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The Alpamysh, part 3: the Ruler and the Warrior


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. In this, the third instalment of a huge post series, two powerful men vying for Barchin’s hand in marriage agree on a bet of sorts…

Among the vezirs of the Ruler, Hizir is mentioned. This is a famous Islamic saint, legend, and archetype, who has had a special place of prominence in Turkic Muslim spiritual traditions. His presence here is meant to indicate the wisdom or divine favor of the Ruler. Click on the image above to learn more.

In short, seven years passed. When they arrived, Barchin was seven years old. Seven years passed, she reached fourteen. Who will you hear the news from? Hear it from the Kalmak Taysha!

The news of Barchin’s beauty reached the ear of the ruler of the land. Sixty-two alemdar, thirty-two mhrdar, all of whom heard about it. They all gave a description of Barchin to Taysha Khan: “May we be sacrificed, the pauper Baysari, who came earlier [to your land], has a daughter. She is worthy of you.”

The Ruler was amenable [to the suggestion]. [Taysha said,] “Wouldn’t he give me his daughter, and call me his son-in-law?”

The officers and servants declared: “Who will he find better than you, Taksir?” [Taysha said:] “Go ask him.”

At that time, there was another Kalmak named Karajan, who was a valiant and mighty warrior. He was the lord of a castle. [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? If it was written, she will spend her life with me!”

Karajan [added], “I will take her [as my wife].’ Taysha said, “I will take her.”

Among the many vezirs of the gathering [of counselors] is Hizir; among the thousands is found a saint. The vezirs said to the Ruler: “Ey Taksir, cease the argument, you are the Ruler. You send nine ambassadors; let Karajan send nine ambassadors. To whomever [Baysari] consents, it will be your destiny.”

This was agreeable to the Ruler. This explanation was acceptable. The Ruler chose his nine ambassadors; Karajan chose his nine ambassadors. The Ruler instructed the eighteen ambassadors: “If he chooses the Ruler, let Baysari give his daughter to me. If he says the Warrior, then to Karajan. The choice belongs to Baysari. The Ruler will not use force. Let him decide.”

End of Part 3

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