Vladimir Boldyrev, About Untouchable Livestock
Vladimir talks about a Kalmyk custom of designating a sacred livestock: When a child fell ill, his/her family designated an animal – a goat baby, a lamb, a calf or a cow – as setrya mal, or untouchable livestock. The idea was that the child’s disease would be passed on to that animal. It was forbidden to touch or to kill this livestock, which had to die of natural causes and be buried as a human being. Before the burial, its corpse was sprinkled with a dairy product and its mouth smeared with hot butter and incenses. People also made tea and burnt incenses. Everybody knew which animal was untouchable.