The Picture of Dawn
Writer: Mekhri Abdurakhmonova
Translator: Khafiza Mukhtorova
Lively morning light wind turned into a scorching one in the afternoon. If we wait until five o’clock, the hot weather would go back and we can start to look for our treasure.
When the day went back, our sheep crawled away and we returned to Koshintepa feeling exhausted. But our plans are destroyed again. A red dress with a white scarf on his head was swinging again towards the hill.
He took out a bottle of champagne from the cellophane package covered with a thick cloth in his hand and handed it to me. I sipped the ice-cold water in the bottle covered with a wet cloth and handed the rest to Amir. He also drank thirstily. Then he shook his head and looked at the bride saying “Oh yes!”. The bride laughed. She raised her head and gestured “Is it good?” We raised our heads in unison saying “Good!” Then we laughed. Our spirits rose again, and we put off our desired work until tomorrow. Neither I nor Amir were upset about it. On the contrary, we were both happy with her arrival. Amir ran with his hand like a steering wheel and said “beep”. One of the quietly grazing sheep, startled by his unexpected motion, hurriedly ran towards Karakursok, and the others also ran after it. Amir ran like the wind to block their path.
The bride opened her eyes wide and shook her head between her palms as if to say “What a pity”. I gestured with my hand in the sense of “let him go, he’s such a boy” and she immediately got my point and smiled sadly.
As I looked at her sometimes sad, sometimes happy face, Ulbazar’s words to my mother kept repeating in my mind.
” It’s better from the other side to herd sheep in the field instead of sitting at home looking at the mood of her stepdaughters, sister”…
The bride looked towards the village again and thought about it. There was no that trace of joy in his eyes.
What is happened with her? Did she have a fight with his family members? I looked at her sad face with these thoughts.
The eyes which were full of tears of the bride looking towards the village, suddenly sparkled with joy… Her hands were shaking as she played with the braids of hair that hung like a snake on her chest… I also looked in that direction as I surprised. Below, Karim dude was coming towards us with two cattle.
Ulah-lah-ah!… Grandpa Saksafar’s scream stuck in my throat. It appeared in my mind that Saksafar summoning the army to battle, and Karim dude as Iskandar preparing to attack with his horn…
Ulah-lah-ah!… Ulah-lah-ah!… I looked back in order to challenge the army to battle. But the evil sorcerer had bewitched the soldiers and turned them into a flock of sheep. the sheep didn’t understand the call…
– How are you, guys. Hello beautiful angel! how are you?
Karim shook hands with us. We greeted. He was also surprised to see the shovels.
– Why are they carrying shovels? Are you about to dig a tomb?
I didn’t say anything.
Amir, who had just returned the sheep, said:
– We are looking for treasure. The treasure you mentioned…-he said.
Karim dude’s laughter spread around.
And the bride, unable to understand, turns to us and to Karim…
– Good. “You think well, boys,” said Karim, suppressing his laughter. – Where do you want to start work?
I was silent because of my embarrassment.
“We don’t know,” Amirqul said with a smile.
– Come on, let’s go, if not, I’ll help myself.
Karim took a shovel in his hand and began to look around. Then, pointing to a place, he said “Bismillah” and put a shovel on the ground. The ground was frozen.
– Nothing, you will have a little trouble. After the hard place, there will be soft layer. It is important to reach the goal. The work done on this path becomes a pleasure.
Until now, I have forgotten the sheep, they have gone far away. I was running because it was my turn to bring them back, but Karim turned me away.
– Go back, Abdusamat. Help Amir. Tozagul and I are looking after your cattle. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about what you’ve started.
That’s when I found out that the bride’s name was Tozagul. It seems that the times we were walking in the camp they became much closer, the smile did not disappear from the bride’s lips.
Brother Karim explained something to the bride with a gesture. Then they drove the cattle and went to the other side of the hill.
My husband is stingy. Amir with a shovel, and I with a ax, we got down to work. Our attempts in the heat were in vain. There was no sign of gold. I was thirsty. I looked for a bottle of water. But there is no any bottle
– Amir, where is the bottle?
– I don’t know. I’m thirsty too.
We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it.
-By the way, Karim was drinking water. He must have carried it away with his imagination. One of us should go and get it.
“I will bring it,” I said, to surprise Amir. Because, usually at such times, I would send him running around. – You can continue the work.
I took off the sneakers on my feet, and without putting them back on, I went barefoot.
The day was turning towards its evening bedroom. As my mother said, “a lively light wind unique to this part of the world” was blowing.
They are on the other side of the hill that we don’t see.
Cattle were grazing a little further, and the sheep had spread out on the side of the hill towards Korpaboy and had gone far ahead. Karim had nothing to do with them, he was explaining something with unusual movements, while the wife was shaking her head and muttering strange sounds. I slowly went to my relatives and listened to their words involuntarily.
– He is not a right person for you, after all. I will take you far away. We will rent a house… We will live together…
Karim didn’t care if she understood or not, he made incomprehensible gestures with his hands, and his mouth didn’t stop talking…
The bride’s face did not look good, her shoulders were shaking and she looked like she was crying. Then… Then Karim hugged her.
Author of the story
Abdurakhmonova Mehri Qudratovna, poetess, writer, winner of the “Shuhrat” medal, head of the Jizzakh regional branch of the Writers’ Union of Uzbekistan.
Translator of the story
Khafiza Mukhtorzoda, a student of JSPU, laureate of the Ilhom Award. The owner of the state scholarship named after Navoi, Uzbekistan.