International Association for Assistance to the Abaza-Abkhazian ethnos «Alashara»

From the legends of antiquity

Из преданий старины

I remember known in Abkhazia the veteran Halit Msuratovich Colgi (Colbye) from my childhood. He hung out with my father and often came to visit us. Halit differed by wisdom and knew the Abkhazian folklore. From his stories it was possible to understand the richness of the Abkhazian folklore. In the long evenings my father and he would spend hours sat at the table and told interesting stories, many of which I remembered.

I together with the well-known Abkhaz ethnologists L. H. Aqaba and V. L. Biguaa visited Halit Msuratovich Colgi in his native village Abgarkhuk in 1986. He was 86 years old.

With great pleasure I listened to him, but, unfortunately, I managed a little to record. One of his stories, which were written by me, I offer to your attention.

Do a good deed and throw it into the water.

There lived a dear man in Abkhazia who had three sons. When the sons grew up, he equiped them, gave five hundred rubles each of them and said:

– Go and spend a fun time, and do not waste your money, bring them back.

When the elder son returned, the father asked him:

– How did you enjoy yourself, son?

– I had a good time, but I didn`t spend the money, brought them back, - said the son.

– From today you'll be at home, - said his father.

The middle son also came back without spending money. The father told him that he will stay at home now.

When the youngest son returned, the father asked him:

– Well, what did you do?

– Saw people and spent the money, – said the youngest son.

– What did you spent the money for? – asked the father.

– A man died and he had a debt of four hundred rubles, and those whom he had, began to demand that amount from his relatives. I gave them four hundred rubles to pay the debt, and one hundred roubles for the funeral.

Then the father told his son that today he is the master in this house.

Once the youngest son went on a trip and on the way he met a man. The youngest son asked the traveler, who was he, and asked for advice on where he should go.

– If you go to the east – it is dangerous, there is no return. To the mountain – it is dangerous too. You can go to the west, – the man replied.

– Then I'll go to the west, - said the youngest son.

I'm going to go with you and be your friend in the way.

"Come," agreed the young man, but I have one condition: all that receive, will be shared equally.

Having agreed, they went to the west. On the way the youngest son and his new friend got into one Principality, where all were dressed in mourning clothes.

The Prince met them and invited them into the house. The young man asked why  they all are in mourning:

– We are cursed. I have a beautiful daughter, everyone likes her, but who would have married her all die, - answered the Prince.

Seeing the daughter of the Prince, a young man fell in love and married her.

In the evening a casual companion told the young man that he would not lock the door at night. When young fell asleep, he went into the bedchamber with a naked dagger, and walked up to the girl. At this point, there was a snake out of her mouth and the man cut off her head, then appeared a second and a third. He cut off these snakes`heads. And the young slept and saw nothing.

In the morning, when the inhabitants of the Principality found the groom safe and sound, they were very happy. The Prince happily gave them the money, gave many gifts, and they went on a way with a friend. Here they came to the place where a young man first met his friend, and a friend began to say goodbye to the newlyweds. The young man was upset because he didn't want to part with him, but his  friend insisted. Then the young man remembered about the promise and said that they should split the girl. A friend suggested to strike first and put a knife over the girl's head. At this moment the serpent's eggs came out of her mouth. When he lifted up the dagger next time, her mouth was bleeding, then a friend said that everything is in order, and the young man with his young wife can safely return home.

– But you did a lot of good to me, and I do nothing for you, - said the young man.

– When you traveled, it just happened that you came to my family, you paid my debt and paid for my funeral, thereby calmed my soul. And when I felt that a trouble may happen with you, I came to do a small favor for you, – replied the man.

"Do a good deed and throw it into the water, it will definitely help you in life's journey," - say the Abkhazians.

We organized the exhibition "Decorative-applied art of the Abkhaz people" from the funds of the Abkhaz state museum in the city of Cherkessk in 1990. After the exhibition we went to the oldest of my relatives Osman Ahba to Novo - Kuvinsk. We talked long about everything, and I told about my visit to Halit Colbye – they met with him at our house. He liked Halit` story, and he noted that Abaza people also say: "Do a good deed and throw it into the water."


In the photo - Halit Colgi.