'Henau, the Forest Warden' Translated & Annotated 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. Henau, the Forest Warden

A Circassian Folk Tale

It is been said that the Circassians' ancestors were greatly overwhelmed by trees and forests. According to their inherited belief, it was a deplorable taboo to harm or cut trees, given that they are an essential component of sacredness. It was believed that if a single branch were cut, it would cause death to its doer. If a tree was cut from a forest, it will bring death to the family of the doer.  And if a whole forest was cut down, it will be the cause of a whole nation's extinction. Hence, they venerated their forests and performed special rituals towards trees. 

Henau is Circassian a saint, and it is told that he was buried in these sacred forests. His spirit is believed it roamed around the trees warding off any harm.

One day, a group of people decided to discount their ancestors' bequest and cut down a large territory of the 'Hetses' trees in the 'Themaxe' forest for utilization purposes. When that happened, an elderly Adige man professed that saint Henau appeared to him in his dream pleading to stop destroying the forests. Henau also said if the tree destruction continues a great tragedy will propel onto the Circassian nation and land. 

In September I863, when the Russian forces led by Count Elston-Sumarokov marched into Circassian territory, they plunged into Themaxe forest and built surveillance towers where the trees already been cut. Much tragedy and death followed that. Hence, the Circassians could not help but trust the words of Henau, which eventually set to reality following the mass departure of the Circassians in I864, in which half of the nation had forcefully deported into foreign lands. 



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