100 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
He then throws the morsel into the fire, and the people prostrating themselves and turning to the east* towards the fire sing the "omelet prayer," pronounced by the vosatya at the foot of the tree. While this is going on the musicians play upon the ^?wZawa.
The omelets and pies are distributed to all present. When the women have eaten their share they carry away the remainder to their little children at home. All then sit down on the ground and partake of the flesh, broth, bread, and pies of millet groats, and drink the pure.
When they are seated, the girls, who up to this time have been given nothing to eat or drink, begin asking in lachrymose voice:
" Pryavt, we wish to drink. Elders of the village, we wish to eat."
Then beer, flesh, broth, pies, and omelets are given them. While they are eating, each of the turostors, at the command of the vosatya, mounts on a bench or a tub reversed and cries out :
Those who are eating keep silent, and the turostor gives orders to the girls:
" Tyavter murado posmorb " (let the girls sing the pos morb or sacred song).
Those that have high and powerful voices are selected for this purpose. At the bidding of the turostor they place themselves in the centre of the Keremet and the former shouts out :
The musicians obey the summons, and the story begins.
According to Melnikof the pos morb is a long song in the Mordvin language, the meaning of which the Ersa and Teryukhans no longer understand. The girls sing it, however, without knowing what it means. At the beginning it is directed towards the Gods, and at the end sets them side by side with some day of the week : " Friday, Pas Velen Pas. Sunday, Voltsi Pas ukoni.
- For east one should read west, I fancy, as the tire was on that side of the
Keremet. — J. A.