'The Legend of Lady Seteney' Translation & Annotation by

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


  1. The Legend of Lady Seteney

Schapsighe text


The Narts had an unruly leader known as Zchech’ezch [1]. The Narts suffered under his decree, and no longer beard his injustice. They even did not have the freedom to elect another leader; when they attempted to hold a meeting, Zchech’ezch would deliberately ruin the summit. When the Narts finally were able to configure a meeting, and decided to elect Lady Seteney as their leader, Zchech’ezch discerned the matter.

The old-chief assembled an army to kill Lady Seteney. Seteney soon recognized the scheme, thus prepared herself accordingly. Once the two armies convened, the old-chief’s army annihilated and suffered heavy losses.

On the high mountain summits, there lived a swine herder named Gorgonizch [2]. They propelled a herald with the following message: - “Aid us”.

- I do not “dislike” partaking in warfare, - he said-, but at the same time, I am not keen on losing one pig of my herd. If you are apt to take my place as a herdsman, then I accept going to war. However, if you lose one pig, I will cut your head. – Gorgonizch informed the envoy.

- My flock comprises of, nine large pigs, ten broad jawed, twelve pied ones, thirty straight tailed, and each has ten furrows. Tell me what the total would be, if you were appropriate to be a herdsman. – said Gorgonizch.

They propelled another envoy, who was asked the same question Gorgonizch asked the first one, thus the second envoy did not know the answer, and eventually returned to where he came from. On his way back, and while passing by a wheat field riding on his horse, a wheat spike tangled in his horse’s saddle, which towed along with him.  As the young man arrived, the Narts were assembled, and concurrently, the wheat field proprietor appeared facing the crowd.

- Give me back the wheat spike that you have taken from my crops.

- None of us took any spike from your crops. – They told him.

- I count my crops every morning, and today I detected one missing.

- The one able to count wheat crops is able to count Gorgon’s pigs. You should become Gorgon’s herdsman, and Gorgon must join our army. We shall give you back your wheat spike, it tangled in the horseman’s saddle, and he brought it herein unknowingly. - They told the Wheatfield proprietor.

The proprietor went to Gorgon, thus he was asked the same question, and successfully counted the pigs.

- You may now become my pig herder my son, I shall go and join the army.

Gorgon had a horse called Schoeix’uch’. He saddled his horse and set off. Once Gorgon joined the army, they marched to battle and arrest Lady Seteney.

Once nighttime fell upon the army, they had to dismount to rest and camp for the night. Gorgon watched the soldiers as they prepared the sleeping area, and all tied a leash around the horses’ heads and jaws, hence, he asked:

- Why do you tie your horses’ jaws?

- We tie them because, whoever’s horse neighs at night, is not allowed to join the army.

Gorgon believed them, tied Schoeix’uch’s jaw and nose with a solid rope, and went to sleep.

The next morning, he found his horse dead.

- What do I do now, my horse is dead. – Said Gorgon.

- If you do not have a horse, then you will not be able to take any of the loot. – They told Gorgon and began marching.

They are going to battle Lady Seteney. Although Gorgon knew that his horse died, however, he did not wish to leave him, therefore, he carried him on his shoulder and joined the army.

- Ei my Schoeix’uch’, you carried me while you are alive, now, I shall carry you while you are dead. – Said Gorgon and marched along with the army.

When the army marched slowly, Gorgon conveyed them, and once they marched faster, Gorgon conveyed their steps. And while he was at the army’s frontier, Seteney’s soldiers saw him.

- We cannot defeat this army! Their leader carries his horse on his back! – Thus, the army began separating.

Gorgon reached to where Seteney resided, he hung his horse on the entrance doorway, and snuck into the house.

Gorgon captured the one who goes by the name “Lady Seteney”; he carried her while being followed by the army. They saw him seizing Seteney to the Pig herders’ house located underground.

- What is this you are doing? The girl must be presented to the leader. - They told Gorgon.

- When my horse died, you told me: “Who does not own a horse, is deprived from his share from the loot,” now you are all deprived from the loot.

The army returned and informed their leader what happened. The leader became angry, and mounted his horse to reclaim the girl. He advised and talked to Gorgon in order to retrieve captivated Seteney, but Gorgon refused to give her back. Both began quarrelling, until Gorgonizch hit the Narts leader and killed him. Ever since, the Narts never had a leader amongst them.

(Hedeghel’e, 1968, Vol. I, p. 143)


Submitted: September 30, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Zaina El-Said. All rights reserved.

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