The Multicolored Lizard

October 30, 2007

This is a children’s book that was left in my flat in Amman when I got there. Two years later I got around to dealing with it.

– Josh


The Multicolored Lizard 1

October 30, 2007


A long time ago, the animals in the forest got together to choose a king to sit on his throne, and rule fairly. After some discussion, they chose the lion and put the crown on his head, and that was because he was brave and strong and pure. But the pig had wanted to be king, and did not agree, so got upset and angry.

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

غابة – Forest

عرش – Throne

عدل – Fair

مشاورة – Discussion

تاج – Crown

صريح – Pure, honest

خنزير – Pig

طمع – To covet, to wish, to desire

ثار – Stir up, excite

Translation Notes

يجلس على عرشها – In this case, since “king” is masculine, the –ha at the end of 3arsh must refer to the animals, since they are not human they take the feminine singular.

The Multicolored Lizard 2

October 30, 2007


The next day the lion was wearing his crown and sitting on his throne, and had appointed the fox as his employee as a gatekeeper, standing in front of the door. The fox was protecting him and serving him. After a little while the pig came and entered the lion’s area without permission. The lion and the fox became furious.


عيّن – To appoint

ثعلب – Fox

حاجب – Gatekeeper, doorman

إذن – Permission

اغتاظ – To become furious

The Multicolored Lizard 3

October 30, 2007


The lion endured the pig until he left his throne-room. He called the fox and said to him, “That conceited pig made me furious, so now I intend to kill him. If he does that again let’s kill him” The fox said “No, make it so he lives submissively and miserably.”


صبر على – To endure, to suffer s.o. or s.t

نادي – Call, bring together

مغرور – Arrogant, conceited

ذليل – Lowly, humble

حقير – Wretched, inferior, contemptible

The Multicolored Lizard 4

October 30, 2007


The lion said “You’re right. A wretched life is worse than death. But how do we humiliate him?” The fox answered, “Order that a running competition be held among the animals. The lion was surprised and said, “But any animal can beat the pig.” The fox smiled and said, “Leave that to me, you’ll see the lizard beat him.”


عقد – To hold, convene

مسابقة – Competition

الجري – Running

تعجّب – To get surprised

ابتسم – To smile

حرباء – Lizard

The Multicolored Lizard 5

October 30, 2007


The lion held a celebration for the competition. The gazelle and the wild donkey competed, and the donkey ran further faster, but the gazelle beat him in speed and agility. All the animals applauded the gazelle, and the wild donkey congratulated the gazelle for his victory over him.


وحشي – Wild, untamed

أقصى – The furthest. As in Masjid al-

خفّة – Agility

صفق – Cheer, applaud

هنّأ – To congratulate


The Multicolored Lizard 6

October 30, 2007


The elephant stood up and strode forward swinging and swaying between the animals and said, “Who will compete with me?” and the rhino said, “Me! I’ll compete with you!” So the rhino and the elephant ran together, and after a lot of toil, the elephant won. The lion presented him with a bundle of sugar cane and congratulated the Rhino.


تهادي – To swing, sway, walk with a swagger

تمايل – To swing, sway, walk with a swagger

وحيد القرن – Rhinoceros, literally “One Horn”

مشقّة – Toil, effort, work

حزمة – Bundle

قصب – Sugar cane, reeds

The Multicolored Lizard 7

October 30, 2007


Then the pig sat down amongst the animals and said with pride, “Woe unto he who races me! You’ll only end up with sweat and fatigue.” All the other animals were afraid of him! Not one of them ran against him in the competition, but they heard a weak voice say, “I will. I’ll race you, you snob.” They looked and found the lizard challenging him!


غرور – Arrogance

الويل ل… – Woe unto…

ربح – To profit from, to end up with

عرق – Sweat

تهيب – To fear, to dread

تحدّ – To challenge

The Multicolored Lizard 8

October 30, 2007


The pig said, surprised, ‘You, lizard?” The lizard replied mockingly, “yes, me.” The pig got wildly excited and he started to run and run, and he didn’t see the lizard next to him, but he didn’t feel him on his back, and he was extremely happy. But, at the very end of the race he saw the lizard in front of him!


سخرية – Mockery, sarcasm

طار – To hasten to, hurry

صواب – get wildly excited

صار – and her sisters)  كان Start to, become  (one of

ظهر – Back

فرح – Joy

The Multicolored Lizard 9

October 30, 2007


The lizard had performed the plan he learned from the fox. The pig didn’t know how he had beaten him. His rage grew and he fell on the ground. The fox ran over to him saying, “don’t be sad big brother! You’re not the first strong one to get beaten by a weak one. Come on, get up and get ready for another race!


نفذ – To perform, carry out

حيلة – Plan, scheme

اشتدّ – Get more intense, increase

أسرع الى – Hurry over to

 هزم – Defeat

انهض – Get up

استعدّ – Prepare, get ready

The Multicolored Lizard 10

October 30, 2007


Then, the tiger and the elephant came up to the lion. The tiger said, “the pig has disgraced animals who eat meat, he needs to be forbidden from eating meat.” The elephant said, “the pig has disgraced animals who eat grass and plants. He needs to be forbidden from eating grass and plants.”


عندئذ – At that time

نمر – Tiger or leopard, depending on context

فضح – To disgrace

لحوم – Meats

منع – Prohibit

عشب – Grass

نبات – Vegetables

The Multicolored Lizard 11

October 30, 2007


The lion knew that all of that completed the fox’s planning, so he thanked him. He looked at the pig and said to him, “this is the punishment for arrogance, pig. You’ve given power to one of the reptiles we pride ourselves on, and you can’t live among us anymore, because you eat the food we eat. Its enough for you to eat garbage and small morsels.”


تمّ – To complete

تدبير – Scheming, planning

عاقبة – Punishment

زواحف – Reptiles

قمامات – Trash, garbage

فضلات – Morsels, small pieces

The Multicolored Lizard 12

October 30, 2007


The pig cried and left the king’s presence. The fox said, “King, sir, the pig won’t forget what the lizard did to him, so how will you protect him from and the pig’s evil and treachery?” The lion said, “the lizard can change his color, with that he can hide himself from the pig.


بكى – To cry

انصرف – To leave

حمي – To protect

شرّ – Evil

غدر – Treachery

تغيّر – To change

اختفى – Hide from, conceal oneself from


There’s No Forcing a Daughter On a Husband She Doesn’t Want
Q: Is it acceptable for the father to force his daughter on a husband she doesn’t like?
A: It’s not for the father, or anyone else, to force his daughter [lit charge] on a husband she doesn’t like. Rather, you need her her permission, as the Messenger (PBUH) said: “Do not marry a young woman without her counsel, and do not marry a virgin without her permission.” They said [the people of Medina] “O Messenger of Allah, how does she give her permission?” and he said “She stays silent.” In another phrasing he said, “Her permission is her silence.” and in a third phrasing: “The virgin gives her consent to her father, and that consent is her silence.” So it is necessary for the father to seek her permission if she has reached nine and above. Similarly, those responsible for finding her a husband can not marry her off without her consent. This is obligatory for everyone. If one marries without consent, the marriage is invalid. This is because the condition of marriage is the pleasure of both bride and groom. So if she married without permission and was coerced under severe threats or by beatings, then the marriage is invalid, except for the father of a girl under nine. If you marry her off and she is younger than nine, there’s no objection to the validity [of the marriage], because the Messenger (PBUH) married Aisha without her permission and she was under nine. We have in a Sahih Hadith, As for when she has reached nine and above, there’s no marrying her except with her permission, and that goes for the father. As for the husband, if he knew she didn’t like him, he needs to not continue with it, even if the father is on his side [lit: tolerant towards him], its necessary to fear God and not pursue the woman who doesn’t like him. If the father claims he wasn’t forcing her, he needs to be wary of what God has forbidden him to do, because the Messenger (PBUH), ordered the seeking of consent and that we recommend the engaged girl to fear God and consent, if the father saw it fit for his daughter to marry, and if the suitor was of good faith and morals. [This is also true] if the person who arranged the marriage was someone other than the father. Marriage is very good and very beneficial, and there’s danger in bachelorhood. For that we recommend generally that young women agree when they are presented with a decent man, and not give excuses of studying or teaching or some such thing.
God is the Arbitrating Authority.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

مولية Protector, charge

نكح – Marry

أيم – Unmarried young woman

بكر – Virgin

لفظ – Phrasing, wording

ولي / أولياء – Relative, friend, legal guardian

قهر – Coerce, force

وعيد – Threats

حرج – Prohibition, confinement, restriction

زعم – To claim

وصّى – To recommend, to entrust

مصلحة / مصالح –Matter, requirement, that which is beneficial

عزوبة – Bachelorhood, single-ness

كفء – Capable, competent, suitable

Translation Notes

فلا يزوّجها إلا بإذنها ولو أبه أبوها – “So don’t marry her off except with her permission, and that goes for the father.” That last clause confused me a bit.

لما في النكاح من الخير…-“Marriage is good…” Also a confusing wording, as literally it reads “Whereas in marriage is from good…”


Q: We have a non-Muslim servant, is it alright to leave her to wash the clothes I pray in, and is it alright to eat what she cooks? And should I denounce her religion and explain to her the futility of it?

A: It’s alright to use unbelieving servants in cooking and cleaning, and similarly to eat what they cook and wear the clothes they sew and wash, if the main part [lit. body] appears to be clean. Her impurity is spiritual, and the Companions used non-Muslim servant women and slaves, and ate what they brought from their native non-believing countries, so as to learn from them, for their bodies seemed to be in good shape [lit pure feeling]. However, there is a Hadith that mentions washing their cooking utensils before cooking with them, if they have been used to drink alcohol or cook non-Halal meat or pork, and washing the clothing which touched their private areas. As for denouncing their religions and showing them the futility of them, that is allowed and desired of those following the current religion [ie Islam], be it heresy like paganism, or the abrogated and updated religions, like Christianity. The shame falls on those abrogated and updated religions [not the servant herself], but you need to invite her to Islam and explain its teachings and merits and what it contains, while showing the differences between it and the other religions.
Sheik Ibn Jabreen.

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes


غسّل To wash

عاب /  يعيب To denounce – from ‘shame’

بطلان – Futility

خاط / يخيط To sew

نجاسة That which impurifies and necessitates wudu’

معنوية Spiritual, based on meaning, rather than substance

طاهر clean, pure

ميتة Non-Halal meat.

عورة – Private area, part of the body not shown in public

منسوخ – Abrogated



How do we deal with a relative who does not pray?
Q: My husband has a brother who doesn’t pray, except very rarely. I live with my husband’s family, and they sit by him, even while the Imam is praying, so what must I do, for I am not among his close relatives, so is there a sin upon me if I can’t correct him?

A: If he doesn’t pray, he needs to be abandoned. Don’t say hello to him, and don’t respond to his greetings, until he repents, because leaving prayer is the greatest blasphemy. Even if he has not denied its obligation, according to the most scholarly opinion, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The difference between us and them is prayer, and whoever leaves it is a disbeliever.” This was taken from Imam Ahmed and the authors of the Sunans, and has a solid chain of transmission. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “[The difference] between men and unbelievers and polytheists is the leaving of prayer.” This was taken from Imam Muslim in his book of Hadiths. And if he renounced the necessity [of prayer], then he is a disbeliever according to the consensus of the learned scholars. It is incumbent upon his family to admonish him and abandon him if he does not return to the fold, [lit repent, do penitence], and it is necessary to bring the issue to a religious authority in order that he may call him to repent. If he does not repent he will be killed, for God Almighty said “If they repent and stand in prayer, and give charity, leave him be.” And the Prophet (PBUH) said “Killing those who pray is forbidden.” So this indicates that if he does not pray, do not leave him be, and there is no prohibition on killing him, if you bring the issue to a religious authority and he still doesn’t repent.
God is the Arbitrating Authority.
Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

إثم- Sin

استحق- Need to, become necessary to

تاب / يتوب- Repent, offer penitence

استتاب- To make one repent

Translation Notes

حتى ولو كان- Even during…This was a very confusing phrase to deal with.

العهد- In this context it means “difference” as opposed to contract, agreement, or era.

إن لم يجحد وجوبها- “If he did not deny its obligation”

إجماع Consensus, one of the four major sources of jurisprudence.

لم يتب- “He did not repent” The verb is hollow, so in the Jussive (majzoom) case, the weak root is dropped.

خلو السبيل- Let him free, leave him be.

My Country

October 28, 2007


This poem was written by the Lebanese poet Elia Abu Maadi in the 1920s. Abu Maadi came to America in 1911 and along with Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, and Mikhail Naimy formed the “al-Mahjar” “The Emigrants” group of Arab-American poets. Translated by Josh Berer.



I was strolling in a beautiful garden,
And I heard the songs of singing birds
I was delighted, yet my heart did not love it
Like the birds of my land, or the flowers of my country

I drank the water of the Nile, the Sheikh of rivers,
It was as though I had tasted the water of the Kouthar,
A river blessed since ancient times,
Sweet, but not like the water of my country.

I drew a picture in my head,
Of beauty, for it is the master of the poet
I went to recite it, but my mind didn’t know how,
Until I saw the women of my country.

-Elia Abu Maadi


شادي Singing

طرب To be delighted

فؤاد Heart

الكوثر The river that runs through Paradise

عذب Sweet, said of non-salty water


انشدTo look for, to recite (poetry)

أعيا To be at a loss, to be weak, to be unable to express

Shams Saghira Intro

October 27, 2007

This story, entitled “Shams Saghira,” “Little Sun” was written by the Syrian author Zakariya Tamir in 1963. It follows the hero, Abu Fahd, as he makes his way home near midnight, slightly tipsy after a few glasses of Arak. He has a surreal encounter with a jinn under a stone bridge, and ultimately meets his downfall while trying to reap the benefits of what the jinn promised him. This story was included in Sabry Hafez and Catherine Cobham’s A Reader of Modern Arabic Short Stories (1988, Saqi), and includes their textual notes at the end. Translated by Josh Berer.

Shams Saghira 1

October 27, 2007


Abu Fahd was returning home, walking in slow, slightly dizzy steps down the narrow, twisting corridors, lit by yellow lamps spaced in wide intervals. He soon got fed up with the all-encompassing silence which engulfed him, so he began to sing in a light, sing-song voice.

“Miskiin, wa haali Adam.”

The night was rapidly approaching its mid-point. Abu Fahd‘s happiness was on the rise, having drunk three glasses of Arak, and the second had sent him into intoxication.

“Miskiin, wa haali Adam.”

He fancied his crude voice filled to the brim with first-rate sweetness, and he said to himself in a loud voice, “I am a singer!” He began…

Vocabulary and Translation Notes



متعرجة Twisting

متناثرة Scattered

مترنما Sing-song, melodious

غبطة Joy, glee, happiness

مفعم Overflowing, filled to the brim

فائقة First-rate, top-quality

مطرب Singer, crooner, performer

Translation Notes

  • المهيمن – Literally “supervising, protecting, the master” One of the 99 names of Allah.
  • – خيل اليه This is Passive Voice in Arabic
  • Many of the adjectives in this paragraph beginning “muta-” are not actually found in Hans Wehr, but have meanings that can be extrapolated by their roots, which are present.
  • مسكين وحالي عدم I chose not to translate the name of the song he sings. If I were to translate it, it would be along the lines of “Poor Thing, Ain’t Got No Love” or something similar.

Shams Saghira 2

October 27, 2007


to imagine people, open-mouthed and and waving their hands,
cheering and applauding him. He laughed a while, then tipped his fez to the rear a bit, and continued happily singing.

“Miskiin, wa haali ‘Adam.”

He was wearing grey trousers, tied around his waist by and old yellow belt. When he arrived under an old stone archwayto the point where the shadow outweighed the light, he was surprised to see a small black sheep, standing close to the wall.

He opened his mouth in surprise, and said to himself, “I’m not drunk. Look well, old boy. What do you see? It’s a sheep! But where’s its owner?”

He looked around but found no one; the alley was completely deserted. He then encircled the sheep and said to himself, “Am I drunk?”

He laughed a faint chuckle and then said, “God is generous! He knew…


Trousers, (both س and ش are possible) – شروال/سروال

Waving their Hands يلوحون بيديهم

To adjust, move back أمال

Stone arch, aqueduct – قنطرة

To cling to – لصق

Deserted مقفرا

Faint, light – خافتة

Surprise –بوغت

Shams Saghira 3

October 27, 2007


Abu and Um Fahd hadn’t eaten meat in a week!”

He approached the sheep and tried to force it to walk by pushing it forward, but it refused to move. So Abu Fahd grabbed it by its two small horns and pulled on them, but the sheep became rigid and clung to the wall. So Abu Fahd looked at it angrily and said, “I’m gonna carry you, and then I’ll get your mother and father, too.”

So Abu Fahd carried the sheep, raising it up and putting it on his back, holding its front hooves in his hands, then he went on his way, and continued singing. However, his happiness and intoxication had been diminished.

After a while he stopped singing, for it seemed the the weight and size of the sheep had increased. He then unexpectedly heard a voice saying, “Let me go!”

He furrowed his brow and said to himself, “Goddamn booze.” After a moment he heard the very same voice again, saying, “Let me go, I’m not a sheep!”

Abu Fahd shivered and pushed back his fear and hung onto the sheep, but stopped walking. The voice said,…

Vocabulary and Translation Notes

إجبار- To force

رمق- To look at

غيظ – Exasperation, ire, rage

قائمتين- (Two) paws, feet of an animal

نشوة- Intoxication

قطب جبينه- To furrow ones brow

ارتعد- Shiver, shudder. From ‘thunder’.

تشبث- To hold on to, cling to

Translation Notes

على حين غرة-unexpectedly, out of nowhere

قائمتيه- The dual-marker nun is dropped because of the addition of a conjoined personal pronoun, making this word an idafa.

لعن الله السكر-Literally “God Curse Drunkenness”, I chose to translate that as “Goddamn Booze.”


Shams Saghira 4

October 27, 2007


“I’m the son of the king of demons. Let me go and I’ll give you whatever you want.”

Abu Fahd didn’t answer, rather he continued walking quickly, and the voice said again, “I will give you seven jugs filled with gold.”

He then imagined he heard the echo of a piece of gold falling to the ground nearby. He set the sheep down, turned around, and was about to shout, “Let me have it!” when he found himself alone in the long, narrow alley. He didn’t find the sheep, and was left talking to himself alone in the alley for a few fearful moments. The he continued hurriedly along home.

When he arrived at his house, he woke his wife, Um Fahd, up from her sleep and told her what had happened. She said, “Go to sleep, you’re drunk.”

“I only drank three cups!”


متعجلة – Rapid, speedy, hurried

رنين- Echo

ارتطم – Bump, crash, collide

افلت – Release, let down, escape

هتف – To shout

عثر على – To find, lit. to stumble upon

هنيهات – Moments

مهرول – Hurriedly

Shams Saghira 5

October 27, 2007


“You get sick after one!”
Abu Fahd felt he had been insulted, so he replied, “I wouldn’t get sick if I drank and entire barrel of Arak.”

Um Fahd didn’t argue, but began to remember stories she had been told as a child about demons and the tricks they play. Abu Fahd got undressed, turned off the light, and sprawled out on the bed next to his wife, and pulled the covers up to his chin.

Suddenly, Um Fahd said, “You shouldn’t have let him go before he gave you the gold, earlier.”

Abu Fahd didn’t answer, so Um Fahd continued enthusiastically, ‘Go back tomorrow. Catch him, but this time don’t let him go.”

Abu Fahd yawned tiredly and sadly, then said wearily, “How will I find him?”

“You’ll definitely find him under the stone arch. Bring him to the house and don’t let him go until after he…

Shams Saghira 6

October 27, 2007


gives us the gold.”
“I won’t find him.”
“Demons live underground during the day. When night falls, they rise to the surface and play tricks till dawn. If they like a particular spot, they’ll continue to return to it. You’ll find the sheep under the stone archway.”

Abu Fahd moved his had to her chest and slipped it between her breasts, and left it there without moving. He said, “We’ll be rich.”
“We’ll buy a house.”
“A house with a garden.”
“We’ll buy a radio.”
“A big radio.”

Shams Saghira 7

October 27, 2007


“And a washing machine.”
“A washing machine.”
“We won’t have to eat cracked wheat.”
“We’ll eat white bread!”
Um Fahd laughed like a little girl while Abu Fahd continued, saying,
“I’ll buy you a red gown.”
Um Fahd whispered in a haughty tone, “Just one gown?”
“I’ll buy you a hundred gowns.”
He was quiet a moment, then asked, “When are you due?”
“Three months.”
“It’ll be a boy.”
“He won’t suffer like us.”
“He won’t go hungry.”
“He’ll wear nice clean clothes.”
“He’ll go to school.”
“The landlord won’t bother him for rent.”
“He’ll be a doctor when he grows up.”
“I’d rather he was a lawyer.”
“We’ll ask him, would you rather be a lawyer or a doctor?”
She clung to him tenderly, and continued, wryly, “You won’t get a second wife?”

He gently nibbled her ear and said, “Why would I get a second wife, you’re the best woman on Earth.”
They stayed silent, their joy overflowing, but then Abu Fahd, after…

Shams Saghira 8

October 27, 2007


a little while got out from under the covers suddenly. Um Fahd asked,

“What’s up?”

“I’m going now.”


“I’m going to bring the sheep back.”

“Wait until tomorrow night, sleep now.”


He hurriedly left the bed, turned on the light hanging from the ceiling and began to get dressed. “I might not find it.”

“You’ll find it.”

As she was helping him tie his yellow belt around his waist, Um Fahd said, “Be careful not to let him go.”

Abu Fahd felt he may be facing a perilous mission, and may need his dagger. His dagger had a curved blade with a dark shine to it.


Shams Saghira 9

October 26, 2007


He left the house, and dashed along quickly until he arrived under the stone archway. He was flooded with feelings of failure, should he not come cross the sheep. The alley was deserted, and the lights of the scattered windows of the houses on either side of him had gone out.

Abu Fahd stopped and waited, back propped against the wall. After a little while he became aware of an approaching noise, and it wasn’t long until a staggering drunk appeared, bumping against the walls of the alley, all the while shouting in a drawn-out voice, “whatchama…Whoshewhatsit….”

Then he got close to Abu Fahd he stopped walking, he opened his eyes and stared at Abu Fahd in surprise and apprehension, then said in a stumbling, joyful voice, “What are you doing here?”

“Piss off.”

The drunk furrowed his brow in thought, then his face glowed with joy and he said,


Shams Saghira 10

October 26, 2007


“Oh man! I love women too! Are you waiting for the
husband to go to sleep so she can open the door for you?”

Abu Fahd started to get annoyed, and felt his annoyance rise inside him as the drunk continued, “Is she hot?”


“The woman you’re waiting for!”

“I’ll be you’re wing-man!”

“Piss off.”

Abu Fahd‘s anger intensified as he feared the sheep wouldn’t appear thanks to the drunk’s presence. He said furiously, “Go on your way, before I break your head.”

The drunk burped, then said in a surprised tone, “What did you say to me? Who the hell are you?”

Shams Saghira 11

October 26, 2007


There was silence a moment, then he added, saying, “C’mon. Break my head. Lets go.”

Abu Fahd replied, “Go on, leave me be, I don’t want to break your head.”

But the drunk said belligerently, “No, no, c’mon and break my head.”

He took a step back a bit, and said in a playful voice, “I’ll turn you into a sieve.”

The drunk took his hand out of his coat pocket and with it a long straight razor blade. Abu Fahd rushed his hand to his belt, unsheathing his dagger while the drunk was quickly and alertly closing in on him.

Abu Fahd raised his dagger high, then swung it down, but the drunk moved to the left in a quick and sudden movement. The dagger missed him and he pushed the razor into the chest of Abu…

Shams Saghira 12

October 26, 2007


Fahd, shouting, “Take that!”

He pulled the razor out of the flesh, twisting it a bit. Abu Fahd clung to the mud wall, and raised his dagger again, but the drunk stabbed him a second time in the chest, then stabbed him a third time in the shoulder, and Abu Fahd‘s arm immediately went limp and hung to the side. His fingers let go of the dagger and it dropped to the ground.

The drunk was shouting and jumping around yelling, “Take that! Take that!”

He stabbed him in the hip and Abu Fahd moaned, he felt weak suddenly in his knees, and he tried to stay standing up firmly, but the razor was still after him, piercing his flesh and ripping it to shreds without mercy. He stabbed him in the stomach, and his guts spilled out. Abu Fahd pressed his hands against his insides, they were warm and wet and gave a final shudder. They spilled out and poured to the ground, and he collapsed on his back. The drunk was standing and leaning over him nearby. The drunk coughed several times, and then vomited. He then raced away.

Abu Fahd heard the sheep saying to him, “Seven jugs of
gold…” And then the gold tumbled down, shining like little suns.

Then the voice started, bit by bit, to drift away.

Shams Saghira Textual Notes

October 26, 2007


This text came out of a book of modern Arabic short stories designed for speakers of English, and had some textual notes at the end.