Gobi Desert, Mongolia
The baby camel’s heartbreaking cry carried for miles on the desert wind. Botok the white Bactrian camel had been rejected by his mother, who ignored the calf every time he came near her. Now Botok was starved for milk and attention. The concerned owners, a family of nomadic herders, were worried the calf would die. The family sent their two sons, Dude and Ugna, across the desert on other camels to ask for the help of a violinist. They hoped an age-old music ritual would reunite the mother and baby camel.
SWEET SOUNDS As the musician played his morin khuur (MOO-rin HOOR), or horse-head fiddle, another person sang and stroked the mother camel’s wool. Amazingly, the mother camel nuzzled Botok and allowed him to nurse. Her eyes filled with tears. The baby was saved! It seems that the ritual worked, and the camels were a family once again.
Text by Kristin Baird Rattini
Photograph by Bahadir Yeniceri, Dreamstime
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