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Folklore and Story

A guide to research in folklore and story telling.

Motif Index Online!

How to Use the Motif Index Online

When you have brough up the "Motif Index" on your computer from "Past Masters:"

1.  Start with "Volume 6: Index" (in the left column, bottom)

2.  You will have three options.  Select the link to "Index."

3.  Use the alphabetical list on the left to navigate to the areas you are interested in.

4.  Scroll through the list until you find the terms you are looking for.

5.  Find descriptions you are interested in and link to the code numbers given (e.g. "A2471.1 why dogs look at each other under the tail").

6.  Make note of the abbreviation for the source of the story (e.g. "Sébillot RTP ii 433; England, U.S.: Baughman").

7.  In the left column, navigate to Volume 1 "Frontmatter" and expand.

8.  Link to "Bibliography and Abbreviations" and look up the authors in the abbreviated title (e.g., Baughman).

9.  Look up the book title in the ASU Library Catalog or Google Books.


Motif Classification Document

Primary Sources for Folklore

The world's published literature on folklore has been extensively collected, cataloged and classified. All of the sources below provide access to folk tales.


The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography (Uther)

GR 1 .F55 West Stacks, Fletcher Library

An 2004 update of the classic Motif-Index of Folk Literature.  


Motif - Index of Folk Literature (Thompson)
GR 72.56 .T48 1989 West Stacks, 6 vols.


Subtitle: "A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, and Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-Books & Local Legends."


Type & Motif Index of the Folktales of England and North America (Baughman)
GR 67.B3 West Stacks

An index & motif classification of English and North American folktales.


A Guide to Folktales in the English Language
GR 74.6 .A84x West Stacks

Another motif index to English language folktales. Good for giving variations.


A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, 2 vols.
GR 141.B69 West Stacks, 2 vols.
Contains summaries of tales. Also has a tale-type index and an index to story titles.


Index to Fairy Tales 1949-1986: Including Folklore, Legends, and Myths in Collections, 3 vols.
PN 3437 .I7x 1985 West Stacks and

GR550 .s67x 1994 West Stacks

An index to collections of fairy tales and folklore from books published between 1949 1986. The index is by subject and title.


Dictionary of Chicano Folklore
GR 111 .M49 C37 2000 West Ref


South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia
GR 302 .S68 2003 West Stacks


African Folklore: An Encyclopedia
GR 350 .A33 2004 West Stacks


Folk Tales Online

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.