At Bashi— the Horse’s Head

One picturesque Kyrgyz story tells of a herder who had sold his cattle in the Andijan region (now in Uzbekistan) and on his return, exhausted, he settled down for the night at a place called Jailoo (“pasture”) and turned his horse free. The horse wandered and fed at a place called Arpa (“barley”). When the man tried to coral the horse the next day it ran away. He chased it and when he caught it he killed it and cooked its meat. He left the head behind and called the place At-Bashi (“Horse’s head”). He ate the meat along his journey and called the place where he had his last meal from the carcass Naryn – which was the name of the dish he had cooked – a sort of soup with finely cut meat. If you find these places on the map you will see that they are quite far apart – the man went a long way to sell his cattle and chased the horse for quite a distance!