Keywords: storyteller, Kalmyk fairy tales, hero, opponent, physical violence, repository of the soul
For citation:

Elbikova B.V. Physical Destruction of the Enemy in Kalmyk Fairy Tales “Sedklin Arvn Bolg” (Memorized Twelve Chapters) by M. Burinov. Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 352–369. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-352-369

Author: Balzira V. Elbikova
Information about the author:

Balzira V. Elbikova, researcher of the International Scientific Centre “Cultural Heritage of Mongolian Peoples,” Kalmyk State University, Pushkin St. 11, 358000 Elista, Russia. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1491-9961

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: March 11, 2019
Published: September 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №3
Department: Folklore Sudies
Pages: 352-369
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-352-369
UDK: 398
BBK: 82.3(=64)


The article discusses different modes of physical destruction of the enemy or malicious character as represented in Kalmyk fairy-tale folklore: chopping, burning, destroying the body, exterminating the soul, and sewing into the skin. While the mentioned modes are typically performed by the folklore hero on his enemy, the latter form of violence – sewing into the skin – equally refers to both the hero and his enemy. The study is based on the analysis of Kalmyk fairy tales “Sedklin arvn heir bulg” (Memorized Twelve Chapters) belonging to the repertoire of the storyteller M. Burinov. The article observes that the multiple process of destroying an adversary’s body (chopping, grinding, or burning) in Kalmyk fairy tale is associated with his physical “non-return” to society, and the destruction of the soul with the impossibility of its rebirth. By contrast, when the malicious character stiches the hero in the skin and throws him into the ocean, this symbolizes a transfer to the otherworld that does not exclude the hero’s future return in the new form. Stemming from comparative analysis of various descriptions of the physical violence performed on the enemy, the author identifies stylistic elements that characterize M. Burinov’s skills as a storyteller.


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