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Two-Headed Serpent from Kazakh Folktales

May 1, 2008, 8:00 PM 0
Contrary to what some extreme left-wing liberals from western universities promulgate, Marxism and communism destroyed Kazakh families (as well as other families in the former Soviet Union). The following Kazakh folktale is recited from Mukhamet Shayakhmetov’s mother in his book “The Silent Steppe.”

p. 260 ‘Remember the old folk-tale about the two-headed serpent that conquered a kingdom and forced the people to provide it with a goat and young girl every month by way of a tax? It threatened to kill off everyone if they didn’t say yes, so the people agreed to pay. The families would take it in turns to deliver the victims to the serpent; it would gobble them up straightaway and then sleep peacefully for the rest of the month. But as soon as it woke up, it would demand more food. There was another bit in the story about how the parents used to suffer the night before they had to give their daughter up to be sacrificed.”

The next quote shows the destruction of the family structure according to Kazakh traditions during the era of communism. (I make no apologies about being anti-communism, anti-socialism and anti-Marxism) I am very thankful to Mukhamet Shayakhmetov’s writings to point out what he experienced under the two-headed serpent.

p. 170 Apart from consistently not having enough to eat, what drove my uncle to despair was the way Communism had undermined the foundations of family life. He did not have any children of his own, but he had adopted his brother’s young daughter and his elder sister’s son. It was a common practice among Kazakhs to adopt a relative’s child, even though the biological parents might still be alive, in order to reduce the strain on a family which already had a lot of mouths to feed: the parents for their part took an oath that they were giving their children up voluntarily, and would never demand them back or consider them as their own. This was strictly observed even after the adopted parents’ deaths – although the biological parents might take their children back, the children retained their adopted parents’ surname and continued to be regarded as their offspring. It was not just that people were afraid of breaking an oath they had made before God: their principles also forbade them from doing so.

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