This ravine has a long and strange name. This multi-branched ravine, like a circulatory system, is one of the many such multi-branched ravines, or steppe-gullies, becoming more preciptious the farther they go, until all finally merging into one huge, bizarre oblong shaped pit. And this ravine is called Sai, where the black dog died.
A stream flows at the bottom of the ravine. However, not such that a dog could drown in it. It's a most ordinary stream, clear, sleepy, that breaks through a meandering bed of over overgrown reeds, that very much resembles a trail that cows wander through after grazing. One one bank, as far as the eye can see, are gaping maws, that look like crumbling wolf dens, with chipped, eroded edges; and like spotty stubble on a beardless face, scattered feather grass. These are remnants of dugouts. Sunken clay walls still stand around some of them. They were long and rambling placements, that appeared as if they wanted to hedge-in as much of the free land of the bank of the ravine as possible; and thus, disregarding laziness, the hosts walled-in huge areas around their homes. Any traveler, ascending this slope and seeing these old, disserted winter huts, could not help asking himself, Who played the hosts here? Why did they capture so much of the terrain? And who were they, and where are they now? It's true, anyone who sees these lonely trees—as if buckling under the weight of countless crows' nests, these rotten walls that once were long rows of sheds and various extensions, and now with collapsed roofs resembling abandoned graves, this entire wretched picture of desolation—yes, anyone who sees this would curiously ask, Maybe the owners of these winter huts are now among those who cursed the hateful past, and are now, together with others building a new way life? Or were they any of those of the former ones, those all-powerful and haughty princes who playfully dictated the fates of thousands of unknown slaves and servants: this rabble in rags and tatters, with sores and calluses, which rebelled, shook up, turned over, and up ended the old world, and threw it out like some much trash, like rubbish? Who knows. One thing is clear, the winter quarters is abandoned. The hosts have disappeared. This spooky, neglected, wild place is now the kingdom of mosquitoes, gadflies and horseflies. As soon as one approaches the ravine, this cloud descends upon you, incessantly buzzing, Don't bother uszzzz! Buzz. Go awayzzzz! Buzz Disappearzzzz! Black crows grimly perched on the branches, their vile croaks drawl, Don't bother caw, caaaw-us! Go away from caw, caaaw-us! And as echoing counterpoint to them, clamorous and flighty magpies giddily flounce from bush to bush, Go awayeeee! Go awayeeee! Get eeee-out!
It was a hot day. The sun rose higher and higher, started to scorch; and also the wind, as for spite, held its breath; sweating travelers licked dry lips and their horses trotted wearily, languishing from heat and thirst. Just at this inhospitable time, a chaise, drawn by two horses, road into the ravines Where the Black Dog Died. The horses had substantial bodies. The draft horse, a bay, seemed to be a well trained horse? As he trotted down the steep slope into the ravine, he dug his hooves into the ground to slow himself down, crouching on his hind legs. The out-runner, on the other hand, was a dark-red, young and fiery horse, which, with quivering ears, fearfully looked askance at the bushes and reed beds along the road, tore at its traces. The black-faced driver, with deep-set eyes firmly pulled on the reins, attempting to soothe her, “Wo, wo, wo! Don't be stupid! Don't be stupid!”
Two road the chaise, the elderly, black-faced driver, named Kayrolda; and Kurumby, a young, swarthy, pockmarked horseman wearing a white silk shirt, gray woolen pants and hat, sporting a narrow black mustache.
The travelers went down into the ravine and stopped the horses. They still had to cross the creek in the gully. Its current was quiet, peaceful, babbling. Horseflies immediately furiously attacked the horses and latched onto them on all sides. The out-runner immediately seemed to go crazy, as if it had been attacked by blind staggers disease; already refusing to listen to the driver's shouts, she kicked and sought to tear free, her eyes bulging out of their sockets. Kayrolda jumped from the chaise, grabbed the dark-red horse by the bridle. “Apyrmay! Have you gone mad!”
Kurumby also climbed down and went to the bay. The draft horse, furiously waving away the horseflies, rubbed his muzzle against Kurumby's clean shirt, and the driver shouted, “Oybay, dear friend, don't get near him. Stand back, I say. He'll make you dirty!”
Kurumby cheerfully smiled and patted the bay its sides. The horse still managed to slaver his shirt. Kayrolda grabbed a tuft of grass to brush the flecks of saliva from his silk shirts, the yellowish spots vanished but now green remained.
“Kurumby! Ah, Kurumby?” asked the driver, “so, you've become an agronomist, eh?”
“Huh? What? Me? Yes, an agronomist.”
“And now will you stay with us?”
“Huh? What? Me?…”
The out-runner strove to rear on its hind legs. She became impossible to cope with. Wheel tracks could be seen at the bottom of the ravine but it would be risky to go there. The out-runner might panic and damage the chaise, and rumors would have spread about the collective farm that even before the agronomist arrived, the chaise was damaged.
“Kayrolda, you look for an easy way to cross the ford, and I will wait for you on the other side.”
Kayrolda immediately turned aside, went along gully. Kurumby remained in place. Reunited with his native land after a long separation excited him, memories washed over him, and he tried to embrace everything I saw and heard since yesterday. After all, he was still so very young.
Kurumby arrived in village near the floodplain before lunch. Tansyk's farm team were working. Only some young men and women. Of course they didn't recognize Kurumby at first, but vaguely becoming aware of who he was they surrounded him. He'd left the village long ago, during which time the boy had become horseman. Six years, not a short time.
“Hooray! Kurukia has arrived!” someone shouted.
Young people immediately gathered, lined up in a row and loudly clapped her hands. New times, new manners. Interesting, unusual! Everyone was really sincerely glad to see him, the eyes of the guys and young women sparkled so brightly that Kurumby was taken aback. He was so taken aback that he didn't know what to say or do.
Then the members of the team started to work. The big-eyed, swarthy horseman threw on an apron, doused a grindstone with water and began to sharpen the teeth hay mowers. While working, he purred a scanty song:
The dome of heaven the bright sun illuminated.
Workdays the accountant counted.
The first to work, was not my beloved
Which villain, to spread such gossip, dared?
The words were new. And the melody was also unfamiliar. The song was sung in time with the horseman's movements. He worked dexterously and relaxed, kept singing louder and louder. The young woman came out of the tent and inadvertently glanced at jovial grinder.
“Stop it. We are studying.”
The grinder smiled, but did not stop singing. Zhzhik – zhzhik, the rough whetstone echoed a counterpoint to the song.
Ten people engaged in the tent.
A nimble, playful girl nudged the guy sitting next to her, “Quit whispering. Listen!”
About six years ago, these girls would have flocked together in a covey, in the shade of the tents, engaging in idle talk and embroidering various rags; but now, here, classes of political studies.
Kurumby thought about all of this as he entered the tent.
“There you are, when will you give us a lecture?” asked a cute dusky girl.
“Lecture? About what?”
“About how you studied, about new developments in science.”
Kurumby looked closely at the dusky girl and only then recognized her. It was the sister of the teacher, Abitye. When Kurumby had left for school, she was still quite a little girl with loose her hair down her back, obliviously playing childish games.
“You're Umsynduk! Aren't you?
“Yes, you recognized me,” smiled the dusky girl.
Kurumby sat in the circle and began to speak. For him, it was a really ordinary, cozy conversation, but the collective farm youth listened with bated breath.
Someone shouted from outside of the tent, “Kayrolda is bringing koumiss!”
Kurumby started and asked, “Is it that one herdsman, Kayrolda?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Where is he taking the koumiss?”
“Here. He pastures mares in the steppe, and brings us koumiss.”
Here, in the camp Kurumby met with Kayrolda and embraced. The herdman was deeply touched and wept. The young people laughed, but the old man was genuinely moved. And rather than go to steppe, to his herd, he'd taken Kurumby to the village.
Barely restrained the willful trace horse, they'd found a shallow ford and successfully passed through the gully. Then the memory of Veren unexpectedly blossomed in Kurumby's mind. Apyrmay, I wonder where she is now? Why is it that I didn't ask about her at once? Maybe she is in this collective? Or…? Or…?
Thick, shady trees on the slope of the ravine beckoned Kurumby, but as soon as he walked into the dense thicket and dove into their saving coolness, he heard singing nearby. He lifted his head. Listened more intensely. Women were singing somewhere close by. It was a pleasant, tender melody… ringing, pure laughter. Kurumby was involuntarily drawn to these voices; he walked around the clay wall of the old winter quarters, and saw nearby, between two posts, a white house. It was familiar place! These places vividly reminded him of various, irretrievable visions of childhood, which pulled up other thoughts, both pleasant and sad. Kurumby felt as if he swam in a grassy meadow. Toothy harvesters and horse rakes stood awkwardly behind the white house; next to these, dozing horses haphazardly stood tightly huddled together, while resting their heads on each others' necks. But these were not the only things that attracted his eye, he saw white head scarves and zhaulyks, flashing in the grass on the edge of the birch copse. Darkly tanned girls with braids, as thick as mallet handles, flowing down their backs were lying there in a circle. They were all intently reading.
Some distance from the women and girls the dusky young woman sat in thick pristine grass writing something. But apparently, it proved to be inconvenient to write thus keeping notebook on her lap, so she lay face down, put the notebook on the grass and then concisely wrote, To the District Committee of the Party. There was a slight breeze that moved the grass underneath its caress, titillating the face of the young woman. She wrote, I am Veren the daughter Zhaukia, and I know Ergalie very well, and I have known for quite some time. I can, if necessary, candidly tell about everything.
After writing this, the woman heavily sighed, put the pencil on the notebook and dropped her head into her palms. The juicy grass gave off pungent aroma and felt dizzy as I breathed freely into my breast. The feather grass swayed, tickling the face and neck of the women. She felt as if she was left completely alone on this grassy meadow, on the bank of the ravine, under the boundless sky, like giant blue cauldron. Her thoughts soared, rippled, flowing like a steppe mirage, spreading on the branchy tree of memory; she was frowning like a rainy day then brightened again, like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. The past flowed before of her eyes, it was in fact like a mirage.
* * *
A tall, wiry man named Zhaukia was sitting in the shade. An absurdly huge tattered and patched tent, the only legacy inherited from his father, Zhurumby; which should have been discarded long ago to decay in a scrap heap on the steppe, but due to the diligence and fastidiousness of moma Baldiy, who had tirelessly sewn scrape after scrape onto the threadbare felt mat, the tent still served them as a reliable roof. In the spring they pulled the tent out of its place and moved it out of sight to the edge village, and there it remained, tilting like a lump of ice on a flood, until late autumn.
“Baldi! Hey, Baldi! Is the wax thread ready?”
From all sides people brought to him, the shoemaker, their old footwear. But is it possible to make a living doing this? Well anyway, just try to refuse the work! For one, he repaired out fear, for another, he repaired for beautiful eyes. If he refused, rumors would immediately fly. Sharp-mouthed hag, like one Rysbikia, would gabble all around the village, “Of course, why does need us? He only respects those he's afraid of. The miserable tramp! With his nose in the air.”
And then another would say, “That other guy got his boots immediately repaired but he mocks me by setting my boots to the side!”
And one would think that he was really obliged to everyone. Sometimes Zhaukia would express his discontent and become angry, then with malicioius glee people would remind him of his old nicknames, Troublemaker Zhaukia, or Bully Zhaukia.
As soon as the sun had risen to the level of the shoulder, Zhaukia had already laid out an old hide in the shade, and leaning back on the grayish-brown felt-mat of his tent is at work. Next to him, sat an inseparable black chest. Many items are contained therein! Tools, scraps of leather, cuttings, pieces of waxed thread, a bunch of sinews, a broken needle. Everything he needed. Everything was handy. Everything exactly in its place, always at hand.
“Baldi! Hey, Baldi! have you spun waxed thread?”
The rich ranch owner's wife, Kulash, was visited by the matchmaker from Konur. She was not young, but was a woman of fashion, and overly playful. Seeing the comfortable low-heeled boots the women wore in the ranch owner village, the matchmaker smacked her lips with delight, “What a wonder! Who made them!”
The boastful ranch owner's wife looked askance on the matchmaker. “If you want, I'll command the same to be made for you?”
“Do me the favor!”
The herdsman Kayrolda, staggering like a drunken man, with puffy, bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep, came to Zhaukia and sat down. He complained of the heat. He complained about the flies, on the obstinacy of the bay mare, which he uses, in its turn, to graze the herd at night. He complained that he didn't get enough sleep. And after, he'd set forth all of his grievances, he finally said, “The ranch owner’s wife sent me to ask you to come and drink koumiss.”
Zhaukia, however, was in no hurry. With tenacious, gnarled fingers he pulled the leather with such strength that it almost ruptured.
Then Kayrolda said angrily, “You know when they drink koumiss there. So should go
without having to be invited!”
Zhaukia detected this hint, Because of you had to get up and race around.
A wrinkled, pale-faced old woman, Moma Baldi, brought out an old Uzbeki chopon with the colored borders torn off, and a gnarled birch staff. She was dressed very poorly; she wore a jacket that had patches on top of patches, that was so faded, that the front seemed whitish, and the back was either black, or grayish-brown, or bluish; but more often it was simply spotted because of the numerous multi-colored patches. But even this rag she got it by inheritance.
“Father, it's already passed noon. Go, have a drink of koumiss.”
Throwing over his shoulders an Uzbek caftan, leaning on his staff, Zhaukia to the ranch owner Serzhan. Aben-mullah and the ranch owner were sitting on blankets in the shade. The ranch owner was steaming, covered with sweat; but he sat solemnly, puffed up, not deigning to notice anybody around him. When Mullah saw Zhaukia, set his face with unctuous smile. Zhaukia frowned and inwardly cringed. Mullah called Zhaukia an atheist and reprobate behind his back, but when the time approached to make an order for new boots, he spoke differently. He'd then say, Oh, true believer. Sinless Zhaukia. Oh, holy soul. The creator have mercy on you!
And now he said, “Come in, Zhaukia. Come in, dear friend! Oh sinless! O holy one!” The Mullah smiled, beaming. The smile, however, was wry, looking more like a smirk.
But the guests in the shade of the tent were sitting closely. Nobody thought to move over and give a place to the cobbler. Zhaukia did not particularly want to stick around them and listen to their conversations, either. They began to whisper with twisted, contemptuous lips. On the edge sat the red, fat-faced Erkinbek, nephew of the ranch owner Serzhan. His evil pranks are talked of throughout the entire district. But who would dare oppose a ranch owner's spawn? He was puffed up now like a horned owl, and considered Zhaukia point-blank. Next to Erkinbek, sat his lackey Erekesh, black-faced, agile, with a sly, oily eyes. He whispered something into the ear of the ranch owner's nephew, and then choked with laughter. Zhaukia abruptly turned and walked away, strangled with anger and disgust.
“Zhaukia!” the ranch owner stopped him, scowling. “Oh, you are skittish, the devil taken you! Come in to the tent!”
Zhaukia went to the door. And while he didn't crossed threshold, all stared at him.
“Look at this infidel!” muttered Aben-Mullah.
Zhaukia stopped for a moment and looked at the Mullah, as if he wanted to seize to his thin ash-gray beard, but stood a moment then disappeared behind the door.
Seeing the cobbler, the fat bitch Kulyash hissed at children, “Go, go away! When a noble man visits, children are not to get under foot!”
Zhaukia felt even gloomier and thought, I know, I know why I've suddenly become 'noble.'
The haughty matchmaker, leaning sideways slightly on a pillow, and threw at Zhaukia an impish glance. The cobbler brought his cup to his mouth, but barely sipped the koumiss as he heard the fat bitch's sugary smarmy voice, “Honored guest, you see, that the very honorable matchmaker is visiting us. She'll stay for a day or two. Would you be so kind as to make some nice boot outs of this soft leather. That she may flaunt them in her village.”
“Oh, this is the same man?” the matchmaker said languidly, glancing pointedly at him now and then.
Zhaukia abruptly looked directly at her. Perhaps I am the same man, what of it? his eyes expressed his thoughts, and matchmaker embarrassed, dropped her eyes. However, she never dropped the smarmy smile from her lips. Interestingly, what is she thinking?
When the guests left, Zhaukia downcast and gloomy, also left the ranch owner's tent with the roll of leather under his arm. After drinking heady koumiss good people sleep sweetly, but Zhaukia sat down on the hard hide, pulled his black chest close and began to work.
“Baldi! Hey, Baldi! Dammit woman! Where are the vein threads?”
Watching Baldi's nimble, quick fingers, deftly spinning sinews, one could not help thinking, Probably the only thing this woman has done all of her life was spinning these waxed threads for her husband. Sorting out solid vein threads, she would sullenly watch the expression on his face and sometimes, according to his mood, mildly chide. “Father, Berenzhan is keeps begging and pleading…” she'd say. Or, “I heard also that Erkinbek's mother is making threats…”
Zhaukia, sewing soles, pricked his finger. This sort of thing would never happen, even if he worked with his eyes closed, if Baldi wouldn't interfere. She was always trying to get under his skin with her comments.
“Dammit woman! The devil's curse on you! You would drive me crazy, old woman.”
“Well, what's wrong with you, Father!” the old woman said with a touch of fear. “You're angry and upset. But she is our own daughter, not somebody else's. Our own kindred blood after all. Berenzhan is begging and pleading.”
She sobbed, as her tears ran down the deep wrinkles of her face. And Zhaukia pricked his finger again, this time drawing blood; it had to be bandaged.
“What am I to do? I don't like her intentions. When has something like this ever happened before?” he said. “It is not in my heart to do this.”
“Oh, Father! Is it in my heart to do this? But you know her. She only laughs at me. You are old fashion, Mom! That's how it goes, the mischievous child.”
“Ah, dammit, Baldi! Where are those waxed threads?” ..
Beren arrived swaying under the weight of two buckets of water. Round faced, dusky complexion, her face red from exertion; she was out of breath from carying the buckets. She came in and knelt down next to her mother.
“Apa! Listen, apa. I just met Kurumby. He was in the village near the river. He watch the performance. He said that it was very interesting. He said, one had played the part of the rich ranch owner and another had played the part of the mullah.”
“Who gave the performance?”
“Well, he said that it was the Komsomol members. And he said that there were girls among them, also.”
Zhaukia sighed again. He straightened his aching back, looked around, and met his daughter's smiling eyes. He immediately looked away and dropped his eyes. His thoughts turned to the past.
Since Beren was seven years old she'd already been reputed the most beautiful woman in the village: frisky, well formed, like a foal. Always joking, smiling, with a pert tongue. Where necessary, she could carry herself with great dignity.
Lately, the ranch owner's nephew, Erkinbek, pursued her everywhere. He gave her no peace; at fairs, at parties, at public festivities: he jumped into her face everywhere, started ambiguous conversations, and rambled nonsense. Beren held her peace, but one day, when the entreaties began to be overly intrusive, she sharply cut it off, “Leave me alone! You are barking up the wrong tree! I'm not your toy!”
“You will not even notice how you will become my toy!” Erkinbek replied, offended and annoyed.
This brief skirmish occurred about two weeks ago. That same herdsman, Kayrolda, had reported this to Zhaukia. One day, as usual, complaining about everything in the world, Kayrolda suddenly looked at the cobbler with his ever-sore, red eyes and interjected, “Give your daughter in married as soon as possible, or let her go to her Komsomol. You, in fact, know Erkinbek. So, let's not give him any reasons to cause trouble.”
For the first time Zhaukia's heart skipped a beat. Erkinbek's escapades were known to all. He was in a gang of ruffians, just like him. Kidnapping and stealing girls, and raping them, was their favorite past time; so the herdsman was warning him without ulterior motive. Everything he was saying was correct. However, Zhaukia couldn't give his daughter in marriage without her consent! What was he to do, then? Was this her only option, even to join Komsomol?”
Zhaukia could not help frowning, discussing all these complex issues.
“Baldi! Hey, Baldi! Dammit woman! Get those wax threads ready!”
Beren whispered something into her mother's ear, as she slyly glanced at her father and smiled. She knew, the she-devil, her power over him! She strove to win his consent with her smile.
Kurumby arrived, humming something under his breath; he was covered in rags, poor fellow. His boots were scuffed, both heels long gone, the toes curled up like the skids of a sled. Patch lay upon patch on his white trousers, tear upon tear; the caftan was threadbare and ragged; his old cap, greasy. His hair had grown out and stuck out like wings from under his cap. He arrived and without hesitation grabbed an empty bucket, turned it upside down and sat on it. Baldi glanced at him, but kept silent, and Zhaukia growled. “Hey! Get up! You'll smash the bucket!”
Kurumby just then realized he'd done something wrong; he jerked, sprang to his feet and put the bucket back in its place. Beren cast an involuntary glance at her father then with a sign beckoned the horseman into the tent. This magnified shoemaker's anger. He irately glared at his wife, as if saying, You see that? And you call yourself a good mother! But he shouted as usual, “Baldi! Hey, Baldi! Dammit woman! Why is your mouth hanging open? Give me the waxed thread!”
But how could poor Baldi not gape after involuntarily hearing the harmonious singing of Beren and Kurumby. Even Zhaukia, though angry, still gladly listened to the singing of the youths; although he did not at all like that they'd sequestered themselves. And if the whole truth were to be told, Kurumby was no stranger here. There was a certain period of time, just recently, when he had grazed the ranch owner's sheep, and at that same period of time, he had also hung out Zhaukia's place. Back then Baldi had treated him like her own son; she had washed and patched his clothes. And Zhaukia had treated him well, too. But in recent years, Kurumby had suddenly joined the Komsomol and left the ranch owner. Since that time people began to say different things about him. They passed on his words, The ranch owners are my enemies. And I'm not going to break my back for my enemies. And Zhaukia thought that if Kurumby didn't want to work for the ranch owner he had become a pauper. And yet people chattered, saying that he had attended some classes. Zhaukia didn't like this either. He wouldn't even entertain the thought that Kurumby—who was already over twenty years old, and whose mind had become completely dulled because all he'd done was wander with the ranch owner's herd—was able to learn anything. Some in the villages considered him quite feeble-minded. Zhaukia did not think this; but on the other hand, he didn't consider Kurumby smart. In fact, he was one of the reasons why Zhaukia did not want to let his daughter join the Komsomol. Because of such as Kurumby, the village pundits nicknamed the Komsomol, saumal that is, young, not yet fermented koumiss. They concluded that there was no benefit to be gained from this saumal, but only belly aches.
Zhaukia was often tormented by lower back aches. And this time he was so bent over that became bedridden. After learning about this the fat bitch, Kulyash, turned so furious that she stalked out of the tent and commenced stomping her feet like horse hooves, “Damn, the old bastard! The scoundrel is malingering, pretending. Well, I'll show him! I won't forget this!”
The stylish matchmaker departed empty handed, save for her gloom. It was not fated for her to flaunt her new, low-heeled boots.
The village of the ranch owners migrated to the ravine, where the dead black dog. Nimble young women, and lively, helpful horsemen instantly dismantled three ranch owners' tents and loaded them onto horses. At the hitching post, a lasso stretched between uprights, stood a huge, looking like a huge sack of soot, ranch owner. He tried in vain to leap over the hems of his own quilted caftan; moreover, in vain he struggled to fasten the buttons over his immense belly. It was incomprehensible how he could squeeze into his clothes. With obvious pleasure he stood there scratching his pouch. Everybody fussed over him and climbed out of their skin to please him, preparing his cart. And only Zhaukia's tent remained, stuck far out into the steppe. The usual turmoil of migration didn't touch it. Moma Baldi anxiously paced back and forth. Gabby neighbors, sensing that something was wrong, avoiding even looking at the shoemaker's tent. No one seemed to even notice that Zhaukia was left all alone on the deserted summer pasture, deserted to solitude. It seemed, to everyone's misfortune, that he had decided to stay there alone.
After noon, the encampment set off. The fat bitch, Kulyash, sitting on a bullock cart turned around and saw the lone, lopsided tent of Zhaukia. Baldi led a polled cow and tied her to the wheel of the old, dilapidated cart. The cow kept looked longingly at the herd, plaintively bellowing. Her bellowing stirred the silence and echoed from the lake.
“Serves you right, old buffoon!” the vindictive peasant grinned.
As soon as the encampment disappeared from sight, Kayrolda drove the herd to the lake to water them; after watering them he led them along the steppe road and trotted toward the lonely tent.
“Zhaukia! Hey, Zhaukia! Come out here!”
Leaning on his staff, Zhaukia walked out. They went aside. There is nothing sadder than to be left alone. What a sad sight, the lonely, abandoned tent on the boundless plains. Baldi could not find peace for herself and futilely fussed at the entrance. Sometimes she froze and stared incredulously at the talking men.
“Did you see the gang of Erkinbek? Kayrolda shouted. “Choice crooks! They set off toward Tobola. Ostensibly to carouse. Or course I didn't believed them! Keep both of your eyes on our daughter! I noticed just recently that the fat bitch and Erkinbek were whispering to each other. They are up to something!”
And having said this, Kayrolda nudged his horse and trotted away. Leaning on his staff, Zhaukia let his gazed follow for a long time. Here is what one would call a sincere, true friendship! But Kayrolda and Zhaukia were not bound with anything: no special ties; neither in a common business, nor in kinship; even their characters were dissimilar. Yet they were drawn to each other and understood each other without words. In the village were many who posed as friends, or buddies, but who among them would so kindly and selflessly take care of him like this herdsman?
However, no matter how afraid Zhaukia became, he strove to not let either word or gesture reveal his state to Baldi. He sat down on a hide, leaned against the tent and began to sharpen an ax. He also slipped an iron roller under his right thigh, just in case.
But Baldi must have sensed something. She more and more anxiously glanced at her husband. Beren sat sewing. It was a pleasant sight, watching her. She sang in a high, mild voice. Sometimes she smiled. The rays of the setting sun played on her dusky cheeks. Baldi without pause feasted her eyes on her daughter.
Each of us has our own amusements and consolations. The only joy and comfort Zhaukia and Baldi had was Beren.
The clouds creeped across the sky covering the stars, impenetrable night invaded. Clenching the iron roller, Zhaukia circled the tent several times. Ah, how awful and sad it is to live alone! Well at least, it was nice that a motley, shaggy dog had spent the whole summer with him. The dog had a gruff, deep voice; he never bit anyone, never caught wolves, had no claim to fame, but after all he never let anybody get close to the tent at an unusual hour. And today he was much alarmed. His hoarse bark proclaimed constantly. Was it the solitude that affected him? Or perhaps he had a premonition that something was wrong? He may not have been much but he helped. He'd see his owner, and trot up with tail wagging, then nestled at his owner's feet and curl into ball. You keep watch a little bit, and I'll rest, he seemed to say to his master.
Zhaukia opened the door, stepped over the threshold. Something clattered, clanged. He bent down and looked and saw a wash basin. “Baldi! Ay, Baldi! And did you but a wash basic at the door?
“I forgot to put it a way, father.”
Zhaukia had completely forgotten that each evening Baldi put the bowl at the door. So, as soon as he'd entered the tent, she put it back again in its place. She leaned it against the door and sighed.
“Oh, dear God! Do not leave us, protect us sinners…”
It was a dark as a grave in the tent. Zhaukia tossed and turned on the bed. His life had been insignificant, cheerless, monotonously miserable; and now in infinite procession his days swam before eyes.
Is there anything that Zhaukia hadn't seen in his lifetime! He was a shepherd, and a herdsman, and had grazed cows. When the ranch owner Serzhan had engaged in trade, Zhaukia had herded the cattle from one open market to the other. All he could remember of himself was working, always overworking. And all of this for one, Serzhan. If only some trace of his work on the earth would remained. But nothing! As if no man named Zhaukia had ever existed on the earth. At thirty-five years of age, Zhaukia had decided to start his own business, a cobbler, and thus left the ranch owner. Oh, the fat bitch had flown it such a raged that spittle spewed everywhere. It is not without reason that people called her the mad fat bitch. Since then, those who tried to frequent and drank koumiss at her place, would abused and ridiculed Zhaukia, calling him obstinate. However Zhaukia, who didn't endured ridicule very well, bravely snapped back, and at times even fought with offenders. But in fact, he suffered in the greater abuse. His shaved head was completely covered with scars and weals, that looked like a field plowed with a wooden plow. Anyone who tried to break Zhaukia's head earned the fat bitch's favor; garnering a fat piece of meat and spoiled with as much koumiss as he wanted. Zhaukia's offenders always got with it; the shoemaker always turned out to be guilty. So the villagers called him, Troublemaker Zhaukia, and Bully Zhaukia. Serzhan would grin with heaving belly and say, This reprobate cannot live without fighting. Food is not food and drink is not drink for him until someone beats him up. In the 1916, when the white tsar got it into his head to take the Kazakhs for the rear guard, Zhaukia's age was recorded as 40 years old instead of is true age of 30. The ranch owner, who was five years younger Zhaukia, suddenly turned out to be five years older on the lists. Zhaukia had flown into a raged and the snouts of the ranch owner henchmen sneered, Well, again he's wound up being a brawler!
What could one do? Zhaukia rebelled, and along with the other poor fellows who'd had their ages misrepresented, went and tore the list of the village ruler to shreds. And set fire to the district courthouse. The village constable rushed in, “Who is the instigator?”
“Who is it? Of course, it's Zhaukia!”
The constable snatched Zhaukia and took him to a jail.
When the tsar was shoved aside, Zhaukia was released from jail and returned home; and again Serzhan smirked, You reprobate, you've also finally eaten the tsar's head! Ah, if Zhaukia could eat the tsar's head! He would be able eat all of the ranch owners' spawn!
A new government came. They began to call people to meetings. Wherever there was a meeting, there Zhaukia would be.
“Who will be the speaker?”
Zhaukia spoke, but the people were dying with laughter. Everyone laughed so much that it was impossible to make out what he had said. The ranch owner Serzhan, with a condescending smile, turned to Commissioner, My dear friend, don't pay attention to him. This roarer is a little bit loony. And in the eyes of the commissioner, who was a stranger to this situation, Zhaukia did in fact seem a little crazy.
The mottled dog bark hollowly at all the silent steppe. Close nearby careful footsteps were heard.
Someone was creeping up to the tent. Then the door was scratched. Zhaukia rose and pulled out from under him the iron roller. Beren anxiously whispered, “What is it, ake?”
“It's nothing. Sleep, sleep, my precious daughter.”
The door was violently jerked.
“Hey, who's there?”
No one responded. The door heaving back and forth as if rocked with the wind. If they intruders kept pulling on the door the tent would completely collapse in short order. But why would they collapse it? It's much easier just to crawl under the edge. So, there was no reason to remain concealed within. The dilapidated tent could provide no protection. We must take the fight to them.
Zhaukia went to the door and began to untie the rope. A hand touched his. Nearby, stood Baldi, trembling.
“Father, for God's sake, do not open it!”
Zhaukia firmly pushed her aside and continued to untying the straining knot. Beren silently approached, “Give it to me, ake. I'll hold the iron bar.”
“Take it, my precious daughter.”
The heavy iron roller was too heavy for the girl's strength. She may drop it.
Zhaukia untied the rope, sharply pushed the door open and then stepped back. For a moment there was a noisy fuss at the door, then all was quiet. An eerie darkness engulfed world. The knocking their own hearts was like the thuds of running hooves.
Here again, the sound of footsteps. With a hand stretched out in front of him, a stranger crossed the threshold. Confused thoughts jumbled in Berne’s head. They were ringing in my ears. Not realizing what she was doing, she swung widely and forcefully brought down iron roller. There was an awful crunch. The stranger fell with his head at her feet. Beren did not hear or remember anything more.
Some people grabbed the groaning and wheezing stranger by the feet and dragged him out. Everything calmed down. The mottled dog's barking withdrew further into the distance. Zhaukia stood there, stunned, confused. What, what happened? Who are they? Where are they? he thought feverishly. Suddenly, from the distance, where the mottled dog still desperately barked, the thud of horses and muffled voices reached them. The thudding increased as the horses approached. Zhaukia strained his ears to hear. Who are these new riders? The riders approached a fast trot. The horses and riders stopped right at the door.
“Zhaukia! Are you alive and well?”
It was Kayrolda's voice. Zhaukia ran out to meet them, his eye brimmed with tears. Someone else clumsily dismounted and stumbled into the tent.
“Beren! Where are you, Beren?”
Zhaukia recognized him by his voice. Kurumby!
Zhaukia set down his ax at the threshold. Baldi lit a lamp. There on the bed, lying curled up in a ball, was Beren. Thick, loose hair hid her whole body, except her heels.
“Baldi, Baldi! Look, there is blood near the door. Sprinkle some ash on it.”
Baldi covered the blood stains with ash and picked up a not big piece of metal, the size of a fist.
“What is it, father?”
Kurumby examined it for a long time and suddenly joyfully smiled,, “This means that Erkinbek got his head cracked. Only he could've obtained such a thing.
His voice pulled Beren out of her befuddlement, and as if waking from sleep, she looked and took in everything around her, and seeing Kurumby, she smiled, “Why are you here?”
“Why, I wanted to meet your guest with honor,” the horseman grinned.
He sat down next to Beren and gave her hair a single stroked. She leaned her head against his shoulder, and suddenly burst into tears. Looking at them, old Baldi was deeply moved and cried.
Day of Silence is not particularly noticeable. At night she depressing. At last, the moon rose. Swim cirrus clouds and their shadows, reflected, spots bright face of the moon, and it seemed sprinkled with weight-Nushki.
Desert near the lake. Usually spend the night there and herds flocks. Today, all around empty. From a distance, donors relates bird cry. Whether gull, or lapwing Nadra responds in anguish.
A short distance away from the tent and talked Zhaukia Kayrolda. But Now herdsman complained, as usual, and quietly, in a silent way, in a wise something with conviction explaining to an old friend.
- No, this is not the case, Zhaukia. The Young Communist League - is not bad.
- Yes, I'm not saying that's all there is bad. Yes, that's some of them ...
- Who are some? What Kurumby you bad? What He did bad? What he did not listen to bai? What batrachit it did not? This, or what?
About to get away from the bai lately Kayrolda dreams and waking or sleeping. Times Now others. And you can live without bai. Not only does the former bey laborers hitched today in gang - and now live pretty well and independently. State them helps.
- Kurumby absolutely right! - Spoke passionately Kayrolda again. - From it certainly will sense. But if those who stray, it's you and me. Language ruffled, and his hands are scared. Aypyrmay, Zhaukia itself here think: well, why do we need all this, "the way of ancestors", "custom fathers "? All this nonsense! Pustobaystvo! What he has given us, This "way of the ancestors," but shame and humiliation? I even I think that with Allah is also time to finish. Who are they, these holy, God's saints and the righteous? Aben-Mulla, or what? Yes, if you want to know all the dirty tricks from him proceed. Deceitful man was he, not the righteous. This is it secretly advised snitch your daughter.
- Come on! - Zhaukia scared. - Whether it is at least three times dog, but ...
- I said - and then keep quiet. And you yourself after all you'll know.
Faithful is he that came out of the tent. She had changed into the most best, as if going on a long journey. On the head -skullcap embroidered with braid. Earlier skullcap decorated with owl feathers. Now they were not. There was no multi-colored ribbons, which she usually weave in Spit. Zhaukia, puzzled, looked at her daughter. In the light Moon and her face was pale and resolute.
- Ake, I'm leaving.
Zhaukia like even jumped shifted:
- Where to, my daughter?
- To Abitayev ... He asks to call.
- To Abitayev, you say? Maybe it is better for me to go? I would, perhaps, and got hold of the cart ...
Kurumby left the yurt, with code Zhaukia replied:
- As for the carts do not worry. I myself Moved you.
Baldi gratefully glanced at jigit as if to say: "The rules, of course, human Kurumby!"
- Zhaukia! - Kayrolda rose strongly. All your words are now irrelevant. Do not argue with her daughter. Allow it!
Zhaukia silent. Kayrolda stared at him for a while and turned to the faithful:
- Go on, honey. Yes you will have good luck! My father did not will scold. After all, he too wishes you well ...
Zhaukia and this time he said nothing. Moon maliciously, just triumphantly highlighted sad, tired face Shoemaker, "Ah, stubborn, give up, finally>
- Have it your way, my daughter - said Zhaukia, his face and beard flowed peel. That was all he could not say, the lips are not obeyed.
In the east, was engaged in the dawn. Large dark red belly gelding by drowning in the dewy grass. On It drove two. Ahead, in the saddle, is faithful; behind -Kurumby. The morning breeze emboldened nicely put- nicks. Gelding staggering, clumsy walking jogging, podkidyvaya riding.
- Kurumby, hold on to me. Still piled ...
Kurumby arm around a girl's hands camp. Look on the one hand - like a girl in love and horseman. On the other hand, will look - neither give nor take brother and sister, caring, close-knit, with childhood grew up together. And it was hard to decide which of the these feelings take over. But it seemed, and the travelers themselves tried not to think about it. To distract Kurumby hummed a song.
- Kurumby, I say! Well, tell me something!
- What should I say?
- Well, that enter into the Young Communist League, and what do we do?
- What do we do? Bayami going to do. Bai den turn over to the ground. Remove the inside out!
Shaggy clouds swam swiftly, without a trace disappearing over the horizon. The day breaks, strongly dispelling the darkness of the night. Bright red rays poured steppe. Beren high voice sang for a long, echoing with the lark, embedded in the morning silence. Far-reaching clean, young, free voice breaking through dilapidated snare old and obsolescent ...
Beren nudged Kurumby:
- Kurumby! Whether you're a disagreement! .. Do not lash out ...
Both - happy - laughed.
* * *
Secretary of the Komsomol Abitayev Mahmoudov by nature, was closed and silent. In this village, he a teacher. He dressed neatly and simply. Hair wore a long, almost to his shoulders. Lived separately own yurt. The decor in it was more than modest. Table. On the table books and writing belongs sories. Books badly mauled and lie on the table hit or miss. On top of them - gray, faded rag in which is not difficult to find a children's diaper. At sight This diaper eyes involuntarily turned to his wife teacher. It is, as usual, was right there. Chernolitsaya, Ploskonos. Bulging eyes, as if in bodlivogo bull. Today it was especially not in the spirit: frowning, sulking, sat silent and angry. And Beren was the reason for that. She was sitting in pride place and smiled. Her face was shining. It is a curious looked at the squalid tent and, of course, guessed that the wife of Abita - not just a grumpy old woman, but and grubby. It would Beren here alive induced order ...
Did chernolitsaya pullet no idea what Cute guest thought now? Wow, how! Not for nothing her eyebrows came together so fiercely on the nose! Even before Beren came on aul rumors that he says: teacher sent for the daughter of a shoemaker, apparently, has decided to an old woman cast as the young take. And when Beren really came here, everyone realized that the way it and there. Otherwise, with what on earth would a girl of marriageable age suddenly think up to join the Young Communist League? ..
Out of habit, humming something under his breath, was Kurumby. The song went like this:
Like sheep whip whip
Bai and Mullah!
Abita wife muttered angrily:
- You of all races! .. 'd Kept his mouth shut!
- I? Of course, I chase! You'll see ...
Beren looked at Kurumby and burst out:
- What are you?
- Do you happen to be bow-legged ...
- Do not laugh. Maybe for the bow-legged just married come out.
- Oh you! ..
"I know in whom you metish, mine you do not like bowlegged "- thought to myself wife Abita yet more darkened face.
- Well, you say, Kurumby - said the teacher, trying to change the dangerous topic.
- What to say? .. From the District Commissioner arrived. Ordered to collect all the scouts.
Beren agitated. Wife teacher angrily glanced at her. I wanted to say something offensive, but restrained. Beren is immediately noticed and flattering, said:
- Come on, Mughal. We'll go to the meeting.
Abitayev rose. Chernolitsaya tensed, as if beast before the jump:
- Are not going anywhere! Sit down! ..
Teachers face went spots. Kurumby approached Beren and whispered:
- Come on. He then would come.
And as soon as the faithful crossed the threshold, chernolitsaya pullet threw it after him:
- Aimkul! - Tried to stop her teacher. - Do not go crazy! What am I saying?
- "Do not be crazy!" .. Why did you let this whore? Abitayev, pale and started to shame his wife, but Aimkul shouted:
- Well, what'll you do? Throw something? Try it! And herself and the child that's going to kill it with a knife!
She grabbed a huge knife from somewhere and quivered hysterical.
Abitayev bewildered silence. What kind of a mad woman? As with her work in peace? ..
Dark-skinned baby crawled to his mother began snuggle up to her, but Aimkul shoved him, and the baby, Flying away, roared. "So-Young Communist mother raises pioneer of the future "- thought Abitayev and lifting baby dejected sigh ...
* * *
Dry, lean, like a dragonfly, swarthy a man came out of a white tent and restless looking around, quickly went to the earthen stove. Fat woman, flabby, with a puffy face, sitting on the squatting, enclose the fire firewood. She vzglya-Nool to lean heavily male and whole body, turned to him. She was so fat that seemed on the verge of her clothes burst at the seams. And the man was alarmed. His eyes - large, whitish -restlessly running. Every morning he trimmed beard, and now even forgot to shave. And why-then pull on the cloth suit, which is usually wore only going to visit or a meeting, and now on it, frightened and rumpled, this output suit looked ridiculous.
- Ulbike-ay, whom you command Knife: lamb or wethers? - Asked the fat lady.
- Why wethers, when you can do a lamb?
- I'm afraid that is not enough, then a lot of people will.
- So what? I am not obliged to fill all feed!
The fat woman grimaced in disgust, frowned. Her face froze outright malice.
- Listen, Ulbike! - Suhoparty man dropped
voice. - Do not be angry. Calm down! Do not get aul women. I also warned you at night ... We must accept that. You see, once again granted the guest ... If you are action-relatively respect Kulyash-fat bitch, try to find a common language with them ...
This man was the chairman of the Board of aul Yergali Asatov. His wife, Ulbike, accounted nephew-nitsey Kulyash-fat bitch. When Ulbike not obey and started brgkatsya, Yergali invariably resorted to the name of the power relative. In the eyes of the people they lived quiet, peaceful, well, it seemed that without each other, and not survive the day, and in fact all life squabbled, as dogs, and behind each other get up hell knows that ...
And the fact that last night told Yergali, Ulbike could come to dread. They say the same: "There will come a problem bull, calf and it will not pass. " Grief hanging over home bai Serzhan, tomorrow may collapse and Yergali. After all, he still held only by his skill, cunning, and the ability to adapt, bled people to call, as they say, a goat - aunt, and goat - in-law. This is something understood Ulbike good. And the thought that her sacred duty -help his wife. And now she, too, realized that the time has come when we must be especially careful nimble and agile and quirky, and so instantly turned into a kind, welcoming hostess. First thing she was lavishing generous smile aul the women. And those rejoicing unexpected Ulbike favor, began to climb out of the skin: they carry water, put the cauldron, made a fire in the hearth. Quickly killed and butchered fat wethers, laid the meat in the pot. Immediately a crowd had gathered "Approximate", the Dodgers and scoundrels who have experienced a one time chairman of the deed aulsoveta. When came an important guest, these henchmen were willing to break into a cake in front of him - walked about, shout, put everything upside down, so they their duty to Yergali.
Now Yergali stood and looked fondly upon all who fussed at his earthen stove. Today it has been kind, whiny and all boiler please. "I I will strive at all costs to your favor "- seemed to say all of his humble, helpful look. "If you are for me, I will not be gone."
By Yergali and went Beren and Kurumby, coming from a teacher. They were easy, fun, like playing. Beren running too far ahead, then stopped, smiled from a distance Kurumbyu.
- Yes, you quickly - she said. - What films of teshsya?
- Did I whip, I'm going - he smiled.
Seeing them, Yergali more fussing. What talk to young people, as close to them, he had no idea at all. For example, it can Kurumby not understand. It is not a bad sort of a naso- vesh, but smart too. Honorable people do not respect, the good old customs does not honor. Bluff, weird, rude. Would call him to her, to talk to him once on the souls, once used to define who he is and what he says. However, until now Yergali it just does not needed. He did not like these young men, and screamers never communicated with them.
Yes ... but now they needed him. If Yergali does not want to relinquish power, it must necessarily work together with them. In this he made last night. Very bad news he learned then.
Woman and horseman Yergali met with a friendly smile.
- What are you, little sister, our house to avoid? Then your Father I suppose in the offense, I'm his only daughter as if I do not know.
Yergali smiled affably, the words spoken las kovye but falsehood felt in every word. Beren silent, his head bowed. Ulbike, working over earthen oven in the yard, went to meet the expensive guests.
- Are you well, my sister? - She exclaimed. - Could to visit us, and without an invitation. Not strangers after all ...
And Beren again said nothing.
Women huddled near the stove, pushing each other and throwing curious glances at Beren. About night incident in a yurt crooked shoemaker learned here yesterday. The rumors, gossip, of course, monstrously exaggerated and far from the truth. About Now the same buzz and women prinaryazhaya gossip in the multi-colored rags. Beren, women's instinctively felt that talking about it, densely reddening Nela and slipped into the tent.
After them came inseparable friend Erkinbek Erekesh to fry the chestnut stallion. Dismounted, tethered his horse. Alarmed by his arrival at an inopportune time, went out to Yergali towards.
- Did something happen?
- Buy and fat bitch sent the news. Find out what for the authorities to complain to us, how to be with him ...
Yergali immediately paled
- Tell them: Let no longer send their envoys at all the honest people! I'll help help you, unless, of course, this will be possible, but ... And say to them Zhaukia acted foolishly. I am afraid that it will cost them dearly. Those who know about it, words can not find nobody approve. Zhaukia daughter ran to the Secretary-Komso Komsomolskaya cell, and he told me this: "You Cover your scoundrel. To remain silent! If you do not know anything! "Here.
Yergali choked with rage. Erekesh quietly asked:
- How Erkinbek? Survives?
- While in the hospital. Piece of iron on the head fuck. Fractured like a shard.
Yergali bitten lips angrily. Erekesh has dropped Vote:
- fat bitch wants a piece of expensive things forward to you ...
- Apyrmay, you people are weird! And came open, and talking about! This should be done secretly, so as to hush-hush ... - And, looking furtively around, added - Here's what: fat bitch say bye and let immediately send a cart and transported Zhaukia!
And bounced off Erekesha.
Kurumby came out of the tent and looked up with a smile around. His gaze was a joyous, jubilant, full of hopes.
- Kurumby, buddy, that's where you and I have been wanting to talk to you - he smiled Yergali.
- Hmm ... what, I wonder?
Yergali horseman drew aside:
- Heard about the new decree? Baev, it is now like this ... will confiscate.
- Serzhan, or what? Yes, I myself wrote to the authorities that Serzhan be confiscated.
- Really well written?
Yergali tried to smile, but could not, and instead
His smile turned grimace. Kurumby underside-lobya watching him. "Oh, and the dark are you, brother!" seemed to be telling him a sidelong glance.
The sun was baking in full. It was noon. Suddenly vic-oshakov - oblong earthen ovens - the noise began. Got in a fight one of them hiding in the shadows. Rushed separate. Most of all fussed and fussed Ulbike. She smiled and spoke sweet words, in every way tried to settle a quarrel, and a minute later drachunt already peacefully sitting by the stove and talking.
Yergali shook his head and sighed.
- So, dear Kurumby, - he said - a bridle now in our hands. People are looking at us. Us to be a big deal. So it turn the same way that no one dared to say anything against it. Power trusts and orders me, well, I rely entirely on you ...
Yergali trying to find out, that the soul of Kurumby, however brave, seemed oblivious of everything - including and the interlocutor, not looking up watching those sitting near the earthen stove. It has long been under- regarded by the noisy trio - Sakembay, and Daut Karikbol. These crooks in the village feared and despised. They always took part in all the dirty and dark affairs. It was rumored that Yergali, allegedly, they did not sympathetic. However, most collections they tore up his throat. Others do not even open his mouth give. If anyone would like any obdelat dark little business, he certainly used the services of this trinity. Where scandal where squabble there invariably appeared and the three of them.
Kurumby turned away from Yergali - what we do with you say - and went into the tent. There sat a semicircle a lot of people. A place of honor in the middle - District upolnomochennty, dark-haired, brown the dzhigit Nugman channel. He was dressed modestly, village-huddled quietly, not vgdelyayas, and it does not th. was like those noisy, noisy commissioners that it is important to lift up the head, and when sit in a circle, then press down under side the biggest pillow.
He sat there, looking around all the attentive calm look - and this view was evident that he is well aware of who is who and who is what it costs. He smiled slightly, and this hardly reveal the smile acted at all encouraging. It gave courage and confidence.
Attended the meeting and some members of the Komsomol party. They greedily devoured every word authorize the Bull. Aul activists were needed advice of an experienced party leader. Sometimes I stop in the villages and those instructors who love to intervene in terms of noisy partying crowd, eat meat, drink mare's milk, venturing fun games with girls and pullets. These young people are not respected. Them needed a leader who would have delved into the work, explained their mistakes and together, shoulder to shoulder, helped implement the decisions of the new government.
Kurumby thoroughly and busily talking about all the atrocities and riots that occurred in Recently, in the villages. They listened with amazement, their mouths open, all amazed eloquence horseman. Listened carefully and authorized Nugman. And in the course of a speech he frowned, then restrained smiling.
- And, of course, the "leaders" who sit in power, all This, apparently, do not guess, huh? - With an evil he asked, smiling.
They were talking about the night attack on a lonely tent in the desert. Kurumby spoke warmly of him and angrily. The story of how Beren met the rapist caused a storm. Some of inciting even Powski-nod from the field.
Ulbike with dignity prevented mare as zaprav-Skye fat bitch. Beren sat down next to her, a little apart from the men. When told of her, her face was red with embarrassment. She looked at her knees, but did not feel the annoyance or remorse. But only now fully realized all the horror of what could happen. Who would have thought so that all will end well? Previously, she felt alone, helpless and now rejoiced when he saw how much she had loyal and reliable friends. She now felt to them extraordinary tenderness, as grateful to the caring sister brothers ...
Note commissioner must hurt Yergali hurt. He roused himself and sat down on his knees, looked at one, then the other, tried to to smile, but it had failed. Everyone its appearance now reminded Yergali napaskudivshuyu mutt, obsequious crawling at the feet of the master.
- Kurumbyzhan-ay, - he said, offended. - Well, why all the blame on the aul advice? After all, we do have Komsomol and party.
And he glanced timidly at the black, with a pock-marked horseman person sitting next to Nugmanov even winked at him as if to say, "Just kidding ..." Black ZHUMAGULOV name. He came not from this region. With Recently, he was elected secretary of the party Cell. But apparently, he and during this short time to time to see through Yergali and was aware of all of its affairs and manipulation.
- Yergali now told the real truth - he said annoyance. - In our work, the party leadership itself essentially does not show. Some have tried to and did remove the party from the Soviet work. There were some that a blatant abuse radstvom push aside all the responsibility for their unseemly affairs at the party ...
Zhumagul said this and looked pointedly at Yergali. And the donkey as the shot point-blank. Vowing to hold a general meeting in the village Serzhan, authorized leave. Aulchane dispersed to their homes. The news of the upcoming changes - a con- bai confiscation of property - has not yet spread among the inhabitants of remote villages. And while women are content with gossip about a night raid on the family cobbler Zhaukia, the failure Erkinbek, which broke the head, that Beren joined the Young Communist League. The case of the Erkinbek impressed many. "Truly said," Baba Fellow ruined "- remember the old adage in the villages.
* * *
Was conceived as follows: Yergali open meeting, he Proposition elected presidium, and authorized will make its report. But things turned out differently: unexpected Danno Abitayev teacher asked for and on behalf of Party cell read a list of the leaders of the congregation. In villages along the ravine, "where the dead black dog 'meeting were common, but such that they interfered Party cell, has not happened. People do not even remembers- the presence of her, and if she did not exist at all. The news of the Confiscation of the property of the forthcoming bai today was on everyone's lips, but no one really idea what it all means. Deprivation of voice, bai tax levy, the distribution of its land - it was not only possible, but also familiar. A rumor about the fact that the decree will still bai "Confiscate" and somewhere evict seemed so strange that people shrug. "Really so be it! "
Zhumagul presided, and the presidium was elected and Beren. Yergali suddenly found himself completely out of work and rushed to get lost in the crowd. The meeting has did not start when there was Kurumby:
- The meeting is located Mullah Aben. I believe that its presence is undesirable.
Mullah almost choked on the humiliation and badgered looked at the elderly. Some of them unsteadily stood up for him:
- Yes, let sit. Mullah it small.
However, the majority voted for that Mullah get out. Aben-mullah stood up and unsteadily, dragging the staff and left. In this time something happened that caused people to about the infamous case of the mullah. The cart laden with household goods and dismantled yurt with a scratch stopped in front of the crowd. Sat on bales Kayrolda, Zhaukia and Baldi. Kayrolda and were Zhaukia impressed many audience, and Baldi and gasped when she saw that at the presidium table sits her a daughter.
- Pupil dear! .. Solntshko! - She cooed, awkwardly climbing down from the cart.
Everything now looked at them. Some saw Zhaukia, frowning, shaking their heads, muttering:
- Dragging still a kafir! ..
- They say he helped buy him move.
- Knows the bye, when who should help!
Kurumby out of the crowd went to meet Zhaukia. At this time Kayrolda and Zhaukia also got off carts, slowly shook himself, and just as slowly went to the meeting. Many unpleasant twinge what they were talking with his friends and Kurumbyem that way casually on the go.
- See, as Zhaukia show off!
Someone sighed plaintively:
- Well ... Not only is it suffering endured poor fellow!
Those that are unexpected arrival was very Zhaukia do not like, however, the first to welcome him:
- At the time arrived in time, Zhaukia!
- Well, that came Zhaukia! .. - Shouted to him
Nugman spoke simply and easily. He did not put in his speech every minute, "so to speak," was not repeated, not looking for words. He's just got to talking, and many of those present had no idea that he was so graphically and can fluently speak Kazakh. That time in the village believed that educated people and great leaders must speak clumsily and clumsily, because in their hearts they despise their native language. Bahia henchmen believed that only they are- are the true bearers and custodians Kazakh eloquence. And when in the villages visited Commissioner, you are usually laughing, they said:
- Well, again, "so to speak" has arrived! ..
Nugman in his speech touched the most painful places. Some break through sweat. Others barely held in check, not to scream with delight. When Zhaukia asked to speak, the crowd fell silent, and a lot of eyes on curiously staring at him.
Zhaukia voice trembling. His anger bursting. In the eyes There were tears.
- Oh, kedei! Poor people! - He said. What is timid? Why so quiet? Higher above your head! Holla at out loud! Let the power of his entire ravine tremble "where lost black dog "! I'm not crying now. Enough is enough! I rejoice! I was even difficult to speak today on this joy.
And it's true. Face. Zhaukia shined. Beren went to her father embroidered handkerchief and wiped his tears. Zhaukia impulsively hugged her daughter. who condemn her for what she joined the Young Communist League. They will say: "dissolute". In vain! Lies! Daughter Zhaukia - this is an example for everyone! Daughter Zhaukia lead com-Somol! .. Because he Zhaukia - Komsomol. And his wife it Bapday - also Komsomol!
The powerful roar of applause drowned out the last
Zhaukia words. The crowd stirred up all of a sudden, out of hundreds
cry of a breath, awakened all the sleeping desert.
It was noisy and fun as the big holiday ...
* * *
Looking for a ... scowling, red-hot with anger Kulash-fat bitch could not really seriously scared. Fat, pot-bellied bai Serzhan just rocked by hate. Recoiled from it all his friends and fellow diners. Even Aben-mullah - and that never once looked towards Bai, who was standing at the door yurt. That's what it means to be alone ... Serzhan sighed. Large white yurt, which He grew up and lived, it seemed strange. From her suddenly such a breath of chill that ran through the body goose.
Several people headed Nugmanov ransacked bey chests described bai property. In huge wineskin with mare's milk settled Baldi. Before her stood a capacious wooden bowl, full to the brim. Painted ladle was stirring it is tart, sharp-smelling drink. Looking at the frothy bubbling mare, she just resurrected in his mind all he had seen and lived through it, and from time to time sighed heavily. It seemed that she did not believe what is happening right now in front of her, and surprise something clicked their tongues and smiled:
- Berenzhan, daughter, kumys want?
Beren was sitting right there next. Her face was wandering happy smile. She occasionally glanced at Nugman. She liked it okay, neat clothes, gentle, thin fingers - he wrote all his mannerisms and movements. Beren looks at Kurumby and thought: "How Kurumby have been if he had just formed and brought up? "And from these thoughts she felt most funny. Kurumby also smiled at her, like a dog-dyvayas what she thought now. Beren re-taking his eyes and willfully frowned, as if saying, "Do not look at me! Do not laugh! "And some, watching them this silent game, and jealously unkind glances at Kurumby fortunate.
Generally in a white tent now reigned joy. But Yergali was particularly uncomfortable. He was stunned, confused. Of all the forces he was trying to impersonate, hold so like everyone else, but he felt lonely, awkward and knew that here he seems eyesore. In addition, he still could not ochuhatsya the blow which struck him at the general meeting. After all, he was not even elected to the presidium. People who are He prepared himself for action, not given even a word. Confiscation of the property was conducted entirely bai other people. All authority in one fell Yergali moment. The new government did not recognize him. He was publicly exposed, disgraced and humiliated. And although Today Yergali still listed as chairman aulsoveta and was among those in power, only one miserable shadow remains of yesterday's host village.
- Yergali! Hey, Yergali! - Called him suddenly Zhumagul.
Yergali fearfully, as if asleep, startled. Zhumagul stared at him.
- Where are wondering podevalis Bahia Drago-Values? All of his gold and silver?
- How should I know?
Everyone looked at the chairman and menacing silence. "Making tell the truth!" - Was written in their eyes. Yergali cringed. His cheekbones were sharp.
* * *
Father bai Serzhan has been nicknamed the "Black Koba-Zist. " True or not, but it was said, as if wealth earned him the game kobyz. When they began disassemble bai property in the colorful increment stirovannom Lara found an old kobtz. Serzhan asked to file it. No one in the village could not remember buy ever played, and suddenly began to play, so much so that all just mouths gaped. It seemed that even the wind caught his breathing. Immediately on all sides flocked to him old men, old women, children, and, not daring to close approach to the bye, stood spellbound on the sidelines. A ancient kobyz deduced plangent, deaf Old kui, exuded mournful sounds, penetration- kavshie into the soul, evoke sadness, melancholy, sadness, as if beckoning somewhere in the swamp, into the abyss, in abyss ...
Kurumby ran out of the tent, snatched the ball ancient kobyz and froze, holding his neck like a stick Serzhan recoiled. Kurumby jumped to chump and kobyz swung to smash it to smithereens, but then someone grabbed his arm. He turned around. This was faithful. She was smiling.
- Why break kobyz? - She asked. - You had better come play. Let's hear it.
- What to play?
- New kui.
Kurumby quickly rebuilt kobyz stronger pulled the strings and began to play. And poured over the ground new sounds. Flew from the strings of the old kobyz not Have you heard the song before. Not nasally, yearning for old, obsolete world, but jubilant, violent and freestyle. It was heard and the joy of winning Stomp million. Wind swept it free kui, and the shower leaked onto the steppe and its elastic inspired sounds.
People are surrounded by a dense ring of Kurumby, greedily listen to the new song. Surfaced moon and generously flooded neighborhood milky light. She, too, like Human happiness happy ...
* * *
Ulbike not find a place. None of aulchan nowhere near her tent. Yesterday crawled hearing Yergali that was removed from the post of chairman aulsoveta. True, he had not returned home. A "Uzun-fist" - "Long ears" - spread all new news. Buzz like Yergali not only removed, but even planted. And then there's Ulbike learned that her parents also were confiscated. Correctly noted: it never rains but it pours. So many blows fell down at once and did not raise his head. Family Serzhan entirely Yergali hoped for, and now over it hung by car.
Serzhan had time to hide part of the property at the acquaintances and stole their cattle was far away, but the post-gradually, little by little and found out that, and more. More addition, together with the property and the cattle seized and bai Erkinbek loyal cronies. But not because mutters Ulbike that bey's henchmen catch: sorry wealth was, and it was terrible for one's own fate
When logged in Kayrolda Kurumby, sat Ulbike confused and dejected. She vaguely felt Why did you come Kurumby. However, his fear is not granted, not bustled, without acting, uleschivaya intruders and adopted a defiant and impregnable view.
- Ulbike-Zheng, here we are looking for our loss - said One of the arrivals.
Yes, your searches will be prosperous,-said Ulbike.
In this case, open the chests.
No, we do not wait!
Well, the force!
Aulchane gathered, gathered at the door, looked with curiously, as if waiting for something. Ulbike sat knitting his brows gloomily.
- Come on, deverek, do not go to the chest.
- Give the key.
- Do not give!
Kayrolda powerful clenched fist and with one blow broke through the lid of the chest. Ulbike jumped. In the hands of it flashed a knife ...
* * *
There was the usual late November evening. The boxes houses flickered weakly light. Of the pipes if reluctantly streamed grayish smoke. Undisturbed silence hung over the aul.
Beren came out of the school, stood, admired winter evening. Mentally, she was still on only Komsomol meeting that took place. Before read the description of the closure of Kurumby, it wrote that Kurumby Komsomolets, activist, and that he wants to continue his studies. The youth of today said goodbye to him, and said farewell speech. Beren sat sad, pensive. Children felt her condition, and it did not fit. Walked only one bug-eyed Rahim, laughed and asked:
- Why are you upset, Beren?
- Leave it, please! - She waved.
And she had reason to become sad.
First, very suddenly thought up Kurumby go to school, and second, before the meeting, he went up to her with an embarrassed smile, said:
- Beren! Do not be angry. I have to tell you something say ... Let's talk after the meeting?
- Let's talk - Beren said.
What did want to talk Kurumby? .. She eagerly waiting for him, and something Kurumby delayed. "Of course - she thought - unless he gone, is not he rest until he write in his the presence of the protocol of the Komsomol meeting? I suppose you have started now with the never-ending dispute Abitayev because of some language. "
Thinking about Kurumbye, she vividly presented all happened lately. In a very short term aul was unrecognizable. It was moved to the new place. Wooden house bai Serzhan selected under school. However, the trouble with this house was a lot. It was necessary to disassemble, transport and assemble on new location. All this work led Kurumby. In the village created a gang. Zhaukia elected chairman. A tall, formidable, strong Zhaukia terrified by troublemakers that hindered live peacefully. His Foes scattered - in all directions. Even Yergali - and he disappeared from the out of sight.
Beren smiled, remembering it all. However smile immediately replaced by anxiety. For about a month, I got out of the hospital Erkinbek. He is now loitering in the aul, kept quiet, but no one knows what's on his mind. On the Komsomol meeting Beren It has got a voice, and the youth decided send bai nephew of the village. This is, perhaps, correctly. Serves him right ...
Beren sighed and walked slowly home alone. She was, I thought, and thought, digging, succeeded each other, and under they touch it then frowned, then smiled - this is when in the dark night of her previous life suddenly bright flashed bright lights of the future. School remained far behind.
Beren started, frozen in place. Front and rear flashed shadows, heard a rustling steps.
- Who is it?
Instead of answering, neck hair noose tightened Beren: Someone stuffed a handkerchief in her mouth ... At the end of 1928 was year.
* * *
•. . Dear Reader! If you remember, in the beginning our story is told of how on the banks of the ravine "He was killed black dog" rest of the women brigade haymakers. One of them, sitting on the sidelines, she wrote application to the district committee of the party. It was True. And then came in July 1935.
That night, when Kurumby went to school, the gang Erkinbek grabbed the faithful. How is it managed escape from the hands of murderers, what events followed this incident - all this is faithful in detail said in a statement. However, while it is still wrote it, and because the content of statements we 'll be back sometime in the next time ...
. Shaggy black clouds gradually dispelled has spread like a rastereblenny tuft of wool, and between them aggressively penetrated the sun's rays. One of the clouds, club, fell below squirted small little rain, and on the statement of faithful had dark spots. She paid no attention, continued to write, and suddenly involuntarily winced nearby udivlennty exclamation:
- Apyrmay not Kurumby Do?
True to herself did not notice that sprang up. Before her stood Kurumby!.,
The reader will recall, at the beginning of the story Kayrolda and his companion were driving through a ravine, <where he died black dog ", vainly fighting off the worried flies and horseflies. Here is the satellite was Kurumby
Like pushing a fluffy cloud, came out sun. In its rays raindrops turned into coral beads. Playful breeze blew, patted the grass, the notebook on the grass.
Faithful stood in the arms of Kurumby. Her face rolled down a drop - either tear, or the drops of rain ...
- I finished school? - She asked.
- And who are you now?
Beren wiped her eyes and smiled:
- I, too, had learned.
- At the teacher ...
Left out of the ravine Kayrolda. Trace horse was sideways, snorting. Near ekal horse. Sivaya his beard fluttering in the wind, people could not see.
- Oh, is not worthy to Zhaukia it?
- He - Beren said, clasping his hands on his shoulders Kurumby and staring into his eyes.
- Look, that night, when you left ... you want me something to say? .. But he did not say ...
- So maybe now I say? Or ... already too late? ..
- No, it is not too late ...
Their faces shone with joy. Both were so excited about meeting their hearts are beating for the whole world.
Kurumby went up to the upper reaches, and took his horse by the bridle and helped Zhaukia dismount. The old man, old Kazakh custom, not long released from Kurumby embrace. According sivoy his beard flowed with tears.
- I'm glad for you, my children! Must be fulfilled all of your Needs! My own dream has come true ...
Zhaukia, agitated, long looked at Kurumby.
- The collective farm is preparing to meet you. Big one will. But I'm not remained sitting ... hurried to see you first.
Zhaukia, looking back, smiling.
Somewhere near the mowers worked, sang, and their song - cheery, bright - soared to the sky, where dispersed clouds, with generous sun rays falls on the ground.