Books By Jean Sasson

Swirling Sands       page 7                go to page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

I knew that the true Bedouin tradition treats guests with great respect.  Even a mortal enemy is permitted three days of grace—even after departing the boundaries of a Bedouin tent.

Faten’s face had reddened with each word I spoke, and now her black eyes were tremendous with a threatening look.  But, she made no further advance toward me.

The Bedouin women began to laugh hysterically at Faten’s defeat.

Nura and Tahani rushed to brush the sand from my face and hair. 

Tahani cried out, “Sultana!  Did she hurt you?”

I laughed, “No.” When my eyes locked with Faten’s eyes in mutual hatred, I flung her my final insult.  “This Bedouin fights like a small child.”

Quickly fastening our veils over our faces, the three of us followed Sara and Haifa as they hurried out of the tent.

Meanwhile, the men had heard the commotion, and spilled out of Fahd’s tent, looking around in confused concern.

As we approached our husbands, and were about to explain the situation, a wild scream exploded from behind us. 

What was happening, now?  I wondered. 

I turned to see the sands swirling from the force of Faten’s running footsteps.  The crazy Bedouin grabbed two fistfuls of sand and rushed toward me.  Before I could move, she had thrown the sand on my head, screaming, “My Allah pour all his punishments upon your head!”

Words failed the men.  They were struck dumb at Faten’s outrageous gesture of contempt.

My blood ran cold at her curse, but I was dignified and silent as I leaned forward and brushed the sand from my head and veil.  Let Faten appear the villain.

With great satisfaction, one of the older Bedouin women explained to Sheik Fahd that his new bride had physically assaulted his guests.

“Sultana!”  Kareem rushed toward me.  “Were you harmed?”


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