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NABI

&
HAJAR

Translated by: Zahra Jamali

NABI AND HAJAR

1
PREFACE:

With almost twenty years of research and experience on tribes, I have heard many
stories, which told about their bravery. Narrative stories from one generation to
another has kept them alive for thousands of years and enforced their effects on
people. Tribal culture in our area (Azarbaijan) shows the truth and this story, Nabi &
Hajar, is an example of vernacular stories.

A. A. Nazarpoor

Translator's Comments:

A nation is recognised by its culture, and it has been the main objective of this
folkloric story. We, as proud citizens of a great nation must make the world aware of
our rich culture. A culture that has been with us from the ancient times and still has
its roles in our society. This shows our identity for the readers to see.

Z. Jamali

Chapter I

The plain seemed prettier at dawn and after the night's rain. The flowers looked more
alive and the sweet grass soaked in dew were almost touching the belly of Nabi's

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horse. From the horizon a caravan going towards northern Iran until Aras1 River is
visible. Strutting behind them with the water supply contained in large bottles
enclosed in leather bags is Nabi with his dear Afshari horse.

Nabi, a proud young man with a loaded 5-bullet Russian gun over his shoulder is
breathing in nature's freshness. His thoughts are circling with this year's bountiful
harvest, hopefully better than last years' and of the fat bellied sheep grazing. He saw a
number of shepherds and their herds along the way. They knew and greeted him with
enthusiasm. Waving back at them answering their greetings he continued on his way.
He… Nabi is known for bravery among the tribes of the region.

All of a sudden, his sharp eyes caught a sight of a ram rushing among the flowerbeds,
a short distance from him. Galloping, he went after it and aimed, in a few minutes his
bullet directly hit its aim. "How come this ram was away from its herd?" he thought,
"unless something or someone is behind it…2" Fast as a lightning, a stranger on
horseback appeared and claimed the hunt. Resisting the rider's claim, Nabi realised
that his hat bore a hole from her pistol. Startled, he immediately handed over the prey
and said that it is not worth fighting for or even the bloodshed. The unknown rider
came near and Nabi immediately became fascinated by her tantalising eyes. She is a
vision wearing a very beautiful native costume on top of her horse and a skilful
marksman.

Nabi came back and joined his caravan and rode toward the river, knotting the horse's
bridle on its Ghoppose3, bent down on his two hands and tried to remember the
happenings. It was like a dream, everytime her face appears his heartbeat becomes
faster…her looks, bravery and shooting skills…"I love her", he half said and half
shouted it. Her beauty, he, the prey and she, the hunter, captivate him. A very strange
feeling enveloped him, a feeling he felt for the first time in his life. No girl in
Gharapapakh4 has made him feel this way. His thoughts of her made him happy and
fill him with joy. He reached the river filled the leather barrels and after securing their
lids jumped into the river and washed himself. After loading the barrels he proceeded
to Gheshlagh5 all the while wishing to see her once more, although it seems futile.

It was almost noon by the time he reached Gheshlagh. Near his father's obeh 6, he
filled the wooden troughs, about 30 cm. high, with water for the sheep to drink. His
father came out of his tent and noticed the hole in Nabi's cap. Nabi told his father the
story from the beginning. Upon hearing the story, his father positively identified the
girl-rider as Hajar of Aghabashloo7 tribe. Nabi wanted to confess his feelings for the
girl and seek his father's advice on what is good for his future when the dogs started
fighting and one of them got entangled with the other so his father had to separate
them leaving Nabi in the middle of a sentence. Thoughts about his aunt who got
1
Aras in Azary is ARAZ.
2
Ghuch is a kind of sheep, which is not easily found. In Azary language it is "Ara mani" meaning
look for me, it is usually seen when something is chasing it. It is a common mistake that it is
Armenian ram but it is not.
3
Ghoppose is a part of a horse's saddle in front, a form of a knob.
4
Gharapapakh - Nabi's tribe.
5
Gheshlagh - a small area where the tribesmen go during summer for their sheep to feed. Usually
cooler in summer.
6
Obeh - A place where tribesmen set up camp and tents
7
Aghabashloo - Hajar's tribe, a branch of Shahsavan tribe.

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married with a person from that tribe entered his mind, "it will be a good reason for
me to go there and visit my aunt" he reasoned, "and also to find out more about
Hajar" he mused, knowing that the second reason is more acceptable for him.

With this thought in mind, he went to see his aunt. While passing in front of
alachighs8, he noticed a familiar looking horse fastened in a pole in front of one of the
alachighs. His heart started pounding, making bigger steps, he reached the alachigh
and saw her busy making doogh9. She immediately recognised him as the hunter she
met earlier during the day and whom she has confiscated her deer from. She stared
and greeted him serenely. "This stranger has come to take my hunt back", she
doubtfully said to herself, "I have make him leave sooner or risk his life", she decided
for herself. "I'm on my way to my aunt's house when I saw your horse tied up here so
I decided to take a look", Nabi said. "A man's word is only one and as promised that
deer belongs to you, there's no way I'll take it back. I can easily hunt for another one
of these days" Nabi replied seeing the questioning look on her face.

Hearing this, Hajar felt better and offered him a bowl of doogh to quench his thirst.
With eyes fixed on her, he drank the doogh. He could not take his eyes away from
her, having noticed this Hajar got red with embarrassment and immediately
understood that visiting his aunt is only a reason. She tried to start a conversation by
asking him his name and which tribe does he belong to. Nabi dutifully answered all
her questions. Hajar found out all about Nabi, how famous he is in his tribe, how he
excels in archery and other traits. "Why did you not fight for your right and relinquish
your hunt very quickly." She asked, "Did you think that arguing with a woman will
make you feel and look small to others?" "Did you know that among the Shahsovan
tribe there is no difference being a man or a woman, and all are treated as men-of-
war?" she implied further. Hearing this Nabi reasoned out "As what I have told you
before, war should be something worth fighting for not due to a ram, which can be
found everywhere. Bloodshed is not worth it and diversity in beliefs between the
tribes must be stopped." Hajar realised that he is a man of logic and understood his
intelligence. How they long to be with each other and be engaged in endless talk
about life but their embarrassment is so obvious that Nabi finally had to say good bye
and proceed to his aunt's house.

Chapter II

As a custom in any of the tribes, a new comer is always under suspicion. So before
reaching his aunt's tent, she already knew what took place from the time he entered
the obeh, finding Hajar, talking to her until the act of accepting the yoghurt drink
from her was already reported.

He reached his aunt's tent and embraced her as a sign of greetings, he held her so tight
to keep the embarrassment from showing from his face. He felt that his cheeks were
red and sweating. His aunt realised without saying that Nabi, her nephew is now a
full grown man and is hopelessly in love with Hajar. She started questioning him,
questions like, and what has she told you…have you two met before…how is she…
and so on. Nabi tried to answer her questions but he firmly stated that he came to see

8
Alachigh - a wooden hut used for temporary shelter by tribesmen.
9
Doogh - native yoghurt drink.

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her aunt and seeing Hajar there is just a coincidence. Not believing his words, Nabi's
aunt then said that the time is ripe to think of the future and start a family. She said
that she could go to Hajar's parents and ask for their daughter's hand in marriage.

It was a common knowledge among the tribes that Hajar with her extraordinary
beauty is hard to please and demanding when it comes to her suitors. "What do you
have to worry, you are handsome enough for her, brave enough to protect her" Nabi's
aunt said with confidence. "Come, today you are my special guest and Aghabashloo
tribe will be honoured having you. We will make bozbush10 , your favourite food for
lunch."

After lunch, the mothers of the tribe tried to calm down the children by ordering them
to rest and keep quiet while the elders of the tribe took a short afternoon nap.
Afterwards, they went for a ride around the obeh.

One day, the great Khan11 of Aghabashloo decided to hold a tournament wherein
every able-bodied youth of different tribes can take part. It is a contest of
horsemanship and skilled marksmanship and its most coveted prize is Boz At 12. A
fantastic 3-year old wild horse which was recently been saddled and tamed. All young
men and women, skilled in horseback riding and shooting, came from all over the area
to participate. Each tribe had their own hopefuls and Nabi and Hajar were their
families' pride.

Each and every one of the participants wished to be the winner and be able to own
and ride Boz-At. The contest began, each horseman must be able to shoot while
riding a fast moving horse. Out of the big number of aspirants only fifteen remained
for the second lap. The third lap saw only eight remainders and for the final lap only
Nabi and Hajar remained, a one-on-one encounter.

For the final lap, the contestants should try to balance himself on one side of the horse
and try to shoot in that position. The audience was crying from excitement, the 2-
minute interval before the final lap seemed to last forever. The ladies were cheering
Hajar and acclaiming her for her skill. They were giving her points on how to shoot
straight without missing the target. Hoping deeply that she wins and proud that a girl
has this chance of winning. At last, gender equality in the Shahsavan tribe proved
well and produced women warriors that can stand side by side with men or even
better than them in skill.

The Khan's son could not take his eyes off Hajar. He is a married man but seeing
Hajar and admiring her prowess brought out the sparks of love in his eyes. Not
knowing that Hajar's heart already belonged to Nabi, he tried to conceive a plan for
her to be his.

The final lap started and a wild ram was released as a target. First, it was Hajar's turn
to shoot at the fast moving target but missed. Nabi, on the other hand expertly aimed
10
Bozbush - a dish of wild goat in dried whey, garlic and wild vegetables. This dish is very delicious
that it is a feast food for the Shahsavan tribe.
11
Khan - an honorary title in tribes, of Mongolian origin which signifies power and demands
respect.
12
Boz-At - a very famous horse that can move like a shadow. A well-bred horse.

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and brought it down with only one shot. He won! Everybody applauded, "Hail Nabi,
our hero…the greatest marksman!"

The Khan was so proud and handed over Boz-At to the young hero and as a sign of
approval kissed Nabi's shoulder. In turn, Nabi kissed the back of Khan's hand as a
sign of deepest respect. All the while Hajar was stunned by Nabi's handsome figure
on horseback, a figure of bravery and valour. She wished that she could be with him
and accept him as her husband, somebody who really deserves her.

Nabi's aunt could not hide her joy, seeing the love in their eyes gave her the
responsibility to make these lovebirds be near each other. She devised a plan on how
they can see each other again without their knowing. She told Hajar that Nabi would
be hunting near the Araz River the following day. On the other hand, she sent her son
to tell Nabi that Hajar will be near the river next day, washing clothes. Unaware of
his aunt's plans they saw each other again.

Both of them had a surprised look in their eyes when they saw each other near the
river. They decided that it is a good time to talk to each other about everything. Nabi
hunted a wild goat and offered to make grilled veal for lunch. Oh! How precious time
passes by, they both wished that time would stop right there so they can go on and on.
How sweet it is to be with the one you love, trying to learn about each other's traits.

After lunch, Nabi with all the courage he could muster tried to talk about marriage
and wedding. He even mentioned the suitors she had turned down. "Who is the
rightful man for you?" he asked. Hajar kept quiet and looked at him meaningfully.
Her silence made Nabi happy, he knew right then and there that she belongs to him.
"I loved you since the first time I laid my eyes on you. I'll send my mother to ask for
your hand in marriage just promise me that you'll be mine forever and only death can
make us part." He pleaded her. Hajar turned red with excitement, she is so happy that
at last, the person she has been waiting for had come.

Chapter III

Nabi and Hajar's love affair became the most talked about topic among the tribes.
Hearing of this, the Khan's son went to his father and told him about his love for
Hajar. Seeing his son's apprehension, he ordered his men to send the best ram they
could find to Aghabashloo. He instructed them to put some hana13, red being a
symbol of love, on the ram's head and hand it over to Hajar's father as an offering for
his daughter's hand in marriage.

Seeing the precious gift sent by the Khan, Hajar's father became elated. He felt proud
and honoured that the son of the great Khan has expressed his love for his daughter
even though he wants her to be his second wife. "Who is more appropriate for my
daughter than the son of the Khan himself?" Hajar's father said proudly.

When Hajar heard of the Khan's son's offering, she felt so disgusted that she
immediately went to tell her father. "I hate him, he is already married and still wants

13
Hana- an herb used for hair colouring. Usually of red colour.

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another wife?" She said almost in tears. "It is Nabi that I love and has promised him
my sincerity for the rest of my life." Hajar confessed.

Hearing this, Hajar's father became afraid. Afraid of what might happen, afraid of the
consequences the Khan might bring upon them and his tribe. So he sought the elders
of the tribe for advice. They tried to find a way to solve the problem and knowing
Hajar at the same time pitying her, they sent Khan a message to wait for a few more
days. They plan to convince Hajar to accept the marriage proposal not only for her
but also for the tribe's sake as well.

Nabi's aunt could not agree on the issue. She made a plan to have the young lovers
elope. She advised them to stay in the mountains for some time and wait until the
Khan's son's anger subsides then, they can come back and get married peacefully.

In the middle of the night, Hajar went to Nabi's aunt's tent and waited for him there.
Having their guns loaded and bringing extra bullets with them, they set off for the
mountains without anybody's noticing.

They headed for the jungles of Kaleibar14 where the can find refuge and safety. The
place is heaven with a lot of animals for prey and springs. At dawn, they reached a
clearing where the fastened up their horses to rest and prepared to have their
breakfast of bread and cheese together. They felt very tired after the long
mountainous ride. They slept beside each other feeling each other's warmth and for
the first time in their lives they felt so alone and safe.

Their journey continued, sleeping during the day and travelling during the night to
avoid being seen. For food, they either ate what they were able to hunt or Hajar
would make a kind of food from the wild plants found in the area.

After lunch, while resting beside each other Nabi looked at Hajar adoringly. He
noticed how lovelier she had become. He though of her decision to be with him
rather than be the second wife of the Khan's son. Both of them were in such a state of
passion that they did not hear the horses' hoofs approaching.

It was too late when they found out that they were surrounded by fifteen of the
Khan's expert horsemen. Running for refuge among the trees, Nabi asked Hajar to go
and save herself, "I promised to be with you and I will be here until death" she grasp.
They made the horse lie on the ground not to be hit. "We came for the girl Hajar, hand
her over to Khan's son and nothing will happen you will be safe." Said the leader of
the group. "Don't come nearer" warned Nabi, "unless you do not want to live" he
added. The horsemen's Captain turned a blind eye to Nabi's word of warning he
ordered the cavalry to dismount and continue with the attack.

The soldiers carefully dismounted their horses and criss-crossed their way as low as
possible to avoid being hit. Nabi and Hajar's position was well located and could see
from all angles. They were firing at any thing that moved from all sides. A number of
injured soldiers were already evident and all of a sudden the Captain was hit on the
right shoulder. He then realised that they are of no match to Nabi and Hajar's
14
Kaleibar (Caleibar) - a place near Tabriz known for its thick forest.

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shooting skills. He ordered them to stop shooting and retreat. They were forced to
retreat carrying their wounded and promised to be back with more men.

Chapter IV

Nabi and Hajar's victory soon became very well known among the Shahsovan tribe.
Their struggles for their love became heroic act that Khan became worried. He called
for a meeting with his advisers. They decided to punish the two lovers for their
deeds. One of the advisers insisted on their punishment if not, people will lose their
respect for the great Khan and it will be very shameful on his part.

They tried to find out their hiding place but to no avail. Remembering that both Nabi
and Hajar are excellent marksmen, they sent ten thousand soldiers to the jungles of
Kaleibar but there has been no outcome.

Threatened by his lose of power, the Khan set up a reward for those who can find the
two lovers and punishment for those who helped and are hiding them. He also sent a
force of small groups, twenty soldiers per group, to conquer the jungles from all
directions. He chose men who were familiar with the area and skilled in the arts of
warfare.

Nabi and Hajar on the other hand, with the help of nature continued to ride at night
and rest during the day. They went on until they reached the mountaintop where
Babak castle is located. They were reminded of the great Babak's glory and honour.
The great Babak who fought for many years against Haroun Al Rashid, the tyrant
Caliph of the time, and with Amin and Mamoon15, he fought bravely until finally due
to Maziar's 16 treachery suffered defeat and lost his life.

Sympathising with Babak's objectives Nabi and Hajar felt a strong passion to fight
injustice and defend those who are helpless like them. As they had pledged near the
bank of Aras River to be with each other, until death make them part.

On the third day they encountered a group of Khan's riders. The battle took a while
until Nabi was hit in the leg. They had to find a proper shelter since they can not go
on their way. Hajar on the other hand had tried her best to guard him by shooting at
anything that moved to protect him. They are aware that other groups will be coming
knowing that Nabi is wounded and helpless.

Hajar proceeded to nurse Nabi's wound, she has to take the bullet out of Nabi's leg for
the wound to heal. She made her knife hot over the fire and used it to pry out the
bullet. Nabi had to endure the pain by biting on a piece of cloth to prevent him from
shouting. He perspired heavily and finally fainted because of the pain. He felt cold
water running on his face when he gained consciousness. He also found out that his
wound has been dressed up and Hajar was busy shooting at the soldiers approaching
the shelter. Giving them a sign that they are still alive.

15
Amin and Mamoon were the leaders of Omavians.
16
Maziar - One of the rulers of northern Iran.

8
The combat lasted for three days and three nights. They took turns to get some rest
and be on guard all the while. Their ammunition is becoming less and Khan's soldiers
have surrounded their place but still afraid of getting nearer for the sake of their lives.
Their food and water supply is also running low, seeing the situation Nabi begged
Hajar to surrender and save her own life. "We will fight till the last bullet." She
refused. "I would rather die beside you than surrender and be second wife to Khan's
son. I will save two bullets, one for me and one for you if needed" Hajar continued
pleading.

Nabi realised her bravery and he also felt that together, they are not afraid of death
and it is much sweeter to die in each other's arms. They became aware of a group
approaching the shelter, they started shooting but found out that the Khan's men has
retreated to get more help instead the whole of Gharapapakh and Aghabashloo tribes
put together. They could not believe their eyes, "Don't be afraid, we came to help, if
you are alive then answer us." said Nabi's father.

The other tribes like Arasbaran were also there to lend a hand. They joined forces to
protect Nabi and Hajar from the soldiers sent by the Khan. "The Garadaghs informed
us of your situation" continued Nabi's father while helping him to climb on his horse.
"We tried to catch up with you in Arasbaran area but you were ahead of us." Nabi's
father explained. "When the Khan of Garadagh found out about your love, he took
pity on you and sent a message to the Khan of Shahsovav, warning him of the
consequences if he doesn't let you both go free and get married peacefully. Don't
worry everybody is on your side" he said.

Upon arrival in the obeh, Nabi's wounds were given fresh dressings and Khan was
forced to forgive them. He even consented on their marriage.

Nabi and Hajar's wedding feast lasted for seven days and seven nights. Everybody
was invited to the feast of bozgoosh served in sajis17. They all gathered around the
bride and groom, wishing them all the luck and prosperity in life. Nabi and Hajar both
looked at each other, realising that dawn comes after the darkness of night. They
were filled with hope and future plans of having a lucky life with beautiful children
that will help them forget all the problems they have encountered.

Chapter V

As days passed by Nabi and Hajar were living a contented life. They took care of the
herd that were given to them as wedding gifts. The weather turned hot and the grass
in the obeh area is becoming less. The tribes had to move on and find fresher
grounds. The time of migration had come. Every year the Shahsovan tribe migrates
to the Sabalan mountains18 while on the other hand the Aghabashloo and Garapapagh
tribes proceed to Sahand mountains.

The obeh soon became a busy place getting ready for migration. The women were
busy putting down their alachighs, loading the camels with their personal possessions.

17
Sajis - a dish wherein its back part is used for making bread while its hollow part is used for native
stews and watery dishes.
18
Sabalan Mountains - a mountain chain in the north-western region of Iran.

9
The news of up coming war between the Iranians and Russians soon spread all over
the land. The news borne by a messenger reached Abbas Mirza Shah 19 on his way to
Ardabil. The preparation of the whole Persian army is needed to fight the Russians.
To prevent them from losing their cattle and to avoid tribal envolvement, the king
ordered the tribes to postpone their migration.

Fear spread throughout the tribes and an emergency meeting was held in the Khan's
tent. They decided to send some guns but not food as the king has to provide them
with the necessary rations. In a week, 3,000 young and able-bodied men and women
of the Shahsovan tribe20, including Nabi and Hajar and commandered by the Khan's
son, went towards Ardabil to join forces with Abbas Mirza's army.

To protect the city from Russian invasion, Abbas Mirza and his army along with his
supporters from Shahsovan tribe crossed the Khoda Afarin Bridge to Baku. Each of
them knew the importance of Moghan plain21 with its fertile soil in their lives. Nabi
and Hajar know that they are just a small part of this land, their own native land and
they have to do their best to protect it from foreign invaders.

On the first week of October, Abbas Mirza's messenger warned them of a Russian
battalion near them. Under Abbas Mirza's command, the Persian army prepared for
the battle. They encountered the Russians and hand-to-hand battle started. The
Russian army outnumbered the Persian army both in ammunition supplies that
consisted of twenty carts of cannon balls and in soldiers. The first encounter ended
up with the Russians retreating. It was a great win for the Iranians as they travelled
back to Baku.

The war did not end there, after months of fighting, the Iranian army is faced with the
problem of a reduced amount of supplies both ammunition and food. The provisions
went to a minimal that they had to pass the time with only bread and water. The
soldiers became weaker both physically and mentally. The Prince decided to go back
to Tabriz and Ardabil to secure some help. Unluckily, the King of Iran was no aware
of the problem's importance and paid no heed to his son's plea for assistance. He did
not provide his full support to the fighting in the north-western part of Iran unlike the
Russian army's case. The Russians enjoyed the full benefit of support mentally and
physically.

Chapter VI

After years of struggle and bravery on the Iranian part even under the poorest of
circumstances, they suffered a series of defeats that led to the Russians almost
crossing the Khoda-Afarin Bridge to conquer Iran. In one of these battles the son of
Abbas Mirza Khan was killed thus the army became divided and a lot of deserters
ensued. A group of Partisans was formed under the leadership of Nabi and Hajar.
19
Abbas Mirza Shah - one of the kings of the Persian Khajar dynasty.
20
The Shahsovan tribe was formerly made up of 7 smaller tribes all under one leadership. They
helped King Abbas of the Safavi dynasty in governing the area. Due to this, differences among the
tribes themselves came up and the king was forced to split the tribe. Those who were in favour of the
king were sent to Dasht-e-Moghan and were called Shahsovan (king's allies).
21
Moghan plain - an area for agriculture in a mountainous area. Useful for the tribes' agriculture
and cattle in Azarbaijan.

10
Nabi and his followers went back inside Iran to guard the other cities along the Aras
River from Russian invasion. Thinking that the area along the river may become a
war front, Abbas Mirza decided to give the Soldooz Desert 22to the Gharapapagh's
due to their large number and used it as his camp. At the same time he granted the
Aghabashloo the rich and fertile lands of Miandoab.

Nabi and Hajar's partisan group consisted of one hundred and fifty expert marksmen
and skilled soldiers. They fought hard and braved the worst conditions. The Russians
decided to occupy the Khoda Afarin bridge so as to have Nabi and Hajar's group
surrounded. On the other hand, Abbas Mirza decided to destroy the bridge. Seeing
that there is no escape from the situation, the group had to make up their mind on
three different solutions: one: to surrender to the Russian army ; two: attack and be
killed while fighting ; three: defend the territory while thinking of a solution.
Choosing the third option, Nabi and Hajar vowed to protect their country and stay
beside each other until the end. They swore to each other that through hunger and
danger they would be together.

Nabi and Hajar were still fighting when the treaty of Gholestan Chai was signed and
implemented. This treaty assessed the border provinces of Baku, Ganjeh and
Nakhjavan to Russia while Iran's borders was limited along the Aras River.

After the division, the people tried to live under the Russian government's rule. The
only hope that remained for them was the partisan group led by Nabi and Hajar. This
group resisted even though they were outnumbered. Due to their bravery, they were
praised and became living symbols of heroism while the Russians became more
authoritarian and tried to suppress their spirit.

News of their bravery did not reach the other side of the border or even if it does,
Abbas Mirza could not do anything to uphold their just cause. Nabi and his men
decided to go to the mountains of Ghafghaz to be safe and one with nature. The way
being narrow could only allow one person to pass. Any Soldat 23 passing by would be
seen and attacked, with this they were expecting to end the war.

They have been wandering in the mountains for many months but it seems that the
war is not near its end. They know that with the shortage of ammunition and
provision they will be forced to surrender and end the war, but due to the bravery of
the Iranians they clung to victory. At this stage, Nabi decided to designate a Soldat to
take his post while he went to the Russian Emperor and report everything that
happened and at the same time visit his family.

The story of Nabi's life and battles touched the Emperor in such a way that he decided
to grant him an amnesty and instructed the Soldat to give Nabi his message of
protection. The king fully believed that brave men and women, like Nabi and Hajar,
must be protected and getting them to agree to be on their side is an advantage for the
Russian army. The Emperor even offered them the governorship of a part of his
lands.

22
Soldooz Desert - the old name of Naghadeh city in West Azarbaijan.
23
Soldat is a soldier of the Russian army.

11
When Nabi heard of the news and fearing for the possible outcome of the Emperor's
offer, he immediately made Hajar his rightful successor, under the circumstance of his
death she will lead their soldiers.

Nabi held a meeting with the Soldat who said that if they put their guns down, the
Emperor is willing to bestow pardon and recognise his people for bravery. The King
even offered a convenient life by having a good position in the government.

"By agreeing to your terms we will live decades longer but the cause of what we have
been fighting for and our names will be alive forever in History." Nabi seriously
answered. "We started the war because of the love for our country and that love can
never take the place of convenience and death is sweeter for us" he declined. The
Soldat allowed them to go back and with that the war went on.

Chapter VII

The war went on for three days and both Nabi and Hajar were seriously injured. They
were able to get rid of the bullets that hit them but their strength seemed to have left
them. There were only five remaining fighters, the rest either died fighting or
seriously wounded and near to death.

One night, they decided to attack. Out of the five men, two remained to cover them
while the rest crawled in the dark into the Russian soldiers' line near the horses'
stables. The attack was unexpected, they were sure that they outnumber Nabi and
Hajar's army. They succeeded in getting the horses and tried to ride as fast as the
wind towards the mountains and lose the pursuing soldiers. Near dawn, they felt that
their wounds are again bleeding, they could not stop due to fear of being arrested by
the soldiers but they became very weak and could not continue riding. They soon
found a cave where they were able to transfer the half-dead bodies of Nabi and Hajar
with some bread and water. Nabi pleaded them to go and save themselves. It is best
for them to scatter so the soldiers could not find their trail and at the same time they
may be able to pass the border to their own country, Iran.

The plan could not be put into action till morning. By then the soldiers have caught
up with them following their footprints. Shooting started and the people in the cave
tried to use every single bullet they have wisely. Their position was right in the
middle, straight ahead of the line of fire but being good marksmen, nobody had the
guts to get near the cave.

Army reinforcement came and they decided to surround the cave and take it by the
top. They planned to conquer the cave through the mountaintop, they may lose some
men but for sure they will be able to arrest those in the cave. The Soldat was able to
enter the cave, "Cut the snake's head off!" shouted Nabi to Hajar who was unaware of
the danger. She aimed weakly and shot at the Soldat directly in the forehead, seeing
what happened the rest of the army got frightened and lost hope so they retreated.

Being short of everything, Nabi and Hajar became very weak. Feeling that it is their
last chance to live, Nabi asked Hajr to forgive him and grant him the pardon of being

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of Halal24. "Don't worry, I will follow you soon" answered Hajar. "I'm sorry that I
could not give you a peaceful life, all the times we were together was spent at war"
pleaded Nabi sorrowfully. Hajar took her husband's papakh25 and tried to fan him.
He was perspiring and breathing heavily. Hajar noticed that her husband's hat is full
of holes, she tried to look for the hole she made the first time they saw each other but
couldn't.

Their love for their country and fight against cruel conquerors became an aim and
obsession. The glory and honour of their aim was coupled by the deep love they have
for each other. A love that knew no boundaries and more alive than the comfortable
life offered by the Emperor. Love's emotion is mixed with love of country it brings
about a superior form of love not worth changing even with the richness of the world.

Nabi became calm and Hajar had nothing to say. They held each other's hand and in
that position they went to sleep…an endless sleep that lasted…forever.

For a week nobody dared to enter the cave when they noticed that birds coming in
and out. This made them sure of the absence of life inside the cave. When they finally
entered the cave, they saw two lovers lovingly holding each other's hands till death.
They were touched by the scene so they decided to bury them in one grave and were
given military burial with all the respect due to heroes.

When the Emperor heard of their death he ordered that their graves be revered fit for
heroes who taught them the lesson of love, be it to a friend or to an enemy and the
lesson on how to live.

The Aras River continued on its current, it was soon populated and an Ashegh26 with
his Saz27 is to be seen on its bank, singing the beautiful poems of Nabi and Hajar.
While on the other side of the border, people have not gotten over their death and
even now, after one hundred and fifty years they are still being sung. Songs of Nabi
and Hajar's heroism and love, each verse remained new in the turn of ages and
transferred verbally from mouth to mouth. These verses became the favourite of
every lover whenever they plead their love for each other.

A part of it reads:
My dear Boz At
I'll keep you in the best stables
And will put your heel in silver and gold
If you save me from this war

The sun is in the middle of the sky and


24
Halal is forgiveness in God's way.
25
Papakh is a hat.
26
Ashegh is soloist who sings about the beauty of nature and bravery of Azarbaijan's heroes.
27
Saz is a Turkish musical instrument.

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Nabi is riding Boz At, nobody can go faster than his horse…
Nabi twisted his dark moustache
His hat is full of enemies' bullets
Nobody can go faster than his horse…

**** **** ****

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