- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
165

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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SHAMYL
165
with his friends in Daghestan. He hoped for a
favourable opportunity to strike a blow with
Russian help at Shamyl with his accustomed daring.
Meanwhile Shamyl was holding his family prisoners,
and threatening to dishonour the women and kili
or put out the eyes of his beloved son Yusuf. They
had first to be set free by an exchange of prisoners
before he could do anything. But at last, wearied
of waiting for the Russian promises to be fulfilled,
and tormented by inaction and anxiety for his
family, he fled in April 1852 with his five com
panions to get back once more to his mountains.
Before they could get through the Russian lines
they were surrounded by a great number of pur
suers; a fight of one against a hundred was hopeless,
but they had no thought of surrendering ; they
only entrenched themselves, intoned their death
song, and fired. As long as they had cartridges they
kept the foe at bay. Hadji Murad was hit by a
bullet, put a wad in the wound and went on firing ;
then he was mortally wounded, but still kept up a
fire. He then crept out, stood on his feet, and rushed
on them with his kindjal (dagger) , till he fell pierced
by several bullets.
Hotly thou camest, O death-bearing ball that I spurned,
For thou wast my slave.
And thou, black earth, that my battle steed trampled and
churned,
Wilt cover my grave.
Cold art thou, O Death, yet I was thy Lord and Master.
My body sinks fast to earth; my soul to Heaven flies faster. 1
1 From a Chechen death-song; English translation by J. F.
Baddeley, op. eit., p. 489.

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