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The Aarne-Thompson classification system is a system for classifying folktales.



Antti Aarne was the student of Julius Krohn and his son Kaarle Krohn. He further developed their historic-geographic method of comparative folkloristics, and developed the initial version of what became the Aarne-Thompson classification system of classifying folktales, first published in 1910. The American folklorist Stith Thompson, in translating Aarne's motif-based classification system in 1928, enlarged its scope, and with his second addition to Aarne's catalogue in 1961 created the AT-number system (also referred to as AaTh system) often used today.

The Aarne-Thompson system catalogues some 2500 basic plots from which, for countless generations, European and Near Eastern storytellers have built their tales. As Europeans and Near-Easterners travelled to the New World, the Far East, Africa, and other distant places, their tales migrated as well, often flourishing in their new environments. Hence, the Aarne-Thompson system encompasses tales found around the world.
—Ashliman, p. ix

The classification was criticized by Vladimir Propp of the Formalist school of the 1920s, for ignoring the functions of the motifs by which they are classified. Furthermore, the "macro-level" analysis means that the stories that repeat motifs may not be classified together, while stories with wide divergences may be, because the classification must select some features as salient.[1]

Types of Folktales

The Aarne-Thompson catalogue divides the following tales into sections with their "AT" number entries:

Supernatural Opponents 300 - 399
The Child and the Snake 285
The Dragon-Slayer 300
The Three Kidnapped Princesses 301
The Giant Without A Heart, 302
The Twin Brothers, 303
Seven Sisters, Seven Brothers 303A
The Trained Hunter 304
The Twelve Dancing Princesses 306
The Princess in the Coffin 307
Rapunzel 310
Killed by a Giant 311
The Bluebeard 312
The Magic Flight 313
The Golden-Haired 314
The Treacherous Sister 315
The Mermaid in the Pond 316
The Princess and the Sky-tree 317
The Batamärchen 318
The Magician and his Apprentice, 325
The Children With the Witch 327
The Treasures of the Giant 328
Miss the Magic Mirror 329
Little Red Riding Hood 333
In the Budget of the Witch 334
Supernatural or Enchanted Relatives 400-459

Wife 400-424

Swan Maiden 400
The Mouse Bride 402
The White and the Black Bride 403
The Flower Girl 407
The Three Lemons 408
The Goat Girls 409A
The Sleeping Beauty 410

Husband 425-449

Beauty and the Beast 425
Snow White and Rose Red 426
Prince Donkey 430
The Waldhaus 431
The Bird Lover 432
King Dragon 433b
The Frog King 440
In Enchanted Skin 441

Brother or Sister 450-459

Sister and Brother 450
The Nurse looking for her Brothers, 451
Supernatural Tasks 460-499
Three Hairs of the Devil 461
The Towering Tree 468
The Bridge to Another World 471
Frau Holle 480
Supernatural Helpers 500-559
Rumpelstiltskin 500
The Three Spinners 501
The Wild Man 502
The Mistress of the Monster 507
Cinderella 510A
Allerleirauh 510B
One-eye, two-eyes, three-eyes 511
The Wonderful Helpers 513A
The Shepherd 515
The Petrified Friend 516
The Boy and the Bird-language 517
Big Fight over Magic Things 518
Brunhilde 519
The Glass Mountain 530
Faithful Ferdinand 531
Repressed Bride 533
The Flight with the Eagle 537
The Golden Bird 550
The Water of Life 551
Animals and In-laws 552
The Bird as a Helper 553
The Grateful Animals 554
The Fisherman and his Wife, 555
The Princess’ Laugh 559
Magic Items 560-649
The Magic Ring 560
The Two Marvelous Pitchers 564
The Magic Mill 565
Fortunatus 566
The Magic Bird Heart 567
Bunnies Beware of the King 570
The Golden Goose 571
The Wings of the Prince 575
The Order of the King 577
Favor of Women 580
The Prince and the Bracelets 590
The Healing Fruit 610
True Love 611
The Three Snake-Leaves 612
Sister and Brother healing the King 613C
Supernatural Power or Knowledge 650-699
The Sharp Hans 650A
The Skillful Brothers 653
The Man in Three Animal Forms 665
The Boy in Animal Form 667
The Language of Animals 670
The Three Languages 671
The Schlangenkrönlein 672B
The White Snake 673
The Wish-Fish 675
Open Sesame! 676
Other stories of the supernatural 700-749
Born of a Fish 705
The Girl without Hands 706
The Bird of Truth 707
The Miraculous Child 708
Snow White 709
The Black Madonna 710
The Twin Sisters 711
Crescentia 712
From the Juniper Tree 720
The Brother Married the Sister 722
The Dream 725
Floating Stone 746
The Revived Mortem 750B
The Singing Bone 780
The Mystery of the Devil 812
The Moles of the Princess 850
The Riddle of the Suitor 851
That is a lie! 852
Contest in Repartee 853
The Golden Goat 854A
The Princess in the Underground Cave 870
The Goose 870A
Brother, Sister and Sister-in-law 872
The Clever Peasant girl 875
Griselda 887
The Serpent in the Bosom 890A
The Daughter of the Sun 898
King Thrushbeard 900
Loveing the Salt 923
The Prediction 930
Oedipus 931
Death on the Wedding 934B
The Unhappy Princess 938A

See also


  • Antti Aarne, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography, The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Helsinki, 1961. ISBN 951-41-0132-4
  • Ashliman, D. L., A Guide to Folktales in the English Language Greenwood Press, 1987.
  • Uther, Hans-Jörg, The types of international folktales
  1. ^ Propp, Vladimir. "Introduction." Theory and History of Folklore. Ed. Anatoly Liberman. University of Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. pg ix

External links



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