Georgian Folk Tales, by Marjory Wardrop , at sacred-texts.com
THERE was once a king who reached old age without having a son. When he was very old, his wife at last bore him a son. The child was called Sanartia (i.e. desired, longed for); he grew up, and became very good and very clever, so that he understood everything that took place among earthly beings, wherever they were; but he did not obey his mother. She therefore hated him, and said to the
king, her husband: 'Since this boy will not obey his mother in anything, take him and throw him into the great deep sea.'
The king was much distressed, but he did as his wife asked. The youth guessed what his parents were talking about, but he showed no resistance. After this, his father said: 'Let us go and look at the town.' Then the youth said: 'Papa, give me a little money.' His father gave him money, and they went to see the town. When they arrived, the boy bought a little axe, knives, needle, thread, flint and tinder.
When they were on their way home, they came near the sea; the boy pulled up an oak tree, and carried it on his shoulder. The father was the, first to see the sea, and when they were on the shore he said to his son: 'Come hither, and see what a big fish I shall show thee.' When the son came up to look, his father cast him into the great sea, together with the tree he carried. A fish swallowed the youth; his father turned and went home.
In the sea, the youth kindled a fire in the fish's belly, cut caviar out of it, roasted and ate it. On the caviar from this fish the youth lived thirty years, in the belly of that fish. Then, his firewood, flint and tinder being well-nigh exhausted, he made a very big fire. When the fish felt the heat, it leaped up and fell on the dry land. The youth said: 'I will cut open the fish's belly, and see--if it is in the water, I shall sew it up again, if it is ashore, I shall make a hole and get out.' He cut a little, and saw that it was on land. Then he cut a large opening, came out of the fish, made a fire, cut flesh from the fish, roasted it, and ate it.
Just then, there passed a prince, on his way to marry a maiden, and he saw the other prince coming out of the fish. The prince who was going to seek his bride, sent a man to
the youth to ask him to make way, for he was sitting in the road, and there was no other road for horsemen. But Sanartia would not move. Then the prince himself rode up, and asked: 'Who art thou?' Sanartia told him the name of the king, his father. Then the prince invited him, saying: 'I go to marry a wife; ride with me.' Sanartia agreed, and they went together to the appointed place.
When they came near, they sent on a man to the king, who was master of the country, asking him to give his daughter in marriage to the prince. The king agreed, and sent to say: 'If the prince succeeds in performing two exploits, I shall fulfil his wish; but to do these deeds is both hard and perilous: the princess throws a great lump of lead as far as a gun will carry a bullet, the suitor must throw it back again to the place where the princess is standing.' The suitor for the maiden's hand sent and said: 'I will do this.'
He went and stood in the place the maiden pointed out to him. She threw a piece of lead which fell at the place where the prince stood; he was not only unable to threw the lead, but could not even lift it from the ground; then his comrade, the other prince, Sanartia, took up the lead and threw it for him. The piece of lead went much farther than the maiden had thrown it.
This exploit having been performed, the prince had another to do: mistaking Sanartia for the suitor, they took him to a wilderness where there was a castle, and in it dwelt Ocho-Kochi. 1 They opened the door of the castle, and let
in the prince, saying: 'This Ocho-Kochi will kill the young man.' He spent that night in the castle.
When he was preparing to sleep, Ocho-Kochi came to him and wished to kill him, but Sanartia was very strong, he seized Ocho-Kochi, threw him on the ground, and beat him with all his might. When he had thrashed him soundly, he said to him: 'Go and stand at the gate as watchman.' So he went and watched till dawn.
In the morning, the king, the maiden's father, sent his vizier, saying: 'Find out what the prince and Ocho-Kochi are doing.' When the vizier came to the door, Ocho-Kochi called out from the inside: 'Master sleeps, wake him not, or he will beat me.' The vizier made no reply to Ocho-Kochi, but went back and told the king what he had heard.
The king was amazed, he set out for the castle, and said to Ocho-Kochi: 'Open the door to me.' But Ocho-Kochi replied: 'Master will kill me.' Just then, Sanartia awoke, and said to Ocho-Kochi: 'Open the door for him.' He immediately opened the door, and let in the king. Then the king and Sanartia went away together. The king wished to marry him to his daughter, but Sanartia went away secretly; he dressed the prince, his companion, in his clothes, and sent him in his place to the king; as soon as he arrived he was wedded to the princess. Afterwards Sanartia visited him as a friend.
If they had known that Sanartia had performed these exploits they would not have given the princess to the other prince. But a handmaiden at the court found out the secret somehow, that Sanartia had done the deeds, and the princess's husband had done nothing. One evening the handmaiden told the princess how Sanartia had cheated
her and married her to another man; she was angry, and that same night, after Sanartia had lain down to sleep, she went and cut off his leg at the knee.
Sanartia did not die of the wound, but went away to another land, and became friendly with a one-handed man, and they lived together in the house of the latter. Afterwards they built a house in common, and moved into it. Sanartia took a maiden, and kept her with him as nurse. 1 The two friends went out to hunt, and stayed in the forest all night. At home there was nobody but the maiden.
Meantime there came a demi, who sucked the maiden's breast and then went away. When Sanartia and his friend came home, the girl told them what had happened. Sanartia left his friend and the girl at home, and said to them: 'If the demi comes, take him and keep him till I come back.' The demi came, but the man was afraid to lay hold of him; and the demi went away again. As soon as Sanartia came in, he asked his friend and his nurse: 'What did you do?' They answered: 'The demi came, but we could not take him, and he went away again.'
Next day Sanartia stayed at home, and sent his friend to hunt. The demi came that night also, but as soon as Sanartia saw him he met him at the door, and when the demi came in, Sanartia seized him and threw him to the ground, then he told the nurse to bring a rope, with which he bound him tightly. He took out his dagger, and was about to cut him in pieces, but the demi entreated him,
saying: 'Slay me not, and I will heal thee of all infirmities.' Sanartia hearkened to the demi's prayers, and said: 'If thou wilt restore my leg which was cut off I will let thee go, otherwise I slay thee.'
The demi pledged his word to heal him, and led him to a great river, saying: 'Put thy leg therein and it will be sound.' But Sanartia did not yet believe the demi, so he ordered him to bring a dry stick, and said: 'Put this stick in the water, and if it becomes green and bears leaves then will I put in my leg, otherwise I will not.' The stick was put in the water, but it came out as dry as before.
Then Sanartia was angry, and wished to kill the demi, but again he entreated, saying: 'There is still another healing stream.' So he took him to the other stream, and as soon as Sanartia put in his leg it was made whole and sound like the other leg. After this, he did not kill the demi, but let him go free; he made the demi heal his one-handed friend, whom he wedded to his nurse. He left them there, and set out for his father's house.
But when he reached it, nobody knew him. Next day he secretly mounted his father's horse, and went to the place where he had married the prince to the princess. On the road he saw a swineherd; when he approached, he recognised in him his old friend the prince. When he questioned him, the swineherd replied: 'As soon as thou hadst gone hence they made me a swineherd.' Sanartia drew out his sword, gave it to him, and said: 'Kill all the swine but three, and wound those three; then drive the three home, I shall be there, ready to punish anybody who is angry with thee.' The swineherd did as Sanartia told him, and in the evening drove the three swine into the king's courtyard.
Sanartia came to the palace earlier, but they did not
recognise him. When the swineherd drove in his swine, his wife was about to beat him, saying: 'Why hast thou lost the swine.' But at that moment Sanartia appeared before the princess, was angry with her, and said: 'If thou wert a good woman thou wouldst not make thy husband feed swine.' . . . They knew at once that it was Sanartia, and were much amazed, saying: 'His leg was cut off at the knee, how has he replaced his leg?' Sanartia ordered them to bring the princess's husband: he made her wash him well with her own hands, bring clothes, and dress him in noble apparel. When Sanartia was leaving for home, he called the princess and her parents, and said to them: 'If you do not treat the prince as becomes his rank, I shall come at once, and it will fare ill with you.' He took leave of them all and went home.
134:1 Ocho-Kochi, literally, 'the goat-man,' occupies an important place in Mingrelian mythology. He is a satyr, a wild man of the woods, represented as an old man with a long beard, his body covered with hair.
136:1 The word translated 'nurse' is dzidze, which means not only a nurse but any woman, married or single, who has been adopted into relationship by the ceremony of a man taking her breast between his teeth. This creates a degree of kinship inferior only to that between mother and son. The custom still exists in Mingrelia.