Repository logo

Olga Budzhalova, about snakes and thunder

Change log


Terbish, Baasanjav 


Olga says that in the past gigantic snakes lived on the steppe and that they chased people. She recounts a story that she heard in her childhood about an old man who was chased by a giant snake. As one should do in such a situation, the man galloped towards the sun. It is believed that these snakes could kill people with their tail. Small snakes with horns, by contrast, are beneficial to people. Kalmyks use a snake’s horn for various purposes. Olga says that Kalmyks imagine thunder as a dragon roaring in the sky and lightning as a one-legged white bird running from the dragon. The bird can get tired and sneak into one’s house through a pipe or windows. That is why it is forbidden to look out of the window during lightening. This white bird can also sneak underneath a woman’s white dress. Hence, the ban on wearing a white dress.



Snakes, thunder

Is Part Of


Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

Publisher DOI

Publisher URL

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