The Legend of Emese’s Dream

Over many years and many generations, the descendants of the two brothers, Hunor and Magyar, grew into separate nations. The Huns became a famous people best known for their conquests under their king, Attila. The Magyars continued to grow in number on the great Asian steppes and years after Attila’s death began to make plans to settle in one of the areas conquered by Attila. They had heard that it was rich in soil, pastures, streams and rivers- a perfect place for a people who lived by hunting and raising animals. So the Magyars began to make their preparations to move westward. Everyone was excited and busy, only Elöd, the chief of the Magyars was sad. Elöd was the strongest, wisest, best of the Magyars, but he and his wife, Emese, had no children. This weighed heavily on them both, and Emese prayed daily that she would be granted a boy child to lead the Magyars toward their new homeland.

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One evening, while Emese was asleep in their yurt (a round shaped portable tent used by the nomadic peoples of the Asian steppe), she had a dream. As she slept she dreamed that she saw Attila, the Hun warrior king and a powerful man that was her son, riding together on a horse, followed by a troop of Hun warriors. Attila held in his hand a battle flag, with the image of a “turul” bird (an ancient mythical bird of prey symbolizing the Magyar nation) on the flag. Emese watched in her dream as the turul flapped its wings and descended into her lap, laid its head on her breast and rested. Her dream became even more wondrous as she watched water pour forth from her breast and form rivulets, then streams, and finally rivers, the water flowing away from where she was sleeping, westward through fields and woods, into a beautiful land.

This was truly a marvelous dream! Elöd called on the shamans to interpret his wife’s dream. The wisest shaman said to the chief and his wife: “This dream will bring great joy for the Magyar people, because your prayer has been granted. You will have a son who will lead us to our new land, the land that Attila had conquered once.”  The prophecy of the shaman came true, and Emese bore a son and she named him Álmos (which reminded the ancient Magyars that his birth was foretold through a dream).

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Álmos grew to be strong and wise and his brilliant personality convinced even the timid to join him in the move toward the new homeland.  The ground began to tremble and the trees bent as thousands of Magyars began their journey toward the west, toward the land that Attila had conquered. They traveled over fields, through forests, over rivers, and into unchartered territory in their quest for their new home.

 

(The translation is loosely based on the Hungarian version found in Magyar Multunk, published in Buenos Aires, 1952.)

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