Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/138

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130 THE BELIEFS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

forest-, and thunder-god. The supreme god has many names. He has a mother, a wife, and a son. The origin of evil is ShaitaUi though he now is known as Keremet. The latter was originally the son of the supreme god, who descended to the earth and distributed all sorts of benefits to men. But once, through the deceit of Satan, he was seized and murdered. To hide this atrocity from the father of the murdered god, they burnt his body, and threw the ashes to the winds. Trees grew up wherever any ashes fell, and with them Keremet was reborn, not as a single individual, but as a great many, so that every village has one or more Jceremets, according to its size. From this time Keremet ceased being the benevolent son of the supreme god. He revenges himself on man by scourging them and their cattle with misery and diseases. Generally he lives in the forest, or in the small groves of oak or lime trees, which are teimed Jceremets. He also frequents lakes, springs, watercourses, &c. If a village migrates, the keremet migrates also ; if a portion only of the villagers takes their departure a new keremet is obtained from the mother- village keremet, for keremets marry and have offspring like the gods. Money is also offered to Keremet, who in this regard is termed silver or copper Keremet.

§ 11. Vambery, in Das Turkenvolk, pp. 444-495, gives a good deal of information about the Chuvash. About Christmas the girls hold a feast called Khir-siri, or " girls' beer." After collecting the materials necessary for brewing beer, meal, malt, and hops, they assemble in some place where they will not be disturbed, make the beer, and invite the girls of the nearest village as guests. On the day of the feast, dressed in their best clothes, they receive their guests, and the day is passed in singing, dancing, and drinking beer. One of the songs is as follows I

" We keep the maiden's feast (beer), We love the [blood] red cock, We givd the bagpiper The entrails and the crop."

^12. The following story is told of the evil spirit Keremet. Once upon a time the son of the supreme god, SyiXldi Tor a, drove down to