Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

N3. Hungry fingers. 11.-.

One finger says he's hungry and/or offers to steal something. The rest of the fingers express their opinion on this matter.

Swahili, Yoruba, Dogon, Eve, Malgash, Berbers of Morocco, Flemish, Bengalis, Tagals, Slovenes, Kalmyks, Abazins, Adygs, Chechens, Kumyks, Georgians, Tajiks, Kazan Tatars, Kazakhs (including Altai), Kyrgyz, Baikal Buryats, Oirats, (Khalkha Mongols).

Bantu-speaking Africa. Swahili [first finger (little finger) said, "Let's go!" ; second: "Where?" ; third: "Steal"; fourth: "What if we were overheard?" ; fifth (big): "I'm not a part of it"; so the thumb stands apart from the rest]: Büttner 1894:202.

West Africa. Yoruba [the mother of the fingers left before dawn to the market and stayed until night; the brothers woke up, could not find food; they waited for their mother to return, but she did not come; the little finger began to grumble and say he was hungry; the nameless man reminded that the mother was not at home; the middle one suggested: "Let's go and steal some food"; the index said: "If we steal, we will be grabbed by the ruler"; the big He was the oldest finger and realized that the brothers were so hungry that they would do anything to get food; he warned them that stealing was bad, but they did not listen to him; then he said that he would not be involved in the theft and that he did not want to be associated with thieves; he has been separate from the rest of his fingers ever since]: Berry 1991, No. 106:173; Dogon (Sanga) [child's play; fingering hands, say: little finger: "Uncle, I'm hungry"; nameless: "We'll get food"; middle finger: "We'll ask"; index: "We'll steal"; big: "I don't want to steal"; since then, the thumb has been away from others]: Griaule 1938a: 224; North Ewe (Ghana) [a child's game in which they move their fingers; five fingers are siblings; the little finger begins to cry; the ring man asks if he is hungry ; the middle one discovers that there is flour in the pot; the index suggests cooking and eating it; the big one says he intends to tell his mother about it]: Agawu 1995:66.

Sudan-East Africa. Malgashi [little finger said: "I'm hungry"; nameless: "If you're hungry, go steal something that will satisfy your hunger"; middle: "Bring more, as we want too"; indicative: "They give bad advice. Wouldn't someone who steals be punished?" ; big: "I don't understand what we're talking about. I'm big and you're starting leprosy, so I'll be on my own"; since then, the fingers have been divided into five "branches", with the thumb separate from the rest; because the ring finger and the index finger had bad thoughts, and also because they don't do any special work, they don't have special names (there are separate names only for the little finger, index finger, and thumb)]: Sibree 1883:311; [The little finger said, "I'm hungry!" ; The nameless one suggested: "Hungry, so steal!" ; The middle objected: "If you steal, you will be lost!" ; The index man laughed: "You'll be lost and you won't get a ransom!" ; Bolshoi said: "As an adult, I should not steal, but I should ask!" ; so the fingers were divided into long and short; the little finger became small because it was always hungry; the ring and index finger became short due to bad inclinations, and the middle and thumb were long and fat because they were fair]: Korneev 1977:190-191.

North Africa. Moroccan Berbers (Sousse - Massa, 1998) [in the old days, fingers were one, close to each other; Fadma Mazin {little finger} complained that he was hungry; Abdullah {ring finger} offered to steal something to eat; Elhoussaï n {middle finger} said, "What if God finds out!" ; the index man objected: "Who will go tell him?" ; the thumb did not agree and said it would be his duty to carry them; the rest of his fingers hit him so hard that he moved down; that's why he stands apart from the other fingers]: Thay Thay 2001, No. 31:36-37.

Western Europe. Flemish (Wuren, Limburg) [rubbing the child's fingers, the mother says: "The thumb (Dumerling) said, 'I'm hungry, '; the index finger (Lekvink) said, 'I'm thirsty,'; the middle (Langeman): "Where can we find something?" ; the unnamed (Lochaan) said: "In his mother's pantry," and the little finger (Piebek) shouted: "I ate it all!.."] : Cornelissen 1892:200; the French (Aquitaine, Montauban) [take the child's right hand, start with the thumb; a bunny runs through here, this one saw him, this one killed him, this one cooked, this one ate, and this (little finger) little Guen-guen, who is behind the mill, broke the cuvette tray and was left with plates (et que tient les écuelles)]: M lle A.E., Noms et gestes des doigts, Revue des traditions populaires 9 (3-4): 188); French (Switzerland) ["le pouce dit: j'ai grand fail! le second: je voudrais du pain! le troisième: je n'en ai guère! la "demoiselle": comment fair? le petit: je le sais bien, il faut nous arranger pour bien travailler tous les cinq"]: Voillat 1992:825; (cf. Bretons [the thumb will stay at home to sift the flour, the index finger will be full, the middle finger will get a stick on the back, the ring finger will remain at home (sur le foyer), the little finger will stay at home with his mother]: Marillier 1893:377.

South Asia. Bengalis [pointing to the child's fingers, the woman says: the little finger says: "I'm hungry"; the nameless one: "Where can I get food (for you)?" ; medium: "Loan/Let's borrow money (to buy it)"; indicative: "How will the debt be repaid?" ; big: "Then there'll be no food"]: Mitra 1903:237.

Taiwan - Philippines. Tagaly [in ancient times, the thumb was not as far away from the rest of the fingers as it is now; all fingers were side by side; five fingers had a ferocious master; each of them had a I ordered something to do; one day my fingers felt very hungry - there was no one to feed them, because the master had left in the morning and did not return, even though evening was approaching; his little finger could not stand it and said to an unnamed person: "I'm very hungry. Why aren't we being fed?" ; the nameless man replied that he was also hungry; the middle man admitted that he was also hungry; index: "We have more than enough work to do, and our master still makes us starve"; thumb: "Our lord Doesn't care about us at all. Just because we are his servants does not mean that he can neglect us and starve us; the index tried to calm the big one, but he continued in the same vein and suggested: "Since we are threatened starving to death, stealing won't be a crime!" ; the rest of the fingers replied that it would be better to starve than steal; the big one immediately left, found the supplies hidden by the master, and ate; the other four were indignant at what the big one had done finger and when he returned, they drove him away; since then, the thumb has been separate from his comrades]: Rybkin 1975, No. 163:382-384.

The Balkans. Slovenes (Mazaroli, province of Udine, 1873) ["Finger: thumb, little finger, middle (third) finger. This one said, "Eat something." This one [second] said, "What are we going to eat?" This one [third] said, "Let's break into the mother's box (chest)." This one [fourth] said, "But this little boy will say (give)." The little one said: "If I say, let me not be anymore (let me not grow up anymore)." That is why he is small as he said to his mother"]: Baudouin de Courtenay, 1904, No. 1:143; (cf. Germans (?) Transylvania [toes; little finger went into the forest, the second caught the hare, the third brought it into the house, the fourth fried it; and the fifth big one ate all alone]: Heinecke 1893:225).

Caucasus - Asia Minor. Kalmyks [game: fingers must be clenched into a fist, then each finger "speaks" its own words, opening his fist; thumb: "Let's steal"; index finger: "Let's go steal cattle"; medium: "When do we start?" ; nameless: "When the owner comes out", little finger: "We will only take an oath before leaving"]: Basangova 2013:105; Adygs (including shapsugi) [in some villages in the Urvan District of Kabardino-Balkaria there is a famous game in which the presenter sings, touching the child's thumb: "It would be nice to eat - you see, he is a fat man who likes to eat"; index: "Where are we going to get it?" (he always doubts, so he does not grow well); middle finger: "Tha will give" (so he is the longest of all fingers he hopes for); ring finger: "What if he doesn't?" ; little finger: "In that case, we'll steal it!" ; all his fingers reproach him: "So small, but he's going to steal"; the shapsugs used to play "fingers talk"; the big one: "Would I eat"; the index: "Where can we get it?" ; medium: "We will work"; unnamed: "What if not?" ; little finger: "Then we'll steal"; the Abazins also have this game]: Mafedzev 1986:6; Chechens [thief fingers game: "Five brothers are sleeping. The first one stood up (thumb). Said, "Let's get up!" The second (indicative): "What are we going to do?" The third is "Steal!" Nameless: "It's a sin to steal!" The last one (little finger) hesitated, so he remained small. When touching the little finger, the child is made to laugh"]: Chesnov 1996:57; Kumyks [child's play: the thumb encourages others to stand up, the index finger asks where to go, the middle finger says what to do to go to steal horses, the nameless man notices that it is a sin, the little finger says he will take the sin]: Adzhiev 2005:197; Georgians or Georgian Jews (Kulashi, Imereti) [the little finger says:" I'm hungry!" ; nameless: "Let's be patient!" ; medium: "God willing!" ; indicative: "What if it doesn't?!" ; big: "Let's steal it!" ; for this, the other fingers beat their thumb to the point that it was the shortest]: Mashurko 1894:271; Georgians (Obshkuti, Imereti) [the thumb says: "Hungry!" ; indicative: "What if not?!" ; medium: "God willing!" ; nameless: "What if it doesn't?!" ; little finger: "Let's steal it!" ; for this, the other fingers beat the little finger to the point that it was the smallest]: Mashurko 1894:271.

Iran - Central Asia. Tajiks [a hauzak game was recorded in Ura-Tube, during which an adult starts counting with the little finger of the child's left hand and says: "Finger, finger (little finger), /Little finger brother./House high- upper, /Little Quran reader, /Turk who kills parasites. /This one said: Let's go, /This one said: Where? /This one said: Aren't you afraid of God? /This one said: Let's take the tip of the tongue and run away"; this hausak almost completely coincides with what was noted in Samarkand region (the only difference is that when asked by the index finger (by- apparently right hand): "Aren't you afraid of God?" , the thumb replies: "Let's take the padishah's key and run away")]: Rakhimov 1998:180.

Volga - Perm. Kazan Tatars ["Little Finger: Ashasym Kilä Ball. I'm hungry for honey. Nameless: kayan alyyik? Where do we get it from? Medium: azatka alyyik. We'll borrow it. Indicative: any kayan alyb tuleyek? Where do we get it from and pay him? Big: ashyyik da kachyyik. Let's eat and run away"]: Potanin 1881, No. 2.5:123.

Turkestan. Kazakhs (Nogai-Kurinsky volost of Chikment district, Syr-Darya region) [quickly grabbing the child's hand, their fingers begin to count him; taking their thumb, they say: "Let's steal (cattle)." Grabbing the index finger, they say: "If we do it, we'll do it." Taking the middle finger, they say: "What about God?" Grabbing an unnamed finger, they say: "What will God do?" Taking their little finger, they exclaim: "Let's go here, we'll stab it!""] : Divaev 1908:151; Altai Kazakhs: Potanin 1881, No. 2.1 (recorded by "Kyrgyz people in Altai") ["Thumb: koy urlaik? we steal a ram. Indicative: aitsa aitsaic! If said, we'll do it. Medium: kudaidy kaytaik! Nameless: kudai kaitar, disan! Little finger: abkel! baremen! xuyaying! carry it, I'll stab it!"] : 123; 1916, No. 58 (Kokchetav Kazakhs) [(Russian translation only): The thumb said: "Let's steal it!" For this, God shortened it. The index said, "Well, I think so!" God made it more authentic. The middle man said, "How are we going to answer God for the theft!" For these words, God made him longer than all fingers. The nameless man said, "Why does God care about theft?" For this, God shortened it to the average. The little finger said, "There's nothing to talk about. Steal it and bring it! We'll stab and eat it!" For this, God made it smaller and shorter]: 179; Kyrgyz [In my early childhood, my mother often took my hand and, running my five spread out fingers, said: Barmak: Uurulukka buns? /Soomoy: Barça baraly./Orton: Kudaidy cantebis? /Aty jok: Kudaidy kantmek elek? /Chipalak: Soyso soyolu, shorposuna toyolu! Translation: Big: Shall we steal? /Indicative: Well, once we've gathered, let's go/Medium: What about God? /Nameless: What are you going to do with him? /Little finger: If we decide to cut it, we'll cut it, we'll drink shurps!] : Ruslan Doutaliev, personal message on March 25, 2021.

Southern Siberia - Mongolia. Baikal Buryats: Khangalov et al. 1889, No. 47 [children's names for fingers in Balagan Buryats: big - barbaday, index - Bashin tulay, middle - toho tobshi , nameless - toli bator, little finger - bishihan shishuhe (=Khangalov 2004c: 270); children's finger names for Alar Buryats: big - bat balay, index - badun tolay, middle - tob tolay or toy tobsho, nameless - tuheney bator, little finger - bishihan shohodon]; No. 48 [1) little finger: "Let's steal a calf from an uncle of a red year old!" ; nameless: "We will be guilty!" ; medium: "We'll eat to the abyss and I'll deny it until I turn blue!" ; so three fingers - middle, index and thumb - agreed to steal; the nameless one also agreed; they stole and ate the calf; the remains were hidden in a yurt by the smoke hole (urhe); The dog ate the hidden; the uncle came with the boss; asked if they had stolen the calf; all five confessed and said that they had hidden the remains on the urhe; those who came climbed into the yurt and found nothing ; then the dialogue: "There is no such thing as what was said in Urhe. Where did they go?" ; "The dog hidden on the urhe ate"; "Bitch, after eating it, where did you go?" ; "I ran away to the wood-burning forest for the owner"; "Where is this wood-burning forest?" ; "Burned from the fire while it fell"; "Where is the fire?" ; "Having gone to the seashore, it went out, went out"; the chiefs stopped the penalty and left (Alar); 2) "There are five fingers. The elder is big to say: "Let's steal it!" The index says: "OK!" The middle one says: "We'll eat to the abyss and I'll deny it until I turn blue!" The nameless man says: "We'll be guilty!" And the little finger says, "I'll make a fire out of chips!" (The rest is the same as the previous version)" (Alar); 3) bat balay {thumb}: "Let's steal!" ; bodon tolay {index}: "Well, please!" ; toitoli {medium}: "Won't they see us?" (letters. "Can't an ordinary person see us?") ; totonay bator {nameless}: "Shouldn't we be guilty?" ; bishihan hooker {little finger}: "I'm scared!" (Alar; reprinted with minor changes in Gomboev 1890, No. 34:87); 4) barbaday {thumb}: "Let's steal!" ; bashin-tulay {index}: "OK!" ; toho-tobshi {average}: "I, a tall man, will watch!" ; toli-bator {nameless}: "Get your fill, you'll be unlocked until pale!" ; bishihan shishuhe {little finger}: "I will say" (I will prove) (Balagan; =Khangalov 2004c: 270)]: 131-134; Oirats (Ubsu-Nur derbets) ["Bolshoy: Khulagay hia! Indicative: small abchirke. Medium: hagas abchiria? Unnamed: ezen garchilagia. Little finger: andygar tabit garia" {no translation; hulagay hia is a call to commit theft}]: Potanin 1881, No. 2.4:123 (cf. cotons (Mongolized Turks from the vicinity of the Great Lakes, Western Mongolia) ["Bolshoy: Uru Alaly. Indicative: small cherry plum. Medium: kaidan alyb kelely. Untitled: es chicks, cantatas! Little finger: ang tyshib kutlaly" {no translation}]: Potanin 1881, No. 2.3:123; Khalkha Mongols ["Big: drum baityk! Indicative: batygyn hiysyk! Medium: tooro tobchik! Nameless: Totgyn, Hiysyk! Little finger: go jaep!" {no translation given}]: Potanin 1881, no. 2.2:123).