World folkloristics has amassed a great deal of experience in the classification of legends. In published national catalogues and in various nations’ larger collections of texts, aetiological legends are grouped according to the objects whose origins they explain11. Mythological legends are classified according to the mythical characters they represent or mention22, historical legends – according to the natural or historical objects with which they are associated33. Then the types of legends’plots are distinguished and they are grouped according to thematic and other features. This is also how the International Commission recommended that the legends be classified44.
International experience and the Commission's recommendations were used by the author in the compilation of the Catalogue of Lithuanian Narrative Folklore at the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore. This card Catalogue contains a systematization of more than 85 thousand variants of folk tales, legends, and anecdotes (some of the variants are represented by both manuscripts and printed texts). There are approximately 3 thousand aetiological legends, 24 thousand mythological legends, and 4 thousand historical legends among the mentioned number of variants.
Aetiological legends are classified according to the objects whose origin they explain: Cosmic Objects; Natural Phenomena; the Earth and its Surface; Domestic Animals; Wild Animals; Birds; Fish and Reptiles; Insects; Human Beings.
Lithuanian mythological legends are categorized according to mythical characters: Fate,Fortune, Misfortune; Death; The Spirits of Illness; Dead Souls, Dead People, Vampires; Ghosts; Prohibitions; Domestic Spirits; Fairy, Deity; Natural Spirits; Mythical Animals, Plants and Other Objects; People with Magic Power and Other Special Abilities; the Devil; Treasures.
Lithuanian historical legends are divided into Legends about Natural Monuments and Legends about Historical Monuments. The first division has these subdivisions: Giants and the Traces of their Activities; Special Stones; Special Lakes and Rivers; Special Trees. The second division also is subdivided: The Origin of Hillforts, Wars; Sunken Cities, Estates, and Churches; the Sleeping Army; Submerged Bells; Sacrifices During Construction; Settlements and their Names.
Such classificatory principles help to clarify particular national features of legends. It becomes evident, for example, which objects constituting a person’s surroundings received attention and motivated an explanantion of their origins. The system of mythical images becomes clear, particular hills and rocks that are especially honored, as well as lakes that are considered special are concretely established. Serious difficulties are encountered, however, with the application of these classification principles.
Quite often the origin of separate objects is explained in essentially the same aetiological legends’ plots (sometimes only the character and details associated with his peculiarities vary). Different mythical characters also figure in totally identical plots of mythological legends (for example, the devil and some other mythical being are represented in 29 plots of Lithuanian legends). Sometimes up to three or four mythical beings are represented in variants of the same plot. Variants of the same historical legend’s plot are also often encountered in different sections (for example, the liberation of sunken cities and submerged bells in lakes are recounted in almost the same way). Thus, the classification of texts by both the objects they explain and by particular mythical beings considerably impedes the discernment of plot types55.
The classification mentioned above is very inconvenient for the comparison of various nations’ legends. The attention drawn to various natural objects depends on the geographical situation of a particular nation and its life style. The essential differences of systems of mythical characters are evident. For example, a person’s encounter with a water or forest spirit make up especially popular legends in Russian folklore, while the devil, an old man, monster, etc. figure in similar plots of Lithuanian legends. Thus, in order to find the analogous variants of a particular plot in the legends of some particular nation, it is necessary to study all of that genre’s plot descriptions in the catalogue.
Often the mythical characters in legends are not named, since the storyteller either appeals to the listener’s comprehension or he does not know which mythical character the person encountered. These texts fall under particular divisions according to other variants of the plot. When the same mythical being is represented in all the variants of a particular plot, the problem is not so difficult. When the characters vary, however, the compiler of the catalogue is forced to accept his own personal judgements.
Mythical characters are not always named in legends, i.e., when the narrative is about people who do not suspect that an animal or thing is special, but then suddenly are convinced that they are beings of "another world". At the end, some informants explain with what the person happened to come in contact or what they observed. These assertions at the end of legends (i.e., "It was the devil," "It was the soul of an unbaptized person," etc.) sometimes appear because those who record the legends urgently ask the performers to explain what it was. The assertions mentioned are not related with the structures of the legends’ plots and they can easily be changed or omitted. They reflect either the dominating or the individual storyteller’s opinion at the time that the text was recorded. When the legends are grouped heeding the mentioned explanations of the informants, even the analysis of the system of mythical characters is made difficult.
In some particular classes of legends that are distinguished by the mythical characters, plot groups tend to be made. The aim, of course, is to base this classification on the mythical character’s traits or his behavioral characteristics (i.e., on whether the mythical being helps a person or is harmful to the person, perhaps even killing the person). But the legends vary not only in insignificant details, but even in the plot’s structure which alters the conflict’s outcome. In some variants, for example, it is said that when a person reads the "black book," devils gather and torture him. In other variants of the plot, the devils are told to pick up poppy seeds and they do not touch the person. In order to characterize the devil’s behavior, these legend’s variants should be in different plot groups. It would make both the evolution of the work and the attitude toward magical things less evident.
Classification systems are more effective when they are based on the function of narratives. The explanatory function of aetiological legends is obvious, but it is not the only one. An analysis of the legends' structures helps to reveal an equally significant function – the illustration and propagation of behavioral norms. An animal’s or person’s correct conduct at the time of the world’s creation predetermines the positive features and favourable living conditions of all the individuals of a particular class (i.e., all crabs, all swallows, etc., or all people of one gender), while incorrect conduct provokes appropriate negative consequences. Only the results of the conflicts represented (i.e., a person is changed into an animal, an animal is somehow punished or gifted) are important for the explanations of objects' origins or their properties. The explanatory assertions at the ends of legends (i.e., "That is why moles do not cross roads," "That is why swallows’ tails are bitten out") summarize the plots, but they are not dependent on the conflicts represented. While, the correct or incorrect conduct of the character whose fate is traced in the legend comprises the nucleus of the plot’s structure, the conflict’s outcome is dependent on his behavior.
Information about the beings of the mythical world sometimes is considered the function of mythological legends. However, the mythical beings' appearance and habits are very rarely described separately from the plot. A character's features are exposed when the mythical being reacts to a person’s actions. A particular being’s help or injury to a person is not indicative of a revulsion to the being’s features, but rather is indicative of the correctness or incorrectness of the person’s conduct during the conflict with that being. The person portrayed in mythological legends can also be an accidental observer. At the legend’s end, either a judgement is made about which mythical being the person happened to see, or a concrete conclusion is not made, it is simply understood that something happened that was unreal or supernatural. In these cases, the person’s behavior is neutral, while the result is the affirmation or supplementation of information accumulated by collective experience.
It is not difficult to notice that the conflicts of mythological legends occur at special times (during annual cycle holidays, a person’s life cycle holidays, at a particular time of day or night) and in special places (where rituals take place, where a person died, and in other "fearful" places). This allows us to compare legends with customs and beliefs. Some legends motivate the people to hold to certain traditions, others express doubts about the usefulness of traditional ways, while still others motivate the renunciation of customs. An elucidation of a represented person’s conduct and its consequences makes it possible to trace the evolution of folk beliefs and customs as well as the very legends themselves.
The Structural-Semantic Analysis and Classification of Texts. A comprehension of the function of legends outlined above motivated us to apply the structural-semantic method to the analysis and classification of these texts. The method we created is based on Lithuanian fairy tales66. Following is a description of this method’s procedures and their illustration with the analysis of one concrete Lithuanian legend.
1. The plot of a narrative is divided into elementary plots (EPs), i.e., independent plots or fragments of complex plots in which a single conflict of two characters or two character groups arises when the hero strives toward some single goal. Sometimes the hero encounters objective surroundings or phenomena. Elementary plots can be laid out along one line, two EPs can have common actions or situations, one EP can be inside another EP and expound on some particular structural element of that EP, one or several EPs can be included into a framework that cannot exist independently. In discerning an EP, therefore, it is necessary to visualize the text’s "possible world" and to understand the implied situations (that are not expressed by lexical means). Usually complicated texts first must be separated into the consequence of actions and situations (usually the situation is described in the beginning of the text, and later must be visualized from the characters' actions).
We shall describe the following Lithuanian mythological legend:
A girl was weaving on Saturday evening. She suddenly sees a very grey little old woman crawl out from underneath the stove. The old woman says to the girl: "Let me, dear daughter, I shall weave a little for you." Oh, but the old woman can weave fast! The shuttle falls to the ground. She says: "Hand it to me." The girl bends down and sees – this old woman has a tail and hooves. She understands that this is a devil. She runs away fast, crawls underneath the stove, and grabs a rooster. The rooster crows. The old woman says: "Your good fortune, girl. I would have showed you how to weave on a Saturday evening."
We distinguish the EPs of the legend’s plot and describe them using words from the text. The actions or situations that are understood or not described clearly in the text are written in square brackets. The praesens historicum tense is used. In order to shorten the explanations, the elementary plots are marked by capital letters.
A. It is Saturday evening; a girl is present. [To weave or work any kind of job on Saturday evening is forbidden.] The girl weaves. The girl suddenly sees a little old woman crawl out from underneath the stove. The old woman starts to weave in place of the girl.
B. The old woman who has crawled out from underneath the stove weaves very fast. The shuttle falls down to the ground. The old woman tells the girl to hand it to her. The girl bends down [to pick up the shuttle] and sees that the old woman has a tail and hooves. The girl understands that the old woman is a devil.
C. The grey old woman with a tail and hooves weaves very fast. The girl runs away, crawls underneath the stove, and grabs a rooster. The rooster crows. The old woman says that this is the girl’s good fortune because she would have punished her for weaving on a Saturday night. [The old woman disappears.]
2. We shall describe each separate EP’s structure and semantics on the first semantic level. In order to do so, the portrayed characters’ roles in the EP, as well as their features and interrelationships are established. The character whose fate is of interest in the EP we call the hero, while the character who conflicts with the hero is the antipode. By the hero’s altered state, we distinguish the EP’s structural elements – the initial situation, the corresponding acts, and the result. The hero's act is compulsory in each EP. It is comprised of the actions of the hero and that of the antipode. The EP's result is dependent on this act. When a hero’s test is portrayed in an EP, not only is the hero’s act mandatory, but so is the command act (the antipode orders the hero who is dependent on him to do something or not to do something). The folk tale’s EPs can have optional information gain, gain of a means, and motivational acts. Legends’ EPs are compact – they consist only of the compulsary elements; the command act is usually represented by traditional prohibitions or other regulating forms of behavior.
In the description of the EP on the first semantic level, the characters are named according to their roles in the EP, objects – according to their purpose in the characters’ actions, while the actions are described in words used in the text. Next we shall describe the EPs distinguished on the first level:
A. Initial Situation: It is Saturday evening, a hero – a young person with ordinary abilities – is present.
Command Act: [It is forbidden to weave on a Saturday evening.]
Hero’s Act: The hero weaves on a Saturday evening. The antipode – old, [with more than ordinary abilities], foreign to the hero [wanting to punish the hero] – crawls out from a place where people usually do not go. The antipode weaves in the hero’s place.
Result: The hero is beside the strange antipode.
In the second and third EPs, the same hero is in conflict with the same antipode, so we shall not repeat these characters’ features.
B. Initial Situation: The antipode works the hero’s job faster than the hero.
Hero’s Act: The antipode accidentally drops a work tool and asks the hero to hand it to him. The hero bends down [to pick up the tool which is by the antipode’s feet], and sees that the antipode has the features of a dangerous mythical being.
Result: The hero recognizes the dangerous antipode.
C. Initial Situation: The hero knows that he is beside a dangerous antipode.
Hero’s Act: The hero runs and crawls into a place where there is a neutral character – a bird [whose crow announces a time boundary after which mythical beings are no longer dangerous]. The hero grabs the neutral character, the latter crows [earlier than usual]. The antipode says that he intended to punish the hero for weawing on Saturday evening, but the hero avoids being punished [and withdraws].
Result: The hero eliminates the antipode.
3. By the structure’s peculiarities and characters’ features, we shall establish the EP’s classes and subclasses. The first EP (A) has a command act. This is understood not only from information concerning a prohibition against work on Saturday evening, but also from the old woman’s statement at the legend’s end that she would have punished the girl for weaving. The command act is only in EPs concerning a hero’s test or trial. Such EPs of fairy tales have features that show their ties with ancient initiation rites. In fairy tales, the role of the testee belongs to the elder members of a tribe, totemic animals, or other antipodes on whom the hero or even all the people are dependent. The first EP’s antipode of the legend being analyzed is associated with the home’s hearth (the old woman crawls out from underneath the stove), he is old. Both the structure’s and antipode’s features mentioned above allow us to ascribe the EP to the third class (‘‘A Search for Equal Rights or High Status in a Tribe, Family, or Community’’). The negative result shows that the EP belongs to the second subclass (‘‘Incorrect Conduct’’).
The same characters come into conflict in the second and third EPs, but the antipode’s strangeness to the hero is accented here. By the outcome of the second EP, we establish the hero’s goal – to recognize the antipode. The EP belongs to the first class’s (‘‘Aspiration for Freedom in Foreign Surroundings or a Desire to Control the Surroundings’’) first subclass (‘‘Correct Conduct’’).
The sum of the first (A) and the second (B) EP’s results is the initial situation of the third (C) EP. This EP’s hero achieves his goal – he eliminates the dangerous antipode. This EP also belongs to the first subclass of the first class mentioned above.
4. We shall describe the same EPs on the second semantic level. The initial situation and results are described in a more abstract way, while the hero’s and antipode’s actions constituting the hero’s act are generalized, revealing the semantics of the hero’s deed and the circumstances of its execution.
A. Initial Situation: It is a special time , the hero is present.
Command Act: [The hero is forbidden to work.]
Hero’s Act: The hero demonstrates that he is disregarding the prohibition to work at a particular time.
Result: The hero finds himself in an unforseen situation.
B. Initial Situation: The hero is beside the antipode of uncertain nature and extraordinary abilities.
Hero’s Act: The hero finds himself in the situation where he notices the antipode’s peculiar characteristics.
Result: The hero gets information.
C. Initial Situation: The hero is in a dangerous situation.
Hero’s Act: The hero affects the antipode by a particular means which eliminates the antipode.
Result: The hero liberates himself from the dangerous situation.
5. We shall describe the same EPs on the third semantic level. Since the intial situations and results do not change anymore, we shall not repeat them. Here we omit the information about the circumstances of the hero’s deed and about the objects' features.
We shall describe only the hero’s acts:
A. The hero demonstrates that he does not uphold tradition.
B. The hero creates the situation in which the antipode’s true characteristics are revealed.
C. The hero affects the antipode by a special action or means.
All the EPs in which the hero’s acts are interpreted the same way on the third semantic level belong to the same EP type. If the hero’s acts are also interpreted in the same way on the second semantic level, the EP belongs not only to the same type, but also to the same version of the type. Based on the analysis of several thousand texts of Lithuanian folktales, legends, and anecdotes, 152 EP types have been compiled. Each one of them has several versions, sometimes numbering in the teens.
We use consistent interpretations of the hero’s acts on the third semantic level as the titles of the EP types. The same EP types are more or less common for several or even all narrative genre texts. Some EP types are used very often in narratives of one genre, but they are rare in the narratives of another genre. There are also EP types that are characteristic of one genre. Of course, depending on the genre, the EP type names sometimes vary slightly. For this reason, in the general classification encompassing all genre narratives, the EP types’ semantic fields are sometimes somewhat broader; they include the names of slightly varying concrete genre types.
Every EP type has a constant four digit number. The first digit refers to the EP class, the second – to its subclass. As we have seen, this is determined by analyzing concrete EPs. The third digit indicates the group of types in the subclass; "0" is written if the groups here are absent. The groups of types are compiled taking into consideration the nature of the hero’s goal established in accordance with the EP’s result (the hero wants to safeguard an object in his possession, to become superior to the antipode, or to restrict the antipode). But these more concrete goals of the heroes vary in the EPs belonging to the same type. The groups of the types are made according to the most frequent goals of the heroes; they are rather relative. This is why the third and fourth digits (the types’ ordinal number in the group) need to be memorized. Many EPs and their types have semantic pairs (they differ only in the hero’s actions and the result, while all the conflicts' circumstances remain the same). The numbers of paired positive and negative EPs differ only by the second digit marking the subclass.
6. The interrelationships and hierarchical placement of EPs in the text’s structure are established. The second EP B of the legend we are analyzing is inserted into the first EP A, that is, the second EP is the part of the first one and to some extent concretizes and particularizes the result. We show such a tie describing the inserted EP after the EP into which it is inserted in brackets. The particularizing EPs usually occur only in a part of the legend's variants. The EP B is absent in other variants of the legend. EPs A and C are bound by the strongest logical tie: the first EP’s result determines the connection with an EP of the opposite result. These two EPs are very important in the text's structure.
7. Simple structures are distinguished in the text’s structure. In the analysis of several thousand texts, we established six types of simple structures. When a text’s plot is comprised of one EP or an EP into which a particularizing EP is inserted, – this is the simple structure of the first type. The other five simple structure types are made up of the two EPs related by the strongest implication (the first type of connection). When the hero behaves incorrectly in the first EP and loses, while the other hero of the second EP behaves in the opposite way in the same circumstances and wins, the semantic pair comprises the second type of simple structure. The third type differs only in the EP’s order: first is the positive EP, followed by the negative pair. The fourth type is when the hero loses some object or finds himself in danger in the first EP, and then in another EP the same hero regains the object he lost, liberates himself, or is liberated by another hero (such a simple structure is found in the legend’s plot analyzed here). The fifth type – the hero wins in the first EP, while in the second EP the same hero or his close associate behaves incorrectly and loses the obtained object. The sixth type – the hero of the first EP becomes superior, and then in the second EP he utilizes his gained superiority and wins once again. The junctions or combinations of simple structures comprise the base of complex structures characteristic of fairy tales. The simple structures are characteristic of the majority of legends.
8. The principal EP of the text's structure is established. The principal EP is the one that organizes all the other elements into a harmonious whole or motivates connecting the particular second EP. If there is only one EP in the text structure, it is considered the principal EP. All the texts of particular narrative genre in which the structures of the principal EP belong to the same type are related semantically and are prescribed to the same structural-semantic type of narrative. Structural-semantic types are marked by the principal EP types’ numbers and titles.
We present a hierarchical description of the analyzed legend’s structure (the number and title of the principal EP type is underlined and in bold print, the title of the second constituent of the simple structure is designated in bold, while the particularizing EP is written in parentheses in normal print):
22.214.171.124. The Hero Demonstrates that He Does Not Uphold Tradition.
(126.96.36.199. The Hero Creates a Situation in which the Antipode’s True Characteristics Become Clear.)
188.8.131.52. The Hero Affects the Antipode by a Particular Action or Means.
9. We describe the text’s macrostructure. The foundation of its semantic blocks are EPs constituting the simple structures. Auxiliary EPs are placed adjacent to the basic EP to which they are connected by a stronger tie. The blocks of macrostructure are named by the generalized results of the basic EPs. If there is a particularizing or other auxiliary EP in the semantic block, it can change or more precisely define the result of the basic EP and the name of the corresponding block (in the text under analysis, the result of the second EP defines the result of the first one).
Every macrostructure can have two varieties. The first variety is when its base is constituted of simple EPs (without frameworks), the second – one or a few EPs constituting the macrostructure’s base are inserted into the frameworks (they are transformed). The simple macrostructures are marked by the appropriate simple structure type number (the first digit) and variety number (the second digit).
The analyzed legend’s macrostructure is as follows:
4.1. The hero finds himself in a dangerous situation. -> The hero liberates himself.
The macrostructural level helps to distinguish the versions of structural-semantic types of narrative and even to predict them beforehand. Since the quantity of simple structures is limited, the same macrostructures appear in different types of works. In order to avoid confusion, it is necessary to remember that the most important macrostructural block of a particular structural-semantic type is comprised only by the type of principal EP. This block varies the least in the versions of the type of narrative (sometimes the principal EP is inserted by a particuliarizing EP or connected with another auxiliary EP). The EPs constituting other blocks can be changed with equivalents or other blocks may not exist at all.
The structural-semantic type to which the legend under analysis is ascribed can have three regular versions. The first version’s macrostructure can be comprised of one block: the hero who does not uphold the custom is punished. There are some actual variants of the version. Since the principal EP has a semantic pair, the EP "The hero demonstrates that he upholds tradition" has two possible versions whose macrostructural base would be comprised of the second and third types’ simple structures (there are no such actual Lithuanian variants). There is also a version based on the simple structure of the fourth type. Here the EP about a hero’s trial is transformed and has come to represent a conflict with a dangerous antipode (it changed from the third to the first class). Thus, we can predict versions that are theoretically possible, but have been lost or unrealized in Lithuanian folklore, and make judgements concerning the evolutionary tendencies of legends.
The Specifics of Legend Classification. The EPs of all three genres of legends usually belong to the first class ("Aspiration for Freedom in Foreign Surroundings or a Desire to Control the Surroundings"). Less frequent are elementary plots of the second class ("Striving for Life’s Material Necessities or Comforts") and third class ("A Search for Equal Rights or High Status in a Tribe, Family, or Community"). The search for an ideal marriage partner and family relationships can be said to not be depicted in legends. The rare plots reflecting these heroes’ goals are rather similar to those of folk tales. The heroes of legends’ EPs' usually reach two goals or experience two losses. For example, the swallow that brought back fire gets a particular mark and permission to build her nest near people’s houses; a person is successful in taking the devil’s money and hiding from the treasure’s guardian; a curious person is turned into a stork and must eternally collect frogs, etc. The majority of negative EPs about heroes' trials end with the heroes getting into dangerous situations (not into a situation of death, but rather the equivalent of losing his rights in the community). Thus, the heroes’ goals are not as important in legends as they are in fairy tales. At the same time, however, the correctness or incorrectness of the heroes’ conduct in legends is highly accented. Observer heroes are portrayed in mythological legends – their conduct is neutral (in fairy tales, such EPs are very rare).
Having attributed a legend to its corresponding genre (Aetiological Legends, Mythological Legends, Historical Legends), every genre’s texts is ascribed to structural-semantic types in the way described above. The types are marked by the corresponding first, second, and third class’ EP type numbers. Types are grouped according to the nature of behavior and laid out in an order of increasing numbers. (1.1 / 2.1. / 3.1. Correct Conduct; 1.2. / 2.2. / 3.2. Incorrect Conduct; 1.3. Neutral Conduct).
The simple structures of plots are a notable feature of legends. Works with one elementary plot (the first type of simple structure) dominate. Simple structures made of two EPs occur less often, while complex structures (the junction of two simple structures) are very rare. Thus, legends’ texts usually do not have a macrostructural level. Because of this, there is no need to describe the macrostructures of most legends.
When legends begin to vary and new elements are added, the importance of macrostructures grows; the versions of legends are distinguished based on them. In such cases, macrostructural types are marked in the descriptions.
The Principles of Describing Legends. Every genre’s structural-semantic type's group title (i.e.,"Correct Conduct") is written first. Then the number and title of the structural-semantic type of legends (it coincides with the number and title of principal EP type) is written. How many variants of that type are systematized in the catalogue is written in brackets besides this. If there are texts in which the described type’s legend is joined with another type’s legend (there are texts with two principal EPs), the number of junction variants are written in brackets after the semicolon.
The title of the principal EP type’s version is written below this. In the EPs' classification of all genres’ narratives, not only the types, but also the type versions have consistent numbers. When a type or its version is absent in a concrete genre, the number and title are skipped (that is why versions sometimes do not begin with the number first).
The corresponding concrete legends’ plots are described next. Texts which are not only related semantically, but also in which the characters' actions in principal EPs are essentially similar (the characters may vary) are considered variants of the concrete plot of a legend.
Variants of the same plot in which the origin of various objects are explained or in which various mythical characters figure, are not joined under one description, but are described one after the other. This is done for two reasons. The first – the readers who are interested in a particular object or mythical being will find manuscript variants in the third volume of "The Catalogue of Lithuanian Narrative Folklore" and descriptions of the texts in the card Catalogue (i.e., they find the type plots marked with the number 184.108.40.206. in the Mythological Legends’ subdivisions Fairy (Laume) and the Devil). The second reason – it is desirable to show whether or not that variants’ groups differ in any kind of details.
Some plots of aetiological legends are marked by the symbol "X". This means that the author doubts the texts' authenticity. The plots of historical legends sometimes are marked by symbol "*". There are the localized variants of plots which are also in the division of mythological legends.
Every legend’s plot is described in words from the text, indicating the variation of the auxiliary EP (in some variants they may be absent or substituted by equivalents), the characters' titles, the actions, and objects.These varying details are separated by a slanted line "/" (meaning "or"). If the structure of a group's variants is comprised of one EP and in another group the same EP is connected with an auxiliary EP, this element is described only one time. Further it is represented by its type number.
Special attention is drawn to the description of the actions comprising the hero’s act. The initial situations, command acts (if there are any), and EP results are described compactly. The elements not expressed in words, but rather understood, are written in brackets.
When a legend’s plot is comprised of one EP and the legend does not have any other versions, the described EP type’s number is not indicated (it is understood that it corresponds to the structural-semantic type’s number). An inserted EP is described in parentheses after the particularized EP. Other supplementary EPs are written in the order that they occur in the text. If two EPs have actions or situations in common, they are repeated in both descriptions. In all cases, when the legend’s plot is made of more than one EP, a slash is written after the description and the EP type number is shown. The principal EP's number is highlighted in bold.
All the auxiliary EPs' descriptions are repeated as references in the corresponding structural-semantic types. An arrow and EP type number or several numbers show structural-semantic types to which this EP belongs as an auxiliary element. This helps to find the necessary EP in various contexts.
When a legend has more than one version (they are distinguished by their macrostructures, as mentioned above), they are described one after the other, starting with the simplest. In such cases, the first version comprised of only one EP is described with the macrostructural type’s and its variety’s number and the title of the semantic block is described in italics (i.e., 1.1. The hero finds himself in a dangerous situation). After the EP’s description, its type number is indicated in bold face. This signals to the reader that a description of the legend will be continued. The next verson is marked with its corresponding number (i.e., 4.1., 5.1.) and the blocks of macrostructure are described. The EP described in an earlier version is here represented by its type number, and the new EP’s description and its type number are shown. The macrostructural type and its variety is also indicated when the legend has only one version whose base is comprised of the simple structure of two EPs. The numbers of macrostructures in the stage of formiation are written in brackets. The rare, complicated macrostructures are not marked by numbers (they are too different and it is not possible to establish their types).
The quantity of independent variants is indicated in brackets after the description of each legend and its versions, and abbreviations of the sources of published variants along with their text numbers are shown after the colon. Some published sources of the same variant are joined by an equal sign. When the texts have not been numbered in the publication, or when the numbering is not consistent, a "p" is written after the abbreviated source by which the page number is indicated. If the legend has no published variants, only the quanitity of its variants is shown. Legend junction variants are indicated in the same way after the word Various. The sources of manuscript variants can be found in the third volume of the Catalogue of Lithuanian Narrative Folklore (it is prepared for print in the Lithuanian language) and in the legends’ sections of the card Catalogue at the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore in Vilnius. The annotated or detailed copies of concrete texts, information about their performers and recorders, the performer’s, recorder’s, or systematizer’s comments, etc. can be found in the card Catalogue.
The author believes that a structural-semantic classification of legends and a detailed description of Lithuanian legends will help compare legends of various nations more precisely, and to research the evolution of views and customs.
Since the semantics of elementary plots of different genres' narratives coincide in many respects, their comparison can promote detailed study of the features and mutual relationship of genres. The classification and descriptions of concrete EPs of Lithuanian fairy tales can be found in the first published volume of the Catalogue of Lithuanian Narrative Folklore77 and in the second volume of the Catalogue that is prepared for print
Those readers who will become proficient in the analytical method of the texts and the interpretation of their elementary plots will find the corresponding variants in the classification of Lithuanian legends rather fast and will be able to compare them by choosing that level (concrete or abstract) which is most effective for the purposes of their research. Without knowledge of the method, the correspondences can be found only by reading the appropriate section of the given book (frequently similar plots are found in just this way in those catalogues where legends are classified according to objects and mythical characters).
- Jonas Balys. Lietuvio pasakojamosios tautosakos motyvo katalogas. -- Tautosakos darbai, 2. Kaunas , 1936.
- 2 Reidar Christiansen. Migratory Legends. -- FFC, N 175. Helsinki, 1958; Lauri Simonsuuri. Typen-und Motivverzeichnis der finischen mythischen Sagen. -- FFC 182. Helsinki, 1961.
- 3 Bronislava Kerbelyte. Lietuvio liaudies padavimo katalogas. The Catalogue of Lithuanian Local Legends. Vilnius, 1973.
- 4 Fabula 1960, Bd. 3, S. 299.
- 5 Á.Êåðáåëèòå. Ïðèíöèïû ñèñòåìàòèçàöèè ñêàçîê è ïðîèçâåäåíèé íåñêàçî÷íîé ïðîçû â Êàòàëîãå ëèòîâñêîãî ïîâåñòâîâàòåëüíîãî ôîëüêëîðà. – Lietuvos TSR Mokslu Akademijos darbai, serija À,.1983, 1(82).
- 6 Á.Êåðáåëèòå. Ìåòîäèêà îïèñàíèÿ ñòðóêòóð è ñìûñëà ñêàçîê è íåêîòîðûå åå âîçìîæíîñòè. — Òèïîëîãèÿ è âçàèìîñ.âÿçè ôîëüêëîðà íàðîäîâ ÑÑÑÐ. Ïîýòèêà è ñòèëèñòèêà. Ðåä. Â.Ì.Ãàöàê. Ìîñêâà: Íàóêà, 1980.Ñ. 48-100.; Áðîíèñëàâà Êåðáåëèòå. Èñòîðè÷åñêîå ðàçâèòèå ñòðóêòóð è ñåìàíòèêè ñêàçîê: Íà ìàòåðèàëå ëèòîâñêèõ âîëøåáíûõ ñêàçîê. Âèëüíþñ : Âàãà .1991.
- 7 Bronislava Kerbelyte. Lietuviu pasakojamosios tautosakos katalogas, 1. Pasakos apie gyvunus. Pasakecios. Stebuklines pasakos. Vilnius: Lietuviu literaturos ir tautosakos institutas, 1999, p. 79 - 96, 111 - 118, 321 - 429.
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