Trafika Europe 6 - Arabesque

ibrahim al-koni

3 In the oasis, griots and gossips have related the story of the scarecrow. They said that an alien migrant sorcerer, when he came from the Unknown and settled in the oasis, disguised himself in rough haircloth—as members of this coterie always like to do. Then he claimed he was a metalsmith whose specialties were using metal tools to carve poles, saw planks, and turn trees into saddles. Not long af ter the new immigrant rented a workshop in the metalsmiths’ market, residents became convinced that the man’s boast was not only accurate but that he was even being modest, because his saddles differed from any they knew in markets in the oases or had purchased from blacksmith shops. His were unique for their captivating

area, and the mysterious being returned from his exile to govern the oasis. Then the creatures restrained their tongues so they could eavesdrop on this creature’s whispers in a pantomime of lost time. The detestable guffaws, the lethal laughter, and the suppressed cackling that people of the oasis had often heard when they passed the scarecrow in the fields and that they glossed as the voice of the Unknown—this mysterious, mischievous rattle—immediately burst from the chest of the twilight specter. Then the stillness was at once shaken, and the place became chaotic. The mysterious being, whom people had known but never seen, fled and settled in the farthest cornerof the austere tract spread beneath the moon.


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