The Free Women
To speak of the wagons, we must first understand and know the bosk that pull them. Bosk are honored animals, more then
slaves even, here are a few choice quotes.
The wagon of Kutaituchik, called Ubar of the Tuchuks, was drawn up on a large, flat-topped grassy hill, the highest land in
the camp. Beside the wagon, on a great pole fixed in the earth, stood the Tuchuk standard of the four bosk horns. The
hundred, rather than eight, bosk that drew his wagon had been unyoked; they were huge, red bosk; their horns had been
polished and their coats glistened from the comb and oils; their golden nose rings were set with jewels; necklaces of
precious stones hung from the polished horns. Nomads of Gor, pages 41-42
I noted that the bosk seemed well cared for, and that their coats were groomed, and the horns and hoofs polished.
Wearily I gave the kaiila to one of the guards and mounted the steps of the wagon. Nomads of Gor, page 278
So here we have ornately decorated bosk and commander's bosk. Every bosk of
pulled wagons would at the very least be combed with their hooves and horns
polished. So grooming bosk is at the top of any slave's list.
What do they look like and how are they made?
The wagons of the Wagon Peoples are, in their hundreds and thousands, in their brilliant, variegated colors, a glorious sight. Surprisingly the wagons are
almost square, each the size of a large room. Which is drawn by a double team of bosk, four in a team, with each team linked to its wagon tongue, the
tongues being joined by tem-wood crossbars. The two axles of the wagon are also of tem-wood, which perhaps, because of its flexibility, joined with the
general flatness of the southern Gorean plains, permits the width of the wagon.
The wagon box, which stands almost six feet from the ground, is formed of black, lacquered planks of tem-wood. Inside the wagon box, which is square,
there is fixed a rounded, tentlike frame, covered with the taut, painted, varnished hides of bosks. These hides are richly colored, and often worked with
fantastic designs, each wagon competing with its neighbor to be the boldest and most exciting. The rounded frame is fixed somewhat within the square of
the wagon box, so that a walkway, almost like a ship's bridge, surrounds the frame. The sides of the wagon box, incidentally, are, here and there,
perforated for arrow ports, for the small horn bow of the Wagon Peoples can be used to advantage not only from the back of a kaiila but, like the crossbow,
from such cramped quarters. One of the most striking features of these wagons is the wheels, which are huge, the back wheels having a diameter of about
ten feet; the front wheels are, like those of the Conestoga wagon, slightly smaller, in this case, about eight feet in diameter; the larger rear wheels are more
difficult to mire; the smaller front wheels, nearer the pulling power of the bosk, permit a somewhat easier turning of the wagon. These wheels are carved
wood and, like the wagon hides, are richly painted. Thick strips of boskhide form the wheel rims, which are replaced three to four times a year. The wagon
is guided by a series of eight straps, two each for the four lead animals. Nomads of Gor, pages 30-31
Most wagons are one vast room, the wagons do not have separations, there is a flow to the room, the sleeping furs being the sitting area during the day.
The bosk would be larger then the yaks in this picture, there are some 25 kind of bosk, some must be smaller, some with longer
hair, different shades and colors, different type of horns.
Were we to replace to pot belly stove with a copper fire bow in the image of the interior of a yurt, we would have something pretty
authentic, though there might be lots more rugs and furs. A leather dress on a woman. mmmms, I bet she wishes there were slaves
A Ubar's wagon
The wagon of Kutaituchik, called Ubar of the Tuchuks, was drawn up on a large, flat-topped grassy hill, the highest land in the camp. Beside the
wagon, on a great pole fixed in the earth, stood the Tuchuk standard of the four bosk horns. The hundred, rather than eight, bosk that drew his
wagon had been unyoked; they were huge, red bosk; their horns had been polished and their coats glistened from the comb and oils; their
golden nose rings were set with jewels; necklaces of precious stones hung from the polished horns. The wagon itself was the largest in the
camp, and the largest wagon I had conceived possible; actually it was a vast platform, set on numerous wheeled frames; though at the edges of the
platform, on each side, there were a dozen of the large wheels such as are found on the much smaller wagons; these latter wheels turned as the
wagon moved and supported weight, but could not of themselves have supported the entire weight of that fantastic, wheeled palace of hide. The hides
that formed the dome were of a thousand colors, and the smoke hole at the top must have stood more than a hundred feet from the flooring of that
vast platform. I could well conjecture the riches, the loot and the furnishing that would dazzle the interior of such a magnificent dwelling. But I did not
enter the wagon, for Kutaituchik held his court outside the wagon, in the open air, on the flat-topped grassy hill. A large dais had been built, vast and
spreading, but standing no more than a foot from the earth. This dais was covered with dozens of thick rugs, sometimes four and five deep. Nomads
of Gor, pages 41-42.
At the edge of the dais Kamchak and I had stopped, where our sandals were removed and our feet washed by Turian slaves, men in the Kes, who
might once have been officers of the city. We mounted the dais and approached the seemingly somnolent figure seated upon it.
Although the dais was resplendent, and the rugs upon it even more resplendent, I saw that beneath Kutaituchik, over these rugs, had been spread a
simple, worn, tattered robe of gray boskhide. It was upon this simple robe that he sat. It was undoubtedly that of which Kamchak had spoken, the robe
upon which sits the Ubar of the Tuchuks, that simple robe which is his throne. Kutaituchik lifted his head and regarded us; his eyes seemed sleepy; he
was bald, save for a black knot of hair that emerged from the back of his shaven skull; he was a broad-backed man, with small legs; his eyes bore the
epicanthic fold; his skin was a tinged, yellowish brown; though he was stripped to the waist, there was about his shoulders a rich, ornamented robe of
the red bosk, bordered with jewels; about his neck, on a chain decorated with sleen teeth, there hung a golden medallion, bearing the sign of the four
bosk horns; he wore furred boots, wide leather trousers, and a red sash, in which was thrust a quiva. Beside him, coiled, perhaps as a symbol of
power, lay a bosk whip. Nomads of Gor, pages 42-43.
In short time Kamchak and I had reached our wagon. Aphris had had the good sense to hitch up the bosk. Kamchak kicked out the fire(cooking
fire) at the side of the wagon. Nomads of Gor, page 176
Tuchuk women, unveiled, in their long leather dresses, long hair bound in braids, tended cooking pots hung on tem-wood tripods over dung fires.
Nomads of Gor, page 27
Normally, however, the wagons are tied in tandem fashion, in numerous long columns, and only the lead wagons are guided, the others simply
following, thongs running from the rear of one wagon to the nose rings of the bosk following, sometimes as much as thirty yards behind, with the
next wagon; also, too, a wagon is often guided by a woman or boy who walks beside the lead animals with a sharp stick. Nomads of Gor, pages
Soon the animals would be turned in on themselves, to mill together in knots, until they were stopped by the shaggy walls of their own kind, to stand
and graze until the morning. The wagons would, of course, follow the herds. The herd forms both vanguard and rampart for the advance of the
wagons. The wagons are said to be countless, the animals without number. Both of these claims are, of course, mistaken, and the Ubars of the
Wagon Peoples know well each wagon and the number of branded beasts in the various herds; each herd is, incidentally, composed of several
smaller herds, each watched over by its own riders. Nomads of Gor, page 21.
In the wagon ahead, briefly illuminated, I saw, swinging from its strap, slung over a hook on the rear axle housing, a narrow, cylindrical, capped
'grease bucket,' the handle of the brush protruding through the hole in the cap. Such accessories are common on Gorean wagons. The 'grease' in
such a container is generally not a mineral grease but a mixture of tar and tallow. Applied with the brush it is used, as would be mineral grease, were it
more commonly available, to lubricate the moving parts of the wagon, in particular the axles, and where the rare wagon has them, metal springs,
usually of the leaf variety." Renegades of Gor, page 19
The interiors of the wagons, lashed shut,(no doors) protected from the dust of the march, are often rich, marvelously carpeted and hung, filled with
chests and silks, and booty from looted caravans, lit by hanging tharlarion oil lamps, the golden light of which falls on the silken cushions, the
ankle-deep, intricately wrought carpets. In the center of the wagon there is a small, shallow fire bowl, (important!) formed of copper, with a raised
brass grating. Some cooking (not a lot. just some) is done here, though the bowl is largely to furnish heat. The smoke escapes by a smoke hole at
the dome of the tentlike frame, a hole which is shut when the wagons move. Nomads of Gor, pages 30-31.