Robert Elsie | AL Art | AL History | AL Language | AL Literature | AL Photography | Contact |


Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Oral Verse


  Webdesign J. Groß

Songs of the Frontier Warriors

INTRODUCTION  8. Mujo’s Courser 16. Mujo and Jevrenija
 1. Mujo’s Strength  9. Young Omeri 17. Halili Avenges Mujo
 2. Marriage of Mujo 10. Zuku Bajraktar 18. Omer, Son of Mujo
 3. Mujo’s Oras 11. Osmani and Radoica 19. Death of Omer
 4. Mujo Visits the Sultan 12. Ali Bajraktari 20. Ajkuna Mourns Omer
 5. Marriage of Halili 13. Arnaut Osmani 21. Death of Halili
 6. Gjergj Elez Alia 14. Zuku Captures Rusha 22. Mujo Wounded
 7. Mujo and Behuri 15. Mujo’s Wife Kidnapped 23. After Mujo’s Death

Mujo Wounded

Provoked by Arnaut Osmani, Mujo goes out duelling on an unlucky day and is shot nine times. The dying Mujo makes one last request of Arnaut, who refuses it and insults and taunts the dying hero. Mujo dies. The zanas are disturbed by the loud neighing of his grieving horse. They decide to revive Mujo, breathe life into him and get him back on his horse. Mujo returns home to learn that a son has been born to him, and slays Arnaut Osmani for his treachery.


















Thirty Agas met in Jutbina,
Spread out oat feed for their coursers,
But Mujo’s courser would not eat it,
Stamped its hooves upon the pavement.            
Mujo said to his companions:
“Every time my courser does this,
It’s a day to go out duelling,
And a day that brings misfortune.”
Then spoke Arnaut Osmani:
“You’re getting old and turning yellow,
For your steed knows nothing, Mujo.”
Hurt was Mujo, disappointed,
Swiftly did he mount his courser,
To the twin trees did he ride out,
There nine rifle shots were fired,
Nine shots struck him in his body,
In the heart the ninth one hit him,
Little life remained in Mujo,
His companions rushed to see him,
Then spoke Gjeto Basho Mujo:
“Listen, Arnaut Osmani,
You’re the foremost of my comrades,
A final wish to you I leave now,
Take back home my arms and clothing,
Take my warhorse back home with you,
At my hearth my wife lies pregnant.
If it is a boy God grants me,
He’ll find my arms and clothing waiting.”
Then spoke Arnaut Osmani:
“May to you be born a maiden,
And your nine wounds cause you fainting,
I will take your arms and clothing,
I will saddle up your courser,
And I’ll wed your bride, too, Mujo.”
In that year did Mujo perish,
And what of Zuku Bajraktari?
He tried to rope and tame the courser,
But Mujo’s steed with grief went crazy
No one could calm down the courser,
For it kept on neighing loudly,
Deafening the mountain pastures,
The Blessed of the Night did hear it,
The zanas said to one another:
“What’s that noise up in the mountains?”
“The shkjas slew Gjeto Basho Mujo,
And Mujo’s steed with grief went crazy,
Shall we go now and revive him?”
On their flight set out three zanas,
Quickly did they get to Mujo,
One by one they bound his wounds up,
One by one they breathed upon him,
Mujo started once more breathing,
And to his feet did they bring Mujo,
Mujo called his courser, prompting,
The courser recognized his voice now,
Swiftly did it gallop to him,
Tears welled from the courser’s eyelids.
Mujo could not mount the courser,
The steed fell on its knees before him,
Seventy hides did they put on it,
The zanas put him on his fine horse
And for home did Mujo hurry.
At a stop along his journey,
Mujo came upon a shepherd,
“Any news, man, from Jutbina?”
“A grievous day for all Jutbina,
The shkjas slew Gjeto Basho Mujo,
Though a son has been born to him.”
“Thank you for the news, oh shepherd,
For I am Gjeto Basho Mujo.”
Mujo reached Jutbina’s Plain and
There were all his friends assembled,
To their feet did they fly, rising,
All did frolic with their coursers,
Only Arnaut refused to.
Mujo was infuriated,
From his courser did he jump down,
Mujo struck him with his sabre,
And his head to earth did tumble,
“When I died, did you speak evil!”

shqip / Albanian


[Sung by Dedë Zefi of Curraj i Epërm (District of Tropoja). Published in: Visaret e Kombit, vol. II. ed. Bernardin Palaj and Donat Kurti (Tirana 1937), p. 231-233; and Folklor shqiptar II, Epika legjendare (Cikli i kreshnikëve), Vellimi i parë. ed. Qemal Haxhihasani (Tirana 1966), p. 253-254. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck, and first published in English in Songs of the Frontier Warriors (Këngë Kreshnikësh): Albanian Epic Verse in a Bilingual English-Albanian Edition (Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2004).]