- "It is hard for one to keep honest and wise in these vicious days; and this is the subject of my words to you. You know, sons, life becomes as difficult as anything totally murky; so I'd like you to read these banal seeming stories with your hearts and not with your eyes because the eyes are doomed to forget quickly."
To begin with, here is an exclusive story that Shbak told and forgot. But the collective memory still preserves it in a safe side; the key of which I keep for my own pleasure! I feel like sharing it with others, so I launch it on the web hoping that you (the reader) can extract its beautiful and mysterious sides as easy as I did. Bonne Appétit !
|THE CRYING DOG|
Around a big fire one winter night, we sat telling stories. The heavy darkness was encircling us as well as fear . The wind was blowing angrily as if protesting and complaining about building a fire within the large quiet dark spot of saint night. On the other side of the river dogs were barking incessantly. They kept on barking until we got frightened for we were only lads. Shbak, an old man wreathed in his heavy red "bernous" far from the lighted circle of fire, began to laugh at us. He felt our fright growing inside us when Jillali, who was telling a fairy tale, stopped at once and went deep inside himself listening to the dogs barking through his fear. He seemed chewing up the sour idea of running away. The wind made our fear grows by bringing the dogs' barking from afar. In that deadly silence and tense atmosphere we could hear Jillali swallowing his fear with difficulty. Meanwhile Shbak stealthily came crawling up to us. He lit his Pipe of "kif" and began to smoke with two deep eyes gazing at the heart of the blazing fire… Then he threw the ashes of the pipe near the fire-place and started hitting the pipe against the back of his big finger-nail. We were all staring at him as if beseeching him to chase fright out of our little hearts that have already been prepared to faint. He seemed to have understood our eyes' message and he began to speak… He said,
He stopped for a moment to see whether his words had lowered our tension or not; and, at the same time to prepare his pipe anew; then he resumed,
* dates = fruit of the palm-trees (very common in N.Africa & the golf)