G.Mend-Ooyo
Дэлхий ээж тандаа би хайртай
World Poetry Days in Mongolia
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A FOAL HEADS HOME

A poor orphaned foal trotted dispondently over the hills.  He had been bright and full of energy when his mother was around but, now that she was gone, oh, how he suffered!  In front of him, swallows were diving through the air.  The poor creature had no idea where he was going, led as he was in all directions by mysterious and invisble omens.  Deprived of his mother, the strong sun made him feel weak.  A fine dust built up on his scraggy backbone, flies and midges covered his face and eyes, and suffering piled upon suffering.  Overcome by the dust, he came to where a herd of horses had gathered around a lake of pungent water.  He trotted towards a pale colored horse and, although he was afraid and hung back, the other horse wouldn't let him approach, laying back his ears and balking him.  He was finally encircled and subdued by a rough black stallion.

The horse trotted off all alone.  The poor creature had no idea where he was going, led as he was in all directions by mysterious and invisble omens.  Day and night, he was overwhelmed by dust and drenched by rain, his hooves rubbed against stones, he walked in the dry spring wind, his mane flowing, his delicate legs maturing;  his short body developed and grew bigger and he was aware of nothing but swallows.

The swallows were all around him, twisting front and back, hobbling him.  These airborn beasts never left the poor thing alone, they brushed against his mane, under his belly, flying between his slender legs.  How on earth would he get used to it?  Who could help him, hobbled back and front as he was?

So the poor orphan trotted on.  Worn out, he came near to some horses, but these rough stallions trotted further away, and cruelly shunned him.  In this way, he went looking, all alone, from herd to herd, from encampment to encampment, from hillock to hillock, drawn ever onwards, unaware that he was heading north.
Thus he wandered, through the partched red dust, among elegant and colored flowers, rustling the yellow leaves of autumn, and crunching the thickly packed whiteness of snow.

Far off in the distance, he saw some horses and suddenly whinneyed to them.  And his voice, catching the breeze, rang like a flute and stirred under their tails and they galloped off.  He galloped towards the herd, not knowing why, his tail stirred;  unlike the others before, they did not spurn him.  Although it was winter, he had discovered among them an ancient warmth.

He kicked up the dust, startling the stallions at the edge of the herd which was grazing at large among the hollows of the hills:  they looked upon the small creature with great wonder, as though he had descended from the sky.  This golden stallion's son came from a wise mare who had been sold abroad:  the world confused him, it seemed muddled like a riddle, like criss-crossed threads.
This foal of the mare who had been sold abroad when pregnant did not feel that he had come home.  He thought, rather, that that he had surely reached the end;  he said, "This herd of stallions is either my dream or else the world's dream".  His heart was simply absorbed in contemplating the secrets, these tokens of the world.

Straightaway, the earthbrown colt trotted off with the herd of stallions in the direction of a ger.  Though weak and without wings, his four hooves dropped into a canter and he soared away, a pair of swallows on his withers, messengers of heaven.

Translated by Simon Wickham Smith
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