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Жүсіпбек Аймауытұлы

19 наурыз 2015 1064

Maylin Beimbet «In the jaws of death»

Негізгі тіл: В когтях смерти

Бастапқы авторы: Maylin Beimbet

Аударма авторы: not specified

Дата: 19 наурыз 2015

With the creation of guild “New Life” there did not take place any changes in the life of the aul. Just the man who had indentified himself as an authorized representative came in great hurry and gathered all inhabitants of the aul, made a report and then said: “Who wishes to join the collective farm – do it right now. I am sent to organize the people».

The whole aul came to the meeting; even wives had time to come. Because the matter was important and everybody worried about the same question: “What will happen with us?” However, nobody dared to object the authorized representative and they voted unanimously for the collective farm. Kalkai was put into the chair, Kudebek was chosen a secretary.

              The authorized representative boxed up the directorate’s decision and the list of new members into his brief case and went away homeward.

            It happened in November. And soon there started the period of meat provision for winter. In each house there bubbled up large cooking pots and there boiled slaughtered cattle in them. People started gluttonizing, making merry and going on visits. Somebody stirred up match-making and someone even married off his or her daughter. The life ran its natural course.

            But one day respectable Kadyrbergen informed:

-          There has come someone again. From the district, an authorized representative, he says. He wanted Kalkai. Present me, he says, the chairman of the collective farm. But as for Kalkai so he hit the road for merry-making in Danas’s aul.

            Aksakal’s anxiety infected others. 

-          Eh, if he is from the district and moreover an authorized representative so he will not go away so easily. He might dream the whole thing up, run off a large report about Kalkai.

            However, these fears did not pan out. The authorized representative just talked smiling to the people, spoke about the business, about the collective farm and about the duties of the collective farm direction.

-          Well, dear, - Kadyrbergen said kindly when he was seeing him off. – We will send word your instructions to the chairman and the secretary of the direction letter for letter. But now they go on one business around the auls.

            Having known about the authorized representative’s visit Kalkai felt to thinking; he was a quick-witted and sensible dzhigit. Only one thing was bad: he was illiterate. Being now forty years old he worked as a farmhand for a bai more than ten years long. Only last two-three years he just felt himself a human and began understanding what is good and what is bad. Besides, in the aul where he came with a visit people had also organized a collective farm, and it turned out that its chairman was an old Kalkai’s fellow. And as is wont he invited the guest to his place, gave an up-close look at all businesses and showed the direction. And no mistake: it was a quite decent place of business!

-          So we live. And what about you? – The chairman asked lastly.

            But Kalkai kept silent because in fact he did not have anything to share.

            … After his coming back Kalkai called a general meeting. There lived thirty-five families in Karachok and only three of them were not members of the collective farm. The rest entered for the collective farm young and old. More truly, they did not even enter for; they just lifted their hands as the authorized representative wished this. If to remember he wrote down some people exactly at that time but he took away the list and Kalkai had nothing. Only he knew that on that meeting he had been put in chair of the direction. And one more thing, the collective farm was titled “New Life”. And he knew for sure that Kudebek was his secretary. That was all. He had no more lead.

            People overcrowded the house. Two dzhigits Shake and Sartai freely reclined at ease on the place of honour. What to be ashamed of, at whom look round? There were no foreigners, the authorized representative was absent and the meeting was also held by stand up guys.

-          Well, let’s see! What business do you have here? – Shake started. The buzzing and conversations stopped at once.

-          Before to speak about the business I want to ask about the following, - Ershan said and dropped on his own knees. – Why does it happen every time – if we have a meeting it is always held in my house? Well, are there no other houses, I wonder?

-          You’d better, Ershan, keep head shut about your house. Let’s listen at first to what the collective farm will say, - Shusup noticed smiling malevolently. – Perhaps they want to tell us something important. And the times when it was possible to speak about one’s own house have passed. If the collective farm requires so you will part not only with your house but with your wife too!

            The people kept their ears open. Shake who was lying sidelong sat up and asked:

-          And what do you want to say with this?!

-          That is what you have heard! The people who have joined the collective farm are now crying bitter tears.

            The people looked perplexedly at one another: “What does it mean?” A black old woman who had fixed herself in a place at the stove started whispering frightenedly: “Astapyralla!”, “Heavens forbid, allah!”

-          Calm down! We know very well who halloos Shusup, - the chairman said. – But he tries in vain to mislead us. If we have decided to create a collective farm so our promise is infrangibly! Am I right?

-          It might be you who has decided. Is it so? The chief! – Shusup did not let it up. – I see, like fun that anybody except you wants to join a collective farm.

-          You, Shusup, don’t trouble the people! The people can say themselves. Say, have we voted for a collective farm? – The chairman asked.

            - Yes, we have, it was so… We have lifted our hands.

            The voices were reluctant, and there were not many of them – two-three people, not more.

            But step by step the people bucked up, started speaking and even began clamoring. Some of them have already visited the auls where a collective farm was created, the other have already seen something with their own eyes, however, nobody could say anything terrible about collective farms. And they did not already want to listen to Shusup. Then Kalkai asked again: will they organize a collective farm or not?

-          We will! – Shake said positively.

-          And how else can it be? – Arystan contributed him. – Where else can a poor man go if not to a collective farm?

-          Go it, go it! – Shusup cried underhandedly. – You will become rich here at once!

            When Kalkai was calling the meeting he still understood unclearly what he would say, what kinds of work he would plan, and now all the questions were solved as it were in themselves. When he heard Shusup’s shouts now he grew red then white and lastly he did not stand out.

-          Shusup, bite the tongue! – He cried. – Otherwise I will push away you from the meeting.

            But Shusup nailed him:

-          Eh! Be careful, dear!

-          And why must I be careful? All those missing are bai’s henchmen! Either sit silently or disappear!

-          And who has given you such a right?

-          And the fact that we are the direction, do you understand this? That we can make a report about you and even bring you to justice, do you understand this? – The secretary Kudebek noticed blazing with anger. He was not strong in laws but he knew that he had some power in his hands. 

            Now everybody caught fire. They remembered all Shusup’s sinns. They also mentioned his father. They appreciated equitably them all. And each time the scales weighted on behalf of Shusup’s meanness. It turned out that he was also from bais and biys. And up to now he still plays rumpy pumpy with bais. Shusup had to shut up against his will. 

            They made a bit of a noise, caroused some time and at last decided:

-          “New Life” will become a real collective farm! We wish our collective farm will have a real directorate that will be placed in Alim’s house!

            The fact that the decision of the meeting must be written down Kalkai remembered only when the people started breaking up. The respectable elders had to return half-way. They took a sheet of paper and found a pencil. Kudebek composed the decision. Under it everybody scrawled his or her signature. Ersheke did not know any letter in his life, that is why he ran over his thumb on the dirty kettle, put it to the decision and was lost himself in admiration for the wide dirty but exact fingerprint of his thumb. Next day they made an office of the collective farm direction in Alim’s house. Dzhigits of the aul brought a huge table from Adshigirey’s house, got a board and nailed to it table legs. There came out a bench. Kalkai and Kudebek cared about paper, ink and a pen. Somebody brought old newspapers “Enbekshi Kazakh”. They cut out from there the leaders’ portraits and hung them at once on the walls. Before they could say knife Alim’s house turned into the office. Cups, trays, bowls and buckets thrown about here and there – they placed this all in the corner at the door.

-          Hey, Kalkai, sit down here as it becomes the bosses! – Hasen said having sat down the chairman at the table in the middle. Kudebek got a place at the side.

-          What will we be doing now?

-          You are in better position to decide, - Hasen sighed.

-          If we have an office so we have to write. I think so, - Abish noticed.

-          Write! And write me down as the first one! – Ersheke moved up to the table…

            So began the first work day of the collective farm “New Life”. The history of the collective farm started with the fact that Ersheke was the first one who had been written down in the list.

            … There heard a crunch of a sledge and people’s sounds of talking from the street.

-          Who else is it there?

            The authorized representative came in.

-          Apyrmai, I see, you made it! Just as young dzhigits should act! – The authorized representative was glad.

            Since that time Alim’s house was never empty. People constantly crowded here, some papers were completed and the work was in full swing. Carts, horse harnesses, and the stock of the collective farm – everything was put down on the inventory. And nobody was afraid, did not object and hid nothing. From now on everything was both their own and common. People who registered were not any foreigners but their own directorate.

            But one time Hasen came up and thrust some paper in the Kalkai’s hand. Kalkai looked puzzly now at the paper then at gloomy Hasen. The paper was crumpled, there were some incomprehensible crawls written with a pencil.

-          What is this? Can you explain me clearly? – Kalkai demanded.

-          It is an application. My callet wants to divorce. Shusup has instigated her. I wish to hold Shusup for court.

            A round red-haired woman with blubbered eyes and pale from fury face resolutely took a step to the table.

            - Immediately return me my husband! – She said.

            - Eh, and who attempts him?

            - Nobody attempts, but just give me him back. Exclude him from your den. I do not agree to become a common woman.

            And she began crying.

            And everybody understood which way the cat had jumped. Kalkai was about to explain her calmly what and how, but the woman started crying even more. And there her greatly offended husband bust out.

-          You see, she is stupid! She is not able to understand anything! – Hasen shouted.

-          I will get divorced from her but I won’t leave the collective farm. And as for mean Shusup all the same I will hold him for court!

            Misfortune happened at night when the whole aul was already sleeping. Suddenly burning gleams began dancing in the dark windows of the huts. And somebody cried: “Fire! The office is burning!” All inhabitants of the aul gathered in a flash. The buckets started clunking. With the help of shovels people threw snow into the fire. Soon they managed to force down the flame, the fire went out but firebrands still continued to hiss for a long time, there floated black smoke and everything was in fumes. Only the inner porch burnt away.

-          What a miscreant has laid his hands on this?! – Old woman Zhiba asked wrathfully. – I wish his house would burn away!

-          Anyway he will not get away of the punishment. He will be paid in full! – Ersheke promised. He could not still recover breath.


            The people stood and looked into the spring sky. Black thickening clouds were curling in the sky and Ersheke was speaking smiling:

-          Ah, springtime, beautiful springtime! It indulges the soul!

-          Spring rain – godsend, - Shake replied him.

-          It is like gold!

            There were many people in the collective farm household. They prepared a general meeting. New ploughs stood in line, sowing machines lined up in a chain.

-          Kids, what a thing is it? I see it at the first time, - Shake asked smiling and touched a new plough with two ploughshares with his staff. All the members of the collective farm crowded right there. Hasen’s wife was also among them. Not too long ago she started crying after hearing only the word “collective farm” but now she was smiling from ear to ear.

-          I declare the general meeting of the collective farm “New Life” to be open, - Kalkai said.

            All took seats with decorum. Ersheke was chosen as a chairman of the meeting. Kudebek counted the gathered people and wrote with large letters “Protocol N14”.

            Kalkai was a reporter. And the first point of the business of the day was registered – the sowing plan.

-          The district has set for as a task to sow one hundred fifty hectares. But we have decided to sow two hundred. Do we have enough seeds and draught power?.. – He asked.

-          Very well!

-          If we have enough power so we will be able to do even more! – There heard approving voices.

-          The second question: to divide the collective farmers into units. The first unit – eight persons. The lead man is Hasen. The second unit – six persons. The lead man – Abish…

-          The third question: report.

-          And what is it?

-          A report means our promise to the District. Provement that we are ready for sowing.

            The chairman stood up and said loudly: “As for me so I think…” – and now everybody looked at him. It seemed that some women saw this grey blotchy face, these slant eyes and this huge catfish’s mouth of the secretary of the direction at the first time. Somebody might think to him or herself: “What a look this good egg has!”

            But the good egg was reading: “We, the members of the collective farm “New Life”, are reporting the district executive committee: having joined the collective farm we have combined the collective farm stock and our draught power, have cleaned and pretreated seeds. By now we have: 

1.      five ploughs, four harrows, twenty-five harnesses that are repaired and prepared;

2.      twenty-five pairs of bulls and horses that are chosen for sowing;

3.      we have created five units and appointed their lead men;

4.      in excess of the plan we commit ourselves additionally to sow five hectares.

            It will be our present by the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan...”.

            Ersheke did not wait for the end of the report and cried out:

-          Well done! You have thought it good out: “Our present by the tenth anniversary of Kazakhstan!” Kudebek, dear, write down into your paper one more thing: our respectable Ersheke, - yes, yes, write it down! – in spite of he has passed the sixty mark – denote it certainly, - for the strengthening of the collective farm joins eh… willingly … the very guild!

            From above from out the clouds there heard the first spring thunder. The meeting bust out in the collective farm household. Ever and again people clapped loudly their hands.

            In the sky it was already thundering in all its might. It was revoiced by the excited hubbub in the collective farm household. This hubbub and thunder ran into one another from time to time. They seemed to compete in their power.

-          Well, does it mean that we render such a decision? – Kalkai asked.

-          Yes! Yes!

-          Then tomorrow we will go with the ploughs to the field!

            And right here the first spring favored shower felt off on the ground. 



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