One of Teh Wang’s guests was Dr
Erskine and I asked what was the Prince’s Mongolian name. He told that the Prince’s name is sacred;
that it is blasphemy to say it and that it must not be uttered. He is known as Vang Yi, the Prince.
No son or daughter should say the name of a
parent. The doctor had treated the
prince for a disease and all his children died until he cured him of the
condition. Now his children live, and
because of this he is very grateful to the doctor. I was surprised to hear from him that the Mongols do not bury
their dead for they believe it is wrong to touch the surface of the earth. A dead man is tied on a rope on to a horse
and is dragged by the horse with the rider, off into the Steppes, until the
corpse falls off or is lost; the rider must not look back. There, the body is left on the Steppes and
the birds and the wolves come and eat the body.
I heard a
Japanese aeroplane arrive with officials flying low over the crowds. The future of Mongolia is in the balance and
at the same time as the festivities a lot of political talks went on. Prince Teh Wang summoned me to his presence
and gave me an interview, guarded by two pigtailed Mongol soldiers. He sat bow-legged in his tent wearing
magnificent light blue heavy silk with beautiful dragon designs. It had a dark blue collar and he had a thick
black silk skullcap with a red button on top. The throne was a dragon in blue and red.
Servants came in and stared. He wants to have a great Mongol Empire, uniting the Mongols of Inner
Mongolia with those currently under the control of the Soviet Union or the
Japanese in Manchukuo. He would prefer
to rely on the Chinese for help, but if they treated the Mongols badly by
colonisation they would turn to the Japanese. Only as a last resort, if the Japanese squashed them, would they turn to
the Russians. I asked him if the best
method to attain a united Mongolia would be with Japanese help. To which he replied that they wished to
obtain independence without any outside help. He said that the attitude to the Japanese giving help would be that
anyone who sympathises with the Mongols was their friend. He had cunning eyes, gave skilful, sharp
diplomatic replies. He appeared tired
and yawned during my interview.
Gareth at the Lama service.