Central Asian Mythology

Central Asian Creation and Devil-Tricksters

What are some Siberian creation myths?

One Siberian myth has as its creator the god Ulgen, who saw some mud floating on the primordial waters and a human face reflected from the mud onto the waters. So he instilled the face with life, and this was the first human, Erlik. Erlik was, in fact, the devil, who, although expelled to an outer region, always returns to undermine Ulgen’s creation. This myth also contains the theme of the betrayal by the dog.

Some Siberian myths are more positive, having been influenced by Buddhism. One myth tells how the creator, Otsirvani, had a good helper, Chagan-Shukuty, a name for the Buddha. It was Chagan-Shukuty who dove into the depths. When he returned, the creator ordered him to sprinkle the mud on the stomach of an upturned frog who had agreed to lie on the primordial waters. When the mud began to spread the gods went to sleep on it. While they were asleep the devil arrived and tried to pull the earth out from under them. This only caused the earth to grow, as in the Mongolian myth.

A fourteenth-century drawing of Genghis Khan, the real-life Mongol conqueror who was, according to myth, conceived of the spirit figures the Blue Wolf and the White Doe.


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