A Journey in Southern Siberia, by Jeremiah Curtin, , at sacred-texts.com
BETWEEN two sky-dwellers, Khan Tyurmas Tengeri and Atai Ulan Tengeri, a dispute arose as to which of them should be master of Segel Sebdik Tenger, the cold ice sky. At last they agreed that in three days they would meet and decide the question by battle; and they arranged that both should lead their forces to Sebdik Tenger, and the one who reached there first should wait for the other.
When Atai Ulan arrived with his forces Khan Tyurmas was not at the place appointed. He was not there because he had gone to his grandmother, who lived in the West, at Yoldá Molyán Qurmé Tudi. He went to ask her advice. While at Yoldá Molyán he got drunk on tarasun, spent six days in his grand-mother's company, and forgot his contest altogether.
Atai Ulan waited one day, waited two days. After three days had passed he took possession of Segel Sebdik, and turned homeward, thinking that Khan Tyurmas was frightened and did not dare to fight, hence the case was won by him.
Then the youngest son of Khan Tyurmas, Gesir Bogdo, a boy four years of age, caught his father's horse, saddled him, put on his father's clothes, took his weapons, and with a long spear in his hand rode out to war against Atai Ulan. He overtook Atai when he was in the middle of his own dominions, and half-way home. He thrust this spear into Atai's right side, unhorsed him, and cast him down from the sky to the earth.
When Atai Ulan fell to the earth he turned into Mangathais, and evil Shalmos, spirits who sow dissensions and disputes, and destroy people.
The thousand Burkans, who live above the many skies, assembled on Dolon Odun (Great Bear, the seven stars) and counseled what to do to stop the activity of all the evil spirits that come from Atai Ulan, that is, to set aside evil. They decided to send to the earth Dashin Shuher, the eldest son of Khan
[paragraph continues] Tyurmas, and said that he might be able to conquer the Mangathais. But Dashin Shuher would not go.
"I will not go," said he. "Let him go, who overthrew and hurled down Atai Ulan. Let Gesir Bogdo go."
Then the thousand Burkans summoned Gesir Bogdo. When he appeared all asked: "Why didst thou hurl Atai Ulan down to the earth? If it was thy wish to crush, why not crush him in the sky? If to kill, why not kill him in the sky? Go to the earth now and destroy all the Mangathais and Shalmos that came from him."
Gesir Bogdo said that he could not go to the earth in that form which he had, and asked that they send Uhul Khan (Death) to him, and directed that when Death had his body they should prepare a place for the body, and put it there. The place was to be so made that the body would not decay in summer, or freeze in winter. It was to be sitting on a throne, before it was to be a table, and on its left hand a paper. When his body was thus cared for his spirit would enter the body of a woman on earth, and be born again.
Gesir Bogdo's three sisters were to go down to the earth with him.
When Death came, and his body was cared for, Gesir's spirit turned into a raven, his sisters turned into cuckoos, and all four flew down. They flew around the whole world below, made the circuit of the world. At last they saw, at the upper end of a valley called Orhé Yalga, Entering Valley, a poor yurta. In that yurta was a man seventy years old, who had a wife who was sixty years old. The spirits of Gesir Bogdo and his sisters entered that woman. When they had lived there six months Gesir said to his earthly mother:
"O mother, take off thy cap."
The woman was terrified, took off her cap and threw it aside from fear. Then Gesir flew out through her head, rose to the sky, and higher up to the thousand Heavenly Burkans.
"I have found a yurta, a father and a mother," said he to the Burkans. "When I am born send me, I pray, thirty-three strong champions, three thousand warriors, and cattle of all sorts; besides, give me all that I may ask for to carry out what I wish. Leave me not on earth without protection."
After this he went to earth again and entered his mother a second time. The woman was greatly alarmed at this second visit, and counseled with the old man, her husband. "Do not take off thy cap again, for any reason," said he. They thought that evil Shalmos were trifling with them, and they were terrified.
About ten months after the first visitation, the woman knew that she was about to become a mother, and she said to her husband:
"Stay at home to-day, do not leave me."
"Nothing will happen," said the old man. "I will go and come back again quickly." So he went to hunt rabbits, but was not gone long when the woman gave birth to three daughters, all very beautiful. But they turned to ravens, flew out through the smoke hole, and went up to the sky.
A son was born next. He was very ugly; his feet were crooked, his arms were behind his back, and twisted. He looked more like a frog than a boy.
When the old man came home the mother scolded: "You would not stay, our beautiful daughters have flown away, now take this ugly, deformed creature. He is just like a frog. Do what you like with him."
The old man cared for the child, and in three days the boy spoke: "To-morrow," said he, "before sunrise you must put me in a cradle. I will cry, cry all the time. You must sway the cradle, and the more you sway it the more I will cry. At sunrise two men will come, they will hear me cry, and ask: 'What have you here in this cradle?' You will say: 'We know not, whether it is a child, or some ugly creature; its legs are bent upward, its hands are twisted behind its back. Can you free the hands and feet, and straighten the arms and legs for us?' They will come to the cradle and look at me. That moment I will strike out with hands and feet and kill those two strangers."
Next morning before sunrise the boy began to cry fiercely. His father put him in the cradle, rocked him, talked to him, soothed him, but all to no purpose, he only cried the louder. Then, just at sunrise, as he had said, two young men entered the yurta and asked:
"What have you here in the cradle? Why does it not keep its tongue in its mouth?"
"We know not if it is a child, we know not what it is or what it will be. Do ye know how to cure it, or straighten its arms and legs?"
"Yes, we know," said they. The old man and woman gave the child to them. The boy stretched, struck out his hands and feet with such force that it hurled down the strangers, crushed them, killed them both.
Then the child said to the old man and its mother: "To-morrow I will cry and do you try to hush me, rock me, sing to me, talk to me. Two young men will come in and ask the same questions as those asked to-day, and I will kill them, just as I killed those two."
Next day two men came in the same way, asked the same questions, and were killed in like manner. After that the child said: "Six Shalmos will come to-morrow. I will cry, you will rock me, soothe me, talk to me. I will cry and cry. When they come in they will ask: 'What is the trouble with that child of yours.' Ye will answer: 'Oh, we do not know. Something is the matter with its tongue, there are pimples on it. Can ye not cure the poor child?' They will say: 'Oh, yes, only give the child here, we will cure it.' Ye will give me into their arms."
The Shalmos came in the form of young men, asked questions, and were ready to cure the crying infant. The mother gave the child to the foremost of the Shalmos. The little boy opened his mouth, the stranger put out his tongue, the child caught it, drew it in hard, then sucked it out roots and all, and swallowed it. The Shalmo could not say one word, he could only groan, and give the child to the second Shalmo. The same thing happened to the second, and to the third Shalmo, and so on to the sixth. All six lost their tongues and could not say a word, could not tell what had happened. They went away speechless, and the woman put the child in its cradle.
Next evening the boy said to his mother: "Fill my sucking bottle with milk and put it in the cradle at sunrise, carry the cradle to the roadside, and leave me there till sunset. If not I shall not be thy son."
Next morning they put him, as he wished, near the roadside. At midday came two mighty ravens, with iron beaks and iron claws. They alighted one at one side of the cradle and one at the other. Just before alighting they said to each other: "If we let this boy alone he will grow to great strength and destroy us; we will pick his eyes out to-day."
"Ah!" thought the boy, and he said to them as they came down to the cradle. "With those beaks ye would soon devour everything. I will take them from you, and give you bone beaks." With that he plucked the iron beaks from their heads and wished for them to have bone beaks, then he said: "With those iron claws ye would tear and rend everything, I will give you bone claws in place of those." With that he tore their claws off, and gave them such beaks and claws as ravens have in our time. The ravens flew away small, insignificant, and weak.
At sunset the old man and woman came and took the child home. He gave directions to be carried out a second time, in just the same way. The second day they left him by the roadside. Three valleys distant was a mighty mosquito as big as any bullock; it had a great bone sting, sharp as a war spear. It had bone legs as hard as horse legs, and it had tremendous strength in its bulky body.
"Oh," said the mosquito, "if that old man's son grows up he will destroy me. This day I will suck his blood out and kill him."
The mosquito flew over the three valleys, stood at the cradle, and thrust its sharp, enormous sting at the infant. The boy seized the sting, broke the mosquito into bits, made it as small, puny, and tiny as a mosquito is in our time, gave it slim legs and a miserable little sting, and it flew away with a voice as weak and low as it is to-day.
The next morning the boy said: "At Sazgai Bain Khan's there is a wedding. He is giving his daughter, Sangha Gohun, in marriage to the son of Shurik Taiji Hubun. I will go to that wedding."
"How couldst thou go; thou art a little fellow, thou canst not walk yet," said the father and mother. "Some person there would crush thee to death."
"The khan's daughter is to take me as bridegroom, and I must go," answered the boy.
He made them gird his goat skin on, and then he toddled off. When out of sight he called on the thousand Burkans to send his steed, with outfit for beast and rider. The steed was there immediately. It was ninety fathoms long, and other parts accordingly. The saddle was of smooth silver, the saddle cloth of silk, the bridle of silver. The trousers of the rider were of elk skin, the cap of sable, boots of fish skin, coat of silk and belt of silver.
Gesir Bogdo put on his dress, mounted, and rode to the house of Sazgai Bain Khan.
In the evening at the wedding he danced in the circle, and no one there was as graceful or as beautiful as he. All admired him. The first night he danced splendidly, the second night he danced so that no one equalled him; and then he began to pay attention to the bride. The third night the bride was in love with him, and he urged her to go with him. At midnight he stole Sangha Gohun, put her on his steed and shot away homeward. When he came to the rock where he had hidden his goat skin he dismounted, took Sangha Gohun down, pointed out the yurta where his father and mother were, and said:—
"That is my yurta, go on ahead, I will follow quickly." She did as he asked. He let his steed loose, put on his old goat skin, became a stumbling little boy again, and toddled on toward the yurta.
When Sangha Gohun reached the yurta and saw the wretched place she lamented. "Why did I come to this dreadful yurta?" cried she, "why did I, the daughter of a khan, desert a khan's son, and come to this misery?" And she resolved to go back to her father. So the next morning she started and traveled; traveled all day till the sun had gone down, and then what did she see when the sun had set, but this, that she was right there by the old man's yurta.
She was held to the yurta by magic. She had to stay there all that night. She knew not what had become of her new husband, but when she went out of the yurta to escape she saw
a boy tumbling in through the doorway, and thought him some ugly, dirty, unknown little urchin.
The next morning she again tried to escape, but after traveling all day at sunset she was back near the same wretched yurta, back to the place from which she had started.
The third day she tried, and the fourth, but each evening she was at the yurta: she could do nothing, could not get away. Then she lay down to sleep by the boy, concluding that he was her husband in another form.
The fifth night she went down on her knees before the boy: "Turn back to thy own form, become thy real self," implored she. "Why torment me? Turn back and be as thou wert when I saw thee first." She begged for two days.
On the morning of the ninth day, after going to sleep in the poor, wretched old yurta Sangha Gohun woke up in a white stone yurta three stories high. She was lying on a golden couch. Everything there was in wonderful plenty and splendor, the boy was there too, and, though in a palace in place of a wretched yurta, he was no handsomer or cleaner than before.
When Sangha Gohun woke there were thirty-three strong champions outside, three thousand warriors, and a great many people standing or moving about. She wondered where that ugly, nasty, little creature got such magnificence.
The twelfth evening, when going to bed, she tied, unknown to him, a silk string around his ankle. At midnight she woke; he was gone. She was astonished when she saw that the silk string which she had tied around his ankle had stretched from the bed to the ceiling. She went to the top of the yurta and saw that from the roof to the sky there was a beautiful rainbow. He had gone to the sky on that rainbow, and she followed him.
He had gone to Esege Malan to beg for more power and riches. Esege Malan looked down and asked angrily: "Who is that following thee?"
The boy looked, and saw Sangha Gohun. When she reached the sky he gave her a push, and she went sliding down on the rainbow till she came to the roof of the white stone yurta, and then he followed her. Esege Malan was so angry that he pulled in the rainbow and put it down on the earth where it has remained,
and there has never been a rainbow in heaven since that morning.
The boy too was angry, and he fell to beating his bride; he beat her three days and nights, calling out as he struck: "If thou hadst not followed I might have got all I wanted; Esege Malan would have given it."
He commanded the thirty-three strong champions to lead his cattle and horses to water. When they reached the seashore, they found an aspen tree growing there; they pulled it up by the roots, and from the hole came a Mangathai with ten heads, and as he came out he cried:
"I will eat you up! I will eat up every one of you."
"Thou wilt gain nothing by eating us. If thou eat us our master will come and kill thee."
"What weapons has your master?" asked the Mangathai.
"Ninety-nine arrows, and a great yellow bow. There are ninety-five knobs on the bow to protect it from the string, and the arrow is of that kind that it will cut off not only thy head, but any head in the world. The arrow head is three sided."
"Destroy those weapons," said the Mangathai, "and I will take you into my service and treat you like Burkans. Ye will live in the same way that I do. With your present master ye will always be cattle herders."
"We will work for thee," said the men, and they went home to cut and break the bows and arrows. They tried the string and the knobs, but could not injure them in any way, could not do the least harm to them, but they returned to the Mangathai and told him that they had destroyed the weapons.
The Mangathai now went to fight with Gesir Bogdo, thinking that if his weapons were destroyed he could be killed easily. About midnight the dogs at Gesir Bogdo's yurta began to bark, and Sangha Gohun said:
"Perhaps some one will shut you in, and kill you."
"I am not afraid," said Gesir; "no one can injure my weapons, no one can destroy me." He knew that his strong champions had tried and had failed in the trial. He went out to defend his yurta. The Mangathai appeared at a distance, riding on an immense stallion, but when he saw Gesir Bogdo
ready and brandishing his weapons be turned quickly to flee from him. Gesir sent his arrow. "Go," said he to the arrow, "and cut off the right arm of that Mangathai, and then cut off all his heads."
The arrow did as commanded. Then Gesir burned the Mangathai's body and scattered the ashes.
Three days later the thirty-three mighty champions came to him. Gesir Bogdo was angry and reproached them. They told him that Gal Nurman Khan (fire ashes and fire) was at war and they begged him to go with them to the war. He was unwilling, and said that they must not go to war in a year of bad grass and great accidents.
"Take us! Take us even for three days!" urged they. When Gesir refused, they took skin straps and hair ropes and declared that as it was better to die than to be deprived of such pleasure, they were going to hang themselves. Then Gesir Bogdo promised to go with them. He sent them to collect all weapons that were of use in war; and in three days the thirty-three champions and three thousand men were armed properly.
Gesir Bogdo mounted his wonderful steed and went in his dress of a hero, which he always wore now. The thirty-three mighty champions were afraid of Gal Nurman, with whom they were going to fight, for he never slept save for a few moments just before daybreak, hence they decided to climb a high mountain and watch from there.
They climbed the mountain and waited, watched to see if Gal Nurman would come out as fire, or in his own shape. He was off in the southeast, but he saw them and stood up immediately; drank tarasun, mounted his golden bay steed and started, without armor or attendants; rode out against them, rode straight to where Gesir Bogdo was, and asked:
"Hast thou come to fight with me? If so let us fight man to man."
Gesir Bogdo threw his armor off, sprang from his horse, and they began to wrestle. They wrestled three days and three nights, and fought with such fierceness that they tore off all the flesh from each other's backs with their hands, and from each other's breasts with their teeth.
Click to enlarge
VASSYA, HIS FATHER, AND MR. CURTIN.
At last Gal Nurman began to overpower Gesir Bogdo, then two of Gesir's mighty champions sprang forward; one of them seized Gal Nurman's right leg. Gal kicked him and sent him rolling, turning over and over down the hill. Then the other champion seized Gal's left leg. Gal kicked, and sent him rolling and turning in the same way. Then Gesir Bogdo called on the Burkans to help him, but they would not; they were angry because Sangha Gohun, his wife, had followed him up the rainbow to the sky. Then Gesir called on his brother Dashin Shuher. He came immediately, and the two killed Gal, put his body in an iron cask, and rolled it into the sea; then they went to Gal's yurta.
Gal Nurman had two wives. Gesir Bogdo let an arrow fly at the yurta, struck the younger woman and out of her body sprang an infant. "I am born three days before my time!" cried the child. "If I live nine days longer I shall conquer Gesir Bogdo and Dashin, his brother!" and he began to sway his head.
"Why kill that woman?" asked Dashin of Gesir Bogdo. "I should have taken her for a wife." And Dashin, angry at his brother, left him, and went up to the sky.
Gesir Bogdo put the elder wife into an iron barrel and rolled the barrel into the sea; then he built a furnace, made a fire in it, and put the child in the fire. Next morning when he went to the furnace the boy was playing with live coals. "Ah, father," cried he, "into what a nice warm place thou didst put me!"
The second night Gesir made a still greater fire, and put the child into it. The second morning he again found the boy playing with the live coals. The third night Gesir watched the child and saw that a red and green tube came down from the sky to his navel. It raised the child up, and a stream of water fell on him. Bogdo took an arrow, shot at the tube and cut it. Then he made a great fire, and burned the child to ashes.
Bogdo took all the cattle, all the people, and all the treasures; ruined Gal Nurman's place. When he brought the people to his domain he told them where to live, fixed homes for them. Then he went into his white stone yurta and lay down to sleep, but first he said to Sangha Gohun: "In case of danger if you cannot
rouse me take my sword and stab me in the right heel. If that does not rouse me stab me in the right thigh. If that fails to waken me let cold spring water drop into my right ear."
He went to sleep, and soon a seventeen-headed Mangathai appeared, a brother of the ten-headed one whom Gesir had killed. The dogs began to bark; the watchmen and the thirty-three champions raised a great outcry. Sangha Gohun was frightened, and tried to waken her husband. She was going to stab him in the heel, but said to herself: "If I do that it will injure him and how can he fight? If I stab him in the thigh blood will flow, and what strength will he have to fight? If I pour water into his ear it will run into his head and make him foolish; he will have no sense; how could he carry on a war then?"
And she did neither of the three things, but began to cry. She cried all day, cried bitterly. At night when she put up her hand to wipe the tears away one chanced to fall in Gesir's ear; it woke him at once. He was frightened, sprang up, and before he was well awake he snatched his weapons and hurried into the courtyard. The Mangathai was there, and cried to Gesir:
"Go to that mountain on the northwest, and I will go to the one on the southeast, and we will hurl axes at each other."
Gesir agreed. The Mangathai said: "I will hurl my axe first."
"No," said Gesir Bogdo, "I was born here; I should have the first throw."
"No, thou hast killed my brother; I should have the first throw!" And the Mangathai whirled his axe and let it fly to the opposite mountain.
The axe was coming straight toward Gesir's head and would have cut it off surely, but that instant he turned himself into stone. The axe hit the stone, but made no hole or dint in it. Gesir took his own form, seized his best arrow, and said:
"Fly, fly, O my arrow, and break the spinal column beneath the Mangathai's neck, break his right forearm, fall then upon his breast and whirl through his heart and lungs, cut them into small pieces, and come back to me."
He whispered with such force to the arrow, that, from magic,
red fire appeared on the bow where the arrow touched it, and little blue flames ran along the whole bowstring. He drew the arrow to the very head, drew it back until the bow was like half a circle, then let the arrow fly. It went straight to the Mangathai, struck his spinal column below the neck, broke his right arm, went into his left side and cut his heart and lungs into small pieces, killed him; then returned to Gesir Bogdo with a whistle, and went of itself into the quiver.
Now the Mangathai's horse cried out to Gesir: "Thou hast killed my master, but thou wilt never kill me. May my body break into bits if I yield to thee!" Then he rushed away south-west to the great barren steppe.
"Where art thou, my blue steed, ninety-nine fathoms long?" called Gesir.
That moment the horse appeared. Gesir Bogdo sprang on to him without a saddle. The horse said: "I will not let the Mangathai's horse run across five valleys till I have bitten the strong muscle in the back of his leg, and he will not run across six valleys till I have him by the bridle bit."
Then he ran with all his strength, and at the fifth valley so nearly overtook the Mangathai's horse that he bit the strong sinew of his leg. In the sixth valley he caught him by the bridle bit. Then Gesir Bogdo said:
"I have killed a great hero in killing the Mangathai, now I will send him his horse, so that he will have a good beast to ride in that other world."
He took the horse back to where the Mangathai was killed, and there he killed the beast. He plucked up the mountain then and planted it on the body of the Mangathai and the horse. After that he went home.
"If I fall asleep," said he to his wife, "waken me as before." "There are many Mangathais," said he to the thirty-three mighty champions and the three thousand men, "and they will come; do ye defend well my property. Walk around and keep watch, but go not one at a time. Let two or three go in company, so that if one is eaten others will defend themselves, and still others come to assist them."
Again he fell asleep. But his men, instead of watching, began
to play games. Meanwhile a Mangathai with twenty-seven heads came upon them. Gesir with his magic knew of this; woke up of himself, and, without saying a word to his wife, stole out to a mountain in the southeast, and from there watched the Mangathai, saw that he went to the seashore, where they had pulled up the silver-leafed aspen tree, and went into the hole there.
Gesir watched and waited all night. At daybreak the Mangathai thrust his heads up through the hole to look around. At that moment Gesir sent his arrow and cut off the twenty-seven heads of the Mangathai. This Mangathai's horse called out in the manner of the first horse, and was treated in the same way: overtaken, killed and buried under the mountain together with his master. Gesir rode home, and said to Sangha Gohun, his wife, "My champions and men do not watch carefully; they forget, but do thou watch for me."
After three days a Mangathai came into the courtyard. Gesir's wife looked out, saw him, and said to herself: "If my husband goes out to fight and is beaten the dogs will cower. If he beats, the dogs will have their tails up, and be full of courage." But again she cried and was afraid to waken Gesir Bogdo; at last a tear drop fell into his right ear and wakened him.
The horse knew that the Mangathai was there and ran in from the open country. Gesir sprang on to his back, rushed off to a hill and called to the Mangathai:
"How shall we fight, hand to hand, or with weapons?"
"Let us wrestle," said the Mangathai, and he rode out to meet Gesir.
Each man sprang from his horse and approached the other. They held their heads like two bulls. They clinched and fought so fiercely that each tore the flesh from the back of the other with his hands, and from his breast with his teeth. They fought two days. The Mangathai had lost all the flesh from his back and his breast. Gesir squeezed him when he was nothing but bones; what was inside the Mangathai squealed like a goat, whined like a kid, and he died.
Gesir was dreadfully wearied after killing this fifty-three headed Mangathai. "I must sleep now," said he to Sangha
[paragraph continues] Gohun. "I must sleep for nine days and nine nights. Watch, sleep not, waken me as before." 1
Gesir had slept three days and three nights when a seventy-seven headed Mangathai came. He was more cautious at first than any of the others, for his brothers had been killed. He watched from a distance, standing on a mountain.
When Sangha Gohun saw this new Mangathai she was terribly frightened and pushed her husband, but did not waken him. Gesir was dreaming that a Mangathai had come, and was on his land.
Sangha Gohun tried again, tried to prick him in the heel, but had not the courage to do it, so she waited two days. After five days she pulled Gesir's arm and woke him. He woke more easily because he was dreaming.
"What is the matter?" cried Gesir, springing up. He looked out and saw the Mangathai on a mountain. "Once he has come I may not leave him on my land," said Gesir. So he took his horse and weapons and went out to meet the Mangathai. When he reached the mountain top, he asked:
"How shall we fight? Shall it be with the strength of arms, or the swiftness of arrows?" They agreed to run to the opposite mountains, Gesir to the southeastern, and the Mangathai to the northwestern one, and the one who reached his mountain first should send the first arrow. Gesir was on his mountain top when the Mangathai was within a few steps of his. He pointed his arrow. It flew straight to the Mangathai, entered his side, tore out his heart, broke his arm and his spinal column, and killed him.
Gesir burned the body of the Mangathai, burned the horse, and went home. This time he had no need of sleep; he was not weary.
Barely had he reached his white stone yurta when a Mangathai rushed straight into the courtyard: "Thou hast killed my elder brothers!" cried he. "Come out at once and meet me!"
"Go into the open steppe, where the fifty pine trees are growing; I will meet thee in that place."
The Mangathai went to the fifty pine trees, killed two splendid deer, male and female, put them on spits, and was roasting them in front of a big fire when Gesir Bogdo rode up suddenly, seized one of the spits, sat down on the ground, and fell to eating. The Mangathai rushed at him with his axe; Gesir turned himself into rock. The Mangathai struck till he was tired, but made no impression on the hard, white rock; he only broke his axe on it. When the axe was broken Gesir took his own form and said to the Mangathai:
"Who art thou who strikes and tries to kill people when they are lying down?" and he hit him such a blow that the blood gushed from his nostrils. "Thou and thy brothers," roared Gesir with a shout that was heard in the fifty-fifth sky, "are always coming with war, and never with peace. Ye are great fools!"
Not only was the blow which followed the roar heard in the fifty-fifth sky, but Hohodai Mergen (Thunder) heard it and asked:
"Why does our heaven child roar so? He must be in trouble." And he sent down his nine sons to help him. When they came the nine sons hurled lightning at the Mangathai and his steed, and tore them into small fragments.
Gesir ate the two deer, burned the bits of the Mangathai and his horse, and went back to his yurta. When he got home he said:
"There is a young Mangathai; I hope he will come soon." Gesir drank tarasun, and went around and gave directions to his people. While doing this he saw, coming on a fiery, red horse, a young man with a neck like a bull; he had a white face, enormous eyes, and ears with big rings in them. When he saw Gesir Bogdo he shouted: "Be greeted!
"Be greeted!" said Gesir in reply.
"I have heard," said the young man, "that in this place lives Gesir Bogdo, of great vigor; I have come to try strength with him. Shall we wrestle?"
Bogdo agreed, but said: "It is not convenient to wrestle here, let us go out on that broad, barren steppe, where the fifty pine
trees are growing." And taking his weapons, he mounted his steed and went to the place where he had fought with the Mangathai.
They began to wrestle and wrestled for three days. Wherever they pressed their feet they knocked out a piece of earth as big as a calf one year old, but neither could conquer the other. Then they agreed to use arrows. In the night each tried to learn where the life of the other was.
Gesir Bogdo had two lives. One of them was in his stone yurta, the other was in the heaven next above the sky. This second life was in a vial, and the Burkan, Hulgin Sagán Namo, kept the vial between his knees, and his hand was always closed on the mouth of the vial.
The life of the Mangathai was on a mountain in the south-west. On that mountain, in the top branches of a golden-trunked, silver-leafed aspen, at the foot of which flowed the Water of Youth and Life, sat the king of birds, Khan Herdik Shubùn. In the outside feathers of the right wing of that bird was a life; Gesir thought it was the life of this Mangathai. But he had a second life, and Gesir by his magic learned where it was: On the bottom of the Milk Sea lived the old grandmother of the Mangathai and she had a box; in that box were thirteen woodcocks, and in those woodcocks was the second life of the Mangathai.
Each learned by magic where the life of the other was, but it was of no advantage to the Mangathai to learn that Gesir's life was in the heaven above the sky, for Burkans would not let him go there.
The mountain where the Mangathai's life was, was so far away, and its top was so high that no horse could run to it, even a bird could not fly to it, so Gesir Bogdo took an arrow from his quiver, and said to it:
"Go to the top of the golden-trunked aspen tree where the king of birds is sitting; go when he is sleeping, pluck the out-side feather from his right wing, and bring it hither."
Gesir was not sure that it was the life that he wanted, but it proved to be. The next morning Gesir said to the Mangathai: "As master of this land I will shoot first."
"No," said the Mangathai, "I come from afar; I am a guest, the first shot is mine."
After much disputing Gesir Bogdo shot first. His arrow went into the Mangathai, but the Mangathai had such power that the arrow could not tear him. He pulled it out, took grass and stopped the blood flow, then sprang up, and cried:
"Now I will shoot my arrow!" He stretched his bow and the arrow flew straight to Gesir, went in under one of his armpits and out under the other. Gesir caught the arrow as it came out, planted it in his saddle, put stones against the wound to stop the blood, and screamed to the Mangathai:
"What kind of archer art thou, that can only hit my saddle-bow?"
Gesir kept the stones against his wounds, and in two days he had recovered. The Mangathai grew well also; then he mounted and rode to Gesir Bogdo, who showed him a feather as big as a small tree, and said:
"See what a beautiful feather I have." It was the feather which the arrow had brought back from the mountain.
"Oh, that is the feather of a sacred bird," said the Mangathai. "It would be an awful sin for you to write with it; thou art too young. Let me have it; I am not so young as thou art."
Gesir would not give it; he twisted the feather and put it away.
"I have a terrible pain in my head," said the Mangathai. "I must rest two days or three." And he went to his yurta.
Gesir knew now that one of the Mangathai's lives was in the feather, and he set out for the Milk Sea to find the Mangathai's grandmother and get the second life. By magic he made himself exactly like the Mangathai.
When Gesir reached the Milk Sea, not knowing the way into it, he began to weep and call, "Oh, grandmother, grand-mother come out. Come up to me. I have been fighting three years with Gesir Bogdo, and have worn out my strength. Inside me there is no power, outside I have nothing."
The old grandmother came from the sea, and was wonderfully glad to look at her grandson. She took him on her knees and to strengthen him gave him her breast. "Oh," said she, "I am astonished, my children do not draw as they used to."
"I have been fighting three years, of course I cannot draw as I used to," said Gesir. Then he drew the breast so hard that he drew the lungs out of the old woman and she died, crying: "A deceiver has killed me!"
Then Gesir went to the bottom of the Milk Sea, where he found the box and kicked it open. The thirteen woodcocks flew out, but Gesir could catch only one, the others flew up to the sky. He killed the one, turned himself into a falcon and flew after the twelve woodcocks; caught eleven and killed them; the twelfth fell to the earth, turned into millet, and covered seven acres and a half with small grains, and each grain had the second life of the Mangathai within it.
Gesir turned himself into ninety-nine hens and fell to eating the millet. The hens ate till only three grains were left, then those three turned into three wild goats and ran off to the forest. That instant the ninety-nine hens turned themselves into three gray, hungry wolves. They caught two of the wild goats, but the third got away, escaped to the edge of the sea, turned into hundreds of small fish and sprang into the water. From three wolves Gesir turned into a great many hungry pikes and began to swallow the small fish.
The pikes ate till only two of the small fish were left. Those darted to the edge of the sea, sprang out and became two wild goats. The pikes turned into wolves and ran after the goats. They caught one goat, the other changed into seven skylarks, and rose through the air swiftly.
Gesir Bogdo now called on Hohodai Mergen (Thunder) to make stone hail and let it fall on the skylarks and kill them.
Hohodai listened, was favorable to Gesir, and helped him. The hailstorm came, but wherever there was a ray of sunlight the larks darted into it, and thus were saved from the hailstones.
Gesir saw the larks hanging in the sunshine; he turned into a raven, darted at them, and caught them. He went back then to where the Mangathai was and found him very feeble.
"Thou art not able to fight yet, thou art sick it seems," said Gesir, as he put his hands in his pockets and took out the skylarks.
"Hast thou ever seen such beautiful birds?" asked he.
The Mangathai was dreadfully frightened, and cried:
"Oh, it is a terrible sin for a young man to take hold of those birds. I am older than thou art, give them to me."
Gesir Bogdo squeezed the birds, then gave them to his horse to bite. The horse bit them, killed them; the Mangathai died, and Gesir covered him and his horse with a mountain.
When Gesir reached home he said to his wife: "The father of the Mangathais is left yet, but it is better for me to go to him," and he went.
This father had ninety-nine heads. The old man came out with a club in his hands and shouted: "Oh, thou dog! thou hast killed all my strong sons, and now thou art here to kill me, but thou wilt not do it!"
Bogdo laughed and said: "Thy flesh is tender, thy bones are weak!" And he spoke as if the Mangathai were a young boy. The old man became terribly angry and sprang at Gesir. Gesir seized him, raised him up, and struck him against the earth. Right there was a larch tree of such bulk that ten men could hardly reach around it. There was a split in the tree, Gesir pushed the old Mangathai into the split, pressed it together firmly, put ninety-nine hoops around the tree trunk, and said: "Now stay there forever!"
Gesir went home then, and Sangha Gohun said to him: "In five months I shall give birth to a child, go not out during that time." He waited five months. She was ill, very ill, and Gesir prayed to the thousand heavenly Burkans that she might be delivered the more quickly, and in two days a son was born; an old midwife received the child. All the people were called and Gesir put out kegs of tarasun and killed many cattle, so that there was a sea of drink and a mountain of meat for every one present. Then they asked the old men and women, "What name is the child to have?"
Gesir took the right shoulder bone of a bull, held it, and said: "Whoso is able to give a name to my son and will give it, let him do so now."
. An old man from the North stepped out of the crowd and said: "I can give a name. The eldest son of Gesir Bogdo will be called Ashir Bogdo."
Gesir accepted the name, gave the old man the bone of the bull and three gallons of tarasun, and when the time came sent a man with three horses to take him home with honor.
"Till five months are passed," said the mother to Gesir, "thou wilt not leave the yurta."
When five months old the boy walked. "I will ride around the whole world now," said Gesir, "and see what is happening." He started and during twelve years he went everywhere; went to the yurta of Gal Tulan Tengeri (Fiery Red Sky) and fell in love with Gal's beautiful daughter. When parting from her, he said: "I will return soon and take thee home as my second wife."
"Who art thou?" asked Ashir Bogdo when his father came home. "Art thou good or bad? Hast thou come with good or evil wishes?" Then Sangha Gohun came, recognized Gesir, and said: "This is thy father, who has come back to us after wandering twelve years around the world." When Ashir heard her words he embraced his father and led him into the yurta. Sangha Gohun gave all there was to eat and to drink; meat and tarasun in plenty, and the three ate together.
In the evening Gesir lay down to sleep on a beaver skin and under a sable cover. Then he told Sangha Gohun how he had seen the daughter of Gal Tulan and that he wanted her for his second wife. "She will not trouble thee," added he, "and I wish to have as many sons as possible."
"Thinkst thou that I am old? I am not old. Why take the other woman? We have a son. I beg thee not to take her."
"I took thee when I was young," said Gesir. "I deceived thee and brought thee home, therefore I married thee. But when I took my present form it was commanded me to have two wives, first thee, then this other one."
Three days and nights he argued with Sangha Gohun, but she would not consent, would not yield to him. Then he said: "I will ask thee no further. I will go and bring her. If I do not I shall die to-morrow or the day which comes after."
"I am sorry for thee," said Sangha Gohun. "Bring her, bring her not. Do what pleases thee."
He made ready, mounted his steed in full outfit as at first, and
rode away to Gal Tulan Tengeri's kingdom. He traveled night and day at a gallop. At last he came to a bronze and silver square where man had never sat. In that square was a spring dark as liver and from that spring horse had never drunk. Gesir watered his steed there, then sat down, took his silver pipe, filled it with tobacco, named the thousand Heavenly Burkans, made fire with a flint, and smoked. When he blew out smoke it went with a roar like rushing wind; when he opened his mouth and let it come out of itself it came in silence. He smoked these two ways.
After Gesir had finished smoking he put away his pipe and went toward the northeast. When he jerked the reins the bridle bit cut the horse's mouth so that blood flowed; when he struck with his whip it cut to the bone. The horse raced on with fierce pace till at last they reached the mountain called Tiphin Ündir Hada.
"Well," asked Gesir of his steed, "what skill hast thou?"
"What skill have I? I can spring to the top of this high mountain. If I go back one day's journey, with the force of my run I can rise to the summit. If I fail in the spring and fall, we shall perish, both of us."
Gesir went to the foot of the mountain and saw piles of bones there, immense piles, bones of men and of horses. He took the thigh bone of a man, measured it against his own; it reached the whole length of his leg. Then he took the thigh bone of a horse and measured it against his steed; it was long as his whole leg. "Oh," said Gesir, "since they, who were so mighty, have perished we are sure to fail. Let us weep."
They wept during three days and three nights, steed and rider. After that Gesir Bogdo turned back the journey of one day and rested. Then the horse rushed furiously toward the mountain, rose with one immense spring, but did not quite reach the summit, he only got his front feet over the highest edge, and hung there, holding on first with hoofs and then with hoofs and teeth.
"Now master," cried he, "save me if thou canst, or kill me if it is thy wish." Bogdo sprang from the saddle-tree over the horse's head and was on the summit. That done he drew the
horse up by the strong bridle and they lay there, both of them, on the top of the mountain for twenty-four hours without moving. When they came to their senses and looked around they saw a spring near them. In this spring was the Water of Life and Youth which gushed forth at the foot of a golden-trunked, silver-leafed aspen tree; on a branch of the tree a cup was hanging.
Gesir took one of the silver leaves of the golden tree, ate it and gave another silver leaf to his stallion. Then he drank a cup of the water and gave one to his horse. He took the saddle from his steed with great difficulty, so firmly had it clung to the saddle-cloth; the saddle-cloth itself had so clung to the horse that it had almost grown to him.
Gesir fettered his steed and led him out to graze. At that moment a stag and hind passed. He took his black bow and strong arrow and killed them both. He dressed them, spitted the female on a whole pine tree and the male on the trunk of a great larch tree; then he lay down and slept three days and three nights.
When Gesir woke he saw that his steed had grown fat and was far handsomer than he had ever been. He himself had improved wonderfully. This change was from the silver leaf of the aspen tree and the Water of Life.
Gesir sat down and ate the two deer; chewed the meat, bones, and all. He cleared in his mouth the flesh from the bones and cast the bones out through his nostrils. When he had finished eating he turned his steed into a flint, put the flint into his pocket, changed himself into Khan Herdik Shubùn (Eagle) and flew to Gal Tulan Tengeri's kingdom, where he saw the khan's yurta hanging between the cloudy sky and the first heaven.
When Gesir came to the yurta he found that it had no doors, so he prayed three days and three nights, going around on the sun's road (in the same direction as the sun).
In front of Gal Tulan's yurta was a tree of such size that a man on the swiftest horse could hardly ride around it in a day. On its boughs thousands of heavenly birds were singing; on its branches hung all the written wisdom in existence. The religions of all peoples were recorded and hanging there.
After Gesir had gone around on the sun's road for three days, praying to the Burkans, the doors of the yurta opened of themselves on the west and he entered.
The rooms inside were without doors, apparently, as well as the outer walls of the yurta. Gesir prayed one day and one night, two doors opened, and out came Gal Tulan Tengeri.
They greeted each other and Gal invited Gesir Bogdo to sit down and then he gave orders to bring milk to him. When he wished to drink Gal said, "Whence hast thou come, black, earthly mouse?"
"I am no black, earthly mouse," replied Gesir. "I was created by the thousand Heavenly Burkans. I am the youngest son of Khan Tyurmas, the eldest of the fifty-five Tengeris. I have come because my father and thy father poured to each other wine into a red goblet and exchanged the second joint of the right leg of a bullock in agreement that the son of one and the daughter of the other were to marry."
"Soft meat needs no knife and a true word needs no road," said Gal. "Show me thy book and I will see if it is recorded in it that our fathers exchanged cups of red wine and the leg joint of a bullock and made this agreement."
Gesir gave the book and Gal Tulan read three days in it; he found everything as Gesir had said.
"Now I have entertained you," said Gal, "and have looked through the book. It is as you have said, and I will give my daughter, but first go and see her; she is in the seventy-seventh chamber. If she consents all will be well."
Just before sunset Gesir Bogdo turned to go to Gal's daughter; soon he was in the seventy-seventh chamber, and he saluted her quickly. She brought various dishes to him, sweet milk, curds, and the film of boiled milk. They ate heartily, then ceased to eat.
That night the pillows of his bed were of otter, the bed itself was of otter, the quilt of sable was as soft as if all the fur were in a lump without the skin; it was as soft as the lungs of an animal. The next morning when one half of the round of the sun was above the earth Gesir sprang up at the call of Gal Tulan, who shouted: "Art thou sorry to leave a soft bed?"
"Soft meat needs no knife, a true word needs no road. My bride had so much to say that time passed without notice till the sun was half up. When our fathers made the agreement what were the conditions?"
"Your father was to give a cart-load of gold and the arms and armor of a warrior."
Gesir went west that day and up to the region of the fifty-five Tengeris. He went first to the seven smiths of the sky; they were to make for him the arms and armor of a warrior. He told them that he had promised the arms and armor to Gal within three days. It took him one day and one night to go to the sky-smiths.
Then Gesir went to his father, and told him that Khan Tulan had given him but three days, and he asked for the gold. Khan Tyurmas got the gold, and gave it to Gesir, for the time was short, and great haste was requisite.
Gesir pulled a tree out by the roots, tied the roots to his horse's tail, and said to the man with the gold: "Follow the trail that this tree makes and you will know the way by which I go."
Bogdo was late with the weapons. The time for delivering the gold had not been mentioned. "Why art thou late?" asked Gal.
"Because the sky-smiths were late; there was much work in making the weapons."
Gal Tulan received the armor and weapons. "Where is the gold?" asked he. "Thou wilt deceive me, perhaps, if I give the wedding."
"The wedding will last more than one day," answered Gesir; "the gold will be here before the wedding is ended."
Gal Tulan invited the thousand Burkans. All the Burkans and people danced and ate and drank for nine days. There were mountains of meat and lakes of tarasun; whoever wanted to dance danced, whoever got drunk fell down, and lay where he fell. At last the load of gold came, and the father-in-law received it.
"It is time to go home," said Gesir Bogdo, on the ninth day. Gal Tulan assented, Gesir's horse was saddled, and a horse for the bride was brought; its body was ninety fathoms long and
its ears nine ells high; he was a bay, with a star on the forehead.
The bride asked then what her mother would give, and the mother gave her a pair of golden scissors. Then she asked her brother, and he gave her a silver magic cup. The cup had such power, that if she held it in her right hand and made a sweep with it toward herself everything within thirty versts followed her.
They mounted their steeds. "Now," said Gesir Bogdo, "let all the guests follow me." He pulled up a young tree, tied it to his horse's tail and said: "Follow the trail!" The bride held the magic cup in her right hand, made a sweep with it, and said:
"Everything that is here follow us!" So her father and mother, the yurta, and everything had to go with them. She and Gesir Bogdo rode forward, and she did not look back till her father called:
"Daughter, look around and see what is happening!"
She feigned not to hear and rode on. The father called a second and a third time. "But look around, daughter!"
She looked half over her shoulder. That moment one third of all that was following remained behind. The father soon called, "Daughter, everything is burning up! Is it possible that thou wilt let thy father and mother be burned?" The bride was so frightened by what he said that she looked over her shoulder. That moment another third remained behind, and only the last third was following.
They traveled in the sky till above the mountain where the Water of Youth and Life was, and the golden-trunked, silver-leafed aspen tree.
Gesir's father-in-law had given him a silver stairway. On this stairway they came down from the sky to the mountain; the stairway looked like a ray of sunlight. All came down on it,—people, cattle, and herds. Then they went to Bogdo's great white stone yurta. His wife and son were waiting there. Ashir Bogdo was now old enough to marry, and he asked his father: "Is this a bride whom thou hast brought for me?"
"No, she is for myself; thou art young, for thee there is time enough."
Three days later the people came. When they appeared Gesir
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DRYING FUEL—COW DROPPINGS—ISLAND OF OLKHON.
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CHURCH NEAR A POST STATION ON THE ROAD TO LAKE BAIKAL.
The place which I called "Ragats"
had another wedding feast which lasted for nine days and nights, with a mountain of meat, and a sea of drink. On the tenth day he sent back the guests, but the cattle remained with him.
Gesir and his young wife had a pleasant life for the first day and first night. The second evening the old wife scolded, and quarrelled with her husband and his bride.
The next morning the young wife said: "I cannot live thus, I would rather be with the hundred and nine headed Mangathai than with thee in this yurta. Remain with thy old wife, I will go to the Mangathai."
Gesir begged her to stay. "I ought to have married thee first," said he, "since that was the agreement between our fathers. But I was young. Bow down to my old wife, and stay with me."
"I will promise to stay and be thy wife if thou wilt turn into a six-year-old horse, and for one day eat grass in the field out there."
Gesir consented, for he was greatly in love; he turned himself into a horse and went to graze outside in the field. Then the bride began her magic, and chanted. She chanted that Gesir must be a horse and draw a plow as long as the hundred and nine headed Mangathai lived. She chanted "Gesir is in my hands; come hither thou hundred and nine headed Mangathai," and her voice reached the Mangathai.
The Mangathai appeared that same night, rode in on his terrible black stallion. Gesir was then out in the field eating grass like any other horse, one of his fore feet tied to a stake while he pastured. Gesir's young wife, whose name was Apha, sprang up, opened the door and let in the Mangathai. All that he asked for she gave,—food, drink, and everything. "Where is thy husband?" asked the Mangathai while he was eating.
"He is out in the field gnawing grass; each day thou wilt plow with him, and each night put him in an iron stable without windows or opening other than the door, so that he may never escape from thee."
The next morning the Mangathai rose and began to plow. He plowed all day with Gesir Bogdo, then tied him firmly in the iron stable, and closed the door securely.
Sangha Gohun with her son left the yurta and went southwest to Red Mountain. There the son made a box of bark, put his mother inside, raised up the mountain and placed the box under it; then he turned himself into a falcon, and flew away to Khan Tyurmas, his grandfather. When he had told him all his trouble Khan Tyurmas said: "I will summon the thousand Heavenly Burkans to assemble on Dolon Odun" (The Great Bear).
From the time when the Mangathai came to Gesir's yurta till all the Heavenly Burkans assembled nine months had passed, and every day Gesir had drawn a plow and been driven by the hundred and nine headed Mangathai, who had settled in his yurta and was living with Apha, Gesir's young wife.
Ashir said to the thousand Burkans, "Ye created a hero; did ye create him to plow for a Mangathai?"
The Burkans looked down, and saw the hundred and nine headed Mangathai plowing with Gesir Bogdo as a horse. The Mangathai had a strong club in his hand, and was beating the hero to make him work faster.
Nine days did the Burkans take counsel on Dolon Odun; at last they decided to make an iron hero. The smiths of the sky made this hero; they were forging him during nine days, and while at work they chanted these words: "May man with thumb never crush thee; may man with shoulder never kill thee; may no weapon or sharp steel ever harm thee!"
After the sky-smiths had finished the body Ashir Bogdo went to the seven heavenly smiths to have armor made,—bow, arrows, and quiver. He returned then to the thousand Burkans, and said, "Ye have created a hero, now give him a steed." In the sky were nine blue stallions. The Burkans gave the Iron Hero the youngest of these. This stallion heard all that happened on earth, and all that was done in the sky, or above it. One ear he pointed upward to hear what was done higher up, the other downward to hear all the sounds on the earth beneath him. Ashir took this steed to his grandfather's yurta; and just as he reached there, with the stallion and all his trappings, the Iron Hero came, for the thousand Burkans had breathed into him and given him life. When this hero walked seven acres of earth
groaned around him; when he came to the yurta Khan Tyurmas, who was very anxious about his son, said:
"Thou hast no time to wait here, mount thy steed, and hasten to free Gesir Bogdo."
Ashir started and with him went the Iron Hero mounted on the all-hearing steed, which traveled lower than the clouds, and higher than the trees, till over Red Mountain, where Ashir Bogdo had hidden his mother; there they came down and Ashir went to his mother and asked: "Where are the weapons and the armor which my father used?"
"I put them aside," said she, "where no one could ever find them." Then she told him what storehouse they were in, and gave him the key.
"We will go now," said Ashir, "to that Mangathai who is plowing with my father."
"Go," said Sangha Gohun, "but go not to the yurta, for Apha would kill thee."
The Iron Hero went then to free his brother, Gesir Bogdo, from the power of the Mangathai, and Ashir went to find the armor and arms of his father.
The Iron Hero found the Mangathai plowing with a terribly lean and wretched horse, and he shouted to him:
"Why plow with such a poor, miserable beast. Take my good sturdy steed for a little while; let thine rest and get breath again."
"I will not use thy horse," said the Mangathai; "mine is good enough." But he changed his mind soon, and said, "I will try the fresh horse."
The Mangathai let out Gesir, and put in the blue stallion. Gesir saw that the Iron Hero was his brother, created by the Burkans, and he began to weep, but in such a way that the Mangathai might not see him.
The Mangathai fastened the reins round his own neck, and put the plow in the ground. The blue sky stallion had awful strength; no one knew what his strength was. He began slowly, then went faster and faster till at last he broke the plow, and then he dragged the Mangathai in great circles around the Iron Hero. The Iron Hero sent arrow after arrow into the Mangathai's
body, and killed him. Then the blue stallion came up to him with the body of the Mangathai.
Ashir Bogdo brought water from nine springs; he went to a forest and brought juniper leaves from it and dried them. He washed Gesir with the water, and incensed him with the smoke of the dry juniper leaves, and restored him perfectly.
After that they took a barrel, with ninety-five iron hoops, put the body of the Mangathai into the barrel, and rolled it into the Gazada Sea (Lateral Sea).
Gesir Bogdo went toward his yurta. Apha, who had seen all that had taken place, ran out, and put her arms around him.
"Since thou hast magic and power, why didst thou let the Mangathai torment me so long?" asked Gesir. "Now I will make thee work like a three-year-old bullock, and have you milked as a three-year-old cow."
"Thou wilt never do that!" screamed Apha, and she closed with him. They wrestled for three days and three nights; she was gaining. They fought for nine days and nights, and then she was winning the victory surely.
"Where is thy aid?" cried Gesir to the Iron Hero. The Iron Hero approached Apha then, saying, "I will take thee now; my brother brought thee here by deceit, thou shouldst be my wife."
"Was I brought here to be the wife of one after another? Am I to be the wife of one of you when another is tired of me?" asked Apha, and she hurled herself at the Iron Hero, screaming, "May Gal Tulan and Dul Tulan Tengeri crush thee into fragments!"
Ashir Bogdo helped now, and it was as much as the three could do to conquer Apha, and confine her in a barrel, with ninety-nine iron hoops around it. When they had put her into that barrel they rolled it into the Lateral Sea; then all went into Gesir's yurta.
"Well," asked Sangha Gohun, "didst thou have much happiness with thy young wife? If I had not borne thee a son and sent him to the sky the Mangathai would be plowing with thee yet, and beating thy lean body."
"Now," said the Iron Hero to Gesir, "thou art my elder brother, and I am ready to help thee, but I am old enough to look for a bride."
"Thou art old enough," said Gesir Bogdo, "thou mayst go to find her."
147:1 Here the storyteller said: "The story of Gesir Bogdo is the father of the world of stories. It is not as beautiful as some, but it is the greatest of all, and is true."