KARITHEL

 

Very long ago amidst the dense forests (where the present day Karithel river takes its beginning) lived a batyr*. He roamed the lands far and wide, waged wars, ventured into many a dangerous enterprise. Thus, after one of such displays of unequalled gallantry in the battlefield he was brought before the Tsar. "Yeget*, you have defended our land from the enemies, and we are grateful to you. Take anything you like from the treasury". The lad refused everything having thanked the Tsar and asked only for two things. The Tsar wondered what things they were. The lad said: "Your Majesty, I wish I were set free. Then I would settle down in a remote land and live there till I die." The Tsar pondered over his words in silence, then he inquired him for the other thing. "I request you to give me that black stallion of yours from the Golden Palace. It would be my true companion on my way home." Again the Tsar sank into deep thought, for the wishes expressed were not so easy to fulfill. The lad persisted: "Be as good as your word, Tsar. Keep your promise." At last the Tsar ordered his courtiers to bring the stallion to the lad and then he set both free.

The batyr sprang onto the horse and urged it forth towards his native land, the Ural mountains. On his arrival, hardly a person remained indifferent to the beauty of the black stallion. Sure, there appeared ill-minded people longing to possess the horse. Both friends and foes surrounding him, the lad sought the way out: "Now that I am absolutely free and have my black stallion with me, why should I stay here any longer?" With no further delay the batyr set off for other lands in quest of some secret abode until he found it at the foot of a mountain. He, then, split big rocks to contrive a den for himself and his horse.

Meanwhile, the fame of the black stallion had spread all over the country. To see the wonderful horse crowds of people came horseback from different parts of the world. They swarmed into the place lavishing gifts on the batyr. Mighty lords and kings sent them to get the horse at any cost Then the horse spoke the human language to his master: "Hey, yeget, wake up! We must fly from here. No one will tear me from you if we go now." "Oh, no". replied the batyr, "I shall not part with you for all the gold of the world. I shall hide you inside the mountain."

He made another hideout in the rocks for his horse and blocked the entrance with a huge stone. Nevertheless, the horsemen pursued their search in the rocks. Once the stallion grew vexed with loneliness and neighed in the dark. The sound multiplied by the echo reached the farthest nooks and attracted the pursuer's attention. They soon tracked down the batyr and disclosed the hideout in the mountain. The stallion, vigilant and alert, waited till the rocks barring the access were removed and uncaught rushed out of the darkness.

The stones beneath the hooves of the stallion split asunder giving way to a well-spnng; the spring water streamed down the mountain and coursed the horse at its every bound as it galloped across the fields, over the hills and down in the dark woods. The stallion was last seen at the Aghithel riverside.

The spring water then flowed into the Aghithel river. This is how the Karithel rivor appeared.