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“Fairy Songs”: The Analysis of a Mythological Motif Based on the Recent Field Research

Folkloristika 4/1 (2019): 181‒192
Аuthor: Ana A. Plotnikova
Тext: PDF


The article is based on the field research conducted in the area of Priboj (southwest Serbia) in 2014, and the questionnaire for the study of cultural-linguistic tradition of the Balkan Slavs was administered (Plotnikova 2009). The author examines the motif of fairies’ punishment upon ordinary people (or heroes in epic songs). By comparing the findings from the recent field research in archaic South Slavonic areas with the data excerpted from ethnographic and folkloristic materials, published in the 19th and 20th centuries, the author reconstructs a reason for punishment (by a bow and arrow shooting), which is the transgression of a series of taboos set by fairies in their “fairy songs”.
Keywords: demonology, “fairy songs”, Polesia, The Carpathian Mountains, Priboj, southwest Serbia, east Bosnia and Herzegovina, taboos