N in the Motif Index stands for Chance and Fate. It includes wagers and gambling ("N2.5. - Whole kingdom as wager"), treasure troves, divine helpers... and what I personally like to call the Folktale Darwin Awards. Behold an example:
N339.5. Uxorious king is burned to death while taking an alcohol bath
For those of you like me, who never heard the word before: Uxorious means "having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife." Which is totally NOT what is happening in this story.
Although it is marked as a folktale motif, this story comes from the Novellas of Matteo Bandello, a 16th century Italian writer. His stories, just like other books of novellas such as the Decameron, are based on older tale types, anecdotes, and other folk genres. In this case, a very popular medieval legend about the death of Charles II of Navarre.
Bandello paints a none-too-kind picture of King Charles. He claims that he was a "man of very ill fashions and very cruel" - sins including siding with the English against the French, rebelling against the dauphin Charles (later Charles V) and killing many Parisians, sacking and burning towns and slaughtering people, ruling Navarre in terror by massacring men and ravishing women, and beheading envoys who were pleading with him to lower taxes. So, not a nice person.
|Of course there is a painting|
Bandello labels this as "an express judgment from God."
I'm surprised we have not seen this on Game of Thrones yet.
(Read the story here.)
N2.3.5. Intestines wagered
N7. Trained rat upsets pieces in gambling game: trained (or transformed) cat chases it away
N56. Wager: woman to turn somersault in middle of public square
N119.1. Dog tries to catch its fate in its own tail
N125.2. Luck determined by whether a crooked-necked demigod is looking at one
N211.2. Unavailing attempt to get rid of slippers; they always return
N228. Leopard tied in bag in water floats to shore and finds a mate
N271.9. Tree follows murderer
N314. Persons fall asleep on rock, which magically shoots upward
N318.2. Princess accidentally elopes with wrong man
N334.3. Practical joker asks doctor to castrate him
N335.2.1. Sick queen lying under red satin carried off by bird who thinks it is red meat
N340.3. Woman wrongly condemned for drunkenness when seen to take one drink
N383.1. Man falls dead when he realizes that he has been riding over frozen sea
N542.2. Treasure to be found when three-legged cat shrieks over the burial place
N684. Naked soldier becomes general