Ulgen (rich?) In Siberian mythology, a creator god. Various myths are told of Ulgen’s role in creation. According to the Altaics, Ulgen came down from heaven to the waters with the desire to create the earth, though he did not know how to do it. Suddenly Erlik (man) appeared and told him he knew how it could be accomplished. With Ulgen’s approval, Erlik dived down to the water’s depths and brought up a piece of dirt. He gave part of it to Ulgen and kept part for himself. Ulgen created the earth with his part, and Erlik’s piece formed the swamps and bogs of the earth. A variant tells how Ulgen saw some mud with humanlike features floating on the water.

He gave it life and the name Erlik. At first Erlik was Ulgen’s friend and brother but later became his enemy and the devil. In another myth Ulgen created the earth on the waters with three great fish to support it. One fish was placed in the center and one at each end, and all were tied to the pillars of heaven. If one fish nods, the earth becomes flooded. To prevent this, Mandishire (adopted from Buddhist mythology’s Bodhisattva of Miraculous Birth, Manjursi) controlled the ropes so that he could raise and lower the earth. The fish did not like the weight and shook it off, causing an earthquake. The earth fractured, and pieces floated freely until Ulgen anchored them. One of the smallest pieces floating around spoke to Ulgen, saying it did not want to be permanently fixed. Ulgen then took this piece, and instead of an island he created Erlik, the first being.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante