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Legends from Teqoa

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 17.03.2006:

Following is a popular story about Teqoa’s Mosque of ‘Umar. A certain young man from Beit Sahour was once shooting in that neighbourhood, and seeing a bird on top of the mosque, he fired at it and killed it. His hand was immediately fractured because he had violated the sanctity of the mosque.

The region surrounding Teqoa has been from time immemorial a barren desert. In the middle of its ruins the remains of a church and a baptism basin are still traceable. Owing to excessive taxation one of the inhabitants decided to stand it no longer and to emigrate, secretly, for fear of being intercepted. Surreptitiously he sold his possessions bit by bit, explaining that he needed the money. Being anxious to teach his townsmen a lesson, he brought two pigeons and clipped off the wings from one of them, and placed both pigeons under a large wooden bowl, in the middle of the room. He then escaped to safety with the members of his family. Next day he was missed, and his friends and relatives went to his house to enquire about him. They forced open the door and found the house clean and empty. Instantly one pigeon flew out while the other crawled around helplessly. They soon realized the meaning of the lesson he had meant to teach them: They should flee while they were able, and before they were rendered too weak by oppression to do so.

Source: Issa Massou, Religious stories from Bethlehem, Bethlehem University Journal

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