EN

"THE SHADOW OF A THIEF" By Movlud Suleymanli (Film-tale)

The Wolf was grey, hill chains too. And one couldn’t tell her from heaven and earth. She was hungry for days, but for some reason something tasted good in her mouth, it became moist. Some touch from somewhere was dropping in her memory. Thus getting into the greyish rocks she was waiting.
It was her food, her share
that the Wolf was expecting. She did sense it by instinct inherited for too many thousands of years… For days she was gazing out on the world with her sharp eyes piercing even a mountain and wondering what food it might be? Where should this game come from, who should it be carried to by?
Evening already fell. The flocks were being driven into the sheep-fold, the shepherd’s dogs` voices full of forbearance offered reassurance, tranquillity to the summer pasture domains.
The thieving people’s greed was awake pulling them different ways… It did move them. In a little while everyone followed his greed. A garden thief started for the garden, a mountain thief[1]– for the mountain… One hand was longer than the other. They were in a hurry to take little from little, much from much before the sun went up. The world’s wealth was being loaded on greed…
Some’s pockets were bulging, some’s wealth was overflowing… Flat cakes were being oiled, caravans were being stopped…

2 The honestly gotten gains were lying through a lie, ill-gotten gains were passing through many hands, far be it from honesty’s eye and far be it from the truth’s trace. Lies had long legs… Anything grabbed was being carried off from the garden. It was natural that the gardener should have been safe… Well, our tale is about the Wolf… Now, what did the Wolf waiting for her food, her share do? What happened next? Nothing happened… Sitting down erect on haunches the Wolf was just waiting in the rocks for her food. Though the Wolf’s instinct was strong enough, she found it difficult to make out this time’s hunt of hers. She did not know where her food would come from. But it was sure to come.
Too much had worn along after midnight fell… As Qorqud Dede[2] put into words, darkness fell, so the Wolf’s fate awoke… A full moon did appear….As if night got embraced by light. The Wolf’s sense of hunger had increased mightily.
To steal sheep a mountain thief got up the summer pasture. Everything around became clear as the moon appeared. So the mountain thief went into the shadow of the mountain to be out of sight. The flock in the sheep-fold outlined against the light was as white as milk. The thief was keeping an eye on things from his angle onward waiting for the dogs to sleep; also, he was planning carefully.

3 Having sensed the thief, the flock gave a little cough. With this the flock was warning the shepherd that a thief would come in. But the shepherd wasn’t a clever, watchful one,so he failed to understand the flock sounding a note of warning, calling for help. Flock’s uttering such a sound - giving a little cough - is called among folk «thief cough».
Well… the shepherd failed to understand the «thief cough» but the Wolf didn’t. The latter was watching the thief from above – from among the mountains. Only now perceived she that her share was to come with the thief. The thief was stealthily approaching the flock… As our story told, having appeared the moon shed its light all over… The moonlight had fallen on the thief running through him and further causing the shadow of the thief to lengthen to reach the Wolf. And leaving the rocks the Wolf hid in the shadow of the thief. She went into the flock together with the shadow of the thief and having caught a fat ram left the sheep-fold right in the shadow of the thief. Also the thief was carrying one sheep on his shoulders… Having tied up the sheep’s legs in the valley the thief went back again to take away another sheep from the sheep-fold…
The Wolf was eating her game in the rocks… A shadow passed over her again, she looked back, it was that same thief. The thief hadn’t had enough by stealing one sheep, he started off again to satisfy his avid eyes…
But for the Wolf it was just sufficient. For a long time she followed the thief with her eyes, the shadow of the thief reached the sheep-fold in advance of him…

4 As the saying goes: «If you are destined to have your share, it will come true even in the shadow of a thief».
1994
Translated from the Azerbaijani by Lala Mirjafarova, Azerbaijan University of Languages, English teacher-translator. Editor: Lala Mirjafarova
Baku, 2004.


[1] here: a cattle thief
[2] an extract from the popular Azerbaijani epic «Kitabi Dede Qorqud» is meant which dates back 1500 years (Tr.note).