KOJOJASH

Kojoash was the son of Karïpbay, who was from the Kïtay[1] tribe. From his early childhood, Kojojash grew up making bows from branches, arrows from reeds, and playing with a gun. When he got older, around the age of fifteen or sixteen, Kojojash became a very skilled hunter never missing his target. The Kïtay tribe lived in a place called Kürküröö located in the lower part of Talas[2] and it was generally called Karatal. Karïpbay was a humble man, who relied on his son Kojojash’s hunting skills. Having been separated from the Kïtay tribe under Kojojash’s protection, twenty families moved to a place called Karakol in the upper part of Talas. Since these twenty families’ survival depended on Kojojash’s hunting skills, they had always prayed for Kojojash’s safety.


1 - INTRODUCTION

Among the Kyrgyz tribes,
There were a people called Kïtay,
The place they inhabited,
Karakol in the upper Talas,
Was a valley wide and vast.
There were twenty families 
Who moved and lived with Kojojash
Saying that his father’s name was Karïpbay,
And that his son had become a hunter.
Kojojash became a hunter,
He was his father’s only son.
The gun’s allure was so great,
He would not come home for months,
The rocks and cliffs were his “bed.”
Kojojash, the son of Karïpbay,
When he passed the age of sixteen,
After spending six months in the mountains,
He never got tired of walking.
“My bed is the cliffs,” he said,
“Being a hunter at an early age,
Is written on my forehead,” he said,
“I’m my mother’s only son,” he said,
“I’m the only one from her womb,” he said,
He enjoyed hunting in his youth,
He’d rarely come to his ayïl [3],
“God gave me this skill,” he said.
His clothes were made out of deer’s skin,
If there were hundred deer,
He would kill them all not sparing one,
Upon shooting the deer,
He would send the news to his ayïl,
The twenty Kïtay families enjoyed
The benefit of his hunting.
“He is the only master-hunter,” they said,
“He carries a barang with six carvings on his shoulder,
[God] gave him that skill,” they said.
Kojojash lived in the wilderness,
His relatives gave their blessings
Saying: “May you have a long life!”
To the man whom they had raised.
He would come home sometimes,
For he had his parents there.
There was no match to his hunting skills,
This only son of Karïp[bay],
When it came to the gun
His skill excelled everyone else’s.
Not a day he stayed in his camp,
The mountains were his place.
Eating deer meat every day,
His people were content.
“Kojojash of the Kïtay [tribe],
Is a camel-sole hunter,
Who had seen the world,” they said.
His winged-hoofed and copper-wristed
Horse suited the hunter very well.
He walked fast and easily
On cliffs where no man could walk.


Notes:
1. Kïtay is one of the major tribes of Kyrgyz.
2. Talas is located in the northwestern part of Kyrgyzstan. It is also believed to be the birthplace of the legendary Kyrgyz hero Manas.
3. Ayïl is a nomadic “village.”
© 2004 Elmira Kmkulkz