S. Thompson. Motif-index of folk-literature : a classification of narrative elements in folktales, ballads, myths, fables, mediaeval romances, exempla, fabliaux, jest-books, and local legends.

Revised and enlarged edition. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1955-1958. • Main page

Grant support: INTAS project 05-1000008-7922, ÐÔÔÈ #06-06-80-420a, ÐÔÔÈ #07-06-00441-à


Motif: Introduction — Purpose Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 9

†1 Verzeichnis der Märchentypen, FFCommunications No. 3, Helsinki, 1910. A revision by the present author appeared as The Types of the Folk-Tale, FCommunications No. 74, Helsinki, 1928.

†2 For a summary of the results of these classifications see R. S. Boggs, A Comparative Survey of the Folk-tales of Ten Peoples, FFCommunications No. 93, Helsinki, 1930. In addition to the surveys discussed by Boggs may be mentioned: Andrejev, Ukazatel’ Skazochnik sjuzhetov po Sisteme Aarne, and Plenzat, Die ostund westpreussischen Märchen und Schwänke. For more recent surveys see Thompson, The Folktale, pp 420 f.

†3 Every scholar who has constructed a new catalogue of tales has, of course, been obliged to add types of tales not already to be found in the classification, but it has thus far proved practicable as far as European peoples are concerned, to use the Aarne list for the folktale and jest. How far an expansion of the type-index may permit a cataloguing of such partly literary forms as the exemplum and the fabliau, only experiment can tell. As long as the entire tale-complex remains intact in transmission, such an index as The Types of the Folk-Tale is useful; when such a condition does not exist, a more analytical list seems necessary.

Motif: Introduction — Purpose Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 10

†1 Division of motifs on philosophical grounds has been made by several scholars. In his Märchen des Mittelalters (p. xvii) Albert Wesselski divides the motifs of folktales, novelle, and myths into Mythenmotive, Gemeinschaftsmotive, and Kulturmotive. By means of this distinction he discusses the difference between the narrative forms. A very elaborate analysis of the concept of motif is found in Arthur Christensen‘s study, Motif et Theme (FFCommunications No. 59). Divisions are made into "éléments de relation," "motifs," "accessoires épiques," "thème," "motifs sans thème," "motifs à thèmes faibles," and the like. The study throws light on the psychological nature of various motifs.

Motif: Introduction — Plan Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 22

†1 In case a division is extensive, it may occupy several "tens". When this is true, the numbers ending in "0" and "9" except at beginning and end, are skipped: "0" always refers to the general idea, "9" to miscellaneous or additional examples.

Motif: Introduction — Plan Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 23

†1 The system is not really decimal, for the subdivisions may go beyond ten. E.g., †A2494.5.34, †E501.17.5.3. The latter number refers to the third tertiary division of the fifth secondary division of the seventeenth primary division of †E501. -- A difficult problem in classification has been solved by the use of a "zero" subdivision. In †E613, for example, the main idea is "reincarnation as bird." †E613.1, †E613.2, etc., detail the kind of bird (†E613.1. Reincarnation as duck, etc.) Now there are other subdivisions of †E613 that refer only to the general idea of bird (not of particular birds). Thus: †E613. Reincarnation as bird. -- †E613.0.1. Reincarnation of murdered child as bird. -- †E613.0.2. Reincarnation of unbaptized child as bird. -- †E613.1. Reincarnation as duck. -- etc.

†2 The appearance of only one or a few references to a motif must not be interpreted to mean that there are not other occurrences.

Motif: Introduction — Suggestions Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 24

†1 If more items must be put in a "ten" than enough to fill the vacant spaces, the additions can be made to the last number in the "ten", e.g. 19.1, 19.2, 19.3, etc.

Motif: Introduction — Suggestions Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 25

†1 It is suggested that where references are hereafter made to the present work and to The Types of the Folk-Tale, the term motif should be used for this Motif-index and type for The Types of the Folk-Tale. Thus: Motif †S31 appears in Type 510.

A2091. Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 262

†1 In folk thought the spider is classed as an insect and not with the other arachnida.

A2135. Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 263

†1 In folk thought, a fish.

B489.1. Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 440

†1 In folk thought, an insect.

†2 B490--B499 has been reorganized as follows:

Old Number New Number
B491 †B491.1
B492 †B491.2
B493 †B493.1
B494 †B493.2
B496 †B491.4.1
B498 †B498.1

C830 Vol. 1 Fn. 1 p. 539

†1 The section †C830 -- †C899 has been revised. The following changes have been made:

First edition

Old Number New Number
C831 †C563
C833 †C833.1
C834 †C833.2
C835 †C835.1
C845 †C833.3

Cross, Motif-Index of Early Irish Literature

Old Number New Number
C853 †C853.1
C855 †C835.2
C856 †C845
C861 †C833.4
C862 †C833.5
C866 †C835.3
C867 †C867.1
C867.0.1 †C867.1.1
C877 †C867.2
C888 †C833.6
C893 †C833.7