BEASTS, MEN AND GODS

 The Yenisei is one of the longest rivers in Asia, deep and magnificent, especially through the middle of its course where it is flanked and held by towering ranges. The huge stream had brought down whole miles of ice fields breaking them up on the rapids and on isolated rocks, twisting them with angry swirls, throwing up sections of the black winter roads, carrying down the yurtas built for the use of passing caravans which in the winter always travel on the frozen river. From time to time the stream stopped in its flow, the roar began and the great fields of ice were squeezed and piled upward, sometimes as high as thirty feet, damming up the water behind, so that it rapidly rose and ran out over the low places, casting on the shore great masses of ice. Then the power of the reinforced waters conquered the towering dam of ice and carried it downward with a sound like breaking glass... Huge blocks of ice jammed and jostled until some were thrown clear into the air, crashing against others already there, orwere hurled against the curving cliffs and banks, tearing out boulders, earth and trees high up the sides... One incredible feat I saw the giant perform, when a block many feet thick and many yards square was hurled through the air and dropped to crush saplings and small trees more than a half hundred feet from the bank.

This wonderful land, rich in the most diverse forms of natural wealth, is inhabited by a branch of the Mongols, which is now only sixty thousand and which is gradually dying off, speaking a language quite different from any other dialects of this folk and holding as their life ideal the tenet of "Eternal Peace"... The inhabitants of Urianhai are the eternal enemies of war and the shedding of blood. Away back in the thirteenth century they preferred to move out from their native land and take refuge in the north rather than fight or become part of the empire of the bloody conqueror Genghis Khan, who wanted to add to his forces these wonderful horsemen and skilled archers. With their love of peace they struggled against the evils of war. Even the severe Chinese administrators could not apply here in this country of peace the full measure of their implacable laws. In the same manner, the Soyots, conducted themselves when the Russian people mad with blood and crime, brought this infection into their land. They aoided persistently meetings and encounters with the Red troops and Partisans, trekking off with their families and cattle southward into the distant principalties of Kemchik and Soldjak. The eastern branch of this stream of emigration passed through the valley of the Buret Hei, where we constantly outstrode groups of them with their cattle and herds... 

FROM: FERDINAND OSSENDOWSKI "BEASTS, MEN AND GODS", EDWARD ARNOLD & CO. LONDON 1922. OSSENDOWSKI WAS A POLISH OFFICER AND DOCTOR CAUGHT UP IN THE 1918 CIVIL WAR WHO ESCAPING THROUGH THE REGION SURVIVED TO WRITE ONE OF THE FIRST ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACCOUNTS OF THE URIANGHAI - NOW CALLED TUVA.



Yat-Kha "Storm Over Asia" - The film - Beasts, Men and Gods - Press