THE ONE-EYED RAVEN



   Once upon a time there lived a certain cowherd. He had a wife, a mud-hut, and one cow. The cowherd's wife milked the cow, and the cowherd made cheese with the curds and put it on the roof to dry. The cowherd began to notice that some of the cheese was disappearing, and he and his wife decided to set a trap for the thief.
After they had waited a good length of time, they saw a one-eyed raven alight on the roof and begin to peck at the cheese.
   The cowherd caught the raven and was about to wring its neck when the raven pleaded:
   "Don't kill me, and I promise to reward you well. Come tomorrow to my house; ask anyone and they'll show you the way."
   The cowherd and his wife believed the raven's words and let it go..
   The next day the cowherd drove his herd into the village and set off to find the One-Eyed Raven's home.
   He walked along for some time until he came across a flock of grazing sheep.
   "Whose sheep are these?"
   "They belong to the One-Eyed Raven!" the shepherds answered.
   "And where does he live?"
   "Follow this road until you meet up with some herders and they'll direct you further."
  The cowherd followed the road and sure enough, he soon came across a herd of horses. He asked the herders:
   "Whose horses are these?"
   "The One-Eyed Raven's!"
   "And where is his house?"
   "Follow this road until you come to a herd of camels-ask for directions there."
   The cowherd walked on as he had been told and soon saw a herd of camels.
   "Whose camels are these?"
   "The One-Eyed Raven's!" the herders replied.
   "And how can I find his house?"
   The camel-herders gave him directions and the cowherd finally made his way to the One-Eyed Raven's house. The master of all the flocks and herds gave him a hearty welcome, and plied him with delectable dishes of all imaginable kinds. Afterwards they sat and enjoyed a prolonged heart-to-heart conversation.
   In parting, the One-Eyed Raven presented the cowherd with a tablecloth.
   "Just say: 'Unfold, tablecloth, unfold! Be laden with food!' and on the tablecloth will appear anything your heart desires. And when you have eaten your fill, say: 'Fold up, tablecloth, fold up!"'
   Upon returning home, the cowherd said to his wife:
  "Wash your hands and sit down to eat!"
   "And just what are we going to eat? I haven't prepared anything," replied his wife.
   The cowherd washed his hands, sat down on the carpet, and placing the tablecloth down before him said:
   "Unfold, tablecloth, unfold! Be laden with food!"
   The tablecloth unfolded, and lo and behold, upon it was spread every kind of dish imaginable!
   After they had finished eating, the cowherd said:
   "Fold up, tablecloth, fold up!"
   And the tablecloth, folded back up.
   "Tomorrow I think I'll invite the king and all his courtiers to dinner!" the cowherd said.
   "Forget the idea!" pleaded his wife. "They'll take away our miracle."
   "I've made up my mind, and that's that!" the cowherd said obstinately. "Mter all, I'm the one who got the tablecloth."
   And so he invited the king and his nobles to a grand feast. When they had all arrived and taken their seats, the cowherd placed his tablecloth on the carpet and commanded:
   "Unfold, tablecloth, unfold! Be laden with food!"
   In the wink of an eye amazing dishes to suit any palate were spread before the king and his courtiers.
   The guests regaled themselves and took their leave. But when he returned to his palace, the king said to two of his guards:
   "Go and seize the miraculous tablecloth from that wretched cowherd. And if he should try to put up a fight, cut off his head!"
   The guards went to the cowherd's hut and seized the magic tablecloth.
   The cowherd had no choice but to go trudging back to theOne-Eyed Raven. When he reached his house he began to complain:
   "Our king took away your tablecloth."
   And so the raven gave the cowherd a donkey, instructing him:
   "Give the command: 'Gee-haw!' and he'll scatter gold on the ground in place of dung."
   The cowherd mounted the donkey and headed for home, btit the road led past the king's palace.
   "No use inviting trouble!" the cowherd thought to himself, and he prodded the animal with his heels and shouted, "Gee-haw! Gee-haw!" as this was the shout customarily used to goad donkeys.
   In response, the donkey began to scatter gold on the ground. The king happened to witness the miracle and took away from the cowherd this gift of the One-Eyed Raven as well.
   The next day the poor wretch went trudging once more to see the raven, wailing and bemoaning his fate.
   "Who has offended you?" asked the One-Eyed Raven.
   "Our king took away the donkey!"
   The raven frowned, but gave the cowherd a third gift-a painted trunk-and instructed him:
   "All you need to do is say: 'Open up, trunk, open up! Come out, with the mallet, come out!' and a man with a wooden mallet will jump out of the trunk and pound to death anyone who happens to be around. When you decide that you've had enough sport, just say: 'At rest, with the mallet, at rest!' and the man will jump back into the trunk."
   The cowherd headed back home with the trunk under his arm, but he was soon overcome with doubt:
   "How could a man actually fit into such a small trunk, much less one with a wooden mallet?"
   He decided to give it a test.
   He placed the trunk down on a hill, and then hiding himself in a ditch, shouted:
   "Open up, trunk, open up! Come out, with the mallet, come out!"
   Out of the trunk sprang a man with a mallet and, seeing no one around but a cowherd in a ditch, went battering at him.
   "At rest, with the mallet, at rest! Close up, trunk, close up!" cried the cowherd.
   The man with the mallet slipped back into the trunk, and the cowherd grabbed it up and went marching up to the king's courtyard.
After placing the trunk in a conspicuous spot, he hid himself nearby and shouted from his hiding place:
   "Open up, trunk, open up! Come out, with the mallet, come out!"
   The man with the mallet jumped out of the trunk. and set about thwacking the king, the grand vizier, and the courtiers. He got so carried away that when he had finished with them, he smashed the entire palace as well.
 Only then did the cowherd shout to him:
   "At rest, with the mallet, at rest! Close up, trunk, close up!"
   The trunk closed back up. The cowherd found his tablecloth, took his donkey, and when he returned home, held a grand feast to which he invited everyone in the whole land.
   From that day forth he lived happily, and always helped out those in need and fed the hungry.
   And when he passed on he left behind a good name.
   By the third day Dengli was entirely well. But Shyrdak came to see him once more and told him a cheerful story.