- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
153

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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SHAMYL
153
An episode from this time gives a remarkable
insight into ShamyPs character and his methods
with his people. During the fighting in Daghestan
he had not been able properly to defend Chechnia,
and the Chechens on the lower slopes of the
mountains and the plains to the north had sufTered
more than usually from the destruction wrought by
the Russian invasion. In despair they sent four
messengers to Shamyl at Dargo, begging either for
adequate protection or for leave to make peace
with the Russians. As the messengers, fearing for
their lives, did not dåre to go to the fanatical imam
himself, by using intermediaries and making large
gifts of money they prevailed on his old mother to
speak on their behalf with her son, who greatly
loved her ; but he could not grant her request. He
saw at once that to kili the messengers, send them
back blinded, cut off their hands, or inflict some
other mutilation (which would have been most like
him) would entail incalculable consequences. He
therefore made known the request of the Chechens,
and announced that he was going to fast and pray in
retirement until the Prophet himself should declare
his will to him. He shut himself up within the
mosque, while the Murids and inhabitants of
Dargo gathered around it by his orders to join their
prayers with his.
For three days and nights the door of the mosque
stayed shut; the crowd without were worn from
fasting and praying, and were wrorked up through
the long wait into a state of religious fever. Then
slowly the door opened and Shamyl was standing

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