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Moral Tales, Satirical Stories and Anecdotes

Kalmyk moral tales are short stories of an educational nature that draw on traditional moral values and beliefs. As a rule, these tales are an elaboration of the allegorical meanings of certain portrayals, events or observations. The characters and events in these moral tales are not factual but are invented. Often such tales do not have a single unified theme, as they may begin with one storyline but finish with a completely different one.

In Kalmyk studies there is a convention not to identify satirical stories as a separate genre. As a general rule, such stories are frequently presented in the form of fairy tales and anecdotes.

Kalmyk anecdotes are short stories with unexpected and cleverly thought out endings. Anecdotes usually recount humorous or extraordinary events, either fictitious or actual. Among the themes covered by these stories, Kalmyk anecdotes often caricature Kalmyk sub-ethnic groups, such as the Buzava, the Derbet, the Torgut, and the Hoshud. Such anecdotes also frequently poke fun at common human weaknesses, such as laziness, stupidity, greed, etc.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 12 of 12
  • ItemOpen Access
    Vladimir Karuev, Erdni Galaev and his tales
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, Artur
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nina Sharapova, Anecdotes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2015-09-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Gedeeva, Darina
  • ItemOpen Access
    Galina Mandzhieva, Anecdotes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-09-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Okonov, Andzhur; Seleeva, Tsagan
  • ItemOpen Access
    Galina Goryaeva, Anecdotes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-12-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Boskhomdzhiev, Mergen
  • ItemOpen Access
    Boris Boktaev, Satirical stories
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-07-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Kovaeva, Bair; Kovaeva, Bair
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ivan Modunkaev, Anecdotes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2014-12-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Seleeva, Tsagan
    Ivan recounts 5 anecdotes. 1) A schoolgirl says to her mother: ‘Our teacher gave me a task to translate a couple of words into Kalmyk. Will you help me?’ Mother: ‘Go to your father.’ Father: ‘Go to your grandmother, she is the only person who can help you with this.’ Annoyed and weeping, the girls says to her parents: ‘You mother sent me to father, you father sent me on to grandmother, why you don’t want to teach me?’ 2) And old woman says to her husband: ‘Come and have a cup of tea.’ Husband: ‘I need to go to the pharmacy’. When her husband returns, the woman asks: ‘Well, did you get what you wanted?’ Husband: ‘Yes, I did.’ Old woman: ‘And what was that?’ Husband: ‘A pill for constipation.’ No sooner does he swallow a pill, he hears his stomach make funny sound. After relieving himself in the toilet, he mumbles: ‘Eh, I have spent all these money, and for what?’ Old woman snaps: ‘I told you, you could have saved your money had you drunk my tea.’ 3) After getting married to a Torghut man, a Derbet bride sends her parents a tin as a present from her village. Her mother opens the tin and seeing a jellylike stuff inside, throws it into the bin. Later her husband learns about the present, finds it from the bin and says to his wife, grinning with pleasure: ‘I see, our smart daughter has not forgotten me and she sent me lubricant for the wheels of my old cart!’ And he lubricates his cart with the stuff from the tin. Some time passes and the girl comes to visit her parents. She asks them whether they liked the present. After hearing about what her father did with the tin, she screams in bewilderment: ‘Father what have you done? It was caviar worth Rub 30000 ($500)!’ 4) People from all parts of Soviet Kalmykia gather for an important Party meeting. The venue is full with toilers. First marches into the podium a man with a protruding belly and a big suitcase. The audience whisper: ‘He is a Buzava’. Next comes, as if gliding on the ice, a tall man with a white shirt, a tie and slick black trousers, holding a folder in his hands. Everybody in the audience whispers to each other: ‘That must be a Torghut.’ The last comes a man without a suitcase or folders. Everybody recognizes him as a Derbet. In his speech the Buzava man calls upon the audience to fulfill a 5-year plan in 4 years. Everybody feels inspired by his speech and claps pledging to work harder. To inspire the audiences even more, the Torghut man asks the toilers to fulfil the plan in 3 years. Everybody gets more excited, whistling and clapping. Instead giving a beautiful speech, the Derbet speaker simply says: ‘Okay, now all let’s go out and do it!’ The idea behind this anecdote is that, Buzavas and Torghuts are good at talking empty words, but it is Derbets who are practical and do all the heavy work. 5) This anecdote is about three old men – one limping, another deaf and the third blind - who crash a party.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nadezhda Kadzhaeva, seven stories
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-05) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, Artur
    Nadezhda recounts 7 stories, namely ‘Buynta’, ‘Vajrapani’, ‘The wild apple tree’, ‘Kotla’, ‘Okn Tengri’, ‘My aunt Elzyata’ and ‘The tyavlgn tree’. Buynta:This story is about how Kalmyks came to the Volga region. Before setting out on a journey westwards, the Kalmyks approached an astrologer who told all to observe fasting. But one young man violated the instructions, hence Kalmyks had problems both during their journey to the Volga and later when they fled the Volga for Dzungaria. Vajrapani: This is a legend about Vajrapani who cut the evil Raha into two and tied it between the sun and the moon. From time to time the angry Raha swallows both celestial objects, hence solar and lunar eclipses. The wild apple tree This is a story about how Nadezhda’s aunt got married. Kotla:This is a story about a woman called Kotla who was Nadezhda’s maternal aunt. Kotla fell in love with a thief but unwilling to disgrace her family she decided not to marry him. She was strong spirited and lived her life as a single woman. She looked after her relatives, went wolf hunting, traded meat for grain and grew millet. All in the vicinity, even men, respected her. Okn Tengri (this is about the origin story of the goddess Okn Tengri that Nadezhda heard from her aunt): Once upon a time there lived an evil monster (mus) that kidnapped beautiful girls. To put an end to this, one girl volunteered to become the monster’s wife. Having gained his trust, the girl killed the monster and cut open her own belly to kill her offspring – a yellow snake. She became Okn Tengri. Tsagan Sar is celebrated in her honour. My aunt Elzyata:Nadezhda talks about her aunt who knew many legend and tales, despite being illiterate. The tyavlgn tree: This is a story about how Elzyata gave Nadezhda a whip made from the tyavlgn tree that people believe can protect from evil spirits. Kalmyks used this tree to make whips or knife handles.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Maria Pozharova, an anecdote
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-06-11) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton
    A Torghut girl gets married to a Derbet man. The bride’s father bemoans the future diet of his daughter: ‘My daughter grew up on tender fish meat, now how is she going to eat that stinky lamb (staple of Derbet diet)?’
  • ItemOpen Access
    Yuriy IIyanov, Kalmyk Erotic Anecdotes
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-03-14) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Koldaev, Tseren; Koldaev, Tseren
    Yuriy recounts two erotic anecdotes: (1) The monk and the girl and (2) the shoes and the cock. The monk and the girl The monk mounts his horse and sets off on a journey to a distant nomadic camp. On the way, he meets a girl. After greeting, the monk asks her suggestively: ‘How come on such a hot day you wrap your breast with three layers of clothing? Why did you press your lovely cup so tight to your saddle? And where are you off to, anyway? The girl answers:’ You, your holiness, how could you take the reins in your hands, put your strong red hero on the saddle and travel somewhere? Aroused, the monk responds: ‘Oh, sweet girl, our thoughts and words converge, let’s do it!’ They both jump off their horses, disrobe and roll on the ground in fleshly pleasure. Having satisfied his urges, the monk mumbles ‘ Good Lord, what has just happened? to which the girl snaps, ‘the ground was uneven and the monk too fast!’ The shoes and the cock One day a pair of shoes and a penis meet up to complain about their lives. The shoes moan: ‘Our master never has a pity on us. He walks through the water, does not clean us, and in the evening he throws us into a corner. We suffer a lot!’ The penis shakes his head: ‘My life is not better either. All day I dangle with my head down, and at night when I am really tired my master endlessly whispers something with his wife. When I lift my head just to listen to what they are whispering, my master pushes me into a hole back and forth. I feel sick and throw up. The next day everything repeats itself. The shoes sympathize: ‘Oh, dear, your life is really miserable!’
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nikolai Sandzhiev, Comic Stories
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-11-18) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Koldaev, Tseren
    Nikolai recounts two comic stories about two elderly men from his village: In our village there lived a greedy old man who was a warehouse manager. People used to come to him asking for stuff, but he did not like to give things out, pretending to be deaf. If someone asked whether he had nails in the warehouse, he would say, ‘what horses? We have no horses here’ or something. In our village there lived another old man. He fought in World War II, spent time in ShirokLag (a work camp for soldiers), and was wounded. He told me a story from the war. Once a German tank drove into the trenches where he was hiding. After the tank passed the trenches, a guy from Central Asia, who was also in the trenches, asked the others (looking at his pants), ‘Do you know whether blood can be yellow?’
  • ItemOpen Access
    Telo Tulku Rinpoche, An Anecdote
    (2017-03-12) Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav
    There were a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian who very good friends. One day they decided to go out and enjoy themselves. They started talking about their beliefs, gods and prophets. The Christian said, ‘Jesus Christ is powerful, he is the saviour of all us. God is love’. The Muslim said, ‘God is great, Allah is the saviour of all us’. The Jewish repeated the same thing about his god. The Buddhist also said, ‘Buddha is great, he is very strong’. After some time, they said to each other, ‘Ok, all of us claim that their religion is more powerful than that of the others. Let’s put our religions to the test’. One asked, ‘How can we do that?’ Someone suggested, ‘Let’s jump off the second floor of that building and see which god saves whom’. So they all agreed to jump off the second floor one by one. The Christian jumps, ‘Hail the Lord!’ Nothing happens to him. Then the Muslim jumps off, saying the prayer. Nothing happens to him either. Then the Jewish jumps, chanting his prayers. Nothing happens to him either. Finally, the Buddhist jumps off and says, ‘Om mani padme khum’. He ends up with broken ribs, a broken nose, fractured bones and so on. The others asked the Buddhist, ‘What happened? You said that Buddha is the best and that he is so compassionate. If Buddha is compassionate, how come you are not saved?’ The Buddhist replied, ‘Yes, Buddha is very compassionate, but the problem is that in Buddhism there are so many Buddhas and Boddhisattvas that by the time I jumped off they couldn’t decide among themselves who is going to help me!’
  • ItemOpen Access
    Bembya Fedorov, Anecdotes
    (2017-01-30) Okonova, Altana; Churyumov, Anton; Churyumova, Elvira
    Anecdote One. Three groups of people are in Hell, namely Russians, Caucasians, and Kalmyks. To boil the sinners, the devils prepare three large cooking pots. Buddha gives the devils advice, ‘You do not need to put a lid on the pot with the Kalmyks. You do not even need to start fire underneath. The Kalmyks will drown each other themselves’. Anecdote Two. Two men, a Kalmyk and a Russian, are walking in the steppe. As it was getting dark they decide to have a rest and eat. But between them they have only one egg. When the egg boils, the Russian grabs it and runs away. While chasing the thief, the Kalmyk thinks to himself, ‘Why am I running after him? The pot is full of some sort of soup (a favourite dish for Kalmyks) anyway. What an idiot I am!’ Then he stops and goes back to drink the egg soup. Anecdote Three. France, Paris, in a pub. A German officer enters and orders a glass of schnapps. To measure his sobriety, he asks a bartender to hang a bag with sand to shoot it with a pistol. After two glasses and a decreasing ability to hit the sag precisely, the German says that he has had enough to drink and leaves the pub. Then an Englishman enters the pub and orders a shot of whisky and a dartboard to measure his sobriety. After three shots and a missed dart, the Englishman understands he is getting drunk and leaves. The last comes a Kalmyk man who orders a bottle of vodka and Kalmyk biscuits. After three bottles, the bartender asks the Kalmyk, ‘Why, after each bottle, are you going to the mirror and open your mouth?’ to which the Kalmyk replies, ‘Don’t you understand? I do this to see if the Kalmyk biscuits are floating inside my mouth. If they are, this means I had enough vodka’.