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Kalevala, gypsy tales about Brahma and Indra, Velesov book: Myths and epics that are suspected of forgery
Kalevala, gypsy tales about Brahma and Indra, Velesov book: Myths and epics that are suspected of forgery
Kalevala, gypsy tales about Brahma and Indra, Velesov's book: myths and epics that are suspected of forgery

You can believe that you know well the myths and epics of some people and respect them, and read a literary forgery instead. It's not even easy - many have fallen into this trap. And, although information about the artificiality of these "folk" works is now available to everyone, few people even think about looking for this information.

Song of Hiawatha

Although Henry Longfellow did not hide the authorship from the very beginning, his poem is perceived by many as an authentic epic of the American Indians. Or at least a very careful retelling of Indian legends, as he himself presented his work. Indeed, the main character, Hiawatha, bears the name of the legendary leader of the Iroquois, and the Indians in the poem behave exactly as readers expect from the Indians. However, it is difficult to call Longfellow's careful attitude to Indian legends, researchers of North American folklore unanimously say.

The Longfellow Indians are heavily combed for European taste

The poem contains wandering plots of European myths that have never had a walk on the prairies and forests of North America, only a name remains from Hiawatha and he behaves like an English bourgeois, who decided to play the role of a noble savage, inspired by the stories of Rousseau and his comrades about closeness to nature. The text randomly uses Indian words from different dialects and demonstrates a complete ignorance of how relationships are built within the tribe. What about the sugary ending, describing the joy of the arrival of white people on American soil, written during the years when the process of deliberate extermination of the Indians was still going on?

The form of "Song of Hiawatha" was copied from the Finnish poem "Kalevala", and the purpose of its creation was not to preserve Indian legends, but, as the author himself admitted, to create an Indian epic as such, since the author was sad that the Indians did not have their own "Edda" … That is, Longfellow wanted to make the Indians "a more complete people", since in the European minds a full-fledged people necessarily have their own song about Gilgamesh or "Iliad" - so the poet presented such "Iliad". In general, it is not worth getting acquainted with the views of the Indians on Longfellow.

Longfellow's story of Hiawatha tells nothing about the views of the Indians


Another common misconception is to consider "Kalevala" a Finnish or Karelian folk legend. In fact, Kalevala also has authorship - it was written by the Finnish linguist and doctor Elias Lönnrot, but he based it on several dozen real folk tales collected by him in Karelian villages - that is why, by the way, the narrative seems somewhat heterogeneous in composition.

Included in the "Kalevala" and heroic legends, and wedding songs, and stories about the creation of the world. Even the remarkable feeling of Lönnrot's language - and it is believed that the literary Finnish language came from Kalevala - was not enough to bring such different material to a single style, so that the form chosen by the author basically unites the parts brought together.

The Finno-Ugric peoples of the North did not have a single big epic, but there was a demand for it in the Finnish community

By no means all the legends collected by Lönnrot were included in the Kalevala - he chose those plots and their variants that could be put into a more or less unified narrative thread. And nevertheless, the Kalevala does not have a common idea, since the author did not dare to get too involved with literaryism. Only a part of the poem can be called dedicated to the war between the Karelians and the Sami, pushing the latter to the north.

Although Lönnrot did not hide the fact that the poem consists of disparate legends, the most frequent reproach to the Kalevala is that no one has ever seen its original in full. This implies, of course, the recording of the Karelian original. Such accusations gave rise to a new myth - about the complete absence of the folklore roots of the Kalevala.

Later researchers of Karelian folklore found all the songs that Lönnrot used to compose Kalevala. So the Finnish author presented the worldview and heroes of the Karelians correctly

However, even before the creation of Kalevala, Lönnrot published songs recorded in folklore trips more than once, in which it is easy to recognize the material that later entered the poem. The text of "Kalevala" itself was supplemented several times, until Lönnrot announced that there would be no new songs. He was mistaken: at the beginning of the twentieth century, folklorists, together with those who entered the poem, found dozens of legends that were not discovered by Lönnrot.

Kunawin gypsy tales

In 1881, the Russian Geographical Society was shocked by a sensation: the scientific secretary Eliseev published a brochure with an overview of the huge archive of Gypsy legends from different countries, collected by the doctor Kunavin. 123 folk tales, 80 legends, 62 songs and more than 120 various small works of Gypsy poetry … But the matter was not in the amount of collected material (although at that time it was colossal for the nascent Gypsy studies), but in the fact that the Gypsy gods acted in these tales Barama, Jandra, Laki, who were immediately identified with Brama, Indra and Lakshmi.

The Romani language belongs to the New Indian language. For some reason, this prompted many to think that the beliefs of the gypsies are also Hindu

Many people still believe in the existence of the Kunavin archive and appeal to it, although after a couple of decades it became clear that it does not exist, and the hymns praising Barama are a rough imitation of the Vedic ones. The point is not only that Eliseev could not present either the archive itself or its author, but also in the strangest history of the appearance of this archive. Allegedly, in twelve years, Kunavin, who quickly learned the Gypsy language, traveled the Gypsies from Germany to eastern Russia, from northern Europe to Turkey. But then he would have to learn the language not just quickly, but super fast - gypsies from different countries speak different dialects and dialects, and in order to understand what they said not at the level of "give me water, for bread, don't go there, go here" once meticulously delve into the subtleties of dialects.

Subsequently, the folklore of the Gypsies was studied by many ethnographers, including those of Gypsy origin, but none of them managed to record Baram and Laki, described plots or special amulets dedicated to the "gypsy gods". In the fairy tales of the gypsies, mostly wandering Christian or Muslim plots appear, depending on the place of residence, or everyday anecdotes are captured with an indication of who and approximately where it happened.

The gypsies adopted Christianity before the Slavs, so that the memory of the Indian gods by the nineteenth century they did not survive

A similar story happened in Europe, with supposedly gypsy tales recorded by von Vlisłocki, a researcher from Austria-Hungary. Serious ethnographers drew attention to the fact that the "originals" of fairy tales were recorded with serious errors, revealing poor knowledge of the language, and the details of everyday life and religious beliefs did not strongly coincide with what was discovered during research in the camps. Nevertheless, at first, many fell under the charm of the "original work", and even Kuhn, the one who processed ancient myths for Soviet children, released a children's adaptation of "gypsy folklore".

Velesov's book and stories about Lada and Lele

In the nineteenth century, especially at the beginning, the European world was obsessed with antiquity. Everything ancient Greek and Roman was perceived as the only possible example of how any normal ancient society was arranged. In general, Lönnrot, while working on Kalevala, was very seriously inspired by Homer's poems as a model for the narration of gods and heroes, but, fortunately, did not try to make the Kalevala narrative more “antique”.

After many years of trampling the memory of pagan gods, new Slavic peoples began to take an interest in gods and try to recreate their images and names

Among the Slavs, there was a fad - not just to find the old Slavic gods, but certainly an exact analogue of the Greek ones and, of course, so that a hierarchy according to the Greek model and a harmonious system of myths of the same Greek model should be attached to them.It was not taken into account (out of ignorance) that all harmony and uniformity is the fruit of a rather late period of pagan history of Greece, when the priests came up with the idea of ​​unifying existing beliefs, and in society there was a request to justify the current social order with an understandable vertical of power, when there is someone then the main one, when each character has a clear function. Most other peoples have not gone to such a remake of existing myths and legends (and the gods themselves!) For the sake of ideology.

But to accept the fact that the Slavic gods may be somewhat different from the Greek ones, it was not easy for the "researchers" of the early nineteenth century, and they literally sucked out of their finger a complete analogue of Aphrodite (Lada) and Eros (Lelya), a strict hierarchy of deities (society has always been arranged the same!) and so on. They learned to approach the topic of the Slavic gods much later, but still Lel and Lada as Slavic gods of love are a popular delusion among the people. But they brought out of existence only from song repetitions "Lel, Leli-Lel!" and "oh, okay, okay, okay."

Lel and Lada

In the twentieth century, they cooled down to antiquity. Arias and Vedas became a new love. It is not surprising that the most famous falsification on the topic of the ancient Slavs - the Veles book - tries to imitate the Vedic myths and bluntly presents the Indian gods as ancient Russian ones.

The presentation of Veles's book is very similar to the presentation of the Kunavinsky archive of gypsy tales: there are intermediaries, but there are no traces of the original owners, and there are no original texts left. A certain emigrant Mirolyubov showed photographs of boards with runes, allegedly left to him by the Turkmen Ali Isenbek in 1919. Actually, initially, instead of the name "Veles's Book", another was used - "Isenbek's Planks", where "planks" means "planks".

Since then, a lot of critics from researchers of Slavic languages ​​and cultures have been published, and there is no point in citing this entire array - especially since it does not convince those who want to believe in the "Isenbek tablets". Just information for thought: unlike "The Lay of Igor's Campaign", whose authenticity was initially strongly doubted, not a single argument was found FOR the possible authenticity of the "Veles Book". You can, apparently, only believe in it.

Do you want to touch the epic with all your soul - take a look the magic lace of Tamara Yufa's drawn fairy tales: Why Soviet collectors were chasing them and, especially, fans of "Kalevala", it will immediately become clear.

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