Alasabyr

In the hoary past in the village of Altyashla lived a poor old man Boryok by name. This man had a very fast ambler, the one who never let any other horse outrun him at the biggest horse-race. Alasabyr was of skewbald (ala) colour, that is why the old man gave him this name. Alasabyr means skewbald. The rumour of that ambler spread wide, everyone knew of him and spoke of him with praise and admiration. Even the Kazakhs, who lived on the banks of the Yayik river, knew him.

Once there was a big convention of people in Orenburg. Every tribe sent its batyr* to this convention. And the best horses were sent to the horse-race. Old Boryok also had his son Zolkamai mount Alasabyr and sent him to the feast. Before the big horse-race the old men - prophets, connoisseurs of horses, examined the horses thoroughly and after the examination said thus:

"This time most promising is the horse that came from the banks of the Aghithel river. It's unlikely that any other horse will outrun it But this is a dark horse, nobody knows anything of it."

When horses lined up before the race, the rich men committed fraud, spreading rumours that the race was canceled because of late hour. Unsuspecting Zolkarnai brought the horse to the place of his accommodation and gave oats to him. Taking advantage of it, the rich men suddenly changed their decision and Zolkarnai's fellow-villagers had to look for him around the town. And when they found him, they saw that he was drinking koumiss*, calm and unsuspecting.

"Don't sit quiet, get on your Alasabyr!" the fellow-villagers urged him.

"That won't do," answered Zolkarnai. "I have just given him drink and oats. He will burn out."

Nevertheless they managed to persuade Zolkarnai. When the race started from the appointed place, Zolkarnai from the very start was trying to hold Alasabyr back restraining his speed by pulling the bridle. The ambler was a very wilful animal, he did not want to lag behind others and very soon he left all the others behind. Half-way to the finish he began to choke and then he stumbled and fell to the ground. Zolkarnai flew over his head. Having had a lie-down for a while, Alasabyr rose to his feet and went on racing after the sweeping past horses, he again outran them winning by several lengths and without the rider he was the first to burst onto the maithan* having amazed everyone. The hum of surprise and delight, the sounds of regrets and admiration were heard from the crowd; "Whose ambler is it, whose horse? Where did it come from? Of what tribe is it?.."

Soon they brought Zolkarnai who had fallen from the horse. People were looking at him and saw that he was a rather poorly dressed yeget* - a poor man. He could not raise his head of shame, standing, down in the mouth, by his horse. Merchants, who had come fromthe Bokhara area, were singing praises of the ambler and were hanging multi-colour silk ribbons on the horse's mock to show that they believed in his superiority. And merchants, who had come from the Makarya area, were putting valuable goods on Alasabyr's back. People were throwing money and various valuable things in front of Zolkarnai — miracles do happen! Alasabyr was wrapped up in silks from head to hooves.

Meanwhile the bais* began to plot against Zolkarnai, intriguing against him. "Wherefore does the poor man need this steed?" said one of them. The next one went on: "I shall give fifteen horses for him." And the third one, a Kazakh bai announced: "I shall give a herd of horses in exchange for this ambler, moreover, I shall give him a flock of sheep."

Zolkarnai did not think twice - he sold Alasabyr. He returned home with a herd of horses and a flock of sheep. Old Boryok was not angry with him for this as he was so poor that these riches were quite to his liking.

But the old men - prophets voiced their ideas;

" Alasabyr was the soul and beauty of horses. The Aghithel valley failed to preserve such beauty. And now our beauty left nobody knows where to boundless steppes. But it's next to impossible that in the whole of the Aghithel valley there is no steed equal to Alasabyr. If such a horse is found and our people will be able to treat him with care, the beauty of our horses will be back again where he belongs." The old men knew that Alasabyr's breed had very deep roots.

They say that in time immemorial there lived a world-renowned king behind the Kaftau mountain. Not only people but also animals worshipped that king. One day the king was wandering over his woods and mountains, the valleys of his rivers and quite by chance came across a lake. And he saw a herd of wonderful horses who came there to drink water. Never before had the king seen such animals, that is why he was lost in admiration looking at that herd. Having noticed the ruler, the horses neighing ran away to their steppes.

On the next day the king went to that lake and he saw the same horses. And again they drank water from the lake and sped away into their wide expanses. On the third day the same thing happened and again the king followed the running horses with his eyes.

The king was struck by the horse's beauty: all of them were of motley skewbald colour. They had white spots on their foreheads, white pasterns, all of the horses the same size, of small breed. But just try to catch them! And why is it impossible? Just because they are descendants of winged horses - tulpars. The quickest race-horses could not outrun them. Only one cunning and smart man could do this. And that is why the king ordered to find that smart man and bring him. When the smart man was brought to the king, he ordered the man to catch one of the wonderful horses, otherwise, he said, the man would lose his life.

At night that sly man went to the lake and dropped a lot of soporific substance into the water. By midday next day the herd of horses went down to the lake to their drinking place as it Was their habit, Having slaked their thirst, the horses wanted to leave but they beganto feel giddy and started whirling and stamping, unable to leave for their meadows and steppes. And the famous sly-boots captured all of them one after another and brought all of them to the king's palace. The horses came to only when they appeared before the king. But they did not bow their heads down before him as all others of their kind were used to. The ruler was beyond himself with rage and he ordered to slaughter all those wonderful horses and throw away their meat in wild steppes to beasts of prey - to steppe wolves, jackals, bloodthirsty tigers. And they started to slaughter horses one after another. And only two of them - a stallion and a mare - managed to jump over the high stone wall and flee to their steppes. But they did not remain in their former habitat. Having covered a lot of ground -steppes and deserts, forests and mountains, rivers and seas they got to the Urals and began to multiply and breed their young in the valleys of the Big Idel, the Aghithel, the Karithel, the Yayik rivers. They are grazing on the banks of the Volga and the Aghithel, in hollows and dales of the Urals: with winter coming they cross the Yayik and move to endless expanses of steppes. Time and again they mixed with herds of either Kazakh or Bashkort peaceful horses. Thus they wasted their horse beauty on either Kazakh or Bashkort counterparts. Eventually they were caught by lassos and trained.

With the exodus of the last horses beyond the Kaftau mountain the horse breed was lost there altogether. The local people made use only of camels and donkeys.

Alasabyr, who won the race in Orenburg, descends from those two skewbald horses, those who had fled the domain of the ruthless long.

After this horse, skewbald and light-brown foals with black manes and tails were borne in Altyashla village of Kalsir-Tabyn. But there was none like the ambler Alasabyr. And the reason was that Alasabyr by no means could be exchanged for a herd of horses and a flock of sheep. It appears that if one misses a horse's spirit in pursuit of cattle, it will never be back.