Notes: The Secret History of the Mongols I

01 Dec 2020

Du’a Soqor sees a girl, who he thinks is suitable for his younger brother, Dobun Mergen. Dobun sees that she is sufficiently attractive, socially skilled, and of high status.

Qorilartai Mergen, a chief of the Qori Tumat clan, leaves his clan due to a hunting rights dispute (he was not allowed to hunt sable, wild squirrel, deer, antelope, and wild goats). He moves to the land of the Burqan Qaldun clan. Alan Qo’a is Qorilartai’s daughter, and Dobun asks to marry her- where he encountered her on the move.

Dobun Mergen and Alan Qo’a have two sons, Bugunutei and Belgunutei. Du’a Soqor dies, and his four sons think Dobun Mergen is low status, so they move away and start the Dorben tribe.

Dobun Mergen goes hunting, where he meets someone of the Urianqai tribe. He asks him to share his kill (a deer). The man gives the meat to Dobun Mergen. On his way home, Dobun encounters a man leading his son hand-in-hand. The poor man asks for some meat in exchange for his son. Dobun gives the man some thigh meat, and the man gives Dobun his son. The boy becomes a servant in Dobun’s house.

Dobun Mergen dies. Even though Alan Qo’a has no husband after Dobun Mergen, she has three sons: Buqu Qatagi, Buqatu Salji, and Bodoncar Mungqaq. Alan’s eldest sons, Bugunutei and Belgunutei assume the three half-brothers are a result of the servant-boy, who has since become a man. Alan knows her eldest sons think this, though they don’t tell it to her face.

When she is cooking lamb jerky, she gives her five sons five arrow shafts that have been tied together and asks each of them to break the bundle. They could not. Alan Qo’a says that her eldest sons are suspicious. She explains that a fantastic man in gold comes into her tent at night, and that her three youngest sons are from Heaven. She suggests that everyone will understand when these three sons become great rulers.

Alan Qo’a declares that each of her sons are like those arrow shafts. “You, my five sons, were born of one womb. If, like the five arrow-shafts just now, each of you keeps to himself, then, like those single arrow-shafts, anybody will easily break you. If, like the bound arrowshafts, you remain together and of one mind, how can anyone deal with you so easily?”

Alan Qo’a does, and four of her sons exclude Bodoncar on the grounds that he is an idiot. Bodoncar asks “well then why should I stay here” and rides off into the sunset on a mangy horse. The sunset is Baljun Aral, and he builds himself a grass hut to live in. He catches a grey hawk, and uses her to hunt. He works with wolves to kill some game, and eats their leftovers with the hawk. When Spring comes, he uses the hawk to kill the ducks, and places the ducks all over the place. Some people on the move came by, and he drinks with them. They ask him for his hawk. He says no. They did not know which clan Bodoncar was from, and Bodoncar did not know which clan they were from.

Buqu Qatagi, Bodoncar’s elder brother, comes looking for Bodoncar. They find each other, and move along a stream. Bodoncar says, “…it is right for a body to have a head, and a coat to have a collar”. The elder brother ignores the younger brother, as elder brothers do. Bodoncar repeats himself until Buqu Qatagi asks him what he’s on about. Bodoncar explains that the people in this area see everyone as equals, which makes them ripe for a raid. Buqu Qatagi and Bodoncar unite with their brothers, and they decide to raid the egalitarian people. Bodoncar scouts ahead. He captures a pregnant woman, and asks her about her clan. She says she is a Uriangqai of the Jarkhut clan.

The brothers raid her clan, and take their cattle and the people themselves to serve them.

The pregnant woman shacks up with Bodoncar, and has a son. A son of strangers, they name him Jajiradai (he would go on to found the Jadiaran clan). Bodoncar fathered a son with her, whom they called Ba’aridai. He was the founder of the Barin (‘captured’, as in the pregnant woman Bodoncar captured) clan. From Bodoncar came the Borjigin clan. From Bodoncar’s wife, he had a son, Barim Qabici. He also took one of this wife’s housemaids as a concubine, and with her he had another son: Jeureidei. After Bodoncar died they excluded him, because they thought he might have a different father, and Jeureidei founded the Jeuret clan. The line of Bodoncar is listed. Among Bodoncar’s descendents is Khabul Khan, who ruled all of Mongolia.

One of Khabul Khan’s sons is Yisugei Baatur. Yisugei Baatur is traveling with two of his brothers when they see a gorgeous woman on a cart traveling with a Merkit, Yeke Ciledu, They chase them. The woman, Lady Hoelun, tells Yeke Ciledu that he can find a pretty woman anywhere, and asks him to let her go to save his life. He does this and gets away. The three brothers catch up to her. They continue chasing him. She cries for the loss of him, and indicates that he is soft (he has never wanted for anything). They let him go, telling her that she will never find him because he is gone. Yisugei beds Hoelun. Ambaghai Khan was captured by the Tartars, so Hotula was selected as Khan of the Mongols. They danced around the leafy tree of Korkonak. Hotula Khan goes to war with the Tartars, but were not able to avenge Ambaghai.

Yisugei Baatur captured some Tartars, including Temujin Uge, while Lady Hoelun is pregnant. She gives birth to a boy. Since he was born when Temujin Uge was captured, they name the boy Temujin. He is born holding a large bloodclot in his right hand. His younger brothers are Qasar, Hachiun, Temuge. From another mother, he has the brothers Bekter and Belgutei.

When Temujin is nine, Yisugei Baatur goes to the Olkonud tribe to find a wife for him. Borte’s father tells Yisugei that if he just gave her away without negotiation, Yisugei would not respect him. He tells him that it is well known that dominators come to get their wives from the Olkonud tribe, since the Olkonud tribe has beautiful women. Borte’s father agrees to give Borte as Temujin’s wife, on the condition that Temujin stays with his in-laws.

Yisugei agrees. On the way he home, he eats with some Tartars. They poison him, given their history, and he dies. Before he dies, he asks Monglik to secure Temujin.