2.The Morin Khuur and Suho's White Horse|
After dinner, I am welcomed with the folk songs and dance- grand and rough in nature, of a people who have lived many years on the wide plain. Their singing voices, accompanied by the morin khuur, resound across the vast plain.
The morin khuur is a two-stringed instrument unique to Mongolia which has a sculpted horse's head at the top of its neck and is tuned to an interval of a fifth.
One day, Suho and the white horse won the town's horse race championship. The king was fascinated with the white horse and took it away by force, but it ran away back to the plains. Pierced with the many arrows of its pursuers, the white horse at last made it back to Suho's side where it drew its last breath.
Suho, overcome with sadness and grief, saw the horse in a dream. The horse told him to take its bones, skin, tendons, hair and tail and make them into a musical instrument.
The result was the morin khuur. Suho played his instrument everywhere and sung in a voice which rang throughout the plain.
Sometime after this, the morin khuur became popular throughout the Mongolian plain. It is said the tail of a horse, run to exhaustion and overcome with fatigue, plays with a delicate and exquisite sound.
Outside, it is so dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face.
Swarms of grasshoppers dance about the stalks of forget-me-nots and shine bewitchingly under the starlight like fireflies.
The sky is filled with stars from the horizon to the heights of the heavens.
The stars' brightness is like shooting arrows. They seem near enough to touch if I just reached out my arms. Their infinite number and huge size- I am overwhelmed by all of them and left speechless.
Taking a deep breath of the air filled with the smell of damp grass, I feel as if I have been given an additional twenty years in my life.
The temperature in the pao drops dramatically at night and despite wearing all the sweaters I have brought with me, I am still cold.
These were presents for me. Flowers and rocks are considered very heartfelt presents here, as they are rare on the plain. I am touched by their kindness.
There are no televisions, radios, clocks, electricity, or phones here. Horses are their form of transportation.
Nonetheless, today's young people dream of a life of houses, televisions, refrigerators, and cars and will probably leave the plain for the cities.
Copyright1998 Setsuko Watanabe