- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
141

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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SHAMYL
141
spiritual and temporal, he wrote his laws after his
own will and could alter the precepts of Sharshat
as he chose. His words and promises were therefore
not always to be trusted; and towards prisoners of
war his behaviour was often cruel and showed
scant nobility.
Always, even in the greatest danger, he was fully
master of himself, and he passed the cruellest
sentences of punishment and death as calmly as
he praised and rewarded meritorious deeds. But
this stem man had also his milder side; he was a
tender son, husband, and father, and could show
a touching love for children, and delight in being
with them.
Although the Russians once more thought they
had wholly broken down the mountaineers’ resist
ance, this new leader was to hold his own against
mighty Russia for twenty-five years. With his com
paratively few followers he defeated the Russians
time after time; and each time they thought they
at last had him in their grasp, he slipped through
their hands mysteriously, and attacked them soon
again from another side. It was as though he were
in league with supernatural powers.
When he became leader the position seemed
almost hopeless. After Hamzad-Beg’s murder of the
Khans and his own death, most of Avaria, as was
said above, fell away, led on by Hadji Murad.
Many other tribes did the same; but as if by a
miracle Shamyl succeeded in putting life into
Muridism again, and gathering the people around
him. He marched against Khunsakh, but was

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