The tale of Suto and Tato: Kurdish text with translation and notes
From the Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, London Institution, Vol. III, 1923-25. Reprinted with permission.
“The story of Suto and Tato is in no way fiction, it is a lively
reality, and anyone even slightly acquainted with these far-distant
but beautiful and picturesque countries and their inhabitants, will
confirm my statement. The principal actors, Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq,
the Shaikh of Barzan, Tabo, Osman–Suto’s elder son, are no longer
alive. I am not certain about Suto himself. This old man, a perfect
type of a Kurdish chief ruling over the most impregnable region of
Central Kurdistan, may yet be alive. At any rate, in 1918 he was.
Mulla Said, the narrator, was murdered in Urumia in July, 1918, by
his countrymen. Peace be on him _
This man was my teacher of Kurdish. He knew his own language
well, and many of its dialects; as well as Arabic, Persian and
Turkish. He was a very learned Mullah; and the breadth of his views
and understanding were astonishing in one who had spent all his life
in a remote corner of an unknown country …
Inaccessible peaks, crags, spurs, precipices, a chaos of
enormous rocks, high valleys with snow, deep canyons, the greenish
blue river of the Rubar I Shin, dangerous passes, practically no
roads, a spot completely isolated. After seeing all this, one can
better understand the character of the people. Savage and rude,
uncouth and brave, they resemble Nature around them. Without these
influences, Suto, Tato, and their compeers might seem to us a
peculiar kind of being.
I thought that their story, being strictly true, might be of
service to those who have to work among the Kurds and to deal with
them. May I acknowledge here my sincere gratitude to the late Major
E. B. Soane, wthout whose kind help I should not have been able to
publish an English translation of this tale.”
Suto is Agha of the Duskani tribe, from the village of Horamar and of the clan of Mala Miri. Tato is Agha of the Rekani tribe of the village of Razga, and the clan of Mala Mikail Agha. The Rekani from early times till now, have been continuously under the hands of the Horamar Aghas, and in the time of Suto Agha they fell even more completely under their dominance. Suto, with his sons, his brothers, and the elders of his clan visited many persecutions and impositions upon the Rekani, and rendered them so desperate that the power of forbearance no longer remained to them. Tato, yet a youth, was a man of much courage, the like of whom had never been seen among the Rekani aghas, and now his pride could no longer brook the misrule of the Horamari. He said to his brothers, Temo, Hadi, and Resul (all of whom were older than he): “I cannot submit like you, I will not make a Jew of myself in Suto’s hands, death is pleasanter than life; thus, with God’s help I shall terminate Suto’s power whether I die or live.”
His brothers and relations replied, “We shall not run counter to any plan you may consider advisable; but we shall be annihilated, for we are not strong enough to cope with the Horamari.” Tato replied, “And if we be annihilated, there is no loss. If we prevail, we have profited in name and honor till Judgment Day, and if vanquished we die and are at rest. Whatever comes to pass I am resigned.” So they thus perfected their agreement to a feud with the Horamari.
One day it so happened that Hajo, Suto’s brother, in accordance with his custom, visited the Rekani villages and commenced harrying and plundering. Tato and Tamo accompanied by ten of their men approached him and said, “Go out from amongst our people_ From this say on we do not consent to your coming or going in Rekani.” Hajo said, “Nevertheless, we are [here], and we do not regard you as of any importance.”
When Hajo spoke thus Tato presented his Martini, discharged a cartridge, and killed him on the spot. Some of Hajo’s followers were also killed, and others got away to Nerva, Suto’s village, the distance between Nerva and Razga being less than two hours. The following day Suto collected all of the tribesmen of Duskan and Horamar, and said, “Now will I go at once and annihilate the clan of Mikail Agha Rekani, and will seize all the Rekani land as revenge for Hajo.” All said, “We are ready whatever you order, we shall execute. Certainly the revenge of the Agha’s brother is a duty upon all of us (lit. on all our heads), and even without your orders it is incumbent upon us day and night to strive for Hajo’s revenge.”
So Suto with his force came upon Razga village and opened the fight. Tato’s men were few, and could not fight in the open, so took cover in Tato’s fort, and from there engaged Suto’s forces. They became surrounded, and Suto’s men were pressing the attack. At the portal of the fort Tato was seated at an embrasure over the door, and killed four or five at every rush, throwing them back. Suto said, “This will not do, we must approach the fort with a chirpa.” They cut some trees from Razga village, and dismembered them, constructed a chirpa and advanced towards the fort, and about the fourth or fifth hour of the night they got the chirpa up to it, and from its top a few men got upon the roof of the fort, and Tato’s men became hard pressed. But Tato said, “Fear nothing, a man is for such a day as this, to seize, to kill, that is the manly way. Wait, and now will I scatter them.”
He soaked four or five quilts in kerosene, spread them on poles, thrust them in the chirpa, and fired them. The caves of the fort were all stone, and did not catch fire. When the flames of the chirpa rose, all sides of the fort were illumined. Tato and his men fired several volleys upon Suto’s force, and in that time finished off twenty-four people. Once again Suto’s men were forced back, the chirpa availed not. He called out to Tato, “I go to prepare destruction for you, this time I will make a chirpa of stone. Then you cannot fire it.” Tato answered him, and called out, “I have debauched thy father_ Your wooden chirpa did not avail, and before you can bring a stone one to the fort a long time will pass. Perhaps by then God will find me some means.” They commenced the construction of a stone chirpa, but it was not so easy as the wooden one. During this time information reached the Government of Amadia that for the last twelve days Suto had been besieging Tato’s fort, and he with his men was beleaguered.
The Qaim Maqam of Amadia then sent a gendarme officer with twenty gendarmes to Razga to remove Suto’s force from the attack on Tato by whatever means be possible. The officer and gendarmes reached Razga and saw a great concourse about it. They reasoned that the affair could not be hurried, it would only be possible with stratagem and cunning. Since many men had come to their death; with [but] twenty gendarmes fighting, the affair would not be resolved, and to consent to do so, moreover, would be far from sense.
The officer addressed Suto: “I have come specially to you to say that I do not desire that your clan should be destroyed, as you are a well-born and respectable agha. It is now several days since you have brought your force against the Rekani and are fighting. The noise of it has reached the Vilayet of Mosul, and the Wali informed to Qaim Maqam of Amadia that he has heard such a rumor and ordered him to make searching inquiries, and if it is correct to let him know quickly, when he will inform the Wali of Van that he may send royal troops from Van against the tribe of Suto. Also from Mosul two battalions with two guns will come to discipline Suto and protect Tato. Since things are thus, the saving of your position is that in one hour you disband your force, when we shall reply to the Wali of Mosul that nothing of importance has occurred, that some men of Suto and Tato had quarrelled behind the village about the matter of some vineyard theft for two or three hours, and had now separated with two or three men wounded. Then you will not be responsible. So, I have told you. Consent, as you like; or dissent, as you like.”
When the officer thus spoke, all the people said to Suto, “We will not destroy our homes, conflict with Government is too much for us. If it is tribal warfare we are all ready to give ourselves to killing for you, but against the Government is not possible for us.” In the end Suto consented and retired his force.
The officer took much money from him, and also placed a heavy obligation upon him, inasmuch as he had arranged his affairs with ease. He also said to Tato, “To save your position it is [best] that you should transport your household and family and your relatives to the headquarters of the Amadia canton; inform the Vilayet and the Sublime Porte at Constantinople. Catalogue your grievances and injuries before the necessary departments, and perhaps the Government may give you its protection. Otherwise you will not be able o defend yourselves against the pressure of the Aghas of Horamar. We also will all bear witness for you.” In the end he made Tato also acquiescent and grateful, and took all his family and following with him to Amadia. Also he profited by much money from him. For there is a popular proverb amongst the Kurds: “Turks are vultures, their pleasure is in being full of carrion.”
When Tato with all his people went to Amadia the lands of Rekani were left without a guardian. Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq was also a great vulture, and the Rekani lands were equally a very fat and pleasing carcass. The avidity of the noble Shaikh became most overpowering, and he took thought to himself how he could easily bring the lands of Rekani under his own hand. He sent a confidential letter by the hand of two or three respectable and intelligent men, together with some money to the Qaim Maqam of Amadia: “I beg of you to so arrange that Tato should need me and come here that I may say to him that I will get his business arranged. You on your side, hinder it somewhat.” When the letter reached the Qaim Maqam it pleased him very much, and he acted in accordance with the Shaikh’s aims, saying to Tato, “I have thought of a surer and easier way for you. Although here also your affairs may be arranged, the Mosul Vilayet delays matters and before a result eventuates, one becomes most disgusted. The Van Vilayet puts things in hand more quickly, and in that Vilayet everything is in the hands of Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, [who] does as he likes. I say if you and your brothers and some of the notables of the Rekani tribe go to Neri before Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, your affairs will be sooner arranged. [That] both tribally and officially the Shaikh be partner and protector is better for you, and then Suto’s back will break.” In fine, he convinced Tato, who was grateful to the Qaim Maqam for showing him such a course. So Tato with his brothers and the notables came to Neri, and the game entered the nets of the Shaikh.
When he came before Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, the latter showed him much honor and graciousness. He was more soft-tongued than a Pawai and soothed Tato’s heart by all means possible. He said, “Sell me the site of Razga Fort; I will then entirely demolish it and build it again larger and stronger. I will place twenty of my own men with you and will give your men a hundred Martini and Mauser rifles, and will also procure a special order from Government for your protection. And in exchange for this the elders of the Rekani shall give me one tenth of their harvests each year.”
Tato replied, “Whatever the Shaikh orders, I consent.” In the end their pact was thus resolved, and Tato deceived. Sura Chaush with twenty chosen men were sent with Tato among the Rekani. They entirely razed Razga fort, and sent masons who commenced rebuilding it. The lower stories were approaching completion when Suto came to the conclusion that if Razga fort be completed in this style and the Shaikh support the Rekani, Tato’s strength would reach such a degree that he could no longer oppose him and in the end there would be great distress for the Agha of Horamar. Also the caravan road from Horamar towards Mosul, Akra, and Amadia passes through Rekani.
Suto therefore summoned all the Duskani and Horamari and said to them, “You all know to what extent Tato Rekani is my enemy.” They replied, “Yes, Agha, we know well.” He said, “You all know how masterful and rapacious is Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq?” They replied, “Yes, Agha.” He said, “You know that if the Razga Fort be finished upon those foundations and the Shaikh combine with Tato the lands of the Duskani and Horamari will be entrapped, and we shall be forced to submit to Tato or else not live.” They all said together, “Yes, Agha, we know it is thus, and more.” Suto said to his people, “Good, since you all confirm this why do you not plan how to prevent them, for now we are placed between death and life, and death is the nearer. Enough, either you make a plan and I will fall in with your ideas, or I will think it over and you will act in accordance with what I say.” They replied, “So long as the person of our Agha is present, no one is the possessor of an opinion. Whatever the Agha decide, our duty is obedience.” Suto said, “Since you are so submissive, let it be agreed that I sacrifice myself to your saying. First,” he said, “My people_ You know that I did humble myself to Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq enough that I gave him one of our villages for him to show gratitude and for my honor to be vastly greater than that of Tato.” They all said, “We believe it, it is even as the Agha says.” Suto said, “Good, whatever I do is for your sakes and not for myself. My idea is this. Let us attack Razga and kill Sura Chaush and the Shaikh’s men and not allow Razga Fort to be completed. How do you think that would do?” They said, “We are steadfast in the Agha’s opinion, for whenever the Razga Fort be finished we shall be destroyed, so that war is the better course for us, when, if we are to be destroyed, it will be with honor and good fame, not with meanness and dishonor.”
So at dawn 900 men of the Duski and Horamari attacked Razga. That day Tato and his men had gone to Amadia to fetch their families to Razga, and only Sura Chaush with twenty men was there. The fort was not yet finished. For an hour they fought, and Suto’s force surrounded them on all sides. Sura and his men retired to a house, but it was not suitable for defence. Suto’s people came right up to the walls of the house, and though from the lattice Sura killed two or three of Suto’s men, it was of no avail. They fired the house at every corner and Sura with [his] twelve men were faced with burning. They fought to the utmost and did not surrender their arms, but seven men asked for mercy and emerged. Suto said to those seven, “Give up your arms and go before the Shaikh himself, and tell him not to think again of the lands of Rekan. So long as a lad of the Mala Miri is left, no one can with impunity trespass upon the clan of the Rekani.”
Those seven servants came [to the Shaikh] stripped, without arms, miserable, shamefaced. Everyone remained aghast and said, “What state is this?” They described their misfortunes in full. And when they had told the tale of their condition to Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq he was enraged to the utmost degree for two reasons: one was that the wheat and rice of the Rekani had not fallen into his hands, and the other that great loss and dishonor had come to him.
The Shaikh fell to thoughts of vengeance for this affair. He collected his chief men and consulted with them. “What course can you see?” he said. A few replied, “Let us collect a large force from the tribes and attack and annihilate them all.” Some said, “The course is that full details of his actions be laid before the Walis of Van and Mosul, and that through Government he come to judgment, and that by the hand of Government he come to chastisement.” And others said, “It is well that the Shaikh show favor to Abdurrahim Agha. He is of the Mafi and between them and the Mala Miri is ever enmity. Then he and Tato would unite and when enemies thus appeared from outside and inside, he (Suto) would be hard pressed.”
Others yet said, “Let us raid their villages and hold up their caravan roads, nor allow them rest until we fully achieve our revenge.” In short each one gave some opinion. I, the humble Mulla Said, was not at the conference, but at the school teaching the students. A servant came and summoned me to the Shaikh. I went into his presence and he asked me, “What do you think is the best method of revenging Sura Chaush and his men?” I replied, “I am a Mulla and am young. Of matters of policy I know nothing. I have not much, nay, even hardly mixed in mundane affairs. Here all present are intelligent, important and experienced. They necessarily know better than I.” The Shaikh said, “It is as you say, but I desire that you also give your opinion, whether good or bad, they have all expounded their own ideas.” I asked, “Of all their opinions, which has appeared to your reverence the most acceptable?”
The Shaikh replied, “As yet I am saying nothing till you also say what is your opinion.” I said, “I beg that I may know the opinions of the others and if they agree with mine I will confirm them. And if not in agreement, then to the degree of my defective wits I also will lay some proposal before you.” The Shaikh repeated the opinions of the conference in detail, and said, “These are their ideas. Let me see now what you will say.” I replied, “The idea of the tribal force without the knowledge or cooperation of Government is bad; headstrong actions are eventually the cause of damage and remorse. Raiding and caravan plundering also are but the work of brigands. They are not worthy of the honor and repute of a great one like you, the spiritual head of the humble. Friendliness toward Abdurrahim Agha is indeed good, but in that case, when Suto is disposed of, it is unlikely to profit our cause, and even if it do so will take a long time. Representation of his conduct to the Walis and his being brought to justice by Government is certainly necessary, but the first consideration is that possibly so much alone may not be enough and will not cure our ills. At most, Government will imprison him and after a time will take a deal of money from him and release him, when he will become still stronger and our affairs yet more deranged.”
“I consider best thus: First, representation of his conduct to Government; next, the procuring of an official order and the stationing of ten gendarmes for the repair of Razga Fort, and the testimony of Tato that the village and fort of Razga have been sold by him to Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq. Then that Givernment give permission to Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq to protect the village and install at Razga his own armed men. Then whatever incident occurs no fault is on the Shaikh, it is on Suto. Very good presents should be sent to the Qaim Maqams of Giaver and Amadia to gratify them so that they will write well of the Shaikh and the evil of Suto. Four hundred men, 100 Shemdinan, 100 Girdi, 100 Herki, 100 Muzuri, who regard themselves as your adherents, should be sent with Tato to Razga while the fort is being finished and the gendarmes and masons are yet on it. Every night the men should attack one Duskani village. Then our revenge will be both tribal and governmental and the aim of the Shaikh, which is to possess the Rekani, will be achieved and all four tribes will become enemies of Suto. And then neither he nor his descendants can ever be at rest from those four tribes.”
When I outlined this plan the Shaikh was so pleased and laughed so much that a hen with all its feathers might have flown into his mouth. He said, “Bravo_ Mulla Said. Your idea pleases my mind better than any other, and I shall work according to your scheme.” The members of the conference also agreed that my ideas were more practicable and profitable than any others. The Shaikh continued, “And since your plan is better than all the others I should like you to take the trouble to go to Razga and be with my people yourself till the castle be finished. Without your consent, no one shall do anything.”
Then I represented that such was not my duty, but the Shaikh became more persistent. In the end 400 men and 10 gendarmes were collected, as I had suggested, and were handed over to me. I petitioned the Shaikh to allow Shuhab ed Din, his nephew, Mulla Musa, his secretary, and Qatas Agha, his steward, all three to come as well. The Shaikh asked, “What are they for? They are not necessary. When you are there, what need of anyone else?” I replied, “A heavy beam needs many backs to sustain it, for a single one would break under it. This is a great undertaking and very exacting, and if one has to cope with all its demands, confusion will result and the work suffer. Since Shuhab ed Din is your nephew, his influence and value are greater, it is necessary that he come as commander of the fighting men. Mulla Musa is necessary for letter writing and advice upon affairs and Qatas Agha for the men’s rations and collection of the harvests. If I have to do all these my reason will become deranged and unable to cope with the real difficulties.”
Once more all the members of the meeting confirmed what I had said. The Shaikh also agreed and again commended me, and sent us. At night we arrived at Mazra and Begoz, and the following day reached the gorge of Herki. The next night we went to Deri and that same night sent fifty selected men to the hill above Peramizi, which is at the boundaries of the Rekani, Herki and Duskani, because if that hill be taken no one could get to the Rekani. We rose with the dawn and pressed forward for one stage, nor rested till we reached Razga; and when we arrived there but half an hour was left to sunset. At once I sent 100 men, 25 from each tribe on to the hillock before Nerva, Suto’s village. I gave them instructions that no one should fire a rifle nor attack till morning when I would come myself. If that night Suto rose and escaped, good; if not, they should surround the village and not allow anyone to emerge.
That night Suto’s spies were among the Rekani and warned him that this time such a force had come to Razga, both tribal and government, that he could no longer remain at Nerva. So that night he arose and went to Horamar. With the dawn those of us who had remained at Razga reached the others who had gone to the hillock before Nerva, and together surrounded and fired a volley on the village. And no sound came from it. By degrees the men sneaked up to it and saw it was deserted and no one in it. We also went to it and I said to Tato, “This time it is your turn. Take your revenge, Tato.” His men set fire to the forts of Nerva and the whole village burned. It being the time of ripening grapes, the force went into the vineyards and brought loads of grapes to Razga. The masons resumed work on the fort. The day after, we left 100 men there, and 300 with Ahmed Beg Barasuri (one of Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq’s chaushes) we sent against Biri and Chi villages. They plundered them thoroughly and brought back all the sheep and mules to Razga.
I then sent a letter to the Shaikh that “Thanks to the shadow of the protection of your exalted ancestors, the raiders of the Shaikh (May our souls be his sacrifice) reached Razga with all ease. One after the other successes and victories with attainment of all desires has been won from the enemy, and the details are thus and thus.” The Shaikh was most delighted and congratulated us upon our victories. He wrote: “At present my constant hope is in the perfection of understanding and wisdom and courage of such as you that those gratifying victories are yet greater–God be with you. Amen. Sadiq.” Let us resume the tale of Suto’s plight. When he went to Horamar he sent Mulla Hasan Shuki, who was his clerk and Qazi of Duskan and Horamar, to tell Tahir Agha Giaveri. And when the latter reached Tahir Agha he said, “Suto Agha has sent me to you. You are an Asad Aghai, the head of all the Duskani tribe, and you are in touch with Government at Giaver. Friendship is for such a day. Now what are we to think? And what are we to do?” Tahir Agha, a man of experience, said to Mulla Hasan, “I have to think somewhat. At present for Suto, except to pacify Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, there is no course left, as his quarrel with Tato and Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq’s men and the killing of Sura Chaush and twelve men is well known everywhere. The Government is a supporter of the Shaikh. Therefore now it is necessary to pacify the Shaikh.”
Mulla Hasan said, “Yes, it is as you say. I also think the same but I do not know where lies the way to the pacification of the Shaikh.” Tahir Agha replied, “It is certainly difficult but if it be possible for you to go to Razga to Mulla Siad, ask him if it can be done. He may tell you some way.” Mulla Hasan left Tahir Agha with the intention of coming to me and arrived at the village of Hishi in Rekani, a Christian village which is an hour distant from Razga, and remained there the night. In the early morning we saw a Christian man come before me from there who said he wished to see me alone. When he saw me he said, “Suto’s clerk is sitting in my house and says he would much like to come before you and give you his news but does not dare on account of outposts who might kill him.”
I then sent ten men with the Christian and said to them, “Go and bring Mulla Hasan in safety here. If a hair of his head fall, I will make of you all a target for Martinis.” So the men went and fetched him. And he remained two nights with us and we discussed everything. I said to him, “If the Shaikh accept Suto and forgive him for the killing, do you promise that he will go before the Shaikh?” He said, “Yes, but on condition that Suto be certain of his own life.” I said, “Good, go to Suto and explain all to him and get his promise, and by the time you return I shall have communicated with the Shaikh and obtained his decision.” We sent Mulla Hasan back to Suto and I commenced correspondence with the Shaikh. Since I knew the habit of Turkish officials, how their word and deed were never in agreement and that, except for the cooking of the roast of their own ends, they have no care. I knew that in a short time they would again bring Suto to distress and even take large sums of money from the Shaikh, and afterwards, step by step, favor Suto and in turn take money from him. They destroy no man for another’s sake. I therefore deemed it suitable thus, that the Shaikh accept Suto, for as yet he had not lost his grip of affairs. Finally I wrote to the Shaikh in this sense and set forth the details of Mulla Hasan’s coming and going and our conversations together, and sent the letter. The Shaikh sent me reply. “Whatever be the means of protecting my name and honor in these affairs, you are my agent and attorney. In future you need not refer to me. Such as you think right, so do, beloved–w’as salam.”
The day after arrival of that reply, Mulla Hasan returned to Razga and said, “If you are certain of the Shaikh, I am certain of Suto, that he will not disregard my advice.” I said, “Since it is so, and we are both agents, I consider Suto’s best course thus: to take Tahir Agha and Ali Effendi Pailani with him and go to Neri to the tomb of Sayid Taha, when the Shaikh may forgive him. If Suto do not thus, you know he is culpable before Government and will come to destruction.” Mulla Hasan said, “If you know that it will be well thus, I will do so.” I reassured him and he departed and, having spoken to Suto in this sense, the latter consented and went with Tahir Agha and Ali Effendi to Neri. The Shaikh was most gratified, for his desire was ever to get fine flour from between two hard millstones. It was not for grief over Sura Chaush; he wanted money. He said to Suto, “For the sakes of Tahir Agha and Ali Effendi and for the sake of the honor of my grandfather’s grave, I have forgiven you for killing and seizing and exiling. But the orphans of Sura Chaush are poor and the dependants of his men are helpless. The blood money of each is one hundred liras. Give one thousand and three hundred liras and depart with well wishing to your own house.”
Suto having agreed, two gendarmes and eight men were handed over to him to go among the Duski and Horamari to collect thirteen hundred liras for the Shaikh and bring it. In the end he apportioned more than three thousand among the Duski and Horamari and collected it. Thirteen hundred was given to the Shaikh and he took the residue for himself. When Suto thought it over, he realized that if Tato became a Shaikh’s man and the Shaikh’s servants be continuously with Tato, his own condition would become uncertain and his profits diminish, so he said to himself that it would be well to make such plans regarding Tato as to destroy him by pretence of friendship.
After a year, when all the lands of the Rekani had fallen into the Shaikh’s hands with their harvests (not a donkey’s ear reached Tato), Suto knew that there was a chance to humiliate Tato. He sent Mulla Hasan to him, having told him, “What is past is past. May he and I make a compact and from now hence become friends, and, as formerly, do one another no harm. Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq is a dragon and will eventually devour both of us. It is now a year he (Tato) sees what profit has come to him. To the Shaikh’s servants there is no difference between him and a [common] Kurmanj. Now that the Shaikh destroys us, it is better that we make peace. If he believe not, I will give him my daughter in marriage that he really believe that I wish peace from my heart.”
Mulla Hasan accordingly went to Tato and spoke to him after this fashion. It entirely won him, and he consented. Suto gave him his daughter. One day Tato, seizing an opportunity, took all their arms from the Shaikh’s men and turned them out disarmed. They came to the Shaikh, who was extremely chagrined, but to no good, for Suto and Tato were now entirely reconciled, and together went to the Shaikh of Barzan, who was also an enemy of Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq, and became his adherents. Two years passed thus and Tato was entirely at peace.
Thereafter Shaikh Muhammad Sadiq died and the Shaikh of Barzan rebelled against the Turkish Government. By degrees Suto’s plans were maturing. He knew that there remained now no sanctuary for Tato, and he considered, “It is well to make him out guilty before Government so that when no course be left to him I may destroy him.” He sent to Tato, who each year used to pay certain money to Government on account of sheep tax, a message saying, “What necessity is there for this? All the Duskani tribe pay less than half. This year at the time of sheep count, send the Rekani animals to us till the officials go, then take the herds back.” Tato did accordingly. Suto secretly advised the Qaim Maqam of Amadia that “Tato acts in this manner, and however much I admonish him he heeds not. I know not what to do. For fear of Government I do not dare punish him; otherwise for me to punish him is easier than to swallow a draught o water.”
The Qaim Maqam of Amadia sent Suto a most grateful reply to the effect that he was authorized to punish any person who in any iota practised deception on the Most High Islamic State, and Suto felt secure. One day he feigned illness, fell into his bed, and sent word to all his friends and relatives that he was near to dying and asking all to come that they be present at his death. Mulla Hasan was seated by his pillow and with him was reading the Yasin chapter. All his relatives were collected and were weeping for him. Tato, who was his son-in-law, was also sent for to come and bring Suto’s daughter with him, for, “the Agha is at the point of death; in case they should not see one another alive.”
Tato with his wife and brother Tamo and four or five servants went to Nerva, Suto’s village. When they arrived they saw everyone weeping for the Agha, and the brothers joined in the lamentations. Tato cried, “Agha_Agha_ Lift thine eyes a little_ May we all be thy sacrifice_ Would that once again you might arise from this sickness even be I not left on this earth.” Suto raised his eyes a little, sighed, and said, “Tato, I am dying. Thank God, my men have seen me once more. Death is God’s ordinance and it is the way of all of us.” He continued, ‘Usman, Telik serve Tato well. So_ I die. Tato is your elder brother. Fall not out with him, as formerly.” All said, “Yes, whatever the Agha orders, we obey with heart and soul.”
That night a separate apartment was given Tato and Tamo. At the time of sleeping Suto called Usman and Telik and now said to them, “I am well; my idea is thus.” They departed lightly and took as many men as necessary to the apartment of Tato and Tamo, killed both in their sleep and disarmed their servants. Suto arose and said, “Thank God, I have finished my enemy and taken my revenge in safety.”
B. Nikitine and the late Major E. B. Soane
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