This sounded like something out of a classical Chinese opera until I realized it was describing my forebears. Don’t worry, a dozen centuries of settled living, and I’ve been entirely pacified and partially civilized.

‘The Magyars, at the end of their journey from faraway pastures a thousand miles north-east of the Caspian, broke through the Carpathian passes in 895.  Although they had been some centuries on the way, it was a demon-king entrance – the flames and the thunder were accompanied by shouts from saddle to saddle in the Ugro-Finnish branch of the Ural-Altaic languages – and everything went down before it.’


Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books, 1977), p. 227

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