Trafika Europe 13 - Russian Ballet

Val Votrin

The shaman spoke in a simple language, the kind that the shamans always use to speak to us, common people. He called Sbegu an empty-headed horse skull and other words which, of all those present, only I understood. One time, I had come to the Red Mound. I had told no one that I was going there. It was daytime. Huge clouds were scudding across the sky. Visible in the distance were blue mountains. The wind was riffling through the grey grasses. I came to the Red Mound in order to glance into those burrows, in which, it was said, the shamans lived. The foot of the mound was entirely dotted with them, with narrow coal-black eyes, and it was terrifying to approach them, terrifying to gaze inside. Overcoming my fear, I approached slowly and came right up to the holes. A cold draft emanated from them. Incapable of committing myself, I stood at the opening of one of the lairs — and suddenly, I heard it. The mound was whispering. A resounding, whistling whisper was issuing out of its nethers. I was paralyzed by a terror I’d never felt before. I couldn’t move, I could only stand there and listen, how this indistinctmumbling, this threatening, hoarse muttering, this terrible, rough cackle gradually turned into recognizable words. They were whispering — the shamans. They whispered to each other, and their words were slithering through the narrow burrows, like snakes. They were speaking in their own language, speaking of something private, incomprehensible to me, but I was able to make out


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