Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

K56c. Golden axe, ATU 729.


A man loses an axe. The spirit or leader offers him a golden axe, the person says that the axe is not his, and for this he receives axes made of gold and silver as a reward. Usually, another person intentionally loses an ordinary axe, seeks gold, but fails.

Iraq, Spaniards, Catalans, French, British, Germans, Friesians, Thais, Lao, Punjabi (? Urdu text), Nepali (Kathmandu), Chinese (Zhejiang), Maonan, Koreans, Ancient Greece, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Russian written tradition, Belarusians (?) , (Russians), Czechs, Nogais, Georgians, Persians, Finns, Karelians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Mordovians (?) , Kyrgyz, Chelkan, Yakuts, Japanese.

Southern Europe. The Spanish (Murcia) [a poor woodcutter drops an ax into the river; a dwarf appears from the water, offers gold, silver, bronze axes; the woodcutter refuses - it's not his; the dwarf gives it to him an ax and a bag of gold; a neighbor drops an ax on purpose, a dwarf shows him a diamond, he wants to take it, the dwarf disappears without giving anything]: Hernández Fernández 2013, No. 729:124-125; Catalans : Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392

Western Europe. Germans (Bohemia), British, French, Czechs, Friezes: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392.

Western Asia. Iraqi Arabs: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392

Burma - Indochina. Thais [poor woodcutter drops an ax into the river; asks for help from the spirit of the tree; he pulls out gold, then silver axes from the river; the woodcutter says it's not his; admits his iron; gets all three; the neighbor drops the ax on purpose; replies that gold is his; the spirit reproaches him, gives him nothing]: Vathanaprida 1994:42-44; lao [the poor woodcutter left the ax, the provincial chief picked it up ; saw the woodcutter and his family crying, asked what was going on; offered a golden axe, but the woodcutter refused to take it - he had an old ordinary one; for this, the boss gave him gold and silver axes and more money] : Fleeson 1899:109-111.

South Asia. Punjabi people (? Urdu text) [a man cuts a tree on the river bank, an ax falls into the water; a man mourns his axe loudly; a water deva takes a golden hatchet out of the water; man: it's not mine; dev takes out a silver hatchet (same); jev gives both for honesty; when he returns home, a man tells a neighbor about what happened; he runs to the river, throws his ax into the water, mourns; the water maiden carries out a golden hatchet, the neighbor claims that his ax is taken out of his hands; he does not give away gold or iron, the neighbor returns empty-handed]: Klyagina-Kondratyeva, Krasheninnikov 1958:25;] Nepali ( Kathmandu): Sakya, Griffith 1980:105f in Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392.

China-Korea Chinese (Zhejiang) [a firewood collector drops an ax into the river; cries, a man approaches him, gives him a golden ax, then a silver axe is finally dropped; the other tries to repeat everything, recognizes everything as his gold, punished]: Eberhard 1937, No. 20:34; Maonan [the poor boy was sent to live with a rich man; his owner does not feed him well, sends him for firewood with rusty with a blunt ax; the boy drops his ax into the river; the gray-haired old man pulls out gold, silver axes, the boy replies that it is not his; the old man pulls out his ax, but now he is sharp and instantly knocks down trees; the owner is surprised that the boy has returned so quickly; when he finds out what is going on, he dresses up as a poor man, goes to the forest, throws a rusty ax into the river; the old man brings it, the rich man replies that it is a stranger; refuses silver, beret gold; presents it to the emperor, hoping to get an important post; the ax turns into a rusty iron; the emperor sends its owner to serve on the far border]: Lu 2008, No. 5:386-400; Koreans: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392

The Balkans. Ancient Greece [a woodcutter drops his axe into the river; an ax is carried away by the current; a woodcutter cries; Hermes asks about the cause of the grief; Hermes dives and pulls out a golden axe; the woodcutter says this axe did not belong to him; for the second time Hermes pulls out a silver axe; the woodcutter replies that this ax is not his; the third time Hermes pulls out a real wooden ax; the woodcutter recognizes the ax; Hermes honesty gives him all three axes; a woodcutter tells others this story; one of the listeners deliberately lets an ax into the river, cries; Hermes takes a golden axe out of the water for him; the second woodcutter replies that this is his axe; Hermes gives him no axe]: Gasparov 1968, No. 173:114 (retelling in Hansen 2002:43); Hungarians, Greeks: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392; Bulgarians [ the fisherman drops an ax (net) into the water; the fish (sea dump) shows him gold (gold), silver, and finally his own ordinary; the poor man asks for his own, gets all three; another person deliberately drops the ax, tells the fish that it has lost the golden axe, it gives it nothing]: Daskalova-Perkovska et al. 1994, No. 729:251.

Central Europe. Czechs: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392; Russian written tradition: Tarkovsky, Tarkovskaya 2005, No. 40 ["Proverbs, or Fabulous, by Jesop Friga" by Fyodor Gozvinsky (1607, more than 20 lists of the 17th - early 18th centuries, including "The Book Verbal Jesop"), which are a translation of the younger edition of Aesop's fables published around 1479. Bon Accurus in Milan: a woodcutter dropped an ax into the river and began to cry; Ermis took a golden axe out of the river and offered the lumberjack; he said that the axe was not his; Ermis took out a silver axe; a woodcutter refused it too; Yermis took out an iron axe; the woodcutter admitted the axe; Yermis gave him all three axes; the woodcutter told other people about the incident; one man came to the river, threw an ax there and began to cry; Yermis took a golden axe out of the water and asked if it had been lost; the man exclaimed that the axe was his (option: Ermis offered him his iron ax; the man refused; Yermis took out a gold axe axe; the man said that this axe was his); Yermis did not give him a single ax]; No. 131 ["Jesop" by Simbirsk captain Pyotr Kashinsky (1675, of the two surviving lists, one dates back to 1684, and the other is from the first third of the 18th century), which consists of three books and is a free translation of fables from the collection "Przypowieśći Aezopowe, z Łacińskiego na Polskie z pilnośćią przełozone. Przydane sů k temu przypowieśći z Gabryela Greka y Laurenthego Abstemiusa", published in Krakow around 1600: a peasant dropped his axe into the river and began to grieve; an angel who appeared asked happened; when he found out what was going on, he offered a golden ax; the peasant did not recognize it; the angel showed the silver axe; the peasant refused it too; the angel offered an iron ax; the peasant recognized it; the angel gave him all three axes; the peasant told his comrades what had happened; one of them came to the same place, threw the axe into the water and cried; the angel showed him the golden axe; the comedian said it his axe; the angel did not give him either a gold or an ax thrown into the water (book 1: "The Parable of Jesop Frantsky")]: 224, 270-271, 403-404; Belarusians (Smolenskaya, 1st entry; the text is mentioned among the Russian versions , but within the traditional Russian ethnic territory, this story has not been recorded; only Russians in Lithuania have one more) [Golden axe: poor brother drops an ax into the river; an old man (waterman) pulls it out water is a golden ax; the poor does not recognize him as his own; the old man rewards him for honesty; an envious rich brother tries to imitate the poor, but the axe taken out of the water recognizes his own and is punished]: SUS 1979, No. 729:181.

Caucasus - Asia Minor. Nogais [the poor man drops an ax into the river; the mother of water offers him gold, silver axes, but the poor man takes only his own; receives gold and silver as a reward; the rich neighbor deliberately throws an ax into the river; says that gold is his, Mother does not give him even iron water]: Nogai 1979, No. 30:143-144 (=Kapaev 2012:331-332); Georgians [the youngest son dropped an ax into the river; the old man pulls out a gold one, then silver, the young man refuses to take it; takes his own, gets the other two; the older brother deliberately throws the ax, says that the gold one is his; the old man does not give any]: Chikovani 1986:389-390.

Iran - Central Asia. Persians (Khorasan, 1 text) [poor man (drops an ax into the river) and refuses the gold that the fish offers him; finally he takes it, he is rich; the rich man deliberately throws an ax into the river, says fish, which is golden, does not give him anything]: Marzolph 1984, No. 729:140.

Baltoscandia. Estonians [the worker cut a tree on the shore, the axe fell into the lake, the owner refused to give a new one, promised not to pay if the worker did not find the ax; the waterman offered copper, silver, gold axes, the worker each time said that it was not his; the waterman took out his ax and gave him the rest; the owner deliberately dropped his ax, replied to the waterman that the other axes were his; the water one disappeared along with with axes]: J.Kõrv in Põder, Tanner 2000:229-231 (=Raud 2004:120-122); Karelians [the shepherd dropped a knife into the river; Ahti heard complaints, brought gold from the bottom; the shepherd said it was not his; A. brings silver, the same; brings iron, gives all three; another person deliberately threw a knife into the water; A. brought gold, he tried to grab it, could not, was left with nothing]: Petrukhin 2003:89; Latvians [Three axes. The poor man drops an ax into the water. The waterman brings him a silver, then a golden ax, but the poor man only wants his own and gets all three. A rich man deliberately throws his ax, demands gold from the water one, but does not get a single one]: Aris, Medne 1977, No. 729:315; Finns: Uther 2004 (1), No. 729:391-392; Lithuanians [the poor man cut wood from rivers, the axe fell into the pool; the lame old man jumps into the water, serves a golden ax, then a silver one; the poor man takes only an iron one, receives the first two as a reward for honesty; a greedy man deliberately drops an ax into the pool; the old man pulls it out, he refuses the silver one, recognizes it as his gold one; all three axes beat him]: Lebite 1965:240-242.

Volga - Perm. Mordva: Essays on Mordovian dialects 4:285-287 in Kecskeméti, Paunonen 1974, No. 729:236; (cf. marie [older sister drops a bucket into the water, does the old man's job (milks a goat); the old man pulls a bucket out of the water and gives her a beauty and rewards her for her meekness; the younger sister tries to imitate the eldest; does not perform the old man's task well, for which she was punished]: Sabitov 1989, No. 729:43).

Turkestan. Kyrgyz [the poor man lived by collecting and selling firewood; one day his axe fell into the river; the poor man cried, an old man appeared, promised to find an ax, pulled silver out of the water; then gold; poor man refuses them; the old man took out an iron one, and gave them gold and silver too; when he found out about this, bai also came to the river and deliberately dropped his ax; at the sight of silver and gold, he shouted that both were him; the old man disappeared into the river along with the axes]: Sabyr uulu 2008:42-43.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Chelkan residents [the older brother has no children, the youngest has many; when they shared the property, the youngest got only a cow and one horse; the younger brother crossed the river, dropped his ax; cried; the owner of the river got it silver; then gold; the younger brother said that it was iron; she gave him iron, gold and silver to boot; when the older brother found out about this, he deliberately dropped his axe; when the owner found out the river came up with a silver axe, with a golden ax, the elder brother shouted that he was; she did not give him anything]: Shirobokova, Koshkareva 2003, No. 17:181-184.

Eastern Siberia. Central (?) Yakuts (the place of recording is not specified) [the poor man dropped his ax into the lake; the water man gave him a silver one, he did not take it; he served it again, the old man took it; the neighbor deliberately drowned his ax; the waterman emerged from silver, the man grabbed him, the water dragged him into the water]: Ergis 1967b, No. 265:233.

Japan. Japanese [an old woodcutter drops an ax into the river; a beautiful woman comes out of the water, holds out a gold, then a silver axe; the lumberjack says it was rusty iron; the beauty gives it and gold with silver as a reward; a neighbor repeats everything, claims a golden ax, loses his own; legends have no imitation motive; a person goes down to the underwater world for an ax]: Ikeda 1971, NO. 729:169.