The Man-Eater | by Murad Jailiov & N.K. Valek

     Evening light shines down on a shepherd who guides his flock to a nearby village. Passing by the graveyard, he sees a strange being with big horns and long claws digging up a grave under the darkening sky.

     Surprised, the shepherd notices that The Strange One has destroyed the grave and taken out the body, leaning it over the headstone. It bites into the dead man’s heel and blood pours from the newly opened flesh. The Strange One backs away from the blood suddenly. The dead man is not dead. The Strange One ducks its head, preparing to charge forward to ram the man and kill him. The Strange One is The Man-Eater.

     The shepherd quickly moves the body from the headstone and puts his scythe[1] in its place. The Man-Eater rushes to ram into the scythe with its horns, but the scythe’s blade impales it in the throat. The Man-Eater falls to the ground, dead.

     The man that was dug up from the grave moans and wakes up at that moment.

     The shepherd asks the man, “What has happened that you were in this grave alive? Do you know what you’re doing here?”

     “I was asleep, but my heel hurt and I woke up. I don’t know why I’m here,” the man answers.

     The shepherd runs to the village to find the man’s relatives and tell them the tale.

     Everyone hurries to see what they heard with their own eyes. When they reach the site, they see the Man-Eater has long claws, large horns, and hair all over it like an animal. Swiftly, they burn the Man-Eater’s body, lest it rise again.

     The buried man is still alive to this day, limping from the bite in his heel.

 

Original Fairytale (‘Adamcil’) in Azerbaijani:

     Bir çoban axşam vaxdı sürünü gətirirmiş kəndə. Qəbrisdannıxdan keçəndə görür ki, bir əcayib adam qəbri eşəliyir. Bı əcayibin iri bıynızdarı, uzun caynaxları varıydı.

     Çoban mısır. Görür ki, bı əcayib qəbri söhdü, ölünü çıxartdı, söykədi baş daşına. Sora ölünün dabanınnan dişdədi, başdadı ordan qan axmağa. Əcayib qanı görən kimi xeyləh dala çəkilir. Çoban bilir ki, bı ölü əslində ölmüyüp, bını ölü sayıp basdırıplar. Bı əcayib də görüp ki, bı ölmüyüp, dala çəkilir ki, gəlip bıynızlarıynan vırıp onu öldürsün. Bı əcayib də Adamcıldı.

     Çoban tez ölünü çəkip salıp yerə, kərəntini götürüp qoyup onun yerinə. Adamcıl qaça-qaça gəlip bıynız vıranda kərənti keçip bının xirtdəyinə, ölüp sərələnip yerə.

     Bı dəmdə ölü zarıldıyıp ayılıp. Çoban soruşub ki, bə bı nə haqhesabdı? O da deyip ki, yatmışdım, dabanım ağrıdı, durdum. Çoban kəndə qaçıp kişinin qahımlarına deyir. Hamı tökülüp gəlir. Görüllər ki, Adamcılın uzun caynaxları, iri buynuzları var, bədəni də heyvan kimi tühlüdü. Bını yandırıllar. Basdırılan kişi indi də yaşayır, əmbə bir dabanın yerə basammır, axsıyır.

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 [1] Or sickle

 

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Murad Jalilov has recently graduated with BAs in English and Political Science at Emporia State University and is a graduate student in the MA program in Russian and Eastern European Studies at University of Oregon. He has poems published in Quivira and got his translations accepted for publications in ‘Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation’ and ‘Origins Journal’. He is fluent in Russian, Azerbaijani, English and Turkish. 
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N. K. Valek (co-author), is an aspiring novelist and poet pursuing a Major in English and minors in Creative Writing, Anthropology, Music, and Philosophy at Emporia State University. She also worked as an editor of the Flint Hill’s Review 2016 edition and is a former Writing Partner from Emporia State University’s Writing Center.

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