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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Handicapped heroes, Sambilo the bull, and the treacherous terrain of polygynous relations in southern Madagascar
Author:Fee, SarahISNI
Periodical:Études océan Indien
Geographic term:Madagascar
Subjects:folk tales
Abstract:Lee Haring's 'Malagasy Tale Index' (1982) assigns a narrative to one of seven categories based on its plot 'structure' rather than its surface 'theme', and identifies tale types and motifs with international equivalents. While Haring suggested that anthropologists apply their analysis of the social/historic context of a tale only after an internal analysis of the tale is established, a number of these scholars have since revealed that ethnographic knowledge is vital to that very process. This is demonstrated here through a reconsideration of three Bara and Sakalava narratives which the Index assigns to two separate types and structures (ascending and spiral). It shows that they are in fact variations of a single tale type, which might be named 'Handicapped hero victorious over treacherous brothers in forest quest'. The key to perceiving the similarities in motifs and plot resides in appreciating southern Malagasy institutions of polygyny and father respect, and their associated practices and concepts. The affinities between the three tales become even clearer when several Tandroy versions are taken into account which postdate the Index, two of which are presented and translated at the end of the article. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]