Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

H24C. Death in a vessel. 11.-.

People open the vessel (bundle, basket, etc.) in which death (or old age, illness) is located, and therefore are mortal.

Bantu-speaking Africa. Lamba [the leader on earth sent people to God for seeds of cultivated plants; God gave packages, one ordered not to be opened; man opened, death came out; the leader ordered the execution of this man] : Doke 1927, No. 121:217 (=1931:228, retelling in Abrahamsson 1951:45-46, Baumann 1936:285, Parrinder 1967:56, Scheub 2000:121); kaonde [Leza gave three calebasses to Mayimba (honey-guide bird), ordered Mulonga to be taken to the first man and Mwinambuzhi woman, not to open it along the way, to open the third calebas only when he, L., came; Mayimba discovered, the first two were seeds of cultivated plants, in the third death, disease, beasts of prey, dangerous reptiles; Mayimba ran away and lived in the forest]: Melland 1967 (1923): 157-159 (retelling in Abrahamsson 1951:46, Millroth 1965:201); ilah (Zambia) [God gave on the choice of a bundle of life and death; people took a brilliant one, it was death, one of their children died; God promised to revive him if his parents fast for three days; they ate, the baby did not come to life]: Parrinder 1967:58; (cf. balolo [in the forest, a little man offered the person a choice of two bundles: a large one with knives, mirrors, fabrics, a small man with immortality; the man said he should consult in the village; for now walked, women chose a large bundle, people remained mortal]: Weeks 1901, No. 5:461; retelling in Scheub 2000:179); cumby [a man cut an edible pumpkin, death, misery, poverty came out of it ]: Janssens 1926, No. 6:554 (quoted in Millroth 1965:201).

West Africa. Ashanti [Kwaku Ananse (spider, trickster) asked heavenly God for a sheep to sacrifice and eat it, for which he promised a girl; came to a village of women, married them all; God was told about This, the women were sent to him, A. was left alone, who was sick; she washed herself, became beautiful, ordered the water from the bath to be collected in a calebass; when he found out that A.'s wife was the most beautiful, God also demanded her; A. ordered to her son to dance, the Raven told God that A. had a dance that was worthy of God, not him; but A. replied that this dance was only danced in a harem; he came to God, began to beat the drum, God and all wives began dance; A. smashed a calebass against his wife who was first ill; all diseases spread to humans and spread around the world]: Radin 1952, No. 14:64-66.

Sudan-East Africa. Nzakara [fatally ill, the father of the Sun, Month and Night (Ténèbres) sends the Rooster for his sons; Night, Month do not feed him, despising their father's slave; the Sun solemnly receives; The Rooster advises the Sun, when dividing property, to take a chest from under his father's head; Night, Month take large chests; open; nocturnal, dangerous animals of the savannah and forest come out of the chest of the Night; Months are a disease and death (now rituals are performed in honor of the dead at the end of the new moon so that people do not die like the moon); tools (ax, hoe, etc.) also come out; people in the Sun's chest; they rejoice, work at in the light of the sun, but not in the dark]: Retel-Lautentin 1986, No. 14:100-104; the pygmies of efe [Muri-Muri gave the Toad a vessel of death, told him not to break it; she gave it to the Frog at her request; the Frog went to jump with him, shattered, death broke out into the world]: Schebesta, S. 25 in Abrahamsson 1952:15, 43, in Millroth 1965:201-222.

Malaysia-Indonesia. Eastern Toraja [The Lord of Heaven leaves the basket to immortal people, says it is poison, tells them not to open it; people do not understand the danger, open the basket, and have died ever since]: Adriani, Kruyt 1951, No. 7:12.

China - Korea. Lolo [Tse-gu-dzih (who also sent the flood) opened the box with the seeds of death, so people are dying]: Henry 1903:105.

The Balkans. Ancient Greece [Zeus, having decided to punish people for Prometheus stealing fire, tells Hephaestus, mixing land with water and putting human voice and strength into them, to create the first woman; Athena dresses her; Hermes gives her a lying soul; her name is Pandora ("gifted by everyone"); Zeus tells Hermes to take her to Prometheus's brother Epimetheus as a gift; Prometheus warned E. not to accept anything from Zeus, who is not He listened; Pandora opened the vessel handed to her by the gods; diseases, misfortunes, and vices spread from it across the earth; there was only hope in the vessel [Hesiod, Labors and Days, 60-105; Daggers 1958:262-263].

Northeast. Montagnier [Mass gives man a bundle of immortality without telling him to open it; the man's wife opened the bundle, the contents evaporated, people became mortals]: Greer 2000:29 (LeJeune 1634:159).

Llanos. Guajibo [Palemecuna and his wife give people axes to cut down the Kalevirne tree; they give them three bundles of darkness, rain and wind, mosquitoes (they bring disease); people open packages, become mortal]: Baquero 1989, No. 5:83.

Western Amazon. Shuar: Barrueco 1988 [The sun gives a bag of lightning to the Possum, with the clitoris to the Bat, with gray hair to the Dove, telling them not to open it on the way; they open it, the Sun turns them into animals; The Bat's clitoris hangs under his nose; since then death has been final]: 26-27; Pelizzaro 1990 [(=1993:176-178); Ayumpúm tells the Bat, Duck, Fox (Kujáncham) to carry bundles to the edge of the world, in who hide the clitoris (a symbol of attraction, because of this war), gray hair, lightning (a sign of war, lightning indicates where the enemies are); all three open packages along the way; A. turns messengers into animals; the clitoris is placed under the bat's nose, the duck has whitish feathers on his head; A. wanted to destroy enemies so that there would be no more wars, but lightning began to sparkle from the abdomen of the Opossum, the enemies woke up, found out where danger]: 176-178; Rueda 1987, No. 5 [Etsa (The Sun) ordered the Sesenk to bring the stone, he lingered, so people are not made of stone and are mortal; Bat E. ordered to bring a parcel with a woman, Duck - with gray hair; the first opened the bundle, smelling a woman, the second out of curiosity; the first turned into a bat, the second into a duck whose feathers resemble gray hair]: 60.

The Central Andes. Cusco? [the messenger brought Wayne Capak's vessel, he opened it; butterflies flew out - diseases]: Santa Cruz Pachacuti Yamqui Salcamayhua: 110-111 in Parsons 1945:134.