Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

M38d2. Coal, straw, bob by the river, ATU 295.


Several characters (usually three), which are small objects, go traveling and must cross the river. This fails.

Catalans, Ladins, French, Flemish, Dutch, Friesians, Germans (Grimms, East Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Switzerland), (Baiga), Chinese (?) , Slovenes, Hungarians, Greeks, Slovaks, Luzhitans, Ukrainians (Odessa), Russians (Moscow, Perm), Varnishes, Georgians, Tajiks (Ura-Tyube), Rushans, Baluchis, Faroese, Danes, Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Livs, Komi, Mari, Southern Selkups, Japanese.

Southern Europe. Catalans [when the hostess melted the hearth to cook beans, one straw fell and did not burn; then the coal and then the bean fell out; they went on a journey; when they saw the river, the coal was frightened, and the straw confirmed that it swims well; we agreed that it would first transport the coal and then return for the bean; in the middle of the river, the coal straw caught fire from the heat; the bean laughed so much that his mouth burst ear to ear; cried; passing by (bug?) sewed up a dark trail that had been torn since then on the beans]: Camarena, Chevallier 1997, No. 295:441-442; frets: Brunold-Bigler, Widmer 2004, No. 37 [the coal fell out of the stove, the hostess dropped the straw when kindled the fire, the bean fell out of the pot; they reached the ditch; the straw lay as a bridge; when the coal stepped on it, it caught fire and fell; behind it, a coal fell into the water, died of fear; the bob laughed so much that burst; the tailor sewed it up, the mark of the black thread remained]: 233; Decurtins, Brunold-Bigler 2002, No. 49 [the wasp and the bean went together, reached the stream; the wasp laid a straw as a bridge; they argued who to cross first ; the wasp went, fell into the water; the bean laughed so much that it cracked; since then, it has been like a seam]: 133.

Western Europe. The French [there are two French entries]: Camarena, Chevallier 1997:442; the Flemish [bean, straw, coal set off; the coal goes on a straw, it burns, it falls into the water; the bean laughs so much that there was a black speck left; the monkey looked, lost its hair on its back]: Meyer 1968, No. 295:30; Germans [the old lady was going to cook beans, made a fire; one straw, a coal and a bean fell unnoticed; went on a journey; when they came to the stream, the straw lay down as a bridge; in the middle, the bean got scared and stopped; as a result, the straw caught fire; the bob laughed so much that it burst; the tailor walked past and sewed it up, the trail remained]: Grimm, Grimm 2002, No. 18:64 (=Grimm, Grimm 198:60); Germans (Grimms, East Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Switzerland): Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171; Dutch [ the bean and the straw came to the hearth, a coal fell out of there, all three of them went for a walk; on the way there was a river; bob: let the straw lie like a bridge and we cross it; the coal came first, the wind blew, the straw caught fire, the coal fell, drowned; the bean burst with laughter, so there are stripes on it]: Soer 1979:119; friezes: Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171.

(Wed. South Asia. Baiga [the ant with the coal went on a journey; after crossing the river, the water in it turned black; the deer drank water; the river said that an ant with coal made it black, and it would make a deer lame; the deer ate the leaves of the mahua tree, it became small; the bird ate the tree's berries but did not eat it; sat on a plum — now these plums will be bitter; the woman tasted the plum, asked why the plums became bitter; plum: and now you will be short; her plowman brothers did not recognize her sister at first, their backs bent; Rani: now you cannot be my protectors; brothers: and now you will be a fart; Rani made a loud sound; and the ploughmen immediately straightened up, etc. — the water became clear, the coal burned down in the forge, and the ant reached its heap]: Elwin 1944, No. XXIV.2 in Zograf 1971, No. 96:339-341).

China — Korea. Chinese (Southern China) [{probably Chinese, since Southern China}]: Eberhard, Eberhard 1976, No. 15 in Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171.

The Balkans. Hungarians [a bean, a bubble, a straw, a spark set off and approach the river; a straw falls on a bridge, a spark steps on it, but the straw burns and the spark falls into the water; the bean laughed so much that burst; the shoemaker sewed it up, but the seam is now visible; the bubble laughed so much that it burst]: Kovács 1987, No. 295:302; Slavs, Greeks: Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171

Central Europe. The Luzhitans [Coal, Bubble, Straw are thinking how to cross the trail of a horse digger full of water; The straw lay across, Ugolek went first, burned the Straw, both drowned; The bubble is so laughed that it burst; Pebble: who grieves, who laughs]: Romanenko 1962:132-133; Slovaks: Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171; Russians (Moscow, Perm), Ukrainians (Odessa) [Bubble, straw and bast: they are trying to cross the river unsuccessfully; {a late literary source is likely}]: SUS 1979, No. 295:101.

Caucasus — Asia Minor. Lucky [a nutshell, a lump of oatmeal and a fly went on a journey; the shell was the first to try to cross the stream, the water carried it; the lump rushed to her aid, melted in the water; the fly flew over to the other side and laughed at her friends; her belly burst with laughter]: Kapiyeva 1974:155 (=Omar-ogly 1868:67; apparently this is the original source); Georgians [bubble, straw, hot coal trying to cross the river unsuccessfully]: Kurdovanidze 2000, No. 295:29

Iran — Central Asia. Tajiks: Amonov, Ulug-zade 1957 [as in Levin et al. 1981, No. 262; corn grain instead of a pea]: 84-85; Levin et al. 1981, No. 262 (Ura-Tyube) [the old woman fried peas; one pea fell out of the cauldron rolled, invited the straw to run together: the old woman would burn it; the light rolled towards them, joined them; a stream on the way; the straw spread like a bridge; the pea crossed; when she went a light, a straw caught fire and both fell into the water; the pea was upset and stared at one point with sadness in her eyes]: 243; Rushantsy [bobbin, stick and coal went for a walk, along the way of a stream; the stick lay down on a bridge, the bobbin and the coal went along it, the wind rose, they fell into the water; the stick and the coal swam out, the bobbin disappeared; then the water dried, the stick and coal saw the sprout, dug it up, took on his back, took it home; they cooked the soup, but the coal was gone; found it in the blacksmith's furnace, returned it; when they went outside, there was no chopstick; they put it with a crossbar on the roof, pressed it with a pole, its bobbin and coal they pulled him out, told him to go home; in each episode, the missing person says he called for help, but did not come to him, while others object: they did not hear anything]: Sokolova 1959, No. 4:14-16; Baluchi [Komok the land came to Kishka, said that he was invited to visit the funeral; Kishka went with him; at the stream, Kishka asked the Lump to jump first; he fell into the water and dissolved; the Gut laughed so much that it burst]: Zarubin 1930, No. 1:653 (=Porozhnyakov 1989:137).

Baltoscandia. Estonians (mostly eastern Estonia) [coal, straw, bean went to travel; the straw lay across the stream as a bridge, coal ran along it; it caught fire and broke, coal fell into the water and hissed; the bob laughed so much that it burst; the tailor sewed it up, but every bean has a black seam mark since then]: Mälk et al. 1967, No. 44:91 (also Kippar 1986, No. 295:180); Faroese, Danes, Finns: Uther 2004 (1), No. 295:171; Livs: Kecskeméti, Paunonen 1974, No. 295:222; Latvians [bean, straw, coal roam the world; straw spread across the world the river was like a bridge; the coal went, it broke and broke, the coal fell into the water, hissed; the bean laughed so much that it cracked from the side; the tailor sewed it up with black thread, the trail remained]: Alksnite et al. 1958:118-119.

Volga — Perm. Komi [bubble, straw and bast are trying unsuccessfully to cross the river]: Korovina 2012, No. 295:78-79; Marie: Kecskeméti, Paunonen 1974, No. 295:222

Western Siberia. Southern Selkups (p. Stepanovka, Verkhneketsky district) [hazel grouse and mouse went hunting, reached the river; mouse: I have no wings to fly over; hazel grouse made a grass bridge; the mouse walked along it, in the middle of the river there is a bridge broke, the mouse swam across the river, got wet; the hazel grouse laughed so much that his goiter burst; the mouse lives, does good]: Porotova 1982:140.

Japan. The Japanese (27 versions from Tohoku to northern Kyushu) [bob, straw, coal go to the temple to worship, either not to be used for their intended purpose, or to see the capital; the straw lies down by a bridge over the river, the coal begins to cross, the straw lights up, the coal falls into the river; the bean bursts with laughter; cries; the girl returns from sewing class, sews the bean's mouth with black thread, the seam is now visible]: Ikeda 1971, #271:67