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The Story of a Beggar

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Of course, I did not want to continue arguing with my mother on this subject. It was difficult and even impossible for me to convince my mother of my point of view. It seemed to me that she was decided and convinced not to change her position and her line of argument and the way of thinking. My mother, on the contrary, became more and more obstinate and immovable regarding her point of view. She was insisting that I should change my position and should change my behavior so as to be in conformity with her point of view.

On that important day I had the crucial intention and determination to meet all my small boyfriends in the square of the quarter to play the games early in the morning. We would he having the main intention of encouraging the small beggar to leave his corner in order to join us in our playing and in our amusement. We were determined that on that day the small beggar would come to us voluntarily without being coerced or forced to join us.

As a first step in the implementation of our important plan we played from the early morning all kinds of games and we were determined to convince the small beggar to come and join us in our playing and in our amusement. But to our surprise the small beggar did not move a single time from his place.

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The small beggar continued to be a statue without life, having his small wooden bowl in his left hand in expecting that someone would come and offer him some money. Of course, the tears continued to be coming out from his small eyes and then running on his cheeks. Then these tears disappeared down in his neck.

The small beggar was expecting seriously that a passer-by, a young man or rather an old man, a rich man, or rather a well-to-do man, would come to him and put in his wooden bowl a small piece of money. He was expecting that on that day, someone would come and put the small piece of money in his wooden bowl.

While we, the small boys of the quarter, were continuously playing and enjoying ourselves, and while all of us were completely involved in amusing ourselves, I, Amin, was having, from time to time, a look at the small beggar. I wanted to discover whether the beggar was about to leave the hidden corner. Was he about to join us in our playing and amusement?

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Although I did not notice that the beggar was about to leave his place in order to join us, I did not see at all any passer-by coming near to him for putting in the bowl a small piece of coin of money. As much as I could see, nobody during the preceding days went to the beggar to offer him in his bowl a small piece of money.

I could say that this was also the point of view of all the other small boys, my friends of the quarter. No one of these boys saw anybody putting a small piece of coin in the bowl of the beggar. As a result of that, none of us, the small boys of the quarter, could find any explanation why our elders and the rich people did not have the slightest inclination or obligation to give this beggar a small piece of money as an act of charity, of simple alms-giving and as an expression of benevolence, love and compassion.

In spite of that entire negative attitude of the community towards the small beggar, this strange and mysterious boy continued to come to his hidden corner in the square and to extend his hand which carried the wooden bowl asking for alms and charity from the inhabitants of the quarter.

How often, in my case, had I the persisting wish to have in my pocket a small piece of money to give it as an aid to this small beggar? At that time of the history of our quarter it was not part of the tradition to give small boys of my age any amount of pocket money. Boys of our age were supposed to ask their fathers to provide them with the necessary things they wanted to have, to possess, between now and then. In my case, I never asked anything of that sort from my father.

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The Story of a Beggar

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© 1980-2024 by Najati Al Bukhari, Mont de Marsan, France

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