Topics in Vâsi Ethnography

by

Zamân Xân

recorded and translated by

Richard F. Strand


16. Former Religious Functionaries

[RS] âmgi `de baloala kâa kunâsi, kufur vel to. [RS] What would the god-callers do in pre-Islamic times?
[ZX] kufur vel to âmŋio˜ sta i·a sifât_âsa nâi â? de bâloala bunta, de vâlloala bunta. tårix vâllâla bunta. tårix vâllâla bunta. [ZX] In pre-Islamic times they had this quality, right? They were the god-callers; they would call the gods. They recited history. They recited history.
[RS] kâa tårix. [RS] What history?
[ZX] tårix ina pilåni ǰoi to st☠oasomiš. imro sta sifât i·ki_âsa, mone sta sifât i·a buno, suara, mânša sta, suara, ina kâa nom_âsa bo, di·saňi sta sifât i·a râqâm_âsa kti, c̣o viati vâllâla bunta. ou˜. [ZX] History like, "We came from such-and-such a place. Imro's praise is this. Mone's praise should be this." A person's – uh, what was her name? – "Disaňi's praise is this type." They would shout it out. Yes.
[RS] ina ut kâi_âsa. [RS] What's this ut?
[ZX] ina ut, vari pok kula_âsa sâip_â. e kudüm ḍu bi bo, âskea, muquror_âsa nâi â? âskea tu [for ] gita sta ea ṣoř ḍen boš. kâi ea poXXX gać, kâa ea vâsa gâć, tü gita kařa·so, nuqson kařa·so, ṣâř' âveti če˜, čâmân to âvařa·so, břu˜ć to âvařa·so, tul iâňastâi, di âmna gita sta to ut, âvolâ âska přena. [ZX] The ut is someone who clears thing up. If some business shows up, he's brought up. "You‘re fined one head of livestock." Or, "Give me one [xxx]. Or, "Give me one cow." "You've done damage; you brought an animal to the meadow; they ate a field." For things like that, the ut gives him a sentence.
[RS] âni `ča ut_âsi ina gul to. [RS] How many uts were there here in this valley.
[ZX] âni imo sta, ea ut_âsa sâip_â. ou˜. âska ṣâřa gâati de, but pârâsti to âlol kummiš nâi â? âska ut âlol kuna sâip. mulo_âsa, âska. [ZX] We have one ut here. Yes. For idol worship we would take an animal and slaughter it, right? The ut would slaughter it. He was a priest.
[RS] ou˜! âska ut kâča_âsi, ṣâŋe. [RS] Yes! Who was the ut in the old days?
[ZX] ṣâŋe ut u, imo_âsamiš, o˜ć_âsam sâip. [ZX] In the old days the uts would be us. It's me.
[RS] ṣṭâle˜. [RS] Really.
[ZX] ou˜. [laugh] [ZX] Yes. [laugh]
[??] ina kâi lâtri bo di âsa o! [laugh] imro di âmu bi·sa, ut di âmu_âsi. [laugh] [??] He's whatever there is! [laugh] He's been Imro, and he was the ut, too. [laugh]
[RS] mâtâ kša toča di ut_âsi â? [RS] Wait a minute. Was your father the ut, too?
[ZX] ou˜. [ZX] Yes.
[RS] toča sta tot di? [RS] What about your father's father?
[ZX] ut. ut’obiâk kunta i·a. âa, tota sta, tota sta to ut’obiâk nom_âsa sâip_â. [ZX] ut. They called him Ut’obiâk. Uh, Father's father was named Ut’obiâk.
[??] ine sta tot ut’âbiâg mirak. [??] His father was Ut’âbiâg Mirak.
[ZX] i˜ sta tot nom, mer’âk nom_âsa sâip. ut’obiâk m’erak. kunta. [ZX] My father's name is Mer’âk. They say Ut’obiâk M’erak.
[RS] mer’ak_âsa â? nâi m’erak. [RS] Is it Mer’ak or M’erak?
[ZX] m’erak. [ZX] M’erak.
[RS] pârvosa di? [RS] What about your great-grandfather?
[ZX] pârvoa de, [ZX] Great-grandfather ...
[??] biâk. [??] Biâk.
[ZX] nâi nâi. ušt’avâ. [ZX] No, no. Ušt’avâ.
[??] ou˜. ṣṭâl' vari_âsa. [??] Yes, that's right.
[ZX] pâṣṭ’o vou. ut’o pâṣṭo vou kunta sâip. ut’o pâṣṭo. [ZX] Grandfather Pâṣṭ’o. They called him Grandfather Ut’o Pâṣṭo. Ut’o Pâṣṭo.
[RS] â·kiste silsilâ to ... [RS] And then, further back ...
[ZX] â·kiste kâi di_âsala bo, âmŋio˜ kâi ... [ZX] Then, whatever it might have been. What ...
[RS] suara âmgi sunti ut bunta nâi â? [RS] But, were they all uts or not?
[ZX] ut. ut âi ou˜. [ZX] ut. They're uts. Yes.
[RS] vâre ut âsi â? [RS] Were there any other uts?
[ZX] nâi nâî nâi nâi. vâre ut nâ_âi. [ZX] No, no. No, no. There weren't any other uts.
[RS] mâtâ kša. imro sta, lâkâ imro šo to_âsi nâi â? am’al to_âsa. âska imro sta ketta_âsi bo, âmgi ut bunâsi â? [RS] Wait a minute. For instance, you had Imro, didn't you? He was in the am’al. Whichever was in charge of Imro, would they be the ut?
[ZX] ut bunta ou˜. [ZX] They would be the ut, yes.
[RS] âmgi koma˜ sta uto kor ste oastâi, tua ṭi˜č_âsa â? [RS] Do you know where the Koms' ut’os came from?
[ZX] koma˜ sta uto sâip âmŋio˜ sta koma˜ sta uto imro to nâ_âi âmgi. uto âloidâ âmŋio˜ sta e hi·sop_âsa nâi â? imo imro vâňi di bomiš; âu, uto de ut di, imo to_âsa sâip. ou˜. [ZX] The Koms' utos are not connected with Imro. According to their reckoning, the uto was separate, right? We were the keepers of Imro, and we had the uto, the ut. Yes.
[RS] âmgi lâ·kâ, âni ina gul to, âr t’âdbâ iosta iosta `de vo_âsi nâi â? ina gita sta čor vâr' gul to âsi â? kufur vel to. [RS] In this country every t’âdbâ had their own god, right? Did this kind of custom exist in any other country in pre-Islamic times?
[ZX] kufur vel to, kom to gita stoa˜ to? [ZX] Among the Kom and the like in pre-Islamic times?
[RS] ou˜. ṭi˜č_âsa â? tua. [RS] Yes. Are you aware of it?
[ZX] âmna di, kom to, âmŋio˜ to di gita sta âsala sâip, i·a gita sta kudüm, nâ kudea·sa ia˜ sâip_â. gita sta di_âsala âa? âmŋio˜ to di. [ZX] It might have been like that among the Kom and them. I haven't asked about that kind of business. Was it like that among them, too?
[RS] âmgio˜ to ia˜ de kudea·stâi, kâča nâ źâňanta strak. [RS] I've asked them about it, but no one knows now.
[ZX] nâ zâňanta â? [ZX] They don't know?
[RS] nâi nâi nâi. [RS] No, no, no.
[ZX] ṣâŋe mânša nâ bula bi vike [?], kâa zâňanta âmna sâip_â. [ZX] As long as there are no old-time people, what do they know?
[RS] nâ_âsa višanam. âmgio˜ sta de ečok vâr' koř_âsala višanam. [RS] I don't think it existed. I think their's was probably a bit different.
[ZX] ou˜. âlbâtâ. [ZX] Yes, perhaps.
[??] ev_â·sa o! [??] It was the same!
[ZX] kâtoa˜ sta de ev_âsa sâip_â. âmŋi am’al nâi â? am’al, mün âmo, am’al, imo to_âsâ âmŋio˜ to nâ_âsa. [ZX] The Kâtas' was the same. You know these am’als? am’al, the mün's house. We had am’als, but they didn't have them.
[RS] âmgio˜ to nâ_âsa â? [RS] They didn't have them?
[ZX] nâ_âsa. ia˜ målum_âsa sâip. [ZX] They didn't exist. I'm sure of it.
[RS] kâtoa˜ to di? [RS] What about the Kâta?
[ZX] nâi nâi nâi. nâ_âsa. kâtoa˜ to di nâ_âsa. kom to di nâ âsa. [ZX] No, no, no. They didn't exist. The Kâta didn't have them, and the Kom didn't have them, either.
[RS] kâlṣoa˜ to di? [RS] What about the Kalaṣa?
[ZX] nâi nâi nâi nâi. fâqât imo to_âsa sâip_â. imo sta e bâxti potčo·i bomrik_âsa sâip. suara âmŋio˜ to nâ_âsa. ou˜. åǰas de imo_âsamiš; ḍâŋur' di imo_âsamiš; mâgâr imo sta pilŋi pi·kir kařa bo, påčåna˜ sta vari_âsa sâip_â. o gita sta vari_âsa [laugh]. [ZX] No, no. No, no. Only we had them. Ours was like a fortunate kingship. But they didn't have them. We were weak and we were lazy; but if we think about our way of life, it's a story of kings. That's the way it is. [laugh].
[RS] ut de, višta tela_âsi nâi â? [RS] The ut was the one who made offerings, right?
[ZX] ou˜. [ZX] Yes.
[RS] sâřeć meṣ. â·kiste suč kunâsi â? [RS] Would he say suč, using some juniper?
[ZX] ou˜. suč. süč. [ZX] Yes. suč. süč.


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