GRANDFATHER TAKES PITY ON ARSLAN


   "Arslan! You fell asleep!" Grandmother said, waking up her grandson. "Get up and take Bubenchik out to the fold, and then climb into bed the way you should."
   Arslan put on his coat and hat and led his pet out to the fold.
   It was rainy and dark outside and a cold wind sent the rain lashing against his face and seeping down beneath his collar. Trembling from cold and fright, Arslan gave the broad iron gates to the fold a shove and shouted to Bubenchik:
   "Go ahead in!"
   Then he ran back inside the house.
   But the fact was, the gates hadn't opened. They had only lurched when Arslan had given them a shove. Bubenchik was left to spend the night outside the fold, and wolves prowled around there at night.
   The next morning Rakhim-aga burst into tears when he saw the terrible thing which had happened: how would he tell his grandson that Bubenchik was no more. And as he was standing there, Arslan came running up to the fold and asked:
   "Grandfather, where's Bubenchik?"
   "Your Bubenchik is far away,  Rakhim-aga answered with a sigh. "Yesterday evening you gave the gates a push; but you didn't open them. Bubenchik spent the night outside the fold. And early this morning a herd of gazelles came in from the steppe. They took a liking to Bubenchik and decided to take him along with them
to the wide open steppe."
   Arslan's eyes widened with horror and disbelief as he listened to his grandfather. Tears began coursing down his cheeks.
   "But when will he be back, Grandfather?"
   "If he's not too upset with you, he'll be back. He'll be back someday," Rakhim-aga lied. Then he went off to light the oven.
   Arsian stood and tooked out at the steppe, hoping to catch a glimpse in the distance of the swift tribe of gazelles and the gray kid amon them.