National Geographic : 1952 Jun
832 An Educated Rider Has a Good Seat-and Degrees in Agriculture and Law Malek Mansur, one of the hereditary chiefs of the Kashgais, is a superb horseman and marksman; he is a graduate of the agricultural college of the University of Reading, England, and took a degree in law at Oxford. Like other members of the tribe-"one big family"-Malek Mansur uses "Kashgai" as his formal surname. Lesser tribesmen, unable to afford ammunition, hunt without guns. On horseback, they flush the quarry repeatedly until the birds, too tired to fly, can be run down (page 812). farewell banquet. We will invite kalantars from all the subtribes and have a real Kash gai feast." Farewell Banquet-Kashgai Style Nearly a score of tribal elders sat with us on bright carpets under the big tent for that last feast (pages 824 and 825). Down the center of the white cloth five king-size silver platters were spaced. One held a mixture of rice, fresh vegetables, and plums. Rice with raisins, pistachio nuts, and chicken giblets filled the second. Rice with cherries, lamb, and nuts was piled in the third dish; saffron crusted the rice that filled the fourth. The fifth platter was heaped with rice mixed with lamb and breasts of partridges. Roast lamb, partridge, ibex, and mouflon were piled high on other plates. Cakes made of crushed dates and spices were served as dessert. After dinner I made a brief speech in the limited Turki I had picked up, thank ing the Kashgais for their hospitality. It was a sad occasion, for we had come to feel at home with the tribe. Malek went to a corner of the tent and re turned with a beautiful Kashgai carpet, woven in muted shades of rose and blue and old gold. He spread it at our feet. "This is a Carpet of the Khans," he told us. "The design is a family pattern, and it is never produced for sale. My wife worked on this carpet. In the history of our tribe we have given away only two others like it. This is for you and Jean, but it is not a going away present. Instead it is a gift of welcome. You have become one of us. This is to wel come you into the tribe." Nasser Khan stood beside us. From his head he took the heavy felt Kashgai cap. Solemnly he put it on my head. "Now you are a Kashgai," he said. "When next you come to our tents it will not be a visit, but a homecoming. Our tents are your homes. And where you spread your Kashgai carpet, there will be your Kashgai home."