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Timbuktu 1

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

1) The farmer of the quarter went to his bed room the moment he has taken a light dinner by himself without the company of any of his women. None of these women, with the exception of Jawhara, had the intention to share this evening meal with the husband. Each of his three wives wished not to sit in front of the husband whose face was reflecting a mental situation of confusion and horror. All of them knew that he spent two days in Beirut and that it took him practically four days to complete the whole mission including the days he spent in travelling to and from Beirut.

His women knew that his main and only purpose of the visit to Beirut was to consult a famous scholar there regarding the professional and the academic future of his son Amir. The women of the farmer knew all of this about the trip to Beirut in Lebanon. Yet all of them, the three wives, thought that the face of their husband indicated clearly that something else, more serious and important has taken place. The nature of this unaccounted for event was not known by the wives. All the three wives had the impression that their husband returned from Beirut a different, a totally different human being.

Did the farmer have some kind of an unpleasant sentimental adventure there in Beirut? Most men, the women thought, usually have this kind of sentimental experience and romantic adventure while they were there in long duration travels. Anyhow, all of these women were certain that this event that took place in Beirut to their husband did not have a feminine element, or frankly speaking another woman. They were sure that the matter was quite different from this simple explanation. It could not have been a passing sentimental adventure with a woman of pleasure.

By now, the three wives of the farmer, and less so the three concubines, knew that whatever happened to their man should be explained on the basis of what was going on in the farm-house concerning the black wife and her black son, Amir. In no case, the women were able to discover the truth, that is, what happened to the farmer when he was sleeping in his second night in the hotel of the beautiful city of Beirut. In other words and more explicitly, nobody in the farm-house knew about his dream in Beirut in which he met Amin, the cousin and the lover of his wife who spoke to him and told him about the conception of Jawhara by the way of his spirit.

The farmer, the sterile husband, came back from Beirut to his farm-house carrying with him a very strange discovery in the history of his family which he never thought of and which he never expected to happen. This is why the farmer of the quarter, before arriving to his house took the important decision to keep the whole story of the conception of Jawhara as a secret which should not be told to anybody, even to Jawhara herself.

The farmer was thinking that it was better for him, for the mother, Jawhara, and for her son, to let time, the coming days and years to tell whatever could be told of the secret, of the fact that Amir, the son of the black woman, was the product of a conception by the Spirit.

The residents of the house carried on doing their daily activities and their duties in the farm-house without introducing any change or modifications in the general pattern of their daily life. Their eyes, those of the wives, however, were wide open so as to monitor without interruption the daily behavior of their husband, the behavior of his wife Jawhara and the conduct of the black boy, Amir.

The maid servants were keen to know more about Jawhara, the mother, the son, the black boy and at last the husband. Of course, they did not have the slightest idea about the way by which the mother of the black boy got pregnant, conceived her son. As maids they were supposed to know more about the life of the husband of the black woman and her black son. They had the permission to go into the rooms of anybody at any time they wanted and to see some traces and signs of what was going on in the private room of each resident of the farm-house. The three old maids could see all of the three wives while they were lying in their beds. They could have noticed in any of the three rooms what could have appeared to them as unusual and abnormal.

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All the three old maids have been noticing during all their visits to the bedroom of the black woman the interest which Jawhara had in the mirror hung on the wall of her room. So many times and in the various seasons of the year, Mariam, the first old maid of the farm-house, saw Jawhara just sitting excited and stimulated, in the only chair in her room doing nothing with the exception of looking continuously at the mirror with curiosity and interest. Of course, the old maid never guessed or knew the secret relationship between the black woman and the mirror.

The other maid, Zahra, once discovered with a surprise and astonishment that Jawhara was lying on the floor fainting and losing consciousness. The maid, Zahra, could not do anything to the fainting woman. Zahra, the maid, stood in amazement for a while in front of the black woman who, to the surprise of the maid, came back to her consciousness. The maid in witnessing such a strange incident left the bedroom without telling anybody about what she saw in the mysterious bedroom.

This black woman is surprising me whenever I see her. I have the feeling that she hides something but yet most of the time she looks to be calm and in peace. said Zahra, the maid.

Why are you surprised? This is a very normal behavior. She is happy and satisfied because she is the only wife who has an offspring, a child and a descendant. She looks around in the house and she discovers that she is the only wife in the farm-house who has a posterity. said Mariam, the old maid.

Listen to me, it is very normal and a common daily event to give birth to a child. The problem is not in having a child who is now almost fourteen years old. said Zahra, the old maid mockingly and in sarcasm.

Yes!!! You are right, my dear Zahra. It is really a riddle. How could a woman with a sterile husband have a son? It never happened in the history of this community that goes back to centuries that a sterile man could have an offspring of his own from any of his wives and concubines? There is something hidden and concealed that has to be told and discovered in this case which we are now discussing. said the old maid Mariam innocently.

Let us wait and see. The coming days will uncover the truth and solve the mystery. The way the black boy, Amir, is growing and developing is something which adds more question marks to the issue which we are discussing. I watch this marvelous and mysterious boy from a distance and I cannot find him except a miracle. I tell you this is nothing but a miracle. Sometimes, I have the impression, the feeling, that the young boy could not be a human being, an ordinary and a normal human being. He is rather an angel coming to us from a divine source. I tell you this interpretation is becoming in my case a conviction and a belief the more I think of it night and day. I cannot add more ideas and more interpretations. If I have new ideas I would prefer to keep such ideas to myself and do nothing except wait and see, wait and see. said Zahra, the maid.

The two maids were talking to each other discreetly and in a low voice as if they were whispering to each other. They could not talk to others to share with them this kind of a strange and awkward gossiping which they considered as hallucination. The two maids were in agreement that the coming days would bring to them exciting and challenging ideas. There would be surprising and astonishing strange developments and important and significant events. They have to wait patiently and see with enthusiasm and they have to watch the odd and the bizarre behavior of Jawhara and that of her black son, Amir.

2) At that moment, only few minutes before serving lunch, the third maid came to the kitchen. She had a completely smiling and a joyful face and was pleased to see her two other colleagues in the kitchen. She noticed that the two were actually talking to each other and that they stopped talking the moment the third maid, Anisa, came into the kitchen.

Oh!!! No doubt you were talking about the mysterious family group composed of the mother, Jawhara, the son, the black boy Amir and the father, the farmer of the quarter, the master of the house or the presumed father of the black boy. I am sure and certain that you are still thinking of the same problem, issue, question which was raised fifteen years ago when Jawhara, the black woman got pregnant. Still all of us are talking about the real father of the black genius, of the prodigy. said Anisa, the third maid, to Mariam and Zahra, the other two maids.

You are right. We are still raising the same question. Who is the real father of the black boy, Amir? This is really a riddle and I am sure that we will not be able to find the right and much awaited answer. The riddle would remain unsolved. Let us hurry up to serve the lunch. To-day you will have a surprise. The master of the house will be taking lunch with all his women, the four wives, including Jawhara, and the three concubines. Helwa, the sister will be absent. Of course, the brilliant son would take his lunch in his work-room. As for the announced absence of Helwa from this lunch, it was just said that she would stay in her room because of a stomach-ache. said Zahra.

Please, listen to me. I am not going to participate with you in serving lunch to the master of the house and his seven women. You know all of you that I am perhaps now more than eighty years old. Actually, I cannot work as hard as you do. This week might be the last week in my life as a maid. I have to take rest. I am sure that the master of the house has somebody in his mind whom he will bring to the farm-house the moment I stop working. said Mariam, the old maid to the two other old maids.

The lunch was served by the two maids, Zahra and Anisa. The master of the house was sitting on a mattress surrounded by several cushions. Around the low table of the dining room, the seven women of the farmer were sitting on mattresses and surrounded by several pillows and headrests. Nobody was speaking while the various plates were placed on the low table.

The master of the house asked all his women to start eating. He told them that they could speak while eating. Of course, none of the women had the courage and the audacity to initiate any sort of a conversation. It never happened in the past that any of the women of the farmer was courageous enough to initiate talking in any meal attended by all members of the family.

For most of the time of lunch the women kept silent and from time to time they had a furtive look at the enigmatic and the cryptic face of their taciturn and uncommunicative husband. For several times, the women tried to read what was going on in the mind of their husband. Nevertheless, and all of a sudden, the man decided to break this silence and to say few words of importance.

You know all of you that Hilwa, my sister, is not now at this moment amongst us in the dining room. She is at present there in her room as I have asked her to do. I would like to tell you something about my sister in her absence. Anyhow, she knows already what I am going to tell you. Helwa is nowadays about to be a fully grown up young woman and it is time for her to get married and have children like all young women in the quarter. Previously, I thought that she could stay an unmarried woman, a spinster and forever.

I was planning that she would stay here in the farm-house for all her life. Now things have changed. I have taken the decision that my sister Helwa should get married and without any delay. There are a number of respectable and dignified men of the community who have been persistently asking her hand. In the past, I was of the opinion that my sister should stay all her life unmarried here in the farm-house till her death. Recently, I have changed my mind, just like that and without any definite reason. My sister should get married and as soon as possible. Otherwise, in few years time, it will be too late for her. Nobody would marry an old maid. Besides, I think that Helwa, my sister, should enjoy her natural right of giving birth to children, to rise up children. Otherwise, there is no meaning for life as far as the woman is concerned.

The master of the house stopped suddenly speaking and resumed eating. All of those sitting around were surprised to hear their husband tackling indirectly the problem of sterility. Of course, the women surrounding their husband were extremely astonished because he had tackled the sensitive problem of sterility from which he was suffering.

Jawhara was an exception. Her feelings and reactions to what her husband said about the marriage of his sister were extremely neutral. In her case, she had the chance of giving birth to a baby, her son Amir and she was enjoying her life as a mother. The other three wives and the three concubines kept silent and could not make any indirect or direct comments in this regard and preferred just to continue eating so as to feed themselves. In fact, the other six women were sure that their intervention could not have had any impact on the subject of discussion.

In few days time, the name of the future husband of Helwa was disclosed and known by the residents of the farm-house and by the neighbors. The name of the man who would be the husband of Helwa was disclosed by the master of the house while the all the members of the family were taking the lunch meal. The name of the future husband of his sister was declared by the farmer of the quarter.

The future husband of Helwa was a well known person to the family of the farmer. He was a prominent member of the quarter and the community and his family house was not far from the farm-house of the sterile husband of the seven women. The moment the name of the future husband of Helwa was declared all of the other six women, with the exception of Jawhara, expressed their surprise and perhaps their shock and their stupefaction.

With the exception of Jawhara who kept having a hidden smile in her face, all the other wives were stunned to hear the name of the future husband of Helwa. The proposed man who asked the farmer to marry Helwa was Abu Assad, the famous merchant of cereals in the community. He was about to be forty five years of age and was already married as expected, to two beautiful wives and kept in his house two concubines. Moreover, Abu Assad, had so far fifteen children most of whom were married and were living outside the house of the family in accordance with the traditions of their father, Abu Assad.

The man who asked the hand of Helwa began to see her since she had come to live in her brother's house when she was just a little girl who began to go to school at the age of six years. Abu Assad got fond of Helwa when she was twenty years old. His two wives at that time were telling Abu Assad many stories and anecdotes about the charming girl, Helwa. The two wives of Abu Assad had the habit of visiting the house of the farmer of the quarter regularly once every two or three weeks and they had the chance to see and observe Helwa better every time they saw her. The two wives of Abu Assad never expected that their stories about Helwa would have a formidable and impressive influence on the sensational imagination of their husband.

Since ten years when Helwa was about twenty years old, the business man Abu Assad had in mind this girl, Helwa, as his third wife. Abu Assad was sure that Helwa would make a perfect wife and she would be an example of a good and a faithful wife. The fact that Helwa was literate and educated made Abu Assad more and more fond of her. He was planning to bring her books as her brother, the farmer of the quarter, was doing to her.

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The charming young Helwa never noticed that Abu Assad was fond of her. He had highly appreciated her beauty. The young woman was wondering how Abu Assad had the chance of seeing her. She was wondering whether Abu Assad has ever seen her after she stopped to be a little girl who was going every day to school. Perhaps he was influenced by the frequent visits of his two wives and what these two women said about Helwa to their husband. Of course, these two wives of Abu Assad never had in mind tempting their husband to have the sister of the farmer as a wife.

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There was not yet an official demand by Abu Assad for the hand of Helwa. The young woman heard the news of the sensational intentions of Abu Assad towards her but she did not comment at all to anyone who told her about the intention of the neighbor to have her as his third wife. Helwa was not only beautiful but also intelligent and a highly gifted girl. She had the white complexion while the two wives of the bridegroom were of a brown complexion.

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All the members of the family of the farmer of the quarter were really amazed in finding the sister of the farmer more and less accepting the marriage offer, to be a third wife for her husband. The sister of the farmer did not utter the word 'no' to this marriage offer and she did not try at all to express her reactions regarding the marriage offer to her brother.

Helwa told Jawhara, the mother of Amin, that she could not say no to what her brother had decided regarding the future of her life. According to traditions of the family, she was accustomed to obey her brother ever since she came from her father's house to live in the house of her brother and for the end of her life.

3) The news was circulating saying that Abu Assad was in a hurry and that the marriage ceremonies would take place in a fortnight time the moment he would get the positive answer of the family of Helwa.

The family of Helwa gave the family of Abu Assad an indication that there was no objection for the coming of a delegation from the side of Abu Assad to ask for the hand of Helwa.

Events passed fast regarding the coming marriage of Helwa. A delegation of the dignitaries of the community came to the farm-house and in just one hour time they got the approval of the farmer for the marriage of his sister. The would-be bride of Abu Assad has given her positive answer. She had no objection at all to marry this man so as to liberate herself from the prison of her brother in which she has been living since her early childhood.

Of course, she was certain that the house of her husband would be like a prison as her brother's house. Yet, she believed that the prison of her husband would be more tolerated by her compared to the prison of her brother. She was sure that she would enjoy life as a mother with a number of children who would be engendered by her. Naturally, this future mother had in mind that most of her children would be boys so as to satisfy the love of men for sons rather than for daughters.

The two families of Helwa and Abu Assad agreed that the marriage ceremonies would take place in two weeks time. The bridegroom, the already husband of two wives was excited and very happy and full of joy. Helwa, in two weeks time will be in his arms and staying with him in his or in her bed. Certainly, she will be able to give him more boys than girls and as much as he wanted and wished. The two wives of Abu Assad were also very glad and happy because their husband will have a third wife and consequently he will have more children. For the two wives life will be more exciting, more challenging and more thrilling.

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So, the two wives were waiting for the arrival of the new wife in two weeks time. Both of them were watching the strange behavior of their husband and his enthusiasm in the preparation of the special and luxurious wing in which Helwa would be living. The two wives have noticed how their husband was busy in providing the bed room of the future wife with the best golden colored double size bed and the best pieces of furniture which were all of a new style of chairs, sofas, and two wardrobes. Small shelves were installed in the bedroom to serve as a small library for the collection of library books which Helwa had in the house of her brother. The two wives of Abu Assad realized that the third wife was superior to them in an important and basic aspect of life. She was literate and educated and consequently had a number of books to read between now and then. The two wives of Abu Assad were illiterate and they never touched a book in their life.

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On the other hand, the brother of Helwa was in a hurry to prepare for his sister all the necessary marriage robes and dresses. The farmer of the quarter was decided to make the marriage ceremony of his sister an event which would not be forgotten by the members of the community.

One very important aspect of this forthcoming event, that is the marriage of Helwa, was the continuous discussion of the marriage plan between the farmer and his black wife. Night and day Jawhara was asking her husband if everything was going well as if there was the possibility that the marriage ceremony would not take place in the appointed specified time and date.

Naturally, the husband of the black woman considered the increasing interest of Jawhara in the marriage of his sister, Helwa, as something unexpected. Jawhara was extraordinarily interested in the forthcoming marriage of Helwa to the rich neighbor. One day, the master of the house and the husband of seven women asked himself the following. Why was Jawhara the only woman in the house who was really interested and concerned about the future marriage of his sister, Helwa?

Jawhara, the black wife, has been all the time asking her husband questions about the future husband of Helwa. She posed to him the following questions which showed the degree of interest which Jawhara had in Abu Assad. Before answering his black wife, the farmer of the quarter looked at the face of his wife so as to discover what was going on inside the mind and the spirit of his black wife who persisted obstinately to ask curious and strange questions about Abu Assad.

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Why do you think Abu Assad has chosen Helwa as his future third wife? As you know there are many marriageable girls in the community. said the black woman to her husband.

I do not know. Really I do not know. I just came to know recently about his interest in Helwa only three weeks ago. said the farmer to his black wife.

I was really not expecting that you would agree to the marriage of your sister, Helwa. You have been telling all members of your family in the farm-house as well as outside in the quarter and the community that Helwa, your sister, is destined to remain unmarried here in your house and till her last days. Then what happened. Tell me if you please, what is happening now? Why did you change your position, your mind? said the black woman to her husband.

Don't try to know why I have changed my mind and my position regarding the marriage of my sister. I myself I don't know. Believe me! Why do I agree that my sister should marry Abu Assad in spite of the fact that he is already married to two wives. said the husband of the black woman.

Please try to remember if something extraordinary has happened during the last month, the last two months, or just in the recent past. Were you particularly impressed by the personality of the famous business man? Was it his personality in general, his mustache, his stature, his muscles, his smiles? Or is it something deeper than all of these physical features and characteristics of a human being? Is it his wealth and prospering business? I am sure you have been suddenly impressed by this man and you wished that this man is totally suitable to be the husband of your sister.

Besides, this man, in the forties of his age is married to two wives and has a lot of children from his wives and his concubines. Or was it his spirit? All of a sudden you have become impressed and even influenced by this handsome and rich man. Perhaps you think that there is something indiscernible, imperceptible in him. Yet you have been seeing this man for several years of your life. You know each other since childhood. I am wondering why you are abruptly and in a brusque manner in full acknowledgement of the perfection of this man and of his being suitable to be the husband of your sister. Maybe you have discovered that there is a torch of light inside the spirit of this man who is going to be the husband of your sister. said Jawhara to her husband, the farmer of the quarter.

Please, do not try to go deeper into my spirit, into my heart and into my inner world. Don't try to read in my depths things, events and feelings that are not there in me. In my spirit, I tell you, I have just, and all of a sudden, taken the decision that this man could be a good husband for my sister. I no more have any objection for the marriage of my sister to Abu Assad. I tell you my dear Jawhara, that this man, when I saw him three weeks ago, he seemed to me, more or less, a new person, not Abu Assad whom I knew for the last thirty years or more than that. said the master of the house to his black woman.

I think we should stop talking about this topic, about Abu Assad. Forget this man and forget Helwa and forget the marriage which we would be celebrating in few days time. Tomorrow you will get rid of the confusion which you have in mind. Why don't you ask me questions about Amir, our son, our blessed son, the prodigy who buries himself always in a heap of books in many languages. said Jawhara, the mother of Amir, the black woman while her husband was looking at her with amazement and some worry.

My dear Jawhara, I am sure that he is doing very well and is preparing himself to be in the medical school either in Beirut or in Istanbul. He is going to be fifteen years old in one month time. I think he is already prepared for any future written oral entrance examination to any medical institute in the world. The professors would surely be amazed by his academic and scientific advanced background. said the farmer of the quarter.

A somewhat long silence prevailed in the room in which the husband and his black wife were meeting and talking. Both of them realized that it was not the time for both of them to talk a lot about the black boy, the prodigy and the son of Jawhara. They had to talk about the current important affair, or event, that is the marriage of Helwa to the well known business man, Abu Assad. Both of them, the farmer and the black woman, were in agreement that the marriage ceremony should be a great event of Joy and happiness of which the community would talk about for many days to come.

4) Several meetings were arranged as preparatory steps for the main marriage ceremony between the representatives of the farmer and Abu Assad. Most of the time groups of women representing the two families held those meetings. Everything was discussed in details and agreement was arrived at concerning all aspects of the marriage ceremony. It was agreed that Helwa should be prepared for the first night of a married life in the best way possible. The farmer, the brother of the bride, assured his wife that nothing was forgotten and that all the necessary steps were practically taken. All the dress requirements have been mostly prepared. Helwa was satisfied with all the necessary steps that have been taken. Even, Helwa had the feeling that what had been so far done and carried out in the way of the preparation for the marriage day was more than what others in the community usually do in such ceremonies and occasions.

Smile under the Hat 2
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

It was agreed with the family of the bridegroom that the marriage ceremony would take place on next Friday. Both families considered the date and the day for the marriage ceremony as completely possible and that all the necessary steps for that important ceremony would have been finished on Thursday, one day before the marriage ceremony. The farmer of the quarter, before leaving the bedroom of Jawhara made the following comment.

Listen to me, my dear wife. I hope this marriage day would pass without any surprise, without any unforeseen development of events. said the brother of Hilwa with somewhat closed eyes and a mood of absent mindedness.

What do you mean? You should explain yourself here in this bedroom and before you leave it. Explain to me what do you mean by surprises, unforeseen development of events and so on and so forth. I really cannot understand you. You look to be in confusion and it seems to me you are trying to imagine things and events. My dear husband, you amaze me. Tell me what is going in your mind. Tell me what you mean by surprises. In my case I cannot see except a normal marriage ceremony like all marriages in our community. Tell me what you mean by surprises. said the black woman with very nervous voice.

I am sure you already know what I mean. In our society, as it is the tradition, one expects some, certain surprises to take place in every marriage ceremony. The slightest event, or a rumor, regarding the reputation of the bride, would lead to the annulment of the marriage and the explosion of a scandal which nobody has ever thought of. I am sure you know what I mean. The brides are always subject to so many things that might take place during the various and the different phases and steps of the marriage ceremony. said the husband of the black woman, the mother of Amir, the prodigy.

Still, frankly speaking, I cannot understand you. Your sister, Helwa, has been living here in your house since she was five or six years old. She went to the primary school of the quarter for five years then you stopped her from going to school before the end of the primary level of education by one year. Helwa was one of the best girls in the school. Since she was stopped from going to school she stayed within the walls of your house and you provided her with books which you bought either in the local market of the quarter or in your trips to the neighboring countries. Helwa read the books and began later on to read some of the books of our son, Amir. In summary, Helwa, your sister, was all the time confining herself inside the walls of this farm-house without any complaint on her part. said Jawhara to her husband, the farmer of the quarter.

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I thought you are a woman who has just passed the age of forty years and who has enough experiences of life and the way women behave in this life. Stories told about the first night of a married life are very common. Many stories have been told about brides who are discovered not to be virgin, who have had some kind of a prohibited sexual acts and experiences.

The husband of the black woman was stopped by his wife to go on in explaining what he meant by unexpected events in the marriage ceremony.

Smile under the Hat 9
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Listen to me, my dear husband. I am not ready to continue listening to your hallucinations about the honor and the behavior of your sister, Helwa. You know very well that Helwa is an ideal girl in this respect. She never left the house except in very rare occasions and in company with one or more of your wives including myself. Be sure that your sister would pass the test of virginity and honor very easily. There is no problem in this respect at all. Don't worry my dear husband. Your sister will pass the test. I am sure of that. She would by living a happy life with a man who is already married." said the black woman, Jawhara.

Let us hope for the best. In two days time Helwa will be marrying Abu Assad. Yet, I tell you frankly that I am not very optimist. There could take place some incidents, an event, a surprising event, in the last day of the wedding ceremony. This is just a feeling and I cannot tell you more about this feeling which I have the moment I gave my approval to Abu Assad. Let us hope for the best. Perhaps I am imagining things. Thank you Jawhara for trying to calm me down, I hope that nothing would take place and that the wedding, the marriage ceremony, would end up in a very joyful, happy and cheerful way. said the husband to his beautiful and charming black wife.

5) It was early Friday and all the members of the farm-house, the wives, the concubines, the maids, the black boy and the sister of the farmer as well as her brother, the master of the house were assembled together in the farm-house. That day, Friday, would be a historic day in the history of the family. There had never been during the last few years a single marriage ceremony because all the wives and the concubines did not give birth either to sons or to daughters with the exception of Jawhara whose son Amir was fifteen years of age at the time of the marriage of Helwa. The sister of the farmer would get married at the end of the day.

Boy with Yo-Yo
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

On that day, Helwa would be sleeping with her husband and it would be for her the starting point of a new life. Beginning from tomorrow the sister of the farmer would be living in another house, with another family full of small children and instead of seeing the face of her brother everywhere in the farm-house, she would be seeing the face of her husband, Abu Assad. Helwa was in reality extremely optimist and she was expecting to have a very happy and joyful life. She hoped that in few years time she would be surrounded by many children, boys and girls, of her own.

Helwa was planning to have more than six children, perhaps ten children, and she did not care and worry at all what number of her dear children would be boys and what number would be girls. Of course, in her case, she preferred to have more girls than boys. She would not mind, even, if all her children were girls.

Of all the members of the house, Helwa, the bride, was the first to wake up from her sleep. As expected, she was all alone in her bedroom with the exception of her dreams which increased in number during the recent days after she was formally declared as the bride of Abu Assad. Helwa rushed to have a bath which she usually had several times in a week specially during summer time. Nobody was there in the bathroom because it was early for others to come to the bathroom. It took her perhaps more time than usual to finish this morning bath.

While Helwa was taking the bath she looked at her body and examined every sensitive part which would be the center of attraction and the source of sensual pleasure for her man, her husband. In the case of Helwa, she never had the chance of seeing a naked man, although when she was less than five years old she had the chance of seeing naked small boys of the family who were older than her by very few years, one, two or three years, but not more than that.

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In the farm-house, no man was to be seen with the exception of her brother, the master of the house. Helwa after she came to age had the temptation to have a look of her brother when he was taking a bath … naked in the company of one of his wives. This was just a dream which she could not realize.

Of course, the three young laborers who were married and had children and lived as neighbors to the family of the farmer could never have been accessible to the eyes of Helwa when they were naked. This was impossible because Helwa could not have seen these young laborers in their daily working dress.

The farm-house, on the wedding day of Helwa, was totally transformed throughout the day into a place worthy of being considered as the best house in the history of the quarter in which a wedding ceremony has taken place. All around the house, it would be only women who could have been seen. These were the women of the family of the bride and the family of the bridegroom or of the women invited to attend the wedding ceremony. Men could not have been seen around, of course, with the exception of the master of the house, the farmer of the quarter.

Naturally, Amin, the black boy of Jawhara would be around in the farm-house. Although he has been considered at that time of his age as an adolescent but yet, and in no case he could be considered as a young man. He was a grown up boy, just fifteen years old. Amir was dressed early in the morning by his mother with the best of a newly bought white robe with a nice black leather sandal brought for him by the farmer from Jerusalem.

All the remaining members of the family, the wives and the concubines, were also superbly dressed. Their husband was all the time keen and enthusiastic to provide his women with the best of women's dress which he brought from his visits to the cities of Beirut and Damascus.

On that day of Friday, at the beginning of a summer season, all the residents of the farm-house were impatiently waiting for the coming of the evening when the wedding festivities would take place. All of them were waiting for the evening when the bridegroom would come to the house of the bride to take her away to her future nest.

When the evening came to the quarter, the sun as usual, has already disappeared behind the red-crimson horizon. The quarter was gradually covered by a veil, a mask, or even a dark shroud, or a huge blanket. This was the situation of the environment in which the quarter was found and as it was seen by the farmer of the quarter, the brother of Helwa the bride. The farmer was more or less amazed why the world surrounding him and his farm-house has become in such a strange situation and in such a mysterious state and in such a curious condition.

The scene that presented itself to the brother of the bride was totally obscure, dark and strange. It was not usual at all to witness the physical environment in such a lamentable, a deplorable and a sorrowful situation. The scene that was presenting itself to the farmer represented a world of sorrow, grief and woe. The whole physical surrounding indicated that something very strange would take place very soon in the farm-house. The farmer of the quarter was not at all in a position to know and guess where he was or to finally estimate what would take place that evening and that night in or around the farm-house.

The owl of the quarter was more active than usual and its ugly and repulsive cries could be heard everywhere. The mere seeing of the owl by the farmer was a very bad omen, a frightful sign and a horrible indication that there would be later on in the evening some frightful surprises and terrible events.

5) The master of the house was at that particular moment outside the boundaries of the house. He did not see anybody around him. However, he could hear some disturbing noise coming from all directions. The noise was that of a group of persons, many of them, who were already buried alive in already prepared tombs. The noise represented the voice of grown up men and not that of women, children or young boys and girls. The farmer thought that those persons who were being buried alive were really asking for help, asking anyone who heard their crying to come and save them.

The farmer was not able to understand, to interpret such a noise, a phenomenon, which he considered as something supernatural which was beyond his power and his limited human competences. It was impossible for him to save these desperate people who would be strangled and finally suffocated in a short while. Nevertheless, this ailing, afflicted and suffering voice was gradually disappearing and fading away. The farmer of the quarter was sure that those who were asking for help have already accepted their destiny, to be buried alive in the graves. No doubt they all died inside the tombs that were ready to receive them.

The farmer was sure that what he was experiencing at that particular moment was nothing but the creation of his own imagination. He was successful to reassure himself that the weather at the end of the spring season was the best in the whole year and that the wedding ceremony would be completely without any difficulty or problem. The farmer left the place where he was standing in the outer space of the farm-house and he wanted to go inside the house to see if everything was going on as planned. No doubt, the farmer could not hear the singing that was taking place in the various halls and big rooms of the spacious farm-house. The famer of the house and the brother of Helwa could not also hear the noise produced by the small children who were playing everywhere in and around the farm-house.

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The farmer was very pleased and satisfied to hear the singing of women inside the house and the innocent and joyful playing of the children. Some women came out of the threshold of the house and looked around as if they were looking for somebody who was expected to come at any moment. Were they looking for the arrival of the bridegroom? The farmer of the quarter, in seeing these women coming out and going into the house, was really amazed. Whom were these women waiting? For sure, it was not the bridegroom, Abu Assad, whom they were waiting. It was agreed that he will come to the house of the bride late in the evening and still there was a lot of time, more than two hours, for the arrival of Abu Assad.

The brother of the bride, the farmer, was really worried and disturbed to see these women who came out of the house in expecting that somebody was arriving. The farmer was interested to look at these women just to be sure whether he knew some of these women whom he might have seen in the quarter once to twice and by chance either in his farm-house or somewhere else in the quarter. It was a surprise for the farmer to discover that all of these women were not known to him. Actually, he never saw any of them in the community at large.

The master of the house, the brother of the bride, Helwa, did not want to stay all the evening standing on the threshold of his house. It was natural and expected that the farmer chose to go to his room. He did not feel at all that he had to remain standing outside his house. A lot of time was still left for the arrival of the bridegroom accompanied by some of his close relatives and his friends and acquaintances.

In his bedroom, the farmer of the quarter was totally isolated from the events of the ceremonies and festivities, which were going on outside, in the other parts of the farm-house. There was still some time for the final departure of his sister, Helwa, with her fiancé. Therefore, the farmer of the quarter tried to close his eyes so as to forget whatever was bothering him at that particular moment of ideas and memories.

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The room of the master of the house was a spacious one and it contained two beds placed in separate locations in the room. One bed, the small one designed to accommodate one person, was placed near by the window. The other bed, designed to accommodate three persons, was placed near by the main door of the bedroom.

The room contained also some chairs, one sofa and two wardrobes. In addition to all of these pieces of furniture, the farmer kept in the room a small bureau, a writing desk with drawers which he used between now and then in recording the details and the accounts of his business transactions or checking some records of past commercial activities. It was possible for the farmer to develop his basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic which he acquired in his childhood in going to the local mosque school of the quarter.

6) While the absolute and the horrifying silence was dominating in the bedroom of the farmer and while he was about to lay down in his bed, he heard some kind of a soft and low knocking on the door of his bedroom. With difficulty and much hesitation, the farmer stood up and was listening to this strange, unexpected and bizarre knocking on the door. While he was standing in his place in the bedroom, the door was opened and the farmer saw in the frame of the door his black wife Jawhara standing and about to enter into the room.

Why are you here, my dear husband? Have your forgotten that to-day is the wedding day of your sister? What are you doing here? said Jawhara to her husband.

The husband of the black woman did not expect that she would come to remind him of the on-going wedding celebration activities that have been taking place at that moment in the farm-house. With a feeling of surprise and restlessness the farmer looked at the face of his wife. For a while, he did not say anything. At the end he reacted and responded to the question of his preferred wife, the black woman, the mother of Amir.

Don't worry my dear wife; I know perfectly well that this is the wedding day of my sister. I felt all of a sudden tired and fatigued and I told myself I should take some rest for a while in my room. I am wondering why you, yourself, have come to alert me, to warn me or more specifically to tell me something. Why not one of the three maids, Mariam, Zahra or Anisa? said the farmer, the brother of the bride.

You already know that Mariam, the old maid, is an already bed ridden old woman. She is now in her annex and she cannot move and cannot at all come to you to alert you. She is not aware of the fact that Helwa is going to marry, to become a wife this night. The other two maids are very busy in the kitchen and have important duties to carry out in this important wedding day. said Jawhara to her husband.

Suddenly, the black woman disappeared and her husband did not know where. Was she the real Jawhara? Or was what the husband saw only a phantom and nothing else. Anyhow, the worried and the exhausted brother of the bride had to rub his eyes with his two hands several times. His eyes were not willing to be open. Or in other words they refused to perform their regular functions of seeing and observing. At last and after so many attempts the eyes of the farmer were quite open and ready to inform the farmer whatever they would see.

By now, the farmer was outside his room and he was able to see again the various activities of the wedding celebration. Of course, he could not go into the hall where all of those who were present were women, young and old. In addition to these two categories of women, one could see some children belonging to both families, that of the bride and that of the bridegroom. Singing of various types was going on. Many volunteers of women of various ages were either singing or prepared to sing.

At the same time, the hall in which the wedding ceremony was taking place was from time to time occupied by one or two volunteer dancers who were mostly young not exceeding the age of twenty years. Most of these young dancers wanted to tell and inform all the women present in the wedding ceremony that they were available for being considered as possible wives for the grown up sons of the women attending the marriage ceremony.

Nevertheless, the farmer did not dare to enter into the hall of the festivities. He was well aware of what was going on there. He was well aware of the fact that his sister, Helwa, was waiting and impatiently the arrival of her man and her husband, Abu Assad. From time to time she fixed her regards on the big door of the hall in the expectation that her husband will be in few minutes time in front of her in trying to make himself seated in the chair prepared for him next to the chair of his young and beautiful bride, Helwa.

Outside the wedding hall some kind of confusion has taken place. It was most probable the few confused minutes that preceded the arrival of the procession of the bridegroom of Helwa.

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Outside the festivities hall, the master of the scene, as expected, was the farmer of the quarter, the brother of the bride. The farmer was just lending his ears totally to the space lying outside the farm-house. His ears were clearly asked to warn the farmer about any noise that might have been coming from a far distance, from the house of the neighbors, the residence of Abu Assad.

The time was still the evening. The darkness of the night did not dominate the whole scene. Probably, the sun was somewhat hesitating to fully disappear behind the horizon. But in spite of all of that, the darkness of the night was finally the victorious. Everything outside the house was covered by the blackness of the night. Above all, the farmer of the quarter was in control outside the wedding ceremony hall. It was time for the arrival of the bridegroom of his sister. In spite of this, the farmer could not see any signs of a coming procession of the man who would take the sister of the farmer to his house.

Did the bridegroom of his sister change his mind? The brother of the bride began to have new and strange ideas concerning Abu Assad and his intentions regarding the marriage from his sister Helwa. Where was Abu Assad at that time? Was he in his way to the house of the farmer? Or was he going away from the whole quarter? These were questions which came to the mind of the farmer. Yet at the end, the farmer came back to his normal state of mind and thought that the bridegroom would be arriving very soon to the farm-house. It was a matter of few minutes only, or a quarter of an hour.

The farmer was overwhelmed by joy and delight because his sister would be leaving her house in company with her husband, Abu Assad. The happiness which was felt all of a sudden by the brother of the bride was something which he did not understand. Normally, the farmer was always in all his life as a husband more or less reserved, restrained and constrained. A young man came to the farmer telling him that the small procession in which the bridegroom was coming towards the house of his bride Helwa, was about to arrive. The effect of this news on the farmer was very strange. The news came to the ears of the farmer as if it told him about something which did not concern him at all. The marriage of his sister, it seemed, did not concern him at that moment. Something else, other than the marriage of his sister, was occupying his thinking and his sentiments.

7) The expectations of the farmer came to be true. From somewhat a far distance, it could be seen that a group of persons, all men of various ages, were coming to the house of the bride. It was certain that Abu Assad was amongst this group of men who were coming towards the farm-house. It was normal that the farmer of the quarter started to prepare himself to welcome this group of joyful men who were supposedly accompanying the bridegroom, Abu Assad. At that particular moment, the farmer could not well recognize who was coming towards his house. The black night did not allow the farmer to see and recognize clearly who was coming in that advancing group of men.

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It was very strange that at that moment the absolute silence was prevailing in the whole place that composed more or less the outer courtyard of the farm-house. The silence continued to dominate in the place for a while. Even the owl of the quarter kept silent at that time. Probably, the owl was satisfied by just seeing and observing what was going on in front of him.

A sudden change took place in the environment surrounding the farmer and his house. It was a complete surprise for the farmer to find out that his house was still there, still existing physically, but it was like a deserted and abandoned house. The farm-house was a building that was uninhabited and unoccupied. This sudden development in the reality of the farm-house stunned and amazed the farmer. What was there in front of him of a strange scene of a deserted big house was for the farmer a sudden riddle, a mystery which he did not expect to see in front of him. Where did the people who were celebrating the wedding of his sister go?

The bride herself, Helwa, was not there. She had suddenly disappeared in an unexpected way. Certainly, there were women of all ages and children of the guests who were filling all the parts and wings of the farm-house. But these guests, the women and children, have already disappeared and with them their singing and their dancing. However, the place, the farm-house, was full of light sent by candles and lamps, but nobody was around the house. Nobody could be seen, neither the wives, nor the concubines, nor the maids and nor the bride, Helwa. Nobody could be seen of the many guests, mostly women and their grown up children who were sitting in the main hall participating in singing and in dancing. Of course, all of this spectacular and unexpected development in his house astonished the bewildered farmer who wanted earnestly to complete to its end the marriage ceremony of his sister, Helwa.

In front of him, the farmer could see the group of men who were supposed to accompany the bridegroom, Abu Assad. This group of human beings was coming towards the farm-house. Yet it seemed that this group of men will never arrive at its final destination, the house of the bride. What was going on there, far away, in front of the farmer and his farm-house? The situation outside the farm-house was so confused to the extent that the farmer was not in a position to understand the whole situation.

The farmer rubbed his eyes thinking that his eyes were not able to see properly what was going on in front of him, the confused farmer. Anyhow and in no case the farmer thought that he should go there, forwards, and for about a certain distance to see what happened to the group of men who were accompanying with them Abu Assad, the bridegroom.

Again, the confused and the fatigued farmer rubbed his eyes thinking that his eyes were not providing him the proper and the real message. When he stopped robbing his eyes, the farmer was totally astounded by what he saw and heard at that moment in front of him. What was there in front of him was totally unbelievable, fantastic, grotesque and bizarre. How could it happen? The scene that presented itself to the horrified and confused farmer of the quarter was entirely strange, odd, curious, uncommon and abnormal. What the farmer saw, witnessed, or was seeing in front of him was unimaginable.

The group of men that was presenting itself to the farmer was composed of several black men of various ages starting from fifteen years and ending up by eighty five years or even up to one hundred years. The total number of persons composing the group could not have been estimated. Probably, there were about thirty persons, all were tall black men. All were dressed up by pure white robes. All the old men were putting on their heads small white turbans. All of these black men with turbans were having a long stick in their right hand. All of them were having leather sandals. All of these black men were having a broad smile on their faces. These tall black men looked to be well fed and in a good health. It seems that nobody was talking. Silence was prevailing. All the members of the group were really marching forwards and that their final objective was the farm-house.

What a strange and bizarre situation. Was the farmer in front of an imaginary world? The group of the black and tall men continued walking with confidence and self assurance towards the farmer of the quarter, the brother of the bride. The more the farmer became nearer to these black men the more he could see and know who these black men were. For the moment, the farmer was certain that he knew none of these black men for the main reason that in all his life he did not see as much of black men as he was seeing at that moment. The distance separating the group of the tall black men and the farmer was becoming shorter and shorter.

8) In few minutes time, the distance separating them would be reduced to nothing. What a surprise?!! What a surprise?!!! The man leading this group of tall black people was Amin, the young black man, who was assassinated by the farmer because he thought that this young black man was the real father of his black son, the prodigy, Amir. This black man was the cousin to Jawhara. Just not long ago, and when the farmer was in Beirut, the ghost of this black man appeared to him in a hotel in Beirut. At that time he first thought that he saw Amin in a dream which he had during his last night in the Beirut Hotel. For the moment, the farmer could not believe at all that he was seeing with no doubt in front of him a group of black men in which could be identified the black man, Amin, the cousin of his wife Jawhara.

Besides, and above all, the farmer of the quarter was waiting for Abu Assad who was scheduled to arrive at this particular moment so as to take his young bride. The farmer could not understand at all how it happened that instead of Abu Assad, who was expected to come to the farm-house to take his bride, he saw in front of him the cousin of his wife, Amin, who was supposed to be dead and buried in the valley of the Spirit in his grave.

Don't be worried and confused. I am Amin and not Abu Assad. I am a black man and my roots are embedded in the soil of the Immortal City of Timbuktu of the Grand African Sahara. Don't be frightened. In spite of the fact that you think I am dead and buried in my grave in the Valley of the Spirits, I have been given the permission between now and then to appear in front of you replacing the person whom you are supposed to be waiting. Instead of Abu Assad, the husband of two wives and the bridegroom of your sister, here I am, Amin, the cousin of your wife, standing in front of you in a miraculous and amazing way. You could never believe and expect that I make my appearance to you between now and then and in some important occasions.

I hope that you will permit me to go into your house so as I take from the house your sister Helwa. I can easily see that you are very surprised and that you cannot believe what you are seeing and witnessing. Don't forget that I have my roots in the Immortal City of Timbuktu. Open your eyes very well in order to see some of my relatives who came from Timbuktu, just by the power of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. They are here for accompanying me in this visit to your farm-house on the occasion of the marriage of your sister, Helwa.

I hope you will welcome me and let me enter your house now. I really don't know where Abu Assad is now, at this moment. Here I am, Amin, alive in your presence. And I am ready to take your sister with me on a honey moon journey to the City of Timbuktu. There, she will be dressed like a young African woman of Timbuktu. She will stay there with me for an approximate duration of one month. said the ghost representing the bridegroom of Helwa.

Don't try to cheat me. I know for sure that you are dead and that now you are buried in the Valley of the Spirit. It is not your fault that you are resuscitated between now and then. It is I who gives you the chance, through my imagination, and between now and then, to come back to life by a miracle. Listen to me; it is in spite of me that you are resuscitated between now and then. I assure you, you will never be successful to take away my sister Helwa who is waiting now her man, Abu Assad, who is her husband. said the farmer of the quarter to the cousin of his wife, Jawhara.

The black man, Amin, who was surrounded by his friends and relatives, pushed aside the farmer of the quarter and asked all his black companions to follow him. The moment the black man entered the farm-house with his friends, all the parts of the house came back to life and all the wedding festivities were resumed.

Singing was started again by some women and some others began dancing with singing that was going on in a harmonious way. As a matter of fact, all of those who were inside the house, both adults and children, did not see at all the thirty black men who were accompanying the cousin of Jawhara, Amin, who was in the past killed by an arrangement made by the farmer of the quarter.

Instead of the black man, the cousin of Jawhara, the participants in the wedding festivities saw Abu Assad accompanied by three of his relatives who led him inside the celebration hall till the place where a chair was reserved for the bridegroom next to the seat of his bride, Helwa. Abu Assad sat at ease and comfortably in the chair looking at the face of his bride between now and then. The presence of Abu Assad in the wedding hall did not last long. Of course, he listened to some singing and he watched some dancing performed by a professional dancer who was a resident of a neighboring quarter.

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As arranged before hand, Abu Assad stood up, seized the left hand of his bride. The man and his bride remained standing in their place just waiting for the proper time to leave the hall. Then, after a short time, both of the bride and her man walked outside the hall. Singing and dancing continued while the two married, Abu Assad and Helwa were outside the hall in their way to the house of the bridegroom.

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The brother of the bride was standing on the threshold of the house and was completely confused and could not explain how before the arrival of the bridegroom he saw the group of thirty tall black men accompanied by Amin, the cousin of Jawhara. Amin acted as if he was the bridegroom and the farmer was amazed by the absence of the neighbor, Abu Assad. What the farmer has seen before the arrival of Abu Assad had tremendously amazed him.

Later on, the farmer of the quarter discovered that what he saw of the arrival of the group of the tall black men of Timbuktu was nothing but the creation of his imagination. The farmer was asking himself how could the cousin of Jawhara, the young black man, Amin, who was killed some time ago, be resuscitated from his grave. Moreover, the brother of the bride could not understand from where those thirty black men of various ages could have come to the quarter from the City of Timbuktu. The total number of black men in all the Valley of the Spirits could not have exceeded ten to fifteen as one of the friends of the farmer told him. Then from where could the thirty black men have come? Was it possible that by one way or another, by the power of black magic, or probably by a miracle or some kind of a mystery, those thirty black men could have come, in a mysterious and a miraculous way, from the City of Timbuktu where the ancestral roots of the family of Jawhara could be located?

Baby Plant on Table 5
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

The farmer of the quarter has been witnessing recently a number of extraordinary phenomena that he was more inclined to consider the arrival of these thirty tall and unknown black men from Timbuktu and for a single night, as one of these abnormal phenomena. His repeated seeing the resurrection of the already dead cousin of Jawhara could not be explained by him except by saying that it was an abnormal event and the creation of his own imagination. The farmer could explain his witnessing the resurrection of the cousin of Jawhara twice as the creation of either his dream or his imagination. On the other hand, all other strange phenomena, of which he came to know from others, have taken place independently of his imagination or of his dreams.

9) Three days after the wedding of Helwa, it was announced that the senior old maid, Mariam, was in a very precarious health condition. It was only old age that would be putting an end to the life of the old maid. A doctor from the quarter, who was a frequent visitor of the farm-house, and who was originally trained in medicine in Istanbul, was invited to see the sick and dying old maid, Mariam. The result of the consultation visit of the doctor was that there was no hope or any possibility to save the old dying woman.

The doctor advised the family of the farmer to make preparations for the forthcoming funeral and burial of the old maid, Mariam. The dying woman had no relatives who could be contacted in a short notice. So it was agreed that all steps for the final burial should be taken by the family when necessary.

Smile under the Hat 3
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

The other two maids who were younger than the dying maid but who were anyhow very old, were really very sad to know and see that their colleague was dying and that next day the old maid, Mariam, would be having her funeral and that she would be buried in the cemetery of the quarter the next day.

With the death of the old maid and the marriage of the sister of the farmer, Helwa, the number of people living in the farm-house was reduced by two members. There remain in the house the four wives, the three concubines, the two remaining maids, the master of the house, the farmer and Amir, the black son of Jawhara.

Nevertheless, here in the case of the family of the farmer, there were no births in the family. With the exception of the birth of Amir, the black boy, that place, the farm-house, was engulfed by very extraordinary circumstances. In the opinion and the belief of the master of the house, there would come a day when this house would become completely deprived of the existence of human beings.

The problem of the farmer of the quarter was his sterility. He was already in the age of about fifty five years. However, the farmer had only one chance and one hope and that was Amir, the black son of his black wife. He was lucky that this boy was already acclaimed as a genius, a prodigy and a highly gifted human being.

The boy, Amir, was growing in a very perfect way, both physically and mentally. His mother, Jawhara, was taking care of her son night and day. The farmer, the presumed father of the gifted black boy, has started long ago to provide, the black boy, Amir, with the necessary books in all fields of human knowledge. The black boy was already mastering several languages that were in common use in the middle of the 19th Century, Arabic, Turkish, English and French.

The farmer began since some years, to consider Amir as the only person for whom he should devote all his life and effort. Amir was able to make his way by himself in learning all types of science disciplines and sometimes he devoted some of his time for the learning of the various fields of the social science disciplines. It was agreed that the field for which Amir would devote his efforts and time was that of science and technology. For in the final analysis, he would be a highly specialized man in the field of medical sciences.

Amir, the black boy, wanted to be a doctor. He was sure that he would be realizing miracles in this field of professional medical endeavor. This was the position and the belief of his mother and of his presumed father, the farmer of the quarter. It was not only because there was not a single qualified doctor in the whole region of the Valley of the Spirits but also because it was thought that this boy was created so as to be a doctor. His mother thought that her son would be realizing miracles in this field of scientific learning and research.

10) Time was passing by in an exasperating way. All members of the farm-house were growing old. All the women were approaching or have passed the limit of the age of forty. All of them were destined to pass the age of fertility very soon. In a short time all of them would no longer be able to engender children. The three wives, with the exception of Jawhara, and the three concubines were about to declare their defeat in the battle of being able to have children. Also, this was the case of the three concubines who gave up all hope to get pregnant and to have children.

But this was not the case of Jawhara, the black wife of the farmer of the quarter. She already has passed the test of pregnancy. She has got her first and only son, the prodigy and the genius, the black boy, Amir. Nowadays, all her hopes and aspirations were centered and totally focused on her only son, the genius and the prodigy Amir.

Of course, nobody, but she, Jawhara, the black woman, knew the real and the actual story of the birth of her son, Amir. He, at the age of sixteen, was really making a turning point in his life. His father, the farmer of the quarter, was decided that his son Amir would be a doctor and for that he would be studying medicine in one of the well known institutes of medicine within the Ottoman Empire.

Still Standing
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Amir, in one or in two months time would begin his seventeenth year of age. He knew that at the end of the coming year he should be ready for the entrance examination to the medical institute. Several of the medical institutions in the region have heard of the black boy, the prodigy. Each institution wished to have Amir as a student. All of the teaching staff members of several medical institutions have known that this black boy would be sitting for the medical entrance examination and they were excited to receive him as a student in their institution.

Naturally, no one was aware of all the stories that were circulating around concerning his black origin, the special and the mysterious circumstances of his creation and his birth, his highly developed intellectual and mental capacities and competences, his mastering of several major languages of his time, his complete mastery of the various science disciplines which were pre-requisites for the study of medicine and above all his enthusiasm and passion for the study of medicine. The members of the teaching staff knew that Amir, the black boy, was very anxious to go and live for six or seven years in the beautiful city of Istanbul, the center city of the Ottoman Empire.

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