Rabiah was a small boy with messy, long, brown hair
that hung over his deep brown eyes. His skin was olive brown and seemed
tightly wrapped around his bones, and he was very thin.
Rabiah lived in the desert. As a Bedouin boy, he spent
most of his time herding goats. His family lived in a black tent made of
camel and goat hair. It kept them warm in the winter. When summer arrived
and the temperature soared, all they had to do was open the flaps on the
tent and a breeze would blow through, keeping them cool.
He didnít have a television, or a car, and he didnít
even have a refrigerator, but he did have his very own camel. Her name was
Jasmine. His father had given him the camel when he was very young. Now he
was ten. He and Jasmine were always together. Since Rabiah was small, he
fit perfectly on Jasmineís hump, once he was up there. It was difficult
for him to get up by himself. His father used to have to help him, but now
Jasmine simply got down on her knees and allowed him to climb on.
Jasmineís blanket that fit over her hump. Rabiah tossed
it on her every morning so he didnít have to sit on her rough hair. It was
wirey and stiff. The blanket was black, like the tent, as it too was made
of goat hair.
Before he was able to ride Jasmine, he had to milk her.
Rabiah was very good at milking camels and Jasmine always allowed him to
do it. She didnít bite him, or kick him, or spit at him. She loved Rabiah.
Heíd take the bucket of milk to his mother, who would churn it into butter
and cheese. Rabiah always got the first drink of camel milk. He loved the
One morning, after Rabiah and Jasmine had gone to tend
to the goats, it turned windy. Grains of sand pelted Rabiahís face,
stinging him. Jasmine lay down. She didnít like sandstorms either. The
wind blew hard Rabiah gathered the goats and they all huddled around
Jasmine. She protected them from the storm. There wasnít a drop of rain,
only hot howling winds.
When the storm passed, Rabiah stood up. He was covered
with sand. It was an inch thick on his hair. The goats were covered in
sand too. He laughed when he saw their faces. He could hardly tell they
had black hair. The goats shook themselves off and ran off to find some
plants and bushes to nibble on.
Jasmine stood up. She left a big hole in the sand where
she had lain. She walked around for a while and all the sand fell off her
fur. Her long eyelashes had protected her eyes from all the sand. Rabiah
took her blanket and shook it out and then put it on her back.
That night, when they went back to the tent, everything
there was covered with sand. Rabiah climbed off Jasmineís back and ran
over to help his father. Even though he didnít have much, Rabiah was a
happy boy. He had Jasmine and Jasmine had him.