Dialogue on the Threshold

Диалог на пороге

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Lūji xum: homo infernus

The Sosva Voguls maintain that the Prince of the Underworld sends sickness and death. (...) In several areas xuḽ-ōtәr or kuḽ-noàjer is identified with the devil. On the upper Lozva, in fact, xuḽ-ōtәr is considered just below the 'World-overseeing Man' in the hierarchy of spirit forces. The Sosva Voguls say that kuḽ lives in a black lake called kuḽiŋ tūr. If one travels there even in the winter, one will be pulled down into the water. In other areas kuḽ is a forest spirit. At the creation of the world kuḽ asked God's permission to put animals into the world. The permission was not granted, so he asked that he might at least be allowed to make a hole. This request was granted. From this hole came forth lizards, snakes and wolves. While several curse words are also associated with kuḽ, another significant epithet on the Sosva is lūji xum (literally 'under man'), which means the man that lives under the river bed. This is another name for xuḽ-ōtәr, the Prince of the Underworld. The Prince also has the name jolixum, meaning 'under man', but with the connotation of 'the one found under the earth.' (...) On the Konda, there is jalqum ('under man' or 'the spirit of the underworld').

Otto J. von Sadovsky, Aspects of Vogul Religion (based on A. Kannistor, E. A. Virtanen, M. Liimola, Materialen zur Mythologie der Wogulen, MSFOu 113, Helsinki, 1958), in Vogul Folklore, collected by Bernát Munkácsi, selected and edited by Otto J. von Sadovsky and Mihály Hoppál, translated by Bálint Sebestyén, ISTOR (Internataional Society for Trans-Oceanic Research) Books 4, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1995, pp. 160-161.

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