“Have you ever seen such a horseman?”
Yanjmaa had not. Certainly she had seen great riders, even a Mongol cavalryman famous for throwing a dagger and skewering a running rabbit as he galloped past, reigning in and bending in the saddle to retrieve both weapon and quarry in one quick motion.
But she had never seen a a rider sprout from the horse like a tree from the plain, man and horse become a single being of boundless grace and power.
Yanjmaa had never seen this horseman.
“Here he comes,” her friend said.
Indeed the rider was coming straight at them, the new sun glinting off his sword and buckles.
As he got closer Yanima was struck by his handsome young face, its smooth beardlessness belying the broad muscular shoulders of a hardened man.
He drew up and dismounted with the grace of an eagle taking flight.
Yanjmaa felt her insides grow warm.
Damdiny Sükhbaatar (literally meaning “Axe Hero” in the Mongolian language) was the leader of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, a major force in the founding of the communist Mongolian People’s Republic. A stellar horseman and brilliant tactician, he fought for Mongolian independence before dying in 1922 under mysterious circumstances. He was only 30.
His widow Yanjmaa went on to serve in a number of senior positions in the Mongolian government, including acting president.
The Sükhbaatar province is named for him.