Rehepapp and Robin Hood: Tricksters or Heroes?


  • Paul Rüsse Tallinna Ülikool, Narva mnt 25, 10120 Tallinn
  • Karita Nuut Haaga-Helia ammattikorkeakoulu, 13 Ratapihantie, 00520 Helsinki



folklore, mythology, tricksters, heroes, Rehepapp, Robin Hood


In reference books and specialised literature, the traditional distinction between the culture hero and the trickster remains surprisingly unequivocal: the latter mythological character is usually defined as the demonic or comical counterpart of the former. While it might be a useful if rigid description for an encyclopaedia, does it always hold true in works of fiction? The present essay attempts to demonstrate that the interaction of the two types is much more ambiguous, and this complex and contradictory relationship is traced through the juxtaposition of probably the best-known characters in Estonian and English folklore, Rehepapp and Robin Hood. Albeit to a different degree, these personages possess traits of both the trickster and the hero but play somewhat different roles in their respective societies. The aim of the article, therefore, is to compare these functions in Rehepapp ehk november by Andrus Kivirähk and The Adventures of Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws by J. Walker McSpadden and Charles Wilson.


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