Water Dragon Master – Lake Baikal Monster
There is a myriad of mysteries to be found at Lake Baikal. One of these is the alleged presence of a mysterious lake monster long feared by locals. The native Buryat people of the region call the creature Lusud-Khan or Usan-Lobson Khan, which translate to “Water Dragon Master,” and it is said to resemble a giant sturgeon, with a prominent snout and armored plating along the back. In modern times, there are occasional reports from fishermen of the elusive creatures breaking the surface or of seeing huge black shapes soaring through the crystal clear water below, but accounts of strange beasts in the lake go back hundreds of years. Early Chinese explorers of the lake, which they called the North Sea, also reported seeing these beasts, which they called “gods of the lake” and “dragon fishes.”
The alleged monsters of Lake Baikal are also represented in ancient petroglyphs found along the Baikal cliffs. There is additionally a large stone stele, a carved stone slab erected as a monument, on the bank of the Yenisei river near the village Askiz which is estimated to date to between the 3rd and 9th century BC and depicts some sort of mysterious water monster. The image carved into the stone shows a large, lizard-like creäture with a forked tongue, wicked claws, and plate-like armor along its back. The bizarre creäture is depicted standing upright submerged in water, indicated by the image of a fish hovering nearby. It is unclear what connection this mysterious carving has, if any, to the giant fish-like monsters said to lurk in the lake. The lake is home to many unique species of fish and other animals, including the rare freshwater seal known as the Baikal seal (Pusa sibirica), but there is no known species of creäture known to be present here that matches the size of what is reported for the Lake Baikal monster.
The Russians had heard that there was a huge lake in Siberia. But they didn’t know what it was called. When Russian merchants and Cossacks topped the Ural Mountains and arrived at the Ob and Yenisei Rivers, they found out. They learned that the people who lived around this sea said it bubbled day and night. They also found out that the sea was rich in fish and an abundance of animals flourished as well.
The Cossacks and the merchants began to flock to this sea. They arrived barely sleeping, they hardly fed their horses, by the time they found it’s shores it felt like the days and nights were endless. Each of them wanted to reach it in first. Years had passed by before the merchants and Cossacks finally reached the sea; what they beheld before them were the Shaman cliffs.
The Cossacks and merchants stood before the Shaman cliffs something they thought would never happen, but they heard the lash of the waves on the rocks and the beautiful vistas beyond them. Fortunately a stranger happened to find them, he called himself Buryat. He then took them out them to sea and said:
— This is Baigal.
The Russians asked him:
What does it mean?
— It means – a fire place. There was once a fire here, the ground collapsed and then the sea appeared. After that we called our sea “Baigal”, which in Russian sounds like “Baikal”.
In the times of old, mighty Baikal was a jovial and kind person. His entire heart was given to his only daughter, Angara. There was nothing under the heavens that could supersede her beauty. Old Man Baikal cared less for his own soul than that for his daughter’s life. An old man by the name of Irkut asked for Angara’s hand. She was against it, but Baikal gave his consent to marry his daughter to him.
Once, after Baikal laid this to rest within himself, Angara began to pursue the young woman to the Yenisei river.
There the fury of her Father arose, splashing the waves in rage against the shore. A Fiery storm broke, the mountains cried out, the forests collapsed, the heavens turned black with grief, animals scattered about the face of the Earth in horror, the fish dove to the very bottom, every bird under sun stopped flying . The Wind was wailing and the mighty sea was a raging. It was then that the most Powerful Baikal struck the grey mountain, which caused a cliff to break away and hurled it after his fleeing daughter.
The cliff landed on the very throat of the beauty. She pleaded to the blue-eyed Angara, choking and weeping, and begging: “Father, please forgive me, let me have a single drop of water, for I am dying of thirst…” Baikal cried out in fury: “I hath naught any to give thee but mine tears…” Fora millennium, tears flowed from Angara towards Yenisei, while the lonely and grey Baikal turned gloomy and ominous. The cliff that Baikal cast after his daughter received the name “Shaman Cliff” among the people. This is where rich sacrifices were once offered to Baikal.
THE CAPE BURKHAN (Rock Shamanka)
The 13 sons of the gods came down to earth to hold court, they each chose different places to live. The oldest and the strongest son chose a cave on the Rock Shamanka on Olkhon Island. He was the Lord of Olkhon and the Patron of the Shamans. The people revered Him so much, that nobody would gallop through the rock were his cave was. In times past even the horses’ hooves were upholstered so that they could not disturb the god’s peace. Travelers would dismount from their horse and kept them in leading reign. According to the legend the Lord adopted three eagles, which gave the shaman’s talent to people. These eagles married Buryatian women, this is when the clan of Olkhon shamans began.
THE CAP KHOBOI (Rock Deva (Virgin))
The wife of one of the 13 god’s sons asked the gods for the same palace that her husband had. The Gods said her: «You remain a stone while evil and envy are on the face of the earth » — thus they changed her into the rock. You can hear her multi-voiced echoes reflecting off great the boulder where many rare plants are.
THE CAPE RYTYI
Once upon a time there was a fair maiden on Cape Rytyi. Two giants had seen her and fell in love with her. But the maiden was torn and couldn’t decide whom she would marry. She suggested them to them that they should fight each other: the one who won would be her husband.
The giants fought for 7 days and nights, they trampled all over the shore, both were exhausted, but neither prevailed. The maiden laughed at them the entire time. The giants were furious with her, so they put her into a boat and warned her, that she should never return to this shore again.
Since that time women haven’t set foot on this strip land, and if somebody breaks this command, she would bring upon herself a world of trouble – for all the gods see all.
THE TRUNK ROCK
In earlier times it was very warm on the shores of Lake Baikal . There was a time when large unknown trees grew here that harbored giant animals such as: rhinos, saber-toothed tigers, cave bears and mammoths. The mammoths here were the biggest and mightiest among all animals on earth. They were modest and peace loving by nature. But one of them had a cruel disposition, arrogant and boastful. He was always alone, and woe to those who met him. The boastful mammoth uprooted trees for laughs, overturned rocks and blocked the rivers which flow into Lake Baikal.
After a period of time an Old Mammoth tried to persuade the boaster: «Come to your senses, don’t hurt other animals, don’t ruin the trees, don’t back up the water of the rivers, this will all turn out badly for you if you continue.
He listened to the Old Mammoth, but he continued to act the same. He continued to cross all the boundaries . I am the greatest of all here! Not only can I shower stones on all rivers, but also on Lake Baikal, it is but merely a puddle!
Baikal heard this and grinned. The mammoth was to self-absorbed and didn’t see anything. He ran and thrusted his tusks into a rock, he was going to throw it into the sea, but the rock was very, very heavy. The tusks gave way to the weight and crashed into water together with the rock. The mammoth bellowed out in grief and pain, he reached his long trunk to the water to lift his tusks, but he remained there frozen to the giant stone.
Ever since then this big rock has hung over the water like a trunk. And now people call it – The Trunk Rock.
For more about Buryat legends visit here.