Entertainment, national games
Kazakh culture and national traditions
Kazakhs, like other cultural groups, have inherited various forms of entertainment and games from their forefathers. As you will observe, most of these cultural forms were based on life situations and national peculiarities: and their intent was to teach succeeding generations to be healthy, strong, brave, smart, observant, resourceful, resilient and humane, Entertainment is one of the branches of Kazakh national culture, Here we will briefly describe some of them.
This is a game for six or seven year old children, usually played in the evening after children have helped their parents with household chores and when parents have completed feeding and milking duties involved with their cattle. All children of the aul would gather in the meadow for shesheke (derived from the word "sheshe," or mommy), a game with important meaning in terms of physical training. Children would hold on to each others hems and walk in one line like dolls. They would become very sweaty in till process, yet their questions and answers to one another during the game sounded lovely. The conversation was at mock discussion between a mother and her son; and children from one aul would sing: Mommy gave me a cake spun (or paddled) a wick children from another aul would respond:
Mommy gave me a kurt,
I put dung into the sack
Interpreting these lines, the first group indicated that in exchange for working hard and helping their parents, they could expect something tasty to eat. For the spinning of a wick, their mother gave them tasty cake. The opposite side had similarly indicated that for gathering dung, they were given a kurt. You know that Kazakhs were nomads, and for heating their yurt and for cooking they needed dung to burn. Of course, lyrics of the songs varied a bit. Shesheke was played as innocently as possible, and never involved any fighting. Children might play for long hours until their mothers called them to have dinner. After this game children would sleep soundly, as they had often expended much energy in their games. Shesheke was also considered important beyond its healthful attributes for it gave children a lesson in organizing themselves independently; taught them to remember; and developed their oral comprehension skills. They thus received practice in poetry - valued highly by Kazakhs - in that they used their native language to improvise. And of course, values of industry and obeying parents were all part of Shesheke.
Summer was usually a very relaxing period for Kazakh families in which they could hold feasts and entertain friends. In the summer, pastures were particularly nutritious and cattle became fat. Milk and cream were thick, kumiss tasted better, and children could all play shesheke at this time of the year. Unfortunately, nowadays children do not play that game. We believe such a game ought to be renewed for our young people as a priceless gift to them from the past.
Khan is a game played in the winter after Kazakhs had moved from Summer to Winter quarters. The earth would be covered with white snow; adults set traps and hunted with birds; and children would gather to play "khan". Asyks, the only toy of children of this age were used in this game, and each boy had the whole bag of them. Asyks, as you may recall, are the ankle bones of a sheep. Among any boy's collection of asyks would be at least one from a wild ram, and it would be larger than the others. It would also be painted to make it stand out from the rest, for it would stand for the Khan in this game.
The object of the game was to capture all the "soldiers" or asyks in the circle without hitting the Khan, or ram's asyk. Boys divided into two teams, with each team having their saka (or big asyk) in the circle. They would throw asyks into the circle, trying to capture their opponents "soldiers." Upon hitting an asyk, the thrower would reach in and remove the piece, careful not to touch another asyk by mistake, for this would cause him to surrender all of his captured pieces to the other team.
The game continued until all asyks were captured by one side or another. During the process, great care had to be taken not to hit the saka or khan. So, a great deal of accuracy and dexterity was required to play this game, Boys had to be very adroit in their tasks, as they might have to be to remove an egg quickly from under a sitting bird. The team which collected the most asyks was considered the winner, meaning they had best defended their people and their "khan" in the war. After the game both sides would count their asyks to determine how many "warriors" had died. Losers would therefore become the subjects of the fictitious khan. This winter game was played in a clean and warm place, sitting on a rug or felt. Children no longer play Khan, but in some villages kids play a similar game called.
This game was played both in summer and winter. Let me describe the terms of the game. Two boys would have a target and attempt to hit it with a saka from three step distance. If one hit the target, an asyk from his opponents arsenal would be his. He would then continue throwing until he missed, taking an asyk from his partner until missing. Then it would be his opponents turn to win back lost asyks. Asyk is also forgotten by many children, but in rural places of Kazakhstan some boys still play it. Often boys would be so engrossed in the game that they would ignore eating, going to school or helping parents to finish a game. As we discussed earlier, parents brought up a child to hold work in respect. So they would complain about those who constantly played asyk or ball as laggards, and extol boys who rather spent their time grazing sheep as successful. Everything should rather be done in moderation and in its own time. So Asyk is not a bad game, but it mustn't be turned into an extended game of chance.
Ai kerek (by moonlight)
As its name suggests this game was played when there was an evening moon, out in the summer pasture. Children had to know each other well, but they might be of different ages. Both boys and girls played it through about age fourteen, because older children were by this time required to work about house, and they were often too tired for games at night. Children from the neighboring aul also would come to play. When they all gathered, a leader would divide them into two teams, they then faced each other forty steps apart. When they were ready, the leader gave a sign to begin, upon which one team sings and calls:
Ai kerek, ai kerek
whom do you need from our side whom?
tell us whom?
The other side would respond:
Ai kerek, ai kerek,
we need Anar from your side
Anar would then approach the other side and attempt to break through the linked hands of smaller and weaker children on the other side. Were she successful, she would return with them to her own team: if she failed, she had to stay with the other side. Again they would call:
Ai kerek, ai kerek,
whom do you need from our side whom?
tell us whom?
The opposite side would respond:
Ai kerek, ai kerek,
we need that boy whose name is Samat.
Samat would then also run and attempt to break linked hands of children from the opposite side. Should he break through, he would return with two opponents; if his attempt failed, he would have to remain with the opposition. So they would play until all the children of one side had been captured and returned to the other. In some games the leader would have to divide the boys and girls evenly for the game, thus ensuring that one team did not get all the larger and stronger boys and girls.
Parents believed that Ai Kerek was good physical training for the children, and the children would have lots of fun. Sometimes a boy or girl would allow the opposition to break their linked hands on purpose, desiring to be on the other side anyway. However, if the leader noticed that he would ask them not to play. Alternatively, there were cases when boys and girls linked so tightly that an opponent could not break the link for all their might. At this moment the leader of the game would praise the pair, and suggest that in the future a boy might become a batyr or a good rider. Close inspection of this game suggests that it teaches children to be both fair and strong. One additional noteworthy feature of this game involved the giving or receiving of a nickname. Sometimes children would be playful and call for an opponent thusly:
Ai kerek, ai kerek
whom do you want from our side
whom? tell us whom?
The response might then be humorous:
Ai kerek, ai kerek
we need that guy,
who shaved his hair,
we need "Black Crane"
Thus they might gave a nickname to their friend because he was thin and tall, sunburned, he looked like a crane. While the name was given in jest, a successful raid on the opposition might leave an indelible mark, for everybody would remember the exploits of the "Black crane." Sometimes calls for players might be of a more teasing fashion. One response might have been:
Ai kerek, ai kerek
we want the sweetie of her granny;
the pampered girl
whose name is Altyn.
All and all, then, Ai kerek was a joyful game which was also helpful for physical training: but it isn't played nowadays.
Ak Sandyk-kok Sandyk (White trunk and the blue trunk)
This game was played mostly by boys. They could play it in the daytime and in the evening as well. In this game two boys must lift each other on their backs while at the same time singing songs. Boys would be paired according to their body weight. As they lifted each other, others would watch them. Should one of the boys have difficulty lifting the other and forget to sing, everybody laughed at the scene. These songs were typically composed by the boys themselves, and usually would be about their parents, especially about their fathers and their tools, or how each boy performed house work. They might sing:
Ak sandyk Kok sandyk
In white we have valuable things
In the blue trunk
We have a screwdriver...
Aksandyk, kok sandyk
In both of them
We have all necessary things for home.
While singing, boys would be lifting numerous times. Those attentively watching would count how many times they performed their lifting efforts. After the first boy finished, the second might continue
Ak sandyk, kok sandyk
In white trunk we have money
in the blue
We have a hammer
Ak sandyk, kok sandyk
If we find a nail in the street strength to dig ditches and carry water.
So, you see this game had several potential purposes.
Zhasyrynbak (Hide-and-Seek) Usually children played this game around mining places throughout the year, because there were many places to hide there. In the summer they would play near densely set yurts, but here "seeker" could often find the "hider" quite easily. Here one boy or girl would stand at the goal and be blindfold while others would hide. Only when everyone was hidden could the seeker open his eyes and begin looking for the other children. If he found them he won; but while he was looking, others might arrive at the goal be the first. This game is played until everyone is' tired, usually by children of similar ages.
Hide-and-seek is very useful, because kids move around a lot. It is especially useful after a big meal, for following a game children would often go to sleep quietly. This game also approximated that of hunting with a bird. Hunters while in the field with their eagles use a tomaga (a small leather cowl) to cover their eyes. This keeps the eagle from immediately concentrating on the prey. The hunter, becoming aware of an animal presence, would then remove the eagle's tomaga to begin the chase. Similarly, in the game "Zhasyrynbak," the boys or girls eyes must be closed until everyone is hidden. Upon opening them, the seeker -like the eagle - can begin to consider potential hiding places, . This game is also necessary to develop logical thinking and predictability.
Sadak, sadak, kuirshak (Arrow, Arrow and the Doll)
In early times Kazakh kids could carve toys from stone wood, or straw. From stone they could make an axe, a hammer, a knife, spoon, or a pot. Sometimes boys would grind a stone with great impatience once, making it thin enough to form a round toy which was called "kaimak zhalatkysh." Were it well made, it wouldn't sink quickly in water when thrown, as opposed to those more clumsily carved. We consider this to be the right way: to bring up the boys to be good marksmen and craftsmen. They also formed arrows which looked like real ones. For this they chose special wood and bent it to make it strong. They would sharpen the peak of the bow, then bend it to the target. It was a very ancient game of Kazakh boys. Kazakhs have a proverb: "Kids who are always with their father would carve the wood," suggesting that fathers were responsible for teach all skills to their sons. In summer, children would peal bark from the willow and make a musical instrument. After this they would climb a tall tree and perform beautiful songs on that instrument- It was pleasant to hear that and upon noticing peoples' interest in the playing, a boy would more confidently, since this encouraged him. Another toy kazakhs made in earlier times was "Su miltik" which meant "water gun" in English. It 1 was made of goosefoot or reed. When the boys played with it (by shooting it), everybody laughed. As its name suggests, it was filled with water. In other cases boys carved dishes; as well as saddles from wood. Sometimes the dishes were so well done that mothers would use them.
As for girls, they played outside games of course with boys, but most of them preferred staying in yurts or in the yurtyard and making dolls, sewing clothes for dolls, and knitting. And from an early age they learned needle work from their mothers. There is a proverb about this fact. "From mothers girls know how to cut out a furcate."
Sokyrteke (Blind wild goat)
In this game a boy or girl would be blindfolded, and thus become the sokyrteke. Other players would touch him and run away, and the "blind wild goat" was to catch them. If the blindfolded boy was very perceptible and quick, it wouldn't take long take him to notice who was nearby and catch him. The newly caught payer would then become blindfolded. A slow player would be teased by the others. Human nature being what it is, however, some children would be slow or clumsy and collide with the sokyrteke, thus being immediately caught. Catching girls was always funny, for they'd shout and laugh. Good players were cautious, like a magpie; and as the evening became dark, the game would become very interesting, because players might hit a tree on their way and fall to the ground, leading friends to burst into laughter. Players must also be careful because while playing, another person might also push you into the sokyrteke. The game of sokyrteke was thought to have use in training children to be careful and to help them consider ways of escaping difficult situations.
Belbeusok (hit with a sash)
"Belbeusok" was the game of adults, young kelins and married men. All the members of the game would sit in a circle. Then one of the players would imperceptibly place a sash behind somebody who was also sitting. Upon noticing the sash, he would jump up with the sash and run after him. Once caught, he would hit him with the sash, and then retake his seat. Then he would put it behind another person's back. In this way the game continues, everybody at some point having the sash placed behind them and having a chance to run. If a young man wanted to get acquainted with a young girl, he would especially make an j effort to place the sash behind her, in order to have a chance to talk in private. Later, he would see her off to her house. During the game nobody could run far from the circle, and all of the participants of the game had to be watchful, because sometimes it was difficult to notice the sash in the grass. On the other hand, if you were talking with your neighbor and didn't notice somebody putting the sash behind your back, you'd also be hit with the sash; if someone was at odds with you, he might hit you repeatedly.
Belbeusok is very easy and a good way for young people to meet. You know Kazakh girls were "watched by forty families," and this was one of the few occasions where she might go with her friends to spend time unescorted by an adult. Of course, in these days there were no places to go like theaters, cinemas, museums or dance clubs where the young people could have a good time.
Kuzet was usually held in a herdsmen's aul. Mostly young people went there to protect flocks of sheep from wolves, they would set a fire, sing songs, and chat with each other around it. Sheep were guarded by their dogs, and it was good opportunity for a kelin and her sister-in law to share their secrets and to talk about different things. It was also a good time for the young zhigit and lady to talk about love and to sing love songs. Guarding was difficult in olara (the interval of time between the end of the preceding and the beginning of the coming month) and kuzeu (the time of shearing). This was a time that hungry wolves might attack the sheep; a time guards did not have time to joke. There was a superstition that if you stretched a black and white lasso across the fence, wolves wouldn't attack. The dogs would smell wolves from the distance and bark; it was thus a sign for guards to be ready. They would prepare clubs and cudgels and sit on their horses. They would also set traps and dig holes, such guarding would show bravery and cautious.
Ak Suiek (white bone)
"Ak suiek" is a very ancient and interesting game. It was played in warm weather in the summer pasture. Children of different ages and even adults would play this game. when all the players gathered, the leader would divide them into two teams. At the end of the game they would sum up. The winner would be that team who many times would bring ak suiek to the target. Those who lose the game would sing songs and dance as a penalty.
That game begins this way. First of all the leader shows ak suiek it may be a thigh bone. He explains that both teams would seek this very bone, then he would throw it. Then gives a sign to look for that bone. Everybody would rush to seek. If they notice that somebody found it, they would prevent him from coming first. Everyone wants to come first to the target with ak suiek. Some young people take advantage. They would pretend looking for aksuiek, but they' d walk with beautiful ladies, talk about love, nature, but the main idea of this game is to cheer up people, to make them joyful...
Altybakan (a swing with six poles)
This remains one of the most played national games of Kazakhs. They play it in summer and fall when mother nature gives the sign of good weather. The participants are young zhigits and ladies who gather together; teenagers are not allowed to play, but they might watch. Altybakan is set up beforehand. For this, six logs and a thick rope are needed. They would attach a syryk (a bifurcated post used for supporting the yurt in time of bad weather) to six logs; three on either side all attached with a thick rope. A couple might stand on the assembled Altybakan and be swung by those on either side. Ladies would come in their best clothes: flouncy white dresses, red jackets and owl-feathered headdresses.
Zhigits would also be well-dressed. Those who were on the Altybakan sang folk and love songs. Here the young people might share their secrets and troubles. Those either swinging on or standing nearby the Altybakan could also sing and talk to each other as they observed the song competition. Altybakan remains a really good place where young people can compete in song improvisation. It is the location of real art for propagandizing our rich national folk songs. That's why the singers from all auls were invited to take part in song and improvising competitions. The host of the Altybakan would slaughter a sheep and did his best to create joyful atmosphere.
Sometimes a spoiled boy or girl from a wealthy home might organize such an event at their parent's expense. They would invite relatives, kinsmen, jiens and all friends in advance. Then they would prepare everything to organize Altybakan at an impressive level, decorating the scene with ribbons. Kazakhs might then say "Dastarkhan (table cloth) is inseparable share" which meant everybody was welcome to the dastarkhan or feast. Meanwhile, a simpler Altybakan would only last till morning and would sometimes be called "Kyz oinak" (or a place where youngsters meet and play). Today, Altybakan remains a living game, nowadays to be found at a herdsman's toi or in jubilees where young people compete, although sometimes they do not follow the traditional rules completely or wear national dresses and costumes. Also, in earlier times Kazakhs did not drink hard liquor and never quarreled with each other. At Altybakan, now you can unfortunately see drunk people; so we miss the Altybakan of earlier times.
Kyz Kuu (Catch up with a girl)
"Kyz kuu" is another game typical of Kazakh tradition which is still to be found. People would gather at a race course, and young ladies and zhigits would have their racehorses prepared. Kyz kuu was usually held in conjunction with other big celebrations, as during Kurban and Oraza Aits. People prepared much food plenty of kumiss. Of course, as it was a celebration, everybody would wear his or her best clothes. People in attendance would eat and watch Kyz Kuu.
In the race a lady and a zhigit would ride a distance of five to six kilometers. They would ride close together and talk, and stay close enough to embrace or tell stories; on this occasion the lady might offer no resistance. Upon reaching the starting place, the zhigit would stretch the front saddle and the back saddle girths tightly, stretching the back saddle almost to the horse's breast. Following that he'd put the breastplate straight, as the race course was usually uphill. This would allow the crowd to be able to see, since the way back would be difficult. On the way back, the zhigit would start first and the lady would try to catch up with him. If she caught him, she'd beat him with a riding whip; and if she remembered some offense, she might beat him hard! For that she must ride a good race horse. Both, the zhigit and the lady tried not to lose their honor in this process. In most cases, a well-bread girl would not beat the zhigit even if she caught up with him.
If Kyz kuu was interesting, it would last a long time and elder people might also participate. They might choose a kinswoman as a partner. Other couples who were not married for some reasons when they were young, but who were hindered from doing so now might play kyz kuu as their only chance to remember about their former love and those wonderful times they spent together earlier. While our bodies may get old, our spirits never do.
Kyz kuu exists nowadays, but those who remember the ancient traditions didn't like the way it is held these days. Sometimes people have it to show that they are Kazakhs, but many girls in particular may have never seen a saddle, touched a whip, or can sit on a horse without looking awkward. Urban zhigits are also usually clumsy on a horse. In earlier times, zhigits might perform different tricks while riding their horses. In rural places you can still find zhigits and girls who could ride wonderfully.
Kyz kuu is not used only as an entertainment during celebrations, rather, it is a kind of schooling about riding. From history you all know about the devastating wars Kazakhs fought on horseback. So from early ages fathers taught their sons and daughters how to saddle and ride a horse. In early times you couldn't meet a girl or a boy not riding a horse, so it was important to teach our youth to ride a horse in order to develop these sorts of riding abilities.
Baiqe (horse race)
Horse racing is one of the ancient traditions of Kazakh people. Horses were the "wings" of the zhigit, so they trained them and spent many hours with their beloved race horses. Our ancestors could distinguish the good horses from the bad; there were critics like Tolibai who could predict from among pregnant horses which would bring forth "argimaks" (race horses) and "tulpars" (battle horses), when a colt was in-utero. So Kazakhs held baige (horse race) at large tois, celebrations and at national holidays. At the races one might see hundreds of horses. In Kazakh history there were ases (held the year following somebody's death) of famous people like Saginai, Mamen, Sasan, Ulan-bulan and tremendous horse races were held. Our nation is always interested in joyful events, so they often organize horse races.
Predicting a race horse from among the others was hard to do. The head of a race horse was reputed to have little meat; they had protruding ribs; swollen bones; were of unpleasant appearance; had broad breasts; and protruding nostrils. Those who believed that they had a winning horse might expect to win a substantial prize, and would thus take great pains to care for their animals the month before a race. They would condition a mount for a race by riding long hours to make the horse sweaty. They then would feed and water appropriately, and give an extra measure of oats. After a good ride, they were sure to cool down the horse, and to keep their animal safe from evil eyes, they covered him with a small horse blanket and made a special mask for his face.
In the Tarbagatai mountains there was a mud hut of a man, Kalmaktai by name. The front of this mud hut was plain, but in the middle there was a stone stake. Kalmaktai would lasso his horse, and every day he stretched and elongated it for about a month or until the ground became grassless. This was in fact a manner of training the horse to run in ever-larger circles.
Another important task was to select a person who would ride the race horse. Kazakhs usually chose boys, because they are light and rode horses easily; however, such boys needed to have riding skills. In preparation for a race a boy would be given extra training, and also instruct him how to keep the horse's eyes and under his ears dry; to use a whip; when to change speeds; to remember not to sit straight but to ride sideways, always observing the behavior of competitors. According to the kind of tois involved, the financial position of horse owners, and the number of participating horses, a horse race might be of short, middle, or long distances.
In old times when best race horses gathered they would have one day races sometimes involving different track. Nowadays it is difficult to find thin tailed argimaks, so a racing distance might be 20-30 kilometers or a middle distance track. There are other sorts of races, too. For example, races of kunan (a colt of two or three years) were not far. Kazakhs also had an amble (gait of a horse) race which mostly involved women. Moslems also held camel races. All of these races were held on special celebrations, and were thought to be a kind of physical training. So baige is longstanding and wonderful tradition.
One of the ancient traditions of Kazakh people is wrestling. Kazakhs were proud of their famous singers, poets, folk singers, judges, batyrs (warriors) and athletes. Wrestlers would defend the honor of their clan for whom they wrestled. We are proud of our world-known wrestlers, like Baluan Sholak and Kazhymukan. Though there were few famous wrestlers remembered by name, Kazakhs were eager to train their boys to be wrestlers from very young age.
Wrestling took place in large celebrations, holidays, and fairs. There, clans would point to the wrestlers who would defend their honor. Among the Kazakhs, wrestlers respected and appreciated each other. Once Kazhymukan defeated Japanese, Turkish and wrestlers from other countries in an international event, and the world for the fist time knew that Kazakhstan had such competitors.
On his way home after a successful wrestling match Kazhymukan came to a kos (a small felt hut for travelling). When he opened it, he saw a giant man sleeping on his back. Kazheken (his pet name) admired the giant's body and greatly wanted to wrestle with him. So he waked him up and they began wrestling. It seemed to him that the larger man was very strong, and he was difficult to beat. Then Kazheken prayed and said: "Oh, my angel, Baluan Sholak help me, give me more strength." Hearing these words the giant released and kissed him, and Kazhymukan saw tears in his eyes. It turned out that Kazhekens competitor was Baluan Sholak himself.
Because Baluan Sholak could not show himself, he had heard about Kazhymukans recent success and was specially waiting for him to pass nearby and to pay him respect. He was grazing dozens of lambs to treat him to, so when the two wrestlers became acquainted they feasted for two days on these animals. After the war, Kazhymukan was at Sabit Mukanovs home (a famous Kazakh writer), and he whooped when he remembered the incident. Sabit was surprised why he was weeping and inquired as to the cause. Kazhymukan answered that it was nothing for him to drink boxes of vodka or tubs of kumiss, but it was shame and a sin for him to touch the collar of his elder brother (he meant Baluan Sholak). In our childhood we saw several times wrestlers in chain and tomaga. During wrestling if they were not able to win, they might pray and mutter in an effort to acquire more energy. It could become very noisy in the steppe when they did so, for winners might be given a camel, a horse, a cow or a sheep. Nowadays wrestlers are selected according to their weight, and they are sponsored by different institutions and sports organizations. In earlier times, wrestlers were praised by people and sometimes sponsored by wealthy people who would take care of them since their success belonged to all the people.
The rules of wrestling included grasping the stomach or torso and lifting opponents overhead. Sometimes a match would last for long hours. They would tie their wrists with a girdle and have wide pants. According to the rules they could only hold opponents by the girdles. In ancient times old men would gather on a big hill to have a chat, and talked about information from "Uzun kulak" (long ears). Their grandsons usually were with them, and when the old men were free for a while, they'd wrestle their grandsons and admire the scene. This was because our forefathers always thought about future generations, and they wanted their offspring to be strong.
Audaryspak (to pull the adversary from a horse in competition)
Audaryspak was also one of the most widespread traditions organized during feasts. It is one of the ways of checking strength and determination. Only strong zhigits would take part in such competitions, and their horses needed to be well chosen. Those who would take part in "Audaryspak "were divided into two groups. The object was to pull an opponent from a horse. Thus, it was very important that the horse and saddle objects were very strong. Sometimes the stronger competitor would drag the adversary with his horse, leading to him being unseated.
As you have become aware, all physical training of the kazakh people was connected with the living conditions and history. Kazakhs had to defend their families and often fight on horseback. Remember that horses might be driven away from one clan by others, or that women might be stolen; so being able to pull an adversary from a horse might become more than a game. If somebody was trained well how to fight on a horse he wouldn't lose the fight. Kazakhs in general were a very peaceful people. They never liked bloody scenes or killing. When they fought with cudgels, they tried not to hurt an enemy's head badly, but rather intended only to pull a foe from his horse, for without a horse the adversary couldn't fight. In the whole, Audaryspak was very useful in strengthening muscles and training zhigits for bravery, and besides, it was one of the best means to learn self defense.
Tenge alu (picking tenge from the ground on a horse) Another amazing entertainment was Tenge alu. Few on horseback could pick a coin up from the ground on the run. Most of zhigits even bending as far as they could couldn't do that; for this involved a special knack or skill. That's why many zhigits would refuse to take part in this competition, fearing his failure might disgrace him before his girl friend.
In early times, Kazakh zhigits riding on a horse might split dung lying in a field with a sword while riding on a horse. Such feats were facilitated by Tenge alu training. Special prizes were given to the winners: if the coin pick from the turf was golden, he kept it. Kazakh youth liked this game, because it trained them to be careful and adroit and to adjust to different situations in life. Even riding a tai (one year old colt), small boys could pick something from the ground. If a rider dropped his whip, he was encouraged to be able to retrieve it on the run, for when he was older such practice would help in Tenge alu contests.
In the district of Aksuat (which was in the Semei region) Tenge alu was not a strong game during the celebration for Kabanbai batyr (a national hero). Few zhigits participated, and only one or two of them could pick a coin. Upon observing this, we have come to believe that there is not enough physical training in that district. Alternatively, in pure Kazakh auls, we believe that this ancient tradition is better kept. If Tenge alu is so poorly practiced in other towns, perhaps the future of this game is in jeopardy.
Ot oiyny (fire game)
Ot oiyny was held when people moved to their summer pasture, and it was played at night. They would bring bundles of firewood and start a fire. Putting their palms near the flame, they'd then touch their faces, dance around the fire, and sing different songs. Night in summer pasture was chilly and heating at the fire was romantic.
When the fire burned down they'd throw more wood on the fire. Songs sounded special at night, and everyone would enjoy them even more. Some young people preferred sitting further away from the fire. There, in the dark, they might chat with their beloved girls or boys. Nowadays nobody play this game; it is one of the forgotten traditions.
Arkan tartu (stretching a rope)
This game has two versions. First, gathered youth were divided into two groups of approximately equal strength and number. Then they went to the field and marked a rope in the middle. After this the two sides pulled against each other, and a judge would decide which team moved the mark significantly. Losers of the contest became "slaves" to the winners. Then the judge would reconstitute the teams and repeat the contest. Three consecutive wins would lead the judge to declare the winning team to be unbeatable.
The second version of this game was held at wedding parties. Stretching the rope before the bride's horse or cart, she was told not to cross the rope without first paying. People had lots of fun watching this. Among the Kazakhs there was a proverb: "Do not step over a black and white rope." Stretching a lasso meant that the bride must be very honest and fair.
Tobyk (patella or kneecap)
Elder people played Tobyk, but sometimes young people also played it. Matchmakers, kinsmen, kinswomen, and jiens played it in order not to be forgetful and absent-minded. How did they play? Two people would nibble clearly and mark a sheep's patella, then he would hide it. Later, when the other person asked for it, the person who hid it had to immediately be able to locate it. If it wasn't in the specified location, the hider lost the game. Alternatively, if the second person failed to ask for it at the agreed upon time, then the person who hid the Tobyk won the game. They'd agree on horse, cow or good clothes as a prize. Then the winner would invite the loser to be a guest. It was an interesting game but nobody plays it nowadays.
For playing that game old men would clean twelve goat's hooves and paint them red. They would be kept in a special feed bag or small sack with a board made of wood. Old men liked to play draughts; draughtsmen would seek each other out to play the game and others might join. In olden days men would gather in one yurt to play draughts and the hostess would prepare food, especially national food besbarmak (boiled meat with noodles). Tea and kumiss would also be served, but before serving kumiss it had to be decantated. Draughts was typically played during "Uzun sary" (at the end of winter or the beginning of summer).
When they shared meat from winter slaughtering, they would tie their horses near the hay, and take out snuffboxes from the tops of their boots. Here it must be mentioned that there was no heated competition during draughts; the purpose wasn't to earn money or benefit from this game, it was just for pleasure. Skilled draughtsmen would count six, seven moves beforehand and never lost the game. We have seen such wonderful players and sometimes we think "It would be great if they participated in modern draughts game!
Koishy - herdsman
In early times the main living resources of Kazakhs depended on four species of domestic animals. Meat and milk served as food stuffs; hair and skins were used for making clothes, tools, and living accommodation. That's why the main trade of kazakh people was grazing cattle. One of the four species of domestic animals was sheep. A herdsman was a person who grazed sheep; today we call him a herdsman. His trade was difficult, for he was to graze them all year around in different weather conditions, from early morning till sunset. He was to graze them in the yellow steppe and to protect them from wolves and thieves. It was a large responsibility, but even so a herdsman was paid very little, as people who employed them would only give him a sheep or a goat per month: in a year he might only earn twelve sheep.
In addition, a herdsman might be given clothes for winter: one fur coat, a pair of leather shoes, winter boots to be worn over felt stockings, or a lambskin cap or a lamb skin with a covering. For summer, fabric for shirt, pants and shulgau (strips of cloth worn instead of stockings) and a skin for summer shoes might be given.
A herdsman's work was very difficult, but on holidays he was allowed to visit his family and to wash the linen. At year's end he would be back with twelve sheep. Sometimes he might be called zhyldkshi which means "year earner." Wealthy people who found a herdsman they liked might even have them watch and protect the sheep of their sons after their death. Sometimes a favorite herdsman might even be given a cow or ten more sheep for his efforts, and his children given good used clothing by the wealthy family.
Kazakhs have a proverb: "Cattle are found by cattle, not by man." It meant that gradually a herdsman would improve his financial position. Kazakhs consider a good flock of sheep to number about five hundred. It was assumed if you did not sell your twelve sheep and if you kept them safe from wolves and thieves, in five or ten years a herdsman might have five hundred sheep of his own. This would mean that you had a large enough herd to slaughter them as required, to host celebrations, and to use sheep for other things...
There was another proverb about this among kazakhs: "First of all you need health, then a white shawl (a wife) and five sheep." So, one of the honorable trades which could lead to prosperity was to be a herdsman.
Syirshy (a person who grazes cows)
You know from the history Kazakhs had wars over territory led defeated auls to move from one place to another. When people escaped, their cows couldn't keep up with them, and were often left behind, which is why Kazakhs didn't have many cows. For all situations, horses were the animal of choice. Horses were considered to be wings of zhigits; means of transport; served as food and clothes. Thus, from early times Kazakhs preferred horses to other domestic animals. Some wealthy men had over a thousand horses, including herds of race horses. After zhiiki (horses) they preferred camels and sheep. Kazakhs had some other reasons for favoring their four species of domestic animals. The cow became very useful in householding later. Others were convenient during nomadic days. You can judge for yourself how Kazakhs didn't care for cows from the following lines:
"Human being has different time, era,
the pike would reach the pine tree's peak.
the cow would be money
wife would be a judge, houses would be without brace
and judges unknown"...
But this doesn't necessarily mean that they didn't know about cows. Evidently for Kazakhs the cow was very useful. After grazing she would come back home on her own, and she gave much milk that was used to make yogurt, sour cream and other diary products. Also, her meat could be used as food, and fourthly, her skin was very good raw material for making saba (to process kumiss), torsik (a leather bag to transport kumiss) and harnesses. Yet, there was no special person needed to graze a cow.
Then you'd ask us why we use the name syirshi to signify a person who worked with cows. So, we'll try to answer it. In old times Kazakhs had fields of wheat and millet. When people moved to summer pasture, some poor Kazakhs couldn't go with them and had to stay behind. Such a situation is well described in "The Path of Abai." There the author described Darkembai's poor aul. They grew wheat and millet and had cows, but in order to protect crops from the cows, they'd hire a person who would be responsible for grazing them. Later as Kazakhs became a more settled population depending upon the selling of crops to other people, they no longer traveled away from home and did not need to hire a person to tend the cattle. If the cow even tasted the crop once, even iron chains on her feet wouldn't stop her.
Now you know in early times they hired Suirshi to protect their crops. Here a Suirshi wasn't paid twelve sheep; rather he would be paid in grain (perhaps a bucket of wheat and a bucket of millet per month). Later, recognizing that the cow was very useful in householding, people had herds of them, and men began to specialize in grazing them.
Tueshi (camel driver) A camel didn't need special grazing because he was strong and even wolves wouldn't attack them. Various people have witnessed camels killing wolves who attacked them as they kneeled. The camel was considered to be an important means of conveyance in nomadic wandering: they were the ships of the steppe. In ancient times, only wealthy people had camels. For grazing them people were hired who were paid more than a sheep herder. Camel herders though had to be experienced, because the camel required special treatment and this was especially true when it came time to help with camel breeding which was also part of the responsibility of a camel driver at various times during the year.
Zhylkyshy (shepherd of horses)
The shepherd of horses was most respected and highest paid of trades in olden tiroes. Only that zhigit who was strong and cautious and who could endure the cold could be such a shepherd. The horse is a kind of domestic animal who chews a cud (ruminates) day and night. Wolves might follow them; and in stormy weather they are difficult to keep track of. Besides, because of intertribal feuds it was very dangerous to be with the horses during a raid. Zhylkyshy had to be broad chested and strong with legs like a male camel in order to endure such hardships. Accordingly, employers paid them highly, and unlike sheep herders, they would have many clothes: strips of cloth worn instead of stockings and shoes made of long hair from the underside of the neck and on the legs above the knees of a camel. They wore a sensen ishik (warm fur coat made of wolf's skin), winter boots worn with felt stockings, and a winter cap. Employers provided these clothes, and also would provide an extra horse for his family for the winter slaughtering. Shepherds might occasionally return home to change clothes.
In those times Kazakh lands were rich in woods and lakes and the woods were full of different dangerous animals, so shepherds would worry that those beasts might attack the horses and not leave them long in his trips home. In appreciating the hard job of the shepards, employers would sometimes give colts to the shepherd's children, which meant that most shepherds had their own horse herds.
Turmanshy (harness maker)
The life of Kazakhs as you have been reading directly depended on horses and cattle, so they needed many things for them. That's why there appeared different types of other trades. One of them was "Turmanshy," a maker of all necessary saddle objects: cruppers, horse-collars, whips, stirrups, stirrup straps, bridles, breastplates, girths, hobbles, etc. A Turmanshy might make things with his own raw materials, or sometimes his customers brought their own materials to him. For example, hunters might bring him a wild goat's skin or skin from some other beast to make horse-related objects. Wealthy people might order an entire set of items for a cow or for a horse, those who couldn't afford all of them would order them separately. Sometimes there would be trades involving animal skins, wool, sheep or goats, Chinese or ceylon teas, cloth, or crops for the saddle objects.
Turmanshy, goldsmiths, and shoemakers were very important trades which were necessary for Kazakhs in their life. People would always prize skilled turmanshy and would show with pride the things they had made to other people. A turmanshy was busy all the day, but he usually had enough food and clothes; and more importantly, he earned great respect. Nowadays you can hardly find turmanshy: we believe it is necessary to restore this trade.
Uishi (house builder)
You know the main living accommodation of Kazakhs in early times were yurts, and the master who made the frame of it was uishi. The uishi had a steady place of residence, and he had the necessary sharp tools for his trade. Usually a uishi was a skilled craftsman with many standing orders from families in his aul. People ordered different sized yurts: yurts made of four, six, and sometimes twelve sections of grating. Sometimes orders took years to complete. In order to fill an order, the Uishi would go to the woods to look for a special tree, choosing especially straight willows. After bringing them home, he would select and straighten the crooked ones, then he would peal and dry them. After that he would measure each uik (sticks of the yurt), because every uik must match. It took a long time to construct a yurt frame and the task and required great craftsmanship and an accurate calculation. The uishi wouldn't start constructing a new yurt until he had finished the previous one. Yet, the uishi would always keep his eyes open for trees he could use later for the next project. There was a proverb about that: "Uishi would walk among the woods in the same fashion that a critic would walk among countries." As his job was very difficult, people paid him correspondingly. For example, for constructing simple yurt with four sections of grating, he got a cow with a calf, a horse with a foal, or ten sheep. For the 12 section yurt with a wooden circle forming the smoke opening (lifted up by a camel), he might receive a flock of kysyrak (young mares just released into the herd and not yet having foaled), because for constructing that yurt he would spend at least two years. Frames of the yurt were never sold in retail. You know when kazakhs married their children would be provided with their own structure, so the uishi would be commissioned to construct one for them.
Tiginshi (a seamstress)
There were many women who were clever with their needles. In most cases they would make a dowry and sew beautiful dresses; short fur coats from fox's and wolf's skins; a white cap; old fashioned headdressed for a bride; and embroidered sleeveless coats. Those who ordered to sew the dowrys were very rich, since seamstresses would ask for high payment. When a bride would show her finery to her neighbors, they would immediately recognize who had made it. A seamstress didn't always tell at once about the payment for her job, she'd say in an eloquent tone: "If myrza (lord) gives a camel we won't say it is little." Highly skilled seamstresses had special sewing machines, laces, tapes, braids, and golden and silver threads for making ornaments and design. A seamstress not only sold clothes, but cut-outs or samples sewed from pieces of leather and covered with lamb skin fur coats which were admired by everyone and were durable.
It was still probably difficult to find needlewomen who would sew embroided takiya (headdress of a girl). Very skilled seamstresses would prepare such takiyas only to the spoiled daughter of a rich man as a gift and for that she would be presented expensive presents or something she wanted to take from the wealthy person's house. So needlewomen were generally prosperous themselves. Sometimes people from a neighboring aul would especially invite her to their place to sew in their house. For that they 'd provide transportation and returning from their houses a good seamstress would be back with heavy bags- Often this trade was handed down from mother to daughter or daughters-in-laws.
Kazakhs in their nomadic life used many tools "made of iron. Especially they used: armour, a shield, a sword, helmets, iron hobbles, tellers, pocket knives stirrup straps pointed small knives, ladles, tweezers, anvils, sabers, scoops, hearths for fireplaces, pincers scythes, sickles, iron spades, screwdrivers, long pincers, pokers, strainers, hoops, bits for bridles, tridents for chipping, vials, hoes and etc. These things were all made by blacksmiths. All things which he made were useful for fixing food for riding horses and in fighting with enemies. So, the profession of a blacksmith was also respectful and necessary and by selling his goods a blacksmith supported and fed his family. The blacksmith wouldn't sell his goods very expensively; he would take account of the financial position of a person in setting a price which was typical for Kazakhs.
Sayatshy (hunter of birds)
Sayatshy was a person who during the first snowfall would go hunting with his hunting dog and eagle. But this undertaking slightly differed. For example, wealthy men went hunting for pleasure to cheer themselves up; some men might go hunting with their youngest wives for months at a time. They'd catch an animal on their fast horses along with their hunting dogs and bird. They didn't usually sell their kills.
Kazakhs highly appreciated the eagle among all birds. An eagle laid only two eggs a year and their nest was on the high rocks, trees, and cliffs, so they were hard to obtain. Accordingly, they were careful to train their eaglets. Kazakh people especially liked mountain eagles because they were far- sightened and vigilant. They were called "mountain beauties." Eagles were used to hunt rabbits, jackals, foxes, and badgers. "Sayatshi" sometimes went with his hunting birds: falcons, gyrfalcons, kestrels, scavenger-hawks, kites and hawks. A sayatshy hunted and sold animal skins, and he used different methods of hunting.
1. Kakpan kuru - Setting a trap Traps were of various kinds: small, large and toothed. Little traps were set for hunting foxes, jackals, and marmots. Big and toothed traps were set for hunting bears, wolves, martens and wild sows.
2. Burkitshi - Hunting with an eagle A hunter always hunted with his tamed eagle.
3. U salu - Poisoning Hunters would put poison near dead cattle, thus killing any beast which would eat the cattle. Hunters sometimes bought the poison; sometimes they made it. On the Kazakh steppe there was a poisonous grass which people would gather in summer and store it in closed kazan till fall, because at this time it became efficacious. It was very dangerous, so they'd bind a rope to the handle of the kazan and from far away they'd turn it over. After some time passed, they'd scrape formed poison from the kazan and put it in a special dish then they'd spread it on a dead animal to poison the wolves. Sometimes people would lubricate their stirrup with that poison in order revenge the enemy. In some cases they used lead and a conitine (poisonous alkaloid) for poisoning.
4. Tuzak salu (to set snares). Hunters would catch birds, especially quail and pheasant with horsehair snares.
5. Or kazu (undermining a wolf hole). Hunters usually dug a wolf hole at the end of fall when it became colder and the wolves were very hungry and wanted to enter the barns without any fear. To catch such wolves a deep hole would be dug far from winter quarters and be slightly covered. After this a kid would be used to bait the hole at night. Hungry wolves would hear the reedy kid's voice from long distances and would hurry to their prey, not noticing the hole. A herdsman would know if the wolf had fallen in when the kid ceased making noises. If the kid continued to utter any sounds it meant that the wolf hadn't yet come. Because the wolf is a very perceptive beast, he would often be able to smell the iron cartridge of a gun from very far away and not be fooled.
6. Aran (a contrivance of pointed stakes, usually made from reeds) was one of the ancient methods of hunting. For this the hunters would make narrow snares between hills and set prickly sticks around it. Then they'd chase animals into the stakes, killing them.
7. Another way of hunting in winter-time was cutting off the top of a reed and leaving soyau (small wooden stick for sewing felts together) in the top. Usually rabbits fell into this hunter's trap. There was a proverb about this case "Honor kills the zhigit, the reed kills the rabbit".
Zerqer (a goldsmith)
Ancient Kazakhs decorated many objects. One person involved in many designs was a goldsmith. He made many things, like earrings, rings, different pins, decorated sholp'ji (hairpins), bracelets, and necklaces from gold, silver and other different precious metals. After having received his saddle from turmanshy a man might bring it to the goldsmith. He in his turn might decorate it with gold, silver and other different precious metals. After his work the saddle looked very beautiful. The goldsmith could do miraculous things with a bone.
Wealthy people would pay him a camel with her kid if a goldsmith was commissioned to decorate a bed made of bone. This involved very fine work, especially covering the bed with gold or silver. I remember a goldsmith was our neighbor. His name was Kudayigen. In his workshop you could see over two hundred precision tools and instruments. One of them was a scale for measuring gold, but there were many other different scales and I don't remember their names. I do remember him making one thing. It was made of iron and was for decorating a saddle. The goldsmith banged on it for about an hour then it became thin like a blade. After that he took smooth yellow thing, its thickness like a paper, and covered the iron with that thing. Then he hit it with a wooden hammer very carefully, transforming the iron saddle decoration into a golden appearance. "This is how I work with gold, said the goldsmith. At that time we didn't know the yellow thing was the gold, and we admired it.
Melting the gold and making it as thin as a paper was very simple and easy for Kudeken. Usually goldsmiths have different kinds of molds for making things. Various objects connected with decoration and design required patience from the goldsmith, and he is the creator of fantastic things* Thus, the trade of a goldsmith remains highly respected, for they decorated almost everything, even cradles, saddles, kitchen utilities etc. Nowadays it is difficult to find highly skilled goldsmiths, so it is important to have and train them.
Saudager (a merchant)
You could rarely meet merchants among Kazakhs, because most things were exchanged rather than sold. But sometimes there were people who would buy clothes, tea, sugar and cloth in the city and would sell them in auls at the expensive prices. They would bring their goods in saddle bags with two compartments. Usually they'd ride to auls in summer pastures and to mountainous areas where people couldn't afford going all the way to the cities for purchases. And besides, they couldn't easily sell their cattle there. Yet, a merchant might have a market awaiting upon his arrival, and he would exchange goods for cattle for which he obtained a high profit upon his return.
On the way to the aul a would-be merchant might take extra goods to sell beyond what his own family required. Chinese people said "(even) little trade is good trade," so by this trade the Kazakh man could provide extras for his family. Later a person who managed this trade opened his own shop in cities and might obtain goods from different countries, like silk from China, rugs from Persia, or various dishes from Russia. First of all they sold those goods in the town, but if there was little demand there, they sold them in far remote areas at high prices.
Nevertheless, trading was not a well developed occupation among the Kazakhs; even now they are not very experienced in this area. They learned the selling cloth, ready made clothes, food, and other consumer goods from Russians, Tatars, Uzbeks, Uigurs and others.
Moldalyk kuru (mullah)
In ancient times the most well spread profession was that of the mullah. Human beings were born and died usually without medical care, so each aul had their own mullah. He would do different kind of jobs like memorial services and circumcisions, At wedding ceremonies he would bless the young couple and read from the Kuran in the honor of deceased. And people paid him according to his job. For example, for doing memorial service he would get a cow or a horse from wealthy families, while poorer ones might provide a goat or a sheep; reading from the Kuran might earn him cattle. If he made an amulet for a sick child, he would be given a sheep. During the Oraza ait, people gave him wheat or a millet. He would also get something for visiting a sick person. These were his main jobs; sometimes he "cured" sick people mostly by feeling the pulse. He had a special religious book called "Araantezek." By reading this book he would cure a sick person and while doing that nobody was allowed to enter the yurt; the treatment was in private. He would also give names to recently born babies. In brief, a mullah was a important and profitable trade in ancient Kazakh auls.
People who had healing properties were thought to be able to cure a sick person. Some of them were bone-setters who were very popular in Kazakh auls. The main method of curing involved different kinds of herbs. According to a person's disease, different herbal potions were concocted. Each "doctor" cured what disease he could treat. If one doctor confessed to not knowing a treatment for a particular ailment, another might be called to deal with that. Kazakhs said "Healing is a hereditary ability." As you know, during Soviet times healers were persecuted, but now their practices are allowed. Healers were respected among kazakhs in old times; they were often sent for by kos at (two horses harnessed abreast), A cured patient would give a good present so this trade was very rare, but valued.
Baksylyk was inherited to Kazakhs from shamanism. Males who practiced this art were called sorcerers, females were quackers, They wore torn clothes and carried dombras and hats with owl feathers. You could recognize them at once. In most cases it was difficult to find them at home, because they walked among auls to treat sick persons. There was a proverb: "Do not consider a sorcerer a husband, nor a male bull a cattle." The meaning being that neither was likely to be ever found at home! Kazakh people trusted sorcerers and believed a good sorcerer would cure a sick person. Sorcerers had their own way of treating people and a sick person would call him when he had awful pains. On the other hand they were thought to have specific peculiarities. For example, if they licked a heated iron, their tongue wouldn't burn or if one climbed a thin stick on the shanyrak of a yurt it wouldn't break. It seems unbelievable, but people swore such things were true.
We were also witnesses to such scenes. What we find interesting was that sorcerers or quackers had no special education: it appears as one of the many mysteries in mankind. Some who had such unusual abilities were considered to be enigmatic or menacing. And you couldn't find sorcerers in every clan; they were very few. Nowadays you can meet sorcerers who are a bit different. In earlier times they treated people by making noise and calling spirits. Now they tell fortunes by cards, read the tea-leaves, and making wild guesses.
In early times there were not many dishes made of iron, copper or other metals, most of them were made of wood or leather. Household necessities were the reasons of having a new trade, that of carpenter. Carpenters made from wood following dishes and tubs ladles for kumiss, large and small wooden house objects like bowls or cups, basins mortars, pestles, balance shafts , closets, trunks, cradles, tripods for a boiler, scoops. Poplars, junipers, oaks, elms, and pine trees served as a raw material for making the above-mentioned things. So carpenters preferred living in the woods, and built log houses for themselves, since it was difficult to transport lumber out onto the steppe. Every tree required special treatment so they wouldn't crack and all branches had to be removed. Then they had to be dried in the shade. So, lumber used for making dishes would be cut several years before and placed in a dry place. All the wooden kazakh dishes, especially the basin for kumiss and bala sheiek (small bucket) for pouring shubat (like kumiss self control, not noticing how you agreed to his price.
Money involved in a transaction would be transferred in a location distant from the original setting, and the two sides (buyer and seller) would both present a sirinke or reward. Here it is appropriate to remember about the Kazakh proverb: "Trade occurs while you are stroking your beard." Brokerage is a very profitable trade, if you were good you could gain much profit. It is especially necessary trade nowadays in a market economy, but remember - a successful broker must also be an orator and also vivacious.
Dyirmenshi (a miller)
In old times Kazakhs used only mortars to grind crops; later they used hand mills. There were two kinds of mills: a hand mill and a water mill. From flour they baked bread, ring-shaped rolls, and a thin flat cake (shelpek). The millers usually lived near rivers and received peoples' orders to grind grain. For that they got prescribed payment; sometimes they exchanged things. Flour from these mills were very good and the dough rose quickly. People were thrifty at that time. We think rural places need nowadays mills and millers.
Among Kazakhs there were people who lived without doing hard work. Such men might have about twenty sheep, two or three cows and four or five horses, and they likely had a small plot of land. They wouldn't have too many domestic animals and they didn't have to cut the grass since his cattle became fat providing this service. But instead of breeding their cattle, they just fattened them, exchanging cattle two for one with neighbors. Sometimes he earned meat by slaughtering a neighbor's horse. In Kazakh tradition, when you asked someone to slaughter any cattle you should give the slaughterer a bucket of meat.
OK, now he has two horses exchanged for one. One horse he would fatten and sell to buy food and clothes for family members. He would feed and fatten his horse, when it is fat enough somebody would ask him to exchange. Especially wealthy people would give him two cows and horse in order to get his fat horse. So Zhatyp Isher would feed and fatten one cow and sell it to buy necessary things and people asked him to slaughter the cattle. Zhatyp Isher's wife might be very good at housekeeping. You might see all diary products on her table and she could manage to look after the cattle during his husbands absence. In sumrnei Zhatyp Isher would walk among wealthy people, drinking kumiss, an: eating meat. The head of clans or elder people would always take him to eat meat from winter slaughtering. They were glad to b with a skilled slaughterer, so every host was glad to meet him. II proves once more that Kazakhs are very generous and were hospitabit to any guest. Elder people were also glad to have him with then If they didn't take him with them, they'd gossip. So there was a proverb: "A mountain eagle shares his food, but an owl would hide the food under his back". Zhatyp Isher, as we mentioned above didn't have many cattle, but he'd wear good clothes and ride a goci In brief, in olden times Kazakhs respected manual labor an craftsmanship. Ancient trades of Kazakhs are a priceless heritage.