THE ALPAMYSH DASTAN
The 1901 Tashkent version of Alpamysh prepared for publication by Abubekir
Ahmedjan Divay is the oldest variant printed in Central Asia the
circumstances of whose collection are known. The copy from which the
following translation was made was published in Tashkent in 1901 in
book form by V. M. Ilina. The first page tells us that the work was
reprinted from Sbornik materialov dlia statistiki Syr-Dar'inskoi
oblasti (hereafter referred to as Sbornik), v. X (1901), the
publication of the Syr Darya oblast' Statistical Committee, of which Divay
was a member. As noted in the Bibliography (Chapter Two), it was not the
only printing of this version in Tashkent in 1901. The same version was also
reprinted in 1922, again apparently in multiple editions in various serial
publications. Ghabdullin and Sydykov cite a third 1901 version of Divay's
Alpamysh, published in Pamiatniki Kirgizskogo narodnogo
tvorchestva (Tashkent, 1901).1 Thus there were apparently three
different printings of the same version in 1901. Ghabdullin and Sydykov also
state that the second publication of this version (apparently only in the
original language) came out in 1922 in Batyrlar Vol. VI2 and
also in Russian translation in Kirgizsko-kazakhskii epos, no.
VI, Tashkent 1922.3 Although the 1922 issue was a reprint of the 1901
variant, Divay made changes in the vocabulary, weeding out Persian and
Arabic elements (which he noted in his brief introduction to the 1901
editions) and replaced them with Turkic vocabulary. Some of these changes
are documented in a line by line comparison of the two texts in Ghabdullin
and Sydykov (p. 42) and in greater detail by Sydykov alone in his
presentation to the Kazakh Academy and published in Kazakhskaia
narodnaia poeziia (p. 183):
1902 (1901) edition 1922 edition
Yerde Otken Alpamysh
Jerde tken Alpamysh
batyrdyn taghrif hikaiaty
abiyatydur batyrdyn hikaiasy.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 3
Bul dnieden bi ferzend Bul dnieden bir balasyz ter boldyk tetin boldyk.
Kette beiram toy tarkap lken toy tarkap ketti.
Sahardyn faiyz uakytynda Tan bozaryp atyp kele jatkan uakytta.
Alghanlaryna Alghandarymen kyzyk deuran jakynlyk etti sristi.
Boiyna hemile bitti Boiyna bala bitip.
The Language of the dastan
The language of Alpamysh is Chaghatay, adorned with a liberal
sprinkling of tribe-specific vocabulary, such as Kirghiz, Kazakh, Uzbek
etc., depending on which tribal unit's version is examined. The Chaghatay
language is alive and well across Central Asia.4 It has never died, and is
often referred to as "Turkistani", or simply by its earlier name, Turki. The
designation "Turkistani" given to the same dialect certainly carries
political implications, conjuring up memories of more ancient associations
and of the Turkistani movement at the turn of the 20th century.5 The label
"Turki" refers to the language of Yesevi (12th C.), Timur (14-15th C.),
Babur, Ulug Beg, Navai and Baykara (15-16th C.) among other significant
historical figures. This designation has been preferred by nearly all the
authors who have written in it.6 In short, Turki is probably one dialect
understood by virtually all the Turkic peoples of Central Asia.
Abubekir Divay's 1901 printing of Alpamysh is written half in
verse half in prose and in the Arabic script. The text contains some 9000
words. Divay called it Alpamysh Batyr; Kirghiz Poem.
As noted in Chapter Two, the term "Kirghiz" was replaced in the Soviet
period by the term "Kazakh" to denote Turkic speakers in the steppe; those
who had been called "Kara-Kirghiz" before 1917 were called simply "Kirghiz."
This renaming coincided with the division of Central Asia into soviet
socialist republics (the so-called razmezhevania) and with the "language
reforms" of the 1920s and 1930s.7 Here, when quoting, the term "Kirghiz"
4 H. B. Paksoy
be used as in the original.8 Otherwise the term Kazakh is employed.
Despite Soviet disputations on the proper designation for the 1901 version,9
Divay noted in his brief introduction (translated below) that the bahshi
from whom this version was recorded was Karakalpak, but the version itself
is "Kirghiz" ("Kazakh"). In view of Divay's life long research on the
steppe, his judgment should prevail. An examination of the text itself
establishes the close association with Kazakh/Kirghiz rather than the
dialect of the Karakalpak. In Line 724 is a reference to Aycurek, the woman
of Semetey, the son of Manas, alp of the dastan by the same name. The dastan
Manas is primarily associated with the Kirghiz. Furthermore,
the informants consulted for this translation, were Kirghiz of the Pamirs
who had a native's familiarity with the particular dialect of this text.
The version of Alpamysh which follows is neither the longest, nor the
shortest variant known. Furthermore, it presents two major difficulties:
1. The script suffers from misspellings, demonstrably due to poor
typesetting, perhaps because the work was done by non-native typesetters.
For example, in a number of cases the spelling of specific words varies from
one appearance to the next. Even the name "Alpamysh" is not immune. This
not only makes the reading of the text somewhat difficult, but in many cases
(noted in the commentary) alters the meaning of the relevant passages
2. The style of narration is somewhat erratic, making the distinction
between "who is speaking when", or "who is doing what to whom" rather
tenuous. The first problem is purely a mechanical one, albeit a
nuisance, and can be dealt with. The second is of a structural nature,
possibly due to the recitation of the bahshi, the original transcription or
even the second copy made from the first. The text also suffers from the use
of faulty grammar. It must be emphasized that neither of these drawbacks
diminishes the original fiery spirit of the dastan nor reduces this
edition's critical importance and value. Indeed, there were several reasons
for having selected this version for translation and analysis:
1. Aside from the fact that it is the earliest printing outside Kazan, it
constitutes a very early attempt by an
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 5
individual (Divay) to save the dastan from extinction.
2. The transcription and printing pre-date the 1917 Revolution. (The
majority of the Alpamysh printings are the products of post-revolutionary
3. It is in the Arabic alphabet, which is the earliest of the three major
alphabets in which this dastan has been published.
4. The specific location and conditions in which it was collected are
5. It is possible to observe the "time-layers" in the text, juxtaposed over
prolonged historical periods. At an early state in the process of
translation, it became evident that a group of tribe-specific words, as
noted above, were not covered by any accessible or extant dictionary.
Therefore it was imperative that a native speaker be located to serve as a
language informant. After an extensive search, Rahman Kul Kutlu and his
tribe, who became refugees from the Afghan Pamirs when the Soviet Army
invaded that country, were discovered to have been settled in the Van
province of the Turkish Republic.10 Despite his advanced age, Rahman Kul
Kutlu11 graciously agreed to submit to an incessant barrage of questions.
As a result, many a misprinted word been corrected and semantic and
narrational difficulties clarified. The translation strives to reflect the
style and flavor of the original narration. It is done primarily for
reference to the historical treatment of the topic at hand and not
undertaken for purely linguistic analysis. At the same time, it became
necessary to inject explanatory words and phrases, within the parenthesis
pair (), into the translated text. First of all, the bahshi, or perhaps the
transcriber, seems occasionally to have disregarded grammatical niceties.
Thus, inserted remarks are sometimes needed in order to overcome the effects
of this sloppiness and to make the text palatable for the Western mind. Such
remarks are also needed because of a "literary" method employed by Central
Asian bahshis, which I call "indexing."
Authors writing in Chaghatay, a language especally suitable for terse and
concise expression, tended to bring into view entire concepts with one
operative key word. This had the effect of compressing a large body of
information into one central word, the understanding of which was pivotal to
the comprehension of a couplet or quatrain. This
6 H. B. Paksoy
applies equally to verse as well as prose written in Chaghatay.
Indexing was a favorite mechanism among the authors who produced literary
works in Chaghatay. In fact, a survey of the Chaghatay literary output would
suggest that the higher the level of indexing, the more sophisticated the
poetry was considered. On the other hand, due to the practice of "indexing"
and because the nature of the classical Chaghatay is rather to the point
(without flowery redundancies), the translation may, at times, give the
impression that the text is composed of incomplete or random sentences. In
the original, however, the rhyme scheme holds the verse together. Divay
began the 1901 version with a very brief foreword in Russian. This
introduction is unsigned in the 1901 version. However, this same
introduction reappears, over Divay's signature on p. 5 in the 1922 reprint
of this version in Batyrlar VI. The introduction is translated
"We present here for the attention of the reader, the translation and text
of the poem Alpamysh Batir, which enjoys great popularity among
the Kirghiz of the Syr-Darya oblast.
"This manuscript was sent for our use by the former head of the Amu-Darya
otdel of the Syr-Darya province, Major General K. I. Razganov, for which we
render to His Excellency our sincere gratitude.
"It was recorded by a Karakalpak of the Tortkol volost Amu-Darya otdel the
improvisator Djia-Muradov Bek-Muhammedov [sic], by profession a bahshi.
"The poem is presented, almost from beginning to end, in a poetical form,
and its content is extremely interesting.
"Although the poem Alpamysh Batir is a purely Kirghiz work, because of the
fact that it was here set down by a Karakalpak, a near neighbor of Bukhara,
the text of it is sprinkled with Persian and Arabic terms. In the
translation, we have tried, as far as possible, to remain close to the
Importance of the Name
There is no satisfactory explanation of the name
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 7
"Alpamysh." Three suggestions may be mentioned, though neither of the first
two is convincing and the third is untenable.
1. The man known to historians of India as Altamish,13 who in A. D. 1211
assumed the throne of Delhi as Shams al-Din, is variously named on his coins
as [scripts] (But not in fact Altamish?)14 Given that the Kirghiz and Kazakh
versions spell the name "Alpamysh" as "Algamysh" and "Alfamysh," it could be
that "Altamysh" is yet another variant. Indeed, Digby tells us that the
pronunciation "Altamysh" has been used in India since the 18th century.15
But Digby's findings seem to bear out the traditional reading "Iltutmish."
2. In the Secere-i Terakime by Abul Gazi Bahadur Han,16 there
is a mention of Barchin, wife of Mamis Bey, daughter of Karmis Bey.
Abdlkadir Inan suggests that this alp + Mamis may lie at the root of the
3. The words "qagani alp armis" in the eighth-century Tonyukuk Inscription18
might seem at a casual glance to support the obvious though impossible
etymology "Alpermish." But of course there is no question of a name here;
the words mean "Their Qagan is said to be
It is, however, possible that "Alp Imis" ("it is said that he was an Alp"
or, more probably "he proved that he indeed is an alp") may lie at the root
of the name Alpamysh.
Place of Origins
A. K. Borovkov is of the opinion that the dastan Alpamysh arose between the
12th and 14th centuries among Turkic speakers of the Dasht-i Kipchak.19 Both
Hadi Zarif and Zhirmunskii, on the basis of various Byzantine and Chinese
sources20 and the works of Bartold,21 note "ancient forms" of the dastan
"existed probably in the foot-hills of the Altai as early as the
sixth-eighth centuries at the time of the Turkic Kaghanate."
Zhirmunskii's synopsis of the history of the dastan reflects the views of
his predecessors, Bartold and Hadi Zarif:
"From the Altai [an ancient form of the Alpamysh dastan] was brought by the
Oghuz tribes, no later than he tenth century, to their later seats at
he lower reaches of the Syr-Darya,... From there it penetrated into
Transcaucasia and Asia Minor under the Seljuks in the eleventh century....
8 H. B. Paksoy
the twelfth-thirteenth centuries, with the movement of Kipchak tribes, the
tale, in still another version, penetrated into Bashkiria and the Volga
region... At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was carried by the
nomadic Uzbek tribes of Shibani-Khan into... the bekdom of Baysun,....
whence the poem was later spread..."22
Concerning the locale of this 1901 Alpamysh: Togan states
that a variety of Turkic tribes of the Kipchak group, among which he
includes the Kungrat, have occupied various locations stretching from
Western Siberia to the Aral Sea and the Ferghana valley.23 From the mid-14th
century, they inhabited the Tobol River region and in the 17th-18th
centuries, the south banks of the Aral Sea and the shores of the Syr-Darya.
He includes the Kungrat among the important tribes found in the Kazakh,
Uzbek and Nogai confederations.24
Hadi Zarif argues that the localization in Baysun dates from the early 16th
century when that region became the yurt of the Kungrats (whose name, he
says, appears in the late 12th century) as a result of a division of lands
among Turkic tribes which entered Turkistan with Shibani Khan. He further
argues that this localization is common to all the variants that, "at the
present time, the Kungrat constitute the majority of the Turkic peoples of
Central Asians: The Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Kazakhs, and Turkmen."25 In the
last quarter of the 14th century, two successive Kungrat leaders, the
brothers Hussein and Yusuf Sufi, battled Timur, established a state in
Khorezm and ruled from Urgench until Yusuf's defeat by Timur in
Perhaps as a result of this experience, the Kungrat became the object of
Timur's policy of dispersing the tribes.27 As for the Kungrats' adversaries
in the dastan, the Kalmaks (ethnically Mongolian, adherents of Buddhism)
made several migrations westward. One of the first recorded migrations
took place in the middle of the 15th century. During this time the Kalmaks
held a vast territory from the Altai to the western shores of Lake Baikal
and "their plundering bands ranged from the outskirts of Peking to Western
Turkestan."28 Other major migrations of Kalmaks to the regions north of the
Aral and Caspian Seas took place in the mid-17th century, when they reached
Another migration westward in the mid-18th century increased their numbers.
In the 1760-70s, part of the Volga Kalmaks returned to Jungaria at the
request of the Manchus; during their return they fought endless battles with
the Kazakhs and the Kirghiz.30
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 9
Thus the Kalmaks seem to have been present north of the Kungrat Uzbeks from
the lower Volga all the way to Jungaria and south to the Pamirs.31 The two
may, therefore, be said to have been neighbors not in any one limited area
or time, but along a rough line stretching from the Aral Sea to the Pamirs
over a period of centuries. From the 15th to 17th centuries, the Kalmaks
made numerous raids into Semirechie and were a major enemy of the Turkic
tribes inhabiting Turkistan.32
Just where the exploits of Alpamysh took place, or indeed where exactly his
homeland was, is a moot point. All that can be safely asserted is that the
poem arose in Central Asia.
Zhirmunskii states that there are separate "national versions" of
Alpamysh. In his introduction to the 1939 Alpamysh, Alimjan
writes that all Central Asians share Alpamysh. By implication,
Alimjan's words suggest a greater degree of unity -- not a common origin to
separate versions, but a single shared dastan. Hadi Zarif states the case
even more directly: "Alpamysh at its foundation is more ancient than the
contemporary national division of the Turkic-speaking peoples of Central
Asia."33 Virtually every major Turkic tribal unit within Central Asia has at
least one version of Alpamysh which they call their own. Under these
circumstances, we may accept the fact that Alpamysh is an alp, indeed the
premier alp, of the Central Asians. No Central Asian dastan alp shares a
The commentary section follows the translation proper. A facsimile of the
original 1901 text is appended, for those who may wish to further study this
10 H. B. Paksoy
A TRANSLATION OF DIVAY'S 1901
1. In the times past, at a place called Jidali Baysun,
2. these are the verses of the ancient tale of Alpamysh Batir.
3. In the times past, in the land of Jidali Baysun, Baybora and Baysari
4. were two equal Princes. There was abundance all around. Princedom did not
5. worries about being barren. "What is the use of the possessions beyond
the (yurt) threshold Baysari Bay."
6. Two princes conferred: "Listen Baybora, we are about to leave the world
7. If God favored, the apostle interceded, patron saints (performed a)
8. progeny we should ask." These words sounded reasonable to both. (It is
agreed that) patron saints
9. are to be visited, God petitioned. With tears, two princes promised each
10. other. "If God gives us children, a son to one of us, and a daughter to
11. would you agree to their betrothal?" "I certainly would" said the other.
"If I had a son"
12. (and) "if I had a daughter;" "we will match them," they promised each
13. Even in the absence of a daughter, they became kudas.
14. Great God showed mercy, their wishes were granted. Time passed,
15. days followed days. They went back to their lands. Safely
16. they arrived in their homes. Jan Talas was Baybora's wife.
17. Baysari took Altun Sach his wife.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 11
18. There was togetherness. Their tears were accepted, and there was
19. Nine months and eleven days passed. [...]
20. [...] When stomachs protrude with pregnancy, eyes could not see the
ground. The celebrated day
21. arrived. Baybora's wife gave birth to a son and a daughter. Baysari's
22. wife, to a daughter. A great feast was arranged. Ninety mares
23. were skinned, hearths were fired in every direction, altun kabak was
24. Smart sword plays were made. Wrestling contests arranged. Games lasted
25. and the feast forty days. Golden cribs were placed in the house. Both
26. brought their children, and placed them in the arms of the mollas.
27. "You, the chosen people of God, name the children" (the mollas were
asked), "and pray for them."
28. All the princes thus displayed confidence (in the mollas). Robes of
Honor were presented (to the mollas).
Discussion ensued, names were suggested for the children.
29. The Princes were not satisfied (with the proposed names).
30. Upon casting an eye towards the kible, hoca mollas
31. (in their distinctive garb) were beheld. These were God's servants,
32. Hoca mollas stated: "Baybora Bay, your tears are answered.
33. From the unknown world, destiny sent the dervishes.
34. Let them name the children. Whatever (names) they chose is acceptable to
us. We will raise our hands"
(in prayer for their acceptance in the presence of God).
35. Their share (of the food) was presented to them from
12 H. B. Paksoy
the house of the feast. The seven kalendars were invited to the center.
36. "You, the wanderers of the unknown, name these children" they were
37. The kalendars agreed. "The only son of Baybora Bay should be
38. Valiant Alpamysh. His daughter's name, Kirlangich. Baysari Bay's
39. daughter, Glbarchin. May Glbarchin be
40. a match to Alpamysh." The seven kalendars have embraced Alpamysh,
41. patted him on the back, calling him the only son. "We are your seven
42. If you slip on a muddy road, burdened with worries, and ask for help
43. from your seven pirs, and God sends his help, it will be our duty to
44. The forty wanderers of the unknown disappeared. The grand festivities
45. ended. Seven years passed. One day, the two Princes sat down and
46. "We asked for a son, and were endowed with one; same for a daughter. We
47. kudas. We are getting old, youth is fleeting. We have feasts (to
48. yet. Let us mount the Karakasga horses, and braid their tails.
49. When we get older, it will hurt more when we fall off the horse while
playing kok boru."
50. They chose good horses, and proceeded to play kok boru. Baysari Bay
51. grabbed the goat and took the lead. Baybora Bay gave chase after him,
52. a leg of the goat. Baysari Bay did not let go. Both of them contested,
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 13
53. became adversaries, struck each other with whips and (in due course)
entered into the crowd of contesters. Baybora Bay's
54. family was teeming. Baysari Bay's family was not as numerous.
55. During the kok boru grappling, the goat assumed the personality of the
Devil. Baysari Bay
56. experienced much difficulty and belittling from his kuda Baybora.
57. If the lock of hair remained, and life left * He (Baysari Bay) resented
his kuda and his actions (during the Kok Boru).
58. "He (Baybora) caused me to remain childless." Because of his ill
59. Baysari left the field and went back to his home. Due to his
60. he did not leave his house or bed for seven days and nights. He spent
his time surmising.
61. "Baybora was my eternal relation. Since he caused me grief, I should
62. move away, find another place to live.
63. Find a place (to go) where I will not be belittled. I should not
64. allow my daughter to marry his (Baybora Bay's) son. I should not give
him a pinch of my salt. In this false world
65. I should not see Baybora Bay's face again." Thereby, he decided to move
to a distance of forty days and six months
66. to the land ruled by Taysha Khan. After loading his ninety camels,
67. he stopped at Ak Bulak. Spent the night.
68. At dawn, he loaded his camels one more time.
69. On a black camel, with Barchin in a gold kibacha,
70. his wife Altun Sach said (to Baysari): * "May it rain
14 H. B. Paksoy
71. and turn the bright days into floods * may your prosperity be increased
from year to year
72. you loaded ninety camels at dawn * You, Gulbarchin's father,
73. may your journey be auspicious * We have tightened the girth on the
horse's saddle * We
74. are listening to hear the tongue of the Mongol * We loaded the ninety
camels at dawn
75. Which lord's land are we going to." Baysari Bay answered: 'Pencil
76. thin eyebrows are the ornament of a face * I could not eat because of my
77. I declare that I was treated condescendingly * Do not shed tears
78. Altun Sach * you were as high as the full moon * in this world,
79. you were known (the distinguished one) in the four corners * in the
80. we were two equal princes living a plentiful life on this land * the
full moon was up high
81. * (Now) in this world all around me is lost * in the past
82. (living) on my plentiful land * when (we had) the horses run, it was a
83. my exuberant heart was overflowing with joy * as I whipped my horse * On
that day I
84. grabbed * the goat and got away * who reaches his goal in this world *
85. dignity of (granted) offspring was fleeting * Baybora was my eternal
86. He chased after and caught me * My eternal kuda * He
87. struck me on the head with his whip * I do not have elder or younger
88. (If only it had not been for) the lack of an offspring! * My eternal
kuda struck me on the head with his
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 15
89. I tightened the girth on my camel's belly * Traversing a distance of
forty days and six months
90. I will arrive in the Kalmak Taysha's lands * I will braid the horse's
91. I will lead a life without worry * My only daughter Barchin * to the
92. I (freely) choose to give (in marriage)" * Answered Altun Sach: "I cry
with tears in my eyes,
93. forming lakes * My dark hair on my back became felt-like * In such
94. my only daughter Barchin * could not enjoy her days as a young girl *
The roses in the garden
95. wilted before the ninety days of the winter * The valiant dies for his
96. Who does not argue, fight with his elders * We have our dignity,
shouldn't we live on our own land
97. Mighty God will not approve anything other * Those who do not know
religion will suffer
98. Who does not argue, fight with his elders * So what if you have your
99. honor now * The good horse eats well because he heeds his master *
100. lose the best days of your life * Let us go back to our honorable land
* The insolence of the atheist
101. will be even worse." * They migrated. They
102. travelled forty days and six months, arrived
103. safely in the land of the Taysha. They were given a tract of land to
set up camp. Animals received pasture. They
104. became poor in the land of the Taysha, paid the enforced tax, and
passed their days. They
105. did not have anybody of their kind around. They were looked down on. In
short, seven years passed.
16 H. B. Paksoy
106. When they arrived, Barchin was seven years old. Seven years passed,
107. reached fourteen. Who will you hear the news from? Hear
108. it from the Kalmak Taysha * The news of Barchin's beauty reached the
ear of the ruler of the land. Sixty two
109. alemdar, thirty two mhrdar, all of whom heard about it. They all
110. gave a description of Barchin to Taysha Khan. "May we be sacrificed,
the pauper Baysari,
111. who came earlier (to your land), has a daughter. She is worthy of you."
The Ruler was amenable (to the suggestion).
112. (Taysha said) "Wouldn't he give me his daughter, and call me his
113. The officers and servants declared: "Who will he find better than you.
Taksir." (Taysha said:) "Go
114. ask him." At that time, there was another Kalmak named Karajan,
115. who was a valiant and mighty warrior. He was the lord of a castle.
116. (upon hearing the word, Karajan said) "The business of a Ruler must be
that of governing * He should not force (his subjects), what business does
he have with that girl *
117. If it was written * she will spend her life with me" Karajan (added):
118. "I will take her" (as my wife). Taysha said: "I will take her'.
119. Among the many vezirs of the gathering (of vezirs) is Hizir, among the
thousands is found a saint.
120. Vezirs said to the Ruler: "Ey Taksir, cease the argument, you are the
Ruler. You send nine
121. ambassadors, let Karajan send nine ambassadors. To whomever he
(Baysari) consents, it will be your destiny." This
122. was agreeable to the Ruler. This explanation was
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 17
acceptable. The Ruler chose his
123. nine ambassadors. Karajan chose his nine ambassadors. The Ruler
124. eighteen ambassadors: "If he chooses the Ruler, let Baysari give his
daughter to me. If he says the Warrior,
125. then to Karajan. The choice belongs to Baysari. The Ruler will not use
126. Let him decide." Eighteen Kalmaks mounted their horses. They headed
127. towards Baysari Bay's camp. The Ruler's good Vezir, was the head of his
(the Ruler's) nine ambassadors.
128. He was Kokemen Kaska. He arrived at the white tent of Baysari Bay
129. "The silhouette of the horses fell on the mountain (he added) Do not
stay away from us
130. Is there anybody in this house * Communicate with us We rode
131. our horses over stony ground * shed bloody tears from eyes * If there
is a person in the white tent
132. come out and communicate with us" * Baysari came out. He recognized the
133. by the Ruler. His color faded. He welcomed
134. them. At that time, Kokemen Kaska spoke up: * "We taught a lesson
135. to the enemy bedecked with rubies, corals and mother of pearl *
Stewards caused us
136. to come as ambassadors * The world is transitory and false * We
137. came as ambassadors * Baysari, who is an outsider * is
138. one of the stewards * We tied on our lances * the standards, arriving
to visit the Bay
139. To look at the white camp site * We came to offer greetings * to
18 H. B. Paksoy
140. ask for his Muslim daughter's hand in marriage Matchmaking is done by
ambassadors * so is
141. making enemies * I am a hunter who let loose his birds of prey * You
have a daughter, we have a son
142. I came as an ambassador for your daughter * you braid the mane of your
horse * You
143. are the respected leader of the Kungrat * Nine of us sent by Taysha *
Nine by Karajan
144. If you say The Ruler, then to Taysha * if you say Warrior, then to
Karajan * you have the choice
145. Baysari * You permit Barchin (to marry) * how do you answer?"
146. Baysari lost all hope * His luck ran out
147. He went back into his tent, saw his daughter:
148. "You are my pearl, apple of my eye. Who else. An
149. embassy from Taysha came asking for you. He is disputing
150. with Karajan. Which one will you choose. May I be sacrificed to you,
light of my eye."
151. At that time Barchin Jan said: "My mind
152. became tired from thinking. Both Kalmaks want the possessions of this
world * Do
153. not cry, dear father, my heart is broken too * God's will shall prevail
154. not speak disparagingly * Do not look down upon any other man
155. Do not cry, father, my heart sinks too * Do not lose your hopes, dear
father, you still have your Barchin
156. I will look at my face in the mirror * and see what God created
157. Do not cry, dear father, I will give thanks (to God, for what we
already have) * I will give my answer to the Kalmaks
158. I have grown from year to year * The worry of my loved
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 19
one has been troubling me
159. You do mount your horse and leave the gathering place * You braid your
horse's tail on the
160. day of the battle * You agreed to give me to the Sultan of the Kungrat
161. he not also fourteen now * Do not braid the horse's tail without (the
prospect of) a battle
162. I know, you are an anxious man * The real owner of the property will
163. (For that reason) please be careful in your answer dear father" *
(Altun Sach intercedes) : * "At dawn
164. you had loaded the castrated yellow camels * led them towards
165. the atheist Kalmaks * I cried heartily upon migrating from my land *
166. have you gained (from that action)" * Barchin responded,
167. she grew angry, tightened her belt, twisted off the bird's neck.
168. folded her arms, looked at the ambassadors sent by
169. Taysha Khan, and stated: * "I cried deeply when I saw you
170. However, what can crying accomplish * We came here believing that you
Kalmaks were men
171. If I listen to my heart, it has a message * To those ambassadors sent
by the Ruler
172. This is what I have to say * Go and tell Taysha Khan the mane of the
173. braided * valiant elders are superior (to those who are coward) * If he
is Taysha Khan
174. I am Barchin * We are the guests (in his dominions) He should
175. give us six months grace * When six months pass * thin
20 H. B. Paksoy
176. becoming fat * Then he can strike his white lance * I will wear my gold
177. I need the time to gather my mind * From a distance of forty days *
That I, Barchin came
178. I will submit myself * to spend a life
179. without worries * From a distance of forty days * (he) whose horse
180. not calling him Kizilbash * or Kalmak * I am
181. unlucky Barchin * Go tell your Khan * I will marry the one I (thus)
choose." That is
182. what she said. Ambassadors left. Taysha Khan's ambassadors reported
183. (Barchin) would marry him. Karajan's ambassadors told (Karajan)
184. that she would marry him (Karajan). Taysha said: "I will marry
185. Karajan said: "I will marry her." Both
186. were determined. They were at loggerheads over Barchin * "What is your
187. "What concern of yours" they queried of each other Words became
soldiers * Their noise reached the sky
188. Both sides became enemies. If one was to look towards nine directions,
one could behold nineteen thousand warriors
189. Warriors with red colored lances. * White and blue tents * were
190. in camps * Battle took place * The blood (of the warriors)
ran down the breasts of the horses
191. and down the stirrups * The black stones of the roads * formed
192. new roads and bridges * Fighters slew each other Barchin
193. was the cause * Believe it or not
194. For four months Kalmaks struck each other down.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 21
195. Now (let us) hear of (from) Alpamysh, who (later) mounted his
196. and went to the land of Kalmaks after his beloved.
197. Baybora had a servant. If you ask his name, it was Kultay.
198. Kultay was the head of ninety (other individuals or horses). He was in
charge of the horse herd.
199. His (Alpamysh's) father and mother (earlier to each other had) said:
"Only death will do us part. No need (for Alpamysh) to go after
200. the bride." Alpamysh took the golden saddle to his house, and went to
201. who was the overseer of the horse-heard. He
202. was intending to give Alpamysh a horse, when he (Alpamysh) reached the
age of seven.
203. Duldul was also seven years old. If the northern winds
204. mounted him, no human yet did. Baychobar said:
205. "Only a bahadur or the northern winds can mount me. Only that
206. who can lift me (off my feet) by my tail may mount me." That is what
207. had in its heart. (Alpamysh) said: "Let me have a horse to go after
208. to the land of the Kalmaks." (He was told by Kultay:) "Let us see
209. your valor first. To test your skills (to determine your ability in
undertaking such an action), I'll let the entire horse heard run towards
210. You lay low under a rock. I will determine the correctness of your
value judgement (from the horse you choose).
211. You catch the horse you think is worthy. I shall
212. see your worth thus my son, and separate you from the
22 H. B. Paksoy
213. He gathered and drove the entire herd over him. "The whole herd is at
214. The whole herd galloped over Alpamysh.
215. He was not satisfied with any of his father Baybora Bay's
216. horses. Finally, at the back he spotted a Chobar.
217. It's mane flowed over its ears, surefooted,
218. bushy tailed. When it came closer,
219. Alpamysh, who has been under a corner of a boulder, emerged.
220. Alpamysh spread the fingers of his hand, jumped up.
221. Alpamysh Sultan, grabbed the tail of the fourteen year old horse's
222. like a lion. Alpamysh stood like an elif (like letter I). Baychobar
223. a camel. Licked its face, stiffened its ears. Tried to get away thrice.
Alpamysh did not let go.
224. Alpamysh (thus) established his power, his supremacy. Baychobar
225. had promised itself that "only the man who could grab and lift me by my
226. may mount me. Then, he is my master." He (Alpamysh) rode
227. in (towards Kultay) on his young horse. (Kultay said:) "May your horse
be auspicious * You
228. are my only hope * May your Chobar be auspicious Hang the amulet on the
229. When the horse runs, one forgets ones all worries * It will light up
230. when you ride your Chobar" * (Alpamysh) put a golden saddle on, with
double girth. He had the iron
231. drums sound * He wore his shield on his back * hung his lance across
his saddle *
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 23
232. (He) regarded this mount * as an equal to himself * He took
233. the reins from Kultay, mounting the horse * rode out, to the land of
the Taysha Kalmak
234. Here and there he rode * (He) heard many tongues on the way * His face
turned pale (from the hard riding)
235. (He) sustained difficulties * on the way to Barchin Caused his
236. Chobar mount to become tired * Who did you hear the news from. As the
soldiers of Taysha Khan and Karajan
237. were feuding, asleep in their forts, one morning at dawn,
238. the noise of hoofs reached Karajan's ears. While
239. the others slept, Karajan speedily arose. (He said) "Taysha's
240. men (these must be). Get up * my men, on your feet, one thousand men
are coming * We
241. are going to be ambushed * Let me wear my white mail braid
242. the tail of my horse * I will not let the name Karajan be belittled *
(I will) attack the enemy
243. like a hungry wolf * If the dogs fight each other, they will unite upon
spotting a wolf (so, forget your feud and unite against this coming
244. Thus Karajan and the others left for their lands. Karajan rode until
dawn broke. The day
245. rose scarlet. Karajan could not see the reason behind the noise. In the
246. of the dust, (raised by the same source that is making the noise, such
as a rider) could not even see the ears of his horse.
247. The spirit of (who he is looking after) Alpamysh was very powerful.
Thus, even though Karajan had Good Saints looking after him, he could not
see Alpamysh. Karajan's black
24 H. B. Paksoy
248. tulpar did see Alpamysh. Baychobar's stars were mightier than
249. those of the tulpar of Karajan. Thus, Karajan's horse was afraid of
250. moving side to side on the road, in his fear.
251. (Karajan states:) "The eyes that look at the bright face of the black
horse are blinded * May your elder brother be sacrificed
252. to you * With your God given eyes * what did you see black horse,
253. what did you see * I tried to get you to walk, you balked * you refused
254. You became agitated without my whipping you. What have you seen * You
are a fourteen year old
255. tarlan * I did not see an equal to you in my life * If I whip you, you
fly (your feet barely touch the ground) What
256. did you see black horse, what did you see * Princes do not erect tents
(their orderlies do) * The lion
257. does not fall under his foe * Are those coming more valiant than we *
258. you see black horse, what did you see * Horse is covered with
perspiration * Are those coming more brave than we
259. The coward worries only about food * What did you see black horse, what
did you see"
260. At that time, the cloud of dust (restricting Karajan's vision) settled.
North wind stopped * When Karajan looked, he
261. beheld a youth of fourteen with white face and brown eyes. One of his
locks of hair was from gold,
262. the other, of silver; he beheld Alpamysh, the zbek
263. of Jidali Baysun. (Karajan said:) "Are you a sorcerer or a saint * I'll
take your life,
264. spill your blood * You are a powerful enemy * May the bright days turn
into floods * May my rule grow more
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 25
265. from year to year * In all my life, I did not see a youngster like
266. Bandit natured sultan, may this be your last foray The mountain of
Kalmaks is tall
267. Seisens know the prime condition of a horse * Where are you coming
268. where are you going * Who are you, a prince or a pauper" * Alpamysh
269. answered: "I tightened the girth on the horses back I drank the water
270. the Baysun lake * If you ask my name, it is Alpamysh son of
271. Baybora * I left my land may days ago
272. White geese were flying on the Baysun lake * I chose my horse at the
age of fourteen,
273. mounting it * I come after Barchin" * When
274. Alpamysh said that, (his) horse of prime condition neighed * (Alpamysh
continued) "He who is patient will attain his wish * At
275. the age of seven I (learned how to) read and write My dear Barchin came
to this land
276. In the garden there were apples and pomegranates * In the realm of God,
there is a sweetheart
277. I was separated from my beloved * Is there anyone who
278. saw my sweetheart" * Karajan laughed with contempt (and responded:)
"There are two other suitors
279. besides you * Roses need (a garden) to bloom * In order to (be)
280. needs a tongue * In order to take the beloved from us
281. One has to be more valiant than we * If I get angry, I will take your
26 H. B. Paksoy
282. spill your red blood * Go back where you came
283. from * You cannot take back Barchin * If you run away,
284. I'll catch you and lance you down * If you stay, I will grab you *
285. cannot take back your Barchin * Go back where you came from."
286. Alpamysh Batir's patience ran out, he became angry:
287. "Do not speak ill * If you see someone, do not
288. think that he is less than you * Do not speak of vanity on the field *
289. believe in what you are saying * Do not be vain on the field * Do not
290. you are valiant and I am not * Do not believe
291. that you can scare me * God gave you a bird brain Kalmak,
292. do not try to act with that small mind * If I get angry I'll behead you
293. you think that you could scare me * When Barchin's honor is at
294. At this time Alpamysh added: "No need to speak down to me,
295. or attempt to argue." Kalmak Karajan said:
296. "If I argue, I'll draw my bow, strike with the sword.
297. Then what will you do." Karajan added: "Argument is upon your six
298. get used to it." At this time, Alpamysh undid his golden belt.
299. He dismounted Baychobar. Karajan unfastened his golden belt.
300. Both prepared to fight and die for Barchin,
301. pledged their lives for the cause. Both took up positions to wrestle.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 27
302. Alpamysh said: "You go first." Karajan said:
303. "You go first." Alpamysh said: "Your beard is white, you are older,
therefore I defer to you.
304. You go first." Karajan grabbed Alpamysh like a lion.
305. Alpamysh Sultan took refuge in Hz. Ali.
306. At that time, the seven Saints who named Alpamysh appeared.
307. The Saints came and worked their magic, weighed down (Alpamysh).
308. Alpamysh became so heavy that, Karajan was not able to lift him up.
309. Karajan tried to throw him. Karajan was not able to move him.
310. Karajan thought: "Is this a walnut tree, deep rooted, that it does not
311. Karajan deferred to Alpamysh. He (Alpamysh) called God's name three
312. He called his seven saints, grabbed Karajan's belt.
313. Picked him up, turned and heaved Karajan under himself. Embraced him so
314. that Karajan's nose started bleeding. When Alpamysh threw him down,
Karajan started to beg for mercy
315. and said: * "Young horse runs in his time * the
316. one who is a batir, will use his shield * You broke my back,
317. took my life * If it is Barchin you are looking for, she will be found
* I was
318. alone, now I have an equal * I was fooling myself with the falsehood of
319. I accept your God, and his apostle * I become friends with you,
320. as of now * If blood is spilled, then the golden throne will shine
(because, there will not be anyone to sit
28 H. B. Paksoy
on it) * I speak,
321. elders listen * I became friends with you
322. I accept your God, and his apostle * He (God) is the creator of all
323. Shall I, the offender, can ever be forgiven * I became
324. friends with you * I became Muslim, my God is one" At this time,
325. Alpamysh thought. "If I kill him, the black earth will not be
326. (Furthermore) he (Karajan) invoked the name of God and his apostle;
became a Muslim." He (Alpamysh) stopped.
327. Karajan collapsed. (Karajan) came to, about the time of the noon
328. and said to Alpamysh: "I became friends with you out of my fear.
329. Now teach me the Creed (of Muslims). He
330. recited the Creed. They placed the Isfahan sword between them,
331. friends. Karajan mounted his black horse. Alpamysh mounted his
332. They arrived at Karajan's house and inner circle. Karajan served his
333. Five days passed. The face of the sixth day was seen. Spring
334. Karajan said: "Bay came from a distance of six months looking for his
beloved, became friends
335. with me. My friend, if you allow me, I should
336. go find Barchin, give her the good news.
337. What do you think." (Alpamysh said:) "That is a good idea my
338. Karajan mounted his friend's Chobar,
339. reached the white tent of Barchin * (Karajan said:)
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 29
340. "The silhouette of my mount on the mountain * do not be afraid of my
presence * Is there anyone
341. in this house * to speak with me * There are relatives at the black
mountain * I shed
342. bloody tears (because of the hard ride) * If there is anyone in the
white house * come out
343. and speak with me" * Barchin finally said * "I suffer from
344. but (I have) no friend to welcome * Whoever you are, do not lose
345. I do not have anyone I need to speak to * I lost all hopes * and
346. too * I do not have anyone I need to speak to Whoever you are, do not
347. Answered Karajan: * "If there is war, (I) braid my horse's tail *
348. name is Barchin, what did you say * apple of my eye, Barchin
349. Jan * I have news for you from the land of Baysun Mounted on the horse,
350. the field * Countless Kalmaks are dead in Isfahan One who is at the age
351. His name is Alpamysh * This boy comes looking for you * He
352. has a gold amulet on his neck * One loses all his worries in the battle
* He is
353. fourteen, named Alpamysh * If you do not believe me, (look) I came on
his Chobar." * When
354. Barchin heard of Alpamysh's Chobar, she became crazed with
355. (She) ran out to the square, shining like the full moon. When she
looked, spotted the Baychobar.
356. When she looked at the rider, saw a boiled iron colored, shapeless
30 H. B. Paksoy
357. godless Kalmak. Barchin sighing deeply,
358. recognized Baychobar. She was disheartened. Tears rolled down her eyes
* (She said to Baychobar:)
359. "I wear a gold amulet on my neck * I have cried loudly day and
360. May I be sacrificed to your canter * Baychobar, when you were a tiger,
you fell as booty
361. I cried, my tears formed a lake * My hair on my back
362. became felt-like * Apple of my eye Baychobar
363. You were free like a tiger, now but are a prisoner When I beheld your
image, it was like
364. the new moon * as my heart throbbed with joy * May I be sacrificed
365. (to you) Baychobar * When I left, you were a mere colt"
366. Karajan answered: * "Do not deny your intended * With your tears,
367. do not stun me * May I be sacrificed to you Barchin Jan * Do not
368. your womanhood * I tightened the girth on horses back * listen
369. to Karajan's words. * Believing he (Alpamysh) was unmanly, I deceived
myself (when we first met) * Like a lion,
370. he (Alpamysh) grabbed me by my belt * I cried for the gods, horse was
covered with sweat * He (Alpamysh) called
371. for the Saints * Believing he was unmanly, I deceived myself * he swung
me around, and like an eagle,
372. threw me to the ground * In this transitory world, I entertained my
destitute heart * I
373. was alone, I gave advice to a younger brother * I accepted the one God
* His apostle as his messenger
374. Out of my fear, (I) became friends with Alpamysh * Led him by his arm
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 31
375. to my house, dismounted and welcomed him. Offered him food.
376. Barchin, if you were to accept me, and call me Alpamysh's friend, I'll
377. back to my friend. This would give me pleasure."
378. Barchin jumped up, searched the chest, pulled out
379. an overcoat with gold buttons, left it next to him. Karajan said:
380. father was Baysari. Where did your father, mother go?"
381. (Upon hearing that) Barchin cried: "Khan behaves like a Khan, and a
pauper, like a pauper.
382. Taysha Khan has been difficult towards us. Saying, "If you don't give
your virgin daughter to me,
383. neither will you give her to Karajan," He imprisoned my father and
mother. Today is the third day.
384. they are in prison." (Karajan said:) "If my friend were to query me
about your father and mother (and discover that they are in prison) he will
385. This is not something I can tell my friend."
386. He mounted the horse (and said:) * "My mind became upset on this
387. field (under these circumstances) * Kungrats are in a revolt over their
honor * When
388. the owner arrives from the land of Baysun * Taysha Khan will be in
trouble * Mounting
389. horses from every direction * Countless Kalmaks died in Isfahan
390. When I look, I see that your house is on fire Taysha Valiant Alpamysh
arrived from the land of
391. Baysun * When the roses of the garden wilt before the ninety days (of
the winter) * When my
392. time is up, the appointed hour cannot be deferred All my limbs are
devastated * When he was our guest (for) the six days
32 H. B. Paksoy
393. * Padishah, hear that I am crying * Taking (draining) my life
394. away * consumed my sustenance * at every
395. (travel) stage * ate my nine camels; even when the Kalmak could not eat
one baby camel (causing me intentional difficulty and devastation)."
396. Thus (Karajan) was displaying his degree of friendship (towards
Alpamysh). * Kokemen
397. Kaska was the head of the executioners * (Karajan said:) "Hear Taysha
Khan, if you had nine camels eaten at every stage,
398. that won't last (you cannot keep it up until the end of time). Won't
you admit that.
399. You are an impostor * when I listen to the God in the morning * become
400. take your head * You will die doing what you have always done * Of all
your bad deeds, you do the worst to me
401. You have imprisoned my father and mother."
402. Kokemen Kaska realized that Khan was changing his mind. Speedily
403. coming to the jailhouse, Kokemen Kaska released father-in-law Baysari
Bay and mother-in-law
404. Altun Sach to Karajan.
405. Baysari Bay recognized the Baychobar, walked around it, hugged it.
406. and mounted Baychobar. Karajan mounted (Baychobar) behind him.
407. Altun Sach mounted behind him (on Baychobar). Horse's chest got longer,
408. a gallop, speedily left. * The horse was covered with foamy sweat
409. (Baychobar) invoked the help of the saints * My sorrowful heart became
joyful * Baysari
410. arrived * at his expectant house * He dismounted,
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 33
411. picking up the overcoat handed to him by Barchin Jan, presented it to
the friend of
412. Alpamysh, Karajan * Barchin spoke: * "I lost my mind, it became scarce
as precious stones.
413. May God have mercy on this sorrowful servant * This grieving
414. (person) has something to say * When you come (next) *
415. riding (your) horse on the open plains * I await with erected tents *
Do not come
416. with empty hands * or with much * When batirs arrive speedily
417. I am the blooming rose in the garden * May you (and your kind) be free
418. with Baysun horses * Following our trail * with many soldiers bearing
419. To the creator God * My dedication will not be temporary * Batir's
420. mind is uncomplicated, like young brothers * to the atheist Kalmak. *
Do not again
421. arrive alone, without my beloved" * Karajan answered: "Do not make this
422. Your beloved is not less then any other batir * When there is serious
423. in the field * Alpamysh is equal to forty thousand soldiers" * Answered
Barchin: * "My
424. eyes resemble black narcissus * My face is brighter than red apples. *
425. my batir arrives * to the atheist Kalmaks, * those who cannot speak the
truth, I have
426. something to say * White strands appeared in my hair Does that bother
427. Tears rolled down my eyes * When six months passed
428. The one whom I (must) choose (as my husband) arrives; From a distance
of forty days * Whoever wins the
34 H. B. Paksoy
429. race * riding on the horse-herd * I must call him my man * Let me lead
430. trouble-free life * From a distance of forty days arrives (my husband
to be) on the running horse
431. I wear my gold embroidered clothes * If need be, (I) gather my wits *
432. saying Kizilbash * or Kalmak * from a distance of forty days
433. to (him) whose horse wins (I fall as the prize) Luckless Barchin I am *
I cannot say I am
434. free * Karajan, who is a friend * I promise (this) with a heavy
435. That, Barchin said for (Karajan to tell) Alpamysh and went back to her
house. Karajan went back to
436. his friend Alpamysh. * Told his friend what Barchin said.
437. (Alpamysh asked:) "Are my elders well." "They are well my friend." Upon
hearing this news, they
438. rested Baychobar for seven days and nights. Kalmaks, rode hard
439. towards the fortress of Taysha Khan over the stony ground * Hid their
beloved in the castle
440. (To the winner of the horse race contest) Barchin was the prize, hence
all hell broke loose * For the lady
441. and the child * Horsetails were braided * Death is an order of the
442. No Kalmak was left behind, all gathered * All cried with the hope of
(receiving the hand of) Barchin
443. Four hundred ninety swift horses from the side of Taysha entered
444. (the race). Karajan called for his friend Alpamysh,
445. who was ready to enter the race. He (Alpamysh) himself was not
permitted. (Because) children only fetch the horses. His friend
446. Karajan was fielded (instead). (Saying) "For the sake
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 35
447. I will be the horsegroom." (He) mounted the Chobar. (Alpamysh)
448. to the care of God, and Baychobar to the care of Karajan. Four hundred
449. were recorded by the mollas * (Alpamysh said:) "I came from the
fortress of Baysun * my
450. wish is from God * I allowed you
451. to mount Baychobar because of our friendship * Do not betray this trust
Karajan * When you run (Baychobar), do not take his life
452. No horse with full belly races after the black one For reasons
453. of friendship I allowed you to mount him * Remember, for good or bad,
he is mine * Hungry
454. or not (be careful with him) * I implore God with tears * I let
455. the gray falcon on my arm take flight * I let you mount Chobar out of
456. I commend you to the creator." * (Alpamysh) thus bid farewell and sent
them on their way
457. Karajan received prayers from the Sultan * who gave him his (precious)
rose * Time
458. passed * Upon receiving starting orders from Taysha Khan * valiant
459. by birth * (along with) four hundred ninety horses (ridden by other
contestants) * started the race.
460. The horse was covered with foamy sweat * Saints' help was called for *
461. (would) progress * for forty days * For five days
462. Karajan travelled * He arrived everywhere * he was running at the
463. of the crowd * He slept for a while * remounted Chobar * (Along with)
36 H. B. Paksoy
464. hundred ninety (other horsemen, on their) horses After ten days * made
465. Rested for a while * slept a spell
466. Tested his friend's horse * After fifteen days reached
467. the fountain of Ak Bulak, where the Kalmaks were entertaining
468. They were saying over and again (for Karajan's ears): * "I cried
heartily in the field * My heart is
469. heavy with tears * Do not leave these prosperous lands on account of a
470. Your bone is like ours * (His) mount is a carriage horse * of his
471. it is a racehorse * (He) combed his tail * (He) asked
472. directions from the elders * Go back to your land Karajan * what
473. is it to be a vagabond * (We) tightened the girth on the horse's back *
474. accepted the religion of Mohammed * There is no place for you in this
race * Do not
475. race your horse Karajan. Go back to your own kind."
476. At that time, Baychobar thought about these words His understanding was
better than men's.
477. He was a horse protected by the saints. Upon hearing these words, fell
478. as if hit by an arrow * Karajan
479. hit him with his whip * Baychobar did not move Karajan
480. became angry, lifted Baychobar, by picking him up by his tail and
481. The horse's weight was not of consequence (to Karajan) compared to the
words weighing in his heart.
482. (Karajan) let the horse down on his four feet. Carried him for three
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 37
483. in succession. Finally picked up a piece of wood, hit the horse.
484. Hit it every which way. The horse neighed noisily, (as if) saying "Do
485. My flesh is in pain" * Karajan, born as a batir,
486. mounted the horse once again * ran for a day and a night * Five
487. days passed * twenty days ended * (The riders) reached Kok Derbend
488. Where the horses (were scheduled to) turn back * White faces turned
pale * His
489. heart was filled with sorrow * Upon reaching twenty days' distance *
490. by the Kalmaks * stopped at a stage * (Karajan) observed this with the
corner of his eye
491. He reached the boundary * Kalmaks were having a discussion *
492. had an idea * "I should allow Baychobar to rest for a day
493. give him five handfuls of feed" * (He) picked up the feedbag,
494. Baychobar. Baychobar was afraid of the feedbag.
495. Baychobar had never seen a feedbag.
496. Karajan patted the forehead of the horse, pulled on its ears to force
its head into the feedbag
497. Baychobar lowered its head, Karajan forced on the feedbag. Baychobar
did not eat the feed * did
498. not know its value * He was foaming at the mouth. Kalmaks were
499. laughing and having fun. "Fuck you, your horse will win"
500. they said (to Karajan) mockingly. Everyone went back to their places
(in the encampment).
38 H. B. Paksoy
501. A tore was sent by Taysha
502. to observe the order of the race,
503. and was instructed to keep an eye on the four hundred ninety Kalmaks.
He was At Peshin Tore
504. (who, at once) spoke about the horses. "We saw the four hundred ninety
horses as they
505. filed past us. We watched all. Next to the chestnut of Taysha Khan,
506. and Karajan's horse, all the others seem like oxen.
507. Karajan's friend's horse is some mount"
508. he said. "Let us go see it." He gathered nine Kalmaks to go with
509. They all went near it. Ever since Karajan
510. became friends with Alpamysh, and became Muslim,
511. Karajan never missed a single prayer time. While he was performing
512. his morning prayers, Baychobar was walking around behind him.
513. The tore inspected Baychobar's body and flesh with his own hands.
514. Discovered the wings on his shoulders,
515. and the way the horse folded them, moving occasionally. Atpeshin
516. became scared of Baychobar. He fled, rejoined the crowd.
517. He gathered all of the four hundred ninety Kalmaks. Whom do we now hear
518. from Atpeshin Tore: "Now, hear this, I tightened the girth on the
back of the horse
519. waging war against the Muslims * Barchin cannot be yours * Run
520. your horses, return to the lands of the Kalmak * I raced my horse over
rocks and plains *
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 39
521. The armor you wear does not reach your knees * Go back
522. to your lands while you have your honor * Take a look at your future
with calm eyes. * As long
523. as the beautiful Baychobar is in existence * you may as well forget
about Barchin * Karajan,
524. with grace * brought Baychobar to peak condition Also, master
525. chose a true pure-blooded animal * If his wings are not clipped, hooves
taken out * graceful
526. Baychobar * roads of twenty days * will cover in seven"
527. At this time, Karajan's only son Dost Mohammed spoke to
528. Atpeshin Tore: * "Do not make this your worry * As long as I am here,
do not be concerned
529. with my father * My father still has to sleep his seven days' batir
slumber. After seven days,
530. the tired horses will have rested. Consider all this. Therefore
531. when my father Karajan starts his seven days batir slumber, we can kill
532. and tie my father's hands and feet." Kalmaks
533. considered all that. * Small minded batir (Karajan) tied the feet of
his young mount,
534. placed his head on the saddle cushion, rested his head on his palm, and
laid down. (He) Immediately
535. became motionless like a tree. His son Dost Mohammed came over his
536. knew that he (Karajan) was asleep. He called four hundred ninety
537. to his side. (They) tied together his father Karajan's
538. hands behind him securely. Along with the four hundred ninety Kalmaks,
40 H. B. Paksoy
539. (he then) went near Baychobar. Some grabbed it by the reins, others by
the stirrups, turned
540. Baychobar and put him on its back. They built a fire from the
541. Drove horseshoe nails into the four hooves of Baychobar
542. noisily. They forced the horseshoe nails into his hooves. Kalmaks
543. mounted their horses in unison. They were pleased with themselves. All
of them lined up,
544. received their marching orders from Atpeshin Tore, and left. Three
545. days passed. Karajan's heart was heavy. He jumped awake.
546. When he looked around, what he saw
547. took his mind away. He was alone in the field. It had been three
548. since the Kalmaks left. The dung of their horses was drying. He
549. got up like lightning. Because his arms and hands were tied like a
550. he fell down, sprawling. He realized he was tied up, restrained.
551. He crawled, and uprighted himself. Searched for Baychobar,
552. spotted something dragging on the ground. He got close, and
553. discovered Baychobar lying on his back as the Kalmaks had left him.
554. Baychobar's four hooves were showing (in the air), moving.
555. He could not get hold of the horse, his hands being tied. He said:
556. "My color faded seeing the select horse * I ran the horse without
failing to put forth the effort *
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 41
557. (They) drove four nails into four hooves * I became a prisoner,
558. became last (in the race) * If I die, the camel will be orphaned *
559. who serves his friend will be admitted to heaven Four nails were driven
into four hooves * If
560. I am a Muslim * I must succeed * Roses that bloom in the spring
561. Alas, my friend's Kungrat lands of Baysun * Four nails were driven
562. into four hooves * Where are you, the protector saints of my friend * I
563. the horse's blanket out of manat * The lion days of my youth are being
564. Four nails were driven into four hooves * May the bones of those who
committed this treachery
565. be exposed * I have erred in my heart * I implore the aid
566. of anyone * Four nails were driven into four hooves You
567. the protector saints of the Chobar, Yilkici Ata listen to this lament
at this time * I
568. am imploring God * For those who know, the Day of Reckoning is
569. When he listened, he heard a voice crying "God"
570. When he understood (what he heard) and looked * (There they) were, the
good servants of God * Kalendars
571. wear yende * praising God * wearing klah, appeared
572. with dispatch, like Hizir * They came near Karajan Karajan gave the
greetings of God
573. received like greetings * Seven saints gave their hands to Karajan
574. With a burning desire, Karajan * with the strength of a lion, grabbed
Chobar, who was lying in the pit. *
42 H. B. Paksoy
575. He got Chobar on his feet * four small nails in
576. four hooves * Batir is but a small minded child (Karajan) forgot that
there were nails in Baychobar's hooves
577. Seven Saints * trusting him to the prophets, spoke (to Baychobar): *
"May we be sacrificed
578. to you" * Petting his forehead * "Our auspicious stars above * Sunny
579. are longed for * Karajan, our lamb * may your path be open
580. May Hizir be your companion, leader of your people, our tiger
581. Our leading tiger * May you be free from dangers ruler
582. of his lands, sultan, be safe our child," they said. "May your horse's
path be open
583. May you live without worry * May the fateful Baychobar
584. come first in the contest * Barchin, our dear child
585. may be a match to the Sultan * God created them for each other *
586. the Sultan * may you be honored" they said.
587. Forty saints prayed and left. Karajan
588. set out on his way * Batir whipped (the horse) * "May I be sacrificed
to your eyes, Baychobar" (he said).
589. Baychobar (running) became fire like, burning * Four nails in four
590. caused Baychobar's eyes to flame (with pain) * His life was taken away
(by the pain of the nails) * His mouth agape
591. foamy sweat pouring from his breast * Horse was an ocean, overflowed *
592. whipped him * Baychobar's hooves became hot * could not step down
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 43
593. One full day he ran * During the time of the evening prayers * ran
under the force of the whip
594. At the time of the night prayers * Karajan begged of Chobar * taking
the right path
595. Karajan-named batir * Rump of Chobar became fiery hot * On stony
596. began tripping * as if he had a hunchback. * On narrow paths
597. began swaying from side to side * his eyes rolling If you look at his
598. it became the size of a (door) threshold * His mane, with the beauty of
599. beautiful locks * like the velvet at the market place * beautifully
600. Like the house erected on a hollow land * with a beautiful rump * Like
the reed pens cut by the mollas
601. creature with beautiful ears * Like the plates that come from the
602. creature with beautiful hooves * Like the rabbit's shining teeth * its
molars are two fingers long
603. Over the six fathom tall rocks * as if a lightning bolt * rumbling, it
604. Three days time passed * chasing after the Kalmaks
605. When the dawn broke * to the Kalmaks, who speak a language no one
knows, * God granted him (Karajan) his wish
606. Karajan chasing after, and caught up * having run without stopping *
Bats (at dawn)
607. gathered and folded (their wings) * Chobar who was (artificially)
restrained * (at) morning prayer time
608. passed the Kalmaks. * After four days * at dawn
609. upon looking back * Taysha's tarlan * spotted the spreading wings of
610. Chobar's wish was granted * noon prayer time *
44 H. B. Paksoy
611. like the northern winds of spring * at the heels of the tarlan *
612. close. Baychobar passed * On the way bit (the tarlan)
613. The tarlan stayed behind * having been passed
614. (Baychobar) ran all day * Ran all night * after
615. five days * on the slopes of the Karadag * the only one left (ahead)
was Dost Muhammed
616. Riding on a black horse * belonging to Batir Karajan
617. Karajan's son received a request * Looking at his flank, saw with the
corner of his eye (the source) (Karajan said:) "You are my pearl,
618. apple of my eye * If you wouldn't, who would ask how I am
619. May your khan father be sacrificed to you * My only sultan * hear
620. you are my light * crying my wish to God * If you die,
621. wouldn't my wings be clipped * If you were to say, 'Father, your
eternal friend's horse
should not be left behind'
622. rein back your horse, son * (A) fast horse races in its time * The
623. wears white armor * Rein back your horse, do not worry if you fall
624. Barchin-like girls will be found * I braid the horse tail before the
625. My dear son you are mindless, what should I do Barchin-like girl will
626. from your land. I will select one for you" * (His son:) "Dear father, I
627. not listening to you * In this struggle, I will not heed you *
628. horse is better, deserves to win * I will not have any other but
Barchin." * Karajan
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 45
629. became angry * whipped Baychobar * His son whipped his mount * Karajan
whipped (his mount) as well
630. Two horses raced * Batirs were enraged
631. The black stones disturbed by the hooves * were sparking * Holes
632. were dug in the sand, where the horses' hooves stepped *
Beautiful-faced, short-haired black horse did not give way
633. Karajan became very agitated * very anxious * White
634. armor he was wearing * became too small for his body He could not catch
the one ahead * God
635. did not allow satisfaction * Three hours passed Beautiful faced black
636. did not give way * nearly dead * (Karajan:) "Apple of my eye,
637. Baychobar!" * Baychobar hung his head in shame * The creature grunted
in his effort to pass
638. (Dost Mohammed) behaved like an adversary * (Karajan:) "Four times I
asked * You did not stop * You did
639. not respect me" * Karajan grabbed his son's head * who was named Dost
640. and belt with his other hand * invoking the protection of God
641. onto the millstone-sized rocks * threw his only one killing
642. his son Dost Mohammed * (Karajan) got hold of his son's white sword *
(and) the winged tulpar (of his son)
643. beheaded * If you will have a friend, he should be thus * My lords, he
644. his son and his son's horse * Karajan, born as a batir * performed the
duties of a friend
645. (He) proceeded, lamenting. * Seven days passed * Now, from whom do you
hear the news
646. Hear it from the Kalmak Taysha. Observers were
46 H. B. Paksoy
647. They could see anyone coming. There was one observer from Taysha
648. and another from Karajan. They spotted the horse coming.
649. Taysha Khan's observer said:
650. "Khan's happiness will be increased shortly * there will be an end to
his worries * Barchin Jan
651. now belongs to the Khan, tarlan horse is in sight." Karajan's
652. (recognizing) gold amulet on the neck: "Once
653. the battle begins, all worries are forgotten * You cannot say
654. The one coming is Baychobar" * Upon hearing these words,
655. Batir Alpamysh climbed the white hill and saw Baychobar coming
656. "I hung the golden amulet on his neck * Whoever rides you
657. will forget his worries * Glory will be won by one's self
658. May I be sacrificed to your eyes Baychobar * I do not have tulips
blooming on the nearby mountain
659. You are priceless, even beyond one hundred thousand tumans * When you
660. you earn honor * God is my witness, I do not have elders.
661. I have no roses blooming in the spring * if you do not run, earning
662. God is my witness, I have no brothers * I am but a poor beggar, away
from my land
663. Forty saints have touched my head * When you run, my worries
664. May I be sacrificed to your eyes * When you win, the
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 47
future of the Kungrats
665. will be secure" * The race was to end where Alpamysh stood,
666. at Kakbali Karatash. Taysha conferred with his vezirs. "Whoever's
667. comes across this rock, will have Barchin" he said.
668. Alpamysh was standing there. The creature, passing Alpamysh one
669. collapsed as if hit by an arrow. When Alpamysh looked, saw that the
670. were swollen to the size of a (human) head. Alpamysh grabbed his sword.
671. spat on Karajan, and said: "I won't cause
672. any harm to a Muslim * When I saw the horse, I lost my mind * Four
673. nails in four hooves * Valiant Karajan, where is your friendship
674. Utter your last prayers, I'll cut off your head * I am too young to
know the value of the horse * I drink wine from the
675. golden cup * Utter your last prayers, I'll cut off your head
676. Where is your friendship to me, you atheist * I'll let alone the horse
and beat the dust out of you
677. In my anger, I will make your face turn yellow * Four small nails in
678. you have deceived me with words" * Karajan answered: 679. "I started
out * praised God * After
680. fifteen days * I reached Ak Bulak * Atheist Kalmaks
681. made fun of us * Baychobar was ashamed * fell down as if hit by an
682. I hit him (to make him run), * forced him. In twenty days time *
48 H. B. Paksoy
683. we reached the turnaround point * Kalmaks deceived us
684. making us believe that we would rest for seven days Batir (myself)
simple minded small boy
685. believed and agreed * Invoking the name of God * when my eyes were
686. filled with sleep * both of my arms were tied collapsed with sleep, I
Karajan. * To Chobar, whose eyes I love
687. four nails were driven * making him unable to walk
688. I cried to my God * Atheist Kalmaks * left on their way
689. After satisfying my sleep in the field * I jumped from my sleep * I
realized that I was lucky
690. realized Chobar was lying down * approached him crying * My coatskirts
691. with the tears running down my eyes * I almost died on the field
692. God is alone, I was alone * Who comes to my side * God
693. had mercy * With tears running down my eyes * I cried to God * Seven
694. saints * appeared at my side, saying "God" * "Do not cry, son * We
695. came to help." they said * Seven patron saints untied my arms
696. I gave thanks to God * Chobar was lying in the pit With the strength of
697. I grabbed him * pulled him out of the pit * After mounting me on
698. Baychobar * the seven patron saints (said:) * "Our tiger of tigers
699. may you not have difficulties on your way,
700. our tiger" they said: * "The child Barchin * may she find Alpamysh"
they said *
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 49
701. I mounted Baychobar * not of us, but of God
702. "May he cross the finish line" they said * Seven saints * prayed
703. for us * Ninety days passed * Tarlan belonging to
704. Taysha * (Baychobar and I) caught up with * As Baychobar passed
705. bit him (tarlan) on the ear * The tarlan slowed down My
706. only son Dost Mohammed, I caught up with * I told him to stop, he did
707. He did not call me father, or respect my wish * I begged of him, he did
708. I killed my son * Afterwards, I killed my own black horse
709. I wore golden clothes without a belt * I performed my duty to you, *
710. of my white house, * garden of my gray sheep. * I killed my only
711. Luckless am I in this passing world * I am separated from my son Dost
712. I give thanks to Islam * May I pass through this empty world with
713. the name of God on my lips" * At these words, Alpamysh and his
714. started to weep. Glbarchin answered: * "My Sultan's horse came as
715. I shall go and take a look at it * and congratulate (it)"
716. Reclaiming what was hers * taking it back * Her cheeks tanning
717. raising her eyebrow * biting her lip * resting a hand on her hip
718. gathering her hair on her breast, Barchin
50 H. B. Paksoy
719. Jan said (to Alpamysh): * "You lost your color worried that your
720. would not win * (crossing) through the finish line (first) * Chobar
721. Batir, congratulations * (With the) amulet on your neck * When you ride
all worries are forgotten
722. Did not your Chobar come first * (Your) horse came Batir,
723. congratulations * The horse is covered with sweat May your arm be
strong in the battle
724. May Aychrek be sacrificed to you * The horse came Batir,
congratulations." * Alpamysh
725. answered: * "The horse is covered with black sweat The race took away
726. If it be auspicious, it should be for both of us * Go back to your
house, Barchin * Let the
727. Kalmak faces fade * May they be plagued by my sword If the occasion be
auspicious, it should be (auspicious) to (both of) us
728. Barchin, go back to your house * Let them not drink from your fountain
* May there be
729. separation no more * May no other stranger's eye fall (covetously) upon
you again * Go back
730. Barchin, to your house" * At that time, Barchin answered: * "You are
priding yourself with the victory
731. of your horse * Your horse nearly died * in the land of Kalmaks
732. Its bones * nearly left to dry * When the horse
arrived, you collected your thoughts
733. I am going to the orda * my beloved Sultan * Send your
734. friend Karajan after me" * (Alpamysh) sent after Barchin * his friend
735. Barchin arrived at her house * (She) put on her arm four lamb
736. tails * On the back of friend Karajan *
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 51
737. the beauty named Glbarchin * Picked up a cauldron with her right hand *
(Together they) headed
738. to the place where Baychobar was lying * With Karajan, at speed *
(they) arrived urgently
739. (The) horse Baychobar * (who had) four nails in his hooves
740. With pliers, twisting * (they) removed (the nails) The bad
741. blood collected in four hooves * (They) dressed and dried * Not even a
trace was left of them
742. Placed the tails of the four lambs in the cauldron,
743. boiling * Poured the fat into the wounds * The winning horse Chobar
744. she nursed for fifteen days * Karajan, fifteen days
745. (and) Alpamysh (for) ten days * The winning horse Chobar
746. (Alpamysh) walked forty nights, * made Barchin and Kalmak weary
747. The swelling of the hooves disappeared * Mounting, (Alpamysh) went
galloping * The winning
748. horse * walked forty days and nights * When he (Alpamysh)
749. was satisfied that Baychobar has totally recovered he joined
750. With Karajan * the three gathered in the house * in the land of
751. The marriage ceremony (of Alpamysh and Glbarchin) was held * They
752. When the girl and the young man get together * who does not know of the
custom * They
753. conversed * Dawn broke * (The two) renewed ablution
754. performed the morning prayers * Now, conferring with Barchin *
(Alpamysh) spoke of
52 H. B. Paksoy
755. their longing for the homeland * Now we hear of Taysha Khan, his
756. spoke: "Will you really allow him to take away Barchin
757. because his horse won * Only the Judgement Day is final. Life leaves
758. so does the word. If we were to change our word and promise,
759. what would happen?" This is what the vezirs said.
760. They added: "Our Ruler, do not let Barchin go, on account of one
promise. Call Alpamysh
761. into your presence. You have servants, ninety wrestlers. Tell him that
you have seen him riding his horse.
762. Let there be another contest. (Tell him) 'Wrestle with champions. If
you defeat the wrestlers, I'll
763. believe in your might, then I'll let you have Barchin.' Command is
764. we will cause it to happen." In short, Taysha sent a man,
765. summoning him. Alpamysh arrived and appeared before Taysha Khan. Taysha
766. when he looked, a young boy of fourteen. I am mistaken 767. in calling
him a boy. An angel from paradise, with his locks. Son of a Ruler,
768. pearly and beautiful. Taysha lost his mind. Those who
769. looked at Alpamysh left the streets, climbed the walls.
770. "My young son, from a distance of six months, you came following your
771. You ran your horse over many roads. Your horse won the contest.
772. Your God gave you your beloved. Barchin is yours. However, for the hand
773. wrestlers and men of fast horses came from seven
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 53
774. Will you just say, 'My horse won, and I'm leaving for my land?' You
775. with the wrestlers." * Alpamysh thought to himself: "God is alone, so
am I. In
776. these lands who do I have besides God and Karajan. I will brace my
777. the sake of manliness. Kalmaks are behaving treacherously. Taksir (Oh
God). Khan, you are lying.
778. You are trying to go back on your word. Taksir (fate)." (He said to
Taysha:) "I will contest." The ruler called
779. one of his wrestlers to the field.
780. The wrestler came out to wrestle. Alpamysh prayed to Hz. Ali,
781. grabbed and threw him mightily at the
782. feet of the Ruler. False wrestlers cannot survive. In half an hour,
783. he demolished the Ruler's nine wrestlers. Then, no one else wanted to
contest. When he looked behind him,
784. he saw Baychobar standing at the edge of the crowd. While Kalmaks
785. were deciding what to do next, plotting to take Alpamysh's horse and
786. and saying: "Let us kill him." Baychobar was stepping on those
(Kalmaks) who were trying to get close to him.
787. He was kicking those who were approaching from the side. In the clamor
of the crowd, he was not allowing the Kalmaks near himself.
788. Sultan Alpamysh saw all this. No other wrestlers were contesting. He
walked over to his horse
789. Batir mounted the Chobar * fixed his thoughts on the Kalmaks *
790. surrounded him * Batir understood (the meaning of
54 H. B. Paksoy
this) at one look * All atheist Kalmaks
791. prevented him from moving * Batir was enraged started playing with
792. the hilt of his sword * Unsheathing the sword halfway now, sheathing
then * saying: "Guilt (the consequences of my drawing)
793. is upon you." * Ruler's vezir, Kokemen Kaska, without the
794. knowledge of the Ruler, shot an arrow at Alpamysh, displayed his
795. The arrow did not touch the Batir, whose days had not reached an end *
He drew his sword
796. Into the countless Kalmaks * whipped the Chobar (Kalmaks)
797. scrambled * He swung (his sword) again and again took many a Kalmak's
798. The Kalmak that came straight on * he split from head on down * The
Kalmak who approached
799. from the side * he took the head of * One hour passed
800. Much fighting took place * From the struggle, (his) sword was bent *
The mountain of Ayralik (?) was cruel
801. Khans and those from the blood-line of the khans, and the beys with
their followers * (All) Kalmaks at this time,
802. * took refuge in the big castle, and closed the doors * By that
803. Sultan Alpamysh had killed many a Kalmak * Barchin's house
804. along with his friend Karajan * (he) reached hastily *
805. Whom do you hear the news from. Hear it from Taysha Khan: "Who started
this fight?" (he asked)
806. Vezirs said: "Alpamysh." Taysha said: "This fight
807. was started by you, by Kokemen." He summoned Kokemen and said:
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 55
808. "It was you who started this fight, you caused it." He had Kokemen put
809. For (the hand of) Barchin, Alpamysh Batir had his horse win the race,
defeated the wrestlers,
810. killed those Kalmaks of Taysha whose days came to an end. Caused pain
to those whose days were not yet up.
811. Along with his ninety camels * with all kinds of possessions on the
camels * in a white
812. ship * with his beloved named Barchin * Alpamysh Batir, with his father
(in-law) Baysari Bay
813. giving thanks to God * started out for his land (Also) With his mother
(in-law) Altun Sach * With tears (in his eyes)
814. bid farewell to his friend Karajan * (and) set out to his land * His
815. turned pale * Tired the loaded camels * He covered the road of six
816. forty days * To the land of Jidali Baysun of the Kungrat, where his
817. he arrived safely. His father and mother weeping, his male and female
818. likewise. He made a grand feast * (He) gathered the crowd, * had
819. horses race on the plains * He placed his beloved in the castle *
(while everyone said) "He brought back Barchin Jan"
820. All adored him * Alpamysh named (youth), at this time * upon whom
821. saints have cast their eyes * had the altun kabak contest * had his
swift horse race * Wrestlers (were)
822. matched * Thirty days of games * forty days of feasts were made
823. (They) knew only one God * and His apostle * (They) gave thanks for all
824. obtained (their) desire(s) and wish(es) * All have
56 H. B. Paksoy
reached their aims and God knows best. We receive the reward.
825a. Apple (size) headed mallard
825b. is an ornament in his own lake.
826a. Precious handled knife
826b. is worthy of the Bey's belt.
827a. Everyone is happy on his own land.
827b. The taste of bread is good at home.
828a. Alpamysh was transcribed
828b. from the worthy tongue of Jiyamurad.
829a. If you fall in love with your beloved for five days
829b. that is fine, before your beard grows.
830a. Said all this finely
830b. by accompaniment to the saz.
831a. To serve the Ruler is to serve God
831b. (and) I serve the Ruler well.
832a. One who recites these words
832b. is Jiyamurad, son of Bekmuhammed.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 57
The following commentary section addresses a number of issues. First, it
clarifies discrepancies created by typesetting errors, inconsistencies, or
"sloppiness," as noted earlier. Second it elaborates on the "key words"
employed in "indexing" as well as certain other phrases, references and
allusions. The bahsi, Jiyamurad, son of Bekmuhammed, assumed -- and rightly
so at that time and place -- that his audience was entirely familiar with
the general conditions under which the events of the dastan took place, the
customs and beliefs mentioned, and the action of the dastan itself. The
modern Western reader requires elucidation of these references.
In the commentary numbers appearing within the bracket pair  refer to the
line numbers in the translated text above and in the original in the
Appendix to this work.
 The location of Jidali Baysun has been discussed by various scholars.
Togan associates it with the Syr-Darya area.34 Zhirmunskii refers to it as
"formerly the Baysun bekdom in southern Uzbekistan."35 According to
A. T. Hatto, "Baysun lake" may be referring to the Aral Sea. This
possibility was also suggested by Zhirmunskii. Furthermore, L. S. Tolstova,
in Istoricheskie traditsii iuzhnogo Arala, notes:
"It is not without interest that among the Karakalpak of the Choresm Oasis
legends concerning arrival from Jidali-Baysun are, basically, distributed
especially among the tribes of Aris Kongrat. (The leading hero of the
Karakalpak epic Alpamysh, whose activity according to the dastan takes place
in Jidali-Baysun also belonged to Aris Kongrat of the tribe Irgakli.) The
same legend also has been located/recorded by ethnographers among the
Uzbek-Kongrat of the Amu-Derya Delta."36
However, the map accompanying Materialy dlia statistiki Turkestanskogo
kraia, Ezhegodnik (Vol. III, St. Petersburg, 1874) shows a Baysun in
the south of what is today the Uzbek SSR.
Divay's own note to the Russian translation [henceforth the translation and
the accompanying notes are cited as Divay"] discusses Jidali Baysun:
"The central point of the Baysun bekdom in
58 H. B. Paksoy
Hissare [Russ: Gissare] located on the slope of a mountain. Baysun-tau is
near the river Surkhin, at a height of 3680 feet above sea level. The
Baysun bekdom is settled by Uzbeks and Tajiks, the main occupation of the
inhabitants is cattle raising. Baysun-tau is at the southwest end of
the Hissar range to the south of Samarkand and southwest of Bukhara. Through
this range passes the great caravan road from Bukhara to Hissar and the
Amu-Darya; it goes along a narrow gorge with cliffs of 150 meters, which
bear the name the Iron Gate. See the Entsiklopedicheskii
slovar', Brokgauz and Efron, vol 4, p. 731. According to
the information of our Kirghiz, Jidali-Baysun is located at the boundaries
of two bekdoms: Kuliab and Hissar. There is located a large lake called
Baysun. Living there are Kirghiz of the Lesser Horde, and also Kungrat and
Argyns of the Middle Horde."37
 The title Bay (often "prince") is appended to the name of a tribal elder
or a member of the ruling elite; it may simply signify "man of wealth." It
may precede or follow the proper name. Therefore, the term is retained as in
the original throughout the text. Hence, Bora and Sari are the actual names
of the princes. Regarding the phrase: "What is the use of possessions beyond
the (yurt) threshold", Remy Dor suggests that: "since 'eshik-toz' is
commonly used for yurt, possessions, so possibly the sense is 'because of
the lack of posterity, they derived no pleasure from inventorying their
possessions',"38 i. e. what is the use of having possessions if one has no
 Divay in his notes states "In the text 'pir,' from the Persian meaning
old man, head of monks, founder of a religious order. Pir and sheikh are the
same: sheikh is Arabic, pir is Persian."39
[8-9] I.e., it is the tombs of the saints visited.
 Kuda connotes giving or taking a girl from another family in marriage.
Baybora and Baysari have thereby became "in-laws." In a society which values
kinship, relations established bymarriage are significant and carry certan
obligations. In the beginning, the audience is informed that Baybora and
Baysari are two equal "bay," establishing the terms of reference. "In the
absence of a daughter" simply refers to the fact that, as yet, neither has
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 59
 "Jan" can be a proper name, as well as a term of endearment.
[19-20] [...] contains the phrase "Kabir tapsa kan bayda, boyurgansa tun
fayda," an ancient Kirghiz proverb, as attested by the emigre Kirghiz
elders. Rahman Kul testified that he heard it in this form as a child but
could not remember its meaning. It is not surprising that there is no
unanimity over the text or the interpretation. The following analysis was
provided by Prof. A. T. Hatto: "The play is on bayda (Pers. paida) 'clear',
'manifest'; and fayda (Pers-Arab. fa'ida) 'profit', 'advantage' - both of
which would be bayda/payda in the vernaculars, only the editor is learned.
The second phrase may be read as: buyurgense ton fayda 'if you make as if
pleat/fold, a cloak would be a good thing' (cf. Kirgh. buyur) -gense may be
'when one folds'. Therefore, the following may be hazarded: [with]
mourning (Pers. tafsa) at the burial (qabir), blood is seen. That is,
bereaved women lacerate their faces". 40 Prof. Remy Dor has the following
reading and observation: "Kabir togulsa kan bayda, buyurgansa tn fayda.
Therefore, it can be translated as 'If the grave overflows blood affairs
[sic], if you give orders night is useful.' Meaning: 'It is better to give
orders at night when you cannot be spied upon because if what must be kept
secret is known there can be blood feud'."41
In view of the context, I am inclined to the following explanation: Kabir
tapsa - "If the grave is encountered"; kan bayda - "when the blood is
noble"; boyurgansa - "for establishing order" or, in this case, to maintain
your lineage; tun fayda - "darkness is useful." Thus the meaning can be "If
you are old (i.e. death is near), but your blood is noble, then the darkness
of night may be useful for conception, i.e. to maintaining your lineage."
Such references to the conceiving of sons in the darkness of the night are
found in The Book of Dede Korkut, notably in the tale of
"Boghach Khan." Divay's own Russian translaton entirely omits this line
and goes to te next line: "their stomachs grew so much that when they
squatted down, they could not see the earth." 42
60 H. B. Paksoy
 Divay explains: "During great holidays in olden days, the Kirghiz
organized a game called 'altyn-kabak,' which means 'golden gourd.' A long
pole was brought, at one end of the pole was suspended a gourd with
gold or silver coins and the pole was put in the ground. Then marksmen came
out and shot (with arrows) at the gourd. Whoever split the gourd
received the contents. They say that even now sometimes this game is
Altun kabak was a well-known contest, popularly held at such joyful
occasions. Its origins may well go back to early times about which we know
very little. In addition to its ceremonial use, the game of altun kabak
(golden pumpkin) was clearly regarded as an essential military training
exercise even outside Central Asian domains, for instance among the
Mamluks.44 For example, the Mamluk historian Ibn Taghribirdi, portrays it as
"On a tall mast a gourd would be fixed, made of gold or silver. A pigeon was
put inside the gourd. The horsemen would advance towards the
target and shoot at it (with bow and arrow) while moving (most likely at
full gallop). If he hit the target and made the pigeon fly away, he would
receive a robe of honor and take the gourd as his prize.... The kabak game
was frequently performed on a large scale and with great pomp on the
occasion of the birth or circumcision of the sons of the Sultans and of the
 Jelle is a garment, usually without a collar, made of naturally pink
colored cotton fiber, especially favored by the mollas or mystics.
 Divay states:
"Kalender [sic] is the name of an order of dervishes taken from the name of
its founder Kalender Yusuf Andaluzskii [sic] (the word means 'pure gold' -
it alludes to a pure heart, demanded of proselytes), the dervish is a
mendicant, the 'kalender hane' the place of residence of these dervishes.
See the dictionary of Budagov, p. 25, part II. See also "Dervishi v
musul'manskom mire," Issledovanie Petra Posdneva. Orenburg,
1886. "In Russian Turkestan are spread chiefly two
rders, the Nakshbendi (kalenderi) and Kadrie
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 61
[sic - Kadiriyye]. The kalenderi or Nakshbendi are considered 'khufiia,' as
the founder of their order, the kalenderi Nakshbend was 'khufiia,'
that is one who performed the zikr to himself, secretly."46 Also see EI2
entry "Kalendar."47 Kalendar, besides being the name of a class of dervishes
is also applied to good natured, unconventional people who do not complain
 Divay notes: "Further in the text everywhere she is called by the
abbreviated (form): Barchin, without the prefix "Gul" but for uniformity, we
 There are some numbers that are considered to be holy, fateful or
simply lucky. Three, seven, forty are in this category. Other round numbers
occur for the sake of random representation of crowds, distance, time,
 Concerning the phrase Gaib-iran-kryk-chilten [sic
forgha'ib-iran-kyrk-cihilten], Divay explains the following in his footnote
[comments in brackets are supplied by the present author, from Redhouse, A
Turkish and English Lexicon, indicated pages]:
"According to the information of M. N. Aidarov, the entire composition of
the holy gaib-iran is divided into seven categories. The supreme one
over them is called Qutb ["the chief of God's saints upon earth," 1461]. The
second category is called Emanman, they consist of two persons and are
considered the vizirs of Qutb. One is found at the right hand, the Alem-i
melekut ["the heavens above, the kingdom ruled by God," 1278, 1972]
supervising the invisible; the other on the left is called Alem-i meleke
["world of possessions, the material world," 1972], ruling over the
The third category is Evtad ["four cardinal saints on earth, one for each
cardinal point," 10, 235] and consists of four persons. They keep watch over
the four corners of the world. The fourth, the Budela ["saintly persons
maintained by God on earth," 9-10], consists of seven persons. The fifth
Ruqaba ["seven seers or saints," 983, 984] consists also of seven persons nd
they are called simply 'the seven.' Thesixth category is called Nujeba
["noble ones," 2073], of forty persons and they are called usually, 'chilten
[sic],' and finally, the seventh category is called Nuqaba ["deans of
communities," 2097], consisting of 366 persons,
62 H. B. Paksoy
and they too are gaib-iran and are divided into two divisions: Iqrar ["those
who declare," 165] and Umena ["those who conceal," 202]. Those who
wish to request help from the Gaib-iran sit with their backs to them
[Divay's note includes a sketch suggesting a direction of the compass
needed to make the prayers in various parts of the globe] and then perform
their prayer. In order to determine in which direction are the
Gaib-iran in the known lunar months, there exists the circle reproduced here
with indicated compass points and numbers of lunar months."
Below the drawing, Divay adds, "Additional information can be found in
Budagov, part II, p.58."49
 Karakasga is a horse with a blaze on his face.
 A description of this game is provided in an article published in the
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1985.50 Portions are excerpted
"Kok Boru is the ancient name for Oglak Tartis, which is a game reserved for
the able bodied young men who must field formidably agile and hardy horses.
The latter designation literally means "contest for the goat," actually the
carcass thereof. Usually a young goat is killed, then its abdominal organs
are removed and replaced by wet sand to weight it.
"The contest has very few rules and is deceptively simple. The starting
point is a circle, the diameter of which is generally proportional to the
number of participants, varying from ten feet to one hundred. As soon as
the Aksakal51 judges give the starting signal, the goat is picked up by one
of the players. The object is to bring it back to the starting point.
"This is easier said than done, each horseman plays for himself. The game
has all the elements of mounted combat, although the only weapon allowed is
nothing more dangerous than a whip, which may, however, have lead-reinforced
tips. The horseman in possession of the goat tries to outmaneuver all others
in order to bring it back to the circle. The rest oppose him fiercely and
reach for the goat, seeking ahold, tugging. Hence the "tartis."52 The new
possessor attempts to ward off the pursuers by clutching the goat
between his thigh and his saddle....
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 63
"Historically, the contest of Oglak Tartis was an occasion to assess the
courage and skill of the new generation as well as re-test the durability
of the older one. It also served as a means by which the millennia-old
horsemanship skills were transferred from the master to the novices....
" 'Kok Boru'53 was the wolf's head symbol adorning the standards of the
early Turkic Khanates of Central Asia, and the expression as well as its
derivatives also repeatedly appear in Oghuz Khan dastan.54 It commands
respect and fear simultaneously, variously appearing as a guide, ancestor
and cherished symbol...
 The Central Asian tribes are almost always exogamous. They marry
outside their immediate tribal unit. As a result, the daughter leaves her
father's home. Hence Baysari will once again be childless.
 The distances represented by "forty days" and "six months" are probably
used metaphorically to indicate a long distance.
 Taysha is a title given to a Mongol ruler, Ta'i-shih. It was apparently
utilized by the Kara Khitay as well.55 Later on in the text Taysha is also
referred to as the Kayser (from Arabic via Persian) and Padishah (from
 Ak Bulak is identified as being a location "northeast of Karaburghaz
bay."56 However, this term need not strictly refer to a geographic location.
It could conceivably be used symbolically to mean a place of refuge, an
 White or black camels are rare, thus indicating these are choice
beasts. Divay explains the term kibacha as "A wooden crate, in which are
carried dishes and other things, and when migrating, it is used to carry
children on a camel."57
[70-71] "May it rain and turn the bright days into floods" appears to denote
a wish for a turn of events for the better. In semi-arid climates, one
expects rain to be auspicious and bring lush pastures for the herds.
 "To hear the tongue of the Mongol," i.e. to be where Mongols live.
64 H. B. Paksoy
 "Full moon" is a standard phrase, describing the beauty of a human
being, usually a young girl or boy. In this case, he may be exalting the
beauty of his wife.
 There is double indexing in this phrase, one within the other. The
first one is: 'If I (Baysari) had not been without an offspring, than, I
would not have been obliged to enter into an oath with Baybora'. As it
follows, Baysari is implying: 'Hence, I must compete with him in such a
contest and humiliated.'
[94-95] Divay explains: "The Kirghiz divide the year in four 'nineties,'
specifically, the winter ninety, the spring ninety, the summer ninety and
the autumn ninety. The 'ninety' comprises three months. Concerning the times
of the year, see the article by A. Divaev, "Mesiatsy po kirgizskomu stiliu s
oboznachenykh narodnykh primet," in Izvestiia Obshchestva Arkheologii,
Istorii i Etnografii, vol. XIII, No. 4." 58
 Notes Divay: "There exists among the Kirghiz a proverb: 'Kuyandi kamis
oldurur, erdi namus oldurur' "The reed kills the hare, and honor (striving
for it or losing it) the brave one."59
 Muhurdar, literally: seal bearer. In this context, probably a high
level bureaucrat, a non-military official. Alemdar, in the strictest sense,
means standard bearer. In most Central Asian tribal hierarchies, such
officers had additional responsibilities above and beyond what the
offical title implies.60
 "May we (I) be sacrificed" is an emphatic statement used to underline
the importance of one's thoughts or the intensity of desire. This phrase is
also used to indicate deep affection and devotion.61 Divay calls this "an
affectionate phrase, remaining from an ancient custom, according to which,
making a sacrifice, for example for the recovery of an ill person, they
circled around the patient and then a possession of the victim is either
sacrificed [presumably an animal] or given to the poor. See Budagov, p. 212,
Part I."62 In this explanation, Divay is perhaps recalling the action of
Babur (1483-1530, a direct descendant of Timur, and the founder of the
"Moghul" empire), who, according to record, performed this ceremony to cure
his son Humayun; and died shortly afterwards.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 65
 Taksir is a term of respect used in the Kirghiz dialect, to address a
ruler.63 Divay translates (in Russian) as "ruler" (gospodar).64 Also see
Comment on Lines 777-778.
 Divay's Russian translation states that this is a proverb. His note
identifies "Khizr" as "the name of the prophet who found the source of
living water and drank from it, and then lives to the end of the ages; the
prophet Ilya; the helper, savior (one who defends [those travelling] on the
water, [in] Kazak [is] Khizr; [in] Kirghiz [is] Kidr) = [thus the saying]
Juru tikaningda joluneng bolsun; Kudrata joldasining bolsun; [meaning] I
wish you good journey, may your companion be the prophet Khizr (good
journey); [also] Khizr, [means] green, pleasant to the eyes. See the
dictionary of Budagov, p. 534, Part I."65
 "Shed bloody tears" refers to the difficulty of riding through rough
and treacherous terrain. Lewis (p. 11) notes that "when the characters are
distressed they weep bloody tears..."
 "Stewards" refers to those in authority.
 "Braiding the mane," but especially the tails of horses was a
requisite prior to engaging in battle. So prepared, the horse becomes
spirited and more responsive to the rider.
 "Lost all hope" because he fears the Taysha's wrath if he to turns
down a request of this sort.
 "The worry of my loved one has been troubling me" refers to Barchin's
worrying about Alpamysh, his health, his whereabouts and if he is aware of
 Braiding the tail of the horse: see the Comment on Line 142 above.
 Referring to Alpamysh, and his expected arrival to marry Barchin.
 "Twisted the neck of the bird" is a description of anger. It may also
suggest that the lady in question has a shapely neck.
 In his Russian translation, Divay retains the use of the term
"misafir," and explains that this term "among Muslims" denoted "those who
came temporarily to a strange land or to another city. Also included amog
66 H. B. Paksoy
[175-176] "Thin becoming fat * then he can strike his white lance" Barchin
is likening herself to a sacrificial lamb, fattened for sacrifice. She is
also buying time.
 In other words, without distinguishing origin, ethnicity, language or
 "Nine directions, nineteen thousand warriors" is probably figurative.
[190-191] "The blood ran down the stirrup" is the traditional bardic
reference to blood from the battle wounds of the warrior first filling the
boot, overflowing and finally running down the stirrup and the breast of the
 From the disturbance of the horses' hooves, stones fly and are
reassembled into new roads and bridges.
 Baychobar is the name of Alpamysh's horse, so named because of his
color; gray with white "rose" spots, called "Chobar." "Bay" (see note on
Line 5 for a definition of Bay) prefix is added, to indicate that this is an
unusually noble and beautiful animal.
[197-200] These lines are rather unclear, as noted in the introduction of
this Chapter. Here the bahshi seems to be assuming previous knowledge of a
series of details. It is difficult to determine when the bahshi stops
referring to Baybora and begins referring to Kultay. Accordingly, the
reader cannot be certain if Kultay, a servant, personally decided to give
Alpamysh a horse, or whether he was instructed by Baybora to do so.
Moreover, there is a rather severe misspelling (Line 200); taladin (open
space) is substituted for tilladan (golden).
 Alpamysh must know of the existence of his betrothed, both were seven
years of age at the time of parting (Line 106 notes Barchin arrived in the
land of the Kalmaks at age 7). Alpamysh's parents are specifically against
his pursuing Barchin, and appear to have concealed their betrothal from him.
However, he is preparing to mount a quest for his fiancee and claims a
golden saddle, the origins of which are not alluded to by the bahshi.
 There are a certain number of conceptual inconsisencies in the text,
most of which pertan to numerical values. In this line, it is stated that
Baybora was desirous of giving Alpamysh a horse when he reached the
age of seven. In Lines 207-208, Alpamysh specifically asks
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 67
for a horse on which to seek his fiancee. He captures Baychobar in Line 224.
In Line 233, he takes the reins and rides out to the land of the Kalmaks.
Only in Line 254 do we discover that Alpamysh is fourteen years of age
immediately after selecting his own mount. It is not clear whether Alpamysh
waited seven years after the point at which we learn of his father's
intention to give him a horse, making do with other horses before
The effect of this narrational sloppiness is not critical for the conclusion
or even the flow. It is simply a nuisance for the orderly mind.
 "Duldul" is the name of Ali's horse.
 The text uses bahadur which, as stated earlier, is a variant of
 Seksavul (Anabasis ammodendron, holoxylon) is a plant abundantly found
in the Central Asian steppes.
 "Sultan" is used to further honor Alpamysh, albeit before the reader
(or the listener) is presented with his feats. It is a rather forward
 Divay's Russian translation says here that Alpamysh was brave, young
and strong like an "elif." In his note he explains "The letter elif is
depicted in the Arabic alphabet by a thin stick and corresponds to the
letter "a;" here it refers to the slenderness of his figure."67
 Explaining the term tumar, Divay calls it "amulet, a case with a
[246-247] The term ervaghi (ervah, pl. of ruh; spelled arvakhi in the
Russian translation) is explained by Divay as "the spirits of saints which
help people, an unseen force. Further description of arvakhi in A. Divaev,
in Sbornik mater. dlia stat. Syr-Dar. Obl. and Etnogr. ocherki, Khud.
Kustanaev, and in XI book, Etnogr. obozrenie, p. 24."
69 Divay gives no further information on these sources.
 Tulpar, a "winged horse," usually belongs to an alp or batir. See the
Commentary on Line 514 below.
 Karajan here says "may your elder brother be sacrificed to you" to
stress his astonishment at the goings on. There is no actual intention of
sacrificing anyone. See Comment on Line 110 above.
68 H. B. Paksoy
[254-255] Divay's Russian translation states: "The life of tarlan [rendered
in Arabic characters], a bird of good luck lasts only 14 years..." [Divay's
ellipsis]. His note explains "The precise meaning of tarlan we could not
obtain from the Kirgiz. One said it was a bird of good fortune, others
compared it to the khomai, the legendary bird, a noble breed like the eagle,
a heavenly bird like the phoenix, which never comes down to earth, always
commanding the upper heights of the atmosphere. If its shadow falls on
someone's head, that person will be made a king and have good luck. From it
comes humayun -- the auspicious, august epithet of sultans of the Turkish
Empire. See Humayun in Budagov, p. 315, Part II."70 If the khomai above is a
reference to "Omay" (Umay, Huma, etc), it should be noted that the word
appears in Kul Tegin E31, as well as in Tonyukuk II, W3. Moreover, I.
Kafesoglu, citing A. Inan, traces "Huma" to Iranian-Indian beliefs. D.
Sinor indicates that "Umay" is a Mongol spirit honored by the Turks.71
 The bahshi is using kaysar for sultan. Divay says "'Kaysar' seems to
be a Kalmak personal name, signifying adversity in life."72
 Divay translates "Only Seisens know the value of the Bedouins," which
he thus explains: "Seisens must suggest the owners of Bedouin horses, and
then those who value them."73
There may be a connection between the "Zaysan" ("...the Turkic speaking
`Two-tribute' Mountain Kalmak of the Altai...) referenced by Hatto and the
seisen mentioned by Divay.74
[267-268] Divay translates the interjection as "O [you] with bristling
bottom," which in the note is clarified as "a curse, expressed more strongly
in the text."75 It appears that Divay excluded the "more strong language"
of the expression from the text.
 Divay's translation is: "On our steppes, one needs buds to blossom."
His note refers to a Kirgiz quatrain,"Jigitdining jiyirme bis gunu emesbe/
kiz deygan jengi achulghan gul emesbe/ Bulghanda giz gizil gul jigit bulbul/
bulbul gus gizil gul ki tunaasbe?"
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 69
Translated as "The best of times for young men is 25 (years)... Is the
maiden then not a newly blossomed rose? If the maiden is a rose and the
youth a nightingale, then is it not possible that the nightingale may pass
the night on the roses?"76
[279-280] "To be burned one needs a tongue" seems to mean "words will get
you into deep trouble."
 "Argument is upon your six ancestors" is a manner of cursing
Alpamysh's lineage. The number is rather curious for the usual number
employed in this context is seven. Perhaps the "six" is a double insult
indicating that in the lineage there is an "unknown." Even the children are
taught, at the earliest possible age, to recite their seven ancestors when
asked who they are: "yedi atang kim?" It is very shameful for the child not
to be able correctly to recite seven consecutive lineal ancestors. This
failure also reflects badly on his parents and lineage.
 The implication is that the fight is to the death.
 Karajan being clearly older, Alpamysh may be deferring to Karajan's
age. It is a requisite act of etiquette. On the other hand, Alpamysh may
also be needling Karajan, implying that he (Karajan) is too old to fight,
and should not hope to win the wrestling contest. Probably Alpamysh is doing
both. Prior to actual fighting, such verbal combat is commonplace.
 According to Sufi tradition, saints can travel without being
encumbered by physical laws. Therefore, they can appear and disappear at
 Because if the occupier of the throne dies, the sun will reflect off
the empty throne.
 Isfahan is referenced in two contexts. (See also Lines 350 and 389.)
In this case the Isfahan sword is placed between two men as a sign of
conciliation. However, the tradition is much older. The Kirghiz are known to
place an arrow (vertically) between those who are about to take a
"brotherhood" oath before the two embrace.
[336-337] Divay refers to a suyunji which Karajan expects to receive from
Barchn for giving her this news. Divay defins suyunchi [sic] as "a present,
given as a reward for carrying joyful news."77
 The possibility that must be raised regarding the
70 H. B. Paksoy
references to "Kalmaks dead in Isfahan" is that this is an erroneous
reference, confusing Isfahan in Iran with the town Isfijab (also called
Sayram, Sefid Ab and Ak Su)78 north of Tashkent in what is today the
Chimkent region. Such an error could be accidental or deliberate on
the part of the bahshi or yet another typesetter's error. In any event,
there is historical basis for the allusion to the deaths of "many Kalmaks"
in the Isfijab area because of a Kalmak attack in 1681.79
The second possibility, of course, is that the reference to Isfahan is
correct. If so, the historical basis is somewhat more obscure and may refer
to conflicts of Hulagu's forces in their conquest of Iran in the mid-13th
century80, to an uprising and slaughter of Timur's tax gatherers in Isfahan
in 1387 81 or to some other, later event in which some Mongol and probably
non-Muslim force [such as the Kalmaks] is defeated at Isfahan.
[353-365] Barchin "recognizes" Baychobar, for she claims that Baychobar was
a mere colt before she left the land of the Baysun. It must be remembered
that Alpamysh did not ask for a mount to go after Barchin until long after
Baysari took Barchin away to the land of the Kalmaks [in Line
207-208]. She may simply recall him as a horse from her childhood, or even
from Baybora's herd.
 Barchin naturally believes that Alpamysh was either captured or killed
in battle with the Kalmaks. She or any other sane person in that setting
would scarcely believe that a Kalmak has befriended a Kungrat. See
Commentary on Lines 353-365 above.
[367-368] Karajan means "Do not behave like a drippy eyed
 This means, "I behaved as if he were my younger
brother, hence inexperienced, green."
[386-387] "My mind became upset on this field" is a direct
translation. Reference is to the necessity to think on the
verge of action. The field is almost always the combat or
 On a secondary level, the allusion may be that losing
a limb and staying alive is defiitely worse than death.
 Padishahis the traditional title for the Ottoman
Ruler. See Islam Ansiklopedisi on the origins of the
[394-397] The reference to eating camels is meant to
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 71
indicate that a "guest" (Taysha?) is consuming his
(Karajan's) wealth. The rate at which the camels are
consumed obviously outstrips the supply.
[396-397] This "executioner" may be the same Kokemen
appearing in Lines 128 and 807.
 Impostor, i.e. one who is impersonating a just ruler,
but is actually an usurper, not fearing God, nor shying
away from depriving other people of their rights.
 Karajan seems to be accepting Alpamysh's future
in-laws as his own.
 Perhaps Kokemen Kaska understands Karajan's resolve.
The reference to Khan is unclear. Given the context, it may
be to Karajan.
 Under the weight, no doubt.
 Obviously it is not the home that is expectant but
Barchin, who is inside.
 It is not clear when Baysari had a chance to discuss with Barchin the
matter of a present to be given to Karajan. Baysari simply picks up the coat
and hands it to Karajan.
 "Just bring Alpamysh," seems to be the meaning.
 The reference to "black narcissus" is obviously to the rarity of the
item. "Cheeks like red apples" is a traditional phrase, much like the
"peaches and cream complexion."
 "Lady and the child" though reminiscent of the Madonna, appears to be
a simple bardic filler. In the original, hatun menan balaga may be referring
to Barchin and Alpamysh, since Alpamysh has already been called
"bala," (Line 265). See Comment on Line 445.
 Alpamysh is still being considered a mere child by the Kalmaks and
therefore only fit to fetch horses.
 Karajan means, "I will do this easy riding, much like in the manner of
the horsegrooms who fetch the horses."
 Mollas were presumably the only individuals who were literate, and
being the most trustworthy individuals because of their piety, undertook the
registration. It is curious though, to find mollas among the "atheist"
72 H. B. Paksoy
 Here "Rose" refers to Baychobar, to portray him as a valued and
beautiful creature. In addition, this is a play on words. See Comment on
Line 195 above.
 "Started on a race to last for forty days" is meant.
 For the first time, the bahshi's arithmetic is correct.
 Kalmaks are chastising Karajan for throwing his lot in with a Sunni.
As the Kalmaks are portrayed as "atheist" throughout, and Karajan having
been introduced as a Kalmak, this singling-out of one sect, as opposed to
the entire religion of Islam, is rather curious. In this regard, it should
be remembered that earlier, the Kalmaks talked about Muslims in general
terms. See Lines 140, 519. Moreover, as Alpamysh has been asking the help of
"Hz. Ali" (Lines 305, 780); and as Baychobar is likened to Ali's horse
"Duldul" (Line 203) when in difficulty, one wonders about the intention
behind such differentiated inferences. As Togan has observed, an early
transcriber of Alpamysh, Yusufbek, had injected Shi'i references into all
his published works, including his 1899 Alpamysh. This fact may have further
motivated Divay to elect to simplify the language of the 1922 printing of
his Alpamysh, noting the proximity of the collection place to Bukhara as
his reason. 83 It will be remembered that Bukhara was one of the main
population centers where Sunni-Shi'i struggles had spilled over into armed
combat between their adherents, the last major occurrence of which took
place in 1910.84
 The phrase "combed his tail" means to display him (Baychobar) as if he
were a race horse.
 The Kalmaks are saying, "Karajan asks directions because he does not
even know where he needs to go."
 "Kok Derbend" might be a reference to "Barchin's Kok Kashane."85
 The Kalmaks are most probably riding in specially arranged
[503-504] The name of the tore" (elder, variously spelled as At Peshin and
Atpeshin) translates as "the observer of the horse that is leading the
race." It is perhaps title rather than a proper name. The ord tore also
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 73
 A tulpar is a horse worthy of a batir and naturally would have "wings"
like Pegasus. Perhaps the exceptional speed of a horse, such as Baychobar,
suggested to the Central Asians that it was flying. See Comment on Line
 An obvious allusion to the fact that he is ready for action.
 Although this may be a reference to the Kalmaks' wearing armor
covering only the torso, by implication it suggests the inadequacy of the
Kalmaks and their horses in competition against Baychobar.
 Divay's translation contains the phrase "As long as Baychobar exists,
lest (unless?) sores cover him, I think Barchin will not be seen by you."86
In his foot note, Divay explains this reference to the sores: "The
Kirgiz 'jamalar atmak' is an epidemic disease, fatal to horses. During the
course of this disease the spine of the horse swells near the neck or at the
 "Hooves taken out" is a direct translation to mean "destroyed,"
 It is odd that the atheist Karajan's son is named Dost Muhammad before
Karajan becomes a Muslim. Divay's own note remarks that "Probably he
received the name Dost-Muhammad after Karajan accepted Islam."88
 The batir or alp slumber also occurs in the Book of Dede
Korkut. It is one of the attributes of an alp. They are capable of
non-stop riding and fighting for a prolonged period without sleep. After
such exhausting feats, the alps must sleep the "batir slumber." In Asia
Minor, some mothers are known to ask: "Did you go down for Oghuz sleep,
 "Tied the feet" here means that he hobbled Baychobar's legs together
(usually any two) with a short rope to give the horse some limited mobility
but prevent him from wandering too far.
 "Built a fire" presumably to heat the nails which the Kalmaks will
drive into Baychobar's hooves; not to shoe him but to injure him.
 Karajan could not sleep his full seven days because he was
subconsciously worried about the race or sensed that diaster has occurred.
 Karajan's colorfaded upon discovering what had
74 H. B. Paksoy
happened to Baychobar.
 Karajan means "No one will care if I die."
 According to Rahman Kul, manat is a precious fabric, or material that
is expensive. Hatto agrees with that evaluation. Generally, manat is used to
denote a unit of currency or simply "money."
[564-565] Corpses will dry under the sun, thus the bones become exposed,
i.e. the liars will die and no one will be inclined to bury them because of
 Yilkiji Ata is the "patron saint" of all horses. Confirmed by Divay
(who calls him Jilki Ata, however) in a note and refers the reader to his
own "Legenda o Kazikurtovskom kovchege," in Sbornik, Vol V.90
 Kulah is the conical headgear worn by members of the mystical orders.
Divay defines the janda as "halat, sewn from multicolored scraps, which is
worn by dervishes and kalendars."91
 The proverb "when (God's) servant is not in difficulty, Hizir will not
come to help" is often used to assert that God will send help only to those
who are in trouble.
 A saint "giving a hand" ordinarily means that the saint has approved
the deeds and intentions of the person receiving help. Consequently, in this
manner, the saint (giving a hand) causes the "disciple" to be admitted into
the "inner circle." When the saint decides that the auspicious time has
arrived, the disciple becomes a newly created saint or head of his own
following, thereby forming a "chain" or cell in the order. In this case,
however, it may be presumed that Karajan is only receiving "emergency
relief" from the saints to complete his assignment, because both the horse
and the owner of the horse are under the protection of the saints. See the
comments to Line 469.
 References to stars and sunny days are also "bardic fillers." In Line
248, employing an obvious astrological reference, Baychobar's stars are
stated to be "more powerful than Karajan's Tulpar's stars."
 From the style of speech of the saint or saints, it is not clear how
many are speakig or if one is speaking for the rest.
590] Now the bahshi remembers that Baychobar is also in pain. Baychobar's
life is pulled out of its eyes.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 75
 A kulach is "approximately three arshins."92
[605-608] The bahshi uses transposed syntax here, first giving the end
result (catching up and passing the Kalmaks) then describing the process
(chasing). In translation this gives the feeling of disjointed narration if
read in single lines.
 Divay anachronistically explains durbenci as "one who looks through
 Tuman is a unit of currency. It also signifies an army "division"
among the Turkic and Mongolian tribes, composed of ten thousand troops.
 "I am too young to know the value of the horse" that I allowed you to
mount him. It may also be an ironic turn of words, i.e. "you are older, you
should have known better."
[674-675] Alpamysh perhaps is posing a rhetorical question: "Shall I make a
drinking vessel out of your skull?" This was indeed practiced by the
Scythians and at least as late as 1510 when Shah Ismail made a drinking cup
from the skull of Shibani Khan.
 Alpamysh is now speaking with sarcasm. The audience is already
familiar with the fact that Karajan's complexion is reminiscent of "boiled
iron color." See Line 356.
 Karajan considered himself lucky to have awakened before the seven
days had passed.
 Karajan would be wearing a long coat-like outer garment called, inter
alia, chapan, hence the "skirts."
 "Ninety days" is yet another exaggeration for emphasis. This time it
is unlikely to be carelessness on the part of the bahshi.
 This statement seems to mean "I have won a hollow victory because
winning the race cost me my only son."
[714-719] The bahshi is stressing the fact that Barchin is very sensuous.
 Aychrek is the woman of Semetey, Manas's son.
[729-730] "May no other stranger's eye fall on you again" is not an order
for Barchin to conceal herself as in urban Islamic societies, but as a sign
indicating her public
76 H. B. Paksoy
commitment to Alpamysh.
 "Orda" in this context refers to the camp site where the tents are
erected. Ordinarily, orda is the largest confederation of nomads. It may
also of course mean "army," cavalry.94
[742-743] This is a standard method of healing horse hooves, in case of a
cut or penetration by a sharp rock.
 In the original, the bahshi likens Baychobar to a five year old sheep.
This appears to be a general term of endearment.
[752-753] The bahshi is being extremely coy or courteous. This very modest
allusion increases the impact of the description of Barchin's posture in
 "Renewed ablution" is the proof that Alpamysh and Barchin became man
and wife in earnest, since washing the entire body is the Islamic
requirement after carnal contact.
[777-778] References "Oh God" and "Fate" are my interpretations, given the
context. In the original, the bahshi uses the word "Taksir." Concerning
"Taksir," see Comment on Line 113.
 "Mountain of Ayralik" (ayralik: separation) perhaps refers to the
cruelty of separation rather than a place.
 The use of the word "ship" is rather incongruous here. However, the
saddle of the camel might have resembled one.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 77
NOTES TO CHAPTER THREE
1. M. Ghabdullin and T. Sydykov, Kazak halkynyn batyrlyk
jyry, 37, fn. 4. (Henceforth, Ghabdullin and Sydykov).
2. Batyrlar is not identified, but is called a 'series' by Sydykov,
"'Alpamysh' v publikatsii A. A. Divaeva" in Kazakhskaia narodnaia
3. Ghabdullin and Sydykov, 37.
4. A. S. Levend, in his Turk Edebiyati Tarihi (Ankara, 1973)
states that Chaghatay is primarily based on Uygur, which later became
Karakhanid on the way to Chaghatay. See also A. von Gabain, Ozbekische
Grammatik mit Bibliographie, Lesestucken und Worterverzeichnis, mit einer
Karte von Turkestan, mit Ortsnamen in Ozbekischer Form (Leipzig and
Vienna, 1945), 278; S. Cagatay, Turk Leheleri zerine Denemeler,
5. See Alexander Park, Bolshevism in Turkistan 1917-1923 (New
York, 1957); G. Wheeler, Racial Problems in Soviet Muslim Asia,
Institute of Race Relations (Oxford, 1960). See also W. Bartold,
Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion, 4th ed. (London, 1977).
6. See for example the writings of Ali Shir Navai and Babur.
7. See text above.
8. Togan, Turkistan, 37, 38 provides a definition of the work "kazakh." It
must also be pointed out that the Kirghiz are mentioned in the Orkhon
inscriptions. See Tekin, KT E4, E14; BK E15; pp. 261-281.
9. Zhirmunskii in his 1960, Russian-language work and in Chadwick and
Zhirmunsky, 292-4, argues that this version is Karakalpak and was
"mistakenly" called "Kirghiz" by Divay. This is explored in Chapter Four.
10. See H. B. Paksoy, "Observations Among Kirghiz Refugees from the Pamirs
of Afghanistan Settled in the Turkish Republic," Journal of the
Anthropological Society of Oxford, Volume XVI, no. 1. Hilary 1985.
Idem, "The Traditional Oglak Tartis Among the Kirghiz of the Pamirs,"
The Royal Asiatic Journal, 1985, Part II.
11. Dr. Nazif Shahrani, who spent 22 months among this tribe in the Pamirs,
at this writing (1984) is compiling a biography of Rahman Kul Kutlu at
12. See the textin the appendix.
78 H. B. Paksoy
13. See V. Smith, The Oxford History of India (Oxford, 1919),
14. See Halil Ethem, Duvel-i Islamiyye (Istanbul, 1927), 463.
15. See S. Digby, "Iletmish or Iltutmish? A Reconsideration of the Name of
the Dehli Sultan," Journal of the British Institute of Persian
Studies (Iran), 1970, VIII, 57-64.
16. See the version by Le Baron Desmaisons, Histoire Des Mogols et des
Tatares, Tome I, Texte. Imprimerie de l'Academie Imperiale des
sciences (St. Petersburg, 1871).
17. Inan, 181.
18. See A Grammar of Orkhon Turkic, 250, 268.
19. Borovkov, "Geroicheskaia poema," cited in Mirzaev, 18.
20. V. M. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie ob Alpamyshe i bogatyrskaia
skazka (Moscow, 1960), 66.
21. Barthold's "Turetskii epos i Kavkaz," in Iazyk i
literatura, vol. V. (Leningrad, 1930), 12, cited in Zhirmunskii,
Skazanie, 71. See also Barthold's article on "Kalmucks," in
Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition, (EI 1) vol.2, 700-701;
Bartold's "Eshche izvestie o Korkude," in ZVOPAO, v. XIX, 1890.
Finally, Bartold's translation of Dede Korkut was published in
ZVORAO, v. XV, 1903 and republished in the Baku 1950
publication on pages 42-67, cited in Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 67,
22. V. Zhirmunsky, "The Epic of Alpamysh and the Return of
Odysseus," Proceedings of the British Academy, London, 1966.
23. Togan, Turkistan, 35, 40.
24. Togan, Turkistan, 29. It should be noted, however, that Kungrats were
originally an Eastern Mongolian tribe (Qonggirad) and the consort of the
Chinggisids. I am indebted to Thomas Allsen and Hidehiro Okada (independent
of each other) for bringing this fact to my attention.
25. V. M. Zhirmunskii and Kh. T. Zarifov, Uzbekskii narodnyi
geroicheskii epos (Tashkent, 1947), 69-70, citing in part A. A.
Semonov, whom Hadi Zarif thanks for providing information on Uzbek
historical documents of the 16th-17th centuries. Mirzaev, 18 also cites Kh.
T. Zarifov, "Osnovnye motivy eposa 'Alpamysh'," in Tezisy, 28
on this topic.
26. Grousset, 421.
27. Togan, Turkistan, 104
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 79
28. Grousset, 479; also discussed in Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 70-71.
29. Togan, Turkistan, 171.
30. Grousset, 522. Also Togan, Turkistan, 157-176 on Kalmak
migrations from 15th to 20th centuries.
31. Togan, Turkistan, 163-167. Also Muhammed Haidar, A History of the
Moghuls of Central Asia, translated by E. Denison Ross (New York,
32. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 71.
33. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 69.
34. See Togan, Turkistan, 61.
35. See Chadwick and Zhirmunsky, 293.
36. L. S. Tolstova, Istoricheskie traditsii iuzhnogo Arala
(Moscow, 1984), 131-134. This passage and the translation were kindly
provided by Prof. Hatto, private communication of 1985. Spelling and
punctuation are his.
37. A. A. Divay, Alpamysh Batir: Kirghiz Poem (Tashkent, 1901),
41. Henceforth: Divay. Divay's own Russian translation includes numerous
explanatory notes which are cited in this commentary.
38. Private correspondence of 1985 with Remy Dor.
39. Divay, note on 41.
40. Private communication of 1984 from A. T. Hatto.
41. Private communication of 1985 from Remy Dor.
42. Divay, 42.
43. Divay, 42, Note 1.
44. Since the early Mamluk soldiers were largely composed of Kipchak
Turks who had come or were brought to the Mamluk Sultanate from the
steppes of Central Asia it may be that the game came with them. See
also The Cambridge History of Islam, P. M. Holt, A.
Lambton, B. Lewis (eds), (Cambridge, 1970), Vol IIB, 833; C. E.
Bosworth, "Barbarian Incursions: The coming of the Turks into the
Islamic World," Islamic Civilization, D. S. Richards, Ed.
80 H. B. Paksoy
45. Ibn Taghribirdi, Al-Nudjum al-Zahira (ed. Cairo) VIII,
6, ll. 3-7, cited in D. Ayalon, "Notes on the Furusiyya Exercises and Games
in the Mamluk Sultanate," (Translated from Hebrew) in his The Mamluk
Military Society (London, 1979).
46. Divay, 43, Note 1.
47. See the entry on "Kalendar" in EI2, IV, 472.
48. Divay, 43, Note 2.
49. Divay, 44, Note 1. Explanations of terms in parenthesis and quotation
marks are from Sir James W. Redhouse, A Turkish and English
Lexicon, New Edition (Beirut, 1974).
50. See H. B. Paksoy, "Oglak Tartis," (Cited in Note 10, Chapter Three). In
the Persian speaking areas of Central Asia, i. e. portions of Afghanistan,
Kk Br is played under the designation of bozkashi.
51. Aksakal: literally white beards, the respected elders of the tribe.
Karasakal (black beards-able bodied adults) are the middle generation who
are above the bola (Children) group. The latter includes the youngsters
still in adolescence. Ibid, Note 8.
52. In fact, in the heat of the game, the goat is often pulled apart. It is
a normal occurrence to stop the contest momentarily to replace the totally
obliterated carcass. Ibid, Note 9.
53. Sky Wolf, or Blue-White Wolf. Ibid, Note 11.
54. See Togan, Oguz Destani (Istanbul, 1972).
55. Mohammed Haidar, A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia
(Translated by E. Denison Ross) (New York, 1970), 79.
56. See James Hutton, Central Asia (London, 1875).
57. Divay, 46, Note 1.
58. Divay, 47, Note 1.
59. Divay, 47, Note 2.
60. For a catalogue of offices in a similar setting, see Beatrice Manz,
"Politics and Control Under Tamerlane," Unpublished PhD Dissertation,
61. See also Lewis, 204, note 82.
62. Divay, 48, Note 1.
ALPAMYSH: Chapter Three 81
63. See W. Radloff, Versuch Eines Worterbuches der
Turk-Dialecte ('s Gravenhage, 1960). V. 3, 793.
64. Divay translates "taksir" as "O Ruler" on page 49.
65. Divay, 49, Note 1. See also entry on Khidr-Ilyas in EI2, vol
V., and Lewis, 196, Note 11.
66. Divay, 52, Note 1.
67. Divay, 55, Note 1.
68. Divay, 55, Note 2.
69. Divay, 56, Note 1.
70. Divay, 57, Note 1. See Tekin; I. Kafesoglu, Turk Milli
Kulturu, P. 289; D. Sinor, "'Umay,' a Mongol spirit honored by the
Turks." in Proceedings of International Conference on China Border
Area Studies. National Chengchi University. (Taipei, 1985), Pp.
72. Divay, 58, Note 1.
73. Divay, 58, Note 2.
See A. T. Hatto, Kkty, P. 127.
75. Divay, 58, Note 3.
76. Divay, 58, Note 4.
77. Divay, 62, Note 1.
78. Barthold, I:122. Also see Togan, Turkistan, 49,
80; and Muhammed Haidar, 80.
79. Togan, Turkistan, 167.
80. Grousset, 351-353.
81. Ibid, 431.
82. Islam Ansiklopedisi (Istanbul, 1971) 491-5.
83. See the section on Divay.
84. See H. B. Paksoy, "Nationality and Religion: Three Observations from mer
Seyfettin" CAS V. 3., N. 3, 1984.
82 H. B. Paksoy
85. See Abulgazi, Secere-i Turk.
86. Divay, 71-72.
87. Divay, 72, Note 1.
88. Divay, 72, Note 2.
89. Lewis, 170 and 204, Note 82.
90. Divay, 74, Note 1.
91. Divay, 74, Note 2.
92. Divay, 76, Note 1.
93. Divay, 78, Note 1.
94. See DLT PP. 74, 150, 173, 413; Also Tekin, KT N8, N9 for early