The road stretched along the Arkalyk Mountain. It was barren dejected and naked. Arkalyk stuck out giving the tired caravanners a hope. The road was followed by a slim mountain crest for ten wide berths. The attempts to seek a shelter here were all in vain. Solemn Arkalyk provided a shelter neither from Northern nor Southern winds. The snow bank, round as an egg, covered the mountain in winter. Hails were severe and from time to time the Jute – white thunder of the stock, black grief of the people - came.
In aul, the hamlet, near Arkalyk the beggarhood and the tatterdemalion settled raving about the God. They settled not far from their ancestors; nor did they have other place to live. Their only solace was that the soil in the mountain foot was generous and people ploughed and sowed and fed upon that. In drag-out drifts, in perilous prairie wet spell those people gave the refuge and sleep to the wanderers from the big road.
The only peak on Arkalyk was named Kushikpay, the Father of all locals. The legend said he was a Batyr. Close to the road the ancient sepulcher could be seen – the low barrow made of the untooled stone. That was the Kushikpay’s grave. Whoever rode here would get to know what an amazing person he was and what a life he lived.
Kushikpay remembrance was zealously preserved by the feeble, the starving and the ailing old who were the living ancient record of the prairie.
They made no attempts to embellish the heart of Kushikpay with words. All they did is watch that the heart’s beaten. The others embellished on their words. If the lord’s sheep were unscathed returned from the deserted windy plain and you hammered all day to rest by the fire place; and if you were a guest, stroking the lord’s fancy; if you didn’t honk off the lord bringing him scathe using his bait for your horses and oxen; and if there was tea and meat fling, God be thanked, from the pothole on the fire, than might you sit, good man, and might you listen!
Usually the guest slumbered, frozen and tortured by the road, though listened; listened by his ear and his heart.
Kushikpay died young, twenty years of age. He mastered a SOIL and SHOKPAR – the spear and the bludgeon – as a youth; he dreamt of being the warlord, lead the warriors; he dreamt of the crusades. He was man of ideas, sharp and tireless, outrageously strong, with no man equal to him in fights and scuffle. He feared neither man nor beast, neither turnskin, not drifty night; not even the evil token. Hence famed himself as an Batyr.
Black smallpox, the Southern stranger, gained upon Kushikpay and laid him on the ground as no butch could. Delirious, he lay days and nights. His old rival from Rodauak knew of that and said himself: My time’s come! He rolled in Kushikpay’s aul and scorning the bedridden, in broad daylight, jacked the beloved horse Kyzyl-besty, held in leash by the yourt.
Kushikpay heard the sullen word. Batyr miffed, got on his feet feeling no pain, slipped on him naked the chekmen’, the camel wool robe, and went on chase. With a lance atilt, dread and rampant, he came into the offender’s aul when the one was boasting the jacked noble kin horse and the impunity. Kushikpay’s temper’s been known; the one would fight to the death the thief, or the whole passel of his kinsmen and servants.
The younglings turned coward. Aqsaqals, the elders, were forced to interfere and blandished Kushikpay of shedding blood of the Uak people he also belonged to. They returned his horse to make the deadly affront be forgotten, graced with an exquisite robe and saw him off the aul with honour.
Kushikpay rode across Arkalyk. On the white spot near the heights the Pox made her final say, dragged, rambling and memoryless, Batyr off the horse. His chekmen’ was soaked thro with gleet from the smeared paps. Though, they say, Kushikpay lay down, his head towards Kaaba as Muslim habit forces, nestled himself against the land and bid a farewell to life. And he burnt.
But the land did not forget how he hugged it and the prairie beside Arkalyk is so severe that rimes in winter and brings no food to cattle, rushes people with poignant winds, blinds them with hails. It does not forgive Kushikpay’s young death, death in wrath, death with no rest of his impudent soul.
That was told on the road beside Arkalyk by the poor, proud in being Batyr’s children. Heavy was the burden of their lives, enlightened though by Kushikpay’s fame, his death and life, his hurtle on the horse, brindled-black in the Pox as thy snow leopard.
January went to an end and the idle frosty day went to its dusk. The sky was bright and only at sunset, as in the forge, the gnarled clouds melted as an ironclad. The beasty bloody eye, thorny and without lashes, of the sun looked through them. Only a little higher, as the swirls of smoke, the cloudets, crimson beneath, hang. Aside solemn, canted and waning moon protruded. It looked scared, as if made of the muslin curtain.
The day was still but on Kushikpay heights the wind blew. Fresh snow flew up in purple-reddish mops and sickles. The shadows lay resembling swollen tendons and it seemed they crawl, crawl and suck down the red light from the snow bunks.
And on the way to Arkalyk the two-horse team trotted with two impeccably dressed men in the yellow sledge.
In one of them you could instantly recognize the lord. Atop the warm cloths he had grey chekmen’ with the beauish black velvet neckpiece and the new fox-fur cap on is head. He wore luxurious kid boots, felt stockings with black velvet trimming being seen from under the boots collar. He was about thirty, chunky and moonfaced and snubby. He had straggly beard and in squinty eyes, swollen and pierce, in frowned eyebrows one could see the haughty disguise and hidden cruelty and easily find the philogynist in the plump lips.
This was mirza Akhan, the bailiff. He was going back from town where he has finished all his business filling the collected diet into the treasury.
The bailiff was escorted, as usual, by his favorite servant and vassal Kaltay. Mirza was hard on the pal but Kaltay was a boisterous fool and a watchdog; thievish of course, but nimble. He was a go-getter and especially useful in night adventures. Mirza always awaited surprisingly pleasant services of him.
For the whole rout Akhan did not utter a word and one could think he was preoccupied and burdened with the people’s fates as he was the bailiff. But it was well known by Kaltay what are the places his lord’s thoughts wander in and what are those thoughts exactly. All day long he imagined himself with a cutty, this or the other… Lord forbid disturbing him. He will hit with a flog or even throw out of sledge.
In the evening, nearby Arkalyk, mirza felt chilly in the wind, woke up and tossed. Kaltay pulled the horse:
- Seems that the Pox is still burning at Kushikpay, if it blows and blows…
Akhan silently grinned as a fox. Did not flannel!
On the sloping hill two graves appeared afar and travellers, rising their hands, pattered a pray.
The graves were new; the sand around them did not darken yet but was covered with spotted snow, resembling pock pits. The wind from Arkalyk blew with an angry whistle as though furious with what he had seen there. One night will pass and maybe the wind will hide the sandy hills with a snowy shroud and the last memory of the people who were buried here will fall into oblivion.
Half a milestone afar the lonely winter hut could be seen. It looked abandoned, uninhabited, grown into the ground and stuck in a snow bunk. It reminded of the grave. The roof decayed, corners crashed down and snow covered the slits. Only the narrow path was laid to the black walls of the hut… somebody lived there.
Kaltay grunted and sent the horses to the hut.
The closer they came the more scary it looked. The holes stared above the cattle yard and snow drifted above them as the smoke swirls. Behind the broken fence near the peeled haystack dully stood the yearling thin calf and lamb with snow spots on their backs. The thought of the ruth possessing the house made one tremble!
Akhan jumped out of the saddle and shaking snow off chekmen’ said through clenched teeth:
- Where did you bring me to? Probably there is no place to sit or lie here... Could not you find some shelter more suitable?
Kaltay ungearing the horses replied with a grin:
- Patience… You’ll see where you lie...
Mirza thrusted out his chest as far as his short and sunken nose allowed. Kaltay ceremoniously took his hand and both men, bending down, went under the holy roof of the yard, tapped in the dark the swollen, frosty door and tripping stumbled inside the house.
There were two rooms in the house. In the entry the glassed small window, palm in size, gave a weak gleam; coal burnt in the brick trivet. Nobody seemed to live there. The room was used as an entry and pantry. Nobody whitewashed the dirty clay walls long enough and the ceiling poles were smoked-black; silver patterns of frost could be seen in the corners. Close to each other, near the trivet the new born and miserable calf and lamb stood with a felt pad on bony backs.
Back room, living room, seemed to be a little jollier. The big furnace, also plain and cracked, seemed to be varnished with soot. Aside from the furnace there was a huge wooden bed with peeled off paint, old though accurately done with blankets and pillows. They were put so accurately that one was pinching. Near the wall on the low stand there were two chests covered with grey felt. Those were all belongings.
The glass in the window cracked criss-cross and glued with paper strings seemed to be breathing. With each blow of the wind the steam flows covered the glass. It was dark there also and the weak light came from the live coal.
Who could live in this miserable house? Three women… They sat near the stove, cringed, and glowering as birds. One of them was ancient, more than eighty years of age. The second was about forty and the third one was a girl about thirteen. Those were the grandmother, good daughter and the oy.
The elder was weak, exhausted, and yet her face was surprisingly strong, not womanly – with high forehead and big nose. Colorless eye looked from beneath the grey and rare eyebrows. Not only grief, traces of tortures and whole life offends were in her deep wrinkles on the baggy cheeks but also the life-long humble persistence of the poor, able to move the mountain in her labour and carry a burden, intolerable for any other character.
Good daughter’s face, to the contrary, was scared and alert. Bright black eyes were amazingly still and staring one spot, as if she was insane. Her look was a real fright. Though she was not insane, was she blind.
And only the younger, Gaziza, slim and gentle, with a slightly freckled face, was so nice that it was difficult to take eyes off her. She was light, fast and fairy, as a violet. An adult grief in her shy eyes made her even more attractive. It though seemed not even grief, but pray, naïve and touchy, as the bed made with her hands.
Woe to these three, the weak, was common - they were orphaned. Storm swept over their heads, leaving fresh graves near the house. There, on a sandy hill, Gaziza’s father and brother were buried. They were carried away with typhus. In vain grandmother called ancestral spirits, they did not save breadwinners. And after the funeral, "mote hit" in the eyes of the mother. Tears extinguished in them the light.
- God - asked an old woman with a violent faith, but without anger - for what sins?
They primarily lived in misery, lonely, useless in the vast steppe. But even Kushikpay himself was once a lonely... And in the evenings near the cooled furnace glowering, like birds, women remembered and mourned the life of those paradise days when there were five of them in the family...
And then guests unexpectedly appeared in the house; rich, smooth, in fox hats, true lords.
Gaziza’s mother, gently nudging her with her elbow, asked what kind of people those were. The girl whispered in reply:
- I do not know ... Strangers ...
Guests at the door shaking off the robes, went further to the chests, and sat in pride of place. Mirza Akhan read surah of the Quran. Then the guests greeted the hosts, and the eldest of the guests asked the eldest in the house:
- Divine will! God give you plenty and satiety ... - implying that it would be nice to spread a tablecloth.
Women were numb at the sight of such a rare guest and, alas coming to themselves, seemed to have cheered up, even for their own selves. They lit a kerosene lamp, also with a chipped and taped glass. Gaziza, dexterously and prompltly made the tea. All that was in the house - a piece of butter and brown scones - was put on the only precious tablecloth in front of the guests of honor, men.
The old woman, as would befit an Aqsaqal, took a leisurely of conversation with them.
Akhan was listening to her, now and then smacking his thick lips and nodding at random and yet secretly and intently watched Gaziza with his puffy eyes.
Kaltay kindly told the old woman the town and aul news and she also smacked and nodded.
But after tea was drunk the old lady spoke more and the visitors kept quiet. It looked like God himself has brought into her home the almighty master. And the words were kept neatly and safely; not every man could talk to such a big fish.
In the voice of an old woman, not for years sonorous and trembling, there was anger, and tenderness, and bitterness, and delight, and the pain and hope. She lamented her fate, as if she was talking tales, as though she sang an ancient lore. And her expression changed, like mossy rocks on a windy day, under the shadow of the clouds.
- Dear, - she said -dear... You see yourself, you know, what we breathe. I'm on the verge of death, there is no strength to live, no strength to die. What can I do? Only gab. My daughter-in-law is blind, she needs a guide in her life. Who feeds us? Who shall work? The granddaughter. She took upon her shoulders the burden of men. And her shoulders are the shoulders of a child. Look, do not you see, dear!
Why do I say you that? Because, my dear ... for your heart to beat, when, going by, you remember us. And may your mercy not be depleted, when you meet people like us. And do not think you'd like others, what do I care about them, they are from another village! And the others, looking at you, ashamed, unscrupulous ...should not disgrace our UAK family... and Kushikpay’s memory...
After all, what kind of people they are, dear! Narrow-minded, petty souls. Truly, women ... Why respond? When they are called like dogs. The please someone? Someone they are afraid of. If some youth even appears in our house, still will be full of ambition, imagining himself a master. And everyone, everybody wants, to contrive and drag away something like thieves. The soil is not yet still on graves of my son and his son, kinsmen are up to share filial property and take us women in other people's homes. Clearly, we will not last long. Lonely women do not live. Hence, those crafty crave. Tearing on the tenderest nerve.
Take, for instance, Smagul, brother-mine. Son shared all he had, esteemed him to be the closest. Veiled bad and praised for good, raised from the dunghill. And he looked at his son, wagging his tail, waiting for doles. And as my son died, Smagul took and carried away from the yard our only farrow sheep. He killed, you see, a sheep in the day of the funeral - well, not to suffer the loss ... Daughter-in-law had sent to him a man with tear complaint. What was the answer? Let her, he said, not be a mistress and cry less for her husband. Oh, were you! Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.
Son would be alive, God ... would they dared to? The fire place was always burning in the house, and joy was always boiling in the poor pot. How well-behaved, conscientious he was! May you rest in peace, my child ... Because of these ne'er-do-wells, not worth his fingernail, he died, a poor man. You listen to me, dear.
My good brother has a son, his name is Dusen, nicknamed "Babbler". He has one passion - old wives' tales.
In his whole life did not say a good word, did not do a good deed. Besides, he is the miser, which the world had never seen. Will see you someplace first, but would not treat you. When there is a guest in house, Babbler’s in crape. Will do his wife in if on a day like that, God forbid, she cooks meat. Whines and cries that she takes him to cleaners. If you listen to him – you’ll run away, hell with him...
One day, late in fall, I know not what brought him there, a horse thief of Tobykty people skidded to Babbler. Babbler showed self well – he stood on the doorstep and threw a man into a drifty night. Nothing, he said, I can feed you with, no place to sleep here! We know tobykty people, their race treated kindly by God, they disguise us, uak people, treat like dirt. Could tobykty man stand that offence? He came suddenly the same night and ruined the whole Babbler’s yard, jacked half a dozen sheep and two draft horses.
Do you think the master rushed on chase? Not a bit of it! Was afraid to lose the last horse under him. The next day crawled to my son. "You, he said, are well known by tobykty people, you alone respected by them, they will listen to your word. Will you allow the robbery?
"Of course, my son scolded him. “Nobody remembers any of you deeds, which please God. In the kitchen, with thy wife, you are a hero. Grudged a piece of meat a man ... and he is more important for you than a parish ... (Akhan grinned.). He would repay a thousanfolds, a thousandfolds he punished. Neither power, nor mind you possess, you fight with every traveller. Do you think you’ll rise? Should you live in Arkalyk, where Kushikpay lived? And what you ask? Asking the person what he cannot, you are disgracing a man!" That's how he scolded, dear.
Dusen the Babbler hung his head. "Except for you, there’s no one for me to ask."
My son gathered and went to help out the good. Say, twenty days pestered he with tobykty elders. The thief was something of a rich arrogant hamlet. Their elders decided that Dusen should seek his nine-year daughter in marriage with the groom of tobykty kind. My son gave his consent, vouched for the Babbler and returned with all the stolen cattle. Now Babbler and that thief are blood kin, intermarried! And my son, to that trouble, fell sick on the road. As he came back, laid low, and did not get up, my provider. He had gone irretrievably and led his youngest with him, our last hope.
That’s how they thanked: took away our farrow sheep and forbid to moan. Yes, that was not yet over...
The day before his death, the son picked up a paper, a pencil and wrote, looking in the eyes of God, what he owes to people and what people owe him. He could read and write, as a mullah, from childhood. I should say he did not like to sit idle. He knew how to do blacksmith’s craft, merchant’s trade, and if need be, sawbones and healer. Half of his belongings I spent on burial and payment of debts, so they do not lay down on his soul. To the last penny given. So be it: there was a debt that was not written on the paper ... And what kind of debt! Count, almost, three heads of cattle. All one, give away the last penny and go wander the world. A knife in the back. And this, not written, gives no peace, impatient to make the naked pay through the nose. You ask who he is. Rich, dear. Snubby, Marden of tobykty kind.
(Mirza Akhan awfully snubby himself, grimaced and grinned. Kaltay almost burst out laughing. But the old woman felt that the bailiff is angry with tobyktian).
I would not deny. Once my son promised, I believe my son. I would only ask for some time to look around and beg and plead with those who owed my son. We - with all our desires ... And maybe we talked him into, if not for Dusen Babbler. In a split second he chew it over and wrapped up a deal.
Meanie knew that Marden will not skip a bit. Still, you see, come to senses, pity us, the orphans, and asks from his richer kinsmen. Try not give it back! Will take it on the chin... And what Babbler thought? Dear, scary to utter, do not dare to say. And yet turned all of them, everyone, to his side. Cat’s fun is to kill a mouse. What do they want? Fill Gaziza with tears, Gaziza, the pupil of my eye. This year, Marden’s wife died. The snubby widowed. And why Gaziza could not be his wife? What's wrong? That's how good! You see yourself, my dear, you know...
Akhan and Kaltay briefly looked at each other. They lay propped up on their elbows, occasionally clearing throat, chuckling, and their faces were both anxious and upset. Akhan chewed plump oily lips, and seemed short of breath.
- I could not stand it. Quarreled, cursed these malicious wretch. The heart has gone; I know not why it did not burst. We cried, moaned, prayed... What else could we do? The third day went well; they said the snubby was still there. Staying with dear matchmakers. And now Babbler’s wife panders, molests the girl. What a zealous, mean! "You‘re, she said, heartless. Do not feel sorry for thy mothers, neither the seeing, nor the blind ... Could you be a mistress, how a man could? And a husband, a support to you and your mothers. You marry rich - forget crying and hunger. "That's sly, bitch. Ready to send Gaziza with that widower on the rump of his horse.
Give your child for any snub! To a strange kind...Dear, you need to know: we are direct descendants of the older ancestors of the hamlet. Our house is a house of the village elders. Maybe, my son’s blood, and his son’s blood was Kushikpay’s! And Kushikpay - believe me, dear, my son said – will rise, pockmarked with smallpox ... (The old woman's voice trailed off for the first time, her face was dignified.) But what about those geeks! They do not fear that the spirit of my son will rage or punish. They think they will not only bear none of the sacrifice, they hope to get hold of our grief. Horseleeches. They think they will shake off Gaziza, the orphan and take possession of the house and our cattle. By hook or by crook. They think we’ll seek favour ourselves. And they will certainly carry us alive into the grave...
Truth be told: the worst man covets his neighbor. Babbler is, now quiet, inoffensive, and his wife – a pure angel with Gaziza. And Gaziza will cry, and then listen to the Pivot ... She does not understand, poor thing, the human cunning. My God! Die ... It is time for me. But I cannot. I do not deserve the last rest. I haven’t suck my lot yet. I must live ... I'm sorry, dear, for a stupid word.
The old woman seemed to have finished her woeful, poor man's tale. She blew her nose, wiped her eyes with her sleeve. But no tears came. All tears dripped out long ago.
Her daughter-in-law cried behind, restlessly listening and seemed to be looking for guests with scary crazy eyes.
Mirza Akhan, frowning, was shivering as if his back was itching and muttered a few words. But he was not a fan and connoisseur of words; he was inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even indecent to utter those. The old woman did not even hear what he said to her. She only realized that master was annoyed and frustrated; she was alert: if she talked his head off?
The bailiff listened to her, however, did not interrupt, did not hasten. And he watched Gaziza with attention, and, seemingly, in sympathy. Well, he should not be hastened. He must have heard enough in the parish of requests and complaints, it is not unusual. That’s why he is in no hurry to promise, inspire. Thank God he showed some respect and listened patiently.
The old woman was happy...
She was thinking about the future and did not see any light in it. She was bent with her years and usual obedience. Heart grew cold from the unconscious unkind feelings. But throughout her appearance was calm restraint, neither shadow of timidity nor vanity. Powerless and indefatigable, she was beautiful, like a sturdy old dray horse, which shies away the death itself.
Gaziza cooked a delicious fragrant meat, and served it on the only platter in the house. So grandmother told. The last piece of meat. Guests began to eat it willingly, and grandmother, gladly watched them eat it inconspicuously gurning, wiping her mouth with wrinkled ghostly palm.
Dear wise grandmother. She did not see what Gaziza saw. She did not feel what the girl felt, and, apparently, her blind mother. Several times mother called Gaziza, took her hand and held it, without a word, silently trembling. Were guests listening? Oh, unlikely... They are unlikely to understand what Smagul did to them and what Dusen was going to do.
The senior Guest fanned Gaziza with tenaciously hungry eyes the way that grandmother would not notice that. And all the time Gaziza had a feeling that he wanted to say something secret and bad to her, and said ... and she was ashamed and disgusted to see it and understand. The younger guest from time to time pointed his eyes and eyebrows on the sly at the older, as if wanted to say: See, who is watching you! And twirled and twisted as she turned away and depressed her eyes.
The girl, embarrassed and frightened bowed, went into another room, stood there in the dark and trembled.
Guests have eaten meat, wiped their lips, and chuckled showing they were full. They’ve prepared themselves for bed. Gaziza turned down the bed and the guests went out into the yard.
The old woman alerted and respectfully stared after them and said her granddaughter:
- Apple of my eye ... Their horses need hay. Take the lamp, show them where it is.
The girl was afraid to go out but she did not utter a word as if she did not hear anything. Hay was easy to find in the yard... But the old woman repeated:
- Go out, go out, my daughter. They’ll think we're ignorant. Do not be lazy, show respect.
Gaziza went to her mother, who took her hand and held it, and let it go. The girl took the lamp and went out.
Meanwhile Akhan and Kaltay were whispering in the yard near their horses.
- Mag does not know beans about it ... I should kick you away, dog ...
- Didn’t I please you, master... The mag is a peach...
They shut up and left when Gaziza came out with lamp and took Kaltay to the hayloft.
Entrance to the barn looked like a hole. Underneath the low ceiling on a rumpled hay, a man could go only bending. Gaziza with a bow pointed Kaltay on hay and raised the lamp so he could see better.
Kaltay grinning and winking, thrust his hands on his hips. Then he leaned over the girl’s ear and told her scrannely that it was not about the hay, but about something else. The horse thrusted for another hay.
Gaziza flinched from him, and almost dropped the lamp. She was scared and secretly flattered. None of the senior had ever spoken to her so ingratiating. Then she realized that this master's slave, of course, was making fun of her, and cried out:
- Do you think I do not understand? All your wiles ... Go away! We will not stand being scorned – She put the lamp on the ground, covered with snow, and ran to the house.
- Hey, hey, wait a minute, I'd say ... – Kaltay foolishly murmured after her in a loud whisper. She did not look back.
But at the door of the house she faced Akhan.
He hugged the girl, easily picked up and carried to the covert, leading to the barn. She has not had time to open her mouth as he sealed it with his fat lips.
Kaltay quickly bent down and blew out the lamp. The reddish light flickered and went out. Pressing the lamp to his chest, Kaltay stealthily, on his toes, as if dancing, went aside, to the horses.
In the pitch darkness, he could hear the muffled screams and crying. And laughed and grunted. Then he came out of the yard through the gate - to stretch his legs.
The darkness enveloped the world. The wind was howling. Prickly snow long lashed the ground. Frozen ground unvoicely frizzed. From the slopes of Arkalyk, not seen in the dark, something rolled down – either the stone rumble, or the terrifying bestial roar.
Kaltay staggered back, into the gate.
Here he found Akhan. Mirza was hot, did not wrap the robe and was loud, smugly puffing. They stood for a moment beside and went into the house without saying a word. Mirza Akhan went to bed before anyone else. He occupied the bed near the stove …Gaziza ... did not remember how long she lay in the hay, senseless, with blurred mind.
She awoke from the cold. She was shivering. But for a long time she did not come to senses and did not realize what had happened to her. Only instinctively tried to shelter herself with tufts of hay. Then she remembered ... and inarticulate cry drowned in her choked throat. She could not even touch herself. Dull pain, never before experienced feeling of disgust pinned her down. She did not have the strength to stand up or rush to her mothers, bursting into tears. Arise in their eyes? Grandma ... mother ... people? They would spit on her, curse her! Remember her father ... She is no longer Gaziza, not an apple of eye, not daughter and not the one and the only solace.
Suddenly it occurred to her that the grandmother can go out and find her. "God, help me!" With groan she stood up and for a moment froze in fear that they would hear her moan. She went out of the hayloft trap and staggered, teeth chattering, out of the yard. Wind pushed her in the back, geed up and drove off in a blizzard steppe. There she would not be found. There they will not see.
- Go, go, - the wind howled in her ears. They will not catch you. Go, little, proud daughter of a conscientious father, the great-granddaughter of Shrew Kushikpay. Go from your sorrows, miseries and misfortunes, the shame, and pain and disguise, from a lifelong deception. What do you have to dream of, rave of? You did not know how to dream and rave. You were taught only to cry quietly from the fierce resentment. And now that you cannot. That is your lot. It is with you, it leads you. It is written on your forehead. Come on, come apace.
Wind blew pain from Gaziza’s body and fear of her soul. But the cold entangled her feet and the snow blinded her. And, listening to the eerie and menacing roars and rumbles someone on Arkalyk, maybe the drift, maybe Kushikpay's spirit, she could think only of going to the graves ... She thrusted to reach them and fall, and embrace them. And to owe nothing to anyone as her father did.
Mirza Akhan at the moment was lying in a warm bed, under the comforter. However, he could not sleep. Mirza was off center.
It was about time that ... the shrill ... came from the loft, after bringing herself into the proper order. She did not come.
Women were whispering in the corner, the old woman was going to go out into the yard. Akhan stopped her and sent Kaltay there. The one returned with a lighted lamp and put it on the stove ledge. Women rushed to him. He asked in bewilderment:
- Did not she come yet?
Women became alarmed and tossed about. Kaltay, having seen that the case turns into something very bad, began explaining the old woman how it was:
- I took hay from her. I thought it was time for the horses to drink. I asked where the well was. She went with me ... We left the yard - a blizzard, pitch-dark to see, whistling. And she is not shy! Brought me to the very well. Of course, I sent her back. I thought your child would catch a cold, I would live in sin ... Really, was she lost?
- Dear! She’d freeze, my God! Oh my God, what else would you prepare for us?
The old woman took the stick, dressing on the go, and rushed to the door. Daughter-in-law followed her on the touch.
Akhan showed his flushing face from under the blankets and shouted to Kaltay:
- Fool! Scatterbrain! Light up our lamp, run, give voice, look ... Shake a leg! Scum bag ...
They came out of the gate and started calling Gaziza in three voices. Women ruptured themselves screaming. But could you shout down the blizzard? The blizzard stroke them down, they could not open eyes or mouth.
The old woman pleaded:
-Spirits do not leave her, show her the way! I’d immolate a head of the fleabite lamb!
The blind also prayed kneeling.
Kaltay took the horse from the yard, jumped on it and galloped off into the steppe, shouting and waving a lantern. The rider and the horse, and the lantern disappeared in white blizzard immediately. Women’s voice died out at once.
Women were left to wait, wailing. Kaltay came back in a longshot. He returned with a faded lantern. The horse under Kaltay wheezed and Kaltay wheezed himself:
- I was lost too... I could hardly find you ... And would not seek, if you did not shout ... Could not find her anywhere! Devil took her!
Women were waiting for her until the early hours. Many times they went out, called her, cried, prayed to God. But God did not heed their pleas.
Gaziza was found around the noon. She reached the graves and lay face down between them. Clothes she was wearing were torn, as if dog-beaten. On the legs above the knees blood clotted and already faded in the cold. A slightly freckled face was clear with no sign of suffering on her lips and between the eyebrows. Her face was innocent and pure, like that of a sleeping child. She slept quietly, firmly, and she never dreamt how she lived.