A. A. Bestuzhev
Near the road from Derbent to Tarki, to the left of which stand the peaks of the Caucasus flanked by forests, and on the right the bank of the ever-murmur, like mankind, of the Caspian Sea, lies the Dagestan village. There in May 1819 was a holiday.
The Caucasian nature is charming in the spring, and all the inhabitants, taking advantage of the peace of this humble land, settled in the valley and on the slopes to admire the dashing games of the mountain youth. The rider, distinguished from all by the beauty of his face, the slender figure, the thoroughbred horse, the wealth of clothing and weapons, was the nephew of Tarkovsky ruler (shamkhal) Ammalat-bek. His art in dzhigitovke, in the possession of a saber and shooting peers had no. Who once saw him shoot a horse’s horseshoe from the pistol at a gallop, he will never forget it.
On the same day, the young bek receives an honorable, but also a dangerous guest. A mountaineer of a proud and formidable form, Sultan-Ahmet Khan of Avars was once a general of the Russian service, but the arrogant nature and the unfaithful nature of the Asiatic made him go to treason, and now, not for the one massacre of the Russians, they searched him to settle accounts with him. To the reproaches of the khan that it was not worthy to play such toys in a toy, when the native mountains were covered with the flood of holy war to the very tops, Ammalat answered with due discretion, but when a Russian officer appeared to capture the rebellious khan, the duty of hospitality forced him to prevent it. Sultan-Ahmet struck the Russian with a dagger – now Ammalat is guilty before the authorities and must flee to participate with the khan in raids on the peaceful side.
Soon, however, their enterprise, produced in alliance with the terrible Chechens, ended in failure, and so wounded Ammalat in the house of the Avar Khan. His wounds are heavy, and on his first return from oblivion it seems to him that he is no longer on the ground, torn apart by enmity and bloodshed, but in a paradise appointed for the faithful, for who else is the young guriya correcting his veil? Meanwhile, Seltaneta, the daughter of a khan, fell in love with a wounded young man. Ammalath responds to her with deep and passionate love, which often overrides the virgin heart of an Asian man. But where love wins, there is a rendezvous – soon the khan sends the recovered youth to a new raid…
For a long time, the Russian Cossacks from the fortified Caucasian line, not only in their clothes and appearance, but also in their military skills, have become like mountaineers and now give them a glorious rebuff, despite the dexterity and desperation of the attackers. Abrekam-dzhigitam, on both sides robbing without restraint, this time it was possible to beat off both captives and a large herd of horses, but on the ferry across the Terek they were overtaken by Cossacks who had been hit by a Russian cannon from the hill. Here the abreks enter the last battle, singing the “death song” (translation from Tatar): “Weep the beauties in the mountain village. / Control the wake for us.” Together with the last tag, the bullet / We leave the Caucasus. ”
A blow with the butt on the head threw the young brave man Ammalat to the ground.
Colonel Evstafy Verkhovsky, who served at the headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus, wrote to his bride in Smolensk: “… Youth and the wonderful talents of the captured Dagestan bek brought to us so strong that I decided to ask Alexei Petrovich to protect him from imminent General Ermolov (who did not see him in life, will not be able to imagine the power of his charm on only portraits) not only abolished the execution, but also in accordance with his nature (to execute so executed – to pardon so pardon) avil him complete freedom, leaving with me. Our Ammalat a touching friendship, his success in the Russian language and education are striking. However, he remains true to the feelings of their aziattsev same Udal’tsov what proved himself being a robber. His deep affection for me, he was able to express in hunting the most heroic way, saving my life from the fangs of a ferocious wild boar. Right, he is dear to me no less... than a younger brother – so grateful for us, if we have the opportunity to create it in this barbaric and brutal war. I’m flattered to think that I was able to love him, love and a dream of you inspired… “
Ammalath hungrily learned to think, and it captured him. But he could never forget his Seletanet, and the melancholy for her merged with anguish at the same liberty, which against him he was still deprived, if only from attachment to the noble Verkhovsky. Having received a sudden news of his beloved’s illness, he rushed to her, despite the fact that her father was now hostile to him. The arrival of Ammalat had a beneficial effect, but Sultan-Ahmet was adamant: leave us to serve the gyaurs, our eternal enemies, only that you deserve the right to be my son-in-law, and the wedding gift be the head of the colonel. “What Colonel?” “Verkhovsky, and his only!” – “How can I raise my hand to my benefactor?” “He’s lying, like all Russians.” His lips are honey, poison is in his soul, he will take you to Russia, and there you will perish. “
And the insidious Khan did not confine himself to words full of threats. On orders, his old nurse, Ammalata, told the young man that she had heard Verkhovsky’s words that he was going to take Ammalat to Russia and take him to court. In the heart of Ammalat, the struggle of feelings is no less cruel than the Caucasian war itself. The hatred of Verkhovsky’s alleged hypocrisy, the desire for Celtanet and the hope for future happiness entered into a fatal battle with a feeling of fraternal love and reverence for the mind and kindness of the Russian officer. The darkness of ignorance and the ugliness of education overpowered the beginnings of virtue in the dark soul of the Asiatic. Grasped by passion and excited by deception, he decided.
They rode together far ahead of the detachment. Suddenly Ammalath galloped forward, then turned back and raised his pointed gun. “What’s your goal, Ammalat?” asked the colonel, rejoicing at the ingenuity of his young friend. “Chest of the enemy!” – There was an answer. The shot shot.
Ammalat is hiding from the pursuit. Wanders in the mountains. He did only part of the case. But he does not have the head of the colonel. At night, he commits the brutal matter of coffin. With the head of his benefactor in a sack, he now rushes to the Avar khan, tormented by his conscience, but hoping to master his Celtica.
Not in a good hour was he in the Khan’s house. Sultan-Ahmet Khan of Avars was at his last breath from a quick illness. But nothing can stop Ammalat now. He threw his bloody gift on the bed of the dying man. But this only accelerated the demise of the Khan, who, before the uncertainty of death, longed for peace, and not for bloody scenes. The powerful Khansha brought down her anger at the unhappy Ammalat. “Never, you criminal, as vile as a parricide, will not be my son-in-law! Forget the way to my house, otherwise my sons will make you remember the way to hell!”
“Seltaneta, my love!” he whispered, but she said only: “Farewell forever!”
Years have passed. Ammalat wandered since then in the Caucasus, was in Turkey, was looking for in the endless battles of death and oblivion. A damaged conscience and bad glory accompanied him everywhere.
In 1828, at the siege of Anapa, the Russian artillery officer deftly aimed the cannon to lay the heart of a stately horseman on a white horse, defiantly despising the fire from our positions. The shot was successful. The artilleryman then approached and stopped over the severely wounded. An irresistible horror reflected in the eyes of the mountain warrior. “Verkhovsky!” – he whispered in a barely audible voice, and this name was the last terrible greeting to his world. A dagger with a golden notch was removed from the victim. “It’s slow to resentment – to sweep swift,” – read the translator. “My brother Eustathius became a victim of the rule that executed this predatory rule,” said artillery captain Verkhovsky with tears in his voice. “Here is his name,” the interpreter pointed out, “Ammalat-bek.”
From the author’s notes. The incident is genuine. Constantly staying in the Caucasus, I had to hear it from many people who knew both Verkhovsky and Ammalat well. The story in nothing significant does not depart from their true words.
A. A. Bestuzhev