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Mohammad Ahmad

my novel - the dead sailor

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[SIZE=5][COLOR="#000000"][COLOR="#000000"][COLOR="#000080"]A dead sailor

A novel

Written and translated by

Mohammad Mahmud Ahmad

Mosul- Iraq

Major characters:
Ahmad the main character
Hajji Jarjess Omar Rashid- the dead sailor
The family of Hajji Jargess and his daughter:
Abu Abbad – the furnace owner
The humpbacked man- partner of Abu Abbad
Temur- the Turkish sailor
Wood company
Turkish Court
Hajji Abdullah
Mullah Abd al Rahman

Part one

A ship had passed turning over its sail in the midst of the sea loading with thousand tons of iron and carried about fifty men over its deck, all of them were old, excepted one young man was wrapping his neck with a piece of azure-colored cloth, while his blackish eyes were glowing with bizarre sharp glances..
One of the sailors came near to him saying:
It is the time of sleeping Ahmad and you may go bed now.
You should have a well rest due to an additional work still waiting us, and perhaps we will postpone it for another day until the storm calms then we shall unload the ship cargo in the harbour, which it is nearly tow hours, if we proceed our way in a less speed of yesterday.
However, let us spend the night in the midst of this sea then we shall have the taste of fresh French fish with a little of what had we saved of parsley and pea soup.
The time was about half past eleven p.m. according to Atlantic Time.
The young man gave back the packet to his pocket after more than twenty times frequently had he opened in one day, saying in a faint voice:
Why do we sell our goods to those riffraff people?
Didn’t we have additional time to search for new customers?
My son, still you are raw experience, still more matters you will see in the next days, yet you have only one year in this job, and it maybe you shall wait six years over until you become the lowest adviser to us. The expert old man of seventy years old replied to the young man….
The young man sluggishly said:
By God, what had you to do?
Vainly you kill the time; you are just dotard olds have spent their days lazily without thinking but only to save a bit of bread you buy it, from the furnace of Abu- Abbad, which its front was burned five times in the past year….
A baker who did not sell you breads unless you bought from him some of singed loaves of bread...
Ah! Abu Abbad, the sluggish man of paunchy front abdomen!
Many times, I wished to pierce his round paunch and to save the world from his fierce behaviour; but this man has a beautiful daughter who still helps him in his furnace even if she is growing up…
Therefore, the passers would look to her attractively enjoying their eyes.
Moreover, her father forbids her from going school and from marriage, saying:
She may help him in handing loaves of bread for customers and let her doing for me advantages in gaining two dinars not to spend one dinar.
The young man replied to the old man saying:
Abu Abbad is a man who came from Ahvaz dwelling in Basra from one year and a few months ago.
Abu Abbad is uncourteous man doesn’t communicate others and as soon as he finishes his work he goes immediately to the café close to his furnace, and always he carries a rosary between his hands which its price is more than twenty rials, someone had brought it to him from Khorramshahr….
Due to his malicious temper, no one would sit close to him; therefore, this rosary is the only amusing device to him and the humpbacked man of thick eyebrows who works with him as a partner since he dwelled here…
What is about the orchard then? The old man asked!
Which orchard is it?
The young man replies to him with a piercing confusion!
The orchard your father possesses it in al- Zuber!
Oh, don’t remind me in my father name, he hated my mother and usually has cursed her then he got another wife although my mother was one of his close relative and indeed she is her cousin. He left us early since we were small children….
Won't he send her money? The old asked again…
No, no, don’t poke your nose in others personal affairs, and this matter must not be mentioning again…
Let's get sleep, and stop chattering, in morning we shall have an arduous hours….
What a gossipy old man you are!
You don’t cease from your embarrassing question unless you poke your nose in!
The old man went snorting in deep sleeping as if he did not sleep from several months ago…
Ugh! The old man, wake up! The sun is rising, the sailors start to operate the engines, and we shall be in the harbour past two hours not more…
Hurry up and wash your face, the breakfast is ready….
The old man got up and after a while, they were busy in eating over a single table was setting up between heaps of dried straws slowly inclined from the deck…
Look! No one thinks to remove this heap of straws out…
No, it has benefit for us… the old man replied
What is the benefit it has, mercy of Allah upon thee?
It is just dried straw and perhaps taking fire from a cigarette's fire causing a large fire…
This straw, and the old man kept in silence in order to swallow a big piece of grilled fish had been hindered between his jaws…
After he gulped a glass of water he took the other piece of fish stayed laying on the table and swallowed it, as if he ate nothing, then he turned to the young man, making himself didn’t hear the question saying to him "repeat what you said"…
I said to you that the baker, who we spoke about yesterday, was died in poisoning two days before and left this poor girl working in the furnace alone between the noisy of customers and many of them would be deploring to her…
She has been left alone, however her big sister was married from a trader of horses living in Esfahan, and hardly she came to visit her and even if she came, she would depart after three days of her visiting…
Oh, I am sorrowful to the pity girl, she is overcome by her circumstances!
Did her father leave to her any heritage other than this furnace?
The old man asked…
No, her father sold a half of the furnace to his partner the humpbacked man so that he could pay his old dues before he settled there in this area…
Now the partner and his young son of sixteen years old are working together in the furnace with the daughter of the deceased man…
The girl will work only until the noontime according to the agreement set between them, and it was said that the partner- the hunchback man the only friend to her father- now wants her to be the wife of his son who is hemiplegic in both his jaws….
And what is about the girl?
It was said that she got shock and left the work about two weeks ago, and her purpose is only to gather enough money perhaps she can leave to their native country in Esfahan or perhaps she will prefer to live with her elder sister…. That's her decision…
The old man turned amazingly to the young man after he enjoyed his eyes in looking to the swarm of water birds, which come near to the shore and go back again….
Why don’t you marry her? You have a lot of money since you are the son of the chief of the traders.
No, no the matter is not so, I am very merciful about her, and never have I thought in marrying her…
She is wretched girl and nothing is to say more…
The old man starts into wiping his glasses and kept in horrible silence, then he stood up suddenly and said:
Many years ago, I have spent my life among sea waves considering life is mere peculiar haphazardly occasions, but I discovered that life is not so and it is not a dump of delusion.
Moreover, I did not have the taste of these moments before, and many times ago, vainly I sought for money since in each voyage I finished I came back frustrated, but let me tell you something after we will go to unload the ship…
My father was….but he keeps silent once again and never has he opened his mouth….
The young man was put in a very circle of confusion since the old man was suddenly died and three days after unloading the ship; all sailors were present in the funeral ceremony of the dead man their friend the old sailor who left four daughters and small boy yet does not reach his tenth age …
While they were sitting in the home of the dead friend, the wife of the dead man who was garbing in black clothes asked them if she could know something about the reasons of her husband death.
At a dinnertime, there was a big banquet has been set up inside the twisted lanes for many crowded people came for funeral ceremony.
According to the customs of al-Basra citizens in olden days, neighbours will be gathered from all direction with their sons and wives to console their neighbour in death ceremony for their sadness, and to share them their delight in birth parties or in mirage parties …

Part 2- part 3 should be followed

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