Prince Berkant had begun to behave strangely, his sister Beyza thought. Every day he would saddle one of the stallions and ride out before dawn, returning long after dark with a wild look in his eyes.
At first she believed it was the looming responsibility of one day ascending the throne, but when she tried to speak to him about this he would give her a dreamy, faraway smile and refuse to speak.
She determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. One night she prepared her mare and in the dark of the stable waited for him to set out. She followed him many fersahs to a green valley surrounded by escarpments.
Berkant dismounted his lathered horse and set it grazing. Face alight with eagerness, he trotted up to a cave in the cliff.
Shocked, she watched him carelessly peel off his clothes and drop them as he climbed.
In an ancient Turkish legend that goes back to the time of Gilgamesh, the Shahmaran is a creature whose head is a beautiful woman and whose body is a snake. She lives in the land of the snakes under the earth and lures unsuspecting lovers into her cave of honey.