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 1060

Maylin Beimbet «Gray palfrey»

Язык оригинала: Саврасый иноходец

Автор оригинала: Maylin Beimbet

Автор перевода: not specified

Дата: 19 марта 2015

-          Oibai, white commissars have come! Soldiers!

            Frightened kids ran from the street crying.

            Yergaly having leant his back against the stove was repairing the broken ichigi (high boots) of his mother. His wife Dametken was habitually turning her spinning wheel-top and was talking about something to the youngest brother-in-law Shamak. After hearing these cries everybody paled. Yergaly forgot about his sewing, Dametken – about her spinning wheel-top, Shamak – about the conversation. Having seen the foreigners their dog started barking and husking.

-          Oh, my god, don’t leave us! What a terrible year we have now! There dart bandits about the forests. When they rush in the aul they rattle their sabres, and my heart sinks from fear… - Dametken said whispering.

-          Not only you are frightened. All are living in fear now; - Shamak noticed having raised himself on his knees.

            Yergaly was coward by nature. He was absolutely all abroad, went bug-eyed and started thrust a piece of leather now under the felt then into a trunk. It could seem that most of all he was afraid that the soldiers would take away exactly that leather patch. He remembered the soldiers who had broken into their house just yesterday. He was from a troop of white commissars who were looking for and catching Bolsheviks in the neighbour Russian settlement. He wore a Kazakh’s cap with three ear-flaps and new morocco bell-mouthed boots that is why at first Yergaly thought that he was a Kazakh. But when he came on like a vulture and breathing with cheap booze husked in broken language: “Have you at home Bolsheviks?!” Yergaly was stupefied at all. He knew that for the today’s power Bolsheviks were the main enemies, and most of all he was afraid that that bandit would take him by chance for a Bolshevik. In fear he invited the soldier at home and that one having seen the rich encrusted saddle set at it like at a bag. Could Yergaly say anything against? In such a way he took the saddle and rode homeward shaking on the horse like a scarecrow. Biting his finger Yergaly looked after him and his wife – when the skinflint had already ridden away for an enough distance – burst into damnations: “Damn you! I wish a thistle would grow on your grave!” And how else could they harm that bandit?..

            Now everybody thought: what will the soldiers take away this time?.. Yergaly’s look dropped at the striped fur coat, a present of his wife’s relatives.

-          Hide the fur coat, freaking woman! Otherwise they will momentary take it away…

-          Can it be the yesterday’s one again? – Dametken supposed.

            At this time the dog started barking even more. Somebody gave the door a yank. A sabre rattled against the threshold and Dametken froze.

            Two men flocked in with guns in their hands.

-          Salaumagaleikum! – They greeted with one accord. Yergaly pretended as if he was very glad because of welcome guests’ arrival, started fussing, running and outspreading beddings.

-          Alik salem! Eh, dears, come in, sit down…

            The guests greeted everybody. The oldest one addressed to struck Dametken:

-          Are you healthy, baibishe?

-          Oibai-au, you are Kazakhs, aren’t you?

-          Yes, we are. Don’t be afraid.

-          You are really Kazakhs, - Yergaly ensured coming slowly to life. – Your faces seem kinder than that one which yesterday’s urus had.

            Shamak asked who they were and where from…

-          We are delegates of “Alash-Orda”. We are hurrying to Suly volost. We need some horses. First and foremost give an order about a cart, - a thick grey-faced dzhigit explained everything at once.

            He was sitting setting clearly up his comb and having thrown off the neckpiece of his wolf sheepskin coat. It seemed that he inherited the coat from his father: he putted on airs in it so much. When he opened it everybody saw his military uniform under it. Talking the dzhigit touched from time to time the holster on his belt as if he hinted: “Have you seen this thing? Don’t jest with me!” The second one was a husky, light, freckled man. He wore a great-coat, a cap made of sheepskin and coarse soldier boots. He sat having crossed his legs and laid the sabre on his knees like a baby.

            Dametken was surprised having examined the both from top to toe:

-          Oh, my god! So there are already soldiers among the Kazakhs!?

-          Stand up, the wife, and make us tea. The guests might have felt chilly, - Yergaly said being about to run for horses.

            The grey-faced man menacingly bent the brows:  

-          Nobody has asked you for tea! Hurry up, look for a cart!

            Dametken frightened:

-          You see! These ones are more dreadfully than the yesterday’s urus!

            Both Yergaly and Shamak began trotting about on tiptoe. The whole aul took alarm. Somebody lubricated the wheels, someone repaired the rope and the other one was just trotting about around the cart – everybody had only one thing in sleeve: roll on the danger was over, if only to make away with these unexpected and self-invited guests.

            At last the cart was ready. A pair of horses – a grey one and a chestnut - was harnessed into the cart with a basket, in the front they sat a bearded lasher in a thick fur coat. He tensely held the reins.

            The riders left the house, went towards the cart and at the same time the freckled man mumbled something to the grey-faced man. The both stared at Shamak’s boots. They were new, warm and trimmed with felt. Having smelt a rat Shamak shielded himself in hurry behind somebody’s back, but that one who was in a sheepskin coat roared:

-          Hey, black beard! Why are you shielding?.. Come up here!

            Shamak miserable and frightened came frontwards. His lips were trembling.

-          Take off your boots!

-          Oibai, my dears, I am a poor man… I cannot… without my boots… I will stay absolutely barefooted… Where will I get the other ones?..

-          Shut up! We have said: take them off! We will send you per post the money for them.

            The freckled man shoed the warm boots with felt foot-gears and grinned gladly. It seemed to him that he tucked his feet into a hot stove…


            About ten people were talking at Shamantyk’s house. They spoke about this and that, about the past and the present. They remembered in sorrow the earlier peaceful days.

-          We though that under “Alash-Orda” there would come peace but it did worse than it had been earlier, - someone sighed.

-          Eh, nobody wishes well now. All do only the one thing: rob and wanton, - a bug-eyed red old man repeated after him.

            A husky black man spat amain out nasybai.

            - Wait for sometime!.. When Bolsheviks will come…

            And everybody thought in dismay: “Well, and what will happen then?”

-          I have met Ahmetov’s son – the teacher. He takes out the subscription for newspapers. He says in Petersburg, in Moscow – everywhere people rob. But bolshaibeks want from now on “mine” and “yours” will disappear, - one man said.

-          Does it mean that they want “yours” becomes “mine” and “mine” becomes “yours”?

-          It will be the end for Kazakhs if they come.

            A hog-nosed man who was keeping silent up to now aside said suddenly:

            - Yesterday I visited Gavril. We were sitting and drinking tea when Yefim came. Well, they started quarreling at once. Yefim praised bolshaibeks but Gavril abused them.

            - In this settlement your Yefim is the last person, - somebody noticed.

            - Don’t speak like this! – The second one contradicted at once. – Yefim is the best urus. He never refuses when you ask him for something. Even when they occupied our aul cows he went to bat for us and they gave back all our cows.

            - It cannot be… If Yefim were a good man he would not praise bolshaibeks.

            - But whom else must he praise? He might not forget yet how chasteners had given him hell of twenty-five hot ones.

            - Apyrmai, well, they vituperated then in that settlement! They gave a flogging of eighty persons on the square in the face of day. And although uruses lashed uruses but I pitied them very much.

            Shamantyk raised his head and made his own conclusion from the whole conversation:

-          You can say what you want but I think that these bolshaibeks are not bad people. Of course, when they fight for the power people can say anything about them. Our nowadays’ governors have just only thing in their minds – robbery. If bolshaibeks were robbers they would just unite with them. But in fact it finds out that they are against robbery and violence…

-          Got grant that was what would happen, - all started saying with one accord.

            From the side of the lake there ran a cart raising dust. Everybody stared there in surprise. The riders turned from the highway and directed their horses towards the aul. These were the recent guests of Yergaly.

-          They might not be just the riders. They are hurrying very much, - Shamandyk said. – Perhaps they are some ones like soldiers-moldiers. We’d better to disperse.

            Everybody went home in hurry. To say the truth some people darted away into the cattle yard.

            The hut of old poor man Kurabai stood at the very path to the aul. Having seen the unknown riders and pulled his head in the shoulders he was about to jog along among the heaps of dung but the dzhigit in a sheepskin coat already saw him from the distance and cried:

-          Hey, a torn cap, where are you going? Come up here!

            Kurabai shivered having heard this cry. But when he understood that the riders were Kazakhs he threw off reserve a little and at a jog of an old man hurried to the cart.

-          Hey, hurry up, hurry up! Why are you jogging?

            Kurabai was out of breath while he was running.

-          Whom are you running from?

-          I am not running, sir-taksyr… I am just hurrying to the afternoon namaz.

-          What a pious man! – The grey-faced man smiled. – He is hardly breathing but is thinking about namaz… Is Shamandyk at home?

-          At home, sir-taksyr…

-          And where is his palfrey?

-          It is in the barn, taksyr…

            Kurabai obediently ran at a jog frontwards and led the riders to Shamandyk’s house.

-          Go and call Shamandyk!

            Soon there appeared the host. With a staff in the hand he came up to the cart at a heavy wallow.

-          Hello, guys!

-          Where is the grey palfrey?

-          What a palfrey?

-          What a!.. Shamandyk’s grey one. Are you Shamandyk? Give here your palfrey!

-          Why on earth, taksyr?

-          He asks! Do what we have said! Lead it and tie to the shaft. Otherwise I will k-i-ill you on the nail!

            Shamandyk became grey. He started trembling. But he did not dare to contradict and jogged obediently to the barn. He ordered the son who was cleaning the yard to lead out the palfrey. He himself led it and tied to the shaft.

-          It is your will, taksyr. You have ordered – I have done. Say just: whom have I given my horse? You or somebody else?

-          You can think that “Alash-Orda” takes it.

-          But in what way have I offended “Alash-Orda”?

-          Because you are against it. You have remembered Alihan and other good people with a bad word!

-          Astapyralla! God damn you, dear! Take away my palfrey but for Allah’s sake, don’t slander me.

-          Keep silent! You will see no more your palfrey. Have you understood?!

-          Well, for Heaven’s sake, take it, take… my timbers! If my heifers foal, I will not die. But it is just hurtfully that you blame me in vain!

            The dzhigit in a wolf overcoat rolled angrily his eyes out. It seemed that he had impaled confused Shamandyk with his eyes to the backbone. “Let’s go!” – The dzhigit cried the lasher at last. The grey palfrey looked back in surprise at the master, at the barn and obediently ran on a string of the pair harnessed in the cart.

            Shamantyk’s son looked after them, started crying and ran to the house.

            Shamandyk climbed on the hay and was looking long from there with the burning eyes at the highway until the “protectors” of the Kazakh nation disappeared being covered with the cold haze of the approaching winter. He was caught with anger.

-          Well, wait a little! When bolshaibeks come in your despite I will be the first one who will sign them up. Just give some time – and we will have a dig at you too!