Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

K1i. A tree for descending from a cliff.


A tree, reed, or vine grows near a rock, at the bottom of a hole, or in the lower world, along which the character descends or ascends to the ground.

Songhai, Tibetans, Lushi, Meitei, Kalmyks, Buryats, Mongols, Seneca, Navajo, Zunyi, Oriental Keres (Sia), Hopi, Tiwa (Picuris, Taos), Pima, Chinanteca, Masateks, Aguaruna.

West Africa. Songhai [a woman gave birth to a daughter who became a donkey; one day her mother was going to wash her; she knocked over the water, ran to a pond called the Chief's Mirror, took off her donkey skin and began swimming ; Chief Abu Malak's son saw her from the window; when she saw his shadow, she sang: "Abu Malak, you see arms and legs that are more beautiful than your mother's arms and legs"; AM told the slave to see where the donkey lives; he said that in a poor house; AM told him to marry a donkey; during the wedding she kicked, people laughed; at night she became a girl; AM told the slave to steal donkey skin while his wife was swimming, cut it to pieces and threw her into an anthill; the woman was terribly angry; Father AM wanted to take her for himself; sent his son to drink a camel to the well where the dodo (spirit) lived, told the slaves to lower him on a rope and leave him there ; before that, the wife woven dates into AM's hair; after that, all female pets stopped giving milk; the goats refused to eat; hunger began; AM shared dates with the dodo; planted a bone and grew up palm tree; the dodo told him, when AM got outside, to bring him a handful of food; he did not eat it himself out of love for him; when he got out, AM began to collect alms, leaving half for the dodo; came to his wife, she was his did not find out; said that she could not give anything, nothing; if he could milk the cows, let him drink milk and bring it to her; AM drank milk; he brought a jar of milk to his wife and slaves and took his wineskin dodo milk; (opening up to his wife), AM prepared the feast, rode his camel in formal clothes; when his father raised his hands in prayer, AM pierced him with a spear]: Calame-Griaule 2002:222-225.

Tibet - St. India. Tibetans [(one of the "ghost stories"; a rich man meets Yakro Kharto in the forest with the head and tail of a bull, agrees not to kill him; YK meets and companions a born in the forest ( black), -in-grass (green), -In a glass house (transparent); everyone takes turns cooking, a woman comes, picks up food; everyone lies that enemies have attacked; when YK stays, he sends a woman to fetch water in a leaky vessel, finds a rope made of human tendons in her bag, replaces an ordinary iron hammer, replaces a chisel with wooden ones; the woman invites each other to tie; she cannot untie; he kills her with a chisel, a hammer, she falls into a crevice; at the bottom of the treasure, YK descends, companions pick up treasures, cut off the rope; YK plants a peach seed, falls asleep for several years, gets up on a grown tree; forgives his companions, goes to visit her parents, sees traces of a girl on the way, from which flowers grow; comes in the footsteps of King Gyajin; there demons - black yaks fight against the gods - white yaks; YL hurts the demon king; comes to him disguised as a doctor; does not take out his arrow, but drives him deeper, he dies; the demoness pursues him, the gods lower the chain, YK is among the stars]: Waddell 1931:294-298; Mongolian translation of Twenty-Five Vetal Tales [Without a bull, a farmer happened to his cow, she gave birth to a boy with a bull's head named White-Faced Bull (B) ; B goes on a journey, takes a person born of forest, grass, wood as a companion; each one takes turns cooking; an old woman comes, asks for permission to try, the food disappears; everyone pretends that enemies attacked; B asks the old woman to bring water with a bucket of holes; replaces her rope, tongs, hammer; she cannot tie him, pinch, beat him; he hits her with a hot hammer, she runs away; friends see her corpse on at the bottom of the abyss, there are treasures there; they lower B, raise treasures, cut off the rope; B plants apricot seeds, three trees grow, he climbs them to the ground; forgives his companions; comes to Hormud, helps defeat the chimpus; H. advises B. to tell the chimpuses that that doctor, not to treat the wounded B. king of Shimnus, but to finish it off; B. finished off the king, the chain came down from the sky, B. climbed on it, but the king's wife hit him on back with a stick, smashed it into seven brother stars, they became Ursa Major]: Vladimirtsov 1958:24-30; best [a man split bamboo to make a basket, stabbed his arm, a girl was born from this place Kungori, became beautiful; all the guys wanted her; Keimi took her footprint, put it by the fire, she fell ill; her father promised her to someone who cured her; Keimi did it, got a wife; turned into a tiger, told her hold on to his tail; now the father promises his daughter to someone who will free her from the tiger; two friends Photir (F.) and Hrangchal (H.) promised to do this; came to Kungori when her husband was hunting, hid; Keimi came back, smelled a man, his wife said she was from her; when he left again, the old man told him to run away, taking with him the seed of fire, the seed of thorns and the seed of water; they threw the seed of fire, the tiger waits until the forest will burn; the seed of water is a river; the tiger waits for the water to run off; the seed of thorns is thickets; the tiger has broken through, F. killed him with his dao (machete); friends take turns guarding at the night; Kuavang came, F. boldly answered him ; when it was H.'s turn, he answered, but he was afraid, Kuawang took Kungori; she threw cotton threads on the road; F. and H. followed the trail, went underground, took Kungori back; she forgot her comb; F. went after him, and H. covered the hole with a stone; married Kungori and F. married Kuamang's daughter; planted a vine and it grew to the ground; cooked pebbles for daughter Quamang's son, and while he was eating them, he climbed to the ground. came to H., cut off his head; Kungori and F. began to live richly and happily]: Houghton 1893a: 78-80; thado [A Collection of Twenty Folk Tales in Manipuri) authored by Kh. Ibeton Devi; Moldhin Chan is the most beautiful girl; she went with her friends for brushwood before dawn; stopped to rest on the way back; a terrible man appeared; each says that one of them who cannot put a basket of brushwood on her back should ask that person for help; the MCH basket became unbearably heavy; the friends left, and MCH turned to that person; he had with her a musical instrument made of human skulls and fingers; he ordered not to tell anyone about it, otherwise he would take it away; but the young people convinced them to talk about everything; immediately everyone lost consciousness for a while, and this time that spirit took away MCH; the parents decided to find someone who would return their daughter: let him throw up a heavy stone and swallow 7 servings of food and 7 servings of wine before the stone fell; the savior would receive MCH as his wife; the condition was met by two poor brothers; the eldest was Yanchan, the youngest was Purul; seeing that the kidnapper's traces were becoming larger, P. was frightened and Y. went alone, leaving P. in the cave; the kidnapper was not it turned out; the other spirits were afraid of the strength of Y.; he jumped over the house, but the spirit that came could not; decided not to pursue I.; other spirits decided to save people and killed the kidnapper; when I. and MCH reached the place where P. remained, speechless and pointed to the cave in horror; the underground spirits took his tongue away; I went down the rope; there the spirits were quarreling over the stolen tongue; I picked up one and threw it far ; others got scared, gave up their tongue; I threw it up for P.; he decided to take possession of MCH himself and cut off the vine; in the lower world, I met a girl and married her; they have a son and daughter; I raised a vine that grew to the ground; but the wife persuaded the children to rock the vine as soon as their father began to climb it; the old woman advised them to take ground grain with them; I threw flour in the children's eyes and went up to the ground ; there a man eats chicken; says he stole it from P.'s house; he has so many chickens that he won't notice; Y. beat my brother, made him an employee, married MCH and started raising P.'s children as his own]: Oinam et al. s.a.

Caucasus-Asia Minor. Kalmyks [a woman in India gave birth to Massang, a man with bull horns and a ox tail; his father wants to kill him, he leaves; meets and companions Idder (black, born in a forest thicket), Gesera ( green, born of grass), Addera (white, born of reeds); they hunt, take turns cooking; every time a tiny old lady comes, eats everything; each explains that a hundred horsemen have attacked; when she stays M., sends the old woman to bring water with a leaky bucket, replaces her wire rope, iron hammer and pliers in the old woman's bag with wet and wooden ones; the old woman offers to fight, M. ties her vein with a rope, hits with a hot hammer; the wounded old woman flies away; together with her companions she follows a bloody trail, descends into the abyss, sends treasures upstairs, they remove the rope; M. plants a piece of bast , falls asleep, three trees have grown out of bast in a few years to the edge of the abyss; M. gets upstairs, forgives his companions, meets a girl, comes with her to Khurmust, who asks for help defeat Humnus; M. injures In the eye, H.'s army runs; goes to Cave H., pretends to be a healer, does not pull out his arrow, but drives it deeper and, as Hurmust taught, throws 7 grains; Huson hit M. with an iron hammer, M. rises on chains into the air, 7 stars appear in the sky; M. comes with his wife to his father, his tail and horns have fallen off, everything is fine]: Jimbinov 1962:87-92.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Buryats [western in the Aginsky district of the Chita region, but clearly a retelling of "Ghost Tales"; the elder brother is going to study the charms of seven wizards, has not learned; the younger one spies quietly, so he learned ; tells the elder to sell a beautiful horse to the wizards, but without a check, he turns into one; the elder sells to wizards with a bridle; they intend to kill the horse, but first lead to a watering hole; the horse turns into fish, wizards in pikes; fish into lark, wizards into hawks; lark falls to llama's knees, (turns into a rosary bead), llama placed it in rosary; seven wizards ask for their rosary, llama tears; wizards became chickens, began to peck balls; the young man became human, killed chickens with a stick; the llama says that the sin of murder must be atoned for, sends the young man to bring burhan from the tree, but at the same time it is necessary remain silent; the young man does not restrain himself three times, comments on Burkhan's story, he disappears; but sin is redeemed; first story: a boy Tugal Masan was born with a calf's head, went to wander, met, took companions, White, Black, Blue Tarba; they take turns cooking, each time an iron woman takes food; TM replaces her iron rope, pliers and hammer with wooden ones, hits, she hides in a hole; TM goes down on a rope, finds the woman dead, sends her wealth upstairs, cannot get up by himself, because the Tarbes let go of the rope; falls asleep for 12 years, during which time sandalwood has grown from below to the edge of the pit tree; TM climbed it, did not punish Tarb]: Barannikova et al. 1993, No. 12:191-201; the Mongols [an old man's cow gave birth - the top of a man, the bottom of a bull; this is Amtsagaan, asks the old man not kill him; meets him, companions woodworker Dalger, wooden Dalger, stone Dalger; everyone cooks in turn, the old woman comes, eats everything; A. asks her to bring water in a bucket of holes, takes iron handcuffs, pliers, and a hammer out of her bag, puts wooden handcuffs instead; the old woman returned without water, offers to tie each other; A. breaks wooden shackles, the old woman hardly breaks iron, crawling in blood; below the cliff there is a mountain of jewelry, a dead old woman; brothers descend A. on a rope, pick up treasures, leave A. below; he rubs three skulls, sculpts three burkhans, asks that three trees grow during the night; after three years he wakes up, climbs trees; spares his brothers, follows the child's trail, goes to heaven; the Heavenly Lord in the form of a white bull every day fights demon khan Shulmas; defeats him before noon, gives in in the afternoon; asks A. to shoot him at a star on his forehead; A. shot, the Lord wants to make him immortal; he wants to visit father; Vladyka promises to help; A. pretends to be a healer, comes to treat Sh.; the old woman lets him through, he drives the arrow deeper into S.'s forehead, he dies; the old woman surrounds the house with iron bars with with bolts; from heaven, the Lord lowers the chain, picks up A.; the old woman throws an iron hoop, crushing A. into seven parts, they turn into the Big Dipper]: Skorodumova 2003:18-22; the Mongols (western in Urge) [parents drive their son, who has cow horns on his head; he meets a person born from the forest, the other from the mountain; each takes turns cooking; an old nun comes and asks for a gift eat, disappears with food; brothers lie that many people have come, forced them to give everything; the horned one sends the old woman to bring water in a bucket of holes, opens her bag, replaces an iron hammer and wooden pliers, a rope made of hair veins; the old woman offers to fight, does not harm the horned with wooden tools, the horned one injures her with an iron hammer; the brothers follow the bloody trail; The horned man descends on a rope to the lower world, finds the old woman dead; gives his brothers jewelry upstairs; they pick them up, throw the horned one; Hormust-Tangry gives him a bow and arrow, raises him to heaven; white and black bulls fight there; the horned one breaks the head of black with an arrow; H. asks him to go down to the lower world, finish off the wounded king Shimnus; the horned man pretends to be a doctor, pushes the arrow X. deeper; Shimnus's wife throws an iron mallet after the horned man, breaking them into seven parts; H. turned them into Ursa Major]: Potanin 1893, No. 2:374-376.

Northeast. Seneca [a young woman approaches the hunter in the forest; puts him to sleep, looking in his head; carries it in a basket, leaves a steep cliff on the ledge; there are many other men there; the hunter tells him to grow up hemlock (conifer) close to the rock; prisoners go down it; find a woman, they are going to fry her alive; the hunter's wife comes and frees her; the hunter returns home, his wife is already there] : Curtin, Hewitt 1918, No. 37:191-193.

The Great Southwest. Navajo: Goddard 1933 [The first ancestors rise from the lower world first into the blue world of birds, then into the yellow world of ants; this is where the flood begins; they plant reeds and ascend it to the ground; woodpecker cut a hole in the sky of the yellow world]: 128, 130-131; Johly, B'yash 1958 [only one underworld]: 5-6; Klah 1960 [underworld from bottom to top: dark, blue, yellow, white]: 1-6; O'Bryan 1956 [ first they climb fir, it does not reach the sky]: 3-10; Matthews 1994, No. 1 [people climb through the four lower worlds: red, blue, yellow, black and white; pine, juniper, fir do not reach the sky in the last of the underground worlds]: 63-76; Stephens 1930 [The spider spins the net, the Coyote catches the child of the water monster Teholtsodi with it, gives it to the Spider; the flood begins; two young men plant reeds, people they climb into it, it grows, the Badger breaks a hole through the sky into the upper world; people dry it; the water follows them; the Spider throws the child into the water, the water goes underground]: 100-102; Zolbrod 1995:73-83 [the first insect people (ants, beetles, dragonflies, locusts) live in the lower red world; fly up through a hole in the sky into blue, yellow, black and white {more on this in p. 35-48}; he is also about to water will also flood; a couple of Squirrels plant juniper and pignon pine, they do not grow tall enough; a pair of Lasok - fir and pine - grow taller, but not enough; the young man poured sacred land, planted 32 reeds with 32 knees; they immediately grew up, merged into one giant reed with a hole in the east; people entered the reeds, the waters flooded, but the reeds grow, rests against the sky; the Black Feather attaches it to the sky with its pen, so the reeds have a feather on the top of their head; the Hawk scratched a hole in the sky, the Locust widened it, climbed to the other side, ended up on the island; there are four loons with from different sides, pierced themselves with arrows, alive; the Locusts also pierced, so there was a hole in the locusts' body; the Badger widened the hole, now people were able to get to the ground; Badger's legs were dirty, still dark; the Blue Body threw stones in four directions, they pierced holes in the rocks, the lake waters subsided; people crossed from the island to the mainland]; Zunyi [the witch has a lover among sorcerers; husband spies on a meeting of sorcerers; his wife takes him to the top of a steep cliff; chipmunks bring him food and drink; they plant poplar at the foot, he grows up, the man goes down the trunk; the Spider gives to him herbs with which he makes lovers ugly and stuck together; they go asking them to separate them; everyone who tries to do so sticks to them themselves; they come to the wild, a woman turns into a deer]: Benedict 1930:65-67; Oriental ceres (Sia): Gunn 1917:43-52 in Boas 1928a [Yellow Woman gets pregnant by the Sun, gives birth to twins; mother tells them who their father is; their Grandma Spider gives them a bow and arrow; weaves a web like a bridge over a river; in the center there is a hole leading to the Sun's house; he tests his sons; 1) a turquoise steam room (they cool it by spitting it out shells); 2) locked in a room with moose, bison, deer, antelope; 3) in another with bears, cougars, rattlesnakes; The sun gives them bows and arrows, hunting sticks for rabbits (you can't throw them, don't when they reach home); mother and father warn not to go to dangerous places, the twins go; the cougar throws those following the arrow poles into the abyss, they throw him off themselves; 2) the bear guards the arrow feathers; they kill a bear, pull a scarecrow on a rope, scaring their mother; turn themselves into the skin of a dead deer, let the eagle carry themselves away; kill eagles, throw them out of the nest; kill eagles that have arrived; they plant marmots by the cliff a seed, a pignon pine grows, they go down it; the giantess puts them in a basket, carries them behind their backs, they grab a tree, run away; she catches them again; sends them at home for fuel; they collide themselves it is fired into the fire; lightning arrows are fired; the mole digs under the antelope; the twins pierce it from below; they tell antelopes to eat grass, not humans; the mole is promised its giblets]: 251-252; Stevenson 1894 [see motif L66; antelope; the mole helps; then the twins wrap themselves in deer or antelope giblets; kill chicks and adult eagles; the squirrel plants a pine seed; a pine tree grows, twins descend it from a cliff]: 52-53; Hopi: Cushing 1923, No. 1-8 [the lower world cave is overcrowded, everyone's garbage stains the rest; two twins have grown to the ceiling, made a hole; they have grown reeds, people on it went up to the second world, then to the third world; here the twins got fire, lit torches, built houses; here women abandoned their children, confused their husbands, occupied kivas; men carried babies there, for them to feed them; then the men got out to the fourth world; it was also dark here, also wet; people made a deerskin shield, decorated it with turquoise, sent it east, it became the sun; the cape became the moon; The coyote opened the vessel, stars flew out of it, burned its face; the Vulture drove the water away with its wings, mountains appeared; the twins laid canals, and water gushed through them]: 163-166; Fewkes 1923 [people went to the ground, rising through the four lower worlds; the kiva depicts one of the underground worlds; the hole in its floor is a symbolic connection to an even lower world]: 490; Malotki, Gary 2001, No. 11 [a person discovers that the wife goes somewhere at night; she follows her to the kiva, where the sorcerers gather; they jump over the hoop, turning into different animals; the wife does not turn, which means that someone is watching; two fly out in flies, find the hid; now he must also become a sorcerer; sent to snatch and bring the heart of his beloved sister; he brings the heart of a turkey; jumping over a hoop turns into a turkey; sorcerers leave him on the eaves of the rock; the spider tells them not to take water and food from his wife's hands, gives them a potion, he sprinkles them into a snake, snakes fall off the cliff together with sorcerers; sorcerers hurry to collect broken dicks, men take women legs and vice versa, etc.; a squirrel stretches a pine tree to reach the top of the rock cornice; a man descends; goes to live with parents and sisters; the witch's wife dies soon]: 93-114; Stephens 1929, No. 1 [ fir cannot penetrate the lower world sky], 4, 20 [from a small container underground; reeds planted in a crevice breaks a stone shell]: 5, 10, 52; Voth 1905 [one underworld; climbing reeds] , No. 3 [two pines, sunflowers do not grow to the sky (i.e. our land)], 4 [birds of three species do not reach the hole in the sky; the fourth does not reach the hole in the sky], 5, 9:10-11, 16-17, 26-27, 38-41; Wallis 1936, No. 1:2-5; tiva: Harrington 1928 (Picouris) [see motif L8; Yellow Corn goes to sorcerers at night; her husband Magpie's Tail watches her; sorcerers find it, leave it on the cliff ledge; Elf throws him five fir cones; he manages to catch a fifth; he throws it down, a fir grows, he descends it to the ground; an elf gives him a tree worm; he puts it in his wife's bed; a worm devours her from within, she dies]: 297-313; Parsons 1940a, No. 10 (Taos) [Magpie is married to Yellow Corn; pretends to be asleep, sees his wife and her sister Blue Corn go to the sorcerers' kiva; those witchcraft killed a girl who refused to become their mistress, dug the corpse, revived it again, decided to turn it into a deer; witchcraft fails because someone is spying; sorcerers find Magpie, put to sleep, leave rocks on the ledge; the girl is turned into a deer, the deer is then killed by hunters, the meat is divided into pieces; the Morning Star sees Magpie, sends the Chipmunk to help; he buries a bump by the cliff, Fir grows immediately, Magpie climbs on it, the Chipmunk gives him clothes, a bow and arrows, says that his wife has married the Horned Toad, hides it in cotton under the roof; Magpie leads Yellow Corn, Blue Corn and Horned Toad are pushing them into the water; the wife and her sister are swimming in the water; the Magpie brings them back to their poplar house]: 36-39; pima [young Yellow Bird goes to collect the pods; A tornado dances with her, carries her to a rock, promises to return, but does not return; Vulture says he heard her screams; her father asks NAF-choo for help; he plants pumpkin seeds, a vine immediately grows up, a girl goes down it, returns to her father]: Shaw 1968:32-34.

Mesoamerica See motive A20. Chinantecs [people hear sounds inside a tree; a comet, thunder cannot cut down, a woodpecker cuts a tree; two eggs inside; an old woman takes them; they are born a Sun Boy and a Moon Girl; run away from an old woman; The seven- or double-headed eagle carries people to the rock; the twins make a cage, the eagle carries them away; at noon he sleeps, one head is awake; the twins strangle it with a noose, at which time the earth shudders; the eagle's eyes fall out, the moon grabs the right bright, the Sun on the left is dim; the Vulture is unable to lower the twins on its back, now it will eat carrion; the Bat is fed seeds, a tree grows from the excrement, twins and others descend it to earth]: Bartolomé 1984 [the seven-headed eagle; first the Toucan, then the Bat is fed seeds; the Toucan tree is low, the Bat tree grows to the top cliffs]: 13-16; Weitlaner 1952 [double-headed eagle; The bat is fed twice; the second time the root of a tree growing at the top of a cliff descends to the ground]: 172-173; Masateki (ohitek) [old woman hears a voice from a tree hollow; cuts a tree, finds two eggs; twins, Sun and Moon, are born from them; they run away from an old woman; they hide in a cage from an eagle, which takes the cage to the rock; there are already many children there, the eagle is eating them; the brother cuts off the children's hair, weaves a rope, they strangle the eagle with it; his sparkling eyes have fallen out; the twins ask the Bat to eat fruit; a tree grows out of the excrement; Woodpecker, Squirrel is unable, Agouti a tree gnaws, it falls on a mountain; children descend across the sky to the ground]: Portal 1986:51-53.

Western Amazon. Aguaruna [the bachelor's hut is home to a monkey and a spider bird (Cacicus cela, sem. Icteridae); returning from the site, finds the food cooked, the house is fine; went to bed, the bird stopped him from singing, he threw a stone at it, fell asleep; the bird sang again, the man continued to sleep, the bird moved him to a tall tree, from there he could not get off; the spider began to bring him bananas; the hunter asked for one to plant; the tree grew, its roots reached the ground, the hunter descended on it the ground; he saw a woman washing by the river, a monkey skin nearby, he threw the skin into the thicket; the woman asks if he took her clothes, the man denies everything; the woman agreed to live with him]: Chumap Lucía, García-Rendueles 1979, No. 67:598-599.