Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

B38. Bad coloring.


The character paints birds or animals, or they paint each other. This is not happening as intended. See motif B37.

Kamba, Malawi, Ganda, Murle, Nandi, Urabunna, Daga, Fergusson, Aore, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kapingamarangi, Garo, Lakher, Vieta, Khmer, Sedang, Thais, Kayan, Bunun, Bagobo, Bontok, Isneg, Tsou, Apayao, Atayal, Sedek, Rukai, Amei, Chinese, Karachays, Balkarians, (Terek Cossacks), Yazgulyam, Chelkans, Tuvans, Central Yakuts, Evens, Nivkhs, Japanese, Northern Ryukyu, Ainu, Tundra and Forest Yukaghirs, Russian Ustye, Coastal Koryaks, Asian Eskimos, Kodiak, Chugach, Northern Alaska Inupiate, McKenzie Estuary, Copper, Caribou, Netsilic, Igloolik, Baffin Land, Labrador Eskimos, Polar Eskimos, Zap. Greenland, SW Greenland, Angmassalik, Kuchin, Upper Tanana, Atna, Taltan, Slevy, Chipewayan, Eyak, Hyda, Bellacula, Quakiutl, Comox, Western Swamp Cree (North Manitoba), Yurok, shikuani, kuiva, warrau, oyana, amuesha, paresi, ayoreo.

Bantu-speaking Africa. Kamba [the sorcerer paints those who come; asks for a voice; he liked the voices of the leopard and zebra, he painted their skin beautifully; he did not like the voices of the hyena and antelope, so the coloring nondescript]: Hobley 1910:110-111; Malawi (tumbuka) [Hyena planted the Turtle on a tree branch, from where you can't get off, left; the leopard took it off, for which she painted it with beautiful spots; painted the Zebra stripes; after learning from Zebra who the author of the coloring book was, Hyena asked the Turtle to paint it too; she made it ugly, disappeared]: Werner 1933:286-287; ganda [all animals and birds except Peacock were plain; Peacock Zebre: if she also wants to be beautiful, let her kill a large animal and leave the meat to decompose; when it was covered with larvae, the peacocks pecked them; for this, Peacock painted the Zebra with stripes ; the same with the Leopard - painted it with patnas; The zebra could not resist eating almost all the meat herself; for this, Peacock splashed brown paint into it]: Kizza 2010:105-107.

Sudan - East Africa. Murle [Crocodile and Varan agree to paint each other; Crocodile painted Varan beautifully; Varana is tired of coloring the Crocodile, made it dirty green; since then, crocodiles they chase monitor lizards]: Lewis 1947:136 (=Katznelson 1968:313-314); nandi [two lion cubs find the paint that the warriors used to paint, decide to paint each other too; one paints the other with beautiful black spots; at this time they shout that the goat is lost; the painted one throws a jar of paint at a friend, runs to look for a goat; the first became Leopard, the second became Hyena]: Hollis 1909:104.

Australia. Hurabunna [the large Parinti lizard and the smaller Kapiri began to paint each other; P. painted a beautiful pattern on K.'s skin; K. decided that P. was too big, made some of the patterns large, some small; P. began to examine herself, expressing dissatisfaction; K. told her not to spin, otherwise the paint would come off, slowly erased some of the paint herself and ran away; P. did not catch up with her, they now live in different localities]: Howitt 1902, No. 6:412-413

Melanesia. Fergusson (coluvava) [raven and Kulokulo bird (does it look like a dove?) were friends; the raven invited K. to paint it and did it well; K. undertook to paint the crow, but only smeared it entirely with charcoal; the raven chased K., and she shouted "uu-uuu" and "wawawa"]: Guderian, Guderian 1999:4; Doug [crow and Kakadu decided to color each other; the Raven did his job well, and Kakadu covered the Raven with charcoal; looking at himself in the mirror, the Raven chased Kakadu. but he flew away]: Murane 1974:413; Aore [two birds, Fowl (Chicken?) and Big leg (chicken-shaped, whole black) go to the party; the Chicken invites each other to paint; the Bigleg painted it white, black and red, and the Chicken painted it with one black; he sees his own reflection in the water, indignant, refuses to go to the holiday, retires to the forest; says that from now on people will eat chicken eggs, and his egg will be difficult to find (big legs do not hatch eggs, but hide them in warm ones heaps of humus)]: Guérin 2008:492-496.

Micronesia-Polynesia. Palau [the old woman loves her son Uek, is indifferent to her son Malek (Rooster); asks M. to go to the men's house, let W. stay; M. overhears, finds out that his mother told W. to come before dawn to get all the good things from her; M. adjusts so that in the men's house he tells fairy tales first and can go to bed, and W. is the last to go to bed later than anyone else; in the pre-dawn darkness, M. comes to his mother under looking W., receives all the colors (plumages) from her; then W. comes; the mother has no more colors left, she makes W. black, only a red speck on her head; but the mother gives W. the opportunity to eat tarot on the field, as much as he wants, and M. must look for food all day]: Mitchell 1973, No. 14:48-50; Marshall Islands [heavenly god Lōva creates the first island, then sends a man to house the rest; Namorik Island fell out of the basket, now aside; a boat with people and animals sailed, sank at the entrance to the lagoon, everyone rushed to the shore; the Octopus sent the Rat, and the Rat jumped ashore and sent it to he needs him; everyone was tattooed, and the Rat was the last one when the soot was completely diluted with water; so the rat is gray, ugly]: Davenport 1953:222; Capingamarangi [Tern (Bridle-turn) and Starling decide Paint each other; Starling paints Tern white with a black spot on his head; Tern paints Starling everything black; he is upset, for not only he but also his children will be like this]: Elbert 1948:128 (=1949:245).

Tibet is the Northeast of India. Garo [Bhimraj and the Rat agree to comb each other's hair and feathers; the rat makes B. beautiful, and he gets lazy, rolls his rat tail between his fingers, rips off his hair; now rats try to bite off the tail of the bhimrajas]: Playfair 1909:136; lakher [Rita (Munia, Uroloncha Striata Acuticauda) and Vacchu (Gorlinka) make beaks to each other; V. painted R.'s beak with brass; R . covered V.'s beak with wax; it's no good, they're fighting; a branch fell on a forest chicken, it hooked an ant, an ant bit the boar's testicles, the boar knocked down a banana, a bat lived on the banana, it flew into the elephant's ear, the elephant trampled on the white ants, they gnawed on the stairs, the widow's daughter fell; the widow tells the bird to punish R. to have a goiter behind her neck]: Parry 1932:567-569.

Burma - Indochina. Viets; Sedang; Thais; Khmers.

Malaysia-Indonesia. Kayan.

Taiwan - Philippines. Bunun, tsoo, atayal, sedek, rukai (Chinese lukai), ami [Bear and Leopard color each other]: Li Fuqing (Riftin), Shenhua Yu Guihua (Myths and Traditions) about evil spirits), Beijing, 2001, pp.293-294 with reference to The Myths and Traditions of the Formosan Native Tribes, Taihoku Imperial University, 1935, p.462 (in Japanese, English name dubbed on the title) ; Ho. A Comparative Study of Myths and Legends of Formosan Aborigines, Taipei, 1971:101-105; ami [the older brother painted the younger brother with beautiful spots; the younger brother first smeared the older one with black; in this while people started shouting that enemies were coming; older brother became a bear, younger leopard]: Ho 1967, No. 144:309-110; atayal [The bear and the Leopard were white, decided to paint each other; The bear painted the Leopard with beautiful spots; the Leopard smeared soot on his hands and smeared them with the Bear; only a white crescent remained around his neck; the Leopard apologized and promised to leave it for the Bear dead deer; since then he has been burying some of the meat]: Ho 1967, No. 137:306-307; sedek (Taroko) [The bear and the Leopard were white, decided to color each other; the bear painted the Leopard beautiful stains; the Leopard smeared his hands with soot, smeared the Bear with them; since then he has been afraid of him, hides if the Bear goes]: Ho 1967, No. 139:307; Sedek (Taroko) [The Bear and the Leopard decided to paint each other; The bear painted the Leopard beautifully with white ash; the Leopard smeared the Bear with charcoal, only left a white spot on his shoulder; apologized and promised to leave meat for the Bear]: Ho 1967, No. 140:307-308; kanakanabu [The bear and the Leopard decided to paint each other; the Leopard smeared the Bear in black, leaving only a white stripe around his neck; apologized and promised to leave the deer's hind legs for the Bear]: Ho 1967, No. 141:308; sleeves (Taramakao) [The bear and the Leopard decided to paint each other; the Bear painted the Leopard with beautiful spots; the Leopard drew black paint on the thief, poured black paint on the Bear; promised leave the back meat for the Bear]: Ho 1967, No. 142:308-309; puyuma [while the Bear was sleeping, the Leopard poured black paint on him; promised to leave him venison]: Ho 1967, No. 143:309; apayao [Crow and the Oriole agree to paint each other; the crow brightly colored the Oriole, or else made it black; since then, crows and orioles have been chasing each other]: Wilson 1947b:100; bontok [two friends decided decorate each other with a tattoo; one made it beautiful and the other smeared it black; they got into a fight, the first became an iguana, the other became a crow (Corone philippa)]: Jenks 1905:224-225 (retelling in Ho 1967, No. 147: 311-312); isneg [The Iguana and the Raven decided to tattoo each other; the Raven did it properly and Iguana said she heard the dog barking, poured black paint on the Raven, ran away]: Ho 1967, № 149:313; Bagobo [The Chameleon and the Lizard agree to decorate each other by scratching; the Lizard makes the Chameleon beautiful; when he is about to scratch the Lizard, he is frightened by the barking of dogs and his paws they tremble, the pattern turned out to be crooked without finishing the work, the Chameleon runs away]: Benedict 1913, No. 5:57 (retelling in Ho 1967, No. 146:310-311).

China - Korea. (At least four records, no area specified). The Raven Colours the Swan. Whoever painted birds or another bird pours black paint or mud on the crow or Crane. Since then, that black (or part of its feathers are black): Ting Nai-Tung 1978, no. 232A*: 41.

Caucasus - Asia Minor. Karachays [The Crow and Owl were white, the Raven offered to paint each other; Owl liked the coloring book, she also made the Raven beautiful; then she envied her, poured all the soot on her, flew away; the crow turned black, promised revenge]: Dzhurtubayev 2007:24; Balkarians (Western 1060) [the owl and the crow were white, they decided to paint each other; the crow painted the owl beautifully; then the owl painted the crow beautifully; afraid that it would be more beautiful than herself, poured out the remaining soot on it and flew away]: Malkonduev 2017:143-144; (cf. Terek Cossacks (art. Ardonskaya) ["On Annunciation Day, you should not work at all, because on that day the bird does not make a nest either. It is believed that the female peacock removed her peacock, painted her tail perfectly, wanted to dress up her wings and head; but when they rang in the morning, the female should have stopped working. The peacock is still left with only its tail decorated"]: Gusev 1893:327).

Iran - Central Asia. Yazgulyamtsy [Magpie invites Partridge to paint each other; paints herself well, Partridge has only two feathers; they got into a fight, Magpie poured ash into Partridge's face, now Partridge ashy; The partridge threw a poker at Magpie, the poker became its tail, it looks like a stick prevented by fire in the hearth]: Grunberg, Steblin-Kamensky 1976, No. 80:511.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Chelkans [Owl and Bullfinch adorned each other; Bullfinch turned out to be beautiful; Owl's eyes came round and deep; for this, Filin put Bullfinch's head into the fire, it turned red]: Kandarakova 1988:158-159; Tuvans [at first forty was black as soot; a peacock came to her and began to dress up his wife; when she painted with white paint, he felt the stench: forty ate human sewage; the peacock was horrified and flew south; if not for this case, the magpie would have been painted; now she screams plaintively, halak-halak]: Alekseev 2010, No. 22:71.

Eastern Siberia. Central Yakuts [zap. Ergis, 1930, Ergis Nasleg); Loon was black as a Raven; envious of the colorful outfits of other birds, they decided to decorate themselves with colorful patterns; the Raven was the first to do so; Loon went to look into the water and dived; for such treachery, the Raven managed to hit her sacrum with his beak and cut it in half; the Raven remained black, and Gagara was colorful, but with his legs twisted]: Kulakovsky 1979:73 (=Ergis 1974:216-217; 1967, No. 49:170; quail in Sivtsev-Omolloon 1976:23, in Sivtsev, Efremov 1990:15-16); Evens: Bolshakova, Chaiko 2015 [the loon and the crow were black, agreed to paint each other; loon insists that her crow paint it first; the crow painted the loon, but the raven refused to paint the crow; the crow remained black; and the loon's legs broke and went into the water]: 53; Robbeck 2005 [the crow and the owl were friends and were white, decided to paint; the crow tried for a long time, the owl liked it, but decided that it was boring to paint for a long time; told the crow to close its eyes while she was painting it, doused it the crow flew away with black paint; since then, the crow hates the owl]: 203-204.

Amur-Sakhalin. Nivhi: Krejnovich 1929 [The seal had a black, rough, ugly skin, and Kambala had a beautiful, spotty skin; Nerpa asked Kambala to make her skin as beautiful as her, Flounder; in answer Kambala asked me to darken it; Flounder painted Nerpa well, and she just covered Flounder with sand]: 98; Sangi 1974 [Starfish flounder (now covered in rough bumps) wants to become unlike others; only the Seal agrees to paint it for promising to make it black gray and less visible on ice; brightly paints Flounder; she responds to smear it with white clay, to her it gets bored, it swims away; the seal throws a handful of sand at it; he himself is now stained]: 20-22 (quail. Vysokov et al. 1996:40-42); Fetisova 2003 [a popular story about Kambala and the Nerpa, who were going to paint each other; Kambala faithfully completed her task, painting her friend with bright spots; Nerpa but Kambale painted only one side, and covered the other with sand (Manuscript Fund of the East Asian Ethnography Sector of the IIAE FEB RAS. Materials by G.A. Otaina. ITEM 5. L. 5-6)]: 180.

Japan. Japanese: Markova 1956 [the owl painted birds; the raven asked to paint it beautifully; the owl planted him in a pot of black ink; the raven promised revenge on her; now the owl is afraid of him and hides in the afternoon]: 105; 1991 [The crow is tired of the white outfit; The owl offers any dress, but he wants an unprecedented color; then the Owl dyes his clothes black; the Raven is angry, since then he rushes at the Owl, in the afternoon she hides in hollows]: 241; 2000 [The owl was a dyer, God told her to paint the birds in different colors; the Raven was the last to have only black paint left]: 83; northern Ryukyu; Ainu [God told the Otter to give Lisa a red outfit; she forgot the paint, made it white, the Fox was unhappy; then the Otter dyed her red salmon caviar; the grateful Fox painted the Otter dark brown philodendron bark decoction]: Batchelor 1894, No. 3h: 33-34 (=1927:234-235).

SV Asia. Tundra and forest yukaghirs; Russian Ustye; coastal Koryaks.

The Arctic. Asian Eskimos; Kodiak; Chugach; Northern Alaska Inupiate; McKenzie estuary; copper; caribou; netsilic; igloolik; Baffin Land; Labrador Eskimos; Polar Eskimos; Zap. Greenland; SW Greenland; Angmassalik.

Subarctic. Kuchin; Khan; Upper Tanana (?) ; atna; taltan; slevi; chipewayan.

NW Coast. Eyak; haida; bellacula; quakiutl.

The coast is the Plateau. Comox.

The Midwest. Western Swamp Cree (northern Manitoba) [The Goose and the Raven decide to color each other; Wesukechak has only black paint left; the Raven painted the Goose with beautiful specks; the Goose colored badly, The raven chased him, the goose threw the remains of paint at him, the Raven turned all black]: Clay 1978:43-47.

California. Yurok [to get feathers for birds, they kill a huge bird with feathers of all colors; each bird gets its own color; the raven insists that it be made entirely red; then They make him completely black; he gets angry, rolls some birds in the mud]: Sapir 1928b, No. 8:258-259.

Llanos. Sicuani [one Turtle asks the other to paint it, she makes it a beautiful shell; the first Turtle paints the second one carelessly; turtles of these two species now have different shells]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1992, No. 69, 70:271-272; Kuiva: Wilbert, Simoneau 1991b, No. 21 [a brief retelling of what's in (99)], 99 [Aieka turtle invites the Matamata turtle to color each other; M. is beautiful A. paints her shell, and she paints carelessly, in lumps; M. is angry and hides in shame at the bottom; walks sideways, looking back to see if anyone is looking at her]: 43, 152.

Guiana. Warrau [the turtle tells the jaguar it is no worse than him; suggests comparing excrement, replacing it; offers to race, puts other turtles at a distance; invites each other color; the jaguar did it badly, the turtle painted the jaguar beautifully; stole the necklace from the sleeping jaguar; he offers to fight; the turtle asks for a delay; disappeared]: Roth 1915, No. 160:223-224; oyana [The Jaguar and the Turtle agree to paint each other; the Turtle covers the Jaguar with beautiful spots, which roughly smears her back; the Turtle kills Tapir by biting off his penis; gives the Jaguar tapir meat, when he wants to kill her; pushes him into a boiling pot; a monkey helps her climb a tree; another Jaguar comes, demands that the Turtle come down so he can eat it; she rushes from above, flattening the Jaguar; another Jaguar takes it to the river, cuts it; it turns into a river turtle]: Magaña 1987, No. 44:43.

Montagna - Jurua. Amouesha [Yompor Eror (yompor means "father") paints the birds in bright colors; black Curasso asks everyone, he is told that they have always been like this; the woodpecker speaks the truth; Angry, Curasso hacked YE with an ax; the birds were going to bathe in blood, yellow feathers on those who dyed themselves fat; when he died, YE told Curasso to wear his ax forever; so he had black feathers, but his beak in red specks]: Santos-Granero 1991, No. 16:218-219.

Southern Amazon. Paresi [Maretekokoyni, son of an eagle chief (Morphnus guianensis) and acauã (snake eagle?) married to Jararak; went to check the fish tops, water snakes killed him and ate him; the birds found his remains, demanded that the snakes pay for blood; they paid with pendants and necklaces, this was not enough, then they painted the birds with genipa; there was not enough paint for acauã and carancho (Polyborus plancus); the last drop (an ugly black spot on the head) was thrown into the quarantine, and acauã only painted their eyes; since then offended acauã eats snakes]: Pereira 1986, No. 49:434-436.

Chaco. Ayoreo [Orokóshna's woman comes to ask the Sun to paint her, but he is busy; when angry, the Sun paints her black; out of grief she became a fish]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1989b, No. 435: 500-501.