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 1150

Maylin Beimbet «Equality of a poor man»

Язык оригинала: Равенство бедняка

Автор оригинала: Maylin Beimbet

Автор перевода: not specified

Дата: 19 марта 2015

            In 1917 in the middle of November visiting the auls I stopped by chance at Kaukimbai’s. Tanirbergen returning from a volost’s meeting went to him to make an overnight stop too. The hosts lit the lamp and made tea. Except us, the guests, the bai, his wife, his son and daughter-in-law sat down at the one laid table. Not far from the threshold nearby the samovar having spread a green cloth there sat down with a flop a dumpy dzhigit in rags. I looked at: a black pockpitted face, calloused like tannaged skin, hands and arms covered all over with scabs and galls, it was no doubt, all his appearance and manners showed that he was a bai’s youngster-farmhand.

            Perhaps Kaukimbai wished to lay emphases before Tanirbergen that he was a bai and could hire a farmhand. He thrust out his chest and asked carelessly:

-          Well, have you tied the bull?

            The wife momentary stood up and was counted contributing her husband:

-          The winter is near at hand, it is just time to repair the wicker fence at the kizyak, and you are doing just one sing: hang about day and night.

-          I wonder, where am I hanging about?! – The dzhigit mumbled.

            The bai’s son who was sitting between his parents smiled askew:

-          He does not hang about. He has just kicked a football a little.

            The young daughter-in-law did not wish to be out of her father-in-law, her mother-in-law and her husband and also teased the farmhand for one time:

-          He is absolutely head over heels in work, poor beggar. You haven’t even split firewood. And today I by myself have gone for water too.

            The farmhand kept silent as if he was acknowledging his guilt and then the bai decided to leave him alone and turned the conversation into other direction:

-          Well, tell us, Tanirbergen. What news have you brought from the volost?

-          Did I have time for news?.. I hurried to sell a pair or so of sheep. However… I have heard some kind of. There happen terrible things. I met Tatar Safi, you know that merchant who rides on the pair of chestnuts and resells sheep of Russian breed. He said me: there appeared Bolsheviks. They take away the bai’s cattle and give it to poor people. Now, they say, there will be no more “mine-yours”. From now on all the property will become common. Something like that. And he says, they are out of number. They come right from big towns and cities.

-          I have heard, I have, - the bai pronounced peacefully.

            There appeared something like a mockery on his face.

            Having assured that the news did not alarm the bai Tanirbergen continued:

-          From where we must know, for example, Karim, he is literate, he must know… They say the very Bolsheviks are all convicts. No sooner they toppled the tsar they were freed from prisons.

            Bai’s son liked this “Karim must know”, and he wished to show Tanirbergen that he really knew something.

-          These all are poor men, scums of the earth who had sold themselves for money. For example, give Bukabai some money and say: “Kill someone!” Won’t he kill? That is why they declared: “Let’s give all power to the poor men’s hands”. And raggery has got into a rage. But they are celebrating in vain. Right tomorrow there will be the end of them…

-          You see, our Bukabai will even become an aul chairman, - bai’s daughter-in-law smiled.

-          What of it? I will! – Bukabai said gloomily. – Do you think that I am worse than foolish Sarybai’s son who loses the stamp everywhere?!

            Bai and his wife looked disdainfully at the farmhand.

-          You see where he is aiming at!

            Five years on in May I met by chance Bukabai again. We met on the road. He went on foot and had an old torn chapan on his shoulders.

-          Where are you going, Bukabai?

-          To the aul chairman. Flour has come to hand from the public purse, so I am dragging for it. Otherwise I am afraid that people will pull it apart and I will stay empty-handed again. When they gave grain I lost the use of my legs from hunger and, as a result, Karim pocketed my part of millet.

            Bukabai was pale and haggard as if he had just recovered after typhus. It was difficult for him even to stand on his feet and he spoke to me sitting on the road-side. He answered in details all my questions, told, that the bai had been thrown away and that the whole winter, all six long month, he with his wife had lived by begging like poor men and had gutted cats and dogs.

-          Summer has come, we will not die. I has ploughed with the help of bai’s plow and sown one gore of millet.

            The same year I met Bukabai in the thrashing-floor. He was turning in the wind a little batch of millet.

-          Be always rich a kirman rug!

-          Thank you! It is already rich so much that the hoppers are cracking but we don’t have enough for taxes, - Bukabai joked unhappily.

            It turned out that during the dealing of grain the aul chairman wrote down that Bukabai had got two two stones of millet and sown two gores of ground.

-          I have said you: my part was pocketed by mean Karim. I suffered from hunger the whole winter and in spring I changed my only piebald, my wife’s dowry, into half two stones of grain. I sew it, was happy and now I must go all my harvest on the tax. Well, now people have bread, I suppose we will linger on somehow, even by begging…

            However, poor man Bukabai was not bitter about the power that collected taxes.

-          We have still a hope that soon poor men will have full equality. But while it is coming bais will tear the guts out us, - Bukabai noticed taking his shovel again.

            In 1923 in October I was present on the elections of the forth aul. In general, there gathered poor men. A grey-faced man with whiskers was sitting at a long rickety table having laid out the paper before him.

-          Comrades! I was sent to your place by the power to hold elections. You will elect. For the direction of the meeting we must choose the presidium, - he said.

            The gathered people perplexedly exchanged looks.

-          Explain us, dear, what does it mean “perezden”?

-          Presidiums are called those ones who hold the meeting. And keep in your minds one more thing: only poor men must be present on the meeting. From now on among you there is not any place for rich men who have disguised themselves in poor men. They have muzzed us enough. And if such ones are present here they must be led out.

-          Myrza, let me say some words! – Bukabai asked.

-          Say!

-          Karim is sitting among us, bai Kaukimbai’s offshoot for whom I was working as a farmhand for many years long. During Nicolay’s time he was an aul disposer for several years long. If it is possible ask this gentleman to leave the room.

-          It is fair enough. Who is Kaukimbai’s son? Mind leaving the room! – The instructor said.

            The spongy bai’s son of medium size covering with spots moved towards the door. He was followed by truly gloating and mocking looks.

-          Well, whom we trust to hold the meeting?

-          Whom else? Of course, to Bukabai!

            Everybody brightened and started making noise in one accord.

            Bukabai dropped down on the chair nearby the instructor.

            The authorized representative was speaking long. At last he finished and started with elections. Bukabai couldn’t help and asked to say some words.

-          Have you heard what this dzhigit was speaking about? It means that from now on we have everything in our hands. The power gives us equality and we must use it. Have I ever thought that I would be able to go up in the world and hold the meeting in such a way? Never! I haven’t seen this even in my dreams. When I was five I became a full orphan and up to thirty I suffered from grief and crouched my back for other people. And what have I had? Neither food nor salary. Allah is a witness – nothing! Nothing except abusing and murdering. And when a hungry year came I was thrown away at all. Karim did not give me my grain and wrote his tax on me. I have withstood much harm. What to say you know everything yourselves… That is why I would like to say you: you have to vote for such an aul chairman who will really take care of a poor man, who is worried about poor men. Only then we will manage the equality. 

-          We will vote for you.

-          Let Bukabai to be an aul chairman!

-          Bukabai!

-          A moment, please, - the instructor stood up. – We put it to vote.

-          You can put it or not, vote or not, but Bukabai will be the aul chairman.

-          Yes, yes! Bukabai – our aul chairman!

-          Long live the equality of a kedey! – Somebody cried out.

-          Long live the equality of poor men! – The other one interpreted at once.