Vera Zelenova
A crystal ball.

What stories you have not hear moving from one city to another. This story I have heard during my trip through a great desert Eskhev-Nander that is situated in the far south. Our caravan went from Khurbate, crossed west Alkarum lands bordering with the great desert and was going to Tumal land. That was very dangerous way. But it was more dangerous to go by other way, there was the war.
It was autumn, the best season for traveling through Eskhev-Nander. A summer torrid heat was sleeping and the sandstorms time didn’t begin. On the tenth day of our traveling it was my turn to be on the night watch. In these places they were afraid of not so much robbers as wild beast’s attacks. It fell to two caravanners Labdar and Khavsa to be on guard with me. Labdar was beardless lad in nomad clothes and Khavsa was hoary with age but of rather strong build man with eyes of sage.
We were sitting near the fire. A camp was peacefully sleeping. In order not to be out like a light we were drinking strong made bazir tea from baltulakha leaf. That was the first day our caravan went through the desert. It was twenty days of way before or even more.
- Here it is the great and frightful desert! – I said, have heard about lost in its sands caravans and lions’ and hyenas’ attacks on people. Khavsa said nothing; he was watching the fire calmly.
- Here is nothing frightful! If the wild lion attack me I’ll kill him with this dagger! – said Labdar with self-confidence of youth and pulled out of scabbard short but heavy blade.
Khavsa moved brushwood in the fire and the whole flame of sparks was blown up in the air.
- The Eskhev-Nander desert keeps many frightful secrets, - said he.
Labdar shivered with cold and moved up the fire hearing that words.
- What frightful secrets? – I asked, - highly distinguished Khavsa, tell us please!
Labdar had looked at Khavsa with twinkled eyes asked him about it too.
- Well, the night is long; it’s still much time till light. I may tell! – in this way our night watch partner started his story. – When I was as young and brave as Labdar I had had an occasion to cross this great desert. There was a learned man by name Khudduz. He came back home from Khurbate to Tar-Bakhor. We were sitting like this near the fire and were on guard. It is known that every learned man knows many wonderful stories. In order to while away the time we asked Khudduz to tell us something interesting. The learned agreed. Firstly he asked if somebody of us knew a legend of Tar-Bakhor city rise among the boundless desert, the legend about that beautiful green gem within the frame of golden sands. We said that we didn’t know and asked to tell us that legend.
- That was five centuries ago, so at least a parchment is kept in the Tar-Bakhor library tells. On that place where the city is now were just quick sands. A man by name Elmishan was living in Jissiniya state, in Unsakhma settlement. He had not wife and children. Then and as now, Jissiniya was inhabited with warlike nomadic tribes which were at war with each other incessantly. One of big nomadic tribe’s leader decided to conquer Unsakhma and attacked it. Who offered resistance was killed by assailant, other were captured. A few was able to escape and Elmishan turned out among them. In order not to fell into enemy’s hands he had to run away from native places. He had to exist somehow in foreign lands and he got hired to one rich merchant by name Bebza-Dadi to guard his caravans. That merchant equipped a small caravan to cross the Eskhev-Nander desert. There were a few bold spirits wished to go through desert eternal sands because nobody came back from there. Elmishan knew about it but had to go to that work because he had no choice.
Despite Bebza-Dadi was very brave man but before to start his trip he went to a famous foreteller in order she to open what fate would wait him and what he had to be afraid on that difficult way. The sorceress did necessary sorcery rite and told to the merchant:
- Your way will be so difficult that you die and revive again! But don’t be afraid Bebza-Dadi go forward bravely! And you and your soldiers will come back home! Let your eye will be true, the hand will be firm and legs won’t know tiredness!
Got such parting words the brave merchant in the lead of his caravan set out way on the daybreak of the next day. And in one of disastrous day they were caught up with a sandstorm.
- Throw more brushwood on the fire! – Khavsa said to Labdar.
The lad obeyed and a storyteller continued:
- Now people know that winter is the most frightful time in the great desert and at that time nobody knew that…The caravanners put down their camels on sand and lay beside with lee side and covered themselves with horse cloth in order to be saved from sand and dust.
The storm raged for day and night. All caravan was covered with thick layer of sand. Elmishan was saved by Gods and his camel by name Dijkuna. She was not sleeping during the storm and turning all the time pressing sand under. When wind fell she grubbed up outstretched under the layer of sand Elmishan who couldn’t get out by himself. Hardly he recovered his breath and looked around. Nobody was seen, the sand hills just rose around. For a long time Elmishan went, called and cried for a hope of somebody escaped but nobody of his partners responded to the call. Then Elmishan sat on sand and began to cry because he was alone among the desolate desert. The smart camel came up to the man and touched his ear with the soft lips as wanted to say something him in confidence. Saw the man didn’t want to get up she began to push him persistently as she invited him to go with her.
At some distance Elmishan saw the white human bones and different items. He understood that the storm that covered the Bebza-Dadi caravan moved the sand hills and uncovered remains of another caravan that must have been died on that place for a long time ago. He began to scatter about sand and found a chest bound round with copper. The chest was full of adornments and clothes embroidered with gold. A small chest laid over all of this. Elmishan opened it and screw up his eyes involuntarily. A crystal ball lay on a velvety material shining with all its borders. Elmishan took a gem in his hands and brought it to eyes. He saw the seas, the mountains and the rivers, the cities and the pastures, the snow deserts, the blissful oases and many other things through perfectly pellucid border of crystal.
- Oh, Gods! – Elmishan exclaimed, - thank you for saving me life and giving in the hands such wealth. But I would like my partners is alive and happy with me now!
Suddenly a crack was heard, the wind whirled in the air, and the earth shook under Elmishan legs. He stiffened in astonishment because he saw that the sand began to stir in many places and on the daylight went out caravanners that were filled up with storm. And Elmishan understood that the crystal ball in his hands was not simple, it could the wishes come true. Elmishan hid the magic ball in his bosom and began to embrace his friends being happy that they were alive.
Then Elmishan fed and drank revived people and said to them:
- My friends! I found rich caravan covered with sand. Ask you to help me to drug up that caravan. We will divide all found treasure equally!
The caravanners agreed. A digging was lasted for a few days. Elmishan and his friends found so much gold, the river and sea pearl, the chests with rich clothes and adornments that even couldn’t count all goods. Finally, at the last day of digging they found a marquee from gold brocade under the layer of sand and the remains of young woman and child inside.
Such pity to these unfortunate wretches appeared in Elmishan’s soul that he decided to bring back them to life. “Let they go home to their father and mother who probably don’t stop to wait their beloved children till now!” – thought Elmishan.
He took the crystal ball in the hands and said:
- Thank you Gods the Almighty for giving to me and my friends all these wealth! It would be good thing if these unfortunate wretches the remains of whom I see in front of me return to life again! 
A crack was heard, a lightning blazed, a wind raised the sand in the air began to howl, the earth shook under the legs. That the dead got up from their graves. Elmishan and all caravanners saw that a boy of eight and a beautiful girl were standing in front of them.
- Who are you? Where your caravan was going to and from? – Elmishan asked them.
- At first let us thank you brave people for finding us and helping to get on the white light! – the boy said in response, - I’m a prince Bakhor and she is princess Atash: she is my sister. Our father is ref Summir, a ruler of the great city Rikhaba.  The enemy troops laid siege our city and the father said to me: “Listen to me my son and a successor Bakhor! The worst enemy of mine a duke Oluz together with his innumerable troops stands under Rikhaba walls. In order the enemy doesn’t get my treasure I gather a caravan and want to send it to my brother in Khurber. You prince Bakhor and your sister Atash will go with that caravan too!” We left Rikhaba under the lee of night. Our caravan went through the desert for a long time and then the frightful storm started. It lasted so long as I even saw a dream that we all died. My father the great ref Summir will shower you with gold because you save us! Let me know your names and where you are from?
           Elmishan said:
- We are caravanners from Khurbate and our leader is merchant Bebza-Dadi. We go to far Tumal land, carry spices and other goods. It’s a pity to upset you prince Bakhor but the Rikhaba city was conquered by the duke Oluz one hundred years ago and then it was razed to the ground with earthquake at all and filled up with the sands of eternal desert. Since then nobody have been living there, just scorpions and snakes!
When hearing that the prince and the princess began to cry.
- Don’t cry prince Bakhor and princess Atash! I’m a simple caravanner by name Elmishan from Unsakhma I’ll help you. Let’s go with us and I swear that nobody would dare hurt you. I promise you’ll find your home and your happiness!
Bakhor and Atash agreed what else are they to do?
It was night. While saving from cold the caravanners made the fires, cooked simple food and had dinner. The found marquees gave people a long-awaited lodging for the night. Elmishan was dead on his feet, covered himself up in a blanket and fell asleep as a dead.
Prince Bahkor and princess Atash couldn’t fall asleep because they were sleeping for a long time in eternal sands’ embraces. The brother and the sister were lying and listening a silence of the cool night. Then they heard a soft talk and thought that was guards near the fire who was protecting a rest of the sleeping and talking between each other.
The boy and the girl decided to sit near the fire, to listen to travelers’ stories in order to while away the night. But before they had gone several steps they saw the sharp knives flashed in the light of blazing fire. Bakhor and Atash took to their heels and had time to hide behind a crest of high sand dune. They were watching in horror the armed people came to the Elmishan’s marquee and bursted inside. In several minutes those people ran out of the marquee crying curses and started to prowl through the neighborhood as they were looking something or somebody. 
Suddenly the prince and the princess heard low whistle behind their backs. They turned back and saw Elmishan, the camel Dijkuna was with him. Elmishan took away frightened children from that dangerous place.
The camel Dijkuna saved Elmishan from insidious killers. In the middle of the night she put her head through the marquee where he slept, caught his leg with teeth and pulled outside almost by force. Elmishan suspected that Dijkuna tried to tell her owner something very important. He stealthily went to the people who was sitting near the fire and heard that merchant Bebza-Dadi told to three caravanners:
- He performs such miracles with the help of the crystal ball keeping it in the hands and whispering his wishes. We must kill Elmishan and take the crystal ball to make wishes ourselves. How much wealth and power we can get with the help of the ball!
One of devoted to him caravanners asked:
- And what we will do with those chests of gold and silver that we dug out in sands? And what we will do with the prince and the princess?
Bebza-Dadi said:
-Gold and silver in the chests we will divide equally! And the girl and the boy I will sell in the market. Those children are very beautiful and will cast much money.
One of the caravanners said:
- The princess I take for myself! Give for her all my gold and silver!
The other caravanner objected right away: 
- Why you take her for yourself?! I may want to take for myself such a beauty too!
The third of caravanners said:
- The princess is too beautiful! Every man would be flattering to own such slave! In order nobody to be annoying let’s throw lots!
The merchant said for that:
- We will be in time to divide the goods! At first we must kill who is able to prevent us!
While they were sleeping Elmishan got into the marquee back, rolled up from a few blankets something like a man, put down it on his place and hid behind a crest of high sand dune. From his place he saw as the prince and the princess hid too from those bad people.
Then for a long time in the night silence furious abuse of the enraged killers failed their prey was heard.
For several days three men and the camel had been going through the scorching desert. In the daytime a merciless sun scorched their backs and at night a severe cold overcame but they went far and far from that disastrous place where they almost became the preys of cruel and greedy people.
In one of unbearably hot days when burning hot air shivered under the earth the prince suddenly saw a shape of beautiful oasis on the horizon.
- I see a city! – cried the boy, - Look such domes and high towers!
- The palms are growing there! – caught up the princess, - it means there is a lot of water!
The brother and the sister began to jump in their joy forgot about the tiredness. But in several minutes the apparition disappeared. The brother and the sister stood in a place, the tears appeared in their eyes, and they were shaken by disappearance of the beautiful city.
- It was a mirage! – Elmishan said and thought by himself: “The desert spirits shows such apparition to the people before their death…” So much he was frightened his thoughts that immediately pulled out of bosom the crystal ball.
The ball visibly decreased in size coming true the Elmishan wish, the pure borders lost its pellucidity and became dark. Elmishan took the magic ball in the hands and said:
- Thank you Gods for all your mercies to me and those children! As my soul would like to wish that on this place where I am standing a beautiful rich city appears; and it would be washed with many sources of the purest water; and the prince Bakhor and his sister Atash could rule there and the Gods mercies would shower them from the heaven like a life-giving rain!   
Hardly had he told that words when the winds howled, the earth shivered and cracked in many places. A horrific rumble was heard from the deep breaks and the fumes rose. The sky turned black and the storm broke out. The lightning was flashing without a break. Then the light sources went out for a while and it became as dark as midnight. So the beautiful city Tar-Bakhor that means splendid was born from the dead sands of the desert.
That was the last miracle carried out by the crystal ball because it lost its power and turned into a simple stone. That stone is still keeping in the city ruler’s library near the parchment in which all those events is described.
Of course, the prince Bakhor became a ref of the city. He ruled the splendid city for a long time and he was fair, generous and noble during all days of his governing.
The princess Atash fell in love with Elmishan very much and married him.
And the camel Dijkuna and her son young of camel Lekhe became a tutelary goddess of the city; the young camel Lekhe was born at the moment when the majestic and incomparable city, the beautiful green gem within the frame of golden sands stood under eternal sands of the Eskhev-Nander desert.    
In this way our fellow traveler Khavsa finished his story. We were sitting quieted down, enchanted by that wonderful legend. And the bright stars arrogantly looked down on us from the sky being indifferent to everything in the world to the wealth, to the fame, to the life and to the death.

Очень красивая сказка! Правда перевод оставляет желать лучшего. А почему по-английски?

Николай Бузунов   26.10.2013 23:41     Заявить о нарушении
Уважаемый Николай! Вы знаете английский? Спасибо, что оценили перевод. Если можно поподробнее, что не так в переводе.

Вера Зеленова 2   29.10.2013 00:25   Заявить о нарушении
На это произведение написаны 2 рецензии, здесь отображается последняя, остальные - в полном списке.