The present article deals with two legitimising elements to be found in the Turkic epic cycle Edige. According to oral tradition Edige’s genealogy goes back to Angšïbay who married a heavenly swan girl thus laying foundation to the Manghit clan. But in the same oral tradition Edige’s forefather is identified with a Muslim saint (
) called Baba Tükles. The article tries to analyse the process of linking the Muslim tradition of Baba Tükles, who in written sources appears as the Islamiser of the Golden Horde, to a pre-Islamic tradition about the superiority of a clan originating form a heavenly swan girl. Similarly to folklore and oral tradition, modern religious traditions also display the elements of Islamised folk belief and Central Asian Muslim (e.g. Sufi) traditions, where worshiping ancestor spirits is often intermingled with the respect for Muslim saints who were Islamisers or Sufi practitioners. Some historical and ethnographical data are presented to elucidate the parallel processes that took place in folklore and religious traditions.
Apart from the Edige epic, the story of Čora Batir is the best-known and most popular Nogay epic of Kipchak origin. Since the first publication of a version by the Russian Turcologist, I. Berezin (1862), a large number of variants, among them Nogay, Crimean and Dobrudjan Tatar, Kazak, Karakalpak, Kazan Tatar, Bashkir and Karachay-Balkar versions, have cropped up and been brought to light. An early variant of the epic was recorded by the Hungarian Turcologist, Ignác Kúnos, but it has remained in manuscript. He collected his material from Crimean Tatar informants in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp near Esztergom (Hungary) in 1915. The present work, published for the first time in print, contains the original Crimean Tatar text and its translation, supplied with an introductory study and annotations. The main value of the epic variant recorded by Kúnos lies in that its content and plot show close relationship with the earliest recorded Nogay texts.