Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

I33. The tree of the dead.


On the afterlife, the soul stops at a tree.

Lunda, Fiji (Lau Islands), Pukapuka (Cook Islands), Nauru, Lepcha, (Garo), Andamans, Semangs, Minangkabau, Eastern Toraja, Timor, Tsow, Paiwan, Chinese, Mountain Tajiks, Kazakhs, Khakas, Nisenan, Jicarilla, Huichol, Maya Yucatana, Tsotsil, Oyana, Trio, Guarayu, Kayabi, Matako.

Bantu-speaking Africa. Lunda [Nzambi created people, animals, trees on the Katukang'onyi River (in Shaba); there are traces of a man, a dog, a wild boar on the rocks; after living together, people separated, only the Lunda stayed in place; before leaving, people planted a muyombo tree to have a place for ancestral spirits to sit (at which original elders' spirits could sit)]: Melland 1967:164.

Melanesia. Fiji (Southern Lau Islands) [on the island. Namuka the souls of the dead go to a tree above the lagoon, from there they jump into the water; every time after that, a tree branch withers; those who return after a long journey always notice how many people died in their absence]: Thompson 1940:115.

Micronesia—Polynesia. Nauru [when heaven and earth were not yet separated, Tabakea and his sister Tituabine were born because of their friction; Banaba, many islands, appeared on the upper surface of the sky; brother and sister met on B. , they have many children, the eldest Nakaa; these people did not know sex, T.'s sons lived in the northwest in Bouru, daughters in the southeast; the men had an inexhaustible peak and tree of life Tarakaimaiu (you tear down one coconut, a new one appears, the same with fish); the women had a Karikibai tree, a “woman tree”; N. warned the brothers not to pick flowers with K., but they were attracted by the aroma, they picked the flower and got together with the Woman ( played with her); N. found flowers in the hair of men and women, said that they would now die; once again suggested choosing between the Tree of Life and the Woman's Tree; they chose Woman, this tree also called the Tarakaimate Death Tree; N. threw insects on the back of people's heads, they will slowly eat life out of them; took the Tree of Life and the inexhaustible peak with him, went west, where he catches life in the sky with the net of the souls of the dead; if he likes the soul, lets him go to the Tree of Life; if not, throws souls into a pile]: Maude, Maude 1994, No. 8:44-46; Pukapuka (South Cook Islands) [two brothers hung their own banana loincloths began to swim; they were covered by a huge wave with a hole in it; it led down the dark corridor; Wotoa decided to walk along the tight rope, Te Yoa carefully stepped after him; a huge lizard opened his mouth, V. raised his leg, threatening her, she closed her mouth; the gods are sitting around the coconut, V. asked for a drink, they climbed the palm tree, threw off their coconuts; at the entrance to the lower tier of the afterlife By the Yokamani stone, the spirit sat on it and fell, the brothers passed; a tree on which the souls of the recently dead; children sit on branches, mothers under a tree on the ground, the rest hang in loops; other souls hunt lizards side by side to feed the gods; watching the gods, the brothers remembered the melodies and dances, taught people when they returned; at the very bottom Po is a huge round house with many pillars around the perimeter , every inhabitant of Poe can walk with her back against his pole; this is the house of goddess Leva, she weaves a mat in it, which souls often fall into; the gods climb under the mat to free them; the brothers have returned to those the same way they came; people thought they were drowned]: Beaglehole, Beaglehole 1938:327-329; Rarotonga (South Cook Islands) [Ina told her son to dive and swim at the far end of the reservoir; herself dived, emerged as a girl; T. came up not far away, did not receive eternal life and youth; a pua tree grows on the west coast of the islands, from its branches the dead go to the lower world; I. told T. to climb on the tree along a green branch, but he climbed the dried one; then I. told the lower world guards Muru and Akaanga to kill T.; he died]: Smith (JPS 29:108-109) in Williamson 1933 (2): 150-151.

Tibet is the Northeast of India. Lepcha [wife died leaving her four-year-old daughter; a witch came, one breast dragging along the ground, the other being thrown behind her back, became a man's wife, gave the girl coals to eat; then feeds her daughter rice, stepdaughter with rice broth; she herds three sheep; each time Le-pono-kup (“king boy”) appears, feeds her delicious food; the witch puts on her clothes, goes instead of her; when L. falls asleep on her on her knees, pierces an iron spoke into his ear; the girl follows a bloody trail into the cave, gives birth there, wraps the child in the clothes of the deceased boy, puts his sword under his head; his spirit three times at night she comes for her property, she does not give it away, she says it's all for the child; he tells him to go to the country of Rot-mung, get his heart back from there; tigers, fleas, leeches will rush at her on the way; naked man and woman they will try to sew clothes from rags with their fingers, you have to give them needles; she gives them, runs across the bridge, a man and a woman bring it down before the tigers, etc., reach him; in Rot-mung, a mango tree, on it the hearts of the dead, the demons feed on them; the boy's heart is still fresh, the girl takes him away; in the cave she puts L. on his body; he is reborn, next to the palace, cattle, jewelry; the couple is happy]: Stocks 1925, № XXXV: 452-455; (cf. garo [the deceased goes to Chikmans, leading a cow by the rope; on the way, the monster must throw rings that are inserted into his ears, so all garo non-Christians in Garo Hills have rings in their ears (but not garo in Bangladesh); a man reaches a tree and ties a cow to it; it is easy to recognize the tree, it has traces of ropes that those who died earlier used to tie their cows]: Burling 1988:32).

Malaysia—Indonesia. The Andamans [in the underworld afterlife, the souls of children under six years of age are under the Ficus laccifera tree, feeding on its fruits]: Man 1932:93; semang (Menik Kaien) [in the world of dead souls flowers suck and eat the fruits of the Mapik tree; one branch is covered with flowers, rice hangs on the other, durian fruits on the third, rambutan on the fourth, etc.; the trunk at the base covers women's breasts, from whose babies' souls suck milk]: Evans 1937:257-258; semang (Kintak Bong): Evans 1937:259 [the soul of the deceased flies to the Amomum xanthophlebium tree and shakes it; that makes him red flowers fall and color the evening sky; a tree stands on an island near the shore and flowers fall into the water; the soul then flies to the Nipa fructicans palm tree, where it meets friends who have died before] 263-264 [(according to Schebesta); a huge Mapi tree grows in the land of the dead; flowers are green on one side, yellow on the other; green for the dead, yellow for the living; hala (shaman) can to penetrate the dead, but stay at the top of the tree, not with the dead at its foot; the dead are little men playing around the Mapi tree]; minagkabau [the souls of the righteous go to the sky where they live on the sadjaratu'l-muntaha tree before the Last Judgment]: Loeb 1935:124; Eastern Toraja: Adriani, Kruyt 1950, No. 4 [under the Nail Tree, in which the souls of the dead leave their prints, located at the Western Gate, through which the sun sets], 38 [the dead come to the Nail Tree, whose trunk is as thick as a rice barn; leave fingerprints on the bark; the older the person is and the larger the animal was sacrificed at his funeral (chicken, pig, buffalo), the higher its print; the tree has a bench on which the deceased weeps, so that tears form a pond; when he weeps, he forgets the past, so the tree is also called the Tree of Oblivion]: 374, 465; Timor [Nó-Bere's mother and her niece hate his young wife Sara-Léqui-Dáci; when she sends food to her husband working in the field, they eat it, replace it with plain corn porridge; the husband leads the SLD to swim, offers to look in her head, she falls asleep, he puts a stone on it, tells the water get up; dead SLD says that she is still alive; they kill her so that she can live with them; two of the eldest four sons of the SLD tell their dog to look for a mistress; find the mother's corpse; tell search for her soul; the dog leads to a tree, it turns into a big house with a bamboo staircase leading to it; the mother's ancestors reply that she cannot return since her corpse has already been buried; the soul also afraid of the dog; the mother gives her sons her milk in bamboo jars for the youngest two who stay at home; at home, in the absence of boys, the mother's milk turns into two girls doing housework; brothers They hide, find them, get married, kill their father, grandmother and her niece, bury them under the threshold so that everyone can step on them]: Pascoal 1967:305-308.

Taiwan — Philippines. Tsou [souls of the dead dwell in a sacred tree near the village entrance]: Davidson 1903:574; paiwan [souls of the dead dwell in a thick tree trunk]: Davidson 1903:575.

China — Korea. Ancient China: Wang Ch'ung (A.D. 27-97), “Lun-heng”, borrowed from The Book of Mountains and Seas) [Mount Tu-shuo (shuo — “new moon”) rises in the middle of the Eastern Ocean; it has a huge a peach tree with branches extending over 3,000 li; the northeastern opening in its branches is called the gate of souls (demons); 10,000 souls of the dead come in and out through it; above it are two gods Shen-t'u and Yü ; -lü, who grab the bad and the evil, tie them with ropes and throw them to tigers (tigers?)] : Antoni 1982:147; Kravtsova 1999 [the branches of the Imperial Tree (Dima) were inhabited by the souls of deceased kings; the name of the central deity of the Yin Pantheon, Shan Di, stands for location the spirit of the first ancestor of the Yins at the top of the Imperial Tree]: 184.

Iran — Central Asia. Mountain Tajiks (Karategin, Darvaz) [the spirit leaves the body of the deceased, as well as the sleeper, flying out of the nose in the form of a mosquito or fly; flies to the heavenly throne, where there is a tree on the leaves of which people's names are written, finds her leaf and sits on it; Dasha, who goes to heaven, stays there until the day she is resurrected from the dead]: Kislyakov 1976:121.

Turkestan. Kazakhs [west 1976 from Berkindai-Ata Bucks; “In the center of the world stands the Pristine Kok-Tube (blue heavenly mountain), at its top grows the Great Baiterek (Mighty Poplar), four branches each which on each tier covers the entire heavenly vault, penetrating all its levels; its roots penetrate through all levels of the Earth to the Lower Waters;... the rukh (spirit) leaves the body forty days before his death and, turning into a bird (pigeon), he flies to Baiterek, on whose leaves, constantly falling and growing, the names of people are written, finds his own and sits down; jan (soul) in the form of a fly leaves the house of the deceased only Forty days after death;... souls descend to the ground (or rise from the ground) along the Baiterek trunk and, when they enter the wombs of women, give birth to new life; the same in animals and plants "]: Ibraev 1980: 40.

Southern Siberia. Khakasi [the soul of the deceased, turning into a bird, flies towards sunset to sit on the branches of the sacred “pay khizi” birch tree on Mount Sumeru]: Butanayev 2003:85.

California. Nisenan [spots on the moon are the big oak tree from which the dead feed]: Voegelin 1942:145, 235.

The Great Southwest. Hicarilla [accompanied by the souls of previously deceased relatives, the soul goes north to the end of the earth where the wild plum stands; if it eats the fruit, it rolls down the slope into the afterlife; if it refuses eat, returns to the body, a person recovers; from those who have recovered, we know about the path to the world of the dead]: Opler 1960:134.

NW Mexico. Huichol [dead men carry the vulvas of all women they copulated with during their lifetime, hang them on tree branches; women hang penises in the same way]: Furst 1967:98, fig.52.

Mesoamerica Maya Yucatana [souls of the dead rest under the shadow of a huge ceiba]: Landa 1955 [1566]: 164; tsotsil [the souls of dead babies live in the sky on a tree and suck milk]: Guiteras-Holmes 1961:143 ; Lamb 1995:270.

Guiana. The souls of the dead arrive at the giant tree. Oyana, trio [this is a seiba]: Goeje 1943, no. d. 25:112

Bolivia — Guaporé. Guaraíu [souls of the dead arrive at the giant ceiba]: Cardus in Goeje 1943, No. d25:112

Southern Amazon. Kayabi [all the dead make it to a particular tree and stay on its branches forever]: Grünberg 1970:168; Pereira 1995:145 (note 1).

Chaco. Matako [the souls of the dead sit like birds on a tree that grows in the middle of a lake full of caimans and piranhas; they immediately devour the fallen; shamans climb the tree trunk in the form of lizards]: Metraux 1967a:107.