The Prince’s Wings: Possible Origin of the Tale Type and Its Early Chinese Variants

  • Aglaia Starostina Russian Academy of Sciences; Higher School of Economics


The article aims to clarify the relations between the early versions of tale type ATU 575. Examining the range of Chinese accounts concerning various wooden birds, the author concludes that two groups can be distinguished. The first consists of stories about flying wooden kite-like birds that are not used as vehicles, while in the second, we deal with wooden birds that can carry people. Records belonging to the second group and evidently having their origin in Indian and Central Asian folk tradition appear later in China. An attempt is made to restore possible outlines of the tale type’s ancestral stories. The article states that the tale of an enamoured weaver in the Panchatantra evolves from the structure of such an ancestral story. 


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