Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

I41C. The heavenly object is the reflection of a snake.



rainbow, or the Milky Way, is the reflection of a snake (fish) on the ground or at sea.

Kikuyu, Taraka, Eve, Zande, Cape York, Dougum Dani, Semangi, Nias, Meo (Vietnam).

Bantu-speaking Africa. Kikuyu, taraka [the rainbow is a snake with sparkling scales, its reflection in the sky is a rainbow]: Chaplin 1959:157; kikuyu {apparently a retelling of the same text as Radin 1952} [rainbow — the reflection of the water monster Mukunga M'bura; he eats goats and cows; a young Masai hit MM in the only vulnerable place — the back of his head; the boy herded on MM ground; he swallowed all people, cattle, houses; boy grows up, goes to MM with a sword; he asks not to cut him in the heart, but to make a hole in his little finger; swallowed out; the young man first felt sorry for MM, but then killed him, threw his severed leg into the river; the next morning it's dry, grazing the cattle swallowed by MM that were still in it]: Scheub 2000:159.

West Africa. Ewe [the rainbow is the reflection of a snake in the clouds; this serpent lives in anthills, comes out when it rains]: Werner 1933:232.

Sudan — East Africa. Zande [the appearance of the rainbow is a bad sign; if in the west, many women will die, and if in the east, men will die; the rainbow in the air is just a reflection of a rainbow snake that lives on earth; if The rainbow appears often in the vicinity of the village, you should contact the sorcerer]: Lagae 1920:155.

Australia. Cape York [the rainbow is a reflection of a huge fish living far in the sea, lying belly upside down]: Waterman 1987, No. 380:36.

Melanesia. Dougum tribute [rainbow — snake reflection]: Heider 1970:215

Malaysia—Indonesia. Semangs (batek) [rainbow is the reflection of the naga turtle snake on which the earth rests]: Endicott 1979:175; Nias [The Milky Way, Dsawa Nagara (“ring around the world”) is thought to be a reflection of the world snake]: Suzuki 1959:21.

China — Korea. Meo (Vietnam) [a shaman tells an old man to go begging; in one house, an old woman gives him a chisel, a hammer, tells him to rescue three young men from the cliff; he punches holes in the rocks, walks with the young men search for Happy Land; on the way a mountain of chicken manure (one young man turns into a beast, scattered it), two giants cutting off their heads and letting the decapitated (the second young man makes himself and his companions invisible, sends forward a decapitated grasshopper, whom the giants take for a decapitated person and let him pass), a frying pan with boiling fat (the third becomes tall, steps over the pan, carrying the rest); in the village, parents are preparing to give their son's snake; three young men take knives, swallow them instead of the boy, cut the snake from the inside, refuse to get out of their mouth, ass, come out of the neck, sides, back, they chained a snake; they go to their native country; the serpent escapes, the young men let themselves be swallowed again, they cut the snake, they put themselves in a cave; when it catches the sun's ray, a rainbow appears — a reflection of its skin]: Nikulin 1990:63-72.