Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina EPUB & PDF – eBook Details
- Author: Guzel Yakhina
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available For Free Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 1 MB
THE PITIFUL HEN
Zuleikha opens her eyes. It’s as dark as a cellar. Geese sigh sleepily behind a
thin curtain. A month-old foal smacks his lips, searching for his mother’s
udder. A January blizzard moans, muffled, outside the window by the head of
the bed. Thanks to Murtaza, though, no draft comes through the cracks. He
sealed up the windows before the cold weather set in. Murtaza is a good
master of the house. And a good husband. His snoring booms and rumbles in
the men’s quarters. Sleep soundly: the deepest sleep is just before dawn.
It’s time. All-powerful Allah, may what has been envisioned be fulfilled.
May nobody awaken.
Zuleikha noiselessly lowers one bare foot then the other to the floor, leans
against the stove, and stands. The stove went out during the night, its warmth
is gone, and the cold floor burns the soles of her feet. She can’t put on shoes.
She wouldn’t be able to make her way silently in her little felt boots; some
floorboard or other would surely creak. Fine, Zuleikha will manage. Holding
the rough side of the stove with her hand, she feels her way out of the
It’s narrow and cramped in here but she remembers every
corner, every little shelf: for half her life she’s been slipping back and forth
like a pendulum, carrying full, hot bowls from the big kettle to the men’s
quarters, then empty, cold bowls back from the men’s quarters.
How many years has she been married? Fifteen of her thirty? Is that half?
It’s probably even more than that. She’ll have to ask Murtaza when he’s in a
good mood – let him count it.
Don’t stumble on the rug. Don’t hit a bare foot on the trunk with the metal
trim, to the right, by the wall. Step over the squeaky board where the stove
curves. Scurry soundlessly behind the printed cotton curtain separating the
women’s quarters of the log house from the men’s … It’s not far to the door
Murtaza’s snores are closer. Sleep, sleep, for Allah’s sake. A wife
shouldn’t hide anything from her husband, but sometimes she must, there’s
no helping it.
The main thing now is not to wake the animals. They usually sleep in the
winter shed but Murtaza orders the birds and young animals to be brought
inside during cold snaps. The geese aren’t stirring but the foal taps his hoof
and shakes his head; he’s awake, the imp. He’s sharp: he’ll be a good horse.
Zuleikha stretches her hand through the curtain and touches his velvety
muzzle: Calm down, you know me. His nostrils snuffle gratefully into her
palm, recognizing her. Zuleikha wipes her damp fingers on her night-shirt
and lightly pushes the door with her shoulder.
Thick and padded with felt for
the winter, the door gives way heavily, and a frosty, biting cloud flies in
through the crack. She takes a big step over the high threshold so as not to
jinx anything – treading on it now and disturbing the evil spirits would be all
she needs – and then she’s in the entrance hall. She closes the door and leans
her back against it.
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