Ержан Батешов. Цикл ненависти.

Cycle of hatred.

(Translated by Azamat Bakeneev, Gulnar Bateshova)

It is so beautiful in the steppe, in spring. After a long winter the sun, as though decided to show all its power, has started to cover generously the steppe with its light. Every thing what that was alive became happy and welcomed the spring’s coming and only the highly hovering eagle seemed to ignore it. The steppe’s king might have been glad, but you can never detect this in his eyes, his look was cold.

* * *

By the small steppe lake, the nomadic tribe of Kipchacks was settled. Many yorts were set up (skin tents used by nomads) all over the place, women were cooking food for men. Men were repairing their guns. Someone was playing dombra (a musical instrument of nomads). Children were playing their games, and only two sons of Edige, Koblandi and Sartai, were talking about something sitting in the grass

I wish, I were a bird, the best one is a proud eagle, – Koblandi said, watching the eagle overhead.– I wish, I could fly up very high, so that to see not onlythe turcic steppe and Gungar country, but also those areas, that goes farther. I wonder what nations are living there? What language they speak? What do they do?


There is nothing interesting about it, – Sartai objected – Anyone not kipchak is our blood enemy. If there were some another neigbour next to us, not these cowards – the Gungars, anyway we would not be getting along with them. Keep in mind, what our father Edige said – Life is war, struggle and who, holds a sabre tightly in his hands will survive in this world. And actually I don’t care about other people’s life.
Aren’t you concerned about your well – being only. – Koblandi asked. – Look, that ant is running and dragging some branch, what’s purpose of his life, why he is dragging this such a heavy branch so far, why he is working so?
And why? – Koblandi continued after a short pause. – The ant is toiling for the sake of others from his family and at the same time for himself too. So all of them are building up complex labyrinths of their hill, where they will live in peace working and brining up their children.
You are right, said Sartai, – that the ants are from one family, one clan, but don’t you know that ants from different clans are fighting with each other, and only strong ones survive. The weak ones either die or go away. So do the people – a strong clan defeats a weak one, which has to go to the deserted lands, where it is hard to survive.
There was a long pause, Sartai enjoyed the victory, but he did not want to hurt his brother, he was not laughing at him. He brought the father’s sabre from the yort and started to sharpen it.

But, wait, – Koblandi said again suddenly. – People ore not ants, cann’t they live in peace?
No, human beings are also a part of nature, the cruel law is ruling here, and you cannot do any thing about this. So… – Sartai wanted to continue, but at this moment their mother called them to drink kumys (a drink made of horse milk).
Koblandi stood up and ran away. Sartai remained to sharpen the sabre. Sometimes he was brandishing it and the sunrays were reflecting from the sabre’s blade. Sartai was enjoying himself, he imagined himself to be a strong, adult batyr (a name of professional fighter), and it was impossible to beat him up.

” Be terrified, The Gungars! I will grow up soon and you will forget the word – “peace” – Sartai thought.

Edige, watering the horse, was looking at them; he loved his sons and was glad that they were friends and always helped to each other. Edige himself could play with his kids for hours, wrestling, running. He dreamt to make them brave and strong, young men of famous clan of Kipchaks.

Gulnar went out of the yourt – the eldest daughter of Edige, she called for Sartai , but the latter was more interested in the sharp sabre. Edige glanced at Gulnar and only now he noticed that his favorite daughter has become a beautiful young woman. Her eyebrows were like the moon, big brown eyes, thick braid seemed created to admire at.

Thinking of this, Edige paid attention to the cloud of dust that was approaching rapidly.

What is that, Gungars? – Edige thought – Why didn’t the guards tell?
Edige mounted his horse and rushed towards the yourt for weapons, shouting the coming of Gungars.

Panic raised up in the village: women were grabbing their kids; men were preparing to fight against Gungars. But it was clear that it’s too late, Kipchaks were attacked unexpectedly. At that moment, the first group of Gungars rashed into the village, burning the yourts, and killing not only the men but also the elderly and kids.

For the next few minutes, everything happened for Edige too quickly: his yourt was set on fire, his wife and Koblandi ran out of the yourt. A gungar hit her with the sharp sabre. Confused and terrified Koblandi stared at his mother’s body.

Run, my boy, run! – Edige shouted, coming to the rescue of his family.
The Gungar didn’t pay attention to the frightened boy, he got interested in the Kipchak girl, whom he was trying to pull up over his horse. At this moment, Sartai ran towards him, he wanted to hit the enemy with father’s sabre, but the Gungarin dodged a strike and hit the boy. Sartai fell down near his mother. At last Koblandi, recovered himself and started to run, but another Gungarin hit him with a heavy cudgel. The boy fell down and didn’t stand up anymore.

Having seen that tragedy, Edige roared out in a wild voice and was ready to kill the enemies unarmed. But suddenly a sharp arrow got into his chest.

He fell down and died…

* * *

His soul slowly separated from the body and started to rise upwards.

Edige didn’t understand anything: he saw his lying body, penetrated with an arrow, bloody bodies of his wife and son close to the second son, who seemed coming to life. His daughter, his favourite daughter, was taken away by Gungarin.

-No…- he cried out and tried to rush down to save Gulnar, but mysterious power did not let him do it and kept pulling upwards.

Wherever you’re to be, I’ll find you and kill! – He roared to the galloping Gungarin. I will always remember your disgusting narrow eyes! Your bright red hair! Your ugly scar on the cheek! I will never forget you…

Only now he began to realize what happened to him. He swore to remember the Gungarion all his life.

-But what is life? – Edige again looked down at his body – What’s up?.. I can’t die, I must take revenge.

Something was pulling upwards. Edige was truing to struggle until he got very weak and lost consciousness. In a while, some parts of his short life were emerging in his mind’s eye – some moments of his childhood, of his youth, the first raid into the enemy’s dwelling. Suddenly there appeared a picture of one of these raids where without hesitation he killed an old man, who did not run away like everyone but cursed them trying to hit Edige with his stick. Edige forgot this moment and never recalled.

When visions disappeared, Edige came to life, he could not understand, if it was a dream or reality; the whole of his life passed by for a few minutes, but the most important moments were fixed up.

“Probably, Allah wants to know, how I lived in the earth,.. to place me in hell or in paradise,” – Edige thought, and at once he pushed himself. – What silly thoughts, it may be some awful dream, just a bad dream, I’m going to weak up and see my sleeping kids nearby.

But the dream was not over, instead he felt that he was flying inside the black, dark and closed space. Far ahead, some creature was shining with a strange light. It seemed to Edige that the monster had a mind, more over it wasn’t just shininig and lighting up the way, it was warming and sympathizing.

The flight was stopped suddenly, The tunnel and the creature disappeared and Edige found himself on the glade, the huge monster was standing by him, it hardly remind of a human being.

Follow me – it ordered.
Edige submitted asking no questions, where he was to be taken to, he just soundlessly followed the monster. In a while cries and moans of people were heard from the distance. They begged to give them some water and cursed Justice of Allah. Terror seized Edige. They came to the wall with an iron door. The monster opened it and let Edige get in first.

Edige entered the room. One of the walls was transparent. And he saw a wonderful place behind it, beautiful marvelous birds and people dressed in white. They were happy.

You could live like this, sinner – The monster said solemnly pointing towards Paradise.
Suddenly Edige noticed his wife and son Sartai among the people. He waved to them, but they didn’t see that.

– Time is over, – The monster said and opened the other door, from there these terrible sounds and cries were coming. Edige was pushed in.

– Welcome to Hell. – It said with an ugly smirk and threw Edige into a burning lake, it was full of exhausted people, there were not only yellow-skin people but also white and black. Edige saw such people for the first time.

He began to burn and got very thirsty. Edige groaned and looked towards the monster, but it only laughed and said:

This is Hell. There is no way back. Eternity never ends – and closed the door.
… Edige did not know, how long he was there, a few years, months, days or just a few hours – time didn’t exist there. All the tortures invented by a human being cannot be compared to that burning water. One of the most brutal fortunes for man was when one was tied to the tree in a sitting position and a bamboo seed was placed under him. Growing, a bamboo seed got into body and eventually penetrated him or a man was tied to the tree again, but at this time water was constantly dripping upon his head, making a hole in it and eventually death came as relief. But there was no death in the lake of Hell, people were cooking alive in the burning water and never die. It lasts endlessly.

Edige saw that new people were put into the lake by the same monster, every day. He, like every one, was begging the monster to take him out, to give him some water but the monster did not even look towards them, it silently did its job and every time closing the door, repeated one phrase: – This is Hell. There is no way back. Eternity never ends.

All people were floating in the lake, you cannot go ashore and you cannot be drowned. Although, Edige saw, that some people went deeper into the lake. After this they never showed up. At last, Edige himself felt that, some mysterious power began to pull him down and he began to go down, slowly and finally, until he found himself in the dark room. Soon the shining came, Edige had seen it before, after his death. But now the being began to talk to him, it was talking not by the means of words but telepathically:

Edige, you have got the punishment for all your sins and Justice triumphed over you. Now I am going to let you come back to the earth and again your soul will find a human body, but keep in mind: you must not violate the command laws, written in the holy book – Koran, otherwise, you will appear in Hell again In 40 days after your birth, you will forget everything what happened to you. But if you understood what I said, you will never dare to sin again. If hunger for revenge still lives in your heart, it will affect you in a bad way, it will be against you.
Your revenge will turn against you, – The shining repeated again after a short while. – Remember my words, human being.
Edige listened to him without saying a word. It made no difference where to go, only not back to the hell.

Then some divine power again pulled him into the endless tunnel, until eventually he appeared in the oval, cloistered room. It was dark but warm. In a while, Edige was terrified with his discovery, some strange tube connected him to the walls of this room.

-Why was I tied to this wall – he was wondering – They are afraid that I will run away. He didn’t know how much time passed. But little by little he noticed, that room was becoming smaller and smaller, or on the contrary he was growing bigger.

If lately he could move in the room a bit, now he has to lie in one position, completely still, till the walls compressed him. He got so tired of a constant feeling of dependence of unknown forces, which could make anything with him, that he started to push the walls but they were strong enough, not to let their prisoner get out.

* * *

Once the walls began to push Edige away. He felt hurt, because they seemed squeezing him in the tunnel, which was greatly compressing . After some time, Edige saw the sunlight, he was greatly happy. He, like a prisoner that spent many years under the ground and finally let to get freedom, got happy to see the bright sun light and he even wanted to cry out: “Hallo, the sun! “Hallo, the world! I am back!” But instead, the mouth was creating some strange sounds, very similar to a baby’s cry. Edige couldn’t control his tongue. Edige realized that he is back to the earth as a baby.

Some unknown women were making a fuss nearby, they all were tired but happy.

Call his father, he has got a son, What a big batyr. How heavy he is – they kept saying.
And suddenly, Edige saw a huge man running towards him. He took him tenderly, and began to kiss.

Oh, Allah, Edige would not ever forget this face, he would recognize him in the crowd of millions of people. These disgusting narrow eyes, bright red hair, ugly scar on the left cheek will never leave Edige’s memory. And now this damned Gungarin, who had caused him so much grief and misfortune, loves his baby, who was a Kipchak batyr before. Edige recalled his wife and his son killed with the sharpen sabre– Sartai. Blood and hate boiled up inside him. He grabed his fathers hair with his both hands, tried to squeeze it, and squash, but the father only smiled:
How strong he is, he immediately started to fight. He will be an excellent batyr. Look, how he grabed my hair and does not want to release. Today, I will cut my best and fattest sheep. Everybody, come to share my happiness. Now I have a son.
It is better to be a son of dog than of yours – Edige was roaring, but his mouth was still creating a baby cry.
In the evening of the same day a big feast took place in the village, music was playing everywhere, guests were eating meat and congratulating the parents on a baby birth.

The baby, at this time, was lying in bed. The parents were afraid that someone of the guests could see a baby and could overlook him. That’s why the baby, though everyone was talking about him, was the most unnoticeable person on the party.

Suddenly someone familiar passed by Edige

Yes, sure, that was she, Gulnar, his favourite daughter.
Edige wanted to cry out “Gylnar, my daughter, come here, How long I have not seen you”.

Instead, only baby cry came out again.

The girl came up to the bed and began to swing the cradle trying to calm down the baby: “Why are you crying, your mummy will come right now, She’ll feed you, don’t cry, my sweet, don’t cry”.

Hearing the familiar Kipchak words, tears came out of his eyes and he kept talking:

Cannot you recognize me. I am your father. How I missed you, my dear daughter. You must have become a wife of this Gungarin? Why are you hollow-eyed? But now, everything is going to be good, we’ll be together – he said.
But instead – a baby cry: “A-A-a…” – could be heard in the yort.

* * *

Once, when Edige was lying in the cradle, a boy with a mirror ran up to him and showed him his face. Terror seized Edige, he saw a copy of his current father, but at a baby age: the same red hair, the same narrow eyes, there was no only sear on the left cheek.

What a stupid boy, don’t you know that you must not show the infants their faces. – Suddenly Edige heard his mother’s voice, shouting at the boy, who ran out of the yourt rapidly with the mirror in his hand
Edige remained alone with his sad thoughts.

I am a Gungarin, Gungarin blood is flowing in my veins. No, I don’t want to live – thinking about that he suddenly remembered the words, he was told in the other world.
… Upon coming back to the earth you’ll forget everything in 40 days, and if hunger for revenge still burns your heart, even a bit, then this revenge will do harm to you.
How can my revenge make harm me? – He couldn’t understand. – Even if I become a Gungarin, inside me, I am a Kipchak, and I will, all my life, take revenge on all Gungarin people. Let me be burnt thrice in the hell, nothing can stop me to do this!
* * *

Twenty years passed. In the steppe, near a small lake, a terrible battle between The Kipchacks and The Gungarins was fighting. These constant fighting neighbors were causing grief and unhappiness to each other.

And again the men of these two nations were killing each other, cries of wounded, neighing of horses, strikes of sabres were heard there. Young gungar soldier was participating in this battle, whose eyes were looking towards the enemy with hatred, his farther was by his side. They were like two peas, only the scar on the left cheek of father’s face was the only thing that differed them.

The young man saw a Kipchak batyr in front of him. He vigorously swung his arm and threw a spear.

– Koblandi, watch out, Gungarin on the left side! – A Kipchak wanted to warn his friend, it was already late.

The spear thrown with a great force got into batyr’s chest and he fell down. He had a little time left to live.

Fatally wounded Koblandi looked up and saw a highly hovering eagle, he remembered his brother Sartai, his mother and father, killed by The Gungars, his sister taken away. All this happened in the far childhood…

Why are people so cruel to each other? – He wanted to ask the eagle, but could not.
His soul began slowly to leave the body.