OP THE MORDVINS. . 115
that at its conclusion the women eat the pap, mixing with it omelets and sour cream. They then lie down and sleep. On waking about noon they begin the offices of sacrifice. The appointed widower kills the sheep and the nine hens, and cooks their flesh in water without salt. When sufficiently cooked he takes the meat out of the broth, pours the latter into a trough, and sets it on the ground near the stream or spring. The women put the meat near the fifteen earthen pots full of groats, and add butter to it. When all is arranged, they fall on their knees before the picture, and the three aged women repeat :
" Lord Pas the Provider, help and defend us. Give us plenty of every sort of good thing, and health to all thy people. Grant us health, grant success to all our labours, and undertakings. Wherever we go, grant good luck to the journey. What we beg of thee, what we entreat for, do thou, Pas the Provider, ever give us. Dear mother, most holy mother of God, let a great crop come up ; give us horses, cows, sheep, and to the latter give soft wool. Defend, O Lord Pas the Provider, all the orthodox from bad men, from wizards ; do not let them attack us ; cause them, Lord, to hang down by their feet, break their right hands, thrust out their right eyes."
Then they approach the food, saying :
- ' Look ! for thee, O Lord Pas the Provider. Look ! for thee, dear
mother, most holy mother of God, there vstand groats, a whole loaf, mutton, the flesh of a fowl, and broth. Take it ! what we pray for, give I "
After repeating this thrice, the women seat themselves round the food and eat their midday meal. Men and young women of the same village now come on the scene, and something is given them to eat. The women then collect what remains and go home. In the districts of Alatirya, Kurmusha, and Ardatova, in the government of Simbirsk, the aged women, on their return home, bury one portion of the remains of the groats in the west corner of the sheep-pen, another portion they put under the Kardo sijarko stone, and what is left they eat next day with the people of the house. A birch tree is placed in the sheep- pen, and perches for the hens are put in the branches.