Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

H7F. Death asks who to eat, ATU 332C* (1).


God gives instructions that certain categories of people should die and suffer. The character who has received instructions, taking care of people, gives other orders to the performers.

Russians (no place of recording, conditionally central provinces), Latvians, Lutsi, Chuvash, Khakas, Western Evenks.

Central Europe. Russians [(about the same in Afanasiev 1994 (3): 50-52, but there Death, released from the bag, runs away in horror); Death appears as a decrepit old woman with a scythe in her hands; a warrior has died Christ-loving, the Lord put him on the clock at the entrance to paradise; Death came for the command of whom to kill; the soldier went to report to God, who ordered the old people to be killed; the soldier felt sorry for his parents, he said that God ordered the oldest oaks to be sharpened for three years; three years later God ordered young people to be killed, a soldier sent Death to sharpen young oaks; three years later, young oaks instead of babies; nine years later Death reached God, who ordered the soldier to wear it on his back for three years; he lured Death either into a snuffbox or an empty nut, closed it there; the Lord ordered Death to be released, let that soldier be released he would die; the soldier pretended not to go to the coffin, asked Death to show, closed the lid, threw the coffin into the sea; Death came out when the coffin broke against the rocks]: Corinthian 1901:707-709.

Baltoscandia. Latvians [a soldier returns from service; the same old man meets three times, receives a ducat each time; gives a leather bag in return; whoever a soldier tells him to do so will jump there himself and not will get out; the devil told the king to send three daughters to the old castle for the night; whoever saves them will become the royal son-in-law; the first night the soldier lights many candles, the three-headed devil did not enter; the same on the second night six-headed; on the third night, a soldier puts a nine-headed line in a bag, hits, forcing her to fill the castle with gold; after the wedding, the soldier died, made a gatekeeper in paradise; Death asks her to let her in ask her who to mow; the soldier goes to ask God himself; he replies that old people, the soldier says that oaks are old; next time, instead of middle-aged people, medium oaks; then instead of babies — young oaks; for the fourth time I had to miss Death to God; he told the soldier to wear it on his back for three years and her to mow all his relatives; but the soldier told Death to get into the horn and leave it there; the sick recovered; when the soldier let her go, God told Death not to ask permission anymore]: Grishina 1993:234-244; Lutsie [God puts the saint in his place, everything can be seen from there; saint notices how the landowner steals grain from the poor man; shouts: do not touch! lightning strikes the landowner; God is holy: be silent if you see bad things; death comes to ask God who to kill; saint: I'll go ask myself, you look too terrible; God: men in the prime of life; Holy Death: you are ordered to eat oaks for three years; for the next three years God tells you to eat old people, the saint says stumps; then children; saint: willows; noticing that Death broke his teeth, God understood everything , drove the saint out of heaven and told Death to kill him; but she cannot, the saint “knows” her (that is, he knows his death hour); then God took away people's ability to know when they would die, and the saint died]: Annom et al. 2018:18-19.

Volga — Perm. Chuvash [a soldier shares bread and vodka with old people, gets a cloth, a book, a whip; falls into the ground; tells soldiers to watch the exits from the cloth, beat the devils with a whip, they ask mercy; the main feature appoints a soldier as a gatekeeper; Esrel comes to the gate, the soldier does not let him in, says he will find out for himself what the order is for next year; he is told to kill children, adults, old people, the soldier reports that young, grown up, uproot stumps; the main feature tells the soldier to wear E. on his back for three years; he carries him through the thorny thickets, E. asks for mercy; soldier offers to climb into an empty nut, closes the hole, releases a year later; the main feature pays his salary, allows him to return to earth; the soldier lives well; from the book he learns how to plant apple orchards ], 302-305 [The soldier is back, married, a tree has fallen on him, he is dead, placed as a gatekeeper at the door of paradise; Death comes, he says he will report himself, God says that this year Death must mow old people, the soldier reports that to uproot and pile up old stumps; next year: instead of “mowing young and healthy”, “uprooting young stumps”; on the third, not “minors”, but “small forests”; For the fourth year, God himself came to the gate, deception was revealed, God ordered Death to be worn on his shoulders for a year; the soldier says that he has an earthly paradise in a snuffbox; Death flies in with a mosquito, the soldier closes; Death jumped out, mowed the soldier; in hell, the soldier began to train the devils, they complained, God sent him back to earth]: Eisin 1993:183-189.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Khakas: Balter 1958 [=1986:27-32; {cf. Yenisei Evenks}; the boy goes to hire workers; at the fork, Batozhok says that buy to the left with his seven daughters, to the right — Death; the boy goes to the left, works for the bay, wants a daughter to pay, he drives him away; the boy walks along the right road; towards the Old Man Death, goes to the gods to find out who is; the boy offers to run away instead of him; the gods command There are thin old people for three years, the boy tells Death as if they told Death to eat bark for three years; next time the gods tell them to eat children for three years, the boy tells Death to eat seaweed; three years later Death has difficulty climbing the stairs into the sky for the boy; he says that there is a human in his snuffbox; invites Death to turn into a mosquito, climb into a snuffbox; slams it shut; comes to the deceived he bayu, releases Death, asking them to eat all the fat ones]: 9-16 (=Koptelov 1956:149-154); Katanov 1907, No. 582 (Kachins) [first it was a duck; having made another friend, sent her to the bottom of the river for sand; that brings it three times and gives it to the first; the third time it left some of the sand in its mouth, this part became stones; the first duck scattered the sand, crushed for nine days, the earth grew; the mountains grew after the messenger duck spit stones out of her mouth; because of this, the first refuses to give her land; agrees to give her land the size of a cane; the messenger pierces a hole in the ground, goes into it; the rest sends a swallow behind man's soul, telling the dog to watch and bark at Erlik Khan; E. created winter, gave the dog a fur coat, spat on man; God poured his soul on man, made him a wife out of a rib; ordered him to eat red currants at sunrise but not at sunset; the wife broke the ban and ate, God wrote it down in a book; a woman with a child and a mare with a foal eat grass, a woman has crossed seven slides, a mare After one; God has decided that if people eat grass, they will eat it all; God gives the moon and sun to Erlik Khan; it is becoming dark; God gathers birds and tells them not to laugh if the Corncrake comes; the head of the birds Stork laughed; the corncrake was offended and left; sent the Owl to overhear what the Corncrake was talking at home; Let Erlik Khan catch the echo of the rocks, his shadow, the tramp of a hundred horses; E. is forced to return sun and moon, because he could not fulfill God's requests; God sent Swallow to steal Erlik Khan's flint; she stole it, meets Komar on the way back; he says that E. was sent to find out whose blood is sweeter, turns out to be human; the swallow asks him to show his tongue, bites off; the mosquito only buzzes; E. chases the Swallow, tears off her middle tail; she threw half the flint on the rock; the young man was watching the door to God; Erlik Khan came: what should I eat? God replies that old and old women, and the young man said that trees are rotten; next time: children are young willow branches; young people are dried and hardened trees; for the fourth time E. breaks into God; everything was explained, E. now eats everyone, and the young man was driven to the ground]: 522-527 (=196:154-156; quail in Troyakov 1995:6-7); Torokova, Sychenko 2014, No. 35 [the orphan boy went to look for work; found a staff; on he does not tell you to go to the right side at the fork, there is death, but to go to the left, where buy with seven daughters; the bay has a bronze house; the guy worked for two years, asked for payment for his youngest daughter; buy him away; the guy forgot road, went along the road where Old Man Death {in the Khakass text, the Russian word DEATH}; he says that he is going to Skinny to ask who to eat; the guy volunteers to go instead of him; climbed the stairs into heaven, entered the house, there are nine chayans at the table; they tell him to eat old people for three years; the guy told Death that he was told to eat larch bark for three years; three years later, the same; he was ordered to eat average people age, the guy said that water mud; three years later, Old Death does not trust the guy, but could not get in, sat down to rest; the guy says that he has a human in his snuffbox, and to eat, you have to become a yellow fly; the guy took a snuffbox, came to Khan's city; stabbed and plucked the goose, cooked it, carried the goose to Khan as a gift, but ate one leg on the way; explained his business, the khan ordered Bayu to give his youngest daughter for the guy, especially since they have been living together for two years; the khan asks why the goose has one leg; the guy shows sleeping geese: all on one leg; the khan drove the geese, they ran on two legs; the guy hit the khan with a stick, he ran on all fours; both the khan, if hit, will run on all fours, and geese on two legs; the guy also now demands the khan's daughter, since he even mastered Death; released Death from a snuffbox, the khan gave him his daughter and khanate out of fear; but the guy did not take her, but took that daughter bay, and made the khan's daughter servants, servants, slaves free]: 519-533.

Eastern Siberia. “Yenisei Evenks” {Russian or Turkic-Mongolian borrowing?} [old Bambay leaves the Kemchugi River with his children, leaves an eight-year-old orphan named Henukychan (“hazel grouse”) in the forest; Chimera (from Russ. “death”) tries to eat it, his mother H. takes him to God; he is assigned to watch the entrance to heaven; Chimera comes, God tells her to eat middle-aged people for three years, boy reports that God ordered to eat middle forests for three years; three years later, God tells us to eat three years of children, an orphan says that the twigs are talnik; next time they are “old people”, and says that “dry trees” ; after that, Chimer flies to God, he is angry, tells her to eat the liar; he asks for three days; asks how Chimera got to God, asks him to show him, get into the hollow with a fly; closes him; when H. was old, God told him to release Chimera; people began to die again]: Rychkov 1936, No. 1:273-266.