The Ant’s Pilgrimage from India to Occitania

Key words
mythology of ant, Occitania, folklore, modern literature, Crusades
Maria V. Zavyalova
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (495) 938-17-80
32a, Leninskii av., Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Date of publication

This article analyzes a Catalan folklore text of the cumulative type about the journey of an ant to Jerusalem, which is reflected in a fantastic trilogy about ants by the modern French writer Bernard Werber. It examines the origins of this plot. One part of it repeats the chain of characters from the Jewish Passover song “Had Gadya”; echoes of this plot are numerous in European culture. The other part derives from the Indian Panchatantra; this plot came to Europe thanks to La Fontaine’s fables. The author also considers the role of the ant in world mythology; here, despite its size, the ant may possess supernatural qualities and have the ability to cross between the worlds of the living and of the dead, thus actualizing the special theme of the “ant’s journey.” Based on the foregoing analysis as well as research about the place where the folklore text was recorded, the author concludes that the plot about the ant’s journey to Jerusalem did not appear on the territory of Occitania by accident and that it relates to the historical and cultural realities of the area, dating back to the era of the Crusades.


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For citation

Zavyalova M. V. The Ant’s Pilgrimage from India to Occitania. Traditional Culture. 2022. Vol. 23. No. 1. Pp. 51–68. In Russian