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Classifying Fairy Tales

 
 
 
Aarne-Thompson Folktale Types and Motif Index
 
This is the most accepted standard method to catalogue folk and fairy tales. The A-T Index covers only the Indo-European folktales.
Yet, thanks to recurring motifs across cultures, most tales from other lands fit smoothly into the index. “The Maiden Without Hands”
appears in Africa, Cinderella in China, and so forth. Below is, not a complete listing of tales, but many popular ones, especially those
relevant to this study.
 
 
SELECTED TYPES
 
Tales of Magic 300-745
 
Supernatural Adversaries 300–399
AT 300 The Dragon Slayer
AT 301 The Three Stolen Princesses
AT 301A Quest for a Vanished Princess
AT 302 The Ogre’s (Devil’s) Heart in the Egg
AT 303 The Twins or Blood-Brothers
AT 304 The Hunter
AT 305 The Dragon’s Heart-Blood as Remedy for King
AT 306 The Danced-out Shoes (The Twelve Dancing Princesses)
AT 307 The Princess in the Shroud
AT 310 The Maiden in the Tower (Rapunzel)
AT 311 How the Devil Married Three Sisters (Fitcher’s Bird)
AT 312 Bluebeard
AT 313 The Girl as Helper in the Hero’s Flight (The Mastermaid)
AT 313H: Magic Flight from Witch (Baba Yaga)
AT 314 The Youth Transformed to a Horse
AT 315 The Faithless Sister
AT 316 The Nix of the Mill-pond
AT 317 The Stretching Tree
AT 317A The Peasant Girl Rescues the Prince
AT 318 The Faithless Wife
AT 321 Eyes Recovered from a Witch
AT 325 The Magician and his Pupil
AT 326 The Youth Who Wanted to Learn What Fear Is
AT 327 The Children and the Ogre
AT 327A Hansel and Gretel
AT 328 The Giant Killer (Jack and the Beanstalk or Molly Whuppie XE "Molly Whuppie" )
AT 330D Bonhomme Misere
AT 332 Godfather Death
AT 332B Death and Luck
AT 333 Red Riding Hood
 
Supernatural or Enchanted Relatives 400-459
AT 400 The Swan Maiden
AT 402 The Animal Bride
AT 402A The Marriage of Sir Gawain
AT 403 The Black and White Bride
AT 410 Sleeping Beauty
AT 425 The Search for the Lost Husband
AT 425A Cupid and Psyche
AT 425C Beauty and the Beast
AT 425J The Heroine Serves in Hell for her Bridegroom
AT 425N The Bird Husband
AT 432 The Prince as Bird
AT 440 The Frog Prince
AT 451: The Brothers Who Were Turned Into Birds (The Six Swans)
 
Supernatural Helpers 500–559
AT 500 The Name of the Helper (Rumpelstiltskin)
AT 501 The Three Old Woman Helpers
AT 502 The Wild Man
AT 505 The Grateful Dead
AT 507A The Monster’s Bride
AT 510 The Persecuted Heroine (Love Like Salt)
AT 510A Cinderella
AT 510B The Dress of Gold, of Silver, and of Stars (Tattercoats)
AT 513 The Helpers
AT 514 The Shift of Sex
AT 519 Brunhilde, The Strong Bride
AT 530 The Princess on the Glass Mountain
AT 531 Ferdinand the True and Ferdinand the False
AT 533 The Goose Girl
AT 545B Puss in Boots
AT 555 The Fisherman and His Wife
 
Magic Objects 560–649
AT 560 The Magic Ring
AT 561 Aladdin
AT 612 The Three Snake-Leaves
AT 613 The Two Travelers
AT 621 The Louse Skin
 
Supernatural Power or Knowledge 650-699
AT 653A The Rarest Thing in the World
AT 673 The White Snake
AT 676 Ali Baba
 
Other Tales of the Supernatural 700-749
AT 700 Tom Thumb
AT 703 The Artificial Child (The Snow Maiden)
AT 704 The Princess on the Pea
AT 706 The Maiden without Hands
AT 709 Snow White
AT 711 The Beautiful and the Ugly Twin
AT 720 The Juniper Tree
 
Religious Tales 750-849
AT 756 The Three Green Twigs
AT 756B The Devil’s Contract
AT 759 God’s Justice Vindicated
AT 766 Sleeping Hero Legends
AT 780 The Flower of Lily-Lo
AT 812 The Devil’s Riddle
 
Realistic Tales 850-992A
AT 851 The Princess Who Cannot Solve the Riddle
AT 859 Poor Suitor Pretends to Wealth
870-879 The Heroine Marries the Prince
AT 870 The Entombed Princess (Maid Maleen)
AT 873 The King Discovers his Unknown Son
AT 874 Ariadne
AT 875 The Clever Peasant Girl Who Solves the King’s Riddles
AT 879 The Basil Maiden
AT 882 The Falsely Accused Wife
AT 883A The Innocent Slandered Maiden
AT 888 The Faithful Wife
AT 891 The Man Who Deserts His Wife and Sets Her the Task of Bearing Him a Child
AT 900 King Thrushbeard
AT 901 Taming of the Shrew
AT 910B The Servant’s Good Counsels
AT 924 Sign Language Misunderstood
AT 926C: Wise Judges
 
930-949 Tales of Fate
AT 931 Oedipus
AT 945 Luck and Intelligence
AT 955 The Robber Bridegroom
AT 981 Wisdom of Hidden Old Man (or Woman) Saves Kingdom
 
Jokes and Anecdotes 1000-1965
AT 1353 The Old Woman as Devil’s Helper
AT 1354 Death for the Old Couple
AT 1364 The Blood-Brother’s Wife
AT 1380 The Faithless Wife
AT 1408 Trading Places (family members exchange jobs with disastrous results)
AT 1418 The Equivocal Oath
AT 1539 Tricksters and their Victims
AT 1654 The Robbers in the Death Chamber
AT 1730 The Entrapped Suitors
AT 1741 A Woman Convinces a Guest that her Husband (or Employer) Wants to Cut Off his Ears
 
 
SELECTED MOTIFS
 
Mythological Motifs
A0 Creator
A110 Origin of gods
A112 Birth of gods
A163 Contests among the gods
A188 Gods in love with humans
A220 Sun Deity
A220.1.1 Amaterasu
A240 Moon Deity
A301 Mother Earth conceived as mother of all things
A310 Deity of the world of the dead
A316 Persephone
A421.1.2 Sea Goddess
A493.1 Pele
A483.1 Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin
A510 Origin of the culture hero (demigod)
A526.7 Culture hero performs remarkable feats of strength and skill
A560 Culture hero’s departure
A610 Creation of universe by creator
A673 Hound of hell
A736.1 Sun and moon as man and woman
A773 Origin of Pleiades
A800 Creation of earth
A822.2 Land created from dripping spear
A1010 Deluge
A1030 World-fire
A1150.2 Winter while Persephone is in underworld
A1231 First man descends from sky
A1241 Man made from clay
A1270 Primeval human pair
A1335 Origin of death
 
Animals
B20 Beast-men
B50 Bird-men
B80.1 Seal-men
B81 Mermaid
B401 Helpful horse
B411 Helpful cow
B600.2 Animal husband provides characteristic animal food
B611.3 Horse paramour
B848.21 Lion’s whisker
 
Tabu
C12 Devil invoked appears unexpectedly
C30 Tabu: Offending supernatural relative
C31.1.2 Melusine
C32.1 Tabu: Looking at supernatural husband
C35.4 Tabu: Returning skin of animal wife
C321 Pandora
C400 Speaking taboo
C611 Forbidden chamber
C932 Loss of spouse for breaking taboo
 
Magic
D100 Transformation: Person to animal
D150 Transformation: Man to bird
D161.1 Transformation: Man to swan
D190 Transformation: Person to reptile
D300 Transformation: Animal to person
D361.1 Swan maiden
D361.1.1 Selkie bride
D454.3 Transformation: Cloth to other object
D672 Obstacle flight
D735 Disenchantment through kiss
D758.2 Disenchantment by maintaining silence for a year or more
D855.5 Magic object as reward for good deeds
D1611 Magic object answers for fugitive
D1652.8 Inexhaustible cloth
D1960.3 Sleeping Beauty
 
The Dead
E30 Resuscitation by arrangement of members
E234.3 Return from dead to avenge death
E235 Return from dead to punish indignities to corpse
E480 Abode of the dead
E632 The singing bone
E710 External soul
 
Marvels
F17.1 Changing Woman
F81 Descent to lower world of the dead
F81.1 Orpheus
F81.1.0.1 Izanagi and Izanami
F92.2.1 Persephone
F251.4 Underworld people from children which Eve hid from God
F302.4 Animal brides
F321.3 Person enters fairyland to rescue a child
F324.3.1 Tam Lin
F329.1 Thomas the Rhymer
F848.1 Rapunzel
F1015.1.1 Twelve dancing princesses
 
Ogres
G10 Cannibalism
G200 Witch
G205 Witch stepmother
G211 Witch in animal form
G266 Witches steal
G271 Breaking spell
G284 Witch as helper
G412.1. Hansel and Gretel
G530.2 The Mastermaid
 
Tests
H36.1 Slipper Test
H41.1 Princess on the Pea
H56 Recognition by wound
H71.1 Star on forehead as a sign of royalty
H94 Recognition by ring
H121 Identification by cup
H310 Suitor tests
H465A King Thrushbeard
H561.1 The clever peasant’s daughter
H602.1.1 Symbolic meaning of numbers one to twelve (or other number)
H1091.1 Task: sorting grains: performed by helpful ants
H1091.2 Task: sorting grains: performed by helpful birds
H1199.12.4B Maria Morevna
H1226.4 Pursuit of rolling ball of yarn leads to quest
H1242 Youngest child alone succeeds on quest
H1385.4 Wife seeks lost husband XE "husband"  
H543 Riddle contest with the devil
 
 
The Wise and the Foolish
J1185.1 Scheherazade
J1545.4 “Exiled wife’s dearest possession”
J1675 Clever dealing with a king
J1795 Image in mirror mistaken
J1804 Conversation by sign language mutually misunderstood
J2461.1 Literal following of instructions
 
Deceptions
K841 Substitute for execution obtained by trickery
K1310 Seduction by disguise or substitution
K1810 Deception by disguise
K1811 Gods in disguise visit mortals
K1814.5 Girl in disguise courted by husband
K1816.0.2.1 Maid Maleen
K1837.6.1 Mulan
 
Reversal of fortune
L13 Compassionate youngest son
L100 Unpromising hero or heroine
L310 Weak overcomes strong in conflict
L145.1B Kate Crackernuts
 
Ordaining the Future
M21 King Lear judgment
M300 Prophecies
M400 Curses
 
Chance and Fate
N50 Wagers
N452 Secret remedy overheard in conversation of animals
N512 Treasure in underground chamber
N531 Treasure discovered through dream
N813 Helpful genie
N825.3 Old woman helper
 
Society
P17 Succession to the throne
P230 Parents and children
P250 Brothers and sisters
P253.2 Sister faithful to transformed brothers
 
Rewards and Punishments
Q2 Kind and unkind
Q40 Kindness rewarded
Q65 Filial duty rewarded
Q86 Reward for industry
Q91 Cleverness rewarded
Q280 Unkindness punished
 
Captives and Fugitives
R221 Heroine’s threefold flight from ball (Cinderella)
R111.1.3C The Dragon slayer
R260 Pursuit
 
Unnatural Cruelty
S10 Cruel parents
S31 Cruel stepmother
S62.1 Bluebeard
S143 Abandoned in forest
S160 Mutilation
S241 Child unwittingly promised: “first thing you meet”
 
Sex
T54 Miraculous birth
T62 Princess to marry first man to ask her
T91 Unequals in love
T91.4.1.2 Lady Ragnell
T97 Father opposed to daughter’s marriage
T111 Marriage of mortal and supernatural being
T121.3.1 Princess marries lowly man
T510 Miraculous conception
 
Traits of Character
W10 Kindness
W11 Generosity
W28 Self-sacrifice
W32 Bravery
W34 Loyalty
W121 Cowardice
 

Compiled from Margaret Read MacDonald, The Storyteller’s Sourcebook (Detroit, MI: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 1982) and D.L.
Ashliman, A Guide to Folktales in the English Language (New York: Greenwood P, 1987).