Одна из причин пристрастия людей к порочному – безделье. Когда б он возделывал землю, занимался торговлей, разве мог бы он вести праздную жизнь?
Абай Кунанбаев

19 марта 2015 1343

Maylin Beimbet «Communist Raushan»

Язык оригинала: Коммунистка Раушан

Автор оригинала: Maylin Beimbet

Автор перевода: not specified

Дата: 19 марта 2015

I

Taking a look from outside at smoked, completely patched small yurt and one can have imagination that something is burning inside. Swirling smoke is belching from every slot.

In the middle of the yurt there is a huge black cauldron with blazing fire beneath. In the cauldron  soap, seething and foaming, is boiling in it. Having wrapped a head tightly with zhaurlyk, wrinkling forehead streaming with perspiration, Zainep - a wife of Ainabay - is stirring resilient mixture with a long spatula.       

With rage the autumnal wind is descending upon the yurt as if it is trying to smash it in pieces. It is howling, storming into slots, biting fire down and thick pungent smoke is eating eyes away.     

Having sat around the fire without taking their eyes aside, five women are looking into the cauldron. As soon as soap is ready, all of them will get a piece as the tradition prescribes and they will go away to their yurts. But soap is still boiling and boiling and there is nothing more except sitting, being languished in this hellish smoke.  

The old woman named Ulzhayan wiped with tears with end of zhaulyk and glanced sidewise at overhead circle said:

-         Has the End of Days already come? And days are windy and nights are windy and the weather is not clearing up in any way…  

-    Hey! Sheshei, nowadays everything is not like before,- caught her words Kulzipa. –  Remember, when we were young, this did not happen at all…There were lively times. And days were unshadowed, light ones and the life was easier… I remember the autumnal tract where our aul was situated. Once we went to a kolok to collect brushwood and a little Sheshei, the daughter-in-law of Black Kuzel, was with us.     

- Hey! It seems that was at that time…- the old woman interrupted Kulzipa,- when the muddler-fiance Maruert came.  

- Aye, aye! Oibai-au, and there was lovely time! Shrailim1 was in the prime of her life…Horsemen were staring at wonder at her licking their lips in anticipation. It seems that you were with them, Sheshei, were you not? We charged a legal fee from the fiancé and decided to present him Shrailin at night…Boi-boi, how she burst into tears! Stopped dead, became numb “I will not become his wife! For the life of me, but I won’t marry out of such nasty one! And she did not listen to us and her own mother. So Biy-ahe2 was made to interfere. Oh God! How angry he was! Begin to shake all of himself. “Try not to marry!” – shouted he – “Try to shame me! I will cut your throat with my own hands!” We scared to death and tumbled out of yurt… Then Baibishe came and ordered us to bring Shrailym to the fiancé. We take her out and she was more dead than alive…She hung over our hands dragging her feet…                    Ulzhan raked up the fire, turned smouldering brushwood and like summing up the story of Kulzipa, she concluded:

-Do you think it is good? It’s a bad sign when young girl resists parents, refuses their benediction. That’s why Maruert came to the end so lamentably. Being married, she was taken ill and died. Certainly, is it allowed to disturb the spirit of ancestors?.. Then people somehow were afraid of the all-good anger. Then a damnation was worth something. And what’s now?         

 

Married women, according to the tradition, did not call young girls by names who were from the aul of their husbands’ and gave them affectionate nicknames. That’s why, Kulzipa calls Maruert as Shrailim what means “nice-looking”.         

Women did not call elder men by names and also gave them nicknames accordingly their status.     

 

 

 

There is nothing like this. Almost every God’s day girls escape to their beloveds despite tears of their parents. And they are not afraid of any punishment. Moreover it happened that they live in clover, giving birth to their children… 

-    Why does it go like this, Sheahei? Did the parents’ damnation really lose its power nowadays?

-    When the End of Days is coming, old people say, Muslims lose the Allah’s goodwill. Obviously it is true. Now, as much as one can damn, there is no sense.  

Something came to Kulzipa’s memory again and she could not sustain herself not to share this with her friends. 

-    And you are saying right, Sheshei - she was uttering passionately turning carbons up. -Correctly. Today the damnations do not have any effect upon a human being. Could we really, when we were young, contradict a man?! Try to leave a house without husband’s permission…What are you? The deepest sin was disobedience. And what’s now?.. Now young daughters-in-law can turn anyone out of yurt… Before coming here, I visited Myrza-ahe and what I saw there: Raushan-kelin is sitting, being silky, and twisting vein threads and the hubby is repairing high boots… So he started complaining me: “Bring to a reason your daughter-in-law! Life became impossible. She has no wish to follow my words”. I tell her:”Why are you swelling yourself with importance? Zhagpar purposely persuaded simpletons to elect you somewhere. And you do not believe. Do you really think that in the auls there was no one else except you to be elected? You are the smartest than others or what?” I saw, the old man was nearly to cry and I told her: “You, dear daughter-in-law, better follow your husband’s words…” But she… what a shame!.. simply rushed at me! “I do not need anyone’s advices!” – shouted she. “If I said - I would go! I would!” And in such a manner that even I was taken aback. Only one thing I found to say: “Oibai, come down! Such mad one, as you are, is in my house. Go wherever you want. You can even cross yourself, I don’t care?!” And I took to my heels…                         

-    Well! That impious woman is able to say whatever… She can… - threateningly and  maliciously pronounced Ulzhan. – Zainep is also angry with Raushan. Yesterday, preparing to boil soap, she sent daughter-in-law for her to help in carrying water, but Raushan did not come, saying that she was busy. Now, having known that Kulzipa was bitter about her, Zeinep became more angry.  

-    And it is her husband’s fault for all of this – scabby milksop! – shouted she. – In the presence of others he plays devilment but being unable to cope with own wife!.. He bought her indeed! He exchanged cattle for her! So it means that he is her owner! Well, he can punish as long as he wants.     

-          Zainep began to scratch a cauldron with scoop like she was intending to punch it out.   

Starting this conversation, Kulzipa was not sure that women would support her. Now, realizing that Ulzhan and Zainep rushed at Raushan she grew bolder. She had an axe to grind for this young woman for a long time. Once Bekentai brought cloth for dress from town for Raushan. Then Kulzipa asked: “If a piece remains, give it to me. I will sew a shirt for my child.” And Raushan answered: “You are rich people, how you are not ashamed of begging poor men?” And here is today’s event. No, Kulzipa will not remain owing! She will call her on everything! She inflamed her imagination so much that she could not notice how smoke was eating her eyes away. She wanted to abase and outrage that snob. Furthermore, she had a hope that Zainep would fork up a weighty piece of soap for her words…          

-    Ouch! Sheishei, - began Kulzipa,- if tell everything, there won’t be the end. The world went mad. Whatever you can see or hear… Yesterday Daukara and your brother-in-law together with other horsemen met on our end. They were singing such songs that a soul was growing numb. There but for the grace of Allah go I! The commusts are said to convoke a congress. Everyone coming to their congress will be recorded as communist. And those who will become communists won’t see the God’s holy face in the afterlife. Saint Dyrginbai-halfe said: “It is a sin to pray for communists. It is even not allowed to wash them up, they must be simply dumped into the hole”. That’s exactly what he said. And such people like him know what’s what!      

Ulzhan hurried up to support Kulzipa:

-Kelin, do you know Karim from Kdyrbaya?

-Hey! That who trades skins? I heard about! Last year one Karim took off a skin of our cow… 

-              Exactly! It was him. Certainly that’s him. His daughter was sought in marriage into Sary-kyz family. She grew up, became a bride and her fiancé went and died. So, then she was affianced to the husband’s brother. And now, last year, she made acquaintance with one “tore”1 from the city. So they got to know each other, kept company and made a deal to get married. Parents supposedly knew nothing but brothers were guessing. Once, “tore” came for the girl. But not along with policeman!.             

-    Oh! Infidels!.. Ouch! Nothingarians!.. Now, now! Go on! And what mother did? And what mother? She was screaming, shouting, snatched at daughter. And the girl told mother: “Leave me alone! I don’t need you at all. I am leaving with my beloved”. And she climbed up the carriage to the policeman of her own will…  

-    Astapyralla! God forbid! What a horror! What a shame!..

-    Today people say that this girl arrived at her own aul. So there, in amazement, everyone snatched at collar.

Throwing off all prior clothes she dressed up like the abnormal, fitted close from all sides. She looked neither more nor less but like a cut filly. It looked like communist wear. There were some talks that she put even the cross on…     

 

Bureaucrat. In this context – soviet worker.   

 

-   What are you talking about, Sheshei? It really could not be true.. Why did nobody drive away such shameless woman?

-   Indeed! How to drive her away! Try to touch her and she will notify her communist! And he will immediately cast you into a prison…There goggle-eyed Byi-aha gave a hint against it so he was grabbed by collar immediately and brought to the lock-up. He is in prison now…     

-   My aunt! You are saying the truth, sheshei. Time of trouble has come. Everything is befouled… At our young age nobody could dare look at Byi-aha far from brining him into a prison… Sometimes we could not dare to step across the threshold of his house being ashamed of standing in front of his eyes. We quailed at him, that during whole summer we did not drink koumiss in his yurt. How could we? Eh! What a lovely time was!..      

-   But he is said to have been involved in stealing,-carefully remarked young woman Ryash, squatting down at the entry.

Old women, in the squatting position around fire, all together, turned round to her. And Zainep eyed her keenly and snapped at her;

- Why are you sitting being squatted? Look at her! Shown herself off!  Why have you become so brave, beggar, ha?

-   Modern youth has a weakness for gossips,-smirked Kulzipa.

-   Thanksgiving to Allah that such things do not reach to the Russians. Because such as her,-   Zainep quelled her with a look once again and start stirring jumble in a cauldron,- will defect to them at once.

 Raysh blushed up, choked with rage and tears welled up in her eyes.

-   So what? I would go! Are those, who went to the Russians, worse than me?!

She jumped up and run out of the yurt.

The old women pronounced “tut-tut!” Zainep started cracking with scoop at the cauldron’s bottom more furiously. 

-   Uh, bad girl! Wait till your husband comes, I will teach him how to cut strips out from your skin! I will not be Zainep if I don’t teach him!

-   Astapyralla! How does she dare to give a cheek, rodue!

-   So…It is obviously that the End of Days is too close…Old women sadly wagged with their  heads.

The time of the postmeridian prayer. Having wrapped warm pieces of soap into hems old women  went away to their yurts.    

 

II

Along the black caravan road in the direction of the riverhead a traveller was driving a carriage. This was Baken. Next to him Raushan, his wife, was sitting with her head covered with zhaulyk.

 “Tore” who came to aul’s ruler, ordered Baken to deliver the wife to “volost executive committee” where the numerous woman’s meeting is supposed to take place. But there was never seen that the husband would cruise around in a carriage with his woman. Baken supposed so. It is another thing like a funeral repast or visiting a wife’s parents is necessary, but so as a woman, just for fun, at her own or one’s whim, coming out of a house, none has ever seen such thing before. There, Tmakbai’s wife has been flat on whithin two years. Tmakbai is a loafer by his nature. He does not recognize any traditions. Having known that town’s doctors can treat such diseases he brings her to the city every day. All aul’s people are laughing at him; “Look at him,- they say,- how he stuck to his woman! Must be afraid of her! Does not dare to disobey her!”                  

Among those who readily scoff at Tmakbai there was Baken as well. Often he was saying:

-           Unhappy one! He thinks if his wife dies then he won’t be able to find another one. He would be better ashamed of people to bring her but-and-ben demonstratively…

And now by himself he is bringing his wife in full view of all people from aul. And not somewhere, but straight to the volost. And of course, who can answer for people’s laughing at him; ”Has this poor man intended for the feast, or what? How can he behave like this, to travel with his woman? Look: How she did sprawl!” People will start chatting whatever. He did not left the aul yet and gossips had already reached his ears. Kulzipa spread abroad all aul: “Well, it’s the devil’s work that he does like that! He is scared that his woman will raise hell! He is going to bring her to the city…” And when he was putting the horse into set, Kairbay’s wife was brought by the devil and carried away: “Yeah, and little will come our way from your wife’s prey!” What a venomous one! Does she really think that he is going to the city for the goods? This time had already passed away long ago. People care about chatting only…                        

Touchy, hot-tempered Baken was raging because of the offence and indignation. Angrily he thought about ill-fated “tore” came to the aulnai yesterday. Alyrmai, did he lose his mind? Why did he need to confuse women? So, he will gather them and what will he say?   

There is nothing more valuable for Baken than calmness like ordinary things such as getting up in the morning, throwing some hay to cattle and having finished household routines: then being tied of it a little bit, entering the house, leaning to wife’s thigh, drinking tea without hurry till being stricken through and in the dusk dropping off to sleep, having a good sleep from the heart… Baken does not even dream about better fate.

Baken has always been a stay-at-home. Kazakhs call such people like him “domesticated dog”. He did not travel around auls like other men, has never disputed about anything and aul’s news were out of his interest. He did not attend any meetings, elections and did not go to gatherings. And to the question: “Why are you sitting out at home?” – he was waving away only uttering “What have I not seen there?... Nobody won’t give us a word… ”Even at the meeting of Aulsovet where the lists about agricultural tax were made, Baken did not go attend as well. So is it easy, for such man, who had never traveled further than his yard, suddenly, at once to depart for distant way, and not alone, with a woman clad in white zhaulyk, shaming himself and for people’s fun?           

All the way long Baken was annoyingly and sadly thinking about it.  His mind was racing. His forehead took sweat. He felt like he was participating in something shameful and disgusting. And meeting unknown people, even if it was completely strange people, he stooped his head down…    

In the autumnal sky there were drifting curly clouds. The playful sun was descending behind them, like a pretty girl under a colored spread, or emerged from the clouds again. As if it was teasing Baken. Being already drained of all strength and lost its lustre, the sun, however, was rather hot so that Baken, being dressed warmly and tightly, was completely sweated. Nevertheless, who knows, he was sweat because of the sun or discomfiture, or heavy hardened sheepskin which was better to be worn in winter rather than in summer.              

Having driven on the other side of the Batyr’s hill, he stopped the horse, got down from bullock cart. From the very aul he was driving being sulky, gloomy as though he quarreled with his wife. And he did not even once turn around. Now their eyes met. Rayshan smiled.

-           It appears that such way of traveling is a good thing! – said she. – How much I saw! How many wayfarers we met! And when we were passing through the settlement, I could not take my eyes off! Apyrmai! It is not alike as our aul is which sank in manure and here everything is so clean, tidy. And white houses are stretched in line like geese. How fine it is! – sighed Raushan. –Yeah…Unhappy women, probably there is nobody unhappier than they are on the face of the whole earth. They are busy all time. All their life they spend nearby a tripod and smoked cauldron and without opportunity to see something good in this life. But men have no reasons to sing the blues. They can see whatever they want, and travel everywhere…

She took her downy headscarf off and exposed her face to the wind. Her kindly smile dispersed away her husband’s lour.                       

Raushan sighed again.  Downward thoughts about women’s fate were constantly on her mind. Why women are not equal to men? Why are women prohibited from being there where men are allowed? Who can eliminate this unfairness? Raushan does not consider traveling as something bad, being clothed in white zhaurlyk, in a light carriage together with her husband. And his confusion was unpleasant to her.        

Baken stood near the horse brushing mane with all five fingers, clapping on croup and looking askance at his wife. Her pink face, smiling eyes, calm and smart talking were pleasant and understandable to him. And earlier, despite of how angry he was, one smile of his wife or her looking into his eyes was enough that he began to melt in the next breath and started laughing himself.          

The same happened this time. And though he was depressed by the thoughts about old traditions, about aul’s gossips that will be following them since this moment but there was enough to glance at him tenderly and he immediately forgets about all his discontents and offences, and he was ready to satisfy any of her caprice. And now he was not against at all that to sit next to her on the carriage and to look at the world together.  

-    Wife! – merrily said Baken, - May be other people consider you to be very stroppy and bad, but as for me, there is no one else sweeter and nicer than you are. Let them gossip as much as they want and we will be laughing… By the way you are not traveling alone. They say that women from other auls are also being gathered. So there is no reason to be upset. And you will not go there where you don’t need to. Right?

From the burial mound they were driving being already lively. Baken was sitting next to his wife and she was smiling…      

 

III

The Volispolkom was situated in wooden house under deep roof. Nearby the house, three or four bullock carts were standing. Having infolded themselves in a shawls, the old women were sitting around. Here there were several men suffering from waiting and doing nothing. As it always happens they all together stared at them – at Baken and Ruashan and Baken has red in their eyes either sympathy or gloating delight: “And you, poor man, brought your woman here”.

   The toothless, with fallen in lips, one old woman fixedly looked at Raushan who was getting down from carriage then she made a wry face and started whispering with a gray-faced, pitted woman. What could they talk about? Probably they were talking “we are old people having had our days and now we don’t care about anything. But why this young woman is traveling around?” Raushan did not pay any attention to them but Baken has thought that they are saying exactly like that and he became ashamed again.     

The thick-set like a bull-calf, with a goaty beard, goggle-eyed man has asked Baken:

-           What aul have you come from, dear?

-           From Tysynbais aul.

-           Oh! So, you’re saying that you have brought your wife at the meeting?.. Yeah… What ever you say but Soviet Authority is lenient to women. So now they will show themselves…Now just hold on!

He has mockingly glanced at his pitted, looking like a frog, wife.

-           Oibai, kudai, - screamed the old woman as if trying to make excuse to him. – Have I come here of my own will, have I not? I have done it for the sake of our daughter – Damatken… She was signed up!  And how is it possible to bring a young girl at the meeting? She has not stepped on a strange threshold yet! That’s why I...

-           Shut up! Stupid dog! – her husband interrupted her. – How did I teach you? You have to say that Damatken has fallen ill, that is the reason why I have brought you here instead of her. Caught me?

The old woman guiltily has started blinking with her eyes. She understood that she had letted the secret out right now.               

-     But our people won’t tell anyone, - prattled she. – And if the volost’s ruler asks I will say so…

The black, goggle-eyed man’s given name was Yermak. At his time he was the aul’s ruler and bai-judge. He did not acquire peculiar wealth but he was a force and managed all aul’s affairs. All this left in the past. Now he is spiritless and fearful. He does not like the new authority at all. That’s why he takes sat the flood to laugh on the quiet at its orders.         

Telling about improper, in his opinion, affairs and acts of present rulers of auls, Biy certainly mentioned  about old lovely times.

-           God Almighty! There was golden time, irrevocable one!.. It happened, I and Bokbasar,- he was talking, - and Kordabai went forth in stately manner. At the first day we certainly spent the night in the house of respectable Zhapeke. Oh yeah! To come to see a great person is a holy duty! Bikasap-Baibishe, the wife of Zapeke, ah! What a good hand she was to treat!.. Remembering, that year, when the election took place, the volost ruller sent for us. So I and Bokbaksar went together. It was in the autumn. Zhapeke’s aul was located in ravine. We arrived in dusk. Oh, God! How everyone was glad to see us! All meat which was in the house, Baibishe put in a cauldron… So, can you imagine?! A big dish was put with smoking meat right in front of us. Pah, pah! It was a whole mount!..  Talking we were eating and eating we were taking. Somebody came to take a dish and there were left a couple of pieces… Everything was eaten up! Hah?             

Yermak remembering the past licked his lips, limped with his face but came back to reality and immediately frowned himself, pulled his face:

-           And now what? Do people have a good life? They are suffering! Everything went bust! How long we are sticking in here like being fasten to bullock cart but no beast invite us to have even a small cup of tea. Horror! What a people are shameless now! Ampyrmai, do you really have nothing to do, except women brining up at the meetings?! There we go! We brought them and what is the sense?  Whoever heard of such a thing that women’s assemblages were taking place? Must be the End of Days is coming…      

Yermak became melancholy at once, groaned, began to fiddle goaty beard.

Pitted old woman obediently was nodding her head: 

-    The most offensive that it was ordered to bring our daughter at the meeting. They said exactly like this: “Bring!” Of course it was the order of Aulnai. It would be better that he will be burnt in the hell! He did this to spite of us! Singed her up!..

Yermak threateningly rolled his eyes at the old wife like saying: “You would better shut up!”

A round-shouldered, scraggy, white-faced young man came out – the secretary of volispolkom – and invited everybody into the office.     

Yermal took his wife aside.

-           Look!,- said he threateningly,- is the volost ruller asks, you will say: “Dametken fell ill and not to incur your displeasure I have come together with my old husband. Remember this!” 

In spacious room of volispolkom there was spread out a felt mat. Women bashfully took their seats in semicircle. Raushan and Baken sat near the threshold. Yermak with his wife entered the last and standing with hope to be invited at the honorable place and realizing that nobody was not going to do even a motion for this, sat nearby the door.     

More than thirty women and ten men arrived. All women had the same facial expression: for bad or good and we have got through our lives so now we do not care about anything. Raushan was the youngest there.

Here, in the corner of spacious room there was standing a long table. There were sitting the chairman of volispolkom, secretary and beautiful swarthy Kazakh woman dressed like town citizen. She was sitting next to the chairman and thumbing some papers through. Raushan was looking only at her without taking her easy aside. Everything was surprising and pleasant in her appearance: the manner of her behavior, how she was reading, how artfully she was holding a pen and how she was writing with it.          

The chairman being a young and stalwart man with reddish hair got off the table, spitted out nasynbay – chewing tobacco- then he whispered something to the young swarthy girl and addressing to everybody said:

-           I am declaring the volost women’s conference of Bostandyk volost as open. For management of our meeting it is necessary to elect the presidium.       

Women exchanged glances between themselves. Nobody understood anything. And somebody has not heard him because they were busy with their talks. From the left corner there was heard a indignant voice:

-           Allah forbid! That I will take even though a small sleave! This Black Sheahei is making a wrongful accusation against me!

The woman aggrievedly has shot out her lips and was going to say something more but the chairman interrupted her:

-           I am asking to stop extraneous talking!

Women immediately has lapsed into silence and anxiously turned their eyes laterally on the young man.

-           So comrade women, you have to elect two persons for meeting management.

The swarthy young woman sitting at the table attentively examined everyone assembled. Her sight fixed at Raushan.

-           What is the name of this woman?

“O my God! It could not be that she will be elected somewhere else!” – with great concern Baken thought and  growing cold and started blinking fast.         

-   Lady, take a pity on us! We are poor people. We don’t even have a horse to come here, we hardly managed to get a horse from Tmakbai… - hurriedly he began to speak.  

And the young woman at the table and chairman of volispolkom looking at confused Baken burst out laughing.

-           But we are not electing anyone by force. We need two persons for meeting management. Clearly? So you will do it by yourself,- once again explained the young woman.

For some reason, Yermak smiled and showed at Raushan.

-           This Kelin, in my opinion, does for. I propose to elect her…

This cruel action of old cunning person (he had left her own daughter at home and instead of her brought decrepit wife) revolted Baken as well as Raushan.

Ruashan was almost going to refuse but did not dare. She liked the swarthy young woman with the first look.

-           What’s your name? – kindly asked the swarthy woman.

-           Raushan.

-           Are there any objection against election of Raushan at the presidium?- the chairman asked the gathered people.      

Somebody has understood, somebody has not what is conversation about but people started to begun to nod their heads in accord.

Raushan tried to stay at her seat near the threshold but she was insistently invited to the table and asked to sit down next to swarthy young woman.

With excitement Raushan was tremblingher arms and legs became numbher cheeks were flamedher forehead was covered with sweat ... 
   Young woman in urban clothing was called as MaryamShe was the head of the district woman department and came here specially for carrying out of the volost woman conference
  To get somebody to come to the presidium was failed and then the Chairman of the volispolkom sat instead of the Secretary of the conference, and Maryam was as the Chairman.

   She announced the agenda and proceeded to the report. Maryam vividly described the hopeless life of  Kazakh woman in prerevolutionary aul, said that they mistreated her like a slave, and treated her like a beast, she was married by force for the unloved, but the Soviet government, - then she said, - put the end to the violation of women’s rights, gave her  equal right with men, forbade by the special decree the bridee-money, polygamy, forced marriage. At first, it seemed the women understood nothing, but little by little the anxious speech of the speaker they began to reach them. Some women even compassionately and with feeling clicked their tongues.

-But equality in itself will not come,  Maryam continued- The oppressed people themselves must fight for their freedom. The Soviet government is struggling as it can to approve the equality. But only the effort of the authorities is not enoughWomen have to prove practicallythat they are really equal to men, that they are not inferior to men either in mind or in labor. In all auls there are the authorities of Soviet power.However, are the women in these authoritiesVery few or there are not at all. You can found, of course, educated single persons, but most of them are still attached to the home. Many people do not cross the threshold of their yurt, do not go to meetingsdo not participate in public life.They are ashamedtimid ... Husbands and parents are guilty of thisThey prevent the wives and daughtersdo not let them go, try to keep them locked up on the leash at homeIt's time to resolutely put the end to this evilIf women are equal to men, then they should actively participate in community service at the one level with men!

    Having finished the reportMaryam asked if anyone wants to ask her a question, but none of the women did not open his mouthThen Ermak said
- Tell me, after the meeting, we will take our old women to home or do you want to drive them somewhere else
Maryam laughed
- Do not be afraid ... you will take them back. 
   Maryam was markedly depressed by the fact that no woman has asked to speak. It became clear that they will get no change out of the old women of willIt seemed like they needed one freedom - mto return home sooner, where they could pull the wool again, spin the yarn and pray to Allah at the set time
Distressed, confused Maryam looked at Raushansmiled: 
- Can you tell something?

    Raushan was numb with fearShe only now slightly has managed her confusion. And suddenly she is asked to speak in front of everyone here.Shyness fettered her again, even more than when she went to the table. However, she had already understood that it is necessary to say somethingWith a doom she thought at that momentif she was put to the table, so she was obliged to speak. It's supposed to be done. Seized with tremblingbewilderedshe got up from her seatHer lips quiveredHer mouth was dry. Baken grew cold, having realized suddenly that his wife would sayOh Allahwhat if she will cover herself with shame…

What can I say? – Raushan began- Well, just you ask me, then, perhaps, I will say anything ... All, that this woman told, is the real truth ...Recently, in our aul young daughter of bow-legged biy-aga was married. The bridegroom is sixty years old. Erkezhan was sorrowingcrying, shedid not want to marry him. They put her by force in to the road cart  and drove ... All this happened within sight of aulnay ... My husband was going to visit the wedding, but I kept him and said: be ashamed of girl’s tears ... Erkezhan has beloved horsemanEveryone knew itBut he was the poor manand biy-aga did not want to give him his daughterHe coveted the cattleBut woman does not need a beast, she needs a husband, the chosen one. My blunderer sits here, ordinary, but we like each other and live together in peace and friendship ...

Everyone in the room laughed. Maryam smiled, but called for order. 
- It is seems I wanted to say something ... But I forgot - Raushan embarrassed Look here: a woman all her life does not go out of the house.And apart from her aul she sees nothing or knows nothing. And during my way to here, I have seen a lotEven my villageabout which I knew nothing, I have seen on the way. I used to think that the chairman of the volost is inaccessiblelike a star in the sky, and today I am sitting next to him at the one table. Soif you ride, walk, look at the world, then the woman will become the real peopleWhy not? Perhaps, they have the same brain as men have. It is not in vain in the olden days our grandparents used to say: "Good wife makes a human out the bad husband! It follows that they had reason to say so ... Yes ... and that's what I wanted to say yet. When we came herethis man, - Raushan pointed to Ermak,- sat next to his cart and boasted that her daughter, who was elected to the Women's Council, he left at home, but instead of her he drove his old lady ...

  - Oybay, honey, what are you! Our Dametkenzhan got the serious disease,- Ermak and his wife yelled in one voice
- Ah, the wretchYoung, young, but  can chatter a lot- grumbled the old woman- What is it to you, magpie
Then Maryam spoke againShe liked the speech of Raushan and she praised her
- In the auls there are a lot of such women like Raushan, - said Maryam- They can work everywhere on the one level with menThey should be involved to Soviet work, we should teach them the work. And then they will be inferior to none in anythingRaushan can become the leader of theaul disenfranchised women. I applaud her performance!

- Maryam clapped her hands. Along with her applauded Volost Executive Committee and Chairman of several men. Baken, seeing all the praise and welcome his wife, he felt that he had grown almost to heaven. 
- Raushan was elected as the delegate to the county conference, it was necessary to elect another woman, but all of them were old women, and then Volost Executive Committee proposed the election of the chairman's daughter Ermak. The old man was upset and got noisy. Began meeting to persuade her daughter instead of sending him, but no one would listen to him. Thus, the daughter of Ermak - Dametken had with Raushan to go to a conference in the county.

 

 

  

IV

     City… two-storeyed and three-storeyed houses. The people are rushing in a harry  back and forth in the narrow, straight streets. As soon as they pulled into the city, Raushan thought she got into the totally different world. 
     They traveled by two carts: Maryam was on the forward cart, Baken, Raushan and Dametken were on the second one. 
     Dametken and Raushan were sitting side by side. They were looking around in surprise and talking, compared notes: 
- Look, Dametken, look! Ah, what a stuff! Did she Cut her hair, or what? 
- And the dress, look ... 
- Mascara! What a shame! 
- And a bare-legged, barelegged…look, how she is tittuping! ..
 It's hilarious! .. 
- Ugh, begone, shaitan! 
Near something crackled, rumbled. Baken pushed Raushan in the shoulder: 
- There, there! Bullock cart without a horse! 
- Oh, Allah ... This is something like a witchcraft ...

      Five camels were walking in single file in the middle of the street. The humming car passed them by. Camels with a starting shied asides. Raushan and Dametken shuddered. The car shot so fast that even Raushan could not see the people in it. She just saw a woman with rouged lips ... 
     The horses stopped. 
- Here is my apartment. Come to me - said, smiling, Maryam. 
   Raushan’s legs became numb because she was sitting too long, and she could hardly move them.

     Passing them by, a man with a woman on her arm walked and looked askew in surprise at the strange travelers. Raushan was also surprised.The woman was wiry, long like a cranewith a hooked nosewith eyes whitish like salt. The face was pale, as if it was powered with flour,blood-red lipspaintedRaushan did not stand it, she laughed. 
 - So, God covered the face of poor thing with drawings! .. 
     Maryam lived in one of the last room of the long brick house. All her decoration consisted of an  iron bed in the corner, a table and a fewchairs. The pile of books stood on the table, the book of photographs lays beside.

      Maryam began to bustle. She brought a bucket of water so that the guests could wash themselves after the way. She quickly cooked tea, set at the tableplaced the plates with candy and other sweets
      At this time, the blackspeckled woman with large sheep eyes came into the room and hardly said hello to Maryam, started to speak. She spoke rapidly, excitedlywithout stopping. Her mouth pronounced such incomprehensibleunheard words as "newspaper", "performance","evening". Raushan was surprised at talkativeness of this black women
- So, will be the performance today- Maryam asked again.

- So, what? Of course! And after the performance, will be  a concert! And I'm participating in it. A Batsai will read the poem "Free woman." 
        And the endless city news spread again. But suddenly the black woman smiled mysteriously and said: 
 - And have you heard – After all, he has come ... 
 - Who? 
 - Abil! And by the way, he has already asked about you. I said you would come back soon ... If you come to the performance today, you will see him for sure. 
Maryam blushed, embarrassed and kept silent, and they were drinking  tea in silence.

After the evening meal, tired Raushan and Dametken  went to sleep, but Maryam strongly made a protest: 
- Oh, don’t go to bed? If we came in town, we should see the perfomance. 
    Baken has already undressed and got into bed. Raushan knew that her husband would be offenced if she left, but she was unable to resist the fervent request of Dametken. Maryam called Baken to go to the theater, but he just brushed aside: 
 - Oh, to hell with it ... I'm tired ... 
   The street lamps were burning as the stars. Crowds of people walked like blocks of ice during the flood. With curiosity, looking around, Raushan and Dametken were walking down the street and  hundreds of times stumbled on the passesby. Raushan caught her foot one time and even fell.

At the store with bright storefronts Raushan stopped and stood, she could not tear herself away. 
- Apyrmay, why this textile is not carried to the auls? 
And Dametken went to the window and stared, she was astounded: 
- Look ...the dress of kelin Naushabay is made of the same red satin. 
- Because she is a daughter-in-law of bai. Probably, they specifically visited this place ... 
- Oh, what a plush! 
- Yes, all things are expensive… 
- And here, merciful God, what a heels on shoes. Very tall! How can they wear them? 
Dametken looked around anxiously. 
- Oh, Raushan, what is to be done? Where is Maryam? We missed her. 
- What are you talking about, oi-bay?

Having forgotten about the shops and all products they rushed to seek Maryam and found entirely themselves at a loss. 
- Dametken, honey, do you know where were we going from? 
- From that side - showed a girl. 
- No! what are you! We were going from this side ... 
Women shifted their feet, looked around and understood that they hopelessly lost their way. 
A young man, dressed like a city dweller, went out from the corner by leaps and bounds. Raushan hopefully looked at him. But he only glanced at them and swept past. 
- Dametken, he seems to be a Kazakh. We may ask him, how can we go? 
The young man turned around: 
- Where do you need?

Having made sure that he is really a Kazakh, woman rushed to him. He had small, "beauty spot" mustache, thick lips. And he had a grey face, and was a bit round-shouldered. 
      Raushan hardly respiring said: 
- We have just come here today from the aul. Maryam has brought us to the meeting of women ... We went to the performance, gazed at the goods in the store and lost Maryam. Now we don’t know what can we do... 
Horseman smiled indulgently. Clearly posing, he took the pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered to women: 
- Light up ... Do not be afraid. If you need Maryam, I will find her now.

      Because of these words Raushan immediately calmed down so that in order not to offend polite horseman, took a cigarette from the pack and awkwardly bit it. She offered to Dametken other one. The girl shook her head, even recoiled, but Raushan put the cigarette into her hand. 
 - It is not polite to refuse, - she said, - when the young man is of your age, offering something ... 
       The stranger bloomed, smiled and spoke easily and mod. 
- Oh, that is right, jengey! Well, you touched the spot! One gives, another takes - because that's the charm of youth. Isn’t it, jengey? 
     He came nearer to Raushan, and she moved away embarrassed, however, at once having understood that without him they would not find Maryam, submitted, took humble view. The horseman glibly told something, laughed, joked, and he quietly became closer to Raushan and, finally, suddenly took her hand. Raushan shaked, broke away, recoiled.

   - What do you mean? Why do you use your hands on me? - she protested. 
    Horseman laughed: 
- What are you afraid of, jengey? It is the usual thing to walk arm-in-arm. And then – the shame! 
- And why not walk in Kazakh? 
- I'm telling you – it’s the shame! Understand, jengey, people will laugh. They will say: "Oh, look at them, they dragged as dejected." 
Raushan did not know what to say, and being in a puzzle looked at Dametken. Now they were walking along a dimly lit street, and the faces of the girls could not be seen. Raushan decided to herself that still unmarried Dametken, of course, she should go with the horseman. 
- In that case, it will be better if you go with this girl arm-in-arm - she said ... 
At the corner of the street there was the two-story white building. Street lamps brightly burnt. The crowd was at the entrance. One of them entered, others went out. Dametken, Raushan and stranger came to the door.

 - We will find your Maryam in this house - said the horseman and the first slid into the crowd. Raushan together with Dametken forced after him.
   They entered into large hall, packed with people. All people walked arm-in-arm by two or three in a circle, like a rowdy game "Khan Kubelek." All things that Raushan has seen before were nothing in comparison with that she saw here. Here she noticed a lot of Kazakhs. 
- Maryam went somewhere. They say she will come soon. We will sit in the cupboard for a while, - the stranger offered and took Dametken by the arm. She resisted as stubborn camel, and now the behavior of the stranger with gray face not seemed to be neither unworthy nor even strange for Raushan, because everyone in the hall walked arm-in-arm. So, she decided, in fact, this is the way the things are done.

   The large square room was opened in front of them. Windows were as high as a human, mirrors were ceiling-high. The flowers in the pots and tubs stood in the middle of the room. When they came in, Raushan was surprised to see how one horseman pulled along swarthy Khazakh girl with tight cheeks, after them some woman dragged along with opened wide her mouth and eyes. This woman was dressed in a crumpled, absurdly protruding on her head zhaulyk. "Uh, so, and these women hauled herself  at the performance" – Raushan thought to herself and having drawn nearer, suddenly she saw her own reflection in the mirror and  laughed in spite of herself. 
    Horseman seated them at a table, and then a  nimble, Russian boy with long moustache in a white apron run up to them. 
The man with grey face mumbled him something unintelligible, and he soon brought the six blacknarrow-necked bottles and three faceted glasses.

   Raushan and Dametken  looked at each other in amazement. 
Horseman seemed to be hugely pleased and proud that on both sides of him the young woman sat. He raised his head, took the bottle and smiling, began to pour into glasses something golden, bubbly. 
- What is this, dear? - escaped Raushan’s lips. 
- Do not worry, jengey. This is ... city koumiss. Let's have some drink ... 
Horseman laughed and stroke his glass on women’s glasses and drink all at once. 
Raushan wanted to drink for a long time, and now this word "koumiss" excited thirst. She touched her lips to the glass and immediately felt the bitter unknown taste. 
- Oybay! I will not drink this muck! …

   But the young man obstinately began to persuade women and almost forcibly made​​ they drink two glasses of beer. He emptied three bottles at a time, became cheerfulred in the face and talked, talked incessantly and about everything at onceHe seemed to be a good-natured personsweetfellowand both women trustingly listened to him with opened mouth
    Suddenly he realized and said
- After all you do not know who I am! Well, of course ... So know this: I am a head of the district finance departmentEvery month I receive one hundred and fifty rubles. And my name is Abdish ... 
   For Raushan one hundred and fifty rubles were huge money. "It is obviously, he is a big boss", - she thought to herself. But it was amazing that such important chief has missed around with them so long time and condescended to talk with aul women
- And this darling - he pointed at Dametken – has she already betrothed or free yet?

   - Betrothed- said Raushan
- And, of coursefor the unloved.. 
Raushan did not know who is Dametken’s fianceAnd the girl hardly knew whether her betrothed is good or bad. In addition, she blushed andsaid nothing. Abdishnot waiting for an answer, continued: 
- And now, this is the equality! We have now such timeWomen don’t need to be sullenshy. If you like some man you enjoy and walk with.That damn time had already passed when women were married to unwanted. From now all women  have complete freedom
He moved the chair up, bent to DametkenThen he put his palm on her hand and began to examine and move the rings densely beaded on her fingers
- Oybay, it hurts me- she smiled sheepishly, trying to pull his arm. 
- Don’t say that, my dear, I’ve done nothing wrong to you yet, that was painful ... - Abdish smiled and squeezed her hand stronglier. 
- Oh, there you are!  Maryam’s voice was heard behind back.

   Raushan bounced out of the chair. Abdish hastily moved away from Dametken. 
- I was looking for you everywhere! - Maryam said. – Even run back home. Well, I thought my guests got lost ... 
- Yes, if it was not for me, - said Abdish and began to tell long story how he saved Maryam’s guests. 
    All together they entered the auditorium. Music thundered. People were seated compactly – row to row. 
Raushan, Dametken, Maryam and Abdish sat down in the middle. Raushan became cheerful and smiled all the time. Now, sitting beside Mary, she was very confident. 
Music stopped. The lights went out. The curtain was opened. The thick forest appeared before the eyes of the audience. The mountain was araising at the distance, on the horizon. The lake turned brightly blue. Around the herds were grazing ... 
Raushan, forgetting all, watched with acute fascination at the scene ...

 

V

 

 

   The district women’s conference was opened at the third day after arrival of Raushan and Dametken. Theater hall was full. Most of the participants were middle-aged females. A few girls and young women arrived. But the old women met with each other occasionally. 
   At the time of the presidium election the Raushan’s name was called again. Just as before, in volost, she had to sit down at a long table with the leaders of the conference. However, in comparison with the volost meeting, here there was quite a lot of new: much more women gathered and it was found no man in the presidium.

    The first speaker was a Russian woman. A young Kazakh with leather bag under his arm came to the tribune after her. Raushan was all ears.She was interested to know what this horseman would say, but she did not understand anything. In addition, all his speech, as Raushan thought,consisted of one word - "means." 
   Some woman with stack of papers in her hands went along the rows and started to give them to those present. Raushan got a large folded in four piece of paper with large printing lettersWhat to do with itShe glanced at the neighbors. Women in the presidium unfolded papers and bent over them. Then she unfolded the paper and immediately saw some picture in the middle of the paper. God, who is it? Some toothless old woman, or who? .. At first Raushan didn’t recognize herself.

   Yesterday, in the women's departments some employee of the newspaper met her and wrote her name and family name. She called the name, but she did not dare to utter her name. Then Baken came to help her and said that the name of his wife is Shokparbaeva. 
   At the same time longhaired Russian seated her down on the chair and fussed around her for a long time, saying that he took a picture of her. And today this picture really appeared in the newspaper.

  Another woman made a report in Kazakh. She spoke very simply, clearly, understandably and her words that "the Kazakh woman, who was sold like cattle, has to find true freedom," sank deep into the Raushan’s mind as the commandment of the prophet. Many of those present in the audience listened with excitement to the speaker. But there were discontented people. They whispered, looked around or, in sign of tenderness, pinched themselves for cheeks. Raushan, sitting in the presidium on the stage, saw everything that happened in the hall. Her eye lighted on the young, simple, but neatly dressed woman.     Raushan liked her round, pretty, ruddy face. A silk shawl was slipped over her head. She was listening and from time to time wrote something.

   Raushan was watching her uninterruptedly. 
   After the reports the chairwoman of the meeting asked if the delegates have questions, and again, as at that time, in the volost, no one responded. Only one that woman in the silk shawl stood up and looking in her records began to ask the question after question ... 
In the evening, after the meeting at home, in Maryam accommodation, they were drinking tea. Then the hostess went away somewhere on her business, Baken went to feed and drink up the horse. 
Raushan and Dametken felt bored in the room, they went outside and sat on the bench at the gate. They began to remember everything they had seen and experienced last three days.

 -   It seems that up to now we have lived in the dark. 
We had no idea of the world. Just now I saw how it is interesting to live in the world, - Raushan said, sighing. 
    Two persons were going along the street. Walking past the bench, they suddenly turned round sharply and went up to Raushan and Dametken. 
- Hello, jengey! 
  It was Abdish. Unknown thickset horseman was next to him. 
- My dear, let me shake your sweet hand - Abdish said, taking a seat next to Dametken.

        Women started to talk to him as to old friend. 
    At this time, having managed all matters Baken came out of the gate. Raushan called her husband, introduced him to Abdish, said that he helped them in that first evening, when they got lost in unknown city. 
- So, why are we sitting? - asked Abdish. -  It’s better to walk, isn’t it? Maybe you, honorable, - he nodded  Baken – will you go with us? .. 
They did not have objection. After all, there are so many temptations in the city.

Abdish took Dametken by her arm and went aheadThickset horseman minced behind, but soon caught up with them and also took the girl by other arm on the other side. 
  Then Raushan took Baken by his armHe refused and moved away, but Raushan told her husband: there is nothing to be done, such order in the cityOn the way she praised Abdish: he is pleasant and young, and besides, he makes money. 
On the corner, near the two-story brick house Abdish stopped.

 -  And if we turn up here, mister, and drink some beer? - he suggested. 
Baken felt highly honored: "the person making the money", it can be seen over all, he is an important chief, he respectfully called him, Baken, as a mister, and even invited him to drink beer. For the first time he had a luck to try this drink on the “toe” with Murash when Murash was elected as a vovlost chairman, and since only one word "beer" made him to feel good. 
   They went up to the second floor and entered into the long corner room. The light bulb dimly burnt. In the red glow her room seemed gloomy. 
    They were placed at the round table. Abdish knocked, tousled-haired ginger girl in white apron immediately ran up to them

- Half dozen of beer! – said Abdish. 
- Get along with it! – Raushan wrinkled her nose, - We will not drink it. 
Thickset man pushed Abdish: 
- Something sweet for women. 
- So, it can be sweet - smiled Raushan. 
- Yes, jengey! For your sake I will go to the end of the earth to get any sweet! - And on a large scale Abdish threw his cap on the table.

    Six bottles of beer and two bottles of port lined up on the table soon. Wine was poured for women, and men began to drink beer. After that they drained their glasses two or three times, everyone came to life, and the conversation became more and more funny. Again and again Raushan louder  and louder interrupted the men, and Baken started to spoke in tongues  that a silent, serious Dametken suddenly became cheerful and began to smile, like the sun behind the clouds. Abdish as if by chance moved nearer and nearer, took her hand, and once even tried to hug her. 
Thickset man sat down to Raushan. Every time, giving the glass, pouring wine, he tenderly called her "jengey" - "aunty", as if he accidentally touched her hands. When, after much persuasion the last glass of wine was drunk, thickset man under the table caught Raushan’s hand and shook. And she, flushed with wine, sank to horseman’s side, laughed and squeezed his hand.

 - Honorable, and if we drink a little white? – thickset man asked Baken. 
- Um, dear, as you like, - Baken said, laughing. – Now the reins in your hands ... 
Baken obviously became tipsy, but boldly drank three glasses of vodka one by one. He became far gone and wanted to go out. He staggered to his feet, wanted to keep his balance, but stroke himself against  the wall and collapsed on the floor, having lying on the floor he burst out laughing through the room. He even tried to mumble something, to explain  something, but was thick of speech ... 
    All this time Raushan felt fine, but then suddenly she felt sick, her head began to swim ... 
   She did not remember how long this drunkness oblivion lasted. Opening her eyes, she saw that Abdish hugged and kissed Dametken.

-  What are you doing, shameless? - she cried. 
-  Keep your hands off! She is not your fiancee! Come on, get off! 
   She tried to get up, rushed to help girl, but then someone hugged her from behind. 
- Leave them, jengey! – thickset man whispered in her face. - Let them have fun! We also can have fun! 
   He snuggled up to her, began to heavily sniff and kept trying to kiss her. Raushan started from disgust. She instantly forgot about drunkenness, she strongly pushed him in his chest. He had not expected this, he swayed and fell on the table. Bottles and glasses with a clang and clatter fell on the floor. 
- What a mess? What's going on here? - stern voice was heard from behind. 
Raushan looked back and saw the Kazakh policeman. 
Thickset man stood up and opening his eyes wide tried to embrace Raushan ones again. The policeman stopped him. 
Raushan finally collected herself. She clutched the sleeve of policeman and cried. 
- Protect us, dear! Save from these ... the bastards! ..

 

VI

 

   Raushan woke up and raised her head up. For a while she looked around in surprise, she was unable to understand anything, rubbed her eyes open and looked around again. Nearby, in the bed, Baken in outdoor clothes, having bent, was sleeping. Yes, all was the same as always, the usual, her husband Baken. And the scar under his eye, and the black mole on his nose, and hard bristly, but thin mustache that always was bristled – Raushan knew all that very well.

    She turned to the other side and saw Dametken. Disheveled girl and also in the outdoor clothes, slept peacefully. The quilt was under her, thepillow was under her head ... In the left corner of the room there was the bed of MaryamOn the wall above the bed next to the photo ofMaryamanother photo hung, from which a man very nice in his dress, with shortly cut mustache, lovingly looked at the hostess. Raushan took notice these photos on the first day of arrivalBut at that moment she only glanced at themAnd now she could not turn her eyes away, the more she looked, the clearer became her thoughts, the fog in her head lifted more appreciably and the events of last night were remembered more distinctly. Raushan was convulsed.

  But what was that?.. Dim visions floated before her eyes: now they go arm by arm, this is beerhouse, table with bottles, Abdish throwingback his long hair falsely laughsclinks glassesproposes to raise a glass ... The more Raushan remembered, the angrier she became.Suddenlyshe did not know why she jumped, rushed to the pictures hanging on the wallShe had already reached out for it, but then she looked at other photograph, on which Maryam cheerfully smiledRaushan came to her sensesOne more moment - and she would tear to bitsthe photograph of unknown horseman"Wretch! He looks like a rogue, as Abdish. May be he also wants to seduce the pureinnocent girl!These educated men don’t have any conscience!"- she thought with fury. It seemed to her that by torning the photograph of this dude, she will save Maryam and punish this dudeBut idea shot into her mindMaryam is very unusualspecial woman.

     No one will dare to do with her that these two dudes have done with them. Thus there are no needs to tear this picture. And this man can be her near relative, maybe even uncle or brother. How will she explain her action to Maryam then? 
And having hang her head, Raushan went back to bed. She felt an unaccustomed heaviness in all her body, she had a headache, knocking in her temples. Her hands and feet shook, as if after debilitating illness. She lay down next to her husband and began to think. And different occasions from her past presented to her then.

    That is she, being still a very young girl, and jengey-aunt joking and laughing runs to her and asks her for suyunshi - a gift for the happy news. It seems the fiance arrived. I should be happy. The girl, which is asked in marriage, should be merry. And she forces herself to seem cheerful and obedient, executes all the instructions of the noisy aunts ... Fiance is Baken. At the first meeting, he says that he passionately loves Raushan and promises to care for her forever and not to offend. It's been five years, and Baken, in fact, has never changed his word. He loved and never betrayed his word. And they have one misfortune: Allah has not sent them children. Having leant that some baksy-shaman knows infertility remedy, Raushan decided to turn to himand when she carefully spoke to her husband, he without many words borrowed money from Alimbay, promising to give them back the only the one calf in the autumnand brought his wife to the doctor-wizard. Oh, what can we say….

      And nowthese days, what did other man bring his young wife to the conferenceWas it easy for him? Whatever people were just talkingabout in the village when Raushan was elected to the Parish Assembly. Others whispered to Baken: “Look! You will be dissolved by the Communists”And Baken being seriously worried did not even want to hear anything about the meeting. And he tried to dissuade his wife. "Why do we need all that, darling? - He said sheepishly- Is it not better to stay at home"But Raushan decided to go, and Baken dared to contradictherFor the sake of his wife he was ready for anythingIt is not clear why does he love her soWhat is it so especially in her?

     In the past Raushan had only heard about the city. And finally, she has seen everything with her own eyes. She will return to the aul - conversations and stories will be enough for the whole year! All here seemed to her surprisingly interesting and nice. It seemed ... As if last night has washed all joyful and nice. Indeed, having created such miracle as the city, the human could not forget his dirt and nasty things? Why, in the city, do live such people as this damned Abdish? .. Oh well ... let us assume that the big chief with education by himself makes money. So, in fact, he should beautify the city, take care of it, but he behaves like a bastard, why it is so? Or maybe all educated people are all the same?

    Raushan enmeshed in her thoughts, because she could not understand how education and evil can exist together. Everything was hazily, unstable and now she has made for herself only the one conclusion - "all educated men are scoundrels." But why, and is it really so? She was unable to understand. Finally, having lost the train of thought, she smoothed the hair with her hand and turned to Baken. He was asleep. She peered into his face for long time and suddenly she strongly cuddled to him and kissed him warmly on both cheeks.

VII

 

When Raushan and Dametken came to the conference, there was the break, and all delegates and guests crowded into the front roomMost of women, like Raushancame from aulsA man dismally dragged after one young woman, he was, exactly as Baken, tall, awkward man.  Two elderly women hotly looked for someone and ran into everyone. One of them going past and stared at Raushan
- Uh, thus you came!

Someone took Raushan by her elbow. She started like a frightened horse and moved away, but she saw Maryam and blushed, looking down.However, Maryam kept her countenance and immediately started to talk about the latest newsOne Kazakh, it turns out, brawled and wanted to take his wife back immediatelywithout waiting for the end of the conference. Musralieva was talking well - the theme was the samethe tight situation of women in the aul.

 -  You could speak not worse than she, - said Maryam- Maybe, you will speak as it was on the volost meeting? At that time I told about your speech to AbilHe was very happy and said that there are many such persons among Kazakh women, they only needed to be properly educatedand brought to workOh, to the point, you seem not to have known Abil yetHe's somewhere hereCome on, I will introduce you. 
And, still taking Raushan by her elbowshe led her somewhere. Near the closed doors Raushan stopped, freed her hand
- Maryam! 
Maryam turned around in surprise
- You want to say something? 
Yes. 
- Well, tell me! 
Raushan hesitated
- Yes, tell, telldo not be shyYou should not hide anything from me. 
We're friends ...

   "To tell or not?" - thought RaushanWhat if Mary would be offendedShe is also educated. And as they say, all, who are in their capshave one honourAnd are all educated as these two? If scientists are not considered to be humans, then who is the human? Ignorant Ryspai, or who?He has two wives in the aul and keeps them as slavesAnd anyway, what is the "humanity"If such abdominous people as Ryspai are humane,then what good do we expect from life? 
   It is impossible to understand all things. She is not able to understand all that. So, it is necessary to ask Maryamher soul is honest and clear.She will understand and will not lie
- I am ashamed even to tell - Raushan said sheepishly
Maryam looked at her and saw embarrassment and fear in her eyes, and smiled approvingly
- Do not feel ashamed. Tell! .. 
- And will you not take offense, no? Then ... then look here: I do not want to meet ... this horseman ... 
- Why?! 
- I'm afraid ... I'm afraid of educated men... They have neither shame, nor conscienceI do not believe them ... 
Now Maryam was deep in thought.

- Well ... I understand that you may think soIt is very possible that all educated men are now presented to you in such view. But it is not so. You can find a good friend, faithful frienda loving heart just among educated men. You, of course, were affected very much with yesterday's incident. I know. I did not talk about it, because I was afraid to offend youAnd if honestly speaking, I am exasperated by all these more than you. After all, I have brought you here not so that some rogue as Abdish could offend youI wanted to show you our cultural center - the citythat your eyes will be opened to the wider worldBecause you can tell aul women about all good things you have seen here, and others will followafter you ... And you can’t judge by Abdish about all educated men. These two men are just roguesThey wanted to use the freedom of women to their interest.

       And in fact, they are the enemies of equal rights. Even this idea is seemed to them a wild and insulting. This bai lees of society, accustomed to oppress not only women, but also all poor and weak people, and to make money on their sweat. Unfortunatly,there are a lot of such people as Abdish in our society. They entered the Soviet institutions, eat the Soviet bread and gradually make dirty things. But the Soviet government does not sleep, constantly exposes such as they are and strip the false skin off, does not give them calm life. And when the ordinary people open their eyes, when women equally with men actively be involved to the public life, then the end will be for these rogues ...

    Maryam spoke long and hotly, and Raushan avidly absorbed every her word. Having finished the speaking, Maryam smiled and said: 
-  And I'm also was angry at you, and then thought over: I was guilty, why I left you alone? Well, it’s okay, you got a good lesson. At another time you will be careful. Okay, let's go to Abil. 
    And she resolutely pulled Raushan by hand. 
    Abil was short, reddish, narrow-eyed and very young man. Maryam introduced Raushan to him, and he smiled affably, bowed and held out his hand. Raushan politely said hello. 
- So this is the one that you told me about ...

      Abil looked at Maryam. – Which aul are you from?- From Sabyn-kulya 
- From Sabyn-kulya? - asked Abil. - So after all, this is that aul, where I'm going to re-election. That's great! .. What if we elect her as a chairman of aul council? 
- That could well be the case.! - immediately supported Maryam. 
Raushan protested: 
- What are you? Where do I? 
Abil and Maryam laughed and began to persuade her. In the corridor they met Baken. Maryam introduced him to Abil and happily reported: 
- it is not ruled out that your Raushan will be a Chairman of aul council! 
Baken opened wide his mouth in amazement.

 

VIII

   The first clean light snow covered the ground with such thin layer that it did not powder the toes of the leather galoshes.The snowflakes swirled slowly, covering all around.

   The cart drove up to the Baken’s gate, creaking in the whole aul. The horse was beautiful, a bay one. A burly man came down from the cart, he took the fox furs off and shook the snow off. Then he stroked and twisted his tight black mustache. His little eyes were screwed up and it was impossible to understand if they were laughing, or angry. Baken hurried to meet him.

- Hello! - He greeted the guest.

   It was Demesin from a neighbouring aul. Since Raushan became the chairman of the aul counsil, he became a regular visitor. One day he even invited Baken and Raushan to be his guests. Many people in his aul took with disapproval the fact that the woman was chosen as a chairman aul counsil, but Demesin in every possible way emphasized his good attitude to Raushan.

- But Kelin has not crossed the roads to anyone. And she has not done any evil - he supported her during the elections. - The government assigns her as a chief. Now we have such time. And if the government wants, then so it will be like that...

    Demesin squatted down, leaned his back to the gate, laid nasybay over his lip. He asked Baken in details about business, about economy, about health.

 - And so I was going to visit you, and just now one small business has turned up ... - like incidentally he said.

- And what's a small business?

- Oh, Baken, now such people are around. They can not live without  that not to play dirty with each other ...

  My daughter, as we know, did not marry the son of Itemgen. Well ... and child-sucker knows that women are free now. But Itemgen’s relatives are ignorant people, they follow the old Kazakh customs and have no idea about the laws of the new government. They applied the petition on me that I sold my daughter for cattle. So I wanted to take a paper from Kelin that he married his daughter without any bride price, just on her own free will ...

   It was an outright lie, and Baken knew it well. Even this stately bay horse was received by Demesin from his matchmaker for the "sut-aky" (fee "for the mother's milk). And the whole neighborhood knew also that, apart from his horse, Demesin took for his daughter also forty seven heads of cattle. But if he has secured the certificate stating that he did not take any cattles, then it would seem empty gossip. And the piece of paper with Raushan’s seal was enough for that. Well, if the seal of his wife can be useful to this good man as Demesin, then Baken is ready to help him. In all auls there is no one more native and dearer for Baken than this Demesin. Let others snort at him, but they are not worthy even to stand there where Demesin throws his galoshes!

 - If that's the case, I'll tell my wife that she will put a stamp. Who else can better please you than you!

    Demesin grinned with satisfaction and stroked his well-kept mustache ones again.

- Let's go to the house - proposed Baken. - I'll order to cook some meat.

 - Well, do not worry. Now Kelin is the boss. It seems that she deal with clerical chores all day. She has no time…I am not here for the first time...Little by little we store up a sogum1. Your Zheng punished convey: "Let my brother-in-law with kelin taste their portion." So, you are welcome to visit us ...

    Flattered Baken smiled, even grunted with pleasure. It seemed like he just now realized how important he became. Respectable people want to treat to him.

The sound of buckets were heard. This is Raushan went out for water. She saw Demesin and stopped.

- How is the healthy of kelin? Is everything good in the house? - Demesin smiled.

- Thank you ... - Raushan replied dryly. And, adjusting a scarf, turned to her husband: - I go to fetch water, calves should drink. And can you call tore? You need to sign some papers ...

Tore - as she called Zhaksylyk. He was just a boy, but at the time of the election, he was appointed Raushan’s secretary. He was diligent, assiduous and the conducted affairs well. But Baken for some reason took an instant dislike to him.

 

 

Meat, storing up for winter

 

  When he comes to them, he starts to look into the papers and talking to Raushan, Baken suspiciously listens to their conversation and follows them all day... When Raushan had to visit all auls of her Council to drew up a general list of the inhabitants, he could not  to let her go with Zhaksylyk and he accompanied his wife all the way ...

- Oh, I am bored with your puppy! - muttered Baken. – So, what? Can’t he come without a call?

Raushan said nothing and went.

- Hey, wife, wait a minute! - She stopped. - Our guest has affair for you. Help him.

- What's the matter, kain-aga? - asked Raushan.

Demesin, stroking his mustache, thoroughly explained everything. At the same time, he ingratiatingly smiled and respectfully glanced at Raushan.

 - All men are doing to spite me… To spite me ... - he sighed. Holding the yoke on the shoulder, slightly swinging buckets by other hand, Raushan thought. Nowadays, in the summer, when they all lived in the dzhaylyau near Kos-Tomar, Demesin announced that he married his daughter for Kerey, and soon thereafter drove whole herd of cattle ... This was happened in front of everybody in aul, which was situated at the lake. Raushan remembered, she just went to fetch water and stood at the well, and saw with her own eyes Demesin ran the cattle past by her. Then another women were gossiping among themselves:

- It is said right: "The wealth goes itself to a rich man." Look! Demesin has got the whole fortune at one boat!

    However, at that time Raushan was not the chairman of the aul council yet, but there are good grounds for saying, the eyes are not guilty that they can see. And she had seen everything by herself. How can she give such paper, as if these cattle never existed? But Maryam strictly inspired her: "Look, do not make a mistake, if you put the seal to false papers, you will ruin your head." And Abil, who came to the election, in private had a long talk with her about the same. At that time, women with loose tongues gossiped that Raushan retired with another’s man ... "Be careful! - Abil warned. - Do not be caught in the clutches of rogues. Do not get involved in the suspicious affairs." And this is not even the suspicious affair, but simply this is the obvious deception. She had seen a motley potbellied cow with her own eyes. People say that this bay horse was received as a dowry. No way , she can set the seal.

   Raushan sighed, heavily swung the bucket and asked:

- Tell me the truth, kain-aga, you took the dowry for your daughter, did you not?

- And what do you care about this? - Baken attacked.

- I see kelin, you did not understand me, - smiled Demesin.

- Well, why not, kain-aga? I understand everything very clear.

- Then why do you ask? - intervened again angry Baken. – Affix the seal, and the end of it.

    Raushan frowned, became pale. If she does not set the seal, Baken will be mortally offended. He is a reserved, suspicious man. He will be angry and sulky for a long time. Since Raushan was elected as a chairman of aul council, Baken had changed a lot: he became irritable and suspicious. Raushan  did not want to quarrel with her husband, but for his calmness she could not betray her duty also. Today, she showed lack of spirit, set the seal to the false paper, and tomorrow the deception will be revealed, and then how she will look into the eyes of people? And what she will say to Maryam and Abil, who believed in her so? She can’t even think about it. And, adjusting the buckets on the yoke, Raushan decisively cut short:

- Excuse me, kain-aga, but I can’t set the seal!

     Baken and Demesin were bug-eyed with surprise. They did not expect such answer.

Raushan turned away and swinging buckets went to the well. Aynabay’s daughter shoveled snow in front of the house. Passing by, Raushan called her:

- Erkezhan, let’s go together for water!

The girl threw the shovel down and gladly followed after Raushan, but her mother raised the cry.

- What do you get mixed up dissolute with? - she cried. – Do not come closer to her! Do you hear me?

In the evening, when the lamp was lighted secretary Zhaksylyk came. Tablecloth was spread out, samovar was boiling noisy. Baken, having rolled up and covered his head with fur coat, lay in the corner. Raushan was sitting by the stove with a cauldron and added the bricks of dry dung to fire. Zhaksylyk habitually took the small chest from the corner behind the stove, took out the paper and began to work. Baken put his head out from under the coat, glanced askance at him, and suddenly said:

- If you need to strike, then let’s come in the afternoon. Do not gad about at night, disturbing people. Pack your paper!

Zhaksylyk looked at Baken in perplexity. Raushan stood up. ,

- Do not pay any attention. Write! .. - she said.

- He will not write! - Baken raised up from his place.

- I said.

- He will! A lot of affairs were accumulated. And I was chosen not to keep the paper in the chest under the lock!

- Hey, will you stop or not?

- No, I will not stop, then what? Will you beat me! Just try! I will draw up the report instantly and send it to the right place!

It gave Baken the jitters. He jumped up. He was never before so angry at his wife. During all his life, he laid hands on Raushan only one time, and he did not hit her, but only knocked zhaulyk from her head ... Now his face was distorted because of anger. Raushan retreated behind Zhaksylyk ... Baken staggered, pulled boots at the door and jumped out of the house, dragging his sheepskin coat.

  The small lamp flickered. Smoke whirled from the wick like thin trickle. Semidarkness was around. The blizzard was howling behind the wall. Wind was throwing the snow into the window, knocking to the door, drifting the snow.

Zhaksylyk laid down on his belly and began to write. Raushan settled next to him in the squatting position. She were not taking notice that the tears were rolling down her cheeks ...

 

IX

 

   Three days Baken did not appear at home. All these days stayed with Ermak. Kulzipa ran from house to house, told gossips.

 - I have told you that she joined the Communists! And so it is! She turned her husband, myrza-aga, out of the house... And she even threatened to put him in the jail... Oh, my God, where have you seen?

- Yes, and her husband is blunderer, bungler, and so it should be – they answered her. – He just did that indulged her. And good people said he needed from the beginning to take her by his firm hands, but not carry her into the city.

 - And what could he, poor man, do? After all she made him to do! She has no conscience, no shame! If he does not listen to her - she will go away from home, and that's all. It is impossible to stop such woman!

Some woman confidently asked:

- Sheshey, you know all. Tell me, is it the true that between them ... well, Raushan and this boy there is something like…?

- Oh, really! - instantly agreed Kulzipa. - Kelin is dissipated woman. You can expect whatever from her.

     Baken did not come home, and Raushan every day became more painful and dreary. She did not fire the stove, she could not eat. She was afraid of human gossips, that is why she did not let the Secretary even come close to home. She did not get a wink of sleep every night. And when the drowsiness closes her eyes, Raushan started with fear imagining Baken, as if he makes attack to her, clenching his fists, pale and trembling with anger. In these moments she could not believe, that some time ago he caressed, loved her. It seemed, if it were his decision, he would kill her without any doubt…

     Exhausted Raushan stood up in the morning, cleaned the farmyard, gave fodder and went out of the gate. It was a clear frosty day. The snow was laying like a tight, solid layer. The sleigh passed. The two women went with buckets from the well. Having come up with  Raushan they both turned away.

- May be she is looking out for her fancy man! - Raushan heard and became pale.

- What are you talking about, sheshey? - she asked, running up.

The woman raised her head defiantly.

- Well! It is not necessary to get involved with this shameless ...- muttered one woman and the other one turned away too and walked away.

    Raushan became furious. Now she hates these gossips more than death angel Azrail. And then she thought: not only these two women, but all women in the aul are set against her. Now no one talks with her heart to heart, as it used to be, not one shares his secrets and sorrows. And at the meeting they turn away, who silently, who muttering something, as if she is mortal enemy. Others, talking, plainly jeer, mock at her, they say nasty things. They pervert every her word. And in addition, Baken went out of the house as if he poured oil on the fire. They whispered all over the aul. They assumed her of all sins! All gossips found a job ... Raushan understood that this can’t go on for further. It is necessary to make peace with Baken, return him home.

    And Raushan went for her husband. Near Kairbay’s house several men were standing. They were talking about something, but when they saw Raushan, they became silent and stared curiously at her. Kairbay mockingly, provocatively, deliberately loudly said:

 - Hey, kuday, what will you see in this world!

 - Baken has lost control of her, oh! - supported the other man. – Does another man admit that his woman lounged about in front of everyone’s eyes! He would give a sound flogging properly! ..

    Flabby, red, restless horseman like took the part of Baken.

- Why are you jumping on her? Anyone will be afraid if the protocol and prison threaten ...

Kairbay was indignant:

- No one has died from this protocol yet. Even if she would be driven in Siberia, and if she would be my wife, I would flog her back, and that's all! Her husband is worthless, that is why she is raging.

Raushan passing by heard these words. Red man pushed Kairbay as if he said to be silent! She can hear! But he only raised his voice:

- Well, let her hear! Big deal ... I am not afraid of woman? I say what I want!

  Having clenched her teeth, trembling with anger and resentment, Raushan entered the house of Ermak. Baken was alone. He was lying curling up, burying his face in a fur coat. The windows were frozen and the sun barely struggled through the powered glasses. The light volatile twilight was in the room.

When Raushan had seen her husband, hunched up as an orphan in the corner of someone’s house, her heart was wrung, began to ache.

The tears welled up in her eyes. She quietly came up to him, dropped to one knee.

- Hey, get up. Let's go home.

Her voice was shaking. She raised her coat, bent down, clung to the face of her husband. The tears rolled down to his cheek.

- Darling! .. Well, that's enough! You promised never hurt me. I can’t so ... alone. What kind of life? .. I am sick at heart ... I do not dare to raise my eyes. Well, get up ... let's go home…

     Raushan snuggling up to her husband passionately kissed him and begged him. She was in such despair that he vowed never to argue with him beginning from now. But Baken was relentless. He even had not moved. Gray, gloomy, with wet eyes because of self-pity, he clenched his teeth and looked somewhere. The stone could be melted, but Baken was dumb.

The door was opened and in a frosty cloud Kulzipa rushed into house. The toe caps of her leather galoshes rode up. She jumped to the stove, leaned with her side. Raushan raised her head and sat down. Kulzipa said mockingly:

- What, you can’t leave the poor man alone here! Or you are really so exhausted?

Raushan even has shuddered.

- It is not your business - she cried. - Husband is mine!

- Husband?! Yours? Are you have a lot of such husbands... - old woman caustically noticed.

- Shut up, crow! Bite your tongue down! How dare you slander for nothing! Do you understand that you are talking about? Do you know what is the punishment for the slander?

 - You bite your tongue! - completely became furious Kulzipa. – Who are you? Are you my father that you open wide your mouth and yell at me in my house? You can yell at your own house, dissolute! But here you can’t do this! Your eyes are shameless! Vile creature! ...

   Raushan even started to cry with rage. How gladly would she clutch at dirty hair of Kulzipa! But can the chairman of the aul council behave so? Having overcome her anger, she again started bothering her husband:

- Get up and go home ... The house is not mine, but yours. If you are angry, turn out me ... And live ...

     Bakken slowly, reluctantly sat up.

- Come on, I say ...

- Oh, shut up! I'm not going!

- And I'm not going out here until you come with me ...

- Hey, back off! .. Hey, leave me alone! ..

- Well, I will not leave - will you beat me? ..Then beat! I'm your wife, I will endure, I will not resist ... You can kill me, but now go home! ..

- Go away from here! - Baken suddenly pushed her in the chest. Raushan came off and fell on her back. Kulzipa revengefully was smiling. Raushan got up, feeling that in her breast all is glowing.

- Okay ... your will. Beat! But just go home - she rushed back to her husband, but Baken again kicked her so hard that she fell to the floor. Zhaulyk flew off her head. When she fell down, she struck her head against the threshold, and her brain was buzzing at once, but she almost did not fill the pain in the heat of the moment. She set straight her disheveled hair, pulled zhaulyk and trembling, for the last time, said to her husband:

- Are you going? Or not?

Pale Baken kept silent.

      Raushan came out. She did not notice as found herself in the street. Kairbay with friends, chatting, still were standing near the house. Raushan became straight and hot with rage stared at them.

- Well, Raushan, is it well for you to be the ruler of aul ? – redhead man grinned mischievously.

  Raushan choked herself with anger. It is seemed her that heart jumped to her throat, her lips became numb. Having looked at Kairbay, she said faintly:

- Kain-aga, the whole aul has passed the tax long ago. Even Baka-aty, poor man, contributed all sum. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! You have so many cattle and do not pay on time?

Kairbay’s face changed:

- Do not shame me, kelin. Because I will be ashamed, not you!

- Now you understand ... remembered about conscience! - muttered someone from men.

- Why is that? And I will be ashamed. After all, they may think that I cover the rich men up, defend them ... In addition, it seems that you, kain-aga, gave wrong information about your cattle. You have one hundred and fifty cows, and on the list - only fifty. So, you hid one hundred head of cattle. And because of you poor men have to pay... Thus today you contribute the tax. In other way, I will report to volispolkom that they will send a man to inventory your cattle in full!

Kairbay noticeably was afraid. The others exchanged with their glances.

- I see, today kelin is not in a good spirit. And, of course, this fool Baken is guilty of all. I'll go and tell the dog to go home! - Kairbay quipped.

- Do not do that, kain-aga, I do not invite you to be negotiator, - Raushan answered stiffly. - If we want to make it up – we will make it up ourselves. Somehow we will manage this without you. It is better if you take care about yourself – today contribute the tax. Otherwise - you have only yourself to blame! - And she went to her house.

- Boy-Boy, what a strict woman! ..Perhaps, she has rage more than fierce volost Beisenby has! .. Thus she will make us to put both legs into one boot! – men began to make a noise and nodded ...

     At home, sitting by the stove, Raushan thought. Gloomy low dugout, before so warm and cozy, now seems to be cold and alien. It seemed to her grubby, blistered up stove, the black chest with the broken lock and old, all in tatters, felt mat on the dirt floor, and erose large bowl, and all the kitchen utensils on the wooden stand near the door were unsightly. She was looking at all around gloomily and with hostility. Just yesterday all that was usual, her own and now she is sick and tired of everything, she has a distaste for anything. "Well, what am I to blame? I shared together cold and hunger. I worked with him on an equal basis. He can humiliate me as woman, but my work - in any way ...

     Now, I was elected as the chairman of aul council. Maybe in the eyes of the people, really it seems ridiculous, that woman takes up such position. But I did not ask, they themselves have chosen. When Maryam started talking about that for the first time, Baken was near. Nobody hold his tongue, if he wanted, he would say that he did not want my wife to be the chairman of aul council - and that is all. And then, when there were elections, Taskara, Biyaga and others bawled: "We support the proposal of the instructor. Up to now the men were aulnays, but not much good came of this. Let us try to choose a woman. We will vote for our kelin Raushan with pleasure." And again, Baken said kept silent and said nothing. Quite the contrary, he shined. Now what does he want? Why is he sulky? Is he angry because of Demesin? Did I disgrace him through young or stupidity? If I am guilty, why he can’t tell right now? Did I give the cause for mockery and malicious joy to gossip-Kulzipa? "- Raushan thought resentfully.

    Some woman entered. Her hair came out from under her zhaulyk, she was disheveled at all, pitiful, shivering with the cold. Her right eye was swelled, the face was bruised. She sank to the floor, rested against the stove by her back and heavily, with sobbing shuddered.

Good daughter, dear ... They say you joined to Communists, you are wearing a cross around your neck and ... my God, what they are talking about you! And I had come under their gossips and avoided you ... And now I came against my will. Baybishe is an embarrassed to me. He sets my husband on me, in order to beat me. He beats me, poor woman, indiscriminately every other day. And today, he has beaten me for no reason ... I can't put up with it any longer! .. Who are they, these communists, I do not know, but I heard that they are standing up for women. If so, let them to stand up for me. Let them to secure from this monster, and I agree to do everything, even if they make me to be baptized. 

  The woman raised the hem of her skirt and wiped her eyes with tears.

- It's unbearable!... He will beat me to death ... Help me, kelin, my dear, save me if you can ...

Raushan was silent. It's not that to help others, it’s high time to ask by myself herself for help. Her heart was burning with resentment and shame. After all, Baken never laid a finger on her, did not say bad words. And today he has kicked her. Kicked her in the chest! After that, what kind of intimacy, what love can be there? Who knows, did Baken think about it, but she, Raushan, thought about it at once. Stepping over the threshold of the Kulzipa’s house, Raushan could hardly contain herself to say: "That is all! I do not want to see you again!.."

- Nobody has the right to beat his wife, sheshey, - she said. – Maryam said me many times that men are made answerable for the beating, polygamy ... When my secretary come, I tell him to write the petition.

- Do, as you know. But please, save me, protect me from this disaster... – sobbing woman said...

 

X

 In the afternoon, a messenger of the the volost executive committee galloped with a whole bunch of papers. He seated comfortably himself, put his hands on his sides and began to praise Raushan.

-           On the lips of our chairman is your name onlySuch person as Raushan is, - he says,- is a rare thing.

  She can be entrusted with any businessand she will do it right. Well, and for the fun I am egging our head on, "I guess you liked kelin, and therefore you praise her." And he seriously says: "No, Ouali. You can’t find such women among the Kazakhs. Believe me few men could copewith that she does”. Here!

Gabby messenger jumped from one story to another. He suddenly began to tell how his horse on the road quite worked itself out, and in the nearby village nobody wanted to change it.

-So, I raised a voice. “Hey! - I said. - Open your eyes! Who are you talking to? I am the power! I am the Chairman of the volost. If I complain to volost’ head so then he will scatter all your ashes to four winds!” Frightened, poor man, spun around, instantly led his horse under the bridles. Well, Uake – I mean myself - took a fresh horse and rushed to the village Saygelya. And Ermak, he has wedding ceremony of his daughter ..

        Raushan shuddered:

-    MarryWhich one?

-    Elder. The very same that went together with you to the congressI looked at the fiancé and said to myself: "It seems, you are the shard beetle, and older than fifty ..." He trimmed beard, had gray hair at the templesOn that occasion that I pleased, he handed me chervonets (ten rubles)I took money and went on.

Raushan was disturbed by news. When they were returning from the city, Dametken suddenly fell into talk and shared grief with her. “I am unhappy! – girl cried bitterly. - My father wants me to marry, as a second wife, to old man. "Raushan scolded her: "Why did you keep silentbeforeWhy did you not say that in the city?” They agreed at that time that they would keep in touchand if she, Dametken, is forcibly forced to marry, she will tell to Raushan, and she will look to Maryam for help immediately... And now she, miserable, is bestowed in marriage to old manindeed as the second wives. Of course unwillingly. But nobody asks for her consent.

         At the end of his long speech, the messenger proclaimed another news
- Yes, you need to come to volispolkom tomorrow. 
- What is that for? 
- The meeting will be thereAll Chairmen of the aul-counsils will be collected.

         Raushan was glad for some reason. Having gone with guest to the door, she folded the bunch of the papers into the box, grabbed the buckets, yoke and hurried for water. The purple-red sun hanged over the sunset. The frost nipped and tinkled. The plumes of smoke streamed from the pipes over the aul. In a hurry, the people run the malnourished cattle to watering place. Someone carried the ashes out, someone brought the chips. Self-satisfied, Kairbay, shaking up the sleeves of the fur coat, went toward Raushan. Coming abreast, he sidled a glance at her and stopped, laid with his chest on the staff:

-          Who did come to you, kelin, honey?

-          The messenger from the volost executive committee.

-          I wonder, what did he need?

         Raushan got engry:

-    He brought the order to collect all tax urgently. It is ordered to make a list of all tax-dodgers and deliver it into the volost executive committee. I am going just to go with this list tomorrow.

Raushan went to the river. Kairbay made step or two after her.

-          Kelin! Oh, kelin!.. – And he stopped, biting his lips, muttered out of pique: - Oh, you have been and done it!..

Among those who cut down the ice hole, Baken was. Noticing his wife, he sharply turned around and went toward aul.

-          Hey, hey! – Raushan called him. But Baken did not turn. People on the river, forgetting about the works pried at the married couple. Raushan  in a fit of temper threw the yoke off the shoulder, and the buckets rolled noisily over the ice…

 

 

XI

 

 

Savage fury gripped Baken out of the blue. Raushan did nothing without preliminary taking advise  of her husband. And when she was elected as a delegate into the volost executive committee, or she went to the city, or she agreed to be chairman of the aulsoviet – all that was made with the consent and with the Baken’s knowing.

When the elections were passed, some of the Baken’s acquaintances envied him,

-   Now your woman is a head, - they said. – She does for you now all you want.

Other acquaintances had doubts:

-   Well, may be, at first it be so, and later when she knows the taste of power, then Baken hardly will close to her…

Baken did not particularly care about buddies’ talks, but woman’s gossips cut him to the heart. Kulzipa slinging mud at Roushan most of all laid herself out.

This yaga whispered to some people:

-    It is said that she banded together with big tore. That is why she is appointed….

And she gave the hints to others:

-It is seen, tores know where they will sleep, when come to our aul….

Of course, no one says to face such thing to either Baken or Raushan, but ill fame goes quickly around the world.

At first, Baken worried, but then suddenly, whether he getting used to this stupid and empty talk, or beginning to enjoy of that, the respectable, influential people began to come and appealed just to him with their cases and not to his wife  he became cheerfulanimated, began to feel fun and confident. Confidence quickly turned into self-confidence, and then in pride.

Before, he seemed to have followed his wife’s advices, carefully passed her another's complaints and requests, but then he began to control,order, without seeing into the matter, without  the wishes to listen the objections. Increasingly, he carelessly told his wife: 
- Do all things he asks!

Raushan worried and felt annoyed:

-    You must understand, unhappy, I do not have two heads, I have only one. Why should I sacrifice it for somebody’s dirty affairs?!

-    What do you understand in dealing? Female mind is short, 
- rapped Baken- Do what you are told!

   This change of him happened not at once and not without purpose. Soon, after when Raushan was chosen as a Chairman of the aulsoviet, the top men of Tasybek family got together at Kairbai and, enjoying with meet of ewe lamb, were discussing this event in details. Baken was invited too. Having remembered enthusiastically,  Aksakal Ajibek suddenly appealed to him and even sat on heels.

-           Dear Baken… Your father, late Shok-parbai, poor man as he was, thanks to relation and aul’s people he did not die of hunger and was not behind the others during the movements. Until now, we, the future generations of one ancestor, lived friendly and in unity, in a true believer sons’ manner…Now the times have changed. Everything turned over. As they say, the head becomes the feet, and feet become the head. All right then! We have nothing against new orders. However, up to now the auls

chose their own destiny. What is in store for us – only Allah knows…

Here the old man paused and sighed heavily. The voices were heard immediately
- That's right! 
- Aksakal is telling the truth
Andsighingshaking his head, the old man went on: 
- Listen to me, dear BakenIn old times, there was a tale: "The wife looks at her husband, her husband – beyond his feet."

        And one more thing: “The people guided by woman will be in the dark”. These troublemakers came and began to trouble people, destroyed the foundations. They announced: “The poor man should be chosen as a chairman of the aul”. Okay, nobody disputes. But if they need kedei, then, let us say, are you not kedei, aren’t you?! When they came round you and called the name kelin, we were cut to the heart. Some horsemen wanted to gallop to the city, to find the truth. But I persuaded them to stop. I said: “Don’t worry. Be patient. Let’s talk to Baken at first. If it is being done by his witting and agreement, then there is no need to make a noise, it is useless. In fact, Kelin is ours. And she will not go against her husband. To guide the people – is the difficult work.  Here you need to hold counsel with people, that everything will be under the agreement. If Baken take all charge and responsibility and kelin is called the aulnai only, what do we need more?” Now, all your elder brothers, all of them are respectable people, having gathered here, want to receive the answer from you: will you hang around or mumble, or you wil become a horseman at last and control your own woman? If the people gave back the reins of government, then, of course, not to woman, but to you. Do you understand?! Well, what will you say at that?

And, putting the question point-blank, the old man looked around in triumph, as if he asks: “What, did I press him great, eh?!”

Those present buzzed with approval:

-                    Wise old man!

-                    That is how clever people governing the people are saying!

-                    Oh, nice men were here before!

Baken rarely had the opportunity to be at such meetings. And could he suppose that exactly he would be in the center of the attention?! He perspired as in a bathhouse because of Ajibek’s words, and he wiped the face with the skirt of the chapan again and again.

Meanwhile others bothered Baken and pull him from all sides:

-           Oh, don’t keep people in suspense, tell something!

And then, not knowing what to say, Baken irresolutely babbled:

-           I don’t know your different things there. But I am a master of my house and my wife.

-           Hey, hey! Turns out, he is a horseman!

-           What a fine fellow! So at once to say! – all around were in a hubbub.

Demesin, twirling his mustache and darting fox eyes on the sides, said:

-              You, Baken, say clearer. And rouse yourself, be a human! That is enough for you to be a wimpy. We know that you are the muster for your wife. But this is not enough. Be the owner of her stamp as well. In order that kelin won’t seal any paper! Promise this to our aksakals and they will bless you!

           Confused Baken gave his word and old man Ajibek blessed him…

   Since that day Baken was reborn. He became strict to his wife. And he conducted himself as if since now the rains of the aul Soviet were passed into his hands.

Baken changed skin. All his life, he did not interfere in any matters, and now when his wife was elected as the chairman of the aul’s council, he showed unexpected quickness and activity, and took part in all aul’s squabbles and scandals. And pretty soon he got accustomed to thought that he, Baken, - the ruler of the destinies all over the neighbourhood…

The fact, that Raushan refused to seal the Demensin’s paper, affected Baken as a knife. He was just ready to take away the stamp and tap the paper. Up to then, Baken did like this twice. But lately, Raushan was changed very much, she began to announce more often: “ Don’t interfere in my matters! I know myself what I do…”

-              And who are you? – Baken even was indignant one day.

-              I am – this is me. The Chairman of the eights aul’s council. I present the power here! – Raushan answered proudly.

-              Are you not my wife?

-              Wife. So, what? If I am your wife, then you must regulate all business, don’t you?! This work is entrusted to me, but not to you.

Oh, Baken became enraged at that time! Silent, shy people sometimes can be terrible in anger! In that case, he will go away! He will go away and won’t come back! Before he wanted to go from home more than once, but Raushan, always tender, attentive, somehow dispelled his offence, she set his mind at rest, tried to persuade him.

At this time everything has turned out differentlyLeaving the houseBakken hoped very much that Raushan would run after him again and fall upon his neck, begin to kiss him, cry, say that for the future she unconditionally would fulfill all his orders and wishes.

Raushan has not done it. Moreover, when he jumped up, she suddenly hid behind Zhaksylyk’s backThis fact completely blew Baken. Shefound who could protect her! Who is he for herthis Zhaksylyk?

In a ragerealizing nothinghe went to YermakAnd what he is like, this Ermakeveryone knows: he sits all day at the fireplacegoes over the gossipsAnd his wife is match for him. Where there is this instigator Kulzipa is appeared, the noise and strife are broken outAnd now, finding himself in their hands, entangled and bugged with their gossips and slandersBaken in despair and anger came into furyOnce he even jumped up, shouting: "Instead of such shame, I strangle her at once!" Only how can he do this, he is so shy and cowardlyHowever Ermak and Kulzipa stirred up him, Baken would never dare to do such thing.

When Raushan came and entreated to go homeBeacon just lay in a fit of such unrestrained wrath.

He seemed to be spurred his rage, giving himself a vow: "I will never call her my wife and look in her face!Blinded by anger, he did not respond to Raushan’s entreatiesAnd he even kicked herwhat did not allow himself all his life.

But the weakness and timidity of character always let hear about themselves. When beaten by him, wife, in desperation and with tears in her eyes, walked to the door, he melted, became soft, because he felt such pity that he was ready to jump up and yell after her: "Wife! Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" May be he would have done it, if he had not nailed with Kulzip’s stare, standing at the stove ...

And he did not respond to the call. He did not come home. But why? Does not he want to part with Raushan forever? God forbid, not for the world! He did not admit even the thought of it, even when the anger bubbled in him, when for no reason at all he struck her who came to make up with him. He has blamed himself, annoyed that he had done so basely and despicable. Because of whom he had quarreled? Because of Demesin! And who is this Demesin? Bai! Aul magnate! Former Biy-judge, carrying the imperial mark on his chest! There is nothing  to talk about, has Demesin ever considered with Baken? Not likely! He brandished with stick above his head! Yes, yes, almost ten years Baken worked as a farm labour for him. If you take the lambskin fur-cop off his head, then now you can still see the traces of that stick ... Then, then ... why he became so enraged? Why he took up my case? Oh, fool! .. Oh, muddle-head! ..

Baken felt angry with himself more and more. How could he so cruelly offend Raushan? And even in the face of this shoddy Kulzip
"I'm to blame for this, dear, - said he mentally to his wife. 
- Do not be angry, I will go home today. Will set your mind at rest, console ..."

He was about to go home, as tousled Kulzipa tumbled with a crop of news: 
- Mascara! Horror! It is said that volost man called your wife ... It is said that he missed her ... He says he needs to talk to her ... One on one, he says ... Also it is said ... 
Kulzipa has no end for this "it is said", but for every "it is said" - sheer gossips, rumours, which turn the stomachs of many people.

"No doubt that she was called to the volost executive committeeBut she will not leave without saying anything to me ... Ii means, she will come againThen we will make it up, "- thought hopefully Baken. He liked this thought and he without stop staring at the door and waited impatiently for his wife coming. 
     Evening fellThey lighted the lamp. The revellers and idlers began to loafed from house to houseOne came, the other left ... And Raushanwas not at home...

The next day, in the morning, Baken climbed up to the roof of the Ermak’s cowhouse and stood up looking around, as if he was looking out for someone, suddenly he saw that shawled Raushan went to the road beyond the village fence in the sleigh horsed with bay gelding, which was ruled by Zhaksylyk. Baken’s heart run cold
- Oh, you ... - involuntarily and somehow even with a annoyance escaped his lips
Feeling terrible emptinesshe went home.

 

XII

 

The Volost executive committee is not far away. She went today, tomorrow she will come back. The matter is not in it. The fact, that his house seemed to be foreign and unknown for him at once, irked and disturbed Baken. All belongings were gathered, packed, tied up. It was like before the migration. What does it mean? Why, having gone away, she did not say anything? Or?..

Like a lost one, Baken loafed around his house all day long. He talked to nobody without visiting anyone. Aul’s people were passing him by, talking about something, laughing and Baken felt as if everyone was laughing at him. "Well! Wait! I will knock the tar out of you! – Baken was threatening to someone. - Let my wife just come ... "

All day long Baken has been staring at the road. His heart stopped beating when he has noticed some traveler far away. Finally, before dusk thebay gelding appeared. Happy Baken went to the house and suddenly became cold. On the sleigh just Zhaksylyk was sitting. 
- Oh, oh! Where is my wife? 
- She left for Orenburg... went for getting education ...

In the Baken’s eyes was dark. He staggered to the sleigh. Then he moved to Zhaksylyk. The secretary was mumbling something, explaining, but now Baken can not hear anything. It seemed, he became deaf ...Having frightened, Zhaksylyk staggered back, stepped back and Baken, become furious, barged into him and began to beat, beat, beat. Where he beats, why he beats, even whom he beats - a beast, man and dog - he could make out nothing. Someone grabbed him by the arm. Someone pulled him off for belt. Noise, crying, swearing - all were blended...

He woke up before dawn. Fumbled with his hand on the side of the stove: nobody was there, nearby him. Alone! Then he began to remember what happened yesterday. "Orenburg", "Education", "Hello" - only these three words have arisen clearly in his mind. But it was enough to realize what suddenly happened. Baken began to cry like a baby ... 
      Of course, Kulzipa came first to visit and feel sorry for him. Like a mullah at the sick, she sat at the head of the bed and started to harp on the Raushan’s depravity, that bad times came, and that, in spite of this
, the godliness has not been shattered in auls.

 - Do not grieve! You have not been an old man yet. You can procure such longhaired woman anywhere, - Kulzypa consoled him. – On the other hand, thank Allah, that happened in this way… It is good, that she buzzed off. Otherwise, we would persuade you to give her up…

Then crowds of the old women, young women, adolescents, children began to go. And all of them looked at Baken with pity and sympathetic. One of the woman cleaned up in the house, swept the floor, another one lighted the stove, carried the water, made ​​tea, and the third one began the washing. Everyone was doing just one thing, heartily taking care and paying attention. Baken had never to feel so much compassion and benevolence in this aul. He looked and was amazed.

        Then "respectable people" of the aul came - AzhibekDemesinKairbay with all the hangers-onAll of them have one talk only: "How youth have been spoiled!", "What terrible times came!" 
        Well, these people, of course, appeared not for nothing. They had their own caring in their mind.

Having known that Raushan went for studing, "respectable people" began to think about the new chairman of the aul’s council. Farm hand Sadu was appointed as Raushan’s deputy. All his life, in the summer and in the winter, he has been working as a farm labourer for the Russian kulaks. Abil very strongly supported his candidacy at the elections and advised to Raushan several times: "Look, do not work alone, as the old aulnaies. Remember that he is your deputy. Work together, teach him”. Raushan kept in her mind this advice and tried to involve Sadu to the work not just once, but Baken decidedly was against! "This christened will never be allowed to come close to  the house!" That is why Sadu remained aside. Now under the law of the aul’s council the cases should be passed to him. White-bearded and black-bearded were startled: "How is it possible to give the seal into the Sadu’s hands? No, we need to think about it very well, in other case we will be in trouble”. But, certainly, it was pretence only, because the "respectable people" decided to chose Baken as a chairman of the aul’s council instead of Raushan. Why not? If he is a member of the Council.

 -  The blessing has come into your house. Through folly your wife did not appreciate itBut because of this we do not want to take it away from youLet this post will belong to you. We have come together here to recognize you as aulnai and bless for good work - said the old men.

      Baken was not happy and was not be upset. It was already all the same to him. Azhibek pronounced a blessing. All others run their palms over their faces reverently."Respectable men" considered Zhaksylyk to be unreliable and mullah Iskendira was selected as the Secretary of theaul’s councilImmediately they drew up a report on behalf of all residents of the eighth aul and entrusted to carry the report to the volispolkom for approval to the most persistent and assertive Demesin and  Zhusup.

    Thus, the Baken became a chairman of the aul’s councilMullah Iskendir, licking the tip of a pencil, began to work. All cases of the aul’s council proved to be in the hands of the tricksters and scribes groupPapers and lists compiled at Raushan, immediately were revised.

     It was found, of course, that the lists were wrong, that cattle allegedly recorded more than it actually is. In order to please of aul’s old foxesand rich men these lists were drawn up again and sent under the signature of a new chairman into the volispolkom ... Everything was done byhand of the "respectable people", "truly full of thought for the good of the people." Often Baken had no idea about most securitiesAfter all, he didnot know how to signAll papers were signed by nimble Mullah IskendirThe seal was in the bag, and the bag was kept by Iskendira ...

    Three months Baken was a chairmanshipAll this time, for such persons as Demesinpeace and quiet reigned in the auland again, "larksnested on the sheep." But this "peace and quiet" suddenly turned out to be a big trouble for BakenThere were a lot of abuses, and Baken was put on trialsent to a prison and got three years in prison ...

 

XIII

      Thin man with black face and black heavy beard came in to the editorial office of the provincial newspaper. He stood and shifted his feet, looking around, then he went to the young man, who was sitting on the fringe, and asked: 
- Is it the editorial office? 
- Yes, it is. 
- Then ... I would like to hand in the story to the newspaper ... How can I do this? .. 
- Very simple. Sit down and write. 
- But I have not a very good handwriting. And I am not able to write quickly. Well, my dear ...I came from the prison. And I have learned myself how  to write only in the prison ... 
The young man – employee of the editorial office - carefully, with interest he looked at the strange visitor and pulled a chair to him. 
- Sit down and tell me. 
I'll write down ...

      The bearded man sat down, wiped the big drops of sweat from his forehead. 
- So ... It was not my fault. These
 tricksters  - Kairbay, Demesin, Zhusup – availed  of my ignorance, pushed me into the fire. I did not understand  where was left, where was right and I did not have a honest man who could direct me to the right pass. I had a wife, Raushan, so these villains separated us. She left me ... Write everything in order, I'll tell everything, open all their dirty tricks. 
      At the editor’s table the woman was sitting bent her head over the papers. She listened, became alerted and suddenly held up her head.

- Honourable, look around, please. - The bearded man turned around. - What is your name? 
- My name is Baken, my dear. I am the Shokparbay’s son. My father was a shepherd all his life for the bais... 
     Baken was changed during these years very much! Former Baken was almost always silent, sat pouting and frowning, as if he said: "Guess, what is in my heart!" And this man had already seen something, experienced, endured and spoke fluently, easily. And now, he spouted words: "class enemy", "proletariat", it means that  he had learned something, become a different person.

     The woman stared into the Baken’s face for long time, and then asked
- Do you recognize me? 
Baken looked more intentlytrying to remember something
- I'm Maryam- She smiled Do you forget me
Baken even jumped out of the place, having lost his head, he rushed 
to Maryamheld out his hand gingerly. 
- Excuse me, dear, - he said guiltily. 
- For what, venerable?! 
- I'm sorry ... If you forgivemay be Raushan will forgive meI offended her very muchmy RaushanI could not be her friend. I am ashamed! It is painful ... It is my loss.

     His voice trembled. 
- Sit down, please. 
Maryam seated him at the table, listenedasked something 
and made ​​some notesThen, when he became silent, she asked: 
- Do you know where is Raushan
- I know that she went to studyI have heard also that she was married ... for the RussianSo ... I do not blame herIt is my loss. I offended her very much ... 
- Well, thenit looks that you do not know everything. Just today Raushan is coming to our city. 
Baken was taken aback, he nearly fell out of his chair. Tears welled up in his eyes. 
How?! Maryammy light, let it be my last request. Help me to see her at least once more...

The train arrived in the evening, the lights were lit. A lot of welcomers crowded on the platformBaken and Maryam were among them. Bakencould not keep still until the train stopped and the passengers began to leave the cars ... And suddenly the face of the young swarthy womangleamed on the window of the car, dressed according to the urban fashiona red morocco suitcase was in her hand. 
- That's it! She is! - shouted Baken and started to hurry and scurry about the platform, barely holding back tears
Maryam and Raushan hugged and kissed. 
- Say hello to this man - said Maryam
Raushan looked around, saw the Baken, and her face became pale and sad. She hung her head and held out her handsaid softly
- Hello ... 
He squeezed her hand, gasping for breath, kept saying
- Honey ... Raushan ... forgive ... 
- Maryam took them to her home. All the way Baken stared at Raushan.

 - Raushan! Is it she? .. Three years ago she was a simple, inconspicuous aul’s woman. One of many.       Now ... Between that and present Raushan ther is a distance as from the ground to the sky. This Raushan has learned a lot, learned the teachings of Marx and Lenin, became the true communist. 
    Raushan asked nothing Baken: either she did not forget old grudges, or there was other reason. She occasionally looked at him. 
   For the night the bed for Baken was made in the separate room. He sat for a long time alone, deep in thought, as if he did not understand the reality of all that was happening. 
   Then, suddenly, the door creaked, and Raushan entered. Confused Baken jumped, but she immediately seated him down, dropping her hand on his shoulder. 
   - You have lost a weight so much ... - she said and put her arms around his neck and snuggled up her cheek to his. - Now do you know who is your enemy and who is a friend? ..Have you understood everything? 
   - I have, dear ... I know ..,I have known the real truth. I will wash away my guilt before our power ... And I know what I need to do ... - muttered happy Baken.