A  L  P  A  M  Y  S  H  
                             Central Asian Identity  
                               under Russian Rule  
                                  H. B. PAKSOY  
                      Association for the Advancement of   
                             Central Asian Research  
                                Monograph Series  
                             Hartford, Connecticut  
CHAPTER FOUR:  Attempts to Destroy and Save Alpamysh: 
                          Phase II 
The  attack on the content and history of the dastan itself

-- "Phase  II" --  constitutes a more  sophisticated, often

subtle, undermining  of the dastan  not only as  a literary

and historical monument but as the repository of historical

identity, tradition  and the wisdom of  the ancestors. Part

and parcel of this  campaign is the attempt to  obscure the

origins of the dastan, including  complex pseudo-analytical

verbiage  about  "variants"   and  "versions,"  to   divert

attention  from the  common origin  of the  dastan and  the

people who share it. 
The  existence  of at  least  55 printings  of  Alpamysh --

although these  actually represent  only a small  number of

distinct variants -- invites  comparison. Indeed, there are

numerous  commentaries  on the  dastan  Alpamysh, including

some comparative discussions.  Tura Mirzaev's bibliography1

cites 185 secondary sources  on Alpamysh published  between

1890  and   1967,  excluding   the  papers  of   two  major

Conferences, one on folklore, held in Moscow (1954) and the

second,  on Alpamysh  in Tashkent  (1956). The  majority of

these works  cited by  Mirzaev were published  in Tashkent.

Because of the abundance of materials published annually in

Alma-Ata,  Moscow  and  Leningrad,  it  is  likely  that  a

comprehensive list would be much longer. 
Virtually all  confine themselves to general  remarks about

the dastan  rather than engaging in  analysis. Many writers

often draw  upon one or  two early commentaries  and merely

repeat those works' main assertions. Indeed, some works are

singled   out   for  large   scale  publication   and  mass

distribution.  Even the  most widely  circulated monographs

concerning the Alpamysh  dastan do not treat in  detail one

particular variant or edition in its entirety.  Comparative

studies, such as those by  Tura Mirzaev, V. M. Zhirmunskii,

M. Ghabdullin, N. Smirnova and T. Sydykov,  usually group a

number of variants into categories and discuss the category

rather than individual variants. These scholars write about

the  "Kazakh  Alpamysh"  or the  "Uzbek  Alpamysh," lumping

together  all the  variants  of each  of these  categories,

themselves   artificial,  and   determined   by  place   of

collection rather  than content (this  point is  elaborated

further  below).   They then  make what  are, for  the most

part,  obvious generalizations  or point to  superficial or

minor discrepancies among  the variants  such as  different

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                         3

words used in the  same context or a missing  line. Lacking

are  details   of  collection  and   previous  publication,

analysis of  historical context,  exploration of levels  of

meaning. Even citations of printed versions are incomplete,

inaccurate or contradictory. 
In  his  Russian  language  work  of  1960  on  the  dastan

Alpamysh2, Zhirmunskii  offers only  fragmentary  citations

of previous printings  of Alpamysh, including Divay's  1901

printing.  In a  footnote, Zhirmunskii  cites  Divay's 1901

printing of Alpamysh, noting its original publication under

the  heading "Ethnographic  materials" in  the Sbornik,  in

which Divay  frequently published his  findings during  the

1890s  and 1900s.  Zhirmunskii  incorrectly identifies  the

1901  edition of the Sbornik as Vol. IX. He also notes only

one Russian-language publication in which  the 1922 edition

appeared.3   Only  by   piecing  together   fragments  from

numerous  Soviet sources  is it  possible to  determine the

numbers  of  printings  of  this  version  by  Divay4,  the

languages of publication and the changes Divay himself made

for the 1922 reprintings.  
A   later  (1969)   English   language  work   (alternately

translation and  synopsis of  the 1960 monograph),  repeats

the  claim  that  Divay's  1901 Alpamysh  is  a  Karakalpak

variant,  of which a  second edition was printed  in 1922.5

Various notes  in this  1969 text  are even  more confusing

(sometimes misleading) than  those of 1960.   One note  (p.

276)  refers to the printing in  the Sbornik without citing

the date  of the  specific number containing  Alpamysh.   A

later  note  (p. 292)  cites  only  the  reprint  from  the

Sbornik,  published   separately,  and  merely   notes  the

existence of a second edition in 1922 without any details. 
Ghabdullin  and Sydykov  in their  1972 work,  however, not

only do  not cite the  two printings cited  by Zhirmunskii,

they also omit  other printings of  the dastan including  a

1964  collection of  the  works of  Divay in  which Sydykov

In  the  matter  of  Alpamysh's "genealogy,"  the  lack  of

precise  tracing  of  individual  variants   (described  in

Chapter   One.7)  leaves   the  door  open   to  deliberate

obscuring. Neither the  secondary sources (which themselves

lack  discussions  of  origins)  nor  the  manuscripts  are

readily available to researchers, even those working inside

the USSR. It is standard procedure for Soviet  libraries to

restrict access  to portions of  collections, especially to

books and periodicals published  before 1932.  Restrictions

apply (although not  always the same ones)  to both Soviets

and  foreigners.    Only  a handful  of  the  55 identified

4                               H. B. Paksoy 
printings of Alpamysh are accessible at all, even to Soviet

researchers,  as indicated  by notes and  bibliographies in

Soviet works. Indeed,  no single comprehensive bibliography

of Alpamysh printings exists in any Soviet or other work on

that  dastan  of which  this writer  is  aware. As  for the

manuscripts   themselves,  the   field  records   of  those

individuals who collected Alpamysh directly from the  ozans

are strictly confined  to the restricted-access  manuscript

archives of various branches of the Academies of Sciences. 

In this climate of restriction and control, it is no wonder

that those versions and  commentaries which are singled out

for  wide  circulation  should  enjoy  exaggerated,  indeed

contrived,  prominence.    Penkovskii's   translations  and

Zhirmunskii's commentaries  are cases  in point.  These two

men have  been perhaps  the greatest beneficiaries  of this

selective treatment. Penkovskii  effected the  translations

of  Alpamysh  that  have  been  most  widely  disseminated,

including the printing cited during the "Trial of Alpamysh"

that  was  noted  for the  translator's  "refinements"  and

"improvements," and  the 1958 "most  complete" version.  It

has  been  his  translations  that  have  been  distributed

outside Central Asian  republics and outside the USSR. As a

result,  his work  has formed  the foundation  for Russian-

language and Western analyses of Alpamysh. 
V.  M.  Zhirmunskii,  long  regarded  as  the  doyen  among

Alpamysh scholars,  has achieved and  held that distinction

by  use of a former  colleague's work and  through the wide

distribution  of  his own  publications.  The typology  and

themes he has established  for the study of the  dastan are

widely used by  both Soviet and  Western scholars, and  his

arguments  carry great  weight.  For those  reasons, it  is

necessary to  review his treatment of  the Alpamysh dastan.

Careful examination of  Zhirmunskii's works indicates  that

he,  along  with Penkovskii,  has  been  perhaps the  major

contributor  to the  campaign  to subvert  the dastan.  His

influence  among Western  specialists has  meant widespread

misunderstandings of Alpamysh and the dastan genre. 
At the root of Zhirmunskii's assertions is the presumption,

which he states explicitly in all discussions of the dastan

cited here, that one variant of Alpamysh is "authoritative"

and  can serve  as a  "yardstick" by  which to  measure all

others --  that is Penkovskii's translation  of the variant

by  Fazil Yoldashoglu.  In view  of the  documented changes

Penkovskii made  in  Fazil's versions,  this foundation  is

immediately suspect. Yet Zhirmunskii  uses it to categorize

"versions" and  "variants" and  to tag "missing"  parts. He

provides  surveys  of  reciters, with  varying  degrees  of

information, as a means  to classify individual versions by

place of collection rather than dialect or content. 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                         5

On   the  distinction   between  "version"   (versiia)  and

"variant"  (variant), Zhirmunskii  himself does  not tackle

this  issue head on but,  by virtue of  his chapter titles,

the reader may infer that each "version" of a dastan has or

may  have several  "variants."  Precisely  what delimits  a

"version"  is  left  unstated,  and usage  in  the  text is

Each  chapter of  Part  One of  Zhirmunskii's monograph  is

named  for  a  "version"  of Alpamysh  --  Kungrat,  Oghuz,

Kipchak  and  Altai.    The  Kungrat   "version"  includes,

according  to  the  chapter  subtitle,  Uzbek,  Karakalpak,

Kazakh and Tajik "redactions." However, the Kipchak chapter

includes Bashkir, Kazan Tatar  and Kazakh "variants." At no

time  does Zhirmunskii  explain the dual  classification of

the  Kazakh  "variant." Zhirmunskii  also refers  to Uzbek,

Karakalpak, Kazakh and Tajik "variants" of Alpamysh, and to

an  "Uzbek  version"  (p.  30), "Tajik  version"  (p.  33),

"Karakalpak version"  (p. 26,  35, 42) with  its "variants"

(p. 37) and a  "Kazakh version" (pp.  26, 39). All this  is

confusing,  but  the  synopses  themselves   often  provide

sufficient  information  for  the  reader  to  discern  the

content  of  any  particular  redaction regardless  of  its

Tura Mirzaev, clearly influenced  by the imposition of such

distinctions, addresses  the issue directly.  He raises six

points  concerning the  scope  of "version"  as opposed  to

"variant" -- that of the former being decidedly  wider than

that  of the latter. His main point concerns the historical

differentiation of  human groups.  Mirzaev argues that  the

differential development  of a "people" (halk)  leads it to

evolve a "version" of a dastan differentiated  from that of

other peoples.  Thus, as  the  title of  his work  implies,

there  is a single "Uzbek  version" and he  wrote about its

Zhirmunskii  argues that  there are  several  "variants" of

Alpamysh including Kazakh and Karakalpak. He classifies the

Divay  (1901) version  as Karakalpak  because it  was taken

down from a Karakalpak bahshi. He, therefore, calls Divay's

own labelling of the version as "Kirghiz" "imprecise": 
     "In Karakalpakia at  the present  time there  are 
     recorded five variants of Alpamysh of which three 
     have been published:  
     "1. In  1901 A. Divaev under  the imprecise title 
     'Alpamis  [sic] Batir, Kirghiz poem' published in 
     the  original   and  in  Russian   translation  a 
     manuscript  'recorded  by  a  Karakalpak  of  the 
6                               H. B. Paksoy 
     Turtkulskii  volost' of the  Amu-Darya otdel, the 
     improvisor        Dzhiyamurad        Bekmuhamedov 
     [transliteration  from  Russian] by  profession a 
     "The manuscript  contains only the first  part of 
     the legend."  
This   quotation   brings   together  two   components   of

Zhirmunskii's assertion -- the categorization  of the Divay

redaction  and  the  issue  of "missing  part."  The  Divay

version, for example, he says is missing  the second part.9

Collection Efforts  
As  noted, the  most  widely available  printed version  of

Alpamysh was taken down  from the reciter Fazil Yoldashoglu

in 1928  (Lev Penkovskii's Russian translation  is the form

available rather  than any printing of  the original, which

is  no  longer available  --  even  in  libraries). It  was

collected under  the directorship  of Hadi Zarif  after the

earlier  transcription  by Gazi  Alim  had  been lost.  The

edition recorded  from Fazil  Yoldashoglu in 1928  contains

about  14,000  lines.  The  manuscript  is  No.  18  in the

folklore archive of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences.10 
It  was this  redaction which  was eventually  prepared for

publication by  Hamid Alimjan in  1939. This was  the first

publication  of  that version.  Zhirmunskii notes  that the

Fazil  variant was  published "with  abridgements."  It has

been  translated into Russian  with "refinements"  at least

twice  by  Lev  Penkovskii11,  and  has  been  reprinted 
numerous  editions, including  the  1958 edition  which has

been declared "most complete" by Soviet sources.  
Zhirmunskii cites the Alimjan 1939 edition as "first" and a

1958 edition as "third," implying the existence of a second

edition,   but   furnishing   no   particulars.12   Mirzaev

indicates that a  second edition was published in 1957. All

three were published in Tashkent.13 
Zhirmunskii reports  only briefly on redactions  by four of

Fazil's  contemporaries who  lived in  other areas  of what

became the Uzbek SSR:  Pulkan (abbreviated: P)  (1874-1941)

of the Samarkand oblast; Berdi-bahshi (BB) (no dates given)

of the Tashkent  oblast14, Jurabaev (Jur) (dates not given)

of the  Samarkand  oblast and  Buri  Sadykov (Sad)  of  the

Ferghana oblast.15  He notes  only differences from Fazil's

variant. He  does not  state that  his list  is exhaustive,

however,  and  thereby  implies  that  these  variants  are

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                         7

extremely  close  to  Fazil's   except  as  noted.  In  the

composite  below, no such assumption has  been made and the

portions   translated  from   Fazil's  variant   have  been

attributed only to him. 
Nine variants  were apparently collected in  the Kazakh SSR

or  are printed  in what  Zhirmunskii identifies  as Kazakh

dialect.16  The  manuscripts   are  kept  in   the Folklore

Archive of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh  SSR.17 Of

the nine recorded versions, three have been published:  
1.   Kissa-i  Alfamish  (Hereafter:  Kazan 1899).  However,

Zhirmunskii  states that  the  form "Alfamish"  was, "by  a

fantasy  of  the  editor"  considered  more  literary,  and

"proceeding from the  placing, common in  Turkic languages,

of the letter 'p' instead of 'f' in borrowed words."  
According  to  Zhirmunskii  this  variant  skips  from  the

description of the "miraculous" birth of  the batir to what

he  calls the  "second part"  describing the  captivity and

return. He further states  that the "introduction" (meaning

the genealogy and  birth of Alpamysh) and the "second part"

were  combined  with   the  "first   part"  (Divay's   1901

redaction) and  published as  a "whole" variant  in Sbornik

obraztsov  Kazakhskoi  narodnoi  literatury   (Kyzyl  Orda,

1931). (Item  16 in Bibliography) It was reprinted later in

the book Batyrlar (Alma-Ata, 1939). (Item 19) This text, he

says,  was  widely  disseminated.  This  is  reaffirmed  by

Academician A. S. Orlov in a 1945 publication.18 
This was the same redaction which, as noted in Chapter Two,

Togan described as part of  a larger effort on the  part of

its  publisher,  Yusufbek   Sheyhulislamoglu,  to   develop

literature in  the Kazakh  dialect and to  combat Christian

missionary activity.19 
2. "Velikan Alpamysh" (VA) ("The  Giant Alpamysh") recorded

by  Divay  and  published  in  the  journal  Turkistanskaia

Vedemost'  in 1916 (Item  12 in  Bibliography). Zhirmunskii

gives no information on its collection.  
3. Alpamys  batyrdyng kissasy, "collected by  an expedition

of  the Academy  of Sciences  in 1958  from the  akin Jelsu

Jakupov who lived in the South-Kazakh oblast.  The text had

reportedly  been written  down by  Jakupov himself  in 1948

from an old akin named Akkojaev, who had  learned it in the

late  19th  century  from   a  famous  akin  named  Maykot.

According  to Akkojaev, Maykot had taught the dastan to him

'from some kind  of manuscript or  book.'" This variant  of

Akkojaev-Maykot  was  published by  the  Kazakh Academy  of

Sciences  in 1957  (Item 36)  and translated  into Russian.

8                               H. B. Paksoy 
Zhirmunskii gives  the date  of the Russian  translation as

1953  --  five years  before the  expedition by  which this

variant  was  collected.   20  (Item  35  in  Bibliography.

Abbreviated AM for Akkojaev-Maykot.)  
Zhirmunskii  also  notes  a fourth  redaction  taken  down,

although never published, by K. Nurgaliev, whom Zhirmunskii

describes as a "student."  Nurgaliev recorded the text from

a   manuscript  given   him  by   Iskak  Jusupov,   of  the

North-Kazakhstan oblast.  The  text of Jusupov was recorded

in  1934 according to words  of the reciter  Rahat. Of this

version,  only the episodes of the  birth and selection the

tulpar  remain from the first journey of Alpamysh.  Barchin

is  absent  and  Alpamysh  marries  the  Kalmak   princess.

Zhirmunskii includes it in his synopsis and it is therefore

mentioned in the composite below (JR for Jusupov-Rahat).  
Three  more printings  are  classified  by  Zhirmunskii  as

"Karakalpak."21  He identifies five recorded "variants," of

which  three were  published  -- 1901  Divay variant  (Div.

1901),  "a variant recorded in  1934 by K.  Aimbetov from a

reciter Hojabergen  Niyazov in  the Chimkent region  of the

Karakalpak ASSR [sic.  Chimkent is in  the Kazakh SSR,  but

there  is a Chimbai region in the Karakalpak ASSR, which is

within  Uzbek   SSR.]  (Items   18,  25  in   bibliography.

Abbreviated:  N)22, and  the third recorded  by A.  Karimov

from the  reciter Kiiaszhrau [sic -  Khosrow?] Khairatdinov

in Nukus" (Abbreviated: Kh) (Item 37).23 
The two unpublished variants were recorded 1956-57 from the

reciters  Kurbanbai  Tajibaev   (1873-1958)  and   Esemurat

Nurabullaev.   Zhirmunskii  lists   these,  but   gives  no

information on them.  
After these  considerations, one  comes to the  question of

Zhirmunskii's own expertise.  The passage below illustrates

that the  bulk of the  material on which  Zhirmunskii built

his career and reputation was in fact written by Hadi Zarif

in  their 1947  collaborative  effort on  the Uzbek  heroic


Hadi Zarif on the Alpamysh Dastan  
The 1947 work by Zhirmunskii and the Uzbek Orientalist Hadi

Zarif,  Uzbekskii  narodnyi  geroicheskii epos,  (Tashkent,

1947), is,  as noted,  probably the first  book-length work

dedicated  to  a  study of  dastans  in  Central Asia.  The

Introduction explains the war-time  conditions out of which

the  study grew,  provides  an indication  of  contemporary

attitudes  to the  Central Asian  dastan and  indicates the

division of  labor of  the collaborating scholars.  It pays

homage to the man who inspired the study, Hamid Alimjan:  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                         9

     "This  book  was  conceived  and written  in  the 
     difficult  and  the  glorious days  of  the Great 
     Patriotic war,  when  the peoples  of  our  Union 
     carried on  a heroic  battle against  the fascist 
     invaders, defending the freedom and honor of  our 
     homeland, striving for a better future for all of 
     mankind. In these  days our national  epic poetry 
     [nasha narodnaia epicheskaia poeziia (The  use of 
     the  singular here  perhaps raises  the question, 
     'which narod?')], those great forms of the heroic 
     past which  are so  rich, became  especially near 
     and dear to us.  
     "The peoples  [narody] of  the  Soviet Union  are 
     justly proud of their most rich treasure house of 
     the heroic  epic, oral  and written. The  Russian 
     legends  and the  Lay of  the Host  of Igor,  the 
     Ukrainian  'dumy,' the  Georgian  poem  of  Shota 
     Rustaveli 'The  Champion in the  Tiger Skin,' the 
     Armenian epic  David of  Sasun, the Nart  epic of 
     the  peoples of  the North Caucasus,  the Kirghiz 
     Manas, the Kazakh  batir songs famous at  present 
     far   beyond  the  borders   of  their  homeland, 
     repeatedly published in the original and  in fine 
     translation,  have  become  the general  cultural 
     property  of all  the  brotherly peoples  of  our 
     "In  this new form  of its own  being, the heroic 
     form  of  the  national  [natsional'n(yi)]  past, 
     having  been  retained  in folk  [narodnoi;  also 
     means 'national']24 monuments in the  form of epic 
     idealization,   received   unprecedented   social 
     significance as  a means of  patriotic education, 
     worthy of our heroic epoch.  
     "The  study  of the  epic  creative  work of  the 
     peoples of our  Union is one of the  foremost and 
     most relevant [aktual'n(yi)]  problems of  Soviet 
     historical  science.   The  Soviet Union  is  the 
     single   country   in   the    world   possessing 
     inexhaustible  sources  of  living  and  current, 
     actual national [narodnyi]  epic works... That is 
     why all kinds of special research in the field of 
     the national epic, built on new, formerly unknown 
     material, inevitably brings  into our circle more 
     general   problems  of  the   principles  of  the 
     comparative study of epic literature.....  
     "...new   material...    underlines   the   wider 
10                               H. B. Paksoy 
     perspective of historical  generalization --  the 
     picture of the  many centuries of  development of 
     the epic work of  the Uzbek people in a  range of 
     details  thus  far  necessarily  preliminary  and 
     hypothetical.  Such   research  necessarily  goes 
     beyond  the  narrow  national culture:  Alpamysh, 
     historical and  romantic  dastans, the  cycle  of 
     Koroglu, all in various ways bring the Uzbek epic 
     close to  the creative works of  other peoples of 
     our  country,  with whom  the  Uzbek  people were 
     closely tied for centuries of their history....  
     "The  book is the result of the joint work of two 
     specialists. One,  in the course  of many  years, 
     collected  and studied  the folklore  of his  own 
     people.   The other  came to the  Uzbek epic from 
     the general problems of comparative study of epic 
     works. According to this [expertise] the tasks of 
     each in  this common  work were delineated.   The 
     authors  acknowledge  the great  help  from their 
     comrades...  In particular  the  authors want  to 
     note  the  continual   friendly  cooperation   of 
     correspondent-members of the Academy  of Sciences 
     of the USSR A. Iu. Iakubovskii and E. E. Bertels, 
     of whom  the latter participated in the editorial 
     examination of the book....  
     "The book  on the Uzbek epic  was first suggested 
     to  us   by  the  Union  of   Soviet  Writers  of 
     Uzbekistan on the  initiative of its  leader, the 
     Uzbek  poet  Hamid Alimjan.    One  who knew  and 
     valued his own native folklore, a poet in his own 
     creative work,  one who experienced  its fruitful 
     influence, Hamid  Alimjan  wanted to  spread  the 
     epic works  of his own people  [narod] widely and 
     comprehensibly  to all  the fraternal  nations of 
     our Union.   In  our friendly cooperation  and in 
     our work, which he  initiated, he saw one  of the 
     numerous  phenomena  of   that  great   Stalinist 
     friendship   of  peoples  of   our  Union,  which 
     developed in the  years of peaceful  construction 
     of Soviet  socialist culture and  was steeled  in 
     the  heroic battle  against the  fascist invaders 
     and carried  us to victory over  the evil enemies 
     of progressive mankind.  
     "To  the  memory  of  Hamid  Alimjan,   poet  and 
     patriot, we dedicate this book.  
     "--The Authors."  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        11

This  Introduction reflects the post-war political emphasis

on the friendship of peoples of the USSR discussed above in

Chapter Two. Particularly interesting is the statement that

the heroic epics of the peoples of the USSR have become the

"general cultural property of  all..."  The implications of

such  an assertion may  be profound, especially  in view of

the right of owners  of dastans to alter them.  The mention

of Bertels editorial  assistance recalls the  intimate link

between  the  Oriental  Institutes  and the  publishing  of

Central  Asian  literature. It  foreshadows  Bertels' later

role  as  head  of the  sections  of  the  Soviet East  and

Oriental  Literature in  the Oriental  Institute hierarchy.

Those  thanked in  this  Introduction are  Russians --  the

"elder brother" even  provides a guiding hand  in the field

of indigenous literature and its interpretation. 
The  Introduction also  indicates that  Hadi Zarif  was the

principle author  and wrote those  portions of the  book on

Central  Asian  dastans  and  their  reciters.  Zhirmunskii

evidently authored the portions which made comparisons with

non-Central Asian literature.   

The designation  of Zhirmunskii  in this Introduction  as a

student of epics  is not entirely accurate.  According to a

recent  book on Zhirmunskii's career25,  Zhirmunskii  was a

specialist  on  comparative literature.  His  earlier works

focus on  European literature  and include a  comparison of

Byron and Pushkin and  several studies of German literature

of the early 19th century. 
Turning  to the  book  itself, Hadi  Zarif's first  chapter

presents an in-depth discussion  of ozans generally, then a

brief  discussion  of  some  reciters  of  Alpamysh.  In  a

subsequent chapter, he compares variations of the different

versions of Alpamysh, lists  some of the published versions

of the  dastan and briefly discusses the Bashkurt and Altai

As for  the matter  of Zhirmunskii's subsequent  borrowing,

examination  of this 1947  work reveals Zarif's description

of the Fazil variant of Alpamysh is nearly identical to the

synopsis  in Zhirmunskii's  1960  work. The  latter differs

only rarely and then in minor rewording or by the addition,

between   sentences  or  paragraphs,  of  some  descriptive

material or  quotations from the text. In the later English

language  work  with  Chadwick some  important  sections by

Zhirmunskii   are   merely   translations   of   the   1960

Because  the Fazil  variant, as  translated and  amended by

Penkovskii  has been  elevated officially (as  reflected by

Zhirmunskii) to the pinnacle  of Alpamysh "variants," it is

12                               H. B. Paksoy 
essential  to explore  the differences  between it  and the

many others. Perhaps the most accurate way to approach such

a  comparison   is  by  means  of   constructing  a  single

"composite" Alpamysh and examining the range of variations.

The  following composite  of  Alpamysh is  based on  twelve

redactions  taken  down from  at  least  fourteen different

reciters cited by Zhirmunskii (and those noted above). Some

redactions were taken down from two ozans or  represent one

or two  reciters' reworkings of variants  they learned from

an  older reciter.  Twelve are  known -  Fazil Yoldashoglu,

Muhamedkul  Jamratoglu  Pulkan,   Berdi  Bahshi,   Bekmurad

Jurabaev,  Buri  Sadykov, Jiyamurat  Muhammedbek, Akkojaev,

Maykot, Rahat, Niyazov,  Khairatdinov. Two other  printings

are Kissa-i  Alfamis (Kazan  1899), collected by  Yusuf bin

Hoca   Sheyhulislam  oglu  (Yusufbek   1899)  and  "Velikan

Alpamysh"  published  in  1916,  collected  by  Divay.  The

synopses   provide   useful,   if   sometimes   incomplete,

information on  more than  a dozen Alpamysh  variants which

are not readily accessible (or are completely inaccessible)

inside  or  outside the  USSR.  Also  incorporated are  the

original printings Divay 1901, Yusufbek 1899. As noted, the

1960   synopses  of  what   Zhirmunskii  calls  the  "Uzbek

variants" differ little from  those of  Zarif.28 End  notes

give pages of both volumes where relevant.   
One  uniform spelling  has been followed.  Variations, when

they occur, are  noted in parentheses based on  the Library

of Congress standard transliteration from Zhirmunskii's (or

Zarif and  Zhirmunskii) Russian text. An  exception is made

only  for  the  letters "j"  and  "h"  which  exist in  the

original Turkic  language and English, but  not in Russian.

Parentheses ()  within quotations were translated  from the

original Russian text. Brackets  [] indicate the Russian or

Turkic  original  or  explanatory  remarks by  the  present

writer. In  order to preserve  the original  flavor of  the

text,  translations  are  often  more  literal rather  than

There are several major  events of this composite synopsis.

It begins, as do most individual variants with the birth of

the alp to barren parents, his betrothal to Barchin "in the

cradle,"  the   conflict  between  their  fathers  and  the

departure of Barchin's father for the  land of the Kalmaks.

Alpamysh subsequently goes after them to reclaim his bride.

He undergoes various  trials and wins her hand.  He returns

to the Kalmak  territory and becomes  a prisoner for  seven

years  until he is rescued by a Kalmak princess. He defeats

the  Kalmaks  and (in  several  versions)  returns home  to

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        13

rescue his wife and family from a usurper.  
Not  all variants  include  all these  episodes. Some  omit

either  the first  journey or  the second.  Names  may vary

slightly as do the religious themes, the degree of fighting

and the detail of description.  
Several variants  of the dastan begin with a description of

Alpamysh's family and the prayers  of either his parents or

of  his  father  and  Baysari,  who  in  some  variants  is

Baybora's brother, for children. Fazil's (F) variant, which

has the greatest number of episodes, begins as follows:  
     "In a remote times  in the 16-generation tribe of 
     the   Kungrat  in  the  region  of  Baysun  lived 
     Dabanbii.  Dabanbii had a son Alpinbii.  Alpinbii 
     had two  sons -- Baybora and Baysari.  The older, 
     Baybora  was  the  'shah'  of  the  Kungrat;  the 
     younger, Baysari was the 'bii' [Bey] and stood at 
     the  head   of  ten  thousand   yurts  of  Baysun 
     "The  brothers were  knowledgeable and  rich, but 
     they  had no children.   In  order to  make their 
     petition,  they set  off on  a pilgrimage  to the 
     tomb of  Shahimardan [the legendary grave  of the 
     Caliph   Ali    Shahimardan...in   the   Ferghana 
     oblast'].   They travelled forty days  and nights 
     and  at the expiration of this  time they heard a 
     voice, addressing their wish:  
     'Baybora, God sent you a  son and a daughter, not 
     one by one, but immediately at once he sent them. 
     Baysari,  to you God sent a child, not two, but a 
     daughter he sent.   Return home now and when  the 
     children are  born, gather the people  and give a 
     toy  [feast].   To the  toy in  the clothes  of a 
     kalendar [wandering  dervish] I myself  will come 
     and give each child a name.'"  
In  the  Akkojaev-Maykot  (AM)  and  Kazan  1899  variants,

Baybora and  Baysari [Saribay in these  variants] are heads

of  different  tribes.  Those  praying  for  offspring  are

Alpamysh's future parents:  
     "Baybora  comes  from  the country  Jidali-Baysun 
     from the  tribe of  the Kungrat, Sarybai  is from 
     the tribe  Shekti. Kultay is  the relative (third 
     cousin) of Baybora and  Ultan is the illegitimate 
     son of Kultay from  a slave woman, 'that gathered 
     kizyak [dried  dung].' He is taken  into the home 
14                               H. B. Paksoy 
     of the  childless Baybora.   Ultan grows  up huge 
     and uncouth...  He does not listen  to his foster 
     father and ridiculed his childlessness." 
(In Kazan  1899 variant,  Alpamysh, when still  young, cuts

off  Ultan's   ears  and   pierces  through  his   foot  in

retaliation for this ridicule.)  
Baybora  and  his  wife,  whose  name  is  Analyk,  make  a

pilgrimage to  a lake near  the holy mountain  Karatau, and

pray for offspring to "Shashty Aziza."  (AM and Kazan 1899)

Zhirmunskii translates his name as "hairy saint" and states

that  this is the name for Baba Tuklas, "a respected Kazakh

saint." The saint promises the couple a son and daughter --

Alpamysh (here Alpamys) and Kaldyrgach (here Karlygash).  
In  Akkojaev-Maykot  and Kazan  1899, "The  pregnant Analyk

expresses the desire to  eat meat of a leopard  (kablan) --

this  ancient  representation  of  'sympathetic  magic,' is

widespread in the  epics of the  Central Asian people  (the

same thing is told of the mother of Manas.)"29 
At the same time  Barchin [here Gulbarshyn] is born  to the

childless Sarybai and betrothed immediately to Alpamysh.  
In  order to give the  flavor of this  earliest printing, a

portion is translated below.30 
1899 Alpamysh 
"In the times past, when the religion was Islam  
At a place called Jidali Baysun, in the land of the Kungrat
There  was a Prince called Baybori, who was wealthy but was

crying longingly for progeny.  

Baybori had an elder  (relative) named Kultay. Sinibay came

from the same well-spring as Kultay. Sinibay's woman bore a

boy named Tortay, who was raised by Kultay.
One  day, while  he  was walking  among his  herds, Baybori

looked  around  thinking: If  I had  a  son, he  would have

enjoyed  all this;  riding the  horses, driving  the herds.

When I die,  who will  inherit all my  wealth? Longing  for

offspring, walking  in the  fields, weeping  daily, Baybori

'Heart filled with anxiety, bosom stricken with grief.  
Absence of offspring is a perpetual worry in the land.  
With my eyes open, I am about to leave this world.'  
Baybori implored God:  
'You did not take my soul, I continue to  endure.  
One child's absence will cause my possessions to be left to
my older brother.  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        15

Worry embraced my  heart; Almighty God  created me, may  he
also be my refuge.  
The absence of a child created hardships for me.  
Pronouncements are made by the elders who have many sons.  
I supplicate to you, Almighty, You are my Creator.  
My bones grow weak, friends are distant.  
Seeing eyes turn  blind, falling  in love with  a baby,  my
streaming tears are ridiculed by the distant mountain.  
A man without child is without credit.'  
Baybori said these touching words from his bones.  
'Creator,  Ruler,  if  you  were  not  going  to  grant  me
offspring, why did you (bother) to bring me to life?'  
Baybori was weeping thus, asking for a child from God
The bones of those who heard Baybori's pleading ached.  
Tears drenched Baybori's face.  
His words echoing, he wished to be dead.  
At that  time, on that laggard black day, a boy was born to
Baybori spoke out his thoughts, he was tormented.  
Grief chased away his being.  
Meeting the baby,  downtrodden, he placed him in his abode.
He named him Ultan.  
Thereafter, Baybori regarded Ultan as his own.  
Bodies dried-up, noses like hills.  
Incisors dull, throat seemed that of Juhut  
Where he sat, deep as six wingspans.  
Ears like shields, noses like foul flour  
Eyes like deep dungeons, traces of steps like ditches.  

"Mouth, fireplace; mouth,  knife-like. Nostrils like  holes
in the ground; grounds trembled. While such idiots existed,
Baybori's  tongue was tied. Even if you are enraged, do not
speak of it. Baybori  saying 'If Almighty was not  going to
grant me offspring, He would not have created this one,' 'I
would rather die than keep  hearing about this newborn.' He
took crutches, wore clothes [appropriate  for visiting] and
set out to pay homage to a Saint named Babay Tukti, who was
known for ages. He repeated his wish for progeny during
hisvisit.  The Saint  gave  his  blessing  for  a  son  and

a daughter, admonishing to name the boy Alpamysh, the girl 
Kadirgach. 'When the boy  reaches the age of ten,  he will 
beimpervious  to arrows, water will not  drown him, swords 
wil not cut  him. He  will be a  Khan.' Then Baybori  went 
bak  to his  home,  joyful. His  woman  became heavy  with 
chld.  Nine months ten  days later a boy  was born. He was 
named Alpamysh. Next, Karligach [sic] was born.   
"At  a place named Shekti,  there was a  Bay named Saribay,
who had a lone daughter named Glbarchin. They (Baybori and 
Baysari) became kudas.  
16                               H. B. Paksoy 
Alpamysh  reached the age of ten, Saribay, who did not have

another child, said:   

'My progeny  was thus left  stunted (in  numbers). If,  for

some  reason, his  (Alpamysh) fortunes  change  (leave this

life) my daughter would be left to Ultan in an instant.'  

He (Saribay)  therefore decided  to leave  for the  land of

Khitay and carried out his thoughts.  
"Then, Alpamysh became the eagle of the Kungrats at the age

of  ten.  Alpamysh,  saying:  'Are   you  the  one  who  is

denouncing  my  father?' cut  Ultan's  ear  and flayed  his

soles.  Alpamysh, while playing,  killed those  whose necks

were pliant. One day  Alpamysh was playing with the  son of

an  old  woman, the  boy died.  The  old woman  said: 'Here

there,  instead of  destroying  those  children who  cannot

withstand you, if you were any good, you would go to Khitay

and  take  your  intended  beautiful Gulbarchin  from  your

father-in-law Saribay.' This was  news that had not touched

his (Alpamysh)  ears. When  Alpamysh heard this,  he massed

troops,  disregarding  day or  night,  without dismounting,

covering distances  with equal lengths,  swallowing his own

blood  instead of water,  breaking many men,  in forty days

secured and brought his woman back.  
"However,  while  Alpamysh  was  after  his  woman,  Taysha

carried  off  Alpamysh's  herds.  When  Alpamysh  returned,

Baybori Bay said:  
'Of my blood, Alpamysh; disappear from my sight  
You have done nothing useful for me, by becoming a man.  
Taysha  took   away  my  herd,  swiftly   carried  away  my
"Do not stand before me, go away," he (Taysha) said [to me]
with enmity.  
Chase after the herd taken by Taysha.  
Avenge this act of his.  
If you cannot, be a slave and remain the last.'  
Then, Alpamysh said this:  
'I will pursue the herd taken by Taysha.  
If Shahimardan gives me his help, I will  chase your herd 
back. Do not  cast a sorrowful  glance, for I cannot  act
on your word.  
I placed the  saddle-blanket on the  horse's back, I  lived
the life of a Bey on Karatau.  
After I  leave, my dear  father, you will  suffer hardships
from the servants.  
I placed  the saddle-blanket on  the horse's back.  After I
leave, my dear father, you will feel guilty.  
You have weak servants, my father, waiting behind you. They
are your enemies.'"  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        17

Descriptions of Alpamysh's  origins and parents  are sparse

in  the  variants of  Niyazov  (N),  Khairatdinov (Kh)  and

Divay, 1901. Baybora and Baysari are not brothers but equal

beys. Zhirmunskii writes (See note 28):  
"The genealogy of Alpamysh is absent.   Baybora and Baysari

live in the land of Jidali-Baysun..., which is located near

Bukhara (Kh) and belongs to the Kungrat tribe. 'Bald Ultan'

(Ultan-taz)  -- is a shepherd,  a slave, who  stands at the

head  of 90 families of  slaves (N). The  name of Alpamysh'

bride is  Barchin or Gulbarchin.  The children are  born of

childless parents by the intercession of forty cihilten who

later intervene on the alp's behalf. (Div. 1901)."  
The Jusupov/Rahat variant (JR) begins with the birth of the

alp from  barren parents  and  the selecting  of the  batir

horse.  Divay's "Velikan  Alpamys" (VA)  has none  of these

events.  Both  variants  (JR  and  VA)  omit  Barchin  and,

therefore,  themes  connected  with her  --  the  "marriage

journey"  (to rescue  her)  and the  return of  the husband

theme. These two  variants consist of the captivity  of the

alp  and  his salvation  by  the Kalmak  princess,  whom he

In the variant of  Pulkan (P), Baychobar and a  black camel

(who turns up  only at the end of the  dastan) were born on

the same day as Alpamysh,  an auspicious sign. Alpamysh was

nursed on that camel's mother's milk,  making the batir and

the young camel "milk-brothers."  
In  Fazil's  variant,  the  births  of  the  children  were

celebrated with a feast to  which came, a wandering dervish

who had been called  by the new fathers earlier in a dream.

The dervish named the son of Baybora, Hakim, his daughter -

Kaldyrgach  (Swallow),  and  the   daughter  of  Baysari  -

Barchin.  He  foretold the glory  of Hakim as  a batir  and

conducted his betrothal to  Barchin. He touched the  boy on

the  shoulder "and Hakim retained the  mark on his shoulder

of  the 'five  fingers.'" It  is this  touch (in  the Fazil

version  it is the hand of Ali) that makes Hakim (Alpamysh)

invincible -- "in  fire he  is not burned,  a sword  cannot

wound him and arrows cannot penetrate."  
In variants Akkojaev-Maykot and Kazan 1899 also, Alpamysh's

invulnerability is due to  the saint's intervention. To the

litany of his  invulnerability is  added, "he  will not  be

hurt by bullets [sic],  they will slash, no sword  will cut

him, he will be the enemy of the Kalmaks." Later that saint

will become the protector of Alpamysh. In Divay 1901, seven

kalendar arrive  to name the children.  They call Baybora's

son  Alpamysh and say they  shall be his  pirs. The batir's

18                               H. B. Paksoy 
invulnerability,  however,  is  not  attributed   to  their

Fazil's variant  describes the  education of the  children,

which  is lacking  in  other variants:  "When the  children

reach the age of  three, their fathers send them  to school

[mekteb] to learn  to read and write.  When  they reach the

age  of  seven  and  have already  become  literate,  their

parents bring them home again;  Hakim studies 'kingship and

military affairs' and Barchin - 'tending the sheep.'"  
Some  variants  include  reports  that  "The   batir  youth

crippled his  own playmates during their  play." (AM, Kazan

Fazil describes Hakim's first  batir feat, performed at age

seven. He draws  the old bow  of his grandfather  Alpinbii,

made from 14-batman copper: "the arrow flies like lightning

and  topples the  summit of  Mount Askar.   For  this feat,

Hakim...  receives the  sobriquet Alpamysh:  'In the  world

there were... 90 batirs, their leader was the batir Rustem,

let there now also be a batir ('alp') Alpamysh.'" The batir

bow  would  reappear  in   later  episodes  of  nearly  all

Among the  variants, there are three  reasons for Baysari's

departure  from Baysun.  According to  Fazil's variant,  in

which  Baybora and  Baysari are  brothers, the  two quarrel

over the payment of the zakat:  
     "Having  learned  from   Alpamysh  that   Muslims 
     according to  the Koran are obligated  to pay the 
     'zakat,'  Baybora  demanded   that  his   younger 
     brother pay the tax [sic] to him. Baysari refused 
     to fulfill this demand,  saying it was unheard of 
     among the Kungrat people and insulted his brother 
     with   words  and   inflicted  on  him   a  cruel 
     mutilation [sic].  After this he decides with his 
     ten  thousand  tribes  [sic-tents]  and  all  the 
     cattle to emigrate  and go to the country  of the 
     Kalmaks, a six month journey from Baysun, through 
     the mountains  of the Altai and  to place himself 
     under  the patronage  of the  Kalmak shah  Taysha 
     [here Taichakhan]."  
It is interesting that this dispute is articulated in terms

of  a discrepancy between  religious obligation and Kungrat

tradition. Furthermore,  this variant  makes it  plain that

Baysari's  departure splits  the  Kungrat and  reduces  the

collective wealth by removing Baysari's ten thousand tribes

(perhaps  a  symbolic  figure)  and their  herds  from  the

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        19

In variants  of Divay  1901, Niyazov and  Khairatdinov, the

argument  between the  two  fathers (who  are not  related)

stems from the oglak tartis competition. Baysari feels that

Baybora wins unjustly.  
Another  motivation for  Baysari's emigration  is the  fact

that  Alpamysh is  the  only son  of  Baybora; in  case  of

Alpamysh's death,  Baysari fears, Barchin must  fall to his

foster brother, the slave Ultan. (AM, Kazan 1899)  
The  depiction  of  the  Kungrats'  arrival  hints  at  the

historic  conflict  between  the  nomads  and  the  settled

populations. Fazil  notes (similar to Divay  1901): "Having

arrived in the country of the Kalmaks, the Kungrats stopped

in the  steppe Chilbir-chol near lake  Ayna-kol. Not having

known  property  ownership  in their  homeland  [sic], they

trampled the sewn land  of their host, using it  as pasture

for their cattle. The Kalmaks complained  to their khan and

[he],  upon  learning  of  the conditions  of  the  matter,

accepted Baysari  and his  kinsmen under his  own patronage

and  gave them the Chilbir  steppe as their  yaylak and the

lake Ayna-kol to water their cattle."  
In the variant of Berdi bahshi (BB), this land is  given by

Taysha as  kalym for Barchin.  Taysha is not,  according to

Berdi bahshi  represented in  the horse race  for Barchin's

In Fazil's variant: 
     "The  Kalmak shah had  90 batir-giants  who lived 
     together in  the caves  in the remote  forest (in 
     the region Tokaistan - the country of the Tugai). 
     'Every  one of  them  carried  armor weighing  90 
     batman, every  one ate  each day 90  sheep, every 
     one received  from the  shah every month  90 gold 
     tumans;'    'every  one  has  40  girl-servants.' 
     Among these batirs the strongest were 7 brothers, 
     the  sons  of  the  evil  and  crafty  old  woman 
     ['mastan-kampir']  Surkhaiil... the  youngest son 
     was Karajan."  
Barchin   evokes   the   love   of    these   batirs   (F).

Surkhaiil-mastan wants  Barchin to  marry her youngest  son

Karajan, but does not succeed: "The smartly dressed Karajan

rides  his horse  in vain  around the  velvety yurt  of the

Surkhaiil's  second son,  Kukamon (Kokemen) tries  to seize

Barchin by force, but "the batir maiden  wrestles with him,

20                               H. B. Paksoy 
squeezes the air out  of him and throws him to the ground."

Finally the eldest son Kokaldash, in order to avoid discord

among the  brothers, suggests to  Baysari that he  give his

daughter either to one of them or to all collectively  as a

"common  wife."      Baysari  and   Barchin  refuse   their

solicitation,  but  the  Kalmak batirs  threaten  to  seize

Barchin  forcibly  if  she  does not  select  one  of them.

"Barchin  requests an  interval of six  months and  sends a

messenger to the Kungrat, to her own promised suitor."  
According to Divay 1901, Niyazov and Khairatdinov, both the

old Kalmak shah Taysha-khan and his head batir  Karajan pay

court to Barchin at the same  time. The two fight but there

are  no other batirs nor  the old woman  character. An evil

old  woman  does  appear,  however,  in  Alpamysh's  second

journey to the Kalmak domains. This latter episode is found

in  Niyazov  and  Khairatdinov,  but  not  in  Divay  1901.

Kokemen-kaska  appears as  the  faithful slave  (N) or  the

vezir (Div 1901) of the Kalmak shah.  
In  these three  variants,  Barchin promises  to marry  the

winner  of a 40-day baiga (horse race).  The other contests

are absent. The wrestling is initiated later by the shah as

an additional test of the victor. 
Two events precede Alpamysh's departure for the land of the

Kalmaks -- the acquisition  of his Chobar and knowledge  of

Barchin and her plight. 
Alpamysh receives his horse from the herder Kultay.  In all

variants  Chobar is homely: "His mane rises above his ears,

he walks evenly,  on all four feet, in  step (gait), on his

tail he carries a whole armful of saksaul, and his forelock

and mane  you do not see,  on them sticks a  whole patch of

tumbleweed thorn." (Div 1901)32 
Alpamysh initially learns about his bride from an old women

who had been offended by him (N, Kh; in AM  and Kazan 1899,

she  is the  mother of  a child  whom Alpamysh  crippled or

killed  in play). Alpamysh  elicits the truth  from the old

woman  "by squeezing her palm in which, by his request, she

brings hot wheat  kernels for him to  taste." This incident

is  absent  in  Divay 1901,  in  which  it  is unclear  how

Alpamysh knows about Barchin.  
In Fazil's  variant, as  in Akkojaev-Maykot and  Kazan 1899

the  acquisition of the horse  is linked to  the journey to

save Barchin:  
     "Learning  about  Barchin's situation,  Alpamysh, 
     prompted by his sister Kaldyrgach and in spite of 
     the  advice of his  father, decides to  go to the 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        21

     country of the Kalmaks.   He goes for a  horse to 
     the  old  man  Kultay  - the  herder,  slave  and 
     servant of Baybora.  Warned by his master, Kultay 
     tries to refuse Alpamysh  and even falls upon him 
     with words and blows, but the angered young batir 
     overcomes the  old herder, forces  Kultay to give 
     him the  ukruk [lasso?] to catch a  horse.  Three 
     times into Alpamysh's lasso falls the same homely 
     Chobar colt. Alpamysh sees in  this an indication 
     of 'fate'  ['takdir'], although he doubts his own 
     choice.   But Baychobar, as  it turns  out, is  a 
     real  tulpar  -- a  winged  batir  horse; on  him 
     Alpamysh,  having  taken his  grandfather's batir 
     bow, heads out on the long road to the country of 
     the Kalmaks." (F)  
In  the  Akkojaev-Maykot  variant,  Alpamysh  learns  about

Barchin's troubles from a letter, which she had written him

on a roadside rock  (a motif, not found in  other versions,

which Zhirmunskii states is very ancient).  
The description of Alpamysh's journey is nearly the same in

all variants  which involve  the rescue of  Barchin. Fazil,

however,  embellishes the  journey  by  including  a  magic

     "On the way Alpamysh  finds lodging for the night 
     in a tomb at the grave of a saint. Here the batir 
     in a  magic dream sees  Barchin who is  coming to 
     him with a goblet  of wine and greets him  with a 
     song. Alpamysh  refuses her love until he defeats 
     his enemies, the oppressor-Kalmaks."  
On  his arrival,  Fazil's Alpamysh  finds shelter  with the

shepherd Kaikubat-Kal, who in  this variant tends the sheep

of Baysari.  Alpamysh inquires of  him about his  uncle and

According to  Akkojaev-Maykot  and Kazan  1899, the  Kalmak

khan  is Karaman and he is a contestant for Barchin's hand.

On his arrival in the land of the Kalmaks, Alpamysh defeats

a  huge Kalmak force and  the shah himself  (who is killed)

and   reasserts  his   own  right  to   his  bride.     The

Akkojaev-Maykot variant  has no specific  "suitor contest."

Karajan and the other Kalmak batirs are absent.  
In  most variants,  however, Karajan  and Alpamysh  meet as

Alpamysh  nears  the  land  of the  Kalmaks.  In  Niyazov's

account of  the meeting  of Karajan  and Alpamysh, the  two

speak in  riddles.   Alpamysh  answers Karajan's  questions

saying  that when he  (Alpamysh) "was eight  years old, his

22                               H. B. Paksoy 
old  camel went away, and after him went the she-camel, and

after them went a  [camel's] calf with copper [ornamented?]

reins, and searched for them everywhere."  
In Fazil's variant Alpamysh refers allegorically to himself

as a falcon [lain]  who is pursuing a wild  duck [suksur], 

which  had flown from  the lake Kok-kamysh;  [he also calls

himself]  a  he-camel  [nar] searching  for  his  she-camel

[maya].  Karajan answers in the same allegorical form: "The

duck which flew away  from you is  now settled at the  lake

Ayna-kl,  90  birds of  prey [gajir]  surround her."   And 

further:   "Your  she-camel  is   grazing  on   the  steppe

Chilbir-Kol, the covering  on her head has 1500  gold coins

[tilla]. I saw 90 batirs threaten her."  
In   variants   of  Pulkan,   Berdi   bahsi,  Divay   1901,

Akkojaev-Maykot  and Niyazov,  Karajan  accepts  Islam  and

befriends  his rival  only after  the two batirs  engage in

physical combat  in  which Alpamysh  defeats Karajan.  This

conflict is absent in  Fazil's variant: "On the  heights of

Murad-Tepe, the Kalmak batir Karajan waits for Alpamysh. He

had seen  Alpamysh  in a  dream,  felt his  excellence  and

decided  to conclude with him a friendly union and become a

All variants  that include Karajan and  Barchin recount how

Karajan  befriends  Alpamysh, takes  him  to  his yurt  and

entertains him.  He acts as  messenger to Barchin,  but she

does not believe Karajan's  sincerity. His rejection of her

feigned  seduction proves  his friendship for  Alpamysh. In

Divay 1901, Barchin makes  a request of Karajan --  that he

have  her parents freed from  a dungeon, in  which they had

been confined by Taysha Khan.  
It is at this point in Fazil's variant that Barchin informs

Karajan  that she  will give  her hand to  whichever suitor

emerges  victorious in  four contests.  To win,  a suitor's

"horse must surpass all  the other horses in the  baiga, he

must  draw the batir bow without breaking it, shoot (with a

rifle [sic!]) a tenga  (a small silver coin) at  a distance

of  1000 paces,  and defeat  his opponents  in  a wrestling

match [kurash].  'The people will not  be offended; whoever

wins will marry me.'"  
In  the variants of Pulkan and Berdi bahsi, there are three

contests --  the 4-day  baiga, wrestling, and  shooting the

bow. Only the first  two are described in detail.  In Berdi

bahsi's variant, the attempt to draw the bow is not made by

the suitors but  by the  bride herself, who  breaks all  90

batirs' bows  except that  belonging to  Alpamysh. Jurabaev

retains only the first two contests.  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        23

Fazil  tells  little  of  the  second  and  third  contests

(drawing the bow and shooting the coin with the rifle). The

descriptions  of  the  baiga  and the  wrestling  occupy  a

central place.    Karajan, however,  emerges as  Alpamysh's

true  friend and  "matchmaker," as  in Divay  1901. Karajan

rides Baychobar in the baiga,  but in Fazil's variant,  his

main rival is his own brother Kokaldash. The Kalmak  batirs

overpower  Karajan,  tie  him   up  and  drive  nails  into

Baychobar's hooves. Here the traitorous son is absent as is

the  batir slumber.  Karajan gets  no supernatural  help in

freeing himself.  Baychobar wins, despite the  nails in his

hooves, by "spreading his wings."  
In  the  variants  of  both Niyazov  and  Divay  1901,  the

description  of the race is also important and the groom of

Taysha-khan, (or of  Kokaldash in Fazil's variant)  notices

Baychobar's wings,  confirming that  this is a  real tulpar

against  whom it is impossible to compete. The groom in all

three variants is blinded for this observation by his angry

In  the baiga of Niyazov,  Khairatdinov and Divay 1901, the

main  competitor  of  Karajan  is   his  son  Dust-Muhammed

(Dosmambet  - Kh, Kallimjan  - N) and it  is he who informs

the Kalmaks that his father is sleeping his seven-day batir

sleep (Div  1901, Kh). During the slumber, the Kalmaks bind

Karajan  and   Baychobar.  In  Divay   1901,  Karajan  gets

supernatural help in  escaping. Finally, Karajan  overtakes

all his rivals, except  his son, whom he kills in  order to

win the race.  
In  these  variants,  the  wrestling   is  not  part  of  a

predetermined set of contests but is started  by the Kalmak

shah on the advice of his advisor, in order not  to give up

Barchin to the "newcomer" batir, who has "only one horse to

his name." (N)   
The  description  of the  wrestling  of  Alpamysh with  the

khan's wrestlers Kaytpas  and Kokjal in the variant  of the

reciter Niyazov is compared by Zhirmunskii to the wrestling

scene in  the "Uzbek" composite  version.  This  scene ends

with general bloodletting, which in the other variants (Kh,

Div  1901)  is  provoked  by the  treacherous  shooting  of

Alpamysh by Kokemen  (with a  rifle in Kh  or arrow in  Div

In  Divay  1901,  the  khan  has  Kokemen  killed  for  his

treachery. Alpamysh  and Barchin return  to their homeland,

Baysari  remains in the land of the Kalmaks. The Divay 1901

variant of the dastan ends here.  
24                               H. B. Paksoy 
In Fazil's rendering of  the final wrestling match, Karajan

defeats  and  kills all  the  opponents  of Alpamysh,  even

several  of his own brothers.  The only one  who remains at

the  end  is Karajan's  eldest  brother  -- Kokaldash,  the

oldest and  strongest of  the Kalmak batirs.  Fazil injects

hyperbolic humor into his description of the batir-giants: 

     "One of  them ate  90  camels in  a day,  another 
     girded  on a  sash  of 50  arm-lengths, one  wore 
     boots sewn from  90 large ox skins,  and a fourth 
     had a cap  made of  60 cubits  of alaci  (striped 
     cotton cloth). 'Koshkulak is a healthy youth, his 
     mustache grew  on all  sides and among  the hairs 
     mice propagated, cats ran after them and, chasing 
     them, caught them only six months later.'"  
In  the end,  it is Alpamysh  who wrestles  with Kokaldash:

"Alpamysh  himself wrestles,  but for  a long time  can not

overcome him, until Barchin with her own jibes, arouses the

manliness and  malice of  her betrothed, threatens  to come

herself  out  into  this  single  combat."  Thus  provoked,

Alpamysh throws Kokaldash up into the sky "like a doll" and

kills him.   
"After this," Fazil tells us: 
     "the  whole  people  recognized Alpamysh  as  the 
     victor.    After  celebrating  the   marriage  to 
     Barchin, he with Karajan  and the majority of the 
     Kungrat return  to their  homeland.  On  the way, 
     Alpamysh and Karajan defeat an attack by a Kalmak 
     force which is sent after them by the Kalmak shah 
     on   the  instigation  of   the  evil  old  woman 
     Surkhaiil.  In the  country of the Kalmaks remain 
     only the family of Baysari who would still not be 
     reconciled with his elder brother."  
In  Pulkan's variant,  Barchin forces  Alpamysh to  solve a

riddle  before   accepting  him  as  her   husband.    This

Zhirmunskii  identifies  as  an  "ancient"  motif   of  the

competition  between the  suitor and  the bride,  the batir

maiden. The  same could probably  be said of  Berdi bahsi's

recounting of  Barchin's breaking  all batirs'  bows except

that of Alpamysh. 
In variants  Kazan  1899 and  Akkojaev-Maykot,  the  second

journey  of Alpamysh to the land of the Kalmaks is provoked

by the  theft  of  Baybora's  cattle,  in  the  absence  of

Alpamysh,  by the Kalmak shah  (here Taishyk: in variant AM

he is in  no way identified with the shah  Karaman, who was

killed  during the first  journey [AM]  by Alpamysh).   The

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        25

angry Baybora sends his son after the herd, threatening him

with a  paternal curse if  he disobeys.  Alpamysh sets  out

alone. Variants JR and VA begin with this event.  
The Niyazov and Khairatdinov  variants include the episodes

of Alpamysh's return  to the  land of the  Kalmaks, but  in

their  variants  he  is  motivated by  the  violence  which

Baysari  suffers at  the hand  of Taysha-khan. He  sets out

alone to help his father-in-law, but forgets to pray to God

and the  holy cihilten. On the  way, an old  man appears to

him in a dream and foretells his punishment -- seven years'

captivity in the land of the Kalmaks.  
Fazil recounts how, after the departure of Alpamysh: 
     "Taysha-khan,  on  the advice  of  the vindictive 
     Surkhaiil,  takes from  Baysari all  his property 
     and makes him  a shepherd.  News  of this reaches 
     the  Kungrat  and  Alpamysh again  sets  out  for 
     Kalmak lands  at the  head of forty  jigit [noble 
     young men with batir-like qualities].  Among them 
     is the husband of Kaldyrgach, Bek-Temir, a bek of 
     the Kungrat lineage Tartuvli (Alpamysh, was a bek 
     of the Kanjigali lineage)."   
In  this variant,  Surkhaiil  lays a  trap:  she leads  the

batirs to a  meeting on the mountain  Murad-tepe with forty

beauties who seduce the alps and make them drunk. While the

jigit are in their slumber "from drunkenness and love," the

forces of the Kalmak shah kill them all except Alpamysh and

burn their  bodies in  a fire.  Alpamysh, sleeping a  batir

slumber,  is invulnerable.  But the  indomitable Surkhaiil,

tells  the  Kalmaks to  dig a  deep  pit (zindan),  tie the

sleeping batir to  the tail of his horse and  drag him into

the pit.  When Alpamysh awakes, he "bitterly weeps over his

fate." (F)  
The  news  of the  death of  the  other batirs  reaches the

Kungrat and Alpamysh, too, is presumed dead. Ultan-taz (taz

-   'baldheaded  mangy'),   here  Baybora's   son  from   a

"slave-captive of the 'Kizilbash'," seizes power among  the

Kungrat.   He makes  Baybora and  his baybiche  (the senior

wife, Alpamysh's mother), his servants. Kaldyrgach he sends

to  the  steppe, to  lake Babir-kol,  to  herd camels.   He

banishes Karajan to the  mountains of the Altai, forbidding

him to  come to Baysun.   Barchin, who gave birth  to a son

Iadgar,  shortly after  Alpamysh's departure,  he does  not

harm: "'Wherever she gets away to, she must remain mine all

the  same.' (F) (By custom  the widow of  the elder brother

passes to the younger,)" explains Zhirmunskii.  
26                               H. B. Paksoy 
According to Kazan 1899, Akkojaev-Maykot, Jusupov-Rahat and

VA, the  Kalmak shah had a  frightening dream foreshadowing

the  destruction of his rule:  he is threatened  by a rabid

he-camel  (bugra).  The  old  woman character  is  an  ugly

sorceress (mystan-kempir), who says  she will save the shah

from his fate but  demands in compensation the hand  of the

khan's  daughter Karakoz-Aim (lit:  'blackeyed beauty') for

her  own wretched and ill son.  The frightened shah agrees.

Then  follows,  as  in  other variants,  the  seduction  of

Alpamysh engineered by the sly  old woman, in which besides

the  40 girls,  the shah's  daughter  herself participates.

The latter, falling in love with the batir,  secretly tries

to warn him, but to no avail.  
Again, the alp's enemies can neither burn him nor wound him

with weapons.  The  formula of invulnerability is repeated.

The old woman has Alpamysh thrown into a deep pit. (Also in

N, Kh)  
A  wild goose,  that had  been wounded  by a  hunter, takes

refuge  in Alpamysh's dungeon and the  batir cures him. The

goose then bears a message  (in BB the goose is  absent and

the messenger is an angel) to the Kungrat. The goose evades

the  hunter and  succeeds in  flying to  the Kungrat  camp,

landing at  the lake  Babir-kol where Kaldyrgach  finds the

letter.   At her request, Karajan travels to the country of

the Kalmaks to save Alpamysh.  
In Khairatdinov's variant, the hunter Shakaman, heedless of

the   advice   of   his   old   mother,   shoots   at   the

goose-messenger, but the  arrow does not find its  mark and

returns  to  hit the  hunter  himself. In  Niyazov's  as in

Fazil's variant, Shakaman is the name of the place.  
Karajan tries  to rescue Alpamysh  at Kaldyrgach's request,

but  fails:  in  the  variant  by  Niyazov,  Karajan  hears

Alpamysh ask: "Has not  my friend Karajan come to  me, (he)

who  became my friend from  fear before my  sword?"  In the

variant  of   Khairatdinov,  Alpamysh  does  not  at  first

recognize his  friend, and  inquires about his  loved ones,

but forgets to asks  about Karajan. Offended, Karajan wants

to go  back, but in  the end says farewell  to Alpamysh and

lowers  a branch to him. Half way up, Alpamysh decides that

his  savior will  boast of  his feat,  cuts the  branch and

again falls into the pit.  
Karajan's [here  Karabay]  attempt to  rescue  Alpamysh  is

found  also  in  variant  VA. Here  Alpamysh  refuses  help

because he fears that accepting it would be "dishonorable."

In Fazil's variant, Alpamysh refuses aid at the last minute

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        27

because he does not wish to be obligated to Karajan for his

salvation: "half  way up, he  tears the  silk wrap  [arkan]

which was  thrown  to  him  and  remains  in  the  dungeon.

Returning  to his homeland,  Karajan tells Kaldyrgach about

his  misfortune and  tells  her to  keep  silent about  his

having found Alpamysh. 'Let them think he's dead.'"  
Also a  trace of what Zhirmunskii calls an "original" trait

is another episode absent from Fazil's variant but included

by  Jurabaev  -- the  return of  Karajan, after  his failed

attempt  to rescue Alpamysh from the  zindan, to become the

vezir  of the usurper Ultan. Alpamysh kills Karajan with an

arrow shot from his batir bow in a final scene.  
Alpamysh  is saved  from  captivity finally  by the  Kalmak

shah's daughter who falls in love with him.  
In Fazil's  variant, the princess' favorite  kid falls into

the pit and is retrieved by the shepherd Kaikubat-kal. This

shepherd was  in love with  his royal  mistress.   Alpamysh

promises to obtain for him the princess when he gets out of

the  zindan and  defeats her  father.   As  kalym, Alpamysh

demands  from the  shepherd  one sheep  each  day. Once  he

consumes  Kaikubat's whole  flock,  he tries  to teach  the

shepherd to steal, but without success.  
Then Alpamysh makes a  'changavuy' (lip harmonica) from the

bones of the sheep he had  eaten and sends Kaikubat to sell

it at the bazaar.  The daughter of the Kalmak shah, hearing

Kaikubat play, sends her own servant girls to invite him to

the palace. They force Kaikubat to take the princess to see

the imprisoned batir and she immediately falls in love with

him.  She orders the digging of an underground passage from

her own palace  to the zindan and begins every  day to call

on her  beloved. Surkhaiil  accidentally learns  about this

and succeeds in informing  Taysha-khan, who, on her advice,

orders that the zindan be filled  up immediately with dirt.

In  order to be saved from certain death, Alpamysh asks the

princess to  bring his  horse. She takes  dried 'isryk'  --

steppe  grass -- to Baychobar.  [in BB she takes Alpamysh's

clothing  which   Zhirmunskii  calls  a   "more  primordial

motif."33]  Baychobar then recalls his master  and  breaks 

out to freedom.  
Baychobar  lets  his  tail  down into  the  pit.  The  tail

miraculously lengthens to 40 'kulach' (Kulach: arm-lengths)

and  thus  he pulls  out his  master  who then  defeats the

Kalmak  forces, kills the  shah and the  evil Surkhaiil. He

puts on the throne  the shepherd Kaikubat to whom  he gives

the  promised  princess. Kaikubat  frees  Baysari (his  own

former  master)   and  with  honors  returns   to  him  his

28                               H. B. Paksoy 
confiscated  property.   In  order that  the Kalmaks  would

listen  to their  Shah-shepherd, Alpamysh, according  to an

agreement with him, gives the appearance that he himself is

submitting to Kaikubat. After  this Alpamysh bids  farewell

and returns to his homeland. 
The variations on this series of events  are few. According

to  VA and  Akkojaev-Maykot,  in which  Barchin is  absent,

Alpamysh places  Kaikubat [here Keikuat] on  the throne and

gives  him  the  first  of  the  40  maid-servants  of  the

princess.  Alpamysh himself  marries  the  Kalmak  princess

Karakoz.    This    characteristic   of    these   versions

distinguishes  them from others in which the hero gives the

princess to the shepherd.  
The marriage of Alpamysh to Karakoz ends the variant VA. In

variant Jusupov-Rahat Alpamysh  becomes lonely for his  own

homeland  and decides  to return  home. This  is told  in a

short conclusion. Again there is no Barchin and, therefore,

no  theme   of  the   "returning  husband."     In  variant

Akkojaev-Maykot the batir forsakes his second wife within a

month after an  ominous dream  urging him to  hurry to  his

home. Karakoz saddles his  horse and, crying, follows after

him. Three  times Alpamysh returns  to his beloved.  At the

end, in the general celebration, Karakoz "is not forgotten"

-- Alpamysh visits her twice a year.  
In the variants of Niyazov and Khairatdinov the shepherd is

named Ashim-kal  and the Kalmak princess,  Arzaim. Alpamysh

promises to  make Ashim-kal the  shah and  for that  reason

Ashim feeds Alpamysh the shah's flock. Then, disguised as a

dervish, the  shepherd goes  begging and finally  steals in

order to feed the batir.   
The princess is  in love with  Alpamysh and, as  elsewhere,

gets  his horse  and  weapon from  her  father by  a  ruse.

Alpamysh is saved by the aid of a silk 'arkan'  (in variant

Kh  it is tied to Baychobar's tail). Vengeance is meted out

to the Kalmaks and the shepherd Ashim-kal becomes  shah and

marries the princess.  
The  return home, in those variants in which it is depicted

in detail,  is always  remarkably similar:  "Returning from

his seven-year imprisonment,  Alpamysh crosses through  the

Alatau  and for the first  time from the  mountain Askar he

again  sees  his native  steppe,  the  summer camp  of  the

Kungrat tribe." (F)  
Caravan leaders, whom  Alpamysh meets on the way,  tell him

[Alpamysh]  about the  changes  that took  place in  Baysun

after  the news came of the alp's supposed death. They told

him of the new master, Ultan-bek. In  anger, Alpamysh kills

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        29

According  to  Zhirmunskii's  "Kazakh composite,"  Alpamysh

returns  to his  homeland in  the dress  of a  divane [i.e.

mendicant  dervish].  The  first  person he  meets  is  his

relative Tortay,  now a  servant to five  slave-herders who

had been made beks. Alpamysh kills the bek-slaves (probably

a variant of the killing of the caravan merchants).  
Baychobar upon  entering his native pasture, "neighs, chews

his bit.  Hearing  his  neighing,  an old  grey  mare,  his

mother, comes running from a horse herd that was grazing in

the  reedy brushwood,  and with  joyful neighs  she circles

around her foal."  
Then, Alpamysh encounters  a young  slave-herder who,  with

tears in his  eyes, tells  the stranger about  the fate  of

Alpamysh  and his  family. Further  on he  sees his  sister

Kaldyrgach, "barefoot and in rags, tending a herd of camels

on the shore of the lake.  An old black camel, who had been

laying down in the pasture for 7 years, now suddenly raises

himself  up and runs straight to his old master. He circles

Alpamysh seven  times. Kaldyrgach goes after  the camel and

thinks  she recognizes  her  brother.  Alpamysh  passes  by

without   identifying   himself.   (These   episodes   with

Kaldyrgach  and the  camel are  not found in  N or  Kh.) In

Zhirmunskii's Kazakh composite, it is Baybora whom Alpamysh

sees driving his herds and calling, " Arai, canim, arai!"  
Finally,  Alpamysh  sees  flocks  of sheep  which  formerly

belonged to  Baybora. There  he meets  the old Kultay,  who

still  weeps over  Alpamysh as  "a beloved  child." In  the

variant Khairatdinov, Kultay together with  Iadgar (Jediger

here) slaughter a sheep in order to feed the unknown guest.

In  the  Kazakh  composite,   two  goats,  once  Alpamysh's

favorite kids, recognize him.  
Alpamysh identifies  himself, but  Kultay does not  believe

him until  Alpamysh  shows him  the  familiar mark  on  his

shoulder -- the sign of the 'five fingers' of Shahimardan. 

Discovering the  impending  wedding  of  Barchin  with  the

usurper  Ultan,  Alpamysh changes  clothes  with  Kultay in

order to remain unrecognized at  the wedding feast: "I want

to  see with  my own  eyes who  are my  friends and  who my

enemies." Kultay  kills a white  she-goat, and   "The batir

cut  out from the white  goat skin for  a beard for himself

and from the hide cut out  a nose with scissors [sic]"  and

became unrecognizable."  
30                               H. B. Paksoy 
In the  Kazan 1899 variant,  Alpamysh sends Kultay  to warn

Iadgar  whom Ultan keeps in chains and wants to use instead

of the goat carcass to play oglak tartis at the wedding!  
Fazil,  Khairatdinov  and  Niyazov  all  mention this  same

incident  on the way to  the wedding: "On  the way Alpamysh

encounters  some  simple women  who  were  hurrying to  the

wedding feast and  took him  for the grey  bearded old  man

Kultay.  He eats their food and unnoticed places in [their]

container 'dry kizyak of  a cow, manure pellets of  a sheep

and  goats.'  The women, upon opening the dishes, curse the

old joker." (F)  
The  description of the wedding  feast in variants of Fazil

and  Sadykov begins  with oglak  tartis in  which Alpamysh,

disguised as Kultay, wins. Unrecognized, the batir sees the

injuries and offenses caused by Ultan to his relatives  and

friends.  His old mother on the side of an irrigation ditch

cleans the  entrails of  sheep slaughtered for  the wedding

banquet. Baybora  carries wineskins with water.   The seven

year old Iadgar endures beatings by Ultan and his servants.

"Barchin all the while refuses to acknowledge the oppressor

Ultan as her suitor, and with her own steadfastness upholds

the taciturn resistance of Alpamysh's family."  
The  scene   with  the  cook  (F,  N,   Kh)  presents  what

Zhirmunskii labels  one of  the very ancient  elements. The

disguised Alpamysh congratulates Ultan, who then sends  him

off to the  kitchen for food. The cook treats  the poor man

crudely and  gives  him  leftovers.  The  angered  Alpamysh

throws the cook into the cauldron.  
The competition of shooting the bow appears in all versions

that include the "return of Alpamysh" theme. The alp breaks

the ordinary bow (he breaks seven in N, 80 in  Kh). He asks

that the old bronze 14-batman bow of Alpamysh be brought to

him.  Barchin orders that the  bow be brought.  It had long

remained  at the  lake  Arpali, now  overgrown with  steppe

grass.  The minions of Ultan  did not have  the strength to

lift it  and it is brought by the batir boy Iadgar (Kh says

with  the  help  of  the cihilten).  Alpamysh,  drawing  it

without difficulty, shoots  off the top of  a distant plane

In  the  evening, the  disguised  Alpamysh  participates in

singing  improvised olan  (wedding verses).  He  sings with

Ultan's  mother.  "The overbearing  old  woman  is a  comic

figure: she  can  not  pronounce  the sound  'r'  and  this

deficiency of her speech is especially funny in the wedding

song with the traditional love refrain: 'yar-yar!' she sang

'yay-yay!'"  Then  Alpamysh  "exchanges lyrical,  heartfelt

lines with the sad bride Barchin. From this he is convinced

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        31

of her fidelity and alludes to his own arrival."  
In the Kazakh composite, Alpamysh meets his old mother, now

blind,  carrying  a  bundle  of  wood  on  her  back.  "She

recognizes 'her  only one,' her 'withered,  unlucky breast'

again  became filled  with milk,  '[her] deafened  and long

blocked  ears' again  were opened, and  'wax poured  out of

them.'" Only  after the singing, the  archery contest takes

place  and Ultan  offers  Kaldyrgach as  the  prize to  the

Many  of the wedding guests had already begun to guess that

under  the mask of Kultay was concealed the returned master

Alpamysh.   Now the real Kultay proclaims to all the people

the  return  of the  ruler.   The  batir together  with his

friends  destroy Ultan and  his followers and  put Ultan to

death by torture.   At this time, Baysari returns  from the

land of the Kalmaks with his family.  
"The poem ends with the unification of the dispersed tribes

of the Kungrat under the leadership of...Alpamysh." (F) 
The Anatolian Variant: "The Tale of Bamsi Beyrek"  
"Bamsi  Beyrek,"   despite   its  title   and  some   other

differences including  its localization  in Asia  Minor, is

clearly a  version of the Alpamysh dastan.34 The  variants 

of Alpamysh and  "Bamsi Beyrek" are  quite similar both  in

the action of each  and in motifs. Both exhibit  the desire

of two equal princes for offspring, the betrothing of their

children "in the cradle,"  joyful festivities greeting  the

newborn, falling into captivity, the fight for freedom, the

false  suitor  to the  alp's  betrothed  -- at  appropriate

places incognito,  bloody armed combat to  secure the final

victory  and  finally  regaining liberty,  celebrated  with

traditional feasts.  Concerning  the similar  motifs,  both

contain  references  to  pre-Islamic  as  well  as  Islamic

V. V.  Bartold published, with a  Russian translation, four

episodes from The Book of  Dede Korkut, including the "Tale

of Bamsi Beyrek," in  the 1890s.35   Bartold  in his  first

translation noted that  "The Oghuz version  of the tale  of

Alpamysh is presented in the 'Story of Bamsi-Beyrek, Son of

Kam-Bori,'  appearing in  the  cycle of  the  Book of  Dede

Korkut..."  Bartold calls the  "Bamsi Beyrek"  story "Bamsi

Beyrek, Son  of Kam Bori," although  Beyrek's father's name

is Bay Bori-Bek (similar to the name of Alpamysh's father).

There is no  Gam Khan in the  story, although in  the first

sentence of  Bartold's translation, he notes  that Gam Khan

(a  possible  variation  of  Kam  Bori)  is the  father  of

32                               H. B. Paksoy 
Bayindir, the  Oghuz "khan of khans."  Bartold called these

"epics"  (Russian: bylina).  He published a  translation of

the full work in 1922.36  
Two manuscript  versions of  Dede Korkut survived  from the

16th century --  a Dresden manuscript made  known to modern

scholarship  in 1815  and  a manuscript  discovered in  the

Vatican  in  1950. The  only  English  translation of  Dede

Korkut was  made by Professor  G. L. Lewis on  the basis of

these two manuscripts. Lewis points out that: 
     "...[T]he  substratum  of  the stories  [of  Dede 
     Korkut] is the struggles  of the Oghuz in Central 
     Asia in the eighth to eleventh centuries  against 
     their  Turkish  cousins  the  Pecheneks  and  the 
     Kipchaks... It is significant that the 'infidels' 
     are  given  Turkish-sounding  names: Kara  Tuken, 
     Boghajuk, and so on....  
     "This  substratum has  been  overlaid  with  more 
     recent  memories of  campaigns in  the Ak-koyunlu 
     period against the Georgians, the  Abkhaz..., and 
     the Greeks of  Trebizond. The Ak-koyunlu  Sultans 
     claimed  descent  from Bayindir  Khan  and  it is 
     likely,  on the face of it, that the Book of Dede 
     Korkut  was composed  under their  patronage. The 
     snag  about  this  is   that  in  the  Ak-koyunlu 
     genealogy  Bayindir's  father  is  named  as  Gok 
     ('Sky') Khan,  son of  the eponymous  Oghuz Khan, 
     whereas  in our book he  is named as  Kam Ghan, a 
     name otherwise unknown. In default  of any better 
     explanation,  I therefore  incline to  the belief 
     that the book was composed before  the Ak-koyunlu 
     rulers had  decided who their ancestors  were. It 
     was in 1403 that they ceased to be tribal  chiefs 
     and became  Sultans, so we may  assume that their 
     official  genealogy  was  formulated round  about 
     that date."37 
In  Lewis' translation, "The Tale of Bamsi Beyrek" is about

12,000  words  long.  Except for  Fazil's  1928  manuscript

(14,000  lines),  all  published  versions  and  many other

variants  of Alpamysh  are shorter  than "Beyrek."  Divay's

1901 variant, for  example, is nearer  to 9,000 words.  The

differences  are partly  due to  a number of  humorous, but

philosophical, passages that "Bamsi Beyrek" contains. These

are of the type associated with another Turkic personality,

Nasreddin Hoca who probably predated the compilation of The

Book  of  Dede  Korkut.  The  insertion  of  this  humorous

material  is  not  a   common  occurrence  in  dastans.  By

definition and tradition, dastans are primarily created for

very solemn purposes, and as  a literary genre reflect  the

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        33

"self identity" of their composers.  
"Bamsi Beyrek" is approximately one third verse, especially

those  portions  in  which  the  individual characters  are

making emphatic  statements. The Divay variant  is, after a

prose  introduction of  about 500  words, almost  wholly in

verse.  Neither  format is  particularly  unusual, however.

Almost everything Radloff reported from South Siberia is in

verse as are the fruits  of the classical Chaghatay (Turki)

period  in  Central Asia.  On  the other  hand,  around the

Caspian  Sea -- the western edge of this cultural domain --

many tales are related in prose.  
The basic plot of "Bamsi Beyrek" is as follows: 
Bay Bore is desirous of a son and prays for one in front of

the teeming  Oghuz. His friend and fellow prince Bay Bijan,

hearing Bay Bore's wish,  prays for a daughter so  that she

may be betrothed to his friend's son in the  cradle. A son,

nicknamed  "Bamsa" is  born  to Bay  Bore.  Banu (or  Lady)

Chichek is born  to Bay Bijan. The offspring  are betrothed

in the cradle.  The boy grows  up, performs "alply"  deeds,

for  which Dede  Korkut gives  him the  name Bamsi  Beyrek.

Bamsi wishes  to  marry Lady  Chichek  and Dede  Korkut  is

commissioned  to negotiate with  her brother Crazy Karchar,

on the issue of kalym. 
Crazy Karchar demands stallions, camels, rams, dogs without

ears or tails and huge fleas  -- 1000 each. He is given the

stallions,  camels,  rams,  dogs  without  ears  or  tails.

Karchar  demands  the huge  fleas.  The  teeming Oghuz  are

puzzled  and dismayed  as to  how to  find and  present the

fleas.  Finally,  Dede  Korkut   undertakes  to  solve  the

problem. The ensuing humorous exchange, constitutes one  of

the primary differences between Divay's Alpamysh and "Bamsi

     "He  (Dede   Korkut)  took  Crazy  Karchar  to  a 
     flea-infested  sheep-fold,  tore the  clothes off 
     him  and pushed him in.  Then he said, 'Take what 
     you want and leave the rest,' and barred the door 
     firmly. The fleas were  starving and they swarmed 
     all over Crazy  Karchar, who shouted  and roared, 
     'Help Dede!  For the love  of God, open  the door 
     and  let me  out!'  'Karchar my  son,' said  Dede 
     Korkut, 'why the uproar?  There are the goods you 
     ordered; I've brought them for you. What's wrong? 
     Why have  you gone all stupid?  Stop the chatter, 
     take the fat ones and leave the thin ones.' 'Dear 
     Dede,' said  Crazy Karchar,  'these  are not  the 
     kind you can sort into ones you like and ones you 
34                               H. B. Paksoy 
     don't. For  God's sake open  the door and  let me 
     out!'  'Afterwards you'll quarrel with us again,' 
     said Dede Korkut,  'just you see.' Crazy  Karchar 
     reared  up to  his  full height  and stamped  and 
     bellowed, 'Help,  dear Dede! Just you  let me out 
     of  this door!'  Dede opened  the door  and Crazy 
     Karchar came  out, stark naked  and swarming with 
     fleas. Dede saw  that he  was at the  end of  his 
     tether and  scared stiff;  his body could  not be 
     seen  for  fleas,  and  his face  and  eyes  were 
     invisible.  He  fell  at Dede  Korkut's  feet and 
     said, 'Save  me, for the  love of  God!' 'Go,  my 
     son,' said  Dede Korkut,  'throw yourself  in the 
     river.' It was  a cold  day, but as  if his  life 
     depended on it Crazy Karchar trotted to the river 
     and  plunged up to his neck in the icy water. The 
     fleas, as fleas will, streamed into the water and 
     left him. 'Dear Dede,'  he said, 'may God not  be 
     pleased with them, neither  the thin ones nor the 
     fat ones.' He put his clothes  on, went home, and 
     saw    to   the    preparation   of    a   lavish 
After  the  wedding, Bamsi  Beyrek  and  39 companions  are

abducted by the infidel. The  entire Oghuz ulus mourns  the

For sixteen years nothing  is heard from Beyrek and  his 39

companions. Finally a group of merchants  happen to stop at

the domain of the infidel holding Beyrek and his companions

captive. From the  merchants, Beyrek learns that  Yaltajuk,

son of Yalanji is preparing to marry his betrothed on false

pretenses. After  securing the  help of the  infidel king's

daughter,  Beyrek  makes  his  escape and  returns  to  his

Close to the kishlak (winter quarters), Beyrek meets people

in  succession  who  are  mourning his  death  and  cursing

Yaltajuk.  In  order better  to  identify  his friends  and

enemies  among  the Oghuz,  Beyrek  decides  to assume  the

identity of a minstrel. In his disguise as a poor wanderer,

Beyrek  joins the  festivities,  participates in  contests,

particularly arrow  shooting. Finally  he makes his  way to

the ladies'  tent where his betrothed is  surrounded by the

women  of the  Oghuz. In  this gathering,  Beyrek exchanges

verses with Lady Chichek, who has no idea who this minstrel

is, on specific events only Beyrek  and Lady Chicheck would

Finally it is  understood that this  crazy minstrel is  the

lost Beyrek. After forgiving Yaltajuk for his crime, Beyrek

sets out with the  rest of the Oghuz following him,  to the

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        35

land  of the infidel where  his 39 companions  are still in

captivity. The ensuing furious battle frees the men  of the

Oghuz, and  marries the  "infidel" princess who  helped him

escape, as  in several  Alpamysh variants. Lady  Chichek is

not  mentioned in  the final  outcome.39 What  follows is 
standard forty days and  forty nights of festivities during

which all eligible young men and girls get married, blessed

by Dede Korkut himself, who also named this tale. 
Comparisons of the "Variants" and "Versions"  
This section  will make a cross-comparison  and analysis of

all  those versions  of Alpamysh  from which  the composite

synopsis  was compiled  and  of "Bamsi  Beyrek." Then,  the

discussion  will  offer  some  conclusions  concerning  the

Alpamysh dastan in its various forms.  
Zhirmunskii has grouped the  various redactions of Alpamysh

into what  he calls "national versions":  Uzbek, Kazakh and

Karakalpak. The  classifications are based on  the place of

collection or,  sometimes, on the perceived  dialect of the

text. This classification  system will be one  topic of the

following discussion.   
The issue  of the  primacy of Fazil  Yoldashoglu's version,

not only  among "Uzbek variants" but  over other "versions"

will also be  explored here.  In view of  the wide  variety

which  the many  variants  of the  dastan encompass,  it is

difficult to see  by what criteria one version  can clearly

be  established as  the "standard"  against which  to judge

others. This  consideration will  end with a  discussion of

the  possible  reasons  for  this elevation  of  the  Fazil

Comparison by Structure and Content 
The wide variation among the Alpamysh versions described in

the above synopsis is striking. Some include only the birth

of Alpamysh,  his early feats, betrothal  to and separation

from Barchin, selection of his Chobar, the first journey to

the  land of the  Kalmaks and  winning his  bride. Pulkan's

"Uzbek" and Divay's 1901 variants encompass only this group

of events.  Among the  "Kazakh variants," these  events are

given    little    attention,    including   variants    of

Akkojaev-Maykot  and   to   an  even   lesser   degree   in

Jusupov-Rahat  and Kissa-i  Alfamysh (Kazan  1899), or  are

absent altogether as in Velikan Alpamysh.  
It  is  not  only  the  Pulkan  ("Uzbek")  and  Divay  1901

("Karakalpak") variants that omit the "Odyssey theme." Both

36                               H. B. Paksoy 
Velikan Alpamysh  and Jusupov (both "Kazakh")  variants are

without Barchin, and thus lack the  "return of the husband"

as well  as  Alpamysh's  son  Iadgar. Beyrek  does  have  a

betrothed,  but extant  manuscripts do  not  indicate their

marriage, and Beyrek has no son. 
Versions which  have the second  journey include Alpamysh's

return  to  the  land  of the  Kalmaks,  his  imprisonment,

subsequent   escape  and,  usually,  return  home.  In  all

"Kazakh" variants, Alpamysh makes his second journey to the

Kalmaks' territory  to retrieve Baybora's stolen cattle. In

those two  of the five "Karakalpak  variants" which include

this journey  (those of reciters Niyazov  and Khairatdinov)

as well  as in  the "Uzbek  variants," Alpamysh returns  to

defend  his father-in-law,  Baysari (or  Saribay) from  the

The ending  of the second  journey also may  vary. Usually,

Alpamysh  returns home  as Barchin  is about  to marry  the

usurper  Ultan-taz,  variously cousin,  half-brother and/or

slave shepherd.   This is  the famed "Odyssey  theme" about

which Zhirmunskii has written  so much. Obviously, in those

variants that omit Barchin, this theme, too, is absent. 
Jusupov-Rahat (JR)  ends with  a lonely Alpamysh  returning

home,    apparently    forsaking    his    Kalmak    bride.

Akkojaev-Maykot sends  Alpamysh home  to Barchin,  but ends

his narration  before the batir  arrives. Velikan Alpamysh,

like "Beyrek," ends with  the marriage of Alpamysh  and his

Kalmak  (or  "infidel")  princess. Only  Kissa-i  Alfamish,

among the "Kazakh" variants,  includes the return home, the

meeting  with  Kultay,  Kaldyrgach, the  wedding  scene and

revenge on  the  usurper. Jurabaev  ("Uzbek") includes  the

killing of Karajan (now Ultan's  vezir) in his finale,  and

Berdi Bahsi and he both omit oglak tartis. 
In the  "Bamsi Beyrek" story,  the initial separation  is a

result of  the departure  (kidnapping) of the  batir rather

than the bride  and ends with the  return of Beyrek  to the

wedding of his  lady to  a usurper, whom  he forgives.  The

second journey is  made in order  to rescue the  companions

taken prisoner with Beyrek in  the first part. Thus similar

events are found but in reverse order to the other Alpamysh

Certainly,  the  Odyssey-like  theme can  be  identified at

once. As Lewis states: 
     "Much ink has been spilled over the puzzle of how 
     the  Homeric tale found its  way into the Book of 
     Dede  Korkut...  [One  can]  imagine  that  Homer 
     borrowed  some themes which  he found circulating 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        37

     orally  round western Asia Minor and which, still 
     circulating  after  two millennia,  were borrowed 
     once  more, this  time  by  the  unknown  Turkish 
     author  of The Book of Dede Korkut in the east of 
     the country."40 
The  origins of  this motif in  Anatolia might  explain, at

least  in part,  the  absence  of  this  theme  from  those

variants of  Alpamysh circulating  on the steppe,  which is

far from Asia Minor,  and the frequency with which  we find

it in the "Uzbek" variants.  
In addition to these structural differences, variants  also

exhibit significant  divergences in presence or  absence of

major  actors and motifs.  The absence  of Barchin  in some

variants  has been noted. In  the variants in  which she is

included, the  degree to which  she exhibits the  traits of

the "batir  maid" varies. In  Fazil's variant, she  is more

"batir-like"  than  Alpamysh,  wrestling  her  suitors  and

pulling the nails out of Baychobar's hooves with her teeth.

Lady Chichek, too,  behaves like a "batir maid"  in testing

Beyrek's skills  in riding  and wrestling against  her own.

Divay's Barchin is  independent and spirited, but  performs

no such feats to rival Alpamysh. Concerning the behavior of

Barchin  in the  variant of  Akkojaev-Maykot, Zhirmunskii's

synopsis is strangely silent. In the end, however, Alpamysh

forsakes his second (Kalmak princess) wife for Barchin.  
Abul  Gazi wrote  in Secere-i  Terakime about  Barchin, the

second of  seven "Batir  Maidens" who was  the daughter  of

Karmysh-Bay   and   the  wife   of   Mamysh-Bek  (sometimes

identified as  Alpamysh).   Barchin's tomb was  believed by

the  population of  the Syr-Darya  region (in  the mid-17th

century)  to be  located near  that river.   It  was called

"Barchinin Kok  Kashane."  Abul Gazi described it as having

"a magnificent dome, decorated with tiles."41  
Karajan  does not  appear  in any  "Kazakh variant"  nor is

there  a  corresponding  personage  in  "Beyrek."   In  all

variants except  that of  Fazil, he  is converted to  Islam

after  his  combat  with  Alpamysh. In  variants  in  which

Karajan  has a  son (the  "Karakalpak variants")  the son's

name varies  and Karajan kills him in the baiga. But in the

"Uzbek variants,"  there is no  son and thus  his treachery

towards  his father  and  the competition  between him  and

Karajan is absent from the baiga.  
Karajan does not sleep his batir slumber in Fazil's "Uzbek"

variant nor in  the "Karakalpak" variant by Niyazov, but is

overpowered by the other batirs  who tie him and Baychobar.

Both Divay 1901 and Khairatdinov ("Karakalpak") include the

38                               H. B. Paksoy 
batir slumber.  
Zhirmunskii  notes  the coincidence  of  names  between the

Alpamysh variants  and "Bamsi  Beyrek." The fathers  of the

batirs  are Baybora/Baybori and  Baybura-bek. He remarks on

the  origins of the names  of the alps:  "The name Alpamysh

(Alpamys)   according   to   information   of   Abul   Gazi

(Mamysh-bek) and the Altai  tale (Alyp-Manash) is explained

as alp-Mamysh, that is as the batir Mamysh; Bamsi, agreeing

with the interpretation of Hadi Zarif42  may be  a phonetic

distortion of the same name -- from alp + Mams(i)."43 
The heroine in "Bamsi Beyrek" is Banu Chichek, not Barchin,

the name  of Banu  Chichek's father is  Baybijan-bek. These

have no parallel in other versions. Also the suitor-usurper

in  the Oghuz version is called Yaltajuk, a name which does

not appear  in other versions. Furthermore, in  the tale of

"Bamsi Beyrek" this usurper  is not a slave or  the brother

of  the alp,  but "friend-betrayer."  He carries  the false

story of the alp's death to get the hand  of the betrothed.

(This   motif  Zhirmunskii   identifies   with  the   Altai

Apparently  there is  also  an Armenian  variant of  "Bamsi

Beyrek,"  recorded  in Kayseri.44  According  to  Rossi,
tale  was  widespread in  the  region of  Bayburd  and many

Armenian families  living in the village  Almyshka (of that

region)  before the  First World  War claimed  descent from

Beyrek and an Armenian princess.45 
Further  comparisons  of  the  variants   of  Alpamysh  are

hindered not  only by  the lack  of genealogy as  mentioned

above,   but  also  because   the  unavailability  of  many

printings  (not  to  mention  original  field  records  and

manuscripts) requires reliance on the composite synopses of

Zhirmunskii. Although they  contain considerable and useful

detail  in  most   instances,  as  synopses   they  reflect

Zhirmunskii's  choices concerning which portions to include

or  exclude. Furthermore,  these synopses  are  not totally

reliable in the details they do include.  
The  few available  printed  variants make  it possible  to

trace some  of these  erroneous omissions  or attributions.

The  following  example  compares  Zhirmunskii's  composite

"Karakalpak" synopsis to Divay 1901.  
Zhirmunskii states  that  in the  Karakalpak variants,  the

children  of  Baybora  and  Baysari  are  born  due to  the

intervention of the cihilten. However, Divay's 1901 variant

actually states that the  two men agree to pray  to saints.

Only  in naming  the  children do  seven kalendars  appear.

When  they  disappear,  they  are  referred  to as  the  40

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        39

In  the   wrestling  scene,  Zhirmunskii  states  that  the

bloodletting is begun by vezir Kokemen's  shooting Alpamysh

with  a rifle.  In Divay's  variant, there  are no  rifles.

Kkemen shoots Alpamysh with a bow and arrow.  
In comparing "Bamsi Beyrek" with Alpamysh, Zhirmunskii uses

whichever version of  Alpamysh best  illustrates his  point

even if that leads to unclear, ambiguous or even misleading

conclusions.   For  example, he  notes that  "Bamsi Beyrek"

exhibits ancient elements as does the Kungrat Alpamysh. His

following paragraphs comparing motifs of "Bamsi Beyrek" and

Alpamysh  refer  sometimes  to one  variant,  sometimes  to

another.  After a  series  of examples  drawn from  Fazil's

variant, he  adds the "friend-usurper" role  of Yaltajuk in

"Bamsi  Beyrek,"   which  has  no  counterpart  in  Fazil's

variant.  It  is,  however,   the  role  Karajan  plays  in

Jurabaev's variant.46  At no time does Zhirmunskii  mention

that he has switched referents.   
Zhirmunskii also spends considerable time on the "romantic"

and marriage motifs, which  are certainly secondary (if not

tertiary)  to  the  main  purpose of  the  dastan.  This is

perhaps self-serving  because it  allows him to  pursue his

analogy with  the Odyssey  and, more serious,  to undermine

the  primary  purpose  of  the  dastan  --  to  recall  the

liberation struggle.  
These considerations lead to larger  issue of Zhirmunskii's

classification system.  First, as noted above, each variant

is categorized by  its place of collection,  rather than by

content.  The flaws with  this method are  obvious from the

above discussion  -- "variants" within  the same  "version"

may be quite different from one another. They may, in fact,

have more in common with  "variants" that are classified as

being  within  another  "version"  category.  For  example,

Pulkan's "Uzbek" variant is much closer in scope to Divay's

1901   (which  Divay  himself   called  "Kirghiz,"  meaning

present-day  Kazakh,  but which  Zhirmunskii  classifies as

"Karakalpak") than either one is to other "variants" of its

"own"  category.  Classification  may  be   convenient  and

useful, but  not when  the categories are  artificial, when

they  obscure relevant  trends  or run  contrary to  actual

similarities  which suggest  more useful  groupings.  It is

also  surprising that material Zhirmunskii himself presents

undermines  his  classification  scheme by  revealing  such

differences among variants. 
A  second question posed at  the outset of  this section is

what makes  the Fazil  version, among the  dozens recorded,

40                               H. B. Paksoy 
many  of  which were  recorded  before  it, the  "classic."

Zhirmunskii  notes at  the outset  that Fazil's  variant is

distinguished  by  "remarkable  completeness  and  artistic

cultivation," suggesting  that it  is more than  the length

which  makes  this  variant so noteworthy.47  However,  the

remainder of his lengthy chapter  using this "variant" as a

basis   of  comparison  reveals   some  inconsistencies  in

Zhirmunskii's own treatment of the Fazil "variant."  
Zhirmunskii  begins  his  1960  monographic   treatment  of

Alpamysh with the declaration  that "The classic variant of

the Uzbek Alpamysh was  recorded from Fazil Iuldashev [sic]

(1873-1953)..."48 In  contrast, he begins the comparison of

the  variants  by  suggesting   that  there  is  little  to

distinguish  other  "Uzbek  variants"  from  Fazil's:  "The

variants  of the Uzbek  Alpamysh do  not concern  the basic

lines of  subject: they are limited only  to separate, more

particular, motifs."  
In  his detailed  treatment of  individual features  of the

"variants" he not only  emphasizes this theme of relatively

minor  differences, but in fact points out incidents in the

narrative,  motifs  and elaborations  that  exist in  other

reciters' "variants" and do not exist in Fazil's. Since the

reader  has  already  been  assured  that  Fazil's  is  the

"classic"  version, the absence  of some significant events

and details is puzzling.  This is especially so in  view of

the  great  length  of  this variant  --  14,000  lines  in

manuscript49 and  what Zhirmunskii and Hadi Zarif call  the

"richness of detail" of the Fazil variant. 
Zhirmunskii's own comments on other reciters' variants cast

a   shadow  on   the  "classic"   status  of   Fazil's.  By

Zhirmunskii's  own  statements,  other  "variants"  contain

elements that  are more "ancient"  (combat between  Karajan

and Alpamysh  before the  conclusion of  their friendship),

"original" (Karajan's  becoming the  vezir  of the  usurper

Ultan),  and  "primordial"  (Tavka-Aim  bringing  Baychobar

Alpamysh's clothing, rather than  steppe grass).   Possibly

there  is another reason  for the "classic"  status of this

one variant.  
Fazil's "variant"  depicts  Karajan's conversion  to  Islam

because of a persuasive  dream, unlike other variants which

include  combat.  In that  combat, Alpamysh  is victorious,

convincing Karajan not only of his rival's "excellence" but

also of the strength  of his faith. Perhaps  this seemingly

greater weight  on the religious element  qualifies Fazil's

version  as "classic."  According  to Hadi  Zarif, however,

Fazil consistently  refused to recite variants  of Alpamysh

which included religious elements and particularly rejected

intervention by  saints or the cihilten.  Fazil argued that

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        41

the need  for such intervention detracted  from the "alply"

qualities of the batir: 
     "What  kind  of hero  is  it  that feels  himself 
     helpless before every difficulty  and in order to 
     overcome them needs  direct divine  intervention? 
     With the  help of saints, even a  weak person can 
     overcome  any obstacle. Such help from above only 
     weakens interest in the hero."50  
Indeed, comparing  Fazil's variant with that  of some other

ozans, notably Berdi bahsi,  whose variant employed several

such divine  interventions, bears this  out. Fazil  rejects

the idea of  saints' aid  to the bound  Karajan during  the

race  (reportedly saying that  if Karajan is  a real batir,

why  should  he need  the  saints' aid to  free himself?)51

Fazil, like some other  ozans, includes the  letter-bearing

goose,  who carries  the  news of  Alpamysh's captivity  to

Kaldyrgach, where Berdi Bahsi places an angel. Thus Fazil's

"variant" is  not consistently religious,  but neither does

it denigrate nor exclude religion. 
Furthermore,   because  of   certain  aspects   of  Fazil's

narrative,  the   characters  seem   to  act  with   almost

undetectable motivations or with none at all. The inspiring

dream  seems  unconvincing  as  sufficient  motivation  for

Karajan's  religious   conversion,   much  less   for   his

friendship and  willingness to endure all  hardships to win

for  Alpamysh his betrothed. This is  especially so in view

of  Karajan's own  earlier entry  into  the contest  to win

Barchin for himself.  
Alpamysh's own  behavior -- in Fazil's  variant as reported

by  Zhirmunskii -- is hardly deserving of the creation of a

dastan or the bestowing of the title batir. (This was noted

by the dastan's 1952 critics, as described in Chapter Two.)

In Fazil's "variant" Alpamysh  goes after Barchin only with

the urging of his  sister. He does not defeat  Karajan, nor

does  he participate in  any of the  contests for Barchin's

hand until Karajan has eliminated all the competition. Then

the  batir steps in at the  end to finish off the exhausted

Kokaldash, and this he does only after Barchin threatens to

enter the fray herself. When imprisoned, he weeps on waking

in the zindan.  He teaches  Kaikubat to steal  in order  to

feed him.52  
Among these  examples of  "unalply" behavior, at  least one

incident,   the   batir's   weeping,   is   known   to   be

uncharacteristic  of Fazil's recitations. According to Hadi

Zarif,   Fazil  not  only  rejected  religious  motifs,  he

especially  disliked  the variant  of  Alpamysh  recited by

42                               H. B. Paksoy 
Pulkan  precisely because in it  the batir  weeps.53 It  is

surprising  therefore to  find this  incident in  a variant

attributed to Fazil. In this regard, two facts must be kept

in mind: first, Zhirmunskii used  Penkovskii's translations

rather than any original manuscript;54  and second, it  has

been  documented  that   Penkovskii  deliberately   altered

Fazil's   version   since    his   [Penkovskii]    earliest

translation. Thus,  it is quite probable  that Penkovskii's

changes are responsible for  these elements in content that

are contrary to  Fazil's own views. One  wonders what other

such "refinements" there may have been.  
Hadi  Zarif, too, calls  the Fazil variant  a "classic" but

not without qualification. Here we encounter one of several

significant passages  by Zarif  that are never  repeated in

later works by Zhirmunskii. In the 1947 work, Zarif couches

the declaration of  Fazil's version's  "classic" status  in

highly cautious language that  restricts and specifies  the

"classic"  qualities: "In richness  of detail,  fullness of

epic  content and high level of artistic mastery -- this is

the  classic text  of  Alpamysh."   But Zarif  follows this

qualified statement by an even more ambiguous one:  
     "However, the epic  breadth, the artistry of  the 
     'trimmings' [otdelki] by itself does  not fulfill 
     the criterion of antiquity of epic tradition:  on 
     the contrary, in a series of cases, wide and full 
     development of  epic  subject, the  abundance  of 
     episodes and  working over  of details  conveys a 
     maturity  [zrelost'] of  this  tradition, of  the 
     long  road from short  epic songs to  the epic of 
     great  scale.  Obviously the  redaction  of Fazil 
     Yoldashev in  many  cases carries  signs of  such 
     stylistic breadth."  
In  the  final  analysis,  one  characteristic  of  Fazil's

variant does indeed  set it  apart from all  others --  the

fact  that it and it alone has been so often translated (by

Penkovskii) into Russian (1943, 1944, 1949 [twice]), and so

widely reprinted (one 1949 translation was  reprinted 1958,

1973, 1982) and  distributed in large numbers. This list of

translations and reprintings is probably not exhaustive. It

was  the Fazil  variant  that was  declared the  definitive

version (1958) in the  wake of the "trial of  Alpamysh" and

the extensive reorganizations of the Oriental Institutes of

the mid-1950s.  This variant  with the weak  and indecisive

batir is thus the most widely circulated. Such is the model

officially sanctioned for Central Asian youth to follow and

for all nationalities to see. 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        43

A dastan  is a  living and changing  monument, recalled  to

duty  by its owners as needs demand. For that reason, it is

more  correct and  more  useful to  see  each "version"  of

Alpamysh  as  a  "freeze-frame"  in  an  on-going,  dynamic

process  rather than  as  ossified  and ancient  "folklore"

containing this or lacking  that "part." Each recitation or

printing can be viewed as a "frame" of the "original film."

It  is for  us to see  the larger, moving  picture of which

each variant is one still photo.  
In order to try to  put together the larger picture, it  is

necessary to take into account the "still photos," that is,

the   variants  themselves,   what  we  know   about  their

collection, and the larger pattern suggested by students of

the  dastan genre such as Hadi Zarif and Zeki Velidi Togan.

The incomplete  information  about the  general  collection

process  and the lack of  a complete genealogy  for any one

variant  remain   a  handicap.  Any   variant,  version  or

genealogy -- conveniently discovered or rediscovered in the

future -- should  be viewed with  all due caution.  Keeping

these conditions in mind, we can proceed with the available

Only three  variants of  Alpamysh are  known  to have  been

collected  and published  before  the 1917  revolution. The

earliest  printed  variants  are those  of  Yusufbek  (1899

Kazan) and  Divay (1901 Tashkent). The  only other distinct

variant collected and  published before the revolution,  to

my  knowledge,  is  Divay's  Velikan  Alpamys  (1916).  The

information concerning the  collection circumstances of the

1901 Divay Alpamysh is the most detailed, as noted above. 
Inan's theory of fragmentation  from "mother dastans" would

seem to be  in agreement with Hamid  Alimjan's remark about

the  dastan being shared by  the Turks in  Central Asia and

with Hadi  Zarif's statement  that Alpamysh dates  from the

time  before the  division of  the  Turkic tribes.  In that

case, the  present-day "variants"  may be fragments  of one

ancient dastan.  Many may be  in the process  (described in

Chapter  One) of  "spinning  off"  from liberation  dastans

(which  remain intact)  to  lyrical songs  and finally,  to

The content of many  extant variants reflect various stages

of  the "spinning  off"  process.  Most published  variants

include the so-called "part  two," often in very elaborated

form  which sometimes  utterly dwarfs  or eliminates  "part

44                               H. B. Paksoy 
The  original liberation  theme is  embodied in  the "first

part." The 1901 Divay variant concerns  the struggles of an

alp, Alpamysh, primarily for the good of his kin and tribe.

This  becomes obvious if we consider that Baysari took with

him a large number of families and thereby split the tribe.

Thus  Alpamysh's   mission  takes   on  the  aspect   of  a

unification, certainty of offspring, and also a  liberation

struggle, of  which his  marriage  to Barchin  is merely  a

symbol.  Indeed, Alpamysh himself states (line 664-5) "When

you  [Baychobar] win  [the  race for  Barchin's hand],  the

future  of the  Kungrats  will be  secure." Certainly  this

declaration takes the whole journey out of the realm of the

merely personal  and  makes it  an  attempt to  ensure  the

unified future of the tribe. 
By  comparison, other  variants which emphasize  "part two"

place  greater weight  on personal  revenge or  on romantic

themes.  Yusufbek's 1899  printing, like  Fazil's  and many

other post-revolutionary variants,  highlight this  "second

part" during which  Alpamysh is saved  from captivity by  a

princess  who loves  him  and whom,  in  some variants,  he

marries.  In many of these variants, the batir returns from

imprisonment and exacts revenge on those who mistreated his

family  during his  long  absence. Although  most of  these

variants  may be said  to uphold values  of family loyalty,

their emphasis on personal as opposed to collective, tribal

sufferings  and needs can be seen as part of the devolution

of liberation dastans into romantic ones.  
The 1899 printing, although its date of publication  is the

earlier, appears  to be  much further along  the "spin-off"

process  than  the 1901  Divay.  Both  seem  to  have  been

collected at approximately the same time, in the mid-1890s,

but  appear  to  be  "frames" of  different  scenes  in the

"motion picture." Divay's 1901 variant is more  immediately

occupied with  liberation and the Yusufbek  1899 ("Kazakh")

shares more with 1939 Fazil ("Uzbek") than with 1901 Divay.

From  this point  of view,  Hadi  Zarif's reference  to the

"maturity" of  the Fazil  version of  Alpamysh may be  seen

from another perspective  (if not as veiled  criticism of a

decadent narrational style). He  seems to be describing the

"spin-off"   process  described  in  Chapter  One.  Fazil's

variant had  already moved quite far from its original form

as a liberation song toward a lyrical dastan stage.  
New Meanings of "Saving" dastans:  
Those  who first  recorded  the variants  of Alpamysh  were

perhaps  also   trying  to  preserve  the   dastan  as  the

liberation  song  it was  originally  intended  to be.  The

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        45

earliest level  in the  process of saving  dastans concerns

collecting available fragments  and fixing them onto  paper

in order to  disseminate them widely. Efforts to  reach and

to  reassemble the original  liberation song from available

variants represents the next  higher level of "saving." The

highest  level  is  the  effort  to  place  the  dastan  in

historical context, to match how the dastan related to  the

lives of  the original  composers and  how  it affects  the

owners at the  time of the study. (These  levels are not to

be  confused  with the  "waves"  of  rescuers discussed  in

Chapter One. The two  do not coincide, i.e. the  "waves" do

not  represent a progress from one level to another in this

Divay, Yusufbek, Gazi Alim, Alimjan, Hadi Zarif, Tura Mirza

were among the men  engaged in saving dastans at  the first

level   --   collection,   transcription  and   large-scale

dissemination. A  number of  these individuals made  use of

existing  manuscripts  as  a   basis  for  their  published

versions. Divay, for example, received his 1901 Alpamysh in

the  form of a  bahshi's manuscript. Other  evidence of the

use   of  manuscripts  before  the  revolution  comes  from

statements by bahshis whose  variants were collected in the

Soviet  era.  Some bahshis  stated  that  they had  learned

Alpamysh  from manuscripts  or  from older  ozans who  were

themselves making use of manuscripts.  
Publication of manuscripts was a part of the first level of

saving and disseminating dastans. The multiple printings of

both  the 1899 and 1901  variants appear to  have been made

with the same goal  in mind. Since  both the 1899 and  1901

printings   (and  their  reprintings)   had  long  been  in

circulation,  these  may  have   been  available  to  other

reciters like Fazil.  
Togan noted  that Yusufbek, who operated  solely within the

first  level, mixed  Islamic elements  into the  dastans he

collected.  Presumably  this  was  true also  of  his  1899

variant of Alpamysh. He added these religious motifs, which

were not part of the original liberation dastan, apparently

to  combat   the  vigorous  efforts   of  Russian  Orthodox

missionaries based  in  Kazan. Other  "saviors,"  including

Divay  and  Fazil, rejected  such  use  of these  religious

elements. Their  own statements suggest their  faith lay in

the power of the dastan's original message.  
Gazi Alim  and Togan personify  the second level  of saving

dastans. In his 1923 introduction, Gazi Alim states that he

had seen both the 1899 Yusufbek and the 1901 Divay variants

of  the  Alpamysh  dastan.  Both,  writes  Gazi  Alim,  are

incomplete and omit  many incidents. He further  criticizes

46                               H. B. Paksoy 
the  reciter  of  the   1899  variant  as  an  "untalented"

individual who  "ruined the structure" of  the dastan. Gazi

Alim  had  intended   to  publish  a  "complete"   variant,

accompanied by explanatory notes. He writes that he did not

have the time to accomplish that task.55  
Gazi Alim's effort constitutes the collecting of  fragments

to  form  a  single,  complete  dastan.  It  is  strikingly

reminiscent of Togan's  observation, cited in  Chapter One:

"In the end,  when a  nation faces a  monumental event,  an

enlightened  poet collects  these  fragmentary  dastans  to

create  the great  national  dastan." It  is probable  that

Togan and  Gazi  Alim spoke  of  this matter.  Gazi  Alim's

action  seems to  express  Togan's thought.  (They were  in

Tashkent at the same time). 
Because of  their efforts and vision, Togan  and Gazi Alim,

as well  as Alimjan and  Hadi Zarif,  must be seen  also as

proponents and practitioners of the third, highest level --

placing  the  dastans  in   their  historical  context  and

articulating  the meaning  of  the dastans  for both  their

creators and present-day owners.  Like Togan and Gazi Alim,

Alimjan and  Hadi  Zarif  emphasized  the  significance  of

dastans as part of their  people's history. Alimjan (in his

1939  Introduction quoted  in Chapter  One) notes  that the

Alpamysh dastan is shared  among various Turkic peoples and

that  it has been part  of their history  for a millennium.

Therefore  it is  no surprise  that "lack  of knowledge  of

Alpamysh was considered a shame."  
The Power of Alpamysh and Its Implications  
That so  many "saviors"  chose the  Alpamysh dastan  as the

object  of their efforts  on all three  levels suggests the

power  of   that  dastan's  message   and  its   continuing

That power is further implied, and confirmed in Zhirmunskii

and  Zarifov,  by  the use  of  the  Alpamysh  dastan as  a

propaganda tool during World War II. At that time, a number

of  Alpamysh variants (at least  ten) appeared in print. In

view  of  severe  war-time  shortages,  the  allocation  of

precious  resources to  publish "folklore"  -- in  original

dialects and  Russian translation,  in  Moscow and  Central

Asian  cities --  is indeed  a reflection  of its  power to

mobilize its owners. Even  then, it was not the  1901 Divay

variant that  was the  focus of attention  and re-printing.

Instead,  Fazil's variant  and others  which contained  the

"return  of  the  husband"   theme  (no  doubt  striking  a

sensitive war-time chord) were published and  translated.56

The 1901 Divay variant appears not to have been republished

after Divay's death.  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        47

The   dastan's   denigration    during   Soviet    post-war

reconstruction   suggests   that  such   stirring,  martial

"liberation songs"  -- even  in the  lyrical form, such  as

Fazil's -- were no longer  required. Indeed, they might now

be  dangerous -- with the removal of the German threat, the

"alien"  might  be  understood  to be  the  Russian  "elder

Finally, the current emphasis on "variants" may reflect the

regional  pride of  their editors  and the  manipulation of

such feelings  by official circles. Despite  the relatively

late collection of the Uzbek versions of Alpamysh, both the

longest  manuscript and  the earliest  monographic work  on

dastans  were produced in  the Uzbek SSR  by native Central

Asians.  Feelings of  local  pride exude  from Gazi  Alim's

statement that  he wanted to collect  Alpamysh from "Uzbek"

bahshis,  after his  criticism  of the  Yusufbek and  Divay

versions. At the  same time, the  Kazakh authors have  been

tracing  their  studies  of  Alpamysh  to  Divay's efforts.

Divay's collections  took place before the  printing of the

1899  variant and  therefore  represent  earlier  scholarly

efforts than those of the Uzbek Academy. Mirzaev, Gabdullin

and  Sydykov  also  engage  in  this  type   of  effort  of

establishing "their"  variants  of Alpamysh  --  Uzbek  and

Kazakh, respectively -- as the earliest.  
Officially proclaiming this "Uzbek variant" of Fazil as the

"classic" may  be part of  another policy  by the  official

circles, attempting to  incite not so friendly  competition

among the Central Asian populations. The differentiation of

versions contravenes the original message and intent of the

dastan.  Such  differentiation   implies  separateness   of

peoples,  as  Mirzaev  argues,  and each  "nation"  may  be

incited to strive  for the  supremacy -- or  primacy --  of

"its own"  version. On the  other hand, Central  Asians are

beginning  to  display  signs  indicating   that  they  are

becoming aware of this perspective.  
The appearance, in  the 1970s and  1980s, of various  works

such  as  Singan  Kilic  by  Tolongon  Kasimbekov  (Frunze,

Kirghiz  SSR,   1971);  "Baku  1501"  by   Azize  Jaferzade

(Azerbaijan,  Nos. 7  and 8, 1982);  "Altin Orda"  by Ilyas

Esenberlin  (Culduz,  Alma-Ata, Nos.  7  and  8, 1982)  and

"Olmez   Kayalar"  by  Mamadali   Mahmudov  (Sark  Yildizi,

Tashkent,  Nos.  9 and  10,  1982) attest  to  the authors'

awareness of unspoken policies. But they also demonstrate a

recognition of  other issues. These  literary works reflect

knowledge  of the  dastans  and an  understanding of  their

intent and  power. All these works  of "historical fiction"

employ the format and messages  of a dastan, often  quoting

48                               H. B. Paksoy 
from  older and  more  ancient dastans  when not  borrowing

themes liberally. 57 
Mahmudov's work and those of his contemporaries is not only

part of  the "saving"  process of dastans,  individually or

collectively.  Rather, it  embodies the  tradition and  the

message  of  the  dastans  themselves.   This  contemporary

"fiction"  in fact  constitutes new  dastans in  the proper

Central Asian tradition, written in a new guise. 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Four                        49


1. Mirzaev, Uzbek variantlari, 151-160. 
2.  V.  M.  Zhirmunskii,  Skazanie ob  Alpamyshe  i 
bogatyrskaia skazka,  (Moscow: Izd. Vostochnaia 
literatura, 1960) Publication of the Academy of Sciences of
USSR  the Gorkii Institute of World Literature and the
Oriental Institute. 
3.   Zhirmunskii,  Skazanie,   35  and   note  13.   "A. 
Divaev. 'Etnograficheskie materialy VII,' (in Sbornik...
vol  IX. Taskent 1901   and   separately);   Second   
edition   in   the   series Kirgiz-Kazakhskii bogatyrskii
epos, v. VI Tashkent 1922  (without translation)." 
4. See Kazakhskaia narodnaia  poeziia (Iz obraztsov,
sobrannykh i zapisannykh A.  A. Divaevym)  (Alma-Ata,
1964),  182.  This is  a publication  of the  Academy of 
Sciences of  the Kazakh  SSR, M. Auezov  Institute  of
literature  and  art.  Another version  was collected from
Irkembek Akhenbek, a "Kazakh of the  Chimkent uezd of the
Nogaikurinsk volost"   and published in Russian  under the 
title  "Velikan Alpamysh" (The Giant Alpamysh), in
Turkestanskaia vedomost', 1916, No. 217-218. 
5. Chadwick and Zhirmunskii, 292. 
6. Kazakhskaia narodnaia poeziia cited in note 1, this
7. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 69-70. 
8.  Uzbek  variantlari, 29-30.  On the  other  hand, as 
noted in Chapter  One,  this  is   in  contradiction  to 
Zhirmunskii  and Zarifov's writings. 
9.  This view is  presented in  English in  Nora K. 
Chadwick and Victor Zhirmunsky, Oral Epics  of Central Asia
(Cambridge, 1969), 293. 
10. Zhirmunskii, 15; repeated from Zhirmunskii and Zarifov,
11. See Chapter One. 
12. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 15. 
13. Mirzaev, Uzbek Variantlari, 10. 
14. According to Mirzaev, 4, 108, the variant of Berdi
Bahshi was recorded in 1926 by Abdulla Alaviy. 
50                           H. B. Paksoy 
15. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, On Fazil's variant 16-23, 23-24
on the bahsis,  24-30  on  variations   of  other  bahsis 
listed  here; additional information on the  bahsis in
Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, Chapter 1. 
16. Zhirmunskii,  Skazanie, 40-45;  shorter but  similar
comments are found  in Zhirmunskii and Zarifov,  66-67,
102.  In  the 1947 work the  story is  not  tortuously
retold,  but differences  are simply pointed out. 
17. Zhirmunskii notes, Skazanie, 40, note 18, that he is
indebted for information on this repository to
corresponding member  N. A. Smirnova and  'nauchnyi 
sotrudnik' ('scientific  assistant')  T. Sydykov. The
wording of  this statement suggests that Zhirmunskii 
did not actually see these manuscripts. 
18. A.  S. Orlov, Kazakhskii geroicheskii  epos, (Moscow:
Academy of Sciences, 1945) cited in Skazanie, 41, note 20. 
19. Togan, Turkistan, 492, 493. 
20. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 40, note 21. 
21. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 35-39. 
22. Published in  Latin orthography as  Alpamys in Moscow, 
1937, with second edition Tashkent 1941, cited in
Zhirmunskii, 36. 
23.  Zhirmunskii, 36, does not  give the date  of
collection, but cites the publication of this work as
Alpamys (Nukus, 1957). 
24.  Narod  means a  people,  equivalent  of  halk;  in 
Russian, narodnyi  may mean  'folk' or  'national,'
depending  on context. Here it is contrasted  to the term
'natsional'nyi'  and so it  is rendered as 'folk.' However,
elsewhere in this passage, the  term 'national' is more in
keeping with the sense of the passage. 
25.  USSR  Academy of  Sciences,  Department  of
Literatures  and Languages,  V.  M. Zhirmunskii: 
sravnitel'noe literaturovedenie, vostok  i zapad 
(Leningrad, 1979).  (Part of  the series  "V. M. 
Zhirmunskii; izbrannye trudy."). 
26. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 61-68. 
27. See Chapter Two. This is true primarily of Section 2,
Chapter 2 (The  chapters of Section 2,  of which there are 
three, are by Zhirmunskii) on "Epic  Songs." The final 
chapter on "Singers  of Epics,"  actually  contains  
comparatively  little  material  on Central  Asians ozans. 
What there is seems heavily based on Hadi 
Zarif's work. 
28. Zhirmunskii, 16-23; Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 61-65. 
ALPAMYSH:                   Chapter Four            51 
29.  Zhirmunskii's  note 29  cites his  own Vvedenie  v
izuchenie Manas (Frunze, 1948), 20. 
30. Translated from Text of Kazan 1899. 
31. Zhirmunskii,  "Literaturnye otnosheniia Vostoka  i
Zapada kak problema sravnitel'nogo literaturovedeniia,"
(Literary  relations of East and West as a problem of
comparative  literature," in the Trudy iubileinoi  nauchnoi
sessii (Works of  the jubilee academic session) of the
Leningrad  State University, Section of Folkloric 
Sciences (Leningrad, 1946). 
32. This  translation from Zhirmunskii, Skazanie,  36-37,
also in Chapter Two. 
33. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 29. 
34. For a  comparison of  Alpamysh and  Bamsi Beyrek,  see
H.  B. Paksoy, "Alpamis ve Bamsi Beyrek: Iki Ad, Bir
Destan," Turk Dili, Sayi  403, Temmuz, 1985. This  paper
was rendered  into Kazakh by Fadil Aliev and published 
under the original author's signature, in  its entirety 
(but without  footnotes), in  the  weekly Kazak 
Edebiyati, No. 41 (Alma-Ata, 10 October 1986). 
35.  These  were  published  in  Zapiski  Vostochnogo 
otdeleniia Russkogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva,
(ZVORAO) vols. VIII, XI, XII, XV, 1893-1903; they were
apparently republished  (presumably from these issues  of
the  ZVORAO) by the  Azerbaijan Academy  of Sciences as a 
single work  under the title  Dede Korkut,  (Baku, 1950),
cited in Zhirmunskii, 64, note 1. 
36.  Zhirmunskii,  Skazanie,  63.  More  detail  about 
Bartold's publishing history of Dede Korkut is provided  in
Zhirmunskii and A. N. Kononov's "From the Compilers" note
in a 1962 republication of Bartold's translation of Dede
Korkut: Kniga moego Deda Korkuta (Moscow: Academy of
Sciences of USSR, 1962). 
37. Lewis, 18, 19. 
38. Lewis, 68. 
 Lewis,  in his  commentary,  refers to  the "tiresome 
question" about  Lady  Chichek's  whereabouts.  He argues 
that  since  the manuscripts  from  which   he  made  his 
translation   represent fragments, it  is not  possible to 
determine this  matter. Since Beyrek had been  betrothed to

her, however, it  must be  assumed that he did marry her. 
40. Lewis, 15-16. 
52                                H. B. Paksoy 
41. Abul  Gazi, Rodoslovnaia Turkmen, 78  (Zhirmunskii, 83,
cites here the Russian translation of Secere-i Terakime. 
42.  Zhirmunskii  and  Zarifov,  Uzbekskii  narodnyi
geroicheskii epos, 74. 
43. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 71, refers to Zhirmunskii and
Zarifov, 74. 
44. N. Macler, Contes legendes  et epopee populaire de
l'Armenie, (Paris, 1928) and E. Rossi, Kitab-i  Dede Qorqut
(Vatican, 1952), 58; cited in Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 76,
note 31. 
45. Rossi, 58, cited in Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 77. 
46. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 70-71. 
47. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 15. 
48. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 15. 
49.  Zhirmunskii  and  Zarifov,   68;  repeated  in 
Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 15. 
50. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 41. 
51. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 41. 
52. Zhirmunskii, Skazanie, 18-21. 
53. Zhirmunskii and Zarifov, 41. 
54. There is no evidence in his narratives, commentaries or
notes that Zhirmunskii knew any Turkic dialect. All  his
references are to Russian translations  of Alpamysh  and,
in works  such as  the 1962  republication  of  Bartold's
translation  of  Dede  Korkut, Zhirmunskii  states  that 
items  "were  checked"  against  other manuscripts and 
indicates that his own  contribution was limited to 
compilation. His  biography  similarly does  not reflect 
any knowledge of Turkish (to conduct the applicable
55. Gazi Alim, "Alpamysh Dastanina  Mukaddime" in Bilim
Ocagi, No 2-3, Tashkent, 1923. 
56. See the items 19 through 29 in the bibliography. 
57. See H. B. Paksoy, "Central Asia's New Dastans." 

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