he magnificent
  treasury of Armenian oral traditions has been shaped over many centuries by the people and their interactions with nature and one another, with their environment and hard work, with their history and life spans, with the cosmos and God.

Today, this tradition is offered to us as a treasury of profound wisdom which, through the miraculous power of the spoken word, comes alive only when we start listening to the stories and retelling them...

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Listen to Gor

Gor told in Armenian Click above to listen to or download the audio of the story in Armenian

Artist Vachag putting the last touches on one of the Gor paintings
Artist Vachag putting the last touches on one of the paintings

For me. Gor represents the strength of the collective psyche of a nation against all odds.

In this instance, the legend of Gor is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Alidz

Read It in Armenian

Click on the book cover below to read or print the whole story of Gor in Armenian verse form

(May take a few seconds to download)

Gor story cover

 

Gor,

The God of Armenia’s Wheat Fields

Teller, Alidz Agbabian — Illustrator, Vachag

Gor, The God of Armenia’s Wheat Fields
F

ar, far away
but close to our hearts
in a village West of Lake Van
there lived a youth
whose name was Gor.

During the day
Gor ran around,
hopped about in the fields barefoot.
He climbed the trees,
touched the stones,
stroked the rocks,
minutely observed everything around him
near and far
high and low.
In the breeze
he smelled
even the faintest wafts of sent
from flowers and foliage.
And at night
Gor lay down
under the trees in the forest
and fell asleep.
His body
loved being close to the earth.

Gor’s hearing was very sharp.
He listened to the rustling of the trees
and the whispers of the breeze.
In the quiet of the day
He also heard the rustle
of the birds’ wings,
and the ticking of bugs.

The villagers loved Gor.
His face was the color of wheat,
his curly bangs were golden,
his eyes sparkling,
his soul full of intent,
his body
full of vigor.
Gor’s trident pitchfork,
his three-thronged long-handed fork,
with which he separated the wheat from the hay
was always on his shoulder.
Gor’s heart was so humble
he did not realize
he was the god of Armenia’s wheat fields.

Each year
in early spring
from nearby villages
from here and there
he would hear
the peasants singing their plowing songs

Horro…
Horro…
Horro…
Horro…

Gor, The God of Armenia’s Wheat Fields

And from all around
the mountains echoed

Horro…
Horro…
Horro…
Horro…

And When Gor heard the thundering

Horro…
Horro…
Horro…
Horro…

from the plowmen of his village his body was filled with joy!

The light of the day is with us…
Goodness is with us…

continued chanting the plowmen
soulfully,
faithfully,
as they plowed on.
And the mountains from all around
Echoed

Horro…
Horro…
Horro…
Horro…

The light of the day is with us…
Goodness is with us…

Gor knew
that his villagers
had harnessed their plows
and had started
digging , crumbling the soil,
opening furrows in the earth,
so they could plant
the kernels of wheat
which would sprout and grow,
hence all year long
the children and adults of the village
would have wheat
would have bread
and would not go hungry…

When the wheat grains had grown
Gor filled his lungs
with the fresh air of the mountains
and set out to protect the wheat
with all his vigor.
Barefoot,
he fought against the swarms of locusts.
During times of drought,
when it would not rain
for days on end,
months on end,
he found tiny sources of water,
filled up his palms
and watered the roots of the wheat plants.
And when
hailstones pounded the earth
Gor turned his back to the heavens.
The frozen pieces of hail
melted on his warm skin,
and glided down towards the plants.
That’s how Gor protected
each and every grain of wheat,
so that all year long
the children and adults of the village
would have wheat,
would have bread
and would not go hungry…

One day
the villagers heard
that a monster had appeared
on the high mountain near the village.
They feared
the monster would come down the mountain
and with a thousand-year hunger grinding his belly
would devour all their wheat.
The mountain was high,
the monster invisible,
yet every night
with a deep voice
resonating from his empty belly
the monster would call

I’m coming…
I’m coming…

The hearts
of all the villagers
young and old
would pound with horror.

One morning,
Gor,
with his trident in hand
set out to climb the high mountain;

I shall kill that monster…

he called.

I shall kill…
I shall kill…

echoed the mountains.

And your fields will overflow with wheat…
Wheat…
Wheat…

echoed the mountains

Forever…
Forever…
Forever…

cried Gor
then continued,

I will come back
in twenty-one days…

Gor climbed up
towards the peak of the high mountain
and soon disappeared from sight
into the fog of the summit.
The villagers who had
gathered around the mountain
could not see him any more.

The first day went by.
The villagers were waiting.
They could not sleep at night
yet they heard the monster still calling,

I am coming…
I am coming…

On the second day
The villagers could still hear

I am coming…
I am coming….

On the third day,
suddenly the voice of the monster was gnarled
then stifled.
Soon after
it could not be heard any more.
The voice of the monster had ceased to be
so the monster was no more,
thought the villagers.
They were relieved.
Joy had sprung in their hearts.
Now they would wait
for their beloved Gor’s return.

Gor, The God of Armenia’s Wheat Fields

One week had gone by; that is seven days.
Gor did not come back.
But remember?
He had said
he would return in twenty-one days.
Two weeks went by;
that is fourteen days.
The villagers were impatient.
Gor did not come back.

Three weeks had gone by
since Gor climbed the high mountain;
that is twenty-one days
yet Gor had not come back.

The villagers gathered at the foot of the high mountain.

Gor…
Gor…

they cried

Gor-gor…
Gor-gor…

echoed the mountains.

Gor…
Gor…
Where are you?

cried the villagers

Grgoor…
Grgoor…

responded the mountains.

Every day,
young and old,
the villagers
gathered at the foot of the high mountain.
They sang songs for Gor.
They created new songs for him.
Sang and danced circle dances
chanting

Khorod Gorani…
Khorod Gorani…

They adored Gor.
The joyful sounds of their songs and dances,
like incense,
ascended towards the top of the high mountain
and engulfed the summit.
The mountain now was their temple…

Finally
when the villagers,
young and old
realized that Gor
would stay on the high mountain;
so close
yet unattainable for them,
they decided
just like the echoes of the other mountains
to call the high mountain

Gor…
or Go-gor…
or Gurgoor…

T

housands of years have gone by
since that day.
The Armenian people have not forgotten Gor.
And the high mountain,

Gurgoor,

is still there,
far-far away
but close to our hearts,
near a village west of Lake Van.
On the twenty first day
of each month
Armenians remember Gor.
They sing the song
they dedicated to him

Khorod Gorani…

and dance their circle dances.
Now they understand
that Gor,
is going to be with them
neither for seven days
nor for fourteen or twenty-one,
but rather

Forever…

His eyes sparkling,
his soul full of intent,
his body
full of vigor;
that Gor
is forever the protector,
the god of Armenia’s fields of wheat.
So that
children and adults
have wheat,
have bread,
and will not go hungry
wherever they live
on the surface of planet earth.

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