Do We Really Like the Kind Girls and Animals?: Cross-Cultural Analysis of Altruism in Folktales

Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)


This chapter is an approach to the problem of the existence and relevance of altruistic acts in the classic folktale. The general number of folktale types with altruistic content is lower than what could be expected. Different types of altruistic deeds are discussed. As a rule, the altruistic acts in the fairy tales are directed to supernatural beings, namely, spirits and other magical creatures, not to humans. This research revealed that within many ethnic groups included in International Tale-Type Index, the number of recorded altruistic tale types among Germanic cultures is slightly lower than in other areas, which can be explained by the influence of the Protestant ethic in this macroregion.


Apple Tree Altruistic Behavior Fairy Tale Areal Distribution Reciprocal Altruism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



 We are truly grateful to Prof. Andrei Korotaev and Dr. Carlos Martín Medina for their help.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Typological and Semiotic Folklore StudiesRussian State University for the HumanitiesMoscowRussia

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