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~ Abai Kunanbaev ~


Word Forty

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How, this is what I would like to ask I you, honored men.
How come that we speak no ill of the dead but find no worthy people among the living?
Why do old folks live in peace with the young but constantly quarrel among themselves, even though their contemporaries grow fewer with every passing day?
No sooner does someone happens to leave for foreign parts than everybody starts loving him like a brother. But when he comes back, we compel him to flee from us. Why?
Why is it that seeing some good man from another tribe, people will put themselves out on his behalf and praise his qualities, while among their own kin they will not notice those who surpass the stranger in wisdom and nobility?
When in an alien land, we praise our aul to the skies; on our return, we have nothing but praise for the foreign village. How come?
Why do parents show tender care and kindness to their children so long as they are small, but are cold toward them when they grow up?
Why is it so hard to bring our relatives together on a joyous or sad occasion, yet they will turn up in a body at the first whiff of thievery or brigandage?
Why are your kinsfolk vexed if your horse comes first in the race?
In the old days people would remember someone who had helped them along the road, be it only once, and recall him with gratitude till the end of their days. But nowadays people soon forget about good deeds. Why is that?
Why is it that a bey's son, on growing impoverished, is not ashamed of stealing, but considers it a disgrace to serve another bey?
Why is it that two good men in the same family are unable to get on with each other, while two rascals always make friends?
Why does someone you consider your friend, to whom you have given a good steed, turn away from you as soon as he gets a foal from your enemy?
Why does someone not value a friend with whom he lives in harmony, but is ready to lay down his life for an enemy who has just once rendered him a service?
Why do many of us not wish our friends well, and should one of two friends has a run of good luck, they become bitter enemies?
Why do people seek a person to give them advice, and shun the counsels of those who know them well?
Why do some guests behave as if they had brought all their herds with them, but when they are your hosts, pretend that their herds have all been driven far away?
People yearn for peace and tranquility, but should peace come to stay, they grow weary of it. Why on earth?
Why is our people ruled by smart alecs, and why are they poor as a rule?
Why is it that junior wives get shrewish? Why are scoundrels bold? Why are some of the poor so conceited?
Why do people who show restraint and live in peace pass for weaklings, while those who are depraved, boastful and trouble-makers are considered bold and daring?
Why will the Kazakhs not hearken to righteous words and find no time for that, but are ready to listen to all kinds of gossip, dirt and slander and won't go away until they hear it out to the end, even if all of their affairs go to pot?

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