„The Girl in the Form of a Wolf” (AT 409) in Estonian Folk Tradition Cover Image

"Naine libahundiks" (AT 409) eesti jutupärimuses
„The Girl in the Form of a Wolf” (AT 409) in Estonian Folk Tradition

Author(s): Merili Metsvahi
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: legend; fairy tale; folk tale; werewolf; Estonian and comparative folklore; animal transformation

Summary/Abstract: The article discusses the folk tale type „The Girl in the Form of a Wolf”, which is popular in Estonian tradition, occurring both as a legend and a fairy tale. The plot is known in Estonian, Livonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Karelian, Russian, Byelorussian and Ukrainian tradition, but the number of variants written down in Estonia surpasses several times the number of variants recorded from elsewhere. The first recordings of the story are really early, in our context, as two different variants date back to the first quarter of the 19th century. The article describes the folk tale as told in Estonia and in some other countries, pointing out the religious elements detected in the text, questioning the folkloristic approach that contrasts two folklore genres, the fairy tale and the legend, and criticizing Hans-Jörg Uther for his undue reference, in his catalogue of international folktales, to certain variants as belonging to type 409 („The Girl in the Form of a Wolf”).

  • Issue Year: LIII/2010
  • Issue No: 08-09
  • Page Range: 611-627
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Estonian