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The Motif of Bull Coming out of the Lake in Mongolian Folklore

Folkloristika 3/1 (2018): 39‒54
Author: Iulia Viktorovna Liakhova
Text: PDF


In contemporary Mongolia, cattle breeding is still an important branch of economy, therefore Mongolian people do not just breed cattle ‒ they build different kinds of relationships with nature and with their cattle. The belief about a bull living in a lake widespread in the north of Mongolia, in the region with large lakes, as the lakes Khuvsgul and Tsagaan nuur, or the lake Eren nuur in the Southern Mongolia. The bull that lives in the lake is related to the abundance of cattle, money or offspring; sometimes it is considered to be the master of the lake; in some narratives it is related to thunder and to the thunder-like sounds. It is imagined as blue, white or mottle (which also means abundance) and can be one-horned, like the local spirits of this region. Meeting this bull always means something good. The belief varies a lot: according to one informant, this water bull was related to another mythological creature – a dragon ‘luu,’ yet another informant speaks about the practice of worshipping this water bull.
Key words: Mongolian folklore, legends, water bull, cattle, thunder


Motiv «byk vyhodit iz ozera» rasprostranen v raznyh častja Mongolii. V dannoj statʹe publikujutsja novye polevye materialy, zapisannye na severe Mongolii na ozerah Hubsugul i Cagaan nuur i na juge na ozere Èrèèn nuur. Byk, o kotorom idet rečʹ v legendah, svjazyvaetsja s izobiliem i bogatstvom. V nekotoryh slučajah byk vystupaet v roli duha-hozjaina ozera, nekotorye nositeli tradicii svjazyvajut ego s gromom ili gromkimi zvukami. Nesmotrja na svoju specifiku, dannye narrativy imejut mnogo obŝego s predstavlenijami o vodnyh bykah, rasprostranennymi v drugih častjah sveta.
Ključevye slova: mongolʹskij folʹklor, mongolʹskie legendy, vodnyj byk, skot, grom