THE YILKISYKKAN LAKE

Long ago there lived a hunter, a Bashkort, who had a smart hound Kooktoosh by name. That dog hunted not only for the fowl, but also for the big game. Once, scouring the woods, they came upon a youth who took a liking for the dog and started begging for it In return he promised to draw horses out of the lake. Exasperated by incessant entreaties of the youth the hunter gave in. The mysterious youth together with the dog dived back into the lake to reappear with a mare at his heel. Then he helped the hunter to mount the horse and told him: "Ride straight away, in a short while you will hear the herd of horses come out of the water and follow you in your tracks. Whatever happens never look back!" He uttered his last word and in a wink of an eye vanished in thin air.

The hunter set off homewards and soon heard horse's distant neighing mingled with hooves clattering and mare's whining. That hunter grew very impatient as he rode. Now, despite the warning he glanced back. On his head turning the half of the herd immediately dashed back into the water. Only those horses remained unmoved that had stepped onto the dry land. Skewbald of colour the horses had mouse-grey streaks along their backs. This is how the breed of skewbald horses appeared. The lake, therefore, was named "Yiikisykkan" .

Even nowadays the water in the lake glows mysteriously dark. Summer or winter, spring or autumn - the level of the water in the lake never changes, it neither lowers, not rises. No fish are found in the lake either.

There is another lake nearby, named Yghyshmakul. In the middle of it once lay marshy islet with a single birch tree growing on it That birch tree, bending with the wind would drift together with the islet along the quiet waters of the lake. Thus the lake got the name "YghyshmakuI". Yet, at present, the birch has spread its roots so deep in the ground that it no longer drifts around the lake. The water level in this lake is equal to that of the Yilkisykkan lake, since the two lakes interflow under earth.