Nikita Petrov
“Shutiki, bisi and kolovertyshi”: an Encyclopedia of Earthly Spirits

V–A–C Sreda online magazine presents a new three-month programme dedicated to the earth and its different meanings, associations, and interpretations in culture, art, folklore, and science.

In this first issue, we publish a text on “earthy” mythical figures by the folklorist and anthropologist Nikita Petrov. Petrov places three figures in his “kaleidoscope”—the walking dead, the assistant devils of sorcerers, and Poludnitsa—and considers how they are described in the popular beliefs, folk tales, dreams, and legends collected in the Russian North and other regions.

Petrov also examines the magical properties of the earth in rituals and folk medicine, describes how grave earth can heal and cure, and recounts what travellers of the past always took with them on the road.

God sent the Devil to get earth from the depths of the sea; the Devil dove three times but could not carry back the earth: however many times he took it in hand, on the way back the water washed everything away; only a little remained under his fingernails. God took the earth from under the devil’s fingernails and created the earth from it; then the Devil began to argue with him and say: was it for this I got the land? And he wanted to gather all the earth and throw it back into the water, but he could no longer gather it—he would run after it, and it would only get further and further away from him, it had expanded so much there was already no end to it.

Legend recorded in the nineteenth century in the Tomsk province [1]

We rarely consider the attributes of earth in traditional culture—in rites and popular beliefs, mythological tales, and folk medicine. Traces of these meanings can be found in the Russian language corpus, where earth is personified, embodied: she sleeps, becomes pregnant, moans, weeps, torments humankind.

A feminine symbolisation of earth that unfolds through the metaphor of motherhood is characteristic of Slavic culture: for example, the image of Mother Earth. During spring sowing, the earth takes in seeds, becomes pregnant, and produces a harvest. The prohibition on profanity comes from this idea. It was thought that profanity offends the three mothers of man: a man’s own mother, Mother Earth, and the Mother of Christ. Among the Russian population of the Vladimir province, it was customary to bid farewell to the earth before death: a terminally ill person would be carried out to a field, where they would kneel down, make four prostrations in different directions with the sign of the cross, and say: “Mother Earth, forgive me, and accept me” [2].

Earth acquires healing and protective attributes through yet another semantic series: this is the native land, the holy place—the place where a person was born. The holiness of the native land derives from the fact that it is one’s own, that one’s ancestors and parents are buried there. “Parental earth” taken from one’s courtyard or from the graves of relatives was held to be of particular value—this earth was considered holy, capable of protecting from misfortunes.

Earth is also understood as an underground space—the place of residence of amphibians and reptiles, the deceased, and the walking dead. According to one Russian etiological legend, frogs and snakes were born of children Adam and Eve had hidden in the earth. The custom of buying land during funeral rites was widespread among Slavic people: before a coffin is lowered into a grave, bronze coins are thrown in in order to “buy back” the land from the deceased to whom it belonged.

Earth is the boundary between the space mastered by mankind and the chtonic lower world, the boundary between life and death. They say that when a person dies, he “smells of earth, ” that “earth appears” on his face—dark spots appear, and the face acquires a sallow hue.

The “borderline” nature of earth is well demonstrated in dream tales: a dream is a semiotic window through which man connects the past and present and explains the future. In dream interpretations, ploughed, dried, cracked, or black earth, digging the earth, digging for worms, digging a hole, digging a garden, planting potatoes—all portend an imminent death, a funeral. There is a tale from the Arkhangelsk region about this:

Our neighbour lived nearby—the house was nearby—she lived in the city, I live in Pogost. And she wasn’t ill, not with anything. I got up in the morning… As though in a dream—I looked: she is digging a garden, the earth. The earth is black, they’d throw it away. I told my husband— “Kolya, I saw Olga today, our neighbour, a bad dream.” “What kind of dream?” “Ah, she was digging a garden, the earth.” We lived to the morning—the news came, she had died.

The plots of dream stories in which one encounters earth unfailingly interpret its appearance in dreams as a bad omen. I will list a number of these plots here [4]:

a woman dreams of a hole in the kitchen of her house, sand is pouring into it, her sons are lying in the hole = her sons are dying

a neighbour dreams that children are digging the earth / digging for worms in front of the house of an old lady she knows = in a while, the old lady will die

a woman dreams that her neighbour is digging the earth = the neighbour is dying

a woman dreams that she and her aunt are in a dungeon, two women are calling them, one of them hands the dreamer an object and weeps; the dreamer takes a long time to crawl out of the hole, there is earth all around = death of the woman’s husband / the woman’s relatives will be killed in the war

a dreamer walks with her deceased father through a field of holes overgrown with grass, looking for a fresh hole; questioned, he answers that he is looking for his granddaughter = his granddaughter will die soon

a woman dreams twice that they are planting potatoes in a family friend’s garden = in the coming year the wife from this family will die, in the next, the Husband

a woman dreams that the piece of land from her house to her sister’s house has been ploughed = the dreamer’s sister is dying

As we will see later, earth in traditional culture is both good and bad, it gives life and death, it cures and curses, it is connected to rites of spring, summer, and autumn. The Earth gives birth to chtonic beasts (worms, snakes, mice, frogs) of which humankind is not overfond, and it is the earth that connects mythological characters in our folk “kaleidoscope.” We will consider three mythological personages directly connected to earth: the walking dead man who crawls out of his grave to visit his widow at night, devils—the helpers of sorcerers who hide them in cellars, and the Poldunica, who punishes people for working the earth at the wrong hours. Over the course of the description of these figures in Russian mythology, we will cover a great number of rituals and mythological narratives in which the earth manifests its multifaceted properties.

“And the earth does not accept him”: the unclean and walking dead

According to widespread popular beliefs, the earth “does not accept” the bodies of dead people who were cursed by their parents, and the bodies of sorcerers, suicides, and other “unclean” dead people. Burying the “nav” dead—as they are termed by the ethnographer Dmitry Konstantinovich Zelenin [5]—in the earth disrupts the balance of the weather: it brings about drought, hail, prolonged rains, and severe frosts. It is thought that the bodies of such dead people remain imperishable in the earth—it does not take them, but throws them out onto the surface. If a sorcerer is buried, the earth dug out for the grave will not then fill the pit, the earth throws out the bodies of those who cursed the earth and disturbed it.

Those buried in the earth appear in dreams to their relatives and ask them to pass on clothes or shoes if the latter forgot to put these in the coffin, or if the dead person was buried in the wrong clothes—tight, old, torn. A story from the Arkhangelsk region reads as follows [6]:

This is how we dream of dead people, my sister here also asked for five rubles, but there is no church here, it is demolished, I buried them there for her, in her grave, that’s all. Or, maybe, if someone, if you bury someone, then you need to put everything in, all the clothes or something, or you’ll forget, forget something, and dream of what isn’t there, what you didn’t put in, and you’ll take it to the grave and bury it.

They say that one woman forgot to put a hat in the coffin of her dead husband, and after some time he appeared to her in a dream, standing and cold. Then she had to go to the grave and bury the hat in it: the following day, she saw her husband and he was content. For the dead to stop walking, one must bury the objects they demand in their grave, or put them in the grave of the next person to die, one must also cease crying for the dead, going to their graves, remembering them.

Some of the dead do not just appear in dreams, but crawl out of their graves and make for the places where they once lived to meet with the living. In traditional culture, stories of the walking dead are remarkably popular. They are called “bylichki”— from the word “byl’”, “that, which was” and are stories about encounters with the supernatural that put an emphasis on authenticity. Why do the dead come out of their graves and begin to walk? This is thought to be connected to violations of the rules of funerary and memorial rites, and of the mourning process. If the living yearn for the dead for long, the dead appear in reality:

My husband came to me. At night. I thought I would go to the toilet. I came out here. Turned on the light. And there the door is open, and he’s standing there. Standing. I look at him, and he looks at me. Then I say: “Lord, Lord, aren’t you dead?!” And I turned off the light and left, and the door slammed shut. I heard the door slam shut [7].

A widow can summon her husband by having a strong desire to see him. In records from the Komi Republic, a deceased man answers the summons of his wife [8]:

The wife, then, goes to the bathhouse and begins: “Well, come, come in. Now we should sit and wash together”—she calls her husband, he is dead. And then she hears he has entered the ante-room of the bathhouse, he wipes his feet. This one wants to come in. It was like she’d been blown away by the wind, from the bathhouse, didn’t even get dressed, just ran back. Calling, summoning is forbidden.

Another curious thing—the nouns denoting the dead in Russian—“pokoynik” and “mertvets”— are animate, that is, they are endowed with the ability to move, walk, talk, to do everything that living people do. Whether a noun is animate is easily checked: if a word in the genitive plural is the same as in the accusative plural, then the object is animate; if the words sound different, then it is inanimate.

But what must be done for the walking dead to stop rising from their graves and walking to the living? Besides the obvious rituals—making the sign of the cross and praying—the dead must be scolded whilst flushing the toilet water, then going to the cemetery, and saying: “I will come to you. You should not come to me.” An aspen stake can also be taken to a cemetery at night and driven into the feet of the deceased.

In Myths of the Russian People, the folklorist and mythologist Elena Evgenievna Levkievskaya notes a popular belief about how to ward off the walking dead [9]:

One has to sit on the threshold, comb one’s hair and chew hemp seeds at the same time. The deceased will ask: “What are you doing?” And one must answer: “I am eating lice.” Then the deceased will say: “Can you really be eating lice?” And the woman must answer: “Can a dead person really visit the living?” After this, the walking dead man will forever leave his wife in peace and return to his grave.

“A summoner has many devils, and with devils come chores!”

There exist other mythological characters connected with the earthly and underground world—devils, the helpers of sorcerers. According to Russian etiological legend, devils crawl out from underground and are kept hidden by sorcerers, in a pot, buried in the garden, underground. The names of the demonic helpers of sorcerers are legion:

shutiki, malen’kie, khuden’kie, mal’chiki, kulishi, brat’ya, krasnye shapochki, shishki, rabotniki, soldatiki, shiganashki, sotrudniki, gimnazisty, bisi, cherti, besenyata, chertenyata, kolovertyshi, and so on.

Stories about small demons have been recorded in various territories of the Russian North (the Novgorod, Arkhangelsk, Vologda regions), in the Murom, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kirov regions, in the Samara and Voronezh regions, in the Perm Territory, in the Komi Republic (Ust-Tsilemsky region), in Karelia, in the Urals, in the Tambov and Saratov regions, among the Old Believers of Lithuania, in Polesie, and in many other regions. In the Perm region, they are called “kuzutiki, ” in the Tambov region—“kolovershi, ” in the Ulyanovsk region—“shishigi, ” and in the Tomsk region—“kololozy.”

Being one of a “multiplicity of demons, ” the devil-helpers of sorcerers have fairly distinct visual characteristics: they are men and children of modest height, in beautiful red or dark blue clothing, they wear skirts, caps, frock coats, they are also sometimes represented as variations on mice, hares, kittens, dogs, birds, insects, and also, less frequently, as objects. Besides, they stand out from the common mythological background due to their “masters”—the sorcerer, summoner, or other specialist. The popular “bylichki” are those that contain repeating elements—motifs:

the sorcerer orders his devils to work: lift stones, harvest crops, mow hay, graze cattle

the sorcerer feeds his devils grain, pieces of bread, dumplings

the sorcerer gives his devils work: counting sand, pine needles

The devils torment the sorcerer before his death because he does not give them work

In northern tales, devils are described differently: they are of small stature, their uniforms are of red, dark blue, or other dark colours, they wear red pointed caps or hats, and do not walk, but jump [10]:

They all have blue shorts, little red shirts, and stand in a line, like little people, fifty to seventy centimetres high. They seem to be jumping, not walking.

Sorcerers’ devil-helpers are described as multitudes of mice, colourful birds, hares, dogs, cats, birds, chickens, insects, or frogs. In texts from the Nizhny Novgorod region, the Perm region, and the environs of the Pechora River, they are represented as shreds or pieces of gingerbread, colourful pieces of glass, worms:

They said about one that he was a devil. They say he gets up at night and releases well-dressed chickens into the yard. Then he drives again [11].

Or take Aunt Grasha. She also has devils. Nadya stayed with her to feed the cattle, well, she went to the basement. These mice are running around there. At night, when they sleep, well, they apparently go home. I ask the children of sorcerers: “What do you have at home?”—“There are small birds of various colours: blue, red, green. They sit in the nook above the stove.

They say, as if I don’t know, who will be infected with those creatures. Those who know… Know much, but imps know better all about these chorts. There was a kindergarten here, in the kindergarten a Fedosya Vasilievna was a cook. Early in the morning she came to cook, ran to the ice-hole, hole in ice, in winter it is called the ice-hole. She ran up, and there she said: ‘Look, worms! Even water is not visible! They are swimming.’ And then Irinya Ivanovna ran out and shouted: ‘Don’t scoop anything, don’t scoop, I’m coming now!’ She scooped everyone up and dragged them home.

Only the sorcerer has the right to talk to his helpers: “Quiet, devils!”—he whispers to them underground. Ordinary people can tell a person is keeping devils by various unusual sounds underground or by seeing how they feeds their underground helpers [12]:

Well, I think this guy is a brute, he unleashed demons on me, taught me a lesson about demons. I walk around, I can’t stand it, I want to curse someone. But I can’t spoil strangers, I just spoil my own, and the bird will come. Then I bought some gingerbread and made the demons count the gingerbread.

They will make a lot of dumplings, and their father Trofimov will put the first plate and carry it into the nook by the stove. Why is this the first plate to the nook? Who lives with them? Father went down into the nook, fed the devils, that’s who. They need to be fed too, I suppose.

A person acquires devils as a result of initiation to sorcery: he crawls through the mouth of a monster or is taken to a bathhouse, where he signs with blood; another sorcerer gives him “little ones, ” or a sorcerer is given the devils secretly [13]:

She had to hand them (the “little ones”) over. She sold a cow to another woman, and she later came to her and said: “I bought a cow from you, and she is running from the yard to you.” She takes out a stick from behind the pipe and lets her drive the cow. The stick is with patterns: she needs to hand over the little ones, and the little ones are on a stick. There are scarves placed on the spring. Since you took the scarf, you will accept the little ones. Her father was also a sorcerer, they say he was—so he gave it to her, so she has her father’s devils.

“Poldunica, they say, once walked about at midday”

In spring, the earth and heavens open up and release insects, birds, chthonic animals (reptiles), the souls of dead people, and evil spirits into the earthly world. In traditional culture, this is spoken of as an “unlocking, ” an “awakening.” In autumn, on the other hand, the earth “closing, ” “falls asleep for winter.” The entire calendar cycle is dedicated to interaction with the earth. The most important holiday, on which the earth “awakens” and opens its depths was considered the Annunciation. Until that day, the earth is “pregnant, ” she cannot be touched: digging, ploughing, harrowing, making fences, driving stakes. It was considered a sin for a person to work the earth before the Annunciation.

During the time of the first ploughing or first sowing, they bowed to the Earth and kissed her, and during the time of field work, in the absence of water, it was custom to clean one’s hands before food by running them against the earth—it was thought that “earth is clean.” On Spirit Day (the fifty-first day after Easter) the residents of the Vytaka province would kneel down and kiss the earth a number of times, considering it her “name day.” In summer and autumn (on Ilyin’s day—July 20/August 2, and the Exaltation—September 14/27) the earth “closes, ” moves from summer to winter” or “sleeps until spring.” During this time, they say of the earth that it “has frozen, ” “is ill, ” or “rests, ” and do not dare to work the earth. On the Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist (August 29/September 11), it was forbidden to walk the earth barefoot lest “all illnesses befall a person.” A belief in the earth “closing” even during days of “Indian summer” is characteristic of the Slavic tradition, as is a celebration of its “name day.”

To better remember the prohibitions on working the earth or the fields at certain times, tales were told about one more mythical figure—Poludnica. She would appear at midday, or at the very hottest time of summer. Poludnica would tickle people, kidnap people and children, walk about villages and punish those working at midday, looking into houses—this is why people try to close windows, doors, shutters at midday. In mythical tales from the Arkhangelsk region published in a collection by the folklorist and ethnographer Olga Cherepanova, the common attributes of Poludnica are mentioned—an iron hook or hot frying pan, with which she can cover grain fields and destroy harvests [14].

There was once Poldunica where the rye grew high. She lives in rye and comes out during times of heat, this is why the shutters are closed. They are hairy, those who saw them were afraid, they tickled, they will tickle to death. From the sixth of July to the twelfth they do not bathe or wash clothes, because, they say, Poludnica is about, they are looking through the windows. They reap until noon, then from noon they close the shutters, lest Poludnica tickle them.

Poludnica, they say, once walked about at midday. Dark girls, long-haired, black-faced, clothed in little, with something in their hands. They would come out at midday, and everyone would close the doors, the shutters at midday. They carried away children. No one knew from where they came. They lived in the forests somewhere—Poludnica was also said to live in holes beyond villages. Their voices rang. They hid people. The child is going, going—and gone for good.

But Poludnica, that was before, today there is no Poludnica. Once in the villages, at midday, twelve o’clock, Poludnica would come. She, like a person, would walk with a scythe and mow down everyone standing. Those who fell to the ground she did not touch, no, but those who were standing, they were mowed down to death, reaped. Life down, once you see it is midday.

“You, earth, give me health, otherwise take me unto you”

Traditional culture emphasises the healing power of the earth. In the Voronezh region, when they have pain in the back or lower back, they kneel to the ground, saying “Forgive me, Mother Earth, for I have sinned.” Many such examples, in particular in relation to sick children, are given by the ethnographer Gavriil Ivanovich Popov in his book Russian Folk Medicine (1903) [15]:

The life-giving aspect of the earth is clear in the ritual they carried out on children who had long been unable to walk by themselves. These children would be taken out onto the field before dawn and sat on the earth, with their back to a sower. The sower, making the sign of the cross, would throw the first handful of seeds into the ground, the second would be thrown onto the child, the third again onto the ground and again onto the child. This is done in order to “bring the Holy Trinity over the child, giving his legs the strength to walk.”

In the Pskov and Oryol regions, if a child was lame as a consequence of severe bronchitis or whooping cough, healers would stand his mother before the sun and spin her on her left heel, then take the earth from this heel and rub the child with it—after which the lameness would go away.

One of the most radical methods for treating severely ill children was dragging the child along a boundary—the narrow strip of uncultivated land between neighbouring agricultural plots. What was important here was the border between the two fields, where the earth was endowed with healing powers. According to the doctor A. B. Balin, “the woman would drag the child through a hole made in the frozen ground of the field boundary” and say [16]:

This is how thin lads (frail) get through the boundary: they dig up the earth from below and say: “You, earth, give me health, otherwise take me unto you.”

When a child was dragged through a boundary, it was thought that he would be born again and become healthy. The earth here is both a life-giving element and one that receives the dead. Sometimes, earth is used to heal snakebite [17].

In such cases, residents of the Novgorod region would apply damp earth to the bite. It was necessary that the earth be of the same colour as the reptile that had bitten the person: if the snake was black, then black earth had to be applied to the wound, if the snake was grey, then grey earth had to be applied, if, however, the snake had bitten the heel, then any treatment is useless: the person will die regardless.

In other cases, earth was used to treat smallpox. In these cases, earth was taken from a pig’s pen, rubbed into a shirt, and put on the ill person. In the Saratov province in the nineteenth century, earth taken from a cellar was used to treat an abscess between the fingers.

In the nineteenth century, in the Penza region, a ritual called Prytka’s supplication was recorded. Prytka is a variant name for a curse or encounter with the evil eye.

At midnight, the sick man or woman (if the sick person themselves cannot go, then a father must go in place of a son, or a mother in place of a daughter) goes with an old woman who knows the way to carry out this ritual, to the place where, in their opinion, the illness took hold of them. Having prayed to God at home, they go out to the gate and prostrate themselves three times in all four directions. Continuing along the their way, they do the same at all crossroads. Approaching the place, they prostrate themselves again, and, falling to the ground, kiss it, saying: “Mother Earth, forgive me, God’s servant, the accursed one, that I stepped on you with unclean feet and offended you by that. Forgive me, forgive me, Mother Earth, amen, amen, amen.” Afterwards, they prostrate themselves on the Earth three times and kiss it three times. This must be repeated three nights in a row. Each time, they return home making the same prostrations with which they had gone forward.

Earth taken from a grave was considered the most dangerous and the most healing—with it, damage could be caused and complex diseases treated. Earth taken from a grave was often used in harmful magic: a bundle of it would be thrown under the threshold or into the attic of a house of an enemy to bring them illness and misfortune. In order to kill a young man who had not married a girl, a witch would bury his footprint in the grave of the first child in the family to die. If such earth was put in the bed of newlyweds, there would be quarrels in the family. A healer from the Leningrad region brought on a curse when she came to a field sown with rye [19]:

At dusk, she came to the field, chose the strip she needed, stood facing the west, bent towards the ground with a bunch of ears of grains with spells, twists, tied it with a harsh knot and sprinkled it with earth taken from the grave of a suicide. So that the prayers and piety of the family to whom the strip of earth belonged did not weaken the strength of her curses, she stood with her feet on an icon facing upwards.

Another method of bringing harm consisted in paying attention to a person’s footprints in the ground. This is how they did it in the Penza region [20]:

You walk in the morning, take off your shoes, and your footprints are visible in the earth. A sorcerer gathers up this print—and with that a person is cursed. The earth gathered from the outline of the trace is dried over fire, hung in a bag by an oven or taken to the cemetery. A person cursed in this way usually dries up, but if the footprint is thrown in the water, then he falls ill with dropsy.

Earth taken from a grave was also used in treatment as a talisman against diseases: “the earth from seven graves of good people will save from all troubles, ” “the earth from seven graves from different cemeteries will protect from illnesses, it will not allow death into a house.” Earth from parental graves was used for overcoming fear of the dead and yearning for them—they would keep it beside their bosom or rub it into their chest//breast.

Grave earth was also used to treat toothache—it was applied to the painful place. The logic here is simple: just as nothing hurts a dead person, so nothing will hurt this person. They treated fever in a similar way: in this case they would take earth from a grave in such a way that no one saw, would sew it into an amulet, and hang it around the ill person’s neck. In case of fever, earth taken from under a gravestone would be immersed in water that would then be given to the ill person to drink with the words: “Mother Earth, dear one, from you we take and to you we give, take away illness from your servant.” The same logic can be traced in a spell from the Prionezhye region [21]:

To prevent a husband from beating his wife, the husband’s nails must be cut. Yourself. Cut from the hands and the feet. And when there is a death, for example, some person has died, these nails need to be thrown with earth into the grave. And say: just like this servant of God (who died) no longer raises his hands, my husband will no longer raise a hand to me.

Special magical powers were attributed not just to earth taken from a grave, but also to earth taken from a crossroads, from under the stove corner of a house, from the furrow laid on the first day of spring ploughing, to earth dug up by a mole or taken from under one’s foot on first sighting of a swallow, stork, wild goose, at a cuckoo’s first cuckoo; earth taken from the place where the first mosquitoes “crowd about.” This earth would be applied to a painful place, rubbed into the chest, mixed with water and drunk by an ill person. This actions could be accompanied by an address to the earth: “Mother Earth, dear one, from you we take and to you we give, take illness away from your servant.”

“If I am lying, let me eat earth”

Besides the many meanings revealed in folkloric texts, earth serves as a talisman protecting those in foreign lands from various misfortunes. Moving to a new place, settlers would take with them a handful of earth in order to be healthy, not to miss their native land, and to live well in the foreign land. The earth brought to a new place had to be poured out and stepped upon with the words “I walk on my own earth.”

Travellers leaving their native lands hid a pinch of earth in an amulet or bundle and wore it on their chests as a talisman against all misfortunes. Pilgrims took their native earth with them on the road to holy places: the road was considered a dangerous venture, and in the case of sudden death a pilgrim’s native earth would be sprinkled in his eye or on his grave. The custom of throwing a handful of earth after funerary rites in order to keep away misfortunes is known to all Slavic peoples.

The earth could also be both an intermediary and the most important judge in disputes and oaths. During land conflicts, peasants would put earth into their mouths, put it on their heads, on their backs, and in their bosoms, and pronounce the oath: “Let the earth crush me if I go wrong.” Such an oath with earth was considered enough to end a dispute. Similar stories appear in connection to defending the right to plough land, and making hay for livestock: a man would set “turf” on his head and swear that if he were speaking falsely, let “Mother Earth herself cover him forever.” Oaths and vows in which earth was held in hands, in the mouth, or eaten, were believed unquestioningly by the people: “If I am lying, let me eat earth, ” “I am speaking the truth—I will eat earth”—it was impossible to break such an oath.

Earth is an invisible and inaccessible space, which, like a deep lake, any swamp, or fast river, contains a great number of secrets, dangers, and mysteries. Can a person comprehend earth, or is he doomed to run after her, only seeing how now “she has no end.” Let the answer to this question be dreamed of by all who hunger—people, gods, and devils.

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