Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

F87B. The snake's wife and her children: turning into trees.

.27.28.31. (.37.)


snake crawls onto the clothes of a bathing girl, climbs down for the promise to marry him, takes her to the underwater world. She's happy there, having kids. He visits relatives with them. They summon a snake from the water and kill. After that, the wife turns her children and/or herself into plants.

Bulgarians, Moldovans, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Lutsies, Estonians, Setus, Finns, Veps, (Nivkhs).

The Balkans. Bulgarians: Daskalova-Perkovska et al. 1994, № 425M [The serpent hides the clothes of the youngest of the three sisters swimming in the sea; takes her as his wife; in his palace his wife gives birth to two children; the Serpent agrees to let go see her parents if she tramples on a pair of iron shoes and hides a certain amount of wool; lets her go for three days with her children, telling her not to talk about him; children talk about their father and how his mother calls him from the sea; his wife's brothers call him, kill him; his wife and children try in vain to summon her husband, sees the sea of blood; curses the children, turning them into trees (the daughter turns into aspen)]: 150-151; Strandja. It is a material and spiritual culture. Sofia: academic publishing house "Prof. Marin Drinov", 1996 [one snake married a girl; they had a daughter and two sons; the mother went with her children to visit her brothers; they wanted to save her sister from the snake, asked the children how to find snakes house; the boys did not speak, but the girl told the truth; then the mother cursed her children to turn into trees: the boys into oak and ash, the girl into aspen with ever-trembling leaves]. S. 216-236, 223; Moldovans (2 versions: Budzhaksky and Kodrinsky) [{there are no retelling of the texts, individual episodes are mentioned}; in the Budzhak version, the mother by the sea calls "Osip, Osip, come and get us"; the serpent comes out, his mother cuts off his head with an ax; the wife turns her daughter into a swallow, her son into a Morning Star, becomes a cuckoo herself; in the Codrin version, the brothers come to the sea, one says, "My serpent darling, get up from the bottom of the sea, I have come to you, dear"; The serpent comes out, the brothers cut him with braids, hit him with sticks; the dying Serpent utters the curse; the wife turns into a willow, the eldest son into a well, the youngest in the spring]: Kerbelite 2004:171-177.

Central Europe. Belarusians: Karatkevich 2000 [Yasya has two sons, he wants a daughter; his wife fell asleep by the lake; in a dream, a snake with a golden crown on her head promises her a daughter if she later gives her to him as his wife; daughter Yalina grew up, went swimming with her friends; the snake crawled on her clothes: I will return her clothes if you become a wife; she promised to marry a snake; the snakes took her daughter away; she ended up in the palace; she has sons Oak and Ash, daughters Birch and Aspen; she asks her husband to let her go see her parents; Y. brothers try out her children; tell younger Osinka that they will kill others if she does not tell her where her father is; she had to say they killed snake; I run to him and sees him dead; hears a voice: you did not love; I.: loved; the serpent is an enchanted prince, only the most beautiful girl could spell him; Yalina became a spruce, her children became trees, according to their names]: 38.

Baltoscandia. Lithuanians: Bulatova 1985 [the couple has 12 sons and 3 daughters, the youngest Egle ("spruce"); the sisters were swimming, she has already climbed onto E.'s clothes, she has to promise to marry him; snakes crawl into the house; the advice of a neighbor, the bride is dressed up as a goose, a lamb, a heifer; every time the cuckoo screams of deception; E. is taken to the seashore, she is a handsome man, he is; from the island they go down to the palace at the bottom; E. gives birth to sons named Oak, Ash, Birch, and daughter Osinka; She agrees to let his wife and children visit her parents if E. 1) hides a silk tow (the healer tells me to throw the tow into the fire, the toad is on fire releases yarn from her mouth); 2) wears out iron shoes (the healer tells the blacksmith to burn them in the furnace); 3) baked a cake (She hides the dishes, the healer advises covering the sieve with sourdough, kneading it in it dough); He tells him to return to the tenth day, teaches how to click it; if the sea boils with bloody foam, then he is dead; the brothers threaten Osinka with a rod, she gives a call; the brothers hacked Snake with braids; when E. comes to the sea, bloody foam boils; E. tells children to turn into trees, turns into spruce itself; aspen is now trembling because it betrayed its own father]: 375-379; Kerbelite 2004 [{texts are not retold}; a total of 17 Lithuanian versions, 1 of which has been retold many times; in Lithuanian versions, the mother turns her daughter into an aspen, tells her to shake day and night, the wind scratches her hair, the rain washes her face; in some cases, she turns one son into an oak tree, another into an ash tree, and a daughter into an aspen]: 171-177; Lutsie (Western 1893; the informant knew a fairy tale from her grandmother, who spoke only the Lutsi dialect) [ childless parents ask for a child even the size of a snake; a land man was born; came to a family with three daughters; marries the eldest, she does not want to; a snake: if you don't go, no one will take it at all; to a snake feast crawled to the bride's knees, she threw him off and pressed him down with her foot; on the wedding night he cut her throat; the same with her middle sister; the younger snake covered him with an apron; at night he became a young man, and in the afternoon he became a serpent again; He created an island with a city in the middle of the sea, came with his wife to live there; they have three sons; the wife wants to visit her relatives; her husband put her and her children in a boat, she will come by herself; the wife should not tell her brothers about her husband and let him not give the children; they returned safely; but when they went to visit their relatives again, the youngest boy told his mother's brother everything; he called the snake with the same words as his wife called, he sailed, he cut off his head; when the woman came, there was no one; the youngest boy confessed; the mother turned into a birch tree, the eldest son into cambium, the middle son into birch bark, and the youngest into butterflies that tremble on the bark]: Annom et al. 2018:202-205; Estonians [daughter found a louse in the king's hair, who fattened her for three years, ordered her to be slaughtered, made leather shoes for her daughter; whoever guesses what they are made of will receive princess; a snake crawled, gave the right answer, the princess had to go with her; there was a bridge across the sea in front, water behind them, they came to the palace; at night the husband was a man, in the day of snakes; a year later the wife gave birth to a son, wanted to show her father; her husband took her ashore, explained how to call him (Kiilu, kaalu, come out, your wife, etc.); the woman's brothers began to demand that she tell me how to call her husband, she eventually let it slip; the elder brother began to call, the husband thinks that it is not his wife's voice; the same middle voice; when the younger brother called, the husband believed that his wife was calling; the brothers cut off the snake's head; the wife called in vain ; became a birch tree (Maserbirke) and her son became a drake]: Dähnhardt 1910:473-474; Seto: Mälk et al. 1967, No. 63 [the healer replies to the woman that her two older daughters will marry people, and the youngest is for the snake; when the sisters went swimming, the serpent crawled on the youngest's clothes, crying after the promise to marry him; in his underground snake palace there is a man; they have three daughters asking their mother to visit her parents; the snake allows, teaches the song to summon him from the sea to come back, tells him not to tell a lot about their lives; the elders do not tell, the youngest explains to his grandfather how to summon a snake from the sea; grandfather a snake called, stabbed him on the head, blue liquid spread on the water; the mother did not wait for the snake, began to ask her daughters, the youngest confessed; the mother became a birch, the eldest daughter became black bark on her trunk , the middle one was birch bark, the youngest daughter made a butterfly]: 168-171; Normann, Tammpere 1989:58-62 [while parents are away, brother and sister decided to cook porridge from coals; sister tried it, turned black, brother put it down get wet in the sea; in the morning she asks from the shore if her sister has turned white, she replies that she has not yet; Damn (vanapagan) heard, called himself, the girl replies that it is not her brother's voice; for the fourth time he sharpened his tongue like this that the girl did not understand the deception, replied that she turned white; the brother did not wait for an answer, the witch doctor said that his sister was taken away by Damn; brother sings outside the window of the house Devil, sister hears something, Damn replies that it was a creak wheels (he made a wagon); next time brother sings, calling his sister to bury him, his teeth aside; sister goes out, Damn believes her brother is dead; decides to brew beer on this occasion; no dishes, offers to cook it in his mouth; his sister tied him up, poured boiling water into his mouth, his brother jumped out of the grave, threw hot stones into his mouth, he died; the brother brought his sister home], 71-72 [the king made daughters shoes made of lice skin on one leg, fleas on the other; promised to give his daughter to the one who guessed what the shoes were made of; guessed the snakes that had crawled out from under the edge of the well; the girl sailed with him overseas; came with her three daughters visit her parents; her brothers began to ask their daughters, only the youngest said that the mother called the snake with a song on the shore, he came to pick her up with the ship; the brothers called themselves, killed the snake with swords; the wife became name - a bloody ship has sailed; turned into a birch tree; her green bark is the eldest daughter, the white bark is the middle one, the stripes on the bark are the youngest]; Finns, the Veps [{this is a general description of the plot without guarantee, that there are specific episodes in the relevant texts}; a snake (water creature, dragon) hides the clothes of a bathing girl, returns him for promising to marry him; in his castle at the bottom she gives birth to two children; after completing difficult tasks with the help of an old woman (wearing out iron shoes, hiding an endless thread), she receives permission to visit her parents with her children; she should not tell them about her husband; children give out a secret; a woman's brothers call a snake with a conditional signal, kill; returning, a woman calls in vain, sees blood at sea; tells children to become trees]: Uther 2004 (1), No. 425A: 255.

(Wed. Amur - Sakhalin. Nanais [the elderly couple had a daughter, Fudiken; a maid came from somewhere; when the girl is 6 years old, her mother died, and the maid is also missing; F. goes to the lake, lowers her braid into the water; grew up; the mighty hunter began to marry her; then a man, more beautiful than that hunter, came out of the water; said that he was the maid, specially raised F. as his wife; leads to the underwater world; there are jewelry, gold and silver, the fish people bow; F. asks to be allowed to see her father first; one braid F. fell into a golden stream, the other into a silver stream, the braids themselves became gold and silver; F. asks the groom abandon it; he goes to the lake, calls the owner of the waters in the voice of F.; he goes out, but is not deceived, but is ready to fight; F. went to the water, turned into a willow; waits for one of the suitors to win]: Medvedev 1992:222-226).