Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/85

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
77
OF THE MORDVINS.

then different diseases, which are also evil spirits, and sent them among men.

Variant Story of the Creation of Man.

The Teryukhans and Ersa, in the governments of Nizhni-Novgorod and Simbirsk, have a rather different account of the creation of man. Shaitan, not Cham Pas, began to create man. For this purpose he gathered together clay, sand, and earth from 77 parts of the world, and with them he fashioned a human body. But he did not wish to make it nice looking. Sometimes it took the shape of a pig, sometimes of a dog or some other animal, though he was anxious to give it the shape of God. Ultimately he summoned a bat, and said :

"Fly away to the sky. A towel is hanging up near Cham Pas. When he goes into the bath-house he dries himself with it. Station thyself on one of the borders of the towel, there make thy nest, and bring forth thy young, so that the towel may become heavy and fall to the ground near me."

The bat obeyed Shaitan, made its nest in the border of Cham Pas` towel, gave birth to young ones, which made the towel so heavy that it fell to the ground. Shaitan seized it at once, rubbed with it the man he had made, and gave him in this way the shape of God. Then he quickened man into life, but could not manage to get a living spirit into him. After trying in vain, he now wished to destroy what he had created ; but Cham Pas said :

"Go, hide thyself, accursed Shaitan, in thy fiery depths ; I shall create a man without thee."

"But I shall stand on one side," replied Shaitan, "when thou puttest a living spirit into him. It is I that made him, so something of the man should be given me as my share, for what thou desirest, brother Cham Pas, is insulting to me and no honour to thyself."

After disputing for some time with Shaitan, Cham Pas got wearied.

"Listen, Shaitan," he said, "let us make a man : the form and countenance are from my towel, and the spirit is mine, since I have blown it in, but let the body be thine."