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Mingiyan Lidzhiev, about evil spirits and how to protect oneself from them

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Mingiyan talks about how to protect oneself from evil spirits and relays two stories about people who encountered spirits: People protect themselves from evil spirits with the help of a tree called ‘tyavlgn’. It is a short tree with thin branches. Some people put it under their pillow, others keep it under their bed. This tree is also used to make a whip which people hold in their hands when they pass through haunted places. Holding a whip that person has to say the following: ‘I know “Taaza” and I have a whip in my hand which is made from the tyavlgn tree’. I do not know what the word Taaza means, but it is possible that it means ‘an evil spirit’. People also protect themselves from evil by hanging a horseshoe above the entrance to their house. One old women from our village saw an evil spirit when she was young. After that, she fell ill. She suffered from diseases in her stomach, kidneys and lungs. Because of this, she never married nor does she have children. According to her an evil spirit has thick hair, walks and talks like a human being. Another man told me that he was protected by being called ‘donam’. One day that being came to that man with a dog and said to him: ‘I am your protector and I will protect you all your life. Do not be afraid. Your parents are now sleeping soundly. If you do not believe who I am, when they wake up, ask them who this dog belonged to. Describe the dog, and they will tell you that it is long dead. I have revived it’. As it promised, the donam protects that man. One day when that man was driving a car, the donam tapped on his shoulder and said to him that he should stop the car and check the wheels. It turned out that three bolts were unscrewed on one of the wheels.



Spirits, stories

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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