Adventures Of Prince Kushluk


Kushluk's escape.--Tukta Bey.--Kashin.--Temujin pursues Tukta Bey

and Kushluk.--Retreat to Boyrak's country.----The various

tribes submit.--Fall and destruction of Kashin.--Proclamation.--Temujin

returns to Karakorom.--Boyrak's precautions.--Great battle.--Boyrak is

taken and slain.--Flight of Kushluk and Tukta Bey.--Ardish.--River

Irtish.--Tukta Bey's adherents.--Genghis Khan pursues them in
winter.--Difficulties of the country.--Death of Tukta Bey.--Kushluk

escapes again.--Turkestan.--He is received by Gurkhan.--Presentation

of the shongar.--Urus Inal.

Prince Kushluk, as the reader will perhaps recollect, was the son of

Tayian, the khan of the Naymans, who organized the grand league of

khans against Temujin at the instigation of Yemuka, as related in a

preceding chapter. He was the young prince who was opposed to Jughi,

the son of Temujin, in the great final battle. The reader will

recollect that in that battle Tayian himself was slain, as was also

Yemuka, but the young prince succeeded in making his escape.

He was accompanied in his flight by a certain general or chieftain

named Tukta Bey. This Tukta Bey was the khan of a powerful tribe. The

name of the town or village which he considered his capital was

Kashin. It was situated toward the southwest, not far from the borders

of China. Tukta Bey, taking Kushluk with him, retreated to this place,

and there began to make preparations to collect a new army to act

against Temujin. I say Temujin, for these circumstances took place

immediately after the battle, and before Temujin had received his new

title of Genghis Khan.

Temujin, having learned that Tukta Bey and the young prince had gone

to Kashin, determined at once to follow them there. As soon as Tukta

Bey heard that he was coming, he began to strengthen the

fortifications of his town and to increase the garrison. He also laid

in supplies of food and military stores of all kinds. While he was

making these preparations, he received the news that Temujin was

advancing into his country at the head of an immense force. The force

was so large that he was convinced that his town could not long stand

out against it. He was greatly perplexed to know what to do.

Now it happened that there was a brother of Tayian Khan's, named

Boyrak, the chief of a powerful horde that occupied a district of

country not very far distant from Tukta Bey's dominions. Tukta Bey

thought that this Boyrak would be easily induced to aid him in the

war, as it was a war waged against the mortal enemy of his brother. He

determined to leave his capital to be defended by the garrison which

he had placed in it, and to proceed himself to Boyrak's country to

obtain re-enforcements. He first sent off the Prince Kushluk, so that

he might be as soon as possible in a place of safety. Then, after

completing the necessary arrangements and dispositions for the defense

of his town, in case it should be attacked during his absence, he took

his oldest son, for whose safety he was also greatly concerned, and

set out at the head of a small troop of horsemen to go to Boyrak.

Accordingly, when Temujin, at the head of his forces, arrived at the

town of Kashin, he found that the fugitives whom he was pursuing were

no longer there. However, he determined to take the town. He

accordingly at once invested it, and commenced the siege. The garrison

made a very determined resistance. But the forces under Temujin's

command were too strong for them. The town was soon taken. Temujin

ordered his soldiers to slay without mercy all who were found in arms

against him within the walls, and the walls themselves, and all the

other defenses of the place, he caused to be leveled with the ground.

He then issued his proclamation, offering peace and pardon to all the

rest of the tribe on condition that they would take the oath of

allegiance to him. This they readily agreed to do. There were a great

many subordinate khans, both of this tribe and of some others that

were near, who thus yielded to Temujin, and promised to obey him.

All this took place, as has already been said, immediately after the

great battle with Tayian, and before Temujin had been enthroned as

emperor, or had received his new title of Genghis Khan. Indeed,

Temujin, while making this expedition to Kashin in pursuit of Kushluk

and Tukta Bey, had been somewhat uneasy at the loss of time which the

campaign occasioned him, as he was anxious to go as soon as possible

to Karakorom, in order to take the necessary measures there for

arranging and consolidating his government. He accordingly now

determined not to pursue the fugitives any farther, but to proceed at

once to Karakorom, and postpone all farther operations against Kushluk

and Tukta until the next season. So he went to Karakorom, and there,

during the course of the winter, formed the constitution of his new

empire, and made arrangements for convening a grand assembly of the

khans the next spring, as related in the last chapter.

In the mean time, Tukta Bey and the Prince Kushluk were very kindly

received by Boyrak, Tayian's brother. For a time they all had reason

to expect that Temujin, after having taken and destroyed Kashin, would

continue his pursuit of the prince, and Boyrak began accordingly to

make preparations for defense. But when, at length, they learned that

Temujin had given up the pursuit, and had returned to Karakorom, their

apprehensions were, for the moment, relieved. They were, however, well

aware that the danger was only postponed; and Boyrak, being determined

to defend the cause of his nephew, and to avenge, if possible, his

brother's death, occupied himself diligently with increasing his army,

strengthening his fortifications, and providing himself with all

possible means of defense against the attack which he expected would

be made upon him in the coming season.

Boyrak's expectations of an attack were fully realized. Temujin, after

having settled the affairs of his government, and having now become

Genghis Khan, took the first opportunity in the following season to

fit out an expedition against Tukta Bey and Boyrak. He marched into

Boyrak's dominions at the head of a strong force. Boyrak came forth to

meet him. A great battle was fought. Boyrak was entirely defeated.

When he found that the battle was lost he attempted to fly. He was,

however, pursued and taken, and was then brought back to the camp of

Genghis Khan, where he was put to death. The conqueror undoubtedly

justified this act of cruelty toward his helpless prisoner on the plea

that, like Yemuka, he was not an open and honorable foe, but a rebel

and traitor, and, consequently, that the act of putting him to death

was the execution of a criminal, and not the murder of a prisoner.

But, although Boyrak himself was thus taken and slain, Kushluk and

Tukta Bey succeeded in making their escape. They fled to the northward

and westward, scarcely knowing, it would seem, where they were to go.

They at last found a place of refuge on the banks of the River Irtish.

This river rises not far from the centre of the Asiatic continent, and

flows northward into the Northern Ocean. The country through which it

flows lay to the northwestward of Genghis Khan's dominions, and beyond

the confines of it. Through this country Prince Kushluk and Tukta Bey

wandered on, accompanied by the small troop of followers that still

adhered to them, until they reached a certain fortress called Ardish,

where they determined to make a stand.

They were among friends here, for Ardish, it seems, was on the

confines of territory that belonged to Tukta Bey. The people of the

neighborhood immediately flocked to Tukta's standard, and thus the

fugitive khan soon found himself at the head of a considerable force.

This force was farther increased by the coming in of broken bands that

had made their escape from the battle at which Boyrak had been slain

at the same time with Tukta Bey, but had become separated from him in

their flight.

It would seem that, at first, Genghis Khan did not know what was

become of the fugitives. At any rate, it was not until the next year

that he attempted to pursue them. Then, hearing where they were and

what they were doing, he prepared an expedition to penetrate into the

country of the Irtish and attack them. It was in the dead of winter

when he arrived in the country. He had hurried on at that season of

the year in order to prevent Tukta Bey from having time to finish his

fortifications. Tukta Bey and those who were with him were amazed when

they heard that their enemy was coming at that season of the year. The

defenses which they were preparing for their fortress were not fully

completed, but they were at once convinced that they could not hold

their ground against the body of troops that Genghis Khan was bringing

against them in the open field, and so they all took shelter in and

near the fortress, and awaited their enemy there.

The winters in that latitude are very cold, and the country through

which Genghis Khan had to march was full of difficulty. The branches

of the river which he had to cross were obstructed with ice, and the

roads were in many places rendered almost impassable by snow. The

emperor did not even know the way to the fortress where Tukta Bey and

his followers were concealed, and it would have been almost impossible

for him to find it had it not been for certain tribes, through whose

territories he passed on the way, who furnished him with guides. These

tribes, perceiving how overwhelming was the force which Genghis Khan

commanded, knew that it would be useless for them to resist him. So

they yielded submission to him at once, and detached parties of

horsemen to go with him down the river to show him the way.

Under the conduct of these guides Genghis Khan passed on. In due time

he arrived at the fortress of Ardish, and immediately forced Tukta Bey

and his allies to come to an engagement. Tukta's army was very soon

defeated and put to flight. Tukta himself, and many other khans and

chieftains who had joined him, were killed; but the Prince Kushluk was

once more fortunate enough to make his escape.

He fled with a small troop of followers, all mounted on fleet horses,

and after various wanderings, in the course of which he and they who

were with him endured a great deal of privation and suffering, the

unhappy fugitive at last reached the dominions of a powerful prince

named Gurkhan, who reigned over a country which is situated in the

western part of Asia, toward the Caspian Sea, and is named Turkestan.

This is the country from which the people called the Turks, who

afterward spread themselves so widely over the western part of Asia

and the eastern part of Europe, originally sprung.

Gurkhan received Kushluk and his party in a very friendly manner, and

Genghis Khan did not follow them. Whether he thought that the distance

was too great, or that the power of Gurkhan was too formidable to make

it prudent for him to advance into his dominions without a stronger

force, does not appear. At any rate, for the time being he gave up the

pursuit, and after fully securing the fruits of the victory which he

had gained at Ardish, and receiving the submission of all the tribes

and khans that inhabited that region of country, he set out on his

return home.

It is related that one of the khans who gave in his submission to

Genghis Khan at this time made him a present of a certain bird called

a shongar, according to a custom often observed among the people of

that region. The shongar was a very large and fierce bird of prey,

which, however, could be trained like the falcons which were so much

prized in the Middle Ages by the princes and nobles of Europe. It

seems it was customary for an inferior khan to present one of these

birds to his superior on great occasions, as an emblem and token of

his submission to his superior's authority. The bird in such a case

was very richly decorated with gold and precious stones, so that the

present was sometimes of a very costly and magnificent character.

Genghis Khan received such a present as this from a chieftain named

Urus Inal, who was among those that yielded to his sway in the country

of the Irtish, after the battle at which Tukta Bey was defeated and

killed. The bird was presented to Genghis Khan by Urus with great

ceremony, as an act of submission and homage.

What, in the end, was the fate of Prince Kushluk, will appear in the

next chapter.