from THE BOOK OF DEDE KORKUT (compiled c. 13th century).


The young Oguz prince Uruz accompanies his father Kazan on a hunting expedition near the Georgian border: the Georgian attack and capture Uruz. Kazan, not knowing this, returns home, where the boy's distraught mother questions him in the lines which follow. The tale ends happily: after a counter-attack in which his mother takes part, Uruz is freed. My lord Kazan, Luck of my head, throne of my house, Son-in-law of the Khan my father, Loved of the lady of my mother, He to whom my parents gave me, Whom I see when I open my eyes, Whom I gave my heart and loved, My prince, my warrior, Kazan! You rose up from your place and stood, With your son you leaped on to your black-manned Kazilik horse, You sent out hunt over the great mountaints with their lovely folds, You caught and laid low the long-necked deer, You loaded them on to your horses and turned homeward. Two you went and one you come ; where is my child? Where is my child whom I got in the dark night? My one prince is not to be seen, and my heart is on fire. Kazan, have you let the boy fall from the overhanging rocks? Have you let the mountain-lion eat him? Or have you let him meet the infidel of dark religion? Have you let them tie his white hands and arms? Have you let him walk before them? Have you let him look fearfully around, his tongue and mouth dry? Have you let the bitter tears flow from his dark eyes? Have you let him cry for his lady mother, the prince his father? My son, my son, O my son, My portion, my son! Summit of my black mountain yonder, my son! Lightof my dark eyes, my son! The poison winds are not blowing, Kazan, yet my ears are ringing. I have not eaten garlic, Kazan, yet I burn within. The yellow snake has not stung me, yet my white body rises and swells. In my breast, which seems dried up, my milk is leaping. I cannot see my only son, and my heart is aflame. Tell me, Kazan, about my only son. If you will not, I shall curse you, Kazan, as I burn with fire... I meant to rise up from my place and stand, To mount my black-maned Kazilik horse, To go among the teeming Oghuz, To find a chestnut-eyed daughter-in-law, To set up white tents on the black earth, To walk my son to his bridal bower, To bring him to his heart's desire. You did not let me attain my wish, May my dark head's curse seize you, Kazan. My one prince is not to be seen, and my heart is on fire. Tell me what you have done, Or I shall curse you, Kazan, as I burn with fire.


Translated by Geoffrey Lewis