Kashchey the Immortal
Kashchey Babayev, also known as “the Immortal of Sumgait” was born in October 1896. For his family he would become the story of that feat. Success stories abound, but here is a story about a young man who despite his humble beginnings, was able to overcome adversity and live out his dreams, reaching incredible heights of success and acclaim.
Kashchey Babayev was born into abject poverty in 1896 in the city of Sumgait, which is now the capital of the Azerbaijan Republic. The name Kashchey means “well born”. His father was a cobbler, his mother a peasant woman who would mate with other peasant men, back dating them in the process. Kashchey may have felt this was not his mother’s doing, but it seems likely as his mother frequently cried out in pain and agony.
It is said that Kashchey’s mother would get Kashchey to study and later ask him to read what he wrote. Keen to please, Kashchey would spend hours reading her homework, only to later ask her to correct it. His early education was poor, but he was a confirmed reader, especially of Persian literature.
Kashchey was in the eighth grade when he began hearing a voice in his head telling him that he could see future events clearly. He ignored it completely until one night when he was out with his friends. They journeyed home in a horse-drawn carriage and Kashchey felt a strange sensation in the ankles of the horse. It was clear to him there was a snake in the horse. He bravely moved to grab it only to have his friends step in front of him and snatch the snake away. The friends then turned and looked at him with hatred. Kashchey, alarmed and unsure what was occurring, swam across a river and hid in the bushes for hours.
He took this as a sign of his future and he began to notice other strange things. He might hear a voice telling him to stop doing something, only to discover later that he had already achieved that.
Kashchey’s parents would one day receive a visit from an unknown, well-dressed individual. This person said that he was a prophet who was sent by God to give Kashchey his name. His name was to be “Kaschei”, or “the Immortal”.
Kashchey was taught to read at the age of 11 and by the time he was 14 he was excelling in his studies, receiving top grades. He passed his exams and in 1919 received official recognition on graduation. Due to the people that made up his teachers, Kashchey felt he loved them, but this feeling of affection was short-lived.
As a young man of 19, Kashchey was accepted by a renowned medical school in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. However, money was short and Kashchey was denied entry into the school. Worse, his father had died earlier that year and Kashchey was struggling financially. His only remaining friends were those who shared his plight of financial struggle.
Kashchey was dejected and looked forward to graduating and turning to his dream profession in medicine. However, fate intervened. His father’s partner was now needing financial assistance and Kashchey was to offer financial help. He borrowed the money from his father’s partner, but lost the money betting at the races. He had invested his father’s money in a losing horse, gambling away the money. He didn’t have the heart to tell his father about it, so he sold the shoes that his father had made and used the money he had left to buy a horse.
His luck changed when a man asked him if he was a gambler and asked if he bet on dogs. Kashchey agreed and the man explained that he knew a jockey who lost somewhere in the north, Kashchey was offered some money to be told where and when he lost. The jockey did so and Kashchey found the jockey. He gave him the money