The Death Of Yemuka


The victory complete.--Exaggeration.--The plunder.--Great

accession.--The khans submit.--Sankum and Yemuka.--Hakembu and his

daughter.--Hakembu's fears.--Temujin's gratitude.--His reply.--Yemuka

makes his escape.--Arrives in Tayian's dominions.--Tayian's

conversations with Yemuka.--Yemuka's representations of Temujin's

character.--Plots formed.--Alakus.--The plots revealed to Temujin.--He
br /> is deceived.--The young Prince Jughi.--Council of war.--Yemuka and

Tayian.--Temujin crosses the frontier.--His advance.--Preparations

for battle.--Kushluk and Jughi.--Great battle.--Temujin again

victorious.--Tayian killed.--Yemuka is beheaded.

In the mean time, while these events had been occurring in the country

of the Naymans, whither Vang Khan had fled, Temujin was carrying all

before him in the country of Vang Khan. His victory in the battle was

complete; and it must have been a very great battle, if any reliance

is to be placed on the accounts given of the number slain, which it

was said amounted to forty thousand. These numbers are, however,

greatly exaggerated. And then, besides, the number slain in such

barbarian conflicts was always much greater, in proportion to the

numbers engaged, than it is in the better-regulated warfare of

civilized nations in modern times.

At all events, Temujin gained a very grand and decisive victory. He

took a great many prisoners and a great deal of plunder. All those

trains of wagons fell into his hands, and the contents of many of them

were extremely valuable. He took also a great number of horses. Most

of these were horses that had belonged to the men who were killed or

who had been made prisoners. All the best troops that remained of Vang

Khan's army after the battle also went over to his side. They

considered that Vang Khan's power was now entirely overthrown, and

that thenceforth Temujin would be the acknowledged ruler of the whole

country. They were accordingly ready at once to transfer their

allegiance to him.

Very soon Temujin received the news of Vang Khan's death from his

father-in-law Tayian, and then proceeded with more vigor than before

to take possession of all his dominions. The khans who had formerly

served under Vang Khan sent in their adhesion to him one after

another. They not only knew that all farther resistance would be

useless, but they were, in fact, well pleased to transfer their

allegiance to their old friend and favorite. Temujin made a sort of

triumphal march through the country, being received every where with

rejoicings and acclamations of welcome. His old enemies, Sankum and

Yemuka, had disappeared. Yemuka, who had been, after all, the leading

spirit in the opposition to Temujin, still held a body of armed men

together, consisting of all the troops that he had been able to rally

after the battle, but it was not known exactly where he had gone.

The other relatives and friends of Vang Khan went over to Temujin's

side without any delay. Indeed, they vied with each other to see who

should most recommend themselves to his favor. A brother of Vang Khan,

who was an influential and powerful chieftain, came among the rest to

tender his services, and, by way of a present to conciliate Temujin's

good will, he brought him his daughter, whom he offered to Temujin as

an addition to the number of his wives.

Temujin received the brother very kindly. He accepted the present

which he brought him of his daughter, but, as he had already plenty of

wives, and as one of his principal officers, the captain of his

guards, seemed to take a special fancy to her, he very generously, as

was thought, passed over the young lady to him. Of course, the young

lady herself had nothing to say in the case. She was obliged to

acquiesce submissively in any arrangement which her father and the

other khans thought proper to make in respect to the disposal of her.

The name of the prince her father was Hakembu. He came into Temujin's

camp with many misgivings, fearing that, as he was a brother of Vang

Khan, Temujin might feel a special resentment against him, and,

perhaps, refuse to accept his submission and his proffered presents.

When, therefore, he found how kindly he was received, his mind was

greatly relieved, and he asked Temujin to appoint him to some command

in his army.

Temujin replied that he would do it with great pleasure, and the more

readily because it was the brother of Vang Khan who asked it.

"Indeed," said he to Hakembu, "I owe you all the kind treatment in my

power for your brother's sake, in return for the succor and protection

for which I was indebted to him, in my misfortunes, in former times,

when he received me, a fugitive and an exile, at his court, and

bestowed upon me so many favors. I have never forgotten, and never

shall forget, the great obligations I am under to him; and although in

later years he turned against me, still I have never blamed either him

or his son Sankum for this, but have constantly attributed it to the

false representations and evil influence of Yemuka, who has always

been my implacable enemy. I do not, therefore, feel any resentment

against Vang Khan for having thus turned against me, nor do I any the

less respect his memory on that account; and I am very glad that an

opportunity now occurs for me to make, through you, his brother, some

small acknowledgment of the debt of gratitude which I owe him."

So Temujin gave Hakembu an honorable post in his army, and treated him

in all respects with great consideration. If he acted usually in this

generous manner, it is not at all surprising that he acquired that

boundless influence over the minds of his followers which aided him so

essentially in attaining his subsequent greatness and renown.

In the mean time, although Sankum was killed, Yemuka had succeeded in

making his escape, and, after meeting with various adventures, he

finally reached the country of Tayian. He led with him there all that

portion of Vang Khan's army that had saved themselves from being

killed or made prisoners, and also a great number of officers. These

broken troops Yemuka had reorganized, as well as he could, by

collecting the scattered remnants and rearranging the broken

squadrons, and in this manner, accompanied by such of the sick and

wounded as were able to ride, had arrived in Tayian's dominions. He

was known to be a general of great abilities, and he was very

favorably received in Tayian's court. Indeed, Tayian, having heard

rumors of the rapid manner in which Temujin was extending his

conquests and his power, began to be somewhat jealous of him, and to

think that it was time for him to take measures to prevent this

aggrandizement of his son-in-law from going too far.

Of course, Tayian held a great many conversations with Yemuka in

respect to Temujin's character and schemes. These Yemuka took care to

represent in the most unfavorable light, in order to increase as much

as possible Tayian's feelings of suspicion and jealousy. He

represented Temujin as a very ambitious man, full of schemes for his

own aggrandizement, and without any sentiments of gratitude or of

honor to restrain him in the execution of them. He threw wholly upon

him the responsibility of the war with Vang Khan. It grew, he said,

out of plots which Temujin had formed to destroy both Vang Khan and

his son, notwithstanding the great obligations he had been under to

them for their kindness to him in his misfortunes. Yemuka urged Tayian

also to arouse himself, before it was too late, to guard himself from

the danger.

"He is your son, it is true," said he, "and he professes to be your

friend, but he is so treacherous and unprincipled that you can place

no reliance upon him whatever, and, notwithstanding all your past

kindness to him, and the tie of relationship which ought to bind him

to you, he will as readily form plans to compass your destruction as

he would that of any other man the moment he imagines that you stand

in the way of the accomplishment of his ambitious schemes."

These representations, acting upon Tayian's natural apprehensions and

fears, produced a very sensible effect, and at length Tayian was

induced to take some measures for defending himself from the

threatened danger. So he opened negotiations with the khans of various

tribes which he thought likely to join him, and soon formed quite a

powerful league of the enemies of Temujin, and of all who were willing

to join in an attempt to restrict his power.

These steps were all taken with great secrecy, for Yemuka and Tayian

were very desirous that Temujin should know nothing of the league

which they were forming against him until their arrangements were

fully matured, and they were ready for action. They did not, however,

succeed in keeping the secret as long as they intended. They were

generally careful not to propose to any khan or chieftain to join

them in their league until they had first fully ascertained that he

was favorable to the object of it. But, growing less cautious as they

went on, they at last made a mistake. Tayian sent proposals to a

certain prince or khan, named Alakus, inviting him to join the league.

These proposals were contained in a letter which was sent by a special

messenger. The letter specified all the particulars of the league,

with a statement of the plans which the allies were intending to

pursue, and an enumeration of the principal khans or tribes that were

already engaged.

Now it happened that this Alakus, who reigned over a nation of

numerous and powerful tribes on the confines of China, was, for some

reason or other, inclined to take Temujin's side in the quarrel. So he

detained the messenger who brought the letter as a prisoner, and sent

the letter itself, containing all the particulars of the conspiracy,

at once to Temujin. Temujin was greatly surprised at receiving the

intelligence, for, up to that moment, he had considered his

father-in-law Tayian as one of his best and most trustworthy friends.

He immediately called a grand council of war to consider what was to

be done.

Temujin had a son named Jughi, who had now grown up to be a young man.

Jughi's father thought it was now time for his son to begin to take

his place and act his part among the other princes and chieftains of

his court, and he accordingly gave him a seat at this council, and

thus publicly recognized him, for the first time, as one of the chief

personages of the state.

The council, after hearing a statement of the case in respect to the

league which Tayian and the others were forming, were strongly

inclined to combine their forces and march at once to attack the enemy

before their plans should be more fully matured. But there was a

difficulty in respect to horses. The horses of the different hordes

that belonged to Temujin's army had become so much exhausted by the

long marches and other fatigues that they had undergone in the late

campaigns, that they would not be in a fit condition to commence a new

expedition until they had had some time to rest and recruit. But a

certain khan, named Bulay, an uncle of Temujin's, at once removed this

objection by offering to furnish a full supply of fresh horses for the

whole army from his own herds. This circumstance shows on what an

immense scale the pastoral occupations of the great Asiatic

chieftains were conducted in those days.

Temujin accepted this offer on the part of his uncle, and preparations

were immediately made for the marching of the expedition. As soon as

the news of these preparations reached Yemuka, he urged Tayian to

assemble the allied troops immediately, and go out to meet Temujin and

his army before they should cross the frontier.

"It is better," said he, addressing Tayian, "that you should meet and

fight him on his own ground, rather than to wait until he has crossed

the frontier and commenced his ravages in yours."

"No," said Tayian, in reply, "it is better to wait. The farther he

advances on his march, the more his horses and his men will be spent

with fatigue, the scantier will be their supplies, and the more

difficult will he find it to effect his retreat after we shall have

gained a victory over him in battle."

So Tayian, though he began to assemble his forces, did not advance;

and when Temujin, at the head of his host, reached the Nayman

frontier--for the country over which Tayian reigned was called the

country of the Naymans--he was surprised to find no enemy there to

defend it. He was the more surprised at this from the circumstance

that the frontier, being formed by a river, might have been very

easily defended. But when he arrived at the bank of the river the way

was clear. He immediately crossed the stream with all his forces, and

then marched on into the Nayman territory.

Temujin took good care, as he advanced, to guard against the danger

into which Tayian had predicted that he would fall--that of exhausting

the strength of his men and of his animals, and also his stores of

food. He took good care to provide and to take with him abundant

supplies, and also to advance so carefully and by such easy stages as

to keep both the men and the horses fresh and in full strength all the

way. In this order and condition he at last arrived at the spot where

Tayian had formed his camp and assembled his armies.

Both sides immediately marshaled their troops in order of battle.

Yemuka was chief in command on Tayian's side. He was assisted by a

young prince, the son of Tayian, whose name was Kushluk. On the other

hand, Jughi, the young son of Temujin, who had been brought forward at

the council, was appointed to a very prominent position on his

father's side. Indeed, these two young princes, who were animated by

an intense feeling of rivalry and emulation toward each other, were

appointed to lead the van on their respective sides in commencing the

battle; Jughi advancing first to the attack, and being met by Kushluk,

to whom was committed the charge of repelling him. The two princes

fought throughout the battle with the utmost bravery, and both of them

acquired great renown.

The battle was commenced early in the morning and continued all day.

In the end, Temujin was completely victorious. Tayian was mortally

wounded early in the day. He was immediately taken off the field, and

every possible effort was made to save his life, but he soon ceased to

breathe. His son, the Prince Kushluk, fought valiantly during the

whole day, but toward night, finding that all was lost, he fled,

taking with him as many of the troops as he could succeed in getting

together in the confusion, and at the head of this band made the best

of his way into the dominions of one of his uncles, his father's

brother, where he hoped to find a temporary shelter until he should

have time to determine what was to be done.

As for Yemuka, after fighting with desperate fury all day, he was at

last, toward night, surrounded and overpowered, and so made prisoner.

Temujin ordered his head to be cut off immediately after the battle

was over. He considered him, not as an honorable and open foe, but

rather as a rebel and traitor, and, consequently, undeserving of any