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Siberian Shamanhood



Jevdokim Vasiljev. 19th. February 1925.

    Once there were born two shamans in the region Üöttääch in our Bappagajan Nasleg. One was named Ytschym and the other with his orthodox given name Basylaj. Once Ytschym stole the whole supply of dried fish from a shaman with the name Bölüökä-Uola of the middle Viljui. This was the reason for their enmity.

    One evening Ytschym said to his comrades before he went to bed: "The time is near when my enemy Bölüökä-Uola is going to end my life. The signs are very clear. Help me when I am fighting him. One with a ice-breaker and another with a pike! But stay behind me, you mustn't advance!"

    So he told them and went to bed. But soon he rolled on the ground, roaring like a wild bull, started to turn up the earth like a bull does it before encountering his enemy in fight. At this moment one horn grew out from his forehead. He continued turning up the ground with this horn, digged a whole under the doorway, quit through it into the yard and under the gazes of his comrades he slowly shapechanged into a bull, fighting with an invisible enemy, moaning heavily. Those who watched this were terrified and hid themselves.

    Finally he stopped fighting, came back into the jurt lamenting: "How can you watch the fight with your own eyes and did not prevent this son of a devil knocking me over?" - some time later his neck became swollen. A short time later the shaman died form this spiritual wound.

    Two or three years passed after the shaman's death. Some time some fishers did their job on the Lake Aryylaach. They started to fish with some puched nets. Among the people attending this event was the elder brother of the deceased shaman, Basylaj.

    Suddenly a strong wind began to blow. The snow was stirred up like a pillar into heaven. Basylaj watched this happening and said: "By the tips of my horns, by the edges of my weapons, isn't there my little dog Ünügäs coming, having the skull of Bölüökä-Uola in his mouth? That means that we did not stay here to sit around and being angry like a fisher without a net and a long pole!" (A phrase to express the feeling of powerless rage. G.K.)

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