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Nadezhda Kadzhaeva, seven stories

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


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.




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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