Good evening, my dear English learners! Today we are reading an Uzbek folktale:
Zumrad and Qimmat
Once upon a time there was a little house beside a river. There lived an old man, his daughter Zumrad, a stepmother and her pampered daughter Qimmat. The stepmother didn’t like Zumrad. She beat her, forced her to work hard from morning to evening every day. Zumrad was a very beautiful, kind and clever girl. Qimmat was a very lazy and arrogant girl at home. Zumrad woke up early and went to get water, on the way tulips bowed and greeted her every morning. When she sat on the grass, birds sang for her. But those flowers didn’t like Qimmat, because she always trampled them. These all would always irritate the step-mother. One day she badmouthed about Zumrad to the old man:
“Your daughter is very lazy and rude. Tell her to leave or I will not live with you.”
The old man didn’t know what to do. Then the step-mother said:
“Go and lead astray her. I cannot live with her.”
The old man left home with Zumrad and went to the wood. They walked around the wood for a long time and at last reached a place with thick shadow. Then he went to make firewood. Zumrad stayed alone. At that moment a strong wind began to blow. He bound the axe to the tree and shook it. It made a sound of cutting a tree. Zumrad waited for her father for a long time, it got dark, but he didn’t come. When she was wandering along the wood, she found the axe. She cried:
“Father, where are you?”
But she couldn’t find him. She walked long and at last she saw a little house and went up to it. She looked through the window and saw an old woman sitting. She became happy and entered the house. The old woman also got happy when she saw that beautiful girl. She asked Zumrad why she was crying. Zumrad told her all that she had experienced. The old woman said after listening to her story:
“Don’t be sad, I will help you.”
“Oh, thank you, you are so kind.”
The old woman gave her a picture book and a doll and cuddled her. They began to live together. Zumrad woke up early and helped her with the housework. One day the old woman was going to prepare a dish for her, and asked her to bring some firewood from the attic. Zumrad went up to the attic. The roof was so high that she could see everything. She looked around and suddenly saw her home. She cried because she missed her home. The old woman saw her crying and asked the reason. Zumrad said:
“I saw my home, I miss my father.”
The old woman calmed her down and they had dinner together. The next morning she said:
“Zumrad, my daughter, pack up your things.”
Zumrad did what she told. Then the old woman said:
“Now go up to the attic. There are two boxes: one is red, and another is white. Go and take the red one.”
After saying that, she went to the wood and brought two horses with a cart. They placed Zumrad’s things on the cart, and the old woman said:
“Open the box after you get to your house.”
They said googbye to each other. Soon Zumrad got to her house and saw her father sitting at the door. She greeted him. The old man became very happy and hugged her.
“Forgive me, my daughter,” said he.
Everybody heard about Zumrad’s coming and neighbours gathered. When Zumrad opened the box, all of them were surprised: the box was full of precious things. The step-mother was envious. She ordered to the old man to lead astray her daughter too. He agreed and went to the wood with her. He led astray her as he had done with Zumrad. It got dark and Qimmat also found the axe bound to the tree. She was frightened when she saw owls. She ran away from the wood and found the old woman’s house. She went in, and told her the story. The old woman said:
“Don’t be sad, I will help you, my daughter.”
But Qimmat couldn’t find sweet words to reply back, because her mother hadn’t taught her. The old woman didn’t cuddle her and didn’t give her anything. Qimmat never worked at home, she always sat and ate. One day the old woman came back from the wood and said:
“Will you bring some firewood from the attic?”
“Why should I bring the firewood, go and bring it yourself.”
The old woman became very upset, but she managed to persuade herself. And when Qimmat went up, she saw her home. She began to cry. The old woman asked the reason. She replied:
“I miss my home. I’ll leave.”
Then the old woman said:
“Very good, then bring the white box from the attic.”
Qimmat brought the box down. Then the old woman gave her a key and said:
“Don’t open the box until you get your home.”
She even didn’t give her a cart. Qimmat lifted the box and left.
Their dog was the first to hear her coming. It went up to the stepmother and barked. But she didn’t want to hear. Then the dog said:
“Qimmat is coming with a white box full of snakes.”
She became angry and beat the dog with a stick and broke its leg.
“My clever daughter will only bring precious things.”
She got happy when she saw Qimmat enter the house. The neighbours also gathered. They tried to open the box, but the step-mother and her daughter didn’t let them. They lifted it and entered the room. They locked the door and then opened the box. There were two dragons in it. The step-mother and her daughter couldn’t run away, and cried asking for help. The neighbours broke the door but they didn’t find them.
As for Zumrad and her father, they lived together happily for many years.
Words to learn:
1. Cuddle – if you cuddle someone, you put your arms round them and hold them close to show that you like or love them
2. Go astray – to become lost or go to the wrong place
3. Pamper – to look after someone very well, especially by making the feel comfortable or by giving them nice things.
4. Trample - to put your feet down on someone or something in a heavy way that causes injury or damage