Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Complete Bibliography for The Wonderful Treasure Horse

(1) Sources for the Tales

Aixinjueluo Wulaxi. Manzu gushenhua. (Ancient Manchu myths). Huhehaote: Neimenggu Renmin Chubanshe, 1987.

Heilongjiang minjian gushixuan. (A selection of folktales from Heilongjiang). Harbin: Heilongjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 1983.

Hu Shaoqing. Minjian gushi. (Folktales). Shanghai: Shanghai Chubanshe, 1993.

Jia Zhi, et al. Zhongguo minjian gushixuan. (Anthology of Chinese folktales). Vol. 2. Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe, 1980.

Li Meng. Zhongguo funu chuanshuo gushi. (Chinese Legends about women). Chongqing: Xinhua Chubanshe, 1985.

Li Yonghai, et al, trans. Shiyu gushi. (Tales from a corpse). Beijing: Central Institute of National Minorities, 2002.

Liu Fajun. Weiwu'erzu minjian gushixuan. (A selection of Uighur folktales). Shanghai: Shanghai Wenyi Chubanshe, 1980.

Lu Guangtian. Ewenke minjian gushi. (Ewenki folktales). Huhehaote: Neimenggu Renmin Chubanshe, 1984.

Menggu minjian gushi. (Mongol folktales). Hong Kong: Hai-ou Publishing Company, 1977.

Qiu Meidai. Minhuaji. (A collection of popular tales). Taipei: Yongan Chubanshe, 1978.

Song Zhe. Heilongjiang minjian gushi. (Heilongjiang folktales). Hong Kong: Won Yit Book Company, 1979.

Wang Shizhen. Zhongguo shenhua: shiji bian. (Chinese myths: deeds). Taipei: Xingguang Chubanshe, 1981.

Wu Bingan, et al. Manzu minjian gushixuan. (A selection of Manchu folktales). Shanghai: Wenyi Chubanshe, 1983.

Xinjiang minjian wenxue. (Xinjiang folk literature). Vol. 2. Urumchi: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 1983.

Xinjiang xiongdi minzu minjian gushixuan. (A selection of folktales from the fraternal peoples of Xinjiang). Urumchi: Xinjiang Renmin Chubanshe, 1980.

Chen Qinghao & Wang Qiugui, eds. Heilongjiang minjian gushiji. (A collection of folktales from Heilongjiang). Vol. 32 fo Zhongguo minjian gushi chuanji. (The complete collection of Chinese folktales). 40 vols. Taipei: Yuanliu Chubanshe, 1989.

__________, eds. Liaoning minjian gushiji. (A collection of Liaoning folktales). Vol. 31 of Zhongguo minjian gushi chuanji.

__________, eds. Xinjiang minjian gushiji. (A collection of Xinjiang folktales). Vol. 38 of Zhongguo minjian gushi chuanji.

(2) Works Cited

Aarne, Antti & Stith Thompson. The Types of the Folktale. 1961. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Afanas'ev, Aleksandr. comp. Russian Fairy Tales. Trans. Norbert Guterman. 1945. The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folktale Library. New York: Pantheon Books, 1973.

Bar-Itzhak, Haya and Aliza Shenhar. Jewish Moroccan Folk Narratives From Israel. Gen. ed. Raphael Patai. Jewish Folklore and Anthropology Series. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993.

Campbell, Joseph. The Way of the Animal Powers: Mythologies of the Great Hunt. Vol.1 and Part 2 of Historical Atlas of World Mythology. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.

Cavendish, Richard, ed. Legends of the World. 1989. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1994.

Chevalier, Jean & Jean Gheerbrant. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. Trans. John Buchanan-Brown. 1994. London: Penguin Books, 1996.

Creeden, Sharon. Fair Is Fair: World Folktales of Justice. Little Rock: August House, 1997.

Delaby, Laurence. "Souls and Their Avatars in Siberia." Trans. Michael Sells. Asian Mythologies. Comp. Yves Bonnefoy. 1991. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. 342-345.

Dorson, Richard M. Folk Legends of Japan. 1962. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle, 1971.

Eberhard, Wolfram. A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought. Trans. G. L. Campbell. 1983. London: Routledge, 1996.

__________, ed. Folktales of China. 1963. New York: Washington Square Press, 1973.

Frederic, Louis. Flammarion Iconographic Guides: Buddhism. Trans. Nissim Marshall. Paris: Flammarion, 1995.

Grimm, Jacob & Wilhelm. The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Trans. Jack Zipes. New York: Bantam Books, 1987.

Hearn, Lafcadio. Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. 1932. New York: Dover Publications, 1968.

Kimmens, Andrew C. Tales of the Ginseng. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1975.

Kurath, Gertrude Prokosch. "Shaman and Shamanism." Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend. Eds. Maria Leach & Jerome Fried. 1972. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1984. 1003-1004.

Li Xiongwei, ed. Tuteng wenhua gushi baize. (One hundred stories from totem cultures). Changsha: Hunan Chubanshe, 1991.

Noy, Dov. ed. Folktales of Israel. Trans. Gene Baharov. Folktales of the World. Gen. ed. Richard M. Dorson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Ong Hean-Tatt. Chinese Animal Symbolisms. [sic] Selangor Darul Ehsan: Pelan-Duk Publications, 1997.

Ranelagh, E.L. The Past We Share: the Near Eastern Ancestry of Western Folk Literature. London: Quartet Books, 1979.

Roux, Jean-Paul. "The Importance of Animals in the Religion of the Turks and the Mongols: Tribal Myths and Hunting Rituals." Trans. Danielle Beauvais. Asian Mythologies. 323-327.

Snyder, Gary. He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village: The Dimensions of a Haida Myth. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1991.

Sockin, Brian Scott & Eileen J. Wong, eds. Treasury of Children's Folklore. New York: Berkley Books, 1995.

Song Zhaolin. Zhongguo minshen shenxiang. (Chinese folk deity statues). Beijing: Xueyuan Chubanshe, 1994.

Thompson, Stith, ed. Folk Tales of the North American Indians. North Dighton, MA: JG Press, 1995.

__________. Motif-Index of Folk Literature. (6 vols.). Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press, 1958.

Ting Nai-tung. A Type Index of Chinese Folktales. Helsinki: Folklore Fellows Communication, 1978.

Williams, C.A.S. Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives. 1931. Taipei: Huangjia, 1978.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Horse-Head Fiddle (Mongol)

There was once a seventeen year old boy named Suhe who lived alone with his widowed mother. He was a good boy, fond of animals, particularly a white colt he had delivered one dark night. Suhe was also a master fiddle player and singer and known to all the local herders who regularly gathered to hear him play.

One day, when his young colt had matured into a swift horse, Suhe received some news: the Khan was sponsoring a horse race by a temple. The winner would take the Khan's daughter as a bride. All of Suhe's friends urged him to enter, and so the next day, he set off for the temple.

At the race were the noblest horsemen of the plains all lined up and ready to gallop home to the finish line. Suhe was the only commoner among them to sign up.

Then came the moment of the race . . .

At the signal, they were off! Except for Suhe, each man whipped his horse furiously as he dug his heels in. Suhe alone rode his horse as he always did, as much for the horse's pleasure as his, and he was way in front. He and his white horse crossed the finish line without a serious challenge.

"Order the rider of the white horse over here at once!" said the Khan to a guard.

Suhe rode back and dismounted. He walked up the platform and respectfully presented himself before the Khan.

The Khan looked at him and was not happy. He had not planned on a commoner to win the race. On the other hand, he did want the white horse, Suhe's horse.

"Young man," said the Khan, "I shall present you with three valuable prizes, and you, in turn, shall give me your horse."

"Great Khan," replied Suhe, "I came here to win the race and marry your daughter, not to sell my horse."

"Why, you insolent clod! Who do you think you are to speak to me that way?" said the Khan, mortified. "Hand me a cudgel!" he told a guard.

The Khan then mercilessly beat Suhe until the young man lay unconscious. He then slipped his velvet-booted foot under Suhe's stomach, lifted him up an inch or two and rolled him down the wooden stairs of the platform, at the bottom of which Suhe ended up in a bruised, bloodied heap. Some friends then spirited Suhe away to safety before the Khan decided to do any more harm. The Khan's men then took hold of the white horse and led it away.

Suhe's mother nursed her son back to health. Within a few days, he was able to return to herding.

One night he heard the wooden gates of his stockade being knocked and rattled, so he went outside to look. There before him was his white horse! After rubbing his eyes in disbelief, he joyfully ran to greet his friend, and then he noticed the horse had been gravely wounded. In fact, seven to eight arrows protruded from the horse's body. Suhe guessed what had happened. The white horse wouldn't let the Khan ride him, and then, when the horse had burst out of the Khan's pen, the angry ruler ordered his archers to shoot it dead.

Suhe tried his best to save the horse's life. He carefully removed each arrow. Blood still flowed freely even though the horse had already lost a lot of blood. Despite Suhe's best efforts, the white horse died that morning.

Suhe was brokenhearted.

Suhe remained inconsolable for many days and many nights. He could not sleep at all until one night when he had a particularly vivid dream. In his dream, his arm was draped around the white horse's neck as he petted its mane and muzzle.

Finally, the horse spoke to him.

"Master," it said, "try as you might, you shall never bring me back from where I am now. If you want to remember me and hold me in your hands, do this. Take my bones and carve them into a fiddle. Then you and I will be together whenever there is happiness and music and light."

And so the next day, Suhe took some of the white horse's bones and carved them into the first Mongolian horse-head fiddle, a fiddle with a carved horse's head on top. This is the fiddle we can still see today whenever herders, shepherds, and nomads gather to relax, be among friends and loved ones and listen to the melodies of those who came before them.

(from The Wonderful Treasure Horse)


Mengu minjian gushi, pp. 121-124

This is arguably the most famous Mongolian legend. Motifs: B211.3, "Speaking horse"; H172.1, "Horse permits only master to ride."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Stone Girl (Hezhe/Hezhen)

One spring many years ago before any of our great-grandparents were ever born, a plague swept over the banks of the Black Dragon River and into a nearby village, infecting everyone who lived within its walls. Those stricken earlier were buried by those left behind, and those left behind soon fell dead wherever they had last been standing. Within a matter of days, all was quiet and empty.

Now one day an old peddler not too up on the news made his way into this ghost town. Here he saw "neither jumping chickens nor human shadows," as they say. He went through the town and could find not a single living soul. Just before leaving, he passed a hut with its door ajar. Peering inside, he saw a woman atop a still warm kang, and she appeared to be cradling an infant. The woman too was still warm, warm but dead, while the infant was very much alive. The old peddler snatched the child up, wrapped her in his long gown, and hurried out of this place of the dead.

Sixteen years passed. The baby girl had grown into a young woman named Husa, and she had been well taken care of by her foster parent, the old peddler, the man she affectionately called Ye-ye, or "Grandpa."

"Ye-ye," she asked the old man one day, "how is it that everyone I know has a father and mother but I do not?"

"But you did have a father and mother, my child!" he answered and then told her the tale of how he had found her upon her mother's breast in that dead village so long ago. When Husa started weeping, he said, "I have heard that deep in Mount E'tu is a cave of many treasures, and in this cave is a magical harp, a kungkangji. When this harp is played, the poor become wealthy and the dead, alive. Perhaps it's but a fairy story, but if you can get this harp, you might see your parents again. Is that what you want?"

"With your permission, Ye-ye, I would like to see my parents again."

"Please listen to me, then, Husa," replied the old man. "Entering the cave is not easy. There are tigers and bears nearby, and the cave is guarded by the Old Man of the Mountain himself. Are you ready to face and to outsmart all of them?"

Husa nodded.

"Then go with my permission and blessings," the old peddler said, understanding her need to honor those who had given birth to her.

Early the next morning, the old peddler led Husa to the foot of steep, fog-enshrouded Mount E'tu. Wishing her luck, he then departed. Husa started slowly up the mountain. Halfway up she stumbled upon the cave her Ye-ye had told her about, and, as it was already dark outside and the cave was seemingly vacant, she entered without making a sound. Once inside, though, she heard voices. She hid behind some rocks and listened.

It so happened that a mountain spirit, tree spirit, and bear spirit were inside the cave drinking wine together, laughing, playing, and generally having a good time. They soon became raucous.

"Hey," cried the mountain spirit, "let's dance!" He then brought out a golden box, opened it and took out a kungkangji. When he started playing the harp, all the other spirits immediately got up to dance. They danced and danced until all of them, the mountain spirit included, fell in a heap upon the floor of the cave. Now the only sound to be heard in the cave was their snoring.

When Husa thought it was safe, she came out from hiding and grabbed the harp from the mountain spirit, who was still sound asleep. She tucked the harp into her robe and tiptoed out of the cave.

"Not so fast, maiden!" shouted a gruff voice. "What are you doing with our kungkangji?"

Husa looked around and saw no one. She looked again carefully this time, and then she saw
him--the Old Man of the Mountain, an old man of stone, rocks, pebbles, and earth itself. He had been by the mouth of the cave all along.

"Please let me go! Many years ago my father and mother and everyone else in their village lost their lives in a plague. With this harp I can bring my parents and their neighbors back to life."

"That's all good and fine, maiden, but did you know that if I let you carry this harp from our well, you yourself will turn to stone in three days? Anything taken from the Cave of Spirits will cause you to turn to stone in three days."

"That does not matter," replied Husa. "My greatest wish is to see my own parents again, even if it means the end of me."

"Very well, then," said the Old Man of the Mountain, who was moved by Husa's love for her parents. "I shall let you take the harp." He then clapped his hands, and a stone swan appeared. "Climb upon the swan's back, and it will take you to your parents' village. Make sure that once you are there you play the kungkangji before sunrise. If you do, everyone in the village will come alive. Now hurry before the sun comes up!"

Husa knelt before the Old Man of the Mountain to offer her thanks. She then quickly climbed onto the swan's back and was off. Before she knew it, she had landed in a cloud of dust right in the middle of what had once been her parents' village. The buildings still stood, and in the early moonlight, she could see the bones of people, dogs, and cats. She got off the swan and immediately began playing the harp. Wherever she played, flesh returned to the skeletons, and the people who had just been skeletons moments before got up from the ground, fully restored to life. Husa went into every hut, playing the harp and waking all from the sleep of death. Soon the sun was up, and just as so many years before, men and women were again talking and shouting, while children were laughing and playing.

Among all the people moving about the village were Husa's own mother and father. They recognized their daughter and she, them as well. Overjoyed to be with them at last, Husa stayed with them.

On the evening of the third day, Husa asked her mother and father, "May I leave to go and bring back the man who found and raised me? He is all alone in the world."

"Bring him to us!" they cried. "He shall stay with us as our own dear brother."

Husa then stepped outside and played the harp. The stone swan immediately swooped down from the night sky. Husa climbed onto the bird's back and told the bird to take her to where the old peddler lived. The stone swan then flew her to the old man's modest home. There, Husa told him everything that had happened.

"Please go back with me, Ye-ye," she said. "I will soon turn to stone, and I don't want you or my parents to be left alone again."

The old peddler agreed, and just before they climbed onto the stone swan's back, Husa turned to him and gave him the kungkangji for safekeeping.

"Please take good care of the harp, Ye-ye," she said.

"Do not fear, my child. I shall always keep the kungkangji, and it shall bring us and those not even born yet much joy," he replied.

And then, before long, they arrived in Husa's village. Husa and the old peddler got off the stone swan and walked towards her parents' hut. Before she had gotten very far, her legs and then her waist had turned to stone. Then her chest, shoulders, arms. . .

"I will always be with you!" she managed to say just before her throat and finally her head turned to stone.

To this day, this curious rock known as "the Stone Girl" stands in the center of the village.

(from The Wonderful Treasure Horse)


Heilongjiang minjian gushiji, pp. 354-359.

For another story that deals with a person turned to stone, see the Han Chinese "The Legend of Wangfu Rock" from 6/22/07. Motifs: C961.2, "Transformation to stone for breaking tabu"; E1, "Dead brought back to life"/ E55.4, "Harp/fiddle that revives"; F62.1, "Bird carries person"; W28, "Self sacrifice."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Bird of Golden Silk (Kirghiz/Kirgiz)

There once lived a very poor old man, and just about all he, his wife and son owned were a hut and a single apple tree. At the very top of this apple tree grew one solitary apple once a year. Every year the old man looked forward to eating this apple, for the fruit made him a grow a bit younger.

Now one year he discovered the apple was gone before it had even completely ripened. "Oh, well," he said, shaking his head and wondering who or what had come and taken his apple when no one was looking. The next year the old man stood guard over his tree and every day watched the little bud form into an apple. However, one morning he woke up only to find the apple was gone once again. The third year he had his wife stand guard with him, and they took turns watching the tree day and night. The wife fell asleep just for an instant early one morning at daybreak. Lo and behold--when she awoke, the precious apple was gone!

By now the old man was desperate; he had missed eating his apple three years in a row. He now ordered his son to watch over the tree, and this he did day and night.

One day the son watched a beautiful silky golden bird approach the tree from the heavens. The bird then swooped down and snatched the barely ripe apple. Handy with a bow and arrow, the son managed to shoot some arrows off and succeeded in knocking off one of its feathers, which then fluttered back to earth. The bird itself, though, disappeared into the clouds with its catch.

The son took the golden feather to his father and said, "Father, no matter what it takes, I am going to find this bird!" He then immediately rode off before his father or mother could say a word.

After one day of riding, the son came to a fork in the road. In the center of the fork was a boulder with a message written upon it: "Go to the right and lose your horse. Go to the left and lose your life." The son set out on the road to the right.

He then rode for many days, and, by now, he and his horse were considerably thinner and hungrier. Suddenly out from the side of the road leaped a huge gray wolf, which now barred the young man's path. Without a word the son dismounted and killed his horse right on the spot. He then butchered it and offered the freshly cut meat to the wolf.

The wolf gobbled down the horse meat, licked its lips and said, "That was good, very good! Now you have no horse, but do not worry. Ride me wherever you wish to go. Let this be my way of thanking you."

"I am searching for the bird of golden silk," said the son.

"The bird of golden silk. Fine. Just climb onto my back and close your eyes," said the wolf. "We are headed for the Land of the Great City."

The young man did as he was told and hung on to the wolf's neck for his life. He didn't know how many high mountains the wolf scampered over or how many raging rivers the wolf swam across when all of a sudden the wolf said, "All right, we're here. You can open your eyes and climb down."

The son did so and saw that he was now in a huge bustling capital of onion domes and noisy, colorful markets where one could find every manner of man and woman.

"Now listen closely," said the wolf. "The bird you seek is in that dwelling over there. Quietly enter. Whatever you do, do not grab the bird's claws. Instead, gently take hold of one wing."

The son entered the dwelling the wolf had indicated, and, as expected, he saw the bird of golden silk resting upon a perch. However, he had gotten the wolf's words mixed up and lunged at the bird, grabbing it by the feet. The bird, of course, squawked and flapped its wings. The commotion alerted the guards, who rushed in and promptly arrested the young man, later tossing him into a dungeon. Early the next morning, the son was taken to the Khan's palace, where the Khan himself would decide the young man's fate.

"What do you have to say for yourself?" asked the Khan.

The son stood before the Khan and told him of his father's apple tree and the solitary magic apple that grew upon it once a year.

"This bird of golden silk," he continued, "comes every year to eat my father's apple. Now my father has become weak because he has not eaten the apple for three years. It is for this reason I find myself in your city."

The Khan was moved by the young man's devotion to his father. "I can see you are a dutiful son," he said. "You must do something for me, however, if you ever wish me to release you and let you have the bird. The neighboring khan, the one who rules the Land of the Five Great Palaces, has a horse with a golden mane and a golden tail. Bring that horse to me, and only then can I let you leave the city with my bird of golden silk."

The son then departed the Khan's palace and found the wolf, which had been patiently waiting for him. Tearfully, he told the wolf all that had happened. The wolf in turn told him not to fear and to climb onto his back as he had done before. He did and off they went.

After a long journey, an even longer one than before, the wolf told the son to climb down and to open his eyes. He discovered that he was now standing on a vast plain. Before him stood five great gleaming palaces, each one gold-plated and more magnificent than the one next to it.

"Go to the fifth palace," said the wolf. "Enter it and you shall find the horse with the golden mane and tail. Do not take him by the reins. Rather, take hold of his mane and gently lead him out."

The son entered the fifth palace and found the horse which had both a mane and tail of gold. However, once again he got the wolf's instructions mixed up and grabbed the horse's reins. The horse immediately neighed and started kicking. The noise was heard by the guards, who rushed in and arrested the son. He was then brought before the Khan.

When asked by the Khan what business he had in the Land of Five Great Palaces, the son told the truth.

"You may have the horse, young man," said the Khan, "if you do something for me. In the land next to mine lives a maiden, a princess, whose beauty is second to none. Bring her to me and only then may you have my horse with the golden mane and tail."

The son was then released. He left the fifth palace and found the wolf, which had been waiting for him outside. After listening to the son's latest experience, the wolf told him to climb onto his back and to close his eyes. They then left the Land of Five Great Palaces.

They rode an even longer time than before, and when the wolf finally told the son to dismount, it was the break of day. They now stood before a dark forest.

"Just stay right here," said the wolf. "I must hide." He then ran off into the nearby woods.

The son stood around until the sun was well up in the sky. Soon he heard voices. He then spied not far off the loveliest young lady he had ever laid his eyes on, the local khan's daughter, the very maiden of whom the neighboring khan had spoken. Accompanying her were her forty ladies-in-waiting who were all carrying baskets of berries.

The wolf suddenly bounded out from the woods and headed directly for the princess. The ladies-in-waiting screamed and fled in forty directions as the wolf seized the Princess and carried her off towards the son. Then, like a shot, the son and the Princess rode off on the wolf, leaving behind everyone else to gape in amazement.

During the journey out of this land, the son and the Princess fell in love. I never want to leave her! he thought. Perhaps the wolf can help me!

"I cannot bear parting with the Princess," the son later told the wolf. "Please think of a way so that we may together!"

The wolf nodded his head and said, "Leave it to me." He then carried the son and the Princess back to the Land of Five Great Palaces. Outside the Khan's fifth palace, the wolf changed himself into an even more exquisite beauty than the coveted Princess herself.

"Now escort me into the palace and introduce me to the Khan as the Princess," instructed the wolf. "Leave the palace when you get the horse with the mane and tail of gold. Then you, the Princess, and horse must wait for me outside."

The son led what looked like the most enchanting young lady in the world into the Khan's palace, and the pair were soon ushered into the Khan's chamber. The Khan's eyes nearly bulged out of his head when he gazed upon the wolf that had changed itself into a beautiful woman. He quickly handed the son the reins to the horse with the golden mane and tail and told him to be off.

Seated with what he thought to be the most exquisite woman alive, the Khan dismissed his guards. He then smiled and told the lady to sit beside him and to sip tea. However, she immediately turned back into a ravenous, drooling wolf and devoured the Khan's flesh right on the spot. The wolf then capered out a rear portal and went around to the front of the palace, where the son, the real princess and the horse were waiting.

"Climb onto my back," he said to the son, and the Princess. "We are off to the Land of the Great City to deliver this horse to the Khan." The three with the horse in tow then disappeared into the dust and the night.

On the way back to the Land of the Great City, the son said to the wolf, "I would like to keep this marvelous horse. Please think of a way so that my wish might come true!"

"Leave it to me," said the wolf.

When they had finally reached the city itself, the wolf changed itself into the very likeness of the horse with the golden mane and tail.

"Present me to the Khan as the horse with the golden mane and tail, " said the wolf ". Leave the palace when you receive the bird of golden silk. Once you are outside, you, the Princess, the horse and the bird are to leave without me. Just tell the horse where you want to go, and it will see to it that you get there. I shall catch up with you on the road later."

The son led the transformed wolf into the palace, where the gleeful Khan gave him the caged bird of golden silk in exchange for what he thought was the horse. The son took the bird, exited the palace, and, along with the Princess, rode towards home on the real horse with the golden mane and tail.

Wishing to show off his latest magnificent "horse," the Khan called for a grand hunt. He climbed onto the wolf's back and led his mounted retinue to a forest. There, they tethered all the horses to some trees and set off on foot to do some light hunting. As soon as they left, the wolf changed back into his original form and chewed through the leather rope that bound him to the tree. He then approached each tethered horse and ate them all one by one, leaving behind neat piles of horse bones.

The Khan and his men returned a couple of hours later to find the grisly remains of their horses. The Khan put his hands to his bald head and howled up to the heavens in shock and anger. There was nothing for him and his men to do but trudge all the way back to the palace.

The wolf had meanwhile caught up with the son and the Princess. He accompanied them to the fork in the road, and there they said their farewells and went on their separate ways. In time the Princess became the son's wife, and they remained happily married until the end of their days. And never again would the son's father miss eating his yearly apple of youth!

(from The Wonderful Treasure Horse)


Xinjiang minjian gushiji, pp. 68-90

The wolf has an exalted role in Altaic mythology as an ancestor and guide (Roux 324). Roux also identifies the horse as a sacrificial animal for the sky deity of the pre-Islamic Turkic peoples of Central Asia (324). Not surprisingly, this somewhat gruesome and violent tale of treacherous characters features a wolf that guides and horses destined to be sacrificed. The bird of golden silk, the firebird, may be cognate with the lucky Chinese phoenix whose gold color results from its connection with fire and of which it is popularly said: "A phoenix will only alight where something precious can be found," perhaps something as precious as a magical apple that guarantees youth (Ong 42-43). Classified as AT 550, "The Firebird," this tale is known in Turkey as "The Three Brothers" (Noy 152-157). Motifs: B580, "animal helps human to wealth"; H1331.4, "quest for marvelous horse"; K2357.8, "disguise as woman to enter castle"; and L161, "lowly hero marries a princess."