The camel and the mouse

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The camel and the mouse

Калмыцкие народные сказки Peoples who speak languages in the Mongolic language family have had their calendar since long ago. Each of the twelve calendar years is named after a certain animal.

Once upon a time a mouse and a camel competed with each other to name the first of the twelve years after themselves.

They agreed that the one who saw the sunrise first would call the first year after himself. So, the next day the camel woke up very early and stood, looking in the direction of the sunrise. As to the mouse, he climbed onto the camel’s hump and sat, staring at the east.

The time of sunrise was near. Then rays of the sun lightened the peak of the mountain to the right of them. The mouse that was on the camel’s hump saw the light.

I have seen the sunrise before you; I was higher than you! The first year will be named after me!” the mouse cried. Having deceived the camel in such a way, the mouse called the first of the twelve years after himself.

The camel became angry with the mouse and chased him. The mouse hid in a heap of ashes. Ever since that time a camel stirs a heap of ashes, looking for a mouse.

None of the twelve years was called after the camel, but his exterior has twelve features: a mouse’s ears, a cow’s belly, a tiger’s leg, a hare’s nose, a dragon’s exterior, a snake’s eyes, a horse’s mane, a sheep’s fleece, a monkey’s hump, a cock’s crest, a dog’s thigh, a pig’s tail.



Translated from Kalmyk into English by Danara Balayeva-Kokayeva
Перевод с калмыцкого на английский Данары Балаевой-Кокаевой

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