A Decree Arrived from Istanbul

A Decree Arrived from Istanbul

A decree arrived from Istanbul,
An order from Travnik,
Right to the city of Sarajevo,
Delivered into the hands of Dizdar-aga:
To capture the two Morić brothers,
The two Morić brothers, the two young
Ibro Morić and Pašo Morić;
To capture them, to bind them,
To bind them, and to condemn them to
And furthermore the sultan was angered
by them,
Hearing complaints from Travnik,
From the vezir in Travnik:
that the Morić brothers were outlaws,
That they accepted the rule of neither the
Neither the sultan, nor the vezir,
Nor of any lord,
But only of themselves as lords,
And that they acted like lords, and did
as they pleased.
When Dizdar-aga saw,
What the order informed him,
He called for his soldiers,
To capture the two Morić brothers,
To capture them, to bind them,
To bind them, to lead them
Straight to the city, to the prison,
Where Dizdar quickly made plans:
Who entered the prison would not
emerge alive!
The two Morić brothers were captured,
They were captured and bound,
They were bound and led,
Just when their mother was making
pita. 1
In one hand was a rolling pin,
And in the other a gold jug.
News came to their aged mother
That the Morić brothers had been
And had been led to the prison.
When their aged mother heard this,
The poor woman threw everything
Into the courtyard, on the cobblestones:
She broke the rolling pin,
Dented the gold jug,
Then she rushed out of the courtyard,
Barefoot, with uncovered head,
She shrieked and pulled out her hair,
All of Hat-Square burst into tears. 2
Here she reached Sarači St. 3: 3

Shame on you, all of you
That you gave the two Morić brothers
Why did you not save one of them,
Or somehow plead for his life?
Who will console me?
Who will look after an old woman?!

She hissed like a snake,
And the leatherworkers burst into tears.
From there she went up Kovači, 4
She twisted her hands, and spoke:

Shame on you, all you ironworkers,
That you gave the two Morić brothers
Why did you not save one of them,
Or somehow plead for his life?
Who will console me?
Who will look after an old woman?
Woe is me, a poor mother!

Then the aged mother rushed again
Straight up the hill above Kovači,
Until she reached Dizdar-aga,
Who was leading both her sons,
Both of her sons, who were bound
With thick chains.
Alone the poor mother approached
Alone she approached them, and fell
before them,
She fell before them, and began to
Eloquently pleaded the aged mother:

Brother-in-God, Dizdar-aga,
Release one of my sons to me,
Release to me either Ibro,
Either Ibro, or Pašo!
Ask for something, for whatever
you want!
Either a feudal village, or slaves?
Or do you prefer pure gold?
Only give me one of my sons!
If you don’t release one of them,
By my faith, I curse you,
And by the fast of Ramadan,
I will swear by the sky, and by the
I will pray a mighty prayer.
There will never be peace
For either the sultan or the vezir,
While they rule over Bosnia,
Nor will things be good for you!

When Dizdar-aga heard this,
He said to the aged mother,

I will release both sons to you,
Both sons, and without any

The aged mother was deceived,
She was deceived, and returned
The fetters and chains rang,
The two Morić brothers were led
When they reached Jekovac, 5
Ibro Morić spoke:

By God, Dizdar-aga,
Stop the guards,
Free my white hands,
And give me a little tambura,
So that I can look out over
So that I can ease my mind!

When Dizdar-aga heard this,
He stopped the guards,
The nearby guards,
Freed his white hands,
Gave him a little tambura.
Just see Ibro Morić!
When he took hold of the little
He stretched the fine strings,
Then he began to pluck and to
Ibro Morić finely plucked,
He finely plucked, and loudly

O world, you are wide!
Sarajevo, you are beautiful to
look at!
Baščaršija, you are wealthy! 6
Ćemaluša, you are long! 7
Latinluk, you are flat! 8
Tališhan, you are wide! 9
Beautiful Mara, you are
Many times you brought me
And sheltered me from my
My hour has come, and I must

Ibro was again bound,
He was bound and they were
Ibro Morić and Pašo Morić,
And they were led into the city,
And imprisoned in the jail.
When it was dusk,
Dizdar-aga said:

Lead out the two Morić
And bring a silken cord!

The two Morić brothers were
led out,
A silken cord was brought,
Pašo Morić was strangled.
Ibro Morić watched all of this.
Dizdar-aga spoke:

By God, Ibro Morić,
Are you sad for your brother?

Ibro Morić spoke:

Yes, I’m sad for my brother,
And even sadder for our aged

The two Morić brothers were
Their bodies were thrown in
front of the gate,
And two cannons were fired.
When their aged mother heard
Their aged mother rushed out;
When she reached the gate,
There lay both sons,
Both sons, strangled:
On their legs were fetters,
On their arms were handcuffs,
Around their necks, a silken
When their aged mother saw
this –
Her heart burst from grief.

(Maglajlić, br. 2/1995: 151-156)
Maglajlić, Munib. Usmena balada bošnjaka. Sarajevo: Preporod, 1995, pp. 151-156.

Translated by Masha Belyavski-Frank
© 2012 Masha Belyavski-Frank


  1. Pita is one of several types of filled pastry, and one of the most common dishes of Bosnia. Savory pita is eaten for breakfast, for snacks, or for any meal of the day. Pita can be savory (filled with any one of a number of fillings, such as ground meat, cheese, spinach and cheese, or potatoes) or sweet (filled with cherries, apples, etc.). In the latter case, it is eaten as dessert.
  2. Hat-mejdan (‘Horse-Square’) is by the Miljacka River, near the center of Sarajevo.
  3. Sarači St. (‘Leatherworkers St.’) is one of the streets in the Baščaršija, the main marketplace.
  4. Kovači is the area in Sarajevo above the Baščaršija, below the Vratnik neighborhood.
  5. Jekovac is the area in Sarajevo above Kovači, on the road to the fortress.
  6. Baščaršija is the main marketplace in Sarajevo, with a number of streets, each devoted to a different craft.
  7. Ćemaluša is a street in the center of Sarajevo, where wealthy families lived.
  8. Latinluk, along the Miljacka River, is the area of town where Catholics from Dubrovnik lived.
  9. Tašlihan was the largest inn in the city of Sarajevo, made of stone, and located in the center of town.
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