'The Lament of the Girl who refused to marry her Brother' Translated & Annotated by

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Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Submitted: September 30, 2016

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  1. The Lament of the Girl who refused to marry her Brother

Kabardian text

Daughter:

O' my golden mother

Golden red

Why don’t you open the door and let me in

The cold is bringing me to ruin

 

Mother:

If you called me "my old mother-in-law"

I would have opened the door for you

 

Girl:

How can I refer to you with that name?

Whilst my soul is still beating within me?

O' my golden father

Why don’t you open the door for me?

The cold is bringing me to ruin

 

Father:

If you call me "my father-in-law"

I would have opened the door for you

 

Daughter:

How can I accept to call you with that name?

Whilst my soul is still beating within me

My golden sister!

Golden red

Why don’t you open the door for me?

The cold is bringing me to ruin

 

Sister:

If you call me "my little sister-in-law"

I would have opened the door for you

 

Daughter:

How can I refer to you as to what you request?

Whilst my only single soul is still beating within me

O' Uncle! Brother of my father

Golden red uncle

Why don’t you open the door for me?

The cold is bringing me to ruin

 

Uncle:

If you called me "my old father-in-law"

I would open the door for you

 

Daughter

How can I call you by this name?

Whilst my soul is still beating within me?

O' golden brother

Golden red

Open the door and let me in

The cold is bringing me to ruin

 

Brother:

If you called "my husband"

I would have opened the door for you 

 

Daughter:

How can I accept calling you by that name

Whilst my soul is beating within me

 

(Adige ‘Weri’watexer, 1963, p179)

 

* This text is of great ethical significance revealing the refusal of incest relationship. The daughter denying the marriage proposal to wed her brother is allegory denoting the outlawed tradition that will later become a universal communal edict.

Circassian author and scholar Shorten Eskerbi explains:

"This script holds high importance not only to Circassian heritage alone, but to the sphere of world human culture. The forbidden act of incest marriage has been abandoned by humanity since many ages; however, the 'girls lament' has retained the memory of that bygone tradition and carried before us through the ages a glimpse of a real experience humankind practiced". (Qumuq, I984, p77)

Another possible analysis for this lament is the next of kin marriage; Circassians refer to immediate and far relatives as "sister" and "brother.” This text may have indicated the denial of marriage to kin, a custom prohibiting marriage up to the seventh bilateral generations (Jaimoukha, 2001, p. 166).  This decree persists in Circassian culture in the North-West Caucasus to this very day.


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