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23 September 2018

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Prose of the Mountains

Author: Aleksandre Qazbegi
Translation: Rebecca Gould

Sep/Oct 2015
Page 52   ( 6 pages)

Summary: A section of three excerpts from the Central European Press' new translation of the works of Aleksandre Qazbegi, which vividly bring back the spirit and feel of the Caucasus of the 19th century.


In 18— I decided to become a shepherd. I was prepared to traverse hills and fields in pursuit of this trade. I wanted to know the lives of the people, to experience from within the pleasures and fears suffusing their lives. Being a mountaineer, I had a few sheep already. I had received other sheep in exchange for some plots of land. So I picked up a stick and my gun and became a shepherd.

Everyone regarded my decision as a joke. They said that the son of a respected nobleman had no business being a shepherd. But I had my reasons for the path I had chosen. My desire to become a shepherd was so powerful that I was deaf to all advice. I wanted to see these people. I wanted to experience their yearnings. I wanted to live their lives and to bear witness to the trials and tribulations that punctuate the lives of shepherds and that they kept hidden in their souls.

I achieved my goal. I came to know intimately those shepherds whom I was ready to give my life to live with. How I learned of their lives is the subject of the following pages.

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