Observations Relating to Murat Žunić's
Mighty Osman Bey and Luke Paulson

(See the Serbo-Croatian text)

(See the English translation)

The infidel Yanya of Brlog led Mustay Bey's Muslim army on a round of pillaging through a series of places rich with booty: Brlog itself, but also the neighboring Crnorika, Otoka, and Ledenik. Though they were all widely travelled warriors, neither Mustay Bey nor the other men in his army had ever been in this territory before, and without Yanya's path-finding they would not have known what rich prizes lay in that country, nor by what routes to reach them. It was a land of bandits; the riches in it had been accumulated by robbery and plundering that were not different in kind from those to which the Muslims now subjected it under the guidance of its own erstwhile bandit leader. But Yanya had a falling-out with the other bandit-masters at the mansion that had been their headquarters, and so she made that mansion itself the last and richest prize of all in the series of sackings. The Muslim captive and the booty put into the hands of the Muslim army by its alien leader bought acceptance of that leader as a new citizen of the Turkish Border. All these are traits not only of Bećir Islamović's story about Yanya of Brlog, but also of Murat Žunić's tale about Luke Paulson and Mighty Osman Bey as translated here (and also of Avdo Međedović's equivalent story about Smailagić Meho). Other renditions of the Luke and Osman epic are detailed here and here.

    A succession of places subjected to spoilation by a Muslim army under the leadership of an infidel turncoat was everywhere a staple element in the stories of Sila(n) Osman Bey's alliance with Luke Paulson. Some tellings made those places no more than two in number, but others, like the renditions of Murat Žunić and Avdo Međedović, multiplied them extensively. The idea that presently humble villages had once upon a time been populous metropoles of intense commercial activity and wealth (until plundered by Muslim raiders) was a component not only of the South Slavic epic tradition but also of local legend. That the sites of such once-prosperous communities had latterly sunk into insignificance, or been forgotten altogether, was of course explained by the permanent damage done to them in that terrific war of a bygone age. Their precise analogues in ancient epic tradition are Eëtion's Thebe and the other towns sacked like it in the Troad of the Iliad.

    A small manuscript collection formed by a nineteenth-century cleric in Zadar (subsequently belonging to the Yugoslav Academy in Zagreb) affords an example of both the local legend and the epic, both of which had a certain currency in Roman Catholic as well as in Muslim tradition. The collector was Ivo Rajić, who gave his codex the title Narodne pjesme Hercegovačke, skupio Ivo Rajić, Hercegovac, rodom iz sela Dračeva blizu Metkovića (Hercegovinian Popular Songs, collected by Ivo Rajić, a Hercegovinian born in the village of Dračevo near Metković). The codex is dated 1885, and it contains in lieu of an introduction Neke Opaske (Several Observations) at its head.

    Concerning his own native village and others like it in the same district, Rajić remarked in his “Several Observations:”

    Dračevo, Doljani, Višići, and Tersana are at present all tiny little villages in the vicinity of Metković. But old folks have told me that at one time there were seventy-seven artisans' shops between Tersana and Višići, as you will see mentioned in the second song[in this collection]; and the song even indicates to whom the shops belonged. It takes about half an hour to go from Tersana to Višići, which would indicate that the shops were situated one right next to the other all along the way.
    Some tales of the present kind, like Žunić's and Međedović's versions, dilated at length about the commercial riches clustered at strong points along the raiding Muslims' route, while others, in the manner of Bećir Islamović, only mentioned the names of places sacked. Some omitted even the names. Such omissions would greatly shorten the telling, but might still leave the main events of the story—including the series of plunderings—unchanged in principle. Jozo Rajić, whose age Ivo Rajić noted as seventy-five, and who was apparently a relative of the collector, gave him a text of just 199 lines, which bears the title Pavičić Luka i stari Osmanbeg (Luke Paulson and Old Osman Bey). It is no. 13 in the Rajić codex, and it tells the story in a fashion utterly bare of ornament:

35.     Old Osman Bey the Mighty gat him up betimes     1
in the bright city of Osik,     2
high in his mansion with windows framed in iron.     3
The old fellow sat beside his window case     4
and gazed across the fields into the distance.     5
As the sun rose from behind the mountaintop     6
he spied a horseman riding on the flatland,     7
one clad all in silver and in pure gold,     8
astride a raven warhorse.     9
Old Osman the Mighty watched     10
the young man as he approached the town     11
and gan to make his way through narrow alleyways.     12
Taking out a paper with symbols written on it,     13
the man glanced continually at it as he rode.     14
As Mighty Osman Bey watched him,     15
he guided his well-fed black mount     17
straight toward Osman Bey's own mansion.     16
When Mighty Osman Bey realized     18
that the young man meant to enter his courtyard,     19
he summoned his son Mehmed:     20
“Go down to the courtyard gate, my son,     21
and meet this warrior and his horse.     22
Take the horse into the warm stable     23
and bring the man up here to me.     24
By the light of mine eyes, the man's a stranger here,     25
who needs directions on a piece of paper to help him
    find my house.”    
His son without comment     27
went down to meet the youth and raven horse.     28
Wishing him good morning,     29
the young man asked immediately for his father,     30
to which Childe Mehmed answered:     31
“Old Osman Bey's at home.”     32
Again the youth politely said ‘good morning’     33
as he came into Osman's chamber,     34
where he again drew forth the paper
    with the writing on it.    
Taking off his cap, he put it underneath his arm     36
and presented the paper to Mighty Osman Bey.     37
Reading what the letter said,     39a
Mighty Osman Bey     38
began to weep,     39b
and then the old bey spoke:     40
“Luke Pavičić, my son,     41
sit down here and let us talk.     42
Where are my two daughters presently,     43
my daughters, my pair of mourning doves?”     44
“They're now in Germany,     45
in General Kreiser's keep, the rogue.     46
The girls have made me pledge myself in brotherhood
    to them.    
I was formerly in King Vukašin's service.     48
He said he'd give me noble Helen for my bride,     49
but then he gave her not,     50
and on account of Helen I've revolted.     51
I'll make the two lands quarrel,     52
Turkey on the one side, and Infidelia on the other.     53
Father by adoption, mighty comrade,     54
raise an army here in Osik,     55
as great a host as ever you are able,     56
a hundred thousand registered recruits.     57
I'll be your guide.     58
You'll march your army off in this direction     59
until you reach the uplands of Mount Kita;     60
then on you go to Mount Jastreb,     61
where there once dwelt a bandit chief so named;     62
that's why its called Jastreb.     63
From there to Broken Fir,     64
where you'll turn your army's line of march     65
down the far declivity,     66
passing under Arab's Peak     67
until you come to Marshall Matan's
    marble monument;    
steeply downward thence     69
to One-Eyed Mary's Bridge,     70
where one-eyed Basil's standing guard     71
as Keeper of the Bridge.     72
To force a crossing there will not be easy either     73
against the Keeper's seven companies of troops.     74
Then down you'll go again     75
to Riđić's bright castle,     76
which Sirdar Riđić holds     77
with eight companies.     78
The lovely girl Bodulica dwells there.     79
The man who seizes Riđić's sister     80
may truly say he's married well.     81
The way leads steeply down again     82
to General Kreiser's palazzo,     83
where dwell the pair of Turkish girls,     84
daughters of the mighty Osman Bey.     85
He who seizes the pair of Turkish maidens     86
may truly claim he has a wife.     87
The way leads steeply down again     88
to the ancient monastery, brother.     89
Ten companies of soldiers closely guard it.     90
In its attic ample treasure's stored.     91
He who takes the Hand of Holy Christ     92
will get him wealth enough thereby to make
    a pilgrimage to the Kaaba    
and still have plenty left
    for living comfortably at home.    
The way leads steeply down again     95
to the Vukovićes' bright castle.     96
Old Vukašin deceased not long ago,     97
but his nine sons survive him still.     98
They've made division of Vukašin's legacy;     99
each son's portion was a chamberful of treasure.     100
There the noble Helen also dwells,     101
she because of whom I have rebelled,     102
for whom I'll make the two lands quarrel.     103
Twelve companies of soldiers hold that castle.”     104
Lo, Mighty Osman Bey     105
began to raise a mighty army,     106
a hundred thousand registered recruits.     107
So he marshalled his slaughterous battalions,     108
then marched them forth     110
from bright Osik city     109
with Luke Pavičić in the van.     111
First he struck Mount Kita,     112
then passed on to Mount Jastreb,     113
and thence to Broken Fir.     114
Steeply downward thence     115
under Arab's Peak     116
to Marshall Matan's marble monument,     117
and onward to the bridge.     118
As they crossed the span     119
they found that one-eyed Basil wasn't there.     120
He was on a visit to the ancient monastery.     121
So all the army made its way across the bridge     122
and onward till it came to Castle Riđić.     123
The Sirdar too was not at home;     124
he too was on a visit to the monastery church.     125
Down they went again     126
to General Kreiser's castle,     127
but neither he himself     128
nor his nine companies of soldiery were there;     129
he too was on a visit to the monastery church.     130
Marching to the ancient monastery,     131
they sacked its church     132
and took the money that they found.     133
Which man was it whom dear God helped     134
to seize the Hand of Holy Christ?     135
Luke Pavičić himself despoiled it.     136
Thence the Turks moved on     137
towards the Vukovićes' shining mansion,     138
where dwelt the nine brothers Vuković themselves.     139
All nine of them were there     140
with their dozen companies of troops,     141
and General Kreiser too.     142
The Turks attacked the place full force.     143
The Vlachs were ready though,     144
and met their charge with lively fire.     145
Three hundred ancients died of it,     146
and the Vlachs repulsed the rest some little distance.     147
But then the Turks charged them again,     148
and again the Vlachs met their attack     149
with black powder and flying lead.     150
Once more three hundred banner-bearers     151
of the Turkish force fell dead,     152
But Luke Pavičić     153
had the Hand of Holy Christ in his possession,     154
and therefore was invulnerable to saber stroke,     155
nor would any rifle bullet touch him;     156
he rode his raven horse straight into the courtyard.     157
The Turkish Janissaries talked of this
    amongst themselves:    
some said “Luke has betrayed us;”     159
others, “Luke's gone over to the other side;”     160
still others, “Luke has perished.”     161
What he was really doing all the while inside
    Castle Vuković    
was sabering all nine brothers.     163
There he captured noble Helen,     164
dragged her down to the courtyard,     165
and put her on his raven mount.     166
Then he sacked the Castle Vuković     167
and forthwith turned the army     168
towards the house of General Kreiser.     169
General Kreiser had by then come home     170
with all nine companies of his soldiery.     171
The Turks attacked his mansion,     172
where they liberated both the Turkish maidens     173
and left a large donation to the place.     174
Thence the Turks moved on again     175
to the little man Sirdar Riđić's high house,     176
where little Sirdar Riđić had by then come home     177
with all his eight companies of soldiery.     178
Here the Turks attacked again,
    and breaking its defences,    
left a large donation to this place too.     180
Thence the Turks moved on again until
    they reached the bridge,    
where one-eyed Basil had by then arrived     182
with seven companies of his soldiery.     183
Though Basil strove to hold the bridge,     184
Luke Paulson drove on straight across     185
ariding his black mount,     186
and so brought noble Helen out [of Infidelia].     187
Up they went onto the highlands then,     188
and underneath the Arab's Peak,     189
and on past Marshall Matan's marble monument,     190
and over the jagged ridge at Broken Fir,     191
across Mount Jastreb     192
and Mount Kita too,     193
until they'd safely passed the highlands,     194
whence by one way and another they went down
    until they came to Osik.    
Thus the Turks came home to Osik city     196
with Luke Paulson in the van,     197
and by the time they'd come to bright Osik     198
their army numbered only forty thousand men.     199

    An important modulation of the Luke Paulson epic paired Luke not with an elder Muslim (such as Mighty Osman Bey), but rather with one of his own age. In either case however, Luke's Muslim partner in the violent invasion of Luke's own Christian world was motivated by the same principle, namely the Muslim's inability to secure a necessary feminine com-ponent for the perpetuation of his house and lineage by solely Muslim means. Both forms of the story are however only local expressions in detail of a great overriding tenet: the Muslim world as portrayed in this tradition never contained adequate resources for the sustenance of all its citizens, and was always driven by the dire necessity of some of its most worthy persons to predatory seizures of Christian—i.e., northern and western European—assets. Thus, respected and powerful though he is in his own country, old Osman in Murat Žunić's (and Avdo Međedović's) telling of the Luke-Paulson-and-Osman epic has no male kinsmen or other allies within the confines of Islam who can help him to locate and liberate his only female kin, namely his two daughters.

    A corresponding failure in the society of the Christian world generates Osman's Christian collaborator, Luke Paulson, who similarly has no male kin or other allies within the confines of Christendom who will help him liberate the female whom he too needs to perpetuate his house and lineage. The only asymmetry in the two allies' predicaments is that one man is old and wants his daughters, while the other man is young and wants a wife.

    By simple elimination of this asymmetry, a modulation arose wherein both collaborators were young, and both needed wives whom neither had the means to secure in his own world without the help of the other. As in all this tradition's epics of every kind, there was significant loss of life for Muslims in the resultant struggle; but the infidel Christian world suffered a much greater devastation of both life and property.

    Friedrich Krauss collected and published such a poem under the title Pandžić Huso i Pavečić Luka, Pobra (Mostar, 1885). The story it told lay on the spectrum of epic modulation midway between tales like Murat Žunić's “Sila Osmanbeg i Pavišić Luka” on the one hand, and tales of two Muslim comrades' joint bride stealing (like Ćamil Kulenović's Ženidba Vrhovac Alage) on the other hand. In his sentimental little dedication to the published poem, Krauss gave no indication as to who the singer was who dictated the text to him; but it was probably one of the several from whom he had collected in the Neretva Valley. The published text amounts to 932 verses, and narrates as follows:

36.    Hussein Pandžić has no kin anywhere in the world. He is alone in the upper storey of his house in Gradnić city one morning before dawn when a postman knocks at his courtyard gate. The letter carrier presents him a letter, but gives no indication as to who sent it, and Hussein is unable to read it until sunrise brings light enough for him to make out the characters.

    The letter bears as its return address the Vizier's (Governor's) mansion in Buda, and it is from the Vizier's daughter Fatima. She reminds Hussein how in a former time the Emperor in Istanbul had issued a death warrant against him, and he had fled for his life from city to city until finally her father gave him sanctuary in Buda. There he remained for four years, during which time he engaged himself to marry Fatima. She reports that many suitors now frequent her father's house, and he intends soon to betroth her to one of them. Hussein must intervene promptly if he wants ever to see her again.

    As soon as Pandžić reads the letter, he dresses his horse and himself in splendid attire, mounts, and rides away in the direction of Buda. He speaks to his house as he leaves it, promising it renovation as soon as he returns with his bride; but if perchance he should be killed in the coming adventure, the house is at liberty, he tells it, to tumble down however it pleases, since there is no one to inherit it from him.

    Pandžić travels no farther than the open field outside Gradnić before he meets yet another letter carrier, who is bringing him a second message from Fatima. Her father the Vizier has been quick about choosing a fiancé for her: it is Childe Mehmed, son of the Pasha of Zvornik. Having learned this additional news, Hussein throws the second letter away and rides on into the uninhabited mountains until he reaches the banks of an upland stream, the Čatrnja. There he dismounts and refreshes himself with brandy.

    While he is thus at rest, Hussein observes another well-mounted and well-armed man approaching. He soon realizes that it is his fictive brother from Bunić town, Luka Pavečić. The two greet one another warmly, and over the remaining brandy Hussein explains to Luke about Fatima. He considers it providential that Luke has met him at just this time, since they may now go together to Buda to claim Fatima.

    Luke is however not enthusiastic about Hussein's proposal. He says that he has no thought of trying to approach Buda, and that Hussein will not be able to go there either, because the Vizier has stationed Miloš the Bandit in the pass at Saddle Mountain (Prevala planina) to keep it secure against intruders. Miloš has built a blockhouse in the pass, and hung a sword on the blockhouse gate. He requires all travellers to Buda either to kiss the sword or be beheaded by it. Luke would rather die than accept such an indignity; he is sure that Hussein will not be submissive to it either. The only imaginable outcome of their attempted journey to Buda would therefore be getting themselves into a fight at Saddle Mountain, with the probable result of their both being killed. Hussein had better forget Fatima and let Luke help him secure a wife from among the many nice girls to be found on the hither side of Saddle Mountain.

    To this counsel of caution Hussein responds with a counter-suggestion. Since Luke has no stomach for trouble in the mountain pass to Buda, he should go home to Bunić, purchase a distaff and a hank of Egyptian flax in the market there, then spin, weave, and sew new linen undergarments as a wedding gift for Hussein, quite as any woman would do.

    Stung by this aspersion on his manliness, Luke immediately swings himself into the saddle and tells Huso that he will indeed accompany him to Buda; the only thing he will not now permit Hussein to do is to turn back himself from their perilous expedition.

    Miloš observes and recognizes the two men even before they reach his blockhouse. He tells his sixty fellow bandits that the two appoaching sons of bitches are Pandžić and Pavečić, and that both they and their horses are invulnerable to gunfire. Nevertheless he instructs his men to position themselves behind the rocks and boulders on either side of the defile leading to the blockhouse and fire at the two intruders in order to knock them off their horses. Unhorsed, the two adventurers might perhaps be captured alive.

    When they come under fire, Luke and Hussein cock their caps wickedly down over their eyes, draw their sabres, and charge the gunners, whom they soon rout. Then they gallop to the blockhouse gate, where Luke seizes Miloš's sword, beheads Miloš with it, and then breaks it into three pieces. Luke sets fire to the blockhouse, and the two travellers proceed together to Buda.

    They find the grounds of the Governor's palace teeming with the horses that Fatima's myriad suitors have ridden to Buda. Luke remains below in the palace courtyard with their own mounts while Hussein goes upstairs to the Vizier's audience chamber. It is full of the suitors, with whom Hussein exchanges conventional civilities. Last to greet him is the Vizier himself, who asks sarcastically why Hussein has come to Buda, when he must know that he cannot hope to marry Fatima while so many more desirable pashas, viziers, aghas, and spahis are also suitors to her. Pandžić replies that destiny will decide the matter, and not the will of men.

    The Vizier places a golden tray in the midst of the assembly and tells all those present to place their respective tokens on it. That man whose tokens Fatima selects from the tray will be her husband. (This despite the second letter delivered earlier to Hussein from Fatima, in which she reported that her father had already promised her to Mehmed, son of the Pasha of Zvornik. The Vizier of Buda is, as usual, perfidious.) Every man puts down an engagement ring, and other gifts with it, each according to his wealth. Hussein for his part offers a golden orb and a thousand ducats of gold.

    But while carrying the tray from the assembly hall to the women's quarters, the wicked Vizier removes Hussein's offerings and pockets them. Left to make her choice from among the remaining tokens, Fatima studies the collection, detects the shortage, and declines to accept anything in the absence of Hussein's tender. She goes to a window overlooking the courtyard, smashes the glass, thrusts her head through the opening, and cries out to Luke Pavečić, telling him to pass on her advice to Hussein: let him not waste time and wealth in the fraudulent ritual of bidding for her through her father the Vizier, for nothing Hussein attempts to convey to her by that channel will ever reach her.

    Luke reacts with a tremendous shout, which instantly brings Hussein to his feet and down into the courtyard. When Luke has reported Fatima's words to him, the two companions decide to abandon civil entreaty within the Vizier's corrupt court and take a more warlike approach to their problem. Following Hussein's suggestion, they leave the city, camp on the field outside the walls, and offer single combat to anyone who will be brave enough to offer an armed challenge to Hussein's claim on Fatima.

    Apprised of this development, the Vizier calls for volunteers to combat Hussein, with Fatima to be the winner's prize. No one responds however except a certain Indian Arab, much to the Vizier's and Fatima's disgust: this doubly alien person is ungratifying to the Vizier as a prospective son-in-law, and positively repulsive to Fatima, who now dreads the possibility not only of Hussein's destruction but also of her own forced union with so unseemly a mate.

    The Arab presents himself for combat on the field outside Buda, and Hussein is about to engage him when Luke intervenes and insists on championing Hussein, lest the latter be killed and Fatima left to marry the Arab. Luke first lets the Arab do his worst, but he cannot harm Luke. Then the Arab flees towards the sanctuary of the city. Luke outraces him however, and spears him through-and-through at the gate.

    While Hussein refreshes the victorious Luke with coffee and brandy outside the city, the Vizier inside calls for another volunteer to contest Hussein Pandžić's blockade. A young, unnamed vizier's son comes forward, and soon he too stands ready to do battle on the duelling field outside Buda. Again Luke wants to fight on Hussein's behalf. This time however Hussein insists on facing the challenger himself. Their duel exactly replicates the one between Luke and the Arab; Hussein leaves the corpse of his opponent piled atop the Arab's at the city gate, and returns to drink wine with Luke in mid-field.

    There being no more volunteers from amongst Fatima's remaining suitors to duel further with Luke and Hussein, the Vizier calls instead for someone to run their blockade and carry a letter to Miloš at Saddle Mountain; the Vizier desires Miloš to come and deal with the pair of troublemakers. But the Pasha of Zvornik speaks up and asks the Vizier whether he has any eyes to see with; during their visit to his palace, did the Vizier not observe the soot smudged on the faces of Luke and Hussein? It could have only one meaning: they must already have burned Miloš's blockhouse, which of course they could not have accomplished had they not also killed Miloš. To dispatch any messenger to Saddle Mountain for help would therefore be useless. Stymied by this apparent truth, the Vizier has nothing more to say.

    Luke meanwhile proposes a further adventure for himself and his Muslim comrade. Now that they have won Fatima for Hussein, Hussein should help Luke win the bride whom he desires from Lower Rosnica. She is Angelia, the daughter of Rosnica's military commander. Hussein responds now to Luke's marital ambition no differently than Luke did earlier to his. Not one [says he] but seven successive blockhouses obstruct the way to and from Rosnica, which lies not through mountain fastnesses, but extended all across a great lowland plain. Not sixty but a hundred bandits garrison each of the seven blockhouses. No matter how courageous they may be, no two men travelling alone can hope to pass such obstacles alive, much less when encumbered with a stolen bride. Luke's answer to this objection is what Hussein's was earlier: Hussein should go home to Gradnić and occupy himself there with woman's work till Luke comes back from Rosnica with Angelia. Thus goaded, Hussein consents to Luke's plan, and the two depart together for Rosnica.

    Their journey to the castle where Angelia dwells is effortless; no one at any of the seven intervening blockhouses deigns so much as to notice them as they pass. They find the castle gates securely closed with four great chains; Angelia is within, but her father is not at home. From an upstairs window she addresses Luke, telling him to go away; her father keeps in his stable a four-year-old thoroughbred of such surpassing fleetness that had Luke already begun yesterday to gallop away towards the Turkish frontier, and were her father to set out in pursuit of him some time later today, he would still be able easily to overtake Luke before the latter could escape across the border. Under these circumstances, any thought of elopement would be fatuous.

    But Luke is not so easily put off. He asks Angelia to come down and open the gate. When she refuses, he sets his chestnut mount at the courtyard wall, leaps it, and opens the gate from the inside. This time Hussein remains in the courtyard as sentry and keeper of their two chargers while Luke goes upstairs into the castle to find Angelia. He asks her for the keys to the stable, but she does not know where her father keeps them. So Luke goes downstairs again and circumambulates the palace until he locates a great ironclad door in the foundation: the entrance to the stable. This Luke batters mightily with his war mace until he succeeds in breaking through. Within the broken portal he finds a set of keys that open nine more doors, until finally behind the ninth he encounters four syces who guard the remarkable four-year-old stallion. Sabering them, he extracts the stallion from the stable, mounts Angelia on it, and rides away with her and Hussein back to the lowland path guarded by her father's seven companies of bandits in their seven blockhouses.

    The three fugitives have almost reached the crest of the mountain overlooking the great plain that separates them from Turkey, when Luke suddenly stops and asks Hussein whether when they departed he left the castle gate at Rosnica open or closed. Hussein says that he closed it. But Luke is not satisfied, and tells Hussein to stop on the mountain with Angelia while he returns to set the castle afire. If he does not do this, says Luke, he knows that the Commander will cast aspersion on his character for having stolen horse and daughter but neglected manfully to complete his attack and burn the castle too.

    Angelia warns Luke that burning the castle will destroy any hope of their safe escape to Turkey. Her father keeps three cannon always loaded, and were the castle to burn, the fire would soon ignite them. Their three detonations are precisely the signal agreed upon by the Commander and his seven blockhouse garrisons to indicate that the road across the plain should be closed and anyone attempting to leave Rosnica apprehended. But Luke has come to Rosnica not only for Angelia's sake; he is equally as determined to clear the road of its present interdictors as he is to steal the girl. So he returns to the castle and sets fire to it exactly because the resultant alarm will produce the human obstructions that he wishes to destroy.

    The castle burns quickly, and the cannon in it explode sooner than Luke had expected; the three fugitives are not able to pass even the first of the seven blockhouses before its garrison has heard the alarm. There a veritable rain of bullets greets the three travellers, and Luke instructs Hussein to stay with Angelia and her father's prize horse while he clears the road of its defenders. Charging into the cloud of gunsmoke with his saber drawn, Luke disappears from view. But because the dense smoke prevents his seeing what is happening to his comrade Luke, Hussein cannot long forbear to follow him into the fray, and so he abandons his guard duty. Together they prevail and then safely conduct the girl and the horse past the first blockhouse.

    The same sequence of events is repeated at the second barrier, except that now it is Hussein who leads the attack, and Luke who cannot abide idle sentry duty. So one by one the two men break through each of the first six obstacles.

    The seventh blockhouse is however much more strongly defended than the previous six. All the survivors from the first six garrisons have gathered at the seventh to fight again, this time under the direction of the Commander himself, Angelia's father. Here it is once more Luke's turn to lead the way, and Hussein's to stand guard over Angelia and the horse. Anticipating the fiercer resistance of this seventh and last enemy stronghold, Luke warns Hussein that as the point-man in the coming struggle he may very probably be killed. Should this happen, he desires that Hussein should not give Angelia away to any other man, but take her rather as a second wife for himself, together with the Vizier's daughter Fatima.

    And indeed, by the time Hussein enters the pall of battle at the seventh blockhouse, Luke has been wounded so badly that he can scarcely keep himself in the saddle as the blood flows from him. Hussein asks Luke whether he thinks he has been mortally hurt, but Luke refuses even to consider the question; he is too preoccupied with disappointment. Although he has routed the garrison at this last stronghold too, and done so despite its many reinforcements, he has still not yet been able to confront Angelia's father face to face. The Commander has fled the fighting on horseback, and Luke does not know where he has gone. He begs Hussein to help him take down Angelia and mount himself on the Commander's own wonderful four-year-old race horse. Hussein does this, and puts a naked saber in Luke's hand. Then Luke rides out away, of the dense cloud that still covers the battlefield.

    No sooner is he clear of the miasma than he spies the Commander already so far away that a long rifle would not carry the distance, and the noise of a pistol shot would not even be audible. Nevertheless Luke gives a great shout, and the stallion under him whinnies in response. It is not however Luke's shout but the horse's whinny that prevents the Commander's escape. The latter is riding a bedouin mare that happens to be in heat, and when it hears the call of the stallion, the mare stops stock-still in her tracks. The Commander flails at her vainly with his riding crop, but Luke is upon him in a moment, and cuts him in half.

    The mare's and stallion's love affair so prolongs Luke's return to the waiting Hussein and Angelia, and Luke was so sorely wounded when he rode away in pursuit of the Commander, that Hussein imagines he must have died by now, killed either by the Commander or by his previous wounds. Far from wishing to make off with the comely Angelia, Pandžić is delighted and relieved by Luke's eventual reappearance. The three then complete their journey across the Turkish frontier, and sit down on the other side to a refreshment of aquavit while they consider how they may best extract Fatima from Buda.

    But events solve this problem for them. Even as they sit debating the matter, singing and the sound of gunfire signal the approach of a wedding procession. It proves to be Childe Mehmed's parade with the girl Fatima; during the two comrades' absence in Rosnica, Mehmed's father, the Pasha of Zvornik, has decided to go ahead with his son's marriage. Hussein instantly resolves to attack the procession and seize Fatima for himself by force, but Luke restrains him with a better plan. Acting as Pandžić's go-between, Luke will peaceably approach Fatima's coach and ask the girl directly whether she desires to be Mehmed's wife or Hussein's. If she elects Childe Mehmed of Zvornik, they should let the procession continue unmolested; there are plenty of other maidens from among whom Pandžić may choose a more willing bride. But if Fatima prefers Hussein, Luke will take her out of the Pasha's carriage, put her in Hussein's lap, and be prepared for a fight. While Luke does his part, Hussein should stand ready for battle if it comes to that.

    The two adventurers carry out Luke's plan. Childe Mehmed is disposed to put up a struggle for possession of Fatima, but his father the Pasha points out to him the girl Angelia from Lower Rosnica, whom the very devils in hell could not have abducted; yet there she is, demurely seated on the stolen four-year-old stallion as living proof of her two captors' irresistible fighting prowess. Mehmed should let Fatima decide the issue, since there are other desirable girls with whom the Pasha may make a good match for Mehmed if Fatima is truly unwilling. She opts for Pandžić. After a moment of hesitation, the party from Zvornik irenically dissolves; Pandžić and Pavečić go home with their respective brides, each to his own land.

    So Luke Paulson, whatever the form of the story in which he figures, (re)establishes ties of feminine kinship for a Muslim who is a kind of adult ‘orphan,’ whether young (Huso Pandžić) or old (Osman Bey of Osik).

    But Luke's Muslim beneficiary and cohort is not the only other stock personage of the tale about him. The Turkish Sultan regularly figures in his story also, where he habitually shows the same two contrasting faces that characterize the Ottoman Emperor in a wide spectrum of this tradition's epics.

    Osman Bey of Osik (=Osjek, Osijek) loses his two daughters because he is in the Sultan's good graces, i.e., he is away in Istanbul on government service when the infidels sack his settlement at Osjek and capture his darling daughters. Contrastingly, Hussein Pandžić is in the Sultan's disfavour; the Sultan has issued a death warrant against him, and it is this terrible danger emanating from the Sultan that brings Hussein and Fatima together in the first place. For another typical instance of the Sultan's favour harming a worthy man's family life, while his disfavour enhances it, see Ibrahim Nuhanović's tale of Osmanbeg Omerbegović.

    Another such modulation-by-inversion is seen in the character of Childe Mehmed, who, at the direction of the Pasha of Zvornik in Krauss's epic about Pandžić and Pavečić, peaceably surrenders his intended bride Fatima to a rival bridegroom when that rival confronts his wedding procession militarily. But in Krauss's other epic from the same region, the one about old Smail Agha's Childe Mehmed, Mehmed does just the opposite under the direction of another pasha, Hasan Tiro. There Mehmed stands and fights his rival to the death and keeps his Fatima, who wants him and not his rival. Smail's Childe Mehmed and his wedding band then turn on the Vizier of Buda and destroy him too; whereas Childe Mehmed of Zvornik and his party were and remain the Vizier's best friends. Whatever the tradition countenanced in one tale, it deliberately turned upside down and aft-end fore in some other tale.

    As usual in epics about Luke Paulson, a Muslim expedition which he leads into Christendom finds the journey lengthy but unopposed; as in the ancient Greek conception of the house of Hades, entering that world is easy, but getting out again is desperately difficult. Like the ancient Kerberos, its guardians detain no immigrants, but only would-be émigrés. And like the surly gatekeeper at Buda in Avdo Međedović's Smailagić Meho, the bandit chieftain Miloš is the sole obstacle to entering Buda in Krauss's poem about Pandžić and Pavečić. But there are seven far more formidably manned stopping places on the way to and from Lower Rosnica. Correspondingly, in Ibrahim Nuhanović's epic about Osmanbeg Omerbegović, a double series of seven stopping places on the way to and from the heartland of infidelia intervenes between the Muslim hero's claiming an endogamous bride for himself and his escape to actual commencement of settled life with her. 


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