Study of Beelzebub's Tales




42 Beelzebub in America


“A second custom, very similar and seemingly just as stupid, I saw among the people of another small tribe, called ‘Toosooly Kurds,’ dwelling in Transcaucasia not far from Mt. Ararat.


“This tribe is not filthy as is the tribe of the Kolenian gypsies. On the contrary, from their daily bathing in the river Arax and existing mostly in the fresh air—being chiefly shepherds—not only are the people of this tribe very clean but they even do not give off the specific odor which is peculiar to people of almost all the small tribes which populate this great Asia.


“Each family of this tribe has its own what is called ‘hut,’ which serves as a dwelling and for the reception of guests—as the custom of visiting one another is highly developed among the separate families of this tribe.


“In each hut it is customary for them to have, in the corner of the front section, what is called a ‘sacred Mungull,’ that is a hearth on which a fire of smoldering charcoal or of the said Keeziak is constantly kept, and near each such sacred Mungull there hangs a small wooden box called ‘Ktulnotz’ which is always kept supplied with the roots of a certain plant.


“The ‘rite of self-fumigation’ consists in this, that every member of the family and every guest of either sex, before going into the principal section of the hut, is obliged to enter this sacred Mungull in order as they say to purify himself from the influence of those evil spirits by which man is surrounded when he is busy with honest work.


“And this purification is carried out in the following manner:


“Each person going into the hut must approach and take a few roots out of the hanging box and throw them into the fire, and afterwards, in the smoke from the burning of these roots, fumigate his sex organs. In the case of a woman, she simply spreads her skirt and stands over the Mungull! If it is a man, he either takes off or lets down his trousers and also stands over the said smoke.


“Only after such a purification can they enter the chief room; otherwise, as they affirm, not only will evil influences be brought into the house, but owing to these accumulated influences, a man might contract very evil diseases.