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Burnaby, Fred / A ride to Khiva: travels and adventures in central Asia

Chapter XXVI,   pp. 198-206

Page 198

The Turkoman on his Donkey.-Jana Darya.-A once Fertile Country. 
-A Barren Waste.-The Grandfather of the Khan.-English Horses 
and Kirghiz Horses.-Russian Cavalry.-A Sea of Molten Gold.-Silver 
Isles.-Kamstakak.-A Fresh-water Pond.-A Return to Vegetation.- 
Soigak.-Pheasants.-The Camel-driver is taken Il1.-The Moullahs.- 
Conjuring the Evil One.-A Dog of an Unbeliever.-The Guide's Fight 
with the Khivan.-A Revolver is sometimes a Peace-maker.-Khivan 
Method of preserving Grass throughout the Winter.-Deep Chasms.- 
Tombs.-The Vision of the Kirghiz.-The Kazan-Tor Mountains.-Au- 
riferous Nature of the Soil. 
IT was a quaint spectacle to watch my little caravan as we 
rode away from our different encampments. First came the 
guide, clad in a long dressing-gown of crimson cloth, which he 
had exchanged for the more homely garment in which he 
commenced the journey. His robe, which was lined with 
sheep-skin, was tightly girt round his loins with a broad blue 
sash; a tall, conical-shaped black hat surmounted his bronzed 
countenance. His sword dangled at his side, and he used the 
weapon sheathed as a whip to urge on his steed, now a little 
done up by this constant marching through the snow. 
Then appeared a still more ludicrous figure-the Turkoman 
camel-driver. He rode a donkey he had purchased just before 
leaving Kasala. The long legs of the rider nearly touched 
the ground, while his figure was wrapped up in a tattered robe 
that looked as if it might have formed part of an old Turkish 
carpet. His head was adorned with a white sheep-skin hat of 
the coal -scuttle pattern. His feet, which had first been care- 
fully wrapped up in many thicknesses of cloth, were inserted in 
a pair of enormous high boots. Around his arm was hitched 
the end of a rope; this was attached to a huge camel, which 
strode behind the donkey. 
On the top of the camel lay my Tartar servant, generally 

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