- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
115

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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TO DAGHESTAN
115
between his religious hatred for the unbelieving
Russian oppressors on the one hand, and on the other
his duty ofblood revenge and his hatred for Shamyl,
who held his family in his power, and was threaten
ing to kili them. They also had here a beautifully
illustrated edition ofTolstoi’s book on Hadji Murad.
As wc went through these rooms, where Shamyl’s
earnest, brooding countenance spoke to us from the
walls, and as the eye wandered through the windows
away over the house-tops and plain spread under the
burning sun towards those blue mountains that
once were the free home of these peoples—our
thoughts went back to their shifting history, and
to this ruthlessly strong man, this prophet and
warrior-leader, who for twenty-five years kept them
under his more than human power in an unbroken,
relentless struggle against the Russian armies,
which, ever growing, attacked him from every side,
until, betrayed and forsaken, he was still holding
out with a few faithful foliowers on the top of Mount
Gunib, but in the end had to surrender (1859).
From times of old the life of these mountain
tribes has been one of fighting, feuds, and robbery.
They know how to fight, but find it hard to sur
render, as the Russians learned nearly every time
they tried to take their a-ul.
When in 1832 the Russians stormed the Chechen
a-ul of Ghermentshuk, there were in the end only
three houses still untaken, where a number of
Chechens were putting up an embittered resistance
and would not yield. At length the Russians
managed to set fire to the houses; and their com

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