Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/80

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God) or Ved Mastir Pas (god of water on the earth), who rules over seas, rivers, lakes, springs, and wells.

Her fourth daughter, Verya Patyai (forest aunt), is goddess of forests, groves, and trees. Her son Varma Pas (Wind God) is god of wind and weather.

These fourteen gods and goddesses are the chief divinities of the Mordvins. But besides them there are innumerable good beings or guardian spirits called by the Ersa and Teryukhans, ozais by the Moksha, ozhs.[1] The Mordvins give however the same name to the festivals held in honour of any divinity.

The Origin of Guardian Spirits.

When Ange Patyai had given birth to her eight children she wished to fill the whole world as soon as possible with good divinities, so that not only every man, but every tree and herb should have a protector from the wiles of Shaitan. She communicated this desire to Cham Pas, who gave her a steel, while her son, Nishhi Pas, gave a flint. With these she began to strike fire, and in the same ratio as sparks flew off did the good ozais beings make their appearance.

Shaitan, perceiving this, took up two flints from the ground, as he had no steel, and began striking fire. In the same proportion as sparks flew off evil spirits were born. Since that time Ange Patyai and Shaitan have continued striking fire and adding to the number of good and bad spirits in proportion as mankind, animals, and plants increase.

Ange Patyai first struck the sparks from which came the Ange ozais or guardian goddesses of children, that help at child-birth and protect the young from sickness and misfortune. Every child has one who watches over its health. From other sparks every dwelling has obtained its own Karda syarko ozais, who keeps the household and the domestic animals from all harm, whose office it is to maintain family peace and the general welfare of the home. It dwells in the middle

  1. In the dictionaries the word is given ozks, oziks, with the meaning, prayer, devotion, offering.