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A Journey in Southern Siberia, by Jeremiah Curtin, [1909], at

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AT first—in the beginning of the world—there was confusion here below, and great disorder. There were also various vile creatures, especially Mangathais. Then a council was held in the sky at which Qurmus Tengeri, one of the forty-four Eastern gods, said, "A middle son can pacify and set aside all this evil."

Esege Malan had nine sons. He called the middle one, whose son, Gesir Bogdo, said: "If I get what I need I will go to the earth and destroy the evil creatures there. But the ninety-nine Tengeris must give me all their tricks."

The Tengeris delivered their tricks, one hundred thousand in number, and Gesir Bogdo swallowed them. Then, turning to Esege Malan, he said:

"Now it is thy turn. Give me thy black steed and a hero's outfit." Esege gave the black steed and the outfit. "Give me thy lasso and thy dart." Esege gave the lasso and dart. Then Gesir asked for a wife and got her. He said to his wife, "Thou hast three daughters, give those three daughters to me." At first the woman refused. "It is bad down there," said she, "they cannot stay there. I will not give them."

"If I cannot get all that I need I shall not go," declared Gesir Bogdo.

Then Esege Malan commanded Otqon Tengeri to soothsay and find out what to do, to give or not to give. Otqon obeyed and said: "They will be of use to Gesir Bogdo. It is necessary to give them."

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The mother gave her three daughters, and Gesir Bogdo swallowed them, as he had swallowed all that Esege Malan gave him. Then he took farewell, but he did not come down to earth at once; he traveled around in heaven for three years, looking down always. And during those three years he saw all the evil-doers everywhere,—all the bad spirits and vile creatures. Then he said, "I cannot go down as I am, I must be born in that country." He saw a woman sixty years of age; her name was Tumún Yarigûl, and her husband's name was Sindlei U!gu!gun. And he said, "I wish to enter that woman's head."

That year Sindlei U!gu!gun was very prosperous, his herds increased, and his grass grew wonderfully well. One day Tumún said: "I feel that I am to be the mother of many. I hear children talking."

Many children were soon born to her, each in a different way, but all flew to the sky. At last one was born who said, "As I am born all people will be born hereafter." And so it has been. This infant was thin, and very ugly to look at; but it changed quickly and at once grew to a man's stature. This man, who was Gesir Bogdo, cleaned away all vile things, destroyed evil spirits and bad people. Lusugúi Mangathai was the last evil spirit he killed, and when Gesir Bogdo had him by the legs he scratched the earth with his fingers and ten streams gushed out. They form the river Aqa, which falls into the Angara on the left side. Then Gesir said:

"Now I will lie down and sleep. Let no one waken me. I will sleep till again there will be many harmful things, evil spirits, and bad people in the world; then I will waken and destroy them."

Gesir Bogdo had three sons and six grandsons before he came down from the sky. Of each of his nine descendants there were in the old time nine tales, in all eighty-one. They had to be told in groups of nine, and the relator could neither eat, drink, nor sleep while telling them, and when each group of nine was told an unseen person said, "Thou hast forgotten where thou placed thy Pfu!"

Gesir Bogdo was born in Qonyin Qotoí. He sleeps at the


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[paragraph continues] Rising of the Sun (Qúlaganá Qóli). He lies under an immense flat rock; all around it is a great taigà (a marshy forest of Siberia). When, to rest easy, he turns from one side to the other, the earth trembles. The Russians call this trembling an "earthquake," but the Buriats know that it is Gesir Bogdo turning over.

Next: Gesir Bogdo. No. II