Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Bench in Cairo

Two weeks ago, Marash Girl was at her warehouse on a Saturday around lunchtime and saw several police cars in the parking lot, parked near the picnic tables which were in the shade under the trees on the hillside.  Inquiring if there was a problem Marash Girl soon learned that the police were simply enjoying lunch; no problem at all.  That was a relief!  When Marash Girl asked the landlord about it, he just smiled and answered, "Isn't it good to have them here?"

Relating this story to Marash Boy today elicited a telling of one of the first stories that he had ever read in Arabic, a story recorded by a well known 19th Century Egyptian novelist, and published in one of Marash Boy's early Arabic readers.  The story goes like this.

A boy was watching his father build a bench outside of their house.  The boy asked his father, "Why are you building the bench outside of the house?"  The father answered, "Wait and see."  The father completed the construction of the bench and set it outside of the house.

Every night after that, the boy noticed the night watchman for that quarter of Cairo, after making his rounds, sitting outside of their house on the new bench his father had built.


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