Maria Mukhlaeva, About Bok Tukha

Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 

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Maria recounts three stories about a legendary man called Bok Tukha who was famous for his strength. Maria: I am from the arvn Mu Chons of the Byargyas clan. My husband is from the Iki Chonos clan. Bok Tukha was from the Byargyas clan. Recently Dordzhi relayed a story to me about Bok Tukha, about how he stole a 4-year old horse from a place called Zergntya. He was a man of unbelievable strength. He was a hunter and worked for no one. One day Bok Tukha was walking in the steppe and came across 10 horses in Zergntya. He looked around – no one was to be seen in the vicinity. He took off his boots, grabbed a horse by its tail, pulled it down, and carried it to his place in Bakhan. In the evening he butchered the horse, and called his relatives to have a feast. The next day the herdsman who was looking after the horses noticed that a 4-year old horse went missing. He reported the theft to his master. The master said: ‘Look, it is obvious from the foot prints that the thief was barefoot. He must have carried the horse away on his shoulders. Who else can it be other than Bok Tukha?’ When the men approached his tent, Bok Tukha’s wife warned her husband. Bok Tukha quickly drank up the fat that was left from the horse, swallowed the remaining knee bone, and sat on his bed as if nothing had happened. Soon the men entered his tent, enquiring: ‘Good day, Bok Tukha, we are looking for a horse that went missing since yesterday. You walk across the steppe. Did you see anything suspicious?’ Bok Tukha replied ‘No’, to which the guests said: ‘If you have not seen anything, no one has. There is nothing we can do now’. After a cup of tea, the guests left the tent empty-handed. Another story. There were two men. One had good hearing and the other good eyesight. One day Bok Tukha along with these two men went up the hill to learn about what was happening around them. The man with a good eyesight said: ‘Over there in Bakhan I see a horse with many spots. It has one shoulder worn out. A young woman is going from one tent to another.’ Bok Tukha: ‘Okay, let’s go and see what is really happening down there. How can you see from such a distance?’ When they arrived at the spot, indeed there was a horse standing that had spots. Its shoulder was worn out too. There was also a young woman, a newly married daughter of a wealthy man. Seeing how wealthy she was, the three men decided to rob her. The bride was unusual though. She said to her father-in-law: ‘I saw a shadow. Be careful and keep an eye on your horses. There are many thieves around. Ask your herdsman to keep a horse ready in case you need to chase thieves’. The herdsman brought a fast horse to the door of the tent, but soon fell asleep. Seeing that the herdsman was sleeping, the three men galloped toward the bride’s tent. Inside, while Bok Tukha was holding a knife at her chest, the other two set out stealing her gold. All of a sudden, the bride, who was pretending to be asleep, grabbed Bok Tukha’s knife with her two fingers so that the intruder could do nothing but shout to the other two: ‘Quickly put everything back and don’t touch anything!’ In panic, the thieves fled. Thinking to himself ‘Very strange. That woman squeezed my knife with her two fingers so tight that I could not even move it. What a powerful woman! I’ll go and see what kind of woman she really is’, Bok Tukha galloped back to the tent. Later Bok Tukha said to his two friends: ‘I am a strong man, but she is stronger’. Another story. One day there was a competition between the Kalmyks and the Kazakhs. The khan called Bok Tukha and said to him: ‘There is no one stronger than you…’ ‘No, there is one woman who is stronger than me’, replied Bok Tukha. The khan ordered that Bok Tukha brought that woman to him. When Bok Tukha arrived at the bride’s tent (whom he tried to rob previously), she had given birth to a baby who was 10 days old. Bok Tukha explained everything to her, to which the woman said: ‘If I have to spill my blood for my brothers, bind me tightly, for I have recently given birth’. The soldiers wrapped her belly tight with a calf’s and foal’s skin and put men’s clothes on her. Her competitor was a strong wrestler. The bride easily beat him, ran to her tent, changed her clothes into that of a woman, and hid among the women folk. The defeated wrestler only said: ‘I have never been beaten by a man, let alone a woman’. Darina: Where was Bok Tukha from? Maria: From our land. Darina: Does he have descendants? Maria: Ubushiev Pavel Mukhonovich lived in Tsaritsyn. In Derbets, there lives an old man, Sandzhiev Muutl. He is Bok Tukha’s descendant in the 7th generation.

Bok Tukha
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