June 1, 2010


“The woman noticed that her daughter had slowed down and her movements were sluggish as if she had to drag her body along.”

[Upon finding her daughter pregnant, the woman leads her out into the desert to a small village, where…]

“A man passed by them and saw the woman crying. He stopped and asked what the matter was. He was big, his bones were well defined, and his neck thick. She told him her story.

The man looked toward the girl who lowered her face. He contemplated the situation while the woman continued complaining that her husband had died without leaving her a boy.

The man said to himself, ‘Be kind for once. Here is a weak woman with no man to help her.’

He was a professional killer, robber and thief, but times change. He said to himself, ‘Old age has begun to creep up on me and I have nothing left. Any action I take, I pay the price even more now.’

He patted the woman’s shoulder and comforted her. He carried her belongings and led the procession to his home. At home he served them food, which they ate, and then prepared a bed for them, telling the woman to sleep peacefully and let him take charge of her worries.

As night descended on the village, the man approached the girl and broke her neck. He put the body into a sack, carried it to the river and dumped it in. He then lighthertedly returned home.

In the morning he prepared breakfast for the woman and placed her and her belongings on a donkey. As he walked beside the donkey back to the village the woman raised her face to heaven and muttered prayers thanking God for the man.”

--“Benevolence,” by Sabri Moussa, from The Anchor Book of Modern Arabic Fiction.

1 comment:

Yay for comments! Nothing mean please, and that means you, Anonymous.