Slovenski etnografski muzej

Številka revije 
Etnolog 9/1 (1999)
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Violent Death in South Slavic Children's Folklore

Presence of the violent death motif in specific children's folklore texts can suggest the magic origin of the text itself. The evidences for this supposition are children's curses and children's incantations where death threat is one of the typical procedures. The good example for this is mockery of other nationality members (Vlah, Latin, Gypsy, e.g.,: "You, Latin, with a tail, you will die tomorrow"). In an incantation rhyme, on the other hand, threatening to an animal is also typical of children folklore, e.g., in the text sung to a snail with an order to take out its horns: "You, snail, take out your horns, if you do not take them out, I will kill you with an axe on the green grass".There is no need proving that nursery rhymes are texts of magic origin, but the violent death motif is frequently found in other texts used by adults playing with children. This is true to the following motif from a Serbian-Croatian song: "The leaf/lap broke, the old woman went crazy, and killed all the children", where the old woman can be explained as one of the children's demons. The rhyme, "The wolfs will kill the mother in the field," followed by the prayer to a wolf not to kill the mother (for she is good, and she will give her baby milk) is different. It is important that perspective of killing is just a threat, as is a case in other children's texts of magic origin.
The death of an animal has a completely different status and it is rendered a natural act, even funny (e.g., "When they killed the goose, all the children cried, but after we ate it, we were all happy"). The "natural" death, as opposed to a "violent" one, is not found in the South Slavic children's folklore.
In the South Slavic languages violent death is most frequently expressed with the verbs "to slaughter" and "to strangle".