'How Nart Saosiriqo invented betting with a Wooden Dice' 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







  1. How Nart Saosiriqo invented betting with a Wooden Dice

Bzchedighu text


Saosiriqo was the first to invent betting with a wooden dice, he used make his left hand bet the right. People watched him in wonder.

Saosiriqo declared a condition to whoever wanted to bet against him:

- I shall kill whom I win over, and if I lose to anyone, then, they may take my life.

The Narts feared his condition and none dared to bet against him. As Saosiriqo was sitting and making his right hand bet with the left, a young man entered upon him. The lad stood looking at Saosiriqo’s hands without saying anything, a moment after:

- Let us bet young man – said Saosiriqo and allowed the lad to sit. – do you know what the condition is for this bet?

- No, do tell me. – said the lad.

- I kill you if I win, and you shall slay me if you prevail. – Said Saosiriqo

- Very well, let us bet, you may kill me if you wish.

Both bet, and the lad won over Saosiriqo, when that happened, Saosiriqo seized his sword and charged to kill the lad.

- Behold Saosiriqo – said the young man- The condition was to kill the defeated, and I have won over you.

Saosiriqo contemplated about the lad’s question.

- What you say is true, let us bet once again. – Said Saosiriqo, and they started to bet again.

Saosiriqo prevailed in the second bet.

- What do you say now young man? I shall kill you. – Said Saosiriqo.

- I have no objection; kill me if you wish since you have won over me. – The lad said. Hence, Saosiriqo seized his sword and charged to kill the lad, only to see the lad fleeing. Saosiriqo jumped from his place and followed the young man until he reached a distance he was not able to kill him from. Both crossed a long distance running until they reached the prairies where a small hill stood. The young man climbed the hill and disappeared.

- May God shield me, where did the lad vanish, how can he hide in this barren wilderness. – Said Saosiriqo while searching the hill. As he was exploring, he found a hole in the ground and dust as if it has been removed from it. And when he stretched his hand inside he discovered there was door, he pushed the door, opened it and descended into the bottom of the hill. As he descended further, he found another door, and when he opened it he found a corpse of a beautiful young woman laying on a wooden bench, and at the head of the corpse was a table and a small wooden chair.

- What is this dead body? What strange thing do I see? – Said Saosiriqo in shock, and sat gazing at the corpse. Suddenly, a young man came out from a door at the corner side of the room:

- Greetings Saosiriqo, I hope you are in good health. – Said the lad and opened another door and disappeared inside it.

Saosiriqo stood and began searching for the doors in both corners of the room but found none, and when he could not discern the matter, he returned to sit in his place.

An old white bearded man came out from a door set in another corner.

- Greetings Saosiriqo, I hope you are in good health. – Said the old man, and entered through a door in the opposite corner and disappeared.Saosiriqo saw the door, which the old man came in from, and the door, which he entered into, but both doors disappeared without a trace, so he returned and sat in his place watching the body of the beautiful dead girl, suddenly the dead girl started to laugh.

- What bizarre thing do I see? – Said Saosiriqo, then asked the body

- What is the matter, I thought you were a dead body, what makes you laugh?

- I laugh at you Saosiriqo, - she said- it is strange that the dead and the living speak in the name of Saosiriqo. How can I not laugh at you, you invented betting and placed a condition to kill whoever bets against you, hence people became terrified, and you started betting with yourself. Is this rational O Saosiriqo? Didn’t a young man appear before you and raised a bet against you? – She said.

- Indeed he did. – said Saosiriqo.

- Did you not chase the lad into this hill to kill him?

- I did chase him. – Said Saosiriqo

- That young man that you have been chasing is your son, he is the same lad who came into and out of this room, and the old man that appeared is he. He is your son Saosiriqo. – said the female body.

- Where do I have a son? I never had a woman (never married), why do you say such a thing? Said Saosiriqo.

- No, you had a woman, as well as a son from her. – She said.

- I never had a woman, nor do I have a son.

- Weren’t you in love a Nart girl who lived in a village Saosiriqo?

- True, I did.

- Didn’t you promise this girl in marriage?

- Yes, I did promise her with marriage.

- Didn’t the girl die before you delivered your promise?

- Indeed, she died.

- After she died and was buried, didn’t you dig her grave and spent a night sleeping next to your beloved? – Asked the girl.

- That is true, I lay next to her. – Said Saosiriqo.

- Well, that female is I. And that young man, is your offspring, I conceived him from you. He is my son , as well as yours. And when we heard your betting condition: “What our father is performing is unrighteous” the young man said, and he came to you. He is able to walk on the face of the earth, as he is able to walk in the underworld. I cannot say any further, I only returned to life to inform you of this. You may not command killing neither, whom you win over nor who wins over you. It is unjust. Avoid the habit of yours, and leave the game for the people. – said the female and died again. Saosiriqo ascended from the hill and returned. The game remained amongst people.

(Hedeghel’e, A. I968, Vol. II, p. 238)


* Betting with a wooden dice is an old popular Circassian game known as Px’ech’en, and it is similar to checkers.  

This saga is entwined with mystery and dark features; it portrays baffling elements found within the realm of dreams and the sub-consciousness. The multi-faceted room with invisible doors and passages may represent the dark aspect of death amongst the Narts. The narrative also presents the act of necrophilia performed by Saosiriqo who ultimately gives life to an unusual offspring (within the world under). This offspring represents a unity found in both, the mortal and the immortal worlds. (Achilles who fought against the Amazon warrior, Queen Penthesilea, committed a comparable story and upon killing her Achilles removed her mask and intensely fell in love with her beauty; he eventually practiced Necrophilia upon her body).

 The Narrative also demonstrates the concept of eternal youth within the world of the dead: the conserved beauty of the girl’s corpse, and a profound contact between the world of the dead and the living.

However, the essence of this narrative is rejecting the unjust betting condition set by Saosiriqo, which ultimately resulted in transforming the deadly game of gambling into mere amusement.



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