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Typological reality of the Estonian treasure tale tradition



The article gives an overview of the content units  – motifs and episodes – found in Estonian treasure tales. The main aim of the study was to find a method to cover the regional repertoire of the theme in all its diversity. This can be achieved by using a typological approach to search through the no less than 3000 relevant texts from the Estonian Folklore Archives for similar core motifs (motif groups) and use them as a basis for classifying the texts. The analysis, based on a previous classification of the treasure tales into 86 groups, continues the classical folkloristic tradition of compiling thematic lists based on various principles of classification. Also, the article is aiming at a clearer emphasis on the analytic and interpretational nature of such a typological reality, notably, a previously prepared classification enables addressing individual texts as well as large text groups, thereby describing the relevant tales within as well as across cultures. Like tales and story-telling, studies thereof also participate in the folklore process. From now on the treasure tale typology resulting from this study will be another part of Estonian culture description, referring to popular themes and beliefs related to property and treasures.