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The juice seller and the king

Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 28.03.2009:

I will never forget my childhood. My grandfather taught me how to enjoy life, how to imagine, to learn from the past, how to gain more wisdom in life.I remember when I was seven or eight mum used to take us, my brothers and sisters, to my grandfather’s farm fields. There was a big room with a terrace and a well in front of the field that was 20 dunam large. This field had olive trees, grapes, apricots, pears, apples, pomegranates and figs of different kinds. My grandma used to cook for us. We gathered the wood and she sparked the fire and then she cooked. You cannot imagine the nice dishes she could prepare with very simple ingredients. Also, she baked for us tasty bread in the taboun, an oven made of mud and hay.

In the evening we used to sit on the terrace talking to each other. It was an amazing event when my grandfather told us stories. Imagine about 20 grandchildren sitting beside each other on the furniture around listening to my grandfather in total silence, without even a whisper.

My father was a very smart man. He told us stories and described the adventures in a very simple way which made our mind think that we were the heroes in the imaginary events. But we learned to benefit from the stories and their wisdom.

An example: he told us a story about a very poor but honest man. His name was Habib. He was a farmer, he used to make grape juice and sell it to the villagers. He used an injection to take some blood of the person, and then gave him grape juice to purify the blood. He walked around the village and in the countryside while singing all along the way.

Once the king heard about him and he asked his servant to bring Habib. The king asked Habib: “Why is your juice so delicious and why is what you do so healthy?” Habib answered: “I make grape juice without sugar or any additions, honestly. And I use an injection to purify blood, and that’s what I sing: ‘I am Habibi and my juice is from grapes, and who asks God will not be disappointed.’”

The king believed Habib and he asked him to take some blood from him. Buit the prime minister disagreed and said that the injection was old, and that he would bring a new one. But Habib was smart. He asked the king to be careful and to let the prime minister use this injection on him first. The king forced the prime minister to do that and what happened: he dropped down dead because it was poisened.

Then the king understood that Habib was a honest man and he told him that he could take some blood from him. Then he drank the grape juice. Because of his honesty the king appointed Habib as his new prime minister and he and his family were happy.

After that lovely story, the musician Ayman used to visit us and play on the flute, after which we went to sleep.

Told by Tania, member of AEI’s women’s group, March 2009, Bethlehem

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