– And it’s me who is the most useful! – mooed the calf. I feed the humans. Everyone needs my milk!
– No, I am the most useful! – bleated the lamb. – Humans make all their clothes from my wool…
– Well, I am the most clean! And the humans love me for it. – the little goat interrupted. – And they say that goats’ milk is the best medicine!
– You mean the best medicine apart from horses’ milk! – snorted the foal. – How can you forget our fresh saumal and kumys?
– You’re both wrong! The best milk comes from camels. It’s called shubat! – said the little camel.
– We haven’t forgotten you! And you don’t even need any oil, just some food and water! – said Askar, and stroked the little camel’s nose.
And then all the animals began to shout at once:
– I’m the most…
– No, I’m the most…
In 2021 I translated a collection of fairy-tales by the Kazakh writer Bayangali Alimzhanov, about a kind boy called Askar who roams the steppes of Central Asia. The Kind Askar stories can be read in an e-book – here – from Kazakhstan’s national library, or a pdf version of the book can be opened here.
Jonathan Campion is a writer, a translator from Russian and Ukrainian, and a book editor. He has travelled in Eurasia since 2005. Read about his work here, and contact him here.