Once upon a time in the middle of the seventeenth century, there lived a prince called Abul Gazi. As a youth he fell madly in love with a beautiful girl called Anusha who, not long afterwards, became sick and died. Kneeling by Anusha's bedside, the grief-stricken prince swore that he would never forget her and vowed to name his first daughter after her.
The years went by and Abul Gazi became Khan of Khiva. Despite his power, wealth and large harem, he was no closer to fulfilling his vow to Anusha since his wives and concubines continually bore him son after son. Finally the impatient Khan gathered his harem together and expressed his displeasure at being denied a daughter. He decreed that the next woman to bear him a son would be put to death along with her baby. One of his wives was particularly distressed at this news as she was expecting a baby soon. She was even more upset a few weeks later after giving birth to yet another son. There was only one way she could save her son-s life as well as her own - the newborn was hastily wrapped in swaddling clothes and presented to the Khan as his first daughter, Anusha.
Anusha became the Khan's favourite child despite the later arrival of more daughters. He was always able to bring a smile to the Khan's face although the Khan was often irritable with Anusha's mother, whose nervous gaze would flit from Anusha to the Khan and back again. The years went by and Anusha had everything a princess could ask for. The Khan often joked that his daughter had more courage and sense than all his sons put together; who'd have thought it in a girl?! Despite the envy of his older brothers (who could never do anything right) and a life of luxury, Anusha could never really enjoy life burdened down with the heavy secret of his real identity. What would happen if the Khan was ever to discover the truth and the years of deceit? How long could he keep his secret?
When the Khan announced that he would soon begin to search for a suitable match for Princess Anusha, he was surprised to see his usually carefree and courageous daughter close to tears and blushing furiously. However marital plans were laid aside with the news that the Emir of Bukhara was once more fomenting war with the Khanate of Khiva. It was the year 1657 and Khan Abul Gazi collected his sons and army and prepared to march to Kermineh and do battle.
All was quiet in Khiva once the Khan's magnificent army had left. However, a few days later an exhausted messenger on horseback arrived with terrible news. The infamous marauding bands of Turkoman slave traders had heard rumours that Khiva had been left unprotected and had prepared their largest raiding party yet. When this news was relayed to the harem there was hysteria. However, Anusha kept his head and boldly strode out of the harem, calling for the palace guard. The situation seemed grim with only the general civilian population, palace servants and a few older reserve guards. However, as they discussed their options, Anusha had a plan.
He ordered that all the horses in the city be rounded up and mounted by the remaining adults of the city. Together they marched out and stood in formation around the city walls waiting for their attackers to show up. The weary Turkoman raiding party finally arrived at the edge of the oasis, spurred on by the distant vision of Khiva gleaming in the morning light. However, next to the city walls were the silhouettes of what looked like a mighty army. How had the Khan discovered their plan? How had he managed to return with his army so quickly? The dejected raiding band turned round and began the long homeward march through the desert, bickering all the way. Anusha's army let out a loud cheer - they'd done it! Anusha's plan had saved Khiva.
When the Khan returned with his army and found out how Anusha had averted disaster he threw a banquet in his daughter's honour. The Khan, casting a withering look at his sons, declared that Anusha had shown herself a true heroine, full of courage and valour and would be given anything her heart desired. Stepping forward and kneeling before his father, Anusha asked quietly for one thing - his life. The Khan looked confused as Anusha stepped forward and began whispering in his ear. The guests and servants watched as the Khan's eyes widened and they began to speculate wildly as he took Anusha by the wrist and led him off to a private room. Once able to see for himself that Anusha had indeed told him the truth, the Khan regained his composure and returned with Anusha to a hushed and expectant audience. Putting his arm around Anusha, the Khan declared to all that he had granted Anusha and his mother, who was being resuscitated by her maids their lives. He then went on to present his guests with his son and heir - Anusha Khan.
Not only did Khan Abul Gazi grant his son Anusha his life, he also gave him the city of Hazerasp and hundreds of servants. As a special gift to his son he had a homom commissioned which was called the Anusha Khan Homom which still stands today. Anusha went on to succeed his father as Khan and became one of the best Khans Khiva has ever seen.