Topics in Vâsi Ethnography

by

Zamân Xân

recorded and translated by

Richard F. Strand


14. The Old-Time Religion

[RS] âni de `de bâloala_âsi â? [RS] Were there god-callers here?
[ZX] âsi ou˜. hâr ... [ZX] Yes, there were. Every ...
[RS] kâa nom_âsi, šo viri to? [RS] What did they call them in your language?
[ZX] imo vari to, lupku’â. l’upw-kâ. lupk’â kulâsi. lupk’â âšta, âni. mâřâ, dü_âsi, âmŋi de mâřastâi. ou˜. [ZX] In our language, lupku’â. l’upw-kâ. They would say lupk’â. There were lupk’â here. They died; there were two of them. They've died. Yes.
[RS] âmgi kâa kula bâlla? [RS] What were they supposed to do?
[ZX] âmna sâip, vari, ṣâŋe vari vâllânâsi sâip; imro gita sta, koṭ vo_âsa. mon gita sta koṭ vo_âsa. de·saňi gita sta koṭ vo_âsa. imo XXX kula bimiš bo, ina ândosâ to imro to kummiš. ina ândosâ to piloni to kummiš; ina ândosâ to piloni to koř buna; kti âska vâllânâsi sâip. âmna, c̣o c̣o viati vâllâla. âske meṣ iot [?] 'ti uea, kunâsi utro qonun i·a_âso kti ča˜ mânša kudüm kulâsi ina. [laugh] ou˜. [ZX] They would speak about the old times. "Imro has this kind of power. Mon has this kind of power. Disâňi has this kind of power." If we would do [xxx] [?], he would say, "We do this amount for Imro. We do this amount for so-and-so. We have to do this amount for so-and-so." They would shout it out. He would have learned it, and he would say that the law was this, and guide the people [?]. [laugh] Yes.
[RS] suara âmgi višta tela kâča bâlla. višta tela źâňanša â? sâřeć ćoa ... [RS] And who would be the sacrificers? Do you know the sacrificers? With a juniper branch ...
[ZX] âa. sâřeć tela de, mün âmo to kâča bi bo; âmna tela bunta sâip_â. mün âmo to kâča, âa ... [ZX] Uh, regarding the juniper placers, whoever lived in the mün's house would be the sacrificers. Whoever was in the mün's house.
[RS] kâa nom âi? [RS] What was their name?
[ZX] münd. münd. mün. münd, âmna mânša bunta. münd. münd, dol di ânna nâi â? münd. suara âska ǰukuř m’ündi. ou˜. âska ǰukuřo sta nom m’ündi_âsa. [ZX] münd. münd. mün. The men are münd. münd. münd; there's a d there, too, right? münd. And the woman: m’ündi. Yes. The woman's name is m’ündi.
[RS] ǰukuř âska münd sta štri_âsa â?. [RS] Is the woman the münd's wife?
[ZX] štri_âsa. [laugh] [ZX] She's the wife. [laugh]
[RS] âska kâa kuli billi. [RS] What would she do?
[ZX] âska m’ündi kuna sâip_â. âskea kâa rutbâ nâ_âsa, ǰukuř_âsa nâi â? mâksât ke sâip, âska epšik isât de, mün âmo to âska di isât vâi buna âska di. m’ündi kunta âske ŋe. ou˜. [ZX] The m’ündi does -- she doesn't have any rank; she's a woman, right? The intention is that she has a bit of honor, too, being in the mün's house. They call her m’ündi. Yes.
[RS] suara ea di, pṣa mâṇla. pṣa mâṇla de âni âsi â? [RS] Then there's the shaman. Were there shamans here?
[ZX] âska pṣa de âni kor âsi, âni mřeti xâlos bistâi sâip. [laugh] [ZX] There were a whole lot of them here; but they died off. [laugh]
[RS] âmgi kâa kula bâlla. [RS] What would they do?
[ZX] âmni sâip, noṭ to âćti âmna mânša noṭ to pâra [?] bi bo nâi â? ǰüṣ to oasa bo sâip â·kistâň ṣpâ vâllâsta bu, ḍâmḍuk bulâ; kâa bulâ; âmŋi gita stoa˜ to; iâk dâm e râqâm buna sâip. â·kist☠utiati če˜, â·kiste˜ gita sta buna gita sta buna gita sta. u kti â·kiste˜ sâip_â âska vi přâsina. â·kiste˜ vâllânta, kâa vâňio, tua de kâa vâňio, kâie. kulâ. [ZX] They would come when the people were putting on dances, right? When there was a boiled-meat feast, then they would play a flute and drum and whatever, and during that he would suddenly turn into this character. Then he would jump up and say this will happen and that will happen. He would be up and then he would settle down. Then they would ask, "What did you see; what did you see," whatever.
âa, imro vâňio, ia˜. imro âćti ure, ure åsmon to_âso. nila bâ·sano meṣ, šâkal i˜ sta voa, nom teti, ine sta piloni voa bomrik šâkal bi·so; üre ure åsmon to_âso. ea, šo to gita sta leavor přena; kâ·ṭi ni ksea [?] kti giǰa ku. bâra kćanam bo sâip_â, kâṭi kol [?] kṣta bi·sâ; bârâkât lesta bulo. biǧâm buň. e˜ mânša sâip_â ea sa to vik egek mřenta. kâa puč kâa ṣu kâa vići; egek ǰukuř egek mâčkuř mřenta. ˀizofât nâ mřela bulâ. ine to biǧâm buň. suara saňi saňi de nâ âćanta, strak garǰor. strak vâsdor. kâi vor ânna; dü vor ânna. pâs, âta gati, âska di, šikât buti, nuṭi [nâṭü] buti ena. šo de ine de biǧâm buň. kulâ. He would say, "Uh, I saw Imro. Imro came and he's way up in the sky. He's wearing dark [blue?] clothing, and has taken the form of so-and-so's grandfather. He's up in the sky. He's going to give you so much goodness. He says that he will shower [?] us with grain. When I look out, the season for grain will be clear. There will be good fortune. Don't worry. But within a year so many people will die; five or six, or a score, so many men and so many women will die. There won't be any additional ones dying. Don't worry about this. And no armies will come, this summer. Maybe they'll come once or twice, but they'll go back defeated. Don't worry about it."
â·kistâň ṣâmeṣ bu; lea vari âvařo tua. imro vari, lea vari âvařo. ṣâmeṣ. âtki vištivoanta sâip. [laugh] Then they would say, "Bravo! You brought good news. You brought Imro's good news. Bravo!" They would praise him there. [laugh]
[RS] âskea kâa přela bunta. [RS] What would they give him?
[ZX] âskea sâip_â epšik ˀisât přela bunta nâi â? âske vari eṭa vor, sâ·i buna sâip. sâ·i bi bo, utro, imro mi imo to mi_âso sâip, ina vari vâllânâsi âska vari sâ·i bo! ki fâqât din âmŋio˜ sta âqidâ âi. i·e to [?] âsi o! âmna pṣa buti vâllâla mânša vari, såbit bi to ča˜, hâqiqât bi to ča˜, utro, ina vari, ina ṣṭâla vari_âsâ kti mânša i·ke to, mišoa˜ gustâi. i·e to kâpara bistâi mânša sâip. [laugh] ou˜. [ZX] They would give him a bit of honor, right? Sometimes his words would be correct. If it was correct, they would say, "Son of a bitch, Imro is just with us! What he said was correct!" Those were just the beliefs of their religion. That's what they had! When the words of a man who would speak in trance would come true, the people would think that, by God, his words are right, and they would be duped by him. The people became infidels over things like that. [laugh] Yes.
ṣâŋe ev âni_âsi sâip_â. âska, čare mânša, âni `ča enâsi, biliuk mânša_âsi. âmna ṣâŋe mânša noṭ kum enâsi sâip, såteri kummiš 'ti âa ṣpâ kâti [?]. hâu! kâti bâra gati oa to bâra teti c̣o viana o âska. oa to bâra teti, c̣o viati â·kist☠sâip_â, âćti utiano gita sta bo gita sta bo gita sta bo; ina gita sta bi to â·kistâ˜, purda buti, e purda `ča gati, bara ṣṭoa, kâa vâňio tua. oa to bâra te, ṣkâi [?], kula bo. oa to e mânša c̣o vianâ, i˜ to, ni âve de, tre=vića, mânša mřelâ. â·kist☠ča ča ča ča ča âćti šo to, ea âaṭi, purduk, ea purduk, di šo to mřelâ. ine to ṣu vo bu. kâřo ne kâa kudüm_âsala bo. kâřo âska! There was one here before. The people were going up the valley; there were a lot of people. The people kept dancing and partying, playing the flute. He says, "Hâu," and goes out into the water and shouts. After he went into the water and shouted, he came and stood up said that this and that were supposed to happen. After this happened, an old man goes up and says, "Tell us, what did you see?" "Go out [?] to the water," he says. A man in the water is shouting; bring him down to me [?]. "Three score people will die." Then he came up and said, "One boy and one old man of yours will die. Be aware of this." That's what he said, whatever might have been going on.
e˜ âni kâi, âtkist☠sâip_â, âmna eṭa, tålibon tålibon, viammo i·kea. viammo i·ke, ǧâ·ip [?] bulo, bula [?] lâtri lesta nâ kâřo â·ki kâi kula bo. Well, then some religious students here said, "Let's beat him. Let's beat him. He should be removed [?]. He didn't act well there."
e˜ ṣâŋe mânša kâi kulo bo kulo, viati kâi de bo sâip. psoaň. kti ia˜ giǰa kařo. "Let an old-timer do what he will; what would be accomplished by beating him? Forget it," I said.
â·kist☠sâip_â nire břâza přâ pto sâip_â. břâza přâ přeti, tâqribân âa, tre vićâ čân nâfâr mâřâ â·ki! â·kist☠âćti âćti imo to âni i·sop kti če˜, ea riš sâfi ǰe ea âaṭi mařo, imo gřom to! utro_, ina pṣe vari sâ·i bo. sâ·i, vâsut gita kunâsi, tre vići de â·ki mřenta, âni dü kunâsi. dü mařâ pštrak! utro, sâ·i_âso, i·a vari. ine to mânša âska bunta nâi â? âqidâ pâido kunta sâip, utro kâa_âsa bo višanta. [laugh] Then down the valley an illness struck. The illness struck, and approximately three score and some people died there! Then it came up to us, and by the count here, one greybeard and one boy died, in our village! "Son of a bitch, the shaman's words were correct. Correct; last spring he was saying that three score will die there, and two here. Now two have died. Son of a bitch, the prediction was right after all," they thought. Because of this, some belief was born among the people. They're thinking, "Son of a bitch, whatever could this be." [laugh]
drea, âskea tålibon vâlleati, biliuk pok XXX kařo sâip. tua bândi kti hu·kumât to přemmiš. âmna ǧâir vari [?] nâ vâllâ. šâiton tu to âsa; âni šâiton vâllâna tu to. tu [for ] kåpir_â·ša; šâiton tu to buna. âmna nâ kulâ ǧâibi vari kti giǰa ku. vidařeao, âska. â·kiste˜ xâpu bati âsi âska bičorâ di mâřo čând sa di bati. ou˜. Later, the religious students called him and really did [xxx] [?]. They said, "We'll take you prisoner and give you to the government. Don't speak these different kinds of words. The devil is in you; the devil is speaking through you here. You're an infidel; the devil lives in you. You shouldn't say these outlandish [?] things." They intimidated him. After that he remained unhappy, and the poor fellow died a few years later. Yes.
[RS] âska pṣa šo viri to kâi_âsa? [RS] What's a shaman in your language?
[ZX] paṣk’i. ou˜. paṣk’i kummiš. XXX, zâmonât to pṣa bula bunta o! biliuk ne? [ZX] paṣk’i. Yes. We say paṣk’i. In the old [?] times they would be prophesying a lot, right?
[RS] strak di nâ_âsala â? [RS] There are probably not any more now, right?
[ZX] nâi pštrak âmna gita sta nâ_âi. xâlos bâ. ṣâŋe zâmonât to bunâsi. [ZX] No, there aren't any like that now. They're finished off. They used to exist in the old times.
[RS] strak de, vâtâni ḍâktâr de âi â? âni. [RS] Are there any native doctors here now?
[ZX] vâtâni gi☠lâtri sâip; ina, âŋo telâ, kâa kulâ eṭa eṭa bunta âa? gita kšaň suara kšaň, ine sta lâk [?] gita sta bi·sa kti ča˜, eṭa eṭa bunta sâip. âmna ḍåktâr de âi. suara âmna gi☠ḍåktâri bula bi, kâi, zâňalâ, sâip. [ZX] The native ones are worthless. There are a few that cure by firing and whatever, aren't there? There are a few who tell us to do this or that, and that this [lâk ?] is like this. There are these doctors. But their doctoring is worthless; what do they know?
suara ina šâiton_âsa kummiš nâi â? ina šâiton e bândâe xudå_âsa. šâiton âllo to iåǧi bi·sa, mišoana kummiš. ina kâi_âsa sâip, šâiton šo kâa mâṇloň, âsa kunaň â? de nâi. nâi â. But we say that this Satan exists, right? Satan is one of God's creatures. Satan rebelled against Allâh, and we say that he tells lies. What is he; what do you people say about Satan? Does he exist, or not?
[RS] imo sta din to âsa ne, suara ... [RS] In our religion he exists, but ...
[ZX] âsa â? šo sta din to. [ZX] He exists? In your religion.
[RS] ou˜, ou˜. ˀisåvi din to de âsa [RS] Yes, yes. He exists in the Christian religion.
[ZX] âsa â? [ZX] He exists?
[RS] ou˜. šo sta kâi_âsa bo de imo sta mi_âsa. [RS] Yes. Ours is just the same as yours.
[ZX] ou˜? imo to di âsa kunta. nâi â? âsa ča. šâiton âsala kša âa? [ZX] Yes? In ours they say that he exists, right? He exists. So you say that Satan probably exists?
[RS] giǰa de kunta. pâtia˜ viri âsa â? de nâ_âsa. [RS] So they say. Is it believable or not?
[ZX] [laugh] xudâi to iåǧa bu˜ bâna â? pi·kir kařa bo âǰabâ kudüm_âsa sâip_â. nâ pseati xudâi nâ pseati pâs âveti imo to âvolâ kti, mišoala kti imo âske sta mišoa˜ vari to pâa ela kti, â·kist☠âskea kti mišoa˜ vari to imo kâa kti dusâx to vi_âṭloala kti, âǰâp kudüm kâřa sta bi ča, kâie. [laugh] [ZX] [laugh] Can someone rebel against God? If you think about it, it's an amazing thing. Without wiping him out, God brings him back and gives us the assignment that if he lies and we follow his lies, then because of his lies he throws us down to Hell. It's an amazing thing that he's done, for whatever. [laugh]
[RS] e˜ giǰa bo de, âni de ṣâŋe de biliuk lesta viri_âsi, mânša giǰa kunâsi ne? tårix to ečok de streo, e pârâŋ âni ṣâŋe kufur vel to oaso, nâi â? âskea čok streao kitop to. kombřom ea sa ter kâřo, âska. [RS] So, if that's it, then things were very good in the old times. The people were saying that. There's even a little written about it in history. A foreigner came here in pre-Islamic times, right? He wrote a little about it in a book. He spent a year in Kom Community.
[ZX] ou˜. xo? bâlo kařa·so XXX. sâxta zâmonâ to oaso âska. di gati nire imro to âni gati â·ki bati, â·kist☠`ča âćti âni čând vos âni bati âni st☠â·kistâ˜, gu·so kunta o! [ZX] Yes. Really? He must have been something! He came in a difficult time. They say that he went down to Imro's place here and spent some time, and then he came up and spent a few days here and then went away.
[RS] ou˜. suara â·ki vel to âskea streao ča˜, ina gul to gita sta, âska_âsa nâi â? i·a kufur din âni, â·sal to˜ âni_âsa. přâsü˜ gul. kti streao. [RS] Yes. But at that time he wrote that in this valley it was like that. He wrote that the source of the "Kâfir" religion was here, in Přâsü˜ Valley.
[ZX] ou˜. â·sal kufur din âni_âsa kti vâllâla bunta. ou˜. [ZX] Yes. They say that the origin of the Kâfir religion is here. Yes.
[RS] â·kiste âmgi but xånâ bunâsi, suara, âmna mânša de ... [RS] There were those temples then, and the people ...
[ZX] âmna kâča ea, xâirât kula bi bo, go, imro, imro sta, mâ·kâ kunâsi nire. kṣtegi. âskea oal' mâ·kâ, lâbzi, ârâbi di_âsa; fårsi mâ·kâ pårsi vari_âsa nâi â? imo sta ṣâŋe mânša, o öl mâka kti vâllâlâsi. ‘öl mâkâ. ‘öl mâkâ måno i·a bo; oal' mâ·kâ. [ZX] If one of them was going to put on a feast, he went to Imro's "Mecca", as they would say, down there in Kṣtegi. That "Big Mecca" is also in the Arabic language. "Mecca" is Persian, isn't it? Our old-time people would say o öl mâka. ‘öl mâkâ. The meaning of ‘öl mâkâ was this: ‘Big Mecca'.
[RS] mâ·kâ de kunâsi â? [RS] They would say "Mecca"?
[ZX] ou˜. mâk’â kunâsi. ṣâŋe sâip. mâk’â kunâsi ča. ‘öl mâka kti vâllânâsi sâip. suara, â·kistâ˜, mâ·kâ, 'ṣṭić `de kunta. 'ṣṭić `de. 'ṣṭić de. âmna 'ṣṭić `de pâmüč, â·kist☠tre lâtri, h’elut, m’unut, ’uzut kunta. âmna tre lâtri, oal', oal' imro_âšt'. kunta sâip. imro de ev_âsa; tre nom [?] utařa·sa. âni kâča, råsti kula bi bo, šut kula bi bo, šut přesta bi bo, â·ki gâanta sâip. [ZX] Yes. They would say mâk’â. In the old days. They would say mâk’â. They would be talking about ‘öl mâka. Furthermore, they would say that in Mecca there were eighteen gods. Eighteen gods. Eighteen gods. Among these eighteen gods there were three things they called h’elut, m’unut, and ’uzut. They would say that these three things were three Imros. Imro was one, but he had three names. If someone here wanted to tell the truth and swear an oath, they would take him there.
[RS] â·ki âska to˜ to â? [RS] To that place there?
[ZX] to˜ to guâ kti. [ZX] They went to that place.
[RS] kâa nom_âsa i·a to˜. [RS] What's the name of that place?
[ZX] to˜, mâreš ‘ire. m’âreš, ’ire. [ZX] The place is mâreš ‘ire. m’âreš, ’ire.
[RS] ’ire kâi_âsa? [RS] What's ’ire?
[ZX] ‘ire, iâne, mâreš to˜. imro to˜. â·ki h’elut to, m’ulut to, ’uzut to di kti kšaň ieň. šut kuloň. kunta nâi â? štrak âni, mâ·kâ vari to fi·kir kařa bo, bârâbâr bomrik buna. kâi kti kařa bo, â·ki, âṣṭić buton vo âšt' âmŋi. kâpara zâmonâ to, â·küň [?], mâ·kâ vi tařastâi. âṣṭić buton meṣ, låt; mån’åt; ǧuz’åt. âmna oal', but âmŋi âi! âni mânša giǰa kunta h’elut; m’ânut; ’uzut kula bunta nâi â? utro âmna â·kista vari kor âni âvařa·sala â? višti pi·kir_âsi ia˜ [laugh]. sâŋâti [?] gita kařa·sala â? kâi âsala bo. sâŋâti gita sta kâřasta bâlla ne? višanam. [ZX] ‘ire, that is, mâreš place. Imro's place. They would say, "Go there and say it to h’elut, m’ulut, and ’uzut, if you want to make an oath." Now here if you think about Mecca, it's almost the same thing. How would it be; they had eighteen idols there in pre-Islamic times. They were set up there in Mecca. With the eighteen idols were the big idols låt; mån’åt, and ǧuz’åt. These were the big idols. The people here would say h’elut, m’ânut, and ’uzut, right? I would think, "Son of a bitch, words from way over there were brought all the way here?" Did they hear about them and do it this way? Whatever it might have been. I think they must have heard about it and done it this way.
suara, imro tul kula bunta âtki sâip_â. imro âmo. imro âmo. Also, they would talk about Imro's field there. Imro's house; Imro's house.
[RS] âska pâta bi·sa â? strak. [RS] Does it remain now?
[ZX] nâi âa? viṭli·sa o! XXX. ḍuara_âsa. [ZX] No. It's collapsed. It's flat.
[RS] mem âsa â? [RS] Does the foundation exist?
[ZX] mem âsa, ou˜. mem âsa. mem âsa. [ZX] Yes, the foundation exists. The foundation exists.


Previous Topic on Tape | Next Topic on Tape


Topics by Subject: