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09. Material

Naturally Tungus mentality and psychology is strongly manifested in the folklore understood in a broad sense of the term. Since I am introducing distinction of «folklore in a broad sense» opposed to that «in a narrow sense», I need to explain myself. Once I had occasion to express my point of view as to the folklore [67] in the sense that folklore of an ethnical group, as a functional phenomenon, is the psychomental complex as it is cognized and reflected in a system of symbols (and starters) in the form of: (1) explanation of milieu (including myths), (2) recorded historic facts (annals, epic poems, anecdotes etc.), (3) short formulation of experience (sayings, proverbs etc.), (4) stories and other forms (riddles etc.), satisfying the need of mental work, (5) creations satisfying the creative complex (e.g. poetry, fairy stories, etc.). The subjects of folklore are

A. The complex of encyclopaedic knowledge regarding the facts and mechanism of the

1. Primary milieu: animals (including man), plants, inorganic world, the world-as-whole, etc. (later, anatomy, botany, astronomy, meteorology, etc.).

2. Secondary milieu: organization and functions of society, technology, psychomental complex as a whole (and in its elements).

3. Tertiary milieu: phenomena of interethnical milieu and relations between the groups and the given unit.

4. Phenomena of the psychomental complex.

B. Complex of functions manifests:

1. Previous ethnical experience (narrative and formulae).

2. Manifestations of emotive complex

a. Mental exercise.

b. Rhythm in all forms.

c. Complex of the so called instincts.

Naturally, the complexes of knowledge and of manifested functions overlap each other.»

Such a definition of folklore is deprived of its subjective condition; namely, how the ethnical unit behaves in reference to its own creation, how it uses it and what is the investigator's attitude towards the folklore of the given unit. In fact, if we introduce this element then there will be no possibility of comparing folklore of different groups and there will be introduced a quite arbitrary selection of facts by the investigator. From the European point of view some observations as to the animals, gathered among non-European groups, for a long time seemed to be a product of mere imagination of «primitive mind» and they were classed as «folklore». However, with the extension of knowledge into the field of psychology and mentality of the animals among the Europeans, a great number of these «stories» appears in a new light, — they are a record of facts and quite sound generalizations, and as such they cannot be included into the «folklore». So that the behaviour of the European mind towards the «primitive people» and its ultra-scepticism were ethnographic in their nature, they were «folkloristic» themselves.

Here is another case. The theory of creation of species by God and subsequent geological catastrophes developed by Cuvier, at his time was quite logical and simple as to the formulation of accumulated facts. However, in the eyes of the present generation this theory now begins to come out as a form (not always cognised) of European interpretative folk-lore of the beginning of the nineteenth century; while, for instance, cosmogony of the Middle Ages is already fixed as mediaeval folklore regardless of whether it was created by the most learned scholastic scholars or by the ignorant farmers. We may say that the theory of evolution with its teleological background as it was practised, professed, in the European universities in the middle of the nineteenth century, in the eyes of the present generation being styled a «scientific theory», in the eyes of later generations will appear in its real form of European folklore of a given period. Yet, we may say a priori that the same attitude will be that of the further generations towards the most advanced science of our days. However, no mediaeval scholar would admit that his theories were folk-stories, just as Cuvier would not do so, and the biologists of the nineteenth century world be reluctant to admit their work as folk stories, but they will be so understood by younger coming generations. The basis of this attitude is a strong belief in the difference between «science» as knowledge of realities and method, on the one hand, and «folk imagination» crystallized in «folklore» (used in a common sense).

Here is a third case. The scaffolding of the theory of primitive mentality, prelogism etc. as they come from the pen of talented Europeans is accepted as scientific operation but the coming generation who will be more familiar with the «primitive people» will regard these theories as a European reaction on alien complexes, interpretative folklore serving as justification of European aggressiveness, bringing light of civilization to the people living in darkness of ignorance.

The given instances are sufficient for illustrating my idea, although I have not touched still more striking instances. Some of these are «economics» — a post factum justification of realities; and especially some «philosophy» — a particularly ethnographic and folkloristic (in my sense) reaction, both individual and ethnical, on the conflict between the existing ethnical cultural complexes on the one hand, new facts and suppositions, guesses as to the existence of other facts, on the other hand. However, neither «economists», nor «philosophers» would agree that they are creators, bearers of folklore, — they believe that they are doing something which is far out of range of mere and simple ethnographical functioning in an ethnical complex; most of them are speaking not less than in the name of God, Eternity, Absolute Spirit, Scientific Truth etc.

However, as soon as we introduce reaction of the ethnical unit on the existing folklore into the definition of what is folklore and what is not folklore the situation changes, — in the eyes of mediaeval scholiast his conception of the world was a scientific truth or at least a scientific hypothesis. Biblical history was taken as a fact, while the stories about the gnomes and fairies were rejected as pagan «superstitions» and folklore.

The ethnical units always differentiate their folklore into the groups of the above indicated five forms with various degrees of truthfulness as reflection and explanations of realities. When a story is told for satisfying action of the emotive complex it would not be always considered as «truth», just as great number of symbols are treated merely as symbols and not as realities, but sometimes they may be treated as «truth». A love song which cannot be excluded from folkloristic manifestations, unless we adopt quite an artificial classification, is never regarded as «truth», but is regarded in absolutely the same manner as among the so called «civilized nations». So that in so far as the reaction on folklore is concerned, the attitude of the creators of this folklore ought to be considered; thus a fairy story, love song, etc. should not be regarded as reflections of «Naturphilosophie» of the people, and their conception of the world.

As to the outer form in which the folklore is inserted, whether it is a rhymed and rhythmed poem, or rhythmed prose, a history-like «story», or story — like history, it is of secondary importance, but there is an important character in folklore which distinguishes it from individual creation, it has ethnic character, i.e. it is adopted by the ethnical unit and it has thus more or less stabilized forms in which it is transmitted. Indeed, the existence of written language, which contributes to the preservation of authors' names, makes this formal distinction quite elusive, but the negative sign, i. e. loss of the inventor's name, cannot be taken as a distinctive character of folklore, so that when an author's creation becoming a folkloristic piece is recorded, it does not lose its folkloristic character. Here the investigator must rely upon his familiarity with the complex for distinguishing where he deals with a personal creation which did not receive and cannot receive ethnical recognition and where he deals with, a personal creation which is incorporated into the folkloristic complex.

Here thus I introduce two limitations for «folklore in a narrow sense of the term» mentioned at the beginning of the present section, namely, the folklore is not recognized as representing truth by the owner (ethnical unit) and it is preserved in fixed forms. However, from the European point of view there will be included everything in the folklore which in European eyes may appear as folklore as opposed to the «true knowledge» and «science».

Since in gathering material we cannot put a sharp line of demarcation between what is considered as «truth» and «imagined story» — the opinion of owners being sometimes uncertain — I shall now express the Tungus point of view as to the material recorded, and gathered.

Among the Manchus there are very sharply distinguished two cases, — namely, the true story wuneni baita (Man. Sp. corr. unengi baita Man. Writ.), — «true case (affair)»; mdjiiyu (Man. Sp.), — the «fairy» stories, an imaginative story. Indeed, historic books like the well known novel Han gurun bitxe — the Book of Three Kingdoms translated from the famous Chinese work, -the histories of Great Leao, Kin etc. are considered as wuneni baita, but the term suduri, — «the history», — is rarely used. On the other hand, the books like those translated from Chinese as for instance lao-ji-jy-i, are considered as doubtful and halftrue. It is very interesting that Nisan Saman, a description of a case (vide infra) under the Ming Dynasty is considered as wunegi baita only by those Manchus, who preserve their faith in the shamans. «Teptalin», an enormous epic poem, which I have recorded from the mouth of an old woman, is considered us juyu, although it deals with the facts supposed to be historic, of war between the Manchus and Northern Tungus. The Birarchen assert that Teptalin is not juyu, but a true historic record. Indeed, all translations from Chinese as to the geographical and naturalistic descriptions, in spite of their occasional «fantastic character» are believed to be wunegi baSa. Indeed, the lists of spirits of different clans are considered as a true reflection of the reality. In dealing with this material one must thus find out the Manchu attitude towards these sources.

Indeed, besides the above mentioned epic poem the Manchus are very rich in «true affair» and «stories» orally transmitted and preserved. In a great number of these specimens of their folklore it sometimes is impossible to say what may be the Manchu attitude, and they themselves after listening to a story may ask the question; er wunengi bajta? Juyu?, i. e. «It is a true story or a fairy story?» The teller's answer sometimes satisfies the questioner, sometimes not, so the listener often establishes his own attitude.

The analysis of the stories not recorded in written form shows that in a great number of them there is a reflection of the Chinese complex. But there are also stories, like that of the man with three wives quoted by R. D. Jameson {vide op cit. p. 124) in which the subject of the tale is a persecuted mother and her child. This story is met with far from the Manchu area. The circumstances accompanying the story, — for instance, three wives' promises to the husband are well known e. g. in Russian folklore (three sisters!), are not «Manchu», and the whole construction is only one of combined variations in elements met with among other ethnical groups. Here, as in similar manifestations we have a complex which consists of elements of various origin, agglutinated by the Manchus, and maintained because of deep psychological reasons, or mere amusing character of the stories, mental exercise, meeting of new situations, wit, etc. There are also stories of local origin built upon the original ground and in an original shape or shaped according to the known patterns.

The same «folklore in a narrow sense» may be approached from a psychological point of view, i. e. how far does it reflect specific Manchu psychomental complex and common «human» psychic conditions?

The Northern Tungus attitude towards their folklore is the same as that of the Manchus — they distinguish the imaginative story — in Birarchen called uldyir uliyir, which ought to be connected with ulgar — uliyer (Mongol) [68], and historic stories -n'opti, i. e. «what was in earlier time». The same distinction is made by the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia. Songs, sayings and true stories [togyolkon (Bir.) nimnakawn (Ner.)] [69] are separated into special groups.

In the foregoing sections we shall see how the Tungus explain the structure of the world, and here I give a Birarchen uldyir as to the same subject, told to children. This is a translation of a summary of several stories grouped together, and given to me by a Birarchen.

.«A long time ago people lived on the earth. They had no burkan, nor malu, nor shamans. All of them went to heaven. One can now see them in the constellations. The constellation of Orion is called magi. There three large stars form his belt, three small ones are his penis and testes. Magi wants to catch the seven girls (nadan unil) — the Pleiades, but on his way there is the wild boar's jaw which bars his way. Near Magi there is an arrow and several bows. Venus, the evening star is a female, and the morning star a male, called colpon is considered ejan [«the khan», «chief», «master».] If the morning star cannot be seen it shows that the khan has died. These supposed two stars are khans of all stars. The Polar star — togolgan — «the pillar, post», was put on by buga. Buga blew in a bladder so that the earth remained down and he fixed the pillar in order to support the inflated bladder. The stars are roots of a tree. Between owlan [70] and Orion (mani) there were small and big elks (Al-ces). The small one was killed (by man) and remained on the earth, while the big one is still in the heavens. If the big one should be killed, elks would stay on the earth. On the heavenly lake there is a swan. Formerly swans were not shot. But since this swan was killed it fell down to the earth. When it (swan) makes rounds over the campment and sees men, it cries. It also cries in the heavens. It was shot by bejd osekta («man star») who was in a canoe. If a man should be ill one prays to bejd osekta. If the star is seen the sick man will recover, if not, the man will die. The people learnt to make bows and arrows, also birch bark canoes by copying what is seen in the sky. The milky way is the road of magi. It is in the middle of the waters in which are found the whole world and earth. According to another version, it is a river with several small tributaries (or channels). The sun starts slowly on horseback; after midday it rides faster on the dog. According to one version, the sun is male and moon is female; they meet once a month. The falling stars mean: sits'i tiktan «the souls fall». If it is a big star, it means that an important man (chief) dies. The comets are arrows sent by Venus (two stars), -the khan. Magi and Three Brothers formerly were in the moon.» The adult people do not believe it as a «true story» or real explanation of the sky, but they use the same names for the stars as those in the above given ulayir. Indeed, these stories cannot be used as characteristic of the Tungus ideas as to the relations between the celestial bodies.

All Tungus groups have different «moods» when different types of stories are told. If there is a serious mood, the Tungus would not allow the telling of ulayir, but they would listen to a teller of torjyolkon or n 'opti. More than this, among the Manchus it is said that those who would tell Juyu (corr. to ulayir) and even listen to them during the day will never be rich. In the same way and for the same reason the telling of ulayir is prohibited among the Tungus. There is no need to look for a complex explanation: the true reason is that the telling of such stories is merely considered an idle pastime. The same people during the day time would listen togyolkon of practical importance, and they would not consider it quite useless to listen to a teller of historic stories (n'opti). Another attitude will be when the Tungus and in a lesser degree the Manchus, amuse themselves in salty stories and various forms of witticism etc. In this mood the common fairy stories will not satisfy the audience.

The difference in kinds of folk production, grouped as folklore in general, becomes quite evident when there would be considered composition of the group of listeners. In fact, some stories (chiefly, fairy stories) attract only children; others attract women; third attract middle aged people («natural history», history, hunting etc.) fourth the young men (especially hunters' experiences) fifth all groups except small children, but approaching from different points of view (shamanistic experience). It is thus evident, that the value, as evidence of the psychomental complex, is not equal in all forms of folklore.

Considering the Tungus and Manchu attitude as to their own folklore it would be perfectly absurd to use folkloristic material in its unclassified form for picturing Tungus ideas in general. So that first what I had to do was to separate what was accepted by the Tungus themselves as expression of their ideas as to the various phenomena of milieus and their own psychomental complex. In the present work I shall use this part of Tungus and Man-chu folklore (in my sense), leaving aside what is considered by the Tungus and Manchus as ulayir andjuyu, i.e. «imaginative stories».

The value of the latter is great for a detailed analysis of the psychology of the groups investigated and forms of literary creation, but I shall not at present use this material for it may have only secondary importance for picturing the psychomental complex; as an ethnographical phenomenon it only confirms; Tungus and Manchu cultural connections, both direct and indirect, with various ethnical groups and cultural complexes: the use of this material presumes that it must be first published and supplied with translations and notes. Although this material has already been put in a state for being used by myself, but it has not yet assumed the forms which are needed for publication, so that this material will be later used only for completion of the psychomental complex here treated, let me add, chiefly from the point of view of psychology of the «unconscious», as it may be sometimes disclosed after a minute analysis of folklore. Before leaving this question I want to give some idea as to the folkloristic material which I have gathered and used for the present work.

The Tungus of Transbaikalia and Manchuria gave me altogether 114 stories of different kinds (fairy stories, history, hunting experience etc.) in English words, about 85.000. In addition to this, twenty stories, 6400 words, were recorded for me by a Birarchen whom I had taught to write his own dialect in transcription; the record is so good that the material can be used; twenty five Tungus and Manchu «shamanistic» texts (prayers etc.) with about 1200 rhythmed lines; certain numbers of Tungus songs; twenty two Manchu stories, about 25.000 words; Manchu poem Teptalin, about 20.000 rhythmed lines; also a certain number of shamanistic Manchu written texts, and especially Nisan Sa-man which alone contains over nine thousands Manchu words, without speaking of Manchu written stories (recorded for me by the Manchus) and Manchu literary sources which, it is true, are not of great value for my purpose. More detailed discussion as to this material may he found in the last chapter of Part I.

67. Cf. my notes to R. D. Jameson Three lectures on Chinese folklore. Peking, 1932. pp. 146-149, on Function of Folklore and Science of Folklore.

68. However, these Tungus give their own etymology, namely, from uloki — «to lie» — in modifications met with in a great number of Tungus dialects.

69. P. P. Schmidt gives for Neg. tiilungu, tolum compared with tolungu (Olca), telingu (Goldi), tolumuci (Oroc.), but it is not stated what kind of «stories» these are.

70. Also dolowon (from Dahur).

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