Camel rider

  I am a camel traveler, and it never occurred to me that I would become a wandering camel traveler. At that time, I entered the Western Regions with a caravan going west, and I happened to be 16 years old on the day of departure. If it weren’t for the accidents at home, I would still be living in that earthen house in the country, and I was vigorously waving my hoe to cultivate the land.
  My father is a farmer, and my mother is a servant of a big family. My life was pretty good, at least I didn’t go hungry like other families in the village. Later, banditry started happening in our place, and everyone in the village who could run ran away, and those who couldn’t run away because there was nowhere to go. So when the caravan passed through the village, I joined the team without hesitation.
  We are going to cross the Gobi, cross the Tianshan Mountains, and reach Zhenxi. Although I don’t know where Zhenxi is, the exotic color of the name has always attracted me. Since then, I have regarded Zhenxi as a holy place that I will go to.
  There are more than 200 camels in the caravan. In addition to our five camel customers, there are also the shopkeeper and the accountant. Sometimes, I even doubt whether we can control this huge camel caravan, especially when the wind is strong, the cold wind mixed with small gravel hits the face, which is a kind of sting. I led the camel to resist the invasion of the wind. After being blown down countless times by the wind, I could only hold on to the thick legs of the camel with my hands, silently praying for God’s blessing in my heart, hoping that the wind would stop soon .
  If the wind has brought great difficulties to the caravan, then the snow is even more terrible. No one in the camel team dared to mention the word “snow”, because the most taboo of the old camel riders is nonsense. I have experienced the feeling of the old camel passenger’s thick slap on the face, and I dare not mention snow because I am afraid of snow. In such a winter, snow is a matter of joy and horror for everyone. When the water in the water bag is exhausted, they kneel on the ground and pray for snow; Their terrified eyes are scanning each other, they can’t predict the future, and they don’t want to die on the way. In their home, parents, wives and children are waiting for their safe return and waiting for them to bring back a lot of silver coins.
  The wind passed, and it really snowed. This is the first time I have seen such a big snow, which is very rare in my hometown. The shopkeeper yelled: “Don’t stop, keep going!” Because delaying the trip means being served by the shopkeeper’s whip. When the snow poured into my thick felt boots and melted and froze inside, I even wanted to run away. But I feel that the legs are no longer my own, and I can only take steps mechanically. When the snow fell to the point where they couldn’t see the one-meter distance ahead, the old camel riders dared not lead their camels to continue walking, because once they lost their way, it would be a terrible thing. The old camel riders ran towards me stepping on the thick snow, and motioned for me to let the dozens of camels I led lie down. This is a very difficult thing for me, after all, I am a camel rider It didn’t take long, and I ran in the snow for nearly two hours before all the camels lay down in the snow, and we unloaded all the goods from the camels’ backs. Then, imitating the way of the old camel rider, I pushed aside the snow and swept out a piece of dry land as long as one person. Then I took out the mattress from the luggage bag and spread it on the ground, and sat down next to the camel. At that moment, I felt the threat of death.
  Spirits are indispensable for camel travelers, especially on such a night, a snowy night without alcohol is lonely. The camel guests didn’t need food for drinking. They put the small wine bag in the belly of the camel and began to skillfully roll the Mohe tobacco brought from Zhenxi. The wine was warm within an hour. Rebuild a pile of fire, and slowly taste the bitterness of the spirits entering the intestines. Then he started talking about his mother-in-law, children, and Zhenxi. Because I’m new here, I can only watch the camels at one side, smelling the spicy wine and the dry choking of Mohe smoke from a distance.
  Suddenly, the familiar Qin opera came from the snow, accompanied by the beating rhythm of the jujube clapper. I like Qin Opera. The elders in my family often took me to see operas when I was a child. I am also familiar with some arias. This is the first time I listen to Qin Opera in such an atmosphere. I was a little excited, even thinking of home, and then I joined the singing of the old camel rider. We sang for as long as it snowed that day.
  The snow stopped, and it stopped at the moment when the east was shining brightly. The sun pierced the snow through the gaps in the clouds, making me unable to open my eyes. The old camel passenger came over, handed me a steamed bun, patted my head and said, “Good boy, you are very strong.” When I took the steamed bun, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. I used to think that I could not communicate with these old camel passengers, but I didn’t expect that the Qin opera this night narrowed the distance between us.
  After counting the camels and goods, we put warm Ula grass in our felt boots again, and we set off again. This is the third day I joined the camel team. I turned around and looked at the camel team, feeling like a long snake twisting its body, and I was heading west with the crisp sound of camel bells. The journey was lonely, but We are accompanied by Qin opera.
  I heard from an old camel traveler that the west of town is a very prosperous place, where the commerce is very developed, merchants gather here, and there are many shops on the street. I was eager to get there quickly, for the mystery there could satisfy my curiosity.
  Each camel is covered with hundreds of catties of large and small packages, most of which are baskets made of wicker with big bellies and small mouths. The baskets are rectangular, without edges and corners, and the four sides are round. It is said that after this kind of basket is woven with wicker, kraft paper must be put inside, and it must be soaked in the blood of livestock for a long time before it can be used. I don’t know what’s inside, but I can feel that some are silk cloth, some are flour and salt, some are vases of wine and vinegar, and I can still smell the faint aroma of pepper and tea from the outside of some wicker baskets.
  The camel caravan walked from the oasis to the Gobi, and then from the Gobi to the oasis. Along the way, I saw a lot of camel skeletons, and I know that these wrecks were abandoned by the shopkeeper because the camels encountered wolves, or because the camels were sick. I even thought to myself, if one day I can no longer lead a camel, will I also be abandoned in the Gobi Desert? I dare not think about it anymore, because I feel the pressure of survival and the cruelty of the camel team.
  After several days of marching, everyone is on the verge of exhaustion. The old camel guest said that crossing the Xingxing Gorge means that we are approaching the west of Zhenxi, but at this beautifully named Xingxing Gorge, I once again felt the approach of death. The camel passengers get nervous every time they come here, and so do the camels, trembling all over as they carefully pass through the valley. That night, we were attacked by a pack of wolves, which I couldn’t predict, but it was expected by the old camel travelers. That night we formed a circle and confronted the wolves with sharp knives. If the old camel riders hadn’t reacted quickly, I would have been fed by the wolves. When I woke up from my sleep, the wolves had already dispersed the camel caravan. Fortunately, after the wolves finished eating the camel meat, they just looked at us fiercely with blue wolf eyes. The camel travelers used the oldest fire attack to resist the attack of wolves. In the space of more than ten meters between the wolves and the people, there was a pile of fires lit with red willow roots. Finally, at dawn, the hungry wolves dispersed. The night of near misses made me understand the hardships of being a camel passenger.
  Slowly I saw the city tower in the west of the town, and then I saw many temples, as well as the bustle of people on the streets, and the prosperity of the business, which was a scene of prosperity that I could not see in my hometown. I remember that day, I slept all day in the inn. This was my first camel traveler career, and it was this trip that made me fall in love with Zhenxi.