of the tree is a dark spot on the Milky Way; pieces of tuff are the cones of that pine tree; the river valley and the lake are the trail of the fallen wood]: Waterman 1987, No. 4520 (1): 121; mara, anula [old Kakan hawk (apparently chicken hawk) opened fire by friction; quarreled with the White Hawk, as a result, the ground caught fire; before that, men, women, children climbed the pine tree into the sky every day; now the pine tree has burned down, some people did not have time to descend, remained in the sky; stars are crystals implanted in their heads, elbows, knees and other joints]: Spencer, Gillen 1904:628-629 (paraphrased in Maddock 1970:187, in Frazer 1930:10).

(Wed. Malaysia-Indonesia. Minahasa [the Kaju Uwi tree connected earth and sky; Tumileng climbed it, stole rice in the sky, brought it to the ground; to prevent him from being chased, asked ants to gnaw through the tree, promising them the right to gnaw on any tree; where the peak fell, the village of Lahendong arose; branches and leaves that scattered across the ground gave rise to vegetation]: Tauchmann 1968:59-60).

(Wed. Southern Venezuela. The Yanomami [at first there was only the Paríwa tribe coming out of the ground; they had no women; the chief made an incision in his ankle, and a girl came out; men made her wife, people multiplied; chief with his assistant divided people into groups, sent them in different directions; the chief sent an assistant with several families through a post to the other side of the river, where they climbed the Lucuma caimito tree to collect fruits; the fish brought down the bridge, the chief and his men went up the river, and those who climbed the tree turned into birds and monkeys; those who remained under the tree became other inhabitants on earth animals]: Polykrates 1967:284-285).

Eastern Brazil. Kariri [Tuppart sends the Great Father to live among the cariri; people ask him for pig meat; he turns their children into wild pigs; pigs go up to heaven on a huge tree, people they chase them, kill many; the old man The Great Father sends red ants to gnaw through the trunk; toads try to protect the tree, but ants bite them (the origin of warts on the toads' skin); the tree is fallen down; people started throwing arrows at the tree to pick it up again, but only lifted it half, and then it fell down again; they went down the rope, it was too short; people fell and broke their legs; so joints appeared; when they returned home, people ate plenty of their children's meat, turned into pigs; they asked the Great Father to return, but he did not want to, gave them Batzé tobacco instead; so where appropriate, they make tobacco offerings]: Martin de Nantes 1671-1688 in Lowie 1946:559; in Wassen 1933:125 to 126.

Chaco. Hunters, fishermen, or honey collectors climb wood into the sky; they don't give honey, fish, or good meat to the person below; he or she destroys the tree with fire or gnaws on the trunk, becoming a rodent or an insect. Chamacoco: Escobar 2006 [people climbed wood to collect honey; the shaman widow's daughter Laguylta complained about them to her mother; she turned into a termite, gnawed on a tree, and it swayed and collapsed; The people on the branches were scattered, they became different groups of chamacoco (Ebytoso, Tomáraho, Horio); L.'s daughter ran away, became a source of disease; the sky had previously rested on tree branches, now rose; The sun on the contrary descended closer to the ground]: 222; Wilbert, Simoneau 1987a, No. 2 [the sky was low above the ground, people went there to hunt for honey, climbing wood (quebracho blanco or bottle tree); the old woman and her orphans were given almost nothing; she turned into a locust-like insect, gnawed through the tree trunk; when it fell, the Sun and the Month rose to heaven; not in time people become stars to go down], 3 [people don't believe one of them is a strong shaman; he promises to cut down the tree that people walk on to heaven; when people go to heaven for honey, the shaman sent bugs gnaw the gun; the mouse finished the work], 4 [The bat hurt the child, his brother promised to tell his father not to give the offender honey; when people went to heaven for honey, the Bat sent a beetle gnaw through a tree trunk; people burned the Bat, bats flew out of the fire]: 31-34, 35, 36; matako: Wilbert, Simoneau 1982a, No. 5 [people often went to heaven for fish and honey when they climbed there on a tall tree; houses refused to share with the old woman; she burned a tree; those who remained in the sky turned into Pleiades], 6 [people from earth went to heaven to hunt, climbing a large tree; once killed jaguar; while sharing meat, they gave the old man a stomach; he was offended and burned a tree; those who remained in heaven turned into Pleiades; one woman threw a bag of honey from the sky to the children; the children grew up, these are our ancestors]: 45, 46; poppy: Wilbert, Simoneau 1991a, No. 86 [people went fishing in the sky, climbing the lignum vitae tree; the grandson of the old people asked for food; the old woman looked for fish, found a large one hidden from them fishermen; realized that they were deliberately given only small fish; the old people burned the tree; some people managed to go down, some stayed in the sky; those who came down chased the old people, they turned into a caiman and capybaru], 87 [as in (86)]: 193-194, 194-195; Toba (eastern): Wilbert, Simoneau 1989a, No. 43 [(Teran MS); was the Latée Na Mapik tree, the mother of all carob trees (lateé - capybara); people climbed it to the first heaven; those who rose gained wisdom; the tree fell down because people were too close to Kharta; those capybaras that lived in heaven descended to earth, and the earthly ones came to heaven], 44 [ (Teran MS); this tree was actually human; Walikiaray Ltaá (Father Capybar) found a tree that had grown to the sky; began to climb it to the sky and back; capybaras from the sky also came down and rose; those who rose gained wisdom; Werayk Ltaá, like Capybara, lived in the water, envied Capybara that he was climbing heaven, so he cut down a tree; since then people have not risen to heaven]: 69, 70; mokovi [(padre Guevara 1908); people (souls, las almas) went to heaven to fish by climbing a tall tree; they deprived an old woman with fish; she turned into a capybara, gnawed on her trunk; since then, heaven has not climb]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1988, #20:46