National Geographic : 1936 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE A KIRGHIZ BOY DISPLAYS HIS PETS When the spring hunting season arrives, every little boy begs his father to get him a baby illik, or roe deer, and the hunters always bring back several. Bottle fed, the animals share sleeping quarters with the householders, and are adopted as members of the family. This one follows his young master about like a dog and has a special bond of friendship with the family cat. phials or gourds from their sashes and ex change them. Then each man taps out a pinch of the concoction from the other man's phial into the palm of his own hand and deposits it with a quick movement of head and hand between the lower lip and gum. The containers are returned, the powder thoroughly wadded and settled in place with the tongue, and then both men are free to exchange news of the pastures. With the advent of Arduch's father and his friends, the drinking and feasting began in earnest. I consumed my share of the mutton, did my duty by the three cups of arak, and then, finding the ritual of touch ing lip to goblet and returning it a bit tiresome, slipped out and had Arduch take me around to meet his mother. A LIFETIME PAIR OF BOOTS For a Kalmuck woman of nearly forty she was remarkably young looking; and her serious demeanor and poise showed her to be unusually endowed with intelligence and common sense. She wore the usual Kalmuck woman's costume. Perched on her head was a jaunty little felt hat; flung over her shoul ders was a broad white collar, while around her neck hung a silver case containing va rious charms to make her fertile and thus keep her in the good graces of her husband. Her dress proper was of thick homespun with heavy brocaded designs on the cuffs and over the breast. She wore cumbersome home-made high leather boots. The soles of the boots were amazingly thick. Thick soles are the rule for women's boots, so that a husband rarely has to buy or have made more than one pair for each wife in her lifetime; and if his wives die young, as they frequently do, one pair does for a succession of wives. Since none of the Kalmuck women know any other language than their own Mon golian dialect, Arduch had to translate greetings between his mother and me. She was dealing out the arak for the rev elers in ever larger and larger lots; and all the while she kept warning the servants: "There will be trouble; I know it, I know it!" Her prophecy was not long in being ful filled. The pitch and tone of the group grew louder and more strident. They called for entertainment and the lama priest brother danced to the time of a two-stringed lute, a weird rhythmic movement. It put one in mind of the antics of a college cheer leader, save that the dancer kept his feet firmly fixed in one place on the ground and accompanied his body motions with rhythmic, jerky movements of fingers, hands, forearms, arms, head, and neck. Suddenly music, dancing, drinking, and feasting ended in bedlam; the chief had again drunk more than he could comfort ably hold.