Pharsma

Pharsmistaoba - the legend of the Pharsma Tower

There is a the legend relating to the Pharsma Tower which tells a story of the heroism of a Pharsma woman named Tino and her daughter Kakho. Murtaza Khan, an ally of Imam Shamil, did not pay attention to the words of the Tushs, who had told him he would not defeat the Pharsma people. He gathered a huge army, brought a cannon along and set off to punish the Tushs for their alliance with the Russians. The first tower on his road was the one in Pharsma. Murtaza apparently could not conquer it and thus decided to blast it away. He ordered his soldiers to bring a kettle for distilling chacha and they threw a pinch of gunpowder in it. Having filled up the kettle the enemies began to pull it towards the foundations of the tower. However, Tino, who was hiding with her daughter Kakho in the tower, soaked her scarf in oil, set it on fire, and threw it in the kettle. The kettle blew up killing all the soldiers around. Tino, grasping a sword, jumped down the tower and thrust herself into the rows of enemies. She was followed by her raging fellow men and soon backed by people from other villages and Community. The access points to Pharsma saw an unprecedented battle and Murtaza was forced to retreat. On his way to Tusheti in Kachu Pass, he had ordered his men to throw a stone each in a chosen place to form a heap. On his way back he ordered the remaining men to take a stone each from the heap, which nearly remained untouched as most of his men had been killed by the Tushs. The cannon they seized was at display in the village of Chesho until the 30's of the 20th century when scientists transported it to the museum in Telavi. This event gave birth to a new term in the Tusheti dialect - "pharsmistaoba". i.e. merciless slaughter.

(Based on Giorgi Tsotsanidze: Ot listopada do listopada. Kavkasiuri sachli (Caucasian House), Tbilisi, 2008, pp. 11-12).