Zong Belegt Baatar is a Mongol short heroic epic. "Short" in this case means under 500 lines (in chanted or sung oral poetry), and can be told in under 20 minutes. For epics, that is definitely short - but not any less epic.
(I read the English translation in this book.)
The epic is named after its hero: Baatar means "hero" in Mongolian, and Zong Belegt is the name. He has a body of iron, and for all intents and purposes he is a giant of a man, and the leader and protector of a prosperous land. We don't find out a lot about his personality, but we do learn from the epic that his silk gown has seventy-five buttons.
(That's a lot of buttons)
His wife is praised for her wisdom.
The epic itself tells the story of Zong Belegt Baatar's fight against a terrible giant. The description of the giant is definitely a noteworthy moment: He is described in great detail and with a lot of exaggeration - His toenails are iron hooks, his face has blue stripes and his tongue has brown, and he can cover an entire continent in the smoke from his pipe. I can imagine younger audiences getting a kick out of this description alone... The fight between the hero and the giant is similarly cosmic and landscape-altering.
I found the mention of the iron body intriguing. Those of you who have been following me know that I published a book on superpowers in traditional stories. In it I included a Hungarian folktale about a hero with a body of ice, and a villain with a body of iron. Sounds like it's a popular theme...
This concludes our epic adventure from A to Z! Thank you for sticking with me, I hope you enjoyed the ride. Come back for the Reflections post on Monday (May 4th) - I will tell you a little about some of the epics that didn't make the cut!
Also, check out my book, titled Tales of Superhuman Powers (available on Kindle, Nook and in print), for more epic stories ;)
Outside of A to Z, I write regularly on this blog about storytelling adventures, mythology and MythOffs, books related to folktales and fairy tales, and other story-related odds and ends :) Follow or visit back for updates!