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An Index of Folklore Motifs

compliments of Inquiry Unlimited

[a constantly changing URL database with content relevant to elementary school curricula]

Mythological Motifs
[AT A0-A2799]

Creation * stories (cosmology)

Culture heroes and tricksters *

Earth * topography

World calamities *

Natural * order

Creation and ordering of human life *

Creation of animal life

Animal characteristics *

Origin and characteristics of plant * life
Animal Motifs
[AT B0-B799]

Mythical (dragons *, mermaids)

Magical animals

Animals with human traits

See: Fables *

Friendly animals

Animal familiars

Marriage of a person to an animal

See: Animal tales *

Offending a character


Profanity or cursing

Transformation due to breaking a tabu
Magic *
[AT D0-D2199]

Magical powers *

Transformations *

Magical objects *

Trickery *

Wishes *

Long sleep *

The Dead *
[AT E0-E799]


Ghosts *, corpses, haunting


The Soul
Marvels *
[AT F0-F1099]

Otherworld Journeys

Marvelous Creatures

Extraordinary Places and Things

Extraordinary Occurrences
[AT G10-G599]

Kinds of Ogres [AT G10-G399]

Ogre Defeated [AT G500-G599]
Tests *
[AT H1399]

Identity; Recognition


Cleverness, truth, fear

Prowess: Tasks and quests

The Wise and the Foolish
[AT J0-J2799]

Acquiring knowledge

Wise and unwise


Foolish and noodlehead *
Deceptions [AT K0-K2399]

Tricksters *

Contests won by deception

Deceptive bargains

Theft, cheating, bluffing

Escape or capture by deception

Disguise, impostures

False accusations
Reversal of Fortune

Victory of youngest

Weakest, modesty rewarded
Ordaining the Future
[AT M]

Judements, decrees

Oaths, prophesies

Curses, bargains
Chance and Fate
[AT N]

Wagers and gambling

Lucky and unlucky

Luck and fate
[AT P]

Royalty, nobility

Social orders


Rewards and Punishments
[AT Q]

Deeds rewarded/punished

Nature of rewards/punishments
Captives and Fugitives
[AT R]

Captivities, rescues

Escapes and pursuits

Refuges and recaptures
Unnatural Cruelty
[AT S]

Cruel relatives





[AT T]

Love, marriage, married life

Chastity and celibacy

Illicit sexual relations


Child care
[AT V]

Services and ceremonies

Sacred persons

Beliefs (mythology *)

Religious orders
Traits of Character
[AT W]

Favorable and unfavorable traits
[AT X]

Discomfiture, disability

Social classes


Nations and nationalities


Exaggerations (See: tall tales*)

Miscellaneous Groups of Motifs
[AT Z]

Formulas *


Horror and terror



Historical (ballads *)

Educator is the recipient of the Miss Rumphius Award *

As of December 4, 2003, you are visitor to this Index of Folklore Motifs.

Eureka! Inquiry Unlimited is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2002 Marjorie Duby. All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: September 19, 2005.

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Disclaimer: Inquiry Unlimited
* attempts to provide appropriate, informative educational links. We check and update links frequently. We cannot be responsible for the content, use of, or quality of materials on any website other than our own. To the best of our knowledge, graphics on this site are public domain. If you find otherwise, please notify us and we will remove them immediately.

For a broadened view of folklore, refer to The Folktale by Stith Thompson for tale types and motifs.

For your reading enjoyment, peruse "Folk Tales of the North American Indians" by Stith Thompson. It includes tales categorized by culture group and motif.