Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

E7. Trapped in a heavenly hole.


The path from one part of the world to another is through a narrow opening. The character gets stuck in a hole, permanently cutting off the connection between the worlds.

Kond (kuttia), moy, ma, sre, banar, visaia, paywan, puyuma, kiowa, keddo, seminoles, yaruro, warrau, kariña, shuar, mai huna, uitoto, surui, gaviano, zoro, paresi, karazha, angaite, matako.

Burma - Indochina. Mine [when other nations have long lived on the surface of the earth, my ancestors were still underground; decided to come to the surface through the hole with their pets; beauties began to dress up, were left behind everyone; but a two-headed buffalo got stuck in the hole, where he died, blocking the exit forever; so there are few beautiful women among mine]: Besnard 1907:87; ma , sre, banar [people came out of the Brah Ting underworld through a hole in the ground; a huge buffalo with two heads stuck in it; turned into a rock still visible today; {meaning is the text mine or something else?}] : Chesnov 1982e: 206.

South Asia. Kuttia [when Nirantali and half of the people came out of the hole in the ground, the cannibal wolf also appeared from there; N. smashed his head with a stick, he fell back into that hole, jamming the door; N. cut off his head, turned him into an anthill; his eyes turned into stars, his tongue into the sun, his legs 4 mountains, his tail a vine, his ears turned banana plants, his intestines turned into river snakes, blood the Kambell River, his liver was rice field; and the remaining people were never able to get out]: Elwin 1954, No. 12:432.

Taiwan - Philippines. Paywan: Egli 1989, No. 19 [people lived on earth, did not die; the woman decided to go down to the lower world to see how it was; went down through the Tanavurung hole, warning her family what if she won't come back in a week, so it's good downstairs, let them follow her; a week later she decided to come back, but during this time her pregnancy advanced and because of her big belly she could not crawl through hole; people have been dying ever since]: 49; Mabuchi 1969 [people used to go down to the lower world for grain; one day a pregnant woman came down and when she got to the surface, she was crushed; because she was pregnant, no one wanted to touch her or pull her out of the hole, she died; a big tree grew out of her body]: 31; puyuma [during drought and hunger, parents dug a hole in the lower one world; the woman was pregnant and stuck; the children went to look for their parents, found the mother stuck; she gave them a bird, a partridge hike, and pumpkin seeds; when the bird flaps its wings, the lock would be filled millet; various seeds appeared from flat pumpkins, round animals began to poison crops; people drove them into the forest; some pigs stayed in the village and became domestic]: Mabuchi 1969:32-33; visayas [people live in the sky; Ukunirot hunter shoots at a bird, an arrow breaks through the sky; people see the ground through the hole; weave a rope of feathers, go down; a fat woman could not crawl remained in the sky; the rope had broken but everyone had already descended; what remained in the sky lit the stars; the moon was a hole in the sky]: Eugenio 1994, No. 170:290-291.

Plains. Kiowa ["supernatural ancestor" takes people into our world by releasing one of a poplar log with an empty core; a pregnant woman gets stuck, and those who follow her could not get up; so Kiowas are few in number]: Mooney 1898b: 152-153.

Southeast USA. Natchitopches tribe [people live underground, climb to the surface from a cave in a hill; humans and animals lived together like brothers underground; when they found the hole, the old man was the first to get out, holding a fire and a smoking pipe in one hand, a tambourine in the other; when the wolf climbed, he got stuck, some people remained in the lower world; since the caddo came out of the ground, they call her mother and return to her after death; the caddies never leave fire, tambourine, corn, pumpkins because they carried them to the ground themselves; the caddios came out near the mouth of the Red River and went up this river]: Mooney 1896:1093-1094 (= Swanton 1942:26); Seminoles [people come out of the mountain; Puma has a big head, he can't crawl; the wind pulls out the roots of the trees growing on the mountain, the Puma comes out; followed by the Bird and Snake genera]: Greenlee 1945:141.

Llanos. Yaruro [Khachava was born as a foremother; finds a hole in the ground, sees people below, lowers the rope; when a pregnant woman climbs, the rope breaks; so there are few people]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1990c, No. 2: 20.

Guiana. Varrau [people descend from heaven; pregnant woman gets stuck in a hole left in the sky]: García 1993, No. 20 [people lived in the sky; the hunter's arrow pierced a hole, fell on the ground; he went down the rope, he liked the ground, but there was no fire, he was cooking in the sun, which was hotter than the current one; sent a parrot to bring fire from the Toad; he pecked her, but only burned its beak; a man climbed a tree, threw a fruit on the Toad, it began to smoke; threw another, he crushed it, fire all over the earth; the man returned to heaven, called the others to go down to earth; when he climbed him pregnant wife, stuck in a hole; people from behind began to beat her, push her, her gut fell out, now it's the Morning Star]: 90-91; Wilbert 1970, No. 101, 141 and 145 [pregnant: stuck in a hole]: 216-217, 293-294; carinha (Guyana) [like warrau, no details; pregnant woman gets stuck in a hole]: Im Thurn 1983:377.

Western Amazon. Shuar [people who enter the cave are unable to get out because the pregnant woman is stuck in the inlet]: Porras García 1978:77; Maihuna: Bellier 1991b, No. 2 [the sky was on the place of the earth, the earth was in the place of the sky, they were close to each other; the sky did not want to be like this, changed places with the earth; earthworms, centipedes were in the sky; Maineno went to heaven, it's better there; M. told Goukuko to shoot, he made a chain of arrows, it turned into a Maineno miime vine ("Maineno's vine"); people went up to see M.; worms also climbed, G. cut off the vine, M. said to see only the dead will come; after the sky was in the place of the earth, people were crushed in the underworld; according to M., people began to get to earth; along with everyone else they climbed menstruating woman; those who came after her stopped, came back]: 14 [those who returned back are now in the underworld], 171-173.

NW Amazon. Uitoto [the first humans came out of the ground, their tails were cut off; those who came out after sunrise were not cut off, they became monkeys; Taife also wanted to go out, but did not crawl into the hole; others taife (evil spirits) came out; some people were left underground, their screams can be heard]: San Román 1986:115.

Central Amazon. Surui [Palop comes to people in the guise of a dirty old man, the girl rejects him; then he is handsome, explains that he is a creator; people ask for forgiveness; he stains the whole house with his vomit, turns it into a rock; people locked inside call for help; Parrot, Mako hammering the rock outside, breaking axes; Woodpecker comes from afar, cuts a hole; people go out, pregnant the woman gets stuck, turns into a honey bee; the woodpecker is unable to cut a new hole, the rest inside die]: Mindlin 1995, No. 7:62-65; gaviano, zoro [pregnant: stuck in a hole]: Løvold 1987:425.

Southern Amazon. Paresi [Wasaré and his siblings were inside the rock; Enoharé lived outside the stone with his wife Zorotiró and two children, a boy and a girl; the children heard the sound of sacred things inside the stone flute; their father made a hole in the stone with a wooden sword, saw people inside; Urubu turned into a mueu, flew out, found out about the world, came back; W. told Aguti to expand the hole, but he broke his tooth; tells to different woodpeckers, each rewarded with the peculiarities of their plumage; people came out, Sister W. was stuck because she had thick hips and stomach; the man with the toothache came out, although W. told him not to go out; so And so did people with other diseases; then Nare's men came out with sacred flutes and rattles; in stone they played with a stone ball, giving it their heads; now they rolled, they went wherever they led; see motif E6]: Pereira 1986, No. 2:34-69.

Araguaia. Karazha [Karazh Kaboi's ancestor lived with his people underground; there's a day when we're at night; walking to the cry of the Seriema bird, K. and several companions came to the hole that led to the surface; people got up, and K., because of its large size, could only stick his head out; people brought him various fruits, wild honey, but also rotten wood; K. said that the land was fertile, but people would become die; those who remain underground are immortal]: Ehrenreich 1891, No. 1:39

Chaco. Angaite [people rope-descended from heaven to earth; the parrot accidentally cut the rope with its beak; the rest tried to resume their descent (on a new rope?) , but a man with a second head on his side got stuck in a hole and the descent stopped]: Cordeu 1973, No. 2:201; matako [there were few people, no women, people did not multiply; the man heard a sound from under the ground; all the animals began to hammer, no one pierced a hole; the battleship dug a hole, men and women began to leave in pairs; the pregnant woman was stuck, blocking the passage; half of the matako remained underground, so there are few of them; other nations all came out]: Wilbert, Simoneau 1982a, No. 15:59-60.