The Alpamysh, part 6: enter the Hero!
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Editor’s note: The story’s brave central character, Alpamysh, finally appears. He intends to intervene in the war for Barchin, but before he can do that, he must complete a key rite of passage — capturing his steed. neweurasia’s Paksoy’s translations of the ancient Turkic epic continues!
Now [let us] hear of [from] Alpamysh, who [later] mounted his Baychobar and went to the land of Kalmaks after his beloved.
Baybora had a servant. If you ask his name, it was Kultay. Kultay was the head of ninety [other individuals or horses]. He was in charge of the horse herd.
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 the bride.”
Alpamysh took the golden saddle to his house, and went to see Kultay who was the overseer of the horse-herd. He was intending to give Alpamysh a horse, when he [Alpamysh] reached the age of seven.
Duldul was also seven years old. If the northern winds mounted him, no human yet did. Baychobar said: “Only a bahadur or the northern winds can mount me. Only that bahadur who can lift me [off my feet] by my tail may mount me.” That is what Baychobar had in its heart.
[Alpamysh] said: “Let me have a horse to go after [my] bride, to the land of the Kalmaks.”
[He was told by Kultay:] “Let us see your valour first. To test your skills [to determine your ability in undertaking such an action], I’ll let the entire horse herd run towards you. You lay low under a rock. I will determine the correctness of your value judgement [from the horse you choose]. You catch the horse you think is worthy. I shall see your worth thus my son, and separate you from the rest.”
He gathered and drove the entire herd over him. “The whole herd is at your disposal.”
The whole herd galloped over Alpamysh. He was not satisfied with any of his father Baybora Bay’s horses. Finally, at the back he spotted a Chobar. It’s mane flowed over its ears, sure-footed, bushy tailed. When it came closer, Alpamysh, who has been under a corner of a boulder, emerged. Alpamysh spread the fingers of his hand, jumped up. Alpamysh Sultan, grabbed the tail of the fourteen year old horse’s tail like a lion. Alpamysh stood like an alif [like the Arabic character "أ"]. Baychobar kneeled like a camel. Licked its face, stiffened its ears. Tried to get away thrice. Alpamysh did not let go. Alpamysh [thus] established his power, his supremacy. Baychobar had promised itself that “only the man who could grab and lift me by my tail may mount me. Then, he is my master.”
He [Alpamysh] rode in [towards Kultay] on his young horse. [Kultay said:] “May your horse be auspicious! You are my only hope! May your Chobar be auspicious! Hang the amulet on the neck. When the horse runs, one forgets ones all worries. It will light up your soul when you ride your Chobar.”
[Alpamysh] put a golden saddle on, with double girth. He had the iron drums sound. He wore his shield on his back, hung his lance across his saddle. [He] regarded this mount as an equal to himself. He took the reins from Kultay, mounting the horse and rode out, to the land of the Taysha Kalmak.