THE "TWO POPLARS" WELL


   I'm going with Uncle Kuly to the sands of the Kara Kum desert. Uncle is a shepherd.
   Once the shepherds would go off with their flocks for long months at a time, but now they're able to travel in cars and work in two-week shifts. Uncle Kuly is getting ready to start the next shift. We have a long way to travel, and have to reach a well called "Two Poplars". All the wells in the desert have names, just like people. There are two poplars growing beside this well, and since they're the only two in the desert, all the shepherds know them. Grandfather Chary-aga is waiting for us at the shepherds' camp. All his life he has wandered over these sands with his flocks. Early in the spring he leaves for the "Two Poplars" and he doesn't return again until late winter. And in Turkmenia the
winter is short.
   The old wise dog Akbai and Bayir the camel are waiting for us too. They're all old: Chary-aga, Akbai and Bayir.