- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
56

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - III. The mountain peoples near the military road

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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
56
woman with long hair ; and to the hunter especially
who is brave enough to He with her she gives good
luck, if he holds his tongue, but if he does not, then
he has to feel her anger. There are many other
protecting spirits ; the Khevsurs have also a winged
spirit who helps robbers, and whose reward is a
share in the booty. Hell is a river of tar, into which
poor sinful souls fall from a bridge of a hair’s
breadth, which they must walk over if they are to
reach Heaven; and in this tar they have to swim
for all time. Mankind is inventive when it has to
describe Hell and Purgatory ; wc are not so sure
what Paradise is like. This bridge, indeed, and the
tar river are something like the magic bridge and
shifting bogs that had to be crossed by souls in
Norway on their way to Heaven in olden times.
The bridge as narrow as a thread and the journey
of the soul are found among many peoples ; among
the Arabs it is "narrower than a hair, sharper than
a sword, and darker than night".
In one respect the Khevsurs are very pious : they
have three holy days of rest in the week: the
Mohammedan Friday, the Jewish Saturday, and
the Christian Sunday—probably so as to be sure
of not offending either Allah, or Jehovah, or the
Lord.
These mountaineers live in villages which, like
the a-ul in Daghestan, are built in terraces up the
steep mountain-sides, one house above the other,
and so near that the flat roof of one often måkes a
terrace or a yard before the one above, and the
whole, seen at a distance, almost reminds one of the

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