provision or receipt of a magical agent

  **The following things are capable of serving as magical agents:

1.  animals (a horse, an eagle, etc.);

2.  objects out of which magical helpers appear (a flintstone containing a steed, a ring containing young men); 

3.  objects possessing a magical property, such as cudgels, swords, guslas, balls, and many others; 

4.  qualities or capacities which are directly given, such as the power of transformation into animals, etc. 

**All of these objects of transmission we shall conditionally term "magical agents." The forms by which they are transmitted are the following:

1. The agent is directly transferred. Such acts of transference very often have the character of a reward: an old man presents a horse as a gift; forest animals offer their offspring, etc. Sometimes the hero, instead of receiving a certain animal directly for his own use, obtains the power of turning himself into it. Some tales end with the moment of reward. In these instances the gift amounts to something of a certain material value and is not a magical agent. If a hero's reaction is negative, then the transference may not occur, or is replaced by cruel retribution. The hero is devoured, frozen, has strips cut out of his back, is thrown under a stone, etc. 

2. The agent is pointed out. An old woman indicates an oak tree under which lies a flying ship. An old man points out a peasant from whom a magic steed may be obtained.

3. The agent is prepared. "The magician went out on the shore, drew a boat in the sand and said: 'Well brothers, do you see this boat?' "We see it." "Get into it."

4. The agent is purchased. The hero buys a magic hen; he buys a magic dog and cat, etc. The intermediate form between purchase and preparation is "preparation on order"; the hero places an order for a chain to be made by a blacksmith. 

5. The agent falls into the hands of the hero by chance (is found by him). Ivan sees a horse in the field and mounts him; he comes upon a tree bearing magic apples.

6. The agent suddenly appears of its own accord. A staircase suddenly appears, leading up a mountainside. Agents sprouting out of the ground constitute a special form of independent appearance, and they may be magical bushes, twigs, a dog and a horse, or a dwarf.

7. The agent is eaten or drunk. This is not, strictly speaking, a form of transference, although it may be coordinated, conditionally, with the cases cited. Three beverages provide the drinker with unusual strength; the eating of a bird's giblets endows heroes with various magical qualities. 

8. The agent is seized. The hero steals a horse from a witch; he seizes the disputed objects. The application of magical agents against the person who exchanged them and the taking back of objects which had been given may also be considered a special form of seizure.

9. Various characters place themselves at the disposal of the hero. An animal, for example, may either present its offspring or offer its services to the hero, making, as it were, a present of itself. Let us compare the following instances: A steed is not always presented directly, or in a flintstone. Sometimes the donor simply informs the hero of an incantation formula with which the hero may invoke the steed to appear. In the latter instance, Ivan is not actually given anything: he only receives the right to a helper. We have the same situation when the suppliant offers Ivan the right to make use of him: the pike informs Ivan of a formula by which he may call it forth ("Say only: 'by the pike's command . . .' "). If, finally, the formula also is omitted, and the animal simply promises, "Sometime I'll be of use to you," then we still have before us a moment in which the hero receives the aid of a magical agent in the form of an animal. Later on it will become Ivan's helper. It often happens that various magical creatures, without any warning, suddenly appear or are met on the way and offer their services and are accepted as helpers. Most often these are heroes with extraordinary attributes, or characters possessing various magical qualities (Overeater, Overdrinker, Crackling Frost).

Below are several concrete examples of connection:

**A witch forces the hero to take a herd of mares to pasture. A second task follows, the hero accomplishes it, and receives a horse.

**An old man interrogates the hero. He answers rudely and receives nothing. Later, he returns and responds politely, whereupon he receives a horse.

**A dying father requests his sons to spend three nights beside his grave. The youngest son fulfills the request and receives a horse.

**A young bull asks the tsar's children to kill him, burn him, and plant his ashes in three beds. The hero does these things. From one bed an apple tree sprouts forth; from the second a dog; and from the third a horse.

**Brothers find a large stone. "Can't it be moved?" (trial without a tester). The elder brothers cannot move it. The youngest moves the stone, revealing below it a vault, and in the vault Ivan finds three horses.

**Three disputants request the apportionment of magical objects. The hero instructs them to chase after one another, and in the meanwhile, he seizes the objects (a cap, a rug, boots).

**Heroes fall into the hands of a witch. At night she plans to behead them. They put her daughters in their place and run away, the youngest brother making off with a magic kerchief.

**Azum, an invisible spirit, serves the hero. Three merchants offer a little chest (a garden), an axe (a boat), and a horn (an army) in exchange for the spirit. The hero agrees to the barter but later calls his helper back to him.