The Alpamysh, part 2: the conversation at Ak Bulak
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Editor’s note: To commemorate the Christmas and New Year season, neweurasia is publishing an English translation of the ancient Turkic epic, the Alpamysh, translated by our resident scholar, H.B. Paksoy. This is the second part of a huge post series that shall extend into 2011.
All of the major Turkic nations have their own versions of this classic tale. Click on the image at right to read an Uzbek version translated into Russian.
After loading his ninety camels, Baysari he stopped at Ak Bulak. Spent the night. At dawn, he loaded his camels one more time. On a black camel, with Barchin in a gold kibacha, his wife Altun Sach said [to Baysari]: “May it rain and turn the bright days into floods; may your prosperity be increased from year to year. You loaded ninety camels at dawn. You, Gulbarchin’s father, may your journey be auspicious. We have tightened the girth on the horse’s saddle. We are listening to hear the tongue of the Mongol. We loaded the ninety camels at dawn. Which lord’s land are we going to?”
Baysari Bay answered:”‘Pencil thin eyebrows are the ornament of a face. I could not eat because of my grief. I declare that I was treated condescendingly. Do not shed tears, Altun Sach, you were as high as the full moon in this world. You were known [as the distinguished one] in the four corners.
“In the past, we were two equal princes living a plentiful life on this land. The full moon was up high. [Now] in this world all around me is lost. In the past, [living] on my plentiful land, when [we had] the horses run, it was a festive occasion. My exuberant heart was overflowing with joy as I whipped my horse. On that day I grabbed the goat and got away.
“Who reaches his goal in this world, the dignity of [granted] offspring was fleeting. Baybora was my eternal kuda: he chased after and caught me. My eternal kuda: he struck me on the head with his whip. I do not have elder or younger brothers. [If only it had not been for] the lack of an offspring! My eternal kuda struck me on the head with his whip.
“I tightened the girth on my camel’s belly. Traversing a distance of forty days and six months, I will arrive in the Kalmak Taysha’s lands. I will braid the horse’s tail; I will lead a life without worry. My only daughter Barchin to the atheist Kalmak I [freely] choose to give [in marriage’.”
Answered Altun Sach: “I cry with tears in my eyes, forming lakes. My dark hair on my back became felt-like. In such difficulties my only daughter Barchin could not enjoy her days as a young girl. The roses in the garden wilted before the ninety days of the winter. The valiant dies for his honor.
“Who does not argue, fight with his elders. We have our dignity, shouldn’t we live on our own land. Mighty God will not approve anything other. Those who do not know religion will suffer.
“Who does not argue, fight with his elders. So what if you have your honor now? The good horse eats well because he heeds his master. You’ll lose the best days of your life. Let us go back to our honorable land. The insolence of the atheist will be even worse.”
They migrated. They travelled forty days and six months, arrived safely in the land of the Taysha. They were given a tract of land to set up camp. Animals received pasture. They became poor in the land of the Taysha, paid the enforced tax, and passed their days. They did not have anybody of their kind around. They were looked down upon.
End of Part 2