UMYRZAYA - A SNOWDROP

All this happened in time immemorial. In a place surrounded by high mountains and dense forests there lived the mean and cunning Khan Deganak. He made his servants and workmen work hard since daybreak till late at night breaking their backs. Himself he indulged in pleasures all his time: one day he received his neighbour Khan, next day he enjoyed his neighbour's hospitality. One fine spring day three children were bom: Deganak's son, a daughter of the neighbour-khan, and a daughter of Deganak's servant. Deganak mounted his best argamak* and set out to his neighbour-khan. And the khans came to a decision to perform a ceremony of infants betrothal, they agreed that they would become related to each other, when their children were adults and became man and wife. Many years passed, - Deganak's son Karai became a yeget*, and his servant's daughter Umyrzaya came of marriageable age. When her father and mother grew old, the smart Umyrzaya went to serve the Khan instead of them. As soon as Karai cast a glance at this girl with her dark eyebrows and eyes like black currants, he fell in love with her for good. And himself he took Umyrzaya's fancy. When the girl's parents died soon thereafter, Karai became her only support. They were meeting secretly at the top of the mountain. The Khan came to know this. At first he did not believe that his son had fallen in love with a servant's daughter. However, Deganak Khan was so worried that he sent a messenger to the neighbour Khan in order to hasten the wedding of the betrothed. Karai learnt of this, andunnoticed in the fuss of wedding preparations he fled from the house together with his beloved girl

The Khan decided to drop in at his son's place of an evening, but the latter was not there. There was great shout and rout in the palace. They searched every corner - but alas! The young people were nowhere to be found. The Khan summoned his viziers and messengers and ordered: 'Make haste and find the shameless couple, then bring them back here!' The messengers were searching for them three days and three nights and finally out of breath, they came back. Having lost his parents, the Khan himself set off in search of them. He was looking for them six days and six nights. On the seventh day at daybreak he sat down at the foot of the mountain to have a rest. At this very moment a crow started cawing with all her might: "Carr? Carr!"

"Why are you cawing?" asked her the Khan.

"You had better curse them," said the crow. "Father's curse will punish them."

"And how shall I curse them?" asked the Khan.

"Speak thus: car*, car, turn into ice!"

No sooner had he pronounced these words, than his son Karai turned into a block of ice.

"And how else shall I curse them?" inquired the Khan.

"Car, car, follow him. And then add the following: follow the ice and turn into a flower."

And again ??“ as soon as the Khan uttered those words, ??“ Umyrzaya at once turned into a sorrowful frozen flower.

That flower got the name of Umyrzaya ??“ a Snowdrop. Thai's because it blooms in early spring when snow is melting. As the word goes, Umyrzaya hurries to see her beloved Karai.