A Journey in Southern Siberia, by Jeremiah Curtin, , at sacred-texts.com
AFTER this world had become a world, and this earth had become earth, and water had become water, there lived near the northern side of the Altai mountains, on the ridge called Huhúi, a khan so rich that he could not grow poor, and so healthy that he could not die.
This khan had a wife named Deri Sisin (Steel File). She held every place where she was with her dignity and filled her own yurta with her presence. The thoughts of Deri Sisin were as clear as the sunlight.
The khan had a gray steed with round head, and this steed was kept at pasture on the Altai mountains, where thirteen elks pastured with him.
When the khan began to rule, his herds had not been counted for a long time, so he determined to count them. He went first to Arin, his white uncle in the northwest, collected all his people, every clan there, ordered the elders to assemble, and began to count on the northwest side. When he had counted all on that side he went to the southwest, and counted every animal in that place.
The khan found that his people and his cattle had increased very greatly, and he was much pleased; but he failed to find his gray steed with round head. He saw tracks of a man and of an immense horse, and knew that some one had come to the Altai And stolen his wonderful steed. Because of this he went home in great sadness.
Deri Sisin placed food and drink of all kinds before him. "Why art thou sad?" asked she. "What evil has happened?"
"Some one has stolen my gray steed with round head," said the khan, and he told of the tracks he had seen.
"Thou hadst a book given thee at birth, look in that and learn what has happened. The book is under thy midriff."
The khan opened his midriff, took out the book, read, and
found that the son of Timur Shi Bain Khan had stolen the gray steed with round head. In the book it was written also that Timur's kingdom was distant a journey of fifty-five years, that the khan himself had not power to go so far, but there was a great hero, a certain Húnkuvai, who could do it.
To find this Húnkuvai, the khan summoned all subject people. All appeared except one young man.
"Why did all come and not that man?" asked the khan.
The young man's uncle spoke up and said: "Húnkuvai, my nephew, is the only son of his father; he is not here because he has much wealth. He is so rich and powerful that he did not regard thy call."
The khan was enraged, and sent three heroes to bring Húnkuvai.
When the three heroes reached Húnkuvai's yurta they saw that it was richer than even the khan's yurta.
"We are here from our khan!" proclaimed the three messengers to the servants of Húnkuvai.
Shik Shuri Nogon, Húnkuvai's wife, appeared before the yurta.
"Why have ye come?" asked the woman.
"We have come at command of the khan to tell thy husband that he is summoned."
"For the last three days my husband has had a headache. He sees no man, goes nowhere," answered Shik Shuri. Then she seized a club and drove away those three messengers.
"Húnkuvai's yurta is better than thine, O Khan," said the three on returning. "It is so bright from gold and silver that we could not look at it with open eyes."
"Who came? Why did the dogs bark?" asked Húnkuvai of his wife when she went into the yurta after beating the messengers.
"People were passing and the dogs barked at them," was her answer.
When he heard what his men said the khan fell into a terrible rage.
"What!" screamed he, "ye three heroes beaten, driven away by a woman!"
He sent nine heroes now to summon Húnkuvai. When they appeared in the distance the man at the yurta whose duty it was to watch for people, told Shik Shuri that nine men were coming. She went out to meet them.
"Why do ye come?" screamed she. "I have told all that no man is received here!" And seizing a great club she beat away the nine heroes as she had the first three, but beat them more savagely.
"What is the trouble? Why do the dogs bark?" asked Húnkuvai when Shik Shuri went into the yurta.
"A she elk ran by with her little one; the dogs barked at her."
"We could do nothing," said the nine heroes when they stood before the khan. "The woman clubbed us savagely and drove us away."
Confined by the khan in an iron prison was a very strong hero. The khan raged at the nine beaten men and let out the strong hero, whose iron cap weighed forty poods. He seated this hero in a car drawn by nine stallions and sent him to conquer Shik Shuri. When he was near her husband's yurta Shik Shuri came out to meet him. She seized her heaviest club and began at the hero. She clubbed him, and he fought with her till at last both had to stop for breath. The woman tottered into the yurta, panting heavily.
"With whom art thou fighting?" asked Húnkuvai.
"I have seen no one," replied she; "I am not well to-day."
"She must be doing something," thought Húnkuvai. "The dogs have barked three times. She is keeping some secret from me." And he went outside to see what was taking place; at that moment the great hero was starting off in his car drawn by nine powerful stallions.
"Why art thou here?" shouted Húnkuvai.
"The khan has sent men three times for thee," answered the hero, "but thy wife has let no one come near thy threshold."
"If that is true I will obey the khan's orders." So saying Húnkuvai made ready and went with the hero.
"Why not come at first?" asked the khan. "I wish thee to find and bring back my gray steed with round head. It has been stolen. Thou mayst be khan after me."
"I am willing to go, but I must have the right steed and good fighting weapons. In three weeks I might start," said Húnkuvai. "Ask all the people to pray to the Burkans; thou thyself pray, and I will pray too, that weapons be given me, and a steed on which I may ride such a distance."
When Húnkuvai went back to his yurta he had become more active; he was full of resolve and venom and was twice as strong as before.
One day during those three weeks a stallion appeared in the courtyard, and on his saddle was a hero's full outfit.
When the time came to go for the steed with round head the khan himself and all the people came to Húnkuvai's yurta. They prayed to the Burkans and asked for success. People said that no one could go with the young hero, since the road was so long that if a boy of five years were to start he would be sixty years old at the end of his journey, and if a man of full age were to go he would die while still traveling.
With each step which Húnkuvai's stallion made he covered sixty paces, and went on increasing the length of his steps. He threw out behind lumps of earth each as big as a calf a year old, and his speed was of that sort that in one day he made the whole journey.
Húnkuvai was at Timur Shi's yurta on the following evening, and shouted for some one to come out and meet him. Timur Shi sent a man to say that the hour was late; the guest must sleep in some other place and he would meet him on the morrow.
Húnkuvai turned his stallion into a flint chip, went to the neighboring forest, and passed the night there.
He met Timur Shi next day, and they went out together to wrestle on a high place. When they had gone the distance of a promontory Timur Shi and Húnkuvai began the trial of strength. Each seized the other, and they wrestled for three weeks. They tore away all the flesh from the backs of their bodies, and bit away all that was in front of them.
At the end of the three weeks they were so feeble that when a slight wind blew they bent before it. The sun and moon had grown red from the awful dust which they raised in that
country and from the blood which they shed there. They could not stop fighting, for neither could free himself from the other.
The thousand Burkans looked down from the sky and were frightened. They called an assembly and decided to separate the two champions; so they sent Timur Buqú (Iron Bull), a great hero, to part them. When Iron Bull came down from the sky and touched the two, they broke one of his legs. That strong hero went up to the sky again, and declared to the Burkans that neither Timur Shi nor Húnkuvai would stop till one had killed the other. Then the thousand Burkans asked Hohodai (Thunder) to strike and kill both with a thunderbolt.
Hohodai tried, but could not kill them; they did not yield to his thunderbolt, though it separated them.
They rested for a time, greeted each other, and smoked. Then they decided to shoot at each other with arrows. One went to the top of the southwest mountain, the other to the top of the northeast mountain.
"I am master in this place and ought to send the first arrow," shouted Timur Shi, when they were on the two mountains.
"I came from afar, I am a guest, I should send the first arrow," answered Húnkuvai.
After much disputing it was decided at last that Timur, as the master of the place, should have the first shot. He took from his quiver an arrow having three edges, drew his bow, and said to the arrow:
"Cut my enemy into seven pieces, and cover the seven pieces with seven mountains, so that they may never grow into one."
The arrow flew straight at Húnkuvai, cut him into seven pieces, and covered each piece with a mountain. Barely were they under the mountains, when the seven pieces turned into seven huge, raging wild bulls, broke their way out with their horns, freed themselves, and became Húnkuvai. The hero, now in his own form, called to Timur Shi from the northeast mountain and said: "Now it is thy turn to stand and my turn to shoot!" Then he stretched his bowstring and said to the arrow: "Strike him in his right arm above the elbow, break his spinal column below the neck, and kill him!"
The arrow broke the right forearm of Timur Shi and then his spinal column. The hero fell to the earth, but had barely touched it, when he rose well and strong again, just as if nothing had happened.
The two came down from the mountains and met in the valley, greeted each other like friends, smoked, and talked.
"There is nothing left for us to do but to find where our lives are," said Húnkuvai.
"Thy life," said Timur Shi, "is beyond the third valley. On the fourth mountain lives a black bear in whose body, thy life is. I will take that bear by the ears and tear him in two; that will be the end of thee."
Húnkuvai knew not where Timur Shi's life was, and he asked his stallion to tell him.
"On the top of Sehir Mai, the white mountain," said the steed, "is a great, flat round stone; under that stone are thirteen skylarks; the life of Timur Shi is in those skylarks."
Húnkuvai sat on his horse, rode away, and never stopped till he came to Sehir Mai. At the foot of the mountain were bones, immense piles of them; they were the bones of men who had tried to go to the top of that mountain and had perished,—had fallen and been killed, for no man could reach the top of Sehir Mai.
"How are we to climb to that high summit?" inquired Húnkuvai.
"We must go back one day's journey," said the stallion, "then turn and rush to the mountain. With the force of the running I may spring so high as to hang at the top. At that moment do thou cut a strip from each front hoof of mine. I shall succeed then; otherwise I shall fail."
All was done as the steed directed. Húnkuvai rode back a day's journey; the stallion rushed with mighty force, rose with one leap to the highest edge of Sehir Mai, and clung to it. Húnkuvai took his knife and cut strips from the front hoofs of the horse, and he sprang to the summit. Right there on the top of the mountain was the Water of Life, and Húnkuvai and his horse drank deeply.
Húnkuvai's whip handle was hollow, and he filled it with
water. This water he scattered down on the bones which he had seen at the foot of the mountain, and all those men were alive again.
"A great hero has brought us to life," cried out thousands of people. "May he go to whatever object he wishes."
Húnkuvai went farther, went to the great, flat round stone, but struggle as he might he could not raise it; so he collected wood, lighted a fire on the stone, and heated it red hot; then he begged the thousand Burkans to make rain fall. The rain came, and the stone split into four pieces. Húnkuvai raised one of those pieces, caught the thirteen skylarks, killed ten of them, put three in his pocket, refilled his whip handle with the Water of Life, and went down the mountain. He went toward the fourth mountain, where his own life was in the black bear. He knew that Timur Shi was going there. When near the mountain he saw a light, rode up to it, and there lay Timur Shi with his back toward a fire.
"I am sick," said Timur Shi, "I have a terrible headache, I am warming my spine. Where hast thou been? What hast thou seen, or what hast thou heard? What hast thou been doing?"
"I have just traveled around here and there, I have seen nothing of value, but I caught three little skylarks."
"Show them to me!" cried Timur Shi.
Húnkuvai showed the three skylarks.
"Oh," said Timur Shi, "those birds are sacred; a young person should not touch them. Give those birds to me. I am master of this place, I will let them fly away."
"Here they are," said Húnkuvai, and he stretched out his hand as he strangled the three skylarks. That moment Timur Shi put his palm on his mouth and dropped dead. His head fell toward the north mountain, his feet stretched out south-westward.
Húnkuvai gathered wood, made a pile, and burned Timur Shi Bain Khan, broke his larger bones fine, and scattered to the winds all that was left. Then he went to Timur's yurta and searched for the gray steed with round head. At first he could not find him anywhere. But he looked and looked, and
at last he found him in a stable of three iron walls, one wall inside the other.
The steed could hardly stand, was barely living. Húnkuvai gave him the Water of Life from his whip handle and led him out of the iron stable.
Timur Shi had much silver and gold, flocks and cattle. He had thirty-three heroes to serve him, and a great many people. Húnkuvai took away everything, took the thirty-three heroes and all the people. He told them the way to his yurta, and went home himself by magic as quickly as possible, leading the gray steed with round head and riding his own stallion. After he had ridden a part of the way and was on his own land, he came to a great Shaman place, Huhai Hubshi, and stopped a short time to rest there.
When going from home Húnkuvai had left his uncle, Hara Zaton (Black Zaton), to manage in place of himself. While Húnkuvai was returning Shik Shuri gave birth to twins and named them Huragin and Isbegin.
The uncle had hoped that his nephew would never come back and that he himself would manage all and possess it. When he knew that his nephew had conquered and was coming, he decided to meet him on the road at some distance, and he made ready.
He distilled tarasun of ten strengths and mixed strong poison with it. From ten pots of this poisoned tarasun he made one pot, from twenty pots of pure tarasun he made one pot. Next he killed ten sheep and made the flesh of those ten into the bulk of one sheep. After that twenty sheep were cooked and made into the size of one sheep. Then he put all into saddlebags, went to the yurta, and called to his nephew's wife, Shik Shuri:
"Come out! I thought that my nephew had conquered, but it seems that he was beaten, and his own stallion trampled and killed him. War is near us. Three hundred and thirty-three heroes are coming to drive away my nephew's cattle and take all he valued most. Give me the two little boys, I will hide them away in a place of safety."
"They are in the cradle," said Shik Shuri. "They are but
three days old; let me keep them till to-morrow. Let them grow up a little. The next day take them whithersoever thou wishest."
As she would not give up the boys willingly and Hara Zaton could not wait, he mounted quickly. "While I am gone," said he," if thou feed the boys badly or hide them in any place, I will kill thee."
Hara Zaton rode away to the Shaman Mountain, and there they met,—the uncle and the nephew.
"I greet thee, and am glad that thou hast gained a great victory," said Zaton; and he stretched out his hand.
Húnkuvai would not take it.
"While thou wert gone two sons were born to thee. They were born only four days ago."
Húnkuvai never stopped, or gave his hand, but rode away toward his yurta.
"Nephew!" cried Zaton, "what is the matter? Why dost thou scorn me?"
Húnkuvai would not stop, would not listen.
"Oh, nephew, of what art thou thinking? Thou hast gained a great victory, but thou art passing a holy mountain without pouring out a libation. This is a sin, and, think, thy sons are only four days old!"
Húnkuvai stopped. He stopped because of his sons. When they dismounted Hara Zaton embraced his nephew and kissed him. He seemed very glad, the deceiver. They poured a libation of good tarasun, sat down, ate, and drank. Zaton drank very little; he just feigned to drink. Soon they had drunk all the pure tarasun and eaten the good meat.
"Well, uncle," said Húnkuvai, "since we have begun let us finish. Hast thou more tarasun?"
The three horses were tied to trees near them. Hara Zaton now brought the poisoned meat and drink. The nephew ate and drank and soon dropped down without life or motion. From his right nostril a green and a blue flame quivered, from his left came a red flame. The uncle sat down at some distance, with a drawn bow, ready to send an arrow should his nephew revive. He sat there day and night and waited. On the third
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VILLAGE OF ALAGUERSK-ROD IN SIBERIA.
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A GROUP OF UNMARRIED MONGOL WOMEN OR YOUNG LADIES IN USTURDI
day Húnkuvai raised his head somewhat, and saw that Hara Zaton was sitting with bow drawn ready to send an arrow.
"Uncle, it is thy wish to kill me! Well, kill, but spare my children."
Zaton let the arrow go and killed his nephew. When the arrow struck Húnkuvai his stallion and the gray steed with round head tore themselves free and called out to Zaton:
"While we have hoofs thou wilt not possess us, we will fly to him who made us!" And they went to the sky.
The widow of Húnkuvai knew by her magic of all that had happened. "The murderer will come to-night," thought she; "I must save my two sons."
She put one boy under her right armpit, the second under the left one, and hurried on toward that same Shaman mountain. By a turn to the northwest she came to a spot where two immense pine trees stood close together. She made two small pits under those two pine trees and put her little boys into them.
Shik Shuri wished to hurry home and be there before the evil uncle. When she had left her sons behind and had gone some distance, she looked back. The children had crawled out of the pits and were sucking each other's fingers. This sight made the mother cry. She turned back, and gave them her breasts; then she put the boys down in the holes and vanished.
Near the yurta Shik Shuri saw a ewe with two little lambs. She killed the lambs, heated an oven and put them into it, and when both were well burned she placed the bones in a bag, took the bag to a lake, tied a stone to it, and sank it at a place which she marked carefully. Now it was daylight, and she went back to the yurta and waited. Hara Zaton was not long in appearing.
"Come out," called he to Shik Shuri.
She went out to him.
"I saw my nephew's body lying dead," said he. "Give me the little boys. I will put them in a place where no enemy can find them; I will feed and bring them up carefully."
"Thou didst say," replied Shik Shuri, "that warriors were coming to kill us. I thought that we should all have to die; so I burned the boys, put their bones in a bag, and hid them."
"Show me where they are hidden. I must know the place," said the false uncle.
She led him to the place, raised the bag, and showed it to him. He took the bag from her and carried it to the yurta. Whether from fear that the bones might come to life, or thinking that they would strengthen him, for the boys would have been great heroes, he ground the bones into very fine dust, mixed the dust with fat, cooked the mixture, and ate it.
Hara Zaton moved now into his nephew's yurta and took possession of all his wealth and utensils. He put Shik Shuri's left eye out, broke her left arm and left leg, and set her then, as a serving woman, to feed the dogs of his courtyard.
The two boys, Huragin and Isbegin, grew up under the two pine trees very quickly. They made bows for themselves, and then arrows. In two days they killed birds as well as rabbits; they ate them raw. On the third day they killed nothing, though they hunted till midday. After midday they met in a small valley of a great forest Dainjin Sharaman, a Mangathai of seventy-three heads.
"I have traveled the forest all day and found nothing till now," said Dainjin Sharaman; "here I find splendid eating!" And seizing the two boys by the feet, he strode on, holding them like sticks. At his yurta he tied each boy to a pillar, cut two slices of flesh from their thighs and spitted them for his supper. While the pieces were roasting he fell asleep. The two boys, from pain and fear, cried bitterly.
At just this time a man who was as rich as any khan but was childless was passing with eighty packs of merchandise. He heard the boys crying, and stopped all his train. He went into the yurta and roused the sleeping Mangathai. "Why dost thou eat the flesh of these boys?" asked he.
"I hunted all day and found nothing till I met them. Their flesh is good, and I am glad to eat it."
"Well," said Turgubai, the rich merchant, "eat what is on the spit, but sell me the boys. I will give thee eighty horses for them." "Take them!" said the Mangathai.
The merchant took the boys to his home, cured them, and called them his sons.
Huragin and Isbegin lived a whole year with the merchant. They grew large, and became skilful hunters, filled their father's storehouses with game and with fine fur of all sorts.
"Hunt no more, I have no place for game," said the merchant, at last.
"Let us herd cattle then," said the brothers.
Near by was Tomtoy mountain. They drove out the merchant's flocks and herds to pasture on that mountain. While the cattle were eating, the boys exercised, tried their strength; hurled stones, as big as a sheep, so far that a man would need two days to go to the place where the stones fell. Then they threw great rocks, as big as a bullock, and those fell one day's journey distant. Near by was a fallen cliff covering two acres; they carried this cliff home in turn,—one brother carrying it a short distance, then the other. They placed the cliff near the gate, and carved on it the history of their lives since they hunted the first time. They told how they had searched for game, how the Mangathai treated them, how the merchant had bought them. They told all the present as well, and added: "If any man harms our new father we will take dreadful vengeance on that man and then slay him."
They went into the yurta, ate and slept, and afterward went to the high mountain where they had found the fallen cliff. The boys had never been to the top of Tomtoy. As they climbed they heard cattle roar and men cry. The cattle roared much, and the men cried as if suffering terribly, and these sounds seemed to come from a distance. When the boys reached the top of the mountain they saw a long narrow valley. From the beginning to the end of that valley was a row of pots; in each pot were ten bullocks, and at the side of each pot was a huge spit with ten men impaled on it.
The two brothers sat down on the mountain-top and looked. "Who is doing all this?" asked they. Then by magic they learned that those were the people and cattle of Todai Bain Khan. This khan had warred for three years with Shara Nagóy (Yellow Dog), mad master of the Land of Peace, and had been conquered.
Todai Bain Khan had two daughters, Altan Hurubshe and
[paragraph continues] Mūngun Hurubshe. When he had beaten Todai, Yellow Dog demanded those two daughters.
Huragin and Isbegin, the two brothers, now planned on the mountain-top how to conquer Yellow Dog and assist Todai Khan. "How much harm Yellow Dog is doing!" thought they. "He boils one thousand bullocks each day and spits one thousand people."
Now the two brothers took two huge round stones, which were like two great wheels, heated them as red as red cloth, and one said to the other:
"Yellow Dog has such jaws that when he travels the upper one touches the clouds and the lower one grazes the earth. At sunrise he rushes up the valley toward the spot where we are now sitting, and goes toward the sun with open mouth. At that time we will roll these two red-hot stones into his mouth. If we are lucky he will swallow the two, and they will burn out the heart in his body."
The next day, as the sun was rising, Shara Nagóy rushed toward it with open mouth. The two brothers rolled down the hot stones. They bounded into his mouth. He sprang high, howled dreadfully, and fell backward. His head struck the northwest mountain, and his feet stretched to the southeast mountain.
When the mad master of the Land of Peace was dead the two brothers went along the valley, threw the bullocks from the pots, and drew the men from the spits. Some were half roasted, and some half alive. They brought all to sound health, the bullocks from the pots as well as the men from the spits, and then went toward Todai Bain Khan's yurta.
When they were in sight of the yurta the largest and oldest blue mare, the largest and oldest red cow, the most aged and decrepit old woman, came out and addressed the two brothers:
"In vain have ye come to relieve us. Go not against Yellow Dog; he will kill you, and we shall be lost, whatever else happens."
When Todai Bain Khan heard that Yellow Dog was dead he harnessed eight blue horses and hurried forward to meet the two brothers. After the greeting they went with him to his
splendid yurta. Nine days they spent there, and Todai Bain Khan made great feasts of all kinds to please them. "You have done such a deed," said he, "that it could not be greater. I will give whatever reward may seem good to you."
"We live far from here, no reward is needed; only give us your two daughters."
"I will do that," said Todai Khan; and he went to prepare the wedding. A sea of drink and a mountain of meat were made ready. Nine days and nights did the wedding last. When the time came, and the brothers were ready to go back to their father's yurta, Todai Khan gave orders to harness eight bay stallions and send with them a low chariot and eight heroes. The mother went half-way home with her daughters. On the road they stopped at the yurta of Dainjin the Mangathai, who had cut flesh from the two brothers and spitted it. The brothers seized him, put chains on his wrists and ankles, chains weighing forty poods. They laid a strong beam across the smoke-hole and hung him face downward over the fire, where he died, and they continued their journey, rejoicing.
At last they reached the yurta where Huragin and Isbegin were born and where their false uncle was master. Near the yurta they met a woman with one eye, one hand, and one foot; she was carrying meat to the dogs of the place, and lamenting.
"What khan's children are ye?" inquired she of the brothers. "Have ye ever known my Huregin and Isbegin? Have ye ever heard of them? Are they still living in any place?"
"We have beard that Dainjin the Mangathai caught them in Hapgata valley, that he spitted their flesh, and then ate it."
"Oh," cried the mother, "I had hoped till this day that they were living, and that hope held me up in my misery." Then she fell back and died there before her two sons.
The brothers went in and seized the false uncle. They carried him and his family northward to the foot of a mountain where three roads met; there they nailed them to seven pines, put an empty cask near each pine, with a dull knife and a pair of blunt scissors fastened to each cask. Above each person was nailed these words: "If a man passes this place he is to cut off with a
knife a small piece of flesh from each person hanging here. If a woman passes by she is to cut with the scissors a small piece of flesh from each person. The one who fails to do this will be beheaded."
The two steeds which had gone to the sky rushed in from the west and stopped at the hitching-posts near the yurta. On them was everything necessary for the outfit of horse and rider. The two brothers took the horses and removed the outfits; then they prayed long in thanks, prayed three days and nights to the Heavenly Burkans; after that they mounted the steeds and rode away beyond thirteen lands to the northwest, where stands a high mountain, Sehir Mai, the White mountain. On that mountain were the healing Water of Life and the red restoring larch tree. They went to the top of the mountain and took bark from the tree and water from the spring.
Khan Herdik Shubun (eagle) had gone up three fourths of the way; three years was he flying. He could go no higher and lay there exhausted, barely living, holding on by his wings and his beak to the mountain side.
The brothers took some of the water from the spring and some of the bark from the red restoring larch tree, and sprinkled the eagle with the water mixed with the bark. He revived, circled three times about, then flew to the mountain-top and still higher.
"Thanks to you," said Khan Herdik. "If war or any peril threatens call me, I will fly to you; we should help one another." Then he vanished in the clouds.
The two brothers hurried home. They put some of the bark in Shik Shuri's mouth, poured in the Water of Life, cured her. She grew young; regained hand, foot, and eye. When she came to her senses she knew her two sons, embraced and kissed them, led them into the yurta. There were five of them now.
"Was there a father of ours?" asked the brothers.
"There was, but he was beaten in battle and killed when ye were infants."
"Thou art hiding something from us, thou art afraid to tell us. We will dig out and discover the ashes and bones of our father, wherever they may be."
Shik Shuri took their father's book out of a box, brought it to her sons, and they read all that was in the book. They read how their father went to find the gray steed with round head, how their uncle had killed him. All was described there. They saddled their two stallions and rode away. Shik Shuri had no power to stop them. They went to Huhai Hubshi Barsam, the Shaman mountain, and there found their father's bones, over which moss had grown.
Huragin and Isbegin gathered the bones; all were there save the great toe of the right foot. They searched everywhere, and at last found the trail of Ungin (fox); she had stolen the toe. They followed the trail, followed till they discovered that Ungin had been eaten by Shono (wolf). Going farther, they saw that Shono had been devoured by Hara Grojung (black bear); yet farther on they found that Hara Grojung had been eaten by Bara (tiger), and then that Bara had been eaten by Irbit (lion). They hunted till they came upon Irbit. They killed him and found in his stomach the great toe of their father; then they returned and fixed the toe to the foot properly.
They sprinkled the skeleton with the healing Water of Life, mixed with powdered bark from the red restoring larch tree. The first time they sprinkled flesh came on the bones, the second time Húnkuvai was like a man sleeping, the third time he was living and well.
Then Huragin and Isbegin went home with their father, and all feasted for many days.