A year passed since [he died],
They killed a horse and had bata read,
And thus fulfilled their duty.
If the deceased has a younger brother,
Relatives and other kinsmen
Had been talking about something.
If people said something, women listened to them,
The widow, who is left behind,
The wife of a late older brother usually married his younger brother.
"Zulayka, the beautiful should love him," they said,
People all made a suggestion,
Instead of making her precious soul suffer,
"She should marry Sartkoshçu," they said.
"The hunter’s place shouldn’t remain empty,
He is still considered his brother,
And he should help out Zulayka," they said.
Even if he was an orphan, Sartkoshçu,
Had become big and grown up by that time.
She couldn’t refuse the people’s words,
The noble, young and wise woman,
Zulayka observed him very carefully.
Sartkoshçu, who grew up following [Kojojash]
Seemed to please [Zulayka.]
Wise and intelligent Zulayka,
Accepted the people’s suggestion [el sozuno jigildi].
Upon consulting with Karïp,
One day, people got together.
Their mullah with a pen[1],
Announced the widow woman
As a lawful wife of Sartkoshçu.
This decision was accepted
By his kinsmen, the Kïtay.
Moldojash, the hunter’s heir,
Reached the age of six.
From his early childhood,
He loved playing with a bow.
When shooting with determination,
With his bow made of a branch
He hit not a coil but the jartï. [?]
He is truly his father’s son,
He’ll become a strong man, they said,
His fame became known to many.
“His father was a hunter,” they said,
“His face looks like him,” they said,
Moldojash had sharp eyes,
He aimed at crows and
Shot them down with a bow.
He wore çokoy and a gray coat,
"No one recognized him," they said.
Their camp was filled with people,
Sartkoshçu, a former servant of Zulayka,
Took the place of Kojojash,
Zulayka and he held by each other’s arms,
He became her husband in her bed.
Moldojash, the hunter’s heir,
Reached the age of seven.
He spared no crow’s life
If they landed on the verge of ayïl.
Before the sunset, five men,
With their guns in front of them,
Were heading on horseback
Towards the snow-capped mountains.
Moldojash caught up to them
At the edge of the black trail.
“Five men carrying guns,
Please stop and listen to
The words of the orphan.
I also want to go with you
To the place you are heading to.”
The boy still hadn’t known,
Where and how his father died,
His mother had kept it a secret.
The five hunters stopped and looked at him.
“He’s the orphan son of the late hunter," they said.
"Come here, my son, come," they said,
"We didn’t recognize you," they said,
"Whose son are you?
Who is your father,” they asked.
Moldojash, the orphan said thus:
“I’m from the Kïtay tribe," he said,
"I have a bow made from twig,
No crow dares to come to the camp,
I always chase and shoot them down.
Kojojash is my father, I heard,
My relatives said that
He passed away long time ago.
Crows and all the other birds,
Can’t get away from me,
I have a bow just made from a branch.
Kojojash is my father, I learned,
Sartkoshçu is my brother,
My mother married him, I heard.
My mother is a widow, I heard,
She lost her husband long time ago.
I haven’t seen my father at all,
I don’t know much about,
Those iron shooters in your hands.
Each of you have a gun, I see,
Where are you all heading?
Please take me with you, uncles,
I want to see how you shoot,
I’ve never seen it before,
Please teach me the hunting skill.
It is my dream in this world,
I love the gun very much.
One of you, uncle, please take me on your horseback,
When you go to the great mountain,
I can take care of your horses.
From my early childhood,
I fell in love with a gun.
I’m seeing it the first time in you
I don’t know anything about
How to put the powder and shoot.
Please take me with you, uncles," he begged,
It is my only wish I beg from you.”
Hearing the boy’s words,
They now remembered him,
For they had benefited from Kojojash:
“Without killing our own livestock,
Kojojash used to feed us with meat,
Among arkars and kuljas[2]
He used to hunt only fat ones.
My dear, my light,
Your father Kojojash,
Was indeed a skilled man
With a great hunting skill.
He was a generous hunter, they say,
When people came to him for meat,
He gave away the whole goat
Without cutting off the legs, they say.
He always got his target, they say,
God had always granted his wish, they say,
The goat which he shot down from the cliff,
Came falling to his feet, they say.”
One of the five hunters,
Quickly got off his horse, they say:
“I won’t go, you should go instead,
When your poor father was alive,
I benefited from his kindness," he said.
"You might occupy your father’s place,
If you stay alive, my light.
Your father Kojojash,
Died on the cliff," he said.
These people went after him,
Unable to get him down the cliff,
They returned in vain," he said.
"When Kojojash was alive,
To each household he gave
A deer which he had hunted, they say.
I see, no one has told you before,
How great your father was.
Your mother must be young, I guess,
She might have hidden it from you.
You came running [especially] to us
Your heart filled with joy [delbengdep]).”
Only this hunter spoke
Turning his face to the boy.
The others didn’t like the boy.
Moldojash hadn’t known
How his father had died.
Now Moldojash has heard
The reason [for his death].
Moldojash then spoke thus:
“In which mountains is the place
Where you are heading now?
Can you repeat what you said,
Maybe you missed something.
No one tells me about
The fact I’m Kojojash’s son.
No one tells me until now
What kind of person my father was,
And what my mother’s sorrow is.
My mother married another man,
I want to know everything now.
Those words which you said,
Please retell again, uncle.
My own father, Kojojash,
On which cliff did he die?
Tell me if you know any sign of it,
If you tell the unknown to me,
You’ll have done kindness, uncle.
I can’t stay in the camp knowing
That my father died falling off the cliff.
I had indeed lost my father,
I’ll find out the truth
From my mother who bore me.
I’ll ask my mother about my father
And find out everything.
If Kojojash was truly my father,
How can I stay in the camp
Leaving his bones in the cliff?!”
Saying thus, Moldojash
Finished speaking his words.
He was a boy, hardly noticeable,
Now he scared them away [speaking boldly].
One of the four hunters spoke thus:
“You, who became attached [to the bow]
And played with the bow in childhood,
You are a reckless boy,
Why did you come to us?
Don’t be obsessed with the gun,
Don’t get involved too much,
Otherwise, like your father, one day,
You will also die on a cliff.
Let’s not take him with us,
He’s a someone else’s young boy.
The hunter, who liked him, said:
“Mount on my back,” he said.
They took the boy on their horseback,
To the wilderness and
Made him watch their horses.
While he was watching the horses,
An arkar with her baby behind
Approached and stood facing him.
Moldojash thought to himself,
Should he shoot the arkar or not.
Moldojash went running to
The hunter, who took him on his horseback.
“I was standing next to the horses,
An arkar came with her baby.
I rushed seeing them,
Uncle, please kill her for me,
I want to take her to my kinsmen
And tell them that someone killed it for me.
May my kinsmen be grateful
To you, the skilled hunters.”
“Do you want to shoot her yourself,
Closing your one eye?” he asked.
“You’re indeed a skilled boy,
It’s time to test your skill,” he said.
He handed his gun over to him, they say.
He never shot a gun before,
Moldojash became excited,
And ran closer to the [arkar], they say.
Placing his finer on the trigger,
He went to the right place [to aim].
With one shot Moldojash
Killed the baby of the arkar
Standing on the hillside, they say.
He ran up to [the kid] and drew knife on its neck,
He had never shot from a gun,
The boy became happy, they say.
The hunter came up to him,
Moldojash and the hunter
Divided the meat of the baby arkar
Which the boy had killed, among themselves.
“Our hunting was successful, let’s go now,” he said,
And had the boy mount on his horseback,
The hunter dropped him off on the roadside
Where they met the first time.
With a sturdy look on his face,
Pretending to be a deaf person,
Carrying the half of the meat,
The boy came home pretending to be upset, they say.
Zulayka with a clever mind,
Without letting the boy speak
Read everything on his face, they say.
Upon putting the meat inside,
Not saying a single word,
The boy lay down outside, they say.
Sobbing and crying, Zulayka
Then approached the boy,
Left from the late [hunter], they say.
Zulayka spoke these words to him,
Not few, but many words she spoke:
“Where have you been?” she asked,
“You look unhappy, my baby camel,
Did someone hurt you?” she asked.
“Did someone tell you a bad thing?
Did someone tell you sad story? 
You father died long time ago,
You’re a destitute among the people.
Don’t lie there, get up, my only one,
You’ve no brother to help you,
If misfortune falls upon your head,
You’ve no one to protect you.
You’ve got no relatives to turn to,
My dear foal,
Please don’t put an ember in my heart.
Where did you get the meat?
When were you able to go
And join one of the hunters?
Don’t lie down my son, get up,
Please come inside [the yurt],
Did someone beat you?
Or did someone insult you?
Not able to prevail, my foal
Did you come home lamenting?
Did someone with a wing slap you [Kanattuu biro kaktibi ]?
Did someone with a whip hit you [Kamçiluu biroo çaptibi? ]
Were you upset for that, my only one,
And threw yourself on the ground?
Raise your head, my son,
By filling your heart with wrath,
Don’t make your life miserable.
Your bow is made from a twig,
You’re too young, my light,
Don’t get too obsessed with a gun,
It’s too early for you to go hunting.
My young and little orphan,
You haven’t matured enough.
Don’t make me suffer, my son,
My foal, please listen to me,
Which person did harm to you?
You look upset frowning your eyebrows,
Who hurt your feelings so bad?”
Moldojash lifted his head,
And told his mother,
The words that he had heard:
“Now you listen, mother, I’ll talk,
Don’t worry much,” he said.
Her little son spoke these words,
Feeling sad with frowning eyebrows,
He told the story which people said:
“I want to know your secret, mother,
Don’t make me hurt, your only son suffer.
My ears heard one story,
Please unravel my sorrow.
From early childhood I took up a twig bow,
And chased after every winged bird.
By not telling me the truth, mother,
Don’t hide anything from your only one.
By not revealing the entire truth,
Don’t let your poor orphan, your only one
Be killed by an enemy.
I’ve heard from everyone that
We are from the Kïtay tribe.
Dear mother,
Please tell me the truth, I want to know.
Where did my father die?” He asked.
“Tell me everything, mother, without hiding anything,
Don’t leave out anything.
Ok, mother, if you don’t tell me,
I’ll go and ask from someone else.
Kojojash is my own father, they say,
On which cliff did he die?
A hunter craves for deer,
Please don’t be mad at me.
By not telling me the truth,
Don’t discourage me now.
Kojojash was my father, I learned,
He had stubbornly chased Eçki,
On which high cliff does his body lie?
I heard his story, mother,
Until this time [you haven’t told],
If you don’t tell my father’s story,
Your son will feel unhappy.
I’m too young now, so I can’t go,
Just tell me what had happened,
When had my father died?
Oh, my mother, who kept it a secret,
If you don’t tell my father’s story,
We can’t lead a happy life.
Don’t hide it from your son, mother,
He is the only one you gave birth to.
Why didn’t you tell me before,
That my father was this and that?
I’m your only son you have,
Why did you do this to me?
Why can’t you tell openly
About my father’s tribal history,
And about his work he did
When he was still alive.
You didn’t tell me about my father,
You kept it a secret from me.
Was my father’s story a tragedy?
On what business had he gone
And got stranded on the cliff?
What kind of soul had killed him?
Kojojash was indeed my father,
Since you kept it a secret from me,
Was it indeed a forbidden secret?
Please tell me, mother, I want to know,
The reason why my father died.
If you don’t tell, someone else will
What kind of skill my father had.
I heard from someone this time
About what had happened.
If you don’t tell me everything, my dear mother,
Mourning my father’s death,
I won’t get up and I’ll die from hunger!”
By speaking abruptly, the rude boy
Threatened his mother, like Zulayka.
Zulayka became very anxious,
“What will I do now?” she said,
“Whoever had told him the story,
May his mouth be filled with blood!
If I tell him the hunter’s story,
My little son is very young,
He might leave his people to look for him," she thought,
"He is an immature young boy,
He might cause harm to himself,” she thought.
Zulayka finally spoke these words:
“My dear one, my light,
You asked about your father,
If I tell you his story
I’m afraid from you right now,
You won’t stay in the ayïl, you will leave.
I’m afraid for you, you are too young,
Your father died on a cliff
Of Abletim in Çatkal
Chasing after Eçki.
You’re too young now [like a baby bird],
I had kept it a secret from you
That your father was Kojojash,
I was afraid, for you would leave.
While I was still hiding it from you,
You learned about it from outside [in wilderness]
You learned that you father had died on a cliff,
That I don’t tell you his story,
And that your mother had hesitated to tell.
You father, the hunter Kojojash,
Had suffered a tragedy,
My orphan, my baby camel,
By becoming a widow too young
I went through many hardships.
I had remained a six-months pregnant with you,
You’re too young now, I’m afraid
To tell you about your father.
Until your baby hair fall off,
Until you reach your adolescence,
I don’t want to let you go.
When your father had left,
Chasing after Eçki,
I had left the people and searched for him on foot,
I had barely survived that experience.
How can I keep that a secret now?
You’re too young, my son, you’re my only one,
That’s why I had kept it a secret from you.
By making a bow and arrows from twigs,
You shot birds down from the trees.
I had waited for your baby feathers to fall off,
I was truly afraid for you.
When you pass your adolescence,
You will go there and find
The bones of your brave father, the hunter,
In Abletim and Çatkal.
Fearing that you might leave me,
My wily broken heart,
Was afraid to tell you.
You father is indeed Kojojash,
You are forcing me to tell you,
To look for your father,
You’re too young, my son.
How can the stallions
With thick tails run fast [Tup kuyrugu bir tutam ]?
You’re the only son I have,
If you leave me alone here,
I had been a widow for many years,
I have no one close to care about me.
How can the stallions
With thick manes and tails run fast?
You’re alone from your father, my son,
You have no siblings from the same womb,
If you leave me in search of your father,
No one will listen to my needs.
I was the daughter of Karakojo,
Who willingly married the hunter,
Not a full year had passed
After he had brought me here,
You father was a skilled hunter,
Who fed his kinsmen and relatives.
He fed his people with deer meat,
He distributed the fresh meat which smelled of blood.
You late father Kojojash,
Had done a great service
To the Kïtay people.
When your old grandfather
Had come to me asking
Where his son had been,
Even though I was a woman
I had the courage to look for him,
Hoping to find the hunter.
When your grandfather had gone
And found his son alive
On the cliff of Abletim,
The whole clan moved there
To get the hunter down the cliff,
People gathered together and threw a rope
To try to get the hunter down.
The only child matters a lot,
Your poor grandfather,
Fell down with his arms spread
For losing his foal.
The miserable (poor) old fellow
Had gone insane when he died.
When God gave you to us,
Your dear grandpa was so happy
Becoming youthful and strong again,
For you were the gift from his only son.
Now, my son, don’t go to look for
Your father’s bones
In the place called Abletim.
If you go in search of his body,
Unable to endure your absence,
If I also leave the ayïl,
With no one to turn to,
It would be a disgrace before his people
If your old grandfather,
Went around and asked for alms.
He can’t die for he is still alive,
One’s noble soul is too precious to die.
Your current father Sartkoshçu,
Is the hunter’s distant brother
Who is from another father.
Please say that you won’t go,
When I’m telling you everything, my son.
We couldn’t find the way to get him down,
We couldn’t even come near the cliff
Where no one can walk,
Your father Kojojash,
First threw his Ak barang
From the cliff.
I was six months pregnant with you,
'If you give birth to a boy,
Name him Moldojash,' he said,
You dear father, the miserable had pleaded thus.
Of the iron body of Ak barang,
Not even a piece as small as a coin fell,
Determined to find a piece of its iron,
I had searched for many days
Among the rocks and in the water.
After a long search I had found
An iron as small as an awl.
As a precious gift [from him],
I had kept it for many years.
By melting and adding it in,
I had the gun Almabash
Especially made for you,
And kept in a white chest.
I wanted to tell this before,
But I was afraid to do so,
For I thought you might leave.
Now I told you everything,
Your father’s story is such.
By risking your young life,
You may be acting childish.
I didn’t tell you because
I wanted to protect you, my child.”
Hearing this now from his mother,
Not missing a word of what she said,
Hearing this from his mother,
He now learned about his father:
“Could you please show me, mother
That barang which you had made for me?
Now I've discovered the real secret of my mother,
Who breastfed me with her white milk," he said.
"Be I mature or too young,
I will face whatever is on my forehead.”
Upon hearing his father’s story,
The boy wouldn’t stay calm.
She then led him to their yurt,
People gathered at once.
To the large crowd of people,
Moldojash spoke, asking for their advice:
“All of you, young and old, are my kinsmen,
With whom I share the same tribal lineage,
I, Moldojash, the orphan upon hearing [the story],
How can I stay here and not go?
I pursue only one goal,
I will find the body of my father,
Who passed away from this false world.
Who would have looked for him,
If my mother hadn’t borne me?
My father is Kojojash, I learned,
His body remained on the cliff,
If one doesn’t go after him and collect his bones,
He will be punished and killed,
He will suffer a lot of pain.
His son, who is left behind,
For the sake of his father,
Should sacrifice his own life!
My dear father’s bones
Remained in wilderness,
If I don’t go after him,
People will curse me saying
That I am the only son of the late, noble [hunter]
Didn’t do my duty.
If I just stay in the camp and be ignorant,
Leaving my father’s bones to dry up,
At the end, a curse or punishment
Will fell upon my head.
Please let me go, mother,
I want to find my father’s bones,
I will crush them into white clay,
Wash it clean and wrap it in a shroud,
And bury him under the black earth.
If my destitute soul survives,
I will return home.
You kept it a secret from me
Until this time,
By not uttering a word to me,
You had been in denial,
What do you expect from me, mother?! ... ”
He forced his mother to tell him the truth,
And thus relieved himself from grief,
Poor, orphan Moldojash,
With no younger brother nor older one,
Decided to look for his father.
“I’m the son of the hunter," he said,
"I’ll sacrifice my life
For the sake of my father,” he said.
He didn’t listen to his people,
He got ready to go after him
And find his father’s body.
Zulayka cried in sorrow,
“I shouldn’t have told it him,” she regretted.
"Now I will lose him, too," she thought.
"He is my only support, on whom I lean,
If I lose my “eye’s pupil”,"
I’ll suffer a great deal again,” she cried.
Feeling ashamed and guilty,
Moldojash was getting ready
To go in search of his father.
Regretting what she had said,
Poor Zulayka cried in despair,
Begging her son [not to go.]
"Where he would find him," she thought,
Not knowing where his father really is?"
Zulayka gathered the people and said to him
“Now you are too young, don’t go.”
All of them implored him not to go.
His current brother, Sartkoshçu,
Doesn’t have any skill
Other than tending livestock.
For the sake of her six-month old baby,
Zulayka, who had no choice at that time,
Had sacrificed her own life.
He was a lot faster than his father,
Moldojash, the orphan was enthusiastic,
To go to the Ala-Too [mountains],
Search every corner of them,
And find his father body.
He was eager to be off to the black mountains,
Search every corner of them
And find his later father’s body
No matter where it might be.
He gathered his people,
And received their blessing,
He soothed his grandpa Karïpbay
By promising him to come back in few days.
Moldojash said farewell
To his mother who bore him.
At a young age Moldojash,
Set out with determination
To find his father’s remaining bones.
"He, too, won’t come back," people doubted.
Despite the fact he was the only one,
And too young to go,
"Good for him, good job, orphan!" People exclaimed inside.
"He is doing it for his father."
He said farewell to his people,
Tied his gun Almabash
Tightly onto his shoulder.
Look what a brave man he is,
Not waiting a minute after learning [about his father],
He set out from his camp with boiling anger inside.
By following him in anguish
And taking him further from the camp,
His mother Zulayka said:
“Go well and come back safe,
My cherished only orphan,
I have no one to turn to here.
You were too young, my foal,
Now I rue my telling
About your father’s tragedy.”
Zulayka said these words again:
“My precious only one, stop,
Listen to your mother’s words.
You’re the one whom I saw with my full eyes,
You’re the one whom I kissed with my full mouth.
My foal, you’re too young, but you didn’t listen,
You haven’t gained enough strength.
You’re the one whom I hugged and kissed,
I enjoyed raising you
By carrying you for twelve months [until you walked].
I held you by your hand and taught you walk,
I put an owl feather [onto your hat.][3]
I fed you with all kinds of fruits [food],
And raised you in a way that people said
“Look at him! Whose son is he!?”
I didn’t spare my breast milk from you.
You remained young from your father,
You might find your father’s bones,
My dear, foal,
On the cliff of Abletim.
Go straight to Çatkal,
Don’t look in any other rocks.”
Upon giving advice to the boy,
His mother Zulayka,
Remained standing in despair,
Her glowing face turning pale.

1. I.e., who can write and read in Arabic
2. Arkars and kuljas are male and female mountain goats. 3. In the past, parents sew an owl feather onto the hat of their child to protect them from evil spirits and human eyes.

© 2004 Elmira Köçümkulkïzï