Archaic Motifs of Marriage with a Supernatural Being in Folktales Cover Image

ზებუნებრივ არსებასთან ქორწინების უძველესი მოდელი ზღაპარში
Archaic Motifs of Marriage with a Supernatural Being in Folktales

Author(s): Elene Gogiashvili
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: ლიტერატურის ინსტიტუტის გამომცემლობა
Keywords: Caucasian folklore; mythical motif; marriage.

Summary/Abstract: The article considers characteristics of mythological plots in Caucasian folklore on the example of the folktale type ATU 400-425: Supernatural or enchanted husband / wife. The marriage of the hero with a supernatural being is one of the most popular fairytale motifs in the world. The supernatural spouse in Caucasian folktales are presented in zoomorphic forms: snake, frog or dragon (“gveleshapi” in Georgian folktales). The “gveleshapi” can either be an enemy of the hero or a friend. In the fairytale of the tale of ATU 400-425 type, it is a supernatural spouse. The dynamics of symbolism in the structure of the magic tale represents archaic plots. On top of their mythical foundations, many characteristics common to mythical thought structures appear in magic fairytales. These tales often include elements of the nature-based religions of the ancients. Beliefs about supernatural beings exist in all cultures in the world, therefore the motif of taboo marriage reveals in folktales. Caucasian fairytales about hero’s marriage with a supernatural creature show not only authentic but structural correlation to the mythological tales. The Georgian fairytale “The Frog’s skin” is one of the examples of the fairytale type “enchanted wife”. There were once three brothers who wished to marry. They said: “Let us each shoot an arrow, and each shall take his wife from the place where the arrow falls.” They shot their arrows; those of the two elder brothers fell on noblemen’s houses, while the youngest brother’s arrow fell in a lake. The two elder brothers led home their noble wives, and the youngest went to the shore of the lake. He saw a frog creep out of the lake and sit down upon a stone. He took it up and carried it back to the house. All the brothers came home with what fate had given them; the elder brothers with the noble maidens, and the youngest with a frog. The youngest brother was out all day working, and when he came home he always found everything prepared for him. Once he said to himself: “I will see for once who is this unseen benefactor, who comes to do good to me and look after me.” That day he stayed at home. He seated himself on the roof of the house and watched. In a short time the frog leaped out of the fi replace, jumped over to the doors, and all round the room; seeing no one there, it went back and took off the frog’s skin, put it near the fire, and came forth a beautiful maiden. The lord of the country heard of this, and wished to ake her from him. He called the beautiful woman’s husband to him and gave three challenges. The most diffi cult job was to go to the underworld. The lord said: “My mother, who died in this illage, took with her a ring. If you go to the other world and bring that ring to me, it is well; if not, I shall take away thy wife.” The hero went home and complained to his wife.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 209-217
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Georgian