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Жүсіпбек Аймауытұлы

18 маусым 2014 1903

Mustafin Gabiden - The Eyewitness

Негізгі тіл: The Eyewitness

Бастапқы авторы: Mustafin Gabiden -

Аударма авторы: not specified

Дата: 18 маусым 2014

In this book I did my best truthfully to tell what I had seen and lived through over sixty years long. 

Among a great number of impressions, events, facts I tried to choose the most important ones both for myself and for that environment where I was growing and working. 

Any long life seems to be like ascension to the unattainable tops of Ala Tau. The longer you live, the higher you climb and you can easily sweep your eyes over everything what has left in the lowland and see your past as on the palm. 

At the height of my age I saw differently and reflected in a new light many things that had left in my past.    

I don’t know how to call this work, - memoirs, a story book about myself, recollections or somehow else. Let it decide some theorists of literature. The author’s aim is to tell how his own lay figure and his nation have been changed during the half of the century. 

Three books are in contemplation as envisioned. The first one shall tell about the prerevolutionary events and up to 1925, the second one – about the events before the Great Patriotic War and the third one – about past-war years up to our days.
If in his earlier works when the author addressed to the history he admitted some artistic fiction then in this book the author’s will is resigned to the facts. 
I have written the truth and only the truth.  
To the foreign lands.
The morning dawn was resurrecting slowly and pushed aside the heavy darkness of the night. The day spring enlivened the nature.

Six auls started moving at once disturbing the wide open spaces with camels’ roar, dogs’ barking and creak of the carts. The movement was spread, bright and noisy. It was difficult to discern in the morning twilight where its beginning and where its end was. Men were gloomy and women were in tears: the auls were migrating to the places where they had been never before and where another unknown tribes lived. 
Biy Mahambetshe was riding in front. He was a head, a leader of six auls. He said no word still to his two fellow travelers who were riding on the both sides. The chestnut palfrey softly waggled the horseman…
Having sighed heavily the old biy put some nasibay (a kind of non-smoking tobacco) under his tongue. One of the companions, a slim dzhigit with big eyes stretched his hand.  

-Abysh, - Mahambetshe said, - when are you going to stop scrounging?

-Do you grudge a pinch of nasibay? – Abysh rebuked. – How are you going to coup with the troubles of sixty families? 
Mahambetshe kept silent. Yellowish spittle stuck to his thick and breast long beard but he didn’t care about this. Being always active and self-collected person with sanguine face, now the biy looked very tired and pale. 
After keeping silent for some time he turned a little to Abysh and gave a nod:

-Yes, care about one family will make to give me a wet shirt and about sixty - all the more! We have left our native land; we can neither overwhelm nor put to bed with a shovel our grief… Zhunus informed us: “Russian people have taken your lands away but not us. Why are you going to migrate to the lands of Sikymbay’s tribe, push out your blood brothers as if there are little camping grounds in the endless world?” Zhunus is a blood sucker, he made the tribes of Karakesek, Kuandyk, Suyundik toe the line and now he thinks of setting against us the whole tribe of Sikymbay. For two years long we were fighting against the tsar and only under the hail of lead we retreated. And where do we have to go if Sikymbaiy’s tribe hunts us away from our own lands? Must we stroll around the world like Gypsies? No, we will fight up to the last man. We have enough courage.

-There are a great number of people in Sikymbay’s tribe. Will we stand the gaff?.. – Abysh said doubtingly but Mahambetshe interrupted him:

-Although there are a great number of them but their weapon is a club. Tsarism defeated us with guns. But if to fight with a club against club then we have to risk. Besides, having taken away our lands the tsar’s power will line up with us now. Other peoples must contribute us too. We are a reckless nation and one reckless man will withstand against ten faint ones. Like a fitchew I am ready to jump down the throat of the offender!
The biy fell into talk. He now amused then made sad his companions and when he lazily rose his long eyelashes up it seemed that his eyes struck his listeners to the marrow. People usually say about such ones like Mahambetshe: he tampers underfoot but he eludes the grasp. Even if he is dead all the same he will writhe himself free. 

-In the whole world I don’t have anything much loved as my chestnut. – He said. – I will present it to Zhunus. Besides, I am going to match one of his daughters for my Shaihy. Then, I think, he will calm down and sew up his mouth. But, alack, he will suck our blood by stealth like a vampire. 

-You are right! You have decided right! – Abysh cried sparkling with his big eyes. He flipped his white forehead black horse with the whip and after drawing level with the biy he took off his tymak (a kind of headwear). – Be your chestnut good as it is but it is just an animal. You have no case to pity it. Your stud horse will be generously repaid. Don’t afraid to ask in marriage too, we will gather a bride-price. If each of our sixty families gives just one head of cattle then gluttonous Zhunus will be sated. We want to live in peace. We mustn’t forget that we have winter close at hand. We don’t have any wintering place, neither products for people, nor food for our cattle. Our silent enemy winter will not listen to that we fought against Sikymbay’s tribe the whole summer long and it will send us to the skies. It is the major danger, biy. 
The second companion Kuttybay who was keeping silent up to now jumped into the conversation only now. To his innate name the life added some nicknames: Kuttybay-singer, Kuttybay-runaway, Kuttybay-son-in-law. He ran away from the tribe Suyundik and got married in the aul of Yelibay’s tribe. This persistent by the nature, tall man with white face had a lot of secrets that he told nobody about. Kuttybay was always cheerful. He cracked jokes, composed songs and sang well. In different claims, discussions and scandals he took to himself like a duck to water. When Abysh was the right hand of Mahambetshe then Kuttybay was the left one. All three men were agemates, that is why the custom let them have the equal rights. 

-Listen to me, my agemate! – Kuttybay started speaking loudly. – Allah didn’t make you tall enough but he gifted you enough cunning. You are right, let’s try to snare him. If Zhunus doesn’t fall into it then we will rely on our strength. Not only the tribes of Kuandyk, Suyundik, Karakesek are set against Zhunus but many others are too – Atygay, Karaaul, Kanzhygaly, Kerey. All three Kazakh zhuzhes cry bitterly because of his incursions but not only the middle one. Zhunus is a bloodthirsty vulture. Even if Allah has put him in his bosom I will act without a qualm and I will cut off his head. Let just Mekesh help me. This buster Abysh evokes just despair with his bleating.

-He-ey… Together with Mekschem everybody will become brave. He is a reckless dzhigit, a well-known horse-stealer in the region. Being husky, door-wide shoulders, with sparkling eyes and musky voice Mekesh is hardy and brave. Already for a long time tsar’s office holders have been hunting for him but by no means they cannot catch him. When stealing horses Mekesh always acts alone and is constantly armed with a club, a dagger, a Berdan rifle or a revolver. In spite of the fact that there appeared some Russian settlements in the neighbourhood Mekesh doesn’t want to migrate yet. I think that in the foreign lands our life will not sweeter. 
Mahambetshe was not afraid to migrate to the lands of a powerful tribe Sikymbay because on one hand he felt the support of Mekesh and other close tribes, and on the other hand  - he believed the tsar’s power. In his pocket he had a government’s act which informed that after the Stolypins reforms there would be built some Russian settlements in the steppe. 
Thinking about the words of his true advisers small gloomy Mahambetshe continued his way. 
A rider on a bony trotting light-brown horse was catching up the migration. At his elbow he had a club on a loop. 
- Mekesh! – Kuttybay cried suddenly out. 
Yesterday, when Yelibay’s auls hit the road and said goodbye with tears in the eyes to their habitual lands Mekesh didn’t have enough time to come and appeared just now. He rode at once to the head of the migration and according to tradition dismounted his horse and greeted the elder ones by the hand. Those ones stayed in their saddles. Mekesh had a heroic body-build, he was stately and handsome. Now tears were sparkling in his angry eyes. 

-Isn’t it better for us to die than suffer from shame alive, uncle? – He cried addressing to Mahambetshe.

Tears welled in the biy’s eyes. 

-it is the will of the white tsar, my dear, - he found excuses. 

-the tsar is not god, why must we obey him? If the tsar were fair he wouldn’t have drained so many people dry! Only coward persons can eat the dust. You don’t even try to resist on your native land. Follow me; I will lead you to Zhidelibaysyn. There are a lot of lands, many good people. There is a true paradise there!
Mahambetshe smiled slightly in return. Already for a long time people say about Zhidelibaysyn, the land of promise, where there were not any winters, where meadows were always green, where there were a lot of fruit and where there were no rulers. But nobody knew how to find this corner of paradise. Young Mekesh didn’t know too, but he believed and dreamt to find Zhidelibaysyn. 
They start speaking about Zhidelibaysyn trying to continue this pleasant dreaming as longer as it was possible. But the sun became warmer and warmer. Because of heat the dogs put out their tongues, they drooled like a rein and the bulls put to the cart also started looking for shade. The tabun that was riding nearby the migration stopped grassing. The horses didn’t stop waggling heads. The migration stopped in the valley of the river Kokbeck that was usually abounding in water in spring and almost dry in summer. People pitched quickly a tent and soon it was possible to see smoke of fires everywhere. Under the sun grass changed its colours like velvet. Everything alive had a rest and enjoyed itself. Just a little boy Sarybala was tirelessly hunting after a butterfly, he didn’t have any time for rest. The white butterfly sat on the grass as if it bantered: “Catch me”. But as soon as the boy stretched his hand the butterfly, playing and mockingly, soared and flew onto another place. Snuffling discontentedly with his nose in a sweat and with hope to catch the butterfly the boy ran again after it farther and farther along the bank of the river. 
Mahambetshe, Mekesh, Kuttybay and Abysh were continuing their sad conversation sitting on the front place in the ablaycha – a camp tilt cart. Biy’s wife with long face stirred up a storm yellow kumis. Her black like current eyes were thoughtful. The men had already had a light meal. The bright reddish bowl with kumis was half-empty. Pleasant smell of horse beef which was boiling in the black kettle outside the door filled the ablaycha. Stirring up the kumis the woman tried not to miss out anything from the men’s conversation. 

-Kuttybay, sing us a song, cheer us up, - she said when everybody stopped talking. – That’s enough, you have already talked to your harts’ desire, my ears are already tired. As for a sparrow, even it lives through the most severe winter. I don’t believe that the God created us weaker than a sparrow is. It is not for the first time when a Kazakh leaves habitual for him places. If we have survived during terrible jute we will survive now too. 
Kuttybay praised her:

-What a good woman, Zhamilia, is! You are our head biy! Mahambetshe precedes you only because he precedes you in his origin and because he is a man. 
I am pleased with your praise, Kuttybay. I wish your generation would grow in wealth. But people say that happiness can come not only to women but to fools too. And when it goes away it is impossible to catch it, neither lesser mortals nor the cleverest one can do this.  
-Ye-es, - Kuttybay pronounced meaningfully and started playing at the dombra an unknown melody. Having faced towards his native left lands he started singing:

Kara-Nura, everyone can see you from away 
You are dear from childhood and raven-black
I can’t believe that we must part again
My soul is full of a ghastly yearning.
Kozhar, Zhauyrmau – I see you 
Not for one time I there kept my eagle on the shoulder 
With the chain Aikay Shokay is hidden from my eyes
But it’s impossible to hide the motherland from eyes.  
Oh, my rich country – river full of “milk”
Dismay and grief preys on the nation’s mind
In the best souls the anger starts boiling 
Which is at the back of silence meanwhile.
The tsar has ordered… And being tsar’s obedient servants
We grind our teeth in our native land.
But the day of reckoning is close. We will come
And bring our requital here.                                     

Little by little there gathered some people around Kuttybay. The women started crying. The old men sighed heavily. 

- We were wrong when we refused from the settlements, - one of the aul inhabitants pronounced contritely. His pocked wife who was standing nearby pinched her cheek and mumbled:

- If a Kazakh stops migrating can he or she survive? If today you agree to live in a settlement tomorrow you will start crossing. 

- Stop it, I don’t need any foreign faith! 

- It is close here, - there heard Mekesh’s voice. – I’d better go to bathe than grieve. – He stood up, threw on his white chapan of camel’s felt with a velvet neckpiece. He wore the high-heeled boots of perfect leather with long wide bootlegs… Tymak of white astrakhan was tied around on top. Everybody looked at Mekesh. Walking slowly he went down to the river. Five-six young women were bathing there. They were splashing and laughing loudly. Having seen Mekesh, the women jumped out onto the bank and having caught their clothes ran away. And in vain: Mekesh himself turned in the other side from them. The brave dzhigit felt shy seeing women. The fact was that Mekesh’s wife whose name was Kadysh, slim and dark-haired, with eyes like a wild nanny goat has a daughter of a well-known strong man and wise cracker, for a wonder, wore the trousers in the family. Whenever she raised her voice and as sure as fait hot Mekesh became silent at once. Whenever she started laughing at something as sure as fait he repeated after her. People didn’t know what the power of delicate Kadysh lay in who had been able to overmaster such a tiger. Mekesh’s shyness in presence of women could be explained, perhaps, by Kadysh’s impact.
Having come away from the bathing women for enough far distance Mekesh stopped, pushed his dragger from out his bootleg and touched the edge with his finger. He examined carefully his Berdan rifle. The revolver with the lacing he took off from his shoulder and wrapped it into chapan. After stripping off his clothing he stroked his body for a long time, flexed his muscles and threw small pebbles into water. Then he lifted a boulder as large as a kettle, pulled socks up and threw it into the river. 
“Champion Sholak has lifted fifty-one two stones!” – Mekesh remembered, gave a nod with his head and jumped into the water. 
Sarybala who had run away after the butterfly returned back only now to the encampment. Two Russian riders were riding nearby him. They gave the boy a lump of bread and he was chewing it with a great pleasure. 
Having seen the riders Mekesh came out from the water and put quickly his clothes on. The Russian men came up, greeted and stretched him the hands. Suddenly Mekesh beat back the hands of the both ones. 

-At first you must pay for Aktentek’s blood! Stop these poor escapees! And only then I will say you “Hello!”! 
At those times Kazakhs and Russian newcomers made understood only with the help of some words: hello, champagne (kumis), marsha (woman), kursak is lost (hungry), tilt cart (house). Both newcomers and local inhabitants understood them. Kazakhs thought these words were Russian and Russian – Kazakhs. In fact, they didn’t belong either to these or to those ones, but everybody understood their meanings. The Russian men who had ridden to Mekesh didn’t know even these words. One of the riders, a grey-bearded man started speaking Russian:

-Dzhigit, I see, you are very indignant… I can understand your anger in spite of the fact that I don’t know your language. We do not accessory to Aktentek murder. We are strangers. Our huts are in Russia. We have come here to know about the life of local inhabitants… - Estonians live in Shokay, Germen – in Ksyl-Zhare, Ukrainians live in Karausek. Nobody of them has come here of his or her own will. The tsar has booted us out from our native lands and it was not easily to move for us. Our Motherland is our mother, who wants to part with his or her mother? Stolypin made suffer both you and us. We equally suffer from distress like you. What for us to be at enmity? A Kazakh thief steals the only horse of a back-settler, that is why everybody thinks that all Kazakhs are thieves. And when a guiltless Kazakh is caught by them they knock him block off and even kill. I don’t like this. Dzhigit, if you are a man, persuade your people. We will write a claim together and give it to his majesty. The tsar is merciful. He must release us from bitter tears and restrain Stolypin… 

- You are chattering too much. I have understood nothing, - Mekesh said in Kazakh language.

- Do you have any champagne? I am thirsty. 

- A-ah, do you want some kumis? And perhaps some meat too? What settlement are you from? Why have you stopped talking? Who of you, rascals, has murdered Aktentek, isn’t it you? – Mekesh dabbed the grey-bearded one with his finger in the breast. 

- Well, I see, he has understood nothing, - the grey-bearded one pronounced and started nodding for some reason. Mekesh took his nods for confession and having seized the grey-bearded one by the collar started strangling him. The second Russian man, a cobby fellow who was keeping silent up to now in stead of to break up, smashed silently his fist in Mekesh’s temple. Mekesh released the grey-bearded one, pulled out his dagger from out his bootleg and cut the man on his head. That one fell on the ground like an undercut poplar. With the second smash Mekesh struck down the grey-bearded one too. The horses sniffing broke for every which way. Bleeding like a pig the grey-bearded one tried to explain: 

- It’s pity that we haven’t understood each other, it’s so pity… We had to punish Stolypin for everything. I wish his Majesty would know… - And he stretched to Mekesh his hairy hand. For some whiles Mekesh stood at pause, and then he took his hand. Pity was stronger than his anger and he said with shivering voice:

- That one was ripe for but as for you so I have beat you in vain! Neither by your hand nor by your word you have touched me. I have punished you for nothing! I’m sorry! I am very angry because of Aktentek. – And having taken off his wide belt he bandaged the head of the wounded man.  
The whole aul came running like lava to the place of accident. The crowd closed round Mekesh. Hot, sorrowful words flew from the mouth of everybody: 

- Again misfortune to our heads!

- Damn you, Mekesh!

- Pest on you, Mekesh! It will turn out badly for us now!

- I wish his wife and children would die!
Mekesh didn’t listen to the damnations. Having dropped down he raised slightly the grey-bearded one and put his head on the knees. Then he sent the boy for kumis, gave the wounded to drink and addressed to Mahambetshe: 

- Why are you making noise? We cannot return what has already happened. Start migrating as sooner as possible. I will stay alone, put him on his legs and then bring him to Russians. Already for a long time I haven’t acknowledged the tsar. I take all sins upon myself. 
Bursting with anger Mahambetshe didn’t say any word, turned back and went to the aul. Having calmed down the rest of people followed him. There left only two persons at the river – Mekesh and the grey-bearded one.
And there heard cries and noise again – the auls bugged quickly out from their temporary encamping. 
Boy Sarybala went in an old creaky cart. He was looking back. It was everything wonderfully strange for him: Russians gave him some bread to eat but Mekesh… Blood, Russians – everything stood before the boy’s eyes. When he felt asleep he saw in his dream… now he was laughing loudly, then he was chewing and swallowing something but then he suddenly cried out and started weeping.

Zhunus’s Slaves    
Yelibay’s people didn’t live easily on Sikymbay’s lands. Bay Zhunus who was high-powered in this region pressed the newcomers on every side and didn’t let make even a step for ten days long. Then Mahambetshe brought a land-surveyor and a village constable and took a piece of land for himself. But Zhunus lifted off the whole Sikymbay’s tribe against Yelibay’s one. Mahambetshe was all abroad in earnest. He quickly sent some riders to the tribesmen. Thirty selected dzhigits with Mekesh in the head came in great hurry in reply. 
For three days long the hostile sides threatened each other but they didn’t decide to begin a murderous fight.
On the fourth day Mekesh couldn’t endure any more, mounted his horse and started riding in front of the formation of Sikymbay’s people alone, crying out:

- Hey, Sikymbay, who is out for blood, come out! Who is brave – come out to fight! If you are a man, Zhunus, come out alone! If you are a woman – go to bat for with your whole camping!..
No one of Sikymbay’s dzhigits decided for a duel.
After unsuccessful attempting to drive away Yelibay’s people Zhunus fell on his usual “business” – horse stealing and grabbing. 

The ground froze but there wasn’t any snow yet. The night was very quiet and the stars were sparkling brightly and thickly. Here one fell down, streaked the sky and popped out.
There was a wintering on the slope of the hill which consisted of five huts. In the smallest one there was only one room that was not big and low – it was possible to touch the ceiling with your head. In the middle there was a girder made of a curve pole. The walls were not patched. The black sward crumbled and fell off. It crawled with lice. There stood a bitter smell of wormwood that was shaken down on the floor with a thick layer. In the intervals between the rare ceiling poles there stuck out some grass which was black because of smoke. There poured some smoke from out the squatty stove into the room. The hand-made illumination lamp was flaring too and hardly lit the faces of three persons who were sitting on the front place. As soon as the door was opened or closed by somebody the dried mutton stomach that was strained on the window aria was struck loudly like a drum.    
The owner of the hut Mustafa –hajji, a brother of biy Mahambetshe, was about forty years old, dumpy, dusky man with marks of black smallpox on his face. He was an orphan child from the cradle. His poor aunt brought him up by a teat. For seventeen years long he had been pasturing the brother’s herd of horses and got for this a dozen of small cattle heads. When Mustafa was thirty-two he sold all his cattle and went to Mecca having left at home his wife Hadisha with two little children. 
Mustafa was a self-restrained, quiet and good-natured man although his hairy pocked face was always rugged. He spoke little but well and clever. He was afraid just of the god. He constantly dreamt about after-life. He said that everything was good with him in this world but he had just to adjust the matters in that one. All sixty families of Yelibay’s tribe knew Hajji Mustafa. Offended people came to just Mustafa-hajji with their claims. Especially in those cases when they were oppressed by Mahambetshe. Hajji personally couldn’t have any influence on biy. All his help lay in the fact that he addressed to the God with a prayer: “Go to bat for this poor man, present him something”. But the God always stayed deaf to his prayers and not for a one time Mustafa was going to leave this unjust, earthly world and die somewhere in Mecca or Medina.
Before the death a well-known bay Zholan, who had a great number of horses left as precept for Mustafa to go to Mecca once more and Mustafa was about to go. 

- How will we stay without you? – Hadisha started worrying and the children began crying. 

- Allah will help you. Gives Allah the day, he gives food too, - Mustafa answered. 
Now sitting on the front place he as usual impressed little Sarybala: 

- You must know that there is one god, the prophet is just and Koran is truthful! 

- There is one god, the prophet is just and Koran is truthful!

- Learn it by heart. Repeat it one hundred, one thousand times and remember!
His son was smart and grasped everything in a single flash. There was no need for him to repeat one hundred and one thousand times. But his father was strict and he checked:

- What descriptions does Allah have? What parts is 1shai divided into? 

- Allah has eight descriptions. You say that shai is divided in two parts. But Kutteke asserts that it can be divided both in two and four, and eight – in how many you want.

- Kuttybay, an old devil, he has joked at you. He meant tea that we usually drink. And I say about other thing – about the world. The world can be divided only in two parts: in alive and dead. 
In conclusion Hajji required the son to read the prayer. Having bent the heavy cast-iron kettle that was covered with a thick layer of soot the boy did ablution. He performed a night prayer according to all rules. The father laid his subha in front of him. 

- Let’s think that it is a decedent. Well, do prayer! 
The boy also performed right this father’s wish. Hajji kept silent having dropped his head. He closed his long eyelashes but it was clear that he wasn’t sleeping – he just fell to thinking. For today the study was over. It would be good to give the son 1aptiyek for reading, but his son couldn’t read yet. And hajji was not able to learn him. He himself had never visited a school and he couldn’t even sign. Nearby their wintering there was neither school, nor any teacher. The aul didn’t agree to hire him and hire by himself – it was beyond his means. What to teach the son now, hajji didn’t know. And worried Hadisha went on about her own thing: 

- Oh, my god! What for do you need Mecca? Are you going to leave in grief a liver because of dead Zholan? Our only mire was stolen. What will we eat? We must do something… You are sitting at home from dusk to dawn, do nothing and put ideas into the child’s head. I’m afraid that you will madden the boy.
Just as harsh smoke from the stove and the bitch lamp mantled with darkness their narrow housing so the Hadisha’s words obfuscated Mustafa. However, his self-command was firm. Having thought for some time Hajji said with a smile:

- There came many God’s fools from your family, and you, I see, were born unhappy. However you grieve the thief will never return the stolen things. And as for food – we will get it. Even an insect is able to get some food for it. What for to speak so much? Will the child become worse if he learns? He will be just cleverer. As for my pilgrimage so not only rich men are fated to see the God’s housing, the Mahomet’s grave. But for the seas on my way I would gladly go there on foot.   

- Listen to me, Amirbek, he himself is a real God’s fool! – Hadisha cried out addressing to the guest who was sitting nearby the owner. Amirbek started laughing but at once began coughing. After recovering his breath  he pronounced seriously: 

- I am afraid of this cough, hajji. As I am alive still, I would like to give you back your deposit.
He called “deposit” his four-year-old daughter – Bibizhan.
… Two years ago Amirbek with his aul inhabitants had gone for the distance of three hundred milestones to Akloma. His only camel had become emaciated; he personally had been always hungry and had been caught with a severe snow storm on his way back, in addition. Not many people returned back, many died on the way. But if somebody had come back home somehow, that one got frost-bitten much.
1Aptiyek – a part of Koran.   
Mustafa wasn’t afraid of that severe snow storm which drove to shelter everything alive. After hearing about that people had been caught with a snow storm, he went to look for them alone to the steppe wide like a sea. He found a frostbitten man whom he didn’t know and together with the camel brought him to his own place. That was Amirbek. For the whole month long hajji nursed the patient without demanding any payment for this. Amirbek didn’t know how to thank his saver and said before his departure:

- My saver, I will be your friend till my grave. Take my daughter. When she grows up marry her for your youngest son. You won’t need to pay any bride-price. It’s all how I can thank you for your good deed. 
A girl is the whole fortune for a family of a poor man. However, Amirbek didn’t begrudge his wealth. 
Mustafa thought it scorn to take wages for a good deed. He understood that it would not be easy to marry his two sons when they were at fool age. He knew many of poor men who couldn’t settle down to married life because they were not able to pay a bride-price. For two years long Mustafa didn’t give his agreement to Amirbek. He said neither “yes” nor “no” but now he replied:

- I haven’t justified my deed but you persist obstinately, Amirbek. If I take you will be glad. If I don’t take you will take offence. It’s better to satisfy each other than to offend. Well, when the days become longer we will come and take the bride. 

- Now I believe our friendship. Oh, my god, take my life before hajji’s one! – Amirbek cried out with emotion and started crying.
Noisily, being out of breath there ran a woman in the hut:

- The thief has been caught!

- Where?

- In the big hut…
1Shai - world  
Mahambetshe’s house people called the big hut.    
While Mustafa was standing up from his place even ill Amirbek had enough time to come to biy’s Mahambetshe house. 
Barefooted Sarybala ran there earlier than others and took place at the door-post sparkling with his grey eyes. There gathered all five families who were living in this wintering. There started coming people from the neighbouring auls. 
An unknown shake-rag was tied to the post in the middle of the room. Mahambetshe had a heavy whip in his hands. Biy was in anger, his wide nostrils were swelling, and his long beard was throbbing because of his angry snuffing. He was lashing the thief with his whip and after each lash he asked:

- Say the truth, who has stolen the grey mire of Mustafa?.. Say the truth, who has slaughtered the black three-year-old horse of Alimzhan?.. Who has stolen the Bahtybay’s red cow?..
The thief shivered with the whole his body after each lash but he was keeping silent. He didn’t cry, didn’t ask for mercy. He just clenched stronger his teeth. Because of lashes of the whip his shirt made of cheap cotton was fully torn. There appeared some blood on his back. The thief dropped down on the floor but he continued to keep silent. Mahambetshe didn’t stop lashing. 

- A beast! – Sarybala cried out shivering. – Kuitugan!
The boy remembered how two years ago a wolf had bitten to death a horse of uncle Kuntugan. Kuntugan had caught the wolf, whipped the hide off it that had been still alive and let it go. The wolf had made several steps and dropped dead on the ground. Now Mahambetshe looked like Kuntugan. 
Sarybala’s father came into the house. Not only nobody greeted hajji as usual but also nobody even stepped aside for giving him a way – everybody’s looks were nailed to the terrific spectacle. Mahambetshe went on lashing the thief reciting all lost cows and horses. For four-five months of life on the new place Sikymbay’s people had stolen about thirty heads of Yelibay’s cattle. Almost everybody who came now to Mahambetshe’s had come to harm because of thieves. That’s why nobody restrained the biy and didn’t try to criticize his fanaticism. 
After standing for a while or so Mustafa nipped into with decision, pushed aside the people who were standing close and dropped down on the thief having covered him with his body. 

- Stand up! Go away! – Mahambetshe started crying angrily and lashed hajji with his whip. Sarybala ran to his father with a cry. The whip whistled over him too but grey-bearded Aldabergen wrested it from Mahambetshe’s grasp with anger.

- Damn you! Devil! Even a mad dog doesn’t bite its kid! 
Mahambetshe obeyed with great difficulty. Aldabergen was his elder brother. According to the tradition the younger one wasn’t let to stand against the elder brother, father and any old man at all. 
There remained a purple print from the whip on Mustafa’s palm. Hiding his hand into a sleeve he started bringing Mahambetshe to reason:

- What for to kill this poor one? If you are strong then punish Zhunus. And that one, - Mustafa pointed onto the fellow who was lying without movement, - he is just at his back and call. Do you think if you kill one Zhunus will not find any change for him? Besides, you have to have pity to a living human. 
People say that kind words can make to slither even a snake out from its hole. The beaten blooded thief started speaking at last. Having stretched the hands to Mustafa he took his legs into his arms. The thief’s mousy eyes that were sparkling like mercury hadn’t spoken a word when the whip had been lashing his back but now he was crying bitterly and started speaking struggling words from out his throat:

- There has been found a human who has pitied Duiseke too, Allah be thanked! For twenty years I have been robbing for Zhunus. And now my back is broken. I have neither a wife nor any children. Neither house nor home. I have robbed much and earned for this a great deal of damnations… I always have more grief and sadness than hope. What for has the God created me if he hasn’t give me either home or children and made my life worse than a wolf has? 

- Unhappy! – Mustafa answered. – You say the truth but what about have you thought earlier? 

- If I don’t steal how can I survive? 

- We have already heard that you earned your living with thieving. Don’t compare contumacy with courage. 

- Hajjeke, you have saved me from death and given me a piece of advice which I didn’t get even from my father. Even if I have a dog’s life, but I have a human’s face and soul. I cannot hide any more… We have stolen your grey mire together with Serkebay. We brought it to Zhunus and slaughtered it for him. I will not hide anything from you any more. 

- I am not going to question you. Think for some time and decide yourself: can you risk with your life and keep silent before angry people? 
Duiseke didn’t know in what order and with what to begin his confession in thefts. He felt gimlet and expecting looks. It seemed that they pulled out, extracted his whole confession. Having sighed heavily he started reciting like a patient in a state of delirium:

- I have sold the Karakesek’s thieves a black three-year-old mire… The red cow is at Amanbek’s. The red one with white forehead is at Serkebay’s. The grey mire was slaughtered for Zhunus. My boots are made of the skin of the bay. I have cleaned Russian men out too, Zhunus ordered… And they have killed Aktentek in revenge.
Everybody was keeping silent. 
Anyway, Yelibay’s people knew that people from Sikymbay’s tribe stole their cattle but now they learned some details. Bay Zhunus inflamed animosity between Russians and Kazakhs because of Aktentek’s murder. There heard some groans and cries of indignation in the hut. According to the tradition of the steppe they couldn’t bring Zhunus to knees if they killed their own people with their own hands. He was revenging for a true believer. It was a lost cause to punish him according to the law: you will bust your chops until you compel any justice. 
What must a shy, gentle, hardly ecized aul do on the foreign lands? Everybody was thinking about this now, was asking him- or herself and didn’t find any answer, didn’t see any ending the deadlock.
Mahambetshe pronounced with a gloomy decision:

- Then I let you also steal! So it will be much fair. 
There heard the words of approval from all the sides:

- We will go to die for our own cattle!

- It’s your will. Nobody has put handcuffs on you!

- Oh, my god! Show me a man who will not be able to steal a horse!

- We also can disembowel sheep.

- And we can prowl about at nights too… 

- We wish the elder ones would give us a free hand…
Stroking the beard the biy with yellow teeth thrust proudly out his chest and was glad with the fact that he had blessed the aul for theft. 
Mustafa shook his head, stood up from his place and said already being at the very door:

- It is not a grief if you just revenge. But don’t do a habit from a shameful activity. I am afraid of this. – And he left the house.
The hot tribesmen forgot at once the hajji’s words.

It was a long autumn evening. It already rose beyond midnight when there opened the door and there heard an unknown voice:
- Good evening!
Everybody turned back, stopped talking and having made way for let the sudden newcomer from a foreign aul to go to the place of honour. It was dusky, lean hajji Abish with grey beard. Everybody greeted him by the hand up to Sarybala. One people helped him to take off his boots, the others – overclothes. After asking shortly about the health of each person Abish went on sitting for some time and then started speaking with a surprising inspiration:  

- Yelibay’s and Sikymbay’s tribes have their origin from Begaidar. When there appears a split between the relatives the enemy pushes a salient in it but the friend immures it. I have come as a friend. My father is Katyrash, Zhunus’s father is Batyrash. We are cousins with them. All of you know that Zhunus has stolen Katyrash’s daughter and brought thereby the shame for the whole Sikymbay’s tribe. Now you can think: “What a wretch! Whom for do you take up the cudgels?” But all the same I would like to say: have mercy to this guilty person, have mercy. I have come to ask for a human but not for a camel. My please is just an insignificant mouse the skin of which doesn’t suit even for sewing a skullcap. I will not have even a cap as the result of these troubles. I will just seal the wound. Your father Kadyr has accommodated the dispute because of the killed batyr just with the help of two words. I have come with a hope that you will understand me and release the thief. Don’t tease Zhunus. We rarely go along the road of the truth. For us it is grassed over. But in return we often run along the path of theft and meanness and it has become wide. We are living in hard times. Your people are quiet but they are surrounded by the great deal of wolves. You have to see after their hardened leader. Mind and cunning are able to tame a tiger. 
Everybody was sitting quietly, without any movement and tried not to miss any word.
When the guest stopped talking silence fell for a long time in the yourt. At last Mahambetshe gave a slight nod and replied with a sigh:

- He-e-eh, Abish-hajji, you look like a one-year-old nanny goat! What for are your beautiful words if they are not able to untie the loop on our necks? What is the reason for us from our nobility and from the fact if I release the thief? Tell at first: Have you come because of your own decision or Zhunus has sent you? 

- I don’t want to lie. Zhunus has sent me. But not for Zhunus’s sake I have come to your place. I have done it for the sake of peace. If you are not touched by my words and by my high-minded intention then I will go away, so it goes. 
Mahambetshe fell to thinking. He extracted just two words from among all what had been said by Abish: “Zhunus has sent”. Till this time in the fights with Yelibay’s people bay Zhunus had been twice defeated, but he didn’t send any couriers. 
The Duiseke capture became the third defeat of Zhunus. 
“If he has sent a mediator it means that he has admitted his powerlessness”, - Mahambetshe thought. 
Abish gave him a wink and nodded in the direction of the exit – it meant, let’s speak face to face. Mahambetshe stood up.

- Listen to me, Mahambetshe, - Abish began when they came out. – As for relationship so I am close to Zhunus but as for living and courage so – to you. People say, you live and learn from those you live with. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Return me Duiseke. I will let you down neither before the God nor before the tribe. You and Zhunus I will make marriage brokers. Between friends all is common. Any agreement is firmer than a stone wall. 

- And what about Zhunus? Will he agree for peace? 

- When an oak bends it usually breaks. Would he address to me if he hasn’t broken? Earlier he also saw Abish but he didn’t send, was keeping silent.

- Well, only for the sake of neighbourhood I give you this wolfling, but let’s try to spread nets on the paths of this hardened leader. 
Mahambetshe released the thief. Abish-hajji led him out at once and making delay not for a minute they went away. Everybody who was sitting in the room looked at each other in surprise. A big-eyed man, Mahambetshe’s agemate, rose on his knees and lashed his whip against the floor. 

- Oibay-au! We are not people, are we? Why haven’t you advised with us, Mahambetshe?

- You have made a slip, Mahambetshe, made a slip! – Kuttybay didn’t approve his actions. 

- Stop, that’s enough! I understand not worse than you, where the use and where the reputation is! – Mahambetshe bent his brows.
It became silent. The successor of well-known Kydyr, Mahambetshe was a strict biy. Nobody dared to contradict him. 
When people started coming away one of the elders mumbled:

- People quarrel but biys live on. 
Sarybala was sleeping having lent against the door. Amirbek awoke him and led him by the hand. The boy repeated half-sleeping 

- Here… Abish-hajji… Mahambetshe… 

Most of all in the world Sarybala loved a horse and a fairy tale. He wasn’t one year old yet when his father sat first time the son in front of him on the horse’s back. When he was two Sarybala already sat alone in a tied kid’s saddle and the father led the horse in reins. When he was five he himself already held the reins. But the family had a horse not for a long time. Horses disappeared in the household since Mustafa had sold almost all the cattle to collect some money for a long way to Mecca. The boy constantly whined demanding a horse during the daytime and a fairy tale in the evening. Mustafa satisfied neither this nor that please of his son. It was told about prophet Mahomet already long ago, about Shariat – too and the only grey dock-tailed horse was always occupied.  
Sarybala tried not to miss an opportunity and ride on a guest’s horse. And if a guest was going to stay overnight then the curious boy persuaded him to tell fairy tales up to the morning. He remembered fairy tales well and retold them to his agemates.   
The boy liked far away trips too. Every time when the father was going to a trip he couldn’t get out of the son’s face, abused, beat him and somehow get rid of the boy. The boy stared long after him with grief…
Today the father pitied the son and took Sarybala along. They went to a Russian settlement to an old Mustafa’s friend – Fyodor. The boy was surprised at the friendship of such a religious hajji with a Russian man. Fyodor met friendly the guests, led them into his house and escaped somewhere in a minute.

- How do people become friends, aga? – Sarybala asked when they stayed alone. 
People often say “aga” instead of “father” in auls. 

- In different ways. For example, at first you present something then something is presented for you. But our friendship with Fyodor started in some different way. – Mustafa answered and closed his legs. – Then you were just one year old. We lived in Shokai. Once in autumn I herded horses in the steppe. I saw somebody appeared far away. The person was walking very slowly. From time to time he sat down for rest, I thought… He sat more than walked. I rode towards him and saw a lean stack of bones. His beard was grown long, his hair was tumbled, and his eyes were festering. His clothes were worn at all, just raggery. From out his boot there stuck out a blooded toe. He had a piece of stale bread in his bosom that was as large as a fist. He was hungry. From time to time he repeated just one word: “Japan”. I understood that he was a soldier who was returning from the Japan war. I pitied him very much in spite of the fact that we had different faiths. “You will not be able to get home in such a condition”, - I said, sat the soldier on my horse and supporting him brought the man to my yourt. It was Fyodor. I fed him for a week and then took to Russians. Not all Russians and not all Kazakhs are alike, my son. There are bad and good among these and among those ones. You shall distinguish them. Fyodor has a good soul. He hasn’t forgotten me, always remembered me to and invited to his place. And today we have come at last and, you see, he went to cut a sheep. He wants to treat us according to our tradition. 
Being glad with his friend Mustafa was talking long about him. At the table the son and the father were sitting two together and Fyodor was doing something in the yard. Just yesterday his wife had born a child but already today she milked a cow having bandaged her tummy with a shawl. Sarybala asked in surprise:

- Why don’t they sit with us together?

- They don’t have any time for this, they have much work.

- And why don’t their neighbours come? If a guest comes at our place the whole aul gathers. 

- They don’t have the same traditions as we have. Everybody works. Fyodor doesn’t spend his time in vain, even if a guest of honour comes. His bread has ripened. It can go bad if not to gather it in time. Fyodor apologized to me and explained everything. That’s why he lives rich because he works much. If a Kazakh learnt to work like Russians our life would be much better.  
Fyodor appeared at the threshold. He was holding two full sacks on each side. He put them aside, dried up sweat from his forehead, pulled out tobacco, rolled a thick cigarette and breathing out smoke gave a nod in the direction of the sacks. 

- Well, in one - flour, it is payment for the skins and the second one is a present for you.

- Thank you, Fyodor, I wish the God would help you.

- I would like to give you an advice, can I?

- Of course, you can, even two.

- I could give you three ones but I am not so clever. I have sold your skins but it was very difficult to do. A salesman presses goods upon but a buyer refuses to buy. The winter in this year clamped Kazakhs down much. People gave the whole sheep for a small stack of straw, a yearling – also for a small stack of straw. People ask to feed two heifers and say: let one for yourself. Both wheat grows here well and meadows are good, there’s much straw here and there are a great number of lands, as much as you like. In stead of buying from Russians Kazakhs themselves can plough and sow. But it’s a strange thing, they don’t want. 

- There are two causes for this: we don’t have any tools and skills. People say – an unskilled person will drop out from his or her own mouth but a quick one will tear out from a lion’s chaps. 

- Ah, Mustafa, Mustafa! – Fyodor admiringly replied. - Far be it for me to explain you. I wonder, why do you live in misery having such a mind?

- It’s better to be honest than rich. The life in this world is short and each lives in his or her own way. But people should think about after-life too. I would go there already long ago but for the fact that suicide is a heavy sin. 

- Our priests also like to say about after-life. But they are ready to change a golden house in the paradise for a hut if only to stay longer in this world. 

- They are like some our mullahs, - Mustafa started laughing.

- I teach you to do the housekeeping and you push me for sinful speeches. – Fyodor started laughing too. 
When the guests were about to go away Fyodor endorsed the camel with the sacks full of flour and sat Sarybala in the middle. Having sat on the grey short-tailed one Mustafa led the cried camel in the reins along the street of a small settlement. He curiously looked at everything around. It seemed that only yesterday those poor, lean men had moved there but how well they already settled! Among the huts here and there stood brick houses. Russian horses were weak but people had interbred them with a local enduring breed. Kazakhs who had looked at Russians fearfully and incredulously now communicated freely, changed skins for bread; others changed their horses with each other too. Men worked and traded wisely but Kazakhs didn’t work and wasted everything they had. Mustafa remembered how one Kazakh had changed astrakhan. He tried to thrust every man into hands a hardened shrunken red astrakhan with the words: “Take it for five pounds of flour” – but then he advised in Kazakh language: “Spray it with some milk a little and it will spread out at once”.
Men didn’t buy it. What a fool, why didn’t he himself spray it with some milk? In such a condition this beautiful astrakhan didn’t cost even a kopek. Not to sell his product this poor one dragged home mumbling under his nose: “This Russians understand nothing”.
But Russians accustomed well on this land. Nobody made hay in the wide valley Kara-Nura before. People used water only for cattle. But Russians built some water mills along the river and made hay not only in the lowlands but also on the hills. There appeared haystacks everywhere; the plowed virgin lands became black. Being indifferent to agriculture Mustafa looked around with interest. 
Never before his native lands caused a sensation of such warmth, tenderness and at the same time pity to himself. 

- There is no reason to pity us! – He pronounced. – We ourselves have refused to build settlements and continue to migrate. However, Russians live on the same place and don’t hunger. It is left for us just to envy. “Envy shoots at others and wounds herself”.
Sarybala also looked around with interest and cried out from time to time:

- Uncle, what are those green balls that are lying at the road?

- These are water-melons, my son.

- And those yellow ones, which are oblong?

- Melons, my son.

- What for are they?

- People eat them.

- Are they sweet?

- Sweet.

- Get one for me.

- They have an owner. It’s no good without a permit. Besides, they are unripe yet. You can get ill. 

- Why don’t they grow at our places?

- If we start sowing them they will grow.

- Why don’t we sow them?

- Our people can’t do this. Besides, they don’t want. Such ones are not ashamed to beg. Behave never like such people, my dear. To beg something means to sell your conscience. It’s better to die than live without conscience. It’s better to have an empty purse than unclean soul. 
Soon they met pigman Baimagambet. Having got excitingly wide-eyed and forgotten to greet he started crying at once:

- Dear hajji, it’s so good that I have met you! Kazakhs beat me because I hired out to herd Russians’ pigs. And now the whole Poor aul is going to get Russian religion. Go there as quickly as possible! Stop this troublemaker, Tuleybay! And I have to hurry to my pigs. Wolves hunt after them. I am afraid they can tear them out. 
And Baimagambet went on riding. Mustafa looked after him in surprise. “What has this bubbler spoken about? Should I believe or not?”
He decided to ride to the Poor aul that had got this nickname because of its poorness long ago. It got an appropriate nickname but since dzhigit Tuleybay had grown up there people started being afraid of the Poor aul. In the face of the day Tuleybay had stolen fifty horses of menacing like a dragon bai Nurlan who was a volost’s ruler. Tuleybay hadn’t returned the horses and compensated them with nothing. All tribes around learned about such impudence.  
Mustafa dismounted his horse at Tuleybay’s house who was his agemate and a remote relative. Tuleybay was sitting in the yourt among many people and telling loudly and hotly about something. Having seen Mustafa he jumped up and went towards. 

- Come in! – Tuleybay cried out and embraced the guest. – Friend of the Poor aul, enemy for evil, rich for mind, poor for cattle, my strict judge, are you healthy? Does anybody know about your values? But I learnt when I had been sitting in the pit. There is no a devil who can part us. I wish our friendship would ever live!

- Stop, take a rest for some time, - Mustafa said.
Everybody started laughing.
There was a time when Tuleybay had fallen in love with Ahmet’s wife. Ahmet was one of his relatives. And he had taken away her in an unknown direction. People had been looking for the escapees for a long time. At last they had found them, tied the both up and brought to Ahmet. Being blind with hart burn and revenge Ahmet dug up a deep hole, sat Tuleybay there and put his yourt over it. He tortured the prisoner as he wanted and couldn’t be sated with revenge. For that time Tuleybay committed an inexcusable misdemeanor. According to the Kazakhs’ traditions it was forbidden to steal not only a married woman but even got married a widow from the tribe. Nobody came Tuleybay to the rescue. When he asked for some water Ahmet added some salt water in it. Once Mustafa learned about this and Tuleybay disappeared from the hole. People were looking for him and looking but all the same they didn’t find him. There was a gossip that he was sitting in Akmolinskiy prison but soon people forgot about him at all. It passed some time and Tuleybay settled in the Poor aul. 
Now Tuleybay was already in years. He was of a medium height, plumpish, with a black beard, dusky, full of energy and sharp-tongued. He was always in motion as if some invisible power made him rush somewhere. He now rose on his knees and then sat down on his heels having tucked his legs under one – never a dull moment. His speech was flying like a mountain river. His penetrating eyes were constantly looking for something. He questioned Mustafa about the people of his aul, about the new migration, about his life and then turned to a grey-bearded Russian who was sitting on the place of honour and said:

- Zhunus and Mekesh are at enmity in vain. They are only one step removed from hungry wolves. I don’t like this argy-bargy among Kazakhs, between Russians and Kazakhs because of land and cattle. What for do people need cattle and land if they don’t bring any happiness? What a poor man used the offspring of his land? I am not afraid of any gossip, Dmitry. Let people say that I am a thief, a swindler and a troublemaker. You cannot cover each sprout with a kerchief, let them bubble. I give my son to your hands. Teach him Russian, impart him your knowledge. Just don’t habituate him to vodka! 
Dmitry started laughing loudly. Mustafa recognized in him the grey-bearded Russian whom Mekesh had beaten with his dagger last year not having made head of. Now Dmitry was a teacher in a Russian settlement and learned already well Kazakh language. 
Dmitry was touched by Tuleybay’s credit. 

- I dream to teach the youth to be in good relationships. – He answered. – Theft, violence, enmity between Russians and Kazakhs – this all happens because of ignorance. No skill can be developed in a late-blooming dark area. We need the light of knowledge. In darkness a human cannot go, if you are blind you cannot go far… I will try to bring up a worthy man from your son. For me it is an affair of honour. 
Having shaken Dmitry’s hand Tuleybay pronounced:

- When the time comes I will worthily thank you. Just lick my son into shape. My tribesmen don’t want to give their children to learn in Russian manner. They are afraid that they can become peasants. I wish my son would open them eyes when he returns. 
Dmitry was going away. The mother kissed the five-years-old boy with inward slant of the eyes and shed tears. The father raised his voice:

- Stop it! Don’t upset him with your tears! My son, come up to me! Will you miss us?

- Of, course.

- It doesn’t matter, we will visit you. But if you learn badly we won’t go to you at all.

- I will learn well.

- If you say about something you must do this, my goody-goody. Have you understood? 

- Yes, I have.
Having sat the child in the cart Dmitry went away. The whole aul watched them go. The gossip that Tuleybay decided to cross his son in the other faith flew around the local tribes. Tuleybay gave it up and didn’t find excuses. 
He led Mustafa to a half-constructed brick house and explained: 

- Here will be a school. We build it for the costs of the whole aul. Here children will learn in a new light. The things which they earlier were learning during a year now they will study them for a month. We have a teacher, I have agreed with one Tatar… 

Then he led the guest to the lake in middle of the aul.

- Bad water will become good. We will plant trees around. We will start fish-farming. We will sail boats… I have seen a school near Akmola. I want to build here the same one and over there, - Tuleybay pointed aside on the aul, - we will dig up a bid water gang in order the cattle of wandering Kazakhs not to trample our sowings. 
They came up to the water gang. The only dzhigit was working at a depth of a human height. Mustafa thought that Kazakhs were lazy. They didn’t want even to make deeper their wells as was right and proper. But here it was dug up so much ground! 

Having seen his surprising Tuleybay asked:

- And what does your Shariat say about my affairs? Bay Nurlan robs his people all his life long. I have taken away a part of his pillage and given it to people. If it is not enough I will take away by big-bellied ones some more. If I am living the whole aul will be living. 

It took some time before Mustafa replied. Minding his steps he smiled. His mind approved Tuleybay’s affairs but the Shariat prescribed another one. Mustafa answered ambiguously:

- The god has seven paradises in the Heavens. According to the legend adherent of a different faith Shaddat has built his own paradise on the Earth and the God admitted it as the eighth one. And took it to the Heavens… 

- It means that my school is useful too! I wish the God would not take us to the Heavens and let us live on the Earth for the time being! – Tuleybay started laughing. 

The stories of experienced Tuleybay were endless. He had as many thoughts as hopes. When he was in hiding he travelled about the whole Saryarka, was in Karaganda, Spasska, Karkarali, in Bayan, Kereku, Akmola, Atbasara, Kokchetava. He saw how people lived. 

- We won’t have any good life without learning and settled lifestyle. That’s enough to migrate. We have to start living on the same place, - he was speaking with conviction. 
The sun drooped. Mustafa moved to the yourt, accepted the treatment and continued his way.
Measured steps of the camel were drowsy for the boy. From time to time he opened his eyes and addressed to his father:

- Aga!

- What, my dear?

- Russian boys will not beat Tuleybay’s son, will they?

- No, they will not allow beating. 

- In such a case take me to learn in Russian manner too.

- Stick out a bit longer. At first you should learn in Islamic manner.

- I know already in Islamic manner. I want to know in Russian.
The father answered nothing. The son was waiting and waiting but dozed off in some time… 

The children were sitting in the yourt in a row from the front place up to the very door and everybody was reading in a singing voice. They came here before the sunrise and now it was midday and hot. Everything alive was looking for a shadow and water. But the children were sitting and didn’t stop reading not for a minute. In the morning their voices sounded jollier and more agreeable but now there hear a tired, husky and disorderly mumbling.

Mullah Zhaksybek was crying from the front place:

- Louder!

The mumbling quickened a little but soon quieted down again. Mullah cried out again… There was no table in the room. Children sat on the floor, on their knees. Only few ones had an underlay under their legs, the most plonked themselves down on the ground floor. Their legs became numb but they were not allowed unbending. They were not allowed coming out for their needs without a permission. They had to beg permission by the mullah having stand in front of him with palms shut together. The children were of different age that is why they learnt by rote by different books hindering each other. One children didn’t learn even the ABC yet, other ones already read aptiyek and Koran. Mullah Zhaksybek was their teacher. He didn’t take off his white turban from the head yet which he had wound around for the Morning Prayer.

1Uyki – bent poles to which the railing of the yourt is mounted. 
However, the mullah personally was more terrible than wigs and than a thick strange book with yellowed pages. He didn’t hold the book in his hands. It lay in front of him on a book-holder. Children never heard any kind word from the mullah, never saw a smile on his strict face and shivered in his presence like in the presence of a constricting snake.                                                               
In the middle of the yourt there stood a handy mill. Next to it there was a small bowl with some wheat. Two at a time children were winding up the millstone and Zhaksybek was checking over the process of grinding. Here he lifted the rod and lashed Samet once more.

- Grind it finer, ket! How many times must I say it to you? 
Samet was older than others and he was a lazy-bone. He was sick and tired of grinding and he started coarse grinding instead of fine one. But the shrewd mullah made him regrind. 
Zhaksybek’s rod whistled in the air and the children started mumbling louder. But their weariness took its course and the voices started quieting. Meiram started even dreaming. He let drop the aptiek from out his hands and the pages flew apart. Abilkasen and Suleiman started quarrelling because of a hand-made pen. The mullah gave a flogging all three ones. His angry eyes were boring each one. Exactly in the same manner Mahambetshe had been looking at the caught thief. The mullah didn’t have even a mark of love to his pupils. And the children also didn’t have even a scruple of respect to their tutor. The one just threatened, the others were afraid. With angry voice the mullah called Mahambetshe’s son Bilal and Sarybala. They learnt the same. When Zhaksybek was providing loudly and monotonically a lesson his vines were swelling with strain. He required the same efforts from his pupils: 

- The sin for murder of one cat is equal to the sin for murder of sixty prophets. Repeat it!
Sarybala fluently repeated and asked:

- If a cat costs twenty kopek then it means that the price for a prophet is less than half kopek, am I right?
The tutor took the boy by his ear, bitterly bent his head to the ground and started lashing him with the rod against his back like the devil.   

- Wretch! Who doesn’t believe the book that one doesn’t believe the god. Who doesn’t believe the Allah that one is an adherent of a different faith! Go away, the rest of your punishment you will get from your father!
Being more dead than alive Sarybala came home. 

- It doesn’t matter, my son, doesn’t matter, - the mother calmed him down. – That place where the mullah has beaten you will not burn in the hell. 
However, when she saw the purple prints of the rod on the back of her son tears rolled from out her eyes. She broke off a big lump of the only scone which was left for the guests and gave some red cheese and thick sour milk in addition. The boy became jollier. He stopped crying. He told that he had not been guilty at all. These were the book and the god who mixed everything up. Last winter Mustafa tried to strangle a cat-thief. The boy went to bat for it. Mustafa found excuses: 

- According to the Shariat a cat costs twenty kopek. If it has done harm for a sum more than it costs then you can kill it. It has eaten almost the half of butter. 
The father had one Shariat, the mullah – another one. The boy didn’t know whom to believe and asked the mullah the question.
After eating himself fill and having taken asykis Sarybala ran out from the house. Having reached the hollow behind the aul he broke into a run at full tilt. From time to time he looked around and checked whether the mullah was following him. Boys were afraid of the mullah and played asykis rather far off the aul. If the mullah saw they couldn’t escape his rod. “Asyki game leads to evil, playing with a ball drives to tears”, - he impressed his pupils every time. 
Five-six boys were already playing asykis. Syzdyk threw best of all. His clever hit gave the others palpitations. Sarybala entered the game at once. He threw for two times and muffed. Not imitating Syzdyk he threw asykis for the third time in his own way and scored a hit. It was the first time when he won a lot of asykis but when he was banking his gain Samet ran out from the ravine and in a blink took away all Sarybala’s asykis and showed five fingers keeping silent, - it meant that he required five asykis for himself. It was no use to fight with him. Samet was already sixteen. Sarybala showed one finger. Samet didn’t agree and showed two fingers. Finally they agreed for three and Samet gave Sarybala his asykis. Samet couldn’t play. He always lost and quarreled, threatened if nobody agreed with him. Having motioned Sarybala with his index finger aside he whispered him:

- The mullah lashes me every day, but for me it is like a bite of a fly. And you are ready to die after just one lash. If you give me ten asykis in addition I will teach you how to save from his rod. 

- Take them!
After counting the asykis and having put them into his pocket Samet advised:

- Tie a piece of leather on you back under the shirt.

- How can I know when the mullah will lash me? Must I walk with this leather all the time?

- And what? Is it difficult? Before to go to the mullah, tie the leather and show it nobody.

- It’s better to go to Tuleybay’s school. People say that it is forbidden to beat there: if you are guilty they can just stand you in a corner with your face to the wall. That’s all. For a one month they will teach you both write, count and read. And you haven’t learnt even the ABC for six months. 

- I don’t want to learn. My father sends me to Kozha for hiring me to herd sheep. 

- Don’t people beat sheepmen? 

- They do, but they pay in return. If you are able to herd from summer to summer they will give you two sheep, one goat, some headed half-soles and clothes in addition! – And Samet straightened proudly.
Having part with his friend Sarybala went to the aul. He was glad with his big gain. This time he won the rarest asykis. The biggest one was arhara, the smallest one was jeirana. The both cost tens of asykis. Having remembered that it was Friday next day Sarybala cheered up – tomorrow he will play and win once more. Then he will go fishing. In a heat wave mellowed fish will come to the bank and he will jerk so-o-o quickly! 
Having imagined how he would hook fish Sarybala started laughing. But at once he stopped because he remembered Zhaksybek and felt his rod on his back. 
The boy knew the angry mullah not only because of the lessons. 
Once mullah Zhaksybek went to a foreign aul to pay the rest of the bride-price and took two pupils along as his servants – Sarybala and one-legged Zhunus. For more than one month the mullah couldn’t arrange his affairs and didn’t let the boys home. The bride’s father required two horses in addition on account of the bride-price but the bridegroom refused: “I have promised twenty-seven and I will give the same quantity and not more!”    
It was all the same to gammy Zhunus where to do nothing, at home or at strangers’. The mullah didn’t ping pong him. But Sarybala caught it. 
He woke up early together with the mullah. He helped him to perform ablutions, then gathered kizyak up to the evening and carried water in heavy buckets. And it was the same day by day. The boy’s clothes became dirty, he lost weight but Zhaksybek was ruthless. 
Once when they were sitting at the fire Zhaksybek and Zhunus took their shirts off and turned their backs to the fire. The boy scratched their backs one-by-one and the mullah and the gammy one grunted with pleasure. 

- Sarybala, - Zhaksybek called the boy. It seemed that he struck something out. – You should help me: run away from the aul as if you have missed home. Make something like a tumult in the aul. 
The boy’s sleepy eyes started burning.

- May I run now?

- It’s your will.
The boy came out from the yourt and ran to the steppe with all his might. He didn’t pretend. He really missed home. He was running and looking around from time to time. He didn’t believe that his escape had been successful. There were some hills, a pathless steppe, hollows and ravines in front. The sun drooped. There was no pursuit. “It would be good to get to some aul before nightfall. I’m afraid in the darkness I can be eaten by a wolf or be caught by some angel or a devil…” 
Zhaksybek told his parent-in-law about the boy’s escape. Having grasped the rein the parent-in-law ran to the pasture, mounted a bareback horse and rode after the escapee. It was not easy to catch the boy. Sarybala decided not to ground arms. He turned his cap inside out, took off his chapan and started waving it in front of the horse’s mouth. The horse shrank sideward. The rider grasped its mane being afraid to drop down. How much life was there in this old man yet? Besides, while he was hobbling his horse the boy had enough time to run away far enough. Being tired and out of breath Syzdyk mounted his horse again. He caught somehow up with him, jumped off his horse and ganged up on him with whole his body. 

- Get lost this bride-price. I’ll forgive the mullah two horses; - Syzdyk could hardly pronounce being tired. – I have a bad daughter. She hasn’t been able to talk into agreement with the bridegroom. And now I’ll make away with you, make away! Oh my god, he has hardly killed the boy. My little boy, don’t you think that you could lose or die from hunger? What would you do if a wolf attacked you or shaitan tricked of you? Mahambetshe would wipe me out because of you… 
The evening twilight died into dark. Having released from the rider the horse rode to the aul. The two tired ones – the little boy and the old man – jogged home… 
Now Sarybala remembered about that case and his back started aching even more. And what would his father say? He won’t pity him. “His bones are mine, his meat is yours”, - he assured Zhaksybek when he gave his son learning. It meant you can beat him how much you like but his bones must stay unbroken. Only his grandmother could pity him. She always calmed down those ones who cried and cheered up those who were sad. 
Sarybala went to her place.
His grandmother, a former Zhamil’s widow was a Mahambetshe’s wife now. Her first husband, brave Ahmet, had died when he was young. She had learned much from Ahmet and his father Kadyr who had been the leader of the tribe Kuandyk. 
The grandma was sitting on the floor and combing wool out. Nearby her there was a big glass bowl with some nasibay. She was never stingy like Mahambetshe. She gave some nasibay to everybody. Having seen the boy the grandma smiled. Sarybala showed her his beaten back and the grandma said angrily:

- I would pull a dog’s skin on his head even if he were a holy one but not just a mullah! Don’t cry, my dear. That one who has called you an adherent of a different faith is an adherent of a different faith himself. Even an enemy would never lash so much. A poor one! I wish he would teach using his brain but not a stick. Our Bilal is going to the Russian school. Will you go too?

- Will aga allow me?

- Your aga is also something like a mistake. Yeginay, son of insignificant Kemelbay, has made his way in life because he knew Russian language. It’s not good to forget Islamic rules but now you should learn in Russian. You should become an interpreter at least. Just look at the interpreter of volost’s head Abdurrahman – he orders about his ruler. Happiness is connected with wealth, my dear, and a fortune can melt as quickly as fame comes away. Once a well-known akin Shozhe rebuked the head of Kipchak’s tribe, Ibray’s district head, in a hot verbal discussion that he had “his origin from Bashkir”, - the old woman continued. – Then Ibray noticed: “If you have a river nearby what for to look for a well in some other place? If a human is famous for his or her brain what for to rebuke him or her to his or her origin?” Try yourself to make your way in life. Russian study is like a favored river at our times.
Having started speaking about learning Zhamilia was talking long about famous Avitsenna. Having laid on his tummy and underset his chin with the both hands the boy was all ears. 
The grandma didn’t know herself where the truth and where an invention was about that legend scientist. People said that Avitsenna had learned somewhere under the ground. To the time when he had finished his learning his nails grew long, his beard – up to his navel, his hair hanged from his head down to his knees. When he appeared on the earth the crowd called him spitefully a devil and started persecuting him. But he escaped like an eel: now he flew to the Heavens then he disappeared somewhere under the ground. He disappeared from under the very nose of his pursuers. In exile he always did just good – cured ill people, freed prisoners, and defended offended ones…
When the grandma stopped talking Sarybala sighed dreamily. If Tuleybay’s school and Russian language excited in him just an itch of knowledge then Avitsenna’s figure burnt in him a deep addiction to a miracle-working powerful science that brought good and freedom for people. He fell in his thoughts so much that he even forgot his precious asyk of arkhar at the grandma’s. A young soul has so much strength as a sparrow but its dreams are like a mountain. 


The life of Yelibay’s people was difficult on the lands of Sikymbay’s tribe. These were difficult years. Plague killed all cows. During the Year of the PigI the severe jute took away a great number of sheep and horses. What was much in the auls so these were bones of died cattle and hungry people. Just barymtaII turned into each day theft. Yahiya, Kamei, Bakibay became professional horse-stealers. 
Poor hungry Yelibay’s people who were scoring in search of their own raccoon about foreign folds became thieves against their own free will. Just individual families didn’t steal in six Mahambetshe’s auls. One of them was Mustafa’s family. Mustafa had gone to Mecca once more and became an even more ascetic and spoke often and often about the after-life. By the example of Ukrainian back settlers many poor men engaged in agriculture. 
The plague and the jute left for Mustafa the only gray short-tailed one. They could plough on it but the hajji like many of his tribesmen tried to avoid nasty job. In heavy days for Mustafa the son of his friend Torgaut who had died in Mecca, Amanzhol brought him a cow with a calf. Torgaut died at the age of ninety had prescribed to pray to Mustafa but not to dishonest Zhaksybek although he was a mullah too. According to the last will there appeared a red horse in Mustafa’s household in addition which the decedent personally had ridden on. Soon they changed the red one for a milk cow and two one-year-old heifers. Now Mustafa calmed himself down: “Allah be thanked, my children drink milk, ride a horse, they are living and healthy. And the heifers will grow up and become cows and bring calves”.   
The only thing was that Sarybala didn’t get off the hajji’s back: he wanted to the Russian school. But they didn’t have any money, where to get it? 
Mustafa had been keeping silent for two years long. And once in the morning he suddenly said when the family was having their morning tea:

- My son, unfold your palms! – And he showed how to unfold. – I let you go, my son. I wish Allah would send some happiness for you. It’s just time for you to choose your own way in life. There are a great number of them. I don’t know which one you will choose. But never forget the god, be just and merciful. Always remember about three commandments and then you will not downfall either in this or in that world. 
IThe year of the pig – according to the old calendar each year in the 12-years-old circle had by Moslems a name of an animal: the Year of the Pig, the Year of the Hare, and the Year of the Mouse etc.
IIBarymta – a weaponed rustle of cattle for the purpose of revenge or recovery of losses. 

Happy Sarybala couldn’t finish with his tea. 
The aul had the only sledge which was without shafts. Sarybala ran to the owner, impetrated the sledge and brought it home. Mustafa fastened some ropes instead of shafts. He wrapped the son into some felt, fastened the ropes to the saddle, mounted the short-tailed one and set out. Frost was ringing and the father’s beard and whiskers frosted at once. But he didn’t move down the lugs of his cap. He didn’t have any scarf or mittens too but it seemed that he didn’t feel the frosted leather reins. The sledge was sliding, banged now against one then against other road-side. On the slope the sledge rammed at the horse and beat the grey one’s legs. But neither the enduring grey horse not Mustafa paid any attention for this. The horse was trotting short and the rider was mumbling a prayer. Crossing the peopleless snowy steppe there stopped an alpine hare in surprise, stood up on its hind feet and looked at the travelers at a loss. Big dark-grey rats quickly crossed the road. They didn’t see any corsaks, ferrets or squirrels but their paths were everywhere. A pack of wolves was looking after the travelers from far away from behind the bushes keeping their ears open. 
Mustafa didn’t pay attention at everything around. When his face was fully frosted he tied the strings of his cap under his beard. On one of the turnings the sledge overturned and the boy started crying. The father looked quietly back and dismounted his horse: 

- Haven’t you hurt yourself, my dear? 

- No, nothing hurts me.

- Are you frozen? 

- No, it’s just boring. 

- Be patient. Ways are always long and heavy. An inpatient one is always tired. 

- Open me the face, aga. I want to keep my eyes open.
The father folded back the felt from Sarybala’s face, sat him more comfortably and mounted his horse again. The grey short-tailed one was fully frosted and became white. From time to time it chafed against the knee of the rider to beat up the icicles from its nostrils. But Mustafa was enduring. Not once he touched his face. When the hoar hanged down from his cap and hindered him to look he shook it off with his whip. 
The boy saw a mouse with black eyes and black tips of the ears nearby the sledge. It broke into a run from under the horse’s feet. The boy ran after it, got up to but the mouse disappeared in snow. Sarybala started trampling down the snow but he didn’t find the mouse. 
The horse rode far away. The felt fell down from the sledge. 

- Agai! Agai! – The boy started crying. 
Having heard the voice the father looked around and turned back.

- My dear, don’t rush after everything at once, - he taught wrapping the son into the felt. – There are a lot of mice in the steppe. You cannot catch all of them. There are a lot of affairs in the world but you cannot do all of them. It’s better to run after something one but not after everything at once. 
The grey one was slowly trotting along the road. It didn’t like a fast run and when Mustafa started lashing it the horse began kicked out and if he girthed up – it attempted to bite him.
They rode just eighteen milestones till the midday. 
They climbed the pass. 
At the river, in the valley among the mountains there appeared a small settlement in front of them but it seemed to the boy a town of the paradise about which people say in the old legends. 

- Aga, what is this?

- It’s a plant, my dear.
When they were coming into the town they saw huts which were standing very close to each other.  

- Aga, what’s this?

- Kazakh workers live there.

- They look like holes of marmots.

- What to do? It means that they haven’t found any better housing.  

- And what is that, long, high, from where smoke is curling upwards?

- It’s a chimney of the commercial furnace. There people melt copper. 

- And whose is that beautiful house on the hill?

- It’s not a house, it’s a church.

- What does it means, church?

- It’s a place where Russians pray. 
Sarybala was surprised by everything. It was the first time when he saw how boys skated. Here was another life and it was interesting. There were a lot of people in the street and all of them were dressed well. There shot a horse along that was harnessed into two-wheeled cart. One by one there rushed noisily some carts. There sat some men in them who were black like soot. Only their teeth appeared white and their eyes glinted. 

- What are they, agai?

- They are workers. They are bringing wood and coal into each house. 

- Look, the houses are so high. They are higher than a camel! And why are roofs made of iron? Why are walls built of bricks like a stove? Why are bricks red? I wonder who lives in them. 

- Chiefs, clerks and somewhere Russian workers.
There crowded carters like a cloud at the wide gates of the plant. All of them were Kazakhs. They were making noise and clamoring. Each one tried to push forward his personal cart on the weighing machine. The carts were harnessed with bulls, camels and loaded with the similar grey stone. The carts were going to the plant from far off, from the very Nildimskiy (or in Russian – Uspensky) mine.

- What for do they need these stones, agai? 

- The plant pays money for them. They melt copper from these stones.
There heard some abuse. Three carts forced their way through the crowd of carters. In front of them a cobby young dzhigit cleared up the way. He wore shekpene1 made of camel felt. Over the shoulder he had a strand of rope a finger thick. He dragged his sabre on the ground. He loudly gave everybody hell and the carters gave him way like a bullrush under force of wind.  

- Agai, who is this?

1Shekpene – light overclothes

- Orynbek, bek’s son. A guardian. He has learnt in Russian. Don’t imitate such ones, my dear. You’d better to be like kind now-deceased paramedic Omar…
Mustafa pulled into the open gates nearby the weighing machine. Sarybala was charmed with the view of white and grey houses with big glazed in verandas. Mustafa rode forward. Nearby the very chimney that was relentlessly smoking the sky one could hardly see a low brick-built hut with girders in two places. Mustafa rode close to it. 
Towards them from out the house there ran a lean nimble man without any cap who looked thirtyish. His long black hair was brushed back. He wore a shirt made of blue sateen with a cut-away collar and encircled with a stranded girdle made of black silk. He wore Russian boots and was smooth-shaven as distinct from steppe Kazakhs. He greeted Mustafa with joy. One could understand at once that the man was deaf. He spoke loudly and moved up his ear again and again: “Ah? Ah?” He fastened the horse and led them into his house, helped them take off and started messing with the guest. Saying nothing as yet Mustafa performed ablution and started praying. While the guest was praying the host made tea. They started their leisurable conversation only at tea. 

- Dear Zhusup, although we haven’t lived together but our relationships were always good. Each time when we met together you advised me to teach my son Russian language. It has come the time and my son started speaking about the same – he wants to lean in Russian. I have thought about everything and decided to risk. Here is my son. I thrust him to the god’s and your hands. Teach him what you can. You know I am not a rich man – two cows, three heifers and just one horse. My family consists of five members. If you wish to share my household I will not be upset. Do as your conscience advises you. For the sake of my child I will give everything. Just lick my son into shape.

- Honourable hajji, I am poorer than you. – Zhusup started speaking in reply. – I don’t have even a dog. I have listened to your words and my conscience doesn’t allow me asking to pay you even a kopek. We are just two. My wife Zagipa herself is almost a child yet. I think I will be able to nourish two children somehow. The worst one of grieves is not to have money. I know that I will be rich still awhile away from now but I also know that we will not die from hunger. We must help each other. When I was a waif and lived as a tramp lawyer Duisembayev took me from the street, gave a houseroom and taught me reading and writing. It turned out that there had been a time when he himself had been in great necessity. Your brother, now-deceased Ahmet, had taught him in a Russian school and put him on his feet. Duisembayev loved Ahmet more than his native father. “The real father is not that one who has married and separated you for responsible life but that one who has given you knowledge”, - he said. – I will try to care about your son like his real father. 

- You have good intensions, dear Zhusup. The most generous is that one whose soul is rich but not that one who is rich for cattle. A human is happier when his or her soul is satisfied but not a stomach. My soul is satisfied. Now I can feel free. Dear daughter-in-law, there is some oil in the sledge. Take it, please.
It turned out that this “some” was the whole sack full of oil. Zhusup brought the sack into the mud room and went out to say the guest goodbye. Sarybala started crying…

- What a bad boy! You were asking and asking and when your please has come true you are crying buckets. – Mustafa pronounced smiling. – A calf that has grown up at home will not become a real bull. You should inure yourself to the steppe. Your father didn’t drop a tear when he had caught the plague and was lonely lying on the camel in a heat wave in the waterless sands of Arabia. You should gain your aims not with the help of crying but with the help of courage. 
Mustafa not only didn’t kiss his son but even didn’t canoodle him. Having opened wide his beshmet he untied the girdle of his wide leather trousers, raised up the flaps of his camisole and pulled a purse from out some kind of hiding. He rummaged long but it turned out that there was only twenty kopek in the purse. Giving them to the son Mustafa said:

- Buy some paper and a pencil. Learn more and play less. Do always the things what a teacher will order. I will visit you. – And he mounted his horse.
Zhusup took the boy by the hand and led him to the house.
For a long time the shy boy couldn’t start speaking. His ears were burning, having bent he was sitting like a caught sparrow. Zhusup tried to start with him a conversation – it was no use. Then he proposed with decision:

- Let’s go, I will show you our plant.
There rumbled, banged and rattled something deafly inside the big building. A worker was throwing grey stones in the huge iron mouth. The mouth chewed them with rattle and threw out grey dust. Sarybala was looking with surprise at that wonderful power. Pointing onto the stamp mill Zhusup explained:

- This machine just grinds. Now let’s see what will be then.
It was hot in the other large room. There were hissing glowing furnaces like a snake. One could hear nothing else but hissing. On one furnace the cast iron lid was opened. There flew out sparks from there – now there flew just one then the whole sheaf. The boy snuggled to Zhusup. The firestorm was controlled by a husky Kazakh dzhigit. By turn he wetted his hat and his apron made of white felt in a barrel but all the same he was hot and it was difficult to breathe him. He wore the boots with wooden soles. In his hand he had an iron scoop with a handle long like a kuruk. When he stirred the boiling copper and lifted the scoop the metal bent in a crook. The firestorm raged even more. Sweat from the dzhigit’s forehead ran in buckets. There was not a drop of blood in his face. He was pale, lean, just a bag of bones.

- He works twelve hours a day. But for the month he earns fifteen rubles. – Zhusup explained. 

- Won’t he die? – Sarybala started speaking at last. 

- If I die there will be find another Kazakh! – Dzhigit replied having heard the boy’s voice. – A rich one has a ruble but a poor one has some brain. – Being out of breath he loudly gulped down a glass of water and took his scoop again. 
The boy was looking at the dzhigit. And when he lifted his scoop and tensed his muscles Sarybala felt a wish to run up and help. In the spirit he compared the furnace with the hell that he learnt from a religious book about. Zhusup took the boy by the hand and led him out. 
At the edge of the big stone yard there flew a river. Here fire flashed like a lightning, smoke was raging. Tapping with their wooden soles workers in felt aprons ran out from the clouds of smoke. They pushed carts in front of them and overthrew them at the edge of the brink. Burning and flashing slag red like flame of fire was overthrown with hissing into the river. 

- This place is called “Bestemir”. Here is the most difficult work. Have you noticed that only Kazakhs perform all kinds of heavy works? – Zhusup said.
The boy’s eyes were swimming in tears because of the poisonous smoke. Something stung his throat but all the same it was interesting there. 

- Why do Kazakhs agree to perform heavy works? – He asked.

- They don’t have any qualification. That’s why they agree.

- I think it’s better for them to herd their flocks in the auls.

- And if they don’t have any cattle what do they have to herd? That’s why a poor man has to go working at the plant. Everybody has to live. 
Having seen Zhusup two workers left their carts and ran up to him. Interrupting each other they started claiming: 

- Agatai-au, I have lost one day!..

- My father is at death’s door, I have to visit him. Can you give me two days for not to go to the plant? I will treat you with some kumis. 
Zhusup gave a wink to the both applicants. Being satisfied they came aside. 
Zhusup was a tableman. He wrote down work days. The office made calculations according to his records. Sometimes Zhusup could mistake – someone could lose a day. It could be too that he wrote down a day for a person who didn’t work.
Zhusup led the boy forward. Using an iron ladder they walked upstairs. Sarybala saw a great number of pipes – thick and thin ones. Suddenly something started deafeningly buzzing and having got a fright Sarybala snuggled to Zhusup. 

- Don’t be afraid. This buzz means that the work day is over. Vapour flows out from the pipe and buzzes. A shift – one workers go home, others come. 
They came out to the railway. Wagons, train sets. Clouds of smoke and vapour. Cries, rattles, hissing of machines. People were in oil and soot. All of them were Russians. 

- Engine house, - Zhusup explained.

- Is it ot-arabaI? – Sarybala asked. He had never seen a train but he had heard much about it and recognized it according to the stories. 

- Yes, it is.

- It’s not alive but it moves. Why?!

- Vapour forces it moving. 

- And what about the plant?

- The plant also works using vapour, electricity and gas. All of these can’t work without coal. The train brings coal from Karaganda. The god for everything is fire. And the father of fire is coal… If you start learning you will know the secrets of many wonders.
Sarybala kept in his mind all Zhusup’s words. “Is there anything in the world what Zhusup doesn’t know? – The boy thought. – He hasn’t even finished a school. And the difference between him and mullah Kaksybek is like between the sky and the earth. Zhusup must be kind and hearty and he will not beat”. 

- Have you already seen your bride? – Zhusup asked. 
The boy didn’t answer. He didn’t reply not because of his shyness but because he was bitter about his father-in-law Aubakir. The affair was difficult and old. And it was impossible to express his hurt in short. 
The Kokusek river divided the plant settlement into two parts. On one side there lived workers and officers, on the other one – marketeers and common people. It was the area of a beginning rich man, marketeer Aubakir Seitkemelov. His father Sentkemel was Uzbek, his mother was Kazakh. Sentkemel served as Kadyr’s mullah and everybody was taught by him beginning with Mahambetshe. Sentkemel died when Aubakir was still a child having left the son just the smoked yourt, a mare and a grey horse. When Aubakir grew up and it came the time to marry once at night he rode tryst on his grey horse to the aul. He hobbled his horse and left it outside the aul. While he was complimenting the girl girl’s brother Ahmetbek cut out the grey horse’s mane and tail up to the skin, lopped the horse so much that people discharged themselves in laughter. Poor Aubakir withstood this mockery. Later, when he decided to marry people took him head on: “We won’t give the girl to a rootless Uzbek”. Mustafa who was young at that time intervened on behalf of Aubakir. “Aubakir is not a relative for us but his father served as Kadyr’s mullah, - Mustafa assured. – Aubakir is the son of our yesterday’s mentor, my agemate. If you abase him you also abase me”. And he helped Aubakir to take away his bride after what they became relatives and matchmakers – Aubakir’s daughter became Sarybala’s bride. 

IAgatai-au – here respectfully “uncle”

1Ot-araba – fire-araba, a steam train      
Having married Aubakir left the aul, herded cows nearby Karaganda, brought water in barrels all round the houses and then became a marketeer’s seller in Karaganda. This marketeer was Tatar Ahmetzhan. It passed a little time and Ahmetzhan died. Only Allah knows how much foreign wealth Aubakir laid his hands on. After moving to Spassk he opened his own shop and his business was on the climb. The difference between Aubakir’s and his matchmaker Mustafa’s business was rising more and more.   
Once in the evening in the dark hut the mother kissed Sarybala and said:

- The rootless Uzbek has become rich, my dear. He thinks that we are poor and he doesn’t want to give us your bride… 
The mother’s words had sunk deep into the boy’s mind and he had nursed a grievance against Aubakir. 
Zhusup started speaking about the bride for some reason. He couldn’t take anything by Mustafa but he could feather Sarybala’s father-in-law nest. 
Aubakir couldn’t break a tradition and directly gave up on the relationship with Mustafa. Not for a one time well-known Tursun proposed Aubakir a bride-price. He was from Karakesek’s tribe that had a tabun of seven thousand horses. But if Aubakir gave him the daughter who had been intended for some other one, any Mustafa’s tribesman would have a right to kill Aubakir for the violation of the tradition with the words: “You have forgotten about the God, a rootless Uzbek!..” That’s why Aubakir didn’t dare to break their agreement although his wives were pushing him onto a risky way. Aubakir was afraid. But on the other side he couldn’t sleep peacefully thinking about Tursun’s seven thousand horses all the time. Aubakir thought not for a one time: “When my daughter grows up I will make getaway”. But in spite of all his attempts to save his thoughts in secret Mustafa guessed somehow them right. The hajji understood that it was no use to compete with rich Tursun. He had to take some other measures and he decided to learn his son in Russian manner. “Trade can fill just your pocket but science – your head, - Mustafa started speaking from time to time. – It’s better to be clever than have money. Money spoils a human but mind improves…”
The walk about the plant took the boy’s mind off his troubles for some time but now he remembered about his father again and sighed deeply like a grown-up. Zhusup turned back at once.

- What’s up? Are you tired?

- No…
While they were walking about the engine house it started darkening. On the way they were past by a rushing car. 

- Shaitan-araba! – The boy cried and ran after it. The flaps of his torn cap flattered, the curve heels clattered. 
The car stopped at the garage. Two tall men got out of it. They wore unknown clothes and their words seemed abnormal. Zhusup came up.

- Its eyes are big and burning! Why does it run? What does it have inside? – Sarybala asked.

- Petrol.

- And why is it shivering? Is it tired?

- No, this is its engine which is working.

- What does it mean engine?

- I can say that it’s its heart.

- And who are these two Russians?

- They are not Russians. They are Englishmen, the owners of the plant.

- Are they lisping? 

- No, they speak always in such a manner. It’s their language.
Zhusup took the boy by the hand and led him home. At home he fed him, made him wash his legs and got him to bed. Having rolled up into a ball Sarybala was lying long with the closed eyes in the bed on the floor and didn’t sleep. He cast about everything in his mind what he had seen during the day. Bedbugs bit him. Sarybala tossed and turned but he couldn’t sleep. There was shining a shaitan-lamp from under the ceiling. It was a wonder too… Both the ceiling made of old planks and the floor, and the table on the high legs, the coloured paper flowers on it, different pictures on the wall… The little mirror was covered with the towel with some cocks on it. It seemed to Sarybala that the room was a splendid palace. He didn’t notice when he fell asleep.

Spring came, snow melted and the ground became dry. Having missed spring air people opened their windows wide. There came some smoke and coal dust into the rooms.
Calm west breath didn’t whiffle smoke of the commercial furnaces. 
That day it was a Russian holiday – Easter. Glassy eyed ones were rambling through the streets. Ones were already wallowing at the fences, snoring and watering. Other ones were playing pranks and causing affrays. They fought up to blood. As if somebody cheered them up someone raised change ringing in the bell-tower. The louder the change ringing was the more people went in the direction of the high church. They brought along bread and eggs. Easter gave troubles to everybody.
There was nothing to celebrate for Sarybala. He was sitting alone in the room and learning aloud:

- He – ol. You – sen. I – men. Him – ogan. To you – sagan. Me – magan. Have arrived – kulekpen keldy. Have come – zhayauksldy. 
Zhusup taught him in such a manner. On one half of the paper he wrote Russian words, on the other half – Kazakh ones and ordered to learn them by heart.  
Once Sarybala shared with him:

- If it was possible to find a book with a ready-made translation I could learn by myself. 
Then Zhusup taught the boy four operations of arithmetic and told about the cases of Russian language. This was everything what the tableman could teach. Now it was time to give Sarybala to the Russian-Kazakh five-year school of the plant. 
Feeling that Zhusup had taught him everything he could the boy started dreaming about the red brick-built school. Its director, Andrei Matveyevich Volosnyakov, didn’t have anything against to take the son-in-law of marketeer Seitkemelov to his school. 
After repeating the records on the sheet once more Sarybala locked the door and ran playing. 
Inside of the plant fence there lived three families: Zhusupbek’s, Zharylgap’s and Iliyas’s. For a long time Sarybala took Zharylgap for a big clerk. But since he had made friends with his brother Nartai he knew that Zharylgap was a servant. Nartai was a little pickle and didn’t want to learn. He liked just playing. When he lost he started quarreling. Having quarreled once with Sarybala he started crying and called his mother – a lean, dried, black old woman. She had not a kimishek on her head like all Kazakh women but a shawl. Her stuck out grey clumps of hair closed almost all her face. Her penetrating wide eyes were sparkling through the hair. The old woman quickly stepped out having drawn forward with all her body. She moved with her long, dry and wrinkled fingers which looked like a leech. Her toothless mouth was something mumbling all the time. She seemed a witch to Sarybala and he ran like mad. But the old woman didn’t leave him off and ran at his heels. Zhusup got a good ragging from her too because he tried to go to bat for Sarybala. From out the bootleg of her leather ichigis she pulled out a knife and threateningly lifted it in front of hers. She angrily gesticulated and abused. She now ran to the exit then turned back with a cry. Sarybala could hardly calm down only when she came away.

- This old woman is Uzbek one, - Zhusup explained. – Her husband was a Kazakh, he died. “The father is a hajji and the brother-in-law is a bai”, - she proudly says. Have you heard how she threatened: “If somebody offends my little orphan that one will get a knife into his or her side! You shouldn’t quarrel with Nartai, my dear. The old woman is angry. Nothing will stop her…
After this accident Sarybala and Nartai became friends. As soon as they ran out they looked for each other at once. 
Once Sarybala saw how Nartai and his elder brother Zharylgap were restraining a saddled horse at the front porch. An Englishman and a woman came out on the front porch. The woman was young, slim and dressed to the nines. Sarybala thought that she was an angel. Before mounting the horse the woman took a little mirror from her handbag, looked at it, rouged her lips which were red without this and drew with something white over her face that was white without this. 
“A wretch! – The boy thought sadly. – What for does she make up? For lying?..”
Zharylgap led up the mare with yellowish markings and sharp ears. The woman lifted into the saddle by herself and sat very funny – the both her legs were on one side. Having dabbed Nartai Sarybala whispered:

- What a gri-ief! Why has she sat so foolishly? She will fall down.

- She is sly. She doesn’t want anything to rub. – Nartai replied.  

- And what can she rub? – Sarybala surprised. 
Nartai explained so eloquently that Sarybala had to turn back for hiding his confusion. 
No, it became clear that the woman would fall down not at once. Not leaving off her husband she made her horse to set off at a trot.
A bright calf ran by them. Sarybala rushed to it, caught and tried to sit on it in an English manner. The calf lashed out, the saddler felt down and hurtfully hit his foot. Being all in dust the boy could hardly stand up but he didn’t start crying.
Sarybala was barefooted. The skin on his feet was cracked. The shirt sewn clumsily by his mother was bagging on him. And Nartai was accurately dressed and shod in old but boots. His relatives also lived poor. But Nartai could boast now with a ball then with skates. Nartai was afraid of nothing. He could run along the streets everywhere he wanted. He knew all news. Today he showed Sarybala a game. He pulled out from his pocket two red eggs. One he presented to Sarybala and taught him how to beat right not to suffer a defeat. 

- You should hold in such a manner! Thrust out a sharp end but just a little. Don’t give anybody to examine, they will break it. When you beat try to hit sidewise. Just don’t change this egg with anything. Our eggs are firm. My mother adds something to hens’ food.
The boys went to the market. There were a great number of people. Kazakhs sold skins and cattle. Town marketeers loudly made bargains. Those who had already sold their goods untied leisurely strings of their wide trousers, counted their money and tied them again. Tradesmen count with the help of beads but Kazakhs – with the help of fingers. If the plant hides a Kazakh then tradesmen suck his blood. Tradesmen go to a steppe Kazakh like wolves go to a lamb. A shy stockbreeder will certainly be taken away everything for nothing what he has brought or led. He will indiscriminately be over measured and over weighted and nobody will pity him. All tradesmen are cheats. The police officer of the plant who had fattened with the help of money-bags’ deception greeted with a bow. 
You could meet all kinds of robbery on the market. Here you could see how a man spinning a coin with the help of his thumb was crying: “Heads!” If it was tails the man who had spun took the money for himself. And here a coin flew up again and people started crying again. But the most risky gambling was in the utmost kumis-room. Here was not odd money on the table but a whole bunch of money with the pictures of tsars Alexander and Ekaterina. There heard some voices of seasoned players. They were Aidarbek and Nurke: “For all! Add some? Twenty-one!”. It was impossible to see the players because they were surrounded by the crowd of curious ones… 
A huge blacksmith, Karakyz, who was able to batter iron like dough was going along the street with unassured step. He wore boots with patent bootlegs, an expensive black hat and a new diagonal suit – everything was in clay. He was drunk and mumbling like a bull. Passersby stepping aside made him way. 
Somewhere far away there was heard a woeful cry: “Oibai! Have stolen! They have overwhelmed me!”
Sarybala was looking at this all with interest and kept in his mind everything he had seen and heard. 
At last the friends came across those ones who were playing with eggs. There were a lot of players – the whole market. There played not only children but grown-ups too, even those who had beards. Everybody tried to wangle. Before to let beat his or her egg they checked the egg of his or her opponent and tapped it the patient's teeth. Sarybala didn’t allow checking. He beat the egg of one who was whiskered like a cat and won. He beat the other one and won too. That whiskered one left Sarybala six eggs and went away shaking fretfully his head. Nartai also had a good gain. There heard some excited voices:

- They have testudinate eggs!

- These are not eggs. These are just coloured stones!
It was clear that the losers tried to come to an agreement for raising a scandal and returning what they had lost. Having felt a danger the friends found a moment and escaped. They pulled foot and calmed down only when they were at the gates of the plant. 
Having seen them Zhusup started crying:

- Hands up! To the corner!
Sarybala froze and lifted his hands up. But Zhusup couldn’t be angry long. Having laid some dipping tobacco in the mouth he ordered: “At ease!” – and went on more warmly:  

- I don’t know a place where I haven’t looked for you! Of all things – you have locked the door and gone away! And Zagipa can’t get into the house. Don’t do it like that any more, my dear.
Zhusup harried Zagipa up to dress, came with her out in the yard and set her down in the cart. The cart was two-wheeled and with springs. Old man Hakei, Zhusup’s father-in-law had constructed it for himself. There could find room two people. It wasn’t left any place for Sarybala and Zhusup sat him on his knees. The humpbacked grey horse rode with all its might. There wasn’t a human in the plant who didn’t know the humpbacked grey one and Hakei’s two-wheeled cart. Usually only the old man used it. Now passersby looked around as if they were surprised how some other ones could dare to sit in the Hakei’s cart. 
Zhusup pulled into the Kazakhs’ settlement like the wind. The yards were open, the chimneys were sagging, and the windows were blinking from under the ground. There stood huts instead of houses. Stench, stink, a lot of flies. 
A dusky dzhigit met Zhusup at the entrance into the kumis-room. It was the very worker from the plant who had recently asked in Bestemir a permission to visit his ill father and invited the tableman for the promised kumis. There were a lot of people in the hut. Everybody knew Zhusup here. People sat him on the place of honour. In the middle on the round table there stood a bowl full of meat. Tradeswoman Malike who sold kumis bedizened. The edges of her white kimeshek were sewn round with silk threads in two lines. Between them there sparkled meanderingly small beads. All her fingers were beringed with silver rings. She wore eight bracelets on each her wrist. She was about forty but there was not a wrinkle on her white face and her glancing black eyes were jolly. Her kumis was tasty like honey and Malike’s jokes were even tastier. When there was not left any kumis in the big yellow bowl Malike’s husband with a long beard cheered noticeable up – kumis is being sold and our income is increasing. 
- That’s enough. We are already drunk. – There heard some voices. 
- Drink, - Malike invited with a charming smile showing her small sheep’s teeth. And the guests started drinking again up to belch. 
Malike and Zhusup were agemates and under such a glib excuse they were sitting knee to knee. Zhusup’s hand was lying on the tradeswoman’s hip. Zhusup’s wife was young. She was just twenty. She had a small nose, a round face. Her Tartar skullcap was pulled over her forehead. She kept her jealous eyes on the husband. But Zhusup didn’t remove his hand from Malike’s hip and pinched the tradeswoman from time to time.
Being slightly drunk the guests started speaking in loud voices. 
There opened the door and came two ones. They were guardian Orynbek and a spotted young woman with an accordion in the hands. She was ashamed and shy of nobody. She was impudent and rude. She hardly sat down when touched Zhusup:

- Uncle, give me your nasibay. Don’t grudge a pinch for me.

- I see, you have frazzled Orynbek out and now you touch others, dear. Take it! – Zhusup threw her nasibay. 
Having put some dipping tobacco into the mouth the young woman started loudly laughing. Instead to thank him she said then: 

- I have asked yours, uncle, not because I have frazzled Orynbek out. I hoped yours is stronger. But it turns out that it’s weak at all. 
There heard a whoop of laughter. Darkened Zagipa looked daggers at the spotted one but that one didn’t pay any attention to her. 
Suddenly the young woman started singing and playing her accordion. She had a pleasant and loud voice. It was not enough room in the hut for it. It yearned out. One by one she sang the songs loved by everybody: “Kara torgai”, “Kulager”, “Zhirma bes”. She was singing tirelessly. Not seeing her but just listening to her voice each old man could become younger and would embrace the singer. But nobody of men sitting here had such a wish. The young woman felt it by herself. But it could be that she was sad because of something else. She was singing and from time to time big tears were rolling over her face.

- Why is she crying? – Sarybala asked Zhusup below his breath.

- It might be because of her poorness and deprivation. She feels that she is alone. She is bitter because people don’t respect her. 

- She has such a good voice!

- When you are not happy everything good seems to be nothingness. But if you are happy nothingness becomes essential. 

- Take it, take. – A dusky dzhigit pushed now meat then kumis up to the tableman. 
Zhusup ate and drank. In spite of the dzhigit’s words: “Take it! Take!” Zhusup felt that he had the hump. After such a generous treatment it would be left no money in his pocket. 

- It’s soon the time to go working, - the dzhigit dodged. – And people say that educated ones have stomachs like a bird has. 
But deaf Zhusup didn’t hear his hint. He quietly proposed:

- Well, dzhigit! Let’s compete, who more! – And having taken the bowl he started loudly gulping kumis. 
There found some people who wanted to do a service for Orynbek. “Drink, eat”, - they asked him either out of respect for or being afraid of him. Suddenly the spotted young woman cried out – somebody of the dzhigits grasped her by the plait, wound it around his arm and pulled. Somebody came to the defense of the spotted one. People lifted a cry and started fighting. The table cracked and broke into pieces, kumis was spilt, and pieces of meat flew down on the floor. Noise, clutter, everybody was crying. The nose of the scandalous dzhigit started bleeding. Not releasing the plait he tore out a tuft of hair from it and went away. The excitement settled little by little down in the kumis-room. The offended, humiliated spotted woman didn’t start even crying. Looking angrily at everybody she started crying into their faces:

- How many times I have been bitten by such dogs! Where have you been earlier? Why do you pity me now? What for to keep my honour intact now? But I will wait for some more time. It can be that fortune will smile on me! If not I will live as before, disreputably like a dog! But now – here is my comforter! – She cried out and took the according in the hands. She started singing Birzhan’s song “Zhanbota”. Other ones usually sang this song with some sadness but the spotted one did this with annoyance and anger. The accordion sounded lower than her angry voice. The woman furiously expanded the accordion. It seemed that she was about to tear the bellows out. She was singing and gushing her sorrowful grief and melancholy…
There was not a club in the plant. That’s why people didn’t have any place for gathering. There were two-three educated people such Zhusup and Orynbek of one hundred Kazaks. But those ones read neither newspapers nor journals too. What to do people on holidays? Where to go? Kazakhs went to celebrate to a kumis-room, Russians – to taverns. Both here and there merriments were finished with a fight. 
The fought that had appeared in the kumis-room didn’t finish. The scandalous dzhigit with the bleeding face was running around the settlement and calling his tribesmen for help:

- Boshan! Boshan! 
Here happened the same: when the whole flock starts run after a mooing cow. Having seen the blood of his tribesman the whole tribe Boshan rose to the defence of him. Karakesek was divided into two sub tribes – Maiky and Boshan.   
From the other side of the settlement there heard an alarming cry:   

- Maiky! Maiky!
While Maiky’s people were hurrying Boshan’s people had enough time to break crowns of five unguilty ones from Maiky’s tribe. They had hacks, pickers and axes in their hands. Here were not any mounted ones. They didn’t have any clubs which steppe Kazaks usually have. Everybody was unmounted. There were about two hundred people on one hand and almost the same quantity on the other hand. Because there had gathered equal quantities of people no one of the opponent sides decided to start fighting. They just threatened and abused each other. Russian inhabitants of the settlement or unrelated Kazakhs were looking at this spectacle as at an entertainment. 
As soon as the scandal broke out guardian Orynbek ran away through the ravines. Angry voices were buzzing and demanding: 

- Maiky, give us the Bek’s son!

- Don’t rage, Boshan! Give us at first that one who has torn out the plait of the spotted one and who has beaten five our people!

- Boshan has torn out the plait of its legal wife-wanton! 

- What is that to Maiky’s people? Why do you push for vice the legal wife of our tribe who doesn’t belong to you? Why do you dishonour our tribe?

- This spotted whore can’t be a legal wife. If to think that everybody who bulls her is her husband then it will not be enough stars in heaven. 
Crying and abusing the opponents came close to each other. It was just enough for a fool to lift his hand and blood of many people would start shedding. But here ran watchmaker Stephan in the middle from out the Russian crowd. He started crying at the top of his throat crumpling his cap in the lifted hand:
- Workers, brothers, what are you doing? You have decided to shed blood because of the honour of the tribe! But this honour has disappeared already long ago. If you have honour so why do Boshan’s people rob Boshan’s ones, Maiky’s – Maiky’s ones? Everybody of you has come hungry and barefooted to the plant to earn your crust. The leaders of your tribes have made you tramp and leave your native lands. Now you are workers and let’s defend now not the honour of your tribes but the honour of workers. Our wages are not enough for living. We work eleven-twelve hours a day. And when we get out from smoke and fire we have to go to rest to stinking huts. Our souls hurt and to calm them down we go to a kumis-room and a tavern. And you see what we obtain in the result. They don’t let us learning, they bandage our eyes. They have piled heavy loads on us as on a camel and are harrying us up. How can we make easier this load? In what a way can we open our eyes? Let’s think but not shed our blood. The plant works thanks to us. We suffer but other ones enjoy the benefits. Off the honour of tribes! Hoorah for the honour of workers! Go home, comrades, quickly go home! Somebody has already run for a police officer!       
Zhusup interpreted Stephan’s words into Kazakh. The crowd’s buzz became quieter. There appeared droshky from the side of the plant that was harnessed with a pair of horses. There rode a rider in the front of the droshky. While the droshky was driving up the crowd already broke up home. It turned out that it was Orynbek who was going at a jogtrot. Having come in great hurry he rode on the horse over the roofs of the huts, cried and abused everybody. He dismounted his horse, broke into a hut, now into one then into another one. But he didn’t find that one whom he was looking for. 
Police officer Zalivskiy, a fat red man, was looking angrily around and seeking whom to vent spleen upon. He popped his eyes that were big like goat’s ones. 

- Who has started the fight? – He asked sonorously coming up to Russians.

- We don’t know. – Stephan shook his head. – We are just walking and celebrating. 
The police officer pulled out his kerchief and squeamishly coved his nose up. 

- What a stink! Their noses don’t feel the smell, do they? 

- They feel the smell but they don’t have any other way out. What to do?!

- How can it be not to have any way out? They are just lazy-bones and savages. 

- They have too little free time after their work, Sir Police Officer. And even if they have any time then they are very tired and are dead creased. 

- In such a way someone other must build houses for them. 

- The plant has provided houses for you, for me, but it doesn’t provide Kazakhs. They perform the heaviest works. They melt copper. But you see how they live. They earn paltry sums of money, peanuts… 

- I’ve understood what you are speaking about, understood! – The police officer moved his thick pointer finger in front of Stephan’s face. And not listening to any more he ordered to pull the droshky around.
Orynbek rode up. He looked around like a pointing dog that had lost the scent and informed in a hurry:

- Sir Police Officer! I haven’t found any trouble-makers. When this happens they become great friends. They have hidden everybody and repeat with one accord: “We don’t know”.

- Do you know the troublemakers’ names?

- Yes, I do. Omarbek Baizhanov has torn out the woman’s hair. Tulei Sadakbayev and Aben Jaugasharov have cracked the crowns of five people. All three of them are thieves. They have escaped from their auls and work here now.

- Thieves?!

- Real robbers… 
Stephan couldn’t keep silent any more:

- If they are thieves what for them to work? And if they are workers what for them to steal? – And he started loudly laughing. 
The police officer pretended that he hadn’t heard him and sat down in the droshky. Orynbek took his place in front again. The droshky started moving raising dust along the bumpy street. 
Zhusup ran away at once as soon as he noticed the police officer from far away and was watching everything what was happening from the window of Malike’s house. Only now he came out, came up to Stephan and asked:

- What has he said?

- What can he said? He hasn’t caught the “troublemakers”, was angry and went away his own way. 

- And what have you said him? He has flourished his arm about you.

- I have told him in what heavy conditions the workers live. And he didn’t like it.

- You have said this in vain. If you are quiet you will have a full belly.

- They behave quiet; - Stephan nodded in the direction of the huts. – But are their bellies full? And as for you? You are also a retiring creature: is your belly full? Orynbek Bekov together with the police officer attacks the workers, they can arrest them and you are hiding and try to save your own skin. What to do uneducated ones if you, educated Kazakhs, do like this? 

- But what can we do?

- If you wish you can do much. Now you have to turn the workers against the authorities…

- Then I will lose the last piece of bread. Have you heard what happened in Petersburg in the fifth year? 

- Yes, I have. But if we are afraid we can lose everything.

- No, Stephan! Maukimov Zhusup is a peaceful man. And I advise you: be careful! – Zhusup warned and went home.
Old man Hakei had taken his horse and the cart before the quarrel. They were going on foot. Interrupting Zhusup’s conversation with his wife Sarybala was asking now about this then about that:

- What happened in Petersburg in the fifth year?

- The workers gathered, went to the tsar to say him about their needs but the tsar started shooting in them.

- But people say that the tsar is merciful. 

- Perhaps somebody put up to him.

- But the tsar has mind of forty people. Why did he mistake? 

Zhusup wanted to call the tsar neither a clever one nor a fool. He answered nothing. But the boy went on asking:

- And this police officer would shoot too, wouldn’t he? If he arrested the workers would he shoot them? What did he have on his shoulders? Was it gold?

- No, it is called a simple chevron.

- And what about the tsar?

- I think it’s made of gold.

- How many golden palaces does the tsar have?

- I don’t know, people say many.

- Where has he got them? Has he built them by himself?
Zhusup didn’t reply. He put his hand on the boy’s head and said:

- You would like to know everything, but I know little. And even if I know about something I prefer to keep silent.

- Why?

- There are some words for which the authorities can even cut your ears off. They were about to deport just for one word even such well-known lawyers as Akbayev and Duisembayev. What to say about me? They can put me in prison at a stroke. You should learn to hold your tongue, my dear. The more you speak the more you go wrong. Remember it!
The boy bit his lip and began to think. He had seen much that day but he had understood little. That’s why he was asking all the time. Sarybala wasn’t satisfied by his teacher. His explanations didn’t calm the boy down at all. Keeping silent they came up to the house. Zhusup took his papers and went to Bestemir. Sarybala went with him together. 
In Bestemir hissing didn’t grow silent day and night as if there was raging a fairy tale dragon. Thick smoke never dispersed here. It pressed out your eyes when you opened them and made you heavily cough when you opened your mouth. The flame was burning all the time flashing with flakes of fire. People cast copper and poured slag. It was impossible to work here long: either you would be taken bad or die at once. But the plant didn’t stop. New workers came to the vacant places all the time. 
When engineer Hol appeared in the plant the workers started suffering even more. The engineer was strict if not to say – cruel. On the least occasion he used his fists, kicked and fired without any explanation. He either corrected Magnificat and didn’t accept the work or left without any improvement. 
That day Sarybala saw exactly that menacing ruthless Hol. Both furnace tenders and those ones who pulled the carts with slag and minor authorities were in awe of him. Sweat ran over everybody’s forehead. Everybody was ready to break his neck if only the engineer didn’t find faults. Watchful and experienced Hol noticed at once the least faults, understood without a peep what the workers whispered about although he asked them about nothing. Hol was tall, lean, and straight like a poplar. He didn’t have a beard. His well-shaven face was strict. His dark skin was always shining. The workers never saw his smile and heard a worm word from him. He listened to any asks and claims in motion and walked in such a manner that others had to run away. He looked for a least occasion for mocking and working people’s nerves. By his way he came up to Zhusup who recorded workers’ work days and without rhyme or reason kicked him in his belly. Zhusup fell down. His hat flew to one side, the table – to the other one. Having gripped his hands on the belly he could hardly pronounce: 
- Sir Hol!
- Rascal! Thief! Get out! – Hol ordered and kicked the tableman in the arse again.
Zhusup could hardly speak Russian without this but now he couldn’t pronounce even a word. Having gathered the flown apart sheets he dragged home. Sarybala dismally lagged nearby him. Tears were in his eyes, Zhusup’s hat – in his hands. The boy didn’t understand at all what for the tall one had kicked his teacher:
- Why has he beaten you? – The boy asked.
- Perhaps somebody informed him that I added the workers odd days. Can a Kazakh live in security at all? – Zhusup answered and sighed deeply.

After Zhusup had been kicked away from the plant he travelled about many places in search of work. He visited Akmola, Karkaraly but he could nowhere find any work and finally returned to the plant. Here on credit he hired a room in Kokuzeke and started teaching children. He didn’t have any special knowledge and any teacher’s experience but Zhusup didn’t have anything to lose. Moreover, he knew that nobody would check his work. In the eyes of naïve people who wanted to know Russian he looked solid enough. He never lost a possibility to show himself in the best light – a know-it-all. He wrote quickly and spoke fluently. Not only simple people had a high opinion of him. The volost’s head Muhtar, tradesman Aubakir and butcher Koibagar were the first ones who had given him their children. A young widow, Maria Fyodorovna, also took Zhusup’s lessons. Everybody paid him what he or she could. If people didn’t have any money they brought things. For example, thirty-years-old worker Seitkazi gave him his watch for learning. He had more than fifteen pupils. All of them were of different ages: a nine-years-old boy and a thirteen-years-old dzhigit were classmates and learned the same. Never before the miserable Zhusup’s knowledge had such a high price. He wrote claims for claimers and also made by this a little money. Only a short time ago he had been grieving day and night having been in dry dock but now a happy smile didn’t leave his face. As soon as he had a free minute he ran to the kumis-room or to an alehouse. 
But any happiness cannot last ever. Together with the incoming of autumn Zhusup felt the coolness of unhappy life too.        
Once grammar-school boy Husain, Yerdenbai’s son, came unexpectedly to the plant. All Zhusup’s pupils played hooky to see him.
The grammar-school boy wasn’t tall. He had big eyes, a black beard. He was nervous, quick-tempered and spoke as if his words choked him. He had an unenviable appearance, bleated out but everybody listened to him with respect. The room was overcrowded. The boys thrust at the door and looked at the grammar-school boy with admiration. Husain called up Sarybala, took his copy-book, looked it through and shook his head. Then he angrily asked in Russian:
- Who teaches you?
- Zhusup Maukimov. 
- A rascal! He is illiterate. He teaches wrong and deceives simple people! – Husain cried angrily out and started correcting mistakes in the copy-book with a red pencil. There wasn’t left any uncorrected line. Having put the copy-books marked all over with a red pencil under his arms Sarybala dragged home.
Since that day Zhusup’s career of a teacher started declining. Soon he didn’t have any pupils at all. Sarybala entered the forth form of the plant Russian-Kazakh five-year school. That was the happiest day in his life. But the only thing darkened this joy. This was the boy’s grief about his former teacher. Zhusup started drinking. Being drunk he could be sitting long having taken his head in the hands and grumbling at a headache. But he grieved more than was ill.
- How to live now? I am not able to perform heavy works and I don’t have any light work. To steal? Or to sell things? And what to sell? The only Zagipa’s kerchief? Oh, what a small world! What for has the God created so many people on the Earth, thought out so many hopes? I’d better to go to myrza Aubakir. Perhaps he will not grudge at least a brisket for his son-in-law…
Zhusup stood up and came out shaking.
A great silence settled in the room. It was heavy like lead. Zagipa was lying faced to the wall and whimpering. She also had a headache. 
Sarybala wrote a letter to his father:
“Hello, my dear aga and grandma. I inform you that yesterday my teacher brought me to the red plant school. I am very glad. But when I start thinking about the teacher I am pressed by my grief. Aga, they live in hard conditions now. Zhusup doesn’t have any work and the money is out. You know they don’t have any cattle. What must I do, where to live? How will they live now? Come here as soon as possible…”
While the boy was going to the market and asking to give in the letter to the aul Zhusup returned from Aubakir. He was lying on the floor having put his arms on the nape and closed his eyes. Every evening at this time Zagipa usually made tea but today she was lying. In the sad soundless room in which it was getting darker and darker with each minute Sarybala opened very quietly like a cat the cupboard trying not to make noise but all the same the door creaked. Having broken a piece off the rest of the loaf Sarybala started avidly chewing. Then he quietly went to his place and lay too…
Mustafa came in a week. Zhusup was glad because of the friend’s arrival. Earlier than Sarybala he ran up to Mustafa and shook long his hand.
- Well, that’s enough, enough, my dears! – Mustafa pronounced. – It’s not also good when joy slops over.
- Hajjeke, it turns out that when you are in need you meet a friend as the powerful prophet!       
Even when they sat at the laid table and had each a cup of tea Mustafa answered this Zhusup’s exclamation with a slight smile: 
- The powerful prophet hasn’t appeared yet. If he does he will surely gift you. And how can my arrival help you? By nothing. Don’t suffer, my dear. If you suffer the world will become narrow. But for a jolly one even a narrow world will become large. People say that Husain, Yerdenbai’s son, has brought you to grief. 
- Yes, in short he has slain me like by a bullet. 
- If you are not able to teach then how was my son taken into the Russian school? 
- The grammar-school boy looked at me at a height of his position. But all the same I can teach some grammar. 
- I think so too, - Mustafa agreed and paused to think.
His long eyelashes were almost closed and his black eyes were motionlessly staring straight before him. Nobody knew what was going in his soul then that was deep like a sea. After keeping silent for some time he said to Zhusup who was sitting with the open mouth:
- If Husain has looked at his height then we will see from below. It can’t be that all people are illiterate in the Kazakh auls. If you don’t find any job here you should go to the aul. A swan can find its rescue in a lake, a man – among people. You will teach what you know. 
- Who will give me a houseroom?
- Tuleybay will.
- Tuleybay?! Will he admit me?
- I hope. You should write a letter in the name of me, my son. – Mustafa addressed to Sarybala.
The boy readily sat down to write to his father’s dictation:
“Best greetings to Dear Tuleybay, my agemate. All relatives are healthy here. Our cattle is fat, there grows lush grass on our meadows. Got be thanked, we have no news about our relationships with Russians. In this letter I am asking about one my friend to do my bit. You have looked for a Russian teacher, I have found him. The bearer of the letter, Zhusup, has taught my son. For the period of eleven months he taught my son the things which others usually learn during three years and then he brought him to a Russian school. Admit Zhusup. He is brave like you and is an old hand. If Kazakhs know everything Zhusup knows then step by step the light will banish the darkness in the auls…”
After finishing dictating Mustafa couldn’t long sign the letter. His firm long fingers that were able to tie an iron whip could write two Arabic letters not at all. The pencil stumbled and wagged from side to side. Finally hit or miss he wrote the hooked letters which looked like branches of saksaul. The boy started laughing looking at them:
- He is laughing, a bad boy, - Mustafa smiled. – If my father had taught me how you are taught, if I lived in the times that you live in then I would look at you, who of us would laugh more. 
Zhusup hid the letter in the pocket of his bosom. It was far enough to the Tuleybay’s aul, about seventy-eighty milestones. People seldom came to the plant from there.
- How can I get to it? – Zhusup asked with concern. 
- You can get there on my horse, - Mustafa answered.
- Oibai-au, and you? Will you go on foot?
- You have given my son the wings. Do you really think that I can grudge my horse for you? I’ll give you for ever. Take it as my thanks for my son’s education. We have met each other on a good note and we will part on a good note too, my dear. The world is interesting by its good relationships. If you part being friends then you will meet each other with gladness too. But if you part at issue then you will meet each other like angry dogs. I could begrudge if a thief stole my horse, if it were killed by a wolf or if it died. But now my grey short-tailed horse has paid fully off. Don’t grieve and don’t think that you have deprived me of my horse. 
Zhusup started crying with excitement. He took Mustafa’s hand once more, hotly said all words of thanks that he only knew and quickly started gathering the things for getting away. 
Mustafa came out together with his son. The father was looking long at the low Kazakhs’ huts spread in disorder as if he was looking for something with his eyes. 
- Son, Tatar Pahrei lives somewhere here. We should go to his place. There’s no reason you to stay here any more. 
They were going among the huts and asking each passerby where Tatar Pahrei lived… 

Autumn came and ground became frosty. Leaves of trees fell down on the ground and they became unattractive like old men who had said goodbye to their youth already long ago. The sky was excited, cold wind blew large grey clouds and raised black dust in the streets and whirled yellow leaves. 
Sarybala’s spirit was changeable. It looked like the external world. He felt both joy and shame. The red school which he had been dreaming so much about made his suffering now. He came across such subjects as decimal fractions, Russian grammar, Russian history, Geography about which neither Zhaksybek nor Zhusup heard. Earlier Sarybala had enough room for all his text-books in his pocket and now they didn’t find enough room in a big bag. Sarybala could do not a lesson at once. He understood just one word of each five Russian ones. “E-eh, I wish I would know this language!” – the boy thought with grief. He didn’t know even the things which Abdrahman and Kalyk, his classmates and the brothers of his bride elect, knew.
“It’s not learning but just suffering, - Sarybala was concerned. – I’ll chuck it up and go to the aul…” But then he remembered about hard life of illiterate and poor aul inhabitants and he didn’t want to return to it. “I don’t have any will, I am stupid!” – Sarybala was angry with himself. He was quiet externally but he was concerned in his soul. He slept badly at nights but he claimed nobody. He was hard-working, responsible and polite. He did anything bad to nobody and tried not to be a focus of attention. But at the same time he was independent and brought up self-respect. “If somebody needs me then he or she will come to me by him- or herself. If somebody doesn’t need me then I will not kow-tow”, - Sarybala said to himself. Only his brothers-in-law who had not obtained any haughtiness of rich men yet made friends with the self-contained mysterious boy. They called him now uncle then son-in-low. Friendly Abdrahman helped Sarybala prepare his lessons, shared candies and gingerbreads with him which he brought from the house in the pockets. Sarybala asked for nothing, he was ashamed but Abdrahman proposed by himself pencils of different colours, pens, skates and balls. There were a lot of Russian children but there were just three Kazakhs in the class. Nobody touched Abdrahman and Kalyk. Children were afraid of them. That’s why nobody touched Sarybala too. Once a grown-up good-for-nothing, Krymkozha, who learned nowhere offended Sarybala. Then the schoolchildren with Sarybala and his brothers-in-law in the head lurked Krymkozha and gave him a grueling. Since that time Sarybala started walking like a chagan. Hope for a happy future grew in the boy’s soul more and more. He even learned by heart the haughty words of the song:
My father-in-law is a bai and my grandpa is a bai,
You won’t do me poor, my god.     
…But now there was nothing to boast for Sarybala about. Being blushed up to ears he was motionlessly standing in front of the teacher. Butchering Russian words he was mumbling something faltering about Peter the Great. He stumbled and stopped talking again. At the same moment Abdrahman and Kalyk started prompting in whisper. Sarybala pronounced some more words and stopped speaking again. Teacher Andrew Matveyevich was a man of nerve. He didn’t hurry up or cry. Having put the hands into his pockets and minding habitually his step he was silently walking around the class back and forth. Being assured that now Sarybala had stopped speaking for a long time he asked only one question:
- Why have people called Tsar Peter “the Great”? 
  The boy didn’t know.
- No tsar has done as much as Peter has done for a progressive development of Russia. That’s why he was called the Great. Tsar Peter and scientist Lomonosov are towering above like tops of mountains in Russian history up to these times. – Andrew Matveyevich explained. 
The boy felt ashamed in the presence of the benevolent teacher. Some drops of sweat that looked like beads appeared on the Sarybala’s nose. But then his embarrassment started slowly disappearing after he sat down on his place. Sarybala said Abdrahman when they came out from the class:
- What a good man this Andrew Matveyevich! I’m sure that Zhaksybek would give me a flogging for my keeping silent. 
After school the boys usually hurried home. Today when they were passing the police officer’s office they saw a group of Kazakhs who were excitingly speaking to each other. There recently arrived a new police officer but he was already very popular. Could it be that he had arrested those Kazakhs and wanted to chastise them with corporal punishment? The children stopped and stared bug-eyed with trouble and curiosity.
- Does the police officer know Geometry well? – Sarybala took interest.
- If he didn’t know he would not have become a police officer, - Abdrahman answered. – But the district chief knows Geometry much better than he. The governor knows better than the district chief and the tsar – better than the governor. 
- How many years must I learn to become a district chief or a governor?
- Oh, I think many! But for a guardian it’s enough just four forms. Let’s take, for example, Orynbek. 
- A ruler must have some brain. Who can teach this?
- If you learn you will become clever.
- No-o-o! – Sarybala shook his head. – One chagan had a son. He learned all sciences. Once the chagan called his son, clasped his fingers in fist and asked: “What do I have in my hand? It’s round and has a hole in the middle.” The son answered: “A mill stone”. The father went on: “Can a mill stone find enough room in a fist? It’s a ring. What is the reason of the fact that you have learned all the sciences if you don’t have any acumen!” 
Abdrahman always laughed loudly. And now having griped hold of his belly he started laughing and cried out in Russian: “What a fool!” Little cute Kalyk didn’t listen to the story and flew sparrows with small stones but after hearing the laugh he ran up at once: “What’s up? What are you laughing at?” He looked kindly now at one then at other one and seeing that the boys didn’t pay any attention to him he hit Abdrahman and took to heels.
Abdrahman stopped laughing and screwed up his face because of pain.
- A stupid boy! Doesn’t he see that we pity him? If I catch him and slit his nose he will start crying for the whole street.
- The mullah lashed us with green rods – even this nothing, - Sarybala remembered and went on his interrupted reasoning. – Prophet Mahomet doesn’t learn at school but he was wise.
- He must be like this – he is Allah’s friend. And who has gifted biy Ayaz with mind? My grandma says: “People have gifted. People are like a sea. There are a lot of values in its deepness. And only a hero of heroes can get them. Only that one who will dive bravely and selflessly…” Does it mean that it is more difficult to become clever than literate? Am I right?
- But my father insists on quite another. He says that the most difficult thing is to get money. And when you get it this money axe will be able to destroy anything, turn the river back and gift a human both mind and happiness.
- Does it mean that all bais are clever?
- Of course. Can a fool really become rich?
Sarybala said nothing. Being busy with his thoughts and keeping silent he was going and minding his step like his father. He remembered Bakyrai and Itbergen from the aul. The both were bais. They were so rich that they were not able to count their sheep but they never stuffed a human to the bursting point. They were avaricious and disgusting. They had so much fortune but good people scorned them. They were rich but where was their mind? What did it express in? It was difficult for the boy to answer his own questions. 
Sarybala saw a group of aul Kazakhs behind the wooden bridge over the Kokizek River in front of Egor’s shop. Mahambetshe was among them too. He touched Sarybala’s forehead with his lips but turned back at once having forgotten about the nephew and went on putting his buys into a bag and in his bosom. Only Allah knows what he bought for his own money and what – for somebody else’s money but also for himself. Be it as it may Mahambetshe was rosy and jolly. Having bent his companions were jigging up and down in dry frost. Kazakhs came up to them. They had some papers in the hands. Sarybala knew that those were signed bank-bills for which people could buy something. 
Egor Chernih was the largest shopkeeper in the plant. Like Moscow rich men he gave money on credit according to a bank-bill. He sold his goods cheaper than they cost in other shops. “Both cheaper and on credit” – Kazakhs were glad and readily went to Egor. Mahambetshe was the first one who had given an example. Both he advised the others and didn’t have anything against to take some money for advice. Egor was sly and devious for attracting more buyers. He added some kind of a trifle or a spoiled fag end for those ones who bought more expensive goods or by wholesale. Naïve aul inhabitants took such trifle for luck and spent their last money. There seethed trade in the shop. Chernih had several sons. They spoke fluently Kazakh. They were artful and affable businessmen. And each of them traded. They loudly clacked with the beads and artfully measured pieces of cloth.     
Giving Mahambetshe into his hands the knot Egor helpfully pronounced:
- According to our rules, 1bieke, you are supposed in addition to some cloth for caftan, a dress for your wife, a kerchief, sugar and tea.

1Bieke – respectfully from “biy”
Mahambetshe took this addition with a smile. 
A sighted boy came up to the shop leading by the hand a blind Kazakh with dombra and a staff in the hand. Having come up closer the blind one started playing dombra and singing:
My tribe is called Koyanysh-tagai
Dualet-tanai is in Koyanysh-tagai
I’m a Kazakh bard Kakban. Dear Mahambetshe,
Are you healthy? Reply!

That one who is blind and deprived of anything
Dombra is his friend, loud ring of its strings,
If he had something to eat and drink
He would ever roam around the roads. 

Allah’s made me blind for 
Not to see evil in stranger’s eyes.
I live thanks to people’s kindness all my life
I pick seeds in foreigner’s yards. 

A kind soul can understand everything without any words
That one is deaf to hints whose soul is cruel… 
You, Mahambetshe, is famous not in vain
I am ready to stand bail for you.   
- Well, well, that’s enough, Kakban. It’s not good to catch me. I am personally of those ones who usually catch. – Mahambetshe said glowering.
People already gathered around the singer. Kazakhs who had brought stray and led cattle to the market were sitting on their camels, in their carts, on their horses and listening to pressing up those ones who were in front. Kakban didn’t see and feel the presence of people and went on even louder:
People are pressed by a greedy boa.
They swallowed a camel with its felt
All the same you will be laid in grave with nothing.
The whole your wealth will be ruined.

A stone can also melt if it to burn long
You can look for root of evil in the blind man’s speech
Hey, who will dare chap my lip
Over the face and with his whip? 

The sart riding on a donkey’s back
Took an Argamak horse instead of it.
A poor man has some blood still
Him to go on fatting, who is sated.

By chance a herdsman lashes the back
Of a sheep herder unintentionally
The bai sits all the time on me
Although my back is not a saddle.

The sart cried me: “You! Go away!”
And I have come to you with a deep entreaty
But I have found here just the same
Having stopped in front of you.

Bais have not honour. Ah, Kakban,
You are gifted with a bitter fate…
Having heard about the black Uzbek Mahambetshe started smiling. Akin offended Aubakir, Seitkemel’s son, very much. Aubakir who had just recently become rich and was a newcomer from far away lands started using a great influence on the land where Mahambetshe dreamt to be a full owner. Aubakir’s power troubled not only Mahambetshe but also Egor who had some trade relationships with Moscow and Irbit.
“Do you see where he aims at?” -  Egor said forebodingly. 
The biy and the tradesman were highly tickled at the defiant words of the akin that humbled Aubakir. “It’s impossible to make away with him without something to give him”, - avaricious Mahambetshe pronounced and tore off the akin a piece of chintz for underpants. Egor didn’t remain short of him – he presented him three meters of coarse calico.
Abdrahman who hadn’t understood at first what had been what realized the meaning of Kakban’s words only now. 
- A blind dog, - he whispered and almost in tears ran home. 
Being fully taken with the song Sarybala didn’t notice the disappearance of his fellow. The singer stopped singing; the crowd went home but akin’s words were constantly on his mind. Sarybala repeated them by heart…

Just yesterday in the evening there appeared news about the mobilization but by the morning it already flew the whole lifeless steppe around. The auls were in migration. There was a bright hot day. There was not a cloud in the sky. The nature was quiet but in the auls – tumult. Dzhigits mounted their horses. The heads of the tribes, biys, volost’s chiefs, honourable aksakals gathered to advise. Women cried, groaned, lamented and shared their bitter guesses.
It seemed to Sarybala that the whole world was in mourning. He stayed alone in the aul – everybody gathered at Aubakir’s house. According to the tradition Sarybala didn’t have any right to come up to the house of his future father-in-law up to a certain time. But today everybody was excited so much that he didn’t stay aside off such a great event and Sarybala joined the noisy crowd. Kadyr’s son, Mahambetshe, Batyrash’s son, Zhunus, Orynbay’s son, Amir, Azyn’s son, Mustafa, volost’s rulers Muhtar and Esmakai were sitting on the green lawn in valley Kumis-kuduk – Kumis well, - in the middle of the crowd. The heads of the nearest ones to Spassk volosts came here too – Karagandinskiy and Baidauletskiy volosts. Earlier the heads of the volosts had looked at each other like beasts and were ready to tear each other into pieces but today they were firm friends.
Zhusup was speaking loudly and clearly:
- Having put their signatures on a dog’s skin Russian ancestors promised us not to take Kazakhs for serving in the army. The tsar broke his promise. Lift the bright flag of Ablai. Mount your horses, dzhigits! Take weapon!
Zhusup was big, broad-shouldered with moustache long up to his ears and ringing voice that the most distant one in the crowd could hear him. He didn’t almost allow speaking other ones but all the same Mahambetshe interrupted him:
- Well, let’s suppose that we will lift our dropped flag again. Dzhigits will mount their horses. But where to get some weapon? Even one hundred of dzhigits will not be able to withstand against a gun.
- If the tsar has many guns then we have the endless steppe, hills, cliffs and valleys. Covers can protect even a hare. 
- How long can we live like hares? 
- The tsar’s soul is restless. I think Germany has grasped his throat and started strangling. In other case he wouldn’t require from us to give him soldiers. 
The crowd started buzzing. 
- That’s right!
- The god is a witness. The tsar is on a thread. 
- We will hide during the day and attack at night. If to shelter ourselves behind the tabuns of horses and grasp their throats then we will be able to repeal attacks. 
Old man Amir couldn’t be called a beardless one. There stuck out a dozen of hairs on his chin and he had hardly noticeable whiskers under his nose. His mouth was toothless and his cheeks were sunken. He started speaking adding oil to the flame:
- If you die for your own tribe it’s not a sin. If you kill a foreigner you are just. Soldier on! It’s better if the whole nation will die than to allow them trampling our reputation and our sense of conscience, than to listen to the cries of our wives and children. It’s no good to bind hand and foot of our dzhigits. I will live not more than an old sheep. I have power only in my words. My weapon is the only knife in my pocket. But I will not endure and go out to fight too even if I hold just a tail of a hero’s horse. 
Nobody dared to speak after Amir but the buzz in the crowd became even louder. Now in this rush it seemed that not a dzhigit would bend before a bullet or turn his back on the fire: he would admit the death. Even Aryn who was the most coward of the cowards was sitting on the horse with a club in his hand. Seventy-years-old Zhekebai fixed a shaft to a broken hay-fork. It was clear that he was going to pry up an enemy with it. Children made tin knives and waved with them as if they attacked each other. They played in war. 
There didn’t stop sounding the words of anger and excitement. Suddenly the crowd pricked up the ears and stopped talking. Something blackened afar. It looked like some kind of a moving point. At first there appeared one horse, then it turned out that those were two ones. But there was just one rider. It meant that he was rushing with very urgent news. It could be that somebody of the bais of the tribe had died and the rider called people for funeral. People didn’t know would he bring good or bad news.
The rider, the tired dzhigit, rode up to the crowd. The flaps of his cap were tied. His breast was bandaged with a pileous rope. His face was red like hot iron. The horses were lathery. Their nostrils swelled so much that one could put his fist in them. The moustached dzhigit cried gruffly out horseback:
- Nurlan has sent me! Nurlan calls! Nurlan gathers for a meeting the whole tribe Kuandyk! Mountain Altaians has chosen a chagan, they have gathered troops. They are preparing to go against the tsar. Tinali’s auls are already making weapon and reserving gunpowder. 
Without taking up the ball and not answering the questions the dzhigit went on riding. He had the order not to stop. Repeating the same words he was rushing farther and farther from one aul to another. The rider’s voice, patter of horse’s hoofs was spreading in the soundless steppe with alarm sounds…
People started talking about all-to-common Nurlan. He had a much higher position than other rulers sitting here. Once during a great commemoration about the deceased person there appeared a quarrel between the tribes Altai and Karpyk. Angry Nurlan’s father Kiyash cried out: “Karpyks! I will command your tribe!” Not by chance Kiyash threatened the twelve volosts of Altai. His father had left twelve auls in each of which there were not less than one thousand horses. There was not such a large rich tribe both among numerous Altaians and among numerous Kuandyk’s tribe. And Nurlan excelled not only his ancestors. His fame came out off the edges of Akmolinskiy lands and spread far away around. 
Once Nurlan gave a piece of advice to the heads of Nurlan’s tribes:
- There are enough dogs in each aul but not every dog is able to catch a fox.
He didn’t speak straight about his superiority, about his ability “to catch a fox” but he hinted about this with the help of the saying. That’s why Nurlan tried to spread wider his arms to capture the whole tribe Kuandyk. The rider’s words about the fact that Altaians had chosen their chagan called different guesses:
- Does Nurlan want to choose a chagan too? – Mahambetshe supposed.
The heads of the volosts who were keeping silent up to now started speaking at once in three voices:
- Can it be that he personally would like to become a chagan? – Yesmakai noticed. 
- But who is the other one? – Mustafa replied.
- Does it mean that in this case we will not have any volosts any more, - Muhtar said disapprovingly. – And Nurlan will become a Kazakhs’ tsar, am I right?
The three volosts’ heads stopped speaking. Their faces became angry. The crowd started moving and buzzing. Then old man Amir started crying:
- Are you afraid that you won’t be chosen a chagan? Are you afraid to lose the volost’s power? A single wide grass can be torn out by the wind. I will spit upon your volost’s power if it cannot serve people in grief. You should go to Nurlan! Whatever he were – a chagan, a tsar, a devil because the nation needs a leader. Look for him, choose him! If you all want to be biys - you will not be able to hide in the steppe. You all will become slaves! 
The volosts’ heads replied nothing not daring to contradict the glib old man. People decided to send six persons to the great meeting to Nurlan’s aul. When it was decided Tuleybay who was sitting aside lifted his head and started speaking:
- Listen to me, people! Aksakals, biys, volosts’ heads!
Having stood up from his place Tuleybay went to the centre of the circle. With each his step he was speaking louder and louder. The crowd froze. Having come out in the middle he lifted his hand and looked at the crowd over aksakals’ heads:
- Our conversation is as large as a mountain but it has born just a mouse. Can you remember a chagan who hasn’t robbed Kazakhs? Have you already forgotten yesterday’s attacks of Kenesara and Jangira? Don’t misinform us, wise old men! To chose Nurlan a chagan will give us nothing. If he is a people’s protector then where has he been up to now? Let’s stop speaking about a simple Kazakh. And as for you, aksakals, biys and volosts’ heads, say us! Who of you hasn’t been oppressed by Nurlan? Whose of your backs hasn’t he kicked?  
- We must be united under such conditions, my dear, - Amir noticed.
Tuleybay interrupted irreverently:
- First of all I want to save my life. What for do I need the unity that can bring me death? I have also heard about this unity when Nurlan had thrown me to a prison as some food for bugs having put my hands and legs into irons. I have heard about this unity even then when Nurlan had robbed our lands, offended our widows and our shy harmless cattle farmers. I have heard about this unity when Nurlan had set one tribe against another and got a golden fir-coat from the tsar for the shed blood! And now I don’t want even to hear about him! Now Kazakhs need not a chagan-bloodsucker but some leaders who will be able to lead the nation without taking into account any grieves. 
- And where are these leaders? – Amir asked.
Tuleybay stumbled and kept silent for some time. He looked around everybody with his sparkling eyes and answered:
- I don’t see any such leaders among you. And up to the moment they will appear I am ready to be the head of our detachment. 
- Do you want to war with bare hands?
- We cannot use a club against a gun. We cannot rely on the victory hiding behind our tabuns of horses. Tinali won’t provide us with weapon. I have visited them and know that Tinali’s tribe is in no way different from us. I like Mekesh’s methods. Mekesh attacks and then hides. Soldiers cannot kill even Mekesh. Night, steppe and hills – these are our fortress that is unapproachable not only for guns but for a cannon too. If to lie in wait of trap and lunge on the quiet we can kill not only the tsar but the god personally too. Exactly in this we must be united. If volosts’ heads protect their power and bais – their cattle then we won’t have any unity. I wish everybody would oath to forget about fortune and power and protect the nation. Then Nikolai and Wilhelm together will not be able to defeat us. They must fan out all Kazakh’s lands to catch a Kazakh. Where will they take so many soldiers? The tsar has not more soldiers than we have sheep. If to spread our flocks about the steppe then we ourselves will not be able to find them. It is possible to defeat even a giant with the help of cunning. It is possible to foresee the future with the help of brain. Our people are rich for both brain and cunning. And exactly this wealth we must share now…
Nobody moved. There settled a heavy silence. Everybody was thinking. Today’s long conversation looked like a forked road. The people didn’t know what direction to go to. They were keeping silent long. Finally there heard Amir’s weak voice. This time he was more groaning than speaking in spite of the fact that he drooped very seldom.
- E-e-e-eh, well, well, I see, - he pronounced and nodded with his head. He sat keeping silent for some time and then went on. – It turns out that I have seen less than I haven’t seen. In spite of the fact that I am white like the moon but it turns out that I am just a baby without trousers. What to do? If you turn here you will lose your bull, if you turn there you will break your cart. The migration has stopped on its halfway at the very climb. The leader’s soul of the migration is restless. It is so much restless that even a one-humped camel cannot lift its load. Biys and volost’s leaders looked at the ground, Tuleybay – to the sky, and poor old man Amir – at the people. But who must the people look at? I am just an eagle without claws… Let’s wait for Aubakir’s arrival. Let’s listen to what he will say. Aubakir is a clever person.  
People decided to wait for Aubakir’s arrival. He was not only a town but also an aul rich man. He sowed wheat, cut hay and bred cattle. He was a good neighbour of Kadyr’s aul. Since last year his elder brother, his mother and some of his close relatives had moved to the independent large aul. Today people gathered for a meeting exactly in this aul. Aubakir came here on other business but having heard the yesterday’s alarm news he went to the plant. People hoped that Aubakir would bring them the most truthful news and assuage all doubts and hesitations. People were waiting for him as for manna from heavens.
And now here raised a cloud of dust somewhere afar on the horizon… 
- He is going in a cart!
- Oh, Allah! I wish he would bring us good news!
- I have seen a good dream at the day-break.
The looks of the crowd were fixed to the road. People didn’t stop talking. They had the most different guesses. The hope that was about to flash was going out step by step like a dust cloud that had just risen over the road and was already sitting down. 
Aubakir came up in a light cart with springs which was harnessed with a black Argamak horse. He was of a medium height, fatting, spotted and dressed stylish in a Russian manner. He got out from the cart and smiled. But yesterday he had gone away with tears in the eyes. He informed sparkling with his big eyes:
- They will not take in soldiers, they will hire people! And not everybody but only those ones whose age will be nineteen-thirty-one.      
It seemed that the news wasn’t bad but people’s faces were still gloomy. 
- They lie. They want to come round us. 
- If they put a halter on then they will not allow us even moving!
- Not only to hire I will not want even to visit them!..
Not having listened to Aubakir till the end people started mumbling:
- They have taken away our lands…
- They have broken our traditions.
- Now they have decided to kill all our men…   
Amir asked for silence tapping his stick on the ground.
- At first listen till the end!
The crowd stopped talking and Aubakir went on speaking;
- They take our people for administerial works but not to war and at the age of nineteen-thirty-one. And this is for certain. You shouldn’t offend for the call. What will we get with revolt? A war – it’s not a fight with clubs between auls… Think, people, calm down! Alihan Bukeihanov and Mirzhakip Dulatov who are protectors of Kazakh nation have given the order in the letter: “Don’t resist! There hangs danger over the whole Russia now. When enemy has grasped it by the throat, don’t be wolves and don’t grasp it by flaps. If Russians are defeated this will be Kazakhs’ defeat too. Then it will begin a real robbery. The won Germans will take away all our lands and cattle.” To my mind we will win nothing with the help of our opposition. We will just invite disaster. I have come to an agreement with the head of the plant – you can start working. In such a way we will save our heads and calm people down …  
Mahambetshe unfolded his both palms and addressed to the volosts’ heads:
- If in such a way we are able to save our heads and calm down people then what else can we ask the Allah for? 
The volosts’ heads who felt a bit down came noticeable to life again.
- Of course, Aubakirzhan knows everything, - Yesmakai started speaking. – Let’s obey his advice. 
- Sarmantai’s tribe will readily go working, - Mustafa assured. – As for today the half of the plant carters are our people. 
- Then it means that we will perform both the tsar’s order and the please of myrza Alihan Bukeihanov – Muhtar pronounced. – It means that we will save both our bull and the cart. 
Having lifted his stick in the direction of the crowd old man Amir started speaking:
- Listen to me, myrza Aubakir, the volosts’ heads Yesmakai and Mustafa, biy Mahambetshe! All of you are responsible for the people’s souls. Now you have come to an agreement and found common ground. I wish you great successes! But all the same I will go to Nurlan. We should listen to him too. Perhaps I could also be useful in these hard times.
People started go home. Mustafa came away far along the valley and when he stayed alone he started performing namaz. Sarybala saw how Tuleybay stood up, dusted down the flaps and went after Mustafa. The boy dragged after Tuleybay. Mustafa didn’t notice their approaching. Having faced to the south he unfolded his palms and closed his eyes. If a lion roared nearby him he wouldn’t notice it. The firm self-restrained man relaxed in the god’s presence. Tears rolled over his face. Some other time even if somebody burnt him with hot iron he wouldn’t drop even a tear.
- Come up here, the boy. – Tuleybay whispering called Sarybala. – Your father doesn’t feel like communicating with us. Let’s talk. How old are you?
- Thirteen. 
- Zhusup who has learned you lives in our aul now. He says that you are smart. Tell me what have you understood on that meeting?
Keeping silent Sarybala picked the ground with his toe cap. It was unclear wasn’t he just literate enough or naturally sparing of words and self-contained. It was difficult to understand what he had in his soul. He kept silent more. But Tuleybay would like to talk. Finally he dented the boy’s ego:
- A good yearling runs after a horse, a good man at the age of thirteen is the head of his family. But as for you I don’t believe that you are able to become a man even at the age of twenty-four. It turns out that you have understood nothing today.
- No, I have. I have understood everything! – The boy pronounced. His face darkened. – I cannot just keep everything in my mind.
- Then say whose words have you liked most of all!
- Amir’s and yours… But I think that you both were had floored. 
- Yes, we were! – And Tuleybay sighed. – Not always good and true words can win, my dear. People often try to neglect them. But good words will not be forgotten. Some day they will be useful for people. Their ancestors will direct nowadays’ Kazakhs onto a right way. But now we should just live our days…
Mustafa finished his praying and turned back. Tuleybay started laughing.
- Why are you so jolly, sinful mortal? – The hajji asked.
- You were praying with lifted hands. Of course, the generous god will gift you and you will share with me. That’s why I’m so jolly.
- A doomed crow likes to play with a golden eagle. Playing with a horse even a yearling can break its back. – Mustafa replied with a smile. – Don’t sin in the god’s presence. He has many enemies without you. At first fight with them. 
- I won’t sin, my agemate, I won’t. However, you were long speaking to him. What has he said you?
- Only Allah is the owner of all eighty thousand worlds! I said him: your nationals are lost. Direct them onto a right way. Kazakhs are friends in peaceful times, they are enemies in hard times. They cannot come to an agreement with each other. Can they defeat an enemy in such a way? I was praying and asking Allah to give us unity, light thoughts and send us brave leaders.
- Your please is very important one. Has he satisfied it?
- A devil, you talk through hat! Do you think that the god is my neighbour and stretches me his hand at once? Well, let’s go home and talk there. – Mustafa proposed and stood up.
Step by step all people went home. The buzz quieted. There heard just a quiet conversation now here then there. People went home droopingly and joylessly. 

People spent the summer all in a fluster. The whole steppe stood up. It was quiet only in some distant rare auls. People tied the volosts’ rulers who were for the tsar to horses tails. Many dzhigits died in the fight against the tsar’s punitive detachments. 
There approached severe winter. The wanderers didn’t have either bread in provision or cut hay, or cattle-pens, or roofs for themselves. What can be more dangerous than winter without food and home! Alive enemy – soldiers pressed on them from their backs and in front there was their deaf enemy – nature. Kazakhs would be very glad if summer lasted the whole year. They would migrate from place to place - go on a wild-goose chase. Some auls had to leave their native lands and went to China and Mongolia. At a loss other ones stopped on their halfway like a wild horse that was strangled with a lasso with a loop on its end. 
By the winter, seeing that people became quieter volosts’ heads came to life and squared their shoulders again.
There spread six volosts of Kuandyk’s tribe nearby Spassk. Having arrived to Spassk the farmers’ head occupied for his office one of Aubakir’s houses. The tradesman walked in a portentous manner having tilted his cap backwards. Both the farmer’s head and the police officer, and Englishmen, the owners of the plant, listened to his opinion. It was clear that he had influence on the volosts’ head too.
During the call-in days the plant looked like a big fair. There was everything that steppe Kazakhs could only bring here. There was everything: the fattest and the most high-bred cattle, the most expensive and the rarest things, grasping crammed golden eagles, beagle and greyhound dogs. There were a great number of different implements and handcrafted things. 
During all summer people were fighting for their rights with clubs and pikes against guns. But it was impossible to break a butt with the help of a whip. The opposition became useless. But having resigned themselves people fell into a stronger position of dependence from the volosts’ leaders. Nothing could be made without a corruptive payment - removal from military registration, admission to the plant (plant ones were not taken) or a sick leave. The farmer’s head Aubakir personally and the volosts’ leaders wringed out the uttermost farthing of the dependent people. Poor ones gave corruptive payments even to paraprofessional Ivan Antonovich to get a hyped-up medical certificate. Perhaps it was never the times on these lands yet when a corruptive payment blossomed so much. Never before people’s reputation and conscience sank so low. A vulture eats carrion and it is scorned. And a human ate his living brother at those times. The crowd that had surrounded the house with an iron roof in the middle of the plant yard was looking at the sky with a prayer. There hung a bright cloud like an island in the endless blue sky. It was light and white and it seemed to people that it was the justice personally for which there was not any place in the world any more.    
Sarybala was aimlessly walking in the crowd at the house with a grey roof. He was scared with this dismal sight. It called some pity to people in his hart and tears but he wasn’t able to go, run away from there.
There came out a fellow from the room where the commission had its meeting. He was absolutely bare and covered with his hands. His left eye was covered with a large swelling.
At once his relatives ran up to him.
- Have they freed you?
- Yes, they have.
- Oh, Allah! You have left for me my only one! I’ll sacrifice a sheep for you! – The old man – father cried out and tears ran over his face (the old man had given a corruptive payment to the paraprofessional and that one had dropped some herb in the eyes).
- Why are you glad so much, father? – The young man pronounced bitterly. – I could lose my eye… If it were possible to return my eye I would go not only working but also to war. 
- Don’t say this, my dear. If you got into a mess it is impossible to avoid paying some price. It’s enough to have just one eye for one head. If I lost you I would lose the both eyes. – The father repeated. 
- Let’s go to Ivan Antonovich as quickly as possible. It hurts me. Perhaps he will give me some remedy.
Having surrounded the dzhigit the relatives led him to the paraprofessional. The head’s courier Simak ran out on the front porch and shot a quick look around as if he had lost somebody. Having seen the going away old man he ran after him with a cry:
- Hey, otagasy, leave me some 1suyunshi, leave suyunshi!
What else could the old man grudge if he hadn’t pitied even his own son?
Simak returned smacking his lips like a dog that had got loaded with milk. 
Having stripped off clothing a lot of recruiters were waiting for their turn. Cross-eyed Aben was among them too. He wasn’t just cross-eyed. He was absolutely blind for his right eye that was covered with a wall-eye. If a blind one was a double-F that one wouldn’t be taken too. Simak came out and cried:
- Who is Kali Jakin? Come in!
- It’s me! – Wall-eyed Aben replied and mumbled: - Oh, Allah, I wish they would take me…
Sarybala was surprised. Everybody had only one wish – to stay and this one was eager himself to become a soldier. The courier called Kali, Jakin’s son but Aben came instead of him. Soon he returned:

1Suyunshi – payment for good news.
- They have taken me!
Nobody shared his joy. When Aben went home Sarybala got up to him and asked:
- Agai, you are not Jakin’s son. I know Kali.
- Don’t bubble much. – He warned giving him a wink with his healthy eye. – I have a wife and children. They will get a cow with a calf and one horse for me. I have been working for fifteen years long and haven’t earned so much. If I stay alive I will return. If I have to die then the death will find me even in the yourt. 
- Have your wife and your children agreed?
- And what must they do? Flies a bird or runs a beast – all the same everybody is looking for food. Everybody wishes to live. Of course, they cried for some time but then they agreed. What to do, my dear, if we don’t have any other way out?   
Aben was jolly externally but his voice was trembling. The half-blind one wasn’t able to hide his trouble and fear. Sarybala left him alone. Aben went away but his feeble voice sounded long in the boy’s ears. When Sarybala returned a bare man with a wide beard come out from the room of the commission. He was shivering with anger. Having forgotten to cover with hands he excitedly cried out:
- Look at me, people! Am I thirty-one? I’m forty! Damned ones, what for have they detracted me years? Pity, that I haven’t known earlier that it could happen like this. I would personally die but I would take together at least one of these devils. 
The volosts’ heads took not only corruptive payments but also revenged disobedient ones. It could be that the bearded man had made his mark during the revolt and now they settled accounts with him. 
When he came out people started buzzing:
- But they have said that they will take only at the age of nineteen-thirty-one! It’s not good!
- They write what they want because they have a pencil in the hand!
- It’s clear that someone has betrayed this bearded one. During the revolt he required to put a torn felt on the neck of the volost’s head.
- Eh, people said much then on the spur of the moment. If to take everybody for the words who will stay at home then?
Perhaps the noise outside troubled those ones who were sitting in the office. Simak ran out on the front porch. He had much more pride than a simple courier. He was a nimble servant. One his hand was on his breast as if it was pointing onto the brassy plate, the other one – on the handle of his sabre. He cried out stamping his foot:
- What’s up? Are you going to revolt again? The farmer’s leader is here. Well, just try someone even to move! You will get it in the neck at once! – Having pulled out his sword blade from the scabbard he waved it in front of himself as if he was ready to strike a blow.  
In front of the courier there stood such dzhigits who could send Simak to the skies just with one blow. Alsen who had been chosen as a chagan during the revolt and bold Omar who had commanded the rebel detachments were also among them. Everybody kept silent. Nobody opened his mouth. Only from the distant rows where people were sitting on horses and camels there heard somebody’s voice:
- Only when 1kulan drops in a well a frog can play in its ears. 

1Kulan – a wild donkey
Simak didn’t pay any attention to these words and came away.
It seemed that only one man felt well and didn’t become dispirited in the hall where recruiters took their clothes off. It was Mirzakarim. He was shaggy, red with owl’s eyes dressed in a fox fur cap. He wore high-heeled boots with bootlegs up to his hips. Mirzakarim was so cowardly that he was afraid even to go out into the yard at night. He was sitting dressed and absolutely quiet among the half-bare dzhigits who were shivering from fear for their future. Having perspired he took off his fur cap and took Sarybala to read a paper with a stamp.
- “He works as a pickman”, - Sarybala read. – They will not take you.
The boy looked at the “pickman”. His look said: “You are lying. You have bought this certificate, we know how you do this…”
Mirzakarim was smiling smacking his wind-burned lips. The boy started laughing having remembered a mocking song:
Mirzakarim has wondered around the whole world.
Having decided Zeinep to marry
In her presence he was struck and blinded
And couldn’t feast his eyes from her.

And as for her, she is so smart and kind
And quibbles so unmercifully 
The stupid myrza gives her the eye
Stupidly and greedily.  
They called Mirzakarim. He disappeared behind the door, showed there his certificate and came out at once. Haughty Simak even smiled him and called “myrza”. 
It was nastily for Sarybala to see such a human meanness and disgrace but he didn’t go away. Simak didn’t hunt him away. He knew that this boy with grey eyes was Aubakir’s elected son-in-law. The runner didn’t allow to himself admonishing either Aubakir or his servant.
There was raised noise in the yard again.
- Myrza, listen to me!..
- Dear Aubakir, the only supporter of old men!..
- They mix up our ages. They diminish us years!..
- And where is your promise that you will not take cripples? 
Aubakir came in. Having bent Sarybala hid and when Aubakir passed him and came into the next room he got out and found himself in the crowd of men who were waiting for their turn. Everybody spoke whispering for some reason. With few exceptions, there crowded naïve and simple-minded Kazakhs who had arrived from far away. They were deceived not only by their bais and volosts’ heads but also by town sharkers. In such cases even a plant small deer didn’t have anything against to line their pockets. Two men came up to the crowd: Baimagambet on a high-bred bay with yellowish markings and a star on its forehead and guardian Orynbek in a fox fur coat which was bandaged with a 1kemer. Without any hesitation the both started loudly speaking about corruptive payments and about money that had got in their pockets. Sarybala was standing and looking with surprise now at the magnificent belt of one man then at the beautiful horse of the other one. 
Mikhail Chernih, the father of rich man Egor, came up stepping sedately. The old man was rough and biting. He became impudent when he was drunk. 
- You see, Kazakhs hide skins from each other! – Chernih started crying and laughing.
- Why are you laughing, Mikhail? – Baimagambet replied. – Kazakhs pick just grain by grain but Russians rake in the money.
- No, no one Russian is able to rake in such a manner how Aubakir does it. He doesn’t have enough room for money in the house. That’s why he has thrown it out into the yard. 
- And your money will not find enough room even in the yard.
- We don’t take corruptive payments. It’s just some kind of trade.
- All the same it’s a robbery. – Baimagambet didn’t ground arms.
- A fool! How can it be: all the same? People judge for a corruptive payment. They will take away your horse and put you in a prison in addition. 
- Who will be free then? Can you call me just one of the officers who hasn’t taken any corruptive payments?
Chernih answered nothing. He shifted his gaze at the one-humped brown curly camel. The proud camel held high and importantly its head over the crowd. It was a rare camel. It was possible that it had been led from far away and had been bought for an expensive price in the tribe Tama. Chernih was a man in style. The donkey was delivered for him on order from Tashkent.
- Will you sell? – Chernih interested. 
The owner shook with his head. Chernih darkled but here Baimagambet came up, led the tradesman aside and whispered:

1Kemer – a belt embroidered in gold and silver
- He won’t sell, Mikhail, won’t sell. He will give it you away free – he will present. 
- Does it mean that I have to present something too?
- Of course. The brother of this aksakal is kept file on the military registration. You should just get for him a paper from Englishmen that he works at the plant or personally speak to the chief. If you free – it will be a present for you.
Chernih paused to think for some time. The grief weighed him on too and he tried to compensate it with vodka. His two sons were in the front. Will they return? It must be that a great danger hung over Russia. If there were not a danger they wouldn’t call Kazakhs for help. If Germen win how will Russian tradesmen live? Having got drunk Chernih cried often out: “I will not grudge my life for my motherland. I’ll go to war!” This brown one-humped camel made him forget about the war and the tradesman promised:
- I’ll do. Now speak to the owner. 
Sarybala clearly heard his words and seeing how Chernih and Baimagambet went to the one-humped camel he understood what they had been whispering about. He remembered Abai’s verses:
Only aside and face to face
People are able come to an agreement.
“It turns out that a corruptive payment is the staff of life! A corruptive payment is forbidden. It’s approved neither by the god nor by the law. Why don’t they get any punishment for it?” – The boy was thinking in high dudgeon.
Worker Stephan whom Sarybala knew was standing aside. He was speaking to some pale-faced dzhigit with prints of smallpox on his cheeks and long black eyelashes. Some covered power was felt in the dzhigit’s bearing and the whole his not big figure. He looked at the noisy meeting with some disgust. 
- Russia is poor, Nurmak Baisalykovich! – Stephan went on. – When Japanese gave weapon to their soldiers the tsar gave us icons. A piece of a plank is not a protection against a bullet. And now when Germen fire their cannons our army doesn’t have even enough guns. So it is in the front but it is not better behind enemy lines. Corruptive payments, robbery, violence, excessive drinking, and ignorance – all these strangle people. 
- Does the tsar know about this? If he knows why doesn’t he forbid it?
- He knows but he won’t forbid. Only a fool bites the hand that feeds him. The tsar’s throne is held in place by dirty business and mean people. 
- Speak quieter! – Nurmak warned but Stephan went on hotly:
- Pity Russia. It’s abject, aggrieved and descended. But the country is like an enchained lion. I wish to break this chain into pieces!
- Let’s think that you have started to break the chain if you fix me up for a job.
Stephan and Nurmak went away quietly speaking to each other in motion. The noise didn’t grow silent in the crowd, the cries – ones wormed out of the mobilization, the others were caught by it. Sarybala’s soul was restless. 
He was going home. Thoughts about Kazakhs’ difficult fate now went away then returned and waved like a boat on the waves. 

The year nineteen sixteen that was called “the call-in year” became the most difficult one in Kazakhs’ life. People bled to death, shed tears but didn’t obey the tsar. The head bent in the presence of power but the soul revolted as earlier. About the call-in all over the wide steppe there flew songs as if they were blown by wind. They were sad and full of tears. Sarybala heard a lot and remembered many of them. 
Now he was riding on a horse and singing a song of akin Narymbet:  
Native great spaces of Saryarka
That since my childhood my eyes regale. 
Oh, dear lands of heavenly mountains, 
Valleys, streams and lakes! 
You are fully in smoke and in fire
At dawn soot started whirling 
It’s dark at daylight and at night 
I can't eat a morsel
The darkness covers my eyesight.

The husbands are turned into slaves
Their women – in unalloyed widows 
They wither in tears before their forties 
A gloomy grey mother is very sad
Because she hears her son’s long call 
And old man repeats her with a stingy tear
Melting her grief, daughter-in-law – widow, grandson-orphan
Why isn’t Allah merciful? 
Spring has a very expressive tune and it’s very popular in the steppe. Sarybala sang badly. He deformed the motive but he liked the words and wanted to repeat them. Everybody has his or her own taste. Tilinbek who had a lot of horses liked horses’ neigh, Itbergen – lambs’ bleating. That’s why he had thousands of sheep. For religious Mustafa prayerful cry out was more pleasant than the most touching tune. A human always aims for that he or she agrees with. In spite of the fact that Sarybala sang badly and couldn’t dance but all the same he liked this all very much. On the hill, already at the very entrance to the plant single and alone he was singing a song at the top of his throat. Having heard somebody’s call Sarybala looked around. From the southern slope of the hill where snow had already melted off some man waved him calling him up. Sarybala turned back his horse and directed it through deep snow. He recognized having a burr Akimbai. He greeted the boy and asked:
- Aren’t you Mustafa’s son, my dear, who has learned Russian?
- Yes, I’m.
- Ah, when are you going home? Are your parents healthy?
- God be thanked. 
- What a good boy. I see you will be a good man. You are not a lazy-bone! You have turned off your way to greet me. Nowadays’ youth doesn’t pay any attention to old men. And now say me, how many books have you learned?
- I learn in the fourth form.
- I don’t understand this. Tell me, how many books?
- About ten.
- Oibai, my dear, you have read a lot! Well, what do you know about Russian life? Will the war be over or not? When will our dzhigits return? 
- I have heard nothing about the war yet. People say batyr Amangeldy came out from Kipchak’s tribe and went to Turgan with one thousand of dzhigits. There appeared another hero in Semirechiye. It’s Bekbolat who attacks Almaty. I think those lands hasn’t obeyed the tsar’s order up to now yet.  
- If Amangeldy is from Kipchak it means that from the tribe Kara Kipchak Koblandy. If Bekbolat is from Semirechiye he might be from the descendants of batyr Sypatai. They were good people. It means that they have left good offsprings. The god has punished us with the fact that he has deprived our unity. And we dispersed each his or her own way. We ourselves have given all our grown-up men. It wouldn’t be hurtfully to die with those tribes together! – Akimbai cried out and tapped his stick against the ground. There appeared some kind of grief on his face that was suntan and shiny. He had not a stick but a real club with a sharp iron tip.
- Is it a stick or a pike? – The boy asked.
- The both, - the old man answered. He had made this weapon when people had risen for fight but now he herded his sheep with it. There were a lot of wolves but there wasn’t any hay. People fed their cattle among the hills. The aul was suffering the whole winter long. The old man had given one horse for his only son not to be taken away. He had hardly saved him from serving in the army. He worked at the plant now. The second horse became emaciated so much that it could hardly keep its feet. Akimbai himself herded a small flock being on foot day and night. He was alone and he was boring. That’s why he stopped passersby and called them up. It was just a relief for him with somebody to talk.   
Akimbai was speaking but his eyes were following his sheep all the time. There were about forty sheep that were very bareboned after the hungry winter. They were grazing on the slope of the hill. The bay was greedily tearing grass nearby too. It was covered with a horsecloth. From time to time its owner put some kurt (dried salted cheese) in the mouth. But he didn’t have any teeth to crack the cheese. That’s why he had to suck it. Akimbai was already more than sixty but there wasn’t a wrinkle on his face and not a grey hair in his beard. His long fingers with thick joints were knotty like claws of a golden eagle. He was lean, round-shouldered. He looked like a tree that had grown crookedly on a cliff. The old man kept up. He wasn’t broken neither by grieves of winter nor by time. 
- You may go, my dear, - he said after talking to his heart’s desire. – The old man’s conversation is endless, don’t delay.
Sarybala mounted his horse and pulled the reins. Having ridden over the hill he was thinking long about the dusky old man on the darkened hill and about his sheep that could hardly drag themselves because of consumption. He protected so many lives in the sea of snow on a patch of ground. How to call him – obstinate, mad or self-sacrificing one?
Snow was melting in the plant yard. Long icicles hung from the roofs. There were a lot of puddles in the streets. Old snowdrifts sank and became spongy. People were hurrying up somewhere along the street. There heard excited voices:
- The tsar is dethroned!
- Nicolai rules no more!     
There stayed nobody in the houses. Everybody came out in the street on the plant square. Sarybala touched up his horse. When he rode to the square there were already a lot of people there. One Russian with a bifurcate beard in a white shirt was hotly speaking:
- Our great tsar Nicolai has retired. He has given in his power to his native brother Mikhail. Now we have the other tsar but the throne of His Majesty has stayed the same. People!.. Keep order and silent!..
The most of gathered people were Kazakhs-workers but Russians took the floor. Orynbek interpreted in one place, Baimagambet – in another one. 
- It’s created a Provisional Government… We will protect the honour of our motherland. We will fight till final victory!..
Stephan and Nurmak came up to the crowd and working with their elbows they made way forward. Not having listened to the speaker till the end Stephan started speaking loudly:
- It’s the end of Romanovs’ government who have been ruling three hundred years long. It is done away for ever with the Russian autocratical government! The fog of slavery is dispersing. The dawn is shining! Off the war! All power to the Soviets, workers, to farmers’ and soldiers’ deputies!..
There rose buzzing. It was impossible to understand nothing. It seemed to the people who had used to live under the Tsar’s government that government without a tsar looked like a muley goat. 
- Where do people live without a tsar at all? – An old Kazakh mumbled.
- Will we have a tsar or not, all the same we have somebody to obey.
- Whom? 
- Haven’t you heard? Stephan said – to workers, farmers and soldiers.
- Ah, it’s no use. When have they ruled? They won’t cope with.
The farmers’ head and the police officer were standing aside and didn’t nick in. They didn’t take their uniforms off. They were still blowing up and acting high and mighty but nobody made up to them any more. They were standing and waiting for what the conversations would lead to. Karakyz shaking came out onto the square. He was a huge fellow and a troublemaker when he was drunk. Now he wasn’t drunk but it was impossible to say that he was sober. After looking around he went in the direction of two representatives of the power.
- Who are you, such important sirs? – Karakyz asked.
- And what about you? – The police officer Zalivskiy cried haughtily out.
Karakyz threw at him a haughty look and pointed in the direction of the plant:
- I’m a master who has made those pipes up to the sky. I’m mechanic Karakyz. You cannot know me but I know you. I know how you have closed Kazakhs in you office and beat them with a shovel. Why don’t you beat now? Have you come to listen to how people are abusing you together with the tsar?
- Don’t touch me. Go home if you are drunk!
- If I were drunk I would tear your throat out. Pity that I haven’t finished up a bit. And you, sir farmers’ head, what are you now? The call-in is over. The tsar doesn’t rule any more!
The head was standing and keeping silent. He didn’t know what to say. Orynbek butted in:
- That’s enough, Kereke, enough. The authorities will retain the places of their appointments… - He took the mechanic by the arm and wanted to lead him away.
- Is it you, dwarf, who dare to persuade me? – Karakyz became angry, took Orynbek’s sabre away and sharply pushed him off.
The police officer and the farmers’ head decided not to quarrel and go away. Karakyz didn’t even think to run after them. He put Orynbek’s sabre under his foot, broke it into two pieces and threw them every which way.
- God save the Tsar! Save! That is to save! – He cried out in Russian, started laughing and suddenly began singing with his strong voice going to the very centre of the crowd:
Comrades, let's bravely march
Our resolve gets stronger in the struggle
We will fight our way
Towards liberty
We are stemming from the working people
We are the sons of the labouring class
Our fighting watchword is
Brotherly union and freedom
Stephan and other Russians caught up the melody. Nobody of Kazakhs knew the words except Karakyz and Nurmak but all the same everybody joined in the song without the words. Somebody of Russians tried to declaim but nobody listened to him.
Sarybala was watching everything not dismounting his horse. He understood nothing. How could it be that the tsar had retired? Who had driven him away? That one who is stronger? He wished to see this man of muscle. Being deep in his thoughts Sarybala didn’t notice that he rode to Pahrei’s house. 

The tsar was dethroned but people didn’t have a steady ruler yet. The head of the provisional government Kerensky printed and circulated money. It didn’t have any value. The war continued. There shed blood in the fronts. There also shed blood far behind enemy lines in the fight for power. 
Finally people did the Russian revolution. People called the great event in the Kazakhs’ auls “Lenin”, “Bolsheviks”, “Soviets”. Tuleybay was the first who had come out with a red bandage on his arm in the auls nearby the Spassky plant. In Spassk and Karaganda workers brought out Englishmen in carts behind the gates as if they were just slag. Each second cried: “Down with bourgeois!”
But this all was just an echo of the revolution. The volosts’ heads who had served under Nicolai’s ruler stayed at their places. Aksakals’ opinion was the law as earlier. Curiously enough but guardian Orynbek was chosen a sovdep (soviet deputy) in Spassk. Now he was one of the leaders. 
Another day – another news. People were waiting for them. Ones were glad, others were scared. How people took the new order and news it could be inferred by Pahrei’s family in what Sarybala lived the second year long. 
Pahrei was lying on the stove. His grey beard and thick fingers became yellow because of tobacco smoke. He didn’t stop smoking. If he didn’t drink he kept silent and spoke to nobody. But today he broke speaking without vodka. His speech was special. From time to time he added Russian and Kazakhs words to Tatar language.
- People say that these Bolsheviks are not only against the tsar and bays but against the very Allah too. I smoke tobacco, drink vodka, don’t pray the god, don’t follow sawm but I believe in the Allah’s existence and I will not go against him. He is not such a rascal as Nicolai. He is the tsar of eighteen thousand of worlds in the universe.
- Stop, father! Your Allah is the more rascal than Nicolai! – The youngest son Husain replied. He was a little nimble red dzhigit. He might have returned from the army. His only business was to make envelopes and sell them. He was pleased by everybody and with everything. He liked to quarrel and didn’t calm down until he won. If he felt that he was about to suffer a defeat he always raised a scandal. 
The father knew about his contentious tamper and didn’t touch him. But the son didn’t stop talking: 
- I’m not afraid of Bolsheviks. I have neither fortune nor happiness, nor health. I wish happy and rich ones would shiver in their presence. Don’t be afraid too, my father. You have been suffering all your life. For sixty years long you have been axing not wood but your poorness. And finally you haven’t hacked it. Your axe has become already blunt. You personally have become old but I don’t see any end of our poorness. Let’s see now what the Bolsheviks’ call will give us: “Who was nothing that one will become everything!”
Pahrei’s son of the middle age Menlikan was already thirty. He was short-sighted and always tinkered at his box. Now he hid it in the yard then brought it home – he couldn’t calm down any how. Menlikan hawked his wares around the auls and now he was troubling: where to dig it for nobody could find the box?
Having listened to Husain till the end he sighed and said:
- Yes, the Bolsheviks cry out: who was nothing that one will become everything. Egor was pressed upon and robbed. Then they will come to Seitkemelov and Triponov. I’ll be the next. They will take away my box then. 
- They will touch neither your box nor your envelopes. 
- Do you think they won’t touch speculators? 
- I’m not a speculator. I make envelopes by myself and sell them by myself too.
- But I will be put in a prison, in a prison! – Menlikan was worried. 
He opened the cover of his box and looked inside. There were a lot of trifles: different medicines, nails, combs and threads. All these trifles cost not much than one cow but Menlikan importantly said: “These are goods!” – and even having his meal he always counted something up with the help of his beads. Sarybala didn’t know that the owner of the box liked to boast. Once after looking inside the box he noticed disappointedly:
- Is this all?
- It’s not a little fortune, my dear. If a Kazakh’s sheep has worms he will give the whole sheep just for one such bottle. And if they catch cold then they will not grudge a one-year-old goat for three such tablets. It is impossible to get this medicine now. This small box includes the whole flock of sheep. Where to hide it? – Menlikan worried. 
Shaihy, the eldest Pahrei’s son, came into the room. He lived in Akmolinsk, worked as a barber and had recently come to visit his relatives. He ruffled it out with his brothers. Still and all he had arrived from a district centre and everybody who arrived from there was haughty. However, he might be like this by his nature. He brought a letter. It contained news that was able to take aback the whole Spassk but Shaihy was absolutely quiet when he read it:
- Our children are healthy. They ask when you will come. They send you their love… Kolchak has occupied Petropavlovsk and Kokchetav. Soon he might go up to Akmola. 
Pahrei with groaning climbed down from the stove. Menlikan and Husain jumped up. The old woman who was cooking dinner froze with opened mouth. Everybody was scared with just one word – Kolchak but Shaihy stayed calm. 
- I am never at loss, - he said. He crossed his legs, cracked with the fingers of his right hand against the fist of his left one and went on: - I wish Kolchak will come. I don’t care. They are the same both Nicolai and Kerensky, and Bolsheviks, and Kolchak. Each of rulers has identical beards and hair as for me. 
- You don’t care but what about my Husain? – The old woman cried out and started weeping. – He writes that he will return when he kills Kolchak. And this devil is living still!..
The old woman crying found the letter of Husain who was one of her sons of middle age. He served in the army and never once came home since the time he had been called in. He wrote: “Mum, look just what bloodsuckers suck my blood. To kill them at first we must do away with Nicolai and Kolchak”. He had put several lice in the envelope. They became dry while the post was delivering. 
After getting the letter the old mother felt some relief – in spite of the fact that it was hard for her son and he suffered but all the same he was living. The mother hoped for his soon return. And now she threw into the stove the treasured for her lines in order to the letter didn’t get in the Kolchak’s hands. 
Having taken his head in the hands Pahrei was walking around the room and speaking to himself: 
- They pull our legs, damned ones! Now Nicolai then Kerensky, then red ones, then white ones! Whom to believe? We have spent all our life waiting for better times. I have believed the one, then the other one, then the third one – all of them have deceived us. 
At these days Sarybala could understand nothing too: who was right, who was guilty. Who told the truth and who lay. 
Once he saw a lot of mounted soldiers in the street. They broke into the houses and looked for somebody. Three or four of them convoyed Nurmak Baisalykov. Nurmak was walking in the front of the horses’ nebs. His hands were tied behind his back. His black harness-satin shirt with a diagonal lapel was split because of lashes of a whip. His head was bandaged. There run some blood over the back of his head. But he walked proudly not bending his head. He didn’t beg for mercy and hid that he was suffering. From time to time he cried out to people who were shyly standing along the street:
- Soon Kolchak will find his end!
- Silent! – The mounted one roared and lashed Baisalykov against his back. 
The Kolchak’s people led out in the street and arrested those ones who had any relation to sovdep. Even Orynbek was arrested in spite of the fact that he repudiated the sovdep at once. They didn’t believe him and sent him to Akmolinsk together with other arrested ones. However, soon Orynbek was released from the prison. It was also Aubakir who had released him. After returning to Spassk Orynbek served in Kolchak’s police. 
- Escapologist one! – People surprised. – The wife of a wretched feebly Beck bore such a sharker-son. Oh, Allah!
As soon as the white ones came Mustafa took his son from Spassk at once. The boy didn’t want to go to the aul but the father firmly held his own.
They were going long keeping silent in the peopleless steppe. 
- Aga! – The son broke the silence.
- What, my dear?
- Why haven’t you allowed me finishing the school?
- It’s impossible to get to the end of the science. If for three years something appeared in your mind then even with this knowledge you will not be the last man. And if nothing appeared there not a school can help you.
- When you open 1tundik you can see just those things that are in the yourt. And when you open 2usik you can see the entire world around you.
- Not everything that you can see is useful, my dear. I think it will be better for you not to see this. The times are hard. Nothing is constant. Orynbek serves those ones who have power. That one who sells his reputation and honour for the sake of his stomach and vainglory can sell both the father and the mother, and his nation with easy heart. My dear, my hope, you should keep aloof from such ones. Each bird protects its nest during a storm. I’m like that bird. I wish you live with me until the order is set. The youth can be carried away by enthusiasm and doesn’t have enough time to realize what is good and what is bad. I want to protect you from bad things and set you on the right path. 

1Tundik – upper hole in a yourt, a chimney, which is usually covered with some felt. 2Usik – felt that is laid lower than tundik on a framework of a yourt.
- Am I really still a child and know nothing?
- Your question says that you are really still a child. Only an inexperienced young man can state that he knows everything. A branch of a tree bends under the load of fruit but a clever head – under the load of knowledge. A talented one will not say that he has already reached everything. He will say I would like to reach.
Mustafa patiently taught his son. Sarybala listened to him. His lips were chapped because of thirst. But nearby there was neither an aul, nor a spring or a well. The day was hot. There blew scorching wind. May didn’t come yet but grass was burnt already out. It didn’t rain already for a long time. Just a bare steppe that wasn’t protected either with hills or with wood. It was dry. From time to time there played some whirlwinds now here then there raising clouds of dust. On the wide flatland one could see rare sowings which looked like small spread patches. By this time of the year grass on meadows usually grew up to a knee but now it hardly grew up to an ankle. It was impossible to feed even a grasshopper. What do farmers and herdsmen have to do? How to prepare to winter? If it doesn’t rain they will crash already in summer.
Drought also brought diseases. Typhus killed the whole families in the auls. People died because of this infectious disease. They didn’t know how to protect from it. Healthy ones went on to communicate with ill people. They didn’t have any medicos. Mustafa endlessly addressed to the powerful god:
- Oh, Allah, be merciful. My nation is in grief. Our ancestors said: “If a good guest comes your sheep will bring two at a birth. If a bad human comes even water will disappear.” Kolchak’s power has invited all disasters for our heads. I wish Allah would exchange our bad for better!
Remembering the events of the last days Sarybala told with fear:
- Aga, these white ones are very terrible! Nurmak was fully in blood. They have struck him with a blade. He might die. They have taken away Koibagar’s felt and Zhumash’s white horse. Everybody cries and abuses. If somebody resists they pull out their sabres and beat with their gun-butts. People are scared and run to the steppe.
- If they make people groan they will get nothing good in the result. They also live under the god’s power. They will not be able to avoid the god’s punishment. 
- Aga, do you know Abai’s songs?
- A few. Wise Abai has sung a lot. I have heard something and remembered… 
Having a quiet conversation the father and the son continued their way over the endless steppe. The three-year-old horse under the boy limped slightly. The lean chestnut of the father was walking unwillingly too. And when the father lashed it the horse kicked out and angrily pressed its ears down. In spite of the fact that Kazakhs call a horse their wings but sometimes a horse can be more slowly than water. By the evening they got just to Koktal-Zharyk. Earlier here could be a good haymaking. Here were also lush meadows and such grasses that it was possible to hide even a horse in it. The small Koktal River disappeared in the grasses. Sixty families of Yelibay’s tribe who had migrated there from Kara-Nura lived already for six years long in this secret place. Now their cattle-pens were empty, people went to the meadows. It could be that in peopleless cattle-pen there hid thieves and attacked lonely travelers. Sarybala felt fear when he remembered about this. It seemed to the boy that the well-known cattle-pens of his auls were cemeteries. He looked at them with fear. It seemed to him that five-six thieves went out towards him from their coverings. Their faces were covered with kerchiefs. They started attacking with lifted clubs and with cry “Close your eyes!”… Sarybala even shivered and cried out:
- Aga!
- What, my dear?
- Won’t thieves touch us?
- Allah will protect us, - they won’t touch us. But if he doesn’t protect then even a grasshopper will be able to kick you and kill. A thief hides out from people himself! The fear is greater than the reason for it. 
- Is there anybody for you whom you are fear more than the god?
- Who is seriously afraid of the god that one can fear nobody and nothing any more. Who is afraid of mortal life that one cannot fear heavenly life. You should fear only the god, my dear. 
They safely passed the cattle-pens of aul Kurama. But Sarybala anxiously looked for several times back. The wind calmed down, the heat became more oppressive. Gadflies started attacking them. The horses went mad and wagged with their tails and heads all the time. They shuddered with the whole their bodies and kicked out. When a gadfly as large as a thumb sucked in thick horse’s skin then blood appeared even on a croup, without saying about more delicate places. The boy lashed his face with a tuft of grass. His eyelids and forehead were swollen because of gnat-stings. It seemed that mosquitoes didn’t touch him and they were not able to do him harm. He had a cap on his head made of a sheep. He was dressed in kupi, shod in boots. He was sitting quietly in the saddle and didn’t even look around. 
- Aga, I’m thirsty! – The boy said.
- Just wait a little. We will stay at the Peasant’s place, feed our horses and perform namaz. – The father showed with his whip around. – Grasses grew up to a knee of a rider in these places. But now, you see, it’s impossible to make hay with the help of a scythe, except perhaps with the help of a machine. In a high water year the Koktal River flows up to June and now you see, it has been dried before May. Oh, my god, what bad young growths are! What will people and cattle eat this year?
- Cannot they buy some food in the Russian settlements?
- Yes, a poor Kazakh makes reserves with spoons but hunger takes away ladles of it. People give the last they have to the Russian settlements. If Kazakhs worked like Peasant Suigembay, then we wouldn’t be victims of hunger and racketeers from the settlement!
- Why have people called Suigembay “Peasant”?
- Suigembay is about sixty. At the utmost he has visited only three-four families of sixty Yelibay’s families during all his life. Even in the days of aita1 he visits not more than three yourts. He sits at home alone. He fears nobody. He doesn’t stop working. He works like an ant. He differs from his tribesmen by his tamper and behaviour. That’s why people called him Peasant. People think that his nickname says about the humiliation of his personality but I say on the contrary that it is praise for Suigembay. If Kazakhs were hard-working like Peasant then they wouldn’t suffer and go hunger as now. 
Having seen Suigembay’s aul the boy who was run down with thirst galloped his horse. But he couldn’t slake his thirst at once – it turned out that Suigembay’s well was in the yard that was enclosed with a high brick fence and locked in addition. It was clean around the yard. It was impossible to find even a speck. The last year hay was piled in the brick shed. The small clean yard and the house looked better than Russian and even German ones. Each year for summer Peasant stayed in the wintering but this year he had set his old yourt at the distance of two-three kilometers from the house. 
Mustafa rode up and pronounced:
- Assalaumalikum! 
Suigembay didn’t replay and didn’t even turn back. Breathing heavily he went on to beat against the hot iron that had just been pulled out from the furnace. Suigembay made a wry face with each blow. On the finger of his right hand with the help of which he was holding his hammer there were absent two joins and on two fingers of his left hand with the help of which he was holding the tongs there was absent one at each. However, his hands were more artful and stronger than many healthy ones. They were able to take flat iron. The old man was of a medium height with a thin beard, just a live wire. 

Ait1 – a religious holiday      
He had a threatening appearance. He didn’t look directly at a person. He was gloomy and spoke little. Having lifted the iron from the anvil he put it back in the fire and only after this he greeted Mustafa by the hand.
- You have my deepest sympathy. I share your grief, - Peasant pronounced and stood sideward. The father and the mother of Mustafa’s wife and her three grown-up brothers had died from typhus. Only little Syzdyk survived in a big family. Suigembay was a Mustafa’s distant relative. There was about three-four kilometers between their auls but all the same Suigembay hadn’t come to the funerals of the relatives and expressed his condolences only now.
- Ai! – He called his wife who was bustling about at the yourt. The wife was noticeable younger than Suigembay. She was not more than thirty. – Hurry up to make us tea.
Before the tea-drinking Peasant led Mustafa to a small building nearby the house. It was a kubba made of air-dried bricks. It looked like a yourt more than two meters wide. It was blind without a door and only with one widow. There were several deepenings inside. There was an old Karan on one niche, matches – on the second one and a knife – on the third one. Above on the cupola there was set a brass crescent. It was sparkling and reflecting sunbeams. 
- People die and my death is walking nearby too. – Peasant pronounced. – I don’t have any children. I am alone. Who will properly bury me? You see, I have built a grave for myself in advance. If you live longer than me I wish you would come, pray and put me with your own hands into this kubba. But I don’t want that Mahambetshe will touch my body. He has dirty hands. 
- Allah will help. If I live to this moment I will grant your wish, Suieke, - Mustafa promised. 
The lonely yourt in the wintering, the lonely grave, the quiet peopleless steppe, and the shy threatening blacksmith – these all left an indelible impression in Sarybala’s heart. The conversation during the tea-drinking about Kazakhs’ fate was also printed on his mind. The tea was black with cream and seemed to be tastier than meat. Swarthy tokal1 lifted a hot scorn, put some butter and about dozen of boiled eggs on it. The guests were eating with pleasure but the host was keeping silent. 
- When you live prosperously your relatives are ready to pull apart your household. When you live poor they will not even feed you, - tokal said loudly. – Everybody beginning with the biy is undernourished except you. They ask to give them now hay then wheat, now a mowing machine then a plough. Now one thing then another one. If you give – you are good, if you don’t give – you are bad. But is it possible to please all? Perhaps we have many sins before the god but no one – before people. People don’t like us because of envy because we earn our living with our labour. We earn our living by ourselves. Nobody reckons with the fact that the old man doesn’t have children. Orynbek, a Russians’ village policeman took away our only horse the day before yesterday. He threatened and required in addition from us to find thief Hamen. But how to look for this artful escapee, my dear? The police officer took the horse to look for Hamen but he hasn’t returned it up to now in spite of the fact that he promised. And now people have to look for Orynbek personally. Even though it is bad but all the same a horse! – Tokal sniffled and tears ran over her cheeks. 
Tokal1 – the youngest or the second wife
- Well, that’ enough, - Peasant strictly noticed. – We will not have anything worse than what is already intended for you by the god. – He turned towards Mustafa, unfolded prayerfully his palms and asked: - Will such Kazakhs get to the paradise too?
- Yes, they will. Aren’t they Moslems? 
- They are not Moslems! They are quick just at dirt, gossip and violence! They are shameless, ignoramuses, cowards, yes-men and lazy-bones in addition. They don’t know what namaz is and don’t keep any fast! If such ones get to the paradise it’s better for me not to go to such a paradise! 
- You see only bad features in people, Suieke, - Mustafa tried to calm him down. – But you should see good ones too. Allah looked with favour even on cleanness and neatness of Fergauin who was an adherent of a different faith. Kazakhs have many advantages. On my way to Mecca I met people of different nations. If you don’t have any money there you will die from hunger. Many Kazakh people live without money, horses and alone without relatives and friends. Uzbeks, Russians, Tatars have come on our lands and you see that they have become very rich. And this is not only because of the richness of our lands but also the generosity of our souls. Are our traditions bad and inhuman such as, for example, respect for our parents and older ones or response to a death of a close relative when all crying ride on horses to a deceased one. When somebody’s cattle die in a hungry year – all people together help him to get back on his feet. If anybody doesn’t cope with some work all people together support him or her as much as possible. Already long ago people have laid the stamp of infamy and damn on those morals and manners that you have spoken about. It would be impossible to define goodness without harm. If good is stronger evil will die. If evil is stronger – good will die. To live for five days long you have to fight for ten days long. Finally everybody will die but we must always fight for better. We with you together will also die in the course of time, Suieke. It’s good that you have already prepared a grave.
Peasant stood up and went away not having waited for the end of the tea-drinking. He either didn’t find what to answer or he was bored with the tea-table conversation. He came up to the fireplace and started blowing fire. Having read a prayer Mustafa mounted his horse. When they rode out the son asked:
- Is this Peasant a Moslem? 
- Why do you ask?
- If he is a Moslem why didn’t he perform namaz with you together?
- The Muslim religion lays not only in a prayer. Not everybody who prays and keeps a fast gets to the paradise at once. The thing is in your soul. If a human is mean then he will not be able to deceive either the god or people with any external decorum even if he or she performs namaz for one hundred times. 
- If the thing is in a soul then why does Shariat have so many rules? 
- You are tripping me up, a bad boy! – Mustafa smiled. 
He didn’t answer because Mustafa’s attention was attracted with smoking fires afar and with a crowd of people. In front nearby Karamola there closely spread the auls of Tenizbay’s tribe and after them numerous auls of Orynbay’s tribe in Samen region. As if people were in collusion all came out to the steppe. There were countless multitudes of people. Clouds of smoke stretched in a row. If they gathered for toi then why so afar from the aul, in the steppe? 
Sarybala rejoiced and hurrying up his limping three-years-old horse he cried out:   
- That’s good, we have come for toi! 
- It doesn’t look like a toi. I seem that is a sacrifice, - Mustafa went on.
He was right. On the bank of the Zharlauyt river there were dug about one hundred hearths out and set a pot full of meat in each. It were cut at least one hundred heads of small cattle. There towered four piles of sheep’s, goats’ and goatlings’ skins. There sat a mullah nearby each pile and read a prayer or told his beads having unfolded his palms in front of him: “We wish the god would accept this”. And those ones who had nothing to sacrifice were looking at the pots and praying to themselves: “Oh, the god, don’t forget about us”. The meat wasn’t boiled yet. People say: “It’s already half of a fortune for a poor man if he has a full belly”. Looking forward to the food people spoke about only one thing:
- You remember, that year it was also hot. It started heavily raining only after we had sacrificed pots with meat.
- You see, there appeared a cloud! Bless my heart, it’s rainy one!..
Who could know? Now clouds gathered then dispersed again. 
- Allah will not betray our hope!
- It is just time to take the pots off fire. Even if the meat isn’t cooked until ready there is nothing dangerous in this. All the same it’s tasty.
Shaking with ladles several old women were splashing some water around. The men with mullah Zhashken in the head were praying. All of them were asking only for one thing – for rain. There heard different kinds of Islamic, Shamanic, Kazakh beggings and entreaties.
People started to eat meat. They emptied pots. They asked for everything and prayed very much but it didn’t start raining. The same old sultry wind, dry ground and grey sky. People’s bellies were already full but they felt sad. Restraining their grievance against the god and being afraid of carping someone tried to encourage:
- In spite of the fact that people usually hurry the god cannot afford overhastiness.
Other ones were in despair:
- Allah hasn’t heard us. He might decide to bring us to ruin.
The sacrifice was over on this. Neither sacrifices to the god nor numberless prayers and blessings gave people any rain. Having come forth from amongst the crowd Mustafa directed his horse to his aul. The sated hajji was suffering long because of belching. When it finally stopped Mustafa started singing a religious song.
- Aga, where has those people’s mind got to? – Sarybala interrupted him. – They are afraid of winter, of drought, of hunger too. If they worked as Suigembay and Russians would they be afraid of winter? 
- No, they wouldn’t. Our misfortune is the cause of everything.
- What a misfortune?
- Laziness. Many people don’t like working. Laziness is the most dangerous enemy but unfortunately people respect lazy-bones up to now. 
- I wouldn’t respect! 
- I hope!
Far away in one of the valleys of Itzhon – Dog’s chain – there appeared aul Kumiskuduk – Kumisniy well, the constant summering, the meadows of Yelibay’s tribe. There grew thin bushes on the hills of Itzhon and in the valleys. Both people and cattle drank water from the wells. There was neither a river, nor a lake or a spring there. Children who were born there couldn’t swim.
Even dust burnt out and grew yellow in the bare steppe now. In a rare aul there remained kuhen and zheli1. There were almost no camels. Yelibay’s people lived just on cow milk and looked worse than their lands. If by chance a calf broke forth to a dam and sucked all milk it could lead to a scandal in a family. It was difficult to live in the aul. Sarybala knew about this but all the same having seen his native lands where he had played asikis he rejoiced and hurrying up his limping three-years-old horse he galloped it and cried out:

1Kuhen – tether for small cattle. Zheli – tether for cattle. 
- I have come to the aul, to the aul!
The small, poor but native aul seemed the boy the kindest and the most attractive place in the whole world. 

Soon Sarybala was tired of the aul that he had been missing so much. From morning till night people worked about the house. The young man who had already known a town life, learning at school couldn’t get accustomed to the fuss of the aul. There wasn’t anybody to play or amuse himself with. The only fun for Sarybala was riding a horse. If he had a good horse he wouldn’t get out from his saddle. But a real riding horse cost at least four usual horses. Mustafa had only one jade. If to add to it two of present four cows with calves then it was possible to exchange a good horse. But however generous Mustafa was he couldn’t go the length of downfall. Once hajji called Bakai, a poor but honest Aubakir’s worker and asked:
- Go to Muhammedya. Say that the boy came from learning and loafs about. If we awake his interest in nothing he will not stay in the aul. It would be good if Muhammedya gives a horse which is not shameful to mount. I don’t ask for a race bay with yellowish markings or a grey stallion. I will be satisfied if he gives me that white one which was presented for him.                    
If to fall down it’s better to fall from a high camel people say. If to ask it’s better to ask for a grey one or a bay with yellowish markings. 
- These horses have a high price. It’s good if he gives the white one. And if not – then I’ll stay with a hope. But to stay with a hope for me is equal to break my back. 
Bakai went away. Muhammedya was Aubakir’s younger brother. He was recently twenty but he was virile, strong, handsome, and sociable and could sometimes outshine even Aubakir. Mustafa respected his young relative more than his father of the daughter-in-law and hoped that Muhammedya didn’t refuse his request. As soon as Bakai came out sharp-tongued Mustafa’s wife Hadisha shot him down in flames:
- A poor one, are you mad? Why do you ask? Have you already paid the whole bride-price? How many times has the father of your daughter-in-law proposed you to refuse this daughter and wait for another one, younger one? Do you think he will say you at once: “Take the horse!”? The devil a bit! I wish Bakai would be driven away with shame!
- They can grumble, drive him away but I must just try. If he is the real father of my daughter-in-law then he will give one horse for the father of his son-in-law. He won’t grudge it. And if he is the bad father of my daughter-in-law then he will grudge it. Now I don’t have any possibility to pay the whole bride-price. And at all, what for does Aubakir need my bride-price? He has with an excess of that cattle which he owns. 
- Oh my god! How can it be to take a bride without any bride-price?
- If you have nothing for paying a bride-price – then it can be.
- Honest to god, hajji, you are mad. Who will take into account your poorness? 
- Do I demand anybody to take into account my poorness? I speak just about the facts that are really present. I avow honestly myself and ask open.
- Do you think people will look at your honesty? 
- I don’t think so. Sooner or later the justice will find its way. 
There started barking dogs in the aul. Children began buzzing. It was heard how people were running to the one place on all sides. Hadisha slightly opened the door. She cried out: “It’s terrible!” and ran out. Mustafa didn’t even move. 
There stood a strange man on the kotan. His eyes were goggle very wildly. He was dressed in some rags and underpants. He was barefooted. He had a big stick in his hand. Some bird’s feathers were stuck in its one end. There was an iron tip and some rattles on its other end. From time to time he rattled and clanked with the stick. The man hopped on one place and cried utter nonsense. Then he pierced his lip and pulled a needle through it. He hotted in fire the tongs and started licking them. Looking at him the whole aul gasped and groaned with surprise and admiration. People gathered round the wizard. People who were in the background pressed the front ones and pushed one another. It came the time for milking fillies but everybody forgot about them. Calves quickened to cows to suck milk. Having picked their way to the yourt hungry dogs looked for meat and tore it into pieces. There cried somewhere a baby in a peopleless yourt but his cry was muffled with thundering cries of the crowd. A strange man was hoarsely crying:
- I take anybody by the hand, feel his or her pulse and predict the future. I can guess your thoughts. I can drive a devil out from a soul. I can cure any illness! 
A young woman came up to the wizard and covered her face with the end of her kerchief. She was ashamed of her father-in-law and of other older ones. The wizard quickly grasped her by the hand and expectedly stared at her face:
- I’m dizzy, - the woman whispered. – It is darkened in my eyes.
- I know, know. You are bewitched. You should be detached from people for a week and cured with a prayer.                                                           
The woman took her silver ring off her finger, gave it to the “healer” and came back to her place. Everybody had a disease. One asked to tell fortunes by stones, the other one – by a mutton shoulder. And the wizard told everybody fortunes, predicted the future and everybody gave him something. What he was, a charlatan, a healer, just a poor man, nobody knew. But he gave orders to people as he liked. Zhetpisbek’s son Tokash had just recently recovered but he was cross-eyed and with wry mouth after the illness. “This one was hardly strangled by some evil spirits, - the wizard defined. – You should splash him with some water for three days and everything will be all right”. 
Hunched up Abish crept to him too. The healer calmed him down:
- Cut a black sheep and let people carry its lungs for several times over you. Then you will get back on your feet!
He knew all diseases and medicines. Vying with each other and shot of fighting the patients invited him to his or her yourt to receive a medical treatment. But the healer didn’t go and made a big splash. Hopping widely and huffing and puffing loudly he directed to another aul. People followed him for a long time and walked after…
Sarybala returned to the yourt. The father was sitting on the same place and telling his beads looking down.
- Pity that you haven’t gone too, aga, - Sarybala noticed. – It was very interesting.
The father raised his head.
- And what was interesting, my dear?
- He had special eyes! He looked as if he burnt through. His words were funny too. I couldn’t keep laughing. What is he? Isn’t he holy? 
- There will be not any holy people and prophets after Mahomet on the earth. Everybody knows about this. But however, a miserable poor man tries to become holy and poor people believe this holy one. He deceives both you and people. 
- He licked hot iron for several times. He pierced his lip and nose with a needle. He is so patient! He is so selfless! 
- This all is just trickery, fascinating. 
- Whatever you say but it’s also a skill.
- There is a difference between the skills. A real skill like gold yields rarely.  
Sarybala came behind the hurdle made of cheegrass. There in the wooden bucket there was some sour milk. There was nothing for eating any more. He was already sick and tired of milk but yellow skin over it made his mouth watering. But Sarybala didn’t dare to touch it. “Granma will quarrel again!” – Sarybala thought. 
- Drink some milk if you want, - the father pronounced. 
The son poured some milk into a small wooden cup, came from behind the hurdle and began looking for some bread. There was left just one scorn for the whole family. It was in the trunk. The trunk was locked and the key was by his mother. Sarybala was hungry so much that he couldn’t wait any more. He opened the lock with the nail, snapped off a lump of scorn and locked the trunk again. When he was chewing the bread and washed it down with milk the mother came in with three little, one smaller than the other, Sarybala’s brothers. All three were weeping asking for some food.
- Stop crying! Where must I get any bread for you? – The mother shouted. – We have left the only scorn for guests. If somebody comes, what will we treat him to? We have neither a sheep nor a lamb to cut. We don’t have even any smoked meat. We will not be able to treat him even to tea. What a family this is! Serikbai’s children don’t drink even sour milk to their hearts’ desire.
Keeping silent two boys started drinking milk to the utmost. The youngest red one lay on his back and started shrilly crying and kicking.  
- This little doggie doesn’t stop until he does the trick. Give him a piece of scorn, - Mustafa ordered.
When the mother started breaking lumps off two other little boys left their milk and stared at the mother lamentably winking. 
- Give them too. Don’t you see they are asking too? – Mustafa pitied them.
- There is nothing left from the scorn! – Hadisha pronounced with displeasure.
It was possible just to put in the mouth and swallow at once the lumps which the mother gifted the children with. But the kids bit many times off and chewed slowly with smacking prolonging the pleasure. They didn’t want to part with bread at once. They didn’t know when they would get it again. Not in vain the Shariat teaches from long ago: “You can put your foot on Karan but on bread – in no event!” Kazakhs always knew poverty in bread but all the same they were not given to agriculture. Even clever and far-sighted Mustafa had sown just a bowl of millet and a pood of wheat that year and didn’t work and protect the scant sowing from sparrows. Only the god knew what feathery thieves had left in the field. Why should others think about their future if personally Mustafa who had neither bread nor kumis or meat behaved so light-heartedly?
Hunger settled in the aul. If a guest came to somebody’s place the whole aul gathered there in hope for a treatment. If it was cut a sheep in one family hands of five families stretched to it. It may be that this indelicate custom has appeared because of hunger. Kazakhs wouldn’t say otherwise: “It’s already a half of fortune to have your belly full” or “Who has hungered one day long don’t ask for his or her advice for forty days long”.
After being full Sarybala with his father started with books. The hajji1 had Hoji Ahmet’s religious book “Hikmaty” in a black cover and with shabby pages in his hands. The son had Abai’s book of poems copied by hand in his hands. It was even shabbier than “Hikmaty”. The books pulled them in different directions: - Hoji Ahmet – in the netherworld, Abai – in the natural, light and difficult life. They were reading aloud. 
- “In Lamakan I was taught the justice”, - Mustafa was drawling with bass.
Sarybala started quietly singing:
I’ve loved you too and what is next?
What have I found in your heart?
What an answer? Just sternness.
It wasn’t something new for you
Love of a humble girl, am I right?  
Mustafa listened to and asked:
- Who offended this poor girl? 
- It is written by a famous Russian akin, Pushkin. Girl Tatiana fell in love with a dzhigit, Onegin. Akin has translated it into Kazakh language. 
- Russians don’t have any bride-price and people say that all ways are open for women. Why does she cry? Isn’t she free?
- Perhaps nobody knows Russian life better than Pushkin. It means that it is the truth if he has written this.
- Does it mean that Abai has known in Russian too? Oh, the powerful god, what a capacious head you have created! Does Abai have any jokes? Read them to me.
- What for jokes?
- Haven’t you heard? Abai’s father famous Kunanbai visited Mecca when he was already old. He didn’t know the foreign language, got into difficulties and had to stay there for some time. “Why hasn’t my father come back?” – Abai asked the returned companions of his father. Those ones answered: “He studies “Baduam” – the rules of the religion”. Abai playfully noticed: “It cannot be that for his all long life the father hasn’t been able to study just five pages of “Baduam”?”. When this was repeated to Kunanbai he replied: ““Baduam ” includes the Shariat, some directions and the rules. Each of them is the whole river and any river doesn’t have any end. It flows and flows. Abai-zhan is young. He might have jumped over these rivers without looking at them. It means he has mastered nothing”.
- What else jokes do you know about him?
- Once Abai was drinking kumis with his agemates and confessed: “If people say the truth then my father has outdone everybody among Kazakhs. And I have considerably outdone my father”. Kunanbai heard his son’s boasting and answered the following: “If your son considerably outdoes you only then he will reach my level”. Young people are opinioned, my dear. Abai might have joked but perhaps he had thought this to himself. If you ever have too high an opinion of yourself you will get the same answer from me.
- However, who of them is higher, aga, the father or the son?
- Kuneke, of course! He was in Mecca, built a mosque; aga was a sultan and a head of nation. He did everything both for this and for that lives. But whatever Kunanbai will do he cannot be compared with Abai. Isn’t it the truth? Abai is a son not only of one tribe but of all Kazakhs. He set his thoughts in the book and left it for his offsprings. And what has Kunanbai left?
- What a bad boy, you have said well! – Mustafa agreed and smiled. He admitted his defeat in the discussion not without pleasure.
In that minute Bakai came in widely smiling. 
- Have you come with luck, my Bakai? 
- And with a great one! Muhammedya didn’t say even a word. He presented at once. And he said in addition that he wouldn’t refuse even if you asked for not the presented white one but for a racing bay with yellowish markings. 
All came out from the yourt. Sarybala looked and disappointedly sighed – he didn’t like the white horse. It was too small and ordinary. 
- Its belly hangs, its ears hang and it has the height of a real dwarf. – He said his father with displeasure.
Mustafa didn’t answer. He took the horse by its mouth, looked at its teeth, then touched its groin and the temporal bone, checked the tendons of its front legs and tried to raise its tail. He searching slowly walked around the horse, then led the son aside and started convincing with a satisfied smile:
- This horse is much better than a racing bay with yellowish markings! Aubakir’s relatives have an eye for trade but they don’t have head of horses at all. That’s why they have given this one because they thought that this good horse was just a dilapidated one. 
- Why do you like it?
- It has a large groin. Its head is dry. Its breast is wide. It is gutted and has a good breathe. Its hoofs are thick. They would never be hot how long it would ride. Its tail and tendons are strong. Such a horse doesn’t know any tiredness. Its breast is low. Its belly is tucked in. It has long back legs as a young of camel. It means that its step is wide during the riding. You can bravely answer a call whoever will propose you to compete. Only a rare horse will be able to outrun it. There exist different racers, my son. If you gallop such a horse it will be faster than other ones. If you put the horse at a slow pace or to a trot – it will be the most enduring than others. A poor man cannot wish a better horse. I have watched it carefully already long ago. That’s why I have asked exactly for it. Now it is ours. I whish nothing would happen.
- If this horse has so many good features why does it have such a bad appearance?
- Such a breed can obtain a good appearance only after a good training and speed – during baiga (horse race). Just wait till anta. I will train it. Then you will see both its slenderness and its specific speed. Hadisha’s sudden fortune made her be generous. It was found a bit of smoked meat and some flour on the bottom of the trunk. The meat is being boiled, the bread is being baked. Bakai is sitting on the place of honour. The smell of baursks1 and of smoked meat makes feel giddy not only me but the whole aul too.      

The night sky became lighter. There started disappearing stars one after the other. There hardly began to dawn in the east but it was still dark in the west. There became visible Itzhon’s hills but the sun didn’t appear yet. Morning air was quiet, transparent and fresh. The aul didn’t awake yet. All tundiks were closed. Meanwhile there woke up only herdsmen. Being only half-awake and loudly yawning ones were saddling bulls, the others – horses. A goat-leader led the flock to a pasture. There heavily stood cows up thundering with their hoofs. Mustafa went out from his yourt  in a kumgan2 in his hands. A neighbour yawning drowsily started laying out circles of cheese – kurta – on a hanging reed mat.
But Sarybala was still sleeping like a dead one at his white horse that was tied with a long string. Sarybala was afraid to put his horse out at nights. He guarded it by himself. The long-awaited favourite horse could be stolen or saddled by herdsmen and ridden to their hearts’ desire.
Kazakhs like animals young and old alike. It seemed that no cattle could exist without a Kazakh and no Kazakh could exist without cattle. All their life long they were inseparably walking about free steppe and migrating and migrating. But the both had their own enemies. 
There heard some cries at a distance. It could be that a wolf attacked a flock that had just come to the pasture. There appeared an impudent she-wolf with a hung down udder nearby the aul. Mustafa quickly shook Sarybala in order to awaken, helped him mount his horse and gave him a long birch club. 

1Baursaks – fried doughnuts, 2Kumgan – a jug with a long spout for washing

- If you catch up with it don’t beat it on the run at once. Your club will set against you and you will fall down from your horse. Catch up with the wolf and beat it from one side against its muzzle. – He advised in a hurry. 
Not having had enough time to start out of the sleep and without a saddle Sarybala rushed after the she-wolf like an arrow. The head wind pressed tears from out his eyes, set against the rider and threw him back. The hot young man was riding after the predator without a trace of fear. From outside one could think that he was either very strong, artful and assured that where was courage, there was a victory or – a mouse threatens a cat but from afar. The white horse was trained by Mustafa very well. Being soaked in sweat a bit the horse rode swifter and faster. It flew having pressed its ears down like a Persian gazelle and jumped over flood gullies on its way. With each its jump Sarybala pressed to its mane like a mite. The old and cunning she-wolf might have understood that it wouldn’t be able to run away from its persecutors on the flatland and turned to the barrows in the direction of Zheti-kuduk – Seven wells. Having run out onto the top of the hill it looked around having turned with its whole body on the run. The boy remembered at once the hunters’ instructions: “Having run up to a pass a wolf always looks around in order to assure from what direction its pursuers come. You should quickly change the direction and when a predator disappears you should immediately turn back. And no doubt you will run across it!”
Sarybala did exactly this: he pulled the reins, turned back and having ridden over the top of the hill he ran across the she-wolf. He lifted his club – missed! Not having restrained his horse he rode farther. He turned back once more – caught up with it and lifted the club again. And again the she-wolf with shaking from side to side dugs seeing that it wouldn’t be able to run away from the fast rider started using cunning – hiding in holes the rider not to get her with the club from above. Sarybala drove it away from out one covering but the she-wolf ran to another hole. The sheep’s blood didn’t dry on its muzzle yet. Her tongue hung out and its eyes flashed fire. In spite of the fact that it was trying to run away it was ready to fight to death in the last minute. Sarybala already rubbed his rump to blood. His trousers were soaked in salty horse’s sweat but he felt any pain. All his creature was caught with the riding: how to contrive and beat against its black muzzle. But no, the shifty beast didn’t let catch it. 
Having seen a dark human’s figure far away Sarybala drove the she-wolf in that direction. Feeling something bad the she-wolf stopped for a while.
Exactly in this moment Sarybala struck a blow like the devil against its black head. Having fallen down, the she-wolf jumped up at once. The next blow made it fall down again. The club didn’t stop whistling over the beast’s head until it stopped moving. Being glad with his success Sarybala dismounted his horse. The man who was walking towards him was Suigembay – Peasant. 
- I wish you would always have a good hunt, my dear! I wish your swift-footed white horse would always be in luck!
- I would like to present you this wolf, old man. It’s good that I have met you.
- No, I can’t accept the present. It’s your luck. I will help you skin it and take its tail – it will be a warm scarf for me.
Skinning skillfully the she-wolf Suigembay said:
- One wolf with two legs was caught into a trap.
- Who? – The young man became alerted. 
- Hamen, your uncle. Orynbek was on the watch for him for several days. Yesterday in the evening he saw him and ran after Hamen with five riders. Seeing that they were not able to catch up with him they started shooting. One bullet got in Hamen’s arm. The other bullet got in his horse and that one dropped down. Hamen’s wife came to our place at midnight. She was crying letting her hair down. Except Hamen and blacksmith Suigembay there is nobody else in the wintering: everybody is in migration. With dawn I have come out from the house to say you the news. It’s good that I have met you. Now I can return and you say people about this. 
- Is Hamen living? 
- They brought him living from here. If he didn’t bleed profusely on the way he will not die from the wound.
- Why do you walk on foot? Haven’t they returned you the horse that they had taken away then?
- If they had I wouldn’t walk on foot now.
- Why don’t you require your horse?
- It’s possible to get out of Orynbek’s hole only on that world in the god’s presence. He has caught even Hamen whom nobody could catch. And now he went hog wild once and for all.
- However he goes hog wild he is not able to jump higher than Aubakir. People say that Aubakir released Kolchak from the prison and made him a police officer. Why don’t you want to address to Aubakir?
- What for? Doesn’t he know about Orynbek’s outrage? He knows. If he wanted he would return me the horse without any please. But if he doesn’t want he will not return even if I please him. 
Having skinned the she-wolf Suigembay cut off its tail, threw the skin on the horse instead of a saddle and helped Sarybala mount. After saying goodbye the old man dragged back. Being thickset and stern with a stick in his hand he walked lonely along the road. He was sad because he was old, lonely and didn’t have any children but the step of the old man was resolute. Sarybala didn’t know how to call strange distinctive Suigembay’s temper – good or bad. Having followed him silently with his eyes the young boy mumbled: “An interesting man” – and got his horse riding. Only now he felt pain in the rumps. The skin was soft but all the same it was impossible to sit straight. He had to waddle now on one hip then on the other because of pain. Restraining the reins Sarybala was slowly riding. He was tired and thirsty very much. But in spite of his tiredness he went on thinking about Suigembay: “I can’t understand this mysterious old man at all”, - Sarybala pronounced and remembered Hamen. Being of a low height, round-shouldered, lean with deep-set eyes and dark face, always gloomy and terrible Hamen never laughed loudly and always looked down. The whole year round he lived in a lonely yourt and when he went away in a raid his wife stayed absolutely alone. Wasn’t she scared or boring? Day and night Hamen was prowling around the steppe. Wasn’t he tired of it, wasn’t he bored with this wolf’s life? He had been stealing all his life long but what has he achieved? He couldn’t set for himself even a white yourt. He wasn’t able to bead zheli in one kulash1. Hamen had only one fortune – enough meat. He didn’t have even another aim except meat. Is he better than a wolf?
Hamen was their second cousin and a cousin of famous Mekesh. Hamen wasn’t a sickly dzhigit. Once during a fight he hurt badly the head of Mekesh personally but Orynbek had easily caught him. It was offensive for Sarybala but he didn’t realize why it was offensive for him and why he felt insult. It’s shameful, shameful to do this! The familiarism raised anger for Hamen in his heart but his theft so to speak cooled the young boy. However Sarybala didn’t change his opinion that Orynbek was a rascal and a scoundrel.  
Suddenly the horse pricked up its ears. There appeared about ten riders who were riding light. There stuck out guns from behind the backs of two ones. It was possible to see their sabres. On the breast of one rider there was shining a brass plate as large as a palm. Having quickly ridden up they surrounded the young boy.
- Assalaumalikum, - Sarybala greeted.
- Aliksalam. Whose son are you?
- Mustafa’s – hajji. 
- Where is this wolf’s skin under you from?
- I’ve killed it. 
- Have you killed it by yourself?
- Yes, I have. 
- It’s possible that you really have done it by yourself. You have grey eyes. – That one said who had a plate. He was portly and had a thin beard. He rode around Sarybala examining the boy and his horse. – Mustafa didn’t have such a swift-footed one. Where has he got it?
- Aubakir has presented. 
- And you, I see, are Aubakir’s son-in-law, aren’t you? – Postman Shogel pronounced. He was known by everybody and recognized Sarybala only now in spite on the fact that the young man had recognized him at once. 

Kulash1 – the length of one arm   
Among the riders there was the volost’s head, snuffing Muhtar. He was dressed much better than others. He had lifeless eyes that expressed nothing as a dead man has. His face was wide. People gave him a nickname Mean foreman. The boy knew Muhtar’s temper very well and looked at him as a kitten that had seen a dog for the first time. Muhtar also raised his eyes and their looks met. The volost’s head was the first who removed his stupid gaze. It seemed that examining stares of the both ones were speaking much at that moment.  
The grand-grandfather of volost’s head Muhtar – famous Igilik – had twenty thousand horses. Igilik had a son Tati, Tati’s son – Mustafa, Mustafa’s son – Muhtar. No one of the Igilik’s offsprings let a position of a volost’s head out of the hands. Only once under Mustafa’s ruler young Ahmet seized power but soon he died and water found its own level again. That Ahmet was the eldest Kadyr’s son and the native brother of Sarybala’s father – Mustafa. Kadyr’s father Matai lived at one time with Igilik and had twelve thousand sheep. In Murat’s tribe there were four great bais: Igilik, Matai, Akpan, Orynbay – they were the owners of the whole tribe. But over the years only Igilik was able to retain his tabuns and flocks. The cattle of the other ones started diminishing. They lost their cattle and together with cattle their happiness too. But ancestral privileges to have and respect – all these remained and descended. The crossed looks of the boy and the volost’s head were expressing the ancient relationships of their ancestors. 
“Bilal learns by Mahambetshe, this red one – by Mustafa. Tomorrow they will fight with me…” – Muhtar thought.
“Yes, be afraid of us”, - Sarybala’s look as if warned him.
Muhtar tried to put out of his way and crush anyhow those ones whom he was afraid. If the volost’s head wasn’t able to do this at once he started hypocritically making friends with his opponent and didn’t forget himself to prepare a pitfall for his victim meanwhile.   
After the tsar’s dethroning when almost each day the power changed in the places and people didn’t know whom to believe, whom to listen to and whom to follow there started some kind of a muddle in the steppe. The tribes that had united in one volost at the times of Igilik, Tati and Mustafa divided into several volosts. If not to keep firmly in the hands the rests of the former power then people would disperse once and for all. Let’s take, for example, this young man. He already thought something of himself. Matai’s descendant pitched up who was an offspring of the poor, waning and dying out tribe. And what will be if to press it out like a furuncle?
Muhtar didn’t show anyhow his hate and started speaking with a friendly smile:
- My child, give my salem to your father and to respectful Mahambetshe. – We don’t have any time to visit them – we are hurrying. I see you have already grown up and can become an owner of a small yourt. When are you going to marry? Will you invite me to your wedding? – He finished playfully. 
Sarybala answered nothing. He didn’t also want to show if he liked or disliked the friendly conversation of the volost’s head. Muhtar didn’t visit their aul because he got nothing in Yelibay’s poor aul but not because he was hurrying. He would never turn his horse in the direction of the place where neither meat, nor kumis or a corruptive payment was. And bai Aubakir was out of his depth. That one knew on which side his bread was buttered. Hardened Muhtar aimed at the place where he could find benefits for himself and snatch something. Except Kazakhs he was accompanied by two weaponed Russians of Kolchak’s police. Earlier he went around with a village constable and people trembled in his presence. Now he went with police. In Muhtar’s realizing to govern rigidly people meant to threaten them first of all. Exactly for his brutality people called him Mean foreman. In the auls the aksakals’ decisions had more power than the authorities’ ones. The traditions were above all laws. But a volost’s head was the most powerful than power and aksakals, and laws, and traditions together. 
Sarybala saw how this powerful one was flatteringly fawning upon the police officer. The Kolchak’s man was endlessly yawning. He might have been tired of the riding. The volost’s head played up to him:  
- Sir Officer, kursak has disappeared, ah? Just a moment, kazir, - the volost’s head tried to render a service. – Kazir, eat sheep, drink champagne! -  And having lashed his horse he put it in motion without a peep. His words made Sarybala laugh. 
After the volost’s head and his companions there remained a long tail of dust. One could hear far away the thud of horses’ hoofs. They rode in the direction of Kara-Murat’s auls. Poor, shy Kara-Murat! How many sheep you will cut! How many horses you will give them! If only they wouldn’t touch fat and the best ones. But this Mean one will not calm down until he gains his point. 
Two horse-herd drove the volost’s head’s gain right behind: horses, cows, camels – there were about sixty heads together, not less. One of the drovers had a hunting golden eagle on his arm and led on a long rein of bridle a white-sided hound with a silver collar. 
There was lying a flock of sheep at the well Kara-Kuduk. The drovers turned there.  
Sarybala rode up to the well earlier through the pain barrier, dismounted his horse and started drinking water. The shepherd was Samet, Sarybala’s friend of the childhood. Samet started lashing the wolf’s skin with his whip which was thrown over the horse and repeated: “Take that! Take that! You have strangled the red sheep. You have bitten off the fat tail of the black sheep… You have torn out five sheep. Wouldn’t you be satisfied just with one sheep? What bad have I done you? 
- Don’t lash, you can spoil the hair. – Sarybala warned and removed his lips from the water. Samet calmed down. He filled a wooden bowl with sheep’s milk up to its edges, quickly struck sparks out of the flint and started a fire. When the fire flamed up he threw several stones into it… Sarybala watched the shepherd’s actions with surprise:
- Why have you thrown the stones into fire?
- People usually boil milk with the help of stones, don’t you know? I will hot them and then put into the bowl. It will boil at once. And only then we will be able to drink it. A horse-herd treats a guest to meat or to tasty kumis but a shepherd – in such a way.  
- A horse-herd has a tent, good tableware. He rides a horse and if he wants he can kill a wolf or cut a yearling. 
- Yes, they are richer. I have a red ox instead of a cart, a water-skin and a wooden cup – instead of tableware and milk – instead of fat meat. I will not be scared not only by a wolf but also by a louse. I can be despised not only by a woman but also by a poor man. Does there exist in the world any worse creature than a shepherd? All night long I have to drag after my sheep. In summer I have to bask in the sun. When it rains I have to be dripping wet and shiver from cold in severe cold of winter. All year round I cannot choose even a day for rest. Even in the days of ait I have to run out at my flock if I am not ill. And if a sheep disappears I can even get a lash of a whip against my back. Am I able to protect all of them – there are thieves everywhere? Wolves also attack and take them away. For example, you are saved from mullah’s rods and it seems to me that I will never break from my owner’s bonds. Do you remember I gave you a piece of advice for five asikis? That is it, my old hope, it’s still on my back! – Samet said and drummed with the handle of his whip against the dried dog’s skin under his shirt. 
Since the very childhood Samet had put a piece of a dog’s skin on to protect himself from mullah’s Zhaksybek’s everyday rods and didn’t take it off up to now. But a lot of water had flowed under the bridge since that time. Samet was already twenty and Sarybala – sixteen. Samet went working as a shepherd and Sarybala – learning. They were remembering long their past…
It grew hotter and hotter. The sheep bunched and breathed heavily. They were looking for some shade and rest. The heat became more oppressive. There wasn’t even a breath of wind around. The smoke of the fire was slowly raising high into the air.  
The drovers of the volost’s head interrupted their conversation. They let their cattle to the water pushing aside Samet’s sheep. The old man with a small pointed beard and with a golden eagle on his arm cried out:
- Hey, shepherd! Boil enough milk for us too!
Samet bristled up.
- What are you? Why must I serve you?
- We serve the volost’s head. We drive the state cattle.
- And is your golden eagle and the hound state too?
- What a quick boy, he wants to know everything!
- You can hide or not but all the same everybody sees. The volost’s head will misappropriate a good half of the cattle.
- Have it your own way. If he doesn’t misappropriate the things that belong to other people then what a ruler will he be? Our Mean robs openly without feeling any shy. We see everything but we don’t speak about everything.
- You should say about this first of all.
The drover with a pointed beard called Samet aside, asked quietly for something and wanted to thrust something in his hand. Samet didn’t accept and having waved his hand at he returned to Sarybala. 
Having watered the cattle the old man with the pointed beard drove it his own way.
Samet started abusing.
- His beard is like a goat’s tail! You see, Sarybala, not only the volost’s head robs but his henchman – a wolf too. Steal a sheep for me, he sais! And he tried to thrust me a copper coin. Not likely!
- Amazing people! They steal, take corruptive payments and fling insults… They see that people disapprove of their behaviour but all the same they continue to commit their hateful business. Why mustn’t the henchmen rob if their bosses give them a bad example?
- It goes for all of them: bais, volosts’ heads, the leaders of the auls and Pentecostals. They don’t like any words. Just show them your money!
- Suigembay is right when he says that such Kazakhs will never get to the paradise. We shouldn’t wait for anything good in the days of peace if they held people up during the year of call-in. 
- That black year Baikonyr-hajji presented Muhammedye this swift-footed white horse which you ride now. It wasn’t a present but a real corruptive payment. Why hadn’t he presented it earlier? 
Samet dropped in the bowl some hotted stones. The white milk rose, boiled and became dark-brown. The self-made bowl was made roughly. Its edge was thick and it was impossible to take it into a mouth. There was some slimy thin coat on the walls which had already petrified. It was impossible to scrape it off. Having forgotten about any squeamishness hungry Sarybala started guzzling down the thick milk as if he had eaten nothing for the whole week long…
- It’s so tasty! – He was delighted. 
Having slaked his thirst with the milk but not having emptied the bowl yet, Samet lay down on one side and started playing his pipe. The melody moved Sarybala almost to tears. He was surprised: from out a usual reed this simple shepherd was drawing out such wonderful sounds with the help of his lips chapped on the sun. 
- Oh, my god! Samet, why do you hide your talent? – Sarybala cried out. – You are not just a shepherd. You are an adorning of a toi.
- I don’t think so! It’s boring in the quiet steppe and that’s why I amuse myself with my pipe. 
- Where do you know Abai from? Now you have been playing about Tatiana. 
- I know nobody. I just heard how Ahmetbek had played and remembered. 
- Play once more.
Samet played Narmambet’s “Saryarka”. But he also knew neither the title nor the name of that one who had thought the melody out. Listening to the sounds of the pipe Sarybala was speaking with enthusiasm: 
- You are bored in the steppe and I am bored in the aul. If you didn’t have your pipe and I didn’t have my horse it would be possible to be dying of boredom. It seems to me that our aul is some kind of a cemetery or an empty peopleless cattle-pen. Now just in rare auls you can find some mares on tethers and balky stallions that are caught with a lasso and unbroken horses that people break for a saddle. In rare auls people drink kumis, sing songs, held competitions of fighters and organize horse races now. There are a lot of entertainments there too: both draughts and nine kumalaks1, and evening games, and festive gatherings of the youth, and toi. We just hear about this. We have no one beautiful barrow what we can climb and cheer ourselves up. There is neither a lake nor a river for bathing and washing dirt off. In the whole endless Saryarka the god hasn’t given us even a good meadow for migration. However, nobody knows why but all the same we all like our blue, endless, native steppe and our poor smoked auls. Having missed we come here. When our miss hardly disappears we already hurry to run away from here. Why, why do we live so? It’s without saying about small grieves. The activity of such robbers as Orynbek, Hamen and volost’s head Muhtar is plunged people into despair.
Being usually unsociable this time Sarybala gave straight everything for what his heart had been aching already long ago. 
Helping him mount the horse Samet joked: 
- I have talked to you with a great pleasure, a bad nephew!
- If you are my uncle and originate from Saliy’s poor tribe then who must I take after and be good? – Sarybala joked in reply and pulled the reins. 
He started dreaming on his way… He imagined a horse race. The white horse under him took the first place in the horse race… Now Sarybala became rich and a just volost’s ruler. Then he turned into a fire-breathing orator, then into a man of muscles, into a fighter who could be defeated by nobody. His young dream jobbed-hopped from one branch of life into another one. But there appeared his gloomy aul and there was left nothing from his dreaming. 

Pentecostal1 – chosen ones by fifty owners.      
Nine kumalaks1 – a national game 
The worried father was waiting for his son already for a long time. Having seen his gain he smiled with satisfaction and helped him dismount his horse. Almost the whole aul had gathered in the yourt. Mahambetshe personally had come even too. “How have you killed it?” – there heard on all sides. One people praised the young hunter, other ones praised his swift-footed horse. 
Suddenly there heard a shoot of a gun. There started awfully barking dogs. There heard some humans’ voices. All people ran out from the yourt and saw on the kotan several dozen of Russian soldiers. A Kazakh with a sabre over his shoulder and in a fox cap was in the head of them.
- I’m Almen Ainabekov! – He cried and his horse was as if dancing on the kotan. 
Everybody knew Almen. He excelled all soldiers- chasteners in his inhuman cruelty. The whole Karkaralinskiy district suffered from his gangster attacks. Recently he had attacked Amanbek’s aul from Sarym’s tribe and killed almost all inhabitants. Kazakhs from the neighbour Akmolinskiy district feared him like death. And now robber Ainabekov appeared here. 
And now in the presence of the whole aul he was stealing the Aubakir’s, Turlybek’s son, tabun of horses in broad daylight. Aubakir personally wasn’t at home. His wife with his children rushed after the horses. With the shots of his gun Almen made her return. The poor woman was crying out:
- For what? What are we guilty in? You have made us poor!
- Keep silent! – Ainabekov roared. – Your husband’s brother Hamen stole all the time cattle of our tribe. I have repaid him.
Nobody could stand up for the poor woman. Even the dogs stopped barking being afraid of shots. The howling woman being surrounded by her four little children was crying out of despair:
- If you revenge Hamen then what are we guilty in? I damn you. I wish you would die like a dog! I wish all your family would live by begging! Oh, Allah, if you exist, punish this rascal! People call them “white ones”. They are not “white ones”! They are killers, robbers and blood-suckers! 
Almen together with his soldiers were driving the tabun away at a gallop. The aul gathered in the Aubakir’s yourt to express their regret. Sarybala didn’t come. He was sitting outside having leant his back against the yourt. Almen, Orynbek, Muhtar, Hamen – they were different people but all the same all of them were robbers and killers…
Noble bai Nurlan died. In a year there were invited noble Kazakhs from Akmolinskiy, Karakaralinskiy and Pavlodarskiy districts for the funeral repast. About two hundred best horses took part in the race. The first place was taken by the Batyrash’s bay with yellowish markings. 
Well-known Tuleybay died too. His poor relatives weren’t able to organize a funeral repast. In addition, they were not able even to build properly a kubba. But Tuleybay built his monument by himself because he was long remembered by people with exclamation: “Tuleybay was a real dzhigit! Fire!”
Well-known horse-stealer Mekesh died too. People said nothing about him and just few people could wish him good after-life.
- Hamen has been deported at the ends of the earth…
- Saken Suifullin has been deported to the Siberia into irons.
- Nurmak Baisalykov has been condemned to twenty-five lashes of whip…
- There appeared a big detachment of white ones in the steppe. They take away cattle, products and everything they need for the war in the steppe. They arrest and shoot everybody who is for red ones. 
- And where are these red ones?...
- And what does alash-orda think?..
That was what people spoke in the auls that summer about. 
Aubakir came to the aul from the town. He was surrounded at once by the lovers to listen to news, eat meat and drink kumis. Aubakir was a business man. He didn’t like bubble. He listened to and spoke in motion. After his arrival at once he sent some farm hands to make hay and he ordered the other ones to brand their tabuns. After a big Koyandinskiy fair the number of his cattle heads raised much. Perhaps Aubakir knew the total quantity of his heads but he said nobody about this. He ordered to put a big brand “A.C” on the left front leg of each horse and a little brand “A.C.” on one horn of each cow and ox. Aside of the aul there was started fire. People drove their cattle on all sides to the fire. In spite of the roaring and mooing people drove the half-wild animals by force to the fire and burnt out a brand. It turned out that the cows were worse than bolters. They mooed like mad, butted and were ready to tear a human out with their horns. There was enlivening everywhere. People enjoyed themselves not less than in a wedding of a poor girl. Just noise and dim. One people branded horses, other ones – oxen. Thieves didn’t touch the cattle with Aubakir’s brand. That’s why each poor man tried to burn out his brand on his horse too. However, Aubakir didn’t allow everybody, only chosen ones. There rarely heard jolly exclamations: “I’m allowed!” Dzhigits liked to break unbroken animals and show their bravery, strength and deftness. They did this without any payment, free not paying attention to severe heat. Branding for a Kazakh is a holiday. They like to fiddle around with cattle.
Having fun day-dreamer Shukesh didn’t notice how there appeared an angry ox nearby him. The brown huge ox hooked Shukesh with its horns and threw him aside. The furious animal would crush him but Shukesh figured out – he went sprawling on the ground and froze. A human who is lying without motion will be touched neither by an ox nor by an angry sheep. People ran to Shukesh on all sides to help him out of trouble. Aubakir was nearly to fall down from laugh. They were agemates with Shukesh. That’s why they could laugh at each other to their hearts’ desire. 
- Will a human become a prophet only if a good-for-nothing has been called Mahomet? – Aubakir said jolly.
The real Shukesh’s name was Shaimuhammed but nobody called him so except his deceased father. However many Arabic names and traditions there were in the steppe, however much Arabic language was spread in the steppe Kazakhs did over in their own way. Just few people believed in shamanism. Not everybody stuck to Islam. It could be possible to judge by appearance and clothes of dzhigits who were busy now with branding. One wore a hat and a Russian shirt instead of a malakhai. The other one shod boots instead of shoes. The third one didn’t put nasibay but smoked a cigarette. A dzhigit with thick moustache was sitting nearby proud Isa-hajji with a black beard on one side and suffering over his bicycle and the lonely mullah – on the other side. Earlier the mullah had taught Koran and the Shariat but now he was left without any pupils – children went to learn in a Russian manner. There were a lot of such news that imperously entered the steppe life and the traditions. These innovations had turned old already long ago both in the east and in the west and by Russians but they just appeared here. Sometimes a Kazakh could be like a baby – he stretched his hands without discrimination and grasped everything he saw. 
Jolly, cunning and mischievous people surrounded Aubakir now. Between times they helped and tried to cheer myrza up, told or showed something funny. Old akin Doskey slightly limping came up here too. He had a little black beard and a dombra over his neck.   
Earlier he had sung:
Honorable akin Shozhe 
Has already sung of before me
Matai’s six sons
(Kadyr is the strongest among them)
And then Mahambetshe
Took Kadyr’s place. 
And today Doskey greeting stretched his hand not to Mahambetshe who was older but to younger Aubakir. 
Several years ago Aubakir who had just begun to grow rich had led well-known bai Azyn, a police officer, to the aul and made an inventory of the whole bai’s household. Then Doskey had sung: 
Seventeen thousand horses Zhuman had,
He looked at three zhuzhs as at his own ones
Like a lake was his table laid 
Who could dare to compare with Azeke?
But the black sart, the last one of the tramps,
Turned in a mockery the holy hearth.
But now Doskey started singing in some different way:
Are you healthy, Aubakirzhan? 
Our father taught us to be noble
I know, you are satisfied with everything, a giant.
Allah gifted you with a light fate. 
Aubakir interrupted the akin and impatiently lifted his hand:
- That’s enough, enough. I don’t need your soft pillow which you propose for everybody. It would be better if you sing some good song.
Having given way to the request of myrza and people who were surrounding him Doskey agreed to sing a Birzhan’s song that he had heard long ago from the lips of the composer personally. 
Yes, you see, our senility has found us with you
And it took away all earlier promises
What have they left for us, say me:
Hot bodies of the former beauties?
Poor man Aubakir had also sung in his youth. And now he played not badly “Aupildek” but only without listeners. When Doskey stopped playing he started laughing and noticed:
- If Birzhan sang like you then he might not be a pair for you! – And he stood up from his place.
Aubakir’s mother came waddlingly up. People gave her a nickname Bibeke. They either didn’t know her name or didn’t want to call her by her real name. Bibeke sounded respectfully but the old woman wasn’t touched by this. On her lean wrinkled face there was a severe appearance. She was very mean. She wouldn't give away snow in winter. Bibeke’s house was like a full bowl, a sea of kumis but she poured nobody a whole cup. The old woman believed nobody. If she came out in the yard to do number one or two she didn’t look in the field but in the direction of the house: all the time it seemed to her that somebody could steal or filch something. The old woman was stubborn, angry and gave the finger to everybody without discrimination. Her speech she mixed with such expression as “Damn you!” and “Begone!”, “Bubble!”, “I wish you would become an orphan!”, “I wish your cattle would remain without the owner!”. Her husband Sentkemel was a mullah and well-known person. His son was now very rich, happy and famous.
Having seen Bibeke everybody jumped up and started offering their hands to the old witch. And Doskey started singing:
Who can compare with our Bibeke?
She is beautiful both in happiness and in grief
When I look in her face with hope
I think about a full-flowing river
And about one, just one sip…     
Bibeke said him loudly:
- A bubbler! He has fallen into the habit to come to our place! – She gave the finger to akin and came up to Aubakir. – The dinner is ready. But how can I feed all this gang? I wish you would invite less people…
- I’m here a rare guest. Why are you so mean? – Aubakir didn’t agree.
- Well, you may feed all Yelibay’s people. Have they eaten little of our wealth? Everybody steals except Mustafa. Mahambetshe personally is a thief too. If he didn’t steal where from would he have got that sheep? The god is a witness, it’s our sheep, our sheep…
In spite of the fact that Bibeke said “well” but while she was going home she didn’t stop mumbling all the time. Aubakir gave a look into the steppe, at his flocks. Only the owner knew how many sheep he had but people differently defined as viewed from the side: ones – in ten, other ones – in fifteen, the third ones – in eighteen thousands of heads. Aubakir liked horses more but in the present fair sheep were very cheap and he couldn’t help himself and bought. At nights people drove their numerous flocks to the kotans of all six Yelibay’s auls. Each kotan was guarded by two riders from evening up to morning, kept their eyes glued on sheep but, however, every day Bibeke crossly affirmed that somebody stole her sheep. To her mind to trust so many sheep to Yelibay’s tribe was equal to let a wolf into a flock. Aubakir was troubled by another thing. The winter was approaching but there wasn’t any food. Aubakir invited one bai from Kzyl-Zhar and sold him all his sheep without exception.  
Now he was looking at the cloud of sheep going away to the north and thought about money. He thought with trouble. Now money didn’t have enough value because the government often changed. But how can you keep your fortune without money? This insignificant people who had come to help him praised him, fawned upon him and exclaimed with envy that Aubakir didn’t even have anything else to dream about, that there was not a richer and a happier human than him in the world. But Aubakir was sick at heart and wanted to go somewhere away from people as far as possible. But his loneliness couldn’t save him from his doubts, thoughts and torments. Kolchak’s actions and activity of the alash-orda government were a little concern of Aubakir. But now money made him think more seriously about power. The money which is hidden in a trunk is dead capital but active money is like a high-water spring – it brings and brings profits. If the government is strong money will have more value. If the government is weak money will have no value. Aubakir hoped for Kolchak’s and alash-orda’s power not very much. He believed more his fortune. It never lets him down. But money can turn into simple paper if red ones come to power. 
Aubakir heavily sighed. After the tsar’s dethroning the bai had lost self-confidence. He was afraid of the change of the power. He cudgeled his brains over the fact how to protect his fortune now under the ruler of any government and not to be brought to ruin either by enemies or by hunger. 
There heard a shrill neigh of a helpless horse. Aubakir saw a reddish long dzhigit with grey eyes who had artfully caught Argamak bay with yellowish markings and having firmly grasped it by his ears didn’t let it move. The other dzhigit quickly put a hot brand to the front leg of the horse. Aubakir liked the brave actions of the reddish long one. He called him and loudly promised:
- I will pay you the same sum as Zhakyp and Zhamal usually pay. Whose son are you? Of Leather eye? Nobody will believe. 
Zhakyp and Zhamal were the best Aubakir’s workers. One was a carrier on eighty Aubakir’s carts all summer round. The second one gave commands to farm hands during hay making and wheat gathering. Zhakyp and Zhamal were true helpers and as for his household here the bai trusted them more than his native brother Muhai.
The artful dzhigit rejoiced at the praise and promise of the bai. His face broke into a wide smile. He was never called by the name but just hailed neglectfully: “Hey, Grey eye!” or “Hey, a son of Leather eye!”. But since that moment people started respectfully pronouncing his name: Irismagambet. Dzhigit’s blind old father with a leather bandage over his eye was round-shouldered with a thin beard. He cheered up at once and started fidgeting in his seat being full of proud. It is possible to warm a human and throw him or her in cold with the help of a word. A human can become fat or lean because of a word. After the bai’s words Irismagambet bloomed. His eyes started shining and he looked like a sheep dog that was waiting for his master’s order: “Take it!” to attack at once the victim. 
Man of muscles Zhusupbek came out from the Aubakir’s yourt with a kumgan in his hands. He performed washing and read a prayer alone. The day was hot but the man of muscles threw on a kupi1, an old fox cap on his head and was shod in torn boots. The strings of his shirt were untied and one could see his thick hair on the open breast. Zhusupbek’s movements were sluggish. He was suffering from the touch of the brewer. He lazily stepped and gave long yawns. Who didn’t know that one couldn’t say according to his appearance that it was a famous fighter in front who had taken big prices in many funeral repasts not for one time.

Kupi1 – outer clothing, some kind of a jacket.    
He was of a medium height, lean, with good developed muscles but he was helpless and light-headed by his nature. Today in the morning he had drunk much kumis in the bai’s yourt and fallen asleep where he had been sitting at the laid table. He woke up only now, prayed and directed to Aubakir. 
- Hey, Aubakir! – The man of muscle cried coming up and combing his thin beard. – People have cattle for their hearts but your heart is not only for cattle. You know no rest at all.
Aubakir didn’t answer and looked around. There was a deep well at the fireplace. The bai gave a wink to Irismagambet and quietly said: “Grapple him from behind and throw him into the well”. That one ran up at once and grappled the champion from behind. Sluggish Zhusupbek threw him over himself as quick as lightning. Irismagambet dropped on his head, turned over and went sprawling having raised a cloud of dust. 
There heard some admiring exclamations: 
- Oh, his strength hasn’t betrayed this old fellow yet!
Zhusupbek was offended:
- A fool! Aubakir is my agemate, he can joke. But you are not an agemate for me, a greenhorn! He has set you on me and you attack like a puppy. 
Excusing Irismagambet stretched his hand to Zhusupbek and dropped down at his feet. Aubakir led the honorable ones to his place for having dinner…
During the noisy branding gloomy Sarybala was sitting in the shade of the yourt and listening to the Mustafa’s and Hadisha’s conversation. The father had just seen Aubakir and returned from him with offence. 
Sarybala wanted pressing the flesh very much in the crowd where his father-in-law was but he mustn’t. 
Young men became early grown-ups in the auls. Sometimes he was still wet behind the ears but he already knew about all good and bad actions of grown-ups. In addition, grown-ups didn’t hide from children. In these latter days Sarybala started playing less and thinking more and more. The conversation between his mother and father made him think about gloomy things. The hajji said:
- “Now the situation is new every day, - I said to Aubakir. – Both illness and death are coming closer and closer. Let’s marry our children”. And he in reply! “Let me alone, my daughter is young still!” Last year he said the same! Who is young? A young woman at the age of twelve is already ready to become a mother. A boy at the age of fourteen is already ready to become an owner of a yourt. You married me when you weren’t fourteen yet. His daughter is already fourteen and our son – sixteen.
- Aubakir won’t give us his daughter, - Hadisha pronounced. – The bai neglectfully treats us and his wives pitch their noses up. If the young women have forgotten their past then the old woman shouldn’t forget her lonely black yourt and her only mare. Up to now she hasn’t expressed any tribal feelings, hasn’t treated his son-in-law to some breast cut according to the tradition and she has even presented no money for a shirt. When she sees her son-in-law she says with mockery: “He hides in addition. He might think to become my son-in-law”. Then she gives the finger after him. I wish the god would punish this old witch for her mockery at my son. When rich matchmakers come to their place they cut a stallion. And when you visit them they unwillingly give you a cup of kumis. I don’t think that they want to become relatives with us.    
- But our children are betrothed. Aubakir must give us his daughter.
- Now Aubakir isn’t afraid even of the god, not only of you. Bai Tursun from Adambai’s tribe, the owner of seven thousand horses, asks Aubakir’s daughter in marriage. Will he marry her to our son in this case?
- If Aubakir isn’t afraid of the god then he will be afraid of people. “People threaten, depth sinks”. Although we are poor but the whole Yelibay’s tribe is for us. Not only Begaidar’s and Murat’s tribes but also the whole Altai will rise for our reputation.
- Almost all of them work for Aubakir: one is a groom, the other one is a horse-herd, the third one is a cook, and the fourth one is a courier. 
- All the same they haven’t forgotten the ancestor’s covenant. Everybody knows that a dispute because of a bride can lead even to bloodshed. If Aubakir refuses us it will touch the reputation not only of our close relatives but also of the whole tribe. Aubakir isn’t a fool to ask for trouble. 
- He is a cunning person. He won’t refuse openly but once he will announce: “My daughter has run away by herself”. What will you do him?
Sarybala was getting uneasy. If a proud, ambitious young man were taken away his bride with what a face he would be able to appear among people. Sarybala jumped up and went away from the yourt. His cheeks were burning from anger. “How cannot one Uzbek take into account the opinion of the whole nation? And what will be if I mount my white horse, take my club and attack their aul in broad daylight? But who will let you? How can you go against a bullet, soldiers and the power? Aubakir is protected by everybody! Is it possible perhaps to cut Aubakir at night? Or, as Dubrovskiy, to burn out the whole aul? For example, Mekesh and Hamen have lived on the run a great part of the life. It’s better to be an outcast one than suffer from humiliation.
With these thoughts Sarybala went from the aul farther and farther. He had a quadruple kerchief in his pocket with embroidery in the corners and with superscription “Batima”. Batima was Sarybala’s fiancée. Several days ago when old Bibi had gone to her married daughter he met Batima in the yourt of young wife Nazym – a wife of Aubakir’s middle brother Muhai who was shy and a little muddle-headed. Nazym was Sarybala’s close relative and nourished friendly feelings to the young man. Not only Nazym but also all poor Bibi’s relatives and even their neighbours and farm hands were kind to Sarybala. The relatives had more influence on young Batima because the father with his two wives and his younger brother Muhammedye lived in Spassk and Batima – in the aul.  
In spite of the fact that the last year round the fiancé lived nearby his fiancée first time they saw each other in Nazym’s yourt. The grandma was very strict and quarrelsome and the young fiancé and fiancée were too irresolute and shy. And here finally they saw each other and couldn’t start conversation for a long time. They went hot and cold and their cheeks were blushing all over. Sitting side by side to each other and having dropped the eyes they picked at the ground in front of them. The both thought that now it was easier to cut into pieces an iron grid than to get rid of their confusion. Nazym was looking at them and looking, took them by the hands, put them on the shoulders of each other and came out. But as soon as she had come out the fiancé’s and fiancée’s hands helplessly dropped down. Nazym who was watching them through a chink came back and read a lecture:
- Even a lamb that was just born already tries to find its feet. Are you worse than lambs? Do you feel shy because it is light? Then I will turn it off.
Having turned off the lamp Nazym came out again and having pressed to the yourt she started overhearing. As earlier there settled silence in the yourt. The night was moonlight, the small yourt showed up white and the tundik was closed. In the quiet housing two innocent hearts went on excitedly beating but the fiancé and the fiancée didn’t even dare to touch each other and didn’t start a conversation as if they were afraid that fire could break out because of their hot breathing and they would burn down. Nazym was bored to overhear uselessly and she returned to the yourt:
- Well, I see, you have become acquainted and talked to your hearts’ desire. Now you will meet without me and walk bravely. Be afraid of nobody. 
After wishing good look Nazym sent Sarybala on his way just in case having covered him with her chapan. 
For the next day Sarybala found in his pocket the kerchief with embroidery. “How has she put it? – The young boy was puzzled. – She said nothing and didn’t warn me… And at all, what does it mean? Might she pity me because I’m poor? Does she want to boast with her fortune? Has she given me it as a keepsake me to forget never about her?”
And today he had heard the distressing conversation between his mother and father. Sarybala abused and shamed himself as strong as he could. “…Except us there was left nobody in the yourt and I was not able to pronounce even a word. She might have thought that I am a dumb calf or a fool at all. Eh, I wish to meet her once more! We must meet! And immediately. I must tell her what her father thinks about, learn about her opinion and then decide what to do and what to become – an escapee or a proud man…”
Sarybala looked at his aul. There were patched up, brown, finished yourts everywhere that had been set anyhow. There dispersed a small flock around the pasture. People were loafing about. The aul had a gloomy appearance. The silence bored. 
But it was noisy in Aubakir’s aul: people crowded, cows mooed, and horses neighed. 
Sarybala saw three girls. They were going from the aul to the steppe and one of them suddenly directed to him. The young man recognized Saliman, Bakai’s daughter. She often told Sarybala something about his fiancée and it could be that Batima told her something about him. Saliman was older than they both, made friends with Sarybala and tried in every possible way to arrange a meeting for the fiancé and the fiancée or at least send them the regards or some warm news. This time she informed at once that the next day Batima would go away.
Sarybala became absolutely gloomy having understood that he would be left at the broken wash-tub. He would be happy if just Batima stayed there and that noisy aul would migrate anywhere for ever. What a dzhigit wouldn’t be upset when the girl loved by him must go away who he had been dreaming so much about?
- Why have you informed me so late? – Upset Sarybala asked.
- She hasn’t known. Only today the father has decided to take her along.
- Arrange then a meeting for us today. I please you very much!
- But how? Her father is here!
- Today the father wanted to go to Botakara.   
- But what to do with the menacing old woman? Day and night she has her eyes glued on her granddaughter. 
- I’m not afraid of such a thunder. I will personally come to Batima. The door can be locked from inside. And if she locks her I will climb over the lintel. I must see her today! The most terrible thing is if people see and catch me! But even this doesn’t threaten me.
- It turns out that you are stubborn. But what have you been thinking about earlier? 
- Earlier perhaps I haven’t had such despair as today. Go as quickly as possible, Saliman, and say her that I will surely come…
Aubakir was going to Botakara. His black Argamak horse he harnessed in the cart with springs. Botakara was a Russian settlement, a volost’s center. Today there must arrive a punitive detachment of white ones with Volosnikov in the head. In those places that had been visited by punitive force there remained just grief and tears. Aubakir intended to persuade the leader of the punitive force and lead them aside from his auls. The crowd wished the bai good luck: “For the Allah’s sake, lead these mad beasts as far as possible from us!”
When Batima stayed alone in the yourt breathless and jolly Saliman ran in:
- What’s up with you? Have you caught your happiness? – Batima asked.
- A great one! Your fiancé will come to you today.
Batima became alerted.
- He will really come.
- Don’t say nonsense!
- If I am lying I wish I wouldn’t live in this world any more! He will come! He asked you not to lock the door. He says that he will climb over the lintel.
- Oh, are you both crazy? – Batima even paled. Her simple smile disappeared from her charming face. There appeared alarm in her big black eyes with long eyelashes. She fixed her gaze at Saliman. Batima was of a low height, lean and with kind temper. Suddenly she changed. – Go as quickly as possible, go to him and say, - she started whispering in spite of the fact that there was nobody else in the yourt except them. – He mustn’t come to me. If people catch us it will be no end of shame!..
- I have told him. He doesn’t listen to.
- Go once more! Say that I have sent.
Saliman went away. Batima came out from the yourt and started stealthily looking after her friend. She saw Sarybala who was lonely walking at the river and began to abuse herself for she had got heated and asked so persistently not to come. People say that conscience is stronger than death. Now her conscience wanted to press the love in the girl’s heart. Batima wanted very much to see Sarybala closer. According to the tradition a fiancée mustn’t call her fiancé by his name and Batima kept this tradition. When people said something about Sarybala she pretended that she was not listening to but in fact she was catching each word said about her fiancé. Under the pretext to walk she went from the aul as far as possible and secretly watched the yourts all the time in hope to see her beloved at least from afar. Her friend’s words “He is your fiancé” were the most pleasant for her. But the grandma’s words: “Mustafa’s puppy” upset her. The clean conscience of the girl was like a barrier for Batima like the chains of the Altai. Sarybala had already decided to climb over the pass but she was still lingering and hesitating.
Saliman returned soon.
- I’m talking to him like to a brick wall. He became even angrier. 
- Does it mean that he wants to dishonour me?
- No, what a dishonour you are speaking about! He is not just a rascal but your fiancé. Don’t worry. Nobody will know. Don’t just lock the door and oil it not to squeak. The old woman will be fast asleep. She is deaf and draws the blanket over her head in addition. The yearling will be playing at this time and clattering along. Don’t worry that’s why…
- Don’t persuade me. It’s better for you to come away now, please!
- Well, well, I will go. But take into account, if he climbs over the lintel it will be more shamefully for you, - Saliman warned and went away.
“No, he won’t come. He has just decided to threaten me, - Batima tried to calm down. – He must realize what a shame it is for me”. 
The evening came and it got dark. Batima was worrying. There started shining lights in the auls now here then there. There started barking dogs lazily and nasally. There heard some jolly voices of girls and dzhigits who had gathered at the swing – altybakan. The crescent started slowly rising from behind the chain. Batima saw nothing and heard nothing being deep in her thoughts. Old Bibi performed her night prayer and went to bed. She didn’t notice her granddaughter’s excitement who now ran out from the yourt then returned being not herself.
- Go to bed, Batesh, - the old woman pronounced yawning. – Lock the door and turn off the lamp. A tramp may get into the house for all I know. 
Batima closed softly the door and hung the lock. But having imagined how Sarybala climbs over the lintel she took the lock away. She carefully oiled the door hinges, the threshold and the jambs. “He will not come if I don’t turn off the lamp”, - Batima thought. The old woman as if guessed her thoughts and ordered:
- Turn off the lamp, don’t waste kerosene!
The lamp went out and there settled dead silence in the yourt. The old woman was sleeping on the floor. One could hear her whistling breathing. Batima was lying on the bed behind the bed curtains. However she made herself sleep all the same she couldn’t fall asleep. When there moved a mouse Batima stared at the door at once. Her heart was boomingly beating like thud of horse’s hoofs. Burdensome minutes of waiting, agonizing but dear. She wouldn’t exchange them for the whole years of boredom…
And here behind the door, in the slight moonlight there flashed a shade. Batima felt creepy all over her body. Having slightly raised the felt at the entrance Sarybala covered with it and listened to for some whiles. He had such a keen ear! Having heard the hardly perceptible sleepy breathing of the old woman he opened one half of the double-door and slipped inside. He was barefooted. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up. The trousers were rolled up over his knees. Sarybala wasn’t cold but he was shivering. He listened again and held his breath. The furniture in the yourt was absolutely unknown for him. It was the first time when he had stepped over this threshold. Having groped his way at the partition made of wicker cheegrass he stopped in front of the sleeping old woman. It seemed to him that it was not the old woman who was barring the way but a black snake that would surely sting if you tried to step over it. Sarybala feared to go around the bed on the other side because he could touch something that could fall down, rattle and awaken the old woman. Having stood shilly-shally for some time Sarybala jumped over the old woman. Batima didn’t have any time to take her breath when she found herself in the dzhigit’s embrace. The both immediately drew the blanket over their heads and couldn’t pronounce even a word for a long time. 
To the time when they calmed down the short night was approaching to dawn. 
- I was informed that you must go. That’s why I have come to you. – Sarybala said. – You must dispel my doubts. 
- What doubts? – Batima whispered. 
- Already for two years long people gossip in the auls as if your father wants to marry you to Taitursun’s son.
- The conversation was but I don’t know what my parents have decided.
- And if they really want to marry you to him what will you do?
Batima didn’t know what to answer. According to the tradition the girl didn’t have any right to choose a fiancé for herself. It was the business of her parents. Batima had to reckon the opinion of her father, powerful Aubakir, but at the same time she was pity, very pity to part with her dear young man Sarybala. Having remembered about her mother the girl said:
- I rely on my mother. I don’t think that she can make me suffer. 
- What power does your mother have if she always walks in tears?
- The youngest uncle, my grandma and Muhai are for her. My father cannot be against all. 
- I’m ready to cut off the head of that one who will part us! – Sarybala said. – We are already grown-ups, self-contained and love each other. Just say me: “I’m yours!”
- I’m yours!
People’s speech and rattling of a cart made them stop talking. In a while someone came up to the yourt and there heard some voices.
- The father has come! – Batima whispered with fear.
Aubakir and Bakai came into the yourt. Having raised herself a little in the bed old Bibi asked in surprise:
- Bakai, who has opened the door?
- It was open.
- Oibai, my girl, you are so forgetful. You haven’t locked it. Now we can’t find out if somebody comes in, takes something away or eats! Is it possible everything to watch? I have repeated her before sleep: lock the door, turn off the lamp!
- That’s enough, mum! – Aubakir pronounced and began to make the bed on the front place. – If there is left some kumis give us. We want nothing else. 
After drinking kumis Bakai went away. Old Bibi sat nearby her son. Being gloomy and upset Aubakir was silently sitting in the bed. The thick fat on his back of the head didn’t let him raise it and the thick chin – drop it. The grey-haired bai with a shaped wide beard and big sleepy eyes looked now like a satisfied Egyptian vulture and his small mother in front of him – like a miserable cow. Of course, nobody dared to call them so. People were not brave enough to call them even by their names. They must call them “myrza”, “Bibeke” and fawn upon them. It was the first time when Sarybala was listening so close to his father-in-law and his old mother. He pressed to the felt under the bed like a spleen to a horse’s side. 
- What do these bubblers say? – The old woman asked. – How soon will we have peace? 
Aubakir sighed. 
- There will be no peace! Just slaughter now! 
- Who will win to your mind, red or white ones?
- Just devil knows about it. These white ones assured that they would finish with Bolsheviks in one stroke, that they were supported both by Japan and America, and by other countries too. But red ones don’t surrender. 
- Is this the truth that red ones are poor?
- Yes, it is.
- What a grief! If they win they will bring all of us to ruin! Already now we have no one honest worker. Everybody steals. It’s good that you have sold all the sheep. Otherwise they would eat them. 
- Not only the sheep but I’m going to sell both the cows and oxen too. Cattle aren’t a reliable fortune: it can be either stolen by a thief or taken away by jute. Town rich men build plants, factories and houses. They devise them to their grandchildren and give them from generation to generation. They reserve gold as much as possible. 
- People say that Azeke has a sack made of leather of a camel’s neck full of gold. You should also ask gold as a bride-price. By the way, what to do with Mustafa? He stuck like a blood-sucker. He doesn’t give me a moment of rest. Why won’t you refuse him?
- We must not do this. Enmity can start. And to be at a war with the neighbour aul at such times – it is impossible to imagine the worst grief. 
- Oh, my god! Will we really give our daughter to this tramp Mustafa?
- Mum, don’t get in my business. You must just eat and sleep! – Aubakir became angry.
Old Bibi stood up, huddled up, took the kumgan and came out. The darkness broke away. Aubakir turned off the lamp and went to bed. Having waited for a proper moment Sarybala ran as a bullet out from the yourt.

Sarybala married without any hindrances and even surprised why he had been so lucky. For some time past Aubakir noticeably changed. Before Mustafa had asked for several times to give him the fiancée and got a cold refusal but today the father-in-law personally announced: “I’ll give you her!” He didn’t even ask for a bride-price. He just proposed to reserve some felt for a summer yourt and raise the walls for wintering. Everything else he promised to pay by himself. Mustafa gathered the relatives and they raised the walls of the two-room wintering for a one day. The relatives also gave them free some felt. Ones shared feeling pity to him, but the other ones – calculatingly: a rich fiancée with a large dowry can return a hundredfold over time. 
Many people didn’t understand: What had happened with Aubakir? He had been against for such a long time and now he gave in. Having hardly moved in the new stone house with sixteen rooms that had been just built in Spassk Aubakir married his daughter to a poor man at once. Four families prepared the fiancée’s dowry: Muhai’s, Muhammedya’s, Bibi’s and Tokal’s families. But Aubakir imposed an embargo against everything. In addition, the dowry which the mother had been gathering for the fiancée for many years long he divided into three parts and left two of them at home. When the fiancée moved to her husband’s yourt Aubakir gave them no one of his eighty carts. He let his parent-in-law and his son-in-law spend just two nights at his place and then he showed them the door. 
Nobody could understand why Aubakir had become so mean and hurried so much to marry Batima. But it had passed just one week and everybody understood the actions of the cunning bai. Like an endless steam there started arriving white ones in the plant: both on foot and on horses, and in carts and by cars. The horses were emaciated and the carts were broken. They pulled their cannons with the help of oxen and camels. The soldiers were gloomy and depressed. They weren’t in pugnacious spirits. But it wasn’t a cause for them not to rob. They attacked the auls like hungry wolves, took away carts, products, warm clothes. They raped women, beat and killed men. The people in the auls were threatened so much that they went to bed at nights without parting with each other and looked with fear at the steppe by day. They hid their carts and wagons, harness, veluables, even meat and oil among the hills, in the valleys and the ravines, washouts where they only could. 
But in spite of the fact that everybody was afraid all the same they revenged the violators. When an armed robber went to rob alone he didn’t return back. Not for one time the detachments of white ones stayed in the auls for a night and were poisoned by charcoal fumes up to death. Each day the steppe was flown around with news: white ones had robbed some aul or the following quantity of white soldiers was killed, the following quantity was burnt in one house at once. Kazakhs got somewhere guns and even hand grenades but nobody knew how to use them. Some people even held never such weapon in their hands. But to be on the safe side they hid them as far as possible – they may be useful.
Sarybala didn’t almost dismount his horse at those days. His bay with yellowish markings and with a star on its forehead was under him. He used an old felt saddle-cloth instead of a saddle. The aul had chosen Sarybala as a honorable runner and a courier. If white soldiers met him in the steppe they couldn’t arrest him: he had a poor appearance, wore a torn outerwear and a worn cap on his head. In spite of the fact that he was already married but all the same he stayed a young boy.
Sarybala stopped his bay with yellowish markings at a stack on the slope of the hill and intently looked far away. There spread a big tract in the west at the distance of about twelve-fifteen milestones along the telegraph poles. It led up to very Akmolinsk through Karaganda and Spassk. It was already the third day that day when white ones were walking and walking along this road in the direction of Karkaraly. According to the gossip their head detachments didn’t stop even there and went farther to China. All of them were going from Kzyl-Zhar and had to go about two thousand milestones on foot. They were walking and walking and leaving ruins after themselves as after a hurricane. 
It was the end of October. Usually it snowed already at this time and people cut their cattle in the auls that were fattened for slaughter. But there was not any snow that year. The autumn was dry and cold. In frosts in calm weather it was possible to hear any sound far away. Sarybala not only saw the line of white ones but also heard clearly squeak of many wheels and gunshots from time to time. 
Sarybala paid his attention to a line of people that was moving aside from the tract off the road. There were about a dozen of them. They were moving slowly. At the outskirts of the aul there ran some people having felt a danger.  
- Riders, - Sarybala defined. 
People started hiding in the aul – one hid under a stack, the other ones ran to the steppe, to the river, under the bushes, in the ravine. Only Mustafa didn’t move from his place. He stayed in his dark yourt with a book on his knees. As usual his words were addressed to Allah.
Sarybala didn’t hide. He left his horse nearby the cattle-pen and continuously watched the riders. Batima ran up to him dressed in mannish clothes. They spoke to each other only face to face because they were still shy in the presence of people. Batima was scared and excited but all the same she didn’t lose her shyness. Looking around she began gingerly to speak:
- Why are you standing? Let’s go away from here.
- I don’t want to run away.
- They will take you away or kill.
- I’ll risk and meet them. And you hide!
- I won’t hide. I’ll stay with you.
Old Bibi came up to them and started grouching at Batima at once:
- You won’t become a human, you won’t. What do you have from your dowry now, what? Good-for-nothing Tukebai got your bed. What for does he need an iron soft bed? The son of that Crooked one took away your silk chapan. Who of this rotter’s ancestors has worn a silk chapan? Oh, my god! Who could present Kozyket a carpet? If you continue to present your dowry to all poor Mustafa’s relatives you will remain with nothing. Your uncouth mother-in-law has absolutely appropriated your buckets, kettles and cups. Don’t run away with the idea. Gather everything that belongs to you. It’s hard time now. It’s difficult to buy things. Give nothing to anybody, give nothing! And if you give you have only yourself to blame. I won’t give you even a sip of water.
Batima was keeping silent. As soon as the grandma saw her each time she repeated only the one thing: “Don’t give!” But the husband, the father-in-law and the mother-in-law – the other thing: “Give!” If Batima didn’t agree all the same the things were given without her permission. Only yesterday the Mustafa’s relatives had offered a helping hand and helped him to get out from his poorness. Could Mustafa or Sarybala refuse their relatives today and answer with a black ingratitude? Knowing this Kazakh tradition very well mean for things Bibi set her granddaughter against her husband and his parents. Sarybala couldn’t patiently listen to everything. When Bibi came up to them he clapped spurs to his horse and rode away. He was sick and tired of her lectures, morals and prohibitions. 
Sarybala rode to the aul where the riders directed. Their horses were tired. They dropped their heads down up to the ground and were more dead than alive. The riders looked even worse. They were gloomy and rugged and didn’t look like soldiers. But what were they? Kazakhs let their horses in a line only when snow was deep but in summer they usually ride side by side not to drop each other behind. 
Little by little Sarybala understood that they were soldiers. Their guns hung behind the backs with the points down. One had a Kazakh cap on his head. The other one had a downy kerchief bandaged over his cap. All of them were unshaven already for a long time. They were overgrown like savages. 
Strangely enough but the riders didn’t turn their lean horses to the aul. They went on riding off the road in the peopleless steppe. Sarybala had the temerity and rushed the horse after. The last soldier was dragging on foot and leading his horse by the reins. 
- Hello, - Sarybala said.
- Hello, - the answer followed.
- Where are you going? What are you?
- Just guess! Whom do we look like?
- I cannot understand, like nobody…
- We have run away from the army. We are going home.
- And where?
- To Botakara.
- To Botakara? What are your names?
- Do you know long Fyodor? Several years ago he came to these places to make hay.
- I know him very well. I’m Mustafa’s son.
- And I’m Fyodor’s son, Aleksey.
The both smiled, shook hands to each other and already started talking friendlier. 
- Let’s go to our aul. You will rest a bit and then continue your way, - Sarybala invited.  
After the Russian-Japan war horse-herd Mustafa had met emaciated Fyodor in the steppe and brought him to his place. And now during the civil war Mustafa’s son led Fyodor’s son more death than alive to his place. 
- When I was about seven-eight I visited your house together with my father, - Sarybala informed. – Our meeting with you looks like the meeting of our fathers. I hope our friendship will be the same as they have. 
- I am not like my father! – Aleksey sighed. – During the Japan War my father suffered much more than me. But he didn’t break his soldier’s oath. But I have broken and deserted.
- Have you run away?
- Yes, we were afraid to move along the road us not to be caught. That’s why we walked off the road. 
- Who have you run away, from red or from white ones?
- Now from white ones. Today these white ones think that we are Red Army men. But tomorrow red ones will think that we are White Guards. We have got in such a situation! 
- Where are these red ones now?
- I think the vanguards are already in Akmola… 
- And where do the white ones go?
- To China and then – no matter who and where. They save their lives but leave their motherland. We have decided to stay in our native lands – no matter what happens. If we die we will die among ours. 
While they were riding to Sarybala’s house having a quiet conversation two thieves – Ikysh and Abuir, Tyrabai’s son – were watching them by stealth from out the door of the cattle-pen. They lived at Yahiya’s place, Sarybala’s second uncle and the only son of Ahmet who had formerly been respected by everybody but was the deceased now. The only son of this honorable person had become the head of robbers now. Without exception Ikysh and Abuir killed all separate soldiers who dropped behind their detachments. Now having seen Sarybala’s companion Ikysh said gladly: 
- The god has sent us one more!
- His horse is useful for us and as for him we will bury him in ash. – Aubakir replied.
- Yahiya won’t let us kill him in the aul. Let’s wait, he must ride farther away…
Having sat down the guest in the yourt Sarybala came out to watch the road along which the white ones were going away and check if there was any pursuit after the deserter. Ikysh came up to him:
- Say me, my son, what Russian have you led?
- A soldier.
- White one?
- Now no one’s. He is the son of my father’s Russian friend who lives in Botakara. His horse got emaciated, he himself is hungry very much. I let him rest a bit. Then I’ll see him home. 
- He will reach by himself. Why must you horse around with him? Now the time is dangerous.
Ikysh came away. Sarybala noticed that another group of riders were moving in the direction of the aul. He ran in the yourt. Aleksey stood up towards him. He was pale, worried, with a grenade in one hand and the gun in the other hand.
- What? Are they pursuing? 
- Look over there!
Aleksey threw a look.
- Yes, these are soldiers, a pursuit! Where can I hide?
- Climb the stack and bury yourself in the hay. I’ll ride towards and try to deceive them. I’ll say that you have ridden into another direction. 
The young man quickly mounted his bay with the star on its forehead and broke into a gallop. The soldiers rode out from Tenizbay’s aul and directed to Kuram’s aul that was situated at the road. It was one of the largest auls of Yelibay’s tribe. Not only at daylight but also at night it was impossible to find anybody there except children, old men and old women. All valuables they had already hidden long ago but all the same soldiers were prowling in search for some gain. Sarybala restrained his horse and started speaking to the front soldier:
- They have ridden over there, to those mountains! – And he showed in the direction of the chain Semiz-kyz. 
- Who have ridden there?
- Escapees whom you are looking for!
- We have already caught our escapee, - the soldier answered.
Sarybala noticed only now that in front of one soldier a Kazakh girl was sitting on the horse. She was about fifteen-sixteen. Her hair was tousled, her clothes was rumpled, her eyes were sad but her pale face with a small mouth and a straight nose was very beautiful. She didn’t look at the world with her tearful swollen eyes. Having seen Sarybala the girl said through tears:
- They have thrown me into a car and taken away. We drove from Akmola and the car broke. When we came to Karaganda I chose a moment and ran away but they have caught me again and bring me to their head. 
- They themselves are running away from red ones. They will leave you somewhere.
- They won’t!
Five-six soldiers who were examining the aul came up to them and one of them started crying:
- Why are these Kazakhs speaking? – There was strapped a mutton ham to his saddle. There stuck out a lambskin from the bosom of the other soldier. The third one had a downy kerchief around his neck. They didn’t find anything better but they wouldn’t leave the aul with empty hands. All his horses were from the Kuandyk’s auls. Double rings – Tokai’s brand, slits on ears – Sarmantai’s brand, a hole on an ear – Murat’s brand. The Russians were perhaps from Russia or from the Siberia and didn’t understand Kazakh language. When they were going away at first they set out the horse on which the girl was sitting. She turned back and pronounced plaintively and abstrusely:
- Good bye, my agemate! Good bye, my dear motherland! 
Soon they disappeared but the plaintively voice and the begging face of the girl seemed to Sarybala for a long time as yet.
- How can I help her? – Sarybala pronounced with bitterness. – I have neither power nor possibility for this. They are like mad wolves. They try to bite off the heads of the whole flock in spite of the fact that it would be enough just one lamb for their bellies.

The white ones had gone away having left blood traces in the steppe. There came red ones. They had loud voices and were young. They brought some new words: “Bolshevik”, “Soviet”, “Down with bourgeois”, new relationships among people and new noble traditions.
Earlier aksakals, the “leaders” of people, had liked to repeat sayings. “You cannot eat it but butter is better than milk. Although he gives nothing but a bai is better than a poor man”, “You cannot get a stone from sand, you cannot get a leader from a slave”. Now people didn’t hear these sayings any more. If earlier bais had boasted with their fortune now they had to run away and hide. Having driven the white ones away Bolsheviks came with their Red Flag and threw the call: “Comrades! Workers! It’s come your time!” The steppe nation that was threatened with the often change of the power didn’t know whom to believe. The Red Army not only had defeated and driven the enemies away it had also made a new way in the Kazakhs’ minds with the help of its activity. The Great October that had shaken the whole world two years ago came up to the steppe auls only now. Bais accepted the revolution with fear, poor men – with hope but the both had doubts: What next? Bolsheviks felt the wait-and-see hesitation of Kazakhs. That’s why they started winning farm hands, poor men, peasants of medium means to their side at once and pressing bais and tradesmen. 
Once there came red commissar Petrov to Aubakir’s house. Only three days ago on the place of honour there had reclined sprawling a white officer and friendly Aubakir nearby him. Now myrza stood in front of the commissar and perplexedly answered his questions. Sarybala was their interpreter in spite of the fact that he knew Russian with great difficulty.
- You, for example, are a rich man, - Petrov pronounced. – Have you frankly wished the red ones’ victory?
Aubakir started according his old habit: 
- Sir…
Petrov interrupted him:
- Don’t fawn upon me. Call me neither sir nor myrza! Say: “Comrade commissar”. But to say the truth I’m not a comrade for you in its real meaning. All the same I ask to call me according to my position. 
- Comrade commissar! Of course, people think that I’m a bai. But what must I do if poorness strangled me since my early years? My father was a tramp. Here he had come from far away, from Tashkent. He was a stranger among Kazakhs, a new-comer. New-comers always live in heavy conditions. I was a farm hand since my childhood, herded cows in Karaganda and worked as a water carrier. 
- It means that according to your past you are closer to us than other bais. In such a case it’s easy for you to understand us. You must help us. After the fights against white ones our horses are more dead than alive. They got emaciated and many of them started limping. Give us your twenty best horses.
- Comrade commissar, I don’t keep horses at all. Not cattle but trade was my business and only a little. Now I don’t have any merchants’ stores of money. I have just several carts and oxen. This is all my business. If you need these carts – take them.
- Is it possible to catch up with mounted ones with the help of oxen? – The commissar noticed with a smile. – If we by ourselves find any horses then don’t take offence! 
Aubakir kept silent hiding his worry. “How can they find them?” His big eyes showed the bai’s perturbation.
Poor man Sattibay came into the room, greeted and sat down at the laid table without any invitation. 
- Who has invited you here? – Aubakir boiled over. 
- I accompany these comrades. – Sattibay significantly answered. He pronounced the word “comrades” pointedly loudly and raised proudly his head. 
When people were building the settlements in the valley Nura Sattibay came to the builders. He was the poorest, if not to say, the last person in Yelibay’s tribe. But now he behaved as if he was the most important one. Earlier he hadn’t dared even to come close up to that place where Aubakir was but now he bravely came directly to the bai’s laid table without any invitation. He didn’t even take his boots off. Pouring out tea the worker who served to Aubakir said his indignation to the unwelcome guest:
- You think very much of yourself!
- You serve the bai and think of yourself. Why shouldn’t I be proud if I serve in the Red Army? – Sattibay grew angry. – Just look at this protector. Pour the tea! We don’t have any time. – He turned towards the commissar and mixing Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh words with the help of gestures and mimic started telling that white ones had shot Communists in Karkaralinsk. They had had them over the barrel exactly during the meeting, shot them and gone away. But they were not able to go far away. And if to get to Kosagash that day after bending the hills Semiz-kyz then the next day they could be in Karkarala. 
- Well, we will take it into account, - the commissar replied. 
Sattibay sat for some more time and came out. Aubakir tormentingly tried to insinuate himself into commissar's confidence who was a calm and a sober-minded person. Sattibay’s impudence touched the bai’s self-respect and he finally asked: 
- Comrade commissar, where have you found this dzhigit?
- We haven’t found him, he has. And why do you ask?
- He is my countryman, I know him. He plays cards, recklessly lies and doesn’t have anything against to steal something which isn't carefully watched. Take it into account.
- I will.
The door squeaked. Somebody was about to come in but didn’t dare. Aubakir came up to the door, opened it and saw his horse-herd, limping Rustem with rimy face. 
- Myrza! Ten red soldiers have come and taken away twenty horses! – The horse-herd was heavily breathing and worrying as if they had stolen his own horses.
- You should have said that they were working ones!
- We said, they didn’t believe. The brand has let down. The horses were hidden in a safe place. Perhaps somebody has reported.
- Where are they now?
- They are going here. I have ridden along the other road and left them behind. 
While Rustem was informing the owner red guards rode in the yard. In the large yard there stood cannons, machine guns, horses, carts, sledges and army meals on wheels. Two stone houses of Aubakir were overcrowded by red guards. The red regiment was accommodated in all houses of the small plant. It was silent in the street. There were no drunken ones. There heard no shots. Nobody complained for robbery as it had been under the ruler of white ones. 
“Red ones burn everything alive on their way”, - there spread a gossip in the steppe. But soon people assured that this gossip wasn’t truthful. Those ones who hid from fear started coming step by step to life again. Only Aubakir felt constrainedly. Now the commissar caught him in a lie but he didn’t raise his voice. 
- And you have said that you don’t have horses! – The commissar smiled coldly and angrily again – If you lie even your truthful word will be blown by wind. Don’t try to lie us any more. It’s difficult to fool us. 
- These aren’t really my horses, comrade commissar!
- Isn’t the brand yours too?
- The brand is mine but it was put by everybody who wanted.
Not having listened to Aubakir till the end the commissar stood gloomily up. Having changed the horses the regiment went on its way. Sattibay was riding in the front in the distance of a gun shot. There stretched a line of riders two by two after him. When the head of the line disappeared behind the chain its tail was just riding out from the town. The red fighters were going to a trip quietly, peacefully, without any cries and fuss. White ones had been seen off with empty gloomy streets but now there were a lot of people at the houses. Steppe Kazakhs who used to hide each time their cattle were fearlessly sitting on their horses now. One of the aksakals bent down from the camel to the standing ones and asked:
- Are they Bolsheviks? 
Nobody answered him, all looks were fixed to the line of red ones. 
- Only one thing is clear that they are not white ones, - the aksakal mumbled. – Whoever they were – Bolsheviks or red ones – they have kind faces. And as for white ones, damn them!
The aksakal got his camel away and rode to Aubakir. After the meeting with Petrov the bai didn’t calm down yet and here this aksakal started touching him:
- Salamaleikum, myrza! Are you healthy? How are your children, wives, daughter-in-laws and old women? Are there any losses in your household? 
- Thanks Allah, everything is all right. 
- Where is this big army going?
- It pursues white ones.
- What are they: red ones or Bolsheviks? 
- I haven’t asked.
- But I have. Nobody answered me. They might be red ones because their flag is red. 
- Have you come out from your house especially for this?
- No, I’ve come for some grain. I’ve cut a fattened ox for winter but we don’t have any wheat. Take the skin of this ox and give me a little grain for it. 
- I don’t have any grain.
- Then give me some cloth or printed cotton. I’ll change it for grain.
- I have nothing.
- Are you joking, myrza, you have. 
- Are you mad, Baumbek? Don’t you know that I have stopped trading already long ago?
- And why have you stopped my dear? Isn’t the trade profitable for you? Hasn’t it made you rich? Oh, my god! You have ruined your happiness by yourself!
- In such times you shouldn’t think about a fortune but about how to save your head on the shoulders. Are you absolutely crazy, Baumbek?
The old man went on surprising:
- I don’t understand. Why do people grieve if they have a good health, food and enough clothes? 
Orynbek came up to them from the outside with small steps. He wore a fox cap, a wolf’s fur coat and high-heeled boots. There was left nothing from his police uniform. He looked like an aul myrza. He greeted Aubakir straight off, stretched his hands and didn’t deign even to look at Sarybala and Baumbek who were standing nearby. 
- They are not so cruel, myrza, are they? – Orynbek smiled. It was difficult to understand what expressed his smile. People said that when he had shot Hamen he laughed very loudly.
- My dear Orynbekzhan, - Baumbek broke into again. – I have recognized you with difficulty. My eyes used to see you in your army uniform. Where is it?
- I’ve taken it off.
- You’ve done well, it looked disgustingly. It’s very good that we have met, my dear. People say if there were no snow there would be no footprints too. I’m Suigembay’s, Peasant’s, neighbour, do you remember? Where is his grey horse which you took for some time?
- Is it possible to remember all the carts which I had to use?
- It means that you have lost that horse. Peasant knew about this and didn’t look for. Each time when we meet he remembers me: “If you meet the relative take away my horse”. We both are from Karakesek, aren’t we? Well, well, I’m going to look for grain. Just let’s go aside for a minute…
Baumbek led Orynbek aside and started whispering him in the ear:
- “Lick my lips when they are bitter and when they are sweet I will lick them by myself”. We both stayed children of Karakesek in spite of the fact that we don’t live nearby. Be careful when you act, my dear, be careful. Local people look askew at you if not to say – hostilely. People say: “Orynbek has given Suigembay’s horse to his relative”, “Orynbek cut in his house two mares disappeared from Tashek’s aul…” Exactly this people say. People also gossip that you were the leader of the theft in the shop…
- Let them bubble, Baueke. Orynbek doesn’t care.
- I wish the god would give you power, my dear. Kuandyk’s tribe is noble. It has a kind heart. Keep good things and move off bad ones. I cannot advise you anything better. And admit your guilt in the fact that you have given Suigembay’s horse to your close relative. Apologize to Peasant, my dear. He does nothing bad for anybody. He has no children, poor old man. 
- E-e-eh, I see you have been speaking not in vain so much time long and taken me for a ride! You should have said at once that you are Suigembay’s lawyer. Well done, a grey goat, well done! – Orynbek tugged the old man by his beard and that one started shaking with his head.
- I won’t, oibai, I won’t! – The old man started repeating.
Orynbek released his beard.
- It serves me right, it serves me right! – Baumbek mumbled under his nose. – It’s no good for me to meddle in other people's business! – Looking around and having mounted his camel he went away.
If two dogs fight you cannot pass them – you’ll notice. But Aubakir was so much deep in his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed the quarrel of two people in front of his eyes. He had been standing pale and miserable in front of the commissar but now his face became dark-swarthy and strict again. He sighed for several times. The red regiment had already disappeared behind the hills but Aubakir was still looking at that direction.
Having taught Baumbek a good lesson Orynbek came up to the bai and started briskly speaking trying to calm him down:
- I know everything, myrza. I’ve watched everything but only now I was able to come to you. – Orynbek put some nasibay under his tongue. – It’s no good to grieve. What advantage will you have if you grieve? My grief is heavier than yours. The most terrible thing that can happen with you is they take away your fortune. But as for me perhaps they will cut me my head off. 
- Poor man’s mistakes can be forgiven. 
- But there is some relief for you too. You are not a hereditary bai. You originate from poor men.
- If all of them are like Petrov don’t wait for mercy. Never before a representative of the power has refused my requests. I have met Petrov generously and hospitably but all the same he has taken away twenty my horses.
- Send me after them. I’ll return your horses.
- How can you do this?
- I will prove that the horses don’t belong to you but to the plant workers. Let’s write a paper with the signatures of twenty workers. 
Aubakir understood Orynbek and led him to his place. At home he sat down them with horse-herd Rustem together and ordered:
- I rely on you both. Rustem, you will tell about the marks of the horses and you, Orynbek, will make out a necessary paper. I’ll go to stamp it to the plant by myself. – Having come out he ordered Sarybala to return to the aul.
It was a winder day. The sun was half-gone and it was time for a day prayer. It was snowing with large flakes already three days and two nights long and now snow spread like an endless, soft, fluffy and white carpet. Bright reflection of the sun blinded eyes. Sarybala was riding along the hardly noticeable snow-covered rut. There opened a wide white spaciousness in front that was speckled with numerous tracks of wolves, polecats, corsac foxes, squirrels and mice. One couldn’t see any tracks of horses. Nobody went to hunt over newly fallen snow yet. Sarybala liked to hunt very much and now he was pity that he had sat at the plant almost all days instead of to drive out a hare or a wolf. Gradually he passed on incoherent thoughts.
“Commissar Petrov is a hard man. The father-in-law met him friendly but the commissar didn’t show his generosity anyhow. Aubakir is guilty because he is rich. But he has become rich not because he robbed but because he traded. What is bad in trading? Isn’t it honest labour? If red ones kill all rich men without exception what good is in this? What must poor men aim at then? I understand nothing. It’s difficult to understand my father-in-law too. He is as if for white ones but at the same time he makes friends with thief, bribetaker and violator Orynbek. Exactly he personally released him from the prison and fixed him up for Kolchak’s police. Now Orynbek wants to repay for this favour and return twenty horses. They both supported Kolchak. Kolchak robbed, brought people to ruin. His army brought tears, blood and death. They retreated like mad wolves too. I will never forget that black eyed Kazakh girl-captive on the white one’s saddle. 
Red ones didn’t rob but it was clear that they lived suffering. One fighter rubbed his iced ears but he was afraid to ask for a cap. He just blinked beggarly. I gave him my cap but he took it only after Petrov’s permission. They are honest and conscientious! White ones would take away at once without any words. If white ones had power Aubakir didn’t marry his daughter to me. He was afraid of red ones. That’s why he gave way to. I wish red ones would take the bais’ power”. 
In light trot Sarybala caught up with Baumbek. That one rocked to and fro on his Bactrian camel with torn out nostrils and mumbled something. It was difficult to understand either he was singing or crying bitterly. 
- Have you failed to change the ox’s skin? – Sarybala asked riding up to him.
- If I had managed I wouldn’t bring it back, - Baumbek answered and went on mumbling.
- What are you singing, Baueke? 
- Each bird sings its own song.
- Because of satiety or good spirit? 
- Not everybody who is singing is in a good spirit. I feel sadness. That’s why I’m singing. You know that my father Kibat died at the age of ninety. We could not bury him in our motherland. That’s why we buried him in Yelibay’s lands. I am already more than seventy. What for was I born? Allah gave me a long life and a heavy fate but didn’t give me even a minute of happiness. In addition, people flout at me. Did you see how Orynbek had recently torn my grey beard with snap? But neither you nor myrza said: “Hands off the old man!” Heartless Orynbek behaves in such a way with the old man in the presence of myrza who people respect and listen to. Is it possible to wait for something good from him?
Sarybala didn’t know what to say and dropped his head. Baumbek screwed at him… “It’s something at least. He has understood, I see”, - he thought, his look became warmer and the old man started mumbling again. In the fork of the road he said:
- Good bye, my son. Give your father my salem and the words of my respect. I wish he would live and be healthy. Today in the whole district I don’t see anyone fairer than Mustafa. 
The sun was down. It grew dark. Baumbek turned to his aul.
Raising snowy dust Sarybala rode in gallop through Kuram’s auls. He was in a good spirit because of fast riding and cold wind. He rushed forward with a song and thought about his meeting with Batima. The silver bowl of the moon came out. Stars were sparkling in the clear blue sky. Sheep were already in the cattle-pens in his native aul. The cattle-pens were closed. It was silent around. Sarybala saw Batima at the house. She was grieving and looking at the direction of the plant. Having heard Sarybala’s song she rejoiced… 
- Wake up, Sarybala, wake up! Uncle Muhammedya calls. He said you must dress warm and lead the horse out as quickly as possible. You’ll go with him together. Wake up, quickly!
Batima tugged her husband long in order to awake and finally Sarybala raised his head and by force opened his eyes. Today he overslept. It was already midday. There left nothing from the yesterday’s silence in the field. There started a snow storm. The wind was howling, blew as a tornado, now it hissed like a boa then it roared like a lion. The windows were covered with snow. 
- It’s so pity! – Sarybala pronounced and opened his eyes. – I didn’t have any time for hunting. Clear snow and tracks disappeared now. From what side is the wind blowing, from left or from right?
- I don’t know, - Batima answered. 
- Haven’t you come out in the yard yet?
- Yes, I have but I haven’t paid my attention to.
- If you haven’t paid your attention to such a weather you cannot notice an executioner too who will come to kill you.
- And as for you, a sleepy head, you will stay to sleep at home by the first migration. I am waking you up already the whole hour long but you are still sleeping. Take your clothes and dress as quickly as possible. Don’t bother with. The uncle is waiting.
- And what if I don’t go?
- The uncle can take offence.
- But I returned home just at night. And again he wants to send me somewhere at daybreak and in such a blizzard in addition.
Having thought for some time Batima splashed a cup of cold water on the neck of her husband. Sarybala jumped out from the bed at once, quickly washed, dressed and went to the horse. Muhammedya and Zhamal were waiting in the yard at the camels with heavy packages. 
They went to the steppe. Off the road, the blizzard was whistling and blinding their eyes. There was now rammed snow with stuck out reeds then a deep snow-drift up to a horse’s belly under their feet. They moved in single file: Muhammedya was in front, Zhamal led the camels after him, Sarybala closed the caravan. Only Muhammedya knew where they were going. The young myrza was thirty but he spoke little and he couldn’t keep secrets. He will not burst from joy and bend in an arc as many flabby myrzas. Muhammedya was always quiet and even-tempered. He was just uneducated. And if he learnt then he wouldn’t come short anybody either of villainy or of good actions. He was frightened and worried with the red ones’ coming but he confessed nobody to this, even his firm friends and the relatives who were going nearby now.
The blizzard attacked him with madden gusts in the front, beat his face, breast, didn’t let him to open his eyes and go forward his horse. Each time when it attacked with howl it seemed that the blizzard wanted to say him: “Come back! If you don’t come back I’ll bury you!” But the young myrza didn’t retreat. It seemed that the danger from behind was more terrible than the danger in front. The myrza didn’t say about this but Sarybala felt. Muhammedya heard much about the fact that red ones burnt everything out on their way and he wanted to run away from fire. When all his face was covered with frost and he lost the direction he turned back to his companions:
- Here was a big hole somewhere. Who of you remembers?
- In such a blizzard it’s impossible to find not only the hole but even a barrow stuck out on a flatland. – Zhamal replied. His voice was not loud and hoarse. In addition, it was deafened by the headwind and the myrza couldn’t clearly hear anything. Then Sarybala cried out:
- We don’t know where the hole is. I am already dizzy! 
Muhammedya silently set his horse out. The blizzard was raging. Soon the myrza’s horse stuck in snow up to its belly. Muhammedya dismounted, come around the snow-drift and cried out with a jolly smile:
- I have found. That is it!
He found some kind of a hole during the furious storm in the peopleless place – he didn’t move aside even for a bit!
With the help of one shovel the three ones started by turns to throw snow out from the hole. It wasn’t easy to empty it. Snow fell back at once. It was uncomfortable to dig in heavy sheepskin coats. But to take off your sheepskin coat meant that the wind would chill you to the marrow. Soon all three men were in a sweat but they finally dug the hole up to the necessary depth and take off the packages from the camels. The packages were heavy. They had to roll them over the snow. There were about a dozen of the packages. Being already tired Sarybala was hardly able to drag his legs along. But those ones who were grown up and strong were tired not less too. 
- Yes, dzhigits, we have got it today! – Muhammedya said when they had buried the packages. – But I hope soon red ones will come away and we will forget our today’s troubles. 
They came back more quickly – now in trot then in wide step. They didn’t have any load. It was impossible to cover somewhere and cold drove them on. Sarybala who was in sweat because of the work froze soon. His brows, eyelashes, sleeves were covered with grey pieces of ice. His face seemed to petrify. His cheeks felt nothing but the blizzard didn’t stop. When it got dark they finally got to the aul and before to go home Muhammedya warned:
- Not only foreigners but also our wives mustn’t know where and why we have gone.
After this trip Sarybala took to his bed and lay for three days without standing up. There swelled blisters on his frostbitten cheekbones. Then they burst and started smarting. The whole his body burnt. From time to time Sarybala delirated and repeated aloud: “If you have relatives you have to trifle with”. It was difficult to understand –he said it either in his consciousness or in fever. But all the same he said neither his father nor his wife where he had gone and what he had done. On the fourth day he sweated profusely and fell asleep like a dead one. He woke up about the midnight and saw sunbeams on his breast. 
- Has the sky cleared up? – He asked and became cheerful. 
- Already yesterday! – Batima replied running into the room from the anteroom. – How are you?
- Better.
- Oh, you were ill very much. You frightened us.
- And I – no. I haven’t even felt the disease. The storm might have done much harm.
- Except you it hasn’t done any harm to anybody. You screwed up your courage and didn’t notice that your face was frostbitten! – Batima started laughing. – By the way, I have almost forgotten about this. Orynbek came and drove back all the horses which the red guards had taken away. My elder uncle arrived from the plant at night too. Perhaps he will visit us today. I wish each day would bring us such good news as today!
- You are in a good spirit. If to get it each day you can burst from excess of joy.
- Can joy really have any limits?
- Everything has its own limits.
The newly married couple was joshing long. It was warm and clean in the small room that was lit by the sun. There was not a speck of dust in it. Sarybala was hungry. He had nothing in his mouth for three days except water. Now he would like to eat some smoked horse meat. But where to get it – this year they weren’t able to cut a horse. They were ashamed to ask again the wife’s relatives. The young man ambiguously said:
- It’s not a horse but wonder! It’s wings for a pedestrian, kumis for a thirsty one, meat for a hungry one and medicine for an ill one. 
- I have understood that you would like some horse meat, - Batima replied. 
- Yes, I have but where to get it?
- I’ll bring.
- You shouldn’t ask. People say that poorness is not a sin but it makes rich ones laugh.
There heard a noisy speech and patter of feet in the yard. Somebody opened the door and there came about a dozen of people with Aubakir, Orynbek and Muhammedya in the head. There was a frost after the storm but the men didn’t tie their caps. All of them were jolly and not because of vodka but because of joy. Having asked shorty about Sarybala’s health they went on their noisy conversation. 
- Orynbekzhan! – Aubakir exclaimed. – A friend in need is a friend indeed. I was your friend indeed when you were sitting in the prison. Now I want to lay all troubles about my household on the shoulders of these ones: Muhammedya and you. As for me so I want to have some rest.
- Of course, myrza, of course, - Orynbek started nodding. There played some kind of cunning in his smiling eyes.
He sat down with his hands on his hips and with his hat cocked. He was shining from self-satisfaction. The cheeks of the former police officer blushed after the word “Orynbekzhan” pronounced by the myrza. But the same word made their companions become pale – daredevil Husain, bald Hasen and sharp-tongued Zhunus. Already long ago each of them was under Aubakir’s patronage, used his tips and always tried to excel the other one in cunning, lying, sharpness and adroitness in the Aubakir’s presence. And when these three ones were for Aubakir some kind of sparrow hawks then in the comparison with them Orynbek looked like a real golden eagle. That’s why now the envious three decided to drive a wedge into the relationships between the bai and Orynbek and blot the reputation of the dodger.
- I wonder how you have managed to return the horses from the fighting march. Are you a wizard, Orynbek? – Zhunus surprised forced. 
Hardened Orynbek who was habituated to recognize immediately stinging remarks and ambiguous hints answered at once:
- Some daredevils look sometimes like coward male dogs. When there is not a wolf such a male dog runs around the aul with a loud bark. But as soon as there appears a wolf it hides as far as possible having put the tail between the legs. I’m not a wizard, dear Zhunus. You can jump even over the hell if you know how to do this and aren’t afraid. Commissar Petrov examined me not softer than a devil beyond the grave. I asked him: “What for do we need the proletarian revolution? To take away the last horse of a poor worker? You can cut some heads off but you are not able to cut off tongues of everybody. The workers will write to Lenin personally about this outrage!” The commissar discussed this with his chief. It turned out that he was a Ukrainian. He thought that I didn’t understand Ukrainian and said to Petrov: “We have to return them”. I rejoiced but I didn’t show this. Petrov was unsatisfied, looked angrily and penetrated me through with his eyes. If he had guessed that I had been lying he would have shoot me on the place where I stood, no doubt. He checked once more all my papers and said calmly without anger: “We have got heated and mistaken. My apologies to the workers. We thought that these were bai’s Seitkemelov’s horses”. And he even stretched me his hand. We piled the saddles of the red guardians, took the horses and rode back. In such a way, dear Zhunus, without any magic. We needed just courage. You are very brave when you eat myrza’s besbarmak and ride his horses. But where was your courage when the myrza got in troubles? 
Stung Zhunus started laughing:
- I cannot believe that a bek could create such Orynbek! He is really some kind of crossbreed! 
- Everybody is born but not everybody can become a human.
- In short, just one was born a fool.
- What for to be born if you haven’t become a human? – Orynbek laughed again. 
- People say each khan has his own swindler. – Zhunus went on. – But it’s not the truth. For example, Orynbek had a reputation of a rascal under the Nicolai’s ruler, under the Kerensky’s and Kolchak’s ruler too. Under the Soviet power he also has a reputation of a scoundrel.   
- Luck is like a jade: just mount and ride. – Orynbek smiled self-satisfied. – You need to have some skills where you cannot take by force. Adapt yourself to the time otherwise you will break your neck.
- It means since your birth you don’t have your own views: where wind blows there you go! – Zhunus burst out laughing. 
Their jokes became angrier and angrier. Not to worsen the conversation Aubakir stood up, didn’t wait for treatment and came out in the yard. He sat Orynbek in the sledge nearby and went to the plant. 
Sarybala shared his impression with Batima.
- Just rascals and dealers are around your father. Each of them is able to bring ten auls in ruin. And when they act four together they can tire not only your father but the holiest one out. Your father gifts them and keeps them nearby. Exactly because of this people will turn their backs on him, this time will come. And then he will die alone. All his spongers will scatter. 
- Where do you know this all from? You might repeat your father’s thoughts but he has taken offence and cannot be just…
- Yes, I repeat the thoughts of my father. But my father will never turn his offence into revenge. If your father is distinguished by his fortune among others then my father is distinguished by his wisdom and humaneness.
- I see you don’t like my father, - Batima pronounced and tears appeared in her eyes. 
Sarybala looked at his wife and stopped talking. 

It was the first time when Sarybala had to go on an important public business – to collect taxes in the farthest steppe auls. He went with his father-in-law together. Aubakir was a contractor of the taxes. The owner of the Akmolinskiy skinnery Jew Gutermaher was a contractor too. The new power authorized two famous rich men to collect taxes. They took for help about a dozen of persons from out the people close to them. Sarybala was among them too.
- I took you from school, didn’t let you go on learning and hobbled you because I was afraid that you could choose a wrong way in hard times. Now the time is more constant. There appeared more order. Go to your aim, my son, I’ll not stop you, good luck. I wish luck would become your true companion. Don’t run into those ones who are stronger than you but don’t offend weaker ones. Being an inexperienced young man you will go around the auls. You’ll learn many things. Always remember people know more than you. Don’t have your nose in the air. Don’t diverge from the beaten track. If you do this you’ll be lost. Even if you die from hunger all the same remain an honest man. If you remember my pieces of advice you will be able to overcome many difficulties and heavy passes. Neither career nor fortune will turn your head.
With such a blessing Mustafa saw his son off on his long way.
The summer came. The river Koktal overflew in flood time. There flew springs from the ravines Semiz-kyz and Kosagash into it. With coming of hot days it had less water and flew along its old riverbed. But the wide flatland Zharyka was still shining like a blue mirror. There could not pass a cart through, a horse could stick in up to knee. In such a summer in Zharyka meadow hay could grew up to a man’s height and so thick that it was impossible to mow it with a machine. However hard sixty Yelibay’s families might try but all the same they were not able to mow even a half. There was heaps of hay but all the same through habit the neighbours argued, quarreled and even fought because of hay. 
“You are already satisfied but your eyes are hungry still” – Sarybala remembered the saying. 
Yahiya’s family lived on a small dry hill in the middle of an absolutely afloat meadow. 
Puffs of thick smoke rose not only from the chimney but also from under the roof and from out the holes in the walls of the half-ruined cattle-pen made of divot. Sarybala wanted to pass it though but having seen the puffs of smoke he thought that it was in fire and broke into a gallop. There wasn’t any fire. The owner was just smoking some meat. Big lumps of fat horse meat hung on three poles. Yahiya had an eye for smoking. 
There were glancing fat sausages in the semi-darkness: huge, thick – karta and thinner ones – kasy. 
Yahiya had the only horse but it was completely unsuitable for sausage. Sarybala understood that he smoked the stolen horse meat. 
Zura, Yahiya’s wife, came out towards the guest from the bluish gaze. She smelled with some harsh smoke, tears ran from out her eyes. She blew her nose and started wiping her smudgy face with the corner of her dirty kimeshek. Having seen in front of her the unexpectedly appeared relative rather rough and untidy Zura expressed some kind of confusion on her face.
- Dismount your horse, have dinner, - she proposed. 
- Thank you. – Sarybala didn’t want to linger in this place for smoking.
Yahiya personally appeared from out the big wall opening – it was either a window or a door. He was just in an under shirt and boots barefoot. Five children came out in the light after him. They were untidy and dirty like piglets that had just got out from a puddle after the pig. It was disgustingly even to touch them for petting according to the tradition. The children followed in their father’s footsteps. The eldest red Gubbas who was about ten-twelve and had a wide face already stole small lambs. Sarybala examined the relative’s family with disgust. 
- Have a good luck. Are you already going? – Yahiya asked.
The children started fighting with each other and making noise. The father boxed the ear of each of them and drove them to the mother. 
- Let’s go aside, - Yahiya proposed. – I would like to share something with you. 
They sat down on the green grass. Yahiya put some nasibay into the mouth. Now he looked plain, untidy but some time he was a dashing dzhigit. When he had been young he had fought in the funeral repast and taken a big prize – a Bactrian camel and a chamois leather of an otter. Now he was more than forty, his eyelids were heavy as a golden eagle has. His nose was big and his eyes were still glancing. Some time he had learnt. He wasn’t stupid by his nature and knew much about the life. His father, a noble aksakal, had died when Yahiya was a boy. His mother, clever baibishe Zhamilia, had become Mahambetshe’s wife and taught his son many things but she hadn’t been able to disaccustom him to steal. Yahiya didn’t steal the things of poor men and of his relatives, rarely drove cattle away by himself and often hired some rascal. That one drove home horses from far away places and from the auls of other nations. Yahiya was never taken red-handed. He didn’t do harm to his close relatives. That’s why people just condemned him but didn’t show any open anger or hate.
- Bilal is in Akmolinsk now, - Yahiya said. – You go on a state business. I wish you both would be happy. I don’t want one to be more or the other one be less happy. I wish you equally. 
Bilal was the youngest son of Mahambetshe and Zhamil. He was Yahiya’s native brother and Sarybala’s cousin. All the same Yahiya expressed equal wishes for the both.
- Kazakhs have a bad manner – to compete. – Yahiya went on. – Even two close ones after making their ways in the world always feel bitter towards each other. Look at Igilik’s offsprings. If Igilik were living my father wouldn’t have taken away Mustafa’s volost’s power. Mustafa had died of his broken heart in the presence of the volost’s leader exactly in that minute when he had been complaining against his relative Bekkozh. There were not any such scandals in Matai’s tribe. Be friends, my dears.
- What do we have to share?
- Yes, we have neither fortune nor happiness to fight. But people quarrel not because the world is a small place but because there are a lot of wicked designs. If Bilal gets a rank of a volost’s head under the new power you will be proposed as a change for him. I open you this secret because you have to know and be afraid of your cunning father-in-law. 
- Does Bilal really try to obtain a rank of a volost’s head?
- Famous Russian Katchenko who has recently set the Soviet power in the plant is the main Bolshevik from Akmola. He sat in the Kolchak’s prison with Seifulla’s son Saken together. Katchenko called Bilal. Under the Soviet power a volost’s head must originate from poor men. Our Bilal is both a poor man and learned Russian, and joined communists in addition. If the god hasn’t given for ever the volost’s power to Igilik’s offsprings this time Bilal must take it into his hands. I wish everything would happen peacefully but it’s impossible to avoid a fight. Volosts’ heads Muhtar and Aubakir will trample down Bilal together. 
- What for does Aubakir need this?
- The wandering black Uzbek has become a huge evil for us. He won’t calm down until he hounds to death all Matai’s offsprings or at least Kadyr’s. We have already dispersed like sheep. Our tribes aren’t united. He unwillingly married his daughter to you. He was just afraid of red ones. It’s impossible to understand these red ones’ behaviour. When they had come they were about to swallow all bais alive! And now they have sent rich man Aubakir to collect twenty thousand of sheep for themselves. Muhtar is still the head of the volost. Blood-sucker Orynbek carries a sabre and a gun again. 
As you see, many hopes Yahiya lay on his young relative. He was speaking long about everything what his heart was suffering from. Sarybala kept silent and it was impossible to understand either he took good note or paid no attention to his uncle’s words. Then he took his whip, played with it making clear that he had to go. 
- Good luck, - Yahiya wished one more time. – If you don’t miss you’ll become rich. Steppe Kazakhs don’t read papers. You can collect one hundred heads instead of fifty ones, one thousand – instead of one hundred. Then the treasure and your pockets will be full. No doubt, Aubakir will double your fortune. 
Sarybala answered that it’s better to remain a poor man than become rich at the expense of people and the treasure. 
- If not to live at the expense of people and the treasure what for to have power? Then it’s better to sit quietly at home, - Yahiya noticed. 
Sarybala answered nothing and mounted his horse. Having got out from afloat Zharyka he broke his horse into a moderate trot. On the green flatland there brightly reddened tulips and poppies. Somewhere below in bushes there sang a nightingale and larks jointed in its song from above. Fragrant steppe grasses friendly met the rider. On all sides there flitted butterflies, there flew birds over the head that looked like hawks. Larks almost touched Sarybala with their tiny wings. He was in a dreamy and unclear spirit that seemed to be that far away haze. Sarybala started singing his favourite song. He wished the steppe would always be the same fragrant and beautiful as today! But sooner or later each beauty knows its end as everything in the life. Sarybala also stopped singing because Muhai, Batima’s uncle, with a big nose appeared in front. Sarybala felt shy before him in spite of the fact that he always noticed his not very clever speeches. 
- My son! – Muhai cried out from afar. He called “sons” even those ones who were older than him. – Are you going to my brother?
- Yes, I’m. 
- He has gone away. Today he will be in aul Zhantir, have you understood? They have to return your horse from there. Then they will give you a cart, have you understood? And now give me your ear. I’ll give you an advice. 
It seemed to Sarybala that it was stupid to whisper in the peopleless steppe but he obediently bent down. Uncle Muhai mumbled his lecture: 
- There are a lot of cattle in the far away auls. Kazakhs are very rich there. You’ll have a huge gain, do you understand? We will eat till we have. We have to be farsighted and calculating, my son. Even Nasharbek, Akbas, Zhumabek and Ahai who make sense of nothing and have ever had nothing used cunning and got some cattle too. If a dzhigit neglects his gain he isn’t a real dzhigit! It’s a very proper case for you. Just don’t miss, have you understood? 
Muhai endlessly repeated: “Have you understood?” but Sarybala never said “yes” and rode away without saying anything. He started reading a lecture to himself:
“Everybody teaches me what’s right and what’s wrong, even Yahiya and Muhai! What am I at last? Does it mean that I am the most miserable of the miserable ones, the most stupid of fools, but I’m already more than seventeen? People say that Kazybek with a goose voice at the age of fourteen and my grandfather Kadyr at the age of seventeen were already chosen as judges. And I’m taught by Yahiya and Muhai up to now! The father advises one thing: “You may die from hunger but remain an honest man”, and my relatives the other thing: “Steal till you have such a possibility!” Whom to listen to? How to live? If nobody can avoid the death what does it matter how to die? However, a sinner and a just man are equal before the death”. Sarybala knew no one just honest person among those ones who governed people. The Shariat has its power only on a paper, justice – only on a tongue. But it’s impossible to seek justice in practice. Why? “E-eh, if to know all secrets of the life, ask for nobody’s advice and find the most right way by yourself!” Sarybala remembered the words of Abai’s song: “Neither this nor that and my life is not for me!” Then he sang long on the top of his throat remembering the poet’s touching words…
The sun rose to its zenith. The wind calmed absolutely down and it became hot.
Suddenly there ran out a flock of cows from behind the hill. Shy, quiet animals were caught with fear. It seemed that their protruding eyes had become glassy. Their tails were on end and they ran anywhere just to save from a terrible enemy behind – a little harmless saiga. In the same way powerful but blind nation is frightened by one or two rascals. People say that cowardice isn’t weakness but just fear of a danger”. 
Having climbed on the top of the hill Sarybala saw a big aul at its foot. There were a lot of sheep on a kotan. Squatting women milked them and knocked against their udders with fists from time to time. Two sheep with sharp horns came out from the aul preparing to a fight. Having moved backwards for some steps they attacked each other amain, collided with their horns and dropped the both down. After standing up they went away for some distance to have a new fight again. Sarybala watched them with surprise. They didn’t have such cocky males in the aul. 
Having ridden up as close as possible to the white yourt that was situated in the middle of the aul he heard an angry man’s voice:
- If it’s eaten by a wolf where is the dead body then? If the sheep died where is its skin? Find the red sheep, find! 
There heard some lashes of whip and a husky voice of a grown up man:
- Guvnor, guvnor, dear myrza, kind myrza. I swear yesterday the sheep was on its place! It means that it has been led from the kotan today at night. 
- Where have you looked at?
- I work day and night, I was tired and perhaps I fell asleep.
- You haven’t been tired for ten years long but why are you tired today? Does it mean that there has appeared a bad thought in your head?
- What a thought, guvnor, what a thought? Say at first and then you can kill me.
- As soon as somebody appears at the aul with a gun you stick to at once, run up and gossip!
- Oibai-au, they themselves stick to me! I run away and they don’t let me alone.
- What about do they ask you?
- About everything. How much cattle you have, how you have your oats with the wives, have them or by turn, do you beat me? But I haven’t dropped even a word.
- Have they promised to repay you?
- All the same I wouldn’t betray you. I eat your bread-salt and don’t want to have sins before Allah and our ancestors’ spirits! 
- If you aren’t guilty, where is the sheep? Say the truth!
The scandal stopped with Sarybala’s appearing. The young man wore Russian clothes if not to take into account his chapan and tymak. In addition, he was reddish, had grey eyes and looked more like a Russian or a Tatar than a Kazakh. The stout black man with a small pointed beard looked askance at the new-comer with concern, threw the whip aside and said:
- Come in.
The pitted man with chapped lips dressed in light outerwear inside out saw Sarybala and started smiling. Both the host and the shepherd tried to show that nothing special had happened in the yourt. Both thought the unexpected guest was an important authorized representative. 
- Where are you going? Where are you from? – The owner of the yourt politely asked.
Sarybala named his aul and said whose son he was. It turned out that the host had heard about the aul but he didn’t know Mustafa. “My father came up to Mecca and Medina but his fame didn’t spread even at the distance of a half-day trip”, - Sarybala thought with offence. The stout host didn’t feel shy before the guest any more and ordered his worker:
- Go and call the women. I wish they will treat this boy. – And he started examining a dark bottle that was hanging on the door jamb. 
The pitted one with chapped lips ran out from the yourt but soon came back. The host started reading him a lecture again:
- The grey sheep often lies down, don’t you see? It might already have verminated. And you don’t check.
- I see, of course. Last time in the pasture I picked up all worms and closed the wound with some wormwood. 
- You have already used almost all carbolic acid! – The host mumbled and took off the bottle from the door jamb. – There is left some drops. Let’s go and put some drops in.
They came out and in the yourt there came a young swarthy woman with a wooden bucket for sheep milking at once. Her dress was tucked in the trousers. Her clothes were dirty. It was clear she had much to do but the black eyes of the woman were jolly.
- Hello, - she pronounced kindly, poured the milk from the bucket into a kettle, washed a cup and poured the guest some kumis. 
- Are you a host’s wife or his relative? – Sarybala asked.
- Why do you ask?
- If it’s a secret I’m sorry.
- No, it’s not a secret, I’m a host’s wife.
- It means you are tokal. People say the god creates a youngest wife from a husband’s liver. That’s why a husband loves her more than other wives but his love doesn’t satisfy a wife, am I right?
- Do you think I’m a silly woman who answers all the questions?
- I’m sorry if I have offended you. What is the name of the host of the yourt? 
- The host and the dog are namesakes, - the tokal answered evasively.
- Itbai, Kushikbai? Or Tubet? 
- Exactly, you’ve guessed.
“Tubet means Male dog. It’s not very respectfully”, - Sarybala noticed.
- Whose aul is this, whose tribe? I haven’t had enough time to question the otagasy, he came out.
- You confuse me again. Can I tell the names of my father-in-law or older ones? 
- You haven’t named your husband but you let me know. Try to answer my other questions with some hints too. What tribe are you from?
- Perhaps you have heard a joke: “If a stallion is full up of wool then what must it ease itself with?”
- A-ah, does it mean Kareke? 
- Yes, it does. And the aul is called so, - and she showed a tip of her nail on the finger.
- Tuyakbay’s aul?
- You’ve guessed. 
- It’s clear, your tribe is Kareke, the aul – Tuyakbay’s, your husband’s name is Tubet. Oh, my god. Such a long time you’ve answered my trifling questions. Women in our lands are not talkative too but after remaining face to face with a guest they don’t confuse. 
- What two ones only do face to face and when they want, - the tokal playfully smiled and gave him another cup of kumis. – But I don’t have any time to sit with you. I have to milk sheep. Good bye. 
- It’s early to say good bye. I want to feed my horse, rest a bit and only then go on my way.
- How you want.
The tokal came out. Sarybala attentively examined the yourt. On one side on the floor there was a wide bed, on the other side behind the partition made of cheegrass he could see a head of a white colt that was decorated with some bird’s feathers. The front place was always free for guests. Where did this young tokal usually sleep? Did that huge swarthy one really sleep with two wives at the same time? Sarybala felt disgust. He came out, hobbled his horse and let him go to a grassy plot. The sun was setting, the heat was over and it was time for a day prayer. The young tokal was busy with an old yellow samovar. She was blowing as strong as she could but she couldn’t get any fire. The samovar was just smoking much and tears ran out from the woman’s eyes. The host’s oldest wife was squatting at the hearth that was dug in the ground and boiled some curds grinding endlessly with an iron scraper against the bottom of the pot. It was impossible to call her baibishe. She was about thirty, not more. Four tousled girls were fussing nearby her. Each one was the picture of her mother. Perhaps otagasy Tubet wasn’t glad that the wife had born him just girls and married the tokal in hope that she would bear him a boy and help about the house. 
The tokal and the baibishe were busy. They had no time for conversation. However, they often changed with hateful looks and told each other caustic remarks. After watching them for some time Sarybala went to his horse. The horse limped on his front leg. “What’s up? – Sarybala was surprised. – Has it really hurt itself when it was jumping being hobbled?” Sarybala touched the tendon, lifted its leg and wanted to examine the hoof when he was interrupted by a desperate woman’s cry at the yourt. Sarybala wheeled around and saw the Tubet’s wives who were fighting at the hearth. The scandal was started by the baibishe. Being not satisfied with the offensive words she beat the tokal with her scraper. That one wrested the scraper and the wives grappled. The baibishe tore away the kerchief from her opponent’s head. The tokal replied with the same. Having clung like grim death in the hair of each other they started crying:
- Are you mad, a daughter of a poor man and a tramp? Your highest price is five sheep!
- Forty-seven heads were paid for you but are you better than me?
- Thanks God, I have four children.
- God willing, one my child will be equal to your four!
- Just wait, you will have a child when you change hands!
- Do you think you are honest? Your youngest daughter is the picture of the shepherd! 
Tubet who was watching the sheep on the slope of the hill heard his wives’ cries and ran to them. Having run up he grasped in motion the plaits of the both and dragged them in the yourt like sacks. Having hardly hidden them from the people’s eyes he started lashing them with his whip and repeating:
- I’ve ordered you to keep silent, not drop even a sound! Just look at these crying ones! Perhaps the Soviet power raises your spirits! If you don’t live in peace, silly women, I’ll give one more tokal. You will catch it then!
Sarybala watched this picture with disgust. “Will they really smile to each other and sleep in one bed after such a fight?”
Tubet – Male dog considered it his duty to abuse the Soviet power. He made his wives and the shepherd work for himself with the help of his whip. The Soviet power didn’t take away his whip yet, it didn’t touch his cattle and troubled him personally with nothing but however he didn’t like the Soviets longer and he blamed them in everything: when he choked with meat at dinner, when his horse stumbled over a hummock. He never believed anything and was always cruel with his wives and his shepherd. With coming of the Soviet power these features of his character became more visible and sharper. Now he was beating his wives until his neighbours came running. When the protectors went to their hearths and the scandal was over Sarybala came in the yourt. Everybody was keeping silent. The baibishe and the tokal were sitting with their backs against each other and sobbing. Tubet was sitting on the place of honour. His short fat neck didn’t let his head turn and Tubet had to turn the whole his body. His small head looked like a fist on his massive shoulders. His face was fat, wide and with protruding eyes. His nose was not more than a button. His appearance as if said about his greediness, heartlessness and rancor. Sarybala decided to go away as quickly as possible and asked: 
- Otagasy, my horse started limping. Look, please. 
Keeping silent Tubet sat for some time and then came up to the horse continuing to keep silent. He touched the leg and the shoulder blade but found nothing. Then he lifted the hoof, picked at with the tip of his knife from below and pulled out a small sharp-pointed stone. Sarybala thanked him and mounted the horse.
- And where is the payment? – Tubet mumbled with displeasure. 
Sarybala was taken aback. He had no money and didn’t take any additional thing along. He stretched his whip. Tubet smiled. But the young man didn’t give the whip to but threw it on the ground and set his horse out. Having ridden away for some distance he began to abuse himself. Because of the scandal the old yellow samovar wasn’t boiled. Sarybala felt hunger and annoyance – why had he left the whip?
He looked around with grief in search of any smoke. He didn’t see any aul. One could see only a flock far away on the left. The hungry rider turned there to drink at least some simple koyirtpak – a mixture of some sour milk with insipid one. It turned out that the shepherd was the very pitted one with chapped lips. They started talking like old fellows.
- Good luck, my son. Why have you left so quickly our aul?
- I’ll visit your aul only then when I am surrounded by wolves on all sides. 
- Why?
Instead of a direct answer Sarybala asked:
- Do you have some koyirtpak? I’m hungry.
The shepherd lay down his camel, took off the waterskin that was strapped to the humps and poured some white koyirtpak in a cup. He drank at one gulp and asked:
- Sour cream or koyirtpak? 
Not answering the shepherd poured some more. 
- Drink, my brother. You’ll not meet any aul nearby. I see our myrza hasn’t fed you.
- Is he a myrza?
- He is rich. That’s why we call him a myrza.
- In the comparison with him you are more myrza than a shepherd. Will you answer if I ask?
- Try.
- When I came up to the yourt your owner was beating you and asking: Where is the red sheep? Has it happened earlier? 
- Nobody really takes anything before. When a sheep disappears he starts biting everybody like a scorpion and raging. There are not any strangers here now. Nobody listens to us… To say the truth, my brother, the tokal personally led the red sheep away.
- Did she lead her own sheep away?
- She gave it to the dzhigit who she loves. They guarded the flock together and I fell asleep for a minute. 
- If the tokal has a dzhigit and a baibishe’s daughter is the picture of you then you have punished Tubet very much. 
- Don’t joke, my brother, don’t joke. What for the baibishe to get in touch with me? 
- I don’t joke. You have a scandal at home. The baibishe and the tokal fought. They caught each other out in sins. Tubet beat the both.
- Now they’ll show me what’s what! I’m a goner, absolutely a goner! Go, my brother, go away! You shouldn’t talk to me: he may come here for all I know! Perhaps I will leave these sheep, leave them.
The poor shepherd started shuddering with fear, saying nonsense, left the flock and dragged after Sarybala. 
- Wait! – Sarybala stopped him. – Tubet knows nothing yet. The tokal won’t dare to tell about this if she herself is caught in a mesh of lies. What is that for other ones to you? Go on quietly herding. If you leave the sheep you will get under suspicion. And in addition wolves may attack the sheep for all I know. Then it will be bad at all… 
- Oh, Allah, do you say he knows nothing yet?
- Nothing. Return him his sheep and then you can go away. Can’t you really find another, a more humane owner? 
- I would go already long ago but he doesn’t let me! I owe him, - the shepherd answered and told for a long time how he had got into debts. He was the only son of his father. At the age of ten he started herding. His humped mother and ill father became old. The family lived just on milk of one cow. When the mother died they borrowed a Tubet’s sheep under the condition to give him their calf when the cow stopped milking. But the calf was eaten by wolves and the cow was stolen by thieves. And the orphan remained with empty hands to pay his debts. From year to year the debt rose. He had hardly paid the debt when at once in half a year the owner already demanded a six month lamb. If not to give it he will demand a sheep in a year. All against him. If not to give a calf he demands a bull-calf in a year, if not to give a bull-calf – an ox. Already for ten years long the shepherd had been working free for Tubet and didn’t pay the debt yet. Tubet was everything for him – both the owner and the god. However, even such a shy shepherd started keeping company with his wife. Did he understand or not what a danger it was for his life? Why did he start keeping company with the baibishe? But could it be that the company of the baibishe for this poor one was the only joy in his life?
When Sarybala turned his horse to the road the shepherd started begging him:
- My brother, hold your tongue behind your teeth. Otherwise he will kill me.
Sarybala galloped the horse. He would like to stay alone.
But the loneliness didn’t save him from his heavy thoughts that appeared because of things he had seen and heard right then: “Both the wives and the shepherd fear Tubet like death. But however, all of them humble and mock at him on the quiet”. 
The sun went down. It got dark. There finally appeared a lonely yourt in the peopleless quiet steppe. “Why is it here? Why so afar from other ones?”
Sarybala turned to the yourt. Whoever lived there all the same there wasn’t any other place to spend the night. There ran a yellow doggess towards him and after it there appeared a black-bearded man from the yourt and also ran towards the rider waving with his hands in motion.
- Don’t come up! Stop, don’t come up!
Sarybala restrained his horse and the black-bearded one stopped in some distance. 
- Why don’t you let me come up?
- You mustn’t, my dear. The aul has migrated and there left only we. Our children suffer from black smallpox. Three has already died and two are lying in the bed with their mother. There is nothing worse in the world than loneliness.
- Do you need any help?
- Thank you, my son. We need nothing. God wills it so and I will be patient. I wish people would live. Don’t come up closer, my dear. You can become infected.
There blackened three just dug graves not far from the yourt. A little farther there were grassing about a dozen of goats, two cows with calves and a horse. One could feel an unpleasant smell from out the yourt. Having heard a sad call the owner went to the yourt. The yellow doggess followed him.
“If this poor one were a head of a tribe or a bai would people leave him alone in the steppe? What people they are who were not able to help their tribesman. Are they powerless or heartless?” – Sarybala was thinking.
There were a lot of meetings and impressions for the young heart that day. In the morning when he was leaving the aul the father said about one thing. Uncle Yahiya and uncle Muhai spoke him about the other thing. The scandal in Tubet’s aul, the conversation with the shepherd and this poor Kazakh left in the lonely yourt. 
How to explain why this all happens and is it possible to think that some time it can be otherwise?
The sun disappeared behind the horizon. The evening glow began to burn like fire. He was riding through unknown places and auls. Where will his horse bring him?
Where to spend the night? The white horse was riding persistently and fast. The rider was thinking about he had seen and heard and was surprised at the variety and difficulty of the steppe life. 
The auls of one branch of Tock’s tribes – Tungatar settled on the meadows at a distance of four hundred kilometers from Akmolinsk, a volost’s center. These were rich auls. There were a lot of cattle on the wide pasture. After the heavy, sad year of the Pig already for almost ten years long people didn’t suffer from hunger in these lands. The meadows were green, the cattle were fat and the people were jolly. In spite of the fact that it was far from the migration to the town but there were a lot of entertainments and revelry didn’t quiet down. 
There gathered a crowd at the big white yourt of Kulmagambet who was the most powerful among biys in Tungatar. Waiting for some news people were looking at Kulmagambet and Kulmagambet at Aubakir and Gutermacher. The important guests stretched themselves on the place of honour in the white yourt. It was announced that volost Sartau must give the Soviet power twenty thousand of sheep. Kulmagambet said he had come to the agreement with authorized persons to cut down the tax up to fifteen thousand. Now the sheep were distributed among the aul heads. 
- Oh, my god, Auke, - satisfied Gutermacher addressed to Aubakir. – Without you I wouldn’t have got from these people even a miserable kid! Now I think the district ration commissariat will take me off the horse with a great honour. 
Aubakir unsatisfactory sighed in reply.
- Even if they take you off with honour from your horse all the same they won’t stop pricking us up from time to time. Not fools sit in the Soviets. They have skillfully used our influence. A Kazakh will never give his cattle with an easy heart. If red guards came to collect cattle the auls would disperse around the steppe. If they sent for sheep simple authorized representatives nobody would listen to them. They both respect us through habit and fear. We asked for twenty thousand and have agreed on fifteen. It’s not very bad. People are satisfied too: anyway we have cut off the tax and supported them. But will the power take our services into account?
- Not a hair has dropped from the heads of the steppe bais yet unlike the town rich men. Red ones took away my plant on the same day when they came to power. 
- The day of castration will come for each camel foal. Doesn’t the jaw that has swallowed the town bais really have enough power to swallow the aul ones too? Not a day I have quietly slept under the new power. All winter round I brought salt for the treasure with the help of my one hundred camels. And from where in addition – from far away Yekibas. I have got neither even a ten-copeck coin for my work nor thanks. All summer round we go about the auls with you together. And again for the treasure. What else does the government want from us? They cry at every trifle! “To drive away bais-bourgeois with a whip!” District ration commissar Artishevskiy worked among Kazakhs at the plant in Spassk. He was a very pleasant person, an activist and set the Soviet power. They began to pursue him because of his unreliable origin. But the business of such rascals as Orynbek, red Zhakyp and Nasharbek started being booming – they have become rich men.  
- If I’m not mistaken you made friends with Orynbek. Why did there appear some coolness between you? 
- He is a double-dealer. When he sees any profit he can betray not only me but his native father too. 
There heard a horse’s thud from afar and the crowd started discussing – who is riding? Sarybala who was listening to his father-in-law up to this moment ran to the entrance. Some rider was galloping towards the aul from the slope of the hill lashing crazily his horse and endlessly waving with his cap. “News! News!” – He was hoarsely crying. It was clear that he had been crying already for a long time – he became hoarse very much and when he rode up to the crowd he pronounced with an effort:
- The white ones have come to Akkul. The red ones are leaving Akmola… 
- Who has said?
- Yesenbay’s son, famous Beltibay.
- And who has said him?
- A courier of Ortaunskiy volost. He returned from Akmola. 
- Then it’s the truth!
The noise of the crowd covered Kulmagambet’s roaring voice:
- Oh, Allah, you’ve made us happy! I sacrifice a white-headed sheep!
In spite of the fact that Aubakir and Gutermacher didn’t join their voices to the crowd, but they were about to cry from joy. Excited bais’ sons mounted their horses at once, picked up a sheep in the saddle and there started a game – who wins a carcass of a sheep. Not having had time to recover people exchanged puzzly glances in the crowd and didn’t know to believe or not the gossip. Similar news and who wins a carcass of a sheep were earlier too but soon jolly whirl changed often into sadness. Perhaps this storm will calm down too, who knows.
In spite of the good news Aubakir, Gutermacher and Kulmagambet took counsel and decided: to collect sheep. If the Soviet power is overthrown they will return the sheep. And if not they will fulfill the task und won’t be under suspicion.
According to Kulmagambet’s distribution Aubakir’s helpers went to collect sheep. Sarybala’s partner was Atusha, a brisk dzhigit who had served earlier as a courier under the ruler of the volost’s head. He knew the local auls very well but much better he knew the means how to deceive people, use cunning and swindle. They had hardly left the aul when Atusha began to read a lecture:
- Now we will visit aul Bahry. It doesn’t belong to Tungatar but to Saidaly. There they had their own aul head. They live very rich. If god helps we’ll have a huge gain. 
- We must collect two thousand of sheep, neither less nor more. 
- But do we have a right to choose what’s bad and what’s good? Some people will want to give us cattle instead of sheep. If somebody asks to take eight sheep for one cow I will reckon five. Some people will wish to give lambs instead of sheep. We will demand more but record less. Don’t worry I’ll collect for the treasure two thousand of sheep. In addition, I’ll give you fifty and won’t forget about myself too. Just don’t hinder me, my dear. We cannot often have such a fair. We won’t get such a mission for the second time. 
- In general, I’ve understood you: you wish to make a fortune. But at whose expense? 
- I don’t care. Just not to stint myself. Everybody lives so.
- Aren’t you afraid of the god?
- I’m. 
- Aren’t you ashamed people?
- I’m.
- Do you disdain to rob?
- I do.
- You are lying. If you said the truth you would be ashamed to appropriate somebody else’s sheep and make a fortune at the expense of others.
- My dear, I’ve travelled much with knowing people and seen something too. Listen to me…
- To your mind knowing people – these are volost’s head Muhtar and people like him?! I listen to you but I warn: if you deceive our roads will fan out.
Atusha kept silent for some time, estimated something and said:
- Ok, I won’t deceive, I won’t. I have joked. And you have believed at once. We mustn’t be engaged with such a business at the Soviet times.
Atusha did away with his intentions at once and Sarybala didn’t ask why. The both stopped talking and climbed gloomy on the top of the hill. One could see a river below. There were set some yourts along the bank. Something important was happening in the auls. All young and old alike left their yourts. Women in their best turn-outs were singing a sad song. In a crowd they walked from one aul to another and looked like a bright bouquet of flowers that decorated the whole meadow. A group of riders madly whirled in a hot fight playing the game who wins a carcass of a sheep. The dzhigits were carried away so much that they noticed not only those ones who had dropped from the horses or broken his rips but even a killed one. They rushed in a whirl beginning with a boy on a limping yearling and finishing with an old man on a pregnant mare. 
- We have come to a toi. They are marrying a girl, - Atusha explained. He cheered up at once and clapped spurs to his horse. – People marry very interesting in these lands. Here lives a lagging nationality and they adhere to their old traditions. Let’s go and see:
What for my face turns pink?
What for my black plaits shine?
Oh, my native land!
Who can pity me here?
Elm grows in front of my house,
Touches my cheek with its branch
Mother, father I thank you very much
I won’t forget your care.
But I’m born in this world in vain,
A woman’s fate, you are so dark
You blossomed and charmed and then
I have quietly to kneel.    
Keeping silent Sarybala nodded listening to the woman’s voice. The bride was singing droningly and sadly. Her agemates accompanied her, friends, young women – everybody sang along with the bride and everybody’s eyes were full of tears. The bride’s sadness – the sadness for all. Touching voices were spread afar over the steppe. 
Two our riders rode through to the big grey yourt at once where the wedding revelry had already started and from where people were leading the bride. To the lasso that bandaged the yourt there was tied a horse covered with a long horse cloth made of red cloth with embroidery. Over the horse cloth there was a saddle and a sweat-cloth with a breast collar and a crupper. Everything was laid with silver.  
Some dzhigits began to dismantle the white yourt that was standing from the right of the grey one. Its felts were decorated with some ornaments and all uyks and kereges (wide sacks) were coloured with bright oil paints. Absolutely beautiful apparel was finished with woolen baskurs for fixing the frame. 
It was possible to notice with an experienced eye that the owner of the big grey yourt wasn’t a rich man. Perhaps he had lived some time rich but now his zheli and kugeni became short. However, it did not take each bai to equip a horse so marvelously and set such a yourt. The young travelers thought that such a difference was suspiciously.
They opened the door of the yourt and saw the owner. He was sitting on the bed on the right of the entrance. His friable belly hung to his knees. He was barefooted, dressed just in a long underwear and in an under shirt but all the same he was suffocating. He sweated and wiped abundant sweat with his sleeve. Several aksakals were sitting on the place of honour. All of them were in a good spirit and they were loudly talking. A young dzhigit, perhaps the bridegroom, was shyly sitting on the right behind the curtains having pulled his cap down over the eyes.
Two guests greeted shortly and sat down closer to the door. The conversation went on.
- Dear father-in-law, - the fat host said having turned towards a wide-bearded old man on the place of honour. – Personally Allah has connected us. Say me about everything you are unsatisfied with. I have nothing dearest than Asiya in the world. I give her to you. I have nothing to grudge any more. I would like to make a big present for her but I don’t have the same fortune and respect as early. Earlier I would present Asiya two palfreys but now I’ve hardly found just one. I was going to present her two yourts but I present just one that I had to take away from my young daughter-in-law.
- I am satisfied with your generosity, my parent-in-law, satisfied. God may give each one to use his fortune. We shouldn’t care about a palfrey in such times but about the fact how to survive. – The wide-bearded said and having stopped talking dropped gloomily his head down. 
His neighbours started explaining in a low voice the cause of his sudden sadness: 
- Red soldiers took away his twenty-five geldings and stallions each of which costs one fiancée. 
- This is not the only grief. People say our volost must give twelve thousand sheep in addition…
- If they continue to press so much people will lose all their cattle at all.
- Not people but we will lose, we! – The wide-bearded specified angrily.
- I wish people would remain living and cattle will be born, - the pot-bellied parent-in-law calmed him down. – The main thing is to survive. If somebody had shot us at those turbulent times our bones would have been putrefying now.
The wedding was noisy and jolly and the parents-in-law were sad. One troubled how to save his cattle and fortune and the other one worried about the fates of his close relatives. It was clear that the both felt they became obsolete. But there behind the yourt in the free air were having a good time those ones who were happy to see a new sunrise. Here came a bright group of girls into the yourt. Mounted dzhigits closely surrounded the yourt, rode tightly up and started “zhar-zhar” at once – an old wedding tradition. A dzhigit with a snub nose opened slightly the felt that covered the frame and started loudly singing: 
There are good people too
There are good khans too.
Why do you miss your father so much?
Parents-in-law are good too.
A young woman with plump lips sang in reply at once:
It cannot snow in summer,
You cannot meet a cart in winter
How much your father-in-law could be good
He can never change my father.
Then the young woman sang how a girl was sold for cattle and was saying adieu to her mother and father, relatives, agemates and friends, to all dear and close relatives. The dzhigit calmed her down in reply. People were listening to them and nodding. 
It was the first time when Sarybala was watching an old ceremony. He was deeply touched and even shed tears pitying the girl. Pity bride Asiya, she had beautiful eyes like a colt, a pale face, black eyebrows. She was sitting shriveled like a pigeon that had got in nets. If the father didn’t pity the daughter who else could pity her? The bridegroom wasn’t handsome. He had a wide nose, hanging lips and skew eyes. He kept silent and pretended as if he was shy but it was clear that he was triumphing. By each sigh of his bride he smiled and pinched his neighbour. 
You wish to fly in the sky like a hawk
You leave us as a captive in grief and tears.
The marriage ceremony started after “zhar-zhar”. There stood a bowl of water in front of the master that was covered with a white kerchief. A silver coin was lying on the bottom of the bowl. Two dzhigits came behind the curtain where Asiya was sitting and addressed to her:
- We are witnesses in the presence of god and people. Do you agree to marry Isa’s son Dombai?
Asiya kept silent. She couldn’t say “agree”. And it was no use to say “I don’t agree”. Her fate was decided, other ones had made their choice. Shariat, the tradition, the father’s will – other shackles and not only a fine powerless girl but the dzhigit of dzhigits could break them. 
The witnesses were waiting for an answer repeating the learned words: “We are witnesses in the presence of god and people”
Asiya answered nothing and started crying.
- Go aside, - a freckled woman interfered and pushed the witnesses aside. – Don’t you see she is shy? I’ll ask her by myself. – And having pretended that she had whispered about something with Asiya the freckled one loudly announced: - Agree!
The witnesses saw that Asiya didn’t open her mouth but there was nothing for them but to witness her agreement in the presence of the master of the wedding. That one pretended that he believed the witnesses. At once the bridegroom gave his agreement. Then the master blessed the newly married couple, stretched them the bowl with water and proposed to make a sip. The bridegroom greedily gulped. The bride hardly touched the bowl with her lips. The witnesses in two voices: “She has sipped, sipped!” Asiya didn’t protest. She had no strength to protest. She cried up to hoarseness, cried her eyes out. She was stubborn as much as she could but she was ignored. 
The bride was seen off with howls. The wives of the close ones lifted Asiya by the armpits and stood her on feet and pushing led her out from her native hearth. Asiya didn’t want to mount the horse – she was lifted and sat in the saddle. One led the horse by the reins, two other ones supported Asiya on the sides her not to fall down. The bride started bitterly crying:
Good bye, my native family,
Good bye, my native lands,
Good bye, my songs and games.
Good bye, the friends of my happy years.
With these words Asiya was going farther and farther from her native aul. The persons seeing of diminished progressively. The lamentations were weaker and weaker.
Only now pity woke up in the heart of the bride’s father. He sobbed and started saying through tears with a melodious recitative the ancient words of father’s grief:
- My colt that ran at the mother! My kid who jumped over precipices! The feathers that decorated my head, valuable felt on my clothes, my closest star! What could I do for you? How to protect? A woman’s fate is predestined by Allah. You are crying so bitterly, my dear! Just wait, my dear, wait. You will get accustomed, your mother has got accustomed too…
Only two were listening to him – Atusha and Sarybala. The parents-in-law went away, the crowd went home. All things were taken away with the daughter. Now only the old man’s crying filled the empty yourt. Two last guests went finally away too.
- Parting with such a girl is a grief of not one family, - Sarybala said. – Asiya was a star not only for the old man but for the whole aul too. They have given their joy to a somebody else’s aul forever for grief. 
- Each bride cries. They always pretend that they cry, - Atusha waved with his hand. – What else bridegroom does she need? A prophet’s son?
- Is such a blockhead really worthy of her? You don’t pity her at all.
- But what to pity? First of all a bride and a bridegroom look for good relatives. If relatives are proper then these “I agree, I don’t agree” are not taken into account. That fat one has said right – she’ll get accustomed. She is not the first or the last one. There are a lot of such ones. 
- In old times people had to accept such an injustice but now the times are different.
- Do you think the bride doesn’t know what times and laws are now? She knows. She has gone away because of her bridegroom’s relatives. They have much cattle and each Kazakh, a man or a woman, always wants to be rich. Not only her fat father but she too dreamt about this. Does there really exist a human who hasn’t become a slave of his or her belly?
- All your thoughts set against your belly, don’t they? 
- Can it be anyhow?
- Then what does a human differ from an animal with?
- Well, well! A human is worse than an animal! People deceive each other, violate and rob. You don’t know the life but I had to hang out near many rulers, knowing people and I have understood something. Humanity is just a chattering. In each heart there sits a devil.
- You were surely deceived by those very “knowing people” – by bais and rulers-robbers. You shouldn’t take their but new and honest people’s example. 
Atusha began loudly to laugh. He tapped with his sabre against the horn, put some nasibay in the mouth and spat through the teeth. His viscous spit fell down at the distance of about five meters from his horse’s head. 
- Why are you laughing? – Sarybala asked.
- You have found whose example to take! Orynbek’s, Birkyz’s, Tuleybay’s? If they govern us and are an example for us nobody will envy our happiness. 
- I mean real leaders, Bolsheviks. And these ones are just couriers. Didn’t you go too far when you were a courier?
- Yes, I did but I always fulfilled the will of the volost’s leader. These ones self-willingly run riot.
- You are right. These ones committed follies by themselves. But soon the day will come when they will break their necks. 
- When? They will be on back until they die.
The sun rose to its zenith. The midday approached. They had still so much time till the evening that it was possible to visit both a wedding toi and see off one more bride. The sky was cloudless. There blew no wind over the steppe. Grass warmed by the sun brightly greened, meadow flowers showed many-coloured. All was green everywhere – not only in the lowland but also on the slopes and the tops of the hills where all grass had been burnt out last summer. The sun was hot, it grew hotter and hotter. The travelers took off their chapans and bandaged them around the belts. The horses walked with even measured step and were dripping with sweat. They were suffering more not because of thirst but of clouds of annoying mosquitoes and horseflies. They kept both the horses and the riders on the alert with their bothering buzz. Sarybala went on reasoning:
- Horses fear mosquitoes, elephants – mice, cows – saigas, people – thieves. The number of robbers is always less than the number of honest ones.
- Yes, of course, - Atusha absently agreed thinking about something own. Keeping silent for some time he said: - They might go without a stop. Perhaps they decided to bring the bride to their aul today. Let’s visit them too.
- Are we going their way?
- Sideways a bit. A half a day way. But for the sake of such a pleasure we can make a day passage.
- Well, let’s visit. But what will we do there?
- Oh, don’t ask! We’ll enjoy ourselves like hell. You are young, learnt Russian and Aubakir’s son-in-law in addition. When girls learn about this they will fly into your cage by themselves. You cannot even look at them. They like to run after famous ones and have a weakness for fame. Eh, if I had such possibilities as you I would steal eight girls per one night like Iman Zhusup!
- A wolf will be satisfied with one sheep but it kills ten. Do you want to be a wolf in relations with girls?
- Eh, dear, think what you want but I say you one truth: a man who doesn’t fool his wife around isn’t a man.
- And if your wife fools you around?
- For what reason?
- You lead a dissolute life!
- There is nothing condemned in this for a man. On the contrary, it’s even praiseworthy! But if a woman steps on such a way then it will be shameful like death both for herself and for her husband too. Not in vain people usually tie such women to horses’ tails.
- To my mind people shall tie their dissolute husbands with them together too. They are equally guilty. Lechery is neither proud nor occupation but degeneration. Dirt is available for all. But not each can remain clean. 
- Oh, my dear, you want to excel your father. At your age Mustafa came up close not only to a married woman but also to betrothed girls being afraid of desecration. You have decided not to come up to widows and free girls.
- My father is a religious man and keeps the laws. He has nothing against if you take four wives. The Shariat allows this. But I’m against such an allowance. It is disgusting to keep so many females nearby and play a role of a stallion.
- Oh, you have said! Stallions, male-sheep, oxen – they feel enjoyment. 
- For you my words are like being up against a brick wall. – Sarybala made a conclusion. 
When the sun sat down on a green top of the hills our riders got to the auls that were thickly situated on the meadows. It was noisy and briskly there. There were walking flocks of sheep and cows from the pastures. Mooing calves and lambs were running towards them. There were rushing foals with jolly neighs to their dams. There were riding tabuns of thudding horses to the pasture. There was singing a camel with its colts its own song too. There were sonorously barking dogs, cackling geese on a large lake and there spread numerous yourts around. Nobody was sitting around in the auls. In that minute all beginning with a baby and finishing with an old man were busy with their cattle. 
It was noisy and jolly in the bai’s aul where people were preparing to accept the young woman. The yourt with bright ornaments was setting on the right of the bai’s yourt. Here were endlessly coming and coming relatives. The meat was already in the kettles, fire was flaming, hot elm was sparkling with sparks. Aksakals, baibishas, old men and women gathered around the newly set white yourt and the arrived parents-in-law. Girls, young men and women who running, who on horses were rushing to the top of the hill to meet first the newly married couple. 
Now then ran over one top then climbed on the other one. In the light of the setting down sun their many-coloured clothes seemed especially bright on the green slope as if tulips started blooming. If in the auls where the bride was seen off people cried and bewailed then in the auls where she was accepted all were jolly. Only Asiya could neither rejoice nor cry. Being sad and absent-minded she was walking being surrounded by unknown women and girls having covered her face with a blanket. Curious ones tried to lift slightly the bride’s blanket to know if she was beautiful. She was accompanied by two women. Now they came up to the aul, the mother-in-law stepped over the father’s-in-law threshold. A briskly reddish woman stood in front of her and started “Betashar1” with a loud recitative: 
Stop, the bride, stop, the bride.
I’m speaking to you, the bride,

“Betashar1” – a ritual song that is sung when a bride takes a blanket (zheleka) off her face and makes the acquaintance of her husband’s relatives.    

The bride is like a white bird
She has become shy for ever
Listen to me, the bride
When you get up in the morning don’t wake your husband up, the young wife,
Don’t steal handfuls of kurt (dry young cheese) from your resources, the young wife,
Don’t mooch around your neighbours, the young wife,
Don’t gossip shamelessly, the young wife.
The woman wonderfully performed “Betashar” lifting slightly the Asiya’s blanket with a thin rod from time to time. The bride had hardly stepped over the husband’s threshold when she was taught a lesson of politeness, respect, obedience and diligence at once. People say: “Bring up a baby from the cradle and a daughter-in-law since the first day”. The bride was said at once everything she had to listen to. But these are women – they would listen to but do in their own way. Asiya was shy. She didn’t lift her eyes and kept silent. While she was walking from the door to the hearth in the middle of the yourt she bent for three times having kneeled. Holding a little wooden bowl with oil in the hand her mother-in-law pronounced: 
- Happiness doesn’t fly in the air but must be caught by hands. I wish you would have luck in the life! – And she poured the oil in the fire.
Sarybala was watching the ritual with surprise. When he had married he hadn’t had anything alike. Nobody had poured oil in fire and sung “Betashar” and “Zhar-zhar”. Here during the wedding he saw a combination of three old rituals – shamanic, Islamic and a Kazakh one. There was much senseless and obsolete in them that was kept only in deference to tradition. Only few old men protectively kept their rituals in the far away steppe tribes. 
The wide-bearded father-in-law started speaking self-satisfied and with boasting:
- Our famous ancestors have left us a lot of clever advices. Listen to each word of “Betashar” and “zhar-zhar”, the youth – each word is like pure gold! But people began to forget about wonderful rituals. That’s why I have decided to revive them in the wedding of my Dombaizhan.
Having raised his eyebrows and opened his swollen eyes the father-in-law turned to Sarybala who was sitting on the place of honour and asked:
- Say me, dear, did Aubakir’s daughter bend like this when she stepped over the threshold of your parents for the first time?
- No, - Sarybala answered. 
The bai quickly frowned and went on:
- Your father-in-law is neither Kazakh, nor Uzbek or Moslem or an adherent of a different faith. He may not keep Islamic traditions. But your father is a hajji. Why doesn’t he keep them?
- My father personally will answer your question. But I think these rituals have already become obsolete. 
- Yes, they may. You should know better, you have learnt Russian. And Russians have ruined everything here. 
The bai stood up heavily and clumsily like a cow and came out. A boy, a worker in torn underpants, followed him holding a kettle in the hand. 
It became crowded in the host’s yourt and the youth came to the new white yourt that consisted of six partitions. Now they had to choose a khan of the evening by lot. They started throwing asikis. Atusha had luck. His asik won and he was chosen a khan. To implement the khan’s orders they chose for help a tall, stately and briskly dzhigit at once. There appeared a firmly twisted girdle in his hand.
Somebody was already afraid and didn’t want to get a blow with the twisted girdle. Somebody pretended him or her to be afraid but it was clear that there would be no disorders during the evening and games would be played right on the dot. The executor of the khan’s will walked the present ones around with the question: “Are you satisfied with your khan?” All answered: “Yes, we are. A good khan”. 
There finally heard the Atusha’s voice:
- If you have accepted me as your khan then you must implement all my orders without demur. That one who won’t obey my will shouldn’t wait for my mercy. I order each one must sing not less than one song!
The stately dzhigit demanded songs at once. Who could that one sang to get rid of as quickly as possible. And who couldn’t that one got in the helper’s hands and he punished his victim under public laugh. Who didn’t know any song that one had to moo like a cow or roar like a donkey, crow like a cock or neigh like a stallion looking at the lamp. It was the most difficult thing for those ones who were ordered to say aloud the name of his wife or her husband. Women were confused, reddened, sweated but the annoying dzhigit-helper didn’t retreat. People were unceasingly laughing around. On the sly Atusha whispered to Sarybala:
- If you have liked any of the girls say me. I’ll arrange you a meeting. 
Sarybala hesitated and didn’t know what to say. 
- Do you want to kiss a young woman in her lips?
Sarybala was confused.
There started a song competition by two. The dzhigit and the young woman who were competing with each other in jokes and catches went to the circle. The dzhigit started. 
The dzhigit:
I don’t think that lasso is a weapon.
I don’t think that a hill is a mountain.
Don’t bore into me in vain 
I’ll guess all your ruses.
The woman:
You think you are a hunting bird
But you don’t fly so high
Don’t boast with your dog’s muzzle 
You will never catch me.
The dzhigit:  
If I were a dog I would bark in the wild
And damn the doggess…
The girls started making noise and interrupting the dzhigit: “Enough!”, “Stop!”, “You’ve gone too far!”, “You’ve lost the text”. 
They started playing the game – throwing of a kerchief to a chosen one. It was clear from aside who would throw and whom. Almost everybody had a beloved one. That one who threw a kerchief had to hold a ring in the lips. That one whom was thrown this kerchief had to come up, take this ring in his or her lips and throw the kerchief to the next one. 
Seeing how boys and girls kissed each other Sarybala turned red. It seemed to him that he never felt such confusion as today before. It turned out that Atusha had been right when he had said: “You may not even look at them. They will fly in your cage by themselves”. From time to time unknown girls threw him their kerchiefs. He had to come up to them, otherwise he could be punished by the helper. Overcoming his confusion Sarybala came up now to one then to another one. Seeing the dzhigit’s confusion young women were sly and held long the ring in the mouth and Sarybala turned red more and more. After Atusha’s persistent insistence Sarybala threw his kerchief to the bride but Asiya didn’t even move from her place. The khan’s executor couldn’t order her and complained the khan:
- Oh, my master, the bride doesn’t obey. What to do?
- Then the dzhigit must come up to her personally! – Atusha ordered. – On the first day a bride has much respect than a khan. 
Sarybala who pitied still the bride came up to Asiya with the dzhigit-executor together. She was sitting having depressed her eyes and covered her face with a thin blanket. Having lifted slightly the blanket Asiya looked at the grey-eyed young man and turned back her face. “The silver mood flashed among the clouds and disappeared at once”, - Sarybala thought. He was charmed with the tiny fine face, the brows like a crescent and the transparent black eyes. She was so beautiful! He wished to look for one more time. But she didn’t lift the blanket any more and it stirred up Sarybala even more. He stood in front of the bride with the ring in his lips and waited but Asiya wasn’t going to take the ring away. Sarybala didn’t dare to touch her lips too. Then the khan’s helper found a way out from the situation – he covered their heads with a chapan. Having taken the occasion to Sarybala put the ring in Asiya’s lips and whispered: “If you really don’t like your husband we can help to get rid of him”. 
Atusha with his tireless helper together started one game after another. The fun was endless. The youth didn’t know any tiredness and demanded knew ideas. 
But alas, a summer night is so short! It seemed that the sunset glow had gone out just now but it was already dawning in the east. Atusha started the finishing part of the game – catch a thief. Dzhigits and girls threw asik by turns. That one whose asik fell down with its bottom upwards was a thief. He or she was led to the khan and said: “We’ve caught the thief!” If a man was a thief it was difficult to find a claimant but if a girl or a young woman - a claimant was found at once. The khan listened to the both parties and said: “Try at first to come to an agreement by yourselves. If you don’t come to an agreement then I’ll make my decision.” – and sent a girl and a dzhigit behind the door. 
Suddenly Dombai wanted personally to make a claim to the bride. Exactly here it was both funny and sad. Since tomorrow he will become Asiya’s sole master but he wanted to own her right now. Wasn’t he a fool! What to say a such one? There heard an outburst of laughter. Sarybala supported Asiya:
- Dear khan! You shouldn’t believe all claimants without exception! Sometimes there can appear false claims. 
Atusha understood him and strictly asked Dombai:
- What your thing has she stolen?
- The ax of my woodcutter, the stick of my shepherd, the yoke of my water carrier, the lasso of my horse herd, - Dombai briskly listed. 
- When did she do it? It is about a half-day trip from your aul to hers and she has stepped over your threshold only today.
- Why do you find faults, khan? Send us behind the door.
- I won’t do this. Your claims are unreasonable. 
- Omayau! – Dombai became angry. – Is it reasonable to send out somebody else’s wives? And do I demand my legal one unreasonably? I don’t admit your decision even if you were the god personally but not a khan!      
He looked like a butting black bull.
“This fool Dombai has neither appearance nor brain, - Sarybala thought. – How can poor Asiya stay with such a savage?”
Sarybala was both offensively and annoyingly that such a girl as Asiya didn’t have a right to choose a husband. The new power came but no one of local women had any power to break the fetters of the Shariat and nobody could help her in this. Sarybala knew the influence of the Soviets was spreading wider and wider around the steppe as vernal floods. But until these floods water rich soils high water won’t gain in strength and the soils won’t afford. The same thing was with people too. Old traditions held not only Asiya captive. But in the mind of Sarybala personally a hope fought against doubts when he thought about the future.
- People! – Atusha addressed to everybody. – The morning has come. The games are over. I abdicate my responsibilities. I allow myrza Dombai giving orders his wife as he likes. 
The participants of the night fun started going home. Asiya went far away from the aul in companion of two women. Atusha and Sarybala mounted their horses and caught up with the girls. Having folded back the blanket Asiya met them with a smile. It seemed that her look said: “I’m glad to see you. Say me something…” 
- It is possible to forget about any grief seeing your smile! – Sarybala said with excitement. 
- Are you joking? – Asiya answered and sighed. – People say: what is a lot – it’s cheap, what is few – it’s expensive. I have a lot of everything, only little happiness. My smile isn’t happy. You know smiles can be worse than tears. 
- Fortune comes to him who seeks her, people say. The morning has come. Now the sun will rise and treat kindly the ground. People will meet one more happy day. Be happy with all together. 
- I’ve heard your words for two times and the both times you have cheered me up. Thank you. Don’t forget me, come to visit us…
They said nothing else to each other. Sarybala said good bye. Climbing on the slope he turned back. Asiya was still standing and looking after him.

The tabun was driven to the aul. People tied the colts to tethers. The mares were crowding around. The sun was hot in spite on the fact that it didn’t get its zenith yet. The most inhabitants of the aul were barefooted, just in shirts and underpants. They were looking for a shade or some breath. The dogs hid in the shades of the yourts with stuck out tongues. 
From a white yourt there came a woman to the stream having covered her head with a chapan. Having hidden from people’s eyes she took her clothes off and plunged in the water with pleasure. Only her head blackened over the stream. 
The chairman of the aul Soviet Amirzhan shod boots and dressed a warm kupi made of sheep wool and coloured with henna and sheep cap in spite of the heat and was sitting in front of Sarybala. Yesterday he returned from Kulmagambet’s aul where he distributed taxes. He had been ordered to collect two of fifteen thousand sheep. Having come back he called all aul leaders and aksakals from Barky’s tribe. They together decided how many sheep to collect from an aul or a family. Now Amirzhan wanted to inform Sarybala as a representative of the higher authority about this distribution.  
He opened his felted bag that was tied up crisscross with a thread of camel wool and pulled a thin book from it. There hang an offcut of an indelible pencil as long as an index finger on his breast on a thread. The chairman’s movements were very important and slowly. He was sweaty, sluggish and bumbled as if he didn’t want to speak. According to his appearance he was a lazy bone who was able to lie on one place day and night if somebody didn’t disturb him. 
Sarybala already had his own opinion about him: “A local half-scholar. He might read and write Arabic with great difficulty. That’s why he was chosen a chairman of the aul Soviet. But by his nature this poor one was the daydreamer of daydreamers, the sloven of slovens.
Before to write something down Amirzhan like a baby wetted the pit of the indelible pencil with his tongue and dirtied his lips. He could hardly make sense of the list that he had made by himself.
Atusha came and led an old man with reddened eyelids. After nodding in the direction of Sarybala Atusha said:
- Tell him your claim, aksakal. 
The old man started hotly speaking:
- My dear, I am glad to see an offspring of famous Kadyr. Listen attentively to my claim. I wish this damned aul head would be brought to ruin! He has ordered me to give ten sheep for meat. I have three hundred heads of sheep and no more cattle. But his cousin has five hundred sheep, fifty horses and ten camels. And he also has to give only ten sheep. Where is the justice, my god? When will people from weak tribes stop to be pressed? Up to what time must I give and give? Directly to say I was skinned but what did this miserable aul head have in the result? He was poor and he remained poor. I have earned my little fortune by my own labour and now I must give my wealth into somebody else’s hands. If their extortions aren’t stop I better give the rest of my cattle to the government and the aul head will get a snook. He would like to mount a horse but has to short legs.
- People shouldn’t play with the things which can kill them! – Amirzhan instructively said. – Have you understood? If you abuse an aul head you abuse the Soviet power too. Have you understood? Now in the presence of these people I’ll draw up a bartokal (protocol) on you. 
And he pulled out a stamp from his inset breast pocket.
The old man googled with fear and started mumbling already reconciliatory:
- Exactly! He pulls his stamp out at every trifle! Now he wants to arrest me. If nobody stops him he will deport me to the ends of the earth. Yes, he will!
The stamp threatened the old man and gave confidence to the aul head. They both were fawning upon Sarybala. But he was just a representative of his father-in-law but not of the Soviet power. The poor naïve Kazakh thought all were heads whoever arrived. You shouldn’t be Hlestakov but just Atusha to mock at people to your heart’s desire, jeer at ones or show the others much favour and fill your pockets tight. Sarybala would never step on such a way. Having thought for some time he firmly said:
- If I were you, Amirzhan, if I defined the tax for this old man in ten sheep I would require twenty from my brother. And if you take just ten from your brother five heads will be enough for the old man. 
The aul head understood his words as a directive but all the same he tried to justify himself:
- Not I but aksakals have distributed. 
- Whose is the power? Aksakals’ or of aul Soviet? 
Amirzhan said nothing. Sarybala didn’t try to find out whose power it was really. The old man gloated the bosses. He was about to cry right then but now he was ready to rejoice like a child. For Kazakhs cattle is everything – both life and death. If cattle survived its owner is healthy. If cattle are fat its owner is happy. Not in vain the Kazakhs’ kindest words for children are “my colt”, “my lamb” and they compare a man of muscle with an Arabian camel. Could anybody allow an aul head appropriating their fortune with impunity with such a passionate attachment to cattle? Perhaps Atusha gave a hope to this old man. That’s why he came here to fight for the justice. 
After listening to Sarybala’s opinion till the end Amirzhan decided to obey.
- Oh, aksakal! – Amirzhan said with a smile. – What for to tell tales out of school? We could agree by ourselves. You should give us just five sheep, do you agree?
The old man smiled with satisfaction but he didn’t express his agreement. In a minute he asked specifying: 
- Dear Amirzhan, what sheep should I give? 
- Don't you know? Castrated two-year-old sheep and only those ones that are suitable for meat. 
- But if I will give two sheep, two lambs and one castrated sheep?
- Does it mean that you want to substitute sheep for lambs? The treasury needs meet. And two lambs will not substitute one sheep.
- Then take two big sheep and one medium. Then you will have a big weight – and we will be quits. If it’s important to have weight for the treasury then for me – quantity. A sheep grows up from a lamb. 
- Aksakal, - Atusha interfered. – It’s not already your trade but ours. – And he gave the old man a wink. Sarybala noticed this. The intensions of all three were clear as if they were on a palm: two ones – to take, the third one – not to give. But the old man might already prefer to bribe Atusha but not the aul head. 
- Let’s speak in motion, - Amirzhan proposed and stood up. – People are waiting for me. 
Usually calm and imperturbable Amirzhan was irritated now and his movements acquired surprising quickness. He even forgot his stamp in the yourt where he sat, the stamp which he always hid so protectively in the inset pocket on his breast. Having looked at the old man with contempt he mounted his horse. While they were riding to the neighbour aul the aul head didn’t say a word to his three companions. Towards them there rode out a rider. He sharply restrained his horse and being out of breath cried to Amirzhan? 
- Why haven’t you visited us for such a long time? They are on our backs!
- Who?
- Famous Zhuasbai!
The aul head was so much threatened by the name Zhuasbai that he turned pale and rode right off of the bat lashing the horse from time to time. The horse suddenly stumbled and Amirzhan went heels over his head. The sweat-cloth fell down on one side, the saddle – on the other side. The aul head quickly saddled the horse but he forgot to pick up the sweat-cloth in a hurry. 
In the yourt where menacing Zhuasbai had stopped on the front place Sarybala saw a grey-eyed reddish dzhigit with a big nose who was lying on his side. He had some pillows under his elbow. Behind against a high pile of home things there was leant a five-shooter gun. When after greeting the aul head stretched Zhuasbai his hand that one threw back his long wild hair with a sharp movement of the head and started roaring:
- Where have you been for such a long time? A muddler! Do you want I crush you like a bug? 
- Why, honorable Zhuasbai-au? 
- Don’t you know yet what you are guilty in? Give me quickly a horse!
- Just a moment!
- Prepare immediately for forwarding twenty-five camels, seventy-five bales of wool and sacks with strings for them! I’ll give you three days!
- Ok.
- Together with your “Ok” I’ll take your signed statement in addition. Sign this paper and stamp it.
Amirzhan quickly felt for in his kupi, searched in the breast pocket, slapped his thigh, jumped up and perplexedly pronounced: 
- I’ll return now, return…
There were a lot of people in the yourt but except Zhuasbai everybody was keeping silent as if they had filled their mouths with water. Zhuasbai was raging as if he were the only person who represented the Soviet power here in spite of the fact that he had just the following words in his mandate: “We ask to give a cart for the state”. How would he behave if he had more power?
In the resent past he had been one of the backward workers in Spassk. But now he was devoted to the new power to the core. First of all he admitted the proletarian dictatorship as violence. With his arrival it was cut a lamb and its meat was already boiling in the kettle. Zhuasbai who was hot as he was already had a drop after drinking some tasty kumis from a black wineskin. Soon he was served with a bowl full of meat with the lamb’s head on it. The activists with Zhuasbai in the head surrounded the bowl and those ones for whom there wasn’t any place remained behind the door going on looking at the representatives of the power with tender emotions. 
Before to start eating Zhuasbai brought his gun with the point downwards to the bowl and mumbled:
- Eat, the black god, eat! They have cut this lamb not for me but for your. If they respect me why haven’t they treated me earlier in such a manner?
Everybody started servility laughing. The laugh encouraged and loosened even more the tongue of Zhuasbai who loved the words of fame. One could hear the aul head’s voice behind the wall of the yourt who had gone away to look for the stamp. He came with somebody to an agreement:
- Is the cart ready? 
- I don’t just know whom to give it. There came a secretary of the volost’s committee to that aul and he also demands a cart. 
- He should wait for. Let’s see Zhuasbai off at first.
- Yes, when a steamer is approaching a boat is washed ashore. 
There was raised a bustle at the yourt. Everybody was busy with the fact to see Zhuasbai off as quickly as possible. There appeared a grey cloud somewhere afar on the blue sky in the high point of heat. It moved to the east and soon turned into a black cloud. While they were eating meat in the yourt all sky was covered with clouds. The earth trembled by each thunderclap. There raised strong wind and it started showering. With thunderclaps and flashes of lightning the storm attacked the aul. There was caused a commission. There heard cries and running about everywhere. People tried to fix the yourts, put out fires and covered dry firewood. Two last yourts were fallen down by the wind. Wet felts were madly slapping against their frames. The wide sacks were shivering as if they were about to go to ruin. The white yourt was set more firmly than other ones. There didn’t get a drop of water inside even when there started pouring dogs and cats with the hurricane wind together. 
All grew quiet and whispered except Zhuasbai. The thunder clapped, the lightning flashed but Zhuasbai exclaimed with surprise:
- He’s just as long as a finger but what a power he has!
He thought that thunder appeared according to the will of a little sky angel. To bring him down Zhuasbai lifted his gun and shot in the air. Everybody was frightened – is it possible to lift a hand against the god?
Zhuasbai needed nothing else. Even if his bullet got neither in the angel nor in the devil all the same people would gossip about him that he repudiated the Most High personally. “Be afraid of that one who doesn’t fear the god”, - Kazakhs say. If people are afraid then Zhuasbai can do everything he wants. 
Shooting in the angel from time to time Zhuasbai didn’t forget about the secular concerns too. His eyes were fixedly looking at thin camel wool that was hanging on a wide sack. The wool was prepared for kupi and was drying. “I have neither kupi nor wool, - Zhuasbai thought. – But this fat one has both this and that. I must take the wool. But how?”
Soon it stopped showering and the sun started shining again. Everything came to life: both people and animals, and ground and plants. But the thought about a new kupi stuck in Zhuasbai’s mind. Having waited for the moment when the host looked at Zhuasbai the representative of the power showed with his chin at the hanging wool. The host interrogatively shrugged. On the wide sack there hung a silver belt, a fox malakhai and a bright whip besides the camel wool. Pointing onto each of these things the host started asking:
- This one? Or that one?
Zhuasbai shook his head. Having put his hands behind the back he walked back and forth and started suddenly singing:
There can’t be better clothes
Than made of camel wool.
The host of the hearth started understandingly nodding.
Zhuasbai didn’t stay too long, came out from the yourt and mounted his horse. He didn’t look at how a big knot was carried out from the yourt and strapped to the horse’s saddle of one of his companions. 
When Zhuasbai rode away Sarybala was standing long on the kotan being sad and confused. After Zhuasbai now he became a representative of the power.
“How to behave? – Sarybala thought. – What will be in a Soviet manner and what not?”
Under the ruler of the new power he had seen much in the auls. Many things made him glad but many things made him sad too. How to learn what is good and what is bad for the Soviet system? He had to learn but it was difficult! Each one, even the simplest mortal one, has his or her own secrets in the heart. The world is rich for treasures. A young soul looks for them and struggles: the more it finds the more it learns. If it doesn’t find it remains ignorant. 
Sarybala was hard. He greedily looked closely at everything what was happening around as if he was going to gulp a sea of knowledge all together.
There were crowding sheep and lambs on the kotan and behind the aul. People exchanged words with each other in the aul. Ones spoke in low voices and quietly, the other ones cried and abused. It was possible to notice that they discussed something about the tax but nothing could disperse Sarybala’s reverie. 
With a slight smile Atusha came up to him with an old man together who was leading an ox.
- For a minute, - Atusha asked and after going aside he whispered. – I’ve taken the ox for five sheep…
Sarybala angrily looked at Atusha and the ox and said:
- Your ox will be eaten by worms while it is walking one thousand milestones to Akmola. Send it immediately back!
There stuck out a fox skin from the Atusha’s bosom. Sarybala poked his finger into it:
- Return this too!
Sarybala’s two times said “Return!” was equal to two slaps in the face for Atusha. He became angry and came aside having said nothing. After this there stopped whispering about a bribe and a profitable substitution in the aul. Somebody mumbled: “This boy is strict. Is he a Russian or a Kazakh?”
Atusha started sorting sheep which he had accepted. 
- This one is limping, that one – with worms. Take them back! – He ordered. 
Understanding that it was impossible to come to an agreement with the commission the Kazakhs started honestly carrying out the instructions. They finished easy and quickly this big and difficult business – collection of tax sheep.
Two thousand sheep were given to the shepherds-drovers. Sarybala felt a bit relieved and directed to Akmolinsk with the flock together. On their way he talked to the shepherds. They rode over a wide green spaciousness. The shepherds looked sluggish and quiet unused to talking, indifferent to everything and depressed. Suddenly one of them asked Sarybala:
- Have you seen Lenin? 
- No.
- People say he is very tall – a man of muscle. 
- They say the truth. But he is a giant not according to his height as you think but according to his mind.
- People say he is a just man.
- This is the truth too.
- Oh, I wish he would visit us at least for one time. 
- And what will you do then?
The old shepherd wiped his purulent eyes with the sleeve and fixedly looked at Sarybala as if he was asking: “Are you able to keep your tongue behind the teeth?” Then he answered:
- My dear, already for three years long Katyrash doesn’t return me the lamb which I have earned. Just say nobody else.
- Why doesn’t he give you it if he owes?
- One lamb will turn into three sheep in three years. Katyrash has to increase total heads of livestock but not mine. But if I owed he would demand three sheep from me already long ago. But I cannot get from him even one miserable lamb. 
- Haven’t you sued?
- I cannot go to the court and a judge cannot come to my place – day and night I run after sheep over the steppe. In such a way one day goes after another. 
- If you want I’ll write an application and give it to the court. 
- Oibai, I don’t want, my dear, I don’t. I’m not crazy yet to tread on a snake’s tail. Both the police and a judge have bellies. You’ve seen by yourself, my dear. Zhuasbai has come with thunder and lightning but he has gone away meek as a lamb.
- Ye-e-es, - Sarybala pronounced and dismounted his horse. 
Sheep were grazing in motion. There appeared two riders on the road. They rode now in trot then in gallop. They rode in the flock like owners and checked if sheep were suitable for meat and then directed to Sarybala.
One was young, of medium height with a freckled face and hair brushed back, the other one was of a low height with curved legs and marks of black smallpox on his pale face, with big eyes which Armenians usually have and with long bent eyelashes. The both had revolvers on their belts. They might ride much around the steppe because their faces were bronzed. Sarybala recognized Kazakh at first sight. He had seen him in Spassk in the sixteenth year nearby Stephan during the call-in. For the second time he had seen him in the eighteenth year when the Kolchak’s punitive detachment had been convoying him along Spassk’s streets. He had been beaten and bleeding. When the Soviet Power had come people had said much good about this person: “He doesn’t take corruptive payments, hates bais and can shoot a disobedient rich man on the place”. Sarybala felt sympathy to him, wanted to become close very much and now he was glad that they met. But Baisalykov coldly greeted the unknown young man. Sarybala was fixedly looking at him.   
- How many sheep do you have? – Baisalykov asked.
- Two thousand.
- I know. And in excess of?
- If you doubt let’s count.
- You are Aubakir’s son-in-law, Mustafa’s hajji’s son, am I right?
- Yes. 
- Then I see no reason to count. It’s impossible to catch you.
Sarybala’s secret respect to this man cooled down at once. The young man’s thoughts mixed. He was tormented by annoyance. “The bourgeois’ son-in-law, the hajji’s son”. What did he want to say with this? That a she-wolf can bear just a wolf-cub! I have done nothing bad him to think that I’m a wolf-cub. It means they believe me less than, for example, Zhuasbai. Why do they involve us for help then? Does it mean we work in vain?”
The ridden up ones exchanged words in low voices with each other. One could hardly hear them.
- Isn’t too much, comrade Baisalykov? – The Russian noticed.
Baisalykov answered irresolutely but obstinately:
- We should be more carefully, comrade Katchenko. His relatives are real bastards! 
Having heard surname Katchenko Sarybala started. The whole district knew name Katchenko. He had been put in irons together with Saken Seifullin and driven about Kolchak’s prisons. He set the Soviet power in Akmolinsk. He was a sociable, easy-going and generous person, and could speak to anybody. Perhaps he understood why Sarybala was confused and came up to him with cheering up words:
- The young man has done his business well. The main thing is he has collected quicker than others. When Russia needs products so much to be slow means to commit sabotage. The sheep are fat. We should protect them on way. Some figures have collected but lost some sheep on their way and brought just acts to Akmola. I’ll hold up you as an example for such negligent ones. 
- It’s a great prize for me. But some people see something suspicious in my good intentions. 
- I see you keep some offence in your heart. Tell me about your secret, - Katchenko asked.
Sarybala knew Russian badly and was very excited in addition. It was difficult to him to speak about painful problems. He explained shortly and resolutely:
- My father-in-law is a bai, my father is a hajji. People rebuke me in this. I don’t have any other guilt. 
- It’s not guilt, my dear. Marks and Lenin didn’t herd sheep too. Engels’s father was rich. Of course, it’s impossible to compare you with him. They are proletarians’ leaders, genies who can be born just one time per one hundred years. If to look from the class standpoint then there are some proletarians who have betrayed their class. And on the contrary there are such originates from the class of oppressors who have resolutely followed the road of revolution. In the process of the class fight we shouldn’t forget about this. In our times each person is appreciated according to his or her labour and behaviour. Each one must have his or her own place in the society. 
- Fat Muhtar has been still ruling the volost and oppressed people. Worker Zhuasbai does much harm than benefit. Does it also mean that each person has taken his or her place?
- Don’t be upset with temporary defects, boy. The way of the Soviet power is difficult because it’s learnt by nobody and unknown for everybody. Not only enemies but also our friends can do us much harm on this difficult way. And the more initiative, clever and honest youth will participate in state affairs the sooner we’ll start fighting against the survivals of the past. We have many survivals. They don’t let grow those seeds which the Soviet power sows. It’s not enough just to sow. We should protect our sowings in addition. That’s why we should work day and night and protect new shoots. If you see something bad don’t be disappointed, just act. If you see something good – I wish success wouldn’t make you drunk. When you build a new society good things must win a victory over bad ones. Remember, our support is socialism and the Soviet power…
Smiling with his clever light eyes Katchenko glazed over Sarybala from top to toe and said:
- We have to go, brother. I’ll rely on you. It seems to me we have something similar. Your hair is of the same colour. I think your heart is the same too. Well, good bye. Be healthy.
Sarybala was looking long after the riding away riders. For several times he repeated in a low voice: “Our support is socialism and the Soviet power”. He repeated these words and the fog of his sadness dispersed. Sarybala became jollier. 
A human’s heart is a wonderful thing! Now it seems that even a little finger cannot find enough place for itself in it but then it has enough place for the whole world! Sarybala was caught with great hopes and dreams. He couldn’t quietly sit and started walking back and forth around the green quiet field. 
Soon Atusha came back. He went to visit one of his relatives. Usually a traveler who spent much time in foreign lands and returned to his sweet home has a good spirit but Atusha on the contrary was sad so much as if his father had died only today.
- You see, I’ve returned with empty hands! – He pronounced with a sigh. 
Sarybala began loudly to laugh and the more he was looking at sad gloomy Atusha the more he laughed. He even grasped his belly with the both hands. Having calmed down Sarybala mounted his horse and only then he answered his fellow:
- Don’t say in such a way. We have a large gain. Two thousand sheep – isn’t it enough? 
- Oibai-au, - what profit do we have?
- If there is a profit to the state then we have profit too.
- People think that only those things are profitable which they can eat or drink.
- And what cannot they eat or drink? Both kumis and honey, and stinky dishwater, and fat cheese and each kind of dirt without exception. And not only a human but also an animal can be discriminating. If I have agreed to take a bribe what you dreamt about I would be sick and vomit. You are not poorer and more gluttonous than me. Recently I have been in a spirit that was not better than yours. There was no way out. Katchenko and Baisalykov rode up here. We talked. It seems to me that Katchenko has fed my hungry heart with his words. His words have been of one thousand times greater benefit to me than of kumis or cheese how much I would eat them… 
Atusha was listening to but agreed to differ.
- It serves me right, - he cried out with annoyance and gave himself a flick on the forehead. – Why have I gone with you? I’d better to join Ali or Shahiman…
They spoke about nothing else any more. It was quiet in the steppe. One could hardly hear slow thud of horses’ hoofs. But there wasn’t any order in Sarybala’s thoughts. Clearer and clearer he heard the voice: “the leopard cannot change its spots”.

The collection of the tax was successful. Sarybala with his father-in-law coped perfectly with the task – they had collected fifteen thousand sheep in the far away auls. Some agents, for example Atusha, hadn’t had anything against to make good at another's expense, exaggerated the number of died sheep and drawn up false reports. Aubakir implemented honestly the task and he was officially thanked. 
Nobody even remembered about Sarybala. He had been working free for the whole month, become lean, worn his clothes and come back home with empty hands. 
  The family wasn’t happy. Batima endlessly coughed and absolutely took to her bed. She lost her appetite. She couldn’t eat a morsel of a rough scorn and to get something tastier Mustafa wasn’t able. He just dreamt: “Eh, if I had just one mare! Then we would eat cheese and water it with fresh broth and strong kumis from a black wineskin.” Mustafa dreamt but he said nothing to his rich parent-in-law. And the parent-in-law pretended that he didn’t conjecture and wanted to understand no hints. 
Soon Batima bore a boy. The young father wanted very much to take the baby in his arms but he was shy to come up to him in the presence of people. 
The baby didn’t live long and soon died. Sarybala’s heart was yearning over but he didn’t drop even a tear. It was the custom at those times and his youth got the best too.
Kazakhs had firmly drummed the ancient truth in their children’s heads: “Conscience is stronger than death”. 
Batima’s illness worsened because of grief and the mother took her to her place. Aubakir left Spassk at all and lived in the aul on the meadows. Mustafa didn’t leave the wintering and stayed in his hut. The life became unhappy. The cattle-pens became empty and there settled lonely silence everywhere. There were few sheep and just units of cows. But in return there were clouds of mosquitoes, flies and bugs. There were little cattle. That’s why they started attacking people. There was no news. When a rare guest came to the wintering from the meadows everybody gathered around him, young and old alike and questioned how people lived or if cattle was healthy.
People fought with boredom in the wintering in their own ways. Mustafa read religious books, Sarybala – Abai or old fairy tales. Mustafa was never bored with reading. He could sit and read day and night. But Sarybala was inpatient. Having put the book aside he went to hunt hares with his greyhound or fish in black pools of Koktala and Yelshi. 
Once when Sarybala return after hunting he saw Zhakyp at his house who was the older worker of his father-in-law. After bundling all Batima’s things he piled them on the cart. 
- What are you doing? – Sarybala was surprised. 
- Batima has sent me and ordered to bring.
- You are lying! 
- Her mother has sent, - the worker told the truth.
Sarybala was offended with the order of his mother-in-law and he crossly demanded: 
- Bring quickly the things to their usual places! Whoever would send you I’ll not give them!
There was raised neither noise nor a scandal and it made Sarybala think about. What was going on? Why did they decide to take Batima’s things away?
Hadisha and Mustafa with beads in the hands came out in the yard. The father slowly came up to the son looking down and noticed in a low voice:
- You’ve got angry in vain, my son. You shouldn’t offend relatives because of things. 
- Enough! – Selfish Hadisha interfered. – We’ve forgiven and forgiven. I don’t want to endure constant humiliation any more. Thank God the times have passed when I was afraid of my relatives. My son is grown-up and independent now. He got married and others shouldn’t gloat over. Aren’t you ashamed to take away the daughter’s things when she is still living! Of course, you are afraid then you won’t be able to take them. You shouldn’t do so. I wish their goods and chattels would drat. It isn’t worth of my Batesh. But I feel such offence because of my parent’s-in-law greediness…
- Stop chattering. 
- I won’t.
The old man and the old woman started arguing. Sarybala didn’t interrupt them and thought about his own. 
“… Carts, taxes are distributed around the auls. Aubakir’s fortune is several times bigger than the fortune of all sixty Yelibay’s auls. People grumble and aren’t satisfied that they must pay the equal sum to him. Some whispers are haunting me too. Old Mahambetshe solicits bribes as early and uses still the former power. According to the tradition bai’s son Bilal is the head of the district. He fights against Aubakir and volost’s head Muhtar but he is for the soviet order just in words but not in practice – a violator too. And here Orynbek’s and Tuleybay’s intrigues in addition. How must I fight against the clear evil? How must I oppose that old one? Where must I get such a power? I wouldn’t like to be involved in the fight but rascals don’t let live in peace. Isn’t it an outrage, a humiliation to rob in bright daylight in my house? And in addition I’m guilty in the fact that I haven’t given my own things. The father teaches: “Be quiet and you’ll have your belly full. Do all quiet ones have their bellies full?”
The autumn came. Together with it people migrated back to their wintering from the meadows. A new day, a new trouble. Aubakir with his four new families made himself comfortable in some new houses with numerous rooms and a great number of cattle yards. The quiet unhappy wintering came to life again. It became noisy because of mooing of cows and bleating of lambs. People’s speech didn’t cease too. It seemed only Sarybala kept silent. He didn’t even visit the new house of his father-in-law where curious ones came in crowds. 
Once on a sad autumn day when Sarybala walked not himself the mother-in-law brought Batima. All Sarybala’s relatives were glad so much as if the daughter-in-law stepped for the first time over the threshold of their house. Only two went to the farthest room – Sarybala and Batima. The anteroom was overcrowded. Noise, laughter, speech. 
- I’ve missed you. That’s why I’ve come, - Batima said. – Why have you visit me not a single time?
She became very lean – just bones and skin. Her eyes became big and she was breathing as if she were choking. There was not a drop of blood in her haggard pale face, however, Batima was smiling and said warm words to her husband. She was dying but love lived still in her heart and she could find still some strength to speak:
- You’ve become very strict and self-contained. I like this. But when you take offence at other people don’t take offence at me, please. I’ve got permission to come you to bury me by yourself if I die. Some time I swore not to offend you, I tried but if I’ve broken my oath, excuse me… Excuse me for the time I am still living. 
- Oh, my god! Do you really say me good bye? – Sarybala cried out and sobbed. 
Perhaps the more you hold back your compassion the stronger it bursts out. Sarybala started crying. Batima just screwed her mouth but her sad eyes were dry. She looked miserable and helpless but all the same she tried to calm her husband down. She slowly lifted her kerchief with her thin hand and wiped tears in his eyes. 
- You’ve done me nothing bad. You shouldn’t excuse, - he said through tears. 
Perhaps Batima had felt her last hour and asked for a permission to visit Sarybala not in vain.
She was breathing harder and harder with each minute. Gradually people came here from the anteroom. Aubakir crying ran up to his dying daughter. Batima was indifferent to his tear. She either didn’t have any strength for sympathy or in her last minute she decided to express her enmity to the father whom she didn’t love. She didn’t even look at the father. The mother held her one hand, Sarybala – the second hand. Batima tried to say them something but she couldn’t… She pressed Sarybala’s hand. Then she faded not blinking any more without a sound, without a breath. The mother started crying. Repeating after her all present ones began to cry too. 
There passed more than one month after Batima’s death. Her short life left good reminiscences.
The early autumn turned in the snowy winter at once. It snowed with flakes. The ground grew white. The sky was covered with leaden clouds. 
Sarybala was lying in his bed. Batima’s velvet camisole which she had worn every day fell under Sarybala's eye. Unwillingly tears welled in his eyes. 
Somebody opened the door and Syzdyk came in. Having shaken the snow off anyhow he came to Sarybala in a hurry. 
- Save me! Courier Muhtar has taken my horse away. Let’s go, oiboi. It’s better to die than live so.
Sarybala got up, wiped his eyes and was still sitting for some time being deep in his thoughts. 
Then he quietly asked:
- Where has he sprung from?
- Why do you ask? Don’t you know it’s not the first time when Muhtar robs our auls! He has recently come and stayed at Aubakir’s. Now there gathered about twenty-thirty aksakals, two millionaires and one courier there.
- Perhaps they temporary took it for the cart to get somewhere.
- Couldn’t they find a horse in the whole aul besides mine? Why have they taken my only horse? I know – they are up to no good. They won’t return it.
- Wait for some time. If they don’t return we’ll do something.
Sarybala went on sitting and having lost his patience Syzdyk went away.
Syzdyk was Sarybala’s agemate and a cognate. He was an orphan. Only he had survived in his family after typhus in the eighteenth year. Then the orphan had had the only colt that was already more than four now. The horse was perfect – of great endurance, swift-footed and everybody in the district learnt about it at once. Lovers of race horses tried in vain to buy it. They gave for it four five-years-old horses. But Syzdyk didn’t sell his pet. The horse could be just stolen or taken away by force. Sarybala had his eye on it too but he didn’t dare to ask. “I don’t wish this easy-minded courier will tire out the beautiful one or injure its legs”, - he thought. 
In a minute Syzdyk ran back again. 
- I’ve said you they have been up to no good. They have tied the horse in the corner of the yard and don’t let me come up close.
- What do they say?
- We’ll return when we reach the neighbour aul. Like hell! They’ll go through the pass and the bird has flown! 
- Call Nurgali and Meiram! – Sarybala decided and got up.
Nurgali and Meiram were Sarybala’s agemates. They were strong dzhigits but quiet and avoided scandals. Soon Syzdyk led them. 
Sarybala started a “processing” at once.
- If today Syzdyk was taken away his favourite horse then tomorrow they will be able to take away each of your wives. Under the Nicolai’s and Kolchak’s ruler head Muhtar did everything he wanted. He wants to do the same under the Soviet power. Only miserable cowards can endure violence. We must fight. You would have enough strength even if the god had given you a heart of a polecat. Follow me. If you can do nothing by yourselves don’t leave me alone at least. We will fight if they are not afraid to start a fight in our aul.
- The police is with them, - Nurgali mumbled with a dropped voice.
- For the police living is high too! Let’s go.
Four tall dzhigits went to the volost’s head. The aul inhabitants gathered in and around Aubakir’s house. They divided in some groups, here in two, there in three and were speaking in low voices. However they tried to hide the secret, people say: good thing keeps silent but bad thing cries. Sarybala estimated the situation. “…They are distributing taxes. They make someone else cry. They don’t do any exception – where is a bai and where is a poor man. They equally divide among the auls, tribes and families. If the treasury demands five – they take seven. Excess – for themselves. The volost’s head is an Egyptian vulture and these ones – ravens. They are growing fat eating carrion. They speak about conscience and honour and beat their breasts: we are really soviet workers. Eh, I wish to vice you with the law!” Angry Sarybala resolutely came through the crowd into the yard where the horse was standing. 
Syzdyk quickly mounted the horse and rushed away. Courier Satmagambet ran out with cries at once.
- I’ll find you even under the ground! – He mounted the first gelding he found to take off after the horse but Sarybala grasped the reins.
- Stop! What for do you need him?
- Release, release I say!
- I’ve arranged this. You may repay me, - Sarybala said.
- So, that’s it!
- Yes, that’s it.
Satmagambet dismounted the horse and ran into the house.
The leaders of the tribes, aksakals, activists from tribe Begaidar-Amir gathered in the house: Balmagambet, Tishmagambet, Kakim, Isabek, Serik, Mahambetshe. Muhtar, a famous hereditary volost’s head, was among them too. He always repeated the Russian word “znachit (it means)”. When he was captured by the auls – he was a brother but when he felt the strength of the power – pour oil over him he will say tar. Today it was impossible to get near him. Two police officers were with him. As if the volost’s head’s suite said: “Just try to let out a squeak”. And everybody understood this without any words. 
The older ones called kindly the volost’s head Muhtarzhan, the youngest ones – respectfully Muha. Snuffing Muhtar slept more than spoke but in return each his word was the law. Is it just or unjust – all the same he will get his own way. Earlier he went with village constables together, now in the company of a police officer. Who doesn’t obey that one will be broken his neck. 
Someone tried to protest against such a big tax but it was no use. 
- Enough! Keep silent! – Muhtar cried and when there settled silence he announced: - Yelibay gives ten sheep, five cows; Saliya-Bay – six cows, twenty sheep; Sikymbay – three cows, twenty-five sheep. Distribute this among your auls and bring quickly here the cattle. Who will protest bring him to me at once.
About five minutes long nobody opened his mouth. Then the aul head knelt and hoarsely pronounced:
- Muha! Do you know except Aubakir’s family where we are now such a tax exceeds the ability of all sixty Yelibay’s families? People said poor men mustn’t be taxed under the Soviet power. Does it mean the myrza personally must give ten sheep and five cows? 
- That’s enough! Don’t argue! Go and distribute! Who will use cunning I’ll take the stamp away. 
In a minute aul heads and activists came out in the yard and started discussing. They were speaking in low voices, almost whispering. 
Aubakir was lying in the farthest room pretending that he took into consideration neither the strict volost’s head, nor the aksakals or the activists. He didn’t take part in the conversation. Even when dinner was served to the guests he came out for a short time, sat a little with all together and went away again. His favourite tokal Bibizhan was nearby him. 
- When will this dog go away? – Aubakir asked. – Or must I drive him away by myself?
- No – it’s not proper!
- A rascal! He still wants to govern the volost. Rotten through because of syphilis – he teaches the others how to be saved from a pimple. He’d better to ask the god for peace and be satisfied with he has! But no, he is hungry for power and tries to take away the last from people, a despot. We’ll see how long you will deceive people!
Muhtar didn’t hear Aubakir’s words but he noticed that the host was gloomy and he understood his unfriendliness. “Just wait, a wondering Uzbek”, - the volost’s head threatened. He threatened the bai already long ago but his hands were too short and he could do nothing to the rich man. The saying says: “You can fight against that one who is with an ax but don’t fight against a rich one!”
Courier Satmagambet ran into the room with cries:
- Zhekebai’s son has taken the horse away! Mustafa’s son, this man of muscles, protects him. Where are the police, volost’s head?
- What for a holy one it is who doesn’t give a cart and doesn’t obey the power? Arrest immediately, teach properly a lesson and bring to me!
Two police officers and the courier ran to the entrance.
The people in the yard were alarmed, bunched up and started worrying – there will be raised a big scandal! Somebody advised Sarybala with sympathy: “Run away before it’s too late!”
- A coward runs away! And I’m not afraid! – Sarybala answered.
He lost his patience and didn’t want to endure any more.
Having appeared with the police officers Satmagambet boiled over at all. He ran up to the horse, mounted it and having half-risen in the stirrups he started shouting at Sarybala at the top of his throat.
- Bloody hell! Father’s shit! If you are clever go to Akmola!..
Sarybala attacked Satmagambet like a bullet, took him by the scruff of the neck, tore him down from the horse and started beating him. One of the police men tried to separate them, the other one, a Tatar, begged Nurgali and Meiram who were standing nearby:
- Part them, pity the poor courier. 
Nurgali and Meiram turned pale with fear but the police officer thought that because of anger. If these two huge fellows started fighting too then no a police could calm them down. Just his appearance can save a human. The threatening dzhigits’ figures and impressive appearances of his aul friends helped Sarybala now. Neither the police officer nor the courier dared to lay hands on him.
Satmagambet with complaints lamentations went to the volost’s head again. The collar of his shirt was torn, his nose was bleeding. His former haughtiness disappeared. He pronounced sobbing: 
- They’ve bitten me. You see up to blood… But for the police – they would kill me…
At this moment Sarybala came in with the words:
- Your courier tells the truth!
He turned pale but he had a resolute appearance. It was clear he wouldn’t retreat before anything and was ready to kick back either with words or with fists if somebody touched him.
Everybody was keeping silent. Sarybala dared unheard-of effrontery.
Having heard the noise Aubakir came too but he was also keeping silent. Mahambetshe was the first who broke the silence.
- What a lack of all restraint it is! – He pronounced angrily. – You’ve raised such a scandal because of horse’s sweat! Well, let’s think that the courier isn’t right. But you should respect the owner whose will he executes. You have torn not the courier’s but the volost’s head’s collar. Honorable aksakals are waiting for when I will call to order my dissolute youth and take the blame upon myself. I require: kneel, Sarybala, and fall down to the feet of you elder brother! But that’s not all! You should give forever the horse which you haven’t given for some time! Don’t protest! I say, drop down to my feet!
Sarybala didn’t move. He was brimming with anger. He wanted loudly to abuse the biy but he made himself to keep silent. To argue with Mahambetshe was equal to contradict his native father. The well-brought-up young man listened to the oldest one without wrangling but he wanted to save his face.
Having waited for some time and been assured that Sarybala didn’t obey Mahambetshe volost’s head Muhtar addressed to Aubakir:
- What will you say for this, myrza? 
- Who breaks pays. I don’t want to interfere. – Aubakir angrily turned his back on.
Keeping silent Muhtar stood up. The aksakals stood up with him together. When they started to go away our aksakal Amir stayed longer than others. Having opened out his arms he called Sarybala:
- Come up to me, my son. Give me to kiss your forehead! I thought that just women had remained in our tribe Begaidar. Thank Allah, it turns out there is an offspring who is worth of him! I wish you would be healthy! Oh, the Most High, I beg you, protect our dear bold spirits. Give them a long life! From Igilik – Tati, from Tati – a rascal, from a rascal – this one new rascal Muhtar was born. You’ve killed him today and done a good deed for people! People will love you for this. Protect this love, my dear. Big people can see far away. Briskly horses can ride long. Look far into the distance, my dear. Don’t live only by today’s day…
There appeared tears in the old man’s passé eyes covered with walleyes. The old man started silently crying. 
Old Amir had no tooth in his mouth. His thin beard was absolutely white. His hawk nose dropped up to the lips. Sometimes he couldn’t be defeated in arguing, was sociable and didn’t make way even for the strongest ones. Keeping silent the old man was listening to the aksakals who were sitting around him. He interfered in nothing. He just silently watched and was worried and now he couldn’t keep emotions in leash any more. Sarybala was listening to the old man with a deep attention. He led the old man out, supporting him under the arm, helped him mount and only now he answered his blessing:
- Ata, I’ll never forget your wishes. But I’ve protected not only Begaidar’s honour but the justice too. If Begaidar were unjust I would be against him too.
- You’ve cleverly said, my son… There is not a horse that wouldn’t stumble. There is not a human who wouldn’t mistake. You are right. There is injustice in the whole Begaidar’s tribe more than enough. A strong hand is a lord but it also can yield the strength of the mind. Since childhood brain is like jewelries. You should protect and collect them. I’ve said you. You’ll just have to chalk it up to experience.
And Amir quietly started his horse having hardly lashed it with his whip. 

Some time ago Igilik who had had twenty thousand horses had become the first volost’s head. He had given his power to his son Tati. Tati had given Mustafa and Mustafa – Muhtar. Igilik’s offsprings had governed the volost four generations long without exception. But the day came and they became sad as if Igilik’s grand grandfather died only today.
But in return numerous offsprings of Matai who had had twelve thousand sheep at his time raised their heads and were glad as if their famous grand grandfather revived: today they governed the volost and the state stamp must be in the hands of Mahambetshe’s son Bilal from now on. The brought to ruin auls of Kadyr’s tribe cheered up today. A rare person wasn’t proud for his or her nation. 
The crowd gathered around Mahambetshe who was standing at the tether. There appeared flush on the biy’s wrinkled haggard face. Only three colts usually frisked at the tether but there appeared five since yesterday. Behind the aul there yearned a chestnut gelding with a star on its forehead from the tether. People didn’t see it earlier. Last night a new volost’s head had ridden on it. 
Among the smoked yourts of the aul there stood a big grey patched up yourt: on the right of it – a white yourt made of six partitions. The new volost’s head settled in it with two wives. According to the tradition one of them was tokal, the other one – baibishe. At first Bilal married the tokal and chose her by himself and then led the baibishe to the house – his fiancée since his childhood. The both were young – not more than twenty years old. Old people said: “A Kazakh has three dreams since childhood: to become a volost’s head and rich, to have several wives”. Two Bilal’s dreams had become true. If the god wished the third one would become true too. A fortune comes to a volost’s head with happiness together. But if it doesn’t come he will take it by force. For the beginning there was already brought a big fat sheep and it was cut at the big yourt. People didn’t keep sheep of small breed in this aul at all. 
Children of poor men who hadn’t tasted meat all summer round ran to the hearth on all sides. There was a big crowd around Mahambetshe and congratulating ones were going and going. There heard wishes, sayings and generous tribute from here and there: “Happiness will come there where it was”, “Cattle will be acquired there where it is”.
The young volost’s head came finally out from his yourt in the company of some young dzhigits. He was dressed in Russian manner. He was energetic, round-shouldered and strong. His black hair stuck up on end in spite of the fact that it was dropped for the whole quarter. He was taller than medium height and stately. He had a pale face, a nose with wide nostrils and his small slanting eyes added a briskly appearance to his face. Bilal was violent and rude by his nature. If he had been born for ten years earlier he would have become the same robber as his uncle Mekesh. Even now being a soviet volost’s head he didn’t keep a civil tongue. He roared at everybody during a toi, didn’t have anything against to use strong language and sock someone of his countrymen. Everybody knew his temper and tried not to get involved with him. 
And now the self-assured dzhigit didn’t go to greet the aksakals who had gathered fawning around his father but organized straight off a fight of young men of muscles on the glade. He fought with each winner by himself and had everybody floored. The aksakals felt uncomfortable when they were watching the funs of the discourteous official but nobody dared to condemn him aloud. Uncle Nurman finally came up to him and gave him a hint in a low voice:
- Bilalzhan, you should greet the older ones. You are not a baby.
Bilal came up to the aksakals.
- We wish you good luck. – The old men said.
Old aul head Nurman came down to cases at once: 
- Where is the stamp, Bilalzhan?
- Muhtar has the stamp. I have the rest. 
- The rest is a trifle. The stamp is the main thing.
- Muhtar has run away with the stamp. But he won’t be able to hide from me. All the same I’ll take the stamp back. Katchenko has sent a telegram. 
- This dog can get the very Katchenko all mixed up. Isn’t he avid of money?
- No, he is a very honest person. If Muhtar tries to give him a bribe he will arrest him at once.
- Oh, I don’t know. People say even an angel can lose his way if he sees some gold. I have seen no one chief yet who would refuse to take a bribe. What a chief is he if he runs away from a fortune?
Sarybala who was listening to the conversation sniffed. 
A post of a volost’s leader is an exclusive luck. Sarybala’s cousin had become a volost’s head. Not only their aul but the whole tribe was glad. But Sarybala no how showed his joy. He walked being indifferent to the fuzz and quiet as earlier.  
There appeared Aubakir. Bakai was nearby him. The myrza lived in the same ravine with Kadyr’s auls, drank water from the same well with them but he came to congratulate with luck later than others only on the second day of the holiday. 
When he came up all with Mahambetshe in the head stood up, went towards him and greeted by the hands. Ones anxious to please had enough time to question him not only about the wealth of his family and household but even displayed their interest in the health of his bright male dog. Turning slightly to Mahambetshe Aubakir said coldly: “My congratulations” – and turned his back on.
Up to now Mahambetshe just listened to the words of congratulation and generous tribute now he personally took the floor:
- Earlier two tribes – Sarmantai and Murat – belonged to one volost. After this having succumbed Mustafa’s oppression they divided into three volosts. Volost’s head Muhtar pursued the rest of Murat’s tribe. Now it’s our turn. Now Murat’s people, you should firmly keep the power. If you don’t keep it - you have only yourselves to blame. My son is young. That’s why if he oversteps the limits excuse him. Don’t take his naughtiness for offence. It’s important to save the power and not to sow discord. If you hurt your head badly – keep it under a cap, if you break your arm – hide it in a sleeve. If we are not friendly and united we’ll lose both the power and cattle, and happiness. 
- We agree. We’ll forgive Bilalzhan all his freaks! We just wish he would pay off for us! – Nygman, Bilal’s father-in-law, cried out and knelt.
In his youth Nurman had governed the auls and learnt to speak well. Recently Muhtar removed him from the post of the aul head and Nygman quieted down. But today perhaps he was put the fat in the fire and he started speaking again:
- Don’t forget, Bilal, how heartlessly Muhtar treated us. How he mocked at your elder brothers Yahiya and Shanhy without speaking about the others. He has removed me from the post of the aul head only for that I haven’t given him my liver-chestnut. Is it easy to give a horse that costs one fiancée? Let’s forget about his violence at the times of Nicolai but for extortion at the Soviet times we must require from him eighty horses, five hundred sheep and the price of the killed dzhigit at least. Oibai-au, how much Koshkar’s tribe has fumed feeling Muhtar’s support! But now it’s our turn. Don’t be shy, don’t retreat before anything. My dear, don’t disdain any means to revenge! 
Bilal’s lips started shuddering. His eyes started shining with anger. He began to speak in a low bass voice in which one could feel excitement. The words of the strong dzhigit were a match for too.
- If I don’t revenge Koshkar for Murat what for do I live in the world? – And having pointed to the horses he went on: - I’ve taken Koshkar’s two mares and that one with the star. If Muhtar took sheep of Murat’s people in tabuns then I’ll take Koshkar’s ones in tabuns too. If Muhtar lashed Murat’s people with somebody else’s whips then I’ll lash Koshkar’s ones with my own ones. The bais’ time has come away. The poor men’s time has come. Who wants to revenge – go under the red flag!
Sarybala sniffed again. Aubakir dropped his eyes. His wrinkled face turned brown. He was boiling with anger and was about to burst out.
- Hey, Nygman, - Aubakir finally said and looked up. – Who looks for some trouble that one will meet it. Who looks for a scandal that one will get it. You’d better to calm down the young dzhigit instead to hot his unhealthy violence. We’ll win nothing if we revenge. You should call the people not to revenge but to a reasonable business. I say you the same, dear Bilal.
- You’ll give me advices when I ask. But still I live by my own brains. 
- You thought you were a clever joker but it turned out that you were a stupid joker.
- You yourself are stupid! 
- Pah, a fool!
- You are a fool! 
Having spat in a temper Aubakir mounted his horse. Many tried to stop him, grasped the reins but he rode away.
There settled silence. In a minute Nygman started abusing:
- Hey, my dear, you have too little cunning. It will be enough if you revenge just Muhtar! But now you are between two fires! Ah, how offensively!
- Is he more powerful than the Soviet power? The black Uzbek has offended me not less than Muhtar! – Bilal angrily cried out and stood up.
Sarybala interfered only now:
- Wait, Bilal, don’t be hot. I see you won’t calm down until you revenge your enemies. Robbery, violence, bribes, idleness and laziness do people the most harm. If you are able to bring to ruin Muhtar and Aubakir then try to fight against these vices too!
Bilal went away without answering Sarybala’s wishes. 
It passed at longest one month and a half and people learnt that about sixty claims had been written against Bilal in Akmolinsk. Even if to think that Aubakir and Muhtar had written fifty of sixty claims then no doubt ten had been written personally by victims. And it was not little. Bilal went around auls in the company of some dzhigits who were violent and quick for thoughtless actions. Except his duties Bilal managed direct affairs of the police, court, confiscation and even played a role of an aksakal. He sent his gain home at once. Just for one month in Mahambetshe’s household there appeared seven colts and four riding horses instead of two ones. His flock noticeable increased too. 

At that night when Bilal came back home from his trip around the auls Tusim, a son of poor man Bupei from Koshkar’s tribe, knocked at his door. In spite of the fact that he lived under Muhtar’s protection nobody spoke badly about him. He was a shy and honest dzhigit. 
- Good evening, - Tusim said, pulled out an envelope from the pocket and stretched it to Bilal. – I was ordered immediately to give it you in. 
Bilal began to read and turned pale. The letter started shuddering in his hands.
“… We’ve believed you, thought that you are literate, originate from poor people and are a man devoted to the party. But you haven’t justified our trust. Even for volost’s head Muhtar people haven’t written so many claims. If people don’t support you we cannot support you too. We mustn’t have in the rows of leaders that one who dishonors the Soviet power. You must immediately give Bupeyev your volost’s affairs. Zahar Katchenko”.
Katchenko personally appointed Bilal for the post of the volost’s head. He personally removed him too. There were few such people as principled and logical Katchenko in the steppe at those times. The times were difficult. Many people couldn’t understand the political situation at once. The Soviet power had to fight not only against cunning enemies but with stupid friends too. If to remember that hard muddle of those days your heart will sink at once. 
Bilal read the letter and there didn’t appear even a thought in his head that he was really guilty. He examined the beds at the wall – one opposite another one. Both on this one his young wife and on that one too…
Bilal wanted to beat Tusim who was quietly sitting on the front place. There were lying three folders with official papers on the package with things. Bilal took them and threw to the door with all his might.
- Go away, a rascal, take it and go away! – He cried and went out from the yourt.
Angry Bilal was walking long behind the aul.
There heard some thud. There appeared a rider in the darkness.
- Stop! Who is it? – Bilal called.
- Is it you, Bilal? – The rider replied and dismounted his horse.
Bilal recognized Muhammedya, Aubakir’s brother. He wasn’t still thirty but by livingness of his brain, artfulness and cunning he was able to stick not only Bilal but Aubakir personally behind his belt. He was a self-possessed, polite, strong and brave dzhigit. In spite of cool relationships because of Bilal’s and Aubakir’s quarrel Muhammedya started speaking friendly:
- It’s very good that I’ve met you. Let’s sit down comfortably and discuss. Sometimes different trifles that aren’t worth of any attention like a speck in the white of one's eye don’t let people live in peace. You think that our family is miserable Uzbeks but we think that we are also Kadyr’s sons. That’s why we were born and grew up here. Our father lived in this aul too. It’s God’s will that we have earned some fortune. Who of people has suffered because of this? Who of Yelibay’s offsprings without saying about Kadyr’s offsprings hasn’t used our support and services? Do I say the truth?
- Yes, you are.
- If I am why have you forgotten about this when you became a volost’s head and offended Aubakir who is respected by all Altai-Karpyk as an elder brother?
- He was the first who touched me.
- Let’s think that he touched. If your father calls you a dog you won’t say the same in reply, will you? Aubakir is old enough to be your father. 
Bilal silently was packing at the ground. Muhammedya went on:
- When a wife and a husband or a child and his parents have a conversation they can sometimes use irrelevant rude words, it can be. But without a long offence. Give me your hand not to take offence against each other, - Muhammedya proposed and stretched his hand. 
Bilal lingered for some reason. 
- Give me your hand, a pighead! Aren’t you able to understand who your friend and who your enemy is? – Muhammedya cried out. – Orynbek but not me has removed you from the post. Now he will go to arrest you and inventory your household and cattle. Be careful!
- What do you say? Orynbek was arrested and sat in the prison. 
- Saken Seifullin freed him. Orynbek got up and went and got a mandate with larger responsibilities. That’s why I have come late at night. Just to inform whom I need. 
Now they started speaking about Orynbek. Not only these two but all auls around Spassk hated this cunning person. If it was written about sixty claims against Bilal then not less than one hundred claims was written against Orynbek for this time. Exactly for violence he had got in the prison. Under the tsar’s ruler he was a guardian, after the revolution – a member of a soviet department, under Kolchak’s ruler he served in the police, shot in Hamen, Bilal’s cousin. Already after the power was set he took bribes and showed indulgence towards each kind of pressing and violence. He set a white yourt for himself. Using cunning and blackmail he collected a lot of cattle. He served that one who had the power. He was a brave, smooth-spoken and shifty fellow, just an escapologist. When a person has too much self-respect it can lead to a disaster. Having gone too far Orynbek wanted to bring Aubakir, his former protector, under complete control but far from it. Protecting himself Aubakir stirred up his offended angry people, who had a grudge already long ago, against him. 
After hearing Orynbek’s name self-assured perverse Bilal melted at once and stretched his hand to Muhammedya. Outwardly that one seemed to be excited but it just seemed to simpleton Bilal. Cunning Muhammedya played his role well. When it was necessary he could meet with a candy and see off with a brick and conversely. Few people knew that being in the shade Muhammedya achieved both Orynbek’s arrest and Bilal’s removal. Now he hoped to go on the thing he had intended and collide his enemies head-on. 
- Our family always tried to avoid all kinds of quarrels and scandals. We were busy just with trade. And at nowadays’ times we try even more not to get mixed up in any fights, - Muhammedya deceived. – We want just to have peace. But rascal Orynbek let nobody live in peace. He decided that his first duty was to bring to ruin you and Aubakir. He can’t take Aubakir’s fortune away, the government won’t let and he doesn’t have any other guilt. But as for you, be careful! 
- What can he do me?
- Arrest!
- Let him just try! I’ll break his neck at once!
- If he goes to take you he won’t do it alone and with weapon. I advise you to lead all your cattle somewhere afar. You’d better to hide too now. I’ll go to meet Seifullin and explain him the situation. 
The darkness broke away. Bilal was still sitting more dead than alive and Muhammedya led the horse by the reins to Mustafa’s house. Sarybala was sleeping behind the house in fresh air and having woken up he heard the whole conversation. 
Muhammedya started telling about his meeting with Bilal but Sarybala interrupted:
- I’ve heard everything. 
- It’s better. If you’ve understood everything then in the evening you’ll go to the plant along. Saken will come tomorrow. He is an important party figure. I wish he will listen to the opinion of people about some activists. He might not have got to the core of dodger Orynbek. That’s why he has taken him under his protection. But we will open him the eyes. You shouldn’t stay aside from the events, my dear. All the same the life will involve you in struggle. Try to choose a proper moment and show your strength and skills. On our days one such a young man like you will turn the scale quicker than ten honorable aksakals. 
Sarybala thought for some time and agreed:
- I’ll go. But not to turn the scales. I just want to see Seifullin.
That evening was uneasy! Bilal was hiding his cattle in a hurry. Muhammedya was sending couriers to all sides to inform that the next day everybody must be in the plant. He personally went to Spassk for night having taken a wineskin of kumis, one sheep and a colt along. Sarybala went with him together. 
They arrived in the plant with the sunrise. Huts were empty in the outskirts. When the plant stopped working the workers went each his own way. There remained just several guardians. 
From afar one could see Orynbek’s white yourt that had been set among the huts on a green glade. His survived henchmen and dealers who pretended that they were workers were fussing at Orynbek personally. All were preparing to meet Saken Seifullin. 
Muhammedya rode around the yourt from one side, passed Kokuzek and stopped at aksakal’s Balaubay’s house. 
Balaubay was the father of the second Aubakir’s wife. The old man was well set, stately, always tidy dressed and sedate. He avoided all kinds of quarrels and scandals. He had not only kind appearance but a clean heart too. He wore a beshmet made of brown satin. He held one hand behind his back and stroked his grey beard with the second hand. Standing in the company of several aksakals he was noticeable distinguished by his height.            
Nearby him there gathered people known by the whole district: Sattibay’s son Abyl, Tashen’s son Tashmagambet, Kozhabek’s son Serik, a singe, a poet and a wit Ahmetbek who was especially famous by his performance of the song about Pushkin’s Tatiana in Abai’s translation. Here were their servants and helpers too. There were about forty persons in total quantity. All of them gathered according to yesterday’s Muhammedya’s call. 
Allowing nobody saying a word Ahmetbek was telling a long story how long ago biys Kazybek, Tule and Baidaly had tried to bring to peace three zhuzhs and restrain rascals who had been sucking people’s blood. Muhammedya interrupted: 
- Let’s go to meet the first. I see those ones want too.
- Saken might greet me. Perhaps he knows our Salken. Of course, he knows. – Balaubay pronounced self-satisfiedly.
Salken was his only son. He worked in Akmolinsk and sometimes printed his verses in a district newspaper. Balaubay wasn’t a boaster or a bubbler but he openly was proud with his son. The old man lived a very long life but he could tell just two short stories. One of them surely began with the words: “Our Salken”, and the second one: “For twenty-five times I went with tradesman’s Kubrin’s cattle to Orenburg”. Telling he repeated himself and added nothing new. These stories were not very interesting but Balaubay liked them and he thought others liked them too. Now he was also about to start: “Our Salken” but Muhammedya interrupted him:
- Well, another time, - and he mounted his horse. 
All followed his example except Balaubay. 
They moved in the direction of mountain Baidaulet to the west. Some time later Orynbek’s small group went there too. 
Saken Seifullin had to go there through the hills. It was unclear at whose henchmen’s he would stop – Muhammedya’s or Orynbek’s. But only one thing was clear: that one who will meet first the important guest will be the winner. Saken Seifullin was a member of the government. 
- Oh, Allah, help us understand what does “a member of the government” mean? – Tashmagambet from Muhammedya’s group begged. – Is he a district chief? Or a governor? He might become absolutely Russian but all the same he originates from a famous Kazakh tribe. I think something Kazakh has been left in him. If it’s so he might accept our invitation. 
Briskly Saryzhakyt from Orynbek’s group expressed his opinion more surely at that time:
- I’ll eat my boots if the work honour doesn’t come over the tribe’s honour. Saken must stay at our place! – And he proudly assumed a dignified air.
The groups were riding separately not approaching one to another and trying to ride forward. They exchanged some biting remarks from afar. 
There appeared about a dozen of riders on the slope of Baidaulet. They were riding in a gallop. The meeting ones started making noise: “Saken! Saken!” – and rode towards him raising dust, thudding with horses’ huffs against the solid ground. Each one was riding in a gallop at full speed trying to ride the first as if they raffled a big prize. 
- What’s up? – Saken asked holding his horse back and smiling. – It’s possible to put a fist in the nostrils of each of you.
- If nothing had happened our nostrils wouldn’t be swelling so much, - Muhammedya replied the first. – We would like to talk to you but first of all you should settle well. Our tables are laid. Be our guest, a public head. I invite you on behalf of these honorable people. 
And not waiting for an answer Muhammedya readily turned his horse intending to show the guest the way.  
But at this moment Orynbek rode forward and barred the road with his horse. 
- I invite you on behalf of workers! – Orynbek surely pronounced. – Our tables are laid too. If you want to drink some kumis from a black wineskin and eat some colt’s meat then follow myrza Muhammedya. But if you can be satisfied just with tea and bread then follow me, Saken!
Seifullin hesitated. His beautiful grey pied horse with a long neck under him was storming and didn’t stand on one place. It moved with his pointed ears, kicked, sniffed and endlessly waved with its head. The saddle was laid with silver. It sparked by each movement of the horse and played in the sunlight. But how much beautiful the pied horse was, how much all meeting ones liked horses their looks were fixed to Saken Seifullin personally. People’s speech couldn’t prettify him because he was really handsome. He wore a summer jacket made of Chinese tussah and square-tipped boots. He had a badge with the letters on his breast – a member of KirZIK (General Executive Committee) – and a thin white hat on the head. He sat straightly and firmly on the horse. It’s difficult just to pass such a man not fixing a look at him. His proud and slightly cold appearance told about his haughty temper.    
Seifullin glanced silently and examiningly over the crowd in front. Each felt constrainedly over his penetrating look.
- Let’s go to the workers! – Saken finally said pointing onto Orynbek with his chin.
People dropped their heads in Muhammedya’s group. However, they could do nothing else than to follow Saken. Orynbek rode nearby Saken and tirelessly said:
- Many bloody fights have taken place on this flatland at the foot of Baidaulet… Sokolov, a police officer of the plant and Volosnikov, a leader of Kolchak’s punitive detachment drove workers on the very flatland and cut out thin strips like a tape from skin of their backs. I hid but I was caught in those overgrowths of meadowsweet. Even under the Soviet power they didn’t let us live in peace. We owe you, dear Saken, up to death. You have pulled us out from the claws of the Egyptian vulture. Our life has become jollier and freer… 
Ahmetbek who was riding behind lashed his horse for several times and having caught up with Saken started speaking:
- Saken, my dear, we also have tongues and something to tell you if you wish to listen to. A younger one always greets an older one. People shouldn’t jump over laid tables. Don’t forget, my dear, Kazakh traditions. You see, aksakal Balaubay is standing at the entrance of his house and waiting for you. Why do you pass? Visit him. 
- Dear Ahmetbek, Saken doesn’t have any time to spare and keep all rituals, - Orynbek replied and started affectedly laughing. 
Saken turned to his small black-bearded companion on the right and asked something:
- Poet, Baisalbay’s son Ahmetbek, - the black-bearded explained having half-risen in the saddle.
Saken immediately turned his horse to Balaubay’s house. After dismounting he greeted the host. The simple-minded old man was very glad. His face started blushing with joy. Not knowing what to say he repeated for several times:
- I wish you would live long, my dear, live long!
The guest didn’t want to stay too long, refused from stallion’s meat, drank some kumis and went on his way.
Seifullin stopped in the white yourt among the huts. The yourt belonged to Orynbek’s friend Mahshay who pretended that he was a worker. It was unclear, where could a worker get such a white yourt from? By the way, Orynbek personally had the same yourt not far from here in valley Arshaly and exactly there he had about sixty heads of cattle. Why didn’t he invite Saken to his place but led here? Orynbek didn’t want to show his household. Here it was easier for him to pretend that he was a worker and had just one horse. He behaved freely, spoke bravely but he had noticeably less henchmen than Muhammedya. And people were going and going to Muhammedya from everywhere. Saken’s small black-bearded companion attracted attention of each one. He was respectfully called Auke. 
Not taking part in the fight of the parties Sarybala watched Saken. The member of the government washed his face, began to shave and freshened himself up after his trip. Sarybala was standing aside having leant against the cart and attentively watching what was going on. He remembered the words from Abai’s song again:
Not having gone aside,
Not having secretly whispered,
They couldn’t speak to their hearts’ desire. 
The opponents were ready to tear each other into pieces. They looked like a flock of hungry, heartless and cawing crows. Sarybala looked at Saken. He went on shaving. 
There appeared six dzhigits from the side of the plant. Sarybala recognized all of them. These were real workers whom he had seen for many times in Spassk: Arap’s son Duisen, brothers Sadvakas and Shamperdon, brothers Kasym and Karatyshkan and Bapbokysh’s son Maksut. They didn’t greet at once as steppe Kazakhs usually do but stopped at the guest and each one silently shook his hand.
Saken invited them to sit down and asked where they were from.
- We are workers of the plant, - thickset Duisen with red moustache answered.
- Perfect! Well, say me what business you have to me.
- We’ve come just to see you. We wish you would compose a song for us.
Saken smiled and looked with a smile at the youngest dzhigits – red Maksut with wide face and swarthy Karatyshkan. The both couldn’t quietly sit, spoke to each other in low voices and pushed each other on the sides.
- Agai, - Maksut addressed, - we ask you to sing a melody for your words at once.
Saken smiled again and having returned from the yourt stretched Maksut two sheets of paper covered with Arabic writing. 
- It’s difficult to compose a song at once, - Saken said. – Take this one that I’ve composed earlier. Please, you may learn it. And as for the melody it’s difficult to answer you. I’m a bad singer.
The dzhigit looked the sheets through and said:
- We already sing this song here, agai.
- Do you know the melody too?
- Yes, we do.
- Well, sing then. We’ll listen to.
Maksut smoothly sang:
Azamat, don’t bow down, cheer up,
Stand up hand by hand with your brothers.
We are for freedom and equality.
With the red flag we will go against darkness.
Saken’s restrain melted after he had listened to the song. He started speaking to Maksut warmly as to his brother. 
- I see you are a talented fellow. Do you want to learn? If you do I’ll take you along.
- I want to learn.
- Get your mother’s permission at first, my dear, - Duisen mumbled.
Saken checked him at once:
- I know no mother who will agree to live apart from her son. But it doesn’t mean that they have to live together all their lives long. A kind mother will see off with tears and then she will thank the fate when her son gets an education. Lenin says – we should learn, learn and learn. A worker is the owner of our state. But we have still few workers and very few educated ones. To govern a country you should have not only strength but knowledge too. You also need knowledge to distinguish a friend from an enemy. You should know something even for using a pick. Proletarians must prepare not only workers but our own scientists, statesmen and akin-writers too. They will not fall from the sky and nobody will send them from somewhere aside.
The workers came up just to greet but stayed long enough at Saken’s. 
- I’ll surely send you my new songs, - Saken promised when they were about to go away. – And as for you, Maksut, if you don’t change your mind pack your things then. We won’t be long here. 
Sarybala saw the workers off up to the very plant. On the way he had a talk with Sadvakas, an old stocky man with some prints of smallpox on the face and two heavy wrinkles on his forehead. Usually Sadvakas spoke little but if he said he did it directly like cut off. By his nature he was self-contained, strict and self-restrained like Sarybala. But when they met each other in such a way face to face they spoke about everything what their hearts were suffering from.
- The god is the witness, there’s something evil in the whispering of those ones who have met Saken, - Sadvakas said saying good bye. – You’ve come here but you do well that you don’t participate in this collusion. I don’t advise you to participate. They’ll dirt you.
- I won’t, I’ll stay aside because if I am involved I will not be able to stand it and start abusing. I think they won’t let me alone and try to slander me.
- Orynbek can say that your father is a hajji, your father-in-law is a bai and mix you with dirt. But let him just try. We’ll protect you. People haven’t forgotten who has repulsed that rowdy Muhtar. 
Sarybala was impressed by Sadvakas’s words very much.
He returned cheered up and with hope for support of honest people to the place where the important guest was receiving. 
The same black-bearded man of a small height was nearby Sarybala. People spoke to each other in low voices in the crowd: 
- Who is he?
- Yesenbek’s son, Aubakir.
- Saken’s friend.
With a gesture Yesenbekov invited all who wished and came into the yourt after Saken. 
There wasn’t enough room for all in the small yourt. Who didn’t get a place those ones had to stay at the entrance. Sarybala had time to squeeze inside, sat down at the door and attentively looked at the faces of those ones who were sitting on the place of honour. Yesenbekov sat on the right of Saken, Orynbek – on the left. Nobody moved or spoke. There settled a dead silence. Suddenly huge Abyl, Muhammedya’s parent-in-law, broke it:
- Dear Saken, having heard about your arrival we all, old and young, have gathered here to see you and complaint for our fate. We all with you are children of Altai-Karpyk tribe. Both you and your father are known by everybody. Now on the Kazakh land there moos a cow, roars a bear but it’s impossible to understand – who tears whom up. You know, each quarrel is known by peace after it. Set peace in our lands too. I and my old wife cannot even sleep in peace. We were taken away a good horse and tasty food. From time to time there comes somebody with a gun and starts shouting at you at every trifle at once: “A capitalist!” If you say a word in reply he starts crying: “I’ll arrest you”. Our children and wives live in constant fear. We ourselves like hares started frightening our own shades. I can directly speak just in your presence. But in the presence of somebody else I, a poor one, don’t dare even to open my mouth.
- Who offends you? – Saken asked staring at Abyl. 
- We cannot list all of them… There are such ones even in this yourt and even among those ones with whom you are sitting knee by knee. All outrages are made on behalf of the government. – Abyl smiled and stopped talking. 
Orynbek started crossly speaking:
- Why are you smiling, a fat and a gluttonous protector of the old times? You wish to say: down with the Soviet power! You have just this in your head now. You are afraid openly to say and grind your teeth with hate. Say, a rascal, say everything before to die! Your days are gone!
Muhammedya interfered at once:
- Be careful on turns, Orynbek! Not you but people should judge who of us is a rascal. If people define they’ll define it exactly. Saken, people have come to you. Forbid this dog to bark! 
- Nobody can cover my mouth with a kerchief! – Orynbek boiled over. – Don’t poke into my heart, a hungry jackal. I’m too hard for you to chew.
- You will not be able to swallow me easily too. 
- Enough, stop it! Everything is clear, - Saken angrily said and lifted his arm. 
There settled a dead silence in the yourt. Seifullin started slowly speaking weighing his words:
- The cleaning hurricane of October has come away. The sunny days have come. If ones of you are waiting for a new hurricane and the other ones want peacefully to bask in the both are mistaking. Workers and poor people have firmly taken the power into their hands. That one who tries to hinder them will die. Aksakal Abyl, if you go on legging us you’ll break your neck. You, Orynbek, have become a fighter for the new life. But don’t say that you’ll kill this fat one with one blow. You shouldn’t take off a head together with hair. But if you want to take off they’ll cut your hands off. Endless claims, quarrels and scandals among you lead exactly to these two after-affects. I’m not a biy or an aksakal of the old times. I don’t command but just explain the line of our government. Who doesn’t want to understand it in time that one will understand it later when he gets in a trouble… Now I want to say some words about my relation to some your fellows. People disapprove the fact that I have freed Orynbek from the prison. If a person has frankly admitted his or her guilt and sincerely asked for forgiveness – it’s a cruelty not to forgive him or her. However guilty a person is in his or her past but it’s a crime to remain heartless to him or her. Under Kolchak’s power I was put in irons and lagged. They tore out my hair on my head. Now the members of that punitive expedition have got into the hands of the Soviet power. I want to revenge nobody of them. If these people don’t improve and don’t stop their hostile actions against the workers’ and peasants’ power then, of course, they will be given to no quarter. That’s all what I wished to say about Orynbek and some your other fellows. 
- Don’t you hurt yourself if you pity your enemy? – Sarybala asked.
Saken quickly turned to him:
- You can have different enemies. Enmity can be different too. If an enemy is cruel and irreconcilable then the wounds given by him won’t be curable. Our relation to such an enemy is absolutely defined. I think Bekov doesn’t belong to the number of our irreconcilable enemies. When I tried to obtain his release from the prison I knew that he wasn’t absolutely clean before people. Everybody knows if a person is unguilty dozens of claims will not be sent against him. But however, Orynbek’s crimes are miserable if to compare them with Muhtar’s, Bimende’s, Aubakir’s and other rich men’s evil deeds. Kazakh feudal aristocracy that governed in the past still tries to rule the roots and save its influence in the steppe anyhow. Then why must the son of simple worker Bekov be pushed aside from the building of a new life? We shouldn’t treat people so cruelly. I have no doubts that Orynbek Bekov admits his guilt for his past and in the nearest future he will become an active soviet worker. 
Muhammedya’s henchmen dropped gloomily their heads and were silently sitting. It seemed that if somebody broke their ribs now they would have injuries much easier than these Saken’s words. There were heard just sighs of Muhammedya’s henchmen in the total silence. 
Orynbek stood up and asked to take the floor:
- Forgive me, people. –He addressed to everybody. – You know that I have grown up here among you and seen nothing in my life except this plant. Earlier I lived blindly, often mistook but there was nobody to correct me and fat rich man pushed me more and more into a precipice. It’s well that the day has come when I have understood and realized my former mistakes. Not only in the future, Saken-aga, but today I give you my firm word to serve the Soviet power. I repeat: not tomorrow but today, Saken, I stay with you forever1!
They were speaking long. After dinner the guests went away at once. Orynbek accompanied them.  

1Bekov has kept his word having redeemed his fault; the writer wanted to tell about this in his next book.

It was silent in the aul. It was the late night. There stopped barking dogs. One couldn’t hear youth’s songs. There went out fires of hearths at the yourts. It was impossible to see any lights over shanyraks. The night was dark as hell. There thievishly felt three dzhigits their way through the ravine behind the aul – Sarybala, Nurgali and Meiram. They stepped faintly and breathed soundlessly. Having stuck out up to their shoulders from the ravine they were long watching the grey yourt. There was heard only frequent beating of their hearts in the quiet night steppe.  
In the grey yourt there was lying a charming girl in the bed. Her eyes were closed but she wasn’t sleeping. The girl was floating on the wings of her dream. She was now hot then cold… Finally she was tired because of her long hovering in the clouds and she fell asleep. 
But in the imaginations of our dzhigits she wasn’t sleeping yet. They seemed that she was plaiting a ringing ribbon with silver coins, calling them with her smiling eyes and captivatingly laughing.
“Who is she calling? – Each dzhigit asked to himself and answered at once: - Of course, me…”
Suddenly there jumped a yellow bright male dog towards them. The young men lay on the ground and lurked like quails. 
The male dog was growling and approaching to the precipice with jumps. Nurgali pressed to the ground even more. To get rid of a minute of fear Nurgali would give an hour of love pleasure. Whoever the angriest male dog of the district couldn’t make be afraid! Having barked and jumped for some time, informed the master that the unexpected guests had lurked and were afraid to pause for breath the dog dropped in front of them on its belly and was guarding them and waiting. The dzhigits were lying. There passed one minute, the second, and the third one. The dog didn’t go away. The friends wanted very much to jump up and run away. But just try – the dog will attack at once like a leopard. In addition, they had nothing to defend themselves against it: neither a stick under the hand nor a stone. They couldn’t stay long here too. The day was breaking soon. The mischievouses could be caught and then it would be very shameful. 
Sarybala was the first who crept along the precipice. Having held their breath the friends followed him. Coiling like snakes they were creeping over the glade, the dust, the dirt until they found themselves at a save distance. The male dog didn’t want to run away from its master’s yourt. 
Being glad to their deliverance the friends forgot about recent fear. 
- Let’s scramble to Nurabek’s yourt, - Sarybala proposed.
Nurabek was a quiet and innocent old man. People called him Nurabek with rupture or lisping Nurabek. He had married his eldest daughter. He didn’t have sons. Nurabek had a small tabun. He had such kumis that nobody could drink except him: it wasn’t kumis but just a blue stone potion. He always pitied his horses and walked on foot. 
And here the losers came up to Nurabek’s yourt. Coward Nurgali who had never come to girls at nights before suddenly became brave. The friends began to argue: who of them will try his hand at and scramble to Nurabek’s daughter. 
- Stop bubbling, I’ll go! – Nurgali said with decision. 
Sarybala and Meiram let him have. 
The friends listened to. Only Nurabek’s snoring and Nurgali’s tooth clatter broke the silence. The squeaking door opened soundlessly when the huge clumsy dzhigit scrambled into the yourt. He moved quieter than a fly. There stood a pot with milk on the support over the hearth. The girl was sleeping on the floor at the partition on the right. Nurgali was going up to her and shivering as if he had a fever. His trousers were rolled up to his knees. His sleeves were rolled up too. He wished to get under the girl’s blanket. But the pot barred him the way, damn it. He wished safely to pass it. Otherwise everything was in vain. 
The two outside were bored. Jokes at their relatives were sometimes cruel in the auls. Sarybala fixed the door with the help of the fine string from the tundik outside and Meiram started rubbing against the yourt like a cow. 
- Die, a damned one, die! – There heard Nurabek’s voice at once. 
Meiram went on rubbing.
- It will break, a miserable one, the yourt is hardly standing without this. It’ll break, ai-bai! – The old man worried, jumped up from his bed and grasped a stick with cry: “I’ll beat the rest of your horns off!”
Nurgali ran to the exit and came across the pot. The pot started rattling and the milk poured out on the floor.
- Help, help! I’m robbed! – The old man shouted. 
His desperate cry got up the whole aul. Even puppies started barking. Slapping over the poured out milk Nurgali dashed around in search of the exit. He pulled the door but far from it! 
Nurabek with the stick in his hand was relentlessly pursuing the troublemaker. Now one then the other one stumbled with rattling against the pot. The old man was waving with his stick but he couldn’t manage anyhow to hit and he was tirelessly crying: “He-e-elp!” Finally he hit Nurgali exactly in his nose and that one squealed. 
Sarybala and Meiram untied the door and started running. Nurgali ran out like a cork from a neck of a bottle after them. His nose was bleeding but he didn’t notice this and was on the scamper. A pack of dogs rushed after him with loud barking. Here the pack caught up with the unlucky troublemaker and the front dog jerked his trousers. Nurgali was beating off in motion. He had no time to look around and he didn’t notice how he dropped into a deep well. But as usually it can be in such cases nothing bad was happened with him. On the contrary, Nurgali bathed and washed all dirt. Having surrounded the well the dogs were waiting and looking at him. Having sunk in the water up to his ears Nurgali decided to trust his fate to Allah…
In the meantime the aul inhabitants who had gathered for Nurabek’s cry understood the situation and started abusing the poor old man. 
- Wasn’t your father a young man and your mother a girl? 
- What for have you alarmed everybody as if robbers have attacked the aul?
But one of just old women started protecting Nurabek: 
- Does a dzhigit visit a girl for turning over a kettle and a yourt? Earlier dzhigits were artful like cats. They came and went away noiselessly that not only our parents but even we didn’t notice. And as for nowadays’ men, oh my god! They are so sluggish and clumsy. 
Nurabek who was about to calm down boiled over again: 
- Is he a dzhigit? A rascal! I have boiled the whole pot of milk and now there isn’t left even a bowl! Damn you! Die, a dog! Not a girl I wish you to have in your arms but a grief for your head! If you don’t think about my rest be unhappy! Would everybody who wants mock at me if I had a son, oiboi? 
Sarybala came home and went to bed. The auls were situated close to each other and one could clearly hear Nurabek’s damnations. 
The mother shook him in order to awaken with a great difficulty. Having opened his eyes Sarybala saw a small pitted dzhigit on the place of honour. It was already midday. 
- I see, our youth walks at nights and sleeps during the day. Baibishe is crying in the neighbouring yourt: “Get up, get up, Meiranzhan!” – The stranger said with a smile.
- Yes, somebody has prowled at night today, - Sarybala supported the conversation. – You might have been among them too, my quick-witted friend. Where are you going? Where are you from? I’ve not recognized you.
- My name is Kabyl. My father’s name is Bleusiz. I’ve come from Akmolinsk. 
- If I don’t mistake you work in the district committee of youth.
- Yes, you don’t.
Mustafa interrupted their conversation. He came in having leather overshoes shod barefooted on his feet and with long beads in his hands. Nurabek who was greatly offended came with him together. They had met at dawn behind the aul after the Morning Prayer. Nurabek might have told him about what had happened at night and they silently came into the yourt. Mustafa took his place. 
The guest greeted the old men by the hands. Mustafa said him just: “Are you healthy, dear?” – and not looking at the guest any more he went on to tell his beads. Hadisha warningly poked him for one time but the hajji didn’t pay any attention. Then she whispered him in the ear: “Leave your beads!” Mustafa didn’t obey. “He has a revolver!” – Hadisha threatened. Mustafa smiled and loudly answered everybody to hear:
- A stupid one. You’d better to be afraid not of a revolver but of the god. A revolver is in a human’s hands but a human is in the god’s hands. 
- I wish our children don’t have any troubles because of you!
- If your son is a real man he will be able to avoid any troubles by himself. But if he is a fool your care will not help him.
Being deep in his own thoughts Nurabek suddenly interfered in the conversation: 
- No, hajji, I’ll migrate to you, migrate. Otherwise these troublemakers will rob me! Take me under your protection!                      
- Accept the protection of the god, Nureke. 
- The god has offended me, my dear!
- Oh my god, perish the thought! You should ask for his mercy, Nureke, but not take offence.
- I’m sick of asking for his mercy, dear.
- Then address to the power. It takes people under its protection.
- Till it takes me under protection I’ll be eaten alive. Where has the power been earlier when I was offended? If not you, would Ahmedy have returned me my black mare?
- Ahmedy wasn’t afraid of me but of the power.
- I know just one thing: I’ve addressed to you. And it’s not my business how you have achieved this.
Hadisha couldn’t stand their conversation any more and hotly said: 
- God forbid becoming your neighbour, Nurabek. Go away. Let us have a rest.
But Nurabek didn’t want to go away. Then having taken a pinch of salt Hadisha moved to the fire. Mustafa angrily cried:
- Stop it, a stupid woman! 
According to the popular belief if to throw some salt in the fire a human will have a hernia. 
Nurabek frightened and jumped up but Mustafa sat him down.
- Even dogs despise a human in rags. People but only people with a dog’s temper also despise him. Has poor Nureke little suffered because of violence and insult? If we are not able to help him with something good let’s him not do harm at least. Why to touch the wounds of a worn-out human? It will be better to help him by a friendly advice or a warm word. For many times you have asked for my help, Nureke. You may migrate to our aul. I don’t have anything against to be your neighbour. 
Showering Mustafa with the words of thanks Nurabek came out from the yourt. Through habit Sarybala cracked a joke about his father:
- Does it mean that all kindness isn’t from you but from Mahomet?
- Are you joking about Mahomet or speaking seriously, my son? Anyway I’ll answer you seriously. I like Lenin because he is loved by people and by you. You should also respect Mahomet who is loved by me and by people. Respect doesn’t mean worship. That one who is able to respect others calls respect to himself too.
Kabyl gave Sarybala a wink: you shouldn’t argue with such a one, you won’t be able to defeat him. Then he nodded him and invited to come out. 
It was hot in the yard. The ground was hotted too. Everything living hid, even snakes that like the sun were looking for some shade. Only gadflies were glad attacking motionless and worn-out by the heat cattle with a jolly buzzing.
- Oh, it’s so hot! Have you read “Metrazh”? – Sarybala started the conversation.
Kabyl tchicked. That one went on:
- When it is the end of the world the sun will drop to the ground at the length of a lance. The earth will turn into hot carbons. The universe will howl in one accord and in this choir each one will beg for mercy. People say that only Mahomet rides a horse with wings between the god and the earth. Today’s day looks like the end of the world and gadflies – like Mahomet.
- By the way, your father was right in your arguing, - Kabyl noticed. – You shouldn’t judge Mahomet so zealously and touch superstitious people.
Kabyl attentively examined the unknown aul. Sarybala followed his look. 
Here was old Abish, Nurgali’s father, a paralytic. He was motionlessly dreaming in the shade of his torn yourt. He couldn’t walk. His legs were weak. His hands were suitable only for lifting food to his mouth. A living but a helpless creature. However Abish didn’t want to die. But as for Mustafa’s youngest brother Hametshan, a tall, thickset, black like a Negro strong and shy by his nature man in spite of the heat he didn’t go away from his furnace and was forging ringing iron since the very morning. Sweat ran over his body. His shirt made of coarse calico became soaked with dirt. Hamet’s wife was busy about the house and four little children were watching each hit of the father’s hammer. To the smoked yourt there was tied just one colt. There was standing and quietly neighing a chestnut short-tailed mare nearby it. Hametzhan left his hammer for a minute or so to milk the mare and went to the anvil again. Sweat was running over his temples on the beard and dropped on his shirt. But the blacksmith didn’t leave his work.  
“Oh, life, life! You are so interesting, so painful and so changeable. You can stop today but a human works and works as if he or she is immortal. There is so much wonderful in the world, so many mysterious phenomenonna. We should learn them and understand. But a human’s life is short. Some time I’ll go to the after-life too not having understood you, my life. Perhaps these empty thoughts doesn’t trouble Kabyl so much as me”.
Slowly stepping Kabyl directed to the last white yourt. There was written with large letters over its entrance: “Down with illiteracy!” 
- How many people learn? – Kabyl jolly asked.
- Fifteen – Sarybala readily answered. – In general, teenagers. But bearded Bukpantan, ill Abisha’s son, and poor girl Zhanyl from that black hut learn too. It’s the first time when I see such pupils among Kazakhs like them. 
- Do they learn in an old or in a new manner?
- In a new manner. I learnt in an old Arabic manner and hardly studied grammar for one year. And they have learnt both write and read for one month. 
- Who pays the teacher?
- He is a wonderful man. He teaches poor people free. The rest pays what they can. 
- I hear about this teacher for the first time. What is his name?
- Tulsubai. His elder brother works in Spassk – carpenter Adiyabek.
Sarybala and Kabyl reached the white yourt. Its door was closed. They opened it and came in. They saw a covered bed on the floor at the partition. At the top of the wide sack there hanged a Lenin’s portrait cut out from a journal. It was clean, tidy and cosy in the small housing. 
- Where are its hosts?
- Perhaps they’ve gone to bathe. 
Only now when they had stayed face to face in the peopleless yourt Kabyl said Sarybala about the aim of his arrival. The district committee of youth had sent him to create youth units in the auls. He had already organized one in Tasheke’s aul. He wanted to create here one more unit. 
- What do you think about this?
Sarybala asked: 
- What will the members of this unit do?
- Oh, we have much work. You will be communists’ helpers, an organizing centre of aul youth, pioneers in all political, economic and cultural measurement and beginnings, in short, the right hand of the party and of the government. 
- It would be enough to be just its left hand. All youth in the auls is under the impact of fathers and aksakals. There are too few young people who try to live independently. 
- At first we should unite these few ones and get involved more farm hands and poor people. Who is suitable for this, to your mind? Call me their names, - Kabyl asked and pulled out a notebook from his pocket. 
Sarybala named four with difficulty. 
- Well, for example, young man of muscles Nurgali, ill Abisha’s son. He isn’t a brave one but he has an impressive dignity. He can impress people just with his appearance. Then my agemate and cousin Meiram, the most honest of honest ones and frank. He is also a poor man. Then orphan Izbasar, a business, clever and already literate person. He lives a bit better than those two ones. Among girls – Zhanyl, a farm hand’s daughter. She is shy by her nature but if she feels support she will grow bolder. Burning coal under ash doesn’t give out warmth but if to take away the ash and blow the coal will burn out. Zhanyl is like this fire covered with ash. 
- It’s too few. Who else?
- Just they now.
- Why haven’t you called yourself? 
- You said about getting involved just farm hands and poor people. And I’m a low-powered peasant of average means. Besides, my father is a hajji, my father-in-law is a bai. My grandfathers as people call them now are feudalists. 
- People say Allah punishes for sins each person separately. You shouldn’t answer either for your grandfathers or for your father. 
- I know that I shouldn’t. But people will rebuke me for my origin and I don’t want this. 
- I wish it wouldn’t turn out that you are coward but not Nurgali. 
- Cowardice and cleanness – these are the heavens and the earth. 
- It’s difficult to have you floored in a discussion, young man. I directly say you: Katchenko has advised me to get you involved in a youth unit. 
- Katchenko? – Sarybala asked for one more time in surprise. 
The surname of a famous Bolshevik had firmly sat I his mind since that meeting. “My brother, I rely on you”, - not for one time he remembered the words of the thickset, red and sincere communist with freckled face. And now he stood before Sarybala’s eyes. Usually self-possessed and quiet Sarybala cheered up and became merry as it had been then, one year ago in the wide steppe covered with feather grass when Katchenko had been telling him about a new life and given advices. 
- Then write me too! – Sarybala decided. 
- I’ve already written you down. Now help me induce those ones who you’ve called.
- Three of them will go with me through fire and water. It will be difficult to come to an agreement with Zhanyl. But all the same I’ll try.
There heard a song. There were approaching some ringing young voices. 
Azamat, toe our line as a fighter
Open your eyes and look at the world…
- Ours are singing, - Sarybala said. – “A song is a tsarina of words”, people say. “Oratory is the best occupation”. I think it’s necessary to add in addition: “Even golden words become clay ones in unskillful mouth”. But a bright speech can enliven even the simplest thing. Authority is also important for having more convincingness. I’ve seen Katchenko and Seifullin. If Nurgali had seen them earlier than me and repeated me their thoughts as his ones I wouldn’t have been impressed so much by these people. 
- You’ll have time for philosophy some later. Let’s continue the begun thing. I’ll explain your dzhigits their tasks and responsibilities in this youth organization and you will speak to Zhanyl. Try to convince her. 
Speaking loudly to each other several young dzhigits came in the yourt. Zhanyl and teacher Tuleybay were with them together. He was young with thin whiskers that were hardly visible but the teacher tried to twist them. He always had a longing for newcomers, especially for town authorized officers. Tuleybay was hungry for news. At once he started questioning Kabyl having hardly stepped over the threshold. Sarybala asked Zhanyl to come out with him for an important conversation. 
- I’ve some business to you. But promise at first that you will agree. 
- Oh, my god! What are you speaking about?
- Don’t be afraid. Absolutely not about the thing that you are thinking in panic. 
- Well, say then. 
- You see this authorized representative has come from Akmolinsk to create a youth unit in our aul. He wants to get me, you, Izbasar, Meiram and Nurgali involved in it. What do you think about this?
- And you?
- I’ll enter. 
- The owner’s baibishe won’t let me. She doesn’t always let me go even for learning. If I don’t obey she becomes angry and can even beat me.
- If you enter this unit anybody dares not only to beat but also abuse you. 
- And if the baibishe drives me out what to do then? My parents are old and ill. Then we’ll remain without any food at all. 
- This unit will help in any case. 
- What for a unit is it – two-three people? They should help themselves at first. 
- You don’t understand what it is a unit. If to look further then a unit – it is the Soviet power, it is the communistic party, it is Lenin! 
- Oh, Allah! Will Lenin really hear our words?
- When you get a splinter in your finger your head will feel pain at the same moment. Let’s think, Lenin is the head, a unit is a finger. A great number of Igilik’s offsprings oppressed and deceived our numerous tribe of Karamurat before the revolution. Now having the support of the Soviet power a small youth unit will start the fight against the parasitic top and will dethrone it tomorrow. It’s just time to have end with fat-bellied ones and open a wide way for people of labour. I wish each one would get a right to learn any trade. I wish a woman would be equal in rights with a man. Then Zhanyl won’t nurse somebody else’s children all her life long. That’s why we need a unit. 
The broad freckled face of the poor girl turned pale expressing now joy then fear. But her blue eyes started burning with a hope. 
- Decide by yourself, agatai, - the exciting girl pronounced. – I just wish to be no better off than before.
She was excited. And how! Zhanyl was a weak quail in the bai’s cruel claws. It would be good if this unit could tear her out from these claws. And if it doesn’t tear out Zhanyl will be lost. Although the time was already soviet but bais were still very powerful. Zhanyl’s fear and excitement assured Sarybala for one more time that the fight wouldn’t be easy. 
- Let’s risk, Zhanyl! – He said finishing the conversation.
Those ones who had stayed in the yourt solved the question earlier than them. Izbasar, Nurgali and Meiram had already taken questionnaires. Sarybala and Zhanyl followed their example. If earlier they had gathered five together they had merrily joked, pushed each other, sung songs and started fighting. Now they were keeping silent being busy with their questionnaires. Their hearts were frequently beating. Each one imagined his or her future in his or her own way and looked forward to changes in his or her life. Serious intentions kept the young people from thoughtlessness. The fervent fussy youth calmed suddenly down and became solid and self-restrained. 
- Now we shouldn’t spill somebody else’s milk, - Sarybala said as if in passing. Nurgali googled at him and bit his lip. – Do you forgive me? – Sarybala asked.
Having looked at the questionnaire Nurgali nodded. In such a way Sarybala avoided a dressing down. If Kabyl hadn’t come with such an important affair he would go with bruises for his night trick. 
Being in his own thoughts Kabyl was walking back and forth around the yourt. He was satisfied and was thinking about his message for the district committee. He will come there as a winner as if he had turned a mountain over. His heart was triumphing. It was just a small but all the same a success. “Perhaps they will thank me officially!” – Kabyl rejoiced. Nobody of the dzhigits felt the heat because each of them was hotted by this unit more than by the sun. At midday Kabyl gathered the questionnaires, the applications, the autobiographies and put them in his bag. 
- It might be that the organization’s title will be “Descendants”, - he said. – After approval by the district committee I’ll bring you your party cards and hand them by myself. 
When Kabyl mounted his horse having had a good feed of tea and cheese in Mustafa’s house Mahambetshe was cinching his horse. Having pressed down its ears the gelding jerked the master by his hip. Mahambetshe angrily cried:
- Even cattle have become mad in the fourth aul! And why shouldn’t it be mad? Mustafa has Allah on his lips, beads in his hands and his son is an adherent of a different faith. Their house has turned into a devil’s hearth. Oh, what unclear and terrible times have come!
Having heard his elder brother’s exclamations from afar Mustafa pronounced in a low voice:
- Many of such impious ones like you have left this world with damnations and sobbing. Who of you has left the world being satisfied? It’s impossible to change your fate with the help of damnations. Each time has its own traditions. People honour traditions of that one whose bread they eat. 

Claiming against each other Muhtar and Bilal cleared their misuses and crimes. The affair was finished with the fact that they were driven out and poor man Tusip was appointed to the post of a volost’s head.
Having lost their posts the enemies didn’t stop the fight and tried to repay to each other. Now one then the other party came over. Having chosen a proper moment Muhtar achieved Bilal’s arrest and put him in the Akmolinskiy prison together with his elder brothers Yahiya and Shaihy. 
The prison was overcrowded with all kinds of pack of swindlers, rascals, speculators and small adventurers. Unguilty ones got there too becoming a victim of ancient enmity. On one side, people suffered from the after-effects of the long war, illnesses and hunger, on the other side – from all kinds of local douche bags who used the muddle and hurried to settle old scores with honest people. The young soviet republic, the Soviet state that didn’t get stronger yet put persistently and step by step the ideas of the socialism into practice. But rich men inside the country and capitalists abroad didn’t stop chattering that the soviet days had been gone and that the Soviets were about to fall down. 
Everywhere illiterate population of the auls went on migrating around the steppe not having any constant housing. If there weren’t cattle in the auls there wouldn’t be any life too. And Kazakhs’ cattle can become a victim of one jute as a man of muscles – a victim of one bullet. Nomads have a difficult temper. If they rise up it’s difficult to calm them down. If they calm down it’s difficult to raise them up again. As a matter of fact Kazakhs are a young nation that hasn’t united in one state before and that hasn’t worked out the laws, united traditions and rules. The power of new ideas broke through every restraint and destroyed any barriers. 
The whole world of violence we will destroy 
To its foundation and then
We will build our new world
Who was nothing will become all.
These words gave hope to the hearts of poor people. The flame of the class fight that was smouldering between poor people and bais from ancient times started burning out again. Bais threatened but what bad could a snake do with a cut off head? However, anyway many poor people honoured through habit their nobility. “A castrated camel can be afraid of a head of a died camel sire”, - Kazakhs say.  
At such turbulent times Akmolinskiy district executive committee called Sarybala from the aul and sent to work as a deputy chief of the district police. The chief was Salken Balaubaev, an aksakal’s son from Spassk. The young man from the aul who hadn’t seen a town, hadn’t visited the special courses and hadn’t served at any institution tackled such a responsible job. It was good that Sarybala didn’t have his nose in the air. If he didn’t know anything he asked his chief about this.
Katchenko was outplaced in principal town of a province Kzyl-Zhar – Petropavlovsk. Sarybala knew nobody else of Russian Bolsheviks except him. It seemed to him that small Akmolinsk was a huge town, his post in the police – a high important post. When Sarybala realized the importance of his post he was dizzy but however, he didn’t forget his native aul. Before his eyes he saw the pictures of his steppe life, the space that one couldn’t catch with his or her eyes, noisy auls on the meadows, boys playing asikis, horse races on yearling foals, young boys’ tricks, his rough friend Nurgali, openhearted Meiram, calm father and bustling mother who made joyful their comfortless hearth that was always suffering from need. It seemed to him that he saw kids that were swiftly jumping over steeps. When Sarybala had lived in the aul he had wanted to go to the town of boredom. But now he missed his aul. His native places attracted him perhaps because in the foreign unknown town Sarybala always walked sad and felt lonely among many people in addition. If he were more sociable he could have many friends and much influence. 
At those times for nomads a rare work could have more authority than serving in the police. Then people say: “Apply to the volost’s executive committee and to the police…” Sarybala didn’t use this authority and he often acted sluggishly and irresolutely. His appearance wasn’t very solid too – an old service cap, square-tipped boots, a chapan, a revolver on his belt in which there were just two cartridges. His scabbard and sabre were beaten and cracked. His clothes were half-Russian, half-Kazakh. He was grey-eyed and red and looked like a Russian. Mocking Kazakhs started purposely speaking Russian to him. That’s why Sarybala didn’t take his chapan off. When he was asked: “Are you a Kazakh, dear?” – Sarybala angrily answered: “And as for you? Are you a Kazakh?”
In general, his work was to watch order in the town, fight against robbery and speculation. And when it was opened a case against horse thieves Sarybala remembered elusive Zhoken and Shagyr who had robbed some time ago Mustafa’s poor aul. Cholera and other infection diseases were rife and rampant in the town. There were a lot of robbers, speculators and homeless children in the market. Sarybala heartlessly fined troublemakers and speculators. At those times people fined without any checks or receipt. There was no control over money that was taken on account of fines. Each morning there heard the voice of district police chief Baiseit Adilov in the office:
- Do you have anything to take a drink "the morning after"? Give it here. 
The chief put out his hand in the window. Balaubaev put some money in his hand without counting. People said in the town that Adilov was able to swallow a camel with wool and drank vodka like water.
Sarybala was indignant: “How can people think that the actions of the police are just and impartial when its chief is a drunkard and a bribetaker?”
Once Sarybala was visited by a stranger who gave him a letter folded in a triangle and went away without saying a word. It was written in the letter:
“You’ve become such a good police officer that you’ve forgotten even your relatives! You’ve put on a sabre and forgotten about everybody. Muhtar and Aubakir put us to a prison and laughed satisfiedly and you are able not only to help but even visit us. Shaihy is ill for cholera, Yahiya can hardly walk. I feel badly too but I’m holding still. If you still have just a drop of the tribe honour and human’s pity try to visit me. Good bye. Otherwise we will meet in the after-life. Bilal.”
The young police officer jumped up at once and rushed to the prison. “He was deservedly punished, - Sarybala mumbled under his nose. – But how cannot I pity him?”
Having come in the office of the prison Sarybala called Bilal through the guards. The relative became lean, pale but he wasn’t broken. If earlier he had grown angry at every trifle now Bilal learnt to restrain himself but he became even angrier because of this. Having fixed his sharp eyes at the brother Bilal gave him three commissions:
- Shanhy is in a hospital. I don’t think that he will return. Visit him if you don’t disdain. Speak to Adilov, he has to take your opinion into account! If he doesn’t comply with your request give him a bribe but you must achieve Yahiya’s discharge. If he isn’t released now he will die. It’s not so easy to discharge me. The investigator gave my case to the court. The judge goes around the districts and will return not earlier than in a month or so. Up to that time I won’t be able to avoid cholera that kills all people without exception now. Investigator Sunitskiy works here. Find him and say that he must achieve Muhtar’s arrest anyhow and put him at least for one day into one cell with me. I’ll care about the rest by myself and ask nobody of you for help any more. You were neither my friend nor my enemy. But now prove me – are you my friend or my enemy? 
- Well, I’ll prove, - Sarybala assured. 
Having come out from the office of the prison he directed to the administration of the district police. He was going and going but suddenly he stopped… He started quickly walking again but he stopped again too…
Two feelings were fighting in him. One said: “Come back. Don’t go to the administration. Why do you go? To protect thief Yahiya? Where are your conscience, honesty and fairness?” 
But the second feeling required: “Go to the administration and achieve Yahiya’s discharge. He is unguilty. He was put in the prison because of Muhtar’s slanderous information. Of course, Yahiya took the offence. I should help him, help!”
Sarybala decidedly came in Baiseit Adilov’s office without asking for permission. Adilov was an old man with a thin, almost womanish voice and with a red face. When he was sober he was very polite, kind but when he was drunk he became ugly. Now Adilov was slightly drunk. The sweated tip of his nose spoke about this. Having put his hand on Halim Aubakirov’s shoulder he was telling him about something. Under the Kolchak’s power they both had been persecuted, caught and put in the prison. They together had gone through hardships and torments of those hard days. Halim was known by the whole district as a strict fair communist. All people were equal for him, Russians and Kazakhs, local ones and newcomers. That’s why Aubakirov had got a nickname “kara-nogayem” – a black Tatar. He was a swarthy, black dzhigit of low height with big eyes and stroked back hair. He was about to go away when Sarybala came in. 
- Kara-nogay! – Baiseit said saying good bye. – If we didn’t die in a Kolchak’s prison now we’ll live about one hundred years or so, am I right?
- Of course! 
- And our friendship will be firm up to one hundred years too, am I right?
- Without doubt. 
The friends parted in such a way. However their friendship wasn’t long-lived. Running a few steps forward I would like to tell in short about the further fate of these friends. Two years later they met in endless steppe Saryarka. Baiseit killed Halim with his own hands, threw the body in water and hid himself. Baiseit shot himself during his arrest. 
Could the firm friends really think then what was waiting for them in the future? Oh, frail world! Sometimes a clever one can be lost in three pine-trees, a brave one can become weak and lose heart at one moment. How could Sarybala know about this all? Now he was ready to fight selflessly for the future which he believed in. It was too little use from his actions. Sarybala was inexperienced and sometimes light-hearted. 
- What’s up? – Worried Adilov asked having seen Sarybala who had run into the office. – Is everything all right?
- No, not everything is all right. One my relative is in the prison. He is ill for cholera and in the prison now. The second my relative is at death’s door and he will die if you don’t discharge him. I won’t hide from you the fact that my relative is a famous thief Yahiya. 
- I know, know that he is a thief! But I didn’t know that he is your relative. 
- Don’t think that I’ve come to ask for him because of my relative feelings. I’m sure that Yahiya is unguilty. I know what he is accused of. Some years ago in one Russian settlement of our lands there disappeared some heads of cattle. Muhtar was the volost’s head. The cattle’s owner applied to Muhtar with the claim and that one pointed to Yahiya without thinking. Somebody else stole and perhaps being before instructed personally by Muhtar, he is able to do this. In general, only Allah knows the truth but Yahiya is unguilty here. I’ve heard by myself not for one time how he warned his friends: “We will be satisfied with the cattle of tribes Karakesek and Suyundik. Don’t touch Russian settlements and our relatives!..” It’s easy to lay any theft at Yahiya because he is very famous with his robbery past. The men embittered because of the loss beat him so much that he cannot come to life again up to now. If to add heavy prison conditions and terrible disease that had enveloped the town to his beating that will be the end of him soon. Release him, I beg you. Parole him as the last resort.     
- Who will parole him?
- Darmen and Syzdyk. 
- I know, they are reliable people. 
Having thanked Sarybala went to the exit but Baiseit stopped him. 
- Listen to, dzhigit! Send me something to freshen the nip if you are able to get it…
- I’ll try, - Sarybala promised and went away. 
The hospital was situated at the very edge of the town. Nobody was let there except the service staff. Sarybala decided to go there at any cost. Having remembered Baiseit he thought that people said not in vain: “Mullahs grow fat at funerals, oxen – at tois and shameless officials – when a human is in a trouble.”
When Sarybala came up to the hospital the guardian started waving with his hands:
- Here are infectious diseases, cholera!
- I am not afraid.
- You mustn’t go here. Quarantine! 
- I have a permit. 
- What?              
- This one! – Sarybala showed his revolver and pushed the guardian aside. He went to the yard of the hospital. 
There stood the only building built of burnt bricks and two-three tents in the yard. Died people were put to the tents and patients were lying in the house. One could feel a smell of medicine from afar. 
Having held his nose Sarybala came in the house. He had hardly stepped over the threshold when a woman in a white coat ran up to him at once. 
- It’s forbidden to come in here! Come back immediately!
- I want to know. Is Mahambetshin living?  
- Yes, he is.
- In what room? 
- In the fifteenth. 
- I’ll just look and go away at once. 
- No, no, no! Comrade police officer, don’t make disorder! If you disorder who will keep the order then?
Not listening to the woman Sarybala went to the ward and opened the door. Six patients were lying on the beds and each of them was groaning. Their blackened faces shrank as if they were burnt with fire. Their eyes were sunken and gloomily glancing from out the deep eye-sockets. No one could speak. Having recognized the relative Shaihy stretched his hand with difficulty. Sarybala rushed towards but the doctor grasped him by his chapan: 
- You’ve said you just look. You’ve looked at. Now go away! – She led him from out the ward. Having gone to the outside door Sarybala started suddenly crying and asked through tears:
- Has anybody who was ill for this disease recovered at all? 
- Rarely. 
- Will Shaihy really die?
- If he doesn’t die at this night he will live.
The night took Shaihy along. In the morning he was carried out from the building to the tent full of died people. The corpses were lying undressed. Their heads were strewed with chlorides of lime. Grave-diggers loaded ten dead bodies on the cart and drove them to the cemetery. They all will be buried in one grave. Sarybala walked with the grave-diggers together and saw everything. He buried his uncle by himself. He didn’t disdain, wasn’t afraid to become infected and didn’t cry today as yesterday in spite of the fact that his heart was bleeding. 
Having buried Shaihy Sarybala decided to act. From the cemetery he directly directed to the apartments of investigator Sunitskiy. If he met volost’s head Muhtar on his way Sarybala would surely shoot him and wouldn’t look for Sunitskiy. Sarybala had learnt in one form with the investigator’s wife, Valia Sitnikova, at the Spassk’s plant. Sunitskiy was a Bilal’s friend. Earlier he had worked in the Spassky district as an intervolost’s public judge but recently he moved to Akmolinsk. 
The young married couple met with joy the sudden guest. Having learnt about the grief happened with Bilal Sunitskiy thought for some time. 
- Is Muhtar here or in the aul? – He asked when they sat to have tea. 
- Here. 
- Then we must put the rascal in the prison! But it’s difficult to discharge Bilal. He might die if not to release him. 
- If we achieve Muhtar’s arrest Bilal will be discharged. 
- In what a way?
- Muhtar will release Bilal by himself. The judge will obey him. 
- Then everything is all right. Remember me to Bilal. The most during three days I’ll try to fulfill his request. 
Sunitskiy fulfilled his promise before the term. When Muhtar came in the cell Bilal was dreaming lying on the plank bed and jumped up at once as a cat who had noticed a mouse. Having seen him Muhtar started shuddering and the first greeted respectfully Bilal who was an agemate of his son:
- Salamaleikum! 
Bilal collared the former volost’s head and started strangling him. 
Blood spurted from Muhtar’s nose and he lost consciousness. Bilal could kill his enemy. He was so angry. With great difficulty people could remove his hands from Muhtar’s neck. There settled silence in the cell. Some arrested one who was lying in the corner started hysterically crying:
- Why have you parted them? I wish these two wolves would tear each other into pieces! The life will become happy when all these chiefs, drunkards and thieves disappear. These chiefs suck each other’s blood and kill their relatives without any exception. A drunkard isn’t able to distinguish a day from a night. Down off with these damned ones! When will all of them die? Only then I’ll be able to calm down. I’m not guilty in anything, in nothing but the enemies have put me in the prison. The same ones like these two have done it! – And he lay again in his corner having drawn the blanket over his head. 
Nobody replied his cry. All were sitting and keeping silent having dropped their heads. Bilal boiled over again: 
- A dog bites, a snake stings. He has killed one my brother, the second one is more dead than alive. He decided to put me in the prison for all my life and had a good time out of prison! – He cried and attacked Muhtar again. 
Three hefty prisoners could hardly restrain him and began to persuade:
- Calm down, dear, calm down. We’ll make him drop to our feet, calm down! 
- We’ll make Muhtar admit his guilt and swear that he won’t touch you any more!..
Bilal stopped. Muhtar dropped at his feet and swore: I’ll be your friend up to your death! If I’m discharged earlier than you I’ll achieve your release during five days. 
Bilal sat down to write a letter for Sunitskiy with request to discharge Muhtar. 
Muhtar’s friend Yergaly, bai Zhylkybai’s son, delivered the letter. But before to deliver he sold two horses and registered the got money in the State Political Administration. The bai’s son brought the letter to Sunitskiy together with the money. The investigator guessed at once what the matter was. 
- Please, go to the next room and wait, - he said Yergaly and wrote the act for Yergaly’s arrest at once for the fact that he proposed a bribe for the purpose to release criminal Muhtar. Sunitskiy drew up the report for the money. Yergaly who suspected nothing signed it. After that Sunitskiy said Yergaly: - I release Muhtar. But bring this envelope to the prison. 
Yergaly went away being very satisfied with the fact that he had been able to kill two birds with one stone – both discharged Muhtar and put Sunitskiy in a prison. He came in the prison with a merry smile, gave the envelope and learnt about his mistake only when the chief of the prison closed him in the cell. 
After discharging Muhtar disappeared at once. He forgot both about his oath and about Bilal and about Yergaly. Sarybala had to take up his brother’s case again. With the help of the very Sunitskiy the prison doctor replaced Bilal to the hospital. Here Bilal achieved the permission to be released for three days to visit his wife’s relative. Having left the hospital he went to his aul and disappeared. In such a way he put both Sunitskiy and the doctor, and Sarybala in an awkward position.
If Yergaly had been arrested because of Muhtar now Sunitskiy and the doctor were threatened with arrest because of Bilal.
“A rascal! – Sarybala thought. – A favour that is done for a rascal turns into a scorpion”. 
At night during his duty in the administration he was lonely sitting and thinking long about his fate. 
“…Both in the auls and in the town – bribes, lie and violence. Grains of honesty and fairness sink in the sea of lie. I have no power to fight against this. Why am I sitting here? Who and what use am I bringing?!” 
Sarybala missed the aul and decided firmly to go away.
After returning from Akmolinsk to his native lands Sarybala lived in the aul more than two years long. He composed songs for girls and his agemates-dzhigits. As earlier he was fond of race horses, hunt with his strong greyhound and like merry games. 
The father disapproved his son’s desires but the son couldn’t please his father. 
The soviet government called to strengthen the Soviet’s influence in the steppe auls. They started removing bais, their henchmen, bribetakers and those ones who misused their office from leading positions.
Adilov Baiseit was one of the firsts who were removed. Saving the life Bilal went to learn to Orenburg. Feeling approaching of a storm Orynbek ran away to the other, Karkaralinskiy district. 
Sarybala was called in Akmolinsk again and appointed at the post of the chief of the volost’s police. He was called “nashan-dik” in the auls. The police had still more authority than the volost’s executive committee. If this post was taken by a person with a strong character then he had even more authority.
Before to start to work Sarybala decidedly said the secretary of the political committee: 
- People won’t raise their heads till they are oppressed by bribetakers, till bais and parasites give people orders and till we have property inequality. We must take away these barriers on our way if we want to hold in the auls the line of the Soviet power. 
One can’t say that Sarybala was guided by great state ideas and class consciousness. He did only what he thought right and just. He obeyed his conscience. And it turned out that his actions complied with the interests of the state, the labour class and the peasantry. Since his childhood he was taught to act deliberately in any case. He always put the following questions to himself: “If you’ve decided that it is good then think what and why it is good. If you think that it’s bad then what and why it is bad”. He decided once and for all that he knew something but there were many times more things that he didn’t know yet. 
With the years Sarybala’s character became firmer and more determinate. If he believed somebody or something it was difficult to dissuade him. Sarybala bravely made decisions that he thought were right but hesitated where the others started manoeuring. It seemed that the strength hidden in him was dreaming and waiting for a proper moment to show its real power. 
In the mornings when he hardly had time to take his place at the table in his study applicants started visiting him with their claims. They came for the truth, justice, hoping for fairness and generosity. There were little offenders but there were a great number of offences made by them. Quite often Sarybala gave himself up but externally he held calmly. 
Here came in two men in the office – they asked to return the bride who had been taken away by force. 
- How could they take away your bride if she didn’t want it? – Sarybala asked. – You are a blacksmith, a worker and the times are soviet. 
- I’m not from these lands by my origin. I’ve come from other lands, - the applicant answered. – Here nobody reckons with me. Who is strong and impudent that one can take away not only a newcomer’s fiancée but even a wife too. 
- Has the police chief who was before me known about this? 
- Of course, he has. He is a Muhtar’s friend. That’s why he left my application without any attention. Well, confirm this, Kasym. Why are you keeping silent? – The blacksmith pushed his fellow. 
Kasym grunted and started briskly telling:
- You know him perhaps, nashandik, he is our son-in-law. After the death of my sister we elected him as a fiancée a daughter of one relative, an honest girl Damesh. He wasn’t able to pay the whole bride-price at once. He paid by installments. He gave everything for her what he earned or got. The bride-price consisted of seventeen heads of cattle. The fiancé paid the whole price. Once at night stupid Muhtar’s nephew who lived under his protection put the girl by force in a sledge and took her away. In such a way the poor one lost both his bride and cattle and his family. I was pity to him. That’s why I took him to the police. My father sends you his regards and says that your mother is also from Sali’s tribe and that you have to listen to the claim of this poor one and punish Muhtar. He says if nashandik doesn’t do this then it’s better to him to go to herd sheep than govern people in such a way. 
- Sali’s tribe has a sharp tongue. People call your father Crooked. He has a bad temper too, - Sarybala replied and started laughing. 
But his laughter wasn’t merry. “Muhtar was taken away the stamp and the power but he has the same influence as earlier… If the former volost’s head has still his authority it means that people will support him as earlier. Kazakhs have the biggest quarrels because of a bride, land and a killed human. The stolen bride has become a daughter-in-law in Muhtar’s house. To give back a daughter-in-law from the house means shame not only for Muhtar but also for the whole tribe, and not only for the tribe but also for all fat-bellied adherents of the old times. Who can defeat such a power? Does it mean that I shouldn’t get involved with him? But somebody must defend offended, humble and insulted people? Or just to give up as hopeless and let everything as before? Where is the justice, the honour and the constancy of the soviet laws? No, I mustn’t forget about my duty and care just about my life! It’s better to be buried in the ground than live with shame!”
- Abdilda! – Sarybala cried.
A moustached police officer came in.
- Lead here Muhtar’s daughter-in-law. If it is impossible to take her with peace take her by force!
- Muhtar gives nobody even a cart from his aul. Will he really give his daughter-in-law? He will rip me out in addition, oiboi! 
- Ali! – Sarybala called.
A thickset swarthy dzhigit came in. He had enough strength if his courage didn’t let him down: broad shoulders and a neck like an ox has. 
- Igilik’s offsprings were on the backs of your ancestors for all life long and only when the Soviet power came dead Talken had enough courage to resist them. Is there really no one courageous dzhigit in Karamurat’s tribe? Has Karamurat’s tribe really died out?
- Karamurat was a numerous tribe. How can it die out? – Ali took offence. – Your words make suffer me even more than Muhtar’s stick. You can send me even in the hell. I’ll fulfill any of your orders! 
- Abdilda, give your weapon to Ali. A coward disgraces weapon too. You can go home and mind your own business. And for you, Ali, go and bring Muhtar’s daughter-in-law with her husband together. If you don’t – don’t show me your face again. It can happen that you will be arrested and beaten – then wait for some time. I’ll come to save you. 
Ali weaponed with a sabre and a revolver went to Muhtar’s aul. He hanged the girdle of the sabre over the shoulder but he did it wrong – the sabre wasn’t on the left the way it should be but on the right. He never shot from a revolver before. In return, he had a good horse. 
Snow melted. The horse didn’t ride smoothly. Now it rode along the solid road than it fell through but Ali was rushing and didn’t change the taken trot. He was triumphing. He was delighted because he was trusted a sabre. Who else of dzhigits except him carried a sabre in the whole Karamurat’s tribe? Ali had such a proud, fearless and self-assured appearance as if one hundred of his good friends were riding as a wall behind. Having ridden to Muhtar’s aul Ali pranced a little on the kotan, dismounted the horse and ran into the owner’s house. Muhtar googled. 
- What’s up? Go into the front place!..
- I’m on business. I have time not only to go to the front place but even sit down. Nashandik calls your daughter-in-law, - Ali turned to the young woman. – Stand up, my dear, dress! Where is your husband? He will go too. 
After hearing these police officer’s words the husband ran to the exit with fear. The daughter-in-law was scaredly looking at the father-in-law. And the father-in-law was taken aback even more than her. At first he immediately turned pale then red. He was keeping silent as if he had lost his tongue. His old friend, old man Balpetek started speaking the first:
- Wait, Muhtarzhan, wait. A pot can be broken just for one time but not for one thousand times. And now it has been broken. What use will you have from your indignation? Nashandik and his police make a pair. If you come under the influence of your anger – it can come to bloodshed. They won’t disdain your blood as they haven’t disdained the Nicolai’s blood. Listen to the voice of your mind. We all will go to the police with the daughter-in-law. We’ll use both our authorities and our cattle too. You may say you want but however, the chief is a Kadyr’s offspring. And in spite of the fact that he has become an adherent of a different faith all the same something Kazakh is left in him. And if it’s left then he will be kind to us. If he refuses and drives us out then you shouldn’t show that you are unsatisfied. We needed sixty claims to get rid of Bilal. And to get rid of this one it will be enough about one hundred claims, not more. We’ll write one thousand and strangle him with claims. 
However angry Muhtar was but he listened to the old man. 
Having taken Mazhit’s son, Mahmet’s cousin and aksakal Balpetek along he followed the police officer. Ali ordered the daughter-in-law to ride in front of him and quickly trotted his horse again. Four riders were trotting after him. On the narrow broken road with melted snow the horses started sliding and now one than another rider rolled over his or her horse’s head. Soon the chain dispersed but Ali didn’t even turn back. When the district centre appeared in the distance Muhtar changed his mind to continue his way.
- Stop! – He cried his people. – I’ve decided to return. Already long ago I’ve lost my hope for this murderer. He can arrest me personally. Mazhit, he is your relative. You’ve learnt with him. Try to speak.
- Agai, if he can arrest you won’t he be able to do this with me?
- Ah, what a coward! At your age we were afraid neither of water nor of fire. Don’t bubble, go! It’s your time and your relative.
- You are afraid by yourself. How can you say me “Don’t be afraid”? – Mazhit started mumbling irresolutely hupping the horse.
Muhtar and Balpetek returned. 
When Ali led the young woman into the office Sarybala even hopped up from joy – he didn’t wait for such a success. 
- Oh my good. Have you flown or ridden there?
- I’ve been riding there faster than wind.
- Have they resisted? 
- They wanted but haven’t been able. 
- Muhtar knows whom he can resist and whom not. And where is the husband?
- He has run away.
The blacksmith and Kasym surrounded Damesh with care. She was sad. Big tears were running out from her black eyes.
- Ah, why are you crying? – Sarybala addressed to her in surprise.
She just sighed heavily in reply. 
- You’ve applied by yourself and asked to free. You are free but now you are crying. How to understand it?
- I haven’t applied.
- And what is this? – Sarybala read a paper aloud that had been brought by the blacksmith and Kasym. – Is it written right? 
- Right, it’s right. They wrapped me in a felt, tied my mouth so much that I couldn’t even let out a squeak and took me away. However, I haven’t applied. 
- Well, what can you add to this application?
- What must I add? I’m unhappy. I’ve lost everything, that’s all! – She cried bitterly out and started whipping again.
The blacksmith began to calm her down and stroke her shoulders. 
- Don’t cry, Damesh, don’t cry, - he was begging and started crying too. – However a dog laps running water all the same it cannot dirt it. You’ll forget everything, forget… We together have to outwear this sorrow if we want to be happy! We have to forget, forget this all!
With deep pity Sarybala was looking at these two ones who had been offended by the fate and calmed them down as much as he could:    
- You are worried by shame, you are ashamed but you’ll forget about this all and about your grief. I’ll bring to court Muhtar with his nephew-violator according to the soviet law. In the future both you and they – all have to remember that we hold our soviet line in the auls. No compromises for bais! Ali, see them off up to their house. Be careful and watch because they can attack… I wish you’ll be present at their wedding.
Aidarbek, a tall old man, came in the office without knocking and permission. Having come up to Sarybala at once he embraced him and kissed in his cheek. Aidarbek, Manat’s son, was a well-know gambler and a fast liver in the whole district. When he lost at cards he asked the thieves of the far away steppe for help. He constantly lived in Spassky plant. Sarybala knew him since his childhood. Aidarbek was already more than forty but he went still gallivanting. He was stately, sociable, pushing and had a dog’s nose for all kinds of news and anybody’s secret plans. He spoke with self-confidence but he was coward. 
Seeing that their affair had been solved Damesh, Kasym and the blacksmith came out from the office after Ali vying with each other in thanking the chief. Muhtar’s Mazhit’s and Mahmet’s henchmen who were sitting in the reception room didn’t wait till the chief called them and went home. 
- My congratulations, my dear, with your high position! – Aidarbek started speaking. – I’ve heard and rejoiced so much as if I personally was appointed at the post of a chief. We absolutely give ourselves at your disposal. Use us when you think it’s necessary. We’ll never refuse you.
- We will not. Especially now people need the police’s help.
- For the beginning I’ll say you that nobody except me will be able to find Zhoken and Shagyr. I’m ready to go with you to catch them. 
Sarybala looked at Aidarbek with surprise. The inhabitants of four districts – Semipalatinskiy, Karkaralinskiy, Pavlogradskiy and Akmolinskiy – were already sick and tired of Zhoken and Shagyr. They were always on the run. It was impossible to arrest them. According to some secret information their people hid them and bais from the tribes Kareke and Bargan of Karagandinskiy volost sent them to rob. Exactly today at night Sarybala had to go to catch them. He hadn’t said anybody about this yet and was very surprised now: Where had Aidarbek learnt from? Had he guessed or anybody informed him? He had to check. 
- Shall we really pursue the escapees now? There started a season of bad roads. After the winter our horses became lean. It’s difficult to find a good cart. Where have you learnt from that I’m going to look for the thieves?
- I see you don’t believe me, my dear. Well, if I haven’t deserved your confidence I’ll go home. But if you really want to arrest Zhoken and Shagyr take me along. You won’t be sorry. If I don’t catch - I'll take my dick to it. I guess what you are hiding but have I ever deceived you?
- Well, let’s try to look for the thieves. 
They started their way with the coming of the night having taken four good-weaponed dzhigits along. The night was dark like hell. The road was solid but rough. The horses walked with a slow careful step stumbling in holes. The sky was covered with clouds: it was clear it would be raining or snowing. The long night and their slow riding tired the riders. Sarybala asked one of his companions: 
- Bitimbai, sing us something, relieve our feelings.
Cross-eyed Bitimbai was a good singer. Usually he didn’t sing without an accordion but today it stared him in the face and he started singing “Gauhartac” – “A precious stone”:
Your beauty is brighter than a dawn,
Your eyes are like shining of sunbeams.
Your mouth is like a petal, your forehead is high and light
It is like blessing of your mother. 
Gauhartas, you are my agemate.
Your rich voice is like a song of a nightingale.
I’m charmed by your quiet smile. 
I forget about everything in the world.
Sarybala liked the song. He involuntary started singing along but soon he stopped: his own voice called some sadness in his heart. When Bitimbai stopped singing he started hotly speaking: 
- When you are in a merry spirit you don’t pay any attention even to the clouds over your head! A good song is not worse than a beautiful girl! Your heart fills in joy. Sing one more song, Bitimbai! If the god wishes he could make you cross for your second eye. I wish he wouldn’t deprive you of such a talent. Perhaps, nobility and refinement of a person lies not in his or her appearance but in an ability something to do well. Now I wouldn’t exchange you for any beautiful girl. 
- I doubt whether beautiful girls will exchange me for anybody! – Bitimbai answered and burst out laughing. 
The dzhigit inspired by the general attention sang long. Listening to the song his companions forgot about sadness and tiredness.
Suddenly there started shining ice in front. “It’s neither a river nor a like – shall we give in to a puddle?” – the dzhigits decided and moved forward. But when they made the first step the ice collapsed under the hoofs of the horses. Two of them could hardly get out back. Two were long floundering and laughing – it was merry to have such a sudden adventure. All police officers were young except Aidarbek. They properly knew neither roads in a season of bad roads nor life conditions in the local auls. 
Having ridden around the frozen lake they directly moved to Zhangir’s aul in Karamuryn having decided to pass mountains Kulzhumyr and Soran and not to stop in Spassky plant. They wanted to have the escapees over the barrel. It was enough just to linger a bit on the way and at once uzunkulak – a long ear – spread the news about their approaching around the auls. According to Aidarbek’s words Nurlan’s son Bimende, mullah Sayabek, bai Alibek and blind hajji Abish had sheltered the thieves. All four were the most influential people of Kareke’s and Bargan’s tribes. If they have really taken the thieves under their protection they won’t easily give them. They should firmly press their backs to the wall. 
If requirements and threatening don’t help they must arrest the bais. But arrest was an extreme measure that was able to call dissatisfaction of the whole tribe. 
When they rode up to the aul Sarybala warned his companions: 
- Don’t give in to anybody!
In the famous aul there stood just three yourts having pressed closely to the foot of Karamuryn on the very bank of the Nura. In spite of the fact that there were too few houses but there lived a lot of people. The crowd met the suddenly arrived police chief as a long-expected guest. In the head of the crowd there was a portly beautiful woman of about forty years old with a ruddy face. She greeted and embraced Sarybala. The old men, especially aksakal Tynki, asked in details about the health and the wealth of Mustafa’s family. 
When they came in the yourt and sat down for a long time Tynki didn’t give an opportunity to speak to other people. After asking about Mustafa he started questioning about all families of Yelibay’s tribe without any exception. Sarybala understood that he wanted to hide something. Tynki was one of numerous Zhumabek’s sons who were a great representative of the steppe nobility. He had grown up among Yelibay’s people. Mustafa was Tynki’s agemate and his old friend. When Zhumabek worked as a master builder at the Spassky plant he became rich, honorable and famous person. Later when he grew old and weak he migrated to the farthest steppe tribes Aktau and Ortau. The beautiful woman who was meeting Sarybala was Zhumabek’s daughter. When she was twenty-five she became a widow. Her died husband Altyn was an offspring of famous khan Ablai. Not having found a proper person and not wishing to throw his huge fortune to anybody’s feet Batima didn’t marry any more and lived with her only son Sultan. It might be that she had gathered and united around a lot of poor relatives. 
Sarybala learnt about this all only now. He was impressed not so much with her fortune as with her humanity and generosity. Sarybala couldn’t catch something awkward in her manners, speech and gestures. Everything was womanish in her. She was light-hearted and had a kind face, the very picture of health. When she started sonorously and fervently laughing stout Aidarbek lost his self-control at once.
Only a rare Kazakh couldn’t readily meet and treat that one who had some power. Besides the hospitality according to the tradition Batima, Tynki and others met Sarybala with sincere love calling him “our fellow”. It’s very difficult to ignore such a love, simplicity and sincerity that they had expressed to Sarybala. 
But if you pitied them it could injure your authority of a soviet worker in the eyes of many people. Sarybala felt that he had got in a difficult situation. 
“What must I do with Bimende now?” – he thought having noticed that that one had somewhere disappeared at the beginning of their conversation. 
Bimende returned soon. He was a briskly, lean dzhigit of a low height, the only Nurlan’s son who had boasted at his times that he had excelled all Kazakhs in brain and fortune. After his father’s death and having lost his fortune and fame Bimende found shelter at the wife’s relatives. When Ablay’s and Nurlan’s posterity fell into decay only widow Batima became the support of their tribesmen. In the period of the NEP (New economical politics) Bimende raised his head again, showed some manners of a well-born, noble bai in spite on the fact that he still remained under Batima’s protection. He joked often and out of place and laughed by himself. Knowing a dozen of Russian words he used them well-spoken and out of turn and climbed out of his skin to look eloquent. His father’s words that then became a saying he claimed as his own and pronounced them standing in a proud position: “There are enough dogs in each aul. But not each dog is able to catch a fox”. But if his father was a golden eagle he was just a sparrow. 
Having returned to the yourt Bimende looked calm and outfaced. He flattered Sarybala and maliciously teased at Aidarbek. 
- Is it the truth or not that Aidarbek mixes me up with Zhoken and Shagyr? – He asked with a grin. 
One could feel that they had strained relations. Finally Bimende seriously teased at Aidarbek: 
- Karakesek’s tramps attack people at every trifle and do people all kinds of harm. I wonder what they want to do this time.
Aidarbek angrily replied:
- Hey, myrza. I see you have a long tongue. Stop teasing me. I’ll find a place not only among Karakesek’s but also among Kuandyk’s people and even among Russians. Each Kazakh tribe will accept me. As for you I see you couldn’t get on in your motherland and ran for help to the other tribe. Don’t cut me to the quick! My loop is on your neck! I must just tighten it more firmly. 
- Oibai-au! In the same way you threatened me at Kolchak’s times and in the funeral repast of my father. Then Aubakir supported you and now perhaps your chief? 
- And what if I have such a support? My chief doesn’t divide people into Karakesek and Kuandyk as you but into dirty and clean ones.
- Then you are clean and I’m dirty, am I right? – Bimende cried out with anger and having made a fig he lifted it to Aubakir’s nostrils. 
“Just look how he bursts out!” – Sarybala thought being cut to the quick. Anger boiled over in Sarybala’s heart. He remembered those grieves and sufferings that the elusive robbers had made people. And this unbridled Bimende became their protector.  
- A boasting woman usually makes figs, - Sarybala gloomily noticed. – An honest man won’t imitate her if he is not bitten by conceit or shamelessness. What are Karakesek and Kuandyk to you? Each one must learn to follow his or her own way and live with his or her own brains. Bimende, stop milling the wind, you’d better to help us find Zhoken and Shagyr. I won’t hide. We’ve come to this aul to you. You know where the both thieves are now. 
- Where must I know from?
- You know. I advise you not to balk. 
- If you don’t believe, my dear, you can skin me and peep into my soul! 
- I don’t want to skin you. If you don’t show where the thieves are I’ll arrest you and keep until we catch those two ones. 
The chat quieted at once. Tynki stared at Sarybala not understanding was he spoken seriously or joking. Batima looked at the chief and dropped her eyes. It turned out that “our fellow” was a stranger and the faces that had been smiling right then became gloomy. A fat lamb was already cut and the meat was boiling in the kettle. People already prepared fat cheese, karta and sweet-scented smoked meat. Nearby the bowl with kumis of two-years-old mares there stood several bottles of wine and vodka put out for the sake of the honorable guest. All honours were made in vain. 
- Let’s go! – The chief said and stood up. – Bimende, dress. Ahmet, you’ll lead him to the district, lock him under guard and then catch us up. Good bye, otagasy Tynki, Batima-apa. We are very satisfied with your acceptation and treatment. In deference to you I wouldn’t like to make troubles for your son-in-law but it’s my duty. 
Batima took Sarybala’s hand and said saying good bye:
- Remember, my dear, till I’m living no thief will be able to build his nest in my hearth. I feel grief not because you take my son-in-law away but because you do this with shame. 
- I don’t want to shame you.
- Then I have one request.
- I’m ready to listen to.
- I won’t make you do impossible things but I agree to fulfill the will of the power. Could you give me Bimende on bail? We’ll lead him by ourselves without a police officer where you order. 
Sarybala couldn’t refuse such a request. Each one who respects a mother couldn’t dare to leave a request of such a mother like Batima without attention… Sarybala thought inappropriate to take her written undertaking and obligation. Up to next day they left Bimende on bail of her son Sultan. Tomorrow Sultan must bring and give him under guard. If he doesn’t do it then he personally must sit in the prison instead of him. 
Being out of breath one of the farm hands ran in before the very departure of the police officer to the aul. 
- The waters are out!..
All gathered at the river. Usually quiet Nura which one could easily cross on a horse was furiously raging threatening to be out. Ice floes as big as a yourt were rushing like light sheaves of hay. People who usually satisfied their thirst from the river, bathed and reveled in it didn’t dare now even to approach. Threatening and dump enemy – the nature – is the most terrible in the world. The police officers had to cross it. 
- We can quickly jump over among ice floes. – Bimende shared his opinion. It was clear that he pushed the guests for death. – Your horses are strong. 
Batima contradicted with excitement:
- No, no, you can get in a trouble!    
- Oibai! It’s easier to step over a boa than cross such a river, - Aidarbek noticed. 
The most advised to wait in the aul till high water was over, the river calmed down and until the passage was opened. But then they lost a reason suddenly to attack the thieves. News spreads quickly. You are waiting and waiting and in the meantime the escapees will run over the hills and far away. 
Sarybala started hesitating – should he risk or wait? Aksakal Tynki found another way out:
- Closer to the head the river is wider and evener. It’s not far from here, just a stone’s throw. You should rise against the stream and cross there. 
Aidarbek became despondent. 
- If we rise we’ll get on Karkaraly’s lands. There guardians of the law from Koyanyshtagai can take away our horses and send us back on foot.
Sarybala didn’t share his apprehension and decided to move against the stream. Aidarbek who always rode in front tagged along with now. Where his bearing and proud appearance was now. He writhed and became gloomy. And the cause was Koyanyshtagai, one of the numerous Karakesek’s tribes in Karkaralinskiy district in the neighbourhood with Akmolinskiy Kazakhs. Old robberies and quarrels among the neighbouring tribes took the form of usual thefts. The leaders of the tribes personally gave their blessing for robbery. In spite of the fact that Aidarbek personally didn’t rob but he didn’t stand aside when they divided their robbery gain. Last year he had got his due very much for this. With one police officer he risked to appear in Koyanyshtagai and started solving an old claim between two tribes. The dzhigits from Koyanyshtagai were listening and listening to and then gave the both a good lashing and drove them out to the Akmolinskiy lands. How could Aidarbek forget about this? And what to do now – he himself had volunteered to help.
Aidarbek dragged after Sarybala like a tied one. When they reached Koyanyshtagai’s lands he was constantly looking around. All the time he seemed the huge black bearded one with a big whip. They passed two-three auls but they didn’t meet the terrible bearded one. 
In the auls dispersed around the steppe there were just one-two, rarely three-four yourts. Weren’t they bored? These farthest steppe tribes didn’t sow bread at all and didn’t make hay. They just herded cattle, migrated around the steppe and looked for the places where snow had already melted. Here the ground was already covered with green grass and the auls migrated to the meadows. In general, they moved on camels. There were few carts but many cattle. The steppe was impounded from one edge to the other one. Now a flock of sheep then a tabun of horses or a flock of cows barred the police officers’ way. People were in a good spirit and their cattle walked briskly in spite of the fact that it was both cold and hungry in this long winter. 
Perhaps, this merry picture of the migration had a good influence on Aidarbek and he exclaimed with admiration:
- They’ve become so rich, devils! 
Having crossed the river they rode to Akmolinskiy lands and Aidarbek avoided the danger to meet with the black monster. 
Sarybala didn’t contribute his admiration: 
- It’s a fortune but it isn’t firm. One storm could swallow this all. 
Surprisingly but among the tabuns they met people who were migrating to the far away meadows on foot. They had so many horses but walked on shank's mare! Here was walking a swarthy old man. He loaded his smoked yourt on the black cow and tied a calf to its tail in addition. The other one loaded his things on the camel, sat his children and wife over it and was walking from one side. 
“What will a poor man do on the meadows without cattle? Why are they dragging there? – Sarybala was surprised. – The meadows exist for those ones who have many cattle. But for a poor man it’s better to stay in an empty wintering. You can be poor for cattle but it’s not good to be poor for brain. Well, let’s think that poor men will stay in zhatuck, - Sarybala went on thinking, - what will they do there? To turn up the soil? They are not able and don’t want. In zhatuck cattle are always troubled by mice. Flies are ready to bite to death the owner. It’s better to migrate with all to the meadows, drink some fresh milk and eat to your heart’s desire… “To eat a poor man’s fill for one time means to become half-rich”. For a poor man a delicacies is a lump of a mutton lung that he has in his hands but not a fat tail that is in a somebody else’s kettle. Before to advise a poor man to stay in the wintering you should know what he will do and eat there. But people haven’t created any supportable conditions in a wintering yet!”
Sarybala sighed. Sometimes at the habitual migrations he had looked now with indifference then with respect, but now when he grew up he started critically estimating many rituals of his tribesmen. 
Sarybala was riding keeping silent. He was gloomy. He couldn’t share his thoughts with his companions. People say, a friend in need is a friend indeed. He checked his friends. Aidarbek suspected something bad in the silence of his chief. He seemed that his unsociable chief thought out some plan but he hid it. Aidarbek worried in vain. The chief thought nothing bad about them and wished nothing bad them too. The thing was just when he watched his nation’s life sensitive Sarybala always became gloomy and was thinking and thinking. 
Not having enough sleep and having forgotten about laughter, moving as carefully as a cat they were looking for Zhoken and Shagyr for the whole week. But it seemed that the thieves had disappeared into the blue. Worn out and hopeless Sarybala decided to press to the wall those influential aksakals who had earlier had deal with the thieves. 
At night they surrounded the aul of blind Abish. The part of the aul had already migrated. Other people were waiting for the dawn to move forward. There things were already in the packages. 
Abish swore with all holy ones that he knew nothing about the thieves and that he had never had deal with Zhoken and Shagyr. 
At that moment when Sarybala was examining Abish in the yourt there heard the angry voice of police officer Ahmet outside. The police officer lashed somebody with his whip.
- I’ll say, agatai, say! – An unknown voice squeaked. – They were in this aul and went away today after the midday! You’ll catch up with them at Alibek’s place, at Alibek’s… 
Sarybala took the boy who had said about the thieves along and Abish, sat the both on one camel and went to Alibek’s aul. 
Sarybala was very tired and sleepy but he knew that if he lay for a minute and fell asleep all their sufferings would be in vain and the thieves would disappear. 
But their meeting won’t be mutually glad too. Aidarbek knew that the thieves were good weaponed and wouldn’t yield without a fight. Meanwhile neither the police officers nor the chief could properly shoot. Once on their way they tried to shoot into a target. Sarybala hit most times of all. It gave him some confidence. Aidarbek was afraid of the meeting with the thieves and didn’t hide this.
- I’ll hide from their eyes! If they see me first of all they will shoot in me!
They were riding all long night without rest and only at dawn they got to the place. The dawn broke and it was possible to see the outskirts. Having passed over the hill the police officers surrounded Alibek’s aul. The whole aul already woke up, up to children. When the riders appeared the white yourt that was set in the middle of the aul started moving by itself to the edge. 
- Oh, my god! These are our rascals! – Ahmet cried out. – They carry the yourt with the hands. It means everything was in vain. The escapees aren’t here yet!
- If not - thrash the life out of Alibek, - Sarybala ordered. 
They rode in the aul. About ten persons went towards them. There walked forward a man of a medium height, round-shouldered, with high cheek-bones, deeply set eyes and a black beard. He spread out his hands and addressed to the chief:
- Let me greet and embrace you as a son of a noble aul.
Sarybala retreat a bit and coldly answered: 
- Let’s speak later about nobility. Give us Zhoken and Shagyr at first! 
- Where must I look for them, dear? The bird has flown. 
- You know where they are! I know about your stubbornness and we’ll break of you habit of hiding the rascals.
- We are already accustomed for this. You may do you think right. But now I invite you to visit my aul. We have set a yourt for you and laid the table. Taste our treatment. Alibek has nothing else except bread and salt. 
- Alibek has cattle. And who has cattle that one has power and authority. In addition, you have much cunning and craftiness. You are wild and can be calm just in words. I know not for one time you’ve deceived people with your humility. But I don’t want to be deceived. I require – find Zhoken and Shagyr! 
- If you can find them by yourself, dear, why do you make the old man suffer because of the thieves? That’s enough that he is suffering because of his fortune… 
The word “dear” Alibek pronounced in such a way as if he wanted to pinch him. Cruelty and hate was hidden behind the obedient appearance of the old man. Sarybala remembered again how angry old man Kungugan had skinned the living wolf. The wolf had made no sound then. Sarybala thought that if to do the same with Alibek even then he would say nothing too. The old man’s stubbornness he appreciated, in general, but he was just pity that the old man had shown his temper not where he should it do. Sarybala nodded Ahmet and came in the white yourt. 
Having got a sign of permission from his chief Ahmet was free with his hands.
But Alibek kept silent. Then the police officer chained him to the two ones who had been arrested earlier with irons with the help of which people usually hobble horses. Sarybala guessed about everything what was happening outside the yourt and reproached himself: “It’s illegal!..” 
And he calmed himself down at once: “But the people’s interests demand this. That’s why it’s legal. It should be so”.
There heard a woman’s voice outside
- Leave me along at last! I’m not crazy yet to swear because of thieves and keep Koran! They have run away just now along that ravine. There are not any horses in the aul. That’s why they’ve gone on foot. Pity that you haven’t come earlier. You would catch them where they were… 
The police officers started in pursuit filling the steppe in with the thud of hoofs. They rode upwards along the ravine, climbed on the top and saw two passersby on the flatland afar. Having noticed the persecutors the thieves didn’t even try to run away and lifted their hands at once. 
Being out of breath because of the fast riding angry Ahmet was about to raise his whip through habit but he restrained himself and sat the both on the horse even without abusing and brought them to the chief. And only now his hands began to itch. His wish to beat the murders and revenge for his sufferings didn’t give him a moment’s peace. Ahmet was eating his chief with the eyes because he wanted his chief gave him a permission to beat their heads off. But Sarybala shook his head. All anger and fury with which he had been pursuing the robbers disappeared when they caught them. 
There started an examination in the yourt. The criminals’ appearance didn’t correspond to their fame of robbers: the both were small, lean, dressed badly and chary of words. Zhoken didn’t speak at all. Shagyr answered the questions anyhow. The both didn’t dare to look at Sarybala’s eyes, dropped their heads and looked at the floor. But they yielded to each other in stubbornness and secretiveness. It wasn’t easy to get their confessions. 
Sarybala had patience and went on the examination:
- Where are your guns?
- We’ve thrown them away already long ago.
- Why?
- Our cartridges went out and it was heavy to carry them along.
- Where are the revolvers?
- The cartridges went out too. When we understood that we would be caught we threw them away too.
- Who has informed you about our arrival? 
- Nobody, we by ourselves. I had a dream, woke up and started running away and crying: “Oiboi, they are going to catch us!” Zhoken frightened and ran after me too. We’ve worried the whole aul.
- What have you seen in your dream?
- A rattlesnake. It was directly attacking us… 
- You have an excellent foreboding! You have neither a wife nor children, or a constant nest, or a rest or joy. You are engaged in a hateful business. You have no place to live in such a large world and hide. Why hasn’t your foreboding warned you earlier that you can come to a bad end and that it’s just time to live honestly? 
- It has warned me, - Shagyr sluggishly answered. – But we have taken to it.
- Even a wolf has a great liking for meat. However, when a wolf notices a trap nearby meat it won’t go there. A danger is stronger than any liking. 
- We have it to the contrary…
- Then you are not wolves but real jackals! – Sarybala angrily said.
Shagyr slightly nodded.
- Say the truth, at least for one time say the truth. – Sarybala went on. – Has Alibek housed you? 
- No.
- And Bimende? 
- No.
- Blind Abish?
- No.
- Mullah Sayabek?
- No.
- Then who has given you lodging for the night?
- People, thieves, the peopleless steppe.
- Both people and mountains, and the steppe damn you!
- Not everybody damns! 
- I ask exactly about them.
- We have a law, chief. It’s better to die than deliver up. 
On this the examination was over.
“Patience is a valuable feature. Both a good and a bad person can have it, - Sarybala was reasoning to himself. – A good one patiently does good things and a bad one – the same patiently evil”. 
Zhoken and Shagyr were chained to the other prisoners and all of them were locked in a separate yourt. Sarybala lay to sleep for some time but here came a swarthy man of a medium age in the yourt and greeted:
- Assalaumagaleikum! 
According to his accurate pronunciation of the Islamic greeting he was a mullah. He looked quiet, spoke slowly and was polite. While Sarybala was guessing who he was the stranger called his name: 
- I’m mullah Sayabek. In spite of the fact that at our times dirt easily sticks to a mullah but evil tongues haven’t bubble yet that a mullah has made friends with a thief. However, I’ve heard this too. It turned out that two robbers who had been threatening the local lands hadn’t pitied me too. Confront me with them, my dear. I don’t believe that they won’t stumble. 
- Why do you need a confrontation? They haven’t remembered about you and haven’t slung mud too.
- That it is! Then let me mistake for one more time. You see, this evil gossip has been spread by slanderer Aidarbek. 
- Aidarbek isn’t a slanderer. 
- Be afraid of him, dear, be afraid. If you use his favour for one time he will use your favours for ten times. 
- You have mistaken for one more time. For him personally he has asked nothing yet. But to say the truth if he asks I won’t refuse. 
- Soon he won’t ask but do his business behind your back using your post as a cover. Listen just to the whispering in the yard and you’ll feel sick. 
Sarybala came to the door and looked out.
Aidarbek was standing being surrounded by the people. Now one then another led him aside. “In such a way he could help us catch the thieves. But why is he whispering now? – Sarybala thought in surprise and returned to his place. Now Sayabek said braver and surer:
- Aidarbek has his own feature. He willingly forces his company to accompany some representative of the power to revenge his offenders. He is insatiable and greedy like a wolf. He has fallen into the habit to take away somebody else’s things, become impudent and he wanted to take my grey horse away. I refused him and now he tries to threaten and slander me but all the same to take away my horse. We are not afraid of the power and we respect it but why must we be afraid of Aidarbek? Why must we respect him? He serves those ones whose power he can use. He is illiterate, a rascal, lives on the rests of somebody else’s dinner and threatens other people in addition. You cannot respect me as a mullah but, my dear, I’ll give you one good advice: don’t arrest Bimende, Alibek and Abish because of Aidarbek’s instigation. Release them. You’ve caught the criminals, they are in your hands. What for to arrest aksakals after this and aggravate the relations among the relatives? All the same they won’t be judged. People respect them still in spite of the fact that the Soviet power thinks they are the last people. Release them. It will be your honour and not other ones’…
Sayabek was speaking smoothly.
“He is right, - Sarybala thought. – I can arrest these parasites but I won’t keep them in the prison. They will be discharged. The soviet line doesn’t have an aim to bring all bais to ruin. We fight just for the restriction of their influence. Sayabek and Mukash aren’t those old stupid mullahs. They are clever, have sharp tongues, understand new orders and are able to conform. Pity that they are mullahs!”
Sarybala gave a short answer for the long request of Sayabek: “Well! I’ll discharge them”.
Whispering stopped in the yard. Aidarbek remained with empty hands. The released bais turned their backs on him at once and didn’t give him even a kopek.
Surprisingly but they weren’t afraid of the chief any more and saddled a lean shepherd’s jade for him to continue their way. Alibek had just recently cried and asked to release but now he suddenly became so haughty that it was impossible even to approach to him. 
“What’s up?” – Sarybala was surprised.
The detachment was already about to go away when there rode a rider on a lathery horse. It was clear that he had brought either a great joy or a heavy grief. 
It turned out neither this nor that. Having called Sarybala aside the courier gave him in an envelope with the inscription in the corner: “Urgent”. Sarybala opened the letter: 
“…I don’t doubt in your honesty… It is very difficult to work in native land at this time. We’ve got a great number of claims against you. That’s why we’ve decided to replace you to Yereimenskiy volost. Don’t take offence, my dear. Think nothing bad about me.
Shabdan Yeralin”
In spite of the fact that the courier had been hurrying as much as he could but the news about the chief’s replacement had flown here earlier. Sarybala learnt only now about his fate. But Alibek had learnt earlier about this and was importantly stepping out at the yourt with his hat cocked. 
Sarybala boiled over. 
- Hey, you, a black male dog! Come here! – He cried. – Do you think if I am replaced it’s my end? My end will be then when it’s the end of the Soviet power! Hey, Ahmet, put him in irons again and sit him with the thieves together! Give back the jade to the shepherd and saddle Alibek’s horse for me! 
Deceived Aidarbek raised his head again. Soon the chief calmed down but he, to the contrary, boiled over as if he had fatally been ashamed here. Alibek was sat on one camel with the thieves together and all three were put into irons. When they started their way Aidarbek ran up to the camel and started crying at Alibek: 
- You are a stinky rascal! You’ll know the smell of nettle!
- Shut up, nettle! Say me better how much does your “arrest” cost? Not for one time you have licked vomiting thrown out from a belly through a stinky throat! Well, make us vomit for one more time and then lick it, - Alibek answered shaking calmly on the camel. 
- What a tongue you have! I wish you would lose your tongue! – Aidarbek started chattering and became even angrier because he couldn’t answer with more poison. 
The police officers started their way. About fifty riders started their way along. They required nothing, spoke about nothing and didn’t leave behind. 
Sarybala rode in front and broke his horse into a moderate trot. Alibek’s thoroughbred chestnut was under him. The chief was sitting in the saddle firmly and straightly like a dug-out stake. 
On the way from the aul there came people towards them, now one then another invited them, introduced themselves to Sarybala now “son-in-law” then “aunt” or “nephew”. He took no invitation having decided not to stop. 
The sun went down and it got dark. The auls attracted them with their lights. The riders were passing the girls and young women who had gathered at the altybakans and were singing songs and guarding sheep on the kotans. Sarybala was riding keeping silent being deep in his thoughts. He was gloomy like this night. Aidarbek caught up with him and pronounced in a low voice: 
- We are approaching to Irsimbet-hajji’s aul. His son Shaimerden has a charming daughter. Shaimerden personally has come with invitation. Let’s have a rest a bit, my dear, all are tired of riding… When you see the girl you will be dizzy. 
It seemed that there wasn’t a reason or just one real and unreal cause to stop Sarybala today. But the mentioning about a beautiful girl weakened his resoluteness. Sarybala turned his horse in the direction of Irsimbet’s aul. 
Shaimerden received the guests in his yourt and standing served them. It turned out that his daughter didn’t have a special beauty: very young, lean. She was just pretty. Because of her young age, shyness or order of the hajji personally she disappeared at once as soon as the guests arrived. Sheep were already cut and tables were laid. Sarybala lost his good spirit because he couldn’t think out a proper cause to go as sooner as possible. Having drunk a bowl of kumis he said: “I’ll sleep a bit”, - and lay on one side. 
He closed his eyes but couldn’t fall asleep. He was worn out and tired because already for a long time he didn’t have enough sleep, because of their long riding, because of stubbornness and different tricks of his countrymen. 
As soon as he fell asleep somebody called Aidarbek out with the help of gestures. At first there were a lot of people in the yourt but step by step it became empty and soon there remained just the chief sleeping on the front place and ironed Alibek, Zhoken and Shagyr at the door. 
A small crowd surrounded Aidarbek not far from the housing. They were speaking in low voices. Who knows how much lie and cunning ones and greediness the other ones can hide in these numerous collusions and whispering. In some minutes Aidarbek and Shaimerden hurried to the yourt. 
- You see, he is sleeping like a dead one now. He is very tired, - Aidarbek assured in motion. 
Having come in the yourt he said with joy:
- You see, I’ve said, - and he smiled self-satisfiedly. 
Shaimerden put a key into his hand. Aidarbek squatted at the prisoners, quickly unlocked the irons with the key and gave them a wink as if he said – go away, quickly. The thieves changed the looks not to know what to do and not believing in his release Alibek didn’t even move. 
Sarybala jumped up.
- Hands up!
Having lifted the hands Aidarbek started shuddering as if he had a fever. His teeth were chattering. 
- A coward, a rascal! Why do you put your hand in fire if you fear?!
- Excuse me, dear! Excuse, all century long I’ll be your slave! The irons cut their legs, I’ve pitied them…
- You are lying! Say better – have you drunk?
- Yes, I have…
- And now say – I’ll spit it out!
- I’ll spit it out, I will! I’ll put them in irons again.
- No, now you won’t. Eh, if you, rascal Aidarbek, were alone I would shoot you like a dog where you stand. But what to do, there are still a lot of such ones. If you’ve pitied them I’ll bail you all three till the morning. In the morning you’ll give them back to me. If you don’t I’ll put not your legs but your neck into irons. 
- Oibai, no, I don’t want to bail them, don’t want! 
- If you don’t I’ll chain you to them. 
Aidarbek had to give discharge and bail the thieves. The chief forbade tying and putting them into irons in addition. 
Sarybala fell quietly asleep. Alibek, Zhoken and Shagyr were sitting in a row and looking at their “liberator” Aidarbek. Their hands and feet were free – just do you want. But they couldn’t come out even to do their business – Aidarbek didn’t allow. He had a dagger in the hands. Aidarbek was squatting having propped up the door with his back and threateningly warning from time to time:
- Don’t move. I’ll cut that one who will move! 
In such a way he was sitting up to the morning until the sun rose and the chief woke up. 
- How to understand this? – Sarybala addressed to him having raised his head. – You release the prisoners and guard the unfettered ones. 
- Dear, I can’t stand any more. I can hardly stand on my feet. Let me put them into irons, release me! – Aidarbek started whipping. 
The massive strong man turned into a wet chicken. He was really tired of their long way and of his duty all the night round. Besides, his hopes for returning home famous and with a rich gain burst like a soap-bubble.
But Alibek lost more than Aidarbek.
- The god has deceived me and it’s his work. – Alibek started speaking. – I’ve seen a lot of authorized representatives who came to the auls. I compared them all with a barking dog. When you throw a bone to such a dog it starts fawning at once. Many have come to us with their “arrest!” When you thrust something in his teeth he leaves you alone and goes on his own way. At first I thought that you were also one of such ones. I thought and supposed and you see, my legs are in irons now. I’ve heard a lot of insulting words and got a good punch against my ribs. For many times in my life I’ve suffered from emotional torments. For many times people have infringed upon my honour and authority. But I haven’t got in such a trouble yet. Only now I begin to realize that your soviet line for the auls and the new politic – it’s not just bubbling but a firm business. It looks like a cat-and-mouse game that is doomed. If you haven’t finally revenged me yet – don’t linger. Here is my neck, - Alibek said and dropped his head touching the ground with his beard. 
- I won’t judge if you deserve my revenge or not. But I release you just for these your words. And for you Aidarbek, that’s enough for the first time. You may go wherever you wish.
After the Alibek’s discharge the aul riders left them alone and the small detachment moved to the district center without stops. The irons rattled on the feet of the thieves from time to time. The police officers had slept at this night and felt more cheerfully than before. Only Aidarbek was suffering and felt dizzy. 
At midday they turned into one bai’s aul to slake their thirst. In the middle of the aul there stood a white yourt decorated with some ornaments. At the yourt there was plaintively roaring a white she-camel. One could see transparent tears in its eyes. From the yourt there came out a pretty young woman leading by the reins a briskly white camel foal. Its head was decorated with some feathers. The woman wore a dress blue like the sky, a black plush camisole and a zhelek – an ornamented headdress of a young woman. Having let the foal to its dam she wiped the camel’s eyes with care, pressed her cheek against its head and started crying. After seeing the strangers she fixed her eyes at them. Tears ran over her face and there was a dark bruise on her cheek.  
Sarybala unwillingly stared at the young woman, dismounted his horse and slowly came up to her. 
- I’ve really seen you somewhere already! – He cried out. 
- My name is Asiya. 
- Asiya! Oh, my god, I was at your wedding!
- Now I’ve remembered you too! – Asiya merrily cried out and smiled. 
Her pale face turned pink and the bruise, a rough mark of her unhappy life, became noticeable even more. 
Exactly at this time in the neighbour yourt there were sitting the chairman of the volost’s executive committee with several volost’s workers. In honour of the guests’ arrival it was cut a sheep and people gathered to listen to the news. Ones were interested in tasty meat, the other ones – in conversation. Somebody came with a request, somebody – with a claim. All complainants Sarybala directed to the chairman of the volost’s executive committee. Having stayed with Asiya face to face he asked:
- Where is your husband?
He remembered how two-three years ago in the wedding toi her husband had shown his stupid face. 
Asiya unreadily answered: 
- We’ve lost a horse. He has gone to look for it. 
- Up to now I remember that parting song you sang when the aul was seeing you off. When you were going and going away with cry from the aul your father was crying buckets. He was crying and calming himself down at the same time: “Wait, dear, just wait! You’ll get accustomed soon. Your mother has got accustomed too!” Well, have you got accustomed? 
- Can a person really get accustomed to the hell? And I have found myself exactly in the hell. The bruises on my face are not from a horse’s hoof but from my husband’s boot. My parents died. Happiness together with their fortune left them when they were still living. There is not one among my relatives who could help me to get rid of this grief. I endured, hid blows and tortures made by my husband. But I can’t stand it any more! My only friend with who I can share my grief is this white she-camel. It, a poor one, roars and calls its foal and makes me cry because of this.
- Why does he beat you?
- I’ve married just not to offend my father. Now this rascal revenges me because I don’t love him. And I don’t have a child in addition. “A woman without children is a mare in a tabun”, - he always rebukes me. He endlessly abuses, insults and beats me.
Having dropped the look Asiya was telling about her grief. Tears ran buckets from her black eyes over the pale cheeks and dropped on her dress. 
Suddenly Sarybala saw two Asiyas. One was looking at him from the deepness of the past having slightly lifted her silk bride’s blanket and shyly smiled at that moment when she took the ring from Sarybala. That Asiya had looked like a clean light moon peeped out from behind the clouds. Other Asiya was sitting nearby and remembered Sarybala a going out hand-made lamp.
“How can I admit the fact that at the soviet times the husband openly humbles his wife, such a clever, beautiful and shy girl? She really does nobody harm”, - Sarybala was indignant. 
- It is no use indulging in sorrow that cannot be helped. You shall act, - Sarybala said. 
- I’m afraid, - Asiya answered. – Till I wait for the court, till it gives me a divorce – it will pass much time. And the husband won’t leave me living in addition. He’ll kill me. 
- Apply for my name, describe everything as it is. And I’ll permit you at once to go where you want. Moreover, I’ll accompany you by myself. The rest will be decided by the court. 
- Oh, my god! Is it the truth or not? I remember when you said me good bye you said: “You see, the beautiful morning came, the sun rises and makes the world happy with its light and warmth”. Now you’ve come like the sun for me! – Asiya cried out through tears. 
If you don’t know a grief you cannot know happiness. But from eyes of a happy person not tears but pearls run.
The chief who wanted to go after a short rest at once stayed till the evening. He didn’t visit to greet the chairman of the volost’s executive committee Amanbai and perhaps that one waited for some time and personally came to the chief of the police. The cross-eyed dzhigit with a wide forehead and tidy dressed quietly greeted Sarybala with a friendly smile.
- “Oh, my god, make it be over” – many Kazakhs said with fear after hearing Sokolov’s name. Now I’ve heard that these words are said about soviet Sokolov too. – The chairman started playfully speaking.
- Tsar’s Sokolov was respected by those people whose interests he served. If soviet Sokolov is respected by honest people I want to spit on bubbling. Say who has said you these words – a poor man or a bai? 
- Our people say. Do you really suspect them too?
- Sometimes you call alien ones to the Soviet power as your people.
- You are so careful, Sarybala, and mistrustful! Fools are those ones who set out traps on your way.
The both the chairman and the chief of the police went out behind the aul to speak face to face. 
Amanbai knew local people already long ago and had the same relation to all. He was old and taught by the life person. Having learnt that the police freed Asiya the aul aksakals addressed to Amanbai.
- I’ve come here for many times but Asiya hasn’t said me even a word about she lives badly, - Amanbai started. – Isn’t it you who have confused her? You are young, she is young… 
- Why must I confuse her? I have a beloved…
- Then why has she decided to go away so quickly?
- She has decided to go away not now, not today, but long ago… She heard about the soviet laws but couldn’t use her rights. I’ve just helped her, advised and promised to take under my protection.
- That’s why the aksakals didn’t dare to come to you and came to me. They know me and ask to leave Asiya till the court comes. For us both the aul has prepared a present: two felts and two mares. 
- Let them present. We’ll take the bribe and arrest them.
- Don’t tease them, Sarybala. You’ve enough enemies without them. I advise you not to stay here too long. The whole district knows that you’ve stopped in this aul and somebody from offended ones can repay you. The NEP gets bais out of hand and some of them started raging. They can even kill. 
- That’s why we have to press them a bit.
- Oh, how much people would do harm if to give everybody vent. It’s well that the power holds bais and you in the hands. 
- Do you think I can wrongly go too far? But to my mind, you are a right deviator. The future will show who of us is right.
- Let’s leave this arguing. I know if you begin to be obstinate it’s impossible to induce you, - Amanbai said and proposed to return to the aul. – Perhaps, soon I’ll be replaced in another place too. Stay here today and send the thieves farther with your companions. At night we’ll speak about everything to our hearts’ desire. 
The day was drawing to a close when they returned to the aul. Sheep returned to the cattle-pens, horses walked to their pasture. It was noisy and fussy around. Both aksakals’ and karasakals’ hearts were worried because of the fact that on their shoulders lay the ancient precepts about the protection of the aul honour. With difficulty they kept external calmness. They felt shy both before the spirit of their ancestors and before their tribesmen because the young woman, their daughter-in-law for whom the myrza of a big tribe had given a rich bride-price – sixty-seven heads of cattle - wanted to leave them. Those ones who were more reckless were already ready to give their anger vent: “Enough, I can’t stand it any more!” But who will really be ready to jump in feet first? The old wolves who had dared some time to pull out a district head from the phaeton and beat him up to death now behaved shy in the presence of the soviet chief. In spite of the fact that he was young he knew that the bais had chippy teeth. He behaved bravely and assured. 
Amanbai turned to the aksakals and Sarybala went directly to Asiya’s yourt. Here he inventoried the whole property and ordered Asiya to dress for departing. She dressed quickly, didn’t say the aul good bye where she had lived more than two years long, just stroked the white she-camel with its foal and went away together with the chief. Amanbai rode after them too.
The night was clear without a cloud. Because of the shining of the full moon it was light as at midday both on the ground and in the sky. Asiya’s heart was lighter than the world under the moon, wider and larger than her endless native steppe too. She was ready to sacrifice herself for the chief’s sake who had broken the irons than had been restraining her for many-many days long with just one blow.
As if not noticing her spirit Sarybala kept on the conversation with Amanbai. It was clear they would be speaking long. They accused each other in “leftism”, in “rightism” and in other sins unintelligible for Asiya. 
As soon as they started their way the police escort with the thieves and Amanbai’s companions directed to the district centre. 
They came at Amanbai’s house late at night and went to bed at once. In the small yourt with three partitions there settled four for night – Sarybala and Asiya on the front place, Amanbai with his wife nearby one of back partitions. Amanbai fell asleep at once as soon as he got into the bed. But Sarybala couldn’t sleep. 
He stretched his hand to Asiya. She wasn’t sleeping too. 
The inner voice said him: “Take your hand away!”
But the other from behind his back calmed him down: “What shameful is in this? Shouldn’t boys and girls really give over to their feelings? I see Asiya herself is waiting. That’s why she cannot fall asleep”.
Sarybala stretched his hand more bravely but the first voice said again: “What a shame! If you’ve done something good don’t dirt it! Don’t offend this innocent one! She has suffered very much without you. If you want to love then love seriously and forever!”  
Sarybala couldn’t love Asiya because he loved other girl. Asiya felt his excitement, saw how he had stretched his hand for two times but she didn’t hear those voices that were sounding in Sarybala’s heart. This was a fight between his conscience and wish. 
The guests got up early in spite of the fact that they hadn’t almost sleep at night. Amanbai’s wife got up earlier than others and made breakfast. 
- Have you slept well? – She asked with a smile. 
The guests answered something indistinct. Three Asiya’s relatives came soon. They started unbosoming their feelings and expressed their readiness to protect the honour of their tribe. Asiya went with them to her native aul and Sarybala stayed alone. It was a whole day trip to the district centre. Hurrying up his good horse Sarybala got his office already by midday. His companions except Aidarbek had arrived at night and locked the thieves in the cell. A new chief by name Gaziz had already come too. Not giving him the affairs yet Sarybala sent the arrested thieves to Akmolinsk. Then he sat at his table for the last time and wrote a letter to the chief of the volost’s police:
“…I’ve worked one month and a half. I’ve done little for this time but I’ve deserved a lot of rebukes and claims. I thank you very much for the fact that you’ve saved me from them, uncle Shabdan. But now I ask you not to trouble me any more. I won’t go to Yereimenskiy volost. There are not less outrages, violence and ignorance than we have. I’ve enough enemies that I made with the help of my honest deeds here. They may go on writing claims against me. They may hurt me. These wounds will cicatrize but they will never be able to poison my heart and my conscience. Whose spirit is strong that one can defeat even a man of muscle. Who has a kind heart that one is the kindest of all kind people, am I right? I unshakably believe in this truth. But I would like to say not about this. Now I have two dreams: to settle down to married life and go to the capital of Kazakhstan to learn. I don’t have enough strength to be busy with some other affairs. I dream about nothing else”.
Sarybala gave the affairs to the new chief and went to his aul.
He was lonely riding over the wide quiet steppe. His heart was calm. He saw the briskly young, not very beautiful but very kind girl. She had a sharp tongue, was playful. Her briskly words stuck in Sarybala’s mind. 

The end of the first book. 

A creative heritage of a great writer is a many-sided original world that includes both separate pictures of life and the whole historical epochs and numerous characters… 
The most important life phenomena and periods of the history serve as a base for creative work of many writers. But not all works remain in the golden fond of the literature. Only the best of them save recollections of a nation. People highly appreciate the authors of these works and call their names with respect and honour. 
Gabiden Mustafin, a master of words who was able to show in his works important changes happened in the Kazakh steppe is one of such writers. His novels are devoted to the most important periods of life of the Kazakh nation in the soviet epoch. In such a way, in his novel “After the Storm” he tells about the post-revolutionary revival of the nation, about the NEP and bais’ property confiscation. It means he recreates the truth of the twentieth years. In his novel “Karaganda” he says about the opening of new industrial centers in Kazakhstan, creating of the labour class. Here he tells about the events of the thirtieth years. In “Shiganak Bersiev” a migrating aul starts the process of its settlement and unites in a collective farm: in “Millionaire” he reflects a new appearance of the post-war aul with its best conscious representatives. In the introduction for “Eyewitness” the author wrote: “I’ve decided to show what I saw and experienced by myself. But there are so many facts that I couldn’t include all of them in one book. That’s why I had to sift out and chose the most necessary ones”.
Well, writer G. Mustafin doesn’t tell about his past in his novels but shows the historical truth of that time that he saw by himself covering important events of the whole epoch. 
He is a true writer of his time. 
Time, person and social environment in his works are described vividly, from clear realistic positions. It can be done only by a great artist. 
Subject area, ideological, artistic and stylish peculiarities and G. Mustafin’s mastery don’t stand any inconsiderate opinion but demand a great conversation and a deep investigation. Of course, a small afterword cannot pretend to a detailed analyze of the writer’s works. But it would be better to acquaint the reader with it more closely. 
Gabiden Mustafin’s novels were republished not for one time having been checked by the time and proved to be long-living. A happy talent of each acknowledged artist lies in the fact that his or her books can be reread for several times opening through the process the sides of his or her creative work that weren’t noticed before. G. Mustafin has such a talent too and has become for us a writer truly loved by people. What is the story that precedes the appearing of his book? How was it written?
- I don’t have any works that were written by chance. Each of them is a result of my excitements and thoughts, - G. Mustafin said. – What is it created in the literature? Where are the most noticeable white spots? What aspects of life aren’t covered by writers? Exactly from these positions I had to come to my creative work. In the thirtieth I worked as a miner in Karaganda. I got much in the result of my communication with workers then. Then I worked in a newspaper and was worried by the thought: “What to write about?” The theme of the labour class stayed untouched – we all originated from the steppe and could write only about auls. In 1938 at once after arriving to Almaty I began to write novel “Life and Death” where I described known and clear for me pictures of worker’s life with who I had to work together. Then I started “Shiganak Bersiev”. I wanted to recreate the spirit of the period of the collectivization. I wrote with a great heartiness and love. During the collectivization I came across eyewash, extremes and all kinds of violation. Understanding their unfoundedness I tried to inform the reader about this. In story “Shiganak Bersiev” I was able to express my own opinion to that time. It’s impossible to become a writer if you don’t have your own opinion and views. During the writing of the book I try to express with the lips of my characters a required concrete idea. In the character of wise old man Shiganak who knows life and loves labour I tried to concentrate the best features of my nation. So I wrote novel “Life and Death” and story “Shiganak Bersiev”.
- Gebeke, you wrote “Life and Death” from the start in the result of what the reader acquainted with your new novel “Karaganda”.
- Yes, I wrote my novel “Life and Death” from the start. How much you could try but the life always takes the head over a writer’s thought. While I was finishing “Life and Death” Karaganda changed very much. I felt that the novel was behind of the quick development of industrial Karaganda and it couldn’t comply with the requirements of the nowadays’ reader. I started “Life and Death” when I worked as a deskman in journal “Literature and Art” (now “Zhulduz”). The novel was published in several issues of the journal. I wrote the book very quickly. In addition, “Life and Death” was my exploratory step in the creation of the novel. Just after this I noticed that the book had many omissions and lacks. Realizing that I mustn’t leave the work in such a form I rewrote it. And what then? Each character found his or her own new description. In general, “Karaganda” is a separate work in spite of the fact that I used many details of my novel “Life and Death” in it. When I wrote “Karaganda” I spent more time than for the creation of my other books. However, novel “After the Storm” demanded the longest period of work. 
- What aim have you had during the preparation of your last novel? 
- I always tried to cover the nowadays’ reality and look in the future if it was possible. Sometimes I didn’t return to the past. In my novel “After the Storm” I had especially to break the set tradition and make a step back. Having mentally glanced over the Kazakh literature I noticed an omission in the most interesting period of life of the Kazakh society – it’s NEP, events connected with bais’ property confiscation. A writer is an expresser of his or her epoch. If he or she doesn’t see global changes or doesn’t cover them even seeing then he or she is in debt before the society. I don’t like to be in debt. The writers of my generation weren’t going to touch this theme and the youth who perfectly understood nowadays’ time knew about the past not very much. Exactly the thoughts like these ones pushed me to write novel “After the Storm”. 
A personal biography plays a noticeable role in a writer’s fate and helps by detailing of the theme in his creative work. A writer’s biography is a biography of his epoch, people who live nearby him. The creative work of each writer is his biography and his view for life. The writer’s thinking about life, about entire permanent values, his personal relation to social problems, understanding of civicism find their embodiment on the pages of the book…
Gabiden Mustafin was born not far from Karaganda at the foot of mountain Zhauyr situated on the bank of the Nura.
Before becoming a writer, he learnt the life of that land, imbibed the stories of the wise old men and examined characters and deeds of the representatives of different social classes. Having grown up he took an active part in the setting of a new life and was in its very heart. In the twentieth he served in the soviet government bodies. Then at the beginning of the thirtieth he worked as a simple worker in mines in Karaganda. Having started his labour activity as a general worker step by step he mastered the occupation of turner. 
So was Gabiden Mustafin’s life way before his coming to the great literature. And in the literature he brought along the truth of the life of his native land and the history of the Kazakh steppe of the twentieth and thirtieth years. Novels “After the Storm” and “Karaganda” include a rich real material which was taken by the author from his own experience. But from the position of the biography book “Eyewitness” stands most closely to the author. 
In story “Thinking on the way” G. Mustafin writes about himself:
“People differently exist, differently remain something after their lives. Both in this and in the other case I didn’t wish or look for something better then a creative work of a writer. Creative work is the most honorable, difficult and responsible labour”. 
These words of Gabiden Mustafin give a right definition for his life credo and his way as a writer. He expresses everything accurate and clear. For him work of a writer is a real work first of all. “When I finish a book I am absolutely tired, - he said. – For the sake of one empty sheet I cover with writing dozens of pages. I write, strikethrough, read again and again. I change a sentence again. I don’t like. I’m glad if for the whole day I can find just one satisfactory sentence”. 
Wherever he was and whatever meetings he visited G. Mustafin spoke, in general, about the literature. If he thought that it was necessary he wasn’t tired to repeat the said. Sometimes there unwillingly appeared the question: “Does he really have nothing else to inform us?” But at once one had to refuse from such an unfounded conclusion. The great writer who had created the artistic chronicle of the most important periods of the soviet epoch, of course, saw, felt and learnt many things. However, he rarely pronounced as if he restrained himself by force: “It was so, it happened in this way”. As he said the literature was the business of all his life. That’s why, touching the questions of the creative work he looked around from the height of the level he got and assuredly spoke about the writer’s responsibility before the society, about humanity and requirements in the relation to a talent.
We knew G. Mustafin didn’t get a full education. “In 1916 about a year Zhusup Maukumov who worked as a timekeeper at Spassky plant taught me Russian. Next year I entered the fourth form of five-year Russian-Kazakh school that was situated in the same plant. After finishing the fourth form I stopped my further education because of the turbulent times”, - he wrote about himself. And in spite of this Gabiden Mustafin creates big wide-ranging novels that are translated into many languages of the world. Together with other great masters of words he stands in the head of the literary process in the republic. His thoughts that were expressed on the base of his experience as a writer are in tune with opinions of the representatives of the great literature. Thinking about the literature deeply and excitedly he makes right and accurate conclusions. How can it be, you ask? Perhaps exactly in this the strength of his talent lies! But can it also be that together with his mother’s milk he was imbibing the best features of his nation? Or is it a result of his nature talent? However, just one thing is clear: he really had all these peculiarities. Understanding difficulties of any creative work the main thing was not to turn off the marked way and save bright flame in a heart bearing the whole burden on the back. “I don’t stand any superficial approach of others to a business. Such ones don’t finish what they begin and are not able to catch up with others. Finally they stay on their half-ways”, - G. Mustafin underscored not for one time. 
The whole appearance of Gabiden Mustafin as if gave the answer on the question: “What must a writer be?”
In general, he was self-restrained and spoke little. His taciturnity even passed him. He took everything inside and didn’t open before a human at once. He always said choosing and weighting his words. This all confirmed his natural real origin of his literacy world. Often the writer’s private life found his continuation in the life described in the books by him or looked like it. 
In his travelling around his native lands Gabiden Mustafin didn’t like to arrange noisy evenings and meetings. He tried not to disturb the everyday’s style of life. It wasn’t important for him who would meet him and with what honours. He was troubled by the wish to see those changes happened in today’s aul. If to compare the past with the nowadays he really felt a great human’s joy. 
Some years ago G. Mustafin and I went to Karaganda. Having visited the far away auls with him I unwillingly became a witness of such his joy. What I heard and saw then now I compare with the events described on the pages of his novels. I try to find among people I met prototypes of the heroes in his books, recreate their portraits, characters, words expressed then by him. 
As I said earlier G. Mustafin was born and grew up on the spaces of Karaganda. And many events from his works happened exactly there. G. Mustafin’s life and the pages of his books say how important it is for a writer to see everything with his own eyes and experience this by himself. He started writing after he got a real life experience. He reflected in the literature the whole life seen by him, events he took part in, and people he was surrounded by in the everyday’s reality. Then he enriched with his writer’s fantasy everything he had seen and experienced. When he turned the truth of life into the literary truth he fully used his personal experience. And not by chance he asserted later: “Impression from the seen thing can be special. It’s easy to write for me because I realize well psychology of my characters. It’s difficult to create a book if you don’t have enough impressions or experience of the life. A writer writes with love and wholeheartedly about usual things that trouble his heart already long ago”.
… On the way to Temirtau we stopped at the foot of mountain Zhauyr, where G. Mustafin was born in 1902. “I just started realizing what was happened when our lands were given to newcomers and having moved on Zhauyr all our aul migrated to a new place in Kyzylkuduk. Crying and howling of people who were seeing their native lands off, fights with newcomers, human’s victims – all, all left an indelible mark in my heart”, - he remembered about that far away time. 
In the psychology of his creative work there are a lot of unopened secrets. It’s difficult to call an accurate moment when the talent of writing can be opened in a human. And it’s not accidental that the events of that far away time left an indelible mark in the heart of the seven-years-old boy. Perhaps exactly then he got a push to his inner literary realizing of the environment. 
Each human is dear to his or her childhood, dear to his or her places where he was born and grew up. I unwillingly would like to see those ones who I met and communicated in the past. “It’s no good to lose sight of the past events. The walked way must become a base for a good beginning. Kyzylkuduk – is a summering of our aul. Let’s begin our travelling from here and finish it in Spassk”, - G. Mustafin asked me then because he wished to see the places of his childhood for one more time. He wanted to see what was left from the past and what changes had happened as for today. Although he knew everything in those lands but it was a huge period of time between “yesterday” and “today”. The aul absolutely changed and people were different too. 
Literature is the second life for a person. Literature learns the life. On the other hand it influences the changes happened in the life. As is known the life doesn’t stay on one place. It constantly moves forward. A writer must not only look into tomorrow but also foresee the future. It’s no use to write about the past that stayed behind from a runaway caravan of fleeting life already long ago. Perhaps about this the writer was thinking keeping silent on the way.   
In his trips around the auls Gabiden Mustafin always questioned about his old fellows and surely met with them. During such meetings they spoke for a long time, remembered again and again these or those people and the forgotten events. Sometimes I felt as if I was in the circle of the characters created by the writer. When some story was told G. Mustafin often cried out “I’ve said about this in “Eyewitness!” or he detailed in passing: “You can find the deeds of his father in novel “After the Storm”. Among the present people one could meet some prototypes of “Karaganda” too. It seemed the whole steppe not losing its primitive appearance migrated from here directly on the pages of his books. 
Usually joys and grieves of small people aren’t visible. But writers notice them. In Gabiden Mustafin’s books we can find a lot of such heroes which unique features of character and deeds help not only realize images of the main characters but recreate the image of the time too. 
Gabiden Mustafin liked to write about innovations and about good sides of our life. His books are full of constant motion and constant indefatigable renovations. Their base and motive force are communistic ideas and socialistic labour that bring great changes in the lives of people of the new time. 
Ahat Jaksybaev           

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