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An Overview of Russias Past beliefs regarding death.

The Russian peasants have very confused ideas about the local
habitation of the disembodied spirit, after its former tenement has
been laid in the grave. They seem, from the language of their funeral
songs, sometimes to regard the departed spirit as residing in the
coffin which holds the body from which it has been severed, sometimes
to imagine that it hovers around the building which used to be its
home, or flies abroad on the wings of the winds. In the food and money
and other necessaries of existence still placed in the coffin with the
corpse, may be seen traces of an old belief in a journey which the
soul was forced to undertake after the death of the body; in the
_pomniki_ or feasts in memory of the dead, celebrated at certain short
intervals after a death, and also on its anniversary, may be clearly
recognized the remains of a faith in the continued residence of the
dead in the spot where they had been buried, and in their subjection
to some physical sufferings, their capacity for certain animal
enjoyments. The two beliefs run side by side with each other,
sometimes clashing and producing strange results--all the more strange
when they show signs of an attempt having been made to reconcile them
with Christian ideas.[379]

Of a heavenly or upper-world home of departed spirits, neither the
songs nor the stories of the people, so far as I am aware, make
mention. But that there is a country beyond the sky, inhabited by
supernatural beings of magic power and unbounded wealth, is stated in
a number of tales of the well-known "Jack and the Beanstalk" type. Of
these the following may be taken as a specimen.