Azeri legends

Azerbaijan is famed for having a lot of legends, myths and stories. We know a lot about legends of other people, this time let us learn what our ancestors passed to us

Why the pigeon is believed to be a symbol of peace ...

(from the words of elders of Ohut settlement in Sheki region)

Long time ago the dispute between powerful Khans of Ganja and Sheki run high and outgrew to warfare. Each side was accusing opponent of all thinkable and unthinkable sins and in the end the war erupted when Khan of Ganja declared state of war to Khan of Sheki. They agreed on time and place of decisive battle.

Khan of Sheki had not waged war for 15 years and all his ammunition was kept in one of the remote rooms in his palace. A day before the battle he asked his mother to prepare ammunition for the battle and bless him for this battle which might be the last one for him. Mother's blessing was believed to be sacred and Khan needed it. When his mother brough him ammunition he could not find a helmet. Khan was surprised and aksed:

- Mom, where is my helmet which is pride for the man and for our family?
- I could not bring it - said old woman without disclosing her reasons.
- I understand your mother feelings, you don not want war and destructions, but I can't step back. This will be disgrace for all my people. If needed I am ready to give my life for my land, but I will not retreat. This is my last word! Please, bless me - said Khan with determination in his voice.
- I am not doubting your bravery and determination, my son was raised to protect the homeland from enemies. But your helmet seems to be bewitched. I could not lift it.
- Then I will go and take it by myself
- Please do not do it, do not touch the helmet, said his mother and stopped the way. I ask you in the name of the mother's milk that brought you up as well as a Khan of Sheki, the ancient and glorious land.
- But mother, how could I show up in a battle field in front of my people and my warriors with uncovered head?

And then the mother told him the real reason behind her action.

- Great Khan, my beloved son, there is a couple of white pigeons that made a nest in your battle helmet. They are the most peaceful birds and breed 3 nestlings. Pigeons know where to nest and want to raise their nestlings in safety. If these innocent creatures will be touched then the parents will fly away, nestlings will die and grief and illness came to our land, misfortune will stay in this country forever. Are you ready to accept this?

Khan was silent, he did not know what to say. The logic of the mother was stronger than force and power.
In the morning Khan of Ganja noticed that Khan of Sheki riding his battle horse had his head unprotected. This surprised him and he asked the reason behind this. The Khan of Sheki said:

- A pair of white pigeons made a nest in my helmet, they have three nestlings and my mom pleaded me not to destroy the nest. My people might suffer from this. But this should not disturb you - Khan of Ganja, I am ready for the batlle.
Khan of Ganja was bewildered and surprised by peacefulness of his opponent. He sent his couriers to check and confirm this fact. Khan of Ganja was thinking. Breathless silence was around, the decision of Khan of Ganja could shed a blood of brothers. Wise Khan appreciated the deed of Sheki Khan and offered him his hand.

- Great Khan, I would like to make a peace! If your mother did not want to destroy pigeon's nest how can we destroy lands and homes, shed a blood of innocent people. Your uncovered head is not a sign of your disgrace or acceptance of defeat, it is the other way just proves your honor and clear thoughts. Thank you.

Peace was made and since then white pigeon is a messenger of peace and symbol of well-being.

How Jeyranbatan lake was born?

(from the words of elders of Sarayi village)

In the place of modern Sumgayit an ancient Azeri tribe was once settled. There were two loving hearts in that tribe - young hero Sum and the beauty Jeyran. They were engaged, they love was blazing as eternal flame. There had been a river flowing by that the tribe was relying on.

But one day a large barbarian army came from the north and conquered all the approaches to the river. Everyone who was trying to approach river was finding his end. Then the elders of the tribe decided to propitiate barbarians and started negotiations. But enemies asked for inconceivable price: for each day of using river water the tribe had to sacrifice one person to barbarian's idol who they worshipped. Being in a desperate situation elders agreed. But Sum was against and said:

"In this way we will lose all our tribe!". The head of the tribe opposed: "Is not slowly better than immediate death of all the tribe? We need to win a time". But Sum could not reconcile himself with this and said: "These comparisons will lead us to nowhere. Let's gather people and fight them!". But the tribe's head said that their forces are not enogh to win: "You will perish yourself and the whole tribe ".

Thus the time was going and it was turn of Sum's family to bring sacrifice. "I will be sacrifice!" - said Sum. But his beloved Jeyran offered herself: "There is no life for me without you anyway!" they have been arguing till end of the day, and by the morning when Jayran fell asleep Sum and a small number of volunteers marched out against enemy.

When Jeyran woke up, she realized that she was sedated and ran into the road and started to cry in madness: "Sum, gayit!... Sum, gayit!" ("Sum, return!). When she reached the battlefield she realized that Sum and his friends defeated the enemy but Sum was killed in battle with numerous enemies. She embraced his blooded body and screamed to the whole valley: "Sum, gayit!.. Sum, gayit!!!". Being frantic with grief she ran towards bog lake and jumped into waters. The bog started to pull her down, but she kept on calling her beloved one: "Sum, gayit!.. Sum, gayit!".

Since then that lake was called Jeyranbatan (literally, drowned Jeyran), and the place where the tribe was settled - Sumgayit.

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