Gaqui Guldief

There was once a shaman named Gaqui Guldief. One day he was returning from Irkutsk to his home, when night overtook him on the Kanjirevsk steppes. Soon after dusk he saw dead men dancing, "for he was second-sighted." He heard them say. "Be careful, Gaqui Guldief is coming!" They had known him when they were living, and knew that he understood the dead and could see them.

Among the dancers was one who danced better than any of the others, and his friends were urging him to dance his very best. He was about to do so, when Gaqui shot at him, hit him, and he fell to the ground a skull. Then a terrible disturbance arose among the dancers, and turning to one of their number, a tall strong man, they said, "You must punish him for this!" Guldief hurried away, for he heard what they said. When he got home he led into the house the savage dog he usually kept chained in the yard. He was not disturbed that night, but early the next night the tall, strong dead man came into the room followed by a great crowd of people of all ages.

There were food and drink on the table. The strong man began to eat; then the crowd ate and drank, and passed food to the living man. When they had finished eating, one of the number, looking at Gaqui, who was watching them, carefully, said, "Let us play tricks on him, and punish him." "No," cried others; "he is a good man at heart. We have eaten of his food; we will not harm him."

They remained a long time, then silently disappeared. When the watcher was alone in the room he saw that the food and drink which he had placed on the table was all there; there was not one bite of food or one drop of drink less, though all the dead had eat.



  • Curtin, Jeremiah. (1909). A Journey in Southern Siberia. Boston: Little, Brown, pp. 113-114.

This article incorporates text from A Journey in Southern Siberia (1909) by Jeremiah Curtin, which is in the public domain.