Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My father and his camel

My father on his camel at Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
I remember my dad showing me this picture when I was little, after he had just gotten back from Hajj. "Is that your Camel, Abba?" I said. "He's so big! Did you buy him? How come you didn't bring him with you?"

"I did bring him with me," my dad said, rubbing his tummy with his right hand and smiling.

"What do you mean?" I asked, wondering just what the heck he was talking about. I mean, I know I was young and naive back then, but I know no camel could fit inside my dad's belly.

"Pieces of him, anyway," my dad said.


"I ate him," he said. "I bought him to get around on, just list the prophet did, and then sacrificed him and ate him just like the prophet did. Well, me and a few others actually."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"You ate him?" I asked.

My dad nodded.

I looked at the picture — at the camel's long neck, at the pretty colors adorning it.

Then I cried.

"What are you crying for?" my dad said. "I followed the tradition of the prophet. Aren’t you happy about that? I went to God’s home and ate just like the prophet did." Then my dad turned to my mum and said, "Can I have some rice now? I’m starving here." Then walked away toward the front room, leaving me with the picture of a once great beast that was now in pieces inside my dad's belly.

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