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A Function of Dream Narratives in Fairy Tale

Author(s): Judit Gulyás

Journal: Folklore (Tartu)
ISSN 1406-0957

Volume: 36;
Start page: 129;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: dream narratives | fairy tales | morphology

In Hungarian variants of some fairy tale types (especially ATU 315,707, 725) the operation of a peculiar dream narrative can be observed: the characters use an embedded dream narrative to communicate information. The agent of knowledge conveys information to a mediating person and in doing so (s)he also governs that when the mediator conveys information to the actual addressee (recipient), the mediator must explain the origin of the conveyed knowledge to the recipient by referring to a fictional dream experience: as if the mediator had had a dream and had gained information in dream. The mediator in these tales always accepts this proposal and when telling the information to the recipient, (s)he conceals the real source of information and substitutes it with a generally available and uncontrollable source of knowledge, as (s)he claims that it has been provided for him/her in a dream. The recipient, having understood the information conveyed in this manner, sets out to perform an action since these sets of information in most cases are about some absent or missing objects or persons, which/whom the recipient should obtain. The article investigates these as if (emphatically fictional) dream narratives and tries to answer a very simple question: why it is necessary (if it is necessary at all) to use these dream narratives in these fairy tales.
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