Zadalesky Nana* – The Savior
In the XIII- XIVth centuries, the unlimited freedom of Alans, they worshiped so much, turned into a big tragedy. In 1395 the lame Timur (Tamerlan) moved his numerous hordes to attack Alania. The people, following the ancient traditions of their mighty ancestors, preferred to die instead of becoming slaves. As we know, the chief of tartars mercilessly avenged the insurgent nations upon their rebelliousness. He committed Alans to “Flame of Dzhihad”, wiping out almost the whole population of Alania.
Forty years later, the medieval historian Joseph Barbaro sadly noted that traveling across Northern Caucasus he had not seen any native people on the plain part of Alania. This one time beautiful country became a desert, covered with numerous burial mounds. The miserable remains of Alans found a shelter in inaccessible highland gorges, where heavy cavalry of Timur could not reach them. They had been living there for the following 4-5 centuries, thoroughly saving the unique Alanian –Ossetian culture and language.
Since Ossetians did not have their own literature at the time, they saved the memory of those events through folk songs, legends, and ballads. One of the best-known and outstanding ballads is “The song about Zadalesky Nana”, which tells us about “the steel mug wolfs of Akhsak-Timur”.
At the same time this ballad is a cry for the destruction of the whole nation and the hymn for the Old Lady. - Zadalesky Nana (Nana from Zadalesk), The Savior. She gathered the orphan children and crossing the mountain ridges, she hid them in the highland gorge Morga. She fed them with plants and berries warming them up with her love and sincere affection. When the children grew up they fond new villages and gave birth to new life in Ossetian ravines.
We will probably never know who Nana from Zadalesk was and what her real name was. The old people in Zadalesk remember that there was a crypt with remains of an unknown lady. They probably belonged to the folk lady-hero – Zadalesky Nana.
They say, becoming the saint for Ossetian people, she still patronizes them. The population of the Digorian district widely celebrates the Day of Zadalesky Nana every year.
In the Ossetian mind, Nana became a symbol of kindness and love for the people. Whether celebrating any event or just dining they never forget to prey to her, ** asking her to protect their children and their future.
*Nana – grandmother, old lady (Osset.)
** According to the old Ossetian traditions, they strongly obey, at any party the toasts are the prayers as well pronounced by the master of the party sitting at the beginning of the long table: to God, to St.George, to other saints, to the elders, to the young generation, to peace, to memory of those who died protecting the Homeland etc.
http://www.byloe.15rus.ru/zadaleskynana.htm (in Russian)
Zadaleski Nana's ballad. MP3 format.