A spring day arrived shining,
Months passed by and spring came.
Without leaving anywhere,
The hunter stayed in his camp.
Zulay sensed without him telling her
That he was caught in solemn oath.
Kojojash told no one else
The words that Eçki told him,
He remembered them all the time.
When winter left and spring arrived,
Karïpbay moved his camp
And pitched their yurts in Çïbïr.
When dawn shot its bright light,
And the Libra had faded away.
Karïpbay had purified himself
And walked towards bagïmdat.[1]
Eating tevindik[2] and walking lamely,
Getting hit by the ground every time she fell down,
A lame goat was to be seen
On a place opposite to his.
Karïpbay [?...]
Didn’t take away his eyes from the goat,
He quickly got up from his place:
“Mare herders, come here!” He cried out,
And caused a big uproar.
“Come down from hills and valleys!
The lame goat over there
Chase and catch her for me!
Hey, ayran-drinking lazy heads,[3]
All of you come over here,
Catch that lame one for me!
Hit your horse with a whip,
Block her front and back sides
Of that lame goat standing there,
And chase her riding your stallions.
Upon catching the goat
Present her to Karïp.”
If Karïpbay gave permission,
His people didn’t stand still,
Mare herders who were bored,
All of them didn’t stand still.
They all began to move,
Kayïn kurup karmashïp,
They began chasing shouting.
The stallions fell on the ground,
The words “catch and bring her”
Were heard from Karïpbay.
Sur Eçki didn’t let herself be caught,
This lamely walking sly Eçki.
Many fat stallions’ hips
Melted like butter.
Escaping them, Sur Eçki
Came to the shepherds.
Scaring off all the sheep,
She caused them to stray.
The shepherds also tried
They also chased her in chaos.
Their taytakas’ [4] laces got ripped off,
They fell down being trapped,
Many hit the rocks on the ground.
“Your goat be damned!” they cursed,
No one was able to catch her,
“She is not a goat but a devil,
Did you see her?” they said.
Leaving the shepherds in chaos,
Sur Eçki escaped them.
She separated herself from sheep,
Walking lamely through [aralap]
To the camp of Kojojash
Eçki came without fear now.
Brides and girls began to shout
Seeing Eçki’s arrival,
They informed the hunter now:
“We saw a lame goat outside,
Please kill her for us, they said,
We, the women will cook bashtang,
A juicy sour meal by adding salt.
The women should eat the meat
Of the lame one which came to the ayïl.
We’re not asking you, hunter,
To shoot for us a deer far away.
We’ll collect flour among us,
It’s not a game, kill her for us,
We’ll make a real bashtang from it.
We’ll invite you for food,
And have fun playing games.”
In the meantime she approached
Disturbing and making dogs bark
Showing her naughtiness.
The hunter had an oath not to shoot,
But for the sake of women’s words
The hunter fired one time,
By rolling the tush tuurduk[5] up.
Not caring about his shooting,
Not falling down from the gunshot,
Sur Eçki just kept going,
Showing her dignity and valor.
She had promised for the spring,
As if waiting for her oath,
Sur Eçki left the campsite,
And sat down at that time,
On a rock on küngöy.
Since the pledged Eçki came,
Misfortune and sadness fell
Onto the helpless hunter’s head.
Frowning and lamenting,
Kojojash came walking
To the side of Zulayka.
The hunter came and spoke thus,
He spoke with lament a lot:
“Zulayka, you are wise, I know,
My departure day has arrived,” he said.
“Please find a way out,” he said.
The secret of his pledge,
To his lawful wife Zulayka
The master hunter told now:
“I’m, indeed, my father’s only son,
My wife, Zulay, what do you say?
I had vowed to the lame Eçki,
I’ll will have to follow her now.
I’m, indeed, alone from Karïp,
Esteemed Zulay, what do you say?
I’ve pledged an oath with her,
I can’t stay behind, I’ll go.
I’m, indeed, alone with no siblings,
You, with a crane-like neck and camel eyes,
You’re my sibling Zulayka.
I’d sworn an oath to her,
I can’t stay, I’ll go with her.
I did my service to my people,
Without getting to know my partner well.
My poor head has suffered much
By not enjoying the joy of life,
Being separated from my virgin wife,
Wishing for the shortness of the life
Of my Kïtay clan,
Oh, Creator, you put me in trouble,
Without giving me a long life.
My father’s name is Karïpbay,
I’m the only crow-like child,
Esteemed Zulay, what do you say?
Since you’re my partner whom I love.
After chasing behind the lame [goat],
Will I ever come back again?
Will I ever see alive again
My lawful wife Zulayka?
If I don’t come back from this journey,
Please take care well without hurting
My father and mother.
I wonder, will I catch her or not,
My heart has become sad and empty.
Will I catch her, I wonder?
Eçki after which I chase.
Will I join my head again
With my beloved partner Zulayka?
My heart has become empty in grief.
Will [God] join me again
To my lawful wife Zulay?”
The hunter spoke with sadness
To his beloved partner Zulayka:
“Although your father is Kojo,
Your charm is like that of angel,
I didn’t say a word to my people,
For I feel closer to you.
Like a thing which gave an oath,
The cursed Eçki is sitting straight
On the say keri.
Sur Eçki is waiting there
Hoping for the pledged hunter.
Even though you’re a woman,
I told my words to you alone.
Karïpbay and Koshbiykeç
They both became old now.
They’re stoved and barely walk.
Give strength to them, Zulayka,
Telling them that their son will come one day.
I told you a lot of my laments
For I love you more than my people,
Because I know you’re wise and strong.
I don’t want to tell my relatives,
I have told my words in heart
To my beloved partner,
To my friend who knows my value.
You’re wise, so, don’t lament
Saying that your husband, the hunter left
Chasing after the lame [goat].
Don’t the enemy know about it,
Don’t be sad and lose your hope, Zulayka,
Saying that your faithful hunter left.
One who goes far away will die,
One who stays in ayïl also dies,
What can you do, if God
Created me with sadness in the beginning?!
One who leaves his people will die,
One who lives among people will also die,
What can you do if God
Created me with burden in the beginning?
I’ll gather my strength and hope,
You’re my equal Zulayka,
Who blossoms and walks like a kaltar[6].
I can’t just stay behind her,
For I have pledged an oath to her,
My death is near, I die at home.
With my barang with six carvings in my hand,
I’m going to a far away place.
Don’t be sad, be strong,
Time will show what will happen!
Farewell, Zulay, good-bye for now,
My beloved friend alal
Let me tie my çarïks on my feet,
Let me tie the beldik on my waist.
Let me go after Eçki
To whom I have sworn an oath.”
The hunter finished his words,
His lawful wife Zulayka,
Her heart burned like embers.
Zulayka then said these words:
“My partner who is like a yearling,
My faithful one like a year old stallion,
My ardent partner for life,
How can you leave the camp?!
Don’t make a horse out of tekecher tay[7],
Our passion of love hasn’t gone yet,
  For the sake of lame Eçki,
Don’t estrange yourself from us.
Don’t make a horse out of kuljachar tay[8],
Don’t subdue your wife with empty words.
For the sake of the cursed Eçki,
Don’t estrange your friendship.
Despite my plea you attached yourself
To the iron with lead bullets,
Don’t put handful of red embers.
Please stop it, hunter, for heart’s sake,
Despite my plea you took [the gun],
Do you want to sacrifice yourself?!
If you leave us accidentally,
Don’t you think it would be hard
To come back alive and meet again?
Even if you live a short life,
Don’t separate yourself from your people.
Your kin who benefit from you,
Your partner will tell her lament.
Not even two years have passed,
You are bringing me regret,
Don’t go, hunter, please stop.
Your esteemed Zulayka,
You filled her head with sadness.
My father-in-law is old,
You have no close relative
To give him strength in meantime.
While I was calling you 'my honor,'
Is this, hunter, what you do to me?
Why do you trouble yourself,
Seeing the iron as [proper] skill?
By cutting your youth short and sufferring
Don’t cut the flower of life.
Don’t make your wife like me suffer,
Don’t put your soul in misery,
If you leave who will take care
Of your old woman and man?
If you’re not the person nonexistent,
To whom will I tell my grief?
Is a lame goat important for you
That you leave your kin people?
I’m afraid of your dream’s nature,
Now we can expect no wisdom
To come out from your brother from the same father.
If I lose you, my only one,
There is no one close to me here [in this land],
From whom will I ask assistance?
Hunter, don’t leave your home
By leaving your wife in despair.
Even if you have pledged an oath,
Don’t go undertake a tragic action,
You didn’t come to the ayïl,
But lived in cliffs where no bears go.
Don’t leave to a tragic situation
Your lawful wife like me.
There is no other husband for me among the people,
Don’t make me suffer before others.
Don’t make me mourn your death,
Don’t make your camp deserted.
If you leave for wilderness,
How will I find out about you?
Don’t make your partner mourn your death,
Don’t make your ayïl, hunter, wither.
If you leave chasing after the goat,
Your partner won’t know your whereabouts.
Don’t let the five-finger nails leave scratch marks
On my face wearing a veil.
Don’t leave your beloved Zulayka
In a miserable day.
I have no child to kiss,
Don’t make me long for a baby.
Your people will suffer in pain,
Our heart will be wounded.
You have your aged parents,
Bury them with your own hands.
Kojojash, if you go far away,
Your partner like me will suffer.
Your gray tektir will become a mount,
Enemy will appear at your threshold.
Onto the heads of your old parents,
Irreversible tragedy will land.
Your beloved wife Zulayka,
Your esteemed wife will suffer.
My feet will [jarilip chor bolor]),
If separated from their only one,
Your parents in their old age,
Whom will the beg for help?
Don’t sacrifice your life,
Even if you have a pledged oath,
Don’t go chasing after her.
If you don’t and go after Eçki,
How do I know your whereabouts?
My esteemed one, if I loose you,
My heart will suffer a great pain.
Don’t commit yourself to tragedy,
I sacrifice myself to you, my only one,
I only ask this from you.”
From his pledged oath with the [goat],
The hunter will not refrain.
Despite Zulay’s plea, he didn’t listen,
His departure was for sure now.
To say farewell before his leave,
The noble hunter gathered strength
And gathered all his people.
Then his relatives learned
That the fellow hunter will leave.
He warmed water in a cauldron,
Put the sümbö in the water,
And thus cleaned his barang gun.
“I’m serious about going,” he said.
“I’ll go chasing after Eçki.”
In order to say good-bye,
He gathered all of his people.
Upon hearing this about him,
All of his people gathered,
“I’ll sacrifice myself to you, my son,”
Karïpbay came crying out.
His mother came running,
After hearing the news,
His people were all devastated.
Despite their pleading,
The hunter kept getting dressed.
All of them, women and men,
“The oath does no good,” they said.
The old men with white beard,
All his kin relatives,
In tears asked him not to go.
He put his food in a bag,
His Ak barang with six carvings,
He tied tightly against his back.
He wrapped his çariks on his feet,
No one wanted him to go,
All of them cried out loud.
Zulayka gave him a hard time,
By hugging and not letting him go.
All his people made uproar,
Shedding tears from their eyes.
His mother and father,
Wept telling their lament,
All of his kin relatives,
“Forget about the word ‘oath’” they said,
Blocking him from front and back,
Not letting Kojojash move,
They all begged him not to go.
Kojojash then said these words:
“Don’t do this, relatives,” he said,
The meaning of his oath [with the goat]
He now explains to his people:
“Don’t hold me back from Eçki’s oath,
At an early crow-like age,
I took care of all of you!
If I don’t go, I won’t find
A cure for my vengeful illness,
A deal I made with Eçki.
I had sworn an oath to her
Not to shoot her with my gun,
But catch her chasing on foot.
My partner, Zulay, farewell,
I’m ready and eager to go.
Eçki’s word is a powerful one,,
My two eyes became four
To find a way to stay at home.
I’ll carry out my pledged oath,
If God bestows me my wish,
I’ll catch Eçki on feet.
If Creator grants the wish
Of a single person like me.
Father, mother, you both saw
More or less of your son’s service.
If I catch Eçki alive,
I’ll kill her in a Muslim way,
And cook the meat in your cauldron.
I didn’t rest since I was little (like a crow),
With the people called kayberen,
I was destined to be their enemy.
Please listen to her,
To your 'child' named Zulayka,
Who is young, but intelligent,
And be patient in the meantime.”
His father cried holding onto a stick [oboktop],
His mother cried sobbingly.
Their inside burning like fire
Because of Kojojash’s hurt.
His soul is going to be harmed,
Swearing an oath with Eçki
He got involved in a challenge.
The hunter got ready, didn’t stop,
He said farewell to his people,
To Zulayka standing before him,
To his lawful partner,
“Farewell, my relatives,” he said,
“Death doesn’t announce itself,” he said,
“Farewell, stay well, Karakol,
A place where my umbilical cord was cut and clothes washed,
And where I grew up as a child,” he said.
“If I’m unable to catch Eçki,
It is a long way to go.
Don’t be grieve, Zulay, don’t cry,
Like a silly person,
Don’t make your soul suffer.
If I survive a long journey,
We might see each other after a long time.
One who goes away will come back,
If he stays at home, he will also die.
You think I won’t die if stay here?
If I’m able to catch Eçki,
I’ll come back safe and sound.
I’ll see and meet Zulayka again
Who thinks that she lost me.
On one destined day,
I might come back if I have salt,
To my kin, the Kïtay people.
Dear mother, why did you bear me?
I have no sibling to look for me,
I have suffered from loneliness.”
When Kojojash said this,
Sartkoshçu was reminded of a rumor
From his relatives sometimes
That he was a slave who was found.
Sartkoshçu then thought:
“I call you brother in vain," he said,
"You never said a word before
That I’m not your brother [from the same father],
If I have no kin among this people,
There is no reason to stay here,” he said.
“Let me also say farewell,
If Kojojash leaves for a far away place,
I won’t stay among his people, I, too, will leave,” he said.
Turning to Kojojash,
Sartkoshçu said these words.
“Everyone except me,
Finished saying good-bye,” he thought,
So he wanted to know who his mother is:
“Oh, dear Kojojash,
Please turn to a person like me,
You didn’t see me in your dream.
Is it true that I am a stranger,
I thought that we are brothers,
Our father seems to be different.
Hunter, tell your story,
I won’t stay with your people,
I don’t understand the words just said.”
Kojojash then said these words:
“Whoever told you, they are wrong,
You’re my own younger brother,
I’m your brother from one womb.
Respect and take care well
Of your parents, don’t let them grieve.
Don’t take it to your heart, you are my brother,
Don’t think they are your enemy,
And that people will hurt you,
You’re still an immature boy,
You seem to be upset with me.
Take care of your parents,
A stranger from another womb
Won’t look after Karïpbay.
Although you’re still young,
Don’t upset your sister-in-law Zulayka.”
Saying good-bye, Kojojash,
Set out towards Eçki.
His enemies were now content,
To his pledged oath with [Eçki],
Kojojash set out alone,
The only son of Karïp.
“Catch her and come back quickly,” they said,
His people gave their blessing,
They watched the master hunter
Until his shadow was no longer seen,
Holding his hand next to him
Zulayka walked along with him.
They shed their tears from their eyes,
Like water splashing on the ground.
Holding his hand Zulayka,
“Farewell, go well,” she cried,
Their heart melted like snow,
“You’re alone,” they cried,
All of his people stayed behind, they say.

1. Bagïmdat is an evening prayer.
2. Tevindik is a kind of grass.
3. Ayran is Central Asian “yogurt.”
4. Taytaka is a kind of footwear made out of a yearling’s hooves to be worn on top of the boots.
5. Tush turuduk is a traditional embroidered Kyrgyz suzane which is hung inside the yurt.
6. Kaltar is a black-grayish fox.
7. Tekecher tay is a three year old male goat.
8. Kuljachar tay is a three year old mountain goat
© 2004 Elmira Köçümkulkïzï