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.
Alexei Naranov, About a Temple, the Bagut Clan, and Lagan'
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.
Bulyash Chumudova: About The Yurt (Ishkya Ger) and Felt Making
Galina talks about how a Russian soldier who came to their home to send them into exile advised that they take warm blankets. The Kalmyks were sent to Siberia in freight carriages sitting on the floor. The warm blankets that Galina’s family wrapped themselves with, saved their lives. Upon their arrival at the place of exile, Galina’s mother sold the blankets for a sack of potatoes.
Both Galina and Klavdia’s families were deported to Omskaya oblast’.
Galina Samtonova, Klavdia Manunova, Exile
In Maloderbetovskiy rayon there is a hill or mound called Khar Kurya which is a burial place of a Kalmyk nobleman who died in a war. The nobleman was buried along with military equipment. It is also believed that this mound is where the spiritual master of that place resides who looks after livestock and crops. Buddhist monks perform rituals of offering in order to appease all the local spirits. It is said that during such rituals all local spirits come, including the one from the burial place.
Lidzhi Amikov, About Khar Kurya
Maria says that the first train with Kalmyks from Krasnoyarskiy krai arrived in Divnoe, Stavropol oblast, in 1957. There are no documents left today pertaining to this event. Maria, who was on that train herself, recalls that the journey took 17 days which she spent singing with the others. Among the passengers was the singer Ulan Barbaevna Lidzhieva who was sick. Everyone in the train tried to help her. At Divnoe station they were welcomed by the ensemble Tyulpan (Tulip). The arrivals were transported to Elista by car.
In Elista Maria worked as a stonemason. She built houses, a post office, the Drama Theatre, the cinema Druzhba and many other buildings. In 1960 several builders from Kalmykia, including Maria, were invited to work on the construction of the Palace of Pioneers in Moscow. Maria worked in Moscow for a month.