NYURGUN BOOTUR THE SWIFT
(Summarised by I.V. Pukhov)
In ancient times, when people had not yet divided up into tribes, the Middle World was created – a land for people, the ancestors of the Yakuts, who are the kin of the deity (Aiyy Aimaga). This original mother earth was created with sun and water, with trees and grasses. This land sits amid the great sea, framed by stone mountains. The Almighty swore to punish anyone who tries to destroy this country.
A boy was then born to the gods in heaven, and at once reveals his violent character. The sage of the Lower World predicts that he will destroy all the worlds and all life in them. Fearing the boy's violent temper, the gods bind him with fiery ropes to a magic octagonal pillar on top of an iron mountain. This boy is the future hero and guardian of humanity, the hero Nyurgun Bootur the Swift.
The gods then make a decision: the boy must only be released in the event of troubles and misfortunes in the Middle World, in order to bring destroyers to heel.
To ensure the perpetuation of the line of the Yakuts, the gods populate the Middle World with the first humans: Sakha Saaryn-Toyon and his wife Sabyya Baai-Khotun.
When Sabyya Baai-Khotun goes into labour, the people call on the goddess of childbirth, Nelbeng Aiyysyt, who arrives in the form of a white mare.
Sabyya Baai-Khotun gives birth to twins – a boy and a girl. Nelbeng Aiyysyt delivers the infants, utters an algys (wishing the children happiness and large families) and gives the boy the name Kyun Dyiribine (Sunshine), and the girl Tuyaryma (Beauty Lark). Afterwards, the goddess flies away, to sit in the clouds. Those remaining perform the ceremony of Aiyysyt's reins, arranging a festival – the feast of Ysyakh.
The children grow up: Kyun Dyiribine grows boastful, calling on the hero bogatyrs of the Upper and Lower Worlds to try their strength with him. His bragging turns out to be fatal: three days later, a monster arrives in the form of a three-headed serpent – the Abaasy hero Uot Usutaaky (Fire-Thrower). After a short fight, he defeats Kyun Dyiribine and takes Tuyaryma Kuo away with him.
The people complain about the ravages of the Abaasy monsters. Heeding their lamentations, the goddess of the earth Aan Alakhchyn-Khotun turns to the supreme deity Yuryun Aar-Toyon for help. He gives the order to release Nyurgun Bootur the Swift to protect the Middle World and that he be taken down there together with his sister Aitalyyn Kuo (the Beauty Aitalyyn). Their parents do not dare to send their daughter off alone with Nyurgun, who will be in constant conflict and raids. They therefore send their youngest son Yuryun Uolan (the White Youth) to accompany them to the Middle World.
On arriving in the Middle World, Nyurgun Bootur tries his hand. He strikes a stone – the stone bursts into flames, he stamps his foot – the earth hums, a storm rises, and slabs of stones fly up and fall like rain.
Feeling hungry, Nyurgun asks Bayanai, the god of hunting, to give him an animal.
An elk approaches him, which Nyurgun kills with his fist. He then clothes himself with its hide, and brings the meat home.
Nyurgun Bootur leaves the heroic horse Dyuraa-Khara and goes to the blacksmith Kytai Bakhsylaan; the latter then forges heroic weapons and heroic iron clothes for him.
Now fully armed, Nyurgun Bootur strikes up a battle song, summoning enemies to battle.
Nyurgun Bootur has made his challenge to his enemies and is awaiting their appearance. He informs his brother that the soul of Tuyaryma Kuo has flown by in the form of a white crane ("the spirit of the song she sang, the tear of her weeping eyes"), asking for help. Yuryun Uolan immediately goes on a quest to save Tuyaryma Kuo. The goddess of the earth Aan Alakhchyn-Khotun utters an algys and performs a ritual ceremony: divination on a spoon (this fortune-telling proves unsuccessful for Yuryun Uolan: the spoon falls to the ground concave side down, portending the defeat of the hero). She then allows him to drink milk from her breast, to give the hero strength.
Soon Yesyokh Kharbyyr arrives, a hero of the Abaasy, in the form of a monstrous eight-legged creature. He snatches Aitalyyn Kuo away and disappears. Nyurgun Bootur immediately sets off in pursuit of the kidnapper, and arrives in the Lower World, where he catches up with the enemy beside the Sea of Fire.
Having caught up with the enemy, Nyurgun Bootur cuts the heads off the three-headed snake on which Yesyokh Kharbyyr rode, takes back Aitalyyn Kuo from him and, turning her into a ball of wool, places her in the left ear of his horse, which he sends back, ordering the steed to return to him at his first call.
A great battle ensues between the warriors. During the clash, they devastate the Lower World. At the request of its ruler, Arsan Duolai, shamans escort the bogatyrs to the sacred golden mountain, "where the sun and the moon were born". But even there, the heroes' battle continues to wreak destruction, and the god of destiny Dyylga-Toyon (Lord Fate) sends the heroes to a remote and narrow rocky islet the Sea of Fire. Only two people can fit on the rock, pressed tightly against each other. There, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift, with the help of his older sister, the shaman Aiyy Umsuur, defeats the enemy by pushing him into the fiery waves.
One day Yuryun Uolan arrives in a rich country. Outside a luxurious yurt, he is met by three beauties bearing cups of kumis in their hands and invited to rest after his journey. Yuryun Uolan, not heeding his horse's warning about the treachery of the sorceresses, accepts the invitation. As soon as he enters the yurt and sits on the bunks of honour, they immediately break in two, and Yuryun Uolan falls into an abyss. The Abaasy, who had taken the form of these beautiful maidens, accompany his fall with wild laughter.
At the pleading of his horse, Yuryun Uolan is freed from the abyss by the shaman Aiyy Umsuur: she lowers a golden cord down to him, woven from the sacred hair of his divine father.
Yuryun Uolan then arrives in the underworld – in the realm of Uot Usutaaky – with whom he enters into battle. Turning into a huge fiery serpent, he coils around the body of Yuryun Uolan and commences to crush him. Yuryun Uolan shows resourcefulness – he makes a false promise to marry his enemy's sister, Kyys Kyskyydaan (the Screaming Maiden). Delighted, Uot Usutaaky releases him.
When Uot Usutaaky goes to obtain food for the wedding feast, Yuryun Uolan kills Kyys Kyskyydaan and tries to free Tuyaryma Kuo, but Uot Usutaaky quickly defeats him when he returns. In mortal danger, Yuryun Uolan bids farewell to his relatives and asks Nyurgun Bootur to help him.
On returning home after defeating Yesyokh Kharbyyr, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift sees that an arrow belonging to Yuryun Uolan has rotted and is dripping with blood.
Saddened and angry, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift immediately sets off on a new campaign.
Having reached the passage to the Lower World, the hero releases his horse to return home, and continues on his way, turning himself into a three-sided pike. When he arrives at Uot Usutaaky's dwelling place, the pike-Nyurgun tries to pierce the fiery serpent that Uot Usutaaky has turned into. But the enemy dodges him, and the pike pierces the core of the underworld – a vast stone pillar, half of which crumbles away like sand. Nyurgun Bootur then returns to his original form. In turn, the attempt of Uot Usutaaky, the fiery serpent, to asphyxiate Nyurgun by wrapping around his body also proves unsuccessful. Uot Usutaaky then takes on his own form too – a one-armed and one-legged cyclops. The fight begins. For thirty days the fight wages on, with neither party winning the advantage.
Nyurgun Bootur suggests that both combatants pause to rest and sleep for another period of thirty days. Uot Usutaaky accepts this offer. They take an oath not to attack each other for the agreed duration. After this, Uot Usutaaky immediately falls asleep. Nyurgun Bootur the Swift goes off in search of the captives Uot Usutaaky has imprisoned in the dungeon. When he finds them, Kyun Dyiribine asks him to release all the forty-four Aiyy bogatyrs in bondage there, so that all of them together can then attack the common enemy. But Nyurgun Bootur does not agree with this. He says that he came here to free the prisoners, not to throw exhausted, barely alive people into the jaws of a powerful enemy. He will continue to fight alone. Then he asks Tuyaryma Kuo to beseech Uot Usutaaky when he arrives, stirring his pity with tears, to beg him to appear before her in his true form, on which he will try to attack him unexpectedly. This said, Nyurgun Bootur vanishes then and there, turning into dew.
Thirty days later, Uot Usutaaky arrives in his fiery serpent form. Not finding the enemy, he is alarmed and suspects some kind of deceit. Tuyaryma Kuo then weeps, reproaching him that he has never shown himself before her in his own form, but rather prefers to frighten her with this terrible guise than to caress her. She is always alone and it would be better for her to die than to be lingering on alone without a husband. Uot Usutaaky feels sorry for her; he assumes his true form, removing nine layers of armour. At this moment, Nyurgun Bootur suddenly appears before him and runs him through with a long smooth horn. In his dying song, Uot Usutaaky asks Nyurgun Bootur to finish him off. But Tuyaryma Kuo stops Nyurgun and asks him not to do this: with a second blow, the Abaasy can come back to life, acquiring a new, even more terrible power, and go on to cause innumerable disasters.
Having defeated his adversary, Nyurgun Bootur turns into a grey mouse, finds the living water hidden by Uot Usutaaky and revives Yuryun Uolan, who "wakes up" as if after a long slumber. Then the brothers release Tuyaryma Kuo and Kyun Dyiribine from their shackles. Nyurgun Bootur finds the forty-four heroes and frees them from the magic rope with which they have been tied. The liberated Aiyy bogatyrs thank Nyurgun Bootur for saving them, praise him, and promise to repay him with good for good, "if not to you, then to your descendants": this good deed he has done will not be forgotten. Saying goodbye, the liberated heroes fly off to their respective countries, some turning into a falcon, some an eagle, and others just by sitting on the clouds. At their parting, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift warns Kyun Dyiribine that in three years he will send Yuryun Uolan to woo his sister Tuyaryma Kuo and recommends he arrange a proper welcome for him.
Yuryun Uolan arrives at the abode of Sakha Saaryn-Toyon and Sabyya Baai-Khotun and presents himself as a suitor for the hand of Tuyaryma Kuo. But other rivals have gathered there too, for whom they have arranged a feast and games. Sakha Saaryn-Toyon explains that, at the behest of the god of fate Dyylga-Toyon, he who breaks the golden lady in which the soul of Tuyaryma Kuo is encased shall marry Tuyaryma Kuo. Yuryun Uolan breaks the golden effigy and wins the right to marry Tuyaryma Kuo. All the Aiyy people present rejoice and come to greet him. He weds Tuyaryma Kuo and, after the wedding feast and having stayed at his father-in-law's house for three days, he takes his wife home with him. Sabyya Baai-Khotun recites a farewell algys (wishing happiness and well-being to the young couple).
Yuryun Uolan and his bride arrive home. The wedding celebration continues for another nine days. At the end of the ninth night, the Abaasy bogatyr Uot Usumu kidnaps Tuyaryma Kuo. After a fruitless search, overwhelmed by grief, Yuryun Uolan loses his mind.
Meanwhile, Tuyaryma Kuo is already in her ninth month of pregnancy. Uot Usumu leaves to find food for her, threatening to devour her child upon his return. Left alone, Tuyaryma Kuo asks the goddess of childbirth Nelbeng Aiyysyt to save the child from his terrible stepfather. Acting through the elderly Abaasy woman "Iron" Dyiegelikeen, Nelbeng Aiyysyt steals the boy during childbirth and hides him away in a secluded place.
The boy grows up alone, hunting for his food. When he gets older, the youth goes off in search of his parents. One day he sees nine celestial maidens sitting in nine nests on nine fir trees. The heavenly maidens tell him about his parents, about his uncle Nyurgun Bootur the Swift, and tell him his own name – Ogo Tulayakh (Orphan Child). Going further, he meets the warrior maiden Kylaannaakh Kyys Nyurgun (Beautiful Maiden Nyurgun), reincarnated as a white crane. Kyys Nyurgun asks the good spirits of heaven to give the boy a heroic horse and a warrior's weapons and clothing. She informs him about the fate of his parents and his uncle Nyurgun Bootur the Swift. Then she asks him to tell his uncle Nyurgun Bootur to come to her at once before she manages to cross his path herself. The boy is very surprised that a woman can compete with his uncle.
At the command of the god of fate Dyylga-Toyon, the heavenly shamans stop the storm and free Nyurgun Bootur from the magic spell that has put him to sleep. They inform him that in order to prevail in the forthcoming great battles against an enemy of equal strength, he needs to go through heroic hardening – to "bathe" in dead water. Nyurgun Bootur then "bathes" in the dead water (it breaks up a rocky cliff the size of a hill), turning into a nimble iron fish of the underworld.
After his hardening, Nyurgun Bootur immediately sets out to find the kidnapper of Tuyaryma Kuo and arrives at the home of Uot Usumu just at the moment the latter is getting up after falling in an unsuccessful pursuit of the new-born son of Tuyaryma Kuo, who was running away to his saviour.
Nyurgun Bootur demands Tuyaryma Kuo, but Uot Usumu does not want to let her go. The fight begins. The warring bogatyrs trample down the lands of the heavenly Abaasy and inflict innumerable disasters on them. The ruler of the upper Abaasy Uluu-Toyon (Great Lord) complains to the gods. As the heroes do not want to stop the fight and disperse peacefully, the gods take them and decide upon a terrible ordeal – placing them astride the heavenly fiery rope khalbas khara ("crying blood"), they decree "Let one of them survive and triumph".
Nyurgun Bootur the Swift sits down upon the khalbas khara, turning into a falcon, and passes the test, showing not only strength and dexterity, but also proving the righteousness of the cause for which he is fighting.
Uot Usumu fails to withstand this test and perishes. His sister, the Abaasy shaman Uot Kutaalai (Flaming Bonfire) saves his soul by magic and tries to raise a new (stronger and more terrible) hero out of him in an iron cradle. But Nyurgun Bootur the Swift, in the form of an eagle, defeats the shamaness, destroys the cradle, and in it kills the toad that bears the soul and embryo of this future monster.
After his victory over Uot Usumu, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift goes to meet his bride Kylaannaakh Kyys Nyurgun. But his thoughts are not about marriage, they revolve around revenge; all because she had expressed a desire to "cross his path" – to shed his blood, humiliate him, and turn him into her slave. The hero arrives in her country without meeting anyone. He enters a yurt, and she is asleep, stripped of her battle armour. Not wishing to disturb her sleep, Nyurgun Bootur lies down on another bunk and likewise falls asleep. On waking, he sees her in full armour, standing beside him. Her strength and beauty amaze the hero. To her question as to why he has come to visit her, Nyurgun Bootur forgets all notions of revenge and replies that he has come to woo her, and asks for an answer right away. Kyys Nyurgun recalls that she has defeated all her other suitors so far, and invites him to a duel, saying that everything will depend on the result of this struggle. She warns him that should she be victorious, Nyurgun Bootur will have to leave immediately. Nyurgun Bootur wins. Kyys Nyurgun is offended that he has humiliated her dignity by throwing her to the ground, and she challenges him to fight once more.
Surprised at the behaviour of his bride, Nyurgun Bootur the Swift reminds her that he has received no order (from the gods) to offend the people of the Aiyy. He cannot fight with the bride, having come to marry her. But she is relentless, and the battle begins. Thirty days later, he defeats her and throws her to the ground. But at this moment, Kyys Nyurgun flies away, turning into smoke. She says that she will seek protection from the hero-sorcerer Alyp Khara Aat-Mogoidoon, and invites Nyurgun Bootur to try to catch up with her.
Nyurgun Bootur the Swift immediately sets off in pursuit. Arriving at the dwelling place of Alyp Khara Aat-Mogoidoon, Kyys Nyurgun asks him for protection from her pursuer, who unbeknownst to her is hiding right there, having turned into a bumblebee. Nyurgun Bootur is outraged by the behaviour of Kyys Nyurgun and is about to join battle with Alyp Khara. But at that moment he sees the brother of Kyys Nyurgun, the bogatyr Khaan Dyargystai, who has been flung into a fiery quagmire by Alyp Khara. Khaan Dyargystai asks Nyurgun Bootur to save him from certain death. Nyurgun Bootur, remembering his mission to always save those in trouble, leaves the enemy, turns into a falcon and enters the fiery quagmire, having previously called for aid to his elder sister, the shamaness Aiyy Umsuur (who immediately arrives). He cuts through the bloody mist of the underworld that surrounds the fiery bog, cuts the magic rope that bound Khaan Dyargystai into eight pieces, and he, having jumped out of the mire, immediately enters into battle with Alyp Khara Aat-Mogoidoon. The burning quagmire now envelops Nyurgun Bootur himself in a bloody haze, and the magic rope instantly wraps eight times around his body. Nyurgun Bootur the Swift, relying on two strong threads formed by the light beaming from the eyes of his elder sister Aiyy Umsuur the shamaness, severs the magic rope and jumps out onto solid ground. The two heroes quickly defeat the magician Alyp Khara Aat-Mogoidoon. They rejoice.
Only Kylaannaakh Kyys Nyurgun is unable to share their joy. She cannot forget how Nyurgun Bootur humiliated her, and is offended by the fact that he despises her for turning to Alyp Khara. Despite her brother's entreaties, she lunges at Nyurgun Bootur with her sword, misses, and hits a block of stone, which crumbles to dust. From the force of her blow a bloody flame shoots upwards, immense lightning flashes in the sky, and three thunderclaps are heard. The bride and groom fight without respite for thirty days.
Both people and the rulers of the Lower and Upper worlds complain about the bride and groom. The people of the Middle World say that those who were destined to save them from destroyers are the very ones who are inflicting destruction and death. The old people of the Middle World consider Kyys Nyurgun guilty for fighting with her betrothed and bringing disaster to people instead of getting married.
On the orders of the supreme deity Yuryun Aar-Toyon, six white celestial shamans separate the bride and groom, knocking the spirit of war that has penetrated into her flesh and blood out of her with a nine-tailed iron whip.
Having knocked the spirit of war out of her body, the shamaness revives Kyys Nyurgun with divine moisture. Once her blood and flesh are cleansed of the spirit of belligerence, she takes on a peaceful appearance and becomes even more beautiful. The shamaness Aiyy Umsuur tells everyone that Khaan Dyargystai and Aitalyyn Kuo are destined to marry.
Having received the blessing of his parents, Ogo Tulayakh goes to marry Khaachylaan Kuo. On the way, he meets his rival Timir Dyybyrdaan (Timir the Iron). In the ensuing battle, Timir Dyybyrdaan quickly defeats Ogo Tulayakh. Two young heroes called upon for aid by Ogo Tulayakh are defeated. Then Ogo Tulayakh calls Nyurgun Bootur the Swift for help. Nyurgun Bootur and Kyys Nyurgun come to the rescue. They quickly defeat Timir Dyybyrdaan and kill him.
After defeating Timir Dyybyrdaan, Ogo Tulayakh and the young warriors – the brothers of the bride – go to woo Khaachylaan Kuo. Nyurgun Bootur the Swift goes home with his wife Kylaannaakh Kyys Nyurgun. There they give Aitalyyn Kuo in marriage to Khaan Dyargystai.
Source: The Olonkho Information System web portal.