Ana Yurt 1: Chapter 1 b

The single house on the southern side of the village was situated amongst the orchards near the stream and had high walls and secure gates. The owner was a miserly man who did not often socialise with the community. The lady of the house was also strange – she wore her soiled red mata [1] scarf around her neck, was always barefoot, barely spoke, and never asked for bread nor tea(things) from the other villagers. When she baked bread she never sent her children to neighbours asking for raw milk like the other women did, and even if she had no choice but to attend a wedding(/event) she would not step foot near the houses of those who made shoes, clothes, scarves or dresses. But today she spoke:

“Ten metres of Russian (tirek?), three metres of velveteen, brand new chekmen [2], pleated boots, hu hu hu… God curse him! May he die from the plague… hu hu hu…”

The homeowner was a man named Ulugh-akhun – his large, yellowish eyes always gleamed in suspicion from under thick brows. He had a heavy beard, curly chest hair, and in the summer he was a hardworking farmer, his mata pants rolled above his knees and his wool belt hanging tight on his waist. Today he squatted on the ground and complained:

“I put my last four years’ worth of savings into this chest as a dowry for my son. No one but God knew about this. How did these troublemakers find out? I didn’t even notice them come in through the skylight. My dog would bark at even an intruding mouse – I don’t know what happened to him. I can’t believe I slept through them opening the chest and loading everything into a bag, oh my..! My wife woke with a start, and as I opened my eyes one of them burst in from the living room, pointed his club at my head and shouted: ‘I’ll turn you to dough if you move!’ I endured it – I thought it is more important to live than to hold on to my wealth, but my wife couldn’t get past it. She yelled ‘the dowry!’ – the club almost hit her head but I blocked him with my body and threw myself outside and yelled ‘thief!’”

Ulugh-akhun went on to tell them that the thieves had escaped through the garden, then through the gates to the orchard, then along the stream by foot and then on horseback, and how Hepizkhan in the garden had bitten one of the thieves’ legs, how he had been hurt trying to protect his wife, how two of his dogs had chased after the thieves, how their rope had been left behind… and continued to repeat this over and over again.



[1] homespun rough cotton
[2] a type of rough cloth


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