The Book of Dede Korkut: Prologue
P R O L O G U E
We begin with the name of Allah and implore His help.
Shortly after the time of the Prophet, there appeared in the Bayat
tribe a man by the name of Korkut Ata. He was the wise man of the
Oghuz people. He used to prophety and bring reports from the
unknown world beyond, having been divinely inspired. He once said,
"In the end the sovereignty shall again be held by the Kayi tribe,
and no one shall be able to deprive this tribe of the kingdom until
the day of doom." With this statement, Korkut Ata was referring to
the ruling Ottoman dynasty. He made many such predictions. Korkut
Ata was an adviser of the Oghuz people in all vital matters, and
nothing was done before he was consulted. Whatever advice he gave
was accepted and acted upon.
Among his wise sayings were those which follow:
Nothing goes well without mentioning the name of Allah.
No one can prosper without the will of Almighty Allah.
Nothing happens if it was not already written down in the
No one dies before his appointed hour.
The dead cannot come back to life.
The departed soul does not return.
A young man may gather mountains of wealth.
He can dispose of only as much as his appointed share.
The sea cannot be filled though the roaring rivers all flow
Allah does not love the haughty or help him to prosper.
An adopted son cannot be like a real one; when he grows up, he
goes away and shows no gratitude.
No hill can be made of ash.
The son-in-law cannot be a substitute for a son.
The black donkey does not become a mule by wearing a bridle.
A slave woman does not become a lady by putting on expensive
Snow will melt before summer, no matter how thick it is.
Lush grass shall wither before fall.
Old cotton is of no use for making good cloth.
An old enemy cannot be a friend.
Distances cannot be covered without spurring the horse.
The opponent will not retire in defeat unless the steel sword
Fame cannot be gained without generosity.
A girl cannot become a lady unless she has good breeding from
A son cannot be generous unless he sees generosity in his own
The son is the work of the father; he is the apple of his eye.
A worthy son is the fire of one's hearth.
What can the son do if his father dies without leaving him any
What good is the wealth of the father if the son is unlucky?
Oh, my khan, may Allah preserve you from those who bring bad
Dede Korkut spoke on another occasion, and let us hear, my
khan, what he said.
A treacherous young man cannot mount a well-bred horse when
it is running; it is better that he does not try.
It is better that the mean and the base do not use the sharp
For the brave, a stick is as good as a sword and an arrow.
Dark homes unfrequented by visitors might better fall down.
Grass that is no good for the horse might better never grow.
Bitter waters that are no good for man might better not
The seed of an unworthy son that does not perpetuate his
father's name had better not drop into his mother's womb; if
it is dropped there, he might better not be born.
The son should be a worthy one, carrying on the fame of the father.
Those who lie should be thrust out of this world, but may men
of truth live forever.
May you, oh, my khan, live a hundred years. May Allah protect you
from evil, and may your prosperity be lasting.
Once Dede Korkut said:
Only the deer know where the grasslands are.
Only the wild donkey knows where the green grass is.
Only the camel knows the different trails.
Only the fox knows the scent of the seven streams.
Only the lark knows when the caravan passes in the night.
Only the mother knows who the father of her son is.
Only the horse knows whether his rider is light or heavy.
Only the mule knows how heavy its load is.
Only the patient knows where the pain is.
Only the brain feels the ache of the foolish head.
Only the minstrel with his big lute goes from land to land
and from prince to prince.
Only he knows who is stingy and who is generous.
May you always have minstrels singing and playing in your presence.
May Allah protect you, oh, my khan, from terrible calamity.
Let us see, my khan, what Dede Korkut said on another occasion.
These are the things worthy of praise: the magnificent Allah
above us; His Excellency Mohammed the friend of Allah and the
chief of religion; Abu Bakr the loyal, praying on the
right-hand side of Mohammed;
the chapter of the Koran known as "The Tidings''; the Ya Sin,
which should be read without missing a syllable; Ali, the
chief of the gallant, who used his sword successfully in the
cause of religion;
Hasan and Huseyin, the sons of Ali and the grandchildren of
Mohammed, who were martyred at the hands of the Yazidis on the
Plain of Kerbela;
the Koran, which descended from the Heavens;
Othman, the son of Affan, patron of the learned, who caused
the Koran to be written down and arranged;
Mecca, the house of Allah, that was built on a low plain;
the faithful pilgrim who returns from Mecca;
the Day of the Last Judgment, should it fall on a Friday;
the hutbes read on Friday;
the congregation that listens to the hutbe;
the muezzin, who cries from the minaret;
the kneeling lawful wife;
the white-haired father;
the mother, who gives suck to her child;
the male camel that paces silently;
the dear brother;
the nuptial chamber set up by the side of the red tent;
matchless Allah, the creator of all the universe.
May Almighty Allah, whose praises I have sung, be with you
always, oh, my khan!
The minstrel says, in the manner of Dede Korkut, Wives are of four
kinds. One is the support of her family; a second is the withering
kind; a third is the gathering kind; and the last is the
lowest of the low. She who is the support of the house is a woman
who feeds and entertains the guests and sends them away happy, in
the absence of her husband. Such a woman is of the kind of Ayesha
and Fatima. May her children reach maturity. May you have such
women in your household.
As for the withering kind, she wakens in the morning and, without
washing hands or face, devours nine loaves of bread and a large
bowl of yoghurt, and complains, beating her breast: "Since I
married this fellow-may Allah pull down his house-I have never had
enough to eat, nor have I ever been happy. I have gone bareheaded
and barefooted. I wish that he were dead, so that I might marry
another man, one who would make me happy." May such a woman not
have children. May you, oh, my khan, never have such a woman in
As for the gathering kind, she wakes up and, without washing hands
or face, goes out and calls at every tent in the tribe, gossiping
and chattering until noon. Returning home in the afternoon, she
finds out that the hungry dog and the big calf have upset the place
and made it like a henhouse or a stable. She then complains to her
neighbors in this way: "Oh, girls, Zeliha, Zubeyde, Uruveyde, Jan
Kiz, Jan Pasha, Ayna Melek, Kutlu Melek I had not departed to the
other world. I was coming back to sleep in this damned place. Why
did you not take care of my house? Is this not a neighbor's duty?"
May such a woman have no children either. May you, oh, my khan,
never have such a woman in your household.
As for the lowest of the low: when a courteous stranger comes as a
guest and the host asks that she prepare some food, she excuses
herself, saying, "There is neither a sieve nor any flour in this
miserable house, and the camel has not yet returned from the mill."
She insists that there is nothing in the house to put before the
guest, and she turns her back on her husband. You may make a
thousand requests of her, but she complies with not a single one of
them. She turns a deaf ear to all her husband's beseeching. She is
an offspring of the Prophet Noah's donkey. May Allah also preserve
you from such a woman, oh, my khan.
Subject: The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend I
The Story of Bugach Khan, Son of Dirse Han
One day Bayindir Khan, son of Kam Gan, arose and ordered that his
large Damascus tent be erected. His brown parasol rose high up in
the sky. Thousands of silk carpets were spread all around. It was
customary for Bayindir Khan, Khan of Khans, to invite all the Oghuz
princes to a feast once a year. As usual he gave a feast this year,
too, and had many stallions, young male camels, and rams
slaughtered for the occasion. He had three tents set up at three
different places: one was white, one was red, and the third was
black. He ordered that whoever was without children be accommodated
in the black tent, with a black felt rug spread under him, and that
he be served the stew of the black sheep. He said, "Let him eat if
he wants to eat; if he does not, let him go." He then said: "Put
the man with a son in the white tent, and the man with a daughter
in the red tent. The man without any children is cursed by Allah,
and we curse him, too. Let this be clear to all."
The Oghuz princes began to gather one by one. It happened that a
prince among them by the name of Dirse Khan had neither a son nor
a daughter. He spoke to his men as follows. Let us see, my khan,
what he said:
"When the cooling breeze of morning blows,
And the bearded gray lark sings his song,
And the long-bearded Persian chants the ezan;
When the Bedouin horses nicker on seeing their master;
At the time of the twilight,
When the beautiful-breasted mountains are touched by the sun-
At such a time, the warriors and gallant princes prepare for
At the break of dawn Dirse Khan, accompanied by forty warriors, set
out for the feast of Bayindir Khan.
Bayindir Khan's warriors welcomed Dirse Khan and asked him to go
into the black tent, the floor of which was covered with a black
felt rug. They placed the stew of black sheep before him and said,
"My khan, this is the order of Bayindir Khan."
Dirse Khan asked: 'What fault has Bayindir Khan found in me? Is it
because of my sword or my table? He has men of lower status
accommodated in the white and red tents. What is my fault that I am
being put in a black tent?"
They said, "My khan, today Bayindir Khan's order is as follows:
"Whoever is without a son or a daughter is cursed by Allah; we
curse him, too."
Standing up, Dirse Khan said to his men: "Rise and let us be off,
my young men. The fault is either in me or in my lady."
Dirse Khan returned home, called his lady, and said to her:
Will you come here, my love, the crown of my home?
Walking along so tall, like a cypress tree,
With long black hair that falls to her feet,
With brows like a tightened bow;
With a mouth too small for two almonds;
Her red cheeks like the apples of autumn.
My melon, my lady, my love!
Do you know what happened to me?
Bayindir Khan had three tents put up: one white, one red, and one
black. He had guests with sons put in the white tent; those with
daughters in the red tent; and those with neither in the black tent
with black felt carpet spread on its floor. He ordered that the
stewed meat of the black sheep be served them, saying, 'If they
eat, let them eat; if they do not, let them go away. Since Almighty
Allah cursed them, we curse them, too.' When I reached there they
met me and led me to the black tent, laid black felt carpet under
me, and served me the stewed meat of the black sheep, saying, 'The
man without a son or a daughter is cursed by Allah; therefore, he
is cursed by us, too. Let this be so known to you.' My wife, which
of us is sterile, you or I? Why does Almighty Allah not give us a
healthy son?" Dirse Khan then continued in song.
"O child of a khan, shall I now get up
And grasp you by the throat,
And crush you beneath my hard boots?
Shall I draw my sword of black steel
And remove your head from your body,
And show you how sweet life can be?
Shall I spill your red blood on the ground?
O child of a khan, tell the reason to me,
Or I shall inflict something dreadful on you."
The wife of Dirse Khan replied:
Oh, Dirse Khan, be not cruel to me.
Be not angry and speak so harshly to me.
But come now and have your red tent set up.
Have some stallions, some rams, and some male camels
Invite then the princes of Inner and Outer Oghuz.
Feed all the hungry, give clothes to the naked, and pay off
the debts of the poor.
Heap up meat like a hill;
Make a lakeful of koumiss; and give a magnificent feast.
Then speak your wish. Maybe Allah will give us a healthy
An answer to prayers of a worthy man."
Following his lady's advice, Dirse Khan gave a large feast and then
made his wish. He had stallions, young male camels, and rams,
slaughtered. He invited all the princes of the Inner and the Outer
Oghuz to this feast. He fed the hungry, dressed the naked, and paid
off the debts of the debtor; he had meat heaped up like a hill, and
a lakeful of koumiss made. The princes raised their hands to the
heavens and prayed. Consequently, the wish of Dirse Khan was
fulfilled, and his lady became pregnant. In due time she bore a
male child. She had her child brought up in the care of nurses. As
the horse is quick of foot, so the minstrel is quick of tongue. As
vertebrated and ribbed creatures grow fast, in the same way the son
of Dirse Khan was soon fifteen years old.
One day Dirse Khan and his son went to the camp of Bayindir Khan.
Bayindir Khan had a bull and a young male camel. The bull could
powder harsh stones like flour with the impact of his horns. The
bull and the camel were set to fight one another twice a year, once
in summer and once in autumn. Bayindir Khan and the strong Oghuz
princes used to enjoy themselves watching these fights.
This bull was let out of the palace one summer day. Three men on
each side were holding it with iron chains. The bull was released
in the middle of a playing field, where the son of Dirse Khan was
playing at knuckle bones with three other boys from the camp. When
the bull was released, the boys were told to run away. The other
three boys ran away, but the son of Dirse Khan stood where he was.
The bull ran toward the boy with the intent to kill him. The boy
dealt the bull a terrific blow on the forehead, making it stagger
backward. The bull charged a second time, and the boy this time hit
the bull again hard on the forehead. Then he pushed the bull to the
edge of the playing field, with his fist pressing on its forehead.
There they struggled to and fro. The bull stood pressing its
forelegs against the ground, while the boy kept his fist on its
forehead. It was impossible to say which was the winner. The boy
thought to himself: "The pole holds the tent straight. Why am I
supporting this bull?" Saying so, he pulled away his fist and ran
to one side, while the bull, unable to stand on its feet, crashed
on the ground head downward. Then the boy cut the throat of the
bull with his knife.
The Oghuz princes gathered around the boy and said: "Well done,
boy! Let Dede Korkut come and name him, then take him to his father
and request a principality and a throne for him."
When they called for Dede Korkut, he came. He took the young man to
his father and said to him:
"O Dirse Khan!
Give this young man a principality now.
Give him a throne for the sake of his virtue.
Give him also a tall Bedouin horse
He can ride-such a capable man.
Give him ten thousand sheep
To make shish kebab for himself; he has virtue.
Give him next a red camel from out of your herd.
Let it carry his goods; he has virtue.
Give a large lavish tent with a golden pole
To provide him with shade.
Give a suit to this man and a coat that has birds on its
Let him wear both of these; he has skill.
This young man fought and killed a bull on the playing field of
Bayindir Khan," continued Dede Korkut. "Therefore, let your son's
name be Bugach. I give him his name, and may Allah give him his
years of life."
Upon this, Dirse Khan gave his son a principality and a throne.
After the son had sat upon his throne for a while, he began to
despise the forty young warriors of his father. As a result of
this, they bore him a grudge and plotted among themselves: "Let us
turn his father against him, so that he may put the son to death,
and thus our esteem with the khan may continue and grow."
Twenty of these warriors went to Dirse Khan and said to him:
"Do you know what has happened, Dirse Khan? Your son (may he never
prosper) has become a very bad-tempered man. Taking his forty
warriors, he attacked the mighty Oghuz people. When he saw a pretty
girl, he kidnaped her. He insulted old men with white beards and
squeezed the breasts oú white-haired old women. The news of these
evil deeds of your son will reach the ears of Bayindir Khan-through
the clear waters of streams and over Ala Mountain lying back
there-and people will be saying, 'How could the son of Dirse Khan
do such terrible things?'" The warriors then continued: "You would
rather die than live. Bayindir Khan will call you to his presence
and will give you a serious punishment. Such a son is not worthy of
you. It is better not to have such a son. Why do you not put him to
"Bring him over here. I shall kill him," said Dirse Khan.
While he was speaking in this manner, the other twenty treacherous
young men came and gave Dirse Khan the following unfounded
information. "Your son went hunting in the beautiful mountains
where he killed wild animals and birds without your permission. He
brought the game to his mother. He drank strong red wine and had a
good time in her company and there made up his mind to kill his
father. Your son has become an evil person. The news of these deeds
will reach Bayindir Khan, Khan of Khans, over Ala Mountain and
people will begin to say, 'How could Dirse Khan's son do such
terrible things?' They will call you before Bayindir Khan and
punish you there. Such a son is not worthy of you. Why do you not
"Bring him over here. I shall kill him. I do not want a son like
him," said Dirse Khan.
His warriors said: "How can we bring your son here? He will not
listen to us. Get up; take your warriors with you, call on your
son, and ask him to go hunting with you. Then kill him with an
arrow during the hunt. If you cannot kill him in this way, you will
never be able to kill him."
When the cooling breeze of morning blows,
And the bearded gray lark sings his song,
When Bedouin horses nicker on seeing their master,
And the long-bearded Persian chants the ezan,
At the time of the twilight, when girls
And brides of the mighty Oghuz wear their gorgeous gowns,
When the beautiful-breasted mountains are touched by the
At such a time, the warriors and gallant princes prepare for
At the break of dawn, Dirse Khan arose and set out for the hunt,
taking his son and forty warriors with him. They hunted wild
animals and birds for a while. Then some of the treacherous
warriors approached Dirse Khan's son and said to him: "Your father
said, 'I want my son to chase the deer and kill them in front of
me; I also want to see how he rides, and how he uses his sword and
shoots his arrow. This will make me happy and proud and will give
Not knowing his father's real intention, Bugach chased the deer and
drove them toward his father and killed them before him. While
doing this, Bugach said to himself, "Let my father see me ride and
be proud; let him see me shoot my arrow and have confidence; let
him see how I use my sword and rejoice.
The forty treacherous warriors then said to Dirse Khan: "Dirse
Khan, do you see how he is driving the deer toward you? He means to
shoot his arrow at you and kill you. Kill him before he kills you."
After the young man had driven the deer past his father several
times, Dirse Khan took out his strong bow strung with the tendon of
a wolf. Standing in his stirrups, he pulled his bowstring hard and
let his arrow go. He shot his son between the shoulder blades. When
the arrow pierced his chest, red blood poured out, filling his
shirt. He clasped his horse's neck and slipped to the earth. Dirse
Khan wanted to fall upon the body of his son, but his men did not
allow him to do so. He then turned the head of his horse in the
opposite direction and rode to his camp.
Dirse Khan's lady had decided to celebrate her son's first hunt by
giving a feast to the mighty Oghuz princes, and for this purpose
she had had stallions, young male camels, and rams killed.
She now arose and taking with her the forty narrow-waisted girls of
her household went to welcome Dirse Khan. Lifting her head, she
looked first at Dirse Khan, then gazed around, but nowhere could
she see her dear son. She was shocked, and her heart began to beat
fast. Her black eyes were filled with blood and tears. Let us hear
what she said to her husband.
"Come to me here,
The crown of my head, the throne of my house,
My khan father's son-in-law,
My lady mother's favorite,
You, who were given me by my parents,
You, whom I saw when I opened my eyes,
The one whom I loved at first sight.
O Dirse Khan, you arose from your place;
You mounted the back of your stallion strong,
And hunted the mountains with beautiful breasts.
You rode off as two, but return now alone.
Where is my son whom I found in the dark of the night?
My searching eye-may it be confounded-twitches badly,
My child-nursing breast-may it go quite dry-is sore.
My white skin is swollen, though bitten by no yellow snake.
My one son is lost! My poor heart is burning!
Water I poured into beds of dry rivers.~
Alms I have given to black-suited dervishes.
The hungry I saw I have fed.
I had meat heaped up like a hill;
I had lakefuls of koumiss fermented,
And I managed, with great travail, to bear a son.
Tell me, Dirse Khan, what befell my only son!
Say if you let our son fall down Ala Mountain out there.
Say if you let our son be carried down the fast-flowing river.
Say if you let our son be eaten by lions and tigers.
Say if you let black-dressed infidels, they of a savage faith,
Capture our son.
Let me go to my father, the khan, and take money and soldiers,
To strike at the infidels, they with the savage religion.
Let me never return from the search for my son
Before I am wounded, fall off my strong horse,
Wiping away my red blood with my sleeve,
And sprawl on the road with broken limbs.
Tell me, O Dirse Khan, what befell my only son.
Let my luckless head be a sacrifice for you this day."
So speaking, she wept and gave voice to her sorrow. But Dirse
Khan did not answer her.
Meanwhile, those forty treacherous men came along. They said to
her: "Your son is safe and well. He has been hunting. He will be
back today or tomorrow. Do not worry about him. He cannot speak
now, because he is a bit drunk."
Dirse Khan's lady turned back, but she could not rest. With her
forty slim girls, she mounted and rode in search of her son. She
climbed Kazilik Mountain from which snow and ice never melt all the
year round. She drove her horse up steep hills. When she looked
down, she saw that crows were descending on a river and flying in
and out of it. She spurred her horse and rode in that direction.
This was the place where the young man had collapsed. When the
crows had seen blood, they wanted to come down upon him, but his
two dogs kept the crows from his body. When the young man had
fallen there, the gray-horsed Hizir had appeared to him and,
stroking his wounds three times, had said: "Do not be afraid of
these wounds. You will not die of them. Mountain Mowers mixed with
your mother's milk will be balm to them." Having said this, he
Then the young man's mother came upon him. Seeing her son lying
there covered with blood, she addressed him with the following
song. Let us see, my khan, what she said.
"Your slit black eyes now taken by sleep-let them open.
Your strong healthy bones have been broken,
Your soul all but flown from your frame.
If your body retains any life, let me know.
Let my poor luckless head be a sacrifice to you.
Kazilik Mountain, your waters still flow;
Let them, I pray, cease their flowing.
Kazilik Mountain, your grasses still grow;
Let them, I pray, cease their growing.
Kazilik Mountain, your deer still run fast;
Let them cease running and turn into stone.
How can I know, my son, if it was lion
Or tiger? How can I know, my son?
How did this accident happen to you?
If your life is still in your body, my son, let me know.
Let my poor luckless head be a sacrifice to you.
Speak a few words to me now."
As she said these things, her words entered his mind. He lifted his
head, opened his eyes, and looked at his mother's face. He spoke to
her. Let us see, my khan, what he said.
"Come closer, my mother,
Whose milk I once drank,
White-haired, beloved, and honorable mother.
Curse not the running streams;
Kazilik Mountain has done no wrong.
Curse not its growing grass;
Kazilik Mountain has no sins.
Curse not its swift-running deer;
Kazilik Mountain has no fault.
Curse not the lions and tigers;
Kazilik Mountain has no guilt.
The evil and guilt all belong to my father."
The young man then went on, "Do not cry, Mother. Do not worry. This
wound will not kill me. The gray-horsed Hizir came to me and
stroked my wound three times, saying, You will not die of this
wound. Mountain flowers mixed with your mother's milk will be your
When he said this, the forty slim girls went to gather mountain
flowers. The young man's mother squeezed her breasts once, but no
milk came out. She squeezed them once more, but still no milk came
out. The third time she struck herself and squeezed her breasts
even harder, and finally some milk stained with blood appeared.
Mixing the milk with the mountain flowers, they applied this balm
to the young man's wound. Then they put him on a horse and took him
to his camp. There he was delivered into the care of a physician
and concealed from the sight of Dirse Khan.
As the horse is quick of foot, so the poet is quick of tongue. My
khan, the young man's wounds were healed in forty days and he
recovered completely. He was once again able to ride and wear his
sword, to hunt and shoot birds. Dirse Khan knew nothing of all
this. He thought that his son was dead.
But his forty treacherous men soon heard of this and discussed
among themselves what they should do. They said: "If Dirse Khan
sees his son, he will kill us all. Let us catch Dirse Khan, tie his
white hands at his back, put a rope around his white neck, and take
him to the land of the infidels." They did as they had decided.
They tied his white hands behind him, and they put a rope around
his white neck. Then they beat him until blood oozed from his white
flesh. Dirse Khan was made to walk while they accompanied him on
horseback. They led him to the land of the bloody infidels. While
Dirse Khan was thus a captive, the Oghuz beys knew nothing of his
Dirse Khan's lady, however, learned of this. She went to her son
and spoke to him. Let us see, my khan, what she said.
"Do you know what has happened, my son? Not only the steep rocks
but the very earth should have shaken, for although there were no
enemies in our lands, your father was attacked. Those forty
treacherous companions of his captured him, tied his white hands
behind him, put a rope around his neck, and forced him to walk
while they rode on horseback. They took him toward infidel
territory. Come, now, my son. Take your forty warriors with you and
save your father from those forty faithless men. Go now and spare
your father, even if he did not spare you."
The young man followed his mother's advice. He arose, strapped on
his big steel sword, took his tight bow in one hand, and held his
golden spear under his other arm. Then, as his strong horse was
held, he mounted and, accompanied by his forty young men, went in
pursuit of his father.
The treacherous retainers of Dirse Khan had stopped along the way
and were drinking strong red wine. As Bugach Khan rode along, the
forty treacherous men saw him approaching. They said, "Let us go
and capture that young man and take both him and Dirse Khan to the
Dirse Khan said: "Oh, my forty companions, there is no doubt about
the oneness of Allah. Untie my hands, give me a lute, and I shall
persuade that young man to go back. Let me loose or kill me." They
untied his hands and gave him his lute.
Dirse Khan did not know that the young man was his own son. He went
to him and sang.
"If tall stallions have gone, let me count them my loss.
Tell me if any of yours were among them, young man,
So that I may restore them without any fight. Turn back!
If a full thousand sheep have gone from the fold, let me count
them my loss.
Tell me if any of yours were among them,
So that I may restore them without any fight. Turn back!
If red camels have gone from the herd, let me count them my
Tell me if any of yours are among them,
So that I may restore them without any fight. Turn back!
If some golden-topped tents have gone, let me count them
Tell me if any of yours are among them,
So that I may restore them without any fight. Turn back!
If brides with brown eyes and white faces have gone, let me
count them my loss.
And if your betrothed was among them, tell me,
So that I may restore her without any fight. Turn back!
If white-bearded elders have gone, let me count them my loss.
If your white-bearded father was with them, tell me,
So that I may restore him without any fight. Turn back!
If you came after me, I have killed my own son.
Young man, it is not any sin that is yours. Turn back!"
The young man replied to the song of his father. Let us see, my
khan, what he said.
"Tall stallions may count as your loss,
But one of the lost ones is mine;
I shall not give him up to the forty base men.
From the herds the red camels may count as your loss,
But some of those camels are mine;
I shall not give them up to the forty base men.
Thousands of sheep may be counted your loss,
But among them are some that are mine;
I shall not give them up to the forty base men.
The brides with brown eyes and white faces may count as
But among them is my betrothed;
I shall not give her up to the forty base men.
If the golden-topped tents may be counted your loss,
Mine too is among them;
I shall not give it up to the forty base men.
If white-bearded elders are counted your loss,
My foolish old father is also among them;
I shall not give him up to the forty base men."
He waved a handkerchief to his own forty young men, and they came
and gathered around him. With their aid, he fought with the enemy.
Some of these he killed and some he captured. When he had saved his
father in this manner, he returned home.
Dirse Khan thus discovered that his son was alive. Bayindir Khan,
Khan of Khans, gave the young man a principality and a throne. Dede
Korkut sang songs on the occasion and composed this legend of the
Oghuz. Following this, he sang:
"Even they passed away from this world.
They stayed for a while and then moved along,
Just as the caravan does.
Even they were removed by death
While this mortal world remained behind,
The world where men come and go,
The world which is rounded off by death."
Then he said: "When black Death comes, may Allah keep you safe. May
He let you rule in good health. May Almighty Allah whom I praise be
your friend and keeper."
This I pray, my khan. May your tall, stately mountains never fall.
May your big shade tree never be cut down, and may your clear
running waters never run dry. May your wings never be broken. May
your gray horse never slip while running. May your big steel sword
never be notched and may your spear never be broken in battle. May
your white-haired mother's and white-bearded father's place be
paradise. May Allah keep your household fire burning. May our
merciful Allah never abandon you to the guile of the treacherous.
The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend III
The Story of Bamsi Beyrek, Son of Kam Bure
Khan Bayindir, the son of Kam Gan, arose and had his bright tent
set up on the black earth. As the many-colored canopy rose toward
the sky, silk carpets were laid down around it in a thousand
places. The Inner and Outer Oghuz princes were assembling in the
presence of Bayindir Khan.
Among the princes who came was Bay Bure Bey. He saw Kara Budak, the
son of Kara Gone, standing and leaning on his bow opposite Bayindir
Khan. On the Khan's right he saw Uruz, the son of Kazan, standing,
and, on his left, Bey Yigenek, the son oú Kazilik Koja. When Bay
Bure saw these three young men, he sighed deeply and then lost
control of himself. Taking out his handkerchief, he wept bitterly.
When this happened, Salur Kazan, the backbone of the strong Oghuz
people, the son-in-law of Bayindir Khan, knelt down on his sturdy
knees, stared into the face of Bay Bure, and said, "Bay Bure Bey,
why are you weeping and lamenting?"
Bay Bure Bey replied: "Khan Kazan, why should I not weep and
lament? I have neither son nor brother. Allah the Almighty must
have cursed me. I lament for my crown and throne, for if I should
some day fall and die, my family would come to an end."
Kazan asked, "Is this then why you weep?"
"Yes, it is for this reason. I wish that I too had a son to stand
before Khan Bayindir and serve him. How secure and happy I should
then be!" said Bay Bure.
When they heard him speak in this manner, the strong Oghuz princes
turned their faces up, opened their hands toward heaven, and prayed
to Almighty Allah that He send Bay Bure a son. In those days both
the prayers and the curses of the Oghuz princes were granted.
Bay Bichen also arose and said: "Princes, pray for me, too. Pray
that Almighty Allah may send me a daughter."
The strong Oghuz princes raised their hands and prayed again,
saying, "May Almighty Allah give you a daughter."
Bay Bichen then said. "Princes, you stand as my witness. If Allah
gives me a daughter, she and the son of Bay Bure will be engaged in
In due time, Almighty Allah did grant a son to Bay Bure and a
daughter to Bay Bichen. When the strong Oghuz princes had news of
this, they were most gratified. Bay Bure Bey called his merchants
and gave them the following order: "Oh, merchants, Allah the
All-Powerful has given me a son. Go to the Land of Rum and bring
back fine presents for my son before he comes to manhood."
The merchants set out on their long journey and traveled steadily
for many days and nights. They came at last to the city of
Istanbul. There they purchased many rare and beautiful gifts. For
the son of Bay Bure they bought a gray male sea colt, a finely
strung bow, and a six-part club. Then they made preparations for
their journey home.
The son of Bay Bure reached the age of five, then ten, and soon he
was fifteen. He became a handsome young man, bold as a gray
chalkara bird. He had no name, for in those days a young man was
not named until he had spilled blood or had cut off a head. This
son of Bay Bure mounted his horse one day and went hunting. During
the hunt he came upon his father's horse range where the Master of
the Horse welcomed him and asked him to dismount so that he might
receive him as a guest. They soon sat down together eating and
Meanwhile, the merchants had come to the Pass of Kara Dervent, in
Pasin, and had set up camp there. But, unknown to them, the
infidels of Avnik Castle-may they be cursed!-had observed them.
While the merchants were asleep the infidels sent against them five
hundred men who struck their camp and plundered their goods. Their
leaders were taken prisoner, but the younger men fled and reached
the land of the Oghuz. There they saw a many-colored tent erected
on the border of the Oghuz territory and a handsome prince sitting
in it with forty young warriors seated to his right and left.
Believing the prince to be of the Oghuz, one of the merchants
decided to go to him and ask for help The merchant addressed him:
"Oh, young man, oh, young prince, please listen to me. We have been
away from the Oghuz country for sixteen years, and we have been
carrying rare and precious gifts for the strong Oghuz princes. When
we reached Kara Dervent, the pass in Pasin, five hundred infidels
from Avnik Castle attacked us. My brother was captured, and our
goods and provisions were plundered and carried away. Afflicted
with this misfortune, I come to you for help. As a charity that may
some day save your head, help me, oh, young man; help me!"
The young man, who had been sipping wine, stopped his drinking,
threw down his golden cup, and said to his men: "Do now what I tell
you. Bring me my armor and my strong horse. Ho! friends of men; let
us mount." As they rode away, the merchants went before them as
The infidels had stopped along the way and were busy dividing the
money and their other spoils. At that moment, the gray young man,
the lion in the field of manliness, the tiger of the warriors, fell
upon them. Before one could count to two, he struck them with his
sword, killing those who tried to lift their heads. After he had
defeated the enemy and recovered the supplies, one of the merchants
said to him: "Oh, prince, you have been very good to us. Come and
take whatever you like of these wares."
Of the articles there, only the gray horse, the six-part club, and
the tightly strung bow attracted the young man's attention, and
these he admired greatly. He said, "Oh, merchants, give me this
horse, this club, and this bow." When the merchants heard him say
this, they at once grew disconcerted. The young man said,
"Oh, merchants, did I ask too much?"
The merchants replied, "It is not that. Our prince has a son, and
we must take these three articles to him as gifts."
The young man asked, 'Who is the son of your prince?"
"He is Bamsi, the son of Bay Bure."
The young man bit his finger and said to himself, "I would rather
have my father give such things to me than beg them from these
men." Then he whipped his horse and rode away.
The merchants stood staring at him as he left and said among
themselves, "By Allah, he is a fine and worthy young man!"
The gray young man rode back to his father's camp. When his father
was informed of the approach of the returning merchants, he
rejoiced. He erected a tent, with a red canopy near it, and all
about had silk carpets spread. He seated himself in the tent with
his son at his right hand. The young man did not say a word about
the merchants or the fact that he had killed the infidels. Soon the
merchants arrived, bowing and saluting. They saw the very young man
who had cut off heads of the infidels now sitting on the right side
of Bay Bure. They proceeded to him and kissed the young man's hand.
This offended Bay Bure, and he shouted at the merchants: "You
cuckolds and sons of cuckolds! Do you kiss the son's hand first,
while the father is beside him?
"My khan, is this young man your son?" asked the merchants.
"Indeed he is, replied the khan.
"My khan, do not be offended that we kissed his hand first, for if
it had not been for him, our goods would have gone to Georgia, and
all of us would have been captives," explained the merchants.
Bay Bure asked, "Did my son kill somebody? Did he spill somebody's
"He certainly did. He cut off heads; he spilled blood; and he
knocked men from their horses, replied the merchants.
"Is this enough to earn him a name?" asked the prince.
"More than enough, my sultan!" replied the merchants.
Bay Bure Bey invited the strong Oghuz princes as his guests. Dede
Korkut came and gave the boy a name. He said:
"Hear my words and listen to me, Bay Bure Bey.
Almighty Allah gave you a son, and may He preserve him.
May he ever be followed by Moslems as he bears his white
When he has to cross those snow-covered mountains lying
May Allah help him cross them.
When he has to ride through bloody rivers,
May Allah grant him safe passage.
When he has fallen among the crowds of infidels,
May Allah give him yet a chance.
You will pamper him and call him still 'My Bamsi,'
But let his full name now be Bamsi Beyrek with the Gray Horse.
I have given him his name. May Allah give to him long life."
The strong Oghuz princes lifted their hands in prayer and asked
that this name bring him good luck. Afterwards the princes all
decided to go hunting. Beyrek mounted his gray stallion, which had
been brought to him. The colorful group then proceeded to a hunt
on Ala Mountain.
Quite suddenly a herd of deer passed before the Oghuz. Bamsi
Beyrek began at once to pursue one of them. While chasing this
deer, he came to a place, my sultan, where he saw a red tent
rising from the green grass. "Oh, Lord, whose tent may this be?"
he asked. He did not know that it was the tent of the brown-eyed
girl whom he was going to marry. He was embarrassed to go toward
this tent, but he said to himself, "Anyway, let me at least draw
close enough to it to get my game." He went on until he came before
the tent, where he killed the deer. When he looked again at the
tent, he realized that it belonged to Banu Chichek, the girl to
whom he had been betrothed in infancy.
The girl was, as it happened, just then looking out the front of
the tent. She asked her nurses: "Is this effeminate creature, the
son of some cuckold, trying to show off his masculinity? Go and ask
him to give you a portion of that meat." There was among her women
one called Kisirja Yinge. It was she who went forward and spoke.
"Oh, young man, give us a part of that deer."
Beyrek replied: "Oh, nurse, I am not a hunter. I am instead a
prince, the son of a prince. You can have all of it. But allow me
to ask, whose tent is that?"
Kisirja Yinge said, "Young prince, this tent belongs to Banu
Chichek, the daughter of Bay Bichen." When he heard this, his blood
boiled, but he turned back and walked away quietly.
The girls carried back the deer and placed it before Banu Chichek,
the most regal of all the beautiful girls. When she saw that it was
a large, fat deer, she asked her maids, "Oh, girls, what sort of a
young man is he?"
"Before Allah, my sultana, he is a fine young man with a veil on
his face. They say that he is a prince, the son of a prince,"
replied the girls.
Banu Chichek said: "Oho, nurses, my father used to tell me that he
had promised to give me to Beyrek with the veiled face. This is
probably he. Bring him over here, and let me talk with him." They
called Beyrek, and he came. Banu Chichek covered herself with a
shawl and asked, "Where do you come from, young man?"
Beyrek replied, "From the land of the Inner Oghuz."
"To whom are you related there?" asked Banu Chichek.
"I am Bamsi Beyrek, the son of Bay Bure," replied the young man.
"What is your business here, young man?" asked Banu Chichek.
"Bay Bichen Bey is supposed to have a daughter. I have come
to see her," replied the young man.
The girl said, "She is not the sort of person who would show
herself to you. But I am her nurse. Let us go hunting together. If
your horse can run faster than mine, you can beat her horse, too.
After that, let us shoot arrows. If you can shoot an arrow farther
than I, you can beat her in this, too. Then, we shall wrestle. If
you can defeat me at that, you can defeat her, too."
Beyrek said, "Very well, then. Let us mount."
The two mounted their horses and came out on the field. They
spurred their horses, and Beyrek's horse ran faster than the
girl's. When they shot their arrows, Beyrek's went farther than the
girl's. The girl said: "Oh, young man, no one ever rode faster than
I, and no one ever shot an arrow farther than mine. Now let us
Beyrek dismounted right away. They grappled with one another like
two trained wrestlers. Beyrek tried to knock the girl to the
ground, while she sought to make Beyrek lose his balance and fall.
Exhausted, Beyrek thought, "If I am beaten by this girl, they will
talk my head off and say awful things to my face in the land of the
Inner Oghuz." He gathered his strength and finally threw the girl
He first tripped her up and caught her by the breast while she
struggled to free herself. Then Beyrek took the girl by her narrow
waist and threw her down again, making her fall flat on her back.
The girl said, "Young man, I am Banu Chichek, the daughter of Bay
Beyrek kissed the girl three times and bit her once. Then, putting
the golden ring from his own finger on the girl's finger, he said:
"May your wedding be a happy one, oh, daughter of a khan. Let this
be a sign of our engagement."
The girl said, "Since this has happened, you must now arise and
Beyrek replied, "I shall do as you say."
The prince left the girl and returned to the camp. His white
bearded father met him and asked, "Son, did you see anything
worthwhile among the Oghuz today?"
"What should I have seen?" replied Beyrek.
"Whoever had a son gets him married. Whoever had a daughter gives
her away. Do you not think we ought to have you married, too?"
asked his father.
"Of course, my white-bearded and beloved father, you ought to have
me married," replied Beyrek.
"Whose daughter from among the Oghuz shall I get for you?" asked
"Father, get me a girl who can move before I can, who can mount my
black stallion before I can, and who can bring me my enemy's head
before I reach him. This is the kind of girl I want," said Beyrek.
His father, Bay Bure Khan, said: "Son, you do not want a wife. You
want a companion. I perceive that Banu Chichek, the daughter of Bay
Bichen, is the girl you want."
"Indeed, my white-bearded and beloved father, she is the one I
want," said Beyrek.
"But, my son, Banu Chichek has a mad brother who kills anyone who
wishes to marry his sister," replied the father. "Son, let us
invite the princes of the strong Oghuz to our tent, and afterwards
act according to their decision," suggested Bay Bure Bey.
They proceeded to invite all the princes of the strong Oghuz to
their tent and entertained them there. The princes of the strong
Oghuz asked, 'Who can go and ask for the hand of this girl?"
Dede Korkut said: "Friends, send me, for you know that Delu
Karchar kills whoever asks for his sister. Regardless of this,
bring me two fast horses from Bayindir Khan's stables, one a
goat-headed race horse and the other a ram-headed, copper-brown
stallion, one to ride on, and the other to lead behind me."
Dede Korkut's suggestion was accepted, and they proceeded to bring
the two horses from Bayindir Khan's stables. Dede Korkut rode on
one and led the other. He left, saying, "Friends, I entrust you to
Now, Delu Karchar had a fine white tent erected on the surface of
the black earth. He was sitting near it with his companions and
shooting arrows at a target. Dede Korkut came forward, pressed his
hand on his breast, and saluted them with elaborate expressions of
Delu Karchar, his mouth frothing, looked at Dede Korkut and said:
"Aleykomselam, oh, you, whose fortune has been reversed, on whose
forehead Almighty Allah has spelled damnation. No one with feet has
ever visited me here. No one with a mouth ever came here to drink
from my water. What has brought you here? Has your fortune turned?
Have you lost your mind? Or has your last hour come? What are you
doing in this area?"
Dede Korkut replied:
"I have come to cross that black mountain of yours lying over
I have come to cross your beautiful running streams.
I have come to take shelter under your wide mantle and
security beneath your wing.
I have come, with the command of Allah and the consent of the
Prophet, to ask for the hand of your sister, Banu Chichek, brighter
than moonlight and lovelier than day, for Bamsi Beyrek."
To this Delu Karchar replied: "Ho! bring me what I tell you to.
Bring me the black stallion and my weapons."
They brought him the black stallion and the weapons and helped him
to mount. Dede Korkut spurred his own horse and rode off, with Delu
Karchar pursuing him. When the ram-headed, copper-brown stallion
grew tired, Dede Korkut jumped over to the goat-headed race horse.
Delu Karchar was led through ten passes in his pursuit of Dede
Korkut, but finally he caught up with him. Dede Korkut was at a
loss what to do. He asked for the protection of Allah, reciting the
ismi azam prayer. Delu Karchar drew his sword and aimed a terrible
blow intended to knock Dede Korkut down. Dede Korkut said, "If you
strike me, may your hand dry up." At the command of Almighty Allah
Delu Karchar's hand remained in the air, for Dede Korkut was
endowed with power like that of a saint, and his wish was granted.
Delu Karchar said: "Help me, help me! I do not doubt the unity of
Allah. Release my hand, and, with the command of Allah and the
consent of the Prophet, I shall let Beyrek have my sister." He
repeated this three times and repented of his sins. Dede Korkut
prayed again, and Delu Karchar's hand was released by the direction
of Allah. He turned and said, "Dede Korkut, will you give me what
I want in return for my sister?"
Dede Korkut said, "Of course. What do you want?"
Delu Karchar said: "Bring me one thousand male camels that have not
seen female camels. Bring me one thousand stallions that have never
been crossed with mares. Bring me also one thousand rams that have
never seen ewes. Bring me one thousand dogs without ears or tails.
And bring me one thousand fleas. Deliver these things to me, and I
shall give you what you seek. Otherwise, I shall kill you. I spared
your life once, but next time I shall take it."
Dede Korkut returned to the tent of Bay Bure. "Dede, are you a male
or a female?' asked Bay Bure.
"I am a boy," replied Dede Korkut.
"How did you save yourself from the hand of Delu Karchar?" asked
"Through the mercy of Allah and the help of the saints I won the
Messengers carried the good news to Beyrek, his mother, and his
sisters, and all were pleased and gratified. "How much did Delu
Karchar ask for this?" asked Bay Bure Bey.
"May he never benefit from it all. He asked for an endless number
of things," replied Dede Korkut.
"But what was it that he asked for?" said Bay Bure.
"He asked for a thousand male camels that have not seen female
camels, a thousand stallions that have not been crossed with mares,
a thousand rams that have not seen ewes, a thousand dogs without
ears or tails, and a thousand fleas. He said that he would give his
sister if I would bring him these things. If I did not, then I had
better not be seen again by him, for he would kill me," said Dede
"If I find what is required for three of these demands, do you
think you can find the rest?n asked Bay Bure.
"Indeed I do, my khan," said Dede Korkut.
"Then go now, Dede, and find the dogs and the fleas," said Bay
Bure. He himself went to his stables and selected one thousand
stallions from among his horses. Going then to his camel yard, he
picked out one thousand male camels. Finally, he went to his
sheepfold and chose one thousand rams.
During this time, Dede Korkut found one thousand dogs without ears
or tails, as well as one thousand fleas. He then took all these
creatures to Delu Karchar.
When Delu Karchar heard him approaching, he came out to meet him,
saying to himself, "Let me see if they have brought the things I
demanded." He admired the stallions, the camels, and the rams, and,
when he saw the dogs, he burst into laughter. He then asked, "Dede,
where are my fleas?"
Dede Korkut replied: "My son, Karchar, they are as big as cattle
flies-real monsters. They are all huddled together. Let us go and
see them so that you choose the fat ones and leave the lean ones."
He led Delu Karchar to the sheepfold, where he had put the fleas.
After having Delu Karchar take off his clothes, he locked him in
the sheepfold. The fleas swarmed all over Delu Karchar.
When he discovered that he could not handle the fleas, Delu Karchar
started crying: "Dede, help me! For the sake of Allah, have mercy
on me! Open the door and let me out of here!"
"Son, why are you so confused? I have brought you what you wanted.
Why are you so dejected? Just select the fat ones and leave the
lean ones," said Dede Korkut.
"Oh, Dede Sultan, may Allah take away the fat ones as well as the
lean ones! Please help me. Let me out of the door right away,"
cried Delu Karchar. Dede Korkut saw that Delu Karchar was in a
terrible plight. He was trying to save his life from the fleas,
which had completely covered his body. His face and eyes could not
be seen for fleas. He fell to Dede's feet begging, "For Allah's
sake, save me!" Dede Korkut advised him to go and throw himself
into the water. Delu Karchar ran and jumped into a stream, and the
fleas were washed away in the running water. Delu Karchar came out
of the stream, put on his clothes, and went home to start
preparations for the wedding.
During the time of the Oghuz, when a young man was to be married,
he would shoot an arrow into the air, and, wherever the arrow fell,
there he would have his nuptial tent erected. Beyrek Khan too shot
his arrow and had his nuptial tent set up where it landed. A long
red gown was sent to him as a gift from his betrothed. Beyrek put
this on, but his companions did not seem to be pleased by this.
Beyrek asked them, "Why are you displeased?"
"Why should we not be? You are wearing a red gown while we are
wearing white gowns," they replied.
"What a small thing to be offended by! I am wearing it today.
Tomorrow let my deputy wear it, and then each of you wear it by
turns for forty days. After that, let it be given to a poor
dervish," said Beyrek.
As he and his forty warriors were sitting together and drinking, a
spy of the infidels-may he not prosper!-was secretly observing
them. He reported what he saw to the commander of Bayburt Castle.
"Why are you idle here, my sultan?" he said. "Bay Bichen
his daughter, whom he promised to you, to Beyrek. They are having
their nuptials tonight."
That cursed man-may he not prosper!-prepared to attack with seven
hundred infidels. Beyrek was sitting eating and drinking in his
bright-colored tent at this time, unaware of all this. That night
as he slept, his tent was attacked by the enemy. His deputy drew
his sword, saying, "Let my head be sacrificed for Beyrek's head."
He was torn to pieces.
Depth drowns. A mob frightens. It is the horse that makes the
effort, though the fighter boasts, and a man without a horse is
helpless. Beyrek and his thirty-nine warriors were all taken
In the morning, when dawn broke and the sun arose, Beyrek's father
and mother saw that the nuptial tent had disappeared. They sighed
deeply, and almost lost their senses. They saw that a raven was
flying overhead and a hound was wandering about the site. The
nuptial tent was torn, and the body of the dead deputy lay on the
ground. Beyrek's father took off his turban, threw it to the
ground, tore the collar of his shirt, and then wept aloud, saying,
"My son, my son." Beyrek's white-haired mother cried bitterly,
tears flowing from her eyes, and scratched her white face with her
fingernails, pressing her red cheeks and pulling her straight black
[sic] hair. She went home weeping and sobbing.
Bay Bure Bey's tent with the gold chimney was now filled with
sorrow. His daughters and daughters-in-law no longer laughed
cheerfully or dyed their hands with red henna. His seven sisters
took off their white dresses and put on all black, and they cried
aloud, saying, "Oh, our bey, our brother, our only brother, who
could not have his wish fulfilled."
When Beyrek's fiancee, Banu Chichek, was informed of what had
happened, she took off her white dress, put on black, and tore her
red cheeks until they looked like the apples of autumn. She wept
"Oh, the owner of my red trousseau!
Oh, the promise of my forehead!
Oh, my fine young hero, my handsome man!
My young khan, whose face I have not yet gazed upon
Where have you gone, leaving me alone?
My darling, whom I saw at a glance,
Whom I loved with my heart,
With whom I shared a pillow,
For whose sake I would die and sacrifice my life.
Oh, Kazan Bey's dear friend!
Oh, Khan Beyrek, the symbol of the Oghuz Khanate."
When Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk, heard what had happened, he
took off his white clothes and put on black. All Beyrek's friends
and companions also exchanged white garments for black. The princes
of the strong Oghuz mourned deeply for Beyrek and lost all hope for
Sixteen years elapsed after that event, and Beyrek still could not
be found, alive or dead. One day Delu Karchar, the brother of the
girl, came to Bayindir Khan's court, knelt before him, and said:
"Your Majesty-may Allah give you long life-if Beyrek had been alive
all these sixteen years, he would have reappeared by now. If anyone
brings me news that he is alive, I shall give that person a bag of
gold. If anyone brings me news that he is dead, I shall give him my
In response to these remarks, Yaltajuk-may he not prosper!- the son
of Yalanji, said, "My sultan, let me go and bring him, dead or
alive." Now, it happened that Beyrek had once presented this man
with a shirt, which he did not wear, but put away and kept.
Yaltajuk dipped this shirt in blood and brought it to Bayindir Khan
and dropped it on the ground before him.
When he saw this, Bayindir Khan said, "What is this shirt?"
"They killed Beyrek at Kara Dervent. Here is the proof, my sultan,"
When the princes saw the shirt, they wept aloud and moaned.
Bayindir Khan said: "Why are you crying? We cannot tell whether
this shirt is his or not. Take it to his betrothed. She will know,
for she must have made it for him."
They sent the shirt to Banu Chichek. As soon as she saw it, she
recognized it. Again she started tearing the collar of her dress,
plunging her sharp fingernails into her white face, and scratching
her red cheeks until they were like apples of autumn. She cried,
"Oh, Khan Beyrek!
You whom I saw so briefly
And loved with my heart.
Oh, the owner of my red trousseau.
Oh, the promise of my forehead!"
When the news reached his father and mother, there was great
mourning in their household. White clothes were discarded for
black. The princes of the strong Oghuz now completely gave up hope
for Beyrek. Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, was engaged and fixed the
date of his wedding.
Bay Bure Bey, Beyrek's father, called two merchants and said to
them, "Oh, merchants, go and search through many climates, and see
if you can bring me any news of his death or safety." The merchants
made ready for the journey. They traveled day and night, and at
last reached Bayburt Castle, which was commanded by swift Parasar.
It happened that that day the infidels were having a religious
celebration, and all were busy eating and drinking. They even had
Beyrek there to play upon the kopuz for them. When he looked down
from the raised platform, he saw the merchants and communicated
with them through his song. Let us hear what he said, my khan:
"Oh, merchants, coming from the windy steppes!
Merchants, who were sent by my bey father and lady mother;
Merchants, who ride fine horses with long legs;
Merchants, hear me and listen to my words.
Is Salur Kazan, son of Ulash,
Of the strong Oghuz people, alive?
Is Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk, alive and well?
Is Kara Budak, son of Kara Gone, alive and well, oh,
Are my white-bearded father and white-haired mother alive
and well, oh, merchants?
Are my seven sisters alive and well, oh, merchants?
Is Banu Chichek, daughter of Bay Bichen,
Whom I saw at the opening of my eyes,
And loved with all my heart-
Is she now at home, oh, merchants?
Or is she married to another man, oh, merchants?
I shall sacrifice my poor head for you."
The merchants replied:
"Dear Bamsi, are you alive and in good health?
Bamsi, whom we have missed for sixteen years.
If you want to know about Kazan Bey of the strong Oghuz,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about Budak, son of Kara Gone,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
Those princes have taken off their white clothes and put on
black for you, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about your white-bearded father and
They are alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
They have taken off their white to wear their black for you,
I saw your seven sisters crying at the junction of the seven
roads, oh, Bamsi.
I saw them weeping for their brother, who had gone and not
I saw them tearing their red cheeks, like apples of autumn,
Banu Chichek, whom you saw at the opening of your eyes,
and loved with all your heart,
Has become engaged and has fixed the date of her nuptials.
She is to marry Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji, Khan Beyrek.
Fly from the Bayburt Castle of Parasar!
Come back and see your gorgeous nuptial tent.
If you do not, then know this truth:
You cannot have your Banu Chichek daughter of Bay Bichen."
Beyrek arose and went to the forty warriors, crying. He dashed his
large turban to the ground and said: "Oh, my forty comrades, do
you know what has happened? Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji, spread the
word that I was dead, and my father's happy tent with the gold
chimney is filled with mourning. His daughters and
daughters-in-law, wearing white like geese, took off that white
and put on black. Banu Chichek, whom I loved at the opening of my
eyes, with all my heart, is to be wed to Yaltajuk, son of
Yalanji." When he told them this, the forty warriors also pulled
off their large turbans, dashed them to the ground, and began to
The prince of the infidels had a daughter who came to see Beyrek
every day. When she saw now that Beyrek was unhappy, she said: "Why
are you unhappy, my khan? During my visits, I have always seen you
in good spirits. You used to laugh and dance. What has happened to
Beyrek said: "Why should I not be sad? I have been held captive by
your father for sixteen years. I have missed my father and mother,
my relatives, and my companions. Besides, I have at home a
dark-eyed sweetheart who has been told by Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji,
that I am dead. She is now about to marry him."
This girl, in truth, was in love with Beyrek. When she heard his
words, she said, "If I should lower you down the castle wall with
a rope, and if you should then reach your mother and father safely,
would you later come for me and take me as your lawful wife?"
Beyrek took an oath, saying, "If I do not return and marry you, may
I be chopped apart with my own sword, pierced with my own arrow,
broken up like clods of earth, and scattered about like dust."
The girl brought a rope and lowered Beyrek down the castle wall
until, looking down, he found that he was standing on the ground.
He offered thanks to Allah and then set out. As he reached the
horse range of the infidels, he thought, "If I can find a horse, I
shall catch it and ride home on it." When he looked about, he saw
his own gray stallion grazing at hand. Recognizing Beyrek, the gray
stallion reared into the air and neighed. Beyrek praised him. Let
us hear, my khan, what he said of his horse.
"Your lovely forehead is wide open like a field.
Your lovely eyes shine like two torches in the dark.
Your lovely mane is similar to silk.
Your ears are even as twin brothers.
Your lovely back can take one to his goal.
I shall not call you 'Horse,' but 'Brother,'
For you are even better than a brother.
I say that I have work to do,
Oh, my comrade, who is better than a comrade."
The horse raised its head, lifted one ear, and came toward Beyrek.
Beyrek embraced the horse's chest and kissed his eyes. Then he
sprang upon the horse's back, rode to the castle gate, and there
took leave of his thirty-nine companions. Let us hear, my khan, how
he departed from them.
"Oh, you, infidels with the foul faith!
You swore at my mouth, but I had not enough of it.
You made me eat the stew of your black pig, and I had had
enough of it.
Then Allah gave me an escape, and I accepted it, oh, infidels.
My warriors, thirty-nine, I entrust to you, oh, infidels!
If I find ten gone, a hundred of you will die,
Oh, infidels, the keepers of my thirty-nine brave men."
Having said this, he moved on. Forty infidels then mounted their
horses and started after him, but when they could not catch him,
they returned. When Beyrek reached the land of the Oghuz, he saw a
minstrel walking along. Beyrek asked him, "Oh, minstrel, where are
The minstrel replied, "Bey, I am going to a wedding"
Beyrek asked, "Whose wedding is it?"
"Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, is being married," replied the
"To whose daughter is he being wed?" asked Beyrek.
"He is to wed the former fiancee of Khan Beyrek," replied the
"Oh, minstrel, give me your kopuz and I shall let you take my
horse. Keep it till I return and buy it back from you," said
"I shall take it now and keep it," replied the minstrel, handing
his kopuz to Beyrek.
Beyrek took the kopuz and proceeded toward his father's house.
Along the way he saw several shepherds who were crying as they
heaped up rocks by the side of the road. He said to them:
"Shepherds, if one finds a rock on the road, one throws it aside.
Why are you piling up these rocks along the road?"
"You know only your own affairs. What would you know about ours?"
replied the shepherds.
"Well, what is the matter with you?" asked Beyrek.
"Our bey had a son, and whether he is dead or alive no one has been
able to discover for sixteen years. Yaltajuk, the son of a man
called Yalanji, brought news of his death the other day. Now they
are giving our prince's fiancee to him. We have decided to stone
this man as he passes by, so that he may not marry this girl, but
rather someone his own equal," replied the shepherds.
"May your faces always be bright. May the bread of your master be
blessed for you!" said Beyrek.
He then went to his father's camp. There was a large tree that
stood before their tents, and at the foot of that tree was a
beautiful spring. Beyrek saw his youngest sister coming to draw
water from this spring. She was crying, and saying to herself,
"Beyrek, Beyrek, your wedding day has been a day of grief."
Beyrek could not restrain himself any longer, and tears began
rolling from his eyes. He began to talk, and spoke these verses.
Let us find out, my khan, what he said.
"Oh, girl, why are you crying for your brother,
Thus eating my heart and burning away my breast?
If your brother is lost,
This grief is like hot oil poured on your heart.
Your unfortunate bosom is trembling.
Why do you lament and mourn your brother,
Thus eating my heart and burning away my breast?
If I ask about the black mountain lying over there-
Whose pastures are they?
If I ask about its cooling springs-
Who is it now that drinks from them?
If I ask about the stables of fine horses-
Who is it now who rides upon their backs?
If I ask about the many camel herds-
Whose goods do they now carry?
If I ask about the white sheep in the fold-
For whose celebration are they ready?
If I ask about the black and blue tall tent-
For whom does it make shade?
Girl, let your mouth and tongue tell me these things.
I sacrifice my head for you today."
The girl replied:
"Do not play, oh, minstrel; do not sing.
What use are minstrels to an unhappy girl?
If you ask about the black mountain over there-
It used to be my brother Beyrek's.
But since he went away, I never go up there.
If you ask about its cooling springs-
My brother Beyrek used to drink from them.
I drink not from them since my brother Beyrek went away.
If you ask about the stables of fine horses-
They were my brother Beyrek's once,
But I ride not upon them since my brother Beyrek left.
If you ask about the many camel herds-
They often carried Brother Beyrek's loads;
I load nothing on them since Brother Beyrek went away.
If you ask about the black and blue tall tent-
It was my brother Beyrek's tent,
But it just stands there since my brother went away.
After giving these responses, the girl went on as follows:
Did you meet no young man they called Beyrek
When you crossed that snow-capped mountain over there?
Did you meet no young man they called Beyrek,
When you crossed turbulent rivers?
Did you meet no young man called Beyrek,
When you passed through cities with great names?
Oh, minstrel, tell me if you met him.
I shall sacrifice my poor head for you."
She then went on with these verses:
"The black mountain over there is falling down,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
My great shade tree is being felled,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
A brother has been taken from me,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
Do not play or sing now, minstrel;
What comfort can it bring a grieving girl?
There is a wedding farther on. Go play your kopuz there."
Beyrek moved along the way, and approached next his elder sisters.
He noticed that everyone was sitting dressed in black and blue. Let
us listen to what he said, my khan. Beyrek sang this song:
"Girls, who have risen early in the morning-
Girls, who have left white tents to enter black-
Girls, who have shed white clothes to put on black-
Have you some yoghurt white and firm as young girls' breasts?
Have you some pastry in hot covered dishes?
Have you some bread in your reed basket?
For three days I have traveled ceaselessly. Feed me! May
Allah bring you joy within three days."
The girls brought food and let young Beyrek eat. After he had
eaten, Beyrek said: 'You may perhaps have an old coat to give me
that will serve as alms to bless the head and eyes of your
brother. I shall wear it at the wedding, and, if they give me
clothing there, I shall return yours."
They brought a coat that had belonged to Beyrek. When he put it
on, the length, the arm girth, and the waist fitted him exactly.
The oldest of the sisters thought he looked very much like Beyrek.
Her black eyes filled with blood-stained tears. Let us hear, my
khan, what she said then.
"If your black eyes seemed not so sad,
I should have called you Brother Beyrek, minstrel.
If your face were not so covered with black hair,
I should have called you Brother Beyrek, minstrel.
If your strong wrists were not so pale,
I should have called you Brother Beyrek minstrel.
With your swinging walk,
With your lion stance,
With your handsome look,
You are so like my brother Beyrek, minstrel.
Having pleased me, do not make me sad again, oh, minstrel.
Do not play, oh, minstrel; do not sing.
No minstrels stop here since my brother went away.
No one asks us for the coats from off our backs.
No one asks us for the night caps from our heads.
No one asks for the meat of rams with twisted horns."
Beyrek thought to himself, "Oh, so the girls have recognized me
with this coat on. The strong Oghuz princes will also recognize
me. I want to see who is my friend and who my foe in the land of
the Oghuz." He took off the coat, went to the girls, and threw it
to them, saying: "Too much of you and Beyrek! You gave me an old
coat, but took the wits out of my head." He then found an old
camel cargo sack. Cutting a hole in the bottom, he put the sack
over his head and pretended he was mad.
When he went to the wedding, he saw the groom shooting an arrow.
Budak, the son of Kara Gone; Uruz, the son of Kazan Bey; Yigenek,
a leader of the beys; Shir Shemseddin, the son of Gaflet Koja;
Delu Karchar, the brother of the girl-all these men were also
shooting arrows. When Budak shot his arrow, he said again, "May
your hand live long!" When Shir Shemseddin shot his, he repeated
once more, "May your hand live long!" But when the groom let fly
his arrow, Beyrek said: "May your hand dry up and your fingers
rot, you pig and son of a pig. You are too mean to be the groom."
Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, grew angry and shouted: "You mad
cuckold, how dare you say such things about me? Come and pull my
bow now, or I shall chop your head off."
Beyrek grasped the bow and pulled it, but it broke in two. He took
it to its owner and dropped it in front of him, saying, "It will
do for shooting larks on level ground!"
Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, was furious at the breaking of his
bow. He said, "Bring me Beyrek's bow." It was brought, and, when
Beyrek saw it, he thought back on his companions in the castle,
(!Meaning of this line could not be understood!
Original: Tul tulara, girdughum tularari)
The hostile land where I left the Duharlu tribe.
My quiver made of stallion's hair;
My beautiful strong bow, which I traded for a stallion;
My twisted bowstring, which I traded for a bull-
I came away, but left in a dreadful place
My thirty-nine companions and two merchants, too."
Then he said, "Beys, let me pull the string and shoot an arrow in
your honor." They were all shooting at the groom's ring. Beyrek
hit the ring with his arrow and broke it into many pieces. When
the Oghuz princes saw this, they clapped their hands and laughed.
Seeing this, Kazan Bey sent a man to bring Beyrek before him. The
mad minstrel came, bowing and pressing his hand on his breast in
respectful greeting. He said:
"Oh, master of the white tent that stands alone at dawn!
Master of the large blue canopy made of Atlas cloth;38
Master of many stables of fine horses,
Whose court is full of lords;
The supporter of warriors without companions,
The hope of the poor and helpless,
The groom of Bayindir Khan,
The vigorous youth of feathery bird,
The center pole of Turkestan,
The lion of the River of Emet,
The tiger of Karachuk Mountains,
The owner of the copper-brown horse,
The father of Khan Uruz,
My Khan Kazan.
Hear me and listen to my words.
You have arisen at the break of day
To walk into the lovely woods.
You have cut leaves from the branch of the white poplar tree,
Bending it low.
You have shot your swift arrow
And have erected the nuptial tent.
Those sitting on one side are the Beys of the Right,
Those on the other, the Beys of the Left,
Those in the center, the prominent princes.
Your intimate friends all sit on the threshold.
May your nuptial proceedings be blessed with good fortune."
When Kazan Bey heard this, he said: "Ho, mad minstrel, what do you
want from me? Do you want a tent, or slaves, or money, or gold? I
shall give you whatever you wish."
"My sultan, I wish that you would permit me to go to the wedding
feast, where I might have something to eat, for I am hungry,"
"The mad minstrel has refused worldly goods, oh, princes. Let my
princely authority therefore be his for today. Let him go here
among us wherever he wishes."
Beyrek went to the wedding banquet, but, after eating, he
overturned the kettles and spilled out the food they held. He
threw chunks of stewed meat to right and to left. 'Whatever comes
from the right goes to the right; whatever comes from the left
goes to the left. Justice for the just; dark faces for the un
Reports of this reached Kazan Bey. Several said to him: "My sultan,
the mad minstrel has overturned the kettles and spilled out the
food. Now he wants to go around to the girls' living quarters."
Kazan said: "Just leave him alone. Let him go near the girls, too."
Beyrek then walked over to the girls' quarters. There he dismissed
the pipers and the drummers, beating some of them and inflicting
wounds upon the heads of others. He entered the girls' tent and sat
at the threshold. Burla Hatun, Kazan Bey's tall wife, became very
much annoyed when she saw this. She said angrily, "You mad
cuckold and son of a cuckold, how dare you come upon me so
"I have Kazan Bey's permission, and no one can prevent me," replied
"If he has Kazan Bey's permission, then let him stay there," said
Burla Hatun. She then turned to Beyrek and asked, "Oh, mad
minstrel, what are you up to?"
"My lady, I want the girl who is getting married to dance while I
play my kopuz," said Beyrek.
There was a woman there by the name of Kisirja Yinge, and now she
was called. "Kisirja Yinge, you dance instead of the bride. After
all, how can the mad minstrel know the difference?" several said.
Kisirja Yinge said, "Ho, mad minstrel, I am the girl who is to be
married." She began to dance while Beyrek played his kopuz and
sang. Let us hear, my khan, what he sang.
"I have taken an oath not to mount the sterile mare
And go into battle.
Shepherds behind oxen are looking at you,
Their tears streaming down from their eyes.
Go to them there,
For they know of your wish.
I shall have nothing to do with you, woman.
Let the girl to be married stand up now
And dance to the music, waving her arms."
Kisirja Yinge said, "Ah, this madman talks as if he knows me,"
then she sat down.
There was another woman by the name of Bugur Boghazcha Fatma. They
asked her to get up next and dance. She put on the bride's costume
and said: "Play, oh, mad minstrel, for I am the one who is
marrying. Let me dance."
The mad minstrel sang:
"I swear I have not ridden the pregnant mare
As I went into battle.
Was there not a streamlet behind your house?
Was your dog not named Barak?
Was your name not Boghazcha Fatma with forty lovers?
Take heed lest I tell of your other shameless acts.
I have no other games to play with you.
Go back and sit once again at your place.
Let the one who is to wed stand up now.
Let me play the kopuz.
Let her dance to the music, waving her arms."
To this, Boghazcha Fatma responded: "Oh, the mad minstrel! He has
revealed all my shame. Come, girl, and dance if you wish. If you do
not, bad luck to you. In truth, we knew that this sort of thing
would happen to you after Beyrek was gone."
Burla Hatun then said: "Come, girl, dance. What else can you do?"
Banu Chichek put on her red costume, pulled her hands up inside
her sleeves to hide them, and began to dance, saying, "Play, oh,
mad minstrel, for I am the girl who is to be married. Let me
"Since I went from this place, all have gone mad.
Much white snow must have fallen knee deep.
The house of the khan is without slaves or servants.
His daughter took jugs to the fountain for water.
Her ten lovely fingers have dropped from her hands,
all taken by frost.
Get some red gold for the khan's only daughter
And make from it nails that will seem to be hennaed.
No blemish should shame the khan's daughter at marriage."
When Banu Chichek heard this, she became angry and said, "Oh, mad
minstrel, do I have anything to be ashamed of, that you speak to
me like this?" She then uncovered her silver-white wrists and
stretched out her hands. The ring that Beyrek had put on her
finger was thus revealed.
Beyrek recognized that ring, and spoke to her. Let us hear what he
said, my khan.
"Did you climb the hill slowly since the time that I left,
Did you turn and look around in all four directions, oh, girl?
Did you tear your spearlike black hair, oh, girl?
Did you shed bitter tears from your black eyes, oh, girl?
Did you scratch your red cheeks like the apples of autumn,
Since you marry another man, give me back my golden ring,
To this the girl replied:
"I have climbed the hill slowly since Beyrek departed.
I have torn my black hair.
I have scratched my red cheeks like the apples of autumn.
I have questioned all those who were coming and going.
My noble young khan went away and returns not.
Often I cried, calling 'Beyrek!' You are not Bamsi Beyrek,
the one whom I loved.
This golden ring is not yours. It holds many memories,
Tell me of them if you want the ring back."
Beyrek then answered her:
"Did I not arise early, oh, daughter of the khan?
And did I not mount on the back of the gray horse?
And did I not bring a fat deer to your tent?
Did you not welcome me then to your side?
Did we not race in the field with our horses?
And did not my horse run much faster than yours?
Did I not split the straight arrow you shot?
And did I not afterwards beat you in wrestling?
Did I not kiss you three times and then bite you once?
And did I not then put the ring on your finger?
Am I then Bamsi Beyrek, the man you once loved?"
When he spoke in this way, the girl recognized him. She knew then
that he was Beyrek. Dressed in her bridal gown, she fell at the
feet of Beyrek. When the nurses had helped him to dress in a new
coat, the girl quickly jumped on a horse and rode to Beyrek's
parents to give them the good news. This is what she said:
"Your round black mountains had fallen, but now they are
Your streams stained with blood had dried up, but now
they are flowing again.
Your tall tree had withered, but now it is green once again.
Your fine horse had grown old, but once more bears a colt.
Your red camels had aged, but now they have young ones again.
Your white sheep had aged, but now they have lambs
in the fold.
And Beyrek your son, who was gone sixteen years, has returned.
My father and mother, what gift will you give for good news?"
The mother and father of Beyrek replied:
"We could die for the love of that tongue of yours, my bride,
And could be sacrificed for your sake, my bride.
If what you have said is not true, may it come true, my bride.
And if he comes back safe and well,
May the black mountains lying out yonder
Be henceforth your pasture.
May their cold running waters provide you with drink.
May our servants and slaves be turned over to you.
May all our fine horses be yours then to ride.
May our caravan camels then carry your wealth.
May all the white sheep in our fold grace your banquets.
May our treasures of gold be your money to spend.
May our gold-chimneyed tent provide you with shelter.
May our unfortunate heads be sacrificed for you, oh, bride."
In the meantime, the beys had brought Beyrek. Kazan Bey said:
"Good news, Bay Bure! Your son has returned."
Bay Bure said: "I can prove whether or not he is my son. Let blood
from his little finger flow on his handkerchief and then give me
the soaked cloth. I shall rub my eyes with this, and if it
restores my sight, then he is my son Beyrek." His eyes had grown
blind from much crying, but, when he rubbed the handkerchief
against them, the power of Almighty Allah assisting, they were
opened again. His father and mother both fell at Beyrek's feet,
sobbing loudly. The father said,
"Son, the support of my tent with the chimney of gold,
A flower to my daughters and brides, like white geese;
The light of my reopened eyes, oh, Son;
The strength of my backbone, oh, Son;
My son and a symbol of the strong Oghuz beys."
He cried then for a long time, all the while expressing his thanks
When Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, heard of all this, he grew so
afraid of Beyrek that he went to the marshlands of Tana Sazi and
threw himself in. Beyrek followed him there and said, "Bring me
some dry grass!" They brought him dry grass and he lighted it,
setting fire to the rushes. When Yaltajuk saw that the rushes were
burning, he came out, fell at Beyrek's feet, and passed under his
sword.46 Beyrek then forgave him.
Kazan Bey said, "Come now and have your wish."
Beyrek replied, "I cannot have my wish until I have captured the
infidel castle and released my companions."
Kazan Bey said to his people, "Let all those who like me now mount
The princes of the strong Oghuz mounted their horses and raced to
Bayburt Castle, where the infidels met them. The strong Oghuz beys
took ablution with clean water, touched their white foreheads to
the ground, and performed two rekats of prayer. They remembered
the exalted Prophet Mohammed. Drums were then beaten loudly, and,
in the terrible battle that followed, the field was filled with
human heads. Kazan Bey knocked Shokli Melik, crying like a wild
animal, from his horse. Kara Tekur fell to the ground under the
blows of Delu Tundar's sword. Kara Budak knocked down Kara Arslan
Melik. The infidels were caught and killed in small valleys; seven
infidel princes were among those put to the sword. Beyrek,
Yigenek, Kazan Bey, Kara Budak, Delu Tundar, and Uruz Bey, the son
of Kazan, attacked the castle. Beyrek went to save his thirty-nine
warriors and found them safe and well. He thanked Allah for this.
They pulled down the infidels' church and killed their priest.
They built a mosque in its place, and, after the ezan was chanted,
a sermon was delivered in the name of beloved Allah.
They presented rare birds, valuable goods, beautiful girls, and
cloth for nine suits to Bayindir Khan, the Khan of Khans. Beyrek,
the son of Bay Bure, married the Melik's daughter and returned to
his happy home, where he began his wedding ceremony. Some of the
forty warriors were given girls by Khan Kazan, and some by
Bayindir Khan. They had forty tents erected. Thirty-nine girls
shot arrows to determine their fortune, and thirty-nine warriors
followed these arrows. Their large weddings and banquets lasted
for forty days and forty nights. During all this time, Beyrek and
his companions dallied with their girls.
My Dede Korkut came and played joyful tunes on the kopuz and told
legends in which he recounted the adventures of heroes. Then he
said, "Let this Oghuz legend be Beyrek's."
Let me now pray, my khan: May your firm black mountains be not
destroyed. May your tall shade tree be not felled. May your
white-bearded father go to heaven, and may your white haired mother
also go to heaven. May your mother not be separated from her son
and her brothers and sisters, and may she be not alienated from
faith in the last days of her life. May those saying "Amen, Amen"
see the face of Allah, and may He forgive your sins for the sake
of the exalted Prophet Mohammed Mustapha.
The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend V
The Story of Delu Dumrul, Son of Duha Koja
My khan, among the Oghuz people there was a man by the name of Delu
Dumrul, the son of Duha Koja. He had a bridge built across a dry
river bed. He collected thirty-three akchas from anyone who passed
over it, and those who refused to pass over it he beat and charged
forty akchas anyway. He did this to challenge anyone who thought he
was braver than Delu Dumrul to fight, with the purpose of making
his own bravery, heroism, and gallantry known even in places as far
distant as Anatolia and Syria.
One day it happened that a troop of nomads camped along his bridge.
A fine, handsome youth in the nomad troop fell sick and died at the
command of Allah. Some cried, saying, "Son," some cried, saying,
"Brother," and there was great mourning for him.
Delu Dumrul, enhancing to come along, asked: "Why are you crying,
cuckolds? What is this noise by my bridge? Why are you mourning?"
They said: "My khan, we lost a fine young man. That is why we are
Delu Dumrul asked, "Who killed your bey?"
They said: "Oh, bey, it was by the order of Almighty Allah. The
red-winged Azrail took his life."
"What sort of fellow is this Azrail who takes people's lives? For
the sake of your unity and existence, O Almighty Allah, let me see
Azrail. Let me fight and scuffle with him to save the life of such
a fine youth, so that he never takes a life again," said Delu
Dumrul. He then turned away and went home.
Now, Almighty Allah was not pleased with Dumrul's words. He said:
"Look at that madman. He does not understand my oneness. He does
not express his gratitude to me and dares to behave arrogantly in
my mighty presence." He ordered Azrail: "Go and appear before
eyes of that madman. Make his face pale and strangle the life out
While Delu Dumrul was sitting and drinking with his forty
companions, Azrail suddenly arrived. Neither the chamberlains nor
the wardens had seen Azrail pass. Delu Dumrul's eyes were blinded,
his hands paralyzed. The entire world was darkened to his eyes. He
began to speak. Let us see what he said, my khan.
'What a mighty, big old man you are!
The wardens did not see you come;
The chamberlains did not hear.
My eyes, which could see, now cannot;
My hands, which could grip, now cannot.
My soul trembled and was terrified;
My golden cup fell from my hand.
My mouth is cold as ice;
My bones are turned to dust.
Ho! white-bearded old man,
Cold-eyed old man!
What mighty old man are you?
Go away, or I may hurt you."
Azrail was angry at these remarks. He said:
Do you dislike the cold expression in my eyes?
I have taken the lives of many lovely eyed girls and brides.
Why is it you dislike my white beard?
I have taken the lives of both white-bearded and black-
That is why my own beard is white."
He then continued in this way: "Oh, madman! You were boasting and
saying that you would kill the red-winged Azrail if you caught him,
to save the life of the fine young lad. Oh, fool, now I have come
to take your life. Will you give it, or will you fight with me?"
Delu Dumrul asked, "Are you the red-winged Azrail?"
"Yes, I am," replied Azrail.
"Are you the one who takes the lives of these fine boys?" asked
"That is so," said Azrail.
Delu Dumrul said, "Ho, wardens, shut the doors." He then turned
Azrail and said: "O Azrail, I was expecting to catch you in a wide
open place, but I caught you in a narrow one, did I not? Let me
kill you and save the life of that fine young man." He drew his big
black sword, held it in his hand, and tried to strike Azrail with
it, but Azrail became a pigeon and flew out of the window. Delu
Dumrul, a monster of a man, clapped his hands and burst out in
laughter. He said: "My friends, I frightened Azrail so much that he
ran out, not through the wide open door, but through the chimney.
To save himself from my hand, he just became a pigeon and flew
away. I shall have him caught by my falcon."
He mounted his horse, took his falcon on his wrist, and started
pursuing Azrail. He killed a few pigeons. On the way home, however,
Azrail appeared to the eyes of his horse. The horse was frightened
and threw Delu Dumrul off its back to the ground. His poor head
grew dizzy, and he became powerless. Azrail came and pressed down
upon his white chest. He had been murmuring a short while ago, but
now he gasped out through the rattle in his throat:
"O Azrail, have mercy!
There is no doubt about the unity of Allah.
I was uninformed about you.
I did not know you secretly took lives.
We have mountains with large peaks;
We have vineyards on those mountains;
In those vineyards there are vines with bunches of black
And, when pressed, those grapes make wine, red wine.
A man who drinks that wine grows drunk.
Thus I was drunk, and so I did not hear.
I did not know what I had said.
I have not tired of the role of bey.
I wish to live out more years of my youth.
O Azrail, please spare this life of mine."
Azrail said: "You mad rascal, why do you beg mercy from me? Beg
mercy from Almighty Allah. What is in my hands? I am but a
Delu Dumrul said, "Is it, then, Almighty Allah who gives and takes
"Of course," said Azrail.
Delu Dumrul then turned to Azrail and said: "You are a cursed
fellow. Do not interfere with my business. Let me talk with
Almighty Allah myself." Delu Dumrul spoke to Allah. Let us listen,
my khan, to what he said:
"You are higher than the highest.
No one knows how high you are,
Allah the Magnificent.
Fools search for you up in the sky and on earth;
You are found in the hearts of the faithful,
Eternal and Almighty Allah.
Immortal, merciful Allah,
If you wish to take my life away,
Then take it by yourself.
Let not Azrail do it."
Almighty Allah was pleased with the way Delu Dumrul ad dressed him
this time. He shouted to Azrail that, because the mad rascal
believed in His oneness, he was giving him his blessing and that
his life might be spared if he could find another willing to serve
as a substitute for him.
Azrail said to Delu Dumrul, "Oh, Delu Dumrul, it is the command of
Almighty Allah that you should provide the life of some- one else
for your own, which will then be spared."
Delu Dumrul said: "How can I find someone else's life? I have no
one in the world but an old mother and an old father. Let us go and
see if one of them will give his life for me. If so, you can take
it, and leave me mine." Delu Dumrul rode to his father's house,
kissed his father's hand, and spoke to him. Let us see, my khan,
what he said to his father.
"My white-bearded father, beloved and respected,
Do you know what has happened to me?
I spoke in blasphemy,
And my words made Allah the Almighty angry.
He commanded the red-winged Azrail above
To fly from the sky.
He pressed on my white chest, sitting on me.
He made my throat rattle, almost took my sweet life.
Father, I beg you to give me your life.
Will you give me it, Father?
Or would you prefer to weep after me, saying,
'My son, Delu Dumrul!'"
His father answered:
"Son, Son, oh, my son!
A part of my life, oh, Son.
Lionlike son, for whom I once had slaughtered nine camels,
Backbone of my house with its chimneys of gold,
A flower to my gooselike daughters and brides.
If need be, command the black mountain out yonder
To come here and serve as Azrail's pasture.
If need be, then let my cool springs be his fountain.
If need be, then give him my stables of beautiful horses to
If need be, my caravan camel can carry his goods.
If need be, the white sheep that stand in my fold
Can be cooked in the kitchen for food at his feast.
If need be, my silver and gold money will be for him.
But the world is too sweet, and living too dear
To spare my own life. So know this.
There remains yet your mother, more dear and beloved
Son, go to your mother."
Refused by his father, Delu Dumrul next rode to his mother and said
"Do you know what has happened to me, my mother?
The red-winged Azrail flew down from the sky
And pressed my white chest as he sat upon me.
He made my throat rattle, almost took away life.
My father denied me the life that I asked from him, Mother.
I ask you for yours, now, my mother.
Will you give me your life?
Or would you prefer to weep after me, saying,
'My son, Delu Dumrul'
While scratching your white face with sharp fingernails
And tearing your black [sic] spearlike hair?"
Let us hear, my khan, what his mother said.
"Son, Son, oh, my son!
Son, whom I carried nine months in my narrow womb,
Whom I bore in the tenth month
And swaddled in the cradle with care,
Whom I fed my abundant white milk.
Son, I wish you had rather been held in a white-towered
Been held there by infidel men with religion so foul,
So that then I might have saved you, using the power of
But instead, you are sunk to a frightful position
Where I cannot reach you.
The world is too sweet, and the human soul too dear
To spare my own life. So know this."
His mother also refused to give her life for him. Azrail there-
fore came to take Delu Dumrul's life. Delu Dumrul said:
"O Azrail, be not hasty.
There is no doubt about the oneness of Allah.t
Azrail replied: "Oh, you madman, why do you keep begging for mercy?
You went to your white-bearded father, but he refused to give you
his life. You then went to your white-haired mother, and she also
refused to give you her life. Who do you think will give you his
"I have yet a loved one. Let me go and see her," said Delu Dumrul.
"%o is your loved one, mad fellow?" asked Azrail.
'I have a lawful wife, the daughter of a man from another tribe,
and I have two children by her. Take my life after I visit them. I
have a few things to say to them." He rode then to his wife and
said to her,
"Do you know what has happened to me?
The red-winged Azrail flew down from the sky
And pressed my white chest as he sat upon me.
He almost took away my sweet life.
My father denied me the life that I asked from him.
I went to my mother, but she refused, too.
They said that the world was too sweet and life was too dear.
Let my high black mountains now be your pasture.
Let my cooling springs be your fountain.
Let my stables of beautiful horses be yours now to ride.
Let my beautiful gold-chimneyed house give you shelter.
Let my caravan camels carry your goods.
Let white sheep in my fold be served at your feast.
Go, marry another,
Whomever your heart loves.
Let not our two sons remain orphans."
His wife then spoke. Let us hear, my khan, what she said.
"What is it you say,
My strong ram, my young shah.
Whom I loved at first sight,
And gave all of my heart?
Whom I gave my sweet lips to be kissed;
Whom I slept with upon the same pillow, and loved.
What shall I do with the black mountains yonder When you are
no longer here?
Should I take my flock there, let my grave be there, too?
Should I sip your cool springs, let my blood run like water.
Should I spend your gold coins, let them be for my shroud.
Should I ride on your stables of beautiful horses, let them be
Should I love, after you, any other young man
And marry him, lie with him;
Let him turn serpent and then let him bite me.
What is there in life
That your miserable parents
Could spare not their own lives for yours?
Let the heavens, the eight-storied heavens, be witness;
Let the earth and the sky be my witness, as well;
Let Almighty Allah be witness for me:
Let my life be a sacrifice made for the sake of your own."
Saying this, she consented to die, and Azrail came to take the
But that monster of a man, Delu Dumrul, could not spare his
companion. He pleaded with Almighty Allah. Let us hear how he
"Thou art higher than the highest;
No one knows how high you are,
Allah the Magnificent!
Fools search for you in the sky and on earth,
But you live in the heart of the faithful.
Eternal and merciful Allah,
Let me build needed homes for the poor
Along the main roads of the land.
Let me feed hungry men for your sake when I see them.
If you take any life, take the lives of us both.
If you spare any life, spare the lives of us both,
Merciful Almighty Allah."
Almighty Allah was pleased with Delu Dumrul's words. He gave his
orders to Azrail: "Take the lives of Delu Dumrul's father and
mother. I have granted a life of 140 years to this lawfully married
couple." Azrail proceeded to take the lives of the father and
mother right away, but Delu Dumrul lived with his wife for 140
Dede Korkut came and told tales and sang legends. He said: "Let
this legend be Delu Dumrul's. Let heroic minstrels after me sing
it, and let generous men with clean foreheads listen to it."
Let me pray, my khan: May your rugged black mountains never fall
down. May your large shade tree never be felled. May your clear
running streams never dry up. May Almighty Allah never let you be
at the mercy of the base. We have spoken five words of prayer in
behalf of your white forehead. May they be accepted. May He clear
away your sins and forgive them for the sake of Mohammed with the
The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend VII
The Son of Yigenek, Son of Kazilik Koja
One day, Bayindir Khan, the son of Kam Gan, arose and ordered that
his magnificent tent be erected on the surface of the black earth.
Its colorful canopy rose high into the sky. Silk carpets were
spread out by the thousand. The princes of the Inner Oghuz and the
Outer Oghuz were gathered together, talking, eating, and drinking.
There was a man there by the name of Kazilik Koja, who was the
vizier of Bayindir Khan. When the strong wine had gone to his head,
he fell to his large knees and asked Bayindir Khan for permission
to carry out a raid on the enemy. Bayindir Khan consented to his
request, saying, "Go wherever you wish to go."
Kazilik Koja was a man of experience and competence. He gathered
his old warriors and set out with them, carrying pro visions for
their trip. They crossed many mountains, hills, and dales, until
finally one day they arrived before Duzmurd Castle on the Black
Sea, where they set up their camp.
The castle was under the command of an infidel prince called Direk
Tekur, the son of Arshun. A man sixty yards tall, he used to throw
a club weighing sixty batmans, and he had a very strong and tightly
strung bow. As soon as Kazilik Koja reached the castle, he began to
attack it. The infidel prince came out and demanded a single
warrior with whom to fight. As soon as Kazilik Koja saw him, he
rushed at him like the wind, and stuck to him like glue. He struck
at the infidel's neck with his sword, but was unable to cut it. Now
it was the infidel's turn to strike, and he hit Kazilik Koja with
his huge club weighing sixty batmans. When he received this blow,
Kazilik Koja thought the mortal world was falling in on him. Blood
gushed from his body. They captured him and imprisoned him in the
castle, while his warriors fled. Kazilik Koja remained in that
castle for exactly sixteen years. Although a man by the name of
Emen went six different times to take the castle, he failed each
At the time of the capture of Kazilik Koja, he had a son who was
one year old. He reached the age of fifteen thinking that his
father was dead. It had been forbidden that anyone tell him the
truth. This young man's name was Yigenek. One day when Yigenek was
sitting and talking with the beys, he was involved in an argument
with Budak the son of Kara Gone, and some harsh words were
exchanged between the two. Budak said: "Why do you talk so much? If
you think you are someone important, go and rescue your father from
the prison where he has been held for sixteen years."
When Yigenek heard this, his heart jumped and his chest heaved. He
got up and went to the presence of Bayindir Khan. Putting his face
to the ground, he said,
"You, whose majestic white tent stands alone in the dawn,
With its canopy made of blue Atlas;
You, who own stables of powerful horses;
You, at whose call many chamberlains jump;
Man of abundance, from whom butter falls when he moves;
Support of young warriors in time of distress;
The hope of the poor;
The main pole of all Turkestan;
The young of the full-feathered bird;
The lion of Emet Stream;
The tiger of Karachuk;
O, Royal Highness, give help!
Give me troops and send me to the castle where my father is
Bayindir Khan commanded, "Let the twenty-four banner-beys assemble
here!" He then said to Yigenek: "Delu Tundar, the son of Kiyan
Seljuk, who fought at Iron Gate Pass, making his enemy cry at the
point of his spear, who never asks his enemy 'Who are you?' when he
reaches him-let him go with you. Dulek Evren, the son of Eylik
Koja, who made his horse swim across the River of Aygir Gozler and
took the locks from fifty-seven castles-let him also go with you.
ilalmish, the son of Yaghrinchi, whose beechen arrows always pass
through the double bastions-let him go with you. Let Rustem, the
son of Toghsun, who cries bitterly it he does not see the enemy
three times, also go with you. Let even Delu Evren, who rescues men
from the mouths of monsters, go with you. Let Soghan Saru, who
says, 'I can reach from one end of the earth to the other,' also
go." From among the countless Oghuz heroes, Bayindir Khan ordered
twenty-four brave banner-beys to accompany Yigenek.
During that same night, Yigenek had a dream, and in the morning he
told the following dream to his companions: "O, beys, while asleep
last night, this poor and unfortunate head of mine had a dream.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the world crowded with heroes riding
on gray-dappled horses. I took the white-helmeted heroes with me,
and then I received advice from the white-bearded Dede Korkut. I
crossed the long ranges of black mountains and reached a sea lying
below me. There I built myself a boat and made a sail for it out of
my shirt. I sailed through the sea lying under me. On the other
side of the black mountains I saw a man whose head and forehead
were shining. I rose and went toward him, holding my spear in my
hand. I went and stood before him. When I was about to pierce him,
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and realized that he
was my maternal uncle Emen. I greeted him and asked him who he was
among the Oghuz. Lifting his eyes, he looked at me and asked,
'Yigenek, my son, where are you going?' I replied, 'I am going to
Duzmurd Castle, where I have heard my father is imprisoned.' My
uncle spoke to me as follows:
'I once had seven warriors faster than the wind.
My warriors were like wolves out of the seven mountains.
My bowstring then was pulled by seven men
To shoot my beechen arrows with gold fins.
Winds blew, rains fell, and fog descended-
I tried to take that castle seven times,9 and then returned.
You cannot show more courage there than I;
My Yigenek, turn back!'"
Yigenek in his dream spoke as follows to his uncle:10
"When you arose from where you sat,
You did not lead forth brown-eyed princely men with you;
You did not gallop out with well-known beys.
You must have taken mercenary troops for five akchas apiece,
And that is why you failed to take the fort."
"Stewed meat is good to eat, slice after slice.
A powerful horse is good in time of need.
Good luck is useful while it lasts.
The mind is good if it does not forget;
And valor, too, is good if there is no retreating from the foe."
Yigenek told this dream to his companions. It happened that his
uncle Emen was not very far away at that moment. He joined the
beys, and they all went forward together. They finally reached
Duzmurd Castle, around which they set up camp.
As soon as the infidels saw them, they reported their arrival to
Direk Tekur, the son of Arshun. When that cursed fellow heard this,
he came out of his castle fully armed and challenged any single
warrior to fight. Delu Tundar, the son of Kiyan Seljuk, stood up,
holding his sharp spear as long as sixty fists under his arm, and
tried to knock down the infidel standing before him, but he failed.
The infidel bey grabbed his spear and shook it out of his hand, and
dealt Tundar such a mighty blow with his club that weighed sixty
batmans that it sent him sprawling. The wide world seemed like a
narrow place to Tundar. He turned his horse back and withdrew from
Next, Dulek Evren, who never turned from the enemy, spurred his
horse and tried to strike the infidel and knock him off his horse
with his six-jointed club, but he could not do it. The infidel
grabbed his club from his hand and struck him with his mace. He
also turned his Kazilik horse back and abandoned the fight. My
khan, twenty-four banner-beys were defeated by this infidel bey.
Then Yigenek, the son of Kazilik Koja, the fresh young man, put
himself under the protection of Allah and prayed to Him as follows:
"You are higher than the highest;
No one knows how high you are,
You were not by mother born.
You were not by sire begotten.
You have eaten no one's food.
You have brought to no one trouble.
You are everywhere the same.
You are the eternal Allah.
You have given a crown to Adam.
You have placed a curse on Satan,
And have dismissed him from your presence
Because of his offense.
When Nimrod shot an arrow at the sky,
You stopped it with the split-bellied fish.
There is no limit to your power.
There is no limit to your height.
Your form is incorporeal.
Great Allah, who does not permit to thrive
One whom He strikes,
Who moves with silent footsteps,
O glorious Allah, who sends mortal man to heaven,
But angered, He destroys the objects of His wrath.
Almighty Allah, I affirm your oneness.
I ride against the black-dressed infidel.
I leave my future in your hands."
Having spoken thus, he let his reins fall loose. He rode like the
wind and stuck like glue. He struck the infidel's shoulder with his
sword, tore through his armor, and gashed his flesh six fingers
deep. The infidel's black boots were filled with blood. His
ill-starred head was dizzy, and he was stunned. He turned and rode
toward the castle with Yigenek in pursuit. As he was going through
the castle gate, Yigenek dealt him such a blow on the neck with his
sword that his head fell to the ground like a ball. After this,
Yigenek turned back and went to the place where his troops waited.
Kazilik Koja, who was imprisoned in that castle, was released, and
as he came out he asked, "Ho! princely warriors! Who killed the
infidel?" Let us see, my khan, what else he said.
"I left the female camel pregnant in my herd;
I wish I knew if it bore male or female.
I left the black sheep in the land of mourning pregnant;
I wish I knew if it bore ram or ewe.
I left my brown-eyed lawful wife with child;
I wish I knew if it be girl or boy.
For Allah's sake, O princely men, tell me the truth.t
Yigenek spoke. Let us see, my khan, what he said.
"You left the female camel pregnant in your herd;
A male camel was born.
You left your black sheep in the land of mourning pregnant;
A ram was born.
You left your brown-eyed lawful wife with child;
A lion was born.''
Yigenek embraced his father, and then all the beys embraced him.
After that, they all attacked the castle and plundered it. Yigenek
and his father embraced and rejoiced in finding one another. They
howled like the wolves of lonely mountains and expressed their
gratitude to Allah. They pulled down the chapel of the castle and
turned it into a mosque. They had a sermon delivered there in the
name of beloved Allah. They put aside a rare bird, fine fabrics, a
beautiful girl, a gold-embroidered dress, and one-fifth of their
spoils as gifts to Bayindir Khan. The rest they gave to the heroes.
Then they returned home.
Dede Korkut came and told legends and sang heroic songs, and he
said, "Let this Oghuz legend be Yigenek's."
Let me pray, my khan. May your native black mountains never fall
down. May your large shade tree never be felled. May your
white-bearded father go to heaven. May your white-haired mother
place of rest be paradise, and may Allah never let her deviate from
the true faith in her last years. We have offered a prayer of five
words in your presence. May it be accepted. May Allah forgive your
sins for the sake of Mohammed Mustafa-his name be praised-oh, my
The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend IX
The Story of Emren, Son of Begil
Bayindir Khan, the son of Kam Gan, arose from his place and had his
large white tent erected on the surface of the black earth. His
brown canopy colored the sky, and his silk carpets were spread out
in a thousand places. The beys of the Inner and Outer Oghuz were
all invited to his presence.
The tribute of the nine divisions of Georgia was brought forward.
It consisted only of a horse, a sword, and a club, and Bayindir
Khan was very much disappointed with it. Dede Korkut came, played
the kopuz, and then asked, "My khan, why are you upset?"
Bayindir Khan replied: "Why should I not be upset? Every year in
the past they sent gold and silver money, which we distributed
among the beys and young men to make them happy. Now, to whom can
I give these things? Whom would I make happy with them?"
Dede Korkut suggested, "My khan, let us give these three things to
a young man, and let him serve as the watchman of the oghuz."
Bayindir Khan asked, "Yo whom shall we give them?" He looked to
left and his right, but no one would accept them. There was a man
there by the name of Begil. Bayindir Khan looked at him and said,
"What do you say?"
Begil accepted the gifts by standing up and then kissing the earth.
Dede Korkut politely girded him with the sword, placed the club on
his shoulder, and attached his bow to his wrist. Begil had his
strong horse brought to him so that he could mount it. He packed up
his tent, gathered his relatives, broke camp, and left the Oghuz.
Going to Berde and Genje, he settled there to patrol the border of
an area where nine divisions of Georgians were stationed. Whenever
a stranger or an infidel came along, he cut off his head and sent
it to the Oghuz as a gift.
He attended Bayindir Khan's annual council, but one day a messenger
came from Bayindir Khan asking him to report to the court right
away. Begil went to Bayindir Khan's court, presented him his gifts,
and kissed his hand. The Khan entertained him as his guest,
rewarding him with a good horse, fine clothes, and much gold. Begil
was the Khan's house guest for three days. One day the Khan said,
"Beys, let us entertain him now as our hunting guest and feed him
with game for three more days." A hunting party was announced.
While preparations were being made for the hunt, some of the beys
praised their horses, while others boasted about the way they drew
their swords and shot their arrows. Salur Kazan praised neither his
horse nor himself, but he talked about Begil's skill as a hunter.
If there was a hunting party of three hundred and sixty- six
horsemen and they went after a deer, Begil would neither pull his
bowstring nor shoot his arrow. He used to remove his bow from over
his wrist and just throw it around the neck of the male deer or
wild cattle, and stop the animal by pulling it. If the animal was
lean, he used to make a hole through its ear as a sign and let it
free. If the animal was fat, he used to cut its throat. Whenever
the beys killed a deer with a hole in its ear, they knew that it
was Begil's and they would send it to him.
Kazan Bey wondered aloud, "Is the skill in the horse or in the
Those present said, "It is in the man, my khan."
The khan insisted: "No, if the horse does not do his work, the man
cannot boast. The skill is in the horse."
Begil was not pleased with these remarks of the khan. He said, "You
have pushed us into the mud with the crupper of our horse, and
among all these heroes." He just dropped the gifts he had received
from Bayindir in front of him, for he was offended, and then he
left his council. They brought him his horse, and he rode home
with his brown-eyed companions. There, his sons came out to meet
them, but he would not fondle them; he would not talk to his
She addressed him at this point. Let us hear, my khan, what she
"My bey, the master of my golden throne,
You whom I loved with all my heart
When I opened my eyes. You arose and set out
And, taking your brown-eyed companions,
You crossed, by night, the Ala Mountain with the curving back;
You crossed, by night, swift rivers and fair streams,
To reach, by night, the council of the white-browed Bayindir,
You ate and drank among the brown-eyed beys.
Saw you not your relatives and tribesmen?
Were you angered in some argument?
And where is your fine horse?
You lack your golden armor and your helmet.
You failed to fondle your young brown-eyed sons.
You spoke not to your white-faced love.
Now tell me what it is that troubles you."
Begil replied to his wife. Let us see, my khan, what he said to
"I stood up from my place to go,
Mounting my black-maned Kazilik horse.
I crossed, by night, the Ala Mountain with the curving back;
I crossed, by night, swift rivers and fair streams;
I reached the council of the white-browed Bayindir;
I ate and drank among the brown-eyed beys.
I saw my tribesmen and my relatives.
I saw, too, that our khan's eyes turned away from us.
Let all the camp prepare to move,
For we shall go to Georgian lands.
Let it be known that I revolted from the Oghuz."
His wife said: "My man, my bey, the kings are the shadows of Allah
on earth. Whoever revolts against his king will have bad luck. If
there is rust in a clean heart, wine will remove it. Since you went
away, no one has hunted on your beautiful mountains stretching
yonder. Go there and hunt. It will cheer your heart."
Begil found his wife's advice to be reasonable. Having his Kazilik
horse brought out, he mounted it and went hunting. As he wandered
about, hunting, a deer jumped out along the trail before him. He
let his horse chase the deer, and, when they reached the animal, he
just put his bowstring around its neck. The animal jumped down a
steep decline, however, and Begil, who could not stop his horse,
flew after the deer and broke his right leg when it struck a rock.
He raised himself and cried out, "I have neither a grown son nor a
brother to help me now." He took an arrowhead from his quiver, and,
cutting the cruppers of his horse, he tied it firmly around his leg
beneath his clothes. Gathering what strength he had left, he leaped
upon his horse, held tightly to its mane, and rode back all alone.
As he approached his camp, his turban became tangled around his
He was met by his son Emren Bahadir, who saw that his father's face
was pale and that his turban had fallen around his neck. The boy
questioned his father about his companions. Let us see, my khan,
what he said.
"You stood up from your place to go,
Mounting your black-maned Kazilik horse.
You went to hunt at the foot of yonder mountains brown.
Were you met by black-dressed infidels?
Were all your dark-eyed warriors killed?
Tell it all briefly, for my poor head is a sacrifice for you."
Let us see how Begil answered his son, my khan.
"Son, Son, oh, Son!
I stood up from my place and went
To hunt at the foot of yonder mountains dark.
I was not met by black-dressed infidels,
Nor were my brown-eyed warriors killed.
Fear not, my son. My comrades are all safe and strong.
But I have not been well for three days, Son.
Remove me from my horse and bear me to my bed."
The son of a lion is also a lion. He put his arms around his
father, took him down from his horse, and carried him to his bed.
He covered him with his cloaks and shut the door of his room.
When Begil's young companions had seen that the hunt had ended,
each went to his home. For five days after that, Begil did not
appear at the council, nor did he tell anyone that his leg was
broken. One morning as he was moaning and sighing in his bed, his
wife said to him: "My young bey, if you had been met by superior
enemy forces, you would not have minded that. If an arrow were
stuck in your thigh, you would not moan. Will you not tell your
secret to your legal wife who sleeps with you? What is the matter
Begil replied, "My love, I fell from my horse and my leg was
She clapped her hands and told this news to the servant. She went
outside and told it to the doorkeeper. What came out through the
thirty-two teeth spread throughout the camp in no time: "Begil fell
off his horse, and his leg was broken!"
It happened that there was an infidel spy in that place. He heard
the news and reported it to his king, who said: "Bestir yourselves!
Catch Begil Bey while he is lying in his bed. Bind his hands, cut
off his beautiful head, and spill his red blood upon the earth.
Plunder his tribe and his camp, and capture both his daughters and
It happened that Begil also had a spy in the area. He sent word to
Begil, saying: "Prepare for battle! The enemy is coming."
Begil looked up and said, ~The heavens are deep and far away, and
the earth is hard." He called his son to his side and spoke to him.
Let us hear, my khan, what he said.
"Son, Son, oh, Son!
The light of my eyes in darkness, Son!
The strength of my backbone, Son!
Now see what befell me;
See what recently happened to me.
Son, I arose from my place
And mounted the red stallion's back-may its neck be broken.
While I hunted and wandered about,
He was angry and threw me to earth,
So I broke my right leg.
It was this that befell my poor head.
The news has now crossed the dark mountains,
Has crossed rivers flowing with blood,
Until it has reached Iron Gate Pass,
Where Shokli Melik with his dappled horse
In ambush waits, while the smoke from his camp
Settles round the dark mountains.
He has ordered that Begil Bey be caught in his bed
And his white hands be tied,
That his colorful camp should be plundered,
His pale daughters and daughters-in-law should be captured.
Son, arise from your place and depart.
Go quickly and mount your black Kazilik horse.
Pass, by night, over yon Ala Mountain
To reach the council of white-browed Bayindir, our khan.
Greet Bayindir there with the word of your mouth
And then kiss the hand of Kazan, bey of beys.
Tell how your white-bearded father is pressed,
How he wishes Kazan Bey to come to his aid.
Tell him lest he comes, the land will be ruined,
My daughters and daughters-in-law will be captured."
The son replied to his father. Let us see what he said, my khan.
"My father, what is it you say?
Oh, why are you burning my heart?
I refuse to arise from my place and depart,
Or to mount my big Kazilik horse with black mane,
Or to pass Ala Mountain with back that is curved,
Or to go to the council of white-browed Bayindir.
Who is Kazan, I ask? I shall not kiss his hand.
Give to me the red stallion beneath you.
Let me ride him until he sweats blood.
Give to me your steel armor all hard-backed;
Let me put on the clothes made for you.
Give to me your black sword made of steel;
Let me cut human heads off for you.
Give to me your white-tailed whistling arrow;
Let me shoot it through enemy ranks.
Give to me your three hundred bold warriors;
Let me fight in the cause of Mohammed's religion for you."
Begil replied to this as follows: "I am extremely pleased with what
you have said, Son. I only hope that you will fight just as hard as
I would. Ho! Bring my armor and let my son wear it. Bring my
stallion and let my son mount it. Let him enter the battlefield
before my people are frightened."
After the young man was arrayed, he embraced his father and mother
and kissed their hands. Taking his three hundred men, he reached
the field of battle. Whenever the red stallion picked up the scent
of the enemy, he would paw the earth with his hooves, sending a
cloud of dust skyward.
The infidels said: "That horse is Begil's! Let us go!"
Their bey said: "Look well, and let me know if it is Begil coming.
If it is, I shall run away before you do."
A watchman looked and saw that the horse was indeed Begil's,
though Begil himself was not on it. There was instead a small
birdlike boy on the horse. He went and reported this to the
infidel bey, saying, "The horse, the weapons, and the helmet are
Begil's, but Begil himself is not there."
The infidel bey said, "Select one hundred men to make a lot of
noise and frighten the boy, for boys are bird-hearted. He will
just leave the field and run away."
One hundred men were selected, and they rode against the boy,
addressing him as follows:
"Boy, boy, oh, boy!
Oh, bastard boy!
Whose horse beneath him is so lean, oh, boy.
Whose black steel sword is nicked, oh, boy.
Whose spear is notched, oh, boy.
Whose bow with white bowstring is short, oh, boy.
Whose quiver holds far fewer arrows than ninety, oh, boy.
Whose companions are naked, oh, boy.
Whose dark eyes are weakened, oh, boy.
Shokli Melik has made awful plans for you, boy.
'Catch that boy on the field.
Tie his hands round his wrists.
Then cut off his beautiful unthinking head,
And pour his red blood on the ground."
If you have a white-bearded father, preserve him from tears.
If you have a white-headed mother, preserve her from pain.
A brave hero cannot fight alone.
The wormwood is held by weak roots.
You cuckold, the son of a cuckold, your time is at hand.
Turn back and depart!"
But the boy replied to him as follows:
"Speak not such nonsense, oh, infidel dog!
Do you fear the red stallion that gallops beneath me?
As soon as he saw you, he started to prance.
The steel armor I wear is tight on my shoulder.
My sword of black steel cuts its sheath with impatience.
Why do you not like my spear?
It can cut through your breast, then fly into the sky.
Loud is the twang of my bowstring strong.
In their quiver my arrows lie restless.
My men all demand that we fight.
It is shameful to try to intimidate heroes.
Step forward, oh, infidel. Now let us fight."
The infidel replied, "A spoiled Oghuz is like a mad Turkoman! Look
The infidel bey said, "Go and ask what relation he is to Begil."
The infidel came and talked to the young man in the following
manner. Let us see what he said to him.
"We know the red stallion beneath you is Begil's;
But where now is Begil?
Your sword of black steel-that is Begil's;
But where now is Begil?
The steel armor you wear-that is Begil's;
But where now is Begil?
The young men who ride with you are Begil's;
But where now is Begil?
If Begil himself were at hand,
We should fight through the day into night;
We should pull our hard bowstrings,
And shoot white-tailed arrows that whistle.
Now tell us, young man-what relation is Begil to you?"
The son of Begil spoke to them at this point. Let us see what he
said. "Oh, you infidel, do you not know me? The white-browed
Bayindir Khan's chief bey, Salur Kazan, his brother Kara Gone,
Donebilmez Dulek Evren, Alp Rustem, the son of Duzen, and Beyrek
with the Gray Horse were drinking in Begil Bey's house when one of
your spies came. Begil gave me his red stallion, his steel sword,
his spear, and three hundred warriors. I am Begil's son, oh,
infidel. Come and let us fight."
The infidel bey replied: "Beware, oh, son of a cuckold! I am
coming!" He took his six-jointed club and rode toward the young
man, who held his shield up against the club. The infidel dealt the
young man a terrific blow from above, breaking his shield, denting
his helmet, and scraping its visor, but he could not kill him.
They fought with their clubs and swords all over the field. Their
shoulders were bruised and their swords bent, but neither was able
to defeat the other. They attacked one another with their spears,
butted one another like bulls in the arena, and struck one another
on the chests with their spears, both of which were broken. They
grappled while riding their horses, pushing and pulling each
other. The infidel finally overwhelmed the young man, who was
Emren prayed to Almighty Allah as follows. Let us see what he said.
"You are higher than the highest, Allah the Sublime;
No one knows how high, O fairest Allah.
You gave a crown to Adam.
You placed a curse on Satan,
Dismissed him from your presence.
Abraham you saved,
Wrapped in a skin,
When he was cast into the flames,
And made a garden amidst the flames.
I come for refuge underneath your oneness.
Dear venerable Allah, help me now."
The infidel said: "Young man, are you praying to your god because
you are defeated? If you have one god, I have seventy two houses
The young man said, "Ho, you cursed heretic; if you are begging
help from your idols, I am taking refuge in my Allah, who created
the universe out of nothing."
Almighty Allah gave an order to Gabriel: "O Gabriel, go to that
young man. I have given him the strength of forty men." The young
man approached the infidel and struck him down. Blood began to gush
out of his nose. The young man sprang like a falcon and grasped the
infidel by the throat.
He said: "Oh, young man, wait. What is your religion called?
I have decided to join your religion." Lifting his finger and
confirming the oneness of Allah, he became a Moslem. When the rest
of the infidels saw this, they fled from the field. Raiders then
destroyed the infidel's camp and captured his daughters and
The young man had the good news carried to his father by a
messenger, saying, "I have defeated my enemy." His white-haired
father came out to welcome him. He embraced his son, and they went
He gave his son a grazing ground on the dark mountains lying
yonder. He gave him fast black horses to ride and white sheep to be
slaughtered for his banquet. He arranged for a bride with a red
trousseau for his brown-eyed son. He sent one-fifth of all his
spoils to white-browed Bayindir Khan. Taking his son with him
then, he went to Bayindir Khan's council. He kissed his hand. The
ruler showed a place to the right of Uruz, the son of Kazan. He
had him dressed in a gown. Dede Korkut came and played the kopuz
and recited this Oghuz legend, saying, "This Oghuz namah is for
Emren, son of Begil." He then told legends about the deeds of
Let me pray, my khan: May your dark native mountains never fall
down. May your big shady tree never be cut down, your Allah-given
hope never be lost; and may Allah forgive your sins, for the sake
of Mohammed-his name be praised-oh, my khan.
The Book of Dede Korkut: Legend X
The Story of Seghrek, Son of Ushun Koja
During the time of the Oghuz, there was a man by the name of Ushun
Koja who had two sons. The elder son, who was called Eghrek, was a
brave, reckless, and fine young man. He used to attend Bayindir
Khan's meetings whenever he wished. The doors of the council of
Kazan Bey, the bey of beys, were always open to him. He used to
step over the beys and sit right in front of Kazan. He did not care
about the rules of precedence.
One day, when, as usual, he stepped over the beys and sat in front,
a man of the Oghuz who was called Ters Uzamish said to him: "O son
of Ushun Koja, each one of these beys sitting here has earned his
place with his sword and bread. What have you ever done? Have you
cut off heads, shed blood, fed the hungry, or dressed the naked?"
To this, Eghrek replied, "Ho, you, Ters Uzamish, do you think
cutting off heads and shedding blood are acts of great skill?"
"Indeed they are," replied Ters Uzamish.
To these words of Ters Uzamish, Eghrek could not say anything. A
few minutes later, he stood up and asked Kazan Bey's permission to
make a raid. The permission was granted. He announced this fact and
began to raise men for the raid. Three hundred men with straight
spears gathered round him.
There was eating and drinking in the tavern for five full days.
After this, Eghrek raided the territory between the tip of
Shiroguven and the Gokche Sea. Much booty was taken. On the way
back he stopped by Alinja Castle. Kara Tekur had set aside a grove
there that was stocked with all kinds of game, such as geese,
hens, deer, and hares. This place was a trap set up for the Oghuz.
One day the son of Ushun Koia stopped at the grove and entered it
by tearing down its gate. He and his friends hunted fat deer,
geese, and hens there. They ate and drank, unsaddled their horses,
and took their harnesses off.
Kara Tekur had spies there who saw them and who reported to Tekur,
saying: "A company of Oghuz horsemen came, broke the gate of the
grove, and have now taken the saddles and harnesses off their
horses. Hasten!" Six hundred black-clad infidels attacked them
there, killing the Oghuz warriors and capturing Eghrek, whom they
put in the dungeon of Alinja Castle.
The news crossed the dark mountains and bloody rivers until it
reached the country of the strong Oghuz. Grief broke loose in front
of Ushun Koia's house. His gooselike daughter took off her white
clothing and put on black. Ushun Koja and his white-faced wife
cried, "Son, Son."
Whoever has sides and ribs grows. Ushun Koja's younger son Seghrek
grew to be a brave, gallant, and reckless young man. One day he
happened to go to a meeting, where he ate and drank and became
drunk. When he stepped outside to relieve himself, he saw there an
orphan beating another boy. Saying, "Here! What is going on?"
slapped both of them.
The worm in an old mulberry and the tongue of an orphan both have
a bitter taste. The orphan boy said: "Why do you hit me? Is it not
bad enough that I am an orphan? If you think you are so mighty, go
and rescue your brother from Alinja Castle, where he is
"What is the name of my brother?" asked Seghrek.
"His name is Eghrek," replied the boy.
Seghrek said: "Eghrek goes well with Seghrek. Oh, that my brother
should be alive and I should not care for him! Is it ever possible?
I shall remain no longer in Oghuz territory without a brother." He
then wept, saying, "My brother, the light of my dark eyes." He
returned to the meeting inside, took leave of the beys, and said,
"May you remain in peace."
They brought his horse, which he mounted at once and rode to his
mother's house. There he dismounted and went to learn the truth of
the matter from his mother's mouth. Let us see what he said to
"My mother, I stood up from where I sat,
And, mounted on my black-maned Kazilik horse,
I reached the foot of yonder Ala Mountain.
There was a meeting in the bloody Oghuz land;
To this I went. There, as we ate and drank,
A messenger rode up astride a gray-white horse.
He spoke about a young man they call Eghrek,
Who has been captive now for many years.
With permission of Almighty Allah,
He left that prison to go home again.
The old, the young, and everyone gave welcome to that man.
Should I go, too, my mother? Speak to me!"
His mother replied as follows:
"Let me die for the mouth that brought such words, my son.
Let me die for the tongue that uttered them, my son.
If the mountain that lies out yonder, so dark,
Once fell, now it rises again.
If the beautiful swift-running stream
Once dried up, now it rushes again.
If the branches of the large spreading tree
Withered once, it grows green once again.
If the strong Oghuz beys should set out, you go, too, my son.
And when you reach that man,
Come down from your gray-white horse;
First greet that man and shake his hands;
Then kiss his hands, embracing him,
And say: 'My brother, summit of my mountain dark,
Why stand you here? Go home at once.'"
The son replied to his mother as follows:
"May your mouth be dried up, Mother.
May your tongue rot in your head.
While I have a living brother,
I cannot remain aloof.
I cannot while brotherless remain on Oghuz land.
Did Allah not demand respect for motherhood,
I should at once cut off your lovely head.
I should at once spill out your red blood on the earth.
O, Mother, cruel mother."
His father interrupted at this time. "You have been misinformed.
That young man who escaped from the enemy prison is not your
brother; he is someone else. Do not cause your whitebearded father
and your old mother to cry."
The young man said:
"When three hundred sixty-six heroes ride forth on a hunt,
If a fight should break out for the sake of a bloody deer,
Those men who have brothers have no need of fear.
But he without brothers cries out and keeps looking around,
When struck on the back of his head,
And pours bitter tears from brown eyes.
Until you again see your brown-eyed son,
Bey Father and Lady Mother, remain in peace."
His father and mother said: "Son, do not go. The news is not true;
do not go, Son!"
But the young man said: "Do not keep me from my mission. I shall
not return to the country of the strong Oghuz before I reach the
castle in which my brother is imprisoned and find out whether he
is dead or alive. If he is dead, I shall take revenge for him."
The father and mother kept crying They sent a messenger to Kazan,
saying: "Our son found out about his brother and wants to leave in
search of him. What do you advise us to do?"
Kazan said, "Shackle his feet with horse fetters."
Seghrek had a fiancee, and the parents had her married to him
hastily. They slaughtered stallions, male camels, and rams. They
put the young man in the nuptial tent, where he and his bride lay
in the same bed. He took out his sword and put it between himself
and his bride.
The girl said: "Take away your sword, young man. Let us have our
wishes fulfilled. Let us embrace."
Seghrek said, "You, daughter of a wretch, if I ever fulfill my
nuptial night before seeing my elder brother's face or revenging
him if he is dead, may I be torn to pieces by my own sword and may
I never have a son, and, if I have one, may he die before he is
ten years old." He got out of bed, went out, and took a strong
horse from the stable and saddled it. He put on his battle dress
and armor to cover his knees and arms. He said: "Listen, girl!
Wait a year for me; if I do not return in a year, wait two years
for me; if I do not return in two years, wait three years for me;
if I still do not return, then know that I am dead. Then slaughter
my male horse and give my funeral feast. After that, marry
whoever pleases your eyes and whomever your heart loves."
The girl replied as follows. Let us see, my khan, what she said.
"Young hero, I shall wait for you a year;
If you do not return in one, I shall wait for you for two.
If you do not return in two, I shall wait for three or four.
If you do not return in four, I shall wait for you five
I shall raise a tent at the junction of six roads
And ask for news of you from those who come and go.
I shall give a horse and clothes to him who brings good news.
I shall have him dressed in robes.
I shall cut the head from him who brings bad news.
No male, not even the male fly, shall touch me.
Let us embrace in love, and then you may depart."
To this Seghrek replied: "O daughter of a scoundrel! I have taken
an oath in behalf of the head of my brother. There is no turning
back on my oath."
"Let them call me the shameless bride, but I shall not have anyone
call me the unlucky bride. I shall go and tell my father-in-law and
mother-in-law." She then continued as follows:
"Father-in-law, who is dearer to me than my father;
Mother-in-law, who is dearer to me than my mother;
From the herd the male camel, frightened, departs;
All in vain are the drivers trying to make him return.
Your big stallion is frightened and leaves;
Your grooms cannot stop it and make it turn back.
The ram of your fold is frightened and leaves;
The shepherd cannot stop it and make it turn back.
Your son with brown eyes remembers his brother and leaves;
Your daughter-in-law with white face cannot make him
Let this fact be known now to you!"
Seghrek's father and mother both sighed deeply. They stood up and
begged their son not to go, but their pleading was in vain.
He said, "I must reach that castle where my brother is being held
His parents then gave him their consent, saying: "Go then, Son, and
good luck to you. If it is your fate to return, may you then return
unharmed and well."
He kissed his parents' hands, sprang upon his black stallion, and
left by night. After galloping for three days and nights, he
passed through Dere Sham and reached the edge of the forest where
his brother was held captive in a castle. Noticing that some
infidels were grazing horses there, he drew his sword and killed
six of them. He drove away the horses by beating his small drum
and led them into the forest. Having ridden for three days and
nights, he felt very tired, and, tying the bridle of his horse to
his wrist, he fell asleep.
An enemy scout had been watching him and now went and reported
what he had seen to the infidel bey: "A crazy young man arrived
from the Oghuz; he killed several grooms, drove off the horses,
and ran them into the woods."
The infidel bey gave this order: "Pick sixty armed men, and let
them go and catch him and bring him here." They picked sixty armed
men, and these sixty infidels in armor fell upon the young man
A suit of armor is judged by its clanking and a horse by the sound
of its hoofs. You know, my khan, that horses hear well. The
stallion that the young man had ridden warned him by pulling on
its bridle. When the young man saw that a group of horsemen was
coming, he sprang up. Repeating his belief in Mohammed-may his
name be praised-he mounted his horse and struck at the
black-dressed infidels with his sword until he drove them into the
castle. Drowsiness overtook him again, and he fell asleep after
tying the bridle of his horse to his wrist, just as he had done
Those infidels who had survived the battle returned and reported to
the infidel bey what had happened. He said to them: "Shame upon you
a hundred times. Sixty of you could not catch a single young man.t
This time, one hundred infidels rode against the young man. When
the stallion warned the young man again, he saw that a large force
was approaching. He arose and mounted his horse. Repeating his
belief in Mohammed-may his name be praised-he started striking the
infidels with his sword and again drove them back into the castle.
He turned his horse and went back to his former place. Once more
he could not help being drowsy, and once more he fell asleep,
tying the bridle of his horse to his wrist. This time, the horse
freed itself from its master's wrist and ran away.
The infidels went to their bey again. He said to them, "Let three
hundred horsemen go against him this time!"
The infidels said: "No, we cannot. He will kill us all."
The infidel bey then asked: 'What are we supposed to do, then? Go
and bring that prisoner here. The belly of a kicking animal is torn
by a butting animal. Give him a horse and armor, too."
They went and said to Eghrek: "Young man, our bey has been
merciful to you. There is a crazy fellow over there who has been
stealing the subsistence of travelers, shepherds, and children. Go
kill him, and we shall set you free."
"All right," he said.
They let Eghrek out of the dungeon, after shaving his beard and
cutting his hair. They gave him a sword and a horse, and they
assigned three hundred infidels to escort him. When they
approached the young man, the three hundred infidels stopped at a
Eghrek asked, "Where is that crazy fellow?" They pointed at him
the distance. Eghrek said, "Come, let us go and catch him."
The infidels said: "Our bey ordered you to catch him. You go."
Eghrek said: "There he is. He is asleep. Let us go."
The infidels said: "He is not asleep, but he is watching us under
his arm. He will soon arise and cut us to pieces."
Eghrek said, "Then let me go and tie him hand and foot, and you
come later." He sprang up from among the infidels and rode to where
the young man lay. He dismounted and fastened the bridle of his
horse to the branch of a tree. He saw that the stranger was a
young man as handsome as the fourteenth day of the moon. He was
asleep, and there were drops of tears on his face. He was totally
unaware of anyone's coming or going. He walked around him and
stood by his head. He noticed that the young man had his kopuz
fastened to his waist. He detached it and started playing and
singing. Let us see, my khan, what he sang.
"Behold the young man who arose
And mounted his black-maned Kazilik horse
And crossed Ala Mountain with the curved back
And shot through the fast-flowing river.
Should a stranger ever sleep alone?
Should he let his white hands be bound
And himself be cast in a sty for pigs?
Would he cause his white-bearded father and
To lament and suffer for him?
Why are you sleeping, young man?
Be not a fool; raise your handsome head, O young man!
Open your light-brown eyes, young man!
Sleep has captured your soul, Allah given;
Permit not your hands to be tied round your arms;
Cause not your white-bearded father and aged mother to cry.
Who are you, young man, from the land of strong Oghuz?
For the sake of great Allah, stand up.
Know that you are surrounded
By foes on four sides."
The young man awoke with a start and stood up. He grabbed the
handle of his sword to strike the stranger, but he saw that he had
a kopuz in his hand. He said: "O infidel, I spared your life for
the sake of Dede Korkut's kopuz. If you had not had it in your
hand, I should have sliced you in two for the sake of the head of
my elder brother."
He took the kopuz from his hand, and then the young man addressed
his elder brother as follows:
"At earliest morn I arose for my brother
And rode on a light-gray horse for my brother.
Infidel, say-Is a prisoner held in your castle?
Let my luckless head be a sacrifice for you, O infidel."
His elder brother, Eghrek, replied to him as follows. Let us see,
my khan, what he said to him.
"Let me die for your mouth, my brother.
Let me die for your tongue, my brother.
May I ask what your station is?
May I ask what your watchword is
When you lose yourself in darkness?
Who is the khan who possesses your standard?
Who is your hero who rides in the front on the day of battle?
Who is your father, young man?
It is shameful to ask for the name of a hero;
But nevertheless, what is your name, young man?"
He then continued as follows:
"Are you the herdsman who grazes my camels?
Are you the groom who takes my black stallions to graze?
Are you the shepherd who grazes my flocks?
Are you the vice-regent who whispers advice to my ear?
Are you the small brother I left in the cradle?
Tell me this, O young man.
Let my luckless head be a sacrifice for you."
Seghrek then replied to his elder brother as follows:
"When I lose my way in darkness, my trust is in Allah.
Our ruler is Bayindir Khan.
If you want to know the name of my father,
His name is Ushun Koja.
If you wish to be told my name,
It is Seghrek.
Supposedly I have a brother
By the name of Eghrek."
He then added:
"I am the herdsman who grazes your camels.
I am the groom who grazes your horses.
I am the brother you left in the cradle."
His elder brother, Eghrek, replied to him as follows. Let us see
what he said.
"I could die for your mouth, my brother.
I could die for your tongue, my brother.
Have you grown into manhood already, my brother?
Did you ride so far just to search for your brother,
The two brothers embraced and cuffed one another. Eghrek kissed
his younger brother on the neck. Seghrek kissed his elder brother's
The infidels were watching them from the other side. They said:
"It looks as if they are wrestling. Perhaps our man will win."
they saw that they were embracing and talking and mounting their
Then the two began riding toward the black-dressed infidels,
striking at them with their swords. They attacked the infidels,
killing many and driving the rest into the castle. Then they
entered the forest, released the mares, and made them run wild by
playing small drums. They rode through Dere Sham River, and,
traveling by night, they reached the border of the Oghuz
Seghrek thus saved his elder brother from the hands of the cruel
infidel. He sent a messenger to his father with the good news and
asked him to come out to meet them.
The messenger reached Ushun Koja and said: "Good news! Good cheer!
Both of your sons have returned safely."
Ushun Koja rejoiced at hearing this. Drums rumbled. Golden and
bronze trumpets were blown. Large colorful tents were erected.
Stallions, male camels, and rams were slaughtered. Koja Bey went
out to meet his sons. He got down from his horse, embraced his
sons, and asked them, "Are you safe and well, sons?"
They went into his tent with the golden canopy, where there was
rejoicing, eating, and drinking. He arranged for a beautiful bride
for his elder son, too. The two brothers were each other's wedding
attendants. They entered their nuptial chambers and there had
their wishes fulfilled. Dede Korkut came and sang songs and told
No matter how long it may be, death waits at the end of life. May
you not lose your clean faith at the time of death. May your sins
be forgiven for the sake of Mohammed Mustafa, and may those saying
"Amen" see the face of Allah, O my khan.