True Tales from the Desert                              Photos & Adaptation © 2008 by John & Susy Pint   Updated September, 2013


By Qurian Al Hajri

Once upon a time in Ain Dar, my family had a female camel called Makhulah. It was a beautiful creature and also a natural leader.

Now, usually we keep the camels hobbled, but one time, my father forgot to retie Makhulah’s rope and so, she left Ain Dar – and took all the herds with her!

Well, we waited for them to come back, and then we waited some more, but they didn’t come back. Then my father said, “Pack up your things; we’re going to get the camels.”

“But we don’t know where they are!”


“I do.”

“But, father, how can you know that? The desert is so vast!”

“Oh, Qurian, my son, it’s simple. Makhulah was born near Sahaf, wasn’t she? So that’s where we are going to find her.”

Now, the village of Sahaf is nearly 200 kilometers away. We drove straight there and arrived at 4 PM. “We’ll go to the drinking trough,” said my father.

We went there and saw plenty of camels, but none of ours were among them. But my father said, “They will come, you’ll see.”

So we spent one night there and nothing happened. By the next night, none of our camels had yet appeared. But then, at midnight, my father came to me. I was asleep near the car. He said, “Pst, Qurian, wake up, wake up!”

I said, “What’s up, father?”

“Come, I’ll show you.”

Now he took me a little ways away and there in the distance I could see the shapes of many, many camels. Now Makhulah knew my father’s voice very well, so he started to call: Ma-khu-laaaah! Ma-khu-laaaah!

Then he went and hid underneath the car. And Makhulah appeared in the dark and she went over to the car and leaned over and kissed my father right where he was. And my father began to cry. He was so overcome that it seemed his lungs were going to burst.

“I love you, Qurian,” he said, “but I love this camel as well.”

And I began to cry too.