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The winters in that latitude are very cold, and the country through which I had to march was full of difficulty. The branches of the river which we had to cross were obstructed with ice, and the roads were in many places rendered almost impassable by snow.
I did not really know the way to the fortress where Tukta Bey and his followers were concealed, and it would have been almost impossible for me to find it had it not been for certain tribes, through whose territories I passed on the way. They furnished me with guides. These tribes, perceiving how overwhelming was the force which I, The Great Genghis Khan commanded, knew that it would be useless for them to resist. They yielded submission to me at once, and detached parties of horsemen to go with me along the river to show the way. Under the conduct of these guides I moved forward. In due time we 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 Bey 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, during 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 I did not follow them. I thought that the distance was too great, and that the power of Gurkhan was too formidable to make it prudent for us to advance into Gurkhan’s dominions without a stronger force. For the time being I gave up the pursuit, and. after fully securing the fruits of the victory which I had gained at Ardish, and receiving the submission of all the tribes and khans that inhabited that region of country, I set out on my return home.
There is a true story that one of the khans who submited to me at this time made me a present of a certain bird called a shongar, according to a custom often observed among the people of that region. The shongar is 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 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. I received such a present as this from a chieftain named Urus Inal, who was among those that yielded to my power in the country of the Irtish, after the battle at which Tukta Bey was defeated and killed. The bird was presented to me by Urus with great ceremony, as an act of submission and homage.
Next post; #71 The Fate of Prince Kushluk