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An Advice worth 500 sheep

Contributed by Mona Wafa on 02.04.2008:

It is said that the Sheik of a tribe had only one son, even though he married more than one woman. The boy was pampered as an only son, and his father was not able to teach him the roughness of the Bedouins and their courage. His softness and inability to fight his peers was a disappointment to his father who was trying to prepare him to be his heir as head of the tribe. He married him off, hoping that marriage would change him, but after months of wedlock no change took place. One day, a camel was lost, and the father asked his son to search for it. The son went searching for hours and returned hungry and tired without the camel. His father was angry and beat his son swearing to exile him from the tribe. The son fled his father’s ill-temper heading south until he reached a tribe in Sinai. The Sheik of the tribe learnt of his story and offered him work as a shepherd in return for 20 sheep every year, in addition to food and clothing and shelter. After working for the Sheik for ten years, the son felt that he has gained enough experience and roughness to convince his father. He counted his sheep and found that they were more than 500, so he asked for permission to leave. The Sheik realized that the young man was still inexperienced, so he offered to give him a horse, a shot gun, and three advice in return for his sheep.

The young man accepted. As to the three ad- vice, they were:

a) Beware of the man with blue eyes and split teeth.

b) Do not sleep in a valley where the water source and direction is not known to you.

c) Sleep over any injustice you feel so as not to regret your actions the next day.

The man listened to the advice and left his sheep and started his travels. He met another traveler on the road, and noticed that he had blue eyes and split teeth so he was very wary. As night approached, the traveler suggested to the young man that they sleep beneath the trees in the valley, but the latter insisted to go up to the mountain for fear of a sudden water flow. They settled down to sleep but neither one was asleep: the young man was afraid to sleep and the other was waiting for him to sleep in order to kill him and take his shot gun and horse. When the latter thought the young man was asleep he tried to attack him, but the man quickly sent a shot towards him and killed him. The next morning, he found the valley had become a river due to the heavy rainfall.

When he arrived to his tribe’s dwellings, he walked quietly to his wife’s tent and stared inside. To his horror he saw her sleeping with a strange man whom he thought was another husband or lover. He took out his shotgun to kill them but he remembered the third advice and refrained. He went to the hospitality tent to sleep. In the early morning he went to greet his father and asked him about the man sleeping with his wife, and his father told him that that was his son.

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