Hunting dogs & the well [Archives:2003/658/Culture]
Written by Adil .M. Alamin*
Our grand Mom, Alharam, is a woman full of wisdom when we are young. During seasons of harvesting dates, we travel north by train to Karima, then by steamer; Alzahra, to Mora, our peaceful small town, where she lives in her lonely nest. Her husband; Wad Algeed; was dead long ago, so she declared full sadness “I never tie a donkey at a place of a horse”.
Under moonlight, on the soft sands. Among date palms we sat at her feet victimized with marvelous folktales she offers us:
” Once upon a time there was a girl called Sara. This girl was living with her father, Wiwa at Jaba village on the foot of Komey mountain at the lands of never never, where every thing true was not true. Only fairy tales just like me and you.
Water at that semi-avid zooms had the worth of gold, However gold was useless; Black smith in the village brings it from some deep mines in the mountain to use it for making equipment, spears, serous heads, cups, dishes so people had to store water, which they hardly got from the little rain in rusted reservoirs, which was suitable place for bacteria to gather till water was senseless, thus most of children used to die before five years.
Sarra's mother died by bleeding just after she had born her only daughter, because there was no hospital or any health assistance. Father Wiwa took care of the only daughter. He fed her milk of she camel. The best animal which can live at those desert areas. Father Wiwa was a respected man among the village, more over he dug a well in his land on the foot of Komey mountain in response of a vision one night. The well had abundant and fresh water too, so people were very happy of having everlasting relaxation and settlement.
This happiness, unfortunately was interrupted by the arrival of Kacoom; the sultan of the lands with his armed men and some white men of blue eyes, who called “the angles of hell” because they used to be accompanied by death and sorrow.
Not far away. At night the men of Kacoom took father Wiwa to unknown place forever. All people worried very much about his disappearance specially Sara, she was weeping all the time, day and night, but who would dare to utter a word! None. After many days some people went to bring water, but unexpectedly the armed men stopped them they told them that ” The well is for sultan Kacoom, his sons, daughters, wives, men and dogs. No one could take a bucket of water unless he pay a certain amount of gold other wise they wait for rain and stagnant water which kills children before they reach five years old”.
There after people had to pay for the only assured vessel of life, so the sultan collected a lot of gold, then the white men took it and gage him those instrument, which project missiles with horrible sound to kill human being and animals at a distance and many other things in his palace and the palaces of his men too.
After some time people fed up with tyranny of the sultan, so they asked Sara to go to the sultan and told him that the well is her father's and it is in his land. Thus people must not pay any thing to get water, when she went to the palace and told him her idea. The sultan got very angry and commanded to be thrown out of doors. The armed men dragged her out and instigated their furious dogs at her. Sara ran away screaming, but she couldn't escape. The hunting dogs were tearing her clothes and her flesh until she climbed an old acacia bare tree. After the dogs had returned Sara came down slowly dragging her red legs weeping deeply and fell in the brackish shade of the tree, then she fell asleep till she waked up, by a strange voice resembling her father's calling her:
– Sara Sara my lovely daughter.
She frightened and tried to see it, but she couldn't because of the darkness. It asked her:
– Who bring you here?
– The hunting dogs of Kacoom.
– God damn them !! don't be wary. Get up and go the big rock which is just above the well and remove it !!
– How can I remove that big rock?
– Don't afraid. Just go and try it.
Sara summoned up her courage and stood up. She find it very difficult to walk but she decided. When she reached the rock she raised her hands calling on God for help. As soon as she touched the rock it moved automatically and roll down roaring like ten lions and settled in the throat of the well. The armed men who sleeping round the well woke up sacredly and scattered away.
In the morning people prepared their amounts of gold and came to the well. When they arrived they can't believe eyes; the sultan shouting and lamenting because all efforts of the blue eyes men failed to remove the rock from inside the well throat.
In the evening the sultan asked about Sara but no one knew her place, although the wind blow her traces although their main source of water was cut, people returned home talking about the high/true justice of God that “God's mill grind slow but sure”.
” It was finished, jumped and inserted in a hole of the youngest of you”. Alharam; our lovely grand Mom; always finishes her stories in this fishy way. That makes my young brother crying while she was laughing vigorously. God bless her.
* A Sudanese writer living in Yemen