Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/83

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75
OF THE MORDVINS.

(virya) ; Ved asar ava, goddess of rivers and lakes (ved. water). There are besides a great number of goddesses of inferior rank. Every house has its own "house lady" (kud asar ava), every meadow its "field lady."

The Moksha have the same belief as the Ersa regarding Shaitan and the evil spirits that obey him, viz., that they try by every means to harm mankind, but the good divinities war against them and remove the injury.

Dualistic Ideas regarding the Creation.

All sections of the Mordvins hold the same notions respecting the creation of the world. The supreme God created the whole visible and invisible world. Shaitan, in his wickedness, tried in every way to frustrate each creation of Cham Pas, but the wisdom of the Creator always turned each act of malice into good. For instance, when the sky was created it was clean, bright, and blue.[1] [Shaitan darkened its bright surface with clouds.] Cham Pas did not remove them, but put rain into them, commanding them to moisten the ground and make it fruitful. Smooth and gleaming were the surfaces of the rivers created by Cham Pas. Shaitan directed winds against them so that they ruffled into waves, but Cham Pas prepared a boat, made a stern seat and oars, sewed together a sail, and taught men navigation.


Variant Story of the Creation.

When Cham Pas wished to create the dry land, as water was already made, he perceived Shaitan swimming as a goose (see note, §16) upon the sea. Cham Pas ordered him to dive to the bottom and bring up a little earth. Shaitan dived, brought up some earth, but did not give it all to Cham Pas, for he retained some in his mouth. From

  1. * In the rough copy I have omitted a sentence by mistake, but its contents must have been similar to what I have supplied in brackets.