The Folk-Lore Journal/Volume 3/Folk-Lore in Mongolia

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[From G. N. Potanin's sketch of N.W. Mongolia, vol. ii. page 146, et seq. This contribution is due to the kindness of the late Mr. W. S. W. Vaux. Mr. Vaux wrote as follows upon the subject:

"The accompanying paper was sent to me some time since by a learned member of this Society, Mr. C. Gardner, H.B.M. Cons., Ichang, China. It is not in our province, but it may be in yours. Anyhow, you may rely on accuracy of details."]

1. Kerpek Shêshên, the Hedgehog.

FORMERLY Kerpek Shêshên, that is the hedgehog, was a bey and sat in the Beylik (that is the assembly of beys). In that time was Dzalmaus Pêïgambar, who destroyed much people and cattle, devouring them. The nation collected together and took counsel under the presidency of the nobles as to what to do. Then some one remembered that there was a wise bey, Kerpek Shêshên; so they sent to him to ask his advice. "How shall I go?" said the hedgehog; "I have no feet." Kerpek Sheshen was round and had no feet. "We will give you feet," said the courtiers. They made feet and placed Kerpek Shêshên on them. Kerpek Shêshên went to the council and asked about the matter. Then they told him Dzalmaus devours people and cattle; he started to go to Dzalmaus, came to him to his tent, and asked: "Wherefore he devoured people and cattle?" "Why?" asked Dzalmaus, "for the same reason that I shall swallow you." "Swallow!" replied the hedgehog. Dzalmaus swallowed him, but the hedgehog bristled out and stuck in his throat. Dzalmaus wished to vomit him, but the hedgehog held on by his feet. Then Kerpek Shêshên put out his head and asked Dzalmaus what it was necessary to give him that he should no longer devour people. Dzalmaus demanded gold. Kerpek Shêshên came forth from the throat of Dzalmaus and departed not knowing where to obtain gold. On the road there met him a man all in white, his head also was bound with a white fillet. The white man asked Kerpek Shêshên where he was going. The hedgehog informed him. Then the white man (he was Musa Pëigambar, the prophet Moses) led him to a great water, and dug into it with his staff, and broke out a lump of gold like a horse's head. Kerpek Shêshên took the gold to Dzalmaus, and then he ceased to eat people.—(Kirghis tribes of Tarbagatai.)

2. The Baigus (bird).

In a former time lived Dzehrael Dzalmaus Pëigambar. He hunted birds and ate them. He threaded the birds captured by a hole in the beak, and fastened them to a rope. All the birds were captured except the baigus. Dzalmaus considers how he may catch also the baigus. Sunkar, the falcon, offered himself, but Dzalmaus said:—"No, Sunkar will catch him and hide, let Karchega, the vulture, catch him." The vulture flew off and found the baigus, and said: "Baigus! baigus! What wilt thou do? The khan requires thee." The baigus hid his head and made pretence for some time, saying: "My head aches, I will not go." The vulture said to him politely, "Come out, let us converse!" After a little while the baigus came forth—the vulture seized him, laid him under her wing, and carried him off. Then the baigus cried out:—

"Thy ridges are hard!
They have destroyed my life!"

The vulture arrived at the tent of Dzalmaus, she held her prey under her wing. "Where is the baigus?" asked Dzalmaus. "I have it not," said the vulture. "I'll cut off your head," said Dzalmaus. Then the vulture gave him the bird. The baigus asked a word and began to say:—

"My head is as a finger,
The flesh on me is that of a sparrow:
I have no flesh to eat,
Nor blood to satisfy the appetite."

"Thou, Taksuir (my lord)," continued the baigus, "hast captured all the birds, hast pierced their beaks, and hung them on a rope. They all requite (evil deeds?), they sit without food, they are hungry and their beaks are sore. If you wish to string me also by the beak, then twist a rope from the sun's ray and cows' butter:—

'Sargum nan ot kuil,
Sarui mai nan arkan kuil.'"

"What will such a rope do?" asked Dzalmaus. Chort (the devil) appeared. He (the devil) hunted, he hunted the ray with his hands, he did not catch anything, clots of butter were in his hands, they spread all about. Then Dzalmaus said: "Dja! the baigus is small in growth but his wisdom is great, let free all the birds at the request of the baigus." From that moment the baigus became the bey of the birds. People say the swan is the khan (Ak-kv. Mong. Khong) of the birds; this is not true, the khan among birds is the baigus. Therefore if the Kirghis meet the baigus they do not kill it, they consider that a sin, and though it can be taken by the hand they do not hunt it. They may take it to look at, but they do so to let go again. All birds have holes in the beak, but the baigus has no holes in the beak.—(Kirghis of Tarbagatai.)

3. Kor-Tvishan.

A certain bey (master) had two daughters and two sons: in that time there were no other people in the land; the father went out hither and thither. During his absence the elder daughter said to the younger: "There are no other men besides our brothers, let us join ourselves to them." The younger sister replied to that: "God hears; it is sin." "God has no ears," said the elder. After that she began to secure for herself the elder of the brothers, but he refused; she threatened to slay him, but he was not afraid; then she plucked out his eyes and buried them in the ground. From that very time forth Kor-tuichkan (that is the blind mouse) dwelt under the ground. The father came home and found out about her conduct, and cursed the daughter; and God changed her into the cat Myalēn. Both animals (blind mouse and cat) resemble human beings; the blind one (in Turgouth, Sokvir nomuin) has arms ending in hands. The Kirghis do not eat the flesh of these animals. A cap of the fur of Myalēn brings trouble; to a young (fresh) man it will quickly cause sickness, it is only safe to an old man. The Turgouths on the other hand eat the flesh of Myalēn and of the Marmot; if thou askest why they eat it they will answer because "it is very good." It is as good as human flesh. Human flesh is good, it is like sugar, and a man's tongue is sweeter than sugar. God marked Myalēn with beautiful bars of stripes and let her go in the steppe, saying: "Do not become a nation."—(Kirghis of Tarbagatai.)

{{c|4. Alasa Khan.}

Three nations, the Chūrchūt (Chinese), the Orus (Russians), and the Kazak (Kirghis), chose as khan a young man, a dwarf (the Kirghis Alasa), and seated him on the alacha (a variegated cloth material which the Kirghis weave), and they wished to raise him upon it. Then they disputed. The Russian says I will take him. The Chinese says I will take him. The Khirgis the same. But when they had raised him the Russian and the Chinese perceived that the khan was very narrow, light and small in stature, and refused to take him as their khan. But the Kirghis thought our nation is a small one, such a khan will just suit us; and they raised him on the alacha with the cry: "Alash, Alash, buldui! Alasa, khan buldui" (Alash, Alash, Alasa has become khan).—(Kirghis of the Chubaraigir race— Tarbagatai.)

Another saying is:—

Alasa Kanuim Kacuinda Kara chakan tusenda, Katun êr tusenda. That is in the times of Alasa, Khan of Karacha Khan and of Katun.—(Same as above.)

Another version of above is:—

Formerly the Kirghis had no khans, but Alasa khan gave a government to the nation. The nation resorted to him and began to ask him to give them a khan. Alasa khan hung a piece of gold money on a tree, and desired all in turn to leap past the tree and fire at the money from a bow, whoever hit the money then he should be khan. All the nation took part in the shooting, but only three brothers, thieves, hit. These men after a rebellion had fled from one of the neighbouring great kingdoms to the Kirghis horde.—(Written from the Kirghis of the Akmollinsk province.)

The children of Ghengis Khan were Ak Padishah (Russian Czar) and Edjên Khan (Emperor of China). The Kirghis sultans were descended from three sons of a younger wife of Ghengis Khan, whose names were Budênêtai, Burgultai and Sargaltai.— Kirghis of Chubaraigir—race Tarbagatai.)

5. Êseken batuir.

The most ancient father of the nation of Kazak (Kirghis) was Maikal Bey. People called his son Kurdum; Kurdum had a son Kizzie-gurt (red worm); Kizzie-gurt had a son Chubaraigir. In among the Chubaraigir clan was a batuir (partisan) Êseken. He tilled the fields of a certain man by name Karabut, on the other side of the river Kaba. In that time on the field rushed a herd of horses of a nobleman (Tiurê) Uraltai Mamuir Khan. Êseken-batuir drove the herd from the field and said in his wrath, "Children of (Kuirkuiz)" Uraltai heard this word, and bore a grudge against Êseken-batuir; he puts upon his neck fetters (o srag) and on his feet iron horses' shackles (ksen), and throws him into the water. The race of Chubaraigir, not seeing their batuir, began to search for him, and found him in the water. After that the men of Chubaraigir undertook to make raids (Chabadui) against Uraltai. The Tiurê (Uraltai) fled on a camel, and was obliged to buy peace of the men of Chubaraigir for three kuns, and thus lost he his tiurêlik (nobility). That is why the Kirghis sultans, as descendants of Uraltai, are not considered tiurê (nobles), but only as rich people.—(Kirghis of Chubaraigir, clan of Tarbagatai.)

Of the genealogy of Adjē Sultan, who wandered over Kanasa, in the Altai (mountains), and is now perished. Kapuir-Malik[1] had a son Kuirkuiz, Kuirkuiz a son Ablai, Ablai a son Sêmên, Sêmên a son Djabag, Djabag a son Kogedai, Kogedai a son Adjē Sultan. The Kuirkuiz were of the race of Kuirkuiz, who were infidels (Kapuirui).[2] Therefore the batuir (partisan) of the nation of Kazaks (Kirghis), by name Khodja-Bergen, went to war with them. On the spot of a certain battle there was found a boy-child of the enemy who had been deserted, him Khodja Bergen took, fed him, and made him khan of the nation of Kazak (Kirghis). That is why Uraltai Mamuir Khan, as a descendant of Kapuir (infidels), was enraged with Êseken-batuir when he called him a child of Kērgēz (Kuirkuiz?)—(The same as above.)

The Kirghis nobility descends from Kizzie-gurt (red worm), but Edzen Khan (Emperor of China) from stone.—(The same as above.)

Van, that is the Prince of the Bulugunsk Turgouths, gave a riddle to the Kirghis Sultan Adjē: " What is like three black things, and what is like three red things?" Adjē Sultan replied, "To a woman to be master is hard; to have no food when one desires to eat, no horses when one wants to ride is to the poor man hard. A large camel foal to the camel is hard. These are like three black things. The khan's eye is beauteous to the dog, the face of the bride is beautiful, the face of the khan's boy is beautiful. These are like three red things." Adjē had guessed and received from the Van a stone that is a ball for the cap.[3]—(Diurbiut tribe.)

The Diurbiuts say that the Tangnu-uryankhaits[4] descend from stone, because they have not noma books and call themselves Khara (black) uryankhai and also "kokchelutun."—(The same as above.)

In ancient times, in the time of Khal Khulu Khan, a part of the Mongol nation dwelt far to the west: this was a people of lofty race, the Ike Mongols. For in the multitude of their cattle they had need of watering-places, and in Mongolia they found themselves pressed for want of room.[5]—(A Zain Shaben man.)

6. The Marmot.

α. Tarbagan, that is the marmot, was formerly a man, an archer; not a single beast, not a single bird, not at the longest distance, did he miss. Then he cut off his thumb and buried it in the ground and said, "Be a marmot." From that time forth he himself ceased to shoot.—(Written from Uryankhait Mongols of the Altai Mountains.)

β. In olden times were two great hunters, Duai-sokhor and Dondugul Mêrgên. They destroyed many animals, so God changed them, one into a marmot, the other into a beaver (kunduz). The latter has narrow eyes (the legend perhaps confounds the beaver with the otter, which in the Altai tongue is called Kamdu), therefore a hunter (Mêrigên) is called Dual sokhor.—(Written from a Tarbagatai Kirghis of the Chubaraigir tribe.)

In old times there were two great hunters (mêrgên) Djaik and Tokhtogul; the fate of the latter the narrator did not know. From Djaik not a single beast, not a single bird, could escape. All the beasts and birds prayed to God, "He is rooting us all out." God buried him in the ground and said, "Thou could'st not live in concord on the earth; live in a hole under the earth and feed on roots,"—(Written from a Tarbagatai Kirghis of the Baidjigit tribe.)

The marmot formerly was a rich man, by surname Karun bai. He had thousands of horses, of oxen, of camels, of sheep. To him came beggars, blind men, lame men, old men begging alms. Karumbai would give them nothing. Then the beggars turned to God in their grief, and began to say, "Taksuir (Lord)! vainly thou gavest to Karunbai such great wealth. We poor people go to him for alms, and he never will give anybody anything." God asked Karunbai, "Dost thou give alms?" "No," replied Karunbai, "why should I give?" Then God changed him into a marmot, and ordered that he should eat grass. The marmot left his family with the cry, "Anguit! Anguit!" that is "Amanbul!" farewell! and now also he screeches out this farewell compliment whenever he climbs out of his hole. The cattle of Karunbai God changed into wild beasts. The oxen into reindeer (Bogu), the sheep into argali, the goats into rock goats (tau ishkê), the horses into kulans and surtax, and the camels into tiu ê giēk. — (Written from a Tarbagatai Kirghis of the Djastaban tribe.)

Formerly the Kazaks, that is the Kirghis, had only oxen, the people did not know horses at all. They adorned the oxen on the horns and tails with owl feathers, and rode upon them: all, even nobles and rich men did not disdain to do so. Something flowed from the oxen's nose, and the people began to beseech God, and he made them then the horse from the wind. The wind raised itself in a cloud of dust, and a herd of horses galloped by. The people let go the cow and the horse for a race; the cow got first, and the steed was left behind. They both were wearied, and wished to drink. The cow ran first to the hole of the marmot and asked him, "Su ūr sasuik su kaida"[6]; that is, "Stinking marmot, where is water?" The offended marmot showed her some stinking, stagnant water, saying, "There is water, stinking cow." The cow drank and ran a little further. Then the horse ran up afterwards and asked, "Su ūr Djupar su kaida?" that is, "Djupar (?) marmot, where is water?" "There is water, Djupar horse," said the marmot, and showed her good, clean, and delightful water. The cow, having drunk bad water, could not run quickly, and the horse got before her.—(Written from the same Djastaban man.)

If one has shot down a marmot from the bow it is well; but if he escapes with the arrow into his hole it is evil. He changes himself into a chētkur (devil). Ten men, the whole gachoun,[7] will not then dig him out. It will be hard for the whole Aimak[8] to get him.—(Khotogait.)

Whoever, capturing the wild animal the Ukhuirokto,[9] releases it in his tent shall have much oxen. If the young of the animal dwells in his tent it is the same thing.—(Khotogait.)

7. The Forefathers of the Domestic Animals.

Formerly there were neither horses nor oxen, people ate grass. The father of the ox was called Zeng baba; he was alone and lived before Adam (for so was named the most ancient ancestor of the Kazak (Kirghis) nation). Man gathered grass and fed Zeng baba and milked him, but the horse went wild on the steppe; Djvpar called her. She turned to the man with the prayer, "Give me also grass." The man asked her, "Wilt thou agree that I should saddle thee, ride upon thee, and sell thee?" The horse agreed. Then the man gave grass to the horse. The ancestor of the camels was called Oisul Kara. Of him is the saying: Oisul Kara, suga salsa hat paidui ēskē saba. (Throw Oisul kara into the water, he will not sink the old saba.[10]) The father of all the sheep was Chopan-ata ; but the goat had no ancestor, he was born in the following manner: A shepherd tended Chopan-ata; the master said to him, If Chopan-ata gives birth to only lambs all the increase shall be mine; but everything that is born unlike himself shall be to thee for wages." Chopan-ata gives birth; all are lambs, yes, lambs; then the shepherd in his vexation pricked him in the stomach with his staff. Chopan-ata at that time was with young, and gave birth to a goat having a tail of hair, not of fat. The master did not get honour by it, and gave it to the shepherd.

8. The Ox.

An old man had an ox, which he cut on the spine and let it loose in a field. A magpie came and pecked at his spine until it was still worse; a wolf ran up and tore him behind, and a fox fell upon him in front. The head alone was left. When the old man came to look at his ox the head only said to him, "Do not be sad because they have eaten me; break my head in pieces, and in the two horns thou shalt find as much as shall suffice thee to live without alms for six years." The old man took the head home, broke it up, and in one horn found silver and in the other gold.—(Kirghis of Tarbagatai of the Baidjigit tribe.)

The cow is made of water, the camel of salt, the steed of wind, the sheep of the sky, man of earth, the goat of stone.—(Kirghis Djastaban tribe.)

In the former time there was no water on the earth; the great grey ox (Kog oguz), whom two men tended, was faint with thirst; the herds also. "I will procure water," said Kog oguz, and he began to tear up the earth with his horns—the water came forth a foaming fountain, and formed two large sheets of water. One was the Zaisan lake, the other the ocean (Tengis).[11]—(The same as above.)

On the surface of the ocean (or great lake) lies a fog (du), on the summit of the fog the rock—Djain (Djain tas); on the rock on his four feet stands Kog oguz (the grey ox), and with his horns sustains the world on which we and our cattle live.—(The same as above.)

9. Guigêr Mêdjēt.

(Related by an illiterate Lhama (Buddhist monk) of Zain Shabēn named Chērēn-dordji.)

Érgu Uidzil Eian had two wives. The elder was without children, and therefore went to a great Lhama who dwelt under a cliff; her Ayachkē (waiting maid) accompanied her. The Lhama at that time ate flour (gulēr); he handed over that very flour to the Khan's wife in a cup, and the Khan's wife handed the cup to her maid, who finished the flour. Then both women returned home. Meanwhile Uidzil Khan received from Khurmusta Tengri (that is from heaven) a call for help. Khurmusta Tengri wrote to the Khan that in his dominions war had begun, and that in the course of four days he should present himself to him in a divine form. Uidzil Khan having received the divine vision departed for the country of Tengri; in his absence the younger wife, not regarding the warning of the elder, burnt his earthly tunic; having returned to his town Uidzil Khan did not find his earthly body, and when it was reported to him that it had been burnt by his wife, Uidzil Khan said that in his divine form he could no longer remain in that land, and therefore he departed to everywhere, and also that a trace of his departure place would pass by the country of Ulan nēdun of Shumucên Ukhuirhama Khan. Uidzil Khan ascended to heaven, but the nation began to scatter and hide in the mountains. At the same time the elder wife of the Khan and her servant, both big with child, went out also to the mountains. Here they made an agreement only to let free the child that was first born, and to cast away the child born afterwards. The Khan's wife had a child first, and both women carried the babe in turn; but when the servant strongly desired the same, to carry the child became difficult. Then she determined to leave it on the mountain side, and she herself went to the Lhama who had given the flour. The Lhama said that this would be a wondrous child, that it would not do to desert it, and ordered her to bring it to himself; then he enveloped it in the flower of the plant Udun banên (peony?), in its mouth also he placed a bud for it to suck, and he gave the child the name Guigêr Mēdjêt, and ordered the women to travel over the world asking alms. So the women began to go about begging. On the road the servant also gave birth. The babe, according to the agreement, as the last born, they thrust into the hole of Tarbagan (the marmot). In that hole dwelt a female wolf who already had a cub. The wolf seeing the exposed child imagined that she herself had given birth to it, and began to give it suck at the same time as to the wolf cub who was her offspring. The two women, with the other boy in their hands, went meanwhile to the nation of Gachuin Chētuigchē Khan; around them gathered a crowd of inquisitive people, who questioned them. Why they, who were evidently good women and carried about so fair a child, were forced to wander about the world? At that time the Khan came out of his house for a certain need, and saw the crowd and desired to know what was the reason of the throng. When they told him that two women who had come from a Khan's house which had been destroyed were begging, Chētuigchē Khan ordered that a house should be built for them exactly like that which they had with the old Khan, and that they should be provided with exactly the same maintenance as they had enjoyed in their former condition. Here, in the Khanate of Chētuigchē Khan, Guigêr Mêdjēt grew up, became a youth and began to learn everything, blacksmith's work, fishing, weaving nets, reading, writing, stealing and conjuring (Ēlbchē). So the kingdom of Chētuigchē Khan came with merchandize and a company of 500 men—Djētuim Senge Noēnon—and on the steppe in his way found he a youth. "Who art thou, oh lad?" asked Djētuim Senge, "and where is thy home and where are thy parents?" "My home," replied the lad, "is this hole; the wolf cub who plays by the hole is my elder brother, and see there the two wolves who run over the hill that are my father and mother." Djētuim Senge had no children, and saying, "Let this be my son," took the lad with him and gave him the name of Shyal. The caravan arrived at the land of Chētuigchē Khan and occupied the bank of the river opposite the town. Guigêr Mêdjētt at night-time came to the merchant encampment to steal. At that time on the steppe wandered the wolf. A man sleeping in the same tent as Shyal woke him with the words, "Shyal, Shyal, bos, bos (get up)! listen to what the wolf says." Shyal having passed his childhood in the wolf's family understood wolf language. Shyal went out of the tent and listened and said, "This my elder brother has come." He (the wolf) says, "Own little brother, come out and look about you! Yes, look well after thy goods; a thief has come and stands by the tent." Guigêr Mêdjēt fled at this and thinks—"This is a wonderful man because he knows wolf's language; I must make friends with this youth in order that he may teach me myself this knowledge." Next night Guigêr Mêdjēt again went out to steal; again the wolf appears to Shyal and says to him, "At night in the river the water shall overflow, cross over to a high island between the river and the low ground; on the water there shall float the body of a corpse, on his right shoulder there shall be the jewel (êrdene) Chuinduim. Whoever cuts it off shall be Khan. Besides this again last night's thief stands near the tent." Guigêr Mêdjēt again fled. At night the nation rose, went forth, and crossed to the island; the water came, the nation crowded on the bank, and waits for the corpse. Guigêr Mêdjēt at that time ascended up the river, seized the corpse, cut off the jewel Chuinduim, and let the corpse fall again into the water. When the merchants who stood on the bank drew the corpse to the shore and saw that the jewel had already been taken, they again let the corpse fall into the water. On the morning of the next day Guigêr Mêdjēt determined, "I will not now go to the merchant encampment as a thief. The wolf will again hinder me. I will go as a merchant." Having arrived at the merchant encampment he demanded that they should show him the merchandize as perhaps he would buy it. Selecting merchandize for 1000 liang[12] of silver, Guigêr Mêdjēt, being a conjuror (Ēlbchē), secretly laid upon them his golden seal, and said to the merchants, "Let the merchandize remain with you for the present; to-morrow I will come for it." Meanwhile he himself went to Chētguir Khan and said, "My mother has lost her property, order a search to be made among the merchants. On my things lies my golden seal." The Khan ordered that Djetuim Senge should be called, and asked him, "Have you not such and such a seal—a seal of gold, eh?" Djētuim Senge said he had no goods with golden seals. The Khan sent officers to search the caravan. The officers found much merchandize with golden seals. Then the Khan again summoned Djētuim Senge to him, and said to him that he was not a merchant, but a thief, and ordered that all his merchandize should be given to Guigêr Mêdjēt, and that Djētuim Senge himself and his 500 men should be thrown into prison (Khara Byaishēn). The nation wept. Then Guigêr Mêdjēt said to the Khan, "Do not put him in prison and do not take his goods; let him only give me his (son) Shyal." Djētuim Senge agreed, let Shyal go, and gave him a cup with water and a khadak (piece of silk) as a memento that he had saved him from the flood and from the loss of his wealth. When Guigêr Mêdjēt had taken Shyal home he learnt from him that he was his younger brother (because you see their father was a clump of flour). Then Guigêr Mêdjēt with Shyal returned to their old nomad villages (Ulus), that is the Ulus[13] of Eruigu Uidzil Khan. Then they found that the nation had fallen into misery, because Ulan-Nēdun Shumusên Ukhuir, Hama Khan ate ten men a day. Guigêr Mêdjēt and Shyal slew Ukhuir Hama Khan (or Ukhuir Vam Khan) and restored their Ulus (Tillages). After this Guigêr Mêdjēt became Khan of four Khanites and married Etozēlkh Tēnkēl Urun Katun.[14]

In conclusion the narrator stated that this story (Ulguir) was first recounted by one of the thirty- two wooden men who served at the feet of the table of the exhumed Ardjē Burdjē Khan in the place called Tobtsuik to to goi.[15]

10. Tain Tērkhēn.

According to the account of the Gêtsēl Djorkē (who was a Khalka[16] man of the Barga clan from the mouths of the Orkhon river[17]), one of the affluents of the Etyn Gol[18] (pronounced by Djorkē the Uig) is called Arkhuin-borol. There there is a rock shaped like a man: it is the Tain Tērkhēn; near it is a monastery in which live many Lhamas (Buddhist monks).

According to another account Tain Tērkhēn is to be found at the guard-station Uilgên.[19] Tain Tērkhēn was a Bo (Shaman[20]) of the time of Genghis Khan; he carried off the Khan's wife; hid her in a cave which he blocked with stones. Genghis Khan for a long time sought the wicked Bo,[21] and at last discovered his dwelling-place, by seeing a grey horse (Boro morēn) standing in the valley of the Kiver Arkhuin Borol, on which Tain Tērkhēn rode. Genghis Khan smote the shaman, striking him with his sword on the right cheek. Even now on the rock may be seen the mark of the sabre stroke.

According to the account of Tabuin-sakhal, a shaman who lived in the town of Cobdo, two tribes, Khar darkhat and Shar Tērkhēn, reside in the neighbourhood of Tain Tērkhēn.

The figure of Tain Tērkhēn enjoys the greatest fame in Mongolia. To the rock travel pilgrims from places such as Wrga in the far west, from the Diubrut Vlus (villages) by the Ubsanor Lake. Even in the Gobi desert this rock is known of. It is remarkable that persons dwelling in the farthest parts of Mongolia in speaking of it always observe, "Round Tain Tērkhēn are many trembling shamans." Aivoha, a Mongoe who was our (Potanin's) guide across Gobi, and who was taken from a village of Nam, which is on the southern boundary of Gobi, knew of two Tērkhēns; one was a blue rock (Khu khu chēlo) in the country of Têlengētên Uryankhai; the other was whitish-grey (Boro tsagan) on the Seleuge River. The Mongoes say that the image (Kēshachēlo) first laid upon the ground but that it raised itself up and stands now solid and upright. They say, also, that in front of Tain Tērkhēn can only serve a true shaman, a false shaman will at once reveal himself and die. All these tales induce me (Potanin) to imagine that in front of Tain Tērkhēn there is still preserved a religious service of shamans.

When I asked for representation of Tain Tērkhēn, they brought me, printed on a sort of paper with Indian ink, the portrait of a horseman with a standard in the right hand. The horseman was provided with a quiver and a sword. Clouds surrounded the horseman; at the top amidst the clouds were mountain-peaks, and below them the sun and the moon; on the feet of the horseman were observed two statues. Other Mongoes to whom I showed the portrait called it Dainsuin Têngēr.

11. Djērenshê Shêshên and As Djanēbek.

The Kirghis of Tarbagatai say that As Djanēbek was the most ancient Khan in the world; he governed many Elyas (Elya in Kirghis means elan). He had an ally, Djērenshê Shêshên, who knew everything of stones, of animals, of herbs, &c. In that time there was no forest, and the people did not know with what to make their houses. Djērenshê Shêshên pointed out to the Khan the plant Djērên.[22] This was wood in the time of Djērenshê Shêshên, wherefore the plant bears that name.

Sultan Musa Chermanov (neighbourhood of Kur Karalinsk) related to me that the Kirghis of Kur Karalinsk have a large blade of grass which has descended from the times of As Djanēbek and his two cotemporaries Djērenshê Shêshên and Aldar Kosê (Kosê in Kirghis means beardless). Djērenshê was called the wise (Shêshên in Kirghis means the eloquent), and Aldar Kosê was called the liar.

12. Er-qokchu.

In ancient times the Kirghis attacked and drove away the neighbouring nomad nations, and that so suddenly that their braziers which they left behind them were still warm.[23] In one of these braziers they found a child buried in the ashes to keep it warm during the night, which had been forgotten by the departing aborigines. The Kirghis took him and gave him over to a woman to be suckled, so that the child, not being brought up by his own mother, was badly nourished, and his growth was stunted. Therefore he was given the name Uak,[24] as much as to signify the "little."

By another account, written down in Tarbagatai, I find, "The ancestor of the Uaks was called Erqokchu"—(Kirghis of the Akmolinsk province.)

13. The Wood-pecker.

The wood-pecker (in Kirghis, Tokuldauk) was formerly a servant of Pëigambar Musa (prophet Moses). He stole much, and hid it, not knowing that Musa knew all about it. At last Musa determines to punish him, so he clothed him with stripes on the back, and forbade him to eat either herb or meat; he was to eat dry wood; he tried to cry out "Tamaguim djok tuk djok"—that is, "There is not a morsel of food!" but there only came out the sound Kē-ēk, and no one could understand him.—(Siēr Bai, a Kirghis of the Chubaraigir clan of Tarbagatai.)

  1. Malik, probably Arabic, Melik, a king.
  2. Probably Arabic Kaffarini, infidels.
  3. Compare China mandarin button on cap.
  4. A Mongol tribe. The Tung nu is a name given by the Chinese to the Huns.
  5. Can this be an allusion to the invasion of Europe by the Huns?
  6. Su, water, usu, water, in Central Asian nomenclature.
  7. Gachoun (stage place in a desert).
  8. Aimak (collection of nomad tents).
  9. Ukhuirokto. M. Potanin considers a species of Hamster.
  10. Saba. Skin vessel in which Koumiss is poured. (Potanin.)
  11. The word Tengis or Dhengis is applied to the Caspian and other lakes and seas.
  12. Liang, Chinese weight, 1⅛ oz.
  13. Ula in Central Asian nomenclature.
  14. Catun, lady, woman. (Potanin.)
  15. Ta pu chi ke to lo kai, or Dabuchik Doroga, is on the Russo-Chinese frontier.
  16. Khalka, Mongol, not Turcoman. The Kirghis are Turcomen.
  17. The Amur river divided into the Orkhon and Sheika near the town of Nertunsk.
  18. Gol, river.
  19. Uilgên, on Russo-Chinese frontier.
  20. Shaman, nature worshipper non-Buddhist religion. The Buddhist call the Shamans sorcerers.
  21. Bo, in Mongolian, demon.
  22. Djerên, Astragalus, of the Tragasantha order. (Potanin.)
  23. Mr. Potanin, in a note, quotes European authorities to show Mongol children are often put in the braziers and covered with warm ashes. I have seen a Chinese child so treated for warmth. The ashes are wood ashes thoroughly-burnt, allowed to cool, and then warmed up with charcoal, and put in a brazier, where they are never hot, only warm. During the wet season, in China, we aired our clothes by wrapping them round a brazier full of warm ashes.
  24. Uak, a former Kirghis tribe. (Potanin.)