Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/119

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111
THE WAYS OF THE ZAPTIEHS

other refugees there that all the boys were killed as soon as they had crossed the hills into the valley just outside Hassan-Chelebi. The soldiers tied them in groups of ten and fifteen and then slew them with swords and bayonets. Refugees passing that way from Sivas saw their bodies on the road.

Before we left Hassan-Chelebi, Tcherkess Kior Kassim, the hangman, came among us, with a company of zaptiehs and picked out twelve very young girls—most of them between eight and twelve years old. The hangman was going soon to Constantinople, the soldiers said, and wanted young girls to sell to rich Turks of powerful families, among whom it is the custom to buy pretty girls of this age, whenever possible, and keep them in their harems until they mature. They are raised as Mohammedans and are later given to sons of their owners, or to powerful friends.

Just outside Hassan-Chelebi, which we left in the afternoon, we were joined by a party of 3,000 refugees from Sivas. They, too, were on their way to Arabkir, and had encamped outside the city to wait for us. Among them was a company of twenty Sisters of Grace. These dear Sisters, several of whom were Europeans, had been summoned at midnight from their beds by the Kaimakam, or under-governor. When the Turkish soldiers went for them they were