'Sosriqwe attending the Nart council for the first time' Translation & Annotation by

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Sosriqwe heard about the Nart Council.

While he used to work with Lhepsch

Iron binding in (Lhepsch’s) blacksmith place.

The first word he ever heard,

And in the preface of any converse:

“The Nart Council’ was the leading phrase.

It is there (in the Nart Council) where valiant deeds are narrated,

About the heroes who crossed the oceans and rivers

The one who brought the finest horses

And the one who sled giants

It is where the proprietor of the mightiest sword was acknowledged,

The songs were created for the Nart council

Their accomplishments were the most infamous.

Youthful Sosriqwe,

Dreams to attend the Nart Council,

To convene and acquaint with the Narts,

To raise a toast of honor with them,

Challenge them,

And listen to their accomplishments.

When Sosriqwe learnt:

The Nart Council is to convene

He (Sosriqwe) is yearning to attend it

He (Sosriqwe) told his mother Lady Seteney

- Weiy [1] my mother Seteney

I have seen little of this world

The Nart Council is assembling they say

I desire to attend the council,

I desire to perceive the Narts customs,

And seize the Narts horn [2] with my hands.

Weiy, my mother Seteney

Who shall introduce me to the Narts?

How can I enter upon them?

 

Sosriqwe’s words

Brought glee to Seteney.

 

- Sosriqwe my only son,

I shall go to the Narts,

And request from all the Narts

To allow you attend the council.

If they consent my request, my son,

Your horse and sword are prepared.

My son you are still young,

It is not appropriate to attend their meeting

Without an invite.

The Narts ancient custom,

Forbids attendants who are not invited.

***

Seteney embellished herself,

And went to the Nart council.

As the Narts saw Seteney

They all stood in respect

And showered her with complimentary verses

 - Thou have no equivalent on land and in the seas

Seteney Lady of all Narts,

Guardian of our customs,

Brightness of all goodness,

We regard your coming as a great honor (crowning us)!

 

As the Narts declared these words

Pouring straight from their hearts

Seteney replied while the council was still standing:

 

I pray God that my onset amongst you

Will end as gratifying as this welcome

 My arrival today

Is for a sole purpose:

You well know I have a son

His name is swarthy Sosriqwe

His tongue knows none of lies.

Narts, I request from you,

To invite my only son Sosriqwe

To your council,

You may seat him

At the corner of you table,

Or, allow him to be at your service

Heeding your dialogues.

If it is inappropriate,

Then allow him to stand by the entrance

Only to look at your faces and learn from you

And if you believe that, this is improper 

Let him hoard your horses

By the nearby summit.

Narts this is my request from you.

When all the Narts heard

The words of Lady Seteney,

Neseren Zcha?h’e looks at the Narts leader

And the bold Nesch’epch’e

Awkwardly turns his head to the left and right

Not knowing what to do

And when none of the attendees spoke

The Narts leader said:

 

- Weiy Narts, speak,

Reply to Seteney’s request,

Responding to a woman’s request

Is more important than anything else,

And the first thing to consider.

Narts say the truth,

And do not hinder Seteney any longer.

 

As the Narts leader concluded,

Nart Peniqwe rose,

Swore by Theghelej [3],

And said the following words:

- It is not our custom to invite into our council,

The progeny of anyone,

If he were a man by all means, his name would have been heeded amongst us,

And we would have already called upon him to attend the council.

 

As Nart Peniqwe concluded

Nart Gwegwezch irritably stood,

Thumping his feet on the ground

Clacking his weapon displeasingly and said:

 

- None amongst the present members today

Is not distinguished by a heroic past,

How can we invite a person 

Who is less in standard and none of us had seen.

 

As he concluded, Nart Pschaei said:

 

- We may not diminish a custom

 Cherished since antiquity,

Our council is only attended

By the ones who are able to raze mountains and defeat oceans.

But your son Sosriqwe

Can hardly cross-valleys,

Hence how can you request of such,

That when people heed

That we allowed him to be seated at our white table,

Or allowed him to stand by the entrance,

To watch our Nart faces.

No, no Seteney it is illicit

That you perceive our council in such a hasty manner,

And bring your son

Who is still soft boned.

 

As she heard the Narts words

Seteney's face turned red

Then turned white again,

Thus, returned to her son Sosriqwe

Whilst her heart aching.

Sosriqwe was waiting for his mother’s return

And when they met, he inquired:

 

- Weiy, my mother Seteney

For long, you were absent

Long you were delayed

What merry news to you bring me

What did the Narts say?

But Seteney was sad

And found no word to say

Her condition was heartbreaking

As Sosriqwe perceived his mother’s anguish

He said to his Lady mother:

- My mother Seteney

Who insulted you?

Tell me.

 

Seteney replied:

 

- The road that I have taken,

Is crooked and has many curves.

What I perceived is not pleasing,

And unbearable.

My beloved son, the greatest knight,

 I have brought you none of good news,

The kind Narts did not recognize you.

Claiming that you are still young,

And your heroic deeds are still unheard of.

This is what Nart Peniqwe said

And this is what Nart Gwegwezch said

And this is what Nart Pschaei alleged

- Weiy, My mother Seteney

Do not be morose.

Patience my mother Seteney

If amongst the Nart council

There are only three, who care less in being my enemy,

Then, it is not much burden

Even if there were more

I would not retreat.

I promise you, by the strength of Wasch-he [4]

That I shall never recoil.

Just as Lhepsch never receded,

The Narts will not be able

To make me fear them.

I will be rigid with the Narts

In this matter and any other,

I shall not retreat until I discern the

The width of the Narts heroism.

 

As Sosriqwe concluded

He began saddling his horse

Preparing to journey

He drew near his horse Tx’wezchei

And fed him granite stone,

He geared up his piercing sword

Boasting in his metallic body

He jumped off the ground several times

His vehemence escalated, 

Slashing the rock sculpture in one strike, 

He mounted his horse and charged without hesitance.

Seteney praises him saying:

- Go my son; go to the Nart council,

And inform the Narts leader

That Lhepsch did not entrust you with his sword as a weapon in vain

Go my son and remember,

That the Narts only recognize

The one who conquered the lands and seas

 Go my son, may good fortune come your way,

May your days be bright,

And capable of defeating danger.

May your sword be piercing,

And your spear demolish mountains,

Protecting you from who assails from behind and ahead of you.

Accompanied by your speedy hound [5].

May heroic songs bear your name

Before you return home,

I pray that you return a man

Feared by all mighty Narts

 

***

Sosriqwe our hero,

Sosriqwe our light,

Wearing his golden gear,

Crowned in iron,

Sun shining from his cranium

Rushing towards the Narts council

Seteney remains

Worried not knowing what to do,

She works her steel scissors [6]

Praying that Sosriqwe would accomplish his quest

 

***

As our hero Sosriqwe

Reaches the Nart council

The sky roars,

The earth shakes,

The Narts cower,

And rush in fear.

In a single voice, they say:

- Whom is this knight approaching?

Causing the sky to roar and the earth to tremble.

Their blood escalates in anger to their faces

But as they perceive the knight,

They welcome him in esteem,

Following the Narts ancient customs,

They propel seven giants to welcome him:

- Weiy ’eu, weiy ’eu, Sosriqwe,

Son of Seteney,

We recognized you from your pace

We recognized you from the manner you ride

We have never seen you,

But we heard of you.

What brings you herein?

What angered you?

How did you reach here?

Welcome into our council

And narrate what lies in your heart,

Show us how you horse dances,

Take off your beautiful skin [7]

And observe our competitions

Take part in our games

Let us make your arrival to our meeting

As a memorable day

Go on and stir the mallet

And test the strength of Peniqwe in black smithy.

Nart Pegwezch went silent,

And mighty Nart Pschaei became discomfited.

Welcome welcome Sosriqwe

We greet you,

And were expecting your onset.

 

Sosriqwe enters the Nart council

Surrounded by seven mighty giants

The Narts begin

Their hospitality

Nart Peniqwe rushes

And presents our hero Sosriqwe

With the Narts cup

Sosriqwe the one feared by death

Pronounces a speech in the Narts ancient language:

 

- I raise this toast

For the Narts words to remain

To maintain their undefeatable strikes,

May they always be protected,

And their vigor eternal.

 

Sosriqwe drinks his toast

Without a blink of an eye.

Nart Gwegwezch rushes to give him yet another cup of wine:

 

- Weiy noble Sosriqwe

This is the second Nart’s cup

And you are the son of the second mother,

Your horse is unable to bear any longer,

Take this cup from me.

 

And after Sosriqwe drank

The second Nart cup

Nart Pschaei presented him with the third:

 

Swarthy Sosriqwe

Who thwarts not before the wine,

This is the third Narts cup.

Who enters battle for the first time,

Has to seize the spear of three enemies,

Hence, who enters the council for the first time

Has to drink thrice.

If you Sosriqwe enclose any courage, then employ the Narts custom

In the chime of your iron body

Move the Narts gate

And tremble their earth,

Let our choir raise their voice

Go on Sosriqwe drink the third cup.

 

Nesren Zchach’e rises and said:

 

- Enough, it is enough he drank two cups,

Are there amongst us many who can bear two cups?

Enough O Narts,

Ye who propel away the eminent.

 He is but a young lad,

Walking his very first steps.

Enough O Narts,

If he was able to drink two cups, then it is a great deal.

 

Sosriqwe knows in his heart,

What Nart Gwegwezch desires,

What Nart Peniqwe intends,

And what Nart Pschaei arranges,

Those three Narts,

Conspire ,

To induce him into inebriation, 

Aspiring to kill him afterwards.

But he well knows,

That who fears the cup that was presented,

And who does not drink from the cup, even if it was poisonous

And may not survive the venom,

Is not considered a man among the Narts.

Sosriqwe our knight

Pronounces a toast and drinks the third cup,

Repelling shame to fall upon him.

He stands on the table

And dances on it according to the Narts custom,

The table is too narrow for him,

He ascends onto the edge of the brimming vessel,

And continues to dance.

He jumps on the vessel without quavering the food,

And says to the Narts:

 

Weiy… the sky is yours

And time is by my side,

Weiy Narts your gratitude

Weiy, Narts your fury

We shall partake in a game,

Mounting and dismounting [8]

The first leap is yours,

The second is mine,

Afterwards we shall shoot arrows,

The first arrow is yours,

The second is mine,

Weiy, Narts your fury

We shall see who shoots farthest

And whose arrow will miss the aim

Weiy, Narts your gratitude

Weiy, Narts your ferocity

Afterwards we shall

Grapple [9],

The first grip is yours,

The second is mine,

Ye will then observe the result.

Weiy, Narts your gratitude,

Weiy, Narts your fury,

Together we will strike a sharp wheel

The first strike is yours and the second is mine

The Narts prepare,

Their hands clutching their swords

From amongst the crowd

Nart Peniqwe came into sight, 

He readies his bow,

Nart Peniqwe shoots his arrow

Towards the blue sky.

The Narts slay a sheep,

Strip the sheep’s skin

And as they start slicing (the sheep),

The arrow falls from the sky,

Landing right afore Sosriqwe,

The Narts regard it,

 As the greatest heroism.

Sosriqwe prepares his bow,

Shoots his arrow,

The arrow disappears into the white skies,

The Narts slay a bull,

Strip the bull’s skin,

They carve up the bull into Nartian portions,

They boil the bull (bull’s meat),

 

And sit around the table,

The Narts await the arrow,

And pronounce words

Mocking Sosriqwe:

 

-Weiy Sosriqwe where is thy arrow?

Where did it disappear?

Peniqwe’s arrow repositioned you back to your earthly dimension (over won Sosriqwe)

O Sosriqwe, you were a man

Emulating real men

Where is your arrow?

Said the Narts elder.

In that same moment

Sosriqwe’s arrow falls from the sky

Landing in the middle of the Narts table

-’eu, ’eu, Sosriqwe,

Today, you have made it clear

Who shoots farthest,

And who is most skilled (in archery)

As you were stretching your bow

And shooting your arrow

We Narts sled a grand bull

We skinned the grand bull

And thoroughly boiled the bull’s meat

And as we were pronouncing our words

Your arrow plunged

Onto the Narts table.

The Narts council’s bravest men

Presented you with words of admiration

And complimentary verses.

You shoot the farthest

Among all the Narts

However Sosriqwe

Are you skilled to achieve an aim

On an oak tree over the mountain summit?

The branches are thin, thin,

The leafs are thick, thick

Hiding a single ring within.

Nart Gwegwezch stands,

Prepares his bow,

Shoots his arrow,

While grinding his teeth, aiming for the ring.

Nart Gwegwezch’s arrow flings,

Piercing through the old oak tree,

Not a single leaf drops,

And misses his aim (the ring).

The Narts fail to recognize Sosriqwe (worthiness),

Sosriqwe shoots his arrow towards the tree,

The arrow pierces through the ring,

The Narts collectively say:

Sosriqwe our knight

You are our equal,

You achieved the aim,

Proving your skill.

Sosriqwe not recognized as worthy by the Narts says:

“This is the Narts custom”

He then draws near his three enemies

And presents them with

“The enemy’s portion”,

(Sosriqwe) prepares to grapple,

(Sosriqwe) says, “This is the giants’ convention”

And he starts to grabble,

Pulling Nart Pschaei from among the crowds

And tells Pschaei:

-Weiy, Nart Pschaei

A dragon-necked hero you are,

The first grip is yours,

And the second is mine,

Initiate as you please,

But do not attempt to claim what is not yours.

Angered or gratified, I am prepared.

If I had not met a person like you,

I would not have stood in the Narts path,

Your heroism is heroic,

Do not spare your gallantry.

Nart Pschaei jumps towards him,

Seizes Sosriqwe and blows him,

He holds him from his underarms

And hits his iron-thighs with his knee,

He raises Sosriqwe and pierces him to the ground to his waist.

Sosriqwe’s turn,

He lifts Pschaei

And pierces him to the ground to his shoulders,

He removes Pschaei from the ground and makes him stand on his feet,

Overwhelmed in shame,

It is Nart Pschaei’s turn again,

He lifts Sosriqwe and pierces him into the ground to his shoulders.

Sosriqwe’s turn,

He lifts Pschaei from earth, throws him into the skies and returns him back to earth,

He pierces him into the ground until his head no longer can rise.

The overwhelmed Narts begin to worry;

-Weiy Narts

Our image is flouting,

Sosriqwe our guest,

Breaking heads is shameful,

Let us set the grappling aside,

And start the sharp wheel game.

Sosriqwe tells the Narts:

-If you wish to begin the sharp wheel “war,”

Then I am prepared.

 

Sosriqwe our hero,

Draws close to mount Hereme ’Waschhe,

Without claiming what is not his,

 He begins the confront,

-Who is the challenger?

Says our knight,

He cries out:

Weiy Narts I am prepared,

Flap the sharp wheel from Hereme summit,

And prepare to brawl.

Weiy Narts your gratitude,

Weiy Narts your fury.

Sosriqwe our light,

They are preparing the wheel for him,

Although he is hasty,

Yet not a single drop of sweat runs from his face.

As he dances on Hereme ’Waschhe summit,

He respects the Narts,

And sits on his knees.

They hold the sharp wheel

On Hereme’Waschhe summit.

-Strike the wheel without sparing any of your strength,

The Narts say,

And flap the sharp wheel from the summit.

Sosriqwe our knight,

Prepares his right palm,

And returns the wheel back to the summit.

The Narts then say:

Weiy, weiy Sosriqwe

Your coming is our demise,

Your arrival has brought shame upon our heads,

You insulted the Narts,

In an unsuitable time, 

The giant army is ahead of us,

So are the mighty Chints [10],

Weiy Sosriqwe, Sosriqwe,

You break the sharp wheel

And bind our tongues,

You boast over the Narts,

And know none of fear,

If you are keen on striking, then belt this wheel

With your chest.

The Narts flap the wheel from the summit,

And Sosriqwe powerfully strikes it with his chest,

Returning it to the summit.

The Narts worry escalates

And say:

 

-Weiy Sosriqwe, Sosriqwe,

If your mother has bore you as a man,

Then strike this wheel with your brow.

Sosriqwe cries:

-Weiy Narts your gratitude

Weiy Narts your fury

My most powerful strike

Is with the brow.

I wait for your giant army,

Before the tracks of my feet, become cold.

Flap the third wheel,

And I shall show you my strength.

For the third time

The Narts flap the wheel

From the summit.

Sosriqwe watches the wheel

His temple frowning,

Sosriqwe our knight

Strikes the wheel

To the opposite mountain.

The Narts are terrified,

They favor Sosriqwe,

Present him with wine,

Escorted by seven giants,

They celebrate him,

The Narts seat him in a high ranked position

And raise toasts in his name,

Nine giants dance,

Nine banquet tables are prepared,

The Narts dedicate songs for him,

 And pamper Sosriqwe,

For seven days and nights

At the Nart council,

And present him with many gifts.

Sosriqwe departs,

Once he returns to Seteney

She inquires about the Narts:

-At the Nart council my son,

Which seating did they offer you?

Whose speech did you most admire?

Whose heroism did you prefer?

Sosriqwe answers his mother Seteney:

Apart from eating and drinking

Nothing significant occured,

Nor have I heard compliments,

Nor woe’s.

(Jirandoqwe et al. 1951, p. 60)

 

*This saga portrays some of the rituals and games practiced in the Nart council. It descriptively shows the importance of skill in archery, wrestling, rolling a massive sharp-edged wheel, and dance, where the performer is expected to dance on the edge of tables without spilling or shaking the filled vessels.  Simultaneously, it narrates how Sosriqwe managed to verify his valor to the Narts, and claimed a prominent status following the humiliation the Narts caused upon Seteney’s’ request.

 


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