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days after my return to Mosul, notwithstanding the attempts of Tahyar Pasha to avert the calamity, Beder Khan Bey marched through the Tiyari mountains, levying contributions on the tribes and plundering the villages, on his way to the devoted district. The inhabitants, headed by their Meleks, made some resistance, but were soon overpowered by numbers. An indiscriminate massacre took place. The women were brought before the chief, and murdered in cold blood. Those who attempted to escape were cut off. Three hundred women and children, who were flying into Baz, were killed in the pass I have described. The principal villages with their gardens were destroyed, and the churches pulled down. Nearly half the population fell victims to the fanatical fury of the Kurdish chief; amongst them were one of the Meleks, and Kasha Bodaca. With this good priest, and Kasha Auraham, perished the most learned of the Nestorian clergy; and Kasha Kana is the last who has inherited any part of the knowledge, and zeal, which once so eminently distinguished the Chaldaean priesthood. The Porte was prevailed upon to punish this atrocious massacre, and to crush a rebellious subject who had long resisted its authority. An expedition was fitted out under Osman Pasha; and after two engagements, in which the Kurds were signally defeated by the Turkish troops headed by Omar Pasha, Beder Khan Bey took refuge in a mountain-castle. The position had been nearly carried, when the chief, finding defence hopeless, succeeded in obtaining from the Turkish commander the same terms which had been offered to him before the commencement of hostilities. He was to be banished from Rurdistan; but his family and attendants were to accompany him, and he was guaranteed the enjoyment of his property. Although the Turkish ministers more than suspected that Osman Pasha had reasons of his own for granting these terms, they honorably fulfilled the conditions upon which the chief, although a rebel, had surrendered. He was brought to Constantinople, and subsequently sent to the Island of Candia—a punishment totally inadequate to his numerous crimes.
After Beder Khan Bey had retired from Tkhoma, a few of the surviving inhabitants returned to their ruined villages ; but Nur-Ullah Bey, suspecting that they knew of concealed property, fell suddenly upon them. Many died under the tortures to which they were exposed; and the rest, as soon as they were released, fled into Persia. This flourishing district was thus destroyed ; and it will be long ere its cottages again rise from their ruins, and the fruits of patient toil again clothe the sides of its valleys.
INVITATION TO THE FEAST OF THE YEZIDIS. - DEPARTURE FROM MOSUL,
- BAADRI. -HUSSEIN BEY, THE YEZIDI CHIEF. THE BIRTH OF HIS SON. — HISTORY OF THE YEZIDIS. – RIDE TO THE TOMB OF SHEIKH ADI. -SHEIKH NASR.- DESCRIPTION OF THE TOMB.-ARRIVAL OF PILGRIMS. -AN INCIDENT. —SHEIKH SHEMS, OR THE SUN. — VOTIVE LAMPS. CELEBRATION OF RITES. -YEZIDI MUSIC. THE DOCTRINES AND RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES OF THE SECT.---THE EVIL PRINCIPLE. THE PROBABLE ORIGIN OF THEIR RITES-THEIR ORDERS OF PRIESTHOOD, -THEIR LANGUAGE AND BOOKS. ---RETURN TO MOSUL. DEPARTURE FOR THE SINJAR.–ABOU MARIA.-TEL AFER.—MIRKAN.-ESCAPE OF THE YEZIDIS.
THE VILLAGE OF SINJAR. - WILD ASSES.
A FEW days after my return to Mosul from the Tiyari mountains, a priest of the Yezidis, or, as they are commonly called, “ Worshippers of the Devil,” was sent by Sheikh Nasr, the religious chief of that remarkable sect, to invite Mr. Rassam and myself to their great periodical feast. The Vice-consul was unable to accept the invitation; but I seized with eagerness the opportunity of being present at ceremonies not before witnessed by an European.
The origin of my invitation proves that the Yezidis may lay claim to a virtue which is, unfortunately, not of frequent occurrence in the East, -I mean gratitude. When Keritli Oglu, Mohammed Pasha, first came to Mosul, this sect was amongst the objects of his cupidity and tyranny. He seized by treachery, as he supposed, their high priest ; but Sheikh Nasr had time to escape the plot against him, and to substitute in his place the second in authority, who was carried a prisoner to the town. Such is the attachment shown by the Yezidis to their chief, that the deceit was not revealed, and the substitute bore with resignation the tortures and imprisonment inflicted upon him. Mr. Rassam having been applied to, obtained his release
from the Pasha, on the advance of a considerable sum of money, which the inhabitants of the district of Sheikhan undertook to repay, in course of time, out of the produce of their fields. They punctually fulfilled the engagement thus entered into, and looked to the British Vice-consul as their protector. Owing to the disturbed state of the country, and the misconduct of the late Pashas, some years had elapsed since the Yezidis had assembled at Sheikh Adi. The short rule of Ismail Pasha, and the conciliatory measures of the new governor, had so far restored confidence amongst persons of all sects, that the Worshippers of the Devil had determined to celebrate their great festival with more than ordinary solemnity and rejoicings. I quitted Mosul, accompanied by Hodja Toma (the dragoman of the Vice-consulate), and the Cawal, or priest, sent by Sheikh Nasr. We were joined on the road by several Yezidis, who were, like ourselves, on their way to the place of meeting. We passed the night in a small hamlet near Khorsabad, and reached Baadri early next day. This village, the residence of Hussein Bey, the political chief of the Yezidis, is built at the foot of the line of hills crossed in my previous journey to the Chaldaean Mountains, and about five miles to the north of Ain Sifni. We travelled over the same dreary plain, leaving the mound of Jerrahiyah to our right. On approaching the village I was met by Hussein Bey, followed by the priests and principal inhabitants on foot. The chief was about eighteen years of age, and one of the handsomest young men I ever saw. His features were regular and delicate, his eye lustrous, and the long curls, which fell from under his variegated turban, of the deepest black. An ample white cloak of fine texture was thrown over his rich jacket and robes. I dismounted as he drew near, and he endeavored to kiss my hand; but to this ceremony I decidedly objected; and we compromised matters by embracing each other after the fashion of the country. He then insisted upon leading my horse, which he wished me to remount, and it was with difficulty that I at length prevailed
upon him to walk with me into the village. He led me to his salamlik, or reception room, in which carpets and cushions had been spread. Through the centre ran a stream of fresh water, derived from a neighboring spring. The people of the place stood at the lower end of the room, and listened in respectful silence to the conversation between their chief and myself.
Breakfast was brought to us from the harem of Hussein Bey; and the crowd having retired after we had eaten, I was left during the heat of the day to enjoy the cool temperature of the salamlik.
I was awakened in the afternoon by that shrill cry of the women, which generally announces some happy event. The youthful chief entered soon afterwards, followed by a long retinue. It was evident, from the smile upon his features, that he had joyful news to communicate. He seated himself on my carpet, and thus addressed me:-“ O Bey, your presence has brought happiness on our house. At your hands we receive nothing but good. We are all your servants; and, praise be to the Highest, in this house another servant has been born to you. The child is yours: he is our first-born, and he will grow up under your shadow. Let him receive his name from you, and be hereafter under your protection.” The assembly joined in the request, and protested that this event, so interesting to all the tribe, was solely to be attributed to my fortunate visit. I was not quite aware of the nature of the ceremony, if any, in which I might be expected to join on naming the new-born chief. Notwithstanding my respect and esteem for the Yezidis, I could not but admit that there were some doubts as to the propriety of their tenets and form of worship ; and I was naturally anxious to ascertain the amount of responsibility which I might incur, in standing godfather to a devil-worshipping baby. However, as I was assured that no other form was necessary than the mere selection of a name (the rite of baptism being reserved for a future day, when the child could be carried to the tomb of Sheikh Adi, and could bear immersion in its sacred waters,) I thus answered Hussein Bey:-“O Bey, I rejoice in