- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
202

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
202
There, above, are the sheep-folds ; who drove the sheep
away? Why are they empty? There, below, is the stable;
Who drove the horses off? Where are they now? Lo, on the
house-tops, the widows ! Who killed their husbands and made
them such? Orphans I see around me. Who slew their sires
and orphaned them? None can count the number of those
who have died by my hands in the fields, in the forest. I have
slaughtered no less than three-score men of your tribe.
These are deeds, O Noutsal, worthy of farne ; but to take a
man by fraud and kili him—what shall wc say of that?
"While Khotchbar played and sang, the two little
sons of the Khan came round and sat at his feet.
Snatching them up suddenly, one in each hand,
the hero leapt into the flames.
Why shriek, ye Noutsal cubs? Do not / burn with you?
Why squeal, ye piglings? Did not / too love the light?
Alas ! for my gallant bay, that trampled so oft the heels
of the flying Avårs. Alas ! for my pointed lance, that
pierced full oft the breasts of the NoutsaPs henchmen.
Weep not, mother mine—not vainly your darling dies.
Let not my sisters greet—I perish gloriously.
"There was scraping of viols and beating of drums
from morn till noon; Khotchbar of Ghedatl was
tåken.
"There was wreeping and wailing when noon
was past; the Avar princes had perished in the
flames."
What impassive witnesses, indeed, have not these
mountains been of adventures, fighting, toil,
robbery, self-sacrifice, love, sorrow, and always
and again toil ! All of us are striving ; wc fight,
live, suffer—and a hundred years hence? The
mountains are there, they are the same; but what

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