Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The Sword

Deep in the Arabian Desert, where sand storms wage their conquests over more sand..there lived a man; each day..he rides the wind on his White Arabian horse, and roams the desert in search for nourishment..water, and knowledge. He has grown up with the beasts of the desert..he has become a seasoned man..with the shrewd sunburned hawk eyes he has mastered the talent of character judgement..he could tell if a man was honest, brave, noble..or otherwise from the first few words he utters..his demeanor and his conduct.

One day, as he crossed the plains..he came upon an old man..exhausted and thirsty, and like the noble Arab he was..our friend hurried in the old man's direction..quenched his thirst..and shaded him with his own turban..he then took him to his tent, fed him, and left him to rest..the man slept for 3 days..only waking up to drink some water.

On the fourth day, the old man woke up..and looked around, he didn't recognize his setting, as he looked in the distance, he saw his rescuer outside..building a fire..it was almost dusk, and our friend was getting ready to fix the evening meal, the old man stood up..and walked in the direction of his host.."Thank you", the host looked up at the old man, he smiled and nodded..and gestured to the old man to have a seat beside him, he pointed at some shrubs..requesting the old man to pass them on..and without saying a word..he grilled the meat..turning it every once in a while..as the old man looked on..glancing at the host every few seconds..in an attempt to unlock the mystery within this loner..who saved his life..gave him shelter in the middle of nowhere.."Who is this man?" he thought to himself, he looked at the man's hands..rough, and full of old cuts, his eyes were glowing in the fire light, "Great Night" he said..pointing at the stars above..and trying to get the host to speak.."I've always liked the night..I'm an astrologer, I read the stars".

The host became intrigued with that last statement..he looked at the old man and in a deep husky voice said: "Are you really?" as he tore a piece of meat and presented it to the old man..he asked him to read him his fortune after dinner, the old man nodded as he battled with the meat..the last time he ate was almost a week ago.

Later that night, the two men sat before the fire, exchanging stories of their pasts, but the host kept to himself one detail..how he got there..and why he was living alone in the desert, the old man..in his fortune telling manner, started reading some signs aloud: "You are a man of Honor..you save the weak, you honor the old, and you respect the desert, he who doesn't respect the desert is doomed to be buried within its dunes.."

The host didn't react, he just sat there attentively..trying to decide whether this man was true to his claim of fortune telling or if he was just another con artist.

"You have fled your land..not in fear, but in disappointment" The host's eyes flashed with un-concealable astonishment at what he just heard, "You shall return from your estrangement..to your land..and you shall be King" He then went over to his pouch, and took out a sword, an ancient golden sword revealed itself, the sword was decorated with ancient Arabic poetry, about honor..battles and victory, as the man read the inscription, it seemed as if the ancient poet was resurrected and was talking to him..and no one else, the old man had his wish..he now has the host hooked with wonder as he slowly untangled his mysterious identity.."I come from Andalusia, Cordoba..the jewel of the west, I was once the keeper of the Great library in Cordoba, until that ominous night..when the flames ate the one thousand year old sanctuary of knowledge, ancient transcripts were lost, I was punished..imprisoned, and exiled out of Paradise for my sin". The host confessed.

The old man scratched his beard as he listened on to his host..he now knew that this was no ordinary coincidence, he himself was heading to Cordoba when his ways led him to the lost paths of the desert..he was heading to seek knowledge..enlightenment, and when he was lost..he was found by the keeper of the Great Library of Cordoba, "What strange fate?" he thought to himself, but he now knows that his destination was no more. The two men made a pact, the old man asked the host to promise him that once he became king, he would make him the Grand keeper of the library in his land, in return, the old man would teach him the signs of the sky, the mystery of the stars and the hidden secrets of asteroids, the host presented his hand in a sign of agreement, and the two shook hands and spent the rest of the night conversing about their past journeys.

During the following few weeks, the old man's side of the deal was being kept, he taught our friend the names of the stars, ancient myths about the cosmos, and the art of finding direction through star reading, he told him he needed to befriend the stars..and when they're confident of his loyal friendship, they themselves will reveal more secrets, these are not taught..they're gained.

The host informed the old man of the books he used to keep, he told him of a book that discussed philosophy; "The mind is the road to salvation, people are blind not by their loss of sight, but their loss of insight", books that discussed the beauty of heaven, "Cordoba was heaven on earth..you could smell the blooming jasmine as its branches dangled from the walls of people's homes, as musicians recited songs of love and longing in the distance, where the sons of foreign kings came to seek knowledge..they learned Arabic, and spoke in the distinct cordovan dialect..they saw it as a privilege."

A few days later, the old man asked the host's permission to head on his way..thanking him for his generosity, hospitality and his nobility, reminding him of his promise..the host hugged the old man, confirmed his promise, and saw the old man off on the outskirts of the desert before returning to his world among the sands..he examined the sword the old man had given him..reciting the ancient poetry on it..before concealing it within his prized belongings..a book, an old piece of cloth belonging to his father, and now..the sword.

Years passed, and our friend has now found a new home in a new metropolitan on the edge of Arabia, a growing land..where the now exiles of the lost Andalusian cities have found home, the jasmin, the fountains and the libraries are now stories of the past, tales for books, they've been lost..forever. When man becomes arrogant, he loses his pride.

Our friend progressed in his life, reaching new heights as days passed, he now owned a grand palace on the highest hill overlooking metropolitan, his palace was reminiscent of Andalusia, the scent of jasmine saturated the air, as the sound of flowing water from the several fountains presented a relaxing effect, servants crossed the corners of the palace..you could almost hear Korsakov's "Shehrazade" playing in the background, as the man sat and pondered at his fortunes, he remembered the old man.."That man was right..I must find him, and keep the promise I made". he summoned his advisers and told them to seek an old man..a fortune teller, he gave them a description of the old man..and ordered them to find him.

A week had passed before word came that the old man he sought had passed away a few years before, as he crossed the desert, a group of thugs had attacked him..he was defenceless, and he was killed, The man wept as he heard the news, "The old man gave me his sword, his prized sword, and I left him to his fate, I wish I hadn't accepted that sword, I wish I never met that old man", he walked into his room and closed the door behind, the sword was hanging on the wall, he removed it and read the inscription once again:

كفى بك داءً أن ترى الموت شافيا وحسب المنايا أن يكنّ أمانيا
تمنيتََََََها لمّا تمنيتَ أن ترى صديقاً فأعيا أو عدوّاً مُدجيا

A man's sword..is his mind, his fortune teller, his golden future inscribed in poetry, his use of the sword is optional, defending himself is one option, and as one defends himself with this particular sword, its magical powers are revealed, it fights with you..for you. There comes a time when you have to pass the sword on , it is the responsibility of the next owner to decide what they do with it..some choose to use it, some choose to hang it on the wall..but swords are not made to be hung on walls, neither are minds.


  1. "some choose to use it, some choose to hang it on the wall..but swords are not made to be hung on walls, neither are minds. "

    This is so true and wise ..I read your post several times each time left without words. Absolutely great writing ....I'm somewhat jealous I wish I could write something as beautiful ! great work

  2. Tamara,
    Thank you, I can give you a crash course for the special introductory price of $999.99.
    Tax is not included, the offer is for a limited time only.

  3. Thanks, that is just a great offer, I mean a plane fare, hotel and training all for $999.99 + tax

    count me in : )

  4. yeah...per day! its a month long course..by the end of the month you'd be eligible for The Nobel Prize for Literature, and a free T shirt.

  5. You are an old soul in a 31 years old body.."this is a compliment"..
    I wonder if u ever thought in writing something similar in arabic???

    Regarding the "course",you take visa or master card ?? what's written on the T-shirt?? and am already packing :)

  6. Noura,
    I never claimed to be a 31 year old soul, its at least double the age of my body. I never tried writing in arabic since I feel more at liberty writing in english.

    I do take all major credit cards, the T shirt has a picture of a shark reading a paper..and eating a carrot.

  7. Yes, this is exactly what I meant, your soul is much older than you are, it is just trapped in a young body..

    Then, we have a deal!! where do I sign in ??

  8. Since poor old me cannot afford the expensive course, I'll have to sit back and relax and enjoy your great work...keep those posts coming : )

  9. Dima (an oriental blog)14 March 2007 at 21:30

    Ammar, I will consider this post as the first two pages in a book. Please go on, the story still didn't end, i really have a good feeling this might end up in a best seller book. Please think about it.

  10. Dima,
    Thanx for the vote of confidence, I just might take on that suggestion..we'll see how it goes.


  11. ok tamara.. not only you didnt know what to comment..
    this is a beautiful post that I enjoyed reading for sure..
    I loved this part so..

    "The mind is the road to salvation, people are blind not by their loss of sight, but their loss of insight"

    I am in too :D .. you better hold the cours in Jordan though :)