Author: Muhtar Gunn
One stormy and rainy night soaked to the skin but happy Kassen's sons came home. Out of bosom one of the sons got a puppy and put it on wolfskin. After that they went to bed.
On the next morning doing a house their mother noticed the sleeping puppy. Making funny noise the puppy was rubbing against the wolfskin and was trying to wake up. She began to grumble at sleeping sons:
- Ooh, sleepyheads! Where did you get such fatty? Look at it, - saying it again and again she gathered wet clothes.
Having hanged the clothes she began talking to her husband that was sitting on trestle-bed:
- Kakeyy, your madcaps brought home a puppy.
- OK. But watch him not to swipe your hens, - said laughing at his joke always serious father.
Thus the puppy was left in a big family.
For several nights Nun-na had been whining, but in the daytime it played with wolfskin. Finally the puppy went outdoors. Everything around was unfamiliar so it began to sniff around. Having gone around the hen-house, it suddenly ran towards the house with his tail drawn in. Nun-na was being chased by big golden-brown cock. It quickly ran into the house, swung around and began to bark at the cock. Having stopped in front of the door the cock shook his head and digged the earth with his claws. Everybody became calm around. That day Nun-na stayed at home licking his wound on the tail that was made by pert cock. Several months have passed. Nun-na grew up and it already has been chasing around the yard, but it couldn't forget about that evil cock and sometimes looked at the poultry yard.
Once in autumn Nun-na went with the elder sons of Kakeyy for hunting. All the day it ran after them and in the evening it was so tired that barely could follow them. After all the two brothers put it on the pommel of the saddle. Near the house they were greeted by their father.
- I suppose you are coming with prey - started father, - and suddenly Nun-na fell down of the horse.
- Pooh! I thought you've hit saiga, - said father waving hand and entered the house.
Thus two years passed, Nun-na grew up and from a little puppy became red-nosed tobet. Now it imposingly walked about the yard. It's huge height and strong stentorian bark made the visitors wait the hosts near the wicket.
- Good dog, - father always slapped it on the withers.
Once the mother began to complain:
- Kakeyy, recently the eggs from the hen-house began to disappear, - Zertay looked distrustfully at Nun-na.
- How can you say this, Zakeyy! Forget about this, it is a purebred dog and it can't steel, - said father and tenderly looked at Nun-na.
- I don't know how purebred it is, but the eggs are disappearing, - kept on muttering Zakeyy.
Feeling that they were talking about it, Nun-na stood up from it's place. Sagging it's back and stretching forward it's strong forepaws, Nun-na stretched itself, yawned with it's mighty and large-toothed jaw, and in thoughtful mood went away.
- Did you see it, Zakeyy? You've hurt it with your distrust, - he quickly stood up and went out of the table.
For several days offended with distrust Nun-na has been lying in ambush and watched the hen-house. One day when everybody went away leaving the house in his charge the next story happened.
Zertay came back home and found out that the dog was nowhere.
- It will get it on the nose, it doesn't guard the house, - was lamenting Zakeyy. Suddenly from the direction of hen-house was heard a sinister growling. When Zakey entered the hen-house she saw the neighbor who was standing in the corner closing the face with hands. There were heavy forepaws of huge dog on her shoulders and it was growling at her every move. Underfoot was lying a punnet with scattered eggs.
- Nun-na! Hey, sweety, come here! Good boy, - ingratiating with dog, Zakey carefully took it at withers and drag it off the neighbor's shoulders.
Unfettered neighbor, fell to her knees and began to wail:
- Forgive me, Zakey, I wanted to take a couple of eggs for pastry, they are so white, and suddenly IT appeared, I was frightened to death and was standing here for about an hour, - choking with tears was crying the neighbor.
- It's allright, take them all and don't cry, and forgive our dog, - restraining herself from laugh she saw her to the wicket.
In the evening when the whole family gathered together, mother told what happened in the afternoon. Everybody laughed and the children were rolling with laughter. So Nun-na gained the confidence and respect of Zakey.
In spring when the cattle was driven on djailau to the mountains, Nun-na skillfully and dexterously urged forward the detached sheep. Amazed with the inborn shepherd's skills of the dog the herders came up to the father many times:
- It is in it's blood, Kakey! Sell us your dog. We'll give you ten or fifteen sheep.
- Even if you give hundred of sheep I won't give it to you - laughed loudly father at confused herders.
Having dismissed the sheep, the herders began to cook the dinner. Suddenly someone shouted:
- Wolf! Wolf! It is running away, - was pointing with finger the young herds boy.
The dogs' barking made the wolf run away. Often looking back at pursuers it quickly crossed the boiling river and kept on running away. The pursuing dogs stopped before the river not daring to cross it and just barking at running away wolf. All of a sudden someone observant from the crowd shout out:
- There! Look! Look! The dog of Kassen-aga crossed the river and overtaking the wolf!
The wolf wasn't very big, it was a wolfling, and it was running towards mountains. When Nun-na caught it up, the wolf turned sharply and bared it's white teeth, but it didn't help him. Not being afraid of the wolf Nun-na knocked it down and deftly intercepted it's throat with mighty jaws. Feeling under itself little trembling body and a wheeze of choking wolf Nun-na suddenly remembered the smell that reminded it it's childhood. The smell of warm wolfskin, that for a long time was it's favorite toy. The forgotten afterglows made Nun-na spare the little wolf and it unclench the jaws. Catching it's breath the wolf looked at giant towering above it as if memorizing it's enemy and redeemer. It slowly scrambled out from under Nun-na. Beaten but alive the wolf with the tail between the legs quickly disappeared in thick bushes of juniper.
The throng that was watching all this wasn't unanimous about Nun-na.
Nun-na crossed back the river, it was walking slowly and it has such a wise look as though it had felt the verge of life and death. The rest of dogs reacted differently to the deed of Nun-na. The bitches wagging tails came up and licked it, male dogs stood aside and looked at him with envy although they approvingly wagged the tails, thus admitting that Nun-na is a leader.
That night a lot of people gathered around bonfire and till morning they have been discussing the strange deed of Nun-na. Only Kassen and his faithful dog were lying near the bonfire and looked in silent at red and yellow tongues of flame that crackling came out from billet.
One day after that the herders began choosing the young unbacked horses. Having lassoed a young stallion they couldn't snaffle it and put on the saddle. The strong stallion didn't allow to approach and even lasso that was tightened around it's neck couldn't pacify it's rebelliousness. Kakey issued an approving call to the dog that kept looking at it's master and impatiently pawed the ground.
The dog that was waiting for a command seized at run the stallion's tail, pulled it strongly several times and pressed it down to the ground. Out of unexpectedness the horse wheezed, moved back and having widely put the trembling hoofs and stood stockstill. The herders quickly snaffled it and put on the saddle. At the command of Kakey Nun-na loosened the tail and ran up to master. This time everyone was delighted by the strength and deftness of the dog. Again they offered Kakey to sell them the dog but Kakey was steadfast. Having arranged his sheep in the herders' flocks Kasen singing songs went down from djailau to auyl.
The guests from city were waiting for him at home. It was an ethnographic expedition. Father despite his gloominess has been conversing with young scientists for several days. He talked about forgotten holidays, interpreted old forgotten words. He also said so many proverbs that they could make the whole book of proverbs. The scientists listened to him with rapture and wrote everything down and made recordings. His knowledge about kazakh dog breed tobet were so deep that even local aksakals were impressed by it. Several days later having gathered all the needed scientific materials the scientists began taking leave:
- Thank you for everything, Kakey, and could you say, if it's not a secret, why your dog has such nickname?
- There is no secret. When it was brought home my youngest son was only two years old. He saw the puppy and uttered: "nun-na, nun-na". After these words we decided to call it "Nun-na" - answered father and looked at reddened kenzhe - youngest son. He stood near his favorite dog and scratched it's ears.
Nun-na has been convoying Kakey at hunting for many years. Legends were composed passed on about Nun-na's brave deeds.
Elder sons of Kakey went to city to study and remained there. The younger sons grew up and helped father. In the evenings Kakey and Zertay sat alone around the table and missing their sons recalled their tricks. One day Zakey said:
- Kakey, our dog doesn't bark and always sleeps. It seems it got old, I think it's time to get another young dog.
- Tait, old woman, and keep a still tongue in your head, - sharply snubbed her always tactful Kakey.
After several days the youngest son who received a call-up paper brought a little puppy. The puppy turned out to be very smart, and it barked at Nun-na that looked at it in astonishment. Nun-na sniffed around the puppy and licking it's face recognized own blood. First days Nun-na kept off the puppy but it always thrust itself upon Nun-na: maybe he was lacking fatherly care. Soon they became friends. If Nun-na stood up playful puppy would snarl and catch it's ankles, Nun-na began to run away from it but little puppy would always follow him, absorbing all it's knowledge and skills.
Once a horse-herd blew round to Kakey. Having finished drinking tea and conversations about the past, old horse-herd noticed the dog that was laying near them.
- See, Kakey, not only us who get older but also our dogs and horses get older, too.
- Only cognac grows stronger after a number of years, kurdas! - gloomed Kakey.
- Only good dogs don't show their death to master, - wiping his clean-shaven head and taking on his white felt cap, the horse-herd said goodbye to hosts and slowly directed his horse to djailau.
Whether the dog understood their conversation, or it was a time for it, but Nun-na stood up and headed towards outskirts of a village. The little puppy as usual ran after Nun-na, but after it's preventive roar, it remained in auyl. Nun-na quickly overtook the horse-herd and followed him. The horse-herd noticed Nun-na only when he stopped to overnight:
- Hey, how did you get here? - amazingly asked the old man. Not paying attention at his words the dog lied down and began to look into the distance, where were the lights of his native auyl.
- Here, take this or you'll die of starvation, - the old man threw a piece of meat. Nun-na didn't even looked at it, put his heavy head on forepaws and only his dim eyes were watering. In the night the horse-herd fell asleep. The moon appeared on the sky. Nun-na heavily stood up and went towards the river. It was calm and it's surface was rippling, as though silver fishes were swimming under the water.
Nun-na entered into water, stood for a while and then went against the stream. Several times it stumbled over stones and fully went under the water, but again summoned it's strength, stood up and kept on going. The riverbanks became steep and shadows began to appear on them. Nun-na raised his head and saw three wolves that watching him. In the moonlight familiar yellow eyes of huge wolf-leader were looking at Nun-na. Nearby wolves stood swallowing saliva, they looked at future prey , but the leader's roar made them stay still.
Nun-na hanged his head and continued his last journey. Having reached sunken riverbank it went out of cold river. Without shaking the water off itself Nun-na turned around, seeing that there were no wolves it slowly went behind the huge stone. Nobody ever has seen it.
…River, rumbling with stones, rushed in it's crease, bearing a new life.
In any case of using information from the website, reference to www.tobet.kz is obligatory
Republic of Kazakhstan,
© 2004 - 11 Tobet.kz