'How Sosriqwe married lady Bedexw' Translation & Annotation by

Reads: 225  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

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

Submitted: September 30, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 30, 2016





  1. How Sosriqwe married lady Bedexw

Kabardian text


Jilax’sten’s daughter Bedexw was renowned for her unrivaled beauty in the Narts land, she was the “sun during daytime and the moon at night” the Narts used to say. Bedexw became the Narts constant talk, which made Jilax’sten extremly proud of his daughter’s beauty.

  • No one in the Narts land is worthy of my daughter. – Jilax’sten continuously boasted.

Sosriqwe heard about Bedexw, therefore, he saddled his horse Tx’wezchei, and headed to see the beautiful Bedexw.

Sosriqwe jumped and leapt on his horse until he reached a crossroad, where he met the goat herder Qweits’ik’w.

- Maf’ox’u Apschiy

- Wpsew Apschi [1] Sosriqwe! – answered Qweits’ik’w while smiling.

- I see you are sitting at a crossroad where news pass by you from all directions, what can you inform me. –asked him Sosriqwe-, and how is it possible that Qweits’ik’w may not know the latest news!

- I am not one of the chieftains, but I sure have plenty of news. – began saying Qweits’ik’w, - I even know where you are heading Sosriqwe. You are belated though, numerous Nart horsemen already passed from here. They all headed towards a single destination, hurriedly rushing towards Jilax’sten’s residence. Schaweiy son of Qanzh passed from here a week ago, as well as Baterez son of X’imisch. Bedinoqwe is delayed at Jilax’sten’s. Ariqshw also passed from here, assuming that the beautiful Bedexw will take him as a husband. Many horsemen passed, they all wish to marry Bedexw. I do not know what to do with my goats; otherwise, I would have gone as well. – said Qweits’ik’w, - I may not marry Bedexw, but at least I will have a chance to see her beautiful face.

Sosriqwe laughed once he heard this, and said:

- Who knows, you might be able to marry Bedexw, try your luck!

- No Sosriqwe! Bedexw is refusing the Nart knights, how will she accept their goat herder? And why would I put myself in such an embarrassing situation, I will humiliate my face which I have no other. – said Qweits’ik’w.-  From this crossroad, I perceive those arrogant faces, hurrying to reach Jilax’sten’s daughter Bedexw, but on their way back, I become the haughty one, as I watch them stroll while their faces and their horses faces are marked with disappointment, since Bedexw refused them. Those haughty horsemen who rush and dash, return timid, while their horse’s barley taking steps. Some of these horsemen were not invited inn, some stood by the entrance of Jilax’sten’s fortress, which is fastened by a huge rock, unable to enter. They returned without even seeing Bedexw.

- I can distinguish them from their pace; the ones allowed to enter the fortress, the ones who were not received, and the ones who were not able to see Bedexw. Bedexw herself watches from a high balcony overlooking the fortresss’ entrance. If she dislikes the horseman’s appearance, she bans them from entering, and if she is fond of the horseman’s façade, she allows them to come in in order to examine them closely, and once she changes her mind, she immediately requests that they leave, without inviting them to the visitor’s hall.

- How strange! - Said Sosriqwe

- I do hope you will not encounter such Sosriqwe! That Bedexw is over-looking the grandest of the Nart horsemen!

- We shall see. - Said Sosriqwe while mounting his horse to continue his journey. - I may encounter what Qweits’ik’w said, and bring shame upon myself. – said Sosriqwe to himself, until he reached Jilax’sten’s fortress.

Bedexw who was sitting in the balcony, watched as the lone horseman approached, thus said:

- Our god! If Sosriqwe is still alive, then he must be this horseman approaching. - She then ordered the rock to be removed from the entrance and to welcome the guest.

- The Narts continuously recite Sosriqwe’s name! Sosriqwe in the morning and Sosriqwe at night. I shall assess his courage now! – said Bedexw to herself.

-  If all these horses belong to the men requesting Bedexw’s hand, I should not have come! – said Sosriqwe while tying his horse to the big rock used to secure the entrance. Sosriqwe then headed to the visitors hall, and before he reached, Jilax’sten came out to welcome him.

- Aw! The herdsman descendent is set upon us! –Said Jilax’sten in mockery, - if your desire is like the myriad Nart horseman, then let us start now.

- If that is so, then I am ready, let us begin. – said Sosriqwe who was perplexed by Jilax’sten’s greeting manner.  Jilax’sten stood arrogantly looking at Sosriqwe despicably from the corner of his eye.

- All these horses belong to the horsemen who came asking for my daughter’s hand. Do you think that you, the son of the cow herder and out of all of them will be able to marry her?

Once Tx’wezchei heard what Jilax’sten said, he cut his leash loose, that was made of wild buffalo’s leather, and ran towards the leashed horses and dispersed all of them, until he alone stood there. When Sosriqwe saw this, he could not retain himself from speaking:

- Look Jilax’sten, my horse Tx’wezchei has slanged out the Narts best horses, the Alhp's, and occupied the yard for himself. Who knows, your daughter may become mine. – said Sosriqwe jokingly.

- Many herdsmen like you aspired this. – Said Jilax’sten laughingly, - stop blabbering and remove Bedinoqwe’s spear that is pierced into the ground. That is, if you reckon you are suitable to ask for Bedexw’s hand.

Bedinoqwe’s spear was pierced into the ground next to the visitor’s hall. Jilax’sten used to request from each suitor to remove it, however none was able to till then.

Jilax’sten thought that Sosriqwe would not be able to as well. Sosriqwe drew near the spear and said,

- This spear is unlike Lhepsch’s anvil; however, if I am able to remove the spear your daughter will become mine, is that right? -  Asked Sosriqwe. Jilax’sten did not wish to marry his daughter off to Sosriqwe, they considered him as the cow herder’s son, who never laid down his arms, and wished not to see any Nart better than he is.

-  If you want to measure your strength then go on, do not waste the day. – said Jilax’sten hoping that he will kick Sosriqwe out while crowned in shame.

Sosriqwe pulled the spear out of the ground. Jilax’sten became worried, “Son of the cow herdsman is about to marry my daughter” said to himself.

- Take the spear and give me your daughter. – said Sosriqwe.

- No Sosriqwe! If it was that easy, one of the Narts before you could have married my daughter. What you showed me is your physical strength. Now, you must prove your skill in archery. Show me how far your arrow reaches. – Said Jilax’sten while finding excuses.

- I accept. – said Sosriqwe. A cloud was swimming in the skies; a swallow bird disappeared into it.

- Strike the swallow that disappeared into the clouds. – said Jilax’sten.

- Very well. –said Sosriqwe. He pointed his arrow towards the sky, set it off until it pierced the cloud and disappeared.

Jilax’sten waited for a while, and when the arrow did not recur, he happily said,

- What is this Sosriqwe? Your arrow has gone astray. – said Jilax’sten laughingly. - An arrow like yours can hardly kill a small bird, how do you have the nerve to come here and request my daughter’s hand?

- Weiy Jilax’sten, do not be hasty and look over the skies.

When Jilax’sten looked towards the sky, he saw Sosriqwe’s arrow descending while the swallow pierced at the front, and the cloud hung at the rear end of the arrow, and fell directly afore Jilax’sten.

Jilax’sten felt ashamed, and said to himself, “Son of the cow herder is about to marry my daughter!”

- Here is your swallow, and a cloud, now give me your daughter. – said Sosriqwe.

- No Sosriqwe! It is not that simple. The preceding Narts already displayed their archery skills. Now you must show me how you dance. However, Sosriqwe, I do not request that you dance to the music played by instruments made of pumpkin; I demand that you personally create melodies and dance over seven hills of thorn. – said Jilax’sten.

Sosriqwe could not retreat.

- Very well. – said Sosriqwe.

For seven days and nights, they fetched seven hundred shifts of thorn, and raised seven hills in Jilax’sten’s yard.

Jilax’sten escorted Sosriqwe out of the visitors hall and said,

- If you are able to crush and flatten these seven hills of thorns barefooted, then you are officially my daughter’s Pselhix’w [2]  (fiancée).

Barefooted, Sosriqwe ascended the first hill of thorns and began dancing; he danced to his own accordion tunes played by his mouth. Within six days and nights, Sosriqwe was able to crush the six hills of thorns while dancing and singing. Once he started to crush the seventh hill, Bedexw who was watching from the balcony, reached to her accordion and began playing Qafe [3]. When Sosriqwe heard Bedexw’s playing, he became energized and demolished the seventh hill while dancing on the tip of his toes, until the hill turned into dust. He blew wind until no sign of the hill was left. 

Bedinoqwe, who loved Bedexw dearly, saw how she watched Sosriqwe stealthily from the balcony, and how she played music for him.  He became extremely saddened, thus saddled his horse, and left Jilax’sten’s premises.

- I have demolished your seven hills of thorn while dancing on the tip of my toes. I blew wind until they all disappeared. Give me your daughter now. – said Sosriqwe. Jilax’sten became very worried, “son of the cow herder is about to marry my daughter!” – said Jilax’sten to himself.

- No Sosriqwe! It is not that simple. If you are a brilliant dancer but lack valor, then what is your use? Bedinoqwe has just left my premises angry, if you are brave, you must follow him and bring him back herein. Once you are able to accomplish this, you are then apt to marry my daughter. 

- Very well. – said Sosriqwe and mounted his horse to pursue Bedinoqwe.

As Sosriqwe left the fortress, Jilax’sten grew joyous,

- My problem will soon end! As soon as Sosriqwe reaches Bedinoqwe, they will clash in a brawl, until Bedinoqwe strikes Sosriqwe off his horse to his death. Hence, I shall marry my daughter off to the Nart that I prefer and aspire for her. – said Jilax’sten while standing on the porch assuming that his aspirations will come true.

Gazing into the vast horsizon, Jilax’sten saw two horsemen approaching. As he gazed closer, it became clear that one was Sosriqwe, and the other was Bedinoqwe.

- How strange! How was he able to persuade Bedinoqwe to come back? – said worried Jilax’sten.

This is how Sosriqwe convinced Bedinoqwe to return with him: once Sosriqwe was able to catch up with Bedinoqwe, he drew near from his left side and said,

- Bedinoqwe, we are the sons of two sisters. Jilax’sten is making a mockery out of the both of us. Let us return and show him our valor, and abduct the conceited Bedexw who came to despise all suitors.

- I agree, let us return! – said Bedinoqwe. 

When the two horsemen drew near the fortress, Jilax’sten ordered to ban anyone to enter and went to Lhepsch.

Once Sosriqwe and Bedinoqwe arrived, they could not find an entry.

- You see! He lied to us once again! Nor did he welcome us into his abode. – said Sosriqwe.

- What do we do now? – asked Bedinoqwe.

- This is what we do. – said Sosriqwe.- we will besiege the fortress and ban all horse herders, and farmers, and any lodger from leaving.

- Very well. – said Bedinoqwe.

- Since I am smaller in size, I shall stand by the mountain summit, and since you are bigger, stand in the valley.

- Very well. – said Bedinoqwe. So when Bedinoqwe accepted, Sosriqwe ascended the summit, and Bedinoqwe went off to the valley.

In the meantime, Jilax’sten arrived to Lhepsch, and began swindling,

- Lhepsch I request that you make me two lethal arrows that miss no aim.

- Why do you need them? – asked Lhepsch.

- Two evil giants are causing me a problem, and they plan to abduct my daughter. - lied Jilax’sten.

Hence, Lhepsch fashioned two lethal arrows that miss no aim. On his way back to the fortress, Sosriqwe spotted him, aimed at Jilax’sten, and broke one of his arrows. Thus, one arrow remained.

Jilax’sten ascended into his daughters balcony, and while pointing his hand, he told his daughter,

- Do you see the one standing on the mountain summit?

- Yes, I see him.

- Do you see the one standing in the valley?

- Yes. – said Bedexw.

- Since you can perceive both, which one of them do you prefer I strike? Lhepsch made me two lethal arrows that miss no aim. Sosriqwe already broke one of them, so which of the two men do you prefer I aim at?

When Bedexw saw that the man standing on the summit is bigger, she assumed it was Bedinoqwe, thus said,

- Strike the one standing in the valley. – Bedexw said, assuming that it was Sosriqwe who appeared smaller in stature. Bedinoqwe was much bigger in size than Sosriqwe, and Bedexw was very fond of him.

Jilax’sten prepared his arch and pointed towards the man standing in the valley. The arrow struck Bedinoqwe and plunged him to the ground. Sosriqwe became furious for killing Bedinoqwe’s, and said,

-  I will take my vengeance Jilax’sten. – Then, Sosriqwe disconnected the water flow from passing into the fortress

- Look at what he is doing; he wants to kill us from thirst. – said Jilax’sten, and ordered that they dig a well in the yard.

Sosriqwe waited a long time presuming that the fortresss inhabitants will start fleeing because of lack of water. However, the inhabitants had sufficient water flowing from the well.

When Sosriqwe realized that none are leaving the fortress, he thought again, and recalled that Jilax’sten’s head was injured and pierced in one of the battles against the Iysp. Lhepsch was able to repair his skull with plated copper. Ever since, Jilax’sten is living with a mended skull.

Sosriqwe grew joyous once he remembered the incident.

- Now I know how to take my vengeance Jilax’sten! – said Sosriqwe, thus, he transformed the surrounding wind into hot air, hoping that the heated wind will melt the copper inside Jilax’sten’s skull. Then, he transformed the hot air, into extremely cold wind, aiming to freeze Jilax’sten’s brain after the copper had been melted.

Jilax’sten hid in the well once the hot air blew, and covered himself with one hundred cloaks once the cold air blew.

Sosriqwe besieged the fortress for a long time, none appeared to leave, and hence, he decided to depart. When the fortress inhabitants stopped seeing Sosriqwe roaming around, they went to Jilax’sten requesting,

- Sosriqwe is gone; let us remove those rocks from the entrance. We wish to wander.

- No! Sosriqwe is a trickster; he will emerge from one of these hideouts and attack us.

After some time, they began running out of cattle, the inhabitants became worried, and again went o Jilax’sten,

- Our cattle are running out, let us go to the fields and flock.

- No! I will not allow this.

After a while, the inhabitants began dying, and for the third time they went to Jilax’sten,

- We will all die, however, let us remove these rocks, and see the world before we do.

The inhabitants insisted, and then Bedexw said,

- If I died when Sosriqwe broke the siege, I would by now be already forgotten by people! It seems that he has terrified you greatly! – Jilax’sten became ashamed, and ordered to remove the rocks from the entrance.

The people left the fortress and began wandering. Jilax’sten remained by the balcony watching if any sign of Sosriqwe would prevail. One week passed, and before the third week was about to complete, there was still no sign for Sosriqwe. People began raising cattle and harvesting. After a long time had passed, the herders found Sosriqwe’s corpse by the water spring, they flipped over the body and examined it. Sosriqwe was a body plunged by death.

In the evening, the herders returned to the fortress and informed Jilax’sten what they saw.

- He is pretending to be dead! – said Jilax’sten.

- No he is dead, we flipped his body over, and found no sign of life within him, and his horse Tx’wezchei is standing by his head. Come with us, we will show you.

- No! I will not go.

- Strange! Why do you refuse to go? You well know that Sosriqwe is not the type of man who lays in the prairies pretending to be dead. If you even fear his corpse, then he must have infiltrated your heart with great fear! Let us go, I wish to see his corpse. – said Bedexw.

Once Bedexw said this, Jilax’sten made the following decision:

-  No my daughter it is not appropriate that you go. I will discern his death first. Take this borer and drill his foot, and bring me his bone’s marrow.

The herders went to the corpse and pierced his foot, and extracted some marrow from the bone, and handed it to Jilax’sten, who smelled the marrow a few times and said,

- No, Sosriqwe is not dead, he remains alive.

- By god, what do you say? Do you not smell this awful scent? I swear that is dead! – said Bedexw.

The standing herders said,

- You will know if he is dead, if you let us pierce your heel without moving.

When all agreed, Jilax’sten believed that Sosriqwe died.

- Very well, let us go. – All the gathered and went off- we will take the trickster son of the cow herder and throw it in the woods to be eaten by beasts. We will not leave his corpse by the prairie springs. I cannot live while smelling his cadaver’s scent.

Once they arrived, Sosriqwe was laying there motionless. They flipped his body on both sides.  It was lifeless.  Jilax’sten regained his nerve,

- You damned trickster, born amongst the Narts. What shall you do now? You lay in the prairies waiting to rotten. You leave behind your intrepid sword made by Lhepsch from Theghelej’s sickle. Isn’t it now mine! – said Jilax’sten while reaching to Sosriqwe’s sword.

Suddenly, Sosriqwe jumps to his feet frightening Jilax’sten’s horse, thus plunging him to the ground. When Jilax’sten fell, Sosriqwe mounted Tx’wezchei and rushed to the fortress.

Bedexw was sitting on the balcony embroidering golden threads.

- Eiy beautiful one! You caused enough despair to many young Narts. – Sosriqwe took Bedexw by the hand and seated her before him on his horse.

Sosriqwe jumped and leapt until he reached the crossroad where Qweits’ik’w was sitting.

- Ew Sosriqwe you carry with you what all Narts failed to seize. – said Qweits’ik’w greeting.

Sosriqwe removed the cloak from Bedexw’s face and said,

- You told me that you wished to look at Bedexw if it only once. Here she is look at her closely.

Qweits’ik’w turned timid and could not glance at Bedexw. Sosriqwe set off with beautiful Bedexw, the one whom all the Narts wished to marry.


(Jirandoqwe et al. 1951, p. 89)



© Copyright 2018 Zaina El-Said. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Historical Fiction Short Stories