Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/141

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I

OF THE MORDVINS. 133

God said to the snuke that it had now became the devil, whom man might kill. He told Echji that henceforth she would feel great pain at child-bearing. He also asked Erlih why he had deceived man. He replied that he had asked for men and they had not been given ; so he had taken them by deceit, and meant to harm them in many ways.

God consigned Erlik to the under-world of darkness, and said he would send them Mai-tere to teach them how to prepare every kind of thing.

§ 19. Mai-lere [according to Schiefner this is the Buddhist Mai- treya, Mongol Maidari~\ came and taught them how to prepare barley, radishes, onions, and lily-roots. At the intercession of Mai-tere^ Erlik was allowed to go to heaven to implore God's blessing, so that he could finish making heaven. A great number of Erlik^s devils grew in his heaven.

A man called Mandy Shire was angry at God because men lived on the earth and Erlik^s men in heaven. He made war against Erlik, but was repulsed and had to take to flight. God met him and com- forted him by saying, that though Erlik was the stronger now, his time would come, and God would give him notice of it.

At length his time came, and God give Mandy Shire a spear, by means of which he overcame Erlik and drove him out of heaven. With his spear he demolished the heaven, and threw down everything in it. Before then there were no stones, mountains, or forests. But all these arose out of the ruins of Erlih's heaven that fell upon the earth. All Erlik'^s subjects were cast down and all perished.

§ 20. Erlik now asked God for some land, as his heaven had been destroyed. He was refused, but at length was allowed as much as the point of his stick would cover.

On this he began building a heaven. But God bade him go below and build underground. He then wanted to take all dead men as his subjects. This was not allowed, but he was told he might make men for himself. So he made bellows, and placed a pair of tongs under- neath. He struck them with a hammer and a frog appeared; he struck again, and a snake wriggled out j he struck again, and a beai*