If wooly sary-Athan could think one day about his fate, the train of thought would lead him to distant trails which were traveled by him. If sary-Athan could say about his fate, he would have chosen, perhaps, these words: "Leisurely centuries have passed through this land, and did I really fall behind on the road from a large caravan? No, never. Sometimes I reached such edge, where the fastest horses could not galloped.”
That is true... It is no coincidence that people who passed through many centuries, rocking on the humps of a camel, called the most light foots and hardy horses - "Bota-tirsek"2. And with whom will the young Kazakh compare a girl who struck his fancy? He holds her with a fervent glance, "Botha-Kez, a real botha-kez". And anyone, who saw the eyes of little camel, deep, dark, languishing, with long curved lashes, will appreciate this comparison.
If you do not have enough words to pay tribute to the tireless and faithful companion of man, it is necessary to take dombra up in hands... «boz-ingen» - a white camel - called slow, thoughtful ‘kuy’, created in ancient times, and it is heard a measured tread of caravan in it, the bells are chiming dully... How many times the string was vibrating under the skilled fingers, passing it all, and the invisible caravan slowly moved away from dzhaylyau, hiding behind the pass and people, enchanted by melody, mentally left behind on the road, which always attracts with its distance and freshness.
And if there is a road, then what to do without a camel?.. Who else will overcome the infinite vastness of the steppe, endure searing desert thirst?
1Sary - yellow; Athan – emasculate camel.
2Botha- colt; tirsek- shank; knee.
3Botha-kez- with a pretty eyes (only woman).
Even in our time, a camel reliably helped build the Turksib1, carried the Karaganda coal, drove prospectors on the shores of Lake Balkhash, where we found a lot of copper ore. Maybe from the unconscious ecstasy of his own merits, its grandeur, sary-Athan is holding head up high.
Now he was slowly coming to the aul. Aul already could be seen ahead. This time sary-Athan was pulling a wagon with a wide braided basket. He walked and walked confidently moving the long-legged legs. It looks like he did not feel the weight, but because of its severity even the rear axle creaked and bent.
Smug boar conveniently located in wickerwork, it was so fat that the pink lard shone through the thick skin and a thick beard. Even portly pig looked over to him more skinny and some minor. But it was clear, seven funny piglets time and again started to cheep dissatisfied and calmed down only when their snouts nuzzled into a fussy mother's nipples. Squeaking was stopped. And for a while it was heard a hasty smack.
Of course, neither pigs nor their father nor mother knew that the road was lead to places where people had long considered them contemptible, impure and just unclean animals. In order not to be defiled, they were not even named them, and have resorted to parables. For example, they say talpaktanau, wide nostrils.
How it used to be before? If there was a fight between the Russian and Kazakh, each of them tried to stab the other more painfull:
“Ah, you are the clamorous camel!..”
“And you… you are the dirty pig!”
Grunt family has moved into the farm "Jean Jol"2, not knowing that they would cause confusion by their appearance. The chairman of that collective farm Saden has brought them. Whom else he could entrust such a delicate case?
Saden jumped from the wagon, as if nothing had happened. His relatives huddled silently on the sidelines and, contrary to their custom, did not hurry to approach him: find out what's new heard in the area and to tell him what events took place in the village during his absence.
Saden with emphatic smiled at them all and said:
“Thank you that have met me... Come on, zhigits! Help me unload these... well, this one’s which I brought... I cannot do it by myself.”
His voice was without the usual confidence. The unanimous silence was his answer.
“Are you rooted to the ground?”, he continued, “What are you scared of, I’m asking? Animals like animals...”
This statement angered the crowd, voices sounded:
“You say that these are animals?..”
“Maybe for someone it is animals, but…”
“What, what “but”?”, Saden asked, already started to get angry.
“Hot diggerty!.. Just look twice by yourself. Snout is blunt, like it was chopped off with an ax. The nostrils are wide...”
“And the mouth, look at the mouth!”
“Oh dear! As if they were always mischievously smiling, as if bullying at us!”
1Turksib- railway connecting Siberia and Turkestan.
2Kolkhos – collective farm.
Jean Jol –the new way.
“Can our cattle have so sarcastic mouth?!
Gathering all the patience, which he had, Saden objected:
“What does our cattle have?.. Have not you seen? Hooves... They have cloven hooves, the same like sheep.”
“Oh come on, come on, Saden!” cut him off a lean old man. You do not dare to compare this trash to our sheep have.
“Get off with you! Have you ever seen that our sheep's belly was all covered in nipples? Phew!..”
“Don’t persuade us, Saden. We know ourselves, we know everything.”
“And who told you that they are not a cattle?..”
“Well, maybe for someone it is a cattle, but our grandfathers, fathers, and we ourselves have never cared for it.”
“Hey, Saden! Did you ever held it?”
Prickly questions, stinging taunts from all sides rained down on the poor Saden. None of collective farmers did not think to get close enough to help him. Conversely, people gradually retreated further and further away from the "dirty" wagon.
“Yeah... Glory be to Allah, you are pleased us, Chairman!.. Here it is how you went on the case”, the same old man said, turned and walked away.
It was difficult for Saden to find a convincing objection to response these indignant cries. Deep inside he was on their side. Squeamish feeling never left him from the moment when in a nearby state farm, under the order of the district, two pigs and piglets were loaded in a box of carts, and the incessant screeching, dull suspicious grunt and incessant smacking was accompanied him all the way...
And play for time was just not possible. Whole two month has passed. And in the district and at the state farm they reminded to him: “Saden, when will you take back your pigs?..”A long time he hesitated to take them to his aul, he knew beforehand what kind of meeting is waiting for him... That is why every time he was looking for a new excuse. Once he asked to wait until the pig farrowed, other time he said that the premise was not ready...
Finally, when he felt that his conjectures would not help longer, he harnessed sary-Athan and went away without saying a word in aul, where and what he was going to do. Saden even tried to set yourself up so that he liked pigs. They have dense and powerful back... Some say, that they are not stupid... But immediately on the eyes came across a dull and bloated snout. And the stomach, dotted with flabby nipples like a buttons. And ears, ears! One consolation is that the hooves are cloven, like a decent animals should have.
1 State farm – soviet farm
“That is trash, really trash!” Saden said to himself, but then objected: “What does it mean - trash? And what does it mean - evil spirit? For whom is it an evil spirit? Kazakh will not take pork in the mouth for anything. And Russian will not eat horse meat or camel. It all is a tradition. Russian and Ukrainians would not raise pigs, if it was not profitable. And they are not alone, many people eat pork. And nothing happens. And all inhibitions, it is just the mullah’s talk! They raised pigs and cared for them! Livestock expert told him in the area: they bathe in the bathhouse, and even wrapped pigs in the clean sheets.
Just imagine – in the sheets! No more strong grounds came to Saden’s mind, and then he waved his hand and decided to: happen what may, he will bring pigs at his own risk. “I will tell them everything that I know and everything else are up to them, and the rest of it does not matter now.” But it turned out that people do not really want to listen to his arguments. They prefer to talk themselves, and not averse to making fun of the Chairman about funny and embarrassing position he fell in.
At first Saden was confused. Then he got angry. But stay determined, shout on them and forcing them to do something that does not belong to the soul, is useless too. There was tested method in Saden’s reserve that repeatedly rescued him, came to the rescue at the moment, when it was necessary, to achieve something, in spite of the firm opinion of the majority, having exhausted the words.
In such cases, he stubbornly fell silent and got down to work by himself, alone but in front of everyone. Then they became to feel uncomfortable with the knowledge that the person was working, while they were lounging. And they all little by little, with the grumbling, were included in the work too, at first seemingly reluctantly, but the job got done.
And now Saden has conceived the same. Not starting an argument with anyone else, he silently walked around the cart and for beginning unraveled adult pig’s feet. Then he started to drag desperately shrieking pigs in adobe barn. He took the pig in his arms, soothingly stroking on the ridge, gently touch the cold snout and carried to the barn, holding at arm's length like a torsuk1. He dragged them one by one, he wanted to get people used to their look, to their screeching, he wanted people to see that this is cattle as usual cattle, and it needs to be treated as usual.
Pigs’ screeching has attracted aul dogs which have never heard anything like this. They surrounded the wagon and sniffed suspiciously new for them smell.
Saden walked from the cart to the barn and back. He has not considered necessary to answer, when one of the collective farmers shouted to him:
“Hey Saden! Look, this little talpaktanau calmed down on your hands. So, you are closer to it than its mother!”
Saden kept saying to himself: “That is OK, that is fine... You will get used to it. I'm getting used to, and you will get used to, you are not better than me.”
He said aloud:
“If you were not such cowards and would fit closer, you could see that this animal is very neat.”
“It is clear to everybody, that this is an animal. And as for it’s neat, we do not think so...”
“How do you know that?” asked mockingly Saden, “you cannot get closer because your legs are trembling with fear. And you said that we have never held it, and our fathers have not held. So where from do you know about them?”
The tested method did not work yet. But Saden felt himself confident and was not afraid to engage in at least a verbal skirmish, one against all.
“And who will take care about them?”
“We will find someone!”, he answered.
“Oh!.. Thank Allah, he sent us a Russian kelin1. We will entrust this job to Maryam, whom else?..”
Saden pretended that their taunts did not affect him. He knew his job and dragged pigs into the barn. And when he hauled all of them, he came back to adult pigs. Boar did not express any concern about what had happened to its children. But the uterus anxiously turned its head, listening to the hysterical pig squeal. She nervously began to grunt loudly, without paying any attention to the Saden’s words, who quietly told her:
“Nothing will happen to them at the barn... And if you could wait with your screams.”
Its grunting caused a new bout of hilarity and a new stream of comments:
“What a lovely voice has this ugly thing!”
“Voice is so because the neck is short.”
“Where did you see the neck? They have no any necks.”
“And what about nose! And nostrils! They are screaming with nostrils.”
“I have heard that they cannot raise their head to look up.”
“Get off with you!.. Do not you want that the pig count stars in the sky?”
Saden, scratching a pig stiff back, said:
1Torsuk - fur made of goat skins in which usually keep kumys.
“There are scientists for counting stars. You may laugh... Then will come my time to laugh! The next fall here will be thirty heads of them and each will give five pounds of lard... Youth pesters that they need dombra and chess in the red yurt... Women said that our children need the nursery. And I will sell lard and I will have money. But I will tell you, that there will not be dombra for you and there will not be nursery for you. Because these money is a filthy money!
2Kelin - daughter in law (wife of the son or younger brother, wife of the youngest family member in relation to his parents or other older relatives).
“Saden, don’t persuade us... Sheep are sheep, cows are cows. And as it was a pig and it will remain a pig.
“Who will believe you Chairman, that it is cleanly?”
“If the owner is good then it will be clean. Dors a cow in the barn clean for itself?”
Saden again became to put different arguments. He tried to convince himself and his relatives. They listened to him without interrupting. Nevertheless they tried to stay away from the barn. It is always difficult to step over the threshold of old prejudices. A prophet has established once and forever that for the Kazakhs, as well as for all Muslims1, livestock includes four kinds of animals - sheep, bulls with cows, horses and camels. No one else.
And then Maria appeared not far away... This is the same Russian Kelin, whose name was said, when they began to talk about who would take care of pigs brought in the farm.
When Allen, sibling of Saden, brought from Russian wife the area, Yefim’s daughter, they were teased over Allen:
“You have found your happiness, Alenzhan... You will now eat meat of this... well, you know, which grunts and does not look in the sky... Be careful, aso you would not grow the same ears as it has.”
The others said ditto:
“Allen friend, how your Maryam will do without her favorites? She will get bored... You should buy to her a couple of them, have you heard, they are called talpaktanau!”
Now Allen was standing behind them all, neither dead nor alive. You may laugh at it but, it seems that the scoffer’s words begin to come true.
Maria was coming back from school. She was going there to the teacher, read the Kazakh. She quickly mastered the alphabet, and spoke quite freely because she have grown in this region. She had problems only with declension and conjugation.
She has a book in her hands with the words on the cover: "The Kazak tili" textbook of the Kazakh language. She repeated aloud:
“Men bardym... Sen bardym. Olar - they... Siz-di-nyz. Ol - he, onymen – with him.”
Hearing the noise, Maria looked up from her book and saw all people gathering at the barn. She went to Saden and stopped near the cart.
Muslim - who confesses Islam (submission), one God world religion, has developed thanks to the preaching mission of the Prophet Mohammed.
“Agai1!.. You have brought pigs finally? And these friends are afraid of them, right? That is fine...” She wanted to add something, but in the barn, pig shrieked torn away from the mother and Maria ran there.
She carried out on her hands one of them.
“Look here... Is he worse than a lamb, for example?.. Does he might bite or kick? And where are you, Allen? Oh, I see. Why are you hiding behind all of them and afraid to raise your eyes? Does this terrible animal scare you too?”
Allen, shifting from foot to foot had no time to answer her, how again hail of ridicule rained:
“Maryam! For you, the lamb, the pig, and the calf - all the same... And what about the poor Allen?”
“Allen! Come on, Allen be brave! You are not a little boy”, peers shouted to him, “And if you don’t approach you will have to sleep alone at night. Think about it, what is worse and what is best!”
Nobody knows what Allen have thought, but he first ventured to approach befouled cart and now was standing next to his wife. At this time Saden climbed up and called:
“Kelin! Kelin, let’s try to shove them together... Mary, without a word, put the pig into the Allen’s hands and quickly jumped into the box.
Allen froze, not knowing whether to throw out a little body on the ground, whether carry to the barn, or stand so... He was holding a pig on his outstretched arms, and all his senses at once reflected on the face. His face became wrinkled, one might think that he was about to puke, or he was about to burst out laughing uncontrollably, or maybe to cry.
A large gathering of people, their laughter, noise, barking of dogs, which is also disapproved of unknown strangers, all of this was annoying adult pigs. They were grunting fiercely, humming and poking their noses in wicker wall of the box.
Saden realized that if not to take decisive action, they would messing around here until the night. He said loudly, calmly, as if nothing had happened here:
“Hey, zhigits! Are you men or you are not men? We cannot cope together with Kelin. Help lift them and put down to the ground. And then they will run by themselves on their cloven hooves.
His words made an impression, if it happens, then it is not good to deny help to the Chairman. Zhigit slowly, reluctantly, but still started to take off chapans, roll up a sleeve shirts, and one by one approached to the cart.
1Agai- uncle; here - respectful treatment to the older brother of husband.
At first, they could do nothing. Everyone tried to take up the pork skin just for show, in the hope that someone else will try and strain. And from such light touch a big burly boar did not even budge.
“Hey-ho! Hey-ho!” shouted Saden. They had to apply oneself and a big, heavy body made the short and quick trip through the air and sideways fell on the ground. Boar immediately jumped to its feet.
In the same way and the pig transported down. It hurried to the barn, to the voice of its piglets, which felt that it was coming and screamed even more desperate and calmed down only when it sprawled. All seven snouts were pulled to the nipples.
And boar looked around, sniffed loudly and decided to check if there are any tasty roots here in the ground.
It pawed the ground with nose, and it did not care about suspicious and unfriendly people.
So, on the 2nd of May 1933 amendment to setting of the Prophet Mohammed has taken place in the collective farm "Jean Jol". In addition to his designated four species of animals appeared despicable talpaktanau, a fifth specie!
The problem of taking care of them started to be discussed the next day at the collective farm office. The case has not been without ridicule and banter again.
“Well, if they are so neat, as Saden said, let’s give them away our yurts and we will go to live in a barn…”
“And how to call up them? Here, how we beckon goats: “Shoge, shoge!” Does the pig understand the goat language?”
“And those who has the experience should take care of them.”
“Where will you get this experience from? They do not understand the goat’s language, and the Kazakh they also do not understand.”
Mary listened to them and eagerly jumped up from her seat:
“If no one of you dares to approach them, I will take up the case! Write it down, agai!” she turned to Saden, who was sitting at the table, wasn’t taking any part in the general conversation yet.
Saden really wanted that someone from the Kazakhs itself but not by force has expressed a desire to take care of the "fifth specie"… Saden’s eyes met those of his brother and Allen smiled helplessly, fearing that the choice will fall on him... If to push at him, he will do it. But Allen is needed on the farm, and then he is a brother...
“Who will agree to graze talpaktanau, whom we will pay one and a half workdays for a day”, Saden said.
Maryam?.. But we cannot let Maryam go from the field brigade. She is brigadier, field crop and a record keeper in there. She is accustomed to peasant work from childhood and that is why, we need her tireless hands, the trained eye and good advice in the field in the young Kazakh farm, which had recently started farming. It's a pity to force Maryam to spending her time and energies to feed pigs.
“I was wrong”, said Saden. “Not one and a half, but we will pay two workdays to that person... Do you hear me, Eseke?”
“No I do not”, said Esen, lonely old man, who worked at different jobs on the farm. He no longer had the strength to graze troubled frisky herds and protect the flock from wolves...
“Two, two workdays”, repeated Saden.
Two workdays could not seduce Esen. He fought back as best he could from this assignment, he almost cried. But Saden was able to insist on his own when he wanted to. The old man suddenly realized that this is Allah himself sends him a punishment for some sins. But sins apparently were not very serious, as a consolation Esen will be credited for two workdays...
Anyway, since that day Esen’s life turned into continuous torture. He was ashamed to appear with his flock in public and therefore early in the morning, when the light was just beginning its dispute with the darkness of the night, he drove two adult pigs and seven piglets to the lakeside, densely overgrown with reeds and sedges. And he was arranged at a distance from them, as a man who is simply engaged here in the business, so do not bring Allah, any passer-by have thought that he has any concern to talpaktanau.
Esen returned to the aul just before dawn, locked the pigs in the barn and went home. But before he cross the threshold, he took off his shoes and caftan, and left outside a stick. Then washed for a long time and only then kindled a fire in the hearth, and stretched out on the felt mat, mentally asking Allah for forgiveness. And he also asked, if he redeemed his guilt and how long he should do this unclean business?
Esen did not share his pastoral concerns with anyone but Saden. It was a shame. He studiously avoided even the old shepherds.
Gradually, the "Jean Jol" becomes accustomed to talpaktanau, and at the meeting of the Board for example, without any laughs and jokes they discussed that it was necessary to allocate feed for their small herd of swine.
Now Esen could return home earlier. He was met not with derision, and it was possible to hear:
“Oh, Eseke! Look how fat they have become! And how their feet hold so much meat and so much lard!”
“Perhaps Saden will be able to buy not only one dombra for the red yurt...”
“And where did the little pig get caught of sideways?..”
But one morning, when Esen led pigs to the shore of the lake, a voice which was behind caught up him:
“Let your herd be multiplied!..”
He replied without hesitation as every shepherd would:
“Let your words come true...”
Only then he turned around to see who had welcomed him with good wishes. Behind him Mukhammedzhan, son of the late Kasena-Mulla was riding on horseback. Sarcastic sneer that played on Mukhammedzhan’s lips, quite convincingly said that the words he uttered not from a pure heart, but once again to reproach the old Esen with his unworthy occupation.
“Oh Eseke”, he said contritely. “I wish I'd never seen as old and respected man has to graze these roundnose! What sin have you taken on your soul!”
But now Esen was differently treated to these taunts, he did not need sympathy. The old man never stopped shyly, but abruptly broke off the mockers.
And now, he said angrily:
“Mukhammedzhan! Did your father teach you to scoff at old people? You do not like that I graze talpaktanau?.. Everyone knows that you do not like our affairs at all. Get the hell out of here! And try not to get underfoot on my way. Did you get that?”
By saying this, Esen was quite impressively playing a thick shepherd stick. He repeatedly rubbed against the ground the end of the stick, like he was calming its itch.
Mukhammedzhan did not join with him in the explanations. He quickly drove away, and only having escaped at a fair distance, began to sing an old mocking song:
He grazed the pigs and started to grunt himself...
Esen threatened him with a stick. Nothing else he was able to do with irreverent son of Mullah. But in the evening the old man went to a school where the teacher helped produce wall newspaper to collective farm, and asked them to write a response song against Mukhammedzhan and his mockery.
Teachers were not very good poets. But almost any Kazakh, if necessary, can write a few lines, even for home use. They wrote a song for Esen. He memorized the words by heart from the voice and often sang it.
The words where it was about unworthy man gave him Special pleasure, the son of the mullahs, who fancies himself smarter and cleaner than anyone in the world, and in fact always ate scraps from his father’s table, and even now could not do anything, even he was not able to graze pigs! And pigs... Well, the pigs know their stuff, they quietly grow fat, and do not care, what this stupid and unscrupulous man said.
Perhaps it was the first respectful song in the steppe about talpaktanau, about the fact that they can be equal in farm to other animals like sheep or horse, ox or camel. And the collective farm «Jean Jol» was the first which let the song walked around the world.
... A year later in "Jean Jol" was already twenty eight pigs, only two less than predicted Saden. And due to these, the same disdain animals, passed most of the meat supply and saved a good flock of sheep. In autumn they had to kill the aged boar, lard and meat was sold, and the money was used to buy at the farm two pregnant and purebred cows.
The pigs are fattening quietly, pacing at the lake under the care of Esen. From a distance they look like leather wineskins, in which people kept kumys.
Sometimes next to them sary-Athan is grazing. It airs glancing down at them chewing the cud. But for such arrogance, he has every reason, because to those glorious and arduous affairs which he had committed for many centuries now one more was added...
It was it, who, delivered to the "Jean Jol" a cart on a bright spring day, where squeaked a little weak-sighted talpaktanau in a wicker box.