Motif-Index of Folk Literature

Alternative Titles
Stith Thompson

Full-text version of : Thompson, Stith. 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 and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1955-1958.

This venerable reference work is a subject index to folktales from around the world. Sources come from thousands of books and periodicals (see Bibliography). Indexed are the "folktale, the myth, the ballad, the fable, the mediaeval romance, the fabliau, the jest, the exemplum, and the local tradition" (Introduction, p. 11) from both literatry and oral traditions. Excluded are "superstitions, customs, religious beliefs, riddles, or proverbs, except as they happen to form an organic part of a narrative" (Introduction, p. 11).

One can use the left-hand facets to navigate through the book alphabetically by subject from Volume 1 through Volume 6. One also can use the Search box at the top of the page to word-search the entire six-volume work. Hyperlink crossreferences are provided to similar myths (e.g., "Animals have second sight" is crossreferenced to "Dwarfs predict"). Additionally, motif-index entries (e.g., "Dwarfs predict") provide references to source literature (e.g., "Irish myth: Cross; Icelandic: *Boberg; German: Pröhle Harzsagen No. 155, Bindewald 188").

Note: There also is a digital copy of the original six-volume set in HathiTrust:

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