Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

M138. Human and animal life span, ATU 173.


At first, everyone was given 20 or 30 years of age. This is a lot for animals, but not enough for humans. People received part of the life span of animals.

Malinke, Berbers of Morocco (Nador), Algerian Arabs, Portuguese, Italians (Abruzzo), Spaniards, Aragon, Catalans, Ladins, Germans (Grimms, Austria), Flemish, Frisians, Kumaoni, Ancient Greece, Romanians, Hungarians, Serbs, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Poles, Ukrainians (Western), Ossetians, Nogais, Kurds, Uzbeks, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Setu, Kazan Tatars, (Bashkiri), Kazakhs, Oirats.

West Africa. Malinka [God was the first to create Man, the Donkey, the Dog and the Owl, let everyone live 40 years, but told them to come in 20 years to tell us how he lives; Man is happy, wants to live longer, the rest and 20 years as a burden; God gave their years to a Man living under 80]: Anpetkova-Sharova 2010:113-115.

North Africa. Berbers of Morocco (Nador) [God gathers all creatures, explains how and how long everyone should live; Adam, donkey, dog, monkey - each gets 30 or 20 years; animals, learning about their future life, they want to reduce it to 10 years, and Adam wants more; gets 20 or 20 years from each; therefore, from 30 to 50 people, when married, he works like a donkey, barks at grown children from 50 to 60 like a dog, and after 50, he is treated like a monkey]: Thay Thay 2001, No. 31-33; the Arabs of Algeria (Tiaret Plateau) [God gave man 30 years of life, the donkey 20; he said that 10, 10 was enough and man took 10, 10; A dog and a monkey also gave him extra years; therefore, a person lives well until the age of 30, then works like a donkey, then does dog work - looks after children, then becomes like a toothless monkey that is being laughed at]: Aceval 2005, No. 4:19-20.

Southern Europe. The Portuguese [first man, donkey, dog and monkey had to live for 30 years; man was not enough, while others wanted less and gave him 15 years; therefore, 30 years a person lives in his fun, the next 15 works like a donkey, 45 to 60 people like a dog, must arrange the sons' business, and after 60 he grimaces like a monkey to please his grandchildren]: Correia 2018, No. 41; Italians (Abruzzo) [after the creation of the world, God tells everyone how and how long they will live; first everyone is assigned 20 years old; after learning about their living conditions, a donkey, a dog and a monkey ask to reduce their term is doubled; on the contrary, a person wants to live longer, gets an extra 30 years; the first 10 after 20 work like a donkey, the next 10 look after growing children like a dog, and the next 10 are grown up children they look at him like a monkey; after 50 what life is at all]: Kabakova 2006, No. 27:54-61; Spaniards (Murcia) [God gives every animal its own lifespan, but he seems to a donkey, dog and monkey too long - life is hard; a person is 30 years old, he receives what he gives to animals; therefore, after 30, he first works like a donkey, then barks at everyone like a dog, then talks nonsense like a monkey]: Herná ndez Fernández 2013, No. 173:72-73; Aragon [animals get more life from God than they want, these terms are added to human life]: González Sanz 1996, No. 173:71-72; Catalans [God gives everyone 30 years of life; a donkey, a dog and a cat only want 15, a person gets their sentence; so he works like a donkey until 45, then doesn't want to do anything like a dog, and then his children leave him like a cat]: Oriol, Pujol 2008, No. 173:50-51 (variant in Valriu 2015, No. 44:64-68); frets: Uther 2004 (1), No. 173:120

Central Europe. Germans: Balzamo, Kaiser 2004, No. 39 [God gives the donkey 30 years of life, he asks for a shorter sentence, it is 12; a dog is 18 instead of 30, a monkey is 10 instead of 20; a person is 30 is not enough, he gets 18 from a donkey, 12 from a dog, 10 from a monkey]: 73-76; Grimm, Grimm 2003, No. 169 [first God gives everyone 30 years of life; a donkey persuaded him to leave him 12, a dog 18, a monkey 20; a man 30 is not enough, he received taken from animals, so after 30 he works like a donkey, then growls like a dog, and at the end of life looks like a monkey]: 500-504; Flemish, Friezes, Germans (Austria): Uther 2004 (1), No. 176 []: 512-513.

South Asia. Kumaoni [at first God gave everyone 40 years of life; man thought this was not enough, and the ox, dog, cat, and owl did not want to live so long; God agreed to take 20 years from each of them and add these years to a person's life is 120 years; therefore, for the first 40 years, a person lives easily and happily, then works like an ox for 20 years, then 20 years angry and selfish like a dog, 80 to 100 quiet and invisible as a cat, and for the past 20 years he has been dumb and stupid as an owl]: Upreti 1894:222.

The Balkans. Ancient Greece [Zeus gave man a short life; man built a house; the horse, fleeing from the weather, asked to go to the man's house; the man agreed to let him in in exchange for part of his life; In the same way, a person made an agreement with a bull and a dog; therefore, in old age, a person first becomes boastful like a horse, then hardworking like a bull, and then grumpy like a dog]: Gasparov 1968, No. 105:94- 95; Romanians: Brill, Ispas 2005, No. 10918B (Banat) [After God created the world, he placed Adam and Eve in paradise, prohibiting them from eating the fruits of a single tree. In the form of a serpent, the devil made them eat of the forbidden tree, and God drove them out of paradise; they were ordered to plow only one furrow. They had food for three moves because the wheat was clean and the ear was from the top to the ground; the devil advised man to cultivate more land to feed the children who would be born. Eve convinced him that the devil was right, Adam had cultivated a lot of land. God, angry, filled the wheat (field) with weeds. He also decided that wheat would only have one ear. Eva got a good bashing from Adam. After a while, Adam and Eve were reconciled. They appeared before God along with other living beings to divide the years of life between them, making man king over animals. Man was not satisfied; God gave the dog 40 years of life, a vocation to protect man, and gave food to bones and garbage. The dog gave up 20 years, they were taken by a man; the monkey received 60 years of life and a vocation to imitate a person who would laugh at her. The monkey gave up 30 years in favor of humans. Therefore, a person under 30 years old is the king of the earth. From 30 to 50, he leads the life of a donkey. He works hard for his family. At the age of 50 - 70 - the age of a dog - a person is weak and protects his property. From 70 years old and above, man has the years of a monkey and becomes like her]: 424; Gaster 1915, No. 106 [about the same]: 336-338; Macedonians [God gave man 30 years of carefree life, he is dissatisfied which is so little; an ox, a dog and a monkey are also 30 years old, but they do not want to suffer so long, they give 20 years to a person; therefore, up to 30 people live as a human being, then they work like an ox for 20 years, then they teach everyone and He watches everything like a dog, and the end of life is made just a monkey]: Ortenzio 2008, No. 17:58-62; Serbs [man is glad that God has made him king over his creatures, but unhappy that life is short : 30 years old; the donkey, having found out what life was ahead of him, asked him from the age of 30 to leave him only 10; the man used them for himself; the same with the dog; the monkey said that 10 was enough for her; therefore, man for the first 30 years enjoys life, then works like a donkey until 50, then barks a dog until 70, and falls into childhood for the last 10 years {and behaves like a monkey}]: Eschker 1992, No. 71:248-250; Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks: Uther 2004 (1), No. 173:120

Central Europe. Poles [various animals give humans part of their life expectancy]: Krzyżanowski 1963, No. 2462:175; Ukrainians (Volyn, Hutsulshchyna, Transcarpathia) [The lifespan of humans and animals: at first, everyone was released 20 or 30 years old. This is a lot for animals, but not enough for humans. Humans received part of the animals' lifespan]: SUS 1979, No. 828:210.

Caucasus - Asia Minor. Ossetians (Irons) [God gave man, donkey, dog and monkey 30 years each; man has a good life, he is not enough, the rest are difficult, they have too much, five are enough, the rest is given to man; therefore, a person lives well until 30, works like a donkey for the next 25, gets angry and teaches like a dog for another 25 years, looks like a monkey for the past 25 years]: Dzagurov 1983, No. 103:440-441; Nogais [having created people and animals, Tangri gave everyone 30 years of life; his messenger Yarash-Sheshen considered that this was not enough for humans; he could not change Tangri's mind, but if any of the animals voluntarily agreed to a shorter period life, Y. decided to give these years to man; a lion, a donkey, a dog, a monkey say that half of 30 is enough for them; accordingly, after living his life, a person lives on like a lion (up to 45), like a donkey (up to 60), like a dog (under 75) like a monkey (up to 90)]: Kapayev 2012:141-143; Kurds [God gave each 30 years; a donkey, a dog and a monkey asked to halve their sentence; this is how the person received three more times 15 years]: Jalil et al. 1989, No. 45:298-299.

Iran - Central Asia. Uzbeks [the donkey was the first to turn to God and received a father that his purpose was to bear someone else's burden, and his life span was 30 years; asked not to torment him for so long, the Lord reduced his life to 18 years; the same with a dog (from 30 to 12 years old); with a monkey (from 30 to 10 years old); a person is 30 years old is not enough; he was given years taken from others; but after 30, a person begins to live the life of a donkey, and after 48 he begins to live the life of a dog ( you stand at the door and guard your home, eat crumbs from your family); the last 70 years are like a monkey (children and grandchildren laugh at senile grimaces)]: Ostroumov 1906b: 169-171.

Baltoscandia. Lithuanians [God gave man, horse, dog and monkey 40 years of life; man took their years; therefore, from the age of 40, a person works like a horse, after 60 he suffers like a dog, and after 80 he becomes like a monkey]: Kerbelite 2001:74; Latvians [Humans and animals equalize their age. At first, animals and humans are given thirty years of life. This is a lot for animals, but not enough for humans. A person gets a part of animal life]: Aris, Medne 1977, No. 173:263; Estonians, Setu (single fixations throughout Estonia) [at first, animals and humans were allowed to live in the same period: 30 years; a dog, a horse, etc., believe that this is too much for them; the terms they have refused have been added to humans; at different ages, humans behave like corresponding animals]: Kippar 1986, #173:96.

Volga - Perm. Kazan Tatars [a person was determined to live 20 years, and horses 40; he does not want a horse, they gave it to a person for 20 years; a dog, a cat and a monkey received 20 years each, but gave 10 to a person; therefore, up to 20 a person lives happily, pulls a yoke for the next 20 years, barks at children for 10 years, looks like a monkey after 50, he looks like a monkey, after 60 he is drawn to warmth and sleep]: Gilyazutdinov 2015, No. 287:283-284; (cf. Bashkirs [khan got lost, saw a girl in the dugout; she says that her parents hide cattle in the mountains because the khan is bad; the khan left and ordered the girl to marry; she replies that parents are not needed, she herself He will appoint a ransom for himself: 20 foxes, wolves, leopards, shabby horses, halters; when he heard the answer, the khan went down and said that this girl would be planted instead of him as a khan; the meaning of the answer: under 20 years old, a person agile like a fox, 20 to 4 prowls like a wolf, 40 to 60 cautious like a leopard, 60 to 80 a shabby horse, 80 to 100 like a halter without a horse]: Barag 1990, No. 10:35-36).

Turkestan. Kazakhs [God determines everyone's activities and life expectancy; a person gets 30 years, a donkey gets 50 years; a donkey asks to reduce his 20 years, and a person to add them to him; the same is a dog (not 40, but 20 years); a monkey is not 6-, but 30; therefore, for the first 30 years a person lives well, until 50 he works painfully, until 70 he is petty and protects what he has accumulated, after 70 he loses his mind]: Bosingen 1984:45-46.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. The Oirats [Hormusta gave people 40 years of life, a donkey and a dog. {passcode in paraphrase or original}; together they all got 80 years; a person under 40 lives in joy, between 40 and 60 raises children like a donkey, and 60 to 80 stays at home like a dog]: Namjeel 2004 in Basangova 2019:68.