Otauli. Alexander the Great (story)

Category: Uzbek modern prose Published: Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Author: Otauli
Translated by Farrukh Ataev

Historical story

Just yesterday, on the way to establishing truth and justice on Earth, the army of Alexander the Great, conquered Isfijan and Utrar. This army has also defeated all the West and East, in particular, Arabian and Indian, Iranian and Turanian lands. Now it headed eagerly toward Yassi castle.

At a distance of ten chaqirims they could see a huge highland. As they approached, they saw crowds of people on top of and at the foot of the highland. What is the matter, did the whole village come out to this place? There were young and elders, women, and even infants!
A group of hallowed old men separated from the crowd and welcomed the army. An old man over a hundred years old, who must have been a village chairman, placed his hand on his chest, bowed and looked courageously at Alexander:
- Greetings, General! Welcome!...
The commander, who had won many villages and towns, was welcomed warmly. He, at the request of the men twice his age, and of the people standing around him, got off his horse. He hugged the old man and walked the way he showed. Patterned palliasses, miscellaneous carpets, abundant tables and satin kurpachas lay on a densely grassy land like a green carpet. Are they welcoming an invader or their dearest guest?! Hiding his astonishment he knelt on the kurpacha the chairman offered. The old man sat opposite him and his entourage and others took seats besides him.
- Welcome to our village, dear guest, may flowers grow at your steps!...
Alexander hid his surprise again.
- Thanks, old man… - He glanced around the highland: - What village is this?
The old man's face brightened:
- Our village is called "Iyiqon", guest. In Greek, the word means "virtuous blood", "good blood", "pure blood". I am the village's chairman, Koruvli. Our village is also called "Koruvlis' village". Because all our ancestors were strong watchman, courageous guards, vigilant sentries …
In Alexander's face and eyes appeared a slight sarcasm:
- What do you guard?...
- This nation, countrymen, ourselves.
- From whom?
- From the bad people, who have no conscience.
- With what?
- With good words, hospitality, conscience…
Alexander first looked at his entourage around him, then at his army behind him:
- We … are good people, who intend to find truth and justice on Earth! … We have brought it to you too!
- What did you bring?
- Truth and justice!
The old man thought for a while, holding his beard, then at last, smiled gently:
- You made such a long journey in vain… We have them enough ourselves! If you had brought something we didn't have! Or … all the just people like you have acquired are those … spears and swords?!
Alexander grew angry. He respected the man's white beard … but the light-minded man … was overstepping his boundaries! It seemed that the man did not know that power is not in justice, but justice is in power. Alexander's sword is sharper than the sharpest tongues! Should he prove it?! Looking around, he hardly restrained his anger, but the old man didn't hold his tongue:
- Is it fair to come by brandishing sword above on an unarmed nation, who has been living peacefully, General?!
Now Alexander freed both his anger and tongue unintentionally:
- Executioner? … Cut his tongue first, then his head!
However, the old man remained calm.
- Before my tongue gets cut off, I warn you, general! If you are truly a just person, then on the hill you will kill not only me, but also all the Iyiqon people, and only after that will you pass to Yassi castle! It is our sole request and requirement! We, Iyiqon people, are like a single soul and body. Thanks to God, so far, there hasn't been a betrayer among Iyiqons.
Alexander held up his hand to stop the executioner, who was holding his sword above the man's head. He couldn't conceal his amazement.
- Oh really?! Your consent to death is understandable! But among your countrymen… is everyone really not afraid of death?!
- That's right! For us it is an honor to die for unity, general!
Alexander engaged in thought with surprise. It can't be! One can be as fearless as not to be afraid of death, of course, but the kinds of meanness are too many!... Is it easy not to be sold for wealth, not to covet a good position, to refrain from greed, to willingly refuse one's own pleasure and give up one's sweet life… ?!
At last, Alexander announced his decision:
- All right! We'll see! I leave your head alone and test only three of your countrymen!...
According to the agreement, Alexander entered a tent at a side of the hill and invited a
Humpback from among the Iyiqon people:
- Do you really agree to live out your life humpbacked and not to be able to straighten your body?! Would you like me to kill the chairman and hand the control of the village over to you?! Otherwise, you will die instead of the old man?!
Humpback's body suddenly straightened:
- Although I have a humpback, my soul is right, general! It is better to die than bring a disgrace to Iyiqon!
The Humpback came out of the tent straightened up and a Midget quickly went in. Alexander put hospitality aside and got to work:
- Not only your countrymen, but also all tall people in my kingdom will stand bowed before you! Would you like to feel yourself higher than them and to feel pleased by having them run your errands?!
It seemed the Midget's height grew a meter in his eyes:
- No, I would not! It is better to be a shepherd on the native land than to be a king on another, general! You see, it is not the tall people, who created me short!...
The Midget's left and a deformed man took his place.
- I will give you half of my kingdom! Despite the curved mouth, let the rich man's son speak. You will speak and all others, in particular, your countrymen will listen. Whatever you say will be fulfilled. All that comes out of your mouth will be done… So, what do you say to this?...
The Cripple's mouth defect suddenly disappeared:
- My biggest wealth is my unity, wholeness, and unanimity with my countrymen… If they die - I die, they live - I live!
Alexander followed the Cripple out of the tent and said excitedly:
- It looks as if we have reached our bounds, brothers! … You know, my teacher Aristotle has advised me "Macedonian Alexander, well, you can conquer the world, but know your measure and bounds, don't overstep it. Adhere to the way of justice and conscience!" Thanks to God, I finally realized my bound! This village has more resistance than the Great Wall of China. It is so strong and vast a fortress that I'm unable to climb over it!... Of course, we have enough power to destroy the village and massacre all its inhabitants, but the conscious destruction of such exemplary unity would be incorrect and unjust that wouldn't comply with my reputation! … No, I can't go against my conscience and overstep my bound! … Today we give rest to our horses here and will go back tomorrow. We conclude our travel at the Muradhighland. That is all, brothers!...
The guests conversed warmly with the hosts until the morning. Alexander was amazed once again thinking over the words of one wiser man after another. "Here, look, not one, not a hundred, but a thousand Aristotles! Only these Aristotles are uninterested in jotting down their words on a paper, however, they are masters at keeping in mind what they hear! … A night is not a thousand nights! At this night to speak with a thousand Aristotles simultaneously is … oh, what happiness! It is the boundary he found searching and seeking, the area he arrived striving and struggling!...
As dawn broke, they bid farewell to the wise, brave hosts and returned home. Alexander felt as light as a bird on top of his horse. "Indeed, they are Iyiqons, strong guards!" - he thought admiringly. His admiration followed by a good wish:
- Be the people of the world united and unanimous as a single soul and body like the people of the village!...

1. Isfijan,
2. Utrar - cities in Central Asia;
3. Yassi mausoleum - the mausoleum of Akhmad Yassaviy, the saint who lived in IX-X
4. 1 chaqirim - 1.06 kilometers
5. kurpacha - a blanket to sit on
6. Koruvli - guard
7. Muradhighland - the name of the hill, which means Wishland.

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