Mihayl Kiryakov was a detachment commander. His detachment, according to his son, consisted of 21 perons. In order not to be captured, and really there was such a danger, the detachment of Kiryakov hided and then intended to head for their base. However the commanders didn't believe this and all the detachment was sentenced to death. All the 21 persons. They were lined up and in front of the row was the punitive platoon that was to carry out the death sentence. Each one was asked: “Your last words.” The answers were different: “Long live Bulgaria”, “Tell farewell to my wife and children from me. Tell them I love them.”, “Tell to my mother that I am not a traitor.”, “I am Bulgarian-never have I been a traitor!”. The soldiers raised their rifles, the shots echoed and 17 people fell down in the ditch. The 18th was Mihail Kiryakov. “What are your last words?”, “Bring me a bagpipe. I want to play my favorite song.” The lieutenant responsible for the execution sent a boy to the nearby village to find a bagpipe. The boy run. He had never run, asked , searched before for such a thing. Finally he was given one bagpipe in not very good condition.
Kiryakov got the bagpipe, filled the bag with air and his fingers started playing on the chanter. He played the song “Oh, my mother, the Sivkovska's dense forest is dear and beloved to me ”. A miracle happened with the soldiers and the other people present at the execution. The song awake their feelings, it exited their souls, brought tears to their eyes... The song floated like a message of magnificence, of the man's striving to live among beauty, of man's desire to unify with art which is eternal and immortal. The song changed people and they started whispering and then whispers grew into shouts “Mercy! Mercy!”
The lieutenant had also mercy on them. How could he possibly shoot against the song that conquered the hearts , which calls for life, because it came from life, because it was created by the heart. He ordered that the rifles got withdrawn and cleaned.
The song of the Rhodope man saved 4 lives... Some people asked themselves “Why wasn't Kiryakov among the first ones, so that more people can be saved?”
As a child Mihail Kiryakov was a shepherd. Then he started playing. No wedding was performed without his bagpipe. In 1924 he came in the town of Devin. He worked as forest-guard in Devin as well as in the village of Trigrad. He worked also as a carpenter.
He was eloquent, he had the abilty to gather people around him. Even Metropolitan Stefan invited him because of his master playing.
He took part in the “100 kaba gaidi” ensemble. The playing of the bagpiper which was about to fade away was taken up by his grandson Angel Kiryakov.
“My father told me once, that actually he is the author of the song that saved his life. He loved one girl from the Sivkovki 's family in Chepelare, but she didn't take him and so out of sorrow he created this song. Often when we insisted that he play “Oh, my mother, the Sivkovski 's dense forest...”, he became sad”.
What unsuspected power hides the song- it acquits those who are sentenced to death and bring them back to life. The power of the song- to acquit, to resurrect, to abolish the injustice, to protect truth, life from which it is actually born...
author: Georgi Hristov
“Rodopski vesti” 13 September 1993
translated from Bulgarian: Kostadin Gerdzhikov