Today we travel further East across the Bearing Strait into North America and down the West Coast. But who are the Achomawi or Atsugewi? Ask most people and they would shrug their shoulders or return blank stares. But ask the residents of Northern California or Northern Nevada and they will tell you. Both are Native American tribes and form part of the Shastan stock of which the Shasta are probably the best known.

This myth was recorded in the early 1900’s in the Pit River area – it is titled “Fish-Hawk and his Daughter”.

 

 

Fish-Hawk lived down at Pit River. When Sun travelled in winter, he left his daughter at home, but he carried her about with him in summer. Sun did not want his daughter to marry any poor person, but a great man, like Pine-Marten, Wolf, or Coyote. Fish-Hawk got angry at Sun because he talked in this way of poor people, so he started and went down to the ocean, to Sun’s place, and slipped into the sweat-house. It was winter now, and Sun’s daughter was put away inside the house in a basket. Fish-Hawk stole her, carried her on his back to Coyote’s house, and hid her away. He made the journey in one night.

 

Next morning Sun could not find his daughter, and did not know where she had gone. That morning Fish-Hawk took the basket with the woman in it, and put it away under the rocks in muddy water, to hide it so that Sun could not see and could not find his daughter.

 

Sun searched everywhere in the air and on the ground, but could not find her. Then he hired all men who were good divers or swimmers to hunt in the water, for he thought she was hidden in the water. All searched until they came to Pit River. One would search part of the way, then another. Kingfisher was the last man to go in search of her. He went along slowly to look where the water was muddy. At last he thought he saw just a bit of something under the water. Then he went over the place carefully again and again.

 

Many people were going along the river, watching these men looking for Sun’s daughter. Kingfisher filled his pipe, smoked, and blew on the water to make it clear, for he was a great shaman. Then he went up in the air and came down over the place. The people were all excited, and thought surely he would find something. He came along slowly, and sat and smoked again, and blew the smoke over the water. Then he rose, rolled up his pipe and tobacco, and put them away. Then he took a long pole, stood over the water, pushed his pole down deep, and speared with it until he got hold of the basket and pulled it out. Old Sun came, untied the basket, took his daughter out, washed her, then put her back. He paid each of the men he had hired. Part of their pay was in shells.

 

Kingfisher said that it was Fish-Hawk who had hidden the basket. Sun put the basket on his back and started home. He was so happy to get his daughter back that he did no harm to Fish-Hawk for stealing her.

——————-

From Achomawi and Atsugewi Myths and Legends

ISBN 978-1-907256-24-0

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_aamt.html

 

Today we travel North and East from Japan to the Kamchatka peninsula and pay a visit to the Koryak people.

 

The name Koryak was from the exonym word ‘Korak’ meaning ‘with the reindeer (kor)’. Koryaks practice a form of animist belief system especially via shamanism. Koryak mythology centres around the supernatural shaman Quikil (Big-Raven) who was the first man and protector of the Koryak and who features prominently in their stories. Big Raven myths are also found in the Tlingit, Tsimshian, and other Northwest Coast Amerindians (Canada and Alaska) suggesting a broader monoculture cultural area stretching from current day Kamchatka across the Bering Strait into Alaska and Canada.

 

Their cultures only really started diverging when the land bridge across the Beiring Strait between Russia and Alaska was submerged, at about the same time the land bridge between England and France disappeared also leading to a divergence between the European cultures. Coincidentally the land bridge between New Zealand’s North and South Islands also disappeared with the rise in sea levels but this did not have the same divergent effect on the Polynesian Maori culture. However, I digress. Back to the Koryaks……..

 

Today’s tale is titled “How a Small Kamak was transformed into a Harpoon-Line.”

A small kamak said to his mother, “I am hungry.” She said to him, “Go and eat something in the storeroom behind the sleeping-room!” He said, “I do not want to. I want to, go to Big-Raven’s house.” The mother said, “Do not do it! You will die. You will be caught In a snare.” She said, “Go to the upper storeroom (in the porch) and eat something!” He said, “What for? Those provisions taste of the upper storeroom.” She said, “Go to the cache and eat something!” He said, “What for? Those provisions taste of the cache.”

Big-Raven spread a snare close to his elevated storehouse (raised on supports). The small kamak ran there, and was caught in a snare. He began to whimper; “Oh, oh, I am caught, I am caught!” Big-Raven said, “It came to my mind to go and to look at this snare.” He came to it, and wanted to enter the storehouse, but stumbled over something lying in the way. “What now, what is it?”–” It is I. I am caught.” The small kamak was crying, and brushing away his tears with his small fist. “Stop blubbering! I will take you to Miti’.” He brought the small kamak to his house, and said, “O, Miti! dance in honor of (our) catch!” She began to dance, “We have a small kamak, we have a small kamak!” Big-Raven said, “You dance in a wrong way. Ġa’na, step forth and dance in honor of (our) catch!” She came out and began to dance, “We have a small ma’kak, we have a small ma’kak!” Big-Raven said, “Really this is right.”

They took him into the house. The house-master said, “What shall we make out of you, a cover for the roof-hole?”–“Not this. If I am made into a cover for the roof-hole, I shall feel smoky, I shall feel cold.” The house-master said, “What shall we make out of you, a plug for the vent-hole?”–“Not this. If I am made into a plug for the vent-hole, I shall be afraid of evil spirits passing by.” The house-master said, “What, then, do you wish us to make of you? Perhaps a work-bag for Miti’.” He said, “Not this. I shall feel smothered.” The house-master said, “We shall make you into a thong.” The small kamak began to laugh and said, “Yes!”

They made him into a thong, they cut him duly, then they carried the line out and began to stretch it (tightly). Thus stretched, they (left it there). Big-Raven’s people went to sleep. Frost-Man and his people said,

“Big-Raven has caught a small kamak. They made him into a thong. Let us go and steal it!” They found it, and began to untie it. Then it cried aloud, “Quick, get up! Already they are untying me!” Big-Raven said, “What is the matter with our small line? It wants to awaken us. Quick, let us get up!” They woke up, and said to the small kamak, “What is the matter with you? Why were you crying so loudly?” The small kamak said, “Frost-Man’s people wanted to carry me away.”

The people living down the coast heard (about the thing),–how Big-Raven caught a small kamak; and how they made him into a thong; and how no one succeeded in carrying it away, it was so watchful. Those people began to say, “We will go and carry it away.”

They said, “Surely we will carry it away.” Big-Raven’s people went to sleep. The people living down the coast came and took the line. It wanted to awaken the other people, but it was unable to awaken them. “Oh, they are untying me already, they are carrying me away!” Indeed, they untied it and carried it away; they stole the line.

The others woke up, but there was no line whatever. It had been taken away. Big-Raven said, “People living down the coast have committed this theft. Indeed, they took it, nobody else.” Eme’mqut said, “A very good line was taken away, still we will bring it back.” Eme’mqut made a wooden whale and entered it. He went away and came to the people living down the coast. Those people were walking around. They were saying, “This is the first time that such a whale has come near to us. It is a very good whale.”

They attacked the whale, came near to it, and threw at it a harpoon with a new line. The small kamak lustily bit into the whale. Eme’mqut said to him under his breath, “Why are you biting me? I have come to fetch you home.” Eme’mqut threw into the boat of the whale-hunters some berries of Rubus Arcticus, and they began to eat them. Meanwhile Eme’mqut fled in all haste to his house. He carried away the new line, and took it home. They ceased carrying the line out of the house. They kept it always in the inner room, so the others could not steal it. That is all.

———-

From “Koryak Texts” ISBN – 978-1-907256-43-1. Currently only available as an eBook

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_koryak.html

 

 

Today we resume our eastwards journey and find ourselves in Japan. I have selected two poems from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or ‘Single Verses by a Hundred People’, which were collected together in A.D. 1235 by Sadaiye Fujiwara. The poems are in approximately chronological order, and range from about the year 670 to the year of compilation.

Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we Westerners are used to; it has no rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we are used to. The verses in this collection are all what are called Tanka, which was for many years the only form of verse known to the Japanese. A tanka verse has five line and thirty-one syllables, arranged thus: 5-7-5-7-7. As this is an unusual metre in our ears, the translator, William N. Porter, adopted a five-lined verse of 8-6-8-6-6 metre for the translation, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming, in the hope of retaining at least some resemblance to the original form, while making the sound more familiar to English readers.

The Japanese section of each tanka has been written phonetically so western readers may at least be able to get a feel for what the poem would have sounded like in it’s native Japanese.
The Emperor Tenchi reigned from A.D. 668 to 671, his capital was Otsu, not far from Kyōto, and he is chiefly remembered for his kindness and benevolence. It is related, that one day he was scaring birds away, while the harvesters were gathering in the crop, and, when a shower of rain came on, he took shelter in a neighbouring hut; it was, however, thatched only with coarse rushes, which did not afford him much protection, and this is the incident on which the verse is founded.
The picture shows the harvesters hard at work in the field, and the hut where the Emperor took shelter.

A Hundred Verses from Old Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – THE EMPEROR TENCHI or TENCHI TENNŌ

Aki no ta no
Kari ho no iho no
Toma wo arami
Waga koromode wa
Tsuyu ni nure-tsutsu.

OUT in the fields this autumn day
They’re busy reaping grain ;
I sought for shelter ’neath this roof,
But fear I sought in vain,—
My sleeve is wet with rain.

Because the tanka are so short I feel it only right to spoil you with a second. I have selected the tanka from the compiler of this volume which is listed at number 97.
Sada-iye, of the Fujiwara family, was the Compiler of this Collection of verses; he was the son of Toshi-nari, the writer of verse No. 83, and he entered the priesthood, dying in the year 1242, at the age of eighty.
Matsu-hō is on the north coast of the Island of Awaji, in the Inland Sea; but the word also means ‘a place of waiting and longing for somebody’. Kogare means ‘scorching or evaporating’ (sea-water in the saltpans), but it also has the meaning ‘to long for, or to love ardently.’
The illustration shows two men carrying pails of sea-water to the salt-pans.
A Hundred Verses from Old Japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

97 – THE ASSISTANT IMPERIAL ADVISER SADA-IYE or GON CHU-NAGON SADA-IYE

Konu hito wo
Matsu-hō no ura no
Yūnagi ni
Yaku ya moshio no
Mi mo kogare-tsutsu.

UPON the shore of Matsu-hō
For thee I pine and sigh;
Though calm and cool the evening air,
These salt-pans caked and dry
Are not more parched than I!

From “A Hundred Verses from Old Japan” translated by William N. Porter
ISBN 978-1-907256-19-6

URL – http://www.abelapublishing.com/hvoj.html

I don’t usually post on Sundays but overnight I received a “like” from a Canadian/Armenian  – Tamar Najarian. Not having much to do on a Sunday morning, I followed the link to her post and read with great interest about how she felt that, despite having grown up in Canada, she had “come home” the minute she stepped onto Armenian soil.

 

I grew up in South Africa and even as a child knew that South Africa would not be my home. This feeling of “not belonging” was intensified through my teenage years especially during my post-high school period when I completed 2 years national service.

 

Immediately after national service I toured Europe and on landing in Luxembourg and travelling into Germany, I knew that my future lay somewhere other than South Africa. I ended up working in London and did many backpacking mini-tours into European countries, but none really felt like “home”.

 

I returned to South Africa, trained as a computer programmer, but always had a sense that my future lay elsewhere.

In 1987 I married a Kiwi (New Zealand) Occupational Therapist on assignment to the South African Leprosy Mission. Even though married we never “put down roots” in South Africa and when her contract ran out it was an easy decision to “up sticks” and move to New Zealand.

 

Our route to New Zealand took us via London, where we had both worked in earlier days, New York, Los Angeles and eventually Auckland. The USA was stimulating but did not have that “this is where I’m meant to be” factor. On disembarking in Auckland in May 1988, I knew straight away that I was “home”. This was where I was meant to be. Why or how did I know this? Don’t ask me, I just knew.

 

I currently work and live in London (again) but we still have our family home in Papkowhai just North of Wellington, New Zealand.

 

Here’s a poem from Zabelle Boyan’s “Armenian Poetry and Legends” especially for you Tamar – and all those who have a feeling in their gut that their future lies somewhere beyond the end of their street……

 

THE TEARS OF ARAXES

BY RAPHAEL PATKANIAN

I WALK by Mother Arax
With faltering steps and slow,
And memories of past ages
Seek in the waters’ flow.

But they run dark and turbid,
And beat upon the shore
In grief and bitter sorrow,
Lamenting evermore.

“Araxes! with the fishes
Why dost not dance in glee?
The sea is still far distant,
Yet thou art sad, like me.

“From thy proud eyes, O Mother,
Why do the tears downpour?
Why dost thou haste so swiftly
Past thy familiar shore?

“Make not thy current turbid;
Flow calm and joyously.
Thy youth is short, fair river;
Thou soon wilt reach the sea.

“Let sweet rose-hedges brighten
Thy hospitable shore,
And nightingales among them
Till morn their music pour.

“Let ever-verdant willows
Lave in thy waves their feet,
And with their bending branches
Refresh the noonday heat.

“Let shepherds on thy margin
Walk singing, without fear;
Let lambs and kids seek freely
Thy waters cool and clear.”

Araxes swelled her current,
Tossed high her foaming tide,
And in a voice of thunder
Thus from her depths replied:–

“Rash, thoughtless youth, why com’st thou
My age-long sleep to break,
And memories of my myriad griefs
Within my breast to wake?

“When hast thou seen a widow,
After her true-love died,
From head to foot resplendent
With ornaments of pride?

“For whom should I adorn me?
Whose eyes shall I delight?
The stranger hordes that tread my banks
Are hateful in my sight.

“My kindred stream, impetuous Kur,
Is widowed, like to me,
But bows beneath the tyrant’s yoke,
And wears it slavishly.

“But I, who am Armenian,
My own Armenians know;
I want no stranger bridegroom;
A widowed stream I flow.

“Once I, too, moved in splendour,
Adorned as is a bride
With myriad precious jewels,
My smiling banks beside.

“My waves were pure and limpid,
And curled in rippling play;
The morning star within them
Was mirrored till the day.

“What from that time remaineth?
All, all has passed away.
Which of my prosperous cities
Stands near my waves to-day?

“Mount Ararat doth pour me,
As with a mother’s care,
From out her sacred bosom
Pure water, cool and fair.

“Shall I her holy bounty
To hated aliens fling?
Shall strangers’ fields be watered
From good Saint Jacob’s spring?

“For filthy Turk or Persian
Shall I my waters pour,
That they may heathen rites perform
Upon my very shore,

“While my own sons, defenceless,
Are exiled from their home,
And, faint with thirst and hunger,
In distant countries roam?

“My own Armenian nation
Is banished far away;
A godless, barbarous people
Dwells on my banks to-day.

“Shall I my hospitable shores
Adorn in festive guise
For them, or gladden with fair looks
Their wild and evil eyes?

“Still, while my sons are exiled,
Shall I be sad, as now.
This is my heart’s deep utterance,
My true and holy vow.”

No more spake Mother Arax;
She foamed up mightily,
And, coiling like a serpent,
Wound sorrowing toward the sea.

Translated by Alice Stone Blackwell.

If you haven’t worked it out or looked it up, the Araxes is a river that rises in northeastern Turkey (near the source of the Euphrates) and flows generally eastward through Armenia emptying into the Caspian Sea.

 

From “Armenian Poetry and Legends”  compiled and illustrated by Zabelle Boyajian

ISBN 978-1-907256-18-9

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_apl.html

 

Armenian Poetry and Legends

There once lived in a small town in China a man named Hok Lee. He was a steady industrious man, who not only worked hard at his trade, but did all his own house-work as well, for he had no wife to do it for him. ‘What an excellent industrious man is this Hok Lee!’ said his neighbours; ‘how hard he works: he never leaves his house to amuse himself or to take a holiday as others do!’

But Hok Lee was by no means the virtuous person his neighbours thought him. True, he worked hard enough by day, but at night, when all respectable folk were fast asleep, he used to steal out and join a dangerous band of robbers, who broke into rich people’s houses and carried off all they could lay hands on.

This state of things went on for some time, and, though a thief was caught now and then and punished, no suspicion ever fell on Hok Lee, he was such a very respectable, hard-working man.

Hok Lee had already amassed a good store of money as his share of the proceeds of these robberies when it happened one morning on going to market that a neighbour said to24 him:

‘Why, Hok Lee, what is the matter with your face? One side of it is all swelled up.’

True enough, Hok Lee’s right cheek was twice the size of his left, and it soon began to feel very uncomfortable.

‘I will bind up my face,’ said Hok Lee; ‘doubtless the warmth will cure the swelling.’ But no such thing. Next day it was worse, and day by day it grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly as large as his head and became very painful.

Hok Lee was at his wits’ ends what to do. Not only was his cheek unsightly and painful, but his neighbours began to jeer and make fun of him, which hurt his feelings very much indeed.

One day, as luck would have it, a travelling doctor came to the town. He sold not only all kinds of medicine, but also dealt in many strange charms against witches and evil spirits.

Hok Lee determined to consult him, and asked him into his house.

After the doctor had examined him carefully, he spoke thus: ‘This, O Hok Lee, is no ordinary swelled face. I strongly suspect you have been doing some wrong deed which has called down the anger of the spirits on you. None of my drugs will avail to cure you, but, if you are willing to pay me handsomely, I can tell you how you may be cured.’

Then Hok Lee and the doctor began to bargain together, and it was a long time before they could come to terms. However, the doctor got the better of it in the end, for he was determined not to part with his secret under a certain price, and Hok Lee had no mind to carry his huge cheek about with him to the end of his days. So he was obliged to part with the greater portion of his ill-gotten gains.

When the Doctor had pocketed the money, he told Hok Lee to go on the first night of the full moon to a certain wood and there to watch by a particular tree. After a time he would see the dwarfs and little sprites who live underground come out to dance. When they saw him they would be sure to make him dance too. ‘And mind you dance your very best,’ added the doctor. ‘If you dance well and please them they will grant you a petition and you can then beg to be cured; but if you dance badly they will most likely do you some mischief out of spite.’ With that he took leave and departed.

Happily the first night of the full moon was near, and at the proper time Hok Lee set out for the wood. With a little trouble he found the tree the doctor had described, and, feeling nervous, he climbed up into it.

He had hardly settled himself on a branch when he saw the little dwarfs assembling in the moonlight. They came from all sides, till at length there appeared to be hundreds of them. They seemed in high glee, and danced and skipped and capered about, whilst Hok Lee grew so eager watching them that he crept further and further along his branch till at length it gave a loud crack. All the dwarfs stood still, and Hok Lee felt as if his heart stood still also.

Then one of the dwarfs called out, ‘Someone is up in that tree. Come down at once, whoever you are, or we must come and fetch you.’

In great terror, Hok Lee proceeded to come down; but he was so nervous that he tripped near the ground and came rolling down in the most absurd manner. When he had picked himself up, he came forward with a low bow, and the dwarf who had first spoken and who appeared to be the leader, said, ‘Now, then, who art thou, and what brings thee here?’

So Hok Lee told him the sad story of his swelled cheek, and how he had been advised to come to the forest and beg the dwarfs to cure him.

‘It is well,’ replied the dwarf. ‘We will see about that. First, however, thou must dance before us. Should thy dancing please us, perhaps we may be able to do something; but shouldst thou dance badly, we shall assuredly punish thee, so now take warning and dance away.’

With that, he and all the other dwarfs sat down in a large ring, leaving Hok Lee to dance alone in the middle. He felt half frightened to death, and besides was a good deal shaken by his fall from the tree and did not feel at all inclined to dance. But the dwarfs were not to be trifled with.

‘Begin!’ cried their leader, and ‘Begin!’ shouted the rest in chorus.

So in despair Hok Lee began. First he hopped on one foot and then on the other, but he was so stiff and so nervous that he made but a poor attempt, and after a time sank down on the ground and vowed he could dance no more.

The dwarfs were very angry. They crowded round Hok Lee and abused him. ‘Thou to come here to be cured, indeed!’ they cried, ‘thou hast brought one big cheek with thee, but thou shalt take away two.’ And with that they ran off and disappeared, leaving Hok Lee to find his way home as best he might.

He hobbled away, weary and depressed, and not a little anxious on account of the dwarfs’ threat.

Nor were his fears unfounded, for when he rose next morning his left cheek was swelled up as big as his right, and he could hardly see out of his eyes. Hok Lee felt in despair, and his neighbours jeered at him more than ever. The doctor, too, had disappeared, so there was nothing for it but to try the dwarfs once more.

He waited a month till the first night of the full moon came round again, and then he trudged back to the forest, and sat down under the tree from which he had fallen. He had not long to wait. Ere long the dwarfs came trooping out till all were assembled.

‘I don’t feel quite easy,’ said one; ‘I feel as if some horrid human being were near us.’

When Hok Lee heard this he came forward and bent down to the ground before the dwarfs, who came crowding round, and laughed heartily at his comical appearance with his two big cheeks.

‘What dost thou want?’ they asked; and Hok Lee proceeded to tell them of his fresh misfortunes, and begged so hard to be allowed one more trial at dancing that the dwarfs consented, for there is nothing they love so much as being amused.

Now, Hok Lee knew how much depended on his dancing well, so he plucked up a good spirit and began, first quite slowly, and faster by degrees, and he danced so well and gracefully, and made such new and wonderful steps, that the dwarfs were quite delighted with him.

They clapped their tiny hands, and shouted, ‘Well done, Hok Lee, well done, go on, dance more, for we are pleased.’

And Hok Lee danced on and on, till he really could dance no more, and was obliged to stop.

Then the leader of the dwarfs said, ‘We are well pleased, Hok Lee, and as a recompense for thy dancing thy face shall be cured. Farewell.’

With these words he and the other dwarfs vanished, and Hok Lee, putting his hands to his face, found to his great joy that his cheeks were reduced to their natural size. The way home seemed short and easy to him, and he went to bed happy, and resolved never to go out robbing again.

Next day the whole town was full of the news of Hok’s sudden cure. His neighbours questioned him, but could get nothing from him, except the fact that he had discovered a wonderful cure for all kinds of diseases.

After a time a rich neighbour, who had been ill for some years, came, and offered to give Hok Lee a large sum of money if he would tell him how he might get cured. Hok Lee consented on condition that he swore to keep the secret. He did so, and Hok Lee told him of the dwarfs and their dances.

The neighbour went off, carefully obeyed Hok Lee’s directions, and was duly cured by the dwarfs. Then another and another came to Hok Lee to beg his secret, and from each he extracted a vow of secrecy and a large sum of money. This went on for some years, so that at length Hok Lee became a very wealthy man, and ended his days in peace and prosperity.

————-

From Andrew Lang’s Green Fairy Book

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_gfb.html

A great Beg (chieftan)had a daughter. She went to dig out vegetables. After she had gone and dug out vegetables, she got near a stone pyhrqan (shape-shifter). As she got there, she rested. She rested, and the girl’s foot hurt.
As it hurt: “If you take the vegetables and deliver them home, I will be your wife!” Thus the girl said to the pyhrqan.
Then the pyhrqan said: “All right, I will send you.” And after he had said thus, he sent her.
When he had send her, he came near the girl at night. He slept at the girl’s side at night.
The girl used to kowtow to her father on the fifteenth of the month. As she kowtowed, her belly had become big, she was pregnant. Then her father noticed it, and was about to kill her.
Then the girl used to kowtow for her father, imploring him. Her father still wanted to kill her, but her mother did not let her get killed.
The girl said thus to her mother: “After I dug out vegetables, a pyhrqan came to me, and I got pregnant.” But her father still wanted to kill her.
There was also the girl’s maternal uncle. The girl’s uncle came and took the girl away with him. In her uncle’s house she gave birth to a boy.
When the boy had become six years old, this boy was able to take up whatever other people could not take up because of the weight.
One day a tiger there used to eat the people who tended the sheep. This boy went to tend sheep. As he had gone, the tiger came to eat this boy. Then he killed the tiger with one blow.
Then the khan’s people heard about it, and intended to take this boy. Thereupon two horsemen of the khan came and said to this boy: “Why have you killed the tiger?”
“It was about to eat me. So I killed it.”
“In that case, put this tiger down on my horse for me!”
“Certainly!” said the boy. Thereupon the boy took up the tiger and threw him on the horse. Then he killed the horse, as the tiger pressed it down.
Thereupon: “Give me another horse, you have killed my horse.”
Thereupon the boy said thus: “Certainly; you go to my home.”
Thereupon he said thus to his grandfather: “I have killed my tiger, and two people of the khan will bring me to the khan’s place,” he said. “Give me a horse, as I have killed their horse.”
“If that is the case, catch a blue horse among my horses for him,” he said.
The khan’s people took the horse, and said to his grandfather: “Give this boy to me!”
“Certainly,” he said.
The khan’s people set off, taking the boy with them. But while the boy was walking, as they stayed the night, he ran away during the night. He walked and got at a temple. As he got at the temple, there was an old monk.
Thereupon the boy said thus to the monk: “Let me be your adopted son, I will become a novice.”
“Certainly,” said the monk, and he dressed him in a yellow garment. Thereupon, on the fifteenth of the month, he used to teach scriptures every day. When he had taught for two days, this boy had learned all the scriptures.
“Sweep the temple’s inside on the fifteenth of the month,” said he. There was also an older novice. “You sweep the other temple’s outside. Let this young novice sweep underneath the pyhrqans.”
This young novice said to the pyhrqan: “Lift up your foot! Let me sweep.” Thereupon, when he had said thus, the pyhrqan lifted up his foot. And after he had swept: “Put down your foot.”
Thereupon he got at a sleeping pyhrqan. “Lift up your head! Let me sweep,” he said. He lifted up his head. But after he had swept, he did not say ‘sleep!’
The older novice saw that the pyhrqan was not sleeping. He saw it and told it his monk.
As he told it his monk: “Don’t you lie!”
“Go see that it is true: the sleeping pyhrqan has got up!”
Thereupon the old monk went to see. As he went, the sleeping pyhrqan had truly got up. As this was the case, the old monk reproached his novice. As he reproached him, the novice killed him.
Then the novices of this temple were many. As they were many, they tucked this young novice in a box and threw him away into the water.
Thereupon, as a monk of the Chinese went near that water, a red box floated by. Thereupon the Chinese said: “If you are a pyhrqan, come, and I will get you out!”
The red box came floating hither. He got it out, and as he opened the box, there was a novice in it. He took him with him.
After the Chinese had taken him to the temple, these Chinese novices used to tease the young novice. So these Chinese novices said thus: “We have taken you out of the water. You have no father, and you have no mother!”
This young novice cried. While he was crying, he made the temple’s door collapse.
Thereupon the temple’s monk said: “You made this door collapse.” As the monk intended to beat him, the smal six-year-old novice killed this monk.
The Chinese novices send a letter to the khan. As they had send a letter, then the deity Sunwukun knew. He came to kill this novice. But come as he may, this novice also killed Sunwukun.
The khan ordered this small novice to come to the khan’s place. As he came, the novice was a strong man.
Thereupon the khan said: “Stay here, I will give you a great beg’s office.” He also became the son of the khan. And after the khan had died, this novice became khan.

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From “Uyghur Folk-lore and Legend”

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Uyghur Folklore and Legend

THERE was an old woman in a village. And grown-up maidens met and span, and made a ‘bee.’ And the young sparks came and laid hold of the girls, and pulled them about and kissed them. But one girl had no sweetheart to lay hold of her and kiss her. And she was a strapping lass, the daughter of wealthy peasants; but three whole days no one came near her. And she looked at the big girls, her comrades. And no one troubled himself with her. Yet she was a pretty girl, a prettier was not to be found. Then came a fine young spark, and took her in his arms and kissed her, and stayed with her until cock-crow. And when the cock crowed at dawn he departed. The old woman saw he had cock’s feet. And she kept looking at the lad’s feet, and she said, ‘Nita, my lass, did you see anything?’

‘I didn’t notice.’

‘Then didn’t I see he had cock’s feet?’

‘Let be, mother, I didn’t see it.’

And the girl went home and slept; and she arose and went off to the spinning, where many more girls were holding a ‘bee.’ And the young sparks came, and took each one his sweetheart. And they kissed them, and stayed a while, and went home. And the girl’s handsome young spark came and took her in his arms and kissed her and pulled her about, and stayed with her till midnight. And the cock began to crow. The young spark heard the cock crowing, and departed. What said the old woman who was in the hut, ‘Nita, did you notice that he had horse’s hoofs?’

‘And if he had, I didn’t see.’

Then the girl departed to her home. And she slept and arose in the morning, and did her work that she had to do. And night came, and she took her spindle and went to the old woman in the hut. And the other girls came, and the young sparks came, and each laid hold of his sweetheart. But the pretty girl looks at them. Then the young sparks gave over and departed home. And only the girl remained neither a long time nor a short time. Then came the girl’s young spark. Then what will the girl do? She took heed, and stuck a needle and thread in his back. And he departed when the cock crew, and she knew not where he had gone to. Then the girl arose in the morning and took the thread, and followed up the thread, and saw him in a grave where he was sitting. Then the girl trembled and went back home. At night the young spark that was in the grave came to the old woman’s house and saw that the girl was not there. He asked the old woman, ‘Where’s Nita?’

‘She has not come.’

Then he went to Nita’s house, where she lived, and called, ‘Nita, are you at home?’

Nita answered, [‘I am’].

‘Tell me what you saw when you came to the church. For if you don’t tell me I will kill your father.’

‘I didn’t see anything.’

Then he looked, and he killed her father, and departed to his grave.

Next night he came back. ‘Nita, tell me what you saw.’ I didn’t see anything.’

‘Tell me, or I will kill your mother, as I killed your father. Tell me what you saw.’

‘I didn’t see anything.’

Then he killed her mother, and departed to his grave. Then the girl arose in the morning. And she had twelve servants. And she said to them, ‘See, I have much money and many oxen and many sheep; and they shall come to the twelve of you as a gift, for I shall die to-night. And it will fare ill with you if you bury me not in the forest at the foot of an apple-tree.’

At night came the young spark from the grave and asked, Nita, are you at home?’

‘I am.’

‘Tell me, Nita, what you saw three days ago, or I will kill you, as I killed your parents.’

‘I have nothing to tell you.’

Then he took and killed her. Then, casting a look, he departed to his grave.

So the servants, when they arose in the morning, found Nita dead. The servants took her and laid her out decently. They sat and made a hole in the wall and passed her through the hole, and carried her, as she had bidden, and buried her in the forest by the apple-tree.

And half a year passed by, and a prince went to go and course hares with greyhounds and other dogs. And he went to hunt, and the hounds ranged the forest and came to the maiden’s grave. And a flower grew out of it, the like of which for beauty there was not in the whole kingdom. So the hounds came on her monument, where she was buried, and they began to bark and scratched at the maiden’s grave. Then the prince took and called the dogs with his horn, and the dogs came not. The prince said, ‘Go quickly thither.’

Four huntsmen arose and came and saw the flower burning like a candle. They returned to the prince, and he asked them, ‘What is it?’

‘It is a flower, the like was never seen.’

Then the lad heard, and came to the maiden’s grave, and saw the flower and plucked it. And he came home and showed it to his father and mother. Then he took and put it in a vase at his bed-head where he slept. Then the flower arose from the vase and turned a somersault, and became a full-grown maiden. And she took the lad and kissed him, and bit him and pulled him about, and slept with him in her arms, and put her hand under his head. And he knew it not. When the dawn came she became a flower again.

In the morning the lad rose up sick, and complained to his father and mother, ‘Mammy, my shoulders hurt me, and my head hurts me.’

His mother went and brought a wise woman and tended him. He asked for something to eat and drink. And he waited a bit, and then went to his business that he had to do. And he went home again at night. And he ate and drank and lay down on his couch, and sleep seized him. Then the flower arose and again became a full-grown maiden. And she took him again in her arms, and slept with him, and sat with him in her arms. And he slept. And she went back to the vase. And he arose, and his bones hurt him, and he told his mother and his father. Then his father said to his wife, ‘It began with the coming of the flower. Something must be the matter, for the boy is quite ill. Let us watch to-night, and post ourselves on one side, and see who comes to our son.’

Night came, and the prince laid himself in his bed to sleep. Then the maiden arose from the vase, and became there was never anything more fair–as burns the flame of a candle. And his mother and his father, the king, saw the maiden, and laid hands on her. Then the prince arose out of his sleep, and saw the maiden that she was fair. Then he took her in his arms and kissed her, and lay down in his bed, slept till day.

And they made a marriage and ate and drank. The folk marvelled, for a being so fair as that maiden was not to be found in all the realm. And he dwelt with her half a year, and she bore a golden boy, two apples in his hand. And it pleased the prince well.

Then her old sweetheart heard it, the vampire who had made love to her, and had killed her. He arose and came to her and asked her, ‘Nita, tell me, what did you see me doing?’

‘I didn’t see anything.’

‘Tell me truly, or I will kill your child, your little boy, as I killed your father and mother. Tell me truly.’

‘I have nothing to tell you.’

And he killed her boy. And she arose and carried him to the church and buried him.

At night the vampire came again and asked her, ‘Tell me, Nita, what you saw.’

‘I didn’t see anything.’

‘Tell me, or I will kill the lord whom you have wedded.’

Then Nita arose and said, ‘It shall not happen that you kill my lord. God send you burst.’

The vampire heard what Nita said, and burst. Ay, he died, and burst for very rage. In the morning Nita arose and saw the floor swimming two hand’s-breadth deep in blood. Then Nita bade her father-in-law take out the vampire’s heart with all speed. Her father-in-law, the king, hearkened, and opened him and took out his heart, and gave it into Nita’s hand. And she went to the grave of her boy and dug the boy up, applied the heart, and the boy arose. And Nita went to her father and to her mother, and anointed them with the blood, and they arose. Then, looking on them, Nita told all the troubles she had borne, and what she had suffered at the hands of the vampire.

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From “Gypsy Folk Tales – Book One”

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Gypsy Folk Tales - Book One

There is a dreadful place in Persia called the “Valley of the Angel of Death.” That terrific minister of God’s wrath, according to tradition, has resting-places upon the earth and his favourite abodes. He is surrounded by ghools, horrid beings who, when he takes away life, feast upon the carcasses.

The natural shape of these monsters is terrible; but they can assume those of animals, such as cows or camels, or whatever they choose, often appearing to men as their relations or friends, and then they do not only transform their shapes, but their voices also are altered. The frightful screams and yells which are often heard amid these dreaded ravines are changed for the softest and most melodious notes. Unwary travellers, deluded by the appearance of friends, or captivated by the forms and charmed by the music of these demons, are allured from their path, and after feasting for a few hours on every luxury, are consigned to destruction.

The number of these ghools has greatly decreased since the birth of the Prophet, and they have no power to hurt those who pronounce his name in sincerity of faith. These creatures are the very lowest of the supernatural world, and, besides being timid, are extremely stupid, and consequently often imposed upon by artful men.

The natives of Isfahan, though not brave, are the most crafty and acute people upon earth, and often supply the want of courage by their address. An inhabitant of that city was once compelled to travel alone at night through this dreadful valley. He was a man of ready wit, and fond of adventures, and, though no lion, had great confidence in his cunning, which had brought him through a hundred scrapes and perils that would have embarrassed or destroyed your simple man of valour.

This man, whose name was Ameen Beg, had heard many stories of the ghools of the “Valley of the Angel of Death,” and thought it likely he might meet one. He prepared accordingly, by putting an egg and a lump of salt in his pocket. He had not gone far amidst the rocks, when he heard a voice crying, “Holloa, Ameen Beg Isfahânee! you are going the wrong road, you will lose yourself; come this way. I am your friend Kerreem Beg; I know your father, old Kerbela Beg, and the street in which you were born.” Ameen knew well the power the ghools had of assuming the shape of any person they choose; and he also knew their skill as genealogists, and their knowledge of towns as well as families; he had therefore little doubt this was one of those creatures alluring him to destruction. He, however, determined to encounter him, and trust to his art for his escape.

“Stop, my friend, till I come near you,” was his reply. When Ameen came close to the ghool, he said, “You are not my friend Kerreem; you are a lying demon, but you are just the being I desired to meet. I have tried my strength against all the men and all the beasts which exist in the natural world, and I can find nothing that is a match for me. I came therefore to this valley in the hope of encountering a ghool, that I might prove my prowess upon him.”

The ghool, astonished at being addressed in this manner, looked keenly at him, and said, “Son of Adam, you do not appear so strong.” “Appearances are deceitful,” replied Ameen, “but I will give you a proof of my strength. There,” said he, picking up a stone from a rivulet, “this contains a fluid; try if you can so squeeze it that it will flow out.” The ghool took the stone, but, after a short attempt, returned it, saying, “The thing is impossible.” “Quite easy,” said the Isfahânee, taking the stone and placing it in the hand in which he had before put the egg. “Look there!” And the astonished ghool, while he heard what he took for the breaking of the stone, saw the liquid run from between Ameen’s fingers, and this apparently without any effort.

Ameen, aided by the darkness, placed the stone upon the ground while he picked up another of a darker hue. “This,” said he, “I can see contains salt, as you will find if you can crumble it between your fingers; “but the ghool, looking at it, confessed he had neither knowledge to discover its qualities nor strength to break it. “Give it me,” said his companion impatiently; and, having put it into the same hand with the piece of salt, he instantly gave the latter all crushed to the ghool, who, seeing it reduced to powder, tasted it, and remained in stupid astonishment at the skill and strength of this wonderful man. Neither was he without alarm lest his strength should be exerted against himself, and he saw no safety in resorting to the shape of a beast, for Ameen had warned him that if he commenced any such unfair dealing, he would instantly slay him; for ghools, though long-lived, are not immortal.

Under such circumstances he thought his best plan was to conciliate the friendship of his new companion till he found an opportunity of destroying him.

“Most wonderful man,” he said, “will you honour my abode with your presence? it is quite at hand there you will find every refreshment; and after a comfortable night’s rest you can resume your journey.”

“I have no objection, friend ghool, to accept your offer; but, mark me, I am, in the first place, very passionate, and must not be provoked by any expressions which are in the least disrespectful; and, in the second, I am full of penetration, and can see through your designs as clearly as I saw into that hard stone in which I discovered salt. So take care you entertain none that are wicked, or you shall suffer.”

The ghool declared that the ear of his guest should be pained by no expression to which it did not befit his dignity to listen; and he swore by the head of his liege lord, the Angel of Death, that he would faithfully respect the rights of hospitality and friendship.

Thus satisfied, Ameen followed the ghool through a number of crooked paths, rugged cliffs, and deep ravines, till they came to a large cave, which was dimly lighted. “Here,” said the ghool, “I dwell, and here my friend will find all he can want for refreshment and repose.” So saying, he led him to various apartments, in which were hoarded every species of grain, and all kinds of merchandise, plundered from travellers who had been deluded to this den, and of whose fate Ameen was too well informed by the bones over which he now and then stumbled, and by the putrid smell produced by some half-consumed carcasses. “This will be sufficient for your supper, I hope,” said the ghool, taking up a large bag of rice; “a man of your prowess must have a tolerable appetite.” “True,” said Ameen, “but I ate a sheep and as much rice as you have there before I proceeded on my journey. I am, consequently, not hungry, but will take a little lest I offend your hospitality.” “I must boil it for you,” said the demon; “you do not eat grain and meat raw, as we do. Here is a kettle,” said he, taking up one lying amongst the plundered property. “I will go and get wood for a fire, while you fetch water with that,” pointing to a bag made of the hides of six oxen.

Ameen waited till he saw his host leave the cave for the wood, and then with great difficulty he dragged the enormous bag to the bank of a dark stream, which issued from the rocks at the other end of the cavern, and, after being visible for a few yards, disappeared underground.

“How shall I,” thought Ameen, “prevent my weakness being discovered? This bag I could hardly manage when empty; when full, it would require twenty strong men to carry it; what shall I do? I shall certainly be eaten up by this cannibal ghool, who is now only kept in order by the impression of my great strength.” After some minutes’ reflection the Isfahânee thought of a scheme, and began digging a small channel from the stream towards the place where his supper was preparing.

“What are you doing?” vociferated the ghool, as he advanced towards him; “I sent you for water to boil a little rice, and you have been an hour about it. Cannot you fill the bag and bring it away?” “Certainly I can,” said Ameen; “if I were content, after all your kindness, to show my gratitude merely by feats of brute strength, I could lift your stream if you had a bag large enough to hold it. But here,” said he, pointing to the channel he had begun,” here is the commencement of a work in which the mind of a man is employed to lessen the labour of his body. This canal, small as it may appear, will carry a stream to the other end of the cave, in which I will construct a dam that you can open and shut at pleasure, and thereby save yourself infinite trouble in fetching water. But pray let me alone till it is finished,” and he began to dig. “Nonsense!” said the ghool, seizing the bag and filling it; “I will carry the water myself, and I advise you to leave off your canal, as you call it, and follow me, that you may eat your supper and go to sleep; you may finish this fine work, if you like it, to-morrow morning.”

Ameen congratulated himself on this escape, and was not slow in taking the advice of his host. After having ate heartily of the supper that was prepared, he went to repose on a bed made of the richest coverlets and pillows, which were taken from one of the store-rooms of plundered goods. The ghool, whose bed was also in the cave, had no sooner laid down than he fell into a sound sleep. The anxiety of Ameen’s mind prevented him from following his example; he rose gently, and having stuffed a long pillow into the middle of his bed, to make it appear as if he was still there, he retired to a concealed place in the cavern to watch the proceedings of the ghool. The latter awoke a short time before daylight, and rising, went, without making any noise, towards Ameen’s bed, where, not observing the least stir, he was satisfied that his guest was in a deep sleep; so he took up one of his walking-sticks, which was in size like the trunk of a tree, and struck a terrible blow at what he supposed to be Ameen’s head. He smiled not to hear a groan, thinking he had deprived him of life; but to make sure of his work, he repeated the blow seven times. He then returned to rest, but had hardly settled himself to sleep, when Ameen, who had crept into the bed, raised his head above the clothes and exclaimed, “Friend ghool, what insect could it be that has disturbed me by its tapping? I counted the flap of its little wings seven times on the coverlet. These vermin are very annoying, for, though they cannot hurt a man, they disturb his rest!”

The ghool’s dismay on hearing Ameen speak at all was great, but that was increased to perfect fright when he heard him describe seven blows, any one of which would have felled an elephant, as seven flaps of an insect’s wing. There was no safety, he thought, near so wonderful a man, and he soon afterwards arose and fled from the cave, leaving the Isfahânee its sole master.

When Ameen found his host gone, he was at no loss to conjecture the cause, and immediately began to survey the treasures with which he was surrounded, and to contrive means for removing them to his home.

After examining the contents of the cave, and arming himself with a matchlock, which had belonged to some victim of the ghool, he proceeded to survey the road. He had, however, only gone a short distance when he saw the ghool returning with a large club in his hand, and accompanied by a fox. Ameen’s knowledge of the cunning animal instantly led him to suspect that it had undeceived his enemy, but his presence of mind did not forsake him. “Take that,” said he to the fox, aiming a ball at him from his matchlock, and shooting him through the head,—”Take that for your not performing my orders. That brute,” said he, “promised to bring me seven ghools, that I might chain them, and carry them to Isfahan, and here he has only brought you, who are already my slave.” So saying, he advanced towards the ghool; but the latter had already taken to flight, and by the aid of his club bounded so rapidly over rocks and precipices that he was soon out of sight.

Ameen having well marked the path from the cavern to the road, went to the nearest town and hired camels and mules to remove the property he had acquired. After making restitution to all who remained alive to prove their goods, he became, from what was unclaimed, a man of wealth, all of which was owing to that wit and art which ever overcome brute strength and courage.

– – – – – – –

From Oriental Folklore and Legends – Tales from Along the Silk Route

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THERE was and there was not at all, there was a blind monarch; all the doctors in the kingdom had been applied to, but the king could not be cured.

At last one doctor said: ‘In a certain sea is a fish red as blood. If this is caught, killed, and its blood sprinkled on your eyes, it may do good–the light will come back into your eyes–if not, there can be no other cure for you.’

Then the king assembled every fisherman in his realm, and commanded: ‘Go wherever it may be or may not be, catch such a fish as this, and I shall give you a rich reward.’

Some time passed by. An old fisherman caught just such a crimson fish, and took it to the king. The king was asleep, and they did not dare to wake him, so they put the fish into a basin full of water.

Just then his son returned from his lessons. He saw the blood-red fish swimming in the basin. He took it up in his hands, caressed it, and said: ‘What do you want with the pretty fish in the basin?’ They said to him: ‘This is good for your father, it must be killed, its blood sprinkled on his eyes, and he will regain his sight.’ ‘But is it not a sin to kill it?’ asked the prince; and he took the fish out to a stream in the meadow, and gave it freedom.

A little while after, the king awoke; his viziers said to him: ‘An old fisherman brought td you a blood-red fish, but your son, who had just returned from his lessons, let it away.’

The king was very angry, and sent his son from the house. ‘Go hence, I shall be well when thou art no longer remembered in the kingdom; with my eyes I cannot look upon thee, but never let me hear thine unpleasant voice again.’ The boy was grieved, rose, and went away.

He went, he went, and he knew not whither he went. On the way he saw a stream. He was weary and sat down to rest on the bank. Behold, a boy of his own age came out of the water. He came to the prince, greeted him, and said: ‘Whence comest thou? and what troubles thee?’ The prince went to him and told him all that had happened to him. His new acquaintance said: ‘I also am discontented with my lot, so let us become brothers, and live together.’ The prince agreed, and they went on their way.

They travelled on some distance, when they came to a town, and they dwelt there. When the next day dawned, his adopted brother said to the prince: ‘Stay thou at home, do not go out of doors, lest they eat thee, for such is the custom here.’ The prince promised, and from morning until night he sat indoors. The other boy was away in the town all day. At twilight, when he came home, he had a handkerchief quite full of provisions.

Several days slipped by. The prince stayed in all day, and his brother brought the food and drink. At last the prince said to himself: ‘This is shameful! My adopted brother goes out and brings in food and drink. Why do I not do something? What an idle fellow I am! I will go and do something!’

And so it happened that one day the king’s son went into the town; he wandered here and there, and in one place saw his brother, who was sitting cross-legged on the ground, at his feet was stretched a pocket handkerchief, in his hand he held a chonguri (a stringed instrument), which he played, and he chanted to it with a sweet voice. Whoever passed by placed money in the handkerchief.

The king’s son listened and listened, and said: ‘No, this must not be; this is not my business.’ So he turned and went back.

Near there he saw a tower. Outside was a wall, and on the top were arranged in rows men’s heads: some were quite shrivelled up, some had an unpleasant odour of decay, and some had just been placed there.

He looked and looked, and could not understand what it meant. He asked a man: ‘Whose tower is this, and why are men’s heads arranged in rows in this way?’ He was told: ‘In this tower dwells a maiden beautiful as the sun. Any king’s son may ask her in marriage. She asks him a question: if he cannot answer it his head is cut off, but if he can he may demand her in marriage. No one has yet been able to answer her question.’

The prince thought and thought, and said to himself: ‘I will go. I will ask this maiden in marriage: I will know if this is my fate. What is to be will be. What can she ask me that I shall not know?’ So he rose and went.

He came to the sunlike maiden and asked her in marriage. She answered: ‘It is well, but first I have a question to ask thee; if thou canst answer, then I am thine, if not, I shall cut off thy head.’ ‘So let it be,’ said the prince. ‘I ask thee this, Who are Gulambara and Sulambara?’ enquired the beautiful maiden. The king’s son said to himself: ‘I know indeed that Gulambara and Sulambara are names of flowers, but I never heard in all my life of human beings thus named.’ He asked three days grace and went away.

He went home and told his brother what had happened, and said: ‘If thou canst not help me now, in three days I shall lose my head.’ His brother reproached him, saying: ‘Did I not tell thee to stay indoors? This is a wicked town.’ But then he comforted him, saying: ‘Go now, buy a pennyworth of aromatic gum and a candle. I have a grandmother, I shall take thee to her, and she will help thee. But at the moment when my grandmother looks at us, give her the gum and the candle, or she will eat thee.’

He bought the gum and the candle, and they set out. The grandmother was standing in her doorway; the prince immediately gave her the gum and the candle. ‘What is it? what is the matter with thee?’ enquired the grandmother of the prince’s adopted brother. He came forward, and told everything in detail. Then he added: ‘This is my good brother, and certainly thou shouldst help him.’ ‘Very well,’ said the old woman to the prince; ‘sit down on my back.’ The prince seated himself on her back. The old woman flew up high, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, she flew down into the depths.

She took him into a town there, and went to the entrance of a bazaar. She pointed out a shopkeeper and said: ‘Go and engage thyself as assistant to this shopkeeper; but in the evening, when he leaves business and goes home, tell him that he must take thee with him, and must not leave thee in the shop. Where thou goest with him thou wilt learn the story of Gulambara and Sulambara. Then when thou hast need of me, whistle and I shall be there.’

The prince did exactly as the old woman had instructed him; he went to the butcher, as his assistant. At twilight, when the butcher spoke of going home, the prince said to him: ‘Do not leave me here; I am a stranger in this land. I am afraid; take me with thee.’ The butcher objected strongly, but the prince entreated him until he agreed.

The butcher went home, and took the prince with him. They came to a wall, opened a door, went in, and it closed. Inside that, was another wall; they went through that, and it closed. They passed thus through nine walls, and then they entered a house. The butcher opened a cupboard door, took out a woman’s head, and then an iron whip. He put down the decaying head and struck it. He struck and struck until the head was completely gone.

When the prince saw this he was astonished, and enquired: ‘Tell me, why do you strike this head that is so mutilated, and whose head is this?’ The butcher made answer: ‘I tell this to no one, this is my secret, but if I do tell any one he must then lose his head.’ ‘I still wish to know,’ said the prince. The butcher rose, took a sword, prepared himself, and said to the prince. ‘I had a wife who was so lovely that she excelled the sun; her name was Gulambara. I kept her under these nine locks, and I took care of her so that not even the wind of heaven blew on her. Whatever she asked me I gave her at once. I loved her to distraction, and trusted her, and she told me that she loved no one in the world but me. At that time I had an assistant who was called Sulambara, and my wife loved him and deceived me. Once I found them together, and seized them. I locked one in one cupboard and the other in another. Whenever I came home from business I went to the cupboards, and took out first one and then the other, and beat them as hard as I could. I struck so hard that Sulambara crumbled away yesterday, and only Gulambara’s head remained, and that has just now crumbled away before thine eyes.’

The story ended, he took his sword and said to the prince: ‘Now I am going to fulfil my threat, so come here and I shall cut off thy head.’ The prince entreated him: ‘Give me a little time. I will go to the door and pray to my God, and then do to me even as thou wishest.’ The butcher thought: ‘It can do no harm to let him go to the door for a short time, for he certainly cannot open the nine doors; let him pray to his God and have his wish.’

The prince went to the gate and whistled. Immediately the old woman flew down, took him on her back, and flew off. The youth went to the town where the beautiful maiden dwelt, and told the sunlike one the story of Gulambara and Sulambara. The maiden was very much surprised; when she had heard all, she agreed to marry him. They were married; she collected all her worldly possessions, and set out with the prince for his father’s kingdom.

When he came to the brook, his adopted brother appeared before him, and said: ‘In thy trouble I befriended thee, and now, when thou art happy, shall this friendship cease? Whatever thou hast obtained has been by my counsel, therefore thou shouldst share it with me.’ The prince divided everything in halves, but still his adopted brother was not pleased. ‘It is all very well to share this with me, whilst thou hast the beautiful maiden.’ The prince arose and gave up his own share of the goods.

His adopted brother would not take it, and spoke thus: ‘If thou holdest fast to our friendship thou shouldst share with me this maiden, the most precious of thy possessions!’ As he said this he seized the maiden’s hand, bound her to a tree, stretched forth his sword, and, as he was about to strike, a green stream flowed from the terror-stricken maiden’s mouth. Again the youth raised his sword. The same thing happened. A third time he prepared to strike, with the same result. Then he came, unbound her from the tree, gave her to the prince, and said: ‘Although this maiden was beautiful, yet she was venomous, and, sooner or later, would have killed thee. Now whatever poison was in her is completely gone, so do not fear her in the slightest degree. 1 Go! and God guide thee. As for these possessions, they are thine; I do not want them. May God give thee His peace.’ From his pocket he took out a handkerchief, gave it to the prince, and said: ‘Take this handkerchief with thee; when thou reachest home wipe thy father’s eyes with it and he will see. I am the fish that was in the basin, and thou didst set me free. Know, then, that kindness of heart is never lost.’ So saying, the prince’s adopted brother disappeared.

The prince remained astonished. Before he had time to express his gratitude the young man had suddenly disappeared. At last, when he had recovered himself, he took his wife and went to his father. He laid the handkerchief on the king’s eyes, and his sight came back to him. When he saw his only son and his beautiful daughter-in-law his joy was so great that his eyes filled with tears. His son sat down and told him all that had happened since he left him.

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From Georgian Folk Tales – ISBN 978-1-907256-12-7

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_gft.html

From the History of Armenia

by

MOSES of KHORENE

FOR a few years before the death of Ninus, Ara reigned over Armenia under his Protectorate, and found the same favour in his eyes as his father Aram had done. But that wanton and lustful woman Semiramis, having heard speak for many years of the beauty of Ara, wished to possess him; only she ventured not to do anything openly. But after the death or the escape to Crete of Ninus, as it hath been affirmed unto me, she discovered her passion freely, and sent messengers to Ara the Beautiful with gifts and offerings, with many prayers and promises of riches; begging him to come to her to Nineveh and either wed her and reign over all that Ninus had possessed, or fulfil her desires and return in peace to Armenia, with many gifts.

And when the messengers had been and returned many times and Ara had not consented, Semiramis became very wroth; and she arose and took all the multitude of her hosts and hastened to the land of Armenia, against Ara. But, as she had beforehand declared, it was not so much to kill him and persecute him that she went, as to subdue him and bring him by force to fulfil the desires of her passion. For having been consumed with desire by what she had heard of him, on seeing him she became as one beside herself. She arrived in this turmoil at the plains of Ara, called after him Aïrarat. And when the battle was about to take place she commanded her generals to devise some means of saving the life of Ara. But in the fighting the army of Ara was beaten, and Ara died, being slain by the warriors of Semiramis. And after the battle the Queen sent out to the battlefield to search for the body of her beloved amongst those who had died. And they found the body of Ara amongst the brave ones that had fallen, and she commanded them to place it in an upper chamber in her castle.

But when the hosts of Armenia arose once more against Queen Semiramis to avenge the death of Ara, she said: “I have commanded the gods to lick his wounds, and he shall live again.” At the same time she thought to bring Ara back to life by witchcraft and charms, for she was maddened by the intensity of her desires. But when the body began to decay, she commanded them to cast it into a deep pit, and to cover it. And having dressed up one of her men in secret, she sent forth the fame of him thus: “The gods have licked Ara and have brought him back to life again, thus fulfilling our prayers and our pleasure. Therefore from this time forth shall they be the more glorified and worshipped by us, for that they are the givers of joy and the fulfillers of desire.” She also erected a new statue in honour of the gods and worshipped it with many sacrifices, showing unto all as if the gods had brought Ara back to life again. And having caused this report to be spread over all the land of Armenia and satisfied the people she put an end to the fighting. And she took the son of Ara whom his beloved wife Nouvart had borne unto him and who was but twelve years old at the time of his father’s death. And she called his name Ara in memory of her love for Ara the Beautiful, and appointed him ruler over the land of Armenia, trusting him in all things.

From “Armenian Poetry and Legends”- ISBN 978-1-907256-18-9

URL http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_apl.html

Armenian Poetry and Legends