- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
55

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLES
55
can also be atoned for through an agreed fine.
For a man eighty cows are paid, for a woman sixty.
For the murder of his ovvn wife a man has to pay
five cows to her elan (the greater family), but the
murder does not call for blood revenge. When a
murder affair has been settled, a great atonement
feast is held, animals are sacrificed, and there is
much drinking of beer and brandy.
When wc hear of these people’s life of fighting,
wc are in many ways reminded of what life was
among ourselves in olden times, as it is described
in the Icelandic sagas of our forefathers. And
right down to the latest times the knife has sat
loosely in its sheath among many of our own
mountain-folk too.
Nominally these Georgian mountain tribes are
Christians, possibly since the I2th century; but
they are still living in a world of superstition
coming down from very early days. Besides the
Christian divinities—God the Father in the seventh
heaven, Lord of the heavenly powers and the
living ; Christ, Lord of the dead ; Mary ; Peter and
Paul, who are the angels of plenty; and others—
worship is also paid to many gods of nature. They
have a supreme lord over the earth and dry land;
there are forest, water, and air spirits in the shape
of pigs, lizards, or children. With hunting, two
divinities or angels are connected, a man and a
woman; the latter is held to be more powerful,
and to her are offered the heart, lungs, and liver
of the slam beast. Among some tribes she shows
herself at times in the forest as a beautiful naked

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