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Shbak's famous cows

             The only condition required to make Shbak speak out and display his prolific imagination is simple: not to laugh or smile while he is telling one of his strange stories. These stories, which Shbak took for his past deeds and glorious fulfillment, are never been allowed to be targets of jerk intentions.

             One day, I had the opportunity to attend one of Shbak's valuable meetings. It was a very quiet summer afternoon. We were gathered on the top of a sand dune from which we could have a bird's eye view of the large landscape; the palm trees of which seemed spread out in that vast twisted valley. The landscape looked like a green carpet in the heart of desert encircled by yellow golden sand and red stained mountains.

             Everyone in our group was expressing his impressions, his feelings in the most beautiful poetic style his memory could have stored from the very far long past school years. At a pretty distance from us a drove of cows passed by. Under the rays of the sun-set, the troop, in its movement appeared like a huge river of milted gold coming from heavens. Shbak noticed that we all appreciated them very much. He got a little bored of our praises and he began to speak. He said,

I see that you are attracted by those cows which aren't really so attractive. As you know all, I used to be a farmer and everybody admired my products. These cows, my dears, are so meager and gaunt according to farming labels. Nevertheless, I don't blame you. You don't have enough experience in the field of farming as I do. You know -just ten years ago, I had three good cows. I mean real ones, fat, strong, and beautifully brown and white. Each one of them used to give more than a hundred litters of milk per-day. All villagers wondered how a single cow could provide such a large quantity of milk. They eagerly wanted to know what kind of food they ate, and what kind of straw they made for bed! Hey all tried to unveil the secret but in vane. I never told anyone. You are the first to know the secret after all those long years.

             As usual, in yoga-like gestures Shbak took his pipe out of his Jellaba head-dress and began to prepare for smoking. Meanwhile, we were all trying to find a logical way to explain Shbak's strange riddle. Around a large tea-pot, we made many assumptions as our inexperienced minds could make. Everyone, in his bewilderment, tried to taste the reality of Shbak's story in his cold glass of tea. After a long endeavour, everyone surrendered asking Shbak with thirsty looks to give us the solution of this enigma. As usual, Shbak never sold his material cheap. He looked up at the horizon far away in the web of time and place beyond the green landscape that began to yawn and said,

Don't bother, my boys, the secret is really simple. Now it is completely true that you can't do without us, old people. Our experience is the torch that guides you in the dark. Listen now as you can't see how a single cow could give a hundred litters of milk every day. Ah, Alas! I used to give the three cows only mineral water. Yeah, pure mineral water. My cows used to drink "sidi Ali", "Sidi Harazem" and “Vichy” every morning before breakfast!!

             We would almost laugh if we didn't realize that, for sure, our laughter would upset our dear Shbak and made him furiously angry. So everybody swallowed his laughter with a sip of his sour cold tea.

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