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Superstitious of the Russian Peasantry.

The Sfc Petersburg correspondent^ of the "Daily Telegraph" gives' a fuller description of an ir?:dr-r:^ rr-rr^y reported from Russia. I:,'!!■.-;iv. ■■« i\ \ startling, manner the life and superstitions of the Russian peasantry. 'A rich ( popular farmer died somewhat suddenly in' the village of Sooroffsky. He had been seen in the enjoyment of excellent health on Thursday, and was found dead in his bed on Friday morning. He was prayed for and duly "waked," after which he was carried to the grave, almost all the \ inhabitants of the village, inclusive of the priest, following him to the churchyard. Just as the body was being lowered, the lid, which had been fastened rather loosely with the wooden nails, began to rise up slowly and detach itself from the coffin, to the indescribable horror, of the friends and the .mourners of the deceased. Then the dead man was seen in his white shroud stretching his arms upwards and. sitting,*up. ,At this sight the grave : diggers let go the cords, and, along with the bystanders, fled in terror from the spot. The supposed corpse then arosei scrambled out of the grave, and, shivering from the cold (the mercury was two degrees below zero Fahr.), made for the village as fast as hisfeebleness allowed him. But the villagers" had barred and bolted themselves iri against 1 the "wizard," and no one made answer to the appeals he made, with chattering teeth, to be admitted, and so, blue, breathless, trembling, he run from hut to hut, seeking some escape from death. At last fortune seemed to favor him, and he chanced on a hut the inmate of which was an old woman who had not been to the funeral, and, knowing nothing of his resurrection, hadleftherdoorunbarred. Heopeneditand entered, and going up to the stove seemed as if he would get inside it if he could. Meanwhile, the peasants gathered together, armed themselver with poles and sticks of aspen wood, the only effectual weaponsin a fight with a " •wizard--'' and surrounded the cabin. A few of those whose superstition was modified by faith in the merits of modern improvements also took guns and pistols . with, them,,,and _the door being open the attack of these Christians against this " devil's ally" began. The miserable man, dazed by all that had happened that morning, ' and suffering from cold and hunger," "was soon overpowered, and his neighbours, with many pious ejaculations, transfixed him, though* alive and unhurt, with holy aspen stakes to the ground in'the court before the L hut. When things had reached this jppint the priest, who had recovered somewhat from his terror, came upon the jscene, with a half-developed idea that perhaps" after all the alleged corpse, had boon phifijrcd in a lethargic sleep- arid, inigln- ivoovor and live as before. But he found the unfortunate man pinned down to : the earth with the aspen pales, with no manner of doubt about his -death., . The police superintendent (Stanovoy), who lived close, by,,then arrived, and also paw the murdered man, and made inquiry intd' the manner of his :death. The peasants had gone to/their daily,work, leaving ,the body, according to the requirements of the My \~':'\ ]■>■■■■;■ v" :I'v. :-r T»:. '->.. until sun<i--wi-. ■.!'■■!: , V,: •■•■, vi-■! \ , draw out the stakes and throw the corpse into a bog. Cases of this kind are not of infrequent occurrence in Russia. The Press is taking the matter up, but is not, sanguine of attaining permanently satis* factory results, which cannot possibly be achieved until a fair and impartial trial shall be given to education.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900512.2.15

Bibliographic details

Superstitious of the Russian Peasantry., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2427, 12 May 1890

Word Count
593

Superstitious of the Russian Peasantry. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2427, 12 May 1890

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