Narrative verbal tradition forms part of a people’s expression as they respond to the daily rigors of existence. As such, it is said to be one of the great genres of folklore. Like the verbal poetic genre, it, too testifies to the vivid and fertile imagination of a people. It reveals, as well, the creative power of the folks or a what the historian labelled, of the primitive mind.
Universality of Motifs
• A motif, generally, means a distinct elements of a design. It refers to “a simple element which serves as a basis for expanded narrative, or less strictly speaking, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident employed in folklore.”
• Motif may include actions, dramatis personae, objects and animals in a literary piece.
MATERIAL OBJECTS AND ANIMALS
• Hiligaynon narrative tradition abounds with magical objects, that is, material things that are embued with extraordinary or supernatural attributes.
o Ex: “Nga-a Nag-asin ang Lawod”
• Allusion to biblical magical objects is discernible in one of the Juan Pusong folktales
• Aside from magical objects, magical animals, likewise, enrich Hiligaynon folk tradition. Even without magical capabilities, some animals are held constantly as subjects of mythology.
o Ex: the monkey and the turtle, the rabbit and the turtle, and the dog and the cat.
CHARACTERS AND SUPERNATURAL BEINGS
• Foremost among the character motifs is the “cruel stepmother” in the folktale Cinderella, an international tale type.
• Heroic characters with extraordinary abilities inhabit naturally the world of myths, legends, and folktales.
o Another kind of hero in folktales is called the human trickster hero. Though not popular for any heroic exploits, he gains notoriety for despicable traits – stupidity, foolishness and/or laziness.
• Supernatural being motifs are recognizable as character motifs in mythology. They are perennial dwellers of the mythical world.
• Motifs of extraordinary situations are found in mythological stories and folktales, contributing to their own peculiarity as a literary genre. These are the elements that capture people’s fantasy and imagination. Their credibility may be doubtful, yet, suspension of disbelief adds beauty to the narration.
• Transformation is the most common. It may occur from humans to animals, from animals to humans and from inanimate matter to animal creatures.
• Misfortune to fortune motif. Usually, the situation deals with “rugs to riches” circumstances that befall the hero or the heroine.
• Difficult tasks and contests may constitute the main motif in some folktales. Most often, suitors are vying for the hand of the princess upon the instigation of the king.
• Scriptural semblances are seen in some situation motifs in Hiligaynon folk narratives. The situation evokes images of similar happenings to biblical tales.
o The sunken city motif is another motif of situation with biblical overtones.
o The great flood motif
• Taboos and curses
• Struggles between opposing forces. These struggles between hostile forces is sometimes called quarrel motif where fightings, usually, are gigantic in proportion, particularly, in creation myths.
Generality of Setting
Conventionality of Plot Structure
• Orientation/initial Situation
• Preparatory section
• Complication section
• Signal Indicating End of Narrative
Rabuco, Amorita C. Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales. Iloilo City: University of san Agustin Publishing House, 2006.