True friend

21 October 2021

Autumn has come. The weather has changed. A sudden downpour flooded the village in the blink of an eye. Yesterday Bagul covered the base of a large carpet. Today sister Almagul came to help her in her hard work. The day began as usual – everyone was busy with the housework in the morning. In a word, nothing foreshadowed what would break the usual regularity of life. Bagul was sitting on the trestle bed, going about her business. Having asked her sister to take out a new felt mat from the back room and spread it under the canopy of the house, she got up, and at that moment she saw what caused her blood to freeze in her veins: on the ground, right in front of the trestle bed, lay a huge cobra, which, hissing menacingly, rose to the elbow in length, preparing for the attack. “Snake!” – the girl screamed heart-rendingly. Alabay named Garagyoz, who was sleeping peacefully at that time at the door of the house, having heard the scream, at the same moment rushed to Bagul, and barking tried to drive away the dangerous stranger. A fierce battle began. A huge black snake with lightning lunges tried to hit the dog with its poisonous teeth. Garagyoz stepped on the cobra in an attempt to grab it with his mouth. Dumbfounded with horror, Bagul tried to call out to her mother, but in vain: my mother was sitting in the back room of the house with her older sister, scribbling at a noisy sewing machine. Desperate, Bagul ran to her uncle’s house, who lived next door. Hearing the call “Uncle, Uncle Kurban!”. The man ran out of the house to meet his niece. In a tongue braided with horror, she told about what had happened. Uncle brought her cold water, trying to calm her down. It was getting dark, but it was still light. The moon ascended into the sky with a bright radiance drove away the approaching dusk. After listening to Bagul, the uncle called his son. Dovran ran to his father, and with him his friends. “Let’s guys help Garagyoz!” – said Uncle Kurban and led the boys behind him. By this time, mother and aunt ran out to the noise. Mom was shackled by the horror of what she had seen: Bagul rushed around the snake to help Garagyoz. She told her daughter to move away from there. Probably, Garagyoz also wanted this, as he barked at the girl, trying to drive her away from the cobra. In the end, the snake found itself in the middle of a “living trap”. Garagyoz, Uncle Kurban and the boys surrounded her from different sides. But, she was not going to crawl away. The desperate rage of the hunted beast seethed in her, ready to tear to death the first who dared to come very close. Therefore, it was obvious that at the slightest carelessness, she would grab her poisonous teeth. Finally,when the snake was distracted by one of the surrounding, Garagyoz pounced on it with a jerk and squeezed it in its mouth with a death grip. The snake wriggled to the last, but in vain. Garagyoz emerged victorious from this mortal battle. After the attack had passed, Bagul ran up to the fearless dog and closed him in her arms. “You are my savior, my faithful Alabay. You have shown real courage today. I was afraid that I would lose you ... “ – she thanked, barely holding back her tears. Garagyoz put his left paw on the girl’s head, showing a reciprocal affection. Alabay’s wounds were immediately smeared with healing ointment, bandaged, and brought to him to eat. Shocked by what had happened, my mother barely uttered: “My God, I didn’t have time to blink my eyes, and then this happened.” To calm down after this stunning event, a table was laid at home and tea was brewed. Over a cup of fragrant tea, relatives and friends began to talk about the first days of Garagyoz in their house. Bagul’s father brought him as a puppy from a shepherd’s camp. The children were indescribably delighted with the little dog with black spots. Because of the stains, it was decided to call it Garagyoz. They looked after him very carefully: specially for him they prepared a kind of stew, which consisted of camel milk with flour.Thanks to such diligent care, the little puppy quickly grew into a formidable Alabay. He constantly frolicked with the kids, who taught him to greet their paws. One day the following happened: when Yazgul was six or seven years old, she locked Garagyoz at home and left to play with her friends. Returning from work, my mother found a running puppy in the house, which was notoriously frolicking. After her daughter returned, she asked why the dog had been left in the house. Yazgul replied: “Mom, I went to the neighbors to play with my friends, and I was afraid that if I took Garagyoz with me, he might be jinxed, or he would go somewhere and disappear without a trace. That is why I left him. “ To this, my mother said: “You are my clever girl, the Turkmen Alabay will never forget the way to the house where he was fed. Don’t be afraid, it won’t get lost. Wherever he goes, he will definitely return home. “ Suray also remembered a story from her childhood. She said that as children, they organized running competitions with children. Garagyoz was with us, who stood next to me in the row of runners and, like everyone else, was waiting for the start of the race. We started to run and so did he. I ran faster than the others, but Garagyoz was ahead of me. Then I said: “ Garagyoz, stop!” And he slowed down and ran on a par with me. He accompanied us everywhere, even when we walked to the well for water or to school. But it was amazing that he accompanied us to school, quietly running alongside, but on the way back he ran up to little kids and frolicked with them. As a child, Bagul and her younger brother Murat stayed for several days with their maternal grandmother, Hajarbibi eje, who lived nearby. And even there Garagyoz did not leave them, looked after them. Mom also said that everyone was amazed at Garagyoz’s affection and devotion to her children. And Garagyoz at that time was lying at the door, listening to their conversations and imbued with their love. It was midnight. We went to bed, but no one closed their eyes until dawn, reliving the event of the past day in their memory. The new day, as always, began with everyday worries, after which everyone hurried to their uncle, because they had a big holiday at their home. They put cauldrons, lit fires, prepared festive dishes and treats, incendiary songs and music sounded. And everyone at this holiday talked about the fearlessness and devotion shown by Garagyoz. Many years have passed since then, but even now the villagers recall with undisguised warmth the events associated with the faithful Alabay named Garagyoz.

Specialist of the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan.