Dordzhi Nandyshev, about evil spirits and beings
Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge
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Terbish, B. (2019). Dordzhi Nandyshev, about evil spirits and beings [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.44608
Dordzhi relays what he heard from his parents about various evil spirits and beings: There are many evil spirits, including those referred to as ‘muus’ which are known for their gluttony. Hence a saying ‘as gluttonous as a ‘muus’. Another variety is called ‘domam’. Here is a story. In the past there were no professional midwives, only women who had the traditional knowledge how to do it. Once, one such woman was asked by a man whose wife was about to go into labor. Although it was already dark with a blizzard raging outside, the woman could not refuse the stranger’s request for help. When the baby was born, it had its toes pointing backward. Thinking that they must have been ‘domam’, the woman became scared. Seeing her anxiety, the man tried to calm her down. ‘We are also living beings like you’, he said, ‘You helped my wife, and for this I would like to thank you’. He filled her dress with gold and gave her a lift home. At home when she unfolded her skirt, it was filled with horse’s excrements. The message here is that, ‘domams’ look like humans, only their feet are different. ‘Almus’ is a very strong creature. It always looks for strong men to wrestle with. One of my relatives, who happened to be a very strong man, wrestled with an ‘almus’. Another species of evil beings look like humans, but unlike us they do not have a pit above the upper lip. These spirits are called ‘kum’. There are also spirits called ‘kyunbus’ who are born among humans. It is important to prevent them from living among humans. For this, monks read special prayers. ‘Mangas’ is another variety of evil spirits. There is a day called ‘Gombo’s Day’ when all spirits get out, including ‘muus’, ‘domam’, ‘almus’, and ‘mangas’. On this day Kalmyks stay indoors, reading prayers. In the past, men played cards on this day, because they believed that whoever wins on that day would win the whole year long.
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.44608