Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 26 April 2001
Last Updated On 26 April 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

The Goddess of Sour Milk There are many great gods and goddesses that have walked the world and we all remember their names, but there are many more smaller and less powerful spirits that saved us when the world went mad and died. Some of us do not forget their names and always have a place for them when we eat and drink and when we worship in our great temples. One of these is Smeta, the goddess of Sour Milk.

When the world was good and nobody had died, many gods and goddesses walked the world doing wondrous things and showing off their powers. One of these was Molka, who was a daughter of the Earth Tribe. Molka had found how to brew a new drink and decided to give this drink to all the animals so that their children could drink too. First she went to see the Dragon Twins and asked if they would like her new drink, but they were distant and said to ask each of their children. She then went into the earth and travelled to the gates of Hell itself, but she was too scared to pass through and could not give her gift to the creatures of the Dark. Then she went to the waters and asked the Fish Father if he wanted the new drink, but he laughed at her and asked what a man would do with such things. Molka decided to only ask the Mothers of the beasts and went to the Earth where she met Mother Reptile, Mother Earthshaker and Mother Newt. Molka asked these if they would like her drink but they ignored her and slid away. Shamed by the actions of these fellow creatures of the earth, Molka tried to ask the people of the Sky. She asked Vrimak, even though he was a male, but he also asked what would he do with this drink and laughed so loudly that it frightened her and she fled to the surface again. At last, she asked Mother Mammal if she would like the drink and Mother Mammal thanked her kindly but said that she had nowhere to store it. Molka smiled and reached beneath her and filled her teats with milk for her children to drink. As she returned to her home beneath the ground, Molka met Old Man Grandfather and Old Woman Grandmother who asked Molka if she had a drink for they were thirsty. Molka smiled and offered them her new drink and they thanked her. Old Man Grandfather drank his fill and Old Woman Grandmother asked if she could have some to give to her children, so Molka filled her teats with milk.

Mother Mammal gave this new drink to all her children and they to theirs so that all her descendants had milk to give their children. Many people learned of this and asked Molka for the drink, but she had used it all up and could not help them. Instead, she said to ask Mother Mammal for a taste of the drink. Mother Mammal said that she could give them a sip but they should ask her daughters for more as they would be easier to find. Mother Cow, Mother Horse, Mother Buffalo, Mother Goat and Mother Sheep all agreed and gave their milk willingly as did Eiritha and her daughters. Mother Dog, Mother Cat, Mother Lion and Mother Wolf did not, so we cannot drink their milk. They forgot to ask the small creatures, so we do not know whether we can drink the milk of Mother Mouse, Mother Rat and all the others who scurry and hide.

When the world went bad and started to die, many people went hungry but they were nourished by those who gave them their milk. So the horse folk, the cow folk, the sheep and goat folk and the children of Eiritha all drank milk and became fat, but then the world turned over and everything changed. What had been good became bad, what had been nice became nasty, what had been clean became dirty. Something entered the earth and found Molka's Halls. He saw her Cauldron of Milk and spat in it, making the milk sour and unfit to drink. The people wept and shouted in anger but Molka did not hear them for she had been slain.

However, Molka had a daughter and her name was Smeta. When her mother died, Smeta fled her Halls and came to the surface. She found those who cried to her mother and she cried with them. She took what little of her mother's goodness that she stored in her breast and gave it to the people, making the milk fresh for a while, but it always became sour and undrinkable. Smeta asked the people why they could not drink the milk and they showed her. Smeta laughed and showed them how to make the sour milk better. She lifted it to her lips and spat into it herself and stirred the sour milk around. To some she gave yoghurt, to others smetana, to others irain, to others curds and whey, to others koumiss, to others kefir [1]. She showed the people how they could eat and drink the soured milk and how they could make butter and cheese. She travelled through the world showing everyone how to do this. [2] Some listened but some did not. Some forgot her words when the world was made whole again and that is why some clans and tribes do not know her secrets. But we know, we have yoghurt and irain, we have koumiss and smetana, we have butter and cheese.
 

Notes

1. Irain is a mixture of sour milk and water that is drunk in Central Asia. It sounds a little strange but is very refreshing in the summer. Smetana is soured cream that is used throughout Russia and Central Asia. Kefir is a yoghurt like drink that is also common in Central Asia and Russia. Koumiss is fermented mares' milk and is drunk in Central Asia, it tastes very creamy when fresh and very sharp when bottled and I thoroughly recommend it. Many of the people of Central Asia use drink and food made from sour milk, much of which is very tasty, although I admit that some is not to my taste. They say that we used to drink the same things in the West but that we have forgotten now we have refrigerators and high-tech equipment to keep the milk fresh.

2. We know that Pentians drink Koumiss as they are based on the Mongols. I believe that the people of Prax and Pent make many drinks and foods from sour milk as they cannot afford to waste this precious resource. Some of the Orlanthi may also remember some of these foods, but they are becoming richer and may have forgotten. People of Peloria and Kralorela use some of the more exotic mixtures in their cooking. I do not know whether the people of the West know of Smeta's secrets.

[End]