Meandash (engl. ver.)
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Sisällysluettelo: Muinaisusko, mytologia ja folklore
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Meandash (engl. ver.)
Meandash (in Kildin and Ter Saami it is pronounced as [meantash]) is a name of a mythical personage, who has an ability of turning into a man inside his hut, and turning into a wild reindeer outside it. Origin of the wild reindeer herds is connected in the eastern Saami mythology with Meandash and his wife, an earthly woman. In the Ter and Kildin Saami folk tradition Meandash gives hunting skills to the Saami. The name Meandash is known among the Ter and Kildin Saami, but narratives about this mythical reindeer without any personal name are well known all over Eastern Saamiland. A Russian ethnologist V. Charnoluskij recorded stories about Meandash in the 1920s and 1930s among the Ter Saami people and published them.
Meandash was a son of a female nuejjt (shamanism) and lived together with his mother in a remote place separated from the territory of human beings by a river of blood, lungs and livers. The hut of Meandash was built of reindeer skin and bones. Meandash got married with an earthly girl. She was one of the three girls who succeeded in drying up of the river of blood and got to Meandash's dwelling place. Meandash imposed upon his wife a following prohibition: the reindeer skins, which served as beds, must not, after the children had made them wet, be dried in the sun, neither must they remain inside the hut. The wife must put them into a stream of flowing water. Meandash's children were born as human beings. Once when the youngest child wetted a new skin, Meandash's wife wanted to spare it and left it to dry. When Meandash came home and felt the smell, he turned into a wild reindeer forever. His children also turned into reindeer calves and left for tundra, thus forming the herds of wild reindeer. In some versions Meandash's wife also turned into a female reindeer, in other versions she gave to her children some advices for life in order to help them to survive, she also asked them to give themselves to only skillful hunters. Later Meandash gave his hunting skills to the people through a self-sacrifice: he had to be killed by a Saami hunter in one sacred place; his meat had to be divided among the people of the same kin (the reindeer and the wild reindeer).
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