TABLE II: The Preparatory Section

The best way to understand this section of the tale or story is to think of it as the set-up. You, as narrator, must prepare the hero or the princess for the villainy. The possible story archetypes that occupy this table are the dispatcher, the princess (or magical agent/helper), the hero, and the villain. If the hero gets victimized, then the princess is absent. If the princess (or magical agent/helper) gets victimized, then the hero is absent.

Notice how all of the functions are linked together (what Propp calls "paired" elements). Interdiction, Absentation, and Violation are linked. Reconnaissance and Delivery are linked. Trickery and Complicity are linked.


a. person performing

b. contents, form of the interdiction

c. motivation of the interdiction


a. person performing

b. form of absentation

c. motivation of absentation

Violation of an interdiction:

a. person performing;

b. form of violation

c. motivation

First appearance of the villain:

a. nomenclature

b. manner of inclusion into the course of action (appears from outside)

c. details of external appearance on the scene (flies in through the ceiling)

Interrogation, reconnaissance:

a. what motivates it

b. nature of the interrogation

1. the villain asks about the hero

2. the hero asks about the villain

3. otherwise

c. auxiliary elements trebled


a. person betraying

b. forms of response to the villain (or a careless act)

1. forms of response to the hero

2. other forms of response

3. delivery through careless acts

c. auxiliary elements trebled

The villain's deceptions: trickery

a. through persuasions

b. through use of magical means

c. otherwise (physical force)

d. preliminary misfortune in a deceptive agreement

1. misfortune is present

2. misfortune provoked by the villain himself

Reaction of the hero: complicity

a. to persuasions

b. to the use of magical agents

c. to other acts of the villain