Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

B56. Crocodile fire tongue.

.52.53. (.55.) .57.59.62.-.64.


crocodile/Cayman is left without a tongue, swallowing or losing the fire (which it used to know); something related to heavenly fire (lightning, sun rays, etc.).

Tepehua, Totonaki, Huasteca Nahuatl, Chorti, Bribri, Cabecar, Piaroa, Sanema, Yanomam, Akawai, Taruma, Vakuenai, Munduruku, Urubu.

Mesoamerica Lightning comes from the crocodile's tongue. Tepehua [some characters don't like the musician's performance; they invite him to a party, feed him, offer more and more servings; he can't anymore; they call him to play ball, kill him with their own with iron balls; his pregnant wife wants to have an abortion, a baby from her womb tells her to wait, give birth to him where she is swimming; she gives birth and buries a dead baby; corn grows on his grave; the woman cooks the cake, she is bitter, the woman throws it away; the turtle puts it on her back, the cake turns into a boy; the baby is dirty, since then the picture can be seen on the tortoise shell; The turtle makes him arrows, but tells him not to shoot poor fish; the boy asks the scorpion to take him to his real mother; finds his father's musical instrument under the roof of the house; the opponents hear the game again call the player to their place to put him to the same tests as his father; he is fed for slaughter, but he asks the shrew in advance to hole his food vessels; during the game, he hits the balls, killing opponents; spares three for showing where his father's bones are; revives his father, brings him home, forbiding him to open his eyes; a leaf falls on him, opens his eyes, turns into a deer; the son gives him the handkerchief is the tail; tells the crocodile to open its mouth, pulls out his tongue; asks San Pedro to let him go with his mother (to heaven?) ; the mother turns into a holy rose; the snake moves, producing thunder, lightning, clouds, rain; the young man waves the crocodile's tongue, causing a stronger thunderstorm; Thunders lead the young man to San Pedro ; he admits that he missed him with his mother; tells him to share his weapon between the Thunders]: Williams García 1972:91-92; Totonaki (Chicotepec) [man played violin; Thunder sent to a messenger ordered to appear; let him tell him who allowed him to play, they don't like it; he was asked to sit in a chair and then compete in the run; at a distance he saw him lying upside down pajaro de primavera; not wanting to step on him, the man hesitated and lost the contest; he was killed and buried; his wife remained pregnant; the thunders caused her and, under threat of death, forced her to miscarry, the child was buried in the courtyard of the house from where they ran the town hall; eight days later, a corn shoot grew on this site, and the cob ripened on it; the thunders called a woman and told him to pick him up; she ground the grain , cooked a tamale; he turned out to be bitter and she threw it into the river; downstream the old woman heard crying and picked up the baby; brought it home, her husband is also happy; the boy grew up quickly, calls the couple parents; asks where the father goes; old woman: take care of animals {fish, but it is more often referred to as animals}; these animals lay motionless; kingfisher and other birds that eat fish, they came to eat them; the young man asked for permission to go with his father; started shooting at kingfishers and killing them; promised that now the fish ("animals") would multiply; the next time he went alone and started shooting fish in their heads, they have fins, a tail in their backs; tomorrow or the day after tomorrow God's children {i.e. people} will appear, they will need animals {i.e. there must be a lot of fish and it should not be concentrated in one place}; the fish started moving {i.e. blurred}; the next day the young man came back with his father; he: how to catch now; then the young man gave his father a net; people would appear - it will be for them necessary; the young man came to the crocodile, he wanted to eat it; the young man asked him to open his mouth to climb into it, cut off his tongue and said that he would now be called a crocodile; when the lightning flashes, they they will honor you {that is, lightning is made of the crocodile's tongue}; the young man told the old woman he knew that he had a real mother and his real father was killed; the young man came when his mother sadly sang and made clay pots; hiding in a tree, he broke the pot with arrows; she began to swear; he went out to her, told her not to swear and called herself a son; sat on her knees and spoiled her; told the whole story about his father's death and his appearance; he was the corncob; he assured him that he would not be killed; he opened his father's house and all the violins, guitars, drums and flutes were there; he started playing the violin, the Groms are messengers were heard and sent for him; he volunteered to go; when {people} come, you will be called rain/storm clouds, for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow God will increase the number of his children {i.e. people}; and they agreed to be under his control, be clouds, not who they were; they were given their horses - white clouds, and given their machetes; and they would produce lightning, scream {thunder} and pour water; in the morning clouds appeared in the east, it rained, and a thunderstorm began; while running, he did not look at the person lying down and ran first; the second test was to eat a lot of corn porridge; he agreed with Agouti to make her a hole in the bottom of the porridge jar gnawed; the porridge flowed out, and the Thunders believed that the young man had eaten everything; then he took his father out of the grave to revive him; but he should not be afraid; but when he heard the rustle of a fallen leaf, Father got scared and turned into a deer; now people will eat you, hunters will kill you; this young man is Wonder Man]: Aschmann 1977; mountain totonaks [see J4B, K27 motif; girl rejects suitors; the musician turns into a flea, penetrates it, clinging to his clothes; at night he becomes a man; plays the violin; four Thunders hear a game, tell him to shoot him; a woman gives birth to a boy, he dies; she buries him, corn grows on the grave; the woman makes bread from the green cobs; he is bitter, she throws it into the river; it is eaten by fish, the Turtle carries a piece on its back; the piece turns into a boy; when he grows up, she leaves it on the shore; the crocodile wants to swallow it; the young man tells him to open his mouth, cuts off his tongue, cuts it into four pieces; puts them with river foam in four reeds; pieces the tongue turns into lightning; it gives them to the Thunders, tells them to make thunderstorms and showers (there were no clouds before); the young man is corn, revives annually]: Ichon 1969, № III-5, 11:65, 69, 72; Nahuatl district Huasteca: Greco 1989:183-187; chorty [Kumix (see J4 motif) pulls his zipper out of a crocodile's mouth; it's a giant heavenly crocodile; during rituals, he is spelled to open his mouth to pour out of it rain; the wider it opens, the more rain]: Braakhuis, Hull 2014:456.

Honduras-Panama. Bribri [the sun is wrapped in Crocodile's tongue]: Bozzoli, Cubero Venegas 1989, No. 12:20; cabecar [sun rays - Crocodile's tongue]: Stone 1962:66

(Wed. The Northern Andes. Guajiro [the howler monkey owned the lightning; he left it at the edge of his field for the night, the neighbors' fields burned down; they decided to put him to sleep; the bittern sang, the bird (considered chatty, flies in flocks) tried speak to the Howler Monkey, but he did not fall asleep; then the Lizard was sent for Rain's grandfather Sleep; the Lizard brought him, the howler monkey fell asleep; Rain (Juya) took his weapon; gave the Lizard a lightning bolt; she had a zipper on her throat orange leather that "shoots" towards the rain like lightning; The rain is gone, with his younger brothers Sirius, the Pleiades, etc., each sending a certain type of rain]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1986 (1), No. 98:281-282).

Southern Venezuela. Piaroa [hot chicha burned Cayman's tongue]: Boglar 1977:280; sanema [Cayman Ibaramyo has a fire in his mouth, people eat meat raw; boy finds charred leaf in I.'s cave; father the boy arranges a holiday; the Tinama chicken, then the Dog defecates at the dancers, everyone laughs except I.; the bird as red as fire defecates into I.'s mouth; he laughs, throwing fire out of his mouth; his tongue burned down, now the Caymans have no tongue; a black and white bird carries a fire in its beak, hides it in a tree; I.'s wife tries in vain to fill the tree with urine]: Barandiaran 1968:4-7; Yanomam [Cayman kept the fire in his mouth, so his tongue is short and his mouth is red; his wife is a Frog; Bird people find baked caterpillars near his house; they danced; Ant Thrush beat himself in the chest, but Cayman just smiled; Wren is dancing Cayman laughs, fire falls from his mouth; the frog fills most of the coals, but the Oropendoles have managed to carry the coals away, put fire in the core of the trees; the frog curses people, says their kids will get burned]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1990b, No. 50:116-119.

Guiana. Akawai [animal people mistakenly think Cayman swallowed fire, rip out his tongue as punishment]: Brett 1880:132-133; Im Thurn 1966 [Aguchi finds a tree with cassava, bananas, and others cultivated plants on branches; people cut down a tree; a stump turns into stone; water gushes from it, someone has covered it with a basket; a curious Monkey lifted it up, the flood flooded the ground; the first ancestors climb a coconut palm tree; the Howler Monkey roars, his throat remains swollen; a man throws seeds down to see if the water is deep; the first ancestors descend; the Trumpeter Bird's ants have eaten its legs, now they are skinny; a man makes fire by friction; a Penelope marail turkey swallows a spark, wakes, his throat stays red; people think Cayman has swallowed fire, pulls out his tongue]: 379-381; taruma [ After Duid caught his wife in the river, he and his older brother Ajijeko lived in separate huts but worked together; if the food was raw, they knew that the woman only eats fruit raw; she hid where does the fire come from; when she had already given birth to many children and was old, A. came to visit her; at sunset he went back, leaving his bag, asked the woman to bring it, told her to come closer, grabbed it, threatened by rape, unless she reveals the secret of the fire; she sat down, spread her legs, the fire rolled out of her vagina; it was cold; to make it hot, A. mixed it with hot bark, fruit, pepper; gave keep Duida; he was sitting by the river, Cayman swam out and swallowed the fire; returned at A.'s request; the fire burned his tongue; soon the maroudi bird fell off the fire, flew away; returned his burnt throat at A.'s request remained red; D. left the fire on the trail; the Jaguar came, burned his legs, now tiptoes; Tapir burned his legs harder, they turned into hooves]: Farabee 1918:145-147.

NW Amazon. Vakuenai [Made of bone went with his men for fire to fire master Yáwali; he reluctantly gave, the Squirrel placed the fire in the vessel; Cayman opened it, swallowed it, disappeared into the water; when The vessel was reopened, so only smoke, which is called "belkin fire"; the UK found Cayman (and apparently forced him to return the fire); Cayman stopped talking, the fire burned his tongue]: Hill 2009:80-82.

Central Amazon. Munduruku [a hot stone is thrown into the crocodile's mouth, he burned his tongue]: Kruse 1949, No. 20:627-628.

Eastern Amazon. Urubu [while the Sun was gone, the ghost took his form, came to his wife, asked for food; she gave him hot cassava; he took it in his mouth, burned his tongue, threw himself into the river, became a caiman, now caiman without a tongue; the Sun came, the wife was surprised that her husband asked for food again; he explained that it was a ghost, brought his wife to the river, showed her caiman; we do not eat sloth meat because it makes him weak, but The sun eats in the evening, so it weakens at sunset; it illuminates the lower world at night]: Ribeiro 2002:606-607.