Tag Archives: men and women

Cold magnificence

I just saw a movie in which there was no false morality. It was “Mongol” about the genesis of the great warrior and conqueror Genghis Khan (1162-1227). In this story, his wife is stolen and when he finds her again, she is big with another man’s child. Genghis or Tumujin, as he was named before he became the great khan, puts his hand on her belly and says to a friend who has helped him make war on the tribe that has stolen her, “This is my son.” Accepting that she has survived, but only as another man’s bedmate.

When he is sold into slavery, he manages to get a message to her that he is alive, but to make her way to where he is, she has to beg admittance to a caravan. The caravan leader looks at her and says, “How will you pay?” And she replies, “You know how I will pay.”

The imprisoned Tumujin is set free by a veiled woman covered in tinkling silver jewelry, his wife. When she frees him, there is no question from him about “Where did you get that jewelry?” or “What did you do to earn it?” Or about the daughter with her, not his.

They are often separated by the harshest of circumstances, and each must survive, and does. And when they are reunited by a coolly punishing Fate who extracts her due, there is no false honor, no question of how or why the other lived, just a steadfast gratitude that the beloved is there. It’s as free and vast and wide and somber and coldly magnificent as the Mongolian steppes.