After two years of married life Kultay became a widow .Her housekeeping was small enough: a horse, a cow and a calf, a dugout, a summer shanty, an old wooden plow-harrow, and also different plain household belongings. When Kultay entered this house for the first time, she found out, that her husband had a brother, but, however, she had no any occasion to see her brother-in-law. Zhumabai had never come to even get acquainted with the young wife. And another thing was strange: her husband had never told about his brother. He seemed not to exist at all. Only in autumn, when it was necessary to take care of the meat for the winter, and besides the aulnay threatened, demanding to pay the tax, her husband went to Zhumabay, who worked on a farm for some rich man. Then he received payment instead of him, signed an agreement with the owner for one more year and returned home. And Kultay sometimes thought of her dumb brother-in-law: "He is either very kind, or just stupid."
Hunters to the young widow appeared to be quite enough .Birmaganbet was the first to begin courting her. Although he was married, but self-confidently believed that among the relatives of the deceased, he was the closest and the most prominent, and, therefore, he had chances with the widow undoubtedly. Mirza Azhigerey, whose wife died recently, had also an eye on her, and although he was a distant relative, but it was not without reason that one should only please the venerable aksakal Nurpeis - and all the rivals would immediately disappear. A cousin also joined the dispute.
Kultay, Abdol, publicly declared that he wouldn’t let anybody to turn his sister into a rag and the one who intended to get her would deal first of all with him. Nobody in the neighborhood thought about the fact, that somewhere there was Zhumabai, the brother of the deceased, who - according to Muslim canons - and should go to the widow ...
Abdol’s relations with Nurpeis can be defined among the Kazakhs in such a way: "Intestines weaved, giblets mixed up." If Nurpeis was a full-grown wolf, then Abdol - a wolf cub following his traces. Where Nurpeis would go, and Abdol would trot back. That is why he began to incite his little sister to marry Azhigerey - Mirza for sure.
- You’ll never be in trouble. Everything will be in your own hands: a host for yourself.
However Kultay answered:
- Apyrmay, but there is a man, after all who is not a stranger in this house...
- Oybay, don’t even mention him! - Abdol was alarmed.
- He's not your equal. You’ll never live with him!
Kultay talked to her neighbors about her brother-in-law Zhumabay, questioned, and they answered, that he had gone long ago. But upon the whole he was quiet and calm.
And then the more Abdol tried to persuade her sister to marry Mirza Azhigerey, the more persistently she refused.
However, even in her childhood she didn’t take into account his own opinion. Her own brother was studying in the city that time. He loved Kultay very much and taught her to read and write even in her childhood. In his absence, Abdol arranged a match for Kultay with some poor man and took the bride-price. Several years passed, and suddenly Abdol announced: "I changed my mind. Your fiancé is poor and he is in his late forties. He isn’t fit to be your husband. I’ll find somebody else." But Kultay’s brother was categorically against this - he had been studying yet." And why have you been deceiving the poor man for so many years? - He asked Abdol. –Why did you take the bride-price? "And he firmly advised his sister:" Marry your poor man. You are not the cattle to sell yourself to one man today, and to another tomorrow! "In such a way Kultay entered the poor man’s house a full hostess.
The fate of the young widow was the main topic of aul gossip. Grooms were adding every day. And then Kultay said firmly:
- I'll marry only my brother-in-law! - Barekelde! - Admired the old men and women. – Well done! She cherishes and honors her husband's family hearth.
- That woman won’t live with Zhumabay even a day, - said the luckless brides and annoyed matchmakers. Zhumabay was sent for.
- Let him come and marry the wife of the deceased brother.
But the bay didn’t let him go.
- He owes me, -the bay said. – I won’t let him go, until he works out everything.
And Zhumabai never came.
Kultay got angry with both miserly bay and helpless laborer, who himself is not a host, and she even thought in a fit of anger: “I up and marry someone of these out of spite!"
However, she only thought, but didn’t do anything. And not out of respect to her brother-in-law, but simply because she did not want to depend any more upon the aul bigwigs and his own cousin.
She thought of her own plan.
She went for Zhumabay herself. Her fiancé turned to be a reddish, grey-eyed, disheveled, with bushy eyebrows guy. He stood silently in front of her, he was very quiet, faint and meek. Kultay looked him over from head to toe, sighed furtively and went to the bye.
Their conversation turned out to be rather short.
- My husband died –Kultay told the bay. - I was left alone in the house. I ask to release my brother-in-law.
The Bai was confused. The widow was a red-cheeked young woman. Rich Mirzas usually like flies stick to such women, and the elders also strive not to give up such a catch. And suddenly, this widow, transgressing all the customs, arrives for her brother-in-law, this worthless gruel. And the bay was so amazed that let the laborer go without a word.
Bay’s s wife, however, has made a fuss:
- Ah! What mean thoughts have you got, - she said.
-You softened so much at the sight of a pretty-looking woman that easily released the laborer.
But be that as it may, Kultay married Zhumabay, and she began living as the majority of the poor. And all the rumors stopped immediately. Even envious, recently claiming that she had married this jerk just to cover up some sins, and they immediately fell silent .
After the revolution, Kultay’s brother, driving around auls, unexpectedly picked up to see them. The meeting was joyful .Her brother turned to be a communist, and he held high office in their places. Having gone, he left his sister a lot of books , and then began sending newspapers and magazines from everywhere. Now Kultay was constantly reading . Aul literate men, like Kasymzhan , came to her every single day.
- My dear daughter-in-law, give me a new newspaper .
Zhumabai, coming from work , as usual, flopped to rest on a bedding ,but Kultay having coped with the household chores, sat down to him.
- Are you tired, I suppose? Well, okay ,do you want me to read poems?
Zhumabai didn’t answer definitely, but only smiled good-naturedly. Kultay had quickly studied the habits of her husband and was not offended by his silence. But a neighbor, an old man Ibray, who was very fond of books and reading, always enjoyed listening to Kultay. However, he felt uneasy to enter in the absence of the owner. But only Zhumabay appeared and Kultay began reading, the venerable Ibeke dragged in, smiling embarrassedly, and after him neighboring boys tumbled.
- Hey, Maken, come here, listen to some poetry - they used to invite the neighbor, who had come to ask for the fire , and she, replied, smiling:
-But, I had already listened to everything. The host’s contemporary, Aktam, a wire-puller, a joker and humorist, especially frequently visited them. And being the host’s contemporary constantly made fun of the silent host. He flirted with Kultay.
- Oh, wait - he said more than once.
- When the election is held, I will certainly put you forward as an aulnay.
- No really, just leave me alone, - joked Kultay.
–After all, it isn’t enough ranks for you guys-men.
When the elections to the aulcouncil began, Aktam really introduced such a proposal. However, no one took him seriously. And someone said:
- It’s quite clear, why Aktam exerts his every effort ...
Only two people aimed at aul rulers at that time - Baygaska and Nurkozha. The auls were splitted up. Pre-election fuss started: plans and assumptions were made ,the odds were weighed up, the intrigues were afoot .The elections were held in the Russian village . The rival parties settled in its different ends. It soon became clear that the candidacy of Nurkozha was taking over. It was equivalent to death for Baygasky, to yield to his opponent in an open struggle. So he set out to trick.
-Let us choose daughter-in-law Kultay into a parish council. Let the eighth aul join us - he claimed.
Myrza Azhygerey was the recommender and the head of six voters of the eighth village. The rest were selected from the "unknown ",and Kultay got there. It was believed, which direction is chosen by the head, then the voters will obediently follow him .
Having learnt about Baygasky’s proposal, myrza Azhigerey laughed mockingly :
- Well, we haven’t sunk to put the woman at the head of us!
However, the other six representatives didn’t agree with him.
- Hey, why do you think so? –They objected to him . - Why should we refuse?
Then suddenly Aktam displayed his participation. He began to incite representatives surreptitiously:
- If myrza Azhigerey doesn’t agree , then let him go home. It is important that the rest are unanimous, then Kultay will become a parish head .
An elderly Dosakay was among the electors of the eighth village. Perhaps, he was the most influential in this group after Azhegerey.
- Listen to me, kids, - he said. - What shall we gain if we choose Nurkozha? What good has he done for us?.. If they vote for Kultay, will it be more reasonable for us to join? ..
After much consideration, the electors headed by Dosakay joined the Baygasky group. Thus, it was decided to elect Kultay as the chairman of the parish council and her vice - some of Baygasky’s henchmen Baygasky .
The main thing is to conduct voting, - the cleverest were talking about. –Still there won’t be any sense from the woman still. . So let us consider her to be the parish, but our own man will run the affairs.
And it happened so. Kultay became the parish head and her vice was a nimble Bekbosyn, who had studied at a Russian school in his time.
Kultay came to the office to accept the affairs, and the former parish Duisenbay drove off to their villages.
Hand over the affairs himself - he instructed his secretary .
Kultay’s vice – Bekbosyn, having received the affairs from the secretary, set to run the parish. People flocked to the office , but referred only to Bekbosyn and Kultay , bewildered and confused ,for two days on end was ever present lonely in the corner at the table. Bekbosyn seemed not to notice her. And people looked askance at her and smiled sarcastically, "Well, what a parish Allah granted us! "
Two days Kultay racked her brains: "What shall I do?" She was sorry that had implicated into this man's business .She also took up arms at Aktam in her thoughts, as he most of all had taken pains to promote her.
Suddenly some young man came to the parish, he asked Kultay, got acquainted. He seemed to be aware of everything that had happened here recently. Looking closer, the young man said that he wanted to talk to Kultay privately. She immediately pricked up her ears. "He must be a womanizer...Oh, look, he wanted to be alone! Though, the young man didn’t reveal any bad intentions. He turned to be the secretary of the district committee of the party.
- I came out of the city at night - he said. -Having learnt about your election. Your brother Smagul asked me to meet you and talk with you for sure.
Having heard her brother’s name, Kultay was almost at the edge of crying. After all, if Smagul had been here now with her, he would have helped her to settle down all the matters, would have explained what was happening ...
The secretary of the district committee had a long talk with the young woman. He advised her a lot of useful tips and promised to remember hereafter .Kultay returned back to the office confident and strong .She looked around .
The aul bigwigs and their henchmen surrounded Bekbosyn and were discussing loudly their numerous concerns and complaints .The former secretary of the parish was buzzing around Bekbosyn . Kultay called him and said sternly:
- Comrade secretary! Do the following: First, put down a separate table for me in this room. Second, send for Duisenbay. Let him come immediately and hand over the matters. Thirdly, since that time, do not let a single document without my signature! The secretary looked apologetically at Bekbosyn. "What does it mean?" - Was written on his face. Bekbosyn reddened slightly. After all, the matters had already been accepted! We are working already – he remarked cautiously.
- I didn’t charge you to take the affairs - she snapped.
-I won’t take Duysenbay’s sins personally. Do you think it is true? - She said it with coolness, and again ordered: - Call here the former parish immediately !
Bekbosyn lowered his head and stared at some piece of paper. Abdominous visitors who crowded in the office, looked at each other in bewilderment, not understanding, what head they should apply now.
-Well, I’ll be, Raha -Bekbosyn muttered, without looking at a visitor, who was sitting in front of him . – Call on me somehow later. On occasion, we'll do everything for you.
Kultay glanced at him with a smile, thinking: "You’ll do nothing, my dear, without my consent from now. "The news that Kultay became the parish ,was quickly spread all over the villages .It was interpreted in different ways .-That were Bekbosyn and Aktam, who promoted her only for the sake of laughing,-many people claimed.
Nobody, of course, supposed that Kultay was capable to lead the parish council , everyone was convinced that the reins would inevitably turn out to be in Bekbosyn’s hands.
-He’s a tenacious, smart horseman. He’ll turn everything immediately on his own.
- However, those who had hoped to arrange their affairs with the help of Bekbosyn, having come to the office, saw such a picture. A Young, pretty woman with a neat headdress was sitting at the chairman’s table, buried in paper. On the wall behind her there was a large portrait of Lenin. An elderly grey-haired secretary in glasses was handing in some documents, and she, having frowned, was crossing them out.
- How many times should I tell you that it will not pass, she frowns, - is it still not clear?
And the secretary cringes so, as if this sharp feather doesn’t go along the paper, but upon his own face. A man came with an application. Having stood, trampled down on the threshold, then put his hat under his arm and came up to the table. Kultay read his application, frowned and asked :
- So, does it turn out that your younger wife was stolen by your own farm laborer?
-Yes…That’s why I’m complaining. Entirely became insolent.
-How long had he been working for you?
-Oybay, don’t ask! From his very childhood. Consider, I brought him up, put him on his feet, and he…
-All right, go home,-Kultay said,-If your wife was stolen by a farm labor, then he fell in love with her and she did with him. If he stole something from your own belongings along the way, then he did it not free of charge: he had toiled for you quite enough. He still should have demanded by the trial everything in full, for the years of his work.
There was no way the offended husband could expect such. Such an expression appeared on his face, as if he was accidentally pricked by the awl. He quickly put on his hat and almost ran out on to the street.
Kultay’s unexpected promotion upset Zhumabay’s usual routine. He was left home alone and there was nobody to take care of him. Long - tongued women laughed and felt sorry for abandoned husband’s “misfortune’’.
Oh, poor thing, don’t become flustered, settle down your own life now. Your woman really has raised up so high.
Some aulnay came, reported:
-The parish is asking for you.
Zhumabay was offended, staring wide-eyed. Such a viper! He could have said simply:”Kultay’s asking” or ”Your woman’s asking to come. ”But no…”The parish is asking!..”
Zhumabay went. He saw the parish office-a big wooden house above the blue roof. He came up to the door, timidly peeped into the hole. Kultay’s sitting at the table, there is some paper and a feather in front of her. She’s dressed neatly, like in the city. The head of the seventh aulcouncil came in, a well-deserved and respectful horseman, and Kultay suddenly began attacking him violently:
-All this- is a lie!-she cries.-And your documents is a forgery!
She wanted to cry something else, but she saw her bewildered husband in a half-opened door.
-Hey, why are you standing there? Come in!-she said. Zhumabay, having pouted and frowned, entered the room. Kultay sat him down nearby, smiled.
-Well, how are you? You must be bored, starving home alone? After all, I was ordering you to come.
The head of the seventh aulcouncil, who after such an unpleasant talk with the strict parish was still catching his breath and perspiring, suddenly looked at Zhumabay enviously.
And, after all, beforehand he hadn’t favored him even a glance!