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The Alpamysh, part 14: Baychobar is mocked

A statue dedicated to the Kyrgyz horse. Photograph by Sophie Ibbotson (click to see more).

Karajan and Baychobar stop to rest, but when the rider attempts to get his horse to use a feedbag, the Kalmaks mock the animal — another grave offence in the culture of that time.

Upon reaching twenty days’ distance, the horses mounted by the Kalmaks stopped at a stage. Karajan observed this out of the corner of his eye. He reached the boundary [and listened, for the] Kalmaks were having a discussion.

Karajan had an idea: “I should allow Baychobar to rest for a day, give him five handfuls of feed.”

He picked up the feedbag and approached Baychobar. But Baychobar was afraid of it, for he had never before seen a feedbag. Karajan patted the forehead of the horse, then pulled on its ears to force its head into the feedbag. Baychobar lowered his head but did not eat the feed; he did not know its value [although] he was foaming at the mouth.

The Kalmaks were laughing and having fun. “Fuck you, your horse will win,” they said to Karajan mockingly.

Everyone went back to their places in the encampment.

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