Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Young Sage - Kalmyk Tale

Article by Ty Hulse

Once there was a young man whose two older brothers teased and harrased him constantly, telling him he would never be married like they were for he was too weak to help anyone. At first the boy ignored his brother but when he had turned fifteen he could stand it no longer so he went to his father and told him that he couldn't tolerate his older brothers insults any longer. "Please let me go out and seek my own happiness." The boy asked at last.

"Very Well," the boys father agreed before telling him to follow the river bank the direction of the rising son until he finds a man named  Zajača.

The boy traveled for many days, sleeping where ever he could find, living by hunting for the animals of the fields and birds of the sky. He traveled so far he went to the other side of the land where the sun rises, and there he saw a giant lake which had dried up.

He wondered among the few remaining puddles of this lake and and wondered how he might save the life of the frogs and fish and worms which were now homeless or soon to be so. As he wondered he found a fish with red fins and was compelled to rescue the fish by bringing it to another lake.

After this the boy continued to travel until he came to a yurt where he met a man. The man and the boy began to talk and in talking the boy told the man that he was searching for a patron, to which the man laughed and said that he was Zajača. The Young man was delighted to have finally arrived, and asked the man for advice to which the man responded with the question; "What did you see on the way here and whom did id you meet?

The boy told Zajača about the fish with red fins he'd saved and at this news Zajača was pleased and determined that the boy was worthy.

"I'll give you the horse which stands outside the yurt. He then told him to set out to find the Khan of the water by going back to the edge of lake, towards where the sun was now rising.

The boy set out on his journey again, riding out he came upon many yurts where he asked for water, but no one had any to spare as the lake had dried up.

The young man began to whither away for lack of water, until he at last met a beautiful blind girl who lived with an old woman. The young man entered their dzholum and asked them for water and the girl gave him a drink, and as he and the old lady talked he told her that he was going to see the Water Khan at the behest of Zajača. On hearing his quest the old woman asked him to find out a cure for her young granddaughters blindness from the Water Khan.

The boy rode for so long he lost count of the number of days he'd journeyed until at last he came to the Water Khan. He told the Water Khan of the fish he'd saved, of the dried up lake, and the hundreds of herds of cows and sheep dying of thirst.

The Khan told him that the water had dried up because a giant water elephant had fallen in and wa buried away. In order to get the water to return the young man had to pull the elephant out.

The boy than asked the Water Khan how to cure the blind girl of age ten. The Water Khan told the boy; "You must cure the girls blindness yourself. On your way back up the path go into the dzholum and take the girls wrist three times at which point she will be healed.

Again the boy traveled for a long time to the dzholum. When he arrived he healed the girl just as the Water Khan had told him to.

The girl exclaimed gratefully; "You saved me from darkness, so that I can finally see the sun, so now I will not part with you no matter what." The boy told her, however, that he was in a hurry to bring back the water and that he would come back for her as there was only one horse.

He galloped out with haste, traveling for so long that he lost track of time and distance, until at last he came to a mountain in the distance. When he got closer, however, he realized that it wasn't a mountain but an elephant, trapped in the lake. The young man tried and tried to pull the elephant out of the lake with a rope but he could not.

At last he took a bunch of logs and put them under the elephant and used one as a lever to help get the elephant out of the water so that all the water began to flow again.

The boy than returned to the Water Khan and told him he had succeeded. While in the Water Khan's home the Princess asked him to marry her, but he told her that he was not tempted by her wealth for he had already promised to return and marry a poor girl. Sad but greatful for the boys honesty the Water Princess gave the boy a brilliant piece of metal and advised him to keep it safe.

The boy road again for so long he could not count the days until he returned home. The land had turned ugly  for the river water had disappeared and the animals had died from the heat. The once thriving grassland had turned into a desert. His father was barely alive, for his oldest sons had cast him out when they'd migrated away. The young man was furious with them as he gave his father some water from the well.

The boy wondered what he should do to heal his land, than he remembered the gift he'd been given by the Water Princess. He faced the sunrise and hit the metal with a hammer four times. After this a heavy rain came and poured down so that the grass turned green and the people who had lost home cheered.

When the boys brothers heard that the land prospered once more they returned. On hearing of their return the younger brother went to them, and they greeted him as an honored guest and gave him a cup of Kumys to drink. But the boy refused to accept their hospitality and remembering all the wrongs they had commited he punished them with his magical piece of metal, taking their cattle and forcing them to dig wells rather than be able to get the water which flows.

Soon after the boy returned to the girl whom he'd cured of blindness and lived with her happily ever after.