Propp's Structure of the Magic Tale

I. Introductory sequence

1. Family member leaves family--the hero is introduced.
2. Interdiction--don't do X
3. Interdiction is violated--hero does X anyway
4. villain--reconnaisance of hero
5. villain gets information about hero
6. villain attempts to deceive hero with trickery
7. Hero submits to trickery -- complicity.

II. Body of the story

8. villain causes harm or injury through villany; villain carries off a victim, the hero or the desired magical object, which must be retrieved.
8a. A member of the hero's family lacks something, or wants something.
9. Lack is made known to the hero.
10. Hero agrees to counteraction
11. Hero leaves home

III. Donor sequence (magic agent obtained)

12. Hero is tested/questioned.
13. Hero reacts.
14. Hero receives a magical agent/object which helps in quest.
15. Transfer to place where the lack is to be found
16. Combat with villain
17. Hero is branded
18. villain is defeated
19. Lack is liquidated--object of the quest is obtained by the hero (the tale often ends here, but may continue to the fourth sphere of action)

IV. Hero's return

20. Hero sets off for home
21. Hero is pursued
22. Rescued from pursuit (tale often ends here, but can continue)
23. Hero arrives home and is not recognized
24. False hero presents claims of true hero
25. Difficult task is set
26. Task is resolved
27. True hero is recognized
28. False hero is unmasked
29. Epiphany of true hero--new appearance/transfiguration
30. villain is punished
31. Marriage and rule of true hero

Dramatis Personae

1. Hero (also the Seeker or Victim)
2. villain
3. Donor (from whom the hero gets some magical object)
4. Magical Helper (the character that helps the hero in the quest)
5. Dispatcher (the character that makes the lack known)
6. False Hero (the character who takes credit for heroÕs actions)
7. Prince/princess (person the hero marries)
8. Victim (person harmed by the villain if not the hero)