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The Story of a Beggar

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Another boyfriend of my early childhood was really poor and destitute. He was seen all the time carrying in his small and trembling right hand a tiny wooden bowler begging silently the passers-by to give him some alms, a small piece of coin, some money, or even sometimes a simple and an innocent smile.

This small and mysterious poor boy was really a beggar who was seen all the time in the wide round square of the quarter in which we, the small hoys of the quarter, used to play all the day with joy and delight.

He was seen sometimes squatting or sitting, however, most of the time he was seen standing. The place where he stood throughout the day was more or less hidden. The small boy could not be seen easily by ordinary passers-by or by old people performing all their five prayers of the day in the mosque of the quarter.

However, we the small boys of the quarter knew perfectly well where the small beggar was standing or squatting all the day waiting patiently for somebody, a passer-by, to give him some aid, a small piece of coin of money as a sincere expression of charity, kindness and good will.

The small and innocent boy, the beggar, had the habit of putting on him a long black robe that was all the time torn and looking to be very old and has been used for a long time and night and day. It was obvious that this robe was the only one he had.

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The small boy, the beggar, has a very long black hair that looked to be a little bit curly which almost touched his shoulders. This strange looking hair of the beggar gave the impression that it has been taken care of on a regular daily basis.

It seemed as if he had a regular daily bath in summer season and an occasional bath in a week in winter and in the other cold months of the year. Looking at him from a distance, this small beggar gave the impression that he was more a girl rather than a small boy of an age of about seven or six years.

Boys of his age in our quarter and community had in those days short cut hair. Nobody of these boys of the quarter was allowed to have a long hair at all as if it was a law that had to be absolutely respected by all small boys. Therefore, the long curly hair gave this strange beggar a different appearance and allure from that of the small boys of our quarter. Nobody in the community dared to let their small boys have long hair. On the other hand, small girls were always asked to have long hair. Mothers in the quarter were all the time proud of the long hair of their daughters.

Most of the time, when they were not engaged in playing, the small boys of the quarter stood close to the beggar just to look at his hair more than anything else. For them, they never saw a boy of their age having a very long hair as that of the small beggar. It was quite evident that the small beggar knew that he had a long hair which others of this age did not have. The small beggar was aware of the fact that hair-wise he was unique in the whole community.

Also, it was observed that the beggar was somewhat proud of his long and black hair and that in this respect he was different from all the other boys of the quarter. From time to time, the small beggar had the habit of just touching his long black hair so as to be sure that his long and attractive hair was still there on his head and was touching his shoulders.

Besides, the long curly hair, the small beggar looked in his facial features almost like the other small boys of the community. One extraordinary and peculiar characteristic which was manifested by this small boy was his sadness, his distress and his depression. No one knew why the small beggar was emotionally disturbed.

It was so often observed that his hot tears were continuously flowing of his black twinkling eyes. All the passers-by looked with a surprise at the cheeks of this small beggar that were all the time covered by the flowing down of those tears. Why was this unhappy beggar crying all the time and why was he shedding his tears in such an abundant manner?

All the on-lookers and the spectators wished just to see this beggar only once not shedding his tears. With the exception of those tears coming down perpetually from his eyes, nothing else could be seen moving in the small boy's body. Taking this fact into consideration, the on-lookers and the passers-by as well as the small boys of the quarter thought that the little beggar was really a little statue made of pure marble.

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The Story of a Beggar

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© 1980-2024 by Najati Al Bukhari, Mont de Marsan, France

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