The cat and the dog
The cat and the dog
Once upon a time there were an old man and an old woman with their son. The boy had an aunt. One day the boy went and hired himself to a rich man. He was given one coin for his work once a year. He brought the money along with him and threw it into a well. He went again and hired himself out to do a job and got a coin. He brought the money along with him and threw it into the well. He went and got hired again. He got one or two coins for his work once a year. He brought the money along with him to his home:
- Mother, mother, I am going to buy an ox, a cart and a horse at the fair! - he exclaimed, and ran.
On his way, while he was running, he came across a man who was carrying a sack. He happened to meet him.
- Hello, where are you going to? - the boy asked and was answered:
- I am carrying a cat. He used to catch mice in the pink of his power and as he grew old, he began to steal food; I am going to beat him to death - the man explained.
- Give him to me instead of killing him - the boy said.
So he was given the cat. The boy gave a coin to the man. He took his cat along with him and went farther on his way. He saw a man who was taking a dog along with him. He happened to meet him.
- Hello - the boy said.
- Hi! - the man replied.
- Where are you taking the dog? - the boy asked.
- He used to catch hares in the pink of his power, and as he grew old, he began to steal food; I am going to kill him - the man answered.
- Give him to me instead of killing him - the boy said.
So he was given the dog. He gave two coins to the man. He took his dog along with him, and while he was going on his way, he saw some boys who had caused a snake to curl up, but they had had no stick. The boy came up to them.
- Go back to your cows - he said. They kept standing. He gave them three coins, was given the snake and went farther on his way.
- Do come to visit us - the snake invited him.
- Yes, I will - he accepted the invitation, and went farther on his way.
- My parents will offer you a gold ring; do not take it; they will ask you what you would like to have and you should say: ‘I would like to have the precious stone’, the snake said. ‘We have no precious stone,’ they will say, and you should say: ‘Who has the precious stone but you?’ the snake advised him.
- OK - he agreed, and went to them.
The parents received him, and offered him a gold ring.
- I will not take it - he refused.
- What will you take? - they asked.
- I will take the precious stone - he answered.
- We have no precious stone - they denied it.
- Who has the precious stone but you? - he objected.
So they took it out and gave it to him. He took the precious stone, and left. While he was going on his way, he became hungry. The snake caught up with him and said:
- Ask the precious stone for anything that you want.
Then he asked for food. He was given the food that he wanted. He ate and shared the food with the cat and the dog, and came home. His mother became angry with him and said:
- Where are your ox, cart and horse?
- Mother, mother, pray to the heavens! - he said.
She prayed. Then he asked the precious stone to do a favour. It was done. He gave food to his aunt and said: ‘Go to the khan and tell him that such-and-such lad is going to propose to his daughter’. She went to him and told him.
- Is he a good lad or a bad lad? - the khan asked.
- He is not a bad lad - she said.
- Let him make a house better than my house and more beautiful than the other khans’ houses - he suggested.
So the aunt came back and told the boy: ‘”Let him make a house more beautiful than my one and the other khans' houses,” he said’, “and I will give him my daughter,” he said’. The boy asked his precious stone, and the thing he had asked about was made. He sent his aunt again. The aunt came to the khan and said:
- He has made it.
- Let him make a bridge from my house’s door to his house’s door in length and plant apple trees and pea trees on both sides of the bridge - the khan suggested.
The aunt came back and told her nephew: ‘The khan has said so’. The boy made it. The khan gave him his daughter. He married the girl and lived not badly, but it turned out that the girl was in love with the son of another khan. While the boy was washing his face, the girl said: ‘Oh, pass me the precious stone’. He gave it to her. The girl took it and said: ‘May my husband find himself at the shore of the ocean; may the house disappear; may I find myself with the son of the khan’, she thought. The wishes came true. Her husband found himself at the shore of the ocean. She reached the lad with whom she was in love. The house disappeared. Only the old parents were left there.
The cat and the dog ran, searching for their master. They reached the shore of the ocean. The cat smelled around and found out that their master was there. ‘Are you here, cat and dog?’ the question was asked and answered: ‘Yes, we are’. ‘Try to bring me my diamond’, he said. The cat and the dog ran and came to his wife. She was asleep. The cat looked for the entrance. A maid of the house let them in. The girl said: ‘Dance’. The cat danced. She said: ‘Sing’. He sang. The cat went out in the evening. The cat with the dog looked for the mouse. They looked for it, found it and the cat brought it. He brought it and put it on his shoulder. It belched out the precious stone. So the cat put the precious stone into her mouth and mewed. He put it outside. The cat and the dog ran and reached the shore of the ocean, and the cat wanted to walk into it and bring the stone. The dog responded that the cat would be suddenly knocked down, and he would walk into the ocean and bring it himself. ‘To hell with you; you have not taken it; I have taken it’, the cat said and walked into the ocean. While he was walking into the water, he was suddenly knocked down by a blow. ‘I did tell you; how will we take it now?’ the dog said.
The cat called crayfishes. The crayfishes came. ‘Go and find my precious stone,’ he told them’, ‘if you do not find it, I will dry up your ocean entirely’, he said.
The crayfishes went in search of the diamond. They looked for it, but nothing was found. They came back.
- There is no precious stone - they said.
- No, there is not - another one said.
- Are all of you here? - the cat asked and they looked at each other, and it turned out that one of the crayfishes was absent.
Soon he came.
- Have you taken the precious stone? - the cat asked.
- No, I have not - the crayfish answered.
- Or I will lap up your ocean entirely - the cat threatened them.
Then one of the crayfishes said:
- It struck me from above and broke my leg. It stuck in the ground for the depth of an elbow *, - the crayfish said, - I went rolling it with the only leg I had; I have taken it for you.
The dog and the cat thanked him, and told their master to harness eight light bay * horses and ride them, and he came. They were very glad: ‘May our house be as it was; may my wife come back; may my parents have plenty of food as they had previously’, he said, and his mother was at home; as she looked upward, an apple fell into her mouth. She looked upward again and saw an apple tree blushing with ripe apples. So the boy took his cat and dog along with him and returned to his home. His wife was there. His house was there as it had been before. The boy went to the khan. The khan asked him why he had come and he said that his wife must be beheaded. It was done. After that he came home and lived happily.
An elbow * - the ancient Kalmyk measure of length from fingers to an elbow; it equals 32 centimetres.
Bay * - means a reddish-brown colour of body coat with a black mane, tail, lower legs, and ears' edges.
Translated from Kalmyk into English by Danara Balayeva-Kokayeva
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