'How Sosriqwe was born' Translated & Annotated by

Reads: 273  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

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

Submitted: September 30, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 30, 2016




  1. How Sosriqwe was born

Kabardian text


Seteney was washing on the banks of River Psizch [1]. The Narts herdsman stood on the opposite bank while herding cows. Once he saw her, he drew close and began gazing at Seteney. She was a beauty; her eyebrows hung over her captivating eyes. The herdsmen stared at her intensely. 

- Weiy beautiful Seteney, the most dazzling my eyes had ever seen, look my way if it is only once. – told her the Narts herdsman.

As Seteney looked at him, she saw him blazing like fire, and concurrently, she felt a fire rushing into her heart, and she no longer was able to stand on her feet, hence she sat on a rock by the riverbank.

As Seteney finished her washing and was about to depart, the herdsman called upon her once again:

- Weiy beautiful Seteney, beauty of all beauties, by thy wit men become sane! Why do you leave the rock that you were sitting on behind? Take it home with you.

Seteney followed the herdsman’s request, took the rock, and hid it in the corn bran.

Not long had passed until Seteney began hearing strange voices, “What is this sound?”- She told herself, and began searching where it came from. The voice escalated once she drew near the rock, and diminish once she drew away. – “What phenomenal thing is this?” – said Seteney and placed her ear on the rock. The rock’s core was boiling, and producing sounds. Once she discerned the matter, she tied the rock with woolen threads. After three days had passed, the threads tore. She tied it again, yet once again they threads tore.

- Psathe! This rock is enlarging by the day. – said Seteney,

She then removed the rock from between the corn barn, and placed it in a warm place next to the hearth. It remained there for nine months and nine days. The rock grew, began boiling, and turned red.

Seteney rushed towards Lhepsch and asked:

- Can I trust you?

- If you cannot trust, if this pincer was not my tool, and if the mallet was not my weapon, then why do I live? – answered Lhepsch, while irritated by the mode of Seteney’s question.

- I face a quandary that has never befallen upon anyone. It is difficult to believe, yet I cannot stay calm about it. What do I do? Seteney said.

- Who asks and inquires, is exempt of misconduct, and imprecision cannot be concealed. Do not be concerned and tell me what happened. I am willing to help you what ever the matter may be.

- Why should I drain myself narrating, if I can show it to you? Come with me.

- I am at your command; a man does not break his word. – said Lhepsch, carried his tools and followed Seteney.  Once he saw the flaming rock, bewildered Lhepsch said:

- My God! What is this! I have seen and heard much in my life, but I have never seen anything like this, nor have I ever heard anyone describing something as such. By Waschx’we, what strange thing do I see!

Lhepsch began breaking the rock, and continued doing so for seven days and nights. Seteney’s heart quivered with every strike, until finally the rock opened with a baby boy inside. The baby’s body was in flames, blaze fluttered from his body like steam. Lhepsch held the newborn by a pair of solid pincers from his knees, and dipped him into water seven times. The baby’s body became hard a steel, except for the area Lhepsch held him from with his pincers.

The child began growing rapidly; he grew in one day, what others would develop in one month. The news spread, the Narts astounded by the mode of birth of Seteney’s son. Once Birimbix’w heard of Seteney’s news, she rushed to her and angrily said:

- Are you not ashamed of yourself! Giving birth like an old bitch by the first person you encounter! 

- He is not my son, yet he is not like other children. If you conceived an infant like him, you would not be talking in this manner.

- If he is not your son, then why is he in your home? Why is he fixed to your bosom? – Birimbix’w cried angrily.

- This boy came from the rock’s core, Lhepsch smelted him, and we named Sosriqwe adherent to the rock he came from.

Meanwhile, Sosriqwe was sitting next to the hearth playing with ember; he held the ember with his hand and put it in his mouth until it cooled, and once Birimbix’w saw that:

- This is a phenomenal boy; he will plunge calamity upon the Narts. His birth is an end to many lives. I wish he had not been born. – Said Birimbix’w and left.

Since then, Seteney named her son Sosriqwe.


(Jirandoqwe et al. 1951, p. 31)

*There are over 30 accounts recounting a different report on Sosriqwe’s birth. The disparity may fall suit according to each Circassian tribe. Nonetheless, the foundation of these various versions is ultimately one. Sosriqwe is the son of a virgin woman, who came to being following the uncontrollable lust of the herdsman over Seteney thus conceiving an unusual being within the rock. Simultaneously, this narrative conveys iron making out of ore, signifying an advanced developed stage the Narts embarked upon. It also displays the close and trusting relationship both Seteney and Lhepsch held for each other.  



© Copyright 2019 Zaina El-Said. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Literary Fiction Short Stories