Oral Histories

Oral histories are stories about events that have taken place in the recent past or are still in the process of unfolding. Stories about the demolition of monasteries, the deportation of the Kalmyks in 1943, the subsequent return of the Kalmyks from exile, are a few examples. To this can be added hunting stories, encounters with malign spirits and many others.

Oral stories are usually narrated from the first person (i.e. I) by using unofficial language, which renders them more entertaining and believable.

Bulyash Chumudova: About The Yurt (Ishkya Ger) and Felt Making

When Bulyash was small, Kalmyks lived in nomadic yurts. Bulyash talks about the yurt, including its structure and the traditional furniture kept inside. For example, in the middle of the yurt was the hearth. A horse harness was kept on the left side. The middle of the yurt was considered to be the older people’s area, whereas the sides of the yurt were associated with children. Dogs were not allowed in. Goat kids and the young of sheep were not kept inside the yurt either, but in special external shelters made of straw. The yurt was tied around with three ropes made of wool. The yurt was waterproof and was covered in a thick layer of felt. Bulyash also talks about how felt was processed in old times. Kalmyks used felt to make socks, but not boots. The wealthy gave their daughters bride wealth, which included a yurt and a horse with a harness.