XII. THE HERO IS TESTED, INTERROGATED, ATTACKED, ETC., WHICH PREPARES THE WAY FOR HIS RECEIVING EITHER A MAGICAL AGENT OR HELPER:
the first function of the donor
1.The donor tests the hero. A witch gives a girl household chores. Forest knights propose that the hero serve them for three years. The hero is to spend three years in the service of a merchant (a rationalization from domestic life). The hero is supposed to serve as a ferryman for three years, without remuneration. The hero must listen to the playing of the gusla without falling asleep. The apple tree, the river, and the stove offer a very simple meal. A witch proposes bedding down with her daughter. A dragon suggests the raising of a heavy stone. Sometimes this request is written on the stone, and other times brothers, upon finding a big stone, try to lift it themselves. A witch proposes the guarding of a herd of mares, and so forth.
2.The donor greets and interrogates the hero. This form may be considered as a weakened form of testing. Greeting and interrogation are also present in the forms mentioned above, but there they do not have the character of a test; rather they precede it. In the present case, however, direct testing is absent, and interrogation assumes the character of an indirect test. If the hero answers rudely he receives nothing, but if he responds politely he is rewarded with a steed, a saber, etc.
3. A dying or deceased person requests the rendering of a service. This form also sometimes takes on the character of a test. A cow requests the following: "Eat not of my meat, but gather up my bones, tie them in a kerchief, bury them in the garden, and forget me not, but water them each morning." A dying father instructs his sons to spend three nights beside his grave.
4. A prisoner begs for his freedom. The little brass peasant is held captive and asks to be freed. A devil sits in a tower and begs a soldier to free him. A jug fished out of water begs to be broken, i.e., the spirit within the jug asks for liberation.
4a. The same as the preceding, accompanied by the preliminary imprisonment of the donor. If, for example, a forest spirit is caught, this deed cannot be considered an independent function: it merely sets the stage for the subsequent request of the captive.
5. The hero is approached with a request for mercy. This form might be considered as a subclass of the preceding one. It occurs either after capture or while the hero takes aim at an animal with the intention of killing it. The hero catches a pike which begs him to let it go; the hero aims at animals which beg to be spared.
6. Disputants request a division of property. Two giants ask that a staff and a broom be divided between them. Disputants do not always voice their request: the hero sometimes proposes a division on his own initiative. Beasts are incapable of sharing carrion; the hero divides it.
7. Other requests. Strictly speaking, requests as such constitute an independent class, while the individual types constitute subclasses; but in order to avoid an excessively cumbersome system of designation, one may arbitrarily consider all such varieties to be classes themselves. Having extracted the basic forms, the rest can be summarized. Mice ask to be fed; a thief asks the robbed person to carry the stolen goods for him. Next is a case which can immediately be assigned to two classes: A little vixen is caught; she begs, "Don't kill me (a request for mercy), fry me a hen with a little butter, as juicy as possible" (second request). An example of a different character, which also involves a suppliant's being threatened or caught up in a helpless situation is: the hero steals the clothes of a female bather who begs him to return them. Sometimes a helpless situation simply occurs without any pronouncement of a request (fledglings become soaked in the rain, children torment a cat). In these instances the hero is presented with the possibility of rendering assistance. Objectively this amounts to a test, although subjectively the hero is not aware of it as such.
8. A hostile creature attempts to destroy the hero. A witch tries to place the hero in an oven. A witch attempts to behead heroes during the night. A host attempts to feed his guests to rats at night. A magician tries to destroy the hero by leaving him alone on a mountain.
9. A hostile creature engages the hero in combat. A witch fights with the hero. Combat in a forest hut between the hero and various forest dwellers is encountered very often. Combat here has the character of a scuffle or brawl.
10. The hero is shown a magical agent which is offered for exchange. A robber shows a cudgel; merchants display wondrous objects; an old man displays a sword. They offer these things for exchange.