Peasant Autonomy
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Story 66

Mongolia – 1920


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Zabara Alexander)


If Bair dislikes anyone, then it's that greedy English fur trader. He has just snatched away that splendid beautiful fur from him! He could have had it, if he had only paid a fair price for it. But he had thrown no more than ten silver coins on the counter, not even a quarter of the pelt’s worth. But he had gotten what he deserved.

Bair is a usually calm and pleasant Mongolian, almost thirty years old. He is a nomad, a herdsman, and lives together with his wife, their two sons, and his old father and mother in a big, round tent. But he is also a fur trapper. Recently, he had been able to trap a beautiful silver fox. When the fur trader snatched away his fur, he furiously jumped over the counter to take it back. But the trader didn't let him do that, and it resulted in a fight, in which Bair in the end killed the man.
Someone notified the English garrison, and immediately about twenty horsemen arrived with guns at the fur shop. Luckily, Bair was able to escape through the back door. Jumping from ice floe to ice floe, he managed to reach the other side of the river and disappear into the mountains. There he encountered a group of partisans. They took him to their camp. They tell him that they are on the side of the Soviets, the Reds, and that they would like nothing better than to drive out the English.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Michael Chu)


While Bair is talking with his new comrades, a partisan comes running into the camp. He is out of breath. “The English are ransacking the villages to take livestock away everywhere, as punishment because nobody handed over the murderer of the fur trader.” Everyone takes his gun, and runs to his horse. Someone points Bair toward a horse, and away he goes. Together they will teach the English a lesson.


Storm over Asia (1928) is a great, rich movie from the Russian director Vsevolod Pudovkin.

Go to:
= the next page: The good bandit - Taurus Mountains, Turkey – around 1920, story 67.
= the Table of contents, story 66.