Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

L83. An incomplete body turns into lightning/thunder.


A character with only one head left (L5 motif) or who burns his leg (L82 motif) turns into lightning/thunder (or emits lightning/thunder).

California. Maidu [the girl has her first period; she does not go to the hut, but goes with her husband for cones; he climbs a pine tree, sheds her bumps; to find out if they are mature, she splits the cone with a stone hits the finger, licks the blood; she likes the taste, she devours herself from foot to waist; the husband jumps quietly to the ground, leaving his voice responsible for him, runs away; the girl hits the pine tree with thunder, then she catches up with her husband, strikes again; the husband is thrown into the air, he falls dead; both rise to the sky, turn into thunder; when Mosquitoes bring blood to the Thunder woman, they say that They extracted it from oaks; so the Thunder woman hits trees, otherwise she would kill people]: Curtis 1976 (14): 176.

Ecuador. Colorado [a man escaped from animal demons, killed a fox; his wife cuts a carcass, a fox's head sticks to her thigh; shamans let calebasa along the river; when a woman dives, head rushes after a calebass; now lives by the sea, produces lightning]: Mix 1982:73-75.

Western Amazon. Napo [the loser hunter got lost, the forest spirit of Kukuyu Kuraga cut off his head; she rolled to the other hunters' hut; they run away in a boat, but his head is also in the boat; alone ran to warn the women, but his head settled on a tree above the path the women were walking; sucked between his wife's legs; when she was swimming, she stuck to her headdress; the woman's daughter runs a calebasa along the river; when a woman dives, her head rushes after the calebasa, swims away; turns into lightning]: Mercier 1979:53-55; (cf. kofan [man goes hunting monkeys with his older sister's husband; at night he sees him stick his feet in the fire; in the morning he shows that there is only one head left; the head makes a bundle of fried meat monkeys are small, tells him to carry him home in the same basket; when his wife comes up, her head sticks her mouth to her vulva; it cannot be torn off; one day a woman promises to give her head a fish, her head sticks off, a woman throws herself into the water, lets a calebass on the water; his head takes her for his wife's head, swims away on her; when he gets to people living down the river, he becomes a fat man again; comes with them to his wife's village; wife comes up, that man kills her; when there is an annual flood on the river, this head floats downstream; (you can't see Sirius at this time)]: Borman, Criollo 1990, No. 19:287-317).

NW Amazon. Tarian [the flesh of a young man who has broken a taboo in the spirit world falls off when he returns; his head remains, thunderblows, attaches to her brother's shoulder; people feed her tart fruits; she is thirsty and goes to the spirits; causes menstruation, devours women in the forest]: Brüzzi 1994:139-140.

Bolivia - Guaporé. Takana: Hissink, Hahn 1961, No. 29 [monkeys cut off the hunter's head; the head tells the sister or her husband to carry it in the basket; every now and then falls out, gnawing through a hole; turns into a palm tree a pond whose fruits are loved by fish; the thunder that sounds during the palm tree ripening season is his laughter], 30 [the girl's three brothers cut off her lover's head; her head rolls towards her; turns into a palm tree and thunder]: 69-74; surui [the spirit of the Moradei tree smears the loser hunter with tree sap, making him lucky; tells him to bring his wife in the morning; the spirits also smear her, copulate with her; husband and wife bring to the village is full of dead monkeys; the wife violates the ban on talking about what happened, and when the husband falls asleep, he puts his foot on the coals and she burns off; he eats all the meat he brings (it's just fried); thinks what to turn into to frighten people; 1) into a bird that foreshadows war; 2) into another similar bird; 3) into an arrowhead; 4) becomes lightning and thunder]: Mindlin 1995, No. 3:10-13.