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Dordzhi Nandyshev, A story about my family

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Dordzhi says that his maternal grandmother married twice. Her first husband was a man called Bembya from the Gelingyud clan in Tsagan-Nur. From him she had three children. After the death of her husband, she moved to another place and married a man called Manzhi from the Iki-Khurla clan. From him she had two daughters, one of whom was Dordzhi’s mother. There is a legend, or story, in Dordzhi’s family. One summer a wolf came to where Dordzhi’s ancestors lived and began to howl. Since it is a bad omen when a wolf howls, the elders decided among themselves that the wolf must have been asking them for something. Only after the elders shouted to the wolf ‘We’ll give you a girl’, the canine stopped howling and left the place. Shortly afterwards, all newborn girls in the family began to die. To stop this, one day the family members performed a fire ritual during which they waved a special bag containing a thimble, a thread and a needle. After the ritual, Dordzhi’s grandmother gave a birth to a girl.



Grandmother, family legend

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin