The Story of Toru-Aigyr/Тору-Айгыр


On the shore of lake Issyk Kul lived a small boy, an orphan, who at birth was named Bakyt, almost in mockery because Bakyt means happiness in Kyrgyz. This boy’s parents died while he was young. He himself expected a quick death from starvation, but a rich neighbor felt for the boy, and, more importantly, wanted the land of his dead parents, so he adopted the boy and sent him to work in the fields of his dead parents.

Bakyt slept with the cattle and ate whatever fell from his adopted father’s table. When Bakyt turned 17, his adopted father gave him a half-dead foal as a gift for all his hard work over the years. All the master horsemen in the village predicted the imminent death of the foal, but Bakyt took care of it and the foal turned out to be a beautiful chestnut pacer horse. Bakyt so impressed his adopted father that he entrusted Bakyt to caring for his large herd of horses.

Bakyt not only protected the herd from blood-thirsty wolves and horse-thieves, but he also trained them for jumping and other equestrian competitions. All of Bakyt’s horses were good horses, but the best of them all was the skally-wag foal he raised. In all competitions, that horse won first place. Bakyt named his horse Toru-Aigyr.

Big money was offered for Toru-Aigyr, but Bakyt refused to sell him. The horse was his friend. Likewise, the horse lived for Bakyt. Toru-Aigyr could identify Bakyt from a great distance. And when his owner was sad, Toru-Aigyr would make him feel better.

One night, a black soul came and knocked Bakyt out with a large club, almost killing him. When he came to, he realized his trusty steed was missing. He searched everywhere for Toru-Aigyr, but could find him nowhere. Bakyt and the villagers realized Toru-Aigyr was gone for good.

Meanwhile, on the other side of lake Issyk Kul, a handsome horse fought for his freedom. The herdsmen on the southern shore of the lake could not keep the horse under control. They decided to hobble the horse, to keep him from escaping. One night, the guards fell asleep, and Toru-Aigyr decided to run north, where he knew his friend Bakyt was. It was hard for him to run because of his legs being hobbled. The guards woke and gave chase, catching up with the horse just as he arrived at the southern shore of the lake. The guards called him back, but Toru-Aigyr ignored them and jumped into the lake.

Toru-Aigyr swam to the northern shore. The swim was difficult for him. The salty water rubbed against his fetters, his muscles ached, waves rolled over him, filling his ears, yet he continued to swim. Finally, with his last effort, Toru-Aigyr reached the shore, giving out a loud neigh, to call out to his friend Bakyt.

Bakyt heard the call of his friend and rushed to the lake, where he found Toru-Aigyr. He wrapped his arms around the neck of the horse, shouting with joy. But the journey was too difficult for Toru-Aigyr, and with two tears running from his beautiful brown eyes, he fell down dead at Bakyt’s feet.

To this day there is a village on the place where the horse died named Toru-Aigyr.

Why do I tell you, dear reader(s), this fairy-tale? I think this might answer your question:

Toru-Aigyr swim route
Toru-Aigyr swim route

8 thoughts on “The Story of Toru-Aigyr/Тору-Айгыр”

    1. Knowing the Kyrgyz, the name probably does mean something, but I’m not sure what. All the Kyrgyz here have beautiful names, like Talaai (man’s name) which means Happy, or Jyldyz (f) which means Star.

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