Manas Epic

Manschi must have clean souls, and the laws of God and the face of the prophet in their hearts. Manas will punish you if you tell his tale with a dirty soul. Manaschi explain their profession as an inspiration of heaven in a dream.

Folklore was main vehicle for wisdom, ideals, history, knowledge, religion, ethics, medicine, customs, details of everyday life from time written language was lost until 1917.

3 parts: 1) Manas, 2) Semetei (son of Manas), 3) Seitek

3 parts total 500,503 lines, twice length of next-longest epic (Iliad-15,693 lines, Odyssey- 12,110 lines, Makhabkharata- 100,000 double-lines)

65 known written variants, kept in Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences (33 variants of part 1). First written variant recorded by Chokan Valikhanov in 1856 (part 1 only).

V.V. Radlov was first to record all 3 parts in 1860s. Radlov published his variant in Kyrgyz language with Russian transcription in St. Petersburg in 1885. He also translated Manas into German.

Dates to before early 16th c, the date of a Tajik text which uses episodes of Manas to praise someone. This means even at this date, Manas was already well-known and widespread.

According to tradition, Toktogul (~1500 AD) created the epic Manas from the funeral lamentations of Yrchy Uul, a companion of Manas.

Themes: patriotism, dreams of bright future, good defeats evil not by strength or superior intellect but by goodness, by belief in the justice and integrity of their cause, and by reliance on the peopleís support, barrenness and long-awaited children (Manas, Almambet, Semetei).

Epithets: white-hatted Kyrgyz, Menacing Kongurbai, Wide-Booted Kongurbai, Smart Kanykei, Sad-Eyed Almambet, Gold-Braided Almambet; Lion Manas, your knight; Starry-eyed Manas; Gray-bearded Bakai.

Other Literary features: rhyme, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, narratorís occasional comments, use of second person (e.g. ďyour uncle BakaiĒ) to make audience feel involved in story, brief review of events in previous section at beginning of each section.

Mixture of pagan and Islamic worldviews, e.g. prayer to the one supreme God and prayer to ancestor-spirits for help in battle; amulets worn by horses and soldiers.

Main characters: outward appearance mirrors inner character

1. Manas- fearless, patriotic, strong, heroic, leader in battle, generous, honest, simple, just

2. Almambet (abbr. Alma)- knowledgeable, strong, heroic, longs for homeland, just, honest

3. Chubak- skilled soldier, honest, hot-tempered, simple-minded

4. Bakai- clever, sage, advisor and teacher to Manas

5. Kanykei- clever wife, skilled sewer, ideal wife (even enemies praise her), generous, hospitable

6. Kongurbai- Chinese khan equal to Manas in strength and intelligence but morally lower, main enemy, shrewd

Other plot variants:

(Sagimbai Orosbakov) Genealogy; Jakyp banished to Altai; Son born to Jakyp in his old age; Manas as disobedient child; Manas defeats Altai Kamyks and giant Nezkara; Kyrgyz decide to unite and make Manas ruler; Kyrgyz wander to Ala-Too; Shooru-khan attacks and is defeated; Shoor-khan gives daughter to Manas to make peace; Chinese hero Almambet comes to Manas; Manas marries Kanikei; Manas defeats Kongurbai; Manas decides to go to Mecca because he has no son; Kanikei becomes pregnant but Manas goes to Mecca anyway against the advice of his relatives, especially Bakai; Enemies attack while Manas is gone; Manas returns in midst of war and defeats enemies, but is wounded and dies on the battlefield; Burial

(Sayakbai Karalaev) Geneology; Jakyp banished to Altai; Jakyp becomes rich; Esen-khanís prophets fortell birth of Manas, who will ruin them; Esen-khan sends servants for Manas, but they bring back someone else; Esen-khan later hears of Manas and sends 10,000 troops to defeat him but rather Manas defeats him; Wizard give Manas 6 swords from heaven; After defeating Alooke, Kyrgyz make Manas khan; Kalchin-khan Shooruk presents daughter to Manas; Almambet converts, kills his father Asis-khan, leaves China on motherís advice, and goes to Kokcho in Kazakhstan, where he is slandered, goes to Mecca, then Bukhara, where he meets Bakai, who brings him to Manas; Chubak, found in a field as an infant and adopted by Akbalti, has a dream in which he is called to join Manas; Manas captures Kumagik, a hound which can catch any animal if caught and trained as a cub; Manas marries Kanikei as Chubak and Bakai advise; Kongurbai inflicts mortal wound; Kanykei builds mausoleum

Plot (Lipkinís version)

- In the time when many animals could talk, when many horses had wings, the Kyrgyz people arrived in the Altai, forced from their native Turkestan. The khans of Chingizís line decided it would be dangerous to have the 4 sons of Nogoi living together, so they sent the 4 sons, each in different directions, Jakyp (the youngest) to Altai.

- The Kyrgyz prospered, but at age 49 Jakyp still had no child.

- One night he and wife Chiirda have dreams, he of the most beautiful bird in the world, she of giving birth to a lion.

- The dream interpreter says they will have a son.

- Chiirda has son and his first cry drowns out the universe. Jakyp, waiting for news in the mountains, faints when he hears the news from Akbalta, whom he gives 40 best horses from his stock.

- Guests attend the celebration from Industan, Tashkent, Samarkand, Kashgar, Tibet. The guest from Mecca suggests the name Manas. Jakyp suggests: m for sword, n for the people, s for justice, and a for Allah.

- Manas is a spoiled, wild/violent child. He makes fun of pilgrims, fights with soldiers, drinks kumyz in one gulp.

- Jakyp sends him to pasture Oshpurís sheep. Manas is hurt by his parents complaints and works hard to earn a ram for a gift to his parents.

- One day, 9 Tyragut thieves steal horses, but 9yo Manas recovers them and kills their leader. Oshpur tell Manas this was foolish, for they live on the Tyragutís land, who are connected to Chingizís house. Manas says the time has gone to throw off the yoke of Chingiz.

- 1000s of Kyrgyz young women aged in dungeons, 1000s of strong young men and wise old men were forced to work in the gold mines and tea fields of Joloi, hero of Tyrgaut people.

- Joloi hears of failed expedition and laughs. Recalls that in the Book of Changes is written, ďManas will rule the Iron Capital for 6 monthsĒ and gets on horse to find Manas.

- Manas goes hunting. The spirit of the Kyrgyz people appears to him and gives him spear and sword. Joloi approaches and asks ďwho is Manas?Ē Manas pierces his breast with 40 spears, and his sword becomes 40 swords. Joloi retreats and Manas pursues, but spirit says, the time has not yet come for you to fight with him. The 40 swords are your 40 warriors. Where are they? Look around you. Manas appoints Chubak, son of Akbalta, first of them.

- 3rd son Gray-haired Bai (has 2 sons: wise Bakai and Taidak), frustrated by the foolishness of oldest son Orozdu's 10 wild sons, goes to Jakyp. In the Altai, he sees 2 mountains with blades of a mill wheel on the upper mountain, then realizes they are moving: the higher mountain is Joloi, the lower mountain his horse and the blades of a mill wheel is his mustache. Dholoi captures him.

- Joloi arrives at camp with Bai and is greeted with praise: ďmay you be blessed by the 70-headed dragon-like bronze Buddha. Your fame will spread for capturing Manas, of whom is written in the Book of Changes.Ē Then they find out it is not Manas, but an decrepit old warrior. Joloi orders that Bai be buried alive, for there mustnít be even one free Kyrgyz on the face of the earth. They throw him in a hole, but are in such a hurry to defeat Manas that they forget to fill the hole with sand. He escapes.

- The warriors need meat, so one suggests that they will make khan whoever offers his horse to be slaughtered. Chubak objects, and all adults are too selfish to offer their horse; Manas offers his beloved horse. Mindibaya says Svetlosavrasyi is too thin, and offers his own horse. Warriors take oath and kiss swords.

- Joloi approaches Manas (with 80 soldiers) with his 8000 soldiers. They think it is the leading subdivision of a huge Kyrgyz army, and retreat. Manas want to pursue, but Chubak warned him that they were too few; ďthe time of your battle with Joloi is not yet come.Ē They return to the aul and meet Bai. Bai says ď I sat in the hole 24 hours and had time to think. Tyrgauts are ferocious and innumerable, we are weak and divided. They will make our children orphans and our wives widows. We mustnít live as he have hitherto. If we unite, there will 300,000 of us Kyrgyz. We should choose a leader.Ē Everyone wants to be khan, so it seems that one will never be chosen. Finally Chubak suggests Manas, Bai seconds, and all agree.

- Manas asks the wise elders why they donít unite with Eshteka and Koshoya (strong as 1000 men), neighboring Kyrgyz leaders. Jakyp answers: in between them and these Kyrgyz reside the Tyrgaut and the castle of the Iron Arrow, of the house of Chingiz, with his metal-armed soldiers. Also, dragon-headed and dog-headed and one-eyed people and wizards and magicians live there. Dragons serve as guards and wolves as messengers.

- Manas, infuriated, says, ďGive me 1000 men and Iíll set off tomorrow to defeat the Iron Arrow and unify with Koshoi. The elders agree, happy to see him off, expecting him to perish.Ē In many ravines Manas meets men in white kalpaks. He asks who they are. ďWe are Kyrgyz, slaves of the khans of the house of Chingiz. Manas says, ďFrom now on, you are not slaves, but soldiers of Manas. Everywhere were troubles: All year long the armies of the 40 khans roamed among the Kyrgyz, taking the best sheep and most beautiful young girls. His ranks increase to 6000.

- The Tyrgauts surrendered to Manas without a fight, because their leader Joloi, who had run from Manas, had gone to the Iron Capital, to tell the khan of khans about the new Kyrgyz bogatyr.

- They cross the mountains and come to the fortress of the Iron Arrow. Kokcho, son of the leader of the Kazakhs, volunteers to do reconnaissance. His horse jumps the 84m moat. He sees that they have metal daggers in place of right arms. He overhears the guards: the tribes under our power have understood that they cannot free themselves; itís time for us to rest and to feast from morning to night with the Iron Arrow.

- Manas expects victory. He offers to avoid a bloodbath; letís have a one-on-one fight: if the dagger-armed soldier wins, Kyrgyz will go home, if Kyrgyz wins, the enslaved peoples will be freed and the dagger-arms will go in every direction. Manas and Iron Arrow fight. Manas approaches moat, Iron Arrow swings arm, Manas ducks, and Iron Arrow loses balance and falls into moat. Chubak pulls him out with a lasso. He begs Manas for mercy. Manas orders him to be tied up. The dagger-arms run off in the direction of the Iron Capital. There are 15000 Kyrgyz in the fortress, who unite with Manas.

- They travel 9 days to meet Koshoya. There are now 21000 young men and countless elders and children. Crossing the desert, they grumble. Manas says: we are going to unify with Koshoi and become strong. Any young men whose lips have not yet forgotten the taste of motherís milk, who want to return and serve the women and children, let them return to Altai. We are soldiers are would rather die fighting than die in bed. None wish to return; all take vow of loyalty to Kyrgyz people and to Manas. They come to a place where flies are like flying mice, mice are the size of dogs, lizards like 6yo children, and turtles like giant cauldrons. Finally they arrived at the capital of Nezkara, the military leader of the Manju surrounded by ample gardens where nightingales sang 40 melodies and flowers with 40 colors. The palace was guarded by dragons and tigers and the city was teeming with people. Manas left the army to enjoy the gardens while he searched for Koshoi.

- Koshoi, having heard about Manasí defeat of Joloi, returns to his native land. He uses his magical belt that he got in Industan to fly through the army of Manjus. He is 60 (a 60th winter had turned his beard grey). He had the wisdom of the Arabs, the knowledge of the Europeans, the magic of the Indians, and the eloquence of the Persians. His great strength made him wander the earth, where he lamented the fate of the dispersed Kyrgyz. He is greeted by Kyrgyz who recognize him by his pointed lynx hat. Eshtek emerges to greet him. He explains that they tried to leave for the Altai to meet Manas when they heard that Nezkara had left for the Iron Capital. The Manju guessed their intention and trapped them in a ravine.

- Koshoi promises to help. He dons his magic belt. A diamond the size of a pitcher appears on his head, a braid to his heels appears, and a golden breastplate of the 70-headed Buddha, and his face resembled Nezkara. Manju greet False-Nezkara and he orders that Eshtek be allowed to come into the palace. Sanamor, chief of the guards, brings news of Manasí army outside the city and False-Nezkara orders him to go into one-on-one combat with Manas.

- Manas goes to meet Sanamor. Sanamorís eyebrows are like two lying dogs; his shoulders big enough to carry 50 people, and his head was the size of a burial mound. His shoots his 21.3m bow. Manas is almost knocked from the saddle, but the arrow does not penetrate his steel breastplate. Manas takes his turn, and pierces Sanamorís heart.

- False-Nezkara now must fight Manas. Manas chases him through the Manju ranks and tramples 90 soldiers; False-Nezkara chases Manas through the Kyrgyz ranks and tramples 90 soldiers. False-Nezkara reveals himself to Manas as Koshoi and tells him to knock him off his horse so the Manju will think Manas has defeated him. Manju then give up and bring Manas 100 1-humped camels. Great rejoicing when the Kyrgyz see Eshtek and his people and Koshoi takes on his real appearance. 7-day-long feast, then begin trek home, now with 42,000 soldiers. The heroes sing 24hours of praise for every strike of Manasí sword.

- Kyrgyz people come from all directions to join Manas and pledge loyalty to him. Manas orders a census: 90,000 soldiers, 90,000 elderly, and 90,000 women and children. Manas divides army in 9 groups, at the head of each his best warriors: Koshoi, Bakai son of Bai, Chubak, Kokcho son of the Kakakh leader with brave and cunning eyes, and Ajibai.

- Just as the young moon becomes full and round, so the number of Kyrgyz yurts in the Altai gradually increased. After three years (thrice spring made younger the earth) of staying in place, Manas goes on a long hunt with his 40 warriors. After a month without returning, Jakyp left to search for them. He ran into 11 messengers of the Khan of Khans Esen, who asked him to point the way to Manasí yurt in order to take him to the Iron Capital. Jakyp pointed them in the opposite direction, then returned home. He suggests they buy someone elseís son for 100 sheep and give him to the messengers as Manas. Jakypís brother Boi disagrees, since no man would sell his son for any amount of sheep.

- The messengers arrive at the Kyrgyz yurts and just as they are seizing Jakyp, Manas appears on the hilltop and charges. The messengers flee, but Jakyp calls a meeting of the elders. He tells them, ďNo matter how sly the fox is, sooner or later he gets caught,Ē and accordingly, they should leave for Turkestan and seek the protection of its leaders with gifts before the house of Chingiz get revenge. Manas counters, ďThose who fear locusts donít sow breadĒ; likewise, to die in defense of their homeland is better to live as wanderers. Manas argues that they should go to Turkestan, the land of their fathers, for it is fertile and in the middle of the world, while Altai is located on the edge of the earth and its water not so tender. But they must return to Turkestan as victors and not as slaves. Manas proposes to go to war to conquer Turkestan, then return and bring their yurts and families from Altai to Turkestan. The elders agree and Manas set out with his army of 90,000.

- Alooke, the khan of Turkestan, had forced out all opponents using deception, trickery, and sorcery; he submitted only to Esen. With his capital in Andijan, he was nicknamed the ďDragon of Andijan,Ē an accurate name because the gigantic dragons in his menagerie turned up their scaled wings under his gaze. He was enraged by the insubmission of his lions and tigers who roared at him in jealousy. ďBig EyeĒ a famous sorcerer in his court had an unblinking eye covering half his face and held a glass ball in which he could see the happenings for the distance of a 40-day journey in every direction.

- Alooke asks, ďWhat do you see today, Big Eye, on the surface of the earth?Ē and Big Eye replies, ďManas is leading an army of Kyrgyz to Semirechie. When Big Eye looks at Manas, he flinches for the first time in his life and he drops the glass ball, saying that Manasí face is burning and terrible to look upon. For 30 of his 60 years, Alooke had feared Manas, since the time he read in the Book of the Shifts, readable only by sorcerers, that Manas would free the Kyrgyz from the house of Chingiz and rule in the Iron Capital for 6 months, and that Kongurbai of the house of Chingiz would wound him with perfidy. When he read these words, he decided to name his son Kongurbai and seven years later a son was born, who was now 23.

- Alooke decides to take a million soldiers and station them in the Kyrgyz lands in order to attack them when they arrive. One of his close aides asks, ďWhat if Manas comes straight to Andijan?Ē Alooke laughs, and all 400 close aids laugh, except the one who asked the question. Alooke asks if anything else is on his mind. He says Koketei is also on his mind. Alooke asks Big Eye who is Koketei.

- Big Eye explains that Kyrgyz Koketei, is the leader of 30,000 yurts in the Fergan valley, who had forced away the soldiers of Alooke who had come to take the tribute. After many years, the youngest of his 11 daughters gave birth to a son, Bokmorun, whom Kokotei adopted as his own son. Returning from a long hunting trip, Bokmorun told Koketei that he had seen Manasí army. Kotekei sets out with all his people to meet Manas.

- Alooke offers Panus, the khan of Tashkent, in submission to him, all Koketeiís herds if he will defeat them. He announces the war to his soliders, but they protest: We and the Kyrgyz have the same traditions, the same pain, the same enemy; we should fight our common enemy, not them. Panus sets out with 200,000, pretending to march against the Kyrgyz, then to unite when he reaches Koketei.

- Bakai advises Manas to stop for the night to rest for tomorrow there will be a battle. When the awake, they see that the stones around them are really a huge army. Manas orders an attack, but even the 40 heros are afraid. Finally, Sygrak goes forth and the others follow him. It turns out that the stones are really stones which Alooke made look like a giant army using sorcery. A horseman approaches them. It is Bokmorun, who comes with the news that his fatherís army is unable to unite with Manas because Panusís army has come between them and that Alooke has sent out an army of one million, but himself remains in Andijan. Manas says: as an arrow pierces through armor to the heart, so will Kokekeiís name pierce through time to his descendents. Bakai advises to first unite with Koketei, then attack Alooke. Koshoi adds that they should defeat Alooke first, before the army in order to first disarm the advantage of his wizardry. They meet Panusís army and Panus explains his position. Big Eye tells Alooke what has happened.

- Alooke and his 400 close aids flee the capital in order to meet Kongurbai, returning from the Iron Capital, who is destined to mortally wound Manas. Sygrak wounds Aloote and kills Big Eye with his arrows. The unflinching eye grows as big as the sky and blocks Alookeís retreat from view. Manas enters the city and the lions and tigers of Alooteís menagerie, who always roared at Aloote, lie before him unable to bear his gaze.

- The Kyrgyz army idles waiting for the return of Kochko, whom Manas sent to spy out the strength of the enemyís army. When he finally returns, he informs Manas that Alooke is fading but that by his wizardry, useless against Manas, Kokotei will die on the same day he dies. Jakyp advises Manas to force a battle before Kongurbai arrives, but Manas insists on fighting a strong dragon, not a weak one.

A Wife for Manas

- Kokotei advises Jakyp to go search for a wife for Manas (who is already 19 years old, yet still unmarried) to ease his suffering. Jakyp despairs of finding a worthy wife, but Koketei insists that in all Turkestan there must be a worthy girl and Jakyp sets out.

- Jakyp searches many cities including Samarkand and Tashkent but cannot find a suitable girl: some are too garrulous, gloomy, arrogant, not adequately talented, rich, or smart. He arrives in Bukhara, and finds out that there is a school where 40 daughters of nobles study, including 16yo Kanykei, daughter of the khan of Bukhara, Atemir. The inhabitants of Bukhara tell him that she is as perfect as a sweet dream and has no imperfections, except that she refuses all suitors. He goes to the school and sees the girls in a gazebo in the garden outside the school. All are beautiful, but Jakyp doesnít like any, because their beauty is insignificant next to Manasí beauty. There is only one girl he cannot see, whose face is hidden by the book she is reading. She raises her eyes in thought about what she has just read and Jakyp sees that her eyes shine light night stars, like pearls, as beautiful as a sacred verse, as deep as a thought, as penetrating as a spear. Her hair reaches the ground and she is modestly dressed but with gold and sapphires. Her poise/bearing is like a queenís. Her friends ask what she is thinking about. She read about hearts in love and was thinking about her future fiancй. She envisioned a lion with star-like eyes.

- Having heard this, Jakyp is convinced that she was born for his son and sets out for Atemir. The guards rudely tell him to leave, but he announces that he is a khan and has come to take the khanís daughter for his son. The guard tells this to Atemir, who replies, ďIf it is Jakyp, father of Manas, tell him to come back tomorrow; if someone else, kill him.Ē Learning that it is indeed Jakyp, Atemir consults with his advisors. They tell him: It would be terrible to lose the pearl of Turkestan to the Kyrgyz, for whom yurts serve as houses, and mountains as palaces, but it would be yet more terrible to anger Manas; so, they should demand such a high price that Jakyp will leave and not come back. Atemir demands 100,000 head of livestock and Jakyp replies: Your daughter is worth more than 100,000 head of livestock; her worth is equal to that of my son. I agree to give you this price. (Before Manas was born, he was so stingy that even one wooly lamb was hard for him to give up, but after Manas was born, he learned where true wealth is.

- Jakyp returns to his army and gathers the elders. They decide to give 300,000 so that the whole world will know of the wealth of the Kyrgyz. After a week of gathering the livestock, Manas sets out with his 40 heroes, 40 elders, 40 singers, and 10,000 choice young men. Up till then Manas had never looked on girlsí beauty, seeing them as garrulous and interfering in warfare, for which a man was born. He is unenthusiastic, but knows that his marriage would make his people happy, especially Koketei, whose death is soon to come. Atemir-khan, in the palace tower watches for the arrival of the father of the bride. The city is enveloped suddenly in dust. Fearing an earthquake, he finds out that the livestock brought as bride-price have raised the dust. Atemir-khan becomes so preoccupied with trying to control the animals that he forgets about the people. Manas is offended. Manas wants to see his bride. Koketei tells him that the Kyrgyz traditions prohibit it, and Manas answers, setting off to find her, ďMy wish is my tradition.Ē

- The guards, frightened by Manasí face, let him in. He hears the sound of women and enters a room. 40 girls fall unconscious, unable to bear his gaze, and Kanykei angrily rebukes him, ďWho are you, who dare to break our tradition and disturb my peace.Ē He says, ďSurely you must recognize me. I have come for you. I am Manas.Ē She replies, ďIf you want to know, I call my dog Manas. That name gives you no right to break the tradition, to offend a virginís purity.Ē Deeply offended, he grabs her, but she pulls a dagger from the sheath and stabs him above the elbow. He then leaves her and announces to his troops, ďDestroy the palace of the Khan Atemir!Ē Jakyp, Koketei, Bakai, and the other elders try to make him see sense, but can only succeed in persuading him to wait until morning, as night is the enemy of war. The elders set out by night to find out what happened. Atemir-khan calls Kanykei and reproves her, ďDonít you know that every Kyrgyz is passionate, and Manas no less so. Injuring and offending him, you have brought shame on your fatherís gray head.Ē She assures him that she will go to Manasí young men in the morning and his anger will end.

- She takes her 40 friends with her and approaches Manas, throwing off her white head-scarf as a sign of peace. She tells him not to attack Bukhara, for it is not at fault; at fault are his passion and her pride. Therefore, let him take her head for wounding him and her soul for offending him. Manas, seeing her exposed hair, in wonder by her intelligence and beauty proposes that her 40 friends marry his 40 heroes. She agrees, telling them to choose whichever is most congenial to each. After shyness, Aruke chooses Chubak, whose face shows strength and stubbornness. Akydai chooses Syrgaka, whose face shows courage and passion. In embarrassment, he gallops away and she chooses Kokcho instead. In honor of the Kyrgyz, Atemir decides to have the feast not in brick homes, but in yurts. The Bukhara girls cannot set up yurts, except Kanykei, who loves to lives in yurts and has been setting them up since her childhood. Her knack/skill impresses Jakyp. The wedding feast lasts 30 days and nights. On the 31st morning, Manas tells her to go the Altai with 1000 bodyguards, for he must capture the land of his fathers. Only there will her love give him joy. Jakyp suggests that he take her with him to enjoy her love before the battle, but she replies, ďI was not created for the joys of love, for I am the wife of a leader. I will go to the Altai.Ē

- On his deathbed in his tent, Alooke tells Kongurbai, ďYour tutor, the Main Magician wrote me that you have mastered all the deceptions of the world. If you add bravery to your strength and cunning, you will acquire great position, as is written in the ancient book.Ē ďWhen I avenge the Kyrgyz for your wound, when I turn their people into slaves, their children into firewood, their Manas into ashes, then my father, you will find out if I am brave! . . . I swear on the bronze Buddha, what is written will be fulfilled!Ē Alooke dies and that night, as darkness belts the earth, Koketei as well. Koketei, feeling his death approaching, tells his son to ďhave a small, humble ceremony, like the wedding of a widow. Donít kill many animals, for they are more necessary for the living, especially as the battle for the land of our fathers approaches.Ē Just then, the captain of the guard, Urbyu, ran in with the news that Alooke was dead; simultaneously Bokmorun cries out: Koketei is dead as well.

Koketeiís Death Feast

- Manas addressed his troops. The tears are in his voice, not in his eyes. Manas says, ďLet the mourning for him last for a year!Ē but Bokmorun retells Koketeiís last words. Jakyp also agrees, for according to tradition, if they invite guests from the north, south, west, and east, they must also invite their enemies. Undismayed, Manas insists on a huge feast; he is not afraid of the enemies. Bokmorun sends a messenger to invite people of the east and west, announcing games with 61 awards, the highest 9000 camels, 90,000 bulls, and 100,000 sheep and the lowest 9 camels and 90 sheep. ďIf you donít accept this invitation, and come with your army, you will insult Koketei and his son will not forgive such an offense: he will turn you to ashes. People began to arrive from Tashkent, Samarkand, India, Persia, Arabia, and Afghanistan. Even Joloi arrived with the Tyrauts and Nezkara with the Manju. Suddenly the earth shook as Kongurbai arrived with one million soldiers.

- The commemoration of Koketei indeed lasted a year; the guests of many tribes were arranged in a crescent, with a distance of 24 hour gallop between the two crescent tips. First competition: horse race. A woman in her mid-20s participates. Urbyu interrupts Manas, who waits for his anger to cool down the time necessary to cook a cauldron of meat (1.5-2 hours). Racers depart and archery competition begins. 600 tree trunks were lashed into one pole and a gold bar was attached by 42 strings to the top of the pole. The 40 heroes cut 40 ropes, and Manas, the last contestant, cut the last two ropes with his arrow and the gold bar fell to the ground. Manas presented the gold bar to Urbyu and said, ďTake this and letís forget our quarrel.Ē

- Joloi and Koshoi prepare for single dismounted combat contest. Koshoi dons armor made by Konykei. Joloi laughs, seeing an old man. They battle until sunset; Koshoi is growing weak. Manas calls out, ďO great hero Koshoi! After building fame over many years, will you lose it now in a single day? Now show that glutton how strong we Kyrgyz are!Ē He hits Joloi with his heel and wins. The next day is the singing contest: who can praise the yurt with the most melodious and ingenious songs. An old Chinese man, who had never seen a yurt before, sang all day and amazed the crowds. The next day, however, Irchi, a Kyrgyz, sings all day just praising the decorations. He wins. The next dayís contest, mounted combat, for 100 Arabian war horses and 300 mares. Manas and Kongurbai fight for six days.

- Break to hear about Kanykei. The tribe under Bai has gown restless without news of Manas. The young men begin to disobey Bai. After Nogoi dies (aged 120), his 10 sons (ďtroublemakers of OrozduĒ), now aged 30 to 50, caravan to Bai's tribe and commit attrocities: stealing livestock from the poor, provoking the young men, and offending the young women. Bozoula and 41 girls approach Bai and he asks, ďWhere is Manas? Why have you abandoned the army in time of war to lie in yurts, drink kumyz, and make merry with girls?Ē He points to Kanykei, whose beauty almost blinds him, and who explains to him that she is Manasí wife and her 40 friends the wives of his 40 heroes. Bai welcomes them: ďYou will be my daughter, and my peoplesí mother.Ē The young men are amazed to see the khansha reading Arabic books and respectfully keep their distance. The troublemakers, afraid of the 1000 soldiers, take their 30,000 yurts are travel away from them.

- Soon a mass of people appears. It is Kokchokez, son of the late Isena, leading his people to join Manas. The are very dirty from living in the backwoods of the taiga, and many cannot speak Kyrgyz. Baiís people grow nauseated when they see the dirty kumyz; Kokchokezís women are amazed when they see that Kanykei hasnít even one spot of dirt on her clothes. Bai orders their clothes and bedding and plates burned, their nails trimmed, and every shred of hair cut off. Offended, they call Manas an upstart.

- Kokchokez decides that Kanykei is too good for Manas, that he is more worthy; he will make her his wife and Manas his servant and Manasí people (under Bai) the servants of his people, and if Bai objects, he will have to be killed. Kokchokez allies with the 10 troublemakers, promising them wives from among Kanykeiís friends and promising the death of Bai, whom they still resent. They spread the rumor that Manas is dead and his army destroyed. Kokchokez proposes to Kanykei, but she says he is unworthy of the dirt of the hooves of Manasí horse. When Bai also refuses to give Kanykei to him, he orders the 10 troublemakers to kill Bai. They enter his yurt and wait for Bai to finish his speech, since it is necessary to let a man speak his last words before killing him. But Bai speaks very long, ďIf only X were here, he would save me; if only Y were hereÖĒ Earlier that day, Kokchokez had poisoned the 1000 soldiers at a feast he had hosted; Bokoul was out hunting. Returning from the hunt, Bokoul notices the 1000 corpses, and goes to Bai to tell him the horrifying news. Finding the 10 troublemakers in the yurt, he deliberates about what to do, and decides, if Bai says, ďIf only Bokoul were hereÖĒ he will try to rescue him. Bai mentions Bokoul and he charges in and succeeds in rescuing Bai and fleeing to hiding place. Kokchokez becomes khan, but Kanykei and her friends refuse to submit to him. He takes all their possessions (rugs, jewelry, and diamonds) and burns the Arabic books and orders that anyway to helps any of them will be punished by death.

- Every evening, Kanykei climbs the nearby hills and looks south, awaiting Manas and believing in his return. One day, Kanykei sees a cloud moving across the steppe. It is dust raised by Bakaiís troops.

- Bakaiís troops meet up with Bai and Bozoul, then Kanykei approaches them. Bakai says he will not punish the evildoers, but leave the pleasure of revenge for Manas. Bozoul tells the people to pack up and they head south to join Manas in the fatherland.

- Back to Manas: After 6 days of fighting with spears without a victor, Kongurbai suggests they put away the spears and fight with blades, in order that a victor may more quickly emerge. Manas puts down his sword and Kongurbai, thinking the prophesied moment when he would kill Manas by cunning has come, tries to kill Manas with his spear. Koshoi stops him, however, and Manas knocks over Kongurbai and wins.

- When the horse racers return and the Kyrgyz win this contest as well (in Orozbakov version, Almambet appears here, winning the race), Kongurbai appeals to Nezkara and Joloi: ďletís destroy the Kyrgyz while they are still under the influence of kumys and their prizes.Ē Kongurbai steals all the livestock the Kyrgyz have won to provoke a battle. This act arouses in the other tribes sympathy for the Kyrgyz and when the Tashkent tribe sides with the Kyrgyz, Kongurbaiís troops flee. Manasís troops want to celebrate the victory, but Manas insists they await the arrival of the women, children, and elderly from the Altai. Manas looks in the crystal ball and sees Kanykei approaching with the tribe, but when he sees ten men bound like slaves, he sets off with his 40 heroes to find out what has happened. Manas hears the story, but rather than punishing the offenders, pardons them rather than pollute the earth of the fatherland with Kyrgyz blood shed by Kyrgyz. He receives the title ďMagnanimousĒ for this act.


- Now we leave the Kyrgyz and turn to the Iron Capital, full of as many wonders as people, including the greatest wonder of all: the worldís most beautiful women. (This is because when the angel of maiden perfection flew over the earth with a pitcher of beauty, only the Chinese women were awakeóthey are the farthest east and awake the earliestóso the angel poured beauty on their faces only, not wanting to awake the others.) Esen, khan of khans, sits in a diamond throne in front of a gleaming Buddha statue, for the spirit of Buddha is believed to reside in the khan. Esen was old and decrepit and weak and small, but the dagger-armed and one-eyed and copper-legged tribes and heroes feared him because it was believed that the khan of khans was the incarnation of Buddha on the earth.

- Esen sat in the garden consulting with his head cook, Skiikuchu. ďIs it true that Kongurbai, who was so shamefully beaten by that poor Manas, asks for our daughter, who is engaged to another?Ē ďSon of the shining heaven, it is true, but Kongurbai is young and inexperienced and later will fulfill the words of the ancient book.Ē ďLet Manas and Kongurbai destroy one another.Ē ďMy nothingness makes bold to ask, Son of Heaven, why didnít you take revenge when Manas killed the 11 messengers?Ē ďThey were Alookeís soldiers, not mine. I will reconquer the Kyrgyz and disperse them once again, but first I must cure the wound of my heart, Kongurbai, who aspires to my diamond throne.Ē ďYour real enemy is Almambet, who has gathered the enslaved people and raised a rebellion against the khan of khans.Ē

- This Almambet was born 15 years before this conversation. Now the history of Almambet, son of Aziz and Altynai, who alone of Azizís 61 wives bore him a child (when he was 70). Thrilled, Aziz offers Altynai any wish, and she asks that she be allowed to raise him according to the traditions of her homeland Samarkand until age 3 with the assistance of Majik, a Kyrgyz. At 3 months age, Almambet had already learned all 444 sounds of Chinese and by age 1.5 could speak Kyrgyz perfectly. By 12 months, he had already learned all the Kyrgyz songs Majik knew and Majik had nothing left to teach him. By age 3, Almambet knew all the Kyrgyz and Chinese words and always asked ďWhat is really going on here?Ē.

- One day, he told his father, ďYou need to give water to the poor farmers and not take it all for the royal fields.Ē Aziz decided that it was time to send Almambet to the sorcery school in the Iron Capital before Majik ruined his son. On the same day, Alooke brings Kongurbai to begin school, Aziz brings Almambet, and Esen presents his son Berukez. Alooke insists that Almambet is really a Kyrgyz and must have his purity of blood (his descendency from Chingiz) tested by being lowered into the pit with sorcerersí fire which was used to test all those slaves which claimed to be soldiers of the house of Chingiz. All liars were consumed by the fire, while true soldiers of Chingiz remained unharmed. Almambet emerges unharmed, but his small black braid has turned to gold. Thus the origin of Almambetís nickname: ďGolden-braidedĒ.

- After 3 years of teaching, the teacher urges all the 6-year-old students to set out to get the magic stone that controls the seasons and day/night and poetry from Jai, the 60-headed dragon, that lives at the top of a glaciated mountain. Of the 60,000 students, only 60 were brave enough to set out; 30 returned when their horses sank in quick sand; 27 more turned back when they saw the glacier and peaks; only Almambet (already as tall as a grown man), Kongurbai, and Berukez son of Esen continued to the summit. Kongurbai and Berukez, however, turned back when the dragon sent a downpour of sharp arrows upon them. Then the dragon sent a downpour of speaks on Almambet, who still did not flee. The dragon, seeing Almambetís golden braid and bravery, awarded him the magic stone. Almambet returns to the base of the mountain, where Kongurbai and Berukez ask to see the stone and prove that it works. Almambet turns day into night and back by reciting a secret formula. They travel back toward the Iron Capital, and at night, the boys try to steal the stone from Almambet. Anticipating this action, he only feigns sleep and boxes them on the ears when the sneak up on him. He gallops away home to Kash-Kopr.

- At home, he is warmly greeted by Majik, his mother (ďmy little camel!Ē), and his father. Kajik gives him a beautiful horse, Gnedoi. His mother shows him a tree she planted in the garden as a reminder of him. His father, proud of his son for obtaining the magic stone, offers him: ďDemand from me whatever your soul desires.Ē Almambet asks to rule the kingdom for 6 years. His father reflects that this will allow him to hunt, so he agrees. Almambet rules wisely and generously, giving each inhabitant a portion of the royal field, makes irrigation justly distributed, and disbands slave-clothing. The country prospers and the people say, ďEvery ordinary day is a holiday under Almambetís rule.Ē Almambetís laws are strict, but just, and he makes Majik the prime minister and executor of the law.

- Unable to settle one dispute, Majik comes to Almambet, who is also unable to read the Chinese symbols on the deeds in question. Almambet tells his father he needs to learn to read and write. Aziz writes to Esen, requesting that the Royal Master of Symbols come to be Almambetís tutor. In a short time, Almambet has learned 88,000 symbols and 550 keys to interpretation, and the Master of Symbols says, ďIf he can read the entire prediction from the Book of Shifts, then his knowledge will surpass mine.Ē Almambet, however is unable to read to the end and can read only as much as the Master of Symbols can; he can understand the symbols, but not their meaning. After a year of sleepless nights, trying to determine the prophecy, he suddenly understands the meaning: ďAfter many springs, Semetei, son of Manas, will unify his people and lead them to battle with shining truth.Ē Almambet feels his fate is somehow tied to Manasí.

- When Almambet is 12, Esen writes to Aziz: Almambet is too young to rule; send him to the Iron Capital to study ruling first. Almambet writes the answer: ďAlmambet is truly too young to rule, or even to study ruling. When he reaches 18, the age of maturity, he will come.Ē Thus, Almambet is able to rule for another 6 years. At 18, now taller than the giant Joloi and wider than the fat Kongurbai, he goes to the Iron Capital. After ruling a kingdom for 12 years, his duties in the royal guard are boring and pointless; likewise the greed and arrogance offend him. Riding through the yard one day he meets Esenís 12-year-old daughter, Burulcha, Granddaughter of Heaven, more beautiful than any woman since time immemorial, with fragrant hair in numerous braids, her face the color of the moon, her poise majestic, her lips the color of blood. He asks if he can read with her, explaining that his mother was a slave from Samarkand. She says her mother was also a slave from Turkestan and invites him in, despite the protests of her servant. He visits her daily during midday prayer, and one day finally proposes. She tells him to ask her father and as he rides to Esenís palace, his speedy horse seems to him like a turtle. He begins asking for this kingdom, then another, then another, but all of them have already been promised to others. Finally, Esen says, ďWhat can I give you that does not belong already to someone else?Ē He answers, ďI need no kingdoms. Give me your daughter, for we love each other.Ē Esen gives consent, on the condition that he can prove himself able in matters of state. Almambet sets out to tell Burulcha, and she warns him that Esen probably intends to drop him into a 84m chasm beneath the trap door hidden under the rug in his throne room. She talks to her father and Almambet comes to Esen the next day to hear his conclusion. He promises her to Almambet after 6 years (for she is yet but 12), during which time he should return to his fatherís kingdom, for it is improper before the wedding for the betrothed to be beneath one sky. Not knowing how to take this, he goes to Burulcha, who assures him that it is forbidden for Esen to break any promise which he has pronounced as a ďsolemn promise.Ē She promised to wait for him and not to lift her head to look at any other young man and to tie her hair in a tight knot.

- After 5 years (5 openings of the river from under the ice), Almambet hears news that Manas defeated Kongurbai, whose army was reduced from one million to 100,000. Almambet allows all refugees to come kind shelter in his kingdom, violating his submission to Esen. Esen, however, does nothing, because he needs Almambet to keep Kongurbai from taking the diamond throne.

- Kongurbai is surprised to be welcomed warmly when returning defeated to the Iron Capital. He seeks out Shiikuchu for an explanation. Shiikuchu explains: the 40 khans from whose kingdoms thousands of people are fleeing to go to Almambetís kingdom, the ďKingdom of Law,Ē are counting on you to defeat Almambet. Shiikuchu, a former servant of Alooke, is secretly loyal to Kongurbai, and reveals to him that Esen is most afraid of his taking the diamond throne and therefore wants he and Almambet to destroy each other. Against Shiikuchuís advice, Kongurbai appeals to the 40 khans for a new army of 1,000,000 to fight Manas. The khans cannot form an army that big, even when prospective soldiers are promised as compensation Kyrgyz horses for pleasure, Kyrgyz lads for exhausting work, and Kyrgyz girls for joy of the heart, and Kyrgyz land for planting. No soldiers agree of their own free will, and after 3 months of recruiting, only Esenís 300,000 professional soldiers are ready to go. The 40 khans tell Kongurbai that he if he wants to defeat Manas, he must first destroy Almambet, since all the people are trying to flee to Almambetís ďflourishing kingdomĒ and are uninterested in Kongurbaiís war. Meanwhile, Almambet had been preparing an army of 200,000 and his soldiers were all enthusiastic to fight to protect their newly-gotten freedom. They defeat Kongurbaiís army, but Kongurbai then persuades the 40 khans to persuade Esen to give Kongurbai his army of 1,000,000 for the purpose of destroying Almambet. Kongurbai also demands to be named Burulchaís fiancйe and Esen agrees.

- During the battle between Almambet and Kongurbai, Buryukez sneaks off and murders Almambetís father and mother. He brings Almambet his Azizís head on a pole and reminds him of his duty as son to bury them properly. Almambet chops off his head and sets off to bury his parents, leaving Majik in charge of the army. According to the requirement of Chinese tradition that he bury his most valuable possession with his father, he buries the magic stone. While Almambet is busy returning to the city and burying his parents, Kongurbai persuades Almambetís army that Almambet is the son of a foreign slave who wants to enslave them to the Kyrgyz. Majik is seriously wounded and barely succeeds in escaping. Kongurbai orders all the soldiers to seek out Almambet and kill him. Majik gallops until he can go no further, and there Almambet finds him. Majikís faithful horse licks the sweat and blood off his face. Majik tells Almambet what has happened and his last words are: join Manas and get revenge against Kongurbai for me.

- Almambet takes his motherís small sister to Burulcha. She assures him that she will never marry Kongurbai and advizes him to go join Manas. Almambet wanders the earth for some time, not going to Manas because he does not want to bring Manasí death closer by his actions. One day he meets Kokcho and joins the Kazakhs, but his Chinese clothes and appearance arouses suspicion and hate. At first the people call him an idol-worshipper, but when he recounts his story at a feast which Kokcho holds to proclaim his brotherhood with Almambet, the people accept him. Almambet observes that Kokcho loves his wife only because she is one of Kanykeiís friends and because she married him on the day Manas married Kanykei.

- The mullahs come to resent Almambet because he would hear and decide disputes among the people with great wisdom and without cost; previously they had received money for doing this themselves. They decide to slander him and spread rumors that Almambet has claimed that Kanykei wanted to kill Manas when she stabbed him with the dagger, that she really wanted to marry Kokchokez, that she was infertile, and that she was proud. Hearing such slander against Kanykei, Kokcho decides to kill Almambet, even though it requires him to break his vow of brotherhood. Kokchoís wife, Akydai, knowing the rumors to be false, goes and warns Almambet. Almambet laments his fate (perpetual loneliness and suspicion) and Akydai tells him his only hope is to go to Manas. Almambet states, ďYes, I have no path left on the earth but the path to Manas, but if my going to him brings his death nearer, it is better for me to die.Ē Resigned to death, he presents himself to Kokcho: ďHere I am. Kill me.Ē Kokcho sees in Almambetís eyes that he is blameless and asks forgiveness and remain with them as his brother and guest. Almambet agrees to remain his brother, but not his guest; he will go to Manas.

- Meanwhile, Manas and his people live in the Talas Valley, where the bounty and beauty of the land are fabulous. Manas, despite his success, fame, and wife, remains sad: he has no son. Every Kyrgyz trains for war every day.

The Great Campaign

- Kokchkez remains envious of Manas and plots to kill Manas again, this time with 6 rival khans and the 10 troublemakers. At first they refuse, saying ďManas has a fortressóall the people.Ē They invite Urbyu to a secret meeting, where they tell him that Manas offended his honor before the Kyrgyz, Chinese, Indians, Arabs, and Kazakhs, prounouncing him ďHonorless.Ē Kokchokez encites him to revenge for this offense, but Urbyu refuses to believe them. Kokchokez then orders the khans and troublemakers to kill Urbyu, so that he cannot tell Manas about their plot. Urbyu deftly defends himself against the 16, but Kokchokez approaches from behind and stabs him. Suddenly, Almambet appears, saying, ďWhen 17 attack one, the 17 are always in the wrong.Ē He swings his sword to the right and kills the elder 5 troublemakers and to the left, killing the younger 5 troublemakers. The khans flee into the moonless night, leaving their horses. Urbyu cuts off Kokchokezís head and fall to the ground, but Almambet applies a special cream to his wound and he recovers. They set out to see Manas, taking the khanís and troublemakersí horses. Urbyu explains that he is called ďClanlessĒ because the Chinese killed all his clan. Therefore, Almambet does not identify himself. When the morning star appears, Urbyu sees that he is Chinese, but Almambet reminds him: ďA beast is judged by his beastly deeds. A man is judged by his human deeds. Judge me thus.Ē Urbyu bows his head. They reach Manasí yurt, where Manas sees that Almambetís eyes are the eyes of the hawk he saw in his puzzling dream that night which sat in his right hand. Manas, filled with uncaused joy like in the pure years of childhood, laughs for the first time in many months. After Urbyu has explained what happened, Manas, embraces them and pronounces that ďeven a drop of goodness is stronger than an ocean of evil.Ē Manas takes Almambet to his best yurt and returning, is told by Koshoi the meaning of this dream: Almambet will be your blade, your tiger, your hawk, your right hand.

- The next day, all the Kyrgyz assemble for a feast to honor Almambet. He is amazed by the plenitude of their livestock of all four types (camels, bulls, horses, and sheep), the beauty of their girls, the strength of their heroes. The feast is delayed because one of the six Kyrgyz clans still hasnít arrived. Soon they arrived and explain that they are late because the had to execute their khans, who had plotted against Manas the night before. Almambet recounts his history to the people at the feast. The people are astounded, even Kokcho and Akydai, because he had told only an abbreviated version to the Kazakhs. He leaves out nothing except the prophecy about Manas. Not only the old women cried, but the old men, too; not only the young women, but the young men, too. Even Manas was not ashamed of the tears that formed on his hawk-eyes and says: Be the son of my people, be my brother. He takes Almambet to his mother, who presses Manas to her left breast and Almambet to her right breast, pronouncing: ďYou have tasted milk from one mother, now you are brothers!Ē

- Manas gives Almambet much livestock and his friendship. He doesnít make a single decision without consulting Almambet, which aroused the jealousy of the 40 heroes. Only Urbyu and Kokcho would befriend him and the heroes suggest that he was perhaps sent by Kongurbai and only pretending to be a friend to the Kyrgyz. Almambet laments: in China, I was mocked as ďEar-piercedĒ and ďKyrgyz,Ē and here I am mocked as ďDog-EaterĒ and ďPaganĒ. ďIt would be better to have died in battle with Kongurbai or lost in the universe than to have to endure such mocking from dear friends.Ē He buried this grief in his heart, and no one knew about it, not even Manas or the most wise of the wise Koshoi and Bakai, but only Kanykei, for she was very smart. One day she calls him to her and asks if he really had insulted her to the Kazakhs. Pained by her question, he asks, ďSo even you doubt the truth of my tale?Ē She says, ďI believe the truth of your tale, but I think it was not the whole truth. Why didnít you come immediately to Manas? Why did you wander the earth for 3 years? Why wonít you allow Manas to go to war with Kongurbai, your offender?Ē She so aptly conducted the conversation that Almambet explained everything about the prophecy, which only he of all the Chinese khans was able to decipher to the end. She says, ďIt turns out that on the earth there is a person equal in greatness of heart with Manas. It is you, Almambet. Promise me that you will endure all the offenses, but never tell Manas the secret.Ē He swears, offering the word of a wanderer. (In Orozbakov version, Almambet comes to Manas in the horse race in which he wins the great horse Sarala for first prize.)

- The great singer Irchi, who won the singing contest at Koketeiís memorial, composes a magnificent song about Almambet, which ends with the words that Almambet is the second Manas. The people like the song, but some of the heroes donít like it. They go to Chubak, the bravest of the bravest and first to swear loyalty to Manas in the Altai, and say, ďArenít you dying from shame that you are no longer called the second Manas, but this stranger Almambet?Ē Indeed, Chubak had disliked Almambet from the moment of his arrival and his too-quickly-formed friendship with Manas. Chubak set out to find Almambet, and was met with a terrible sight: Manas, following the advice of Koshoi and Bakai, had just appointed Almambet commander of all the Kyrgyz army. He counted the soldiers, divided the 300,000 into thirty divisions of 10,000 each with a commander chosen not because of his tribe or fame, but experience and bravery. Each division was broken into groups of 100s and 10s, and every khan had his place in a group of ten, even Manas. If even one soldier was missing from a group on formation, its commander would be punished by death. The khans complained, ďWhy do we need these Chinese inventions, wherein young men, poor in years, livestock, and blood command the respected khans?Ē When Chubak saw how much the army was strengthened under Almambetís command, he became only more suspicious of hidden foul motives.

- One day, a Kyrgyz formerly part of Almambetís army against Kongurbai, arrives and hails Manas and Almambet, saying that Kongurbai is preparing an attack on the Kyrgyz with an army of 2,000,000, and intends to drive them all the way to Mecca if the do not surrender to become slaves of the house of Chingiz. At this moment, Chubakís long-buried fury unleashes itself and he flies at Almambet with unsheathed sword, and Almambet unsheathes his sword to defend himself. Manas commands Chubak to stop and Almambet to forgive him. They stop fighting with swords and attack each other verbally. Almambet: ďI didnít attack Kongurbai because you canít take the Iron Capital with an unarmed hand. I would cut out your lying tongue, but I donít want to dirty my sword with the stupidity which runs in your veins in place of blood!Ē Chubak: ďWhy donít you want to fight Kongurbai? Speak, for your eyes are those of a man hiding the truth!Ē Immediately everyone looked into his eyes, and indeed they lacked hardness. Even Manasí trust wavered: ďAlmambet, speak if Chubak is worthy of your words.Ē ďChubak is right. There is one truth which I have hidden from you and from all the Kyrgyz, except Manasí wife, and I have given her my word that I will not disclose it. May the heavens punish me but now I must break that promise!Ē And so he revealed the secret to the Kyrgyz. Having heard this, Chubak falls to his knees and begs forgiveness from Almambet: ďhere is my stupid head; remove it from my shoulders.Ē Almambet sees repentance in Chubakís eyes, and pulls him up: ďYour heart is better and cleaner than your words.Ē

- Manas doesnít show himself to the army for several days. His heart, if not wider than the universe, then at least equally wide, was weighed down by thoughts. After some time, he assembles his heroes and delivers a speech: ďEven if we defeat the Chinese here on our soil, they will be back again. We have no choice: we must march on the Iron Capital, so that everyone there sees the strength of the Kyrgyz, so that they might never again dream about our land, people, and horses. Donít worry my children. Day ends in night, life in death; but after death, day begins again, and life flourishes once more. Who would I be if I was frightened by stupid prophecies or thirsting for my life, sacrificed the good of my people? Let me die, but the name of the Kyrgyz will never die! Moreover, we must help Almambet, our brother, to get revenge on Kongurbai for terrible offenses. I declare war on the house of Chingiz!Ē

- The army assembles. Almambet is gloomy, for he has just heard bad news: Kongurbai has seized power and is now khan of khans; equipping his army, Kongurbai took all the rice and meat from the Chinese people; and worse of all, the wedding of Kongurbai and Burulchi will be as soon as Kongurbai returns from the campaign against the Kyrgyz. All the 300,000 are lined up, except one missing soldier from Urbyuís division. Filled with grief, Almambet says, ďthere is something even more important than friendship: the order of the khan of the army.Ē As Urbyu is about to be hung, Serek bursts forth: ďCould the missing soldier be Manas?Ē Yes, Urbyu forgot about Manas! The valley is filled with the laughter of the relieved troops, who had already hidden their faces not to have to see the awful execution. Gray-bearded Bakai is chosen commander of the campaign.

- Before the army leaves, Kanykei invites all the 40 heroes into her yurt for a final feast. She kills a horse and gives the warriors iran (vodka made from kumis); they are some drunk and yelling at each other and almost fighting. She presents the warriors golden kalpaks; wool hats; vests; trousers; undergarments; fox-fur socks; leather belts studded with emeralds and inscribed with words of Mohammed; leather pouches with medicines, bandages, daggers, knives, gunpowder, and musket-balls; and leather boots for the desert. For each horse of the 40 heroes, she had prepared golden bridles, and leopard skins and pillows to sit on. She has supervised the masterful preparation of all this, gathered the best fabrics from all the cities of Turkestan. Not a single stitch could be seen in anything. Manas is so pleased with his wife that he states an oath: ďI will never offend her parents, or touch her with my whip-end, or take another wife, or may Akkelte (his cannon) take my lifeĒ (a common Kyrgyz oath).

- Kanykei complains to Manas:

ďNow you go Ďgainst a dangerous foeó
Shall I see you againóI donít know!
Or, having lost my Lion, shall I die?
Or, at least, deep in sorrow lie?
Having loved, I was not satisfied.
After my lion, no cub will survive.
Not a paw in support I see.
Few the caresses which came to me.
If you depart along with the rest,
I have no infant to take my breast.
I am encircled by sorrow, itís true,
Losing my strength when I lose you!
Just because I had a great khan,
I could sleep on a golden divan.
All these people of his I could rule.
But with one wish my soul was full,
Just to hear the loud cry of my childó
That was the dream which drove me wild!
But because my knight was not near
In a cold bed I slept, I fearĒ (4009-4028).

- Almambet reproves Kanykei for not seeing the loneliness and sorrows of others; he laments his loneliness:

ďNone will stand by my side when I die.
Saving great Allah, protector Iíve none. . . .
When with this life on earth I have done,
One to mourn for me there is none! . . .
Near ones and dear ones I do not seeó
I am a homeless refugee
Someone to cling to I do not know,
Some son to sing to I do not know.
In this world of sin and decay,
I canít hope to live long, anyway!
In widows weeds will go my wife,
Someone with whom I was friends in life.Ē (4116-4121, 4149-4156).

- The heroes try to console Almambet by giving him tobacco: ďLie it just underneath your tongue, It will make you feel bold and youngĒ (4199-4200). His wife Aruuke also tries to console him with news that she is pregnant (in Orozbakov version, he has no fiancee waiting in Beijing).

- Kanykei advises Manas: your victory will be not when you defeat the forces of Kongurbai, but when you refuse the diamond throne, putting the good of your people ahead of the temptations of wealth and power. Then, taking him to the side, says, ďItís possible that the branch will be clothed with a leaf, that in my womb is a child. If it is a son, what shall I name him?Ē ďName him Semetei, as is written in the ancient book.Ē

- Kanykei asks Almambet when they should expect the armyís return:

ďAt what time do you think youíll come backó
Tell me trulyóthat answer I lack!
Name no period more than you thinkó
Or in sorrow, still waiting, weíll sink!
Name no period less than you thinkó
We shall be suffering on the brinkĒ (4217-4242).

- Almambet tells Kanykei to expect them in 6 months (18 months in Orozbakov version). Kanykei notices that all the heroes are parting with their beloved wives, but Almambet is standing alone, and says to him: ďMy brother Almambet! Why donít you choose for yourself before the campaign a wife from among the Kyrgyz beauties?Ē He reminds her that he has chosen a bride, whom no one can replace. The army sets out, with the flag-carrier first, then Bakai, then the 30 division heads. The women, children, and elderly watch, wondering: ďWill brother return to sister, husband to wife, father to child, son to mother?Ē Narrator: Weep, women, for your strength is in tears, while a manís strength is in the honor of the army and the strength of honor is in the fatherland.Ē


- The Kyrgyz army, marching without rest, was exhausted. The mounted soldiers tied each other in the saddles, so as not to fall off. They heard that in China, there were empires not only of men but also of bears, foxes, snakes, snow leopards. They felt like they were in the midst of some sorcery. After a monthís march without rest and almost no sleep, grumbling begins: When will his intolerable desert end? Manas asks Almambet: Where are the people of the 40 khans? Almambet laughs: none of you believed me when I said it was no small matter to take on the house of Chingiz. We must travel three months through uncrossable mountains and scorching deserts to reach China.

- Almambet keeps a harsh regime:

ďĎDonít think of sleeping in bed!í he said.
ĎDonít think of keeping well-fed!í he said.
ĎDonít think of that, but straightway forget!
Donít try joking with Almambet. . . .
If theyíve lost just one of their [10] men,
If heís been left on the roadóthatís bad,
If heís a Khan or a peasant lad,
If heís fallen somewhere, and heís deadó
Then this leader [of the 10] will part with his head! . . .
My word is final, that must be clearó
Personally do I summon you here.
Those who go against my will,
Iíll teach a lessonóthem Iíll kill!íĒ (4906-4909, 4916-4920, 4939-4942).

- After 41days and nights of ceaseless marching, Almambetís regimen arouses the enmity of all, especially old Kirgil, who appeals to Manas and curses both him and Alma:

ďBut your Kalmak, our high-chief now,
Is a bit of a swine, I vow!
Thanks to him, lifeís hard for us,
Thanks to him, we suffer thus. . . .
Sixty-odd years Iíve lived till nowó
Never known such torment, I vow! . . .
Though he may even behead me thus,
I shall ask, ĎWill you kill us all?í
I shall ask, ĎShall we not all fall?í
Let him remember how wisely I spoke,
Openly, on behalf of the folk. . . .
Hey, Manas, this will be your shameó
For our deaths, you will be to blame! . . .
May that devilish Chink just rot!
May he perish, and find hell hot! . . .
May they both [Alma and Manas] sink beneath the ground;
May their corpses there be found!Ē (5103-06, 5157-5158, 5227-5230, 5367-5368, 5377-78).

- Manas appeals to Almambet, but only to be reprimanded:

ďAlmambet grew as angry as ten:
ĎComrade! What are you saying, then?
All on account of one old man?
Now I see, when your face I scan,
That youíre really no stronger than he! . . .
You are the one who is tired outó
Of that now there can be no doubt. . . .
Free me now, I beg of youó
Free me, thatís all I ask, itís true! . . .
If you something else regret,
Take the poweróI am sick of it yet! . . .
Give up now this lost complaint
Making him out to be a saint!
If I tell you the truth todayó
Let Kirgil dieóthereís no other way!
If we stop now, then everythingís lostó
Let Kirgil dieóthat must be the cost!
Otherwise all the others must die!í
Further to speak he did not tryĒ (5687-5716).

- They finally stop for a rest and many soldiers, dismounting their horses are unable to stand. Others could not even move from the saddle without aid; still others sat helpless tied to the horsesí backs, where they had been strapped so they wouldnít fall from their horses in weariness. Alma goes ahead to reconnoiter. He returns and sleeps for eight days and nights, immobile. Finally he gets up and prays, thanking Allah for his grace, and recounts the terrors of China. There are wild boars, mammoths, one-winged birds, six-legged people, seen-headed people, people with horned heads, people with two hands on each arm, and a magic bird Alkalar, whose droppings instantly burn up whomever them fall upon; he can be defeated by burning socks and horse blankets, for human and horse sweat immobilizes her.

ďThere are women-bears, demons too!
Think this out, what Iím telling you!
Wildest men, wildest camels are there.
People changed into sprites are not rare.
Men with bronze noses, and bloodsuckers too!
Evil djinns, metal-beaked monsters, not fewĒ (6213-18).

- Alma uses his magic stone to turn summer to winter in order to cross the torrential river Urkun: ďSaving snow, there was nothing seen. Summer forgotten, will all its greenĒ (6316-17). In Orozbakov version, at this moments the soldiers are counted without Manas and his leader of ten, Urbyu, almost executed for this absence; Serekís discovery of this mistake arouses Manasí laughter:

ďThen he suddenly laughed out loud,
He, who never laughed in the crowd,
He, who knew not what laughter meant,
Always on serious things was bentĒ (6865-68).

- Almambet decides to send a spy to the palace of Kanyshei, guardian of the border of the 40-khan-empire. For a long time no one comes forward for the mission, but finally the youngest of the heroes, Syrgak, volunteers. Manas orders: Syrgak will be the junior spy and Almambet the senior spy. The army agrees to await their return on the bank of a river. The soldiers are bored and the horses snore. In Orozbakov version, Alma chooses Syrgak:

ďOne of a thousand, I value him so,
That Syrgakóa born brave I know!
Him I wish as my comrade to take,
Let Syrgak come with me, share my fateĒ (7063-66).

- In Orozbakov version, soldiers grow bored and weary of waiting without news of Almambet and Syrgak. They quarrel severely over a game of knucklebones. Chubak prepares to pursue Almambet and kill him, suspecting he has gone to fetch a Chinese army to destroy them. Bakai intervenes with wise advice: ďThanks to us, Manas is Manas! Thatís what our loyal service has done!Ē They must remain loyal to Manas, or else the disunited Kyrgyz forces would be easily overcome by the Chinese; Almambet has proven himself worthy of trust and as a Chinese man is very useful for their campaign:

ďPains of the spirit he suffers for us,
And he does you a great service thus.
So, because he serves us so well,
You would pursue him? What nonsense you tell! . . .
Donít torment others, and him donít pursue.
Donít chase an allyówhat nonsense you do!Ē (8066-8074).

Chubak complains to Manas that he prefers the stranger Almambet to him, who has served him from the beginning. Chubak still wants to go on his own scouting mission, and Bakai strikes his sabre on a stone, exclaiming: ďCursed young idiots, minds still unsound, Racing and chasing!Ē (8192). Manas sets out after Chubak to try to make peace between Chubak and Almambet. Both are prepared to fight to the death:

ďShould I not settle accounts with you?
Just at this moment Iím furious tooó
Shall I not tear out your bladder of spleen?
Have you my broken-down loneliness seen? . . .
If I treat you here, as you treated meó
Then your dead corpse on the ground we should see!Ē (8467-8470, 8483-8484).

At Manasí insistence, Chubak relents and they set out further together.

- Alma and Syrgak reach a place where the river forks into nine sources and the road into 90 different directions. Syrgak, seeking a dragon to the right and a tiger to the left, suspects Almambet has betrayed him. He charges Almambet, who seeing what has happened, pronounces some strange phrases and the beasts disappear. After two more days, they reach the palace of Kanyshai, the ruler of the Mongols. The hide beside a stream outside the castle and soon a waterbearer with his right ear like a donkeyís. Syrgak kills him and Almambet puts on his clothes and enters the castle. All the people have been feasting for two weeks, celebrating spring, and are all drunk. Kanyshai, enthralled by the beautiful figure and movement of the water-barrier, but unable to glimpse his face, goes up to him. Recognizing Almambet, she calls out, ďUnsheathe your swords! Attack Almambet!Ē They understand only to unsheathe their swords and soon are killing each other. Kanyshai calls out to her hero, Huge Bryukho, but Almambet kills him with a saber concealed in his clothing. He tried to kill Kanyshai, but she had magically made the castle walls disappear, then immediately reappear and thus had escaped on a horse. Almambet pulls out Chinese clothing from water jugs. They put on the clothes and Almambet pins on a false braid to Syrgakís head.

- They ride a distance and suddently Gnedoi begins to run and prance and Almambet begins to cry. Before them is the tree where Almambet buried Majik and carved Manasí name in the trunk. Soon they reach Tash-Kopre, Almambetís native city, but it is dead: broken road material lies around everywhere, the water canals are empty, the fields withered and covered in weeds, and long-cold ashes cover the ground. The palace and gardens of Aziz-khan were destroyed.

- Orozbakov version: Chubak and Almambet fight and kill the monster Makel with one first-sized eye in his forehead. He is 1000 armspans in height and rides a rhinoceros because no horse could bear his weight; he knocks down trees around him if they are in his way. When he is angry, flames spout from his mouth, filling large cities with such smoke that people cannot see one another or make their way through the streets. Makel first comes to Kongurbai, who offends him by suggesting that Manas is invincible; Makel vows to kill Manas, then return and kill Kongurbai to teach him a lesson. Alma deliberates for some time about how to attack Makel, and decides to shoot him in the eye, because anywhere else, the bullet would merely bounce off, harmless. The bullet pops out the eyeball, big as a bucket, but doesnít penetrate the skull. For half a day they hack at his neck with their swords. Chubak can barely drag the head across the ground to his horse and to load the head on his horse bends its spine. Almambet knows how to ride rhinoceri and they load the head on one side, and a large stone as a counterweight on the other and take the head to Manas.

- Orozbakov version: Syrgak and Alma reach the Iron Capital, whose gates require 60 people to open them. They pretend to be the people whose clothes they have taken. Almambet speaks against the Kyrgyz: ďMay all those Muslims burn in hell!Ē The wizard Karagul, however, sees through the deceit because they have Kyrgyz horses. Almambet explains that Makel destroyed the Kyrgyz soldiers and they took the horses as spoil. Their identity is nevertheless discovered, and Alma cries out (the sound is still echoing) and the escape from the city, driving along with them the best Chinese horses. Karagul calls on Kongurbai to get revenge on the Kyrgyz army.

- Burulcha has been waiting in the Iron Capital for four years since the last time she saw Almambet, but all the while preserving her promise not to look upon any of the young men. Knowing that Burulcha disliked Kororbai, princes from all the 40 kingdoms proposed to her, but she angrily refused them all. Esen didnít force her to marry any, not because he wanted to keep his promise to Kongurbai (he would just as easily have broken it as his promise to Almambet) but because lacking a son (Almambet had killed Beryukez in battle), the husband of his daughter would be his successor, and he didnít want a foreigner to mount the diamond throne. Thus the only remaining candidates were Nezkar and Kongurbai; Esen decides to offer Burulcha to Nezkar, because he feared Kongurbai.

- Kongurbai, finding out from the cook about Esenís intention to give Burulcha to Nezkar, decides the time has come to force Burulcha to marry him. Burulcha is sitting in the garden with Birmiskalí. They discuss Almambet. Burulcha: having the extraordinary, one is exhausted by the ordinary. My heart is baked and dried up from thirst for Almambet. At this moment, Almambet prepares to climb through the window, his head spinning from happiness, but sees Wide-Booted Kongurbai approaching her from the front gate. He tells her Almambet has disappeared, that he is only one worthy to rule China, and that the ruler of China must be here husband. If you could forget the darkness like autumn dusk in his eyes, you might find his face pleasant; if you could forget the snake venom in his voice, his words would seem reasonable. Forgetting neither, Burulcha says: ďYou say three things, all wrong: People like Almambet are born for great things and do not simply disappear; the only one worthy to rule China is Almambet; and my husband will be only Almambet.Ē Kongurbai explains the battle plan to her to convince her that Almambet, even if still alive, will certainly perish in the coming battle.

- Just then, Almambet appears and Kongurbai knows him immediately by his sword and runs off. Burulcha is unable to stop her tears of happiness. Almambet tells Burulcha he will spend the evening in conversation with her, but she insists that his first duty is to the Kyrgyz and he must go and tell Manas Kongurbaiís plan. Reluctantly he leaves. Meanwhile Birmiskalí, who was walking around the garden since Kongurbaiís arrival, finds Syrgak and spoke to him in a Turkish language. Syrgak, amazed by her beautiful smile, doesnít know what to do to make her smile again and after some time like this, angered by his silence, calls for Almambet. They ride off, Almambet looking back to see Burulcha and Syrgak smiling back at Birmiskalís.

- Kongurbai tells his generals that Almambet has been there on a spying mission. Nezkara suggests that Kongurbai takes 2 heroes with him and go after Almambet, because only Kongurbai can defeat Almambet. Kongurbai, afraid to entrust the 1,000,000 troops to his rival Nezkara, suggests that he take Nezkara and Joloi as his two assistants and entrust the troops to the Iron Arrow, leader of the Dagger-Armed. Others agree. They set out. In some grasses, Syrgak and Almambet and waiting in ambush. Almambet chases Kongurbai and seeing an exposed spot, throws his spear. It bounces off, however, because the exposed spot was merely painted on the armor. Almambet returns to assist Syrgak against Joloi and Nezkara, and is unexpectedly joined by Chubak, whom Manas sent to look for them. Joloi and Nezkara escape.

- They tell Manas the news that their 300,000-soldier army is being trapped between two armies of 1,000,000 each. He replies, ďOnly 2 armies? I expected more. Only 1,000,000 soldiers in each army? I expected worse. Our main danger is only that weíre trapped between two armies? If thatís all, then weíll win for sure.Ē They march and the next morning see a huge army across the river. It stretches from the flat, hot steppe into the snowy mountains. Joloi goes forth to challenge a Kyrgyz into single combat. Manas, convinced that the time for his battle with Joloi has come, sets out to meet him. With his special spear, he inflicts instantaneously 40 wounds and Joloi is dead. Iron Arrow, in order to keep the troopsí spirits up sets out to challenge a Kyrgyz. Syrgak bounds forward and chops off his iron arm before he knows what has happened and he can only return armless in shame to his troops. Muradylí, one of the 40 khans of the house of Chingiz, seizes the moment while Syrgak is unarmed to attack him. Old Bakai bounds forward and when the dust settles, it is apparent that Bakai is the victor. Just then, Kongurbai gallops forward. Manas goes out to meet him. Manasís horse, Akkula (lit. white-gray), goes into the river and Kongurbai tells his army to enter the river and surround Manas. Almambet, seeing the terrible situation, gallops to Manasí aid and Kongurbai, unable to bear both of them together, gallops back to his troops. Meanwhile, however, Almambet uses his stone to turn the season into winter and a thousands of Chingizís troops are trapped under the ice. Terrified, the great army flees toward the Iron Capital.

- Orozbakov version: Chubak gallops us to warn Manas, who is sleeping and refuses to rise. Chubak insults him to get him quickly into action. Chubak kills Joloi in the ensuing battle. Kongurbai prepares to jab Manas between the eyes with his spear as he floats in the river, but Manas catches the tip in his hand, and Kongurbai is forced to let him take it because Alma is approaching from the other side. Manas later stabs Kongurbai and blood gushes profusely. Kongurbai makes a get-away to safety because he has trained his horse Algara to jump over the sixty-stone wall (by adding one stone at a time), something even Manasí horse, Akkula, cannot do. Kongurbai falls from his horse on his head in the cattle bazaar and after three days, comes to himself and councils surrender:

ďI have always fought for my folk,
Their well-being and honorís no joke!
Having seen Shah Manasí great power,
I before him have to cower! . . .
How the spines of their war-horses curve!
How their knights in chain-mail serve!
How their young warriors slashing go!
How they lay our warriors low!
Seems theyíre heroes, every oneó
Only grow quiet when battle is done!Ē (14276-88).

He councils Esenkhan to surrender with generous gifts: jewels, thousands of the best horses, 9000 15-year-old black-haired girls with long slender fingers, teeth like pure pearls, and necks like white swans. Bakai advises Manas to accept the gifts and leave Beijing intact:

ďĎThough theyíre Chinese, a great people are they!
My bright Manas, just hear what I say:
They are now scared, from beginning to end,
Leave them in peace, now, my clever old friend!í
Wise old Bakai this advice did employ:
ĎWhen they bring young maidens to you, for your joy,
It would be course, then, their men to destroy! . . .
Donít let us torment our foes any moreó
Better accept their rich presents, Iím sure!íĒ (14541-14553).

So, they leave for Talas (End of Great Campaign, Orozbakov version).

- Just when the Kyrgyz fell their victory is sure, the second army appears behind them. Kongurbai and Nezkara unite their divisions to that of Mady, the cyclops leading the 2nd army of 1,000,000 soldiers. Mady is so big that no horse can hold him; he rides a one-horned buffalo; he barely can speak a human tongue, even though in his childhood 7 tutors instructed him. Manas and Mady begin single combat. Kongurbai charges Manas as well, but Almambet chases him away; likewise Chubak chases away Nezkara. After some time, Manas becomes discouraged. His blows do not effect Mady at all. He begins to weep and prays to the spirit of the Kyrgyz people to bless his spear. He sees the old man he has seen once before so long ago blessing his spear. He throws it and it pierces the Cyclopsís eye; Manas gallops forward and beheads the blinded creature. The news of Madyís defeat causes thousands of soldiers who believed in his invulnerability to run off.

- Every Kyrgyz thinks to himself, ďIím alive!Ē and they line up, only to discover that they have lost 50,000 horses and men. Manas addresses the assembled troops: ďTomorrow we will demand the Iron Capital. Today we will give our swords rest in their sheathes, our horses rest in the grass, and our people rest in heroesí sleep. All rest except Manas, who is worried about Almambet and Chubak. Late at night, Almambet finally returns with the news that despite his chasing Wide-Booted all day, Kongurbai is nevertheless safe inside the city walls, where quick-footed Alkara carried him. Manas reassures him: ďMy snow leopard! The important thing is that youíre alive. Kongurbai will not escape our revenge. My joy would be complete, though, if Chubak also would return.Ē Almambet encourages him to get some rest, but Manas refuses: ďHow could I give my eyes rest when some crow may be eating out Chubakís eye right now?Ē The next morning, the mullah calls the soldiers to wake and pray; Manas and Almambet are still on horseback awaiting Chubak. Suddenly Chubak appears with 13 prisoners, Nezkara and his 12 clan heads. Manas laughs with joy and calls out: ďHey mullah! Quit your prayers! I donít need your paradise; right here is my paradise!Ē

- Chubak asks for Manasí permission to kill them. Nezkara, unafraid of death, speaks eloquently: ďIf you kill me, it will be my end and of no use for you. If you let me live, it will be my gain and useful for you as well. All China, and most of all Esen, hate Kongurbai. Send him ambassadors with the message that Nezkara has joined Manas, and they will surrender the Iron Capital for sure. You will see that Esen will act according to my advice. The people recommend Ajibai and Manas adds Clanless Urbyu, in order that his fury at the Chinese may frighten them. Seeing the ambassadors approaching, Kongurbai says to Esen, ďIíll kill them both in one stroke.Ē Esen, furious, replies, ďIíve had it with you, Kongurbai! Youíre a stupid, cowardly, bragger, and you havenít once returned to your troops with a victory.Ē Kongurbai replies accordingly: ďYou crazy, old donkey! You forget that I am strong and you are weak! From this moment, I am the khan of khans!Ē

- Meanwhile, Urbyu and Ajibai approach the western gate, guarded by a snow leopard and dragon. Urbyu is frightened and Ajibai says, ďItís too late to be frightened. From the moment Bakai and Koshoi blessed us and sent us off, we could no longer consider ourselves among the living!Ē The ambassadors are taken to Esen. Ajibai begins in Chinese (for he is fluent in 70 languages), ďIf Manas tells the soldiers, ĎDrink this,í they will even drink poison. Manas asks for you to hand over the Iron Capital.Ē Esen laughs, but Ajibai sees that he is pretending. Esen then turns to Urbyu and says, ďYour comrade thinks that I have only one general, that unlucky Kongurbai, and only one army. Donít forget that I also have Nezkara, whose name brings fear into the hearts of all who hear it!Ē Ajibai: ďNezkara advises you to surrender to the mercy of Manas the Great-Hearted.Ē Esen forgets his pretense and asks in wonder, ďWhere did you see Nezkara?Ē Ajibai: ďHe is now the prisoner of Chubak, before whom he is like an old sheep before a young snow leopard.Ē Esen tells them to take the word to Manas that he will go to speak to him. Manas, seeing Esen and the 40 khans emerge from the Iron Capital, goes out to meet them, because he always shows respect to age.

- Manas delivers the conditions of surrender to Esen: ďBurulcha will be Almambetís wife; Almambet will be the just ruler of all China; the Iron Capital will be my city for six months; you will live in any city except the Iron Capital. Esen agrees: ďI agree to all your just conditions. Let it be so, for your decision is magnanimous. Here are the keys to all the gates of the Iron Capital. Donít return evil for evil, donít offend my land, donít treat my people as we treated yours, and I will go to live in Alap until I die.Ē Syrgak comes to Manas, and says, ďYou forgot one condition: that Birmiselí, Burulchaís friend, be the wife of the soldier Syrgak.Ē

- Meanwhile, Kanykei took upon herself the rule of the Kyrgyz homes. She turned her womanís head into a manís head, for she could,, tie up the unraveled and gather together the scattered. The land prospered. The young people experienced a peaceful life without battles. Some hunted, some lay from morning to evening in the sun beside their yurts, singing about what they had seen in the heavens and on the earth; others drank kumyz and danced with hats on their heads. The older and smarter, however, were sad because they were without husband, sons, and brothers. Kanykeiís pleasant burden was her pregnancy, her unpleasant burden, the rule of the people. The six months Almambet had predicted had come without the return of the army, and a seventh month even. All of Kanykeiís friends had already given birth (Akydai even had twins), and Manas had often thought to himself, ďI made a stone from a grain of sand, a nation from warring clans. When I am gone, who will take care of this nation and see that it does not return to a pebble?Ē He had never said this aloud, not wanting to hurt Kanykei's feelings. She had guessed, however, his thoughts long before, and her heart was full of sorrow. Now, at last, she was to accomplish her duty as mother of the Kyrgyz people.

- Late at night, Chiirda wakes Jakyp, presenting him his newborn grandson, saying, ďHere is a gift for you from Kanykei!Ē They all wept from the joy of life. Jakyp holds his hand over the newborn and blesses him: ďMay you be the peopleís fortress, hope, and object of faith.Ē The old men want to have a feast from spring to spring, but Jakyp replies, ďHow can we feast when we donít even know whether the father remains among the living? We will have a small feast now and a big feast when Manas returns victorious.Ē The feast is quiet and the meat and kumys not as tasty as usual; Kanykei stays at home, for her grief as a wife outweighs her joy as a mother. Suddenly Mindibai appears with the news that Manas has defeated Kongurbai and sits in the diamond throne. He asks why they are feasting and they tell him that Semetei has been born to Manas. Mindibai thinks to himself: ďI am twice happy: I was the first to bring Jakyp news of Manasí birth and now I will bring Manas the news of Semeteiís birth!Ē

- Mindibai asks to see Kanykei. She seems to him more dark-complexioned than all the dark-complexioned, more beautiful than all the black-eyed. She alone is saddened by his news. ďI told him that his victory would be when he refused the diamond throne, but he didnít listen to me.Ē She calculates that he has been in the capital for 4 months already (Mindibai said they had celebrated the victory for one month, then he had traveled for 3 months back to Talas). Thus, there remains 2 months before the prophecy is fulfilled, time enough for one wanting to save himself to do so. She gives Mindibai a note for Manas and Lightning-Nosed, the Kyrgyz's fastest horse, who will return him to the Iron Capital in just one month. He rides off and is out of sight before the dusk can settle.

- After two weeks, Mindibai is already in the territory of the 40 khans. Nezkara, whom Manas allowed to remain ruler of the Manju, gives him respectful passage. Mindibai notices that everywhere in China is prosperity, fullness (i.e. absence of hunger), and health, thanks to the wisdom of Almambet and the rulers he has appointed. Next he reaches Tash-Kopre, now repaired, where Almambetís rebuilt palace is located. The city is full of people, the hearths merrily smoke, numerous canals in the rice fields flow with spring water. The guard lets him by and he galloped through the garden, seeing the blooming plane-tree, with a small young shoot. Passing through the pearl gates, he sees an even more beautiful garden and a golden throne where Almambet, happy and content, is seated beside Burulcha, who, Mindibai sees, is preparing to soon give Almambet the gift of a successor.

- Almambet and Burulcha hear the news of Semeteiís birth. Almambet glances at her and she blushes. Almambet, however, especially after hearing about Kanykeiís letter, is troubled. He wants to go with Mindibai to try once more to persuade Manasí stubborn heart to leave the Iron Capital before the fateful period of 6 months ends. Burulcha suggests that they go together after Mindibai, noting that she would certainly be invited to the feast that Manas would have for the birth of his son. Mindibai notes that Burulchaís mind is equal to Kanykeiís. Almambet warns Mindibai to beware of Kongurbai, who is roaming the roads. Even though Almambet didnít want to send Mindibai off without a breakfast of 40 different kinds of food and 40 different drinks, Mindibai insisted on an early start the next morning. Two weeks later, seeing the walls of the Iron Capital ahead, Mindibai wonders if Wide-Booted hasnít disappeared altogether and the prophecy just one of many old falsehoods. Two days later, he encounters Kongurbai on the road. Mindibai trembles in fear, but Lightning-nosed jumps over Kongurbaiís head. Kongurbai curses his bad luck, but suddenly sees a letter on the ground, which fell from Mindibaiís leather pouch while he was in the air.

- Mindibai, unaware of having lost the letter, continues on into the Iron Capital with a terrified countenance. At the gate, the guard Kyrgyn tells Mindibai to put on a happier face to bring Manas the happy news. The city is now inhabited only by the Kyrgyz army, but the Kyrgyz, unhappy living in the houses, live in the yards. Mindibai visited Syrgak on the way to Manas, because he could not refuse Syrgakís invitation. Syrgak now lived in a yurt in Beryukezís yard with the beauty Birmiskalí, whom he loved, and whose abilities, because of his love, he considered beyond praise. Syrgak says, ďI envy our lion. Maybe I wonít live long enough to see such happiness,Ē and Birmiskalí blushes.

- Manas is sitting in the diamond throne, which they have moved to the garden, which is more congenial to Manas. The Iron Capital bores him and he thinks about the majesty and beauty of Talas and about the dear voice of Kanykei. He thinks, ďIndeed there is no place on the earth more blessed than the Talas valley. I will quench my pride and revenge by sitting here for just one more month so the house of Chingiz will the more strongly remember me and not intrude again on the freedom of the Kyrgyz. Then we will return to Talas.Ē Manas looks in the crystal ball and sees Mindibai appraoch the gate with great fear, then put on a happy face after talking to the guard Kyrgyn.

- Just then, Mindibai enters and announces, ďOur people has an object of hope! Kanykei has born Manas a firstborn son, blessed and named Semetei by Jakyp!Ē Koshoi, Manas, and Bakai weep and kiss Mindibai. Manas says, ďMy heart is too small for so much happiness! Letís have such a feast that its memory will become the property of our descendants!Ē He then reaches into his pouch for the letter from Kanykei and falls to his knees. ďOh Manas! Take my head for losing this letter. It must have happened when my horse flew over Kongurbai.Ē Manas: ďIf you are at fault, I will nevertheless forgive you if you can tell me some of her words.Ē Mindibai: ďHere are her words: Manas must return. He will be victorious when he refuses the throne of the khan of khans.Ē Manas: ďFor the sake of my people, whose blood has been spilled, I must remain in the Iron Capital for six months, so they will remember me and not interfere in our freedom again. We will celebrate Semeteiís birth, then head home.Ē Had he read Kanykeiís letter, written with her perspicacious wisdom, perhaps he would have left the capital before the end of six months. But instead it happened that the letter was read not by Manas, but by Kongurbai.

- Kongurbai was disappointed at first when he saw that the letter was written in Arabic letters, but then remembers that Shiikuchu can read Arabic. Shhikuchu reads the letter, which entreats Manas to return home for the sake of his wife, his son, his army and most of all his people. Kongurbai: ďWhat do you think of this letter.Ē Shiikuchu: ďIt was written by a very smart person! Truly, if he returns to Talas, he will be immune from your sorcery.Ē Kongurbai: ďIíll go right now to kill Manas!Ē Shiikuchu: ďYou small boy! That would be stupid! How will you kill him when one glance from him terrifies you? Remember the Kyrgyz are strong in open strength, we in secret perfidy. Only with perfidy will you succeed in killing Manas. You need someone to be involved closely in his affairs.Ē ďWho?Ē ďMe!Ē

- Shiikuchu presents himself to Kyrgyn as a Turkestani who was enslaved by the Chinese and served as their cook, who now wants to prepare for Manas 80 different dishes from sheep alone, and 1000 different tastes altogether. Ajibai, the head of maintenance, agrees to make him head cook, and no one expects anything because he always tastes the dishes himself before them.

- Meanwhile, Kongurbai circles the city for three weeks in frustration and discontent, with no news from Shiichuku. The Kyrgyz guards are so attentive that a ghost could not get by without their knowing. Kongurbai cries, for his heart, while brave, is shallow. ďI misunderstood the Kyrgyz. Profit for them is nothing; they are impossible to buy. I thought Iíd become the summit of China, but I have become a ravine in a god-forsaken desert! For the trunk of my life to grow, Manas must die!Ē He takes out a 6-armed idol of Buddha and prays, ďHelp me! Strengthen me, if I am weak; teach me, if I am stupid!Ē Suddenly, Shiikuchu emerges from the city, gathers some grasses, and returns to the city. Kongurbai goes to this place and finds a buried lepyoshka (circular bread) with a note inside. ďRead these words twice: if Manas werenít Kyrgyz, I would wish he were a son of the house of Chingiz! Manasí wisdom is great and his strength is miraculous. The secret of his strength is that the Kyrgyz live for freedom and will die for it. His 40 lions are the terror of any enemy. I think every one is stronger than you. Read these words twice: Manas can be defeated only by craftyness. He has no faults, but I have discovered his weak spot. Every morning, he rises early, while the army still sleeps. He goes to a spring, barefooted, unarmed, in one robe, and sits there thinking intensely until the morning call of prayer jolts him from his concentration. I donít know what he thinks about, for his hearts is as wide as the universe, if not wider, but I do know that he thinks so intensely that he notices nothing around him and could be killed only at this time.Ē

- At dawn the next day, exactly 6 months since the Kyrgyz entered the city, a strange person appears at the gate, on a bare mule, with the staff of a holy pilgrim, scratching his face with his fingernails, crying in a loud, sharp voice about the damned in hell and the blessed in paradise. Kyrgyn decides he must be a dervish from Mecca and lets him into the city: ďMaybe this fool might console the heart of Manas.Ē Ajibai, whose turn it was to guard Manas, forgetting that the Kyrgyz were in a hostile country, fell asleep beside the spring where Manas was sitting, deep in thought about his son, listening the sound of the water, the sound of eternity. From behind the tree, Kongurbai strikes Manas with an ax dipped in poison.

- Meanwhile, Gold-braided Almambet and Burulcha arrived at the city gates with gold, pearls, and silk on 2-humped camels. Almambet noticed two figures approaching them, and recognized Shiikuchu. He calls out, ďStop!Ē and recognizing Almambetís voice, they speed off. Almambet throws a spear, which kills Shiikuchu and knocks his body from his horse. Almambet takes aim at the second with his bow, but canít shoot, because just then Kyrgyn rushes upon him with the news of Manasí murder.

- Almambet enters the city in grief and meets the 40 heroes. He asks, ďSurely a hero doesnít die without speaking words of wisdom. Who heard Manasí last words?Ē Sadly, no one was there to hear them. Almambet hurries to Manasí side and hears that his heart is still beating. Manas calls his heroes to his side to hear his last words. Manas says, ďForgive me for being sometimes rude and harsh. I was worried only about the traditions of our ancestors, the majesty of our descendants, and the happiness of my native land. Forgive me for forgetting that our strength is in open strength and Kongurbaiís in secret perfidy. Donít fight one another; may the stone which I made from a grain of sand remain a stone, may our people remain one people. Bury my body in Talas, for I have looked the arrow in the eye bravely. May Chubak be khan in my place. May Kanykei teach Semetei to get revenge for me! Make war on Kongurbai and destroy him! Now I dieÖĒ

- Chubak, now khan, announces that they will leave the Iron Capital immediately. Suddenly a terrible thunder is heard. An army of copper-legged and dagger-armed and one-eyed Chinese, whose courage has been boosted by Kongurbaiís news that Manas is dead, have entered the palace through the gate which Kyrgyn had deserted in order to hear Manasí last words. Almambet, still distracted by his grief for Manas, prepares to mount his horse when Korurbai gallops up and tramples him under his horseís hooves. Casting his last glance at his beloved wife, he closed his eyes, but pronounced his last words before dying: ďBurulcha, preserve the life of our son! Good bye!Ē He throws a spear at Kongurbai and falls to the ground, his head landing on Manasí breast. Almambetís spear pierces Kongurbaiís ribs, and Chubak gallops up to chop off his head, which lying on the ground with its long braid, looks like a snake. Suddenly Nazkara, calculating that with Manas, Kongurbai, and Almambet all dead and Esen without taste for life, his chance to rule all China has come, shoots Chubak with an arrow from behind. Chubak dies, crying out, ďManas!Ē The Kyrgyz are shocked until Syrgak calls out, ďThis is the last battle! If you want to get out of here alive, we must leave with this victory! I take command and order all to fight while he still stands! Surely you hear the living word of the dead Almambet: ĎRevenge!í Surely the murderer of Chubak must not live!Ē Syrgak grabs Nezkara and lifts his body in the air, face-down, and brings it down onto his saddle, breaking it in half. The Chinese army flees with the Kyrgyz in pursuit.

- Only Almambetís caravan remains in the palace. Bakai approaches Burulcha, who is weeping and kissing Almambetís body, with Birmiskalí beside her, quietly trying to comfort her. Bakai suggests she take his body to bury with his parents. She says it would be better to bury his body besides Manasí, for Manas was his true brother, and she would be better to go to Talas and share her grief with the Smart Kanykei.

- Outside the cities, hills of the wounded and dead from body sides lie on the battlefield. An army appears on the horizon and Kongurbaiís forces flee. Syrgak wonders why Chinese are fleeing from Chinese. Koshoi explains that this army is from Almambetís capital. Koshoi says, ďLet them fight it out between themselves. Our duty now is to give the bodies of the Manas the Great-Hearted, Almambet, and Chubak to the ground of the Talas valley.Ē

- The two bright morning stars extinguish and Kanykei knows that Manas is dead. The elk with heavy horns falls, and she knows that Chubak is dead. The plane-tree withers and she knows Almambet is dead. She climbs a hill and looks to the distance for the army, remembering how years before she had stood on the hills of the Altai also looking for the army in the distance. She envies that woman on the hill who still had had happiness ahead of her.

- The Kyrgyz, without their great leader, forget that they are one people and began to divide again into clans, each going to a different pastureland. Even Syrgak prepares to go and asks for the blessing of Koshoi and Bakai. They say, ďShame on you, pride and love of Manas!Ē He replies, angirly, ďListen, old man! Surely itís enough shame for me to continue living when Manas and Almambet and Chubak are dead! I hate the enemy arrows that had mercy on me! I despise myself for remaining among the living! How can I face Kanykei and my people? It would not be just to return to Talas with a young beautiful wife when Kanykei and Burulch and Aruke (Chubakís wife) are widows. I will wander the earth until Semetei becomes a man and calls me to battle. Only then will I return.Ē They bless him and he departs for unknown parts.

- Bakai and Koshoi, recalling the situation in the Altai that occurred when word reached the people that Manas was dead, decide to send Irchi ahead with false news of victory to prevent anyone from attempting a coup as Kokchokez had done. Hearing Irchiís good news, the people prepare for a feast; only Kanykei refuses to believe Irchi. Soon the army arrives with the bodies of the 3 great heroes. The very earth groans. Kanykei orders 30,000 goats killed to make bricks from their fat for a mausoleum for the 3 heroes. Strong-voiced Irchi states that a mausoleum is not enough; only a song can make them live again. Kyrgyz come to Talas from all around to hear Irchiís song praising Manas and his heroes.

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