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Nartiad

 

The Alanian (Ossetian) heroic Narta epos or Nartiad, is one of the great and varied verbal poetic works known in the world. It exists in the form of kadags(epic songs,sagas) and prosaic legends. The latters are also traditionally called kadags. Some Caucasian peoples have their own versions of the Narta epic songs. The world-famous philologist G.Dumezil(1898-19860proved that the so-called tripartite social organisation was characteristic of the Indoeuropean society, i.e. the society was devided into the caste of the wise or priests? the caste of warriors and the caste of cattle-breeders/ This ancient feature is well traced in the Alan Narta epos. (The fact was noticed by M.Tuganov in 1925). "None of the neighbouring peoples, that borrowed the Narta epos from the Ossets, preserved the tripartite organisation of the heroes", G.Dumezil wrote. In the course of time the ancient epos suffered great changes. For instance,the period of Mongolian domination in North Caucasus had impirtant after-effects. The Narta epos is an encyclopaedia of Alans' former life. The kadags are true relics of ancient and mediavil time; they are full of charm and serve new generations of people.

 

 

HOW SATANA BECAME URUZMAG'S WIFE

When Uruzmag entered his manhood he married Elda, a beautiful maiden of the Alagata kin.
Meanwhile his sister Satana was rapidly growing up: every month she gained a year's growth, and every year she gained three-year's growth. And no girl could match her in beauty. She became a quickwitted girl with golden hair. Satana could turn her hand to anything.
When the time came for her to marry she was thinking and thinking and at last she said to herself: "Neither on the Earth nor in the Heavens there is anybody more accomplished than my brother Uruzmag". And in her heart of hearts she decided: "Only Uruzmag will be my husband and nobody else".
Now Satana was in a predicament: she could not dare tell Uruzmag of her decision, and she could not delegate anybody to her brother. At last she said to herself: "Well, I must open my black face and go to him". And she told Uruzmag:
Ч Uruzmag, no one will give away his treasure. I am too good to be given away to another kin. So you must be my husband. This is the best way to settle the matter.
Uruzmag blushed with shame, his face turned red.
Ч You never mention it in future, - he said. - It would be a disgrace to our kin. How could I show my face to the Narta people.
How much time elapsed no one knows. One day Uruzmag decided to go on a year-long march. He told his wife Elda:
Ч I go on a year-long march. By my return beverage and food must be prepared for the feast: people will come to our place.
And he set off.
When the day of his return was nearing his wife decided to prepare rong, the favourite beverage of the Narta. She prepared everything, boiled it properly but the rong wouldn't ferment: it was arranged by Satana Ч the witch of the Heavens and sorceress of the Earth.
Being in great confusion, Elda came up to Satana for help.
Ч 0, the maiden of the Narta, the day of my disgrace has come. My rong wouldn't ferment. If your brother comes and finds me unprepared he will kill me.
Ч And what I can do for you? - Satana asked. - It is not my business.
Elda got nervous. She incessantly was rushing to her rong and back to Satana.
Ч 0, what shall I do? I am in a great confusion. 0,my!- she exclaimed Ч This will be the end of poor me.
When Satana understood that her sister-in-law was utterly at a loss and terribly afraid of her husband she said:
Ч My beautiful sister-in-law Elda, if you give me your wedding dress for one night I will play a joke on Uruzmag, and help you with your rong.
Ч All right, - said Elda.
Satana used another ferment and soon the rong was ready. By that time Uruzmag returned from his trip. They arranged a great feast and the Narta drank rong. After the feast everyone went home well content.
Satana put on Elda's wedding dress and in the dark of the night she went to.Uruzmag. He didn't recognize his sister.
Ч 0, the maiden of the Alagata, you are better than on the first night. - said Uruzmag.
Ч It is our ancestral trait, - answered the girl. Unizmag didn't suspect anything wrong. At night Satana, using her magic, set the Moon and the stars on the ceiling.
In the morning Uruzmag said:
Ч It must be broad day, so 1' 11 get up.
Ч It is too early, look up. The Moon and stars are brightly shining in the sky, Ч told Satana.
Poor Elda knocked at the door, she was going to and fro. When she realized that they wouldn't open the door her tender heart broke and she died of grief.
When Satana leamt of the end of her sister-in-law she removed the Moon and stars from the ceiling ans said to Unizmag:
Ч Get up, now it's daytime.
Uruzmag was stunned when he saw Satana.
Ч Is that you, Satana?
Ч Don't you know with whom you have spent the whole night? -answered Satana.
What could Uruzmag do? They arranged a funeral for Elda. From that day on Uruzmag was in low moods.
Ч You made me unhappy, Satana, - he reprimanded his sister. -How shall we live on among the Narta? How shall we dare to show our faces to the people? We shall be ill-spoken of by all of them.
Ч The people's distraction lasts only two days, Ч answered Satana Ч Our infamy is not great. Now, you must do what I ask you to do. You sit on a donkey with your back to front, and ride three times past the Nikhas and then you will tell me whatever you hear.
Uruzmag mounted on donkey and set off to pass through the Nikhas. All the Narta, old and young, were bursting with laughter, some of them couldn't even move.
Later Uruzmag returned on his donkey. He noticed that some people were laughing, the others were indifferent. He heard people talking that their wise Uruzmag was out of his senses. Uruzmag made a third round. Not a single man looked at him this time. The people said that, perhaps, there was some trick behind it. 
After the shameful ride on the donkey Uruzmag returned home. Satana asked him:
Ч Well, how did the people receive you?
Ч When they saw me on the donkey with my back to front they laughed a great deal, Ч said Uruzmag. As a matter of fact, some of them were bursting with laughter, some of them couldn't even move. When I appeared before them for the second time, some of them laughed but the others were saying that their wise Uruzmag was out of his senses. When I appeared for the third time no one laughed. Some were even irritated and told: "Our wise Uruzmag is not out of his senses. He is not riding on a donkey for nothing, there must be some trick behind it".
Then Satana said:
Ч Well, the fate of our affair will be the same. First they will be talking of our disgrace then they will forget it.
When the tidings of the unusual match reached the ears of the Narta they denounced the marriage then they forgot it.
Thus Satana became Uruzmag's wife.

 

Author: Toma Kulaeva
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