A story of an Arabic proverb
Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 24.05.2006:
“Men are closed boxes opened by experiences”
A man had a son, and the son had a lot of friends. One day the father asked the boy, “Dear boy, I see you very often going in and out with your friends.” The boy answered: “These are my friends, even brothers; they support me when I need them.” The father replied: “I think that you should try them out in order to be sure that they support you in hard times. You have to do what I tell you to discover the truth. Assume that you have killed a person. Ask each one to help you hide the corpse.
They subsequently refused to help him. After this the father said, “I have a friend, let us ask for his help. Go and tell him that your father killed a man and that he is now in trouble.” The son left to look for his father’s friend. When he found him he told what the father had said. After hearing the son’s story, the friend immediately joint the son to meet the father. After the son had left the father asked his friend to help him to hide the corpse. The friend agreed. They set to a nearby stream and buried the corpse under water.
Two weeks later, the father asked his son to leave for his friend, and to pressure him to tell where the corpse was hided. When he did so the friend replied: “Even if you put fire on my chest I won’t tell you the place.” The son returned to his father and said that he had told the truth. Then the father summoned his friend. They all went to the spot and took out the corpse which turned out to be a slaughtered sheep.
From: Stories from Bethlehem. A Narrative approach to English-language teaching. Al Mawrid, Ramallah, 1995