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The Alpamysh, part 9: Karajan finds Barchin

Painting by Robert Kasyanenko.

After befriending Alpamysh, Karajan decides to go find the latter’s beloved himself. He treks until he sheds “bloody tears”, but finally succeeds. But can he convince Barchin to return with him?

One of the most interesting things about Karajan’s wrestling match with Alpamysh is how it becomes a tale of islam: he is literally forced to submit to God. And yet, once Alpamysh decides to be merciful, friendship immediately ensues. The notion here is that submission and mercy in the One True Faith bring harmony and unity.

Moreover, now converted to the cause, Karajan is also strongly inclined to take matters into his own hands and help Alpamysh resolve the plight of Barchin…

“The silhouette of my mount on the mountain”

Five days passed. The face of the sixth day was seen: Spring had arrived.

Karajan said to Alpamysh, “Bay came from a distance of six months looking for his beloved, became friends with me. My friend, if you allow me, I should go find Barchin, give her the good news. What do you think?”

Alpamysh replied, “That is a good idea my friend.”

So, Karajan mounted his friend’s Chobar, and when he reached the white tent of Barchin, he said:

“The silhouette of my mount on the mountain,
do not be afraid of my presence.
Is there anyone in this house to speak with me?
There are relatives at the black mountain.
I shed bloody tears because of the hard ride.
If there is anyone in the white house, come out and speak with me.”

Barchin finally said,

“I suffer from heartache, but I have no friend to welcome.
Whoever you are, do not lose time,
I do not have anyone I need to speak to;
I lost all hopes and worldly riches, too.
I do not have anyone I need to speak;
whoever you are, do not lose time.”

Karajan answered,
“If there is war, I braid my horse’s tail.
Your name is Barchin!
What did you say, apple of my eye, Barchin Jan?

I have news for you from the land of Baysun:
Mounted on the horse, arriving from the field,
Countless Kalmaks are dead in Isfahan.
But one who is at the age of fourteen,
his name is Alpamysh,
this boy comes looking for you.
He has a gold amulet on his neck;
one loses all his worries in the battle [with him].
If you do not believe me, look: I came on his Chobar.”

When Barchin heard of Alpamysh’s Chobar, she became crazed with excitement. She ran out to the square, shining like the full moon. When she looked, she recognized Baychobar; but when she looked at the rider, she saw a boiled iron colored, shapeless stranger, a godless Kalmak. Barchin, sighing deeply, was disheartened. Tears rolled down her eyes and she said to the Baychobar:

“I wear a gold amulet on my neck;
I have cried loudly day and night.
May I be sacrificed to your canter!

Baychobar, when you were a tiger, you fell as booty.
I cried, my tears formed a lake,
my hair on my back became felt-like.
Apple of my eye, Baychobar,
you were free like a tiger,
but now you are a prisoner.
When I beheld your image, it was like the new moon
as my heart throbbed with joy!
May I be sacrificed to you Baychobar!
When I left, you were a mere colt.”

Karajan answered,

“Do not deny your intended;
with your tears, do not stun me.
May I be sacrificed to you, Barchin Jan!
Do not display your womanhood.
I tightened the girth on horses back;
listen to Karajan’s words:

Believing Alpamysh was unmanly, I deceived myself when we first met.
Like a lion, he grabbed me by my belt;
I cried for the gods, my horse was covered with sweat,
but he called for the Saints.
Believing he was unmanly, I deceived myself:
he swung me around, and like an eagle,
threw me to the ground.
In this transitory world, I entertained my destitute heart;
I was alone.
I accepted the one God, His apostle as his messenger
and out of my fear, I became friends with Alpamysh.
Led him by his arm to my house, I dismounted and welcomed him;
I offered him food.

Barchin, if you were to accept me,
and call me Alpamysh’s friend,
I shall return to my friend.
This would give me pleasure.”

At that moment, Barchin jumped up and searched the chest. She pulled out an overcoat with gold buttons and left it next to him. Karajan asked, “Your father was Baysari. Where did your father, mother go?”

Barchin cried, “A khan behaves like a Khan, and a pauper, like a pauper. Taysha Khan has been difficult towards us. Saying, ‘If you don’t give your virgin daughter to me, neither will you give her to Karajan,’ He imprisoned my father and mother. Today is the third day 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 be distressed. This is not something I can tell my friend.” And so, he mounted his horse.

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