Book of Dede Korkut/Legend II

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Book of Dede Korkut
Anonymous
Legend II: The Story of Bamsi Beyrek, Son of Bay Bure

Bayindir Khan, the son of Kam Gan, arose and had his bright tent set up on the black earth. As the many-colored canopy rose toward the sky, silk carpets were laid down around it in a thousand places. The Inner and Outer Oghuz princes were assembling in the presence of Bayindir Khan.

Among the princes who came was Bay Bure Bey. He saw Kara Budak, the son of Kara Gone, standing and leaning on his bow opposite Bayindir Khan. On the Khan's right he saw Uruz, the son of Kazan, standing, and, on his left, Bey Yigenek, the son of Kazilik Khoja. When Bay Bure saw these three young men, he sighed deeply and then lost control of himself. Taking out his handkerchief, he wept bitterly. When this happened, Salur Kazan, the backbone of the strong Oghuz people, the son-in-law of Bayindir Khan, knelt down on his sturdy knees, stared into the face of Bay Bure and said: "Bay Bure Bey, why are you weeping and lamenting?"

Bay Bure Bey replied: "Kazan Khan, why should I not weep and lament? I have neither son nor brother. Allah the Almighty must have cursed me. I lament for my crown and throne, for if I should some day fall and die, my family would come to an end."

Kazan asked: "Is this then why you weep?"

"Yes, it is for this reason. I wish that I too had a son to stand before Bayindir Khan and serve him. How secure and happy I should then be!", said Bay Bure.

When they heard him speak in this manner, the strong Oghuz princes turned their faces up, opened their hands toward heaven and prayed to Almighty Allah that He send Bay Bure a son. In those days, both the prayers and the curses of the Oghuz princes were granted.

Bay Bichen also arose and said: "Princes, pray for me, too. Pray that Almighty Allah may send me a daughter."

The strong Oghuz princes raised their hands and prayed again, saying: "May Almighty Allah give you a daughter."

Bay Bichen then said: "Princes, you stand as my witness. If Allah gives me a daughter, she and the son of Bay Bure will be engaged in the cradle.

In due time, Almighty Allah did grant a son to Bay Bure and a daughter to Bay Bichen. When the strong Oghuz princes had news of this, they were most gratified. Bay Bure Bey called his merchants and gave them the following order: "Oh, merchants, Allah the All-Powerful has given me a son. Go to the Land of Rum and bring back fine presents for my son before he comes to manhood."

The merchants set out on their long journey and traveled steadily for many days and nights. They came at last to the city of Istanbul. There they purchased many rare and beautiful gifts. For the son of Bay Bure they bought a gray male sea colt, a finely strung bow and a six-part club. Then they made preparations for their journey home.

The son of Bay Bure reached the age of five, then ten, and soon he was fifteen. He became a handsome young man, bold as a gray chalkara bird. He had no name, for in those days a young man was not named until he had spilled blood or had cut off a head. This son of Bay Bure mounted his horse one day and went hunting. During the hunt he came upon his father's horse range, where the Master of the Horse welcomed him and asked him to dismount so that he might receive him as a guest. They soon sat down together eating and drinking.

Meanwhile, the merchants had come to the Pass of Kara Dervent, in Pasin, and had set up camp there. But, unknown to them, the infidels of Avnik Castle — may they be cursed! — had observed them. While the merchants were asleep, the infidels sent against them five hundred men who struck their camp and plundered their goods. Their leaders were taken prisoners, but the younger men fled and reached the land of the Oghuz. There they saw a many-colored tent erected on the border of the Oghuz territory and a handsome prince sitting in it with forty young warriors seated to his right and left.

Believing the prince to be of the Oghuz, one of the merchants decided to go to him and ask for help. The merchant addressed him: "Oh, young man, oh, young prince, please listen to me. We have been away from the Oghuz country for sixteen years, and we have been carrying rare and precious gifts for the strong Oghuz princes. When we reached Kara Dervent, the pass in Pasin, five hundred infidels from Avnik Castle attacked us. My brother was captured, and our goods and provisions were plundered and carried away. Afflicted with this misfortune, I come to you for help. As a charity that may some day save your head, help me, oh, young man; help me!"

The young man, who had been sipping wine, stopped his drinking, threw down his golden cup and said to his men: "Do now what I tell you. Bring me my armor and my strong horse. Ho! friends of men; let us mount." As they rode away, the merchants went before them as guides.

The infidels had stopped along the way and were busy dividing the money and their other spoils. At that moment, the gray young man, the lion in the field of manliness, the tiger of the warriors, fell upon them. Before one could count to two, he struck them with his sword, killing those who tried to lift their heads. After he had defeated the enemy and recovered the supplies, one of the merchants said to him: "Oh, prince, you have been very good to us. Come and take whatever you like of these wares."

Of the articles there, only the gray horse, the six-part club and the tightly strung bow attracted the young man's attention, and these he admired greatly. He said: "Oh, merchants, give me this horse, this club and this bow." When the merchants heard him say this, they at once grew disconcerted. The young man said: "Oh, merchants, did I ask too much?"

The merchants replied: "It is not that. Our prince has a son, and we must take these three articles to him as gifts."

The young man asked: "Who is the son of your prince?"

"He is Bamsi, the son of Bay Bure."

The young man bit his finger and said to himself: "I would rather have my father give such things to me than beg them from these men." Then he whipped his horse and rode away.

The merchants stood staring at him as he left and said among themselves: "By Allah, he is a fine and worthy young man!"

The gray young man rode back to his father's camp. When his father was informed of the approach of the returning merchants, he rejoiced. He erected a tent, with a red canopy near it, and all about had silk carpets spread. He seated himself in the tent with his son at his right hand. The young man did not say a word about the merchants or the fact that he had killed the infidels.

Soon, the merchants arrived, bowing and saluting. They saw the very young man who had cut off heads of the infidels now sitting on the right side of Bay Bure. They proceeded to him and kissed the young man's hand. This offended Bay Bure, and he shouted at the merchants: "You cuckolds and sons of cuckolds! Do you kiss the son's hand first, while the father is beside him?"

"My khan, is this young man your son?" asked the merchants.

"Indeed he is", replied the khan.

"My khan, do not be offended that we kissed his hand first, for if it had not been for him, our goods would have gone to Georgia, and all of us would have been captives", explained the merchants.

Bay Bure asked: "Did my son kill somebody? Did he spill somebody's blood?"

"He certainly did. He cut off heads; he spilled blood; and he knocked men from their horses", replied the merchants.

"Is this enough to earn him a name?", asked the prince.

"More than enough, my sultan!", replied the merchants.

Bay Bure Bey invited the strong Oghuz princes as his guests. Dede Korkut came and gave the boy a name. He said:

"Hear my words and listen to me, Bay Bure Bey.
Almighty Allah gave you a son, and may He preserve him.
May he ever be followed by Muslims as he bears his white banner.
When he has to cross those snow-covered mountains lying yonder,
May Allah help him cross them.
When he has to ride through bloody rivers,
May Allah grant him safe passage.
When he has fallen among the crowds of infidels,
May Allah give him yet a chance.
You will pamper him and call him still 'My Bamsi',
But let his full name now be Bamsi Beyrek with the Gray Horse.
I have given him his name. May Allah give to him long life."

The strong Oghuz princes lifted their hands in prayer and asked that this name bring him good luck. Afterwards the princes all decided to go hunting. Beyrek mounted his gray stallion, which had been brought to him. The colorful group then proceeded to a hunt on Ala Mountain.

Quite suddenly a herd of deer passed before the Oghuz. Bamsi Beyrek began at once to pursue one of them. While chasing this deer, he came to a place, my sultan, where he saw a red tent rising from the green grass. "Oh, Lord, whose tent may this be?", he asked. He did not know that it was the tent of the brown-eyed girl whom he was going to marry. He was embarrassed to go toward this tent, but he said to himself: "Anyway, let me at least draw close enough to it to get my game." He went on until he came before the tent, where he killed the deer. When he looked again at the tent, he realized that it belonged to Banu Chichek, the girl to whom he had been betrothed in infancy.

The girl was, as it happened, just then looking out the front of the tent. She asked her nurses: "Is this effeminate creature, the son of some cuckold, trying to show off his masculinity? Go and ask him to give you a portion of that meat." There was among her women one called Kisirja Yinge. It was she who went forward and spoke: "Oh, young man, give us a part of that deer."

Beyrek replied: "Oh, nurse, I am not a hunter. I am instead a prince, the son of a prince. You can have all of it. But allow me to ask, whose tent is that?"

Kisirja Yinge said: "Young prince, this tent belongs to Banu Chichek, the daughter of Bay Bichen." When he heard this, his blood boiled, but he turned back and walked away quietly.

The girls carried back the deer and placed it before Banu Chichek, the most regal of all the beautiful girls. When she saw that it was a large, fat deer, she asked her maids: "Oh, girls, what sort of a young man is he?"

"Before Allah, my sultana, he is a fine young man with a veil on his face. They say that he is a prince, the son of a prince", replied the girls.

Banu Chichek said: "Oho, nurses, my father used to tell me that he had promised to give me to Beyrek with the veiled face. This is probably he. Bring him over here, and let me talk with him." They called Beyrek, and he came. Banu Chichek covered herself with a shawl and asked, "Where do you come from, young man?"

Beyrek replied: "From the land of the Inner Oghuz."

"To whom are you related there?", asked Banu Chichek.

"I am Bamsi Beyrek, the son of Bay Bure", replied the young man.

"What is your business here, young man?", asked Banu Chichek.

"Bay Bichen Bey is supposed to have a daughter. I have come to see her", replied the young man.

The girl said: "She is not the sort of person who would show herself to you. But I am her nurse. Let us go hunting together. If your horse can run faster than mine, you can beat her horse, too. After that, let us shoot arrows. If you can shoot an arrow farther than I, you can beat her in this, too. Then, we shall wrestle. If you can defeat me at that, you can defeat her, too."

Beyrek said: "Very well, then. Let us mount."

The two mounted their horses and came out on the field. They spurred their horses, and Beyrek's horse ran faster than the girl's. When they shot their arrows, Beyrek's went farther than the girl's. The girl said: "Oh, young man, no one ever rode faster than I, and no one ever shot an arrow farther than mine. Now let us wrestle."

Beyrek dismounted right away. They grappled with one another like two trained wrestlers. Beyrek tried to knock the girl to the ground, while she sought to make Beyrek lose his balance and fall. Exhausted, Beyrek thought: "If I am beaten by this girl, they will talk my head off and say awful things to my face in the land of the Inner Oghuz." He gathered his strength and finally threw the girl. He first tripped her up and caught her by the breast while she struggled to free herself. Then Beyrek took the girl by her narrow waist and threw her down again, making her fall flat on her back.

The girl said: "Young man, I am Banu Chichek, the daughter of Bay Bichen."

Beyrek kissed the girl three times and bit her once. Then, putting the golden ring from his own finger on the girl's finger, he said: "May your wedding be a happy one, oh, daughter of a khan. Let this be a sign of our engagement."

The girl said: "Since this has happened, you must now arise and go."

Beyrek replied: "I shall do as you say."

The prince left the girl and returned to the camp. His white-bearded father met him and asked: "Son, did you see anything worthwhile among the Oghuz today?"

"What should I have seen?", replied Beyrek.

"Whoever had a son gets him married. Whoever had a daughter gives her away. Do you not think we ought to have you married, too?", asked his father.

"Of course, my white-bearded and beloved father, you ought to have me married", replied Beyrek.

"Whose daughter from among the Oghuz shall I get for you?", asked his father.

"Father, get me a girl who can move before I can, who can mount my black stallion before I can and who can bring me my enemy's head before I reach him. This is the kind of girl I want", said Beyrek.

His father, Bay Bure Khan, said: "Son, you do not want a wife. You want a companion. I perceive that Banu Chichek, the daughter of Bay Bichen, is the girl you want."

"Indeed, my white-bearded and beloved father, she is the one I want", said Beyrek.

"But, my son, Banu Chichek has a mad brother who kills anyone who wishes to marry his sister", replied the father. "Son, let us invite the princes of the strong Oghuz to our tent, and afterwards act according to their decision", suggested Bay Bure Bey.

They proceeded to invite all the princes of the strong Oghuz to their tent and entertained them there. The princes of the strong Oghuz asked: "Who can go and ask for the hand of this girl?"

Dede Korkut said: "Friends, send me, for you know that Delu Karchar kills whoever asks for his sister. Regardless of this, bring me two fast horses from Bayindir Khan's stables, one a goat-headed race horse and the other a ram-headed, copper-brown stallion, one to ride on, and the other to lead behind me."

Dede Korkut's suggestion was accepted, and they proceeded to bring the two horses from Bayindir Khan's stables. Dede Korkut rode on one and led the other. He left, saying: "Friends, I entrust you to Allah."

Now, Delu Karchar had a fine white tent erected on the surface of the black earth. He was sitting near it with his companions and shooting arrows at a target. Dede Korkut came forward, pressed his hand on his breast and saluted them with elaborate expressions of greetings.

Delu Karchar, his mouth frothing, looked at Dede Korkut and said: "Aleykomselam, oh, you, whose fortune has been reversed, on whose forehead Almighty Allah has spelled damnation. No one with feet has ever visited me here. No one with a mouth ever came here to drink from my water. What has brought you here? Has your fortune turned? Have you lost your mind? Or has your last hour come? What are you doing in this area?"

Dede Korkut replied:

"I have come to cross that black mountain of yours lying over there.
I have come to cross your beautiful running streams.
I have come to take shelter under your wide mantle and security beneath your wing.
I have come, with the command of Allah and the consent of the Prophet,
To ask for the hand of your sister, Banu Chichek, brighter than moonlight and lovelier than day,
For Bamsi Beyrek."

To this Delu Karchar replied: "Ho! Bring me what I tell you to. Bring me the black stallion and my weapons."

They brought him the black stallion and the weapons and helped him to mount. Dede Korkut spurred his own horse and rode off, with Delu Karchar pursuing him. When the ram-headed, copper-brown stallion grew tired, Dede Korkut jumped over to the goat-headed race horse. Delu Karchar was led through ten passes in his pursuit of Dede Korkut, but finally he caught up with him. Dede Korkut was at a loss what to do. He asked for the protection of Allah, reciting the ismi azam prayer. Delu Karchar drew his sword and aimed a terrible blow intended to knock Dede Korkut down. Dede Korkut said: "If you strike me, may your hand dry up." At the command of Almighty Allah Delu Karchar's hand remained in the air, for Dede Korkut was endowed with power like that of a saint, and his wish was granted.

Delu Karchar said: "Help me, help me! I do not doubt the unity of Allah. Release my hand and, with the command of Allah and the consent of the Prophet, I shall let Beyrek have my sister." He repeated this three times and repented of his sins. Dede Korkut prayed again, and Delu Karchar's hand was released by the direction of Allah. He turned and said: "Dede Korkut, will you give me what I want in return for my sister?"

Dede Korkut said: "Of course. What do you want?"

Delu Karchar said: "Bring me one thousand male camels that have not seen female camels. Bring me one thousand stallions that have never been crossed with mares. Bring me also one thousand rams that have never seen ewes. Bring me one thousand dogs without ears or tails. And bring me one thousand fleas. Deliver these things to me, and I shall give you what you seek. Otherwise, I shall kill you. I spared your life once, but next time I shall take it."

Dede Korkut returned to the tent of Bay Bure. "Dede, are you a male or a female?", asked Bay Bure.

"I am a boy", replied Dede Korkut.

"How did you save yourself from the hand of Delu Karchar?", asked Bay Bure.

"Through the mercy of Allah and the help of the saints I won the girl."

Messengers carried the good news to Beyrek, his mother and his sisters, and all were pleased and gratified. "How much did Delu Karchar ask for this?", asked Bay Bure Bey.

"May he never benefit from it all. He asked for an endless number of things", replied Dede Korkut.

"But what was it that he asked for?", said Bay Bure.

"He asked for a thousand male camels that have not seen female camels, a thousand stallions that have not been crossed with mares, a thousand rams that have not seen ewes, a thousand dogs without ears or tails and a thousand fleas. He said that he would give his sister if I would bring him these things. If I did not, then I had better not be seen again by him, for he would kill me", said Dede Korkut.

"If I find what is required for three of these demands, do you think you can find the rest?", asked Bay Bure.

"Indeed I do, my khan", said Dede Korkut.

"Then go now, Dede, and find the dogs and the fleas", said Bay Bure. He himself went to his stables and selected one thousand stallions from among his horses. Going then to his camel yard, he picked out one thousand male camels. Finally, he went to his sheepfold and chose one thousand rams.

During this time, Dede Korkut found one thousand dogs without ears or tails, as well as one thousand fleas. He then took all these creatures to Delu Karchar.

When Delu Karchar heard him approaching, he came out to meet him, saying to himself: "Let me see if they have brought the things I demanded." He admired the stallions, the camels and the rams, and when he saw the dogs, he burst into laughter. He then asked, "Dede, where are my fleas?"

Dede Korkut replied: "Karchar, my son, they are as big as cattle flies — real monsters. They are all huddled together. Let us go and see them so that you choose the fat ones and leave the lean ones." He led Delu Karchar to the sheepfold, where he had put the fleas. After having Delu Karchar take off his clothes, he locked him in the sheepfold. The fleas swarmed all over Delu Karchar.

When he discovered that he could not handle the fleas, Delu Karchar started crying: "Dede, help me! For the sake of Allah, have mercy on me! Open the door and let me out of here!"

"Son, why are you so confused? I have brought you what you wanted. Why are you so dejected? Just select the fat ones and leave the lean ones", said Dede Korkut.

"Oh, Dede Sultan, may Allah take away the fat ones as well as the lean ones! Please help me. Let me out of the door right away", cried Delu Karchar. Dede Korkut saw that Delu Karchar was in a terrible plight. He was trying to save his life from the fleas, which had completely covered his body. His face and eyes could not be seen for fleas. He fell to Dede's feet begging: "For Allah's sake, save me!" Dede Korkut advised him to go and throw himself into the water. Delu Karchar ran and jumped into a stream, and the fleas were washed away in the running water. Delu Karchar came out of the stream, put on his clothes and went home to start preparations for the wedding.

During the time of the Oghuz, when a young man was to be married, he would shoot an arrow into the air and, wherever the arrow fell, there he would have his nuptial tent erected. Beyrek Khan too shot his arrow and had his nuptial tent set up where it landed. A long red gown was sent to him as a gift from his betrothed. Beyrek put this on, but his companions did not seem to be pleased by this. Beyrek asked them, "Why are you displeased?"

"Why should we not be? You are wearing a red gown while we are wearing white gowns", they replied.

"What a small thing to be offended by! I am wearing it today. Tomorrow let my deputy wear it, and then each of you wear it by turns for forty days. After that, let it be given to a poor dervish", said Beyrek.

As he and his forty warriors were sitting together and drinking, a spy of the infidels — may he not prosper! — was secretly observing them. He reported what he saw to the commander of Bayburt Castle. "Why are you idle here, my sultan?", he said. "Bay Bichen has given his daughter, whom he promised to you, to Beyrek. They are having their nuptials tonight."

That cursed man — may he not prosper! — prepared to attack with seven hundred infidels. Beyrek was sitting eating and drinking in his bright-colored tent at this time, unaware of all this. That night as he slept, his tent was attacked by the enemy. His deputy drew his sword, saying: "Let my head be sacrificed for Beyrek's head." He was torn to pieces.

Depth drowns. A mob frightens. It is the horse that makes the effort, though the fighter boasts, and a man without a horse is helpless. Beyrek and his thirty-nine warriors were all taken prisoner.

In the morning, when dawn broke and the sun arose, Beyrek's father and mother saw that the nuptial tent had disappeared. They sighed deeply, and almost lost their senses. They saw that a raven was flying overhead and a hound was wandering about the site. The nuptial tent was torn, and the body of the dead deputy lay on the ground. Beyrek's father took off his turban, threw it to the ground, tore the collar of his shirt, and then wept aloud, saying: "My son, my son!" Beyrek's white-haired mother cried bitterly, tears flowing from her eyes, and scratched her white face with her fingernails, pressing her red cheeks and pulling her hair. She went home weeping and sobbing.

Bay Bure Bey's tent with the gold chimney was now filled with sorrow. His daughters and daughters-in-law no longer laughed cheerfully or dyed their hands with red henna. His seven sisters took off their white dresses and put on all black, and they cried aloud, saying: "Oh, our bey, our brother, our only brother, who could not have his wish fulfilled."

When Beyrek's fiancée Banu Chichek was informed of what had happened, she took off her white dress, put on black and tore her red cheeks until they looked like the apples of autumn. She wept loudly, saying:

"Oh, the owner of my red trousseau!
Oh, the promise of my forehead!
Oh, my fine young hero, my handsome man!
My young khan, whose face I have not yet gazed upon enough.
Where have you gone, leaving me alone?
My darling, whom I saw at a glance,
Whom I loved with my heart,
With whom I shared a pillow,
For whose sake I would die and sacrifice my life.
Oh, Kazan Bey's dear friend!
Oh, Khan Beyrek, the symbol of the Oghuz Khanate."

When Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk, heard what had happened, he took off his white clothes and put on black. All Beyrek's friends and companions also exchanged white garments for black. The princes of the strong Oghuz mourned deeply for Beyrek and lost all hope for him.

Sixteen years elapsed after that event, and Beyrek still could not be found, alive or dead. One day Delu Karchar, the brother of the girl, came to Bayindir Khan's court, knelt before him, and said: "Your Majesty — may Allah give you long life —, if Beyrek had been aliv eall these sixteen years, he would have reappeared by now. If anyone brings me news that he is alive, I shall give that person a bag of gold. If anyone brings me news that he is dead, I shall give him my sister."

In response to these remarks, Yaltajuk — may he not prosper! —, the son of Yalanji, said: "My sultan, let me go and bring him, dead or alive." Now, it happened that Beyrek had once presented this man with a shirt, which he did not wear, but put away and kept. Yaltajuk dipped this shirt in blood and brought it to Bayindir Khan and dropped it on the ground before him.

When he saw this, Bayindir Khan said: "What is this shirt?"

"They killed Beyrek at Kara Dervent. Here is the proof, my sultan", said Yaltajuk.

When the princes saw the shirt, they wept aloud and moaned. Bayindir Khan said: "Why are you crying? We cannot tell whether this shirt is his or not. Take it to his betrothed. She will know, for she must have made it for him."

They sent the shirt to Banu Chichek. As soon as she saw it, she recognized it. Again she started tearing the collar of her dress, plunging her sharp fingernails into her white face and scratching her red cheeks until they were like apples of autumn. She cried, saying:

"Oh, Khan Beyrek!
You whom I saw so briefly
And loved with my heart.
Oh, the owner of my red trousseau.
Oh, the promise of my forehead!"

When the news reached his father and mother, there was great mourning in their household. White clothes were discarded for black. The princes of the strong Oghuz now completely gave up hope for Beyrek. Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, was engaged and fixed the date of his wedding.

Bay Bure Bey, Beyrek's father, called two merchants and said to them: "Oh, merchants, go and search through many climates, and see if you can bring me any news of his death or safety." The merchants made ready for the journey. They travelled day and night, and at last reached Bayburt Castle, which was commanded by swift Parasar. It happened that that day the infidels were having a religious celebration, and all were busy eating and drinking. They even had Beyrek there to play upon the kopuz for them. When he looked down from the raised platform, he saw the merchants and communicated with them through his song. Let us hear what he said, my khan:

"Oh, merchants, coming from the windy steppes!
Merchants, who were sent by my bey father and lady mother;
Merchants, who ride fine horses with long legs;
Merchants, hear me and listen to my words.
Is Salur Kazan, son of Ulash,
Of the strong Oghuz people, alive?
Is Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk, alive and well?
Is Kara Budak, son of Kara Gone, alive and well, oh, merchants?
Are my white-bearded father and white-haired mother alive and well, oh, merchants?
Are my seven sisters alive and well, oh, merchants?
Is Banu Chichek, daughter of Bay Bichen,
Whom I saw at the opening of my eyes,
And loved with all my heart —
Is she now at home, oh, merchants?
Or is she married to another man, oh, merchants?
Tell me.
I shall sacrifice my poor head for you."

The merchants replied:

"Dear Bamsi, are you alive and in good health?
Bamsi, whom we have missed for sixteen years.
If you want to know about Kazan Bey of the strong Oghuz,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about Delu Tundar, son of Kiyan Seljuk,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about Budak, son of Kara Gone,
He is alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
Those princes have taken off their white clothes and put on black for you, oh, Bamsi.
If you want to know about your white-bearded father and white-haired mother,
They are alive and well, oh, Bamsi.
They have taken off their white to wear their black for you, oh, Bamsi.
I saw your seven sisters crying at the junction of the seven roads, oh, Bamsi.
I saw them weeping for their brother, who had gone and not returned.
I saw them tearing their red cheeks, like apples of autumn, oh, Bamsi.
Banu Chichek, whom you saw at the opening of your eyes, and loved with all your heart,
Has become engaged and has fixed the date of her nuptials.
She is to marry Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji, Khan Beyrek.
Fly from the Bayburt Castle of Parasar!
Come back and see your gorgeous nuptial tent.
If you do not, then know this truth:
You cannot have your Banu Chichek, daughter of Bay Bichen."

Beyrek arose and went to the forty warriors, crying. He dashed his large turban to the ground and said: "Oh, my forty comrades, do you know what has happened? Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji, spread the word that I was dead, and my father's happy tent with the gold chimney is filled with mourning. His daughters and daughters-in-law, wearing white like geese, took off that white and put on black. Banu Chichek, whom I loved at the opening of my eyes, with all my heart, is to be wed to Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji." When he told them this, the forty warriors also pulled off their large turbans, dashed them to the ground, and began to weep aloud.

The prince of the infidels had a daughter who came to see Beyrek every day. When she saw now that Beyrek was unhappy, she said: "Why are you unhappy, my khan? During my visits, I have always seen you in good spirits. You used to laugh and dance. What has happened to you now?"

Beyrek said: "Why should I not be sad? I have been held captive by your father for sixteen years. I have missed my father and mother, my relatives, and my companions. Besides, I have at home a dark-eyed sweetheart who has been told by Yaltajuk, son of Yalanji, that I am dead. She is now about to marry him."

This girl, in truth, was in love with Beyrek. When she heard his words, she said: "If I should lower you down the castle wall with a rope, and if you should then reach your mother and father safely, would you later come for me and take me as your lawful wife?"

Beyrek took an oath, saying, "If I do not return and marry you, may I be chopped apart with my own sword, pierced with my own arrow, broken up like clods of earth and scattered about like dust."

The girl brought a rope and lowered Beyrek down the castle wall until, looking down, he found that he was standing on the ground. He offered thanks to Allah and then set out. As he reached the horse range of the infidels, he thought, "If I can find a horse, I shall catch it and ride home on it." When he looked about, he saw his own gray stallion grazing at hand. Recognizing Beyrek, the gray stallion reared into the air and neighed. Beyrek praised him. Let us hear, my khan, what he said of his horse.

"Your lovely forehead is wide open like a field.
Your lovely eyes shine like two torches in the dark.
Your lovely mane is similar to silk.
Your ears are even as twin brothers.
Your lovely back can take one to his goal.
I shall not call you 'Horse', but 'Brother',
For you are even better than a brother.
I say that I have work to do,
Oh, my comrade, who is better than a comrade."

The horse raised its head, lifted one ear, and came toward Beyrek. Beyrek embraced the horse's chest and kissed his eyes. Then he sprang upon the horse's back, rode to the castle gate, and there took leave of his thirty-nine companions. Let us hear, my khan, how he departed from them.

"Oh, you, infidels with the foul faith!
You swore at my mouth, but I had not enough of it.
You made me eat the stew of your black pig, and I had had enough of it.
Then Allah gave me an escape, and I accepted it, oh, infidels.
My warriors, thirty-nine, I entrust to you, oh, infidels!
If I find ten gone, a hundred of you will die,
Oh, infidels, the keepers of my thirty-nine brave men."

Having said this, he moved on. Forty infidels then mounted their horses and started after him, but when they could not catch him, they returned. When Beyrek reached the land of the Oghuz, he saw a minstrel walking along. Beyrek asked him: "Oh, minstrel, where are you going?"

The minstrel replied: "Bey, I am going to a wedding"

Beyrek asked: "Whose wedding is it?"

"Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, is being married", replied the minstrel.

"To whose daughter is he being wed?", asked Beyrek.

"He is to wed the former fiancée of Khan Beyrek", replied the minstrel.

"Oh, minstrel, give me your kopuz and I shall let you take my horse. Keep it till I return and buy it back from you", said Beyrek.

"I shall take it now and keep it", replied the minstrel, handing his kopuz to Beyrek.

Beyrek took the kopuz and proceeded toward his father's house. Along the way he saw several shepherds who were crying as they heaped up rocks by the side of the road. He said to them: "Shepherds, if one finds a rock on the road, one throws it aside. Why are you piling up these rocks along the road?"

"You know only your own affairs. What would you know about ours?", replied the shepherds.

"Well, what is the matter with you?" asked Beyrek.

"Our bey had a son, and whether he is dead or alive no one has been able to discover for sixteen years. Yaltajuk, the son of a man called Yalanji, brought news of his death the other day. Now they are giving our prince's fiancée to him. We have decided to stone this man as he passes by, so that he may not marry this girl, but rather someone his own equal", replied the shepherds.

"May your faces always be bright. May the bread of your master be blessed for you!", said Beyrek.

He then went to his father's camp. There was a large tree that stood before their tents, and at the foot of that tree was a beautiful spring. Beyrek saw his youngest sister coming to draw water from this spring. She was crying, and saying to herself: "Beyrek, Beyrek, your wedding day has been a day of grief."

Beyrek could not restrain himself any longer, and tears began rolling from his eyes. He began to talk, and spoke these verses. Let us find out, my khan, what he said.

"Oh, girl, why are you crying for your brother,
Thus eating my heart and burning away my breast?
If your brother is lost,
This grief is like hot oil poured on your heart.
Your unfortunate bosom is trembling.
Why do you lament and mourn your brother,
Thus eating my heart and burning away my breast?
If I ask about the black mountain lying over there —
Whose pastures are they?
If I ask about its cooling springs —
Who is it now that drinks from them?
If I ask about the stables of fine horses —
Who is it now who rides upon their backs?
If I ask about the many camel herds —
Whose goods do they now carry?
If I ask about the white sheep in the fold —
For whose celebration are they ready?
If I ask about the black and blue tall tent —
For whom does it make shade?
Girl, let your mouth and tongue tell me these things.
I sacrifice my head for you today."

The girl replied:

"Do not play, oh, minstrel; do not sing.
What use are minstrels to an unhappy girl?
If you ask about the black mountain over there —
It used to be my brother Beyrek's.
But since he went away, I never go up there.
If you ask about its cooling springs —
My brother Beyrek used to drink from them.
I drink not from them since my brother Beyrek went away.
If you ask about the stables of fine horses —
They were my brother Beyrek's once,
But I ride not upon them since my brother Beyrek left.
If you ask about the many camel herds —
They often carried Brother Beyrek's loads;
I load nothing on them since Brother Beyrek went away.
If you ask about the black and blue tall tent —
It was my brother Beyrek's tent,
But it just stands there since my brother went away."

After giving these responses, the girl went on as follows:

"Oh, minstrel!
Did you meet no young man they called Beyrek
When you crossed that snow-capped mountain over there?
Did you meet no young man they called Beyrek,
When you crossed turbulent rivers?
Did you meet no young man called Beyrek,
When you passed through cities with great names?
Oh, ministrel, tell me if you met him.
I shall sacrifice my poor head for you."

She then went on with these verses:

"The black mountain over there is falling down,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
My great shade tree is being felled,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
A brother has been taken from me,
But, minstrel, you are not aware.
Do not play or sing now, minstrel;
What comfort can it bring a grieving girl?
There is a wedding farther on. Go play your kopuz there."

Beyrek moved along the way, and approached next his elder sisters. He noticed that everyone was sitting dressed in black and blue. Let us listen to what he said, my khan. Beyrek sang this song:

"Girls, who have risen early in the morning —
Girls, who have left white tents to enter black —
Girls, who have shed white clothes to put on black —
Have you some yogurt white and firm as young girls' breasts?
Have you some pastry in hot covered dishes?
Have you some bread in your reed basket?
For three days I have traveled ceaselessly. Feed me!
May Allah bring you joy within three days."

The girls brought food and let young Beyrek eat. After he had eaten, Beyrek said: "You may perhaps have an old coat to give me that will serve as alms to bless the head and eyes of your brother. I shall wear it at the wedding, and, if they give me clothing there, I shall return yours."

They brought a coat that had belonged to Beyrek. When he put it on, the length, the arm girth and the waist fitted him exactly. The oldest of the sisters thought he looked very much like Beyrek. Her black eyes filled with blood-stained tears. Let us hear, my khan, what she said then.

"If your black eyes seemed not so sad,
I should have called you 'brother Beyrek', minstrel.
If your face were not so covered with black hair,
I should have called you 'brother Beyrek', minstrel.
If your strong wrists were not so pale,
I should have called you 'brother Beyrek', minstrel.
With your swinging walk,
With your lion stance,
With your handsome look,
You are so like my brother Beyrek, minstrel.
Having pleased me, do not make me sad again, oh, minstrel.
Do not play, oh, minstrel; do not sing.
No minstrels stop here since my brother went away.
No one asks us for the coats from off our backs.
No one asks us for the night caps from our heads.
No one asks for the meat of rams with twisted horns."

Beyrek thought to himself: "Oh, so the girls have recognized me with this coat on. The strong Oghuz princes will also recognize me. I want to see who is my friend and who my foe in the land of the Oghuz." He took off the coat, went to the girls and threw it to them, saying: "Too much of you and Beyrek! You gave me an old coat, but took the wits out of my head." He then found an old camel cargo sack. Cutting a hole in the bottom, he put the sack over his head and pretended he was mad.

When he went to the wedding, he saw the groom shooting an arrow. Budak, the son of Kara Gone; Uruz, the son of Kazan Bey; Yigenek, a leader of the beys; Shir Shemseddin, the son of Gaflet Koja; Delu Karchar, the brother of the girl — all these men were also shooting arrows. When Budak shot his arrow, he said again: "May your hand live long!" When Shir Shemseddin shot his, he repeated once more: "May your hand live long!" But when the groom let fly his arrow, Beyrek said: "May your hand dry up and your fingers rot, you pig and son of a pig. You are too mean to be the groom."

Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, grew angry and shouted: "You mad cuckold, how dare you say such things about me? Come and pull my bow now, or I shall chop your head off."

Beyrek grasped the bow and pulled it, but it broke in two. He took it to its owner and dropped it in front of him, saying: "It will do for shooting larks on level ground!"

Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, was furious at the breaking of his bow. He said: "Bring me Beyrek's bow." It was brought, and, when Beyrek saw it, he thought back on his companions in the castle, and cried:

Tul tulara, girdughum tularari
The hostile land where I left the Duharlu tribe.
My quiver made of stallion's hair;
My beautiful strong bow, which I traded for a stallion;
My twisted bowstring, which I traded for a bull —
I came away, but left in a dreadful place
My thirty-nine companions and two merchants, too."

Then he said: "Beys, let me pull the string and shoot an arrow in your honor." They were all shooting at the groom's ring. Beyrek hit the ring with his arrow and broke it into many pieces. When the Oghuz princes saw this, they clapped their hands and laughed. Seeing this, Kazan Bey sent a man to bring Beyrek before him. The mad minstrel came, bowing and pressing his hand on his breast in respectful greeting. He said:

"Oh, master of the white tent that stands alone at dawn!
Master of the large blue canopy made of Atlas cloth;
Master of many stables of fine horses,
Whose court is full of lords;
The supporter of warriors without companions,
The hope of the poor and helpless,
The groom of Bayindir Khan,
The vigorous youth of feathery bird,
The center pole of Turkestan,
The lion of the River of Emet,
The tiger of Karachuk Mountains,
The owner of the copper-brown horse,
The father of Khan Uruz,
My Khan Kazan.
Hear me and listen to my words.
You have arisen at the break of day
To walk into the lovely woods.
You have cut leaves from the branch of the white poplar tree,
Bending it low.
You have shot your swift arrow
And have erected the nuptial tent.
Those sitting on one side are the Beys of the Right,
Those on the other, the Beys of the Left,
Those in the center, the prominent princes.
Your intimate friends all sit on the threshold.
May your nuptial proceedings be blessed with good fortune."

When Kazan Bey heard this, he said: "Ho, mad minstrel, what do you want from me? Do you want a tent, or slaves, or money, or gold? I shall give you whatever you wish."

"My sultan, I wish that you would permit me to go to the wedding feast, where I might have something to eat, for I am hungry", replied Beyrek.

"The mad minstrel has refused worldly goods, oh, princes. Let my princely authority therefore be his for today. Let him go here among us wherever he wishes."

Beyrek went to the wedding banquet, but, after eating, he overturned the kettles and spilled out the food they held. He threw chunks of stewed meat to right and to left. "Whatever comes from the right goes to the right; whatever comes from the left goes to the left. Justice for the just; dark faces for the unjust."

Reports of this reached Kazan Bey. Several said to him: "My sultan, the mad minstrel has overturned the kettles and spilled out the food. Now he wants to go around to the girls' living quarters."

Kazan said: "Just leave him alone. Let him go near the girls, too."

Beyrek then walked over to the girls' quarters. There he dismissed the pipers and the drummers, beating some of them and inflicting wounds upon the heads of others. He entered the girls' tent and sat at the threshold. Burla Hatun, Kazan Bey's tall wife, became very much annoyed when she saw this. She said, angrily: "You mad cuckold and son of a cuckold, how dare you come upon me so informally?"

"I have Kazan Bey's permission, and no one can prevent me", replied Beyrek.

"If he has Kazan Bey's permission, then let him stay there", said Burla Hatun. She then turned to Beyrek and asked: "Oh, mad minstrel, what are you up to?"

"My lady, I want the girl who is getting married to dance while I play my kopuz", said Beyrek.

There was a woman there by the name of Kisirja Yinge, and now she was called. "Kisirja Yinge, you dance instead of the bride. After all, how can the mad minstrel know the difference?", several said.

Kisirja Yinge said: "Ho, mad minstrel, I am the girl who is to be married." She began to dance while Beyrek played his kopuz and sang. Let us hear, my khan, what he sang.

"I have taken an oath not to mount the sterile mare
And go into battle.
Shepherds behind oxen are looking at you,
Their tears streaming down from their eyes.
Go to them there,
For they know of your wish.
I shall have nothing to do with you, woman.
Let the girl to be married stand up now
And dance to the music, waving her arms."

Kisirja Yinge said: "Ah, this madman talks as if he knows me", and then she sat down.

There was another woman by the name of Bugur Boghazcha Fatma. They asked her to get up next and dance. She put on the bride's costume and said: "Play, oh, mad minstrel, for I am the one who is marrying. Let me dance."

The mad minstrel sang:

"I swear I have not ridden the pregnant mare
As I went into battle.
Was there not a streamlet behind your house?
Was your dog not named Barak?
Was your name not Boghazcha Fatma with forty lovers?
Take heed lest I tell of your other shameless acts.
I have no other games to play with you.
Go back and sit once again at your place.
Let the one who is to wed stand up now.
Let me play the kopuz.
Let her dance to the music, waving her arms."

To this, Boghazcha Fatma responded: "Oh, the mad minstrel! He has revealed all my shame. Come, girl, and dance if you wish. If you do not, bad luck to you. In truth, we knew that this sort of thing would happen to you after Beyrek was gone."

Burla Hatun then said: "Come, girl, dance. What else can you do?"

Banu Chichek put on her red costume, pulled her hands up inside her sleeves to hide them and began to dance, saying: "Play, oh, mad minstrel, for I am the girl who is to be married. Let me dance."

Beyrek said:

"Since I went from this place, all have gone mad.
Much white snow must have fallen knee deep.
The house of the khan is without slaves or servants.
His daughter took jugs to the fountain for water.
Her ten lovely fingers have dropped from her hands, all taken by frost.
Get some red gold for the khan's only daughter
And make from it nails that will seem to be hennaed.
No blemish should shame the khan's daughter at marriage."

When Banu Chichek heard this, she became angry and said: "Oh, mad minstrel, do I have anything to be ashamed of, that you speak to me like this?" She then uncovered her silver-white wrists and stretched out her hands. The ring that Beyrek had put on her finger was thus revealed.

Beyrek recognized that ring and spoke to her. Let us hear what he said, my khan.

"Did you climb the hill slowly since the time that I left, oh, girl?
Did you turn and look around in all four directions, oh, girl?
Did you tear your spear-like black hair, oh, girl?
Did you shed bitter tears from your black eyes, oh, girl?
Did you scratch your red cheeks like the apples of autumn, oh, girl?
Since you marry another man, give me back my golden ring, oh, girl."

To this the girl replied:

"I have climbed the hill slowly since Beyrek departed.
I have torn my black hair.
I have scratched my red cheeks like the apples of autumn.
I have questioned all those who were coming and going.
My noble young khan went away and returns not.
Often I cried, calling 'Beyrek!' You are not Bamsi Beyrek, the one whom I loved.
This golden ring is not yours. It holds many memories, this ring.
Tell me of them if you want the ring back."

Beyrek then answered her:

"Did I not arise early, oh, daughter of the khan?
And did I not mount on the back of the gray horse?
And did I not bring a fat deer to your tent?
Did you not welcome me then to your side?
Did we not race in the field with our horses?
And did not my horse run much faster than yours?
Did I not split the straight arrow you shot?
And did I not afterwards beat you in wrestling?
Did I not kiss you three times and then bite you once?
And did I not then put the ring on your finger?
Am I then Bamsi Beyrek, the man you once loved?"

When he spoke in this way, the girl recognized him. She knew then that he was Beyrek. Dressed in her bridal gown, she fell at the feet of Beyrek. When the nurses had helped him to dress in a new coat, the girl quickly jumped on a horse and rode to Beyrek's parents to give them the good news. This is what she said:

"Your round black mountains had fallen, but now they are rising again.
Your streams stained with blood had dried up, but now they are flowing again.
Your tall tree had withered, but now it is green once again.
Your fine horse had grown old, but once more bears a colt.
Your red camels had aged, but now they have young ones again.
Your white sheep had aged, but now they have lambs in the fold.
And Beyrek your son, who was gone sixteen years, has returned.
My father and mother, what gift will you give for good news?"

The mother and father of Beyrek replied:

"We could die for the love of that tongue of yours, my bride,
And could be sacrificed for your sake, my bride.
If what you have said is not true, may it come true, my bride.
And if he comes back safe and well,
May the black mountains lying out yonder
Be henceforth your pasture.
May their cold running waters provide you with drink.
May our servants and slaves be turned over to you.
May all our fine horses be yours then to ride.
May our caravan camels then carry your wealth.
May all the white sheep in our fold grace your banquets.
May our treasures of gold be your money to spend.
May our gold-chimneyed tent provide you with shelter.
May our unfortunate heads be sacrificed for you, oh, bride."

In the meantime, the beys had brought Beyrek. Kazan Bey said: "Good news, Bay Bure! Your son has returned."

Bay Bure said: "I can prove whether or not he is my son. Let blood from his little finger flow on his handkerchief and then give me the soaked cloth. I shall rub my eyes with this, and if it restores my sight, then he is my son Beyrek." His eyes had grown blind from much crying, but, when he rubbed the handkerchief against them, the power of Almighty Allah assisting, they were opened again. His father and mother both fell at Beyrek's feet, sobbing loudly. The father said:

"Son, the support of my tent with the chimney of gold,
A flower to my daughters and brides, like white geese;
The light of my reopened eyes, oh, son;
The strength of my backbone, oh, son;
My son and a symbol of the strong Oghuz beys."

He cried then for a long time, all the while expressing his thanks to Allah.

When Yaltajuk, the son of Yalanji, heard of all this, he grew so afraid of Beyrek that he went to the marshlands of Tana Sazi and threw himself in. Beyrek followed him there and said: "Bring me some dry grass!" They brought him dry grass and he lighted it, setting fire to the rushes. When Yaltajuk saw that the rushes were burning, he came out, fell at Beyrek's feet, and passed under his sword. Beyrek then forgave him.

Kazan Bey said: "Come now and have your wish."

Beyrek replied: "I cannot have my wish until I have captured the infidel castle and released my companions."

Kazan Bey said to his people: "Let all those who like me now mount their horses."

The princes of the strong Oghuz mounted their horses and raced to Bayburt Castle, where the infidels met them. The strong Oghuz beys took ablution with clean water, touched their white foreheads to the ground, and performed two rekats of prayer. They remembered the exalted Prophet Mohammed. Drums were then beaten loudly and, in the terrible battle that followed, the field was filled with human heads. Kazan Bey knocked Shokli Melik, crying like a wild animal, from his horse. Kara Tekur fell to the ground under the blows of Delu Tundar's sword. Kara Budak knocked down Kara Arslan Melik. The infidels were caught and killed in small valleys; seven infidel princes were among those put to the sword. Beyrek, Yigenek, Kazan Bey, Kara Budak, Delu Tundar and Uruz Bey, the son of Kazan, attacked the castle. Beyrek went to save his thirty-nine warriors and found them safe and well. He thanked Allah for this. They pulled down the infidels' church and killed their priest. They built a mosque in its place and, after the ezan was chanted, a sermon was delivered in the name of beloved Allah.

They presented rare birds, valuable goods, beautiful girls and cloth for nine suits to Bayindir Khan, the khan of khans. Beyrek, the son of Bay Bure, married the Melik's daughter and returned to his happy home, where he began his wedding ceremony. Some of the forty warriors were given girls by Khan Kazan and some by Bayindir Khan. They had forty tents erected. Thirty-nine girls shot arrows to determine their fortune, and thirty-nine warriors followed these arrows. Their large weddings and banquets lasted for forty days and forty nights. During all this time, Beyrek and his companions dallied with their girls.

My Dede Korkut came and played joyful tunes on the kopuz and told legends in which he recounted the adventures of heroes. Then he said: "Let this Oghuz legend be Beyrek's."

Let me now pray, my khan: may your firm black mountains be not destroyed. May your tall shade tree be not felled. May your white-bearded father go to Heaven, and may your white-haired mother also go to heaven. May your mother not be separated from her son and her brothers and sisters, and may she be not alienated from faith in the last days of her life. May those saying "Amen, Amen" see the face of Allah, and may He forgive your sins for the sake of the exalted prophet Mohammed Mustapha.