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Home »» Dialogues

Soraya and Massoud the Sheep


By Jamal Laoudi
 
Soraya-and-Massoud-the-Sheep

It is 11 am on Sunday morning. Ali has just got back from the market where he has bought the Eid sheep for the family. He goes into the kitchen and asks Sara his wife who is cooking lunch:

“Come take a look at the sheep for this year. I just settled it in the garage”


“Oh great; can’t wait to see it.” Sara responds.

Once in the garage, Sara takes a good scrutinizing look at the sheep and feels its back.

“It is big and looks very healthy. It must have been expensive.” She says.

Ali responds: “I paid a little bit more that we had budgeted but it is worth it. I could not pass on his one.”

Sara replies: ”Good choice and I am very satisfied.”

“Do you doubt my choices?” Ali asks.

Sara: “No not that but I know how impatient you are when it comes to shopping in general and I want to make sure that this isn’t the case of picking something just for the sake of getting the chore out of the way, something we both know you are infamous for. I know you are an excellent shopper once you put your mind to it; it is just that that does not happen often. Anyway, thank you and you are the best; that is why I married you.”

Ali replies with pride and a sense of achievement “I am glad I got this over it and two weeks ahead of time.”

“Case and point. Come have some tea as I finish preparing lunch.” Relies Sara smilingly


Ali changes the topic: “Where are the kids?”

Sara: “Soraya is upstairs playing with her dolls and Adnan is at the neighbor’s house playing with their two sons.”

Adnan is their 10 year-old son and Soraya their 7 year-old daughter and.

Ali: “Get Soraya and I are going to get Adnan so they can see the sheep.”

He then walks towards the neighbor’s house while Sara yells out:

“Soraya, come down check out the sheep. It is here.”

“Where? Where? I want to see it.” Exclaims Soraya.

Sara walks her to the garage and asks:

“Look, isn’t it nice?”

”Yes it is. It is big too.” Affirms Soraya.

Sara: “Come and feel it.”

Soraya takes a step back and says: ”is it a nice sheep? I don’t want it to hurt me.”

Sara: “Oh don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. I will hold its horns while you touch it. ”

Soraya approaches the sheep cautiously and hesitantly touches its back.

Sara: ”Don’t be scared. This one is very nice and hasn’t shown any resistance. In fact, your father did not struggle at all to get it inside the garage.”

“Why do we always bring a sheep home once a year mommy?” Asks Soraya seemingly out of the bleu.

“Good question my dear.” Responds Sara and explains:

“We, Muslims, have a Eid called the Greater Eid where we commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son prophet Ismail as ordered by God. It was a test. When it became clear that Abraham would carry God’s will, the latter sent him a sheep to sacrifice instead.”


Ali arrives at the neighbor’s house and knocks. Radouan, head of the household, answers the door.

“Hi Ali, come in.”

Ali: “Thank you. I came to get Adnan. We have bought the sheep and I promised to get him as soon as I brought it in.”

Radouan: “Already? That is good. How is the market this year? I have yet to get one myself.”

Ali: “This year is very good. Plenty of nice choices and the prices are reasonable.”

Radouan: “Good to hear. I am still going to wait few more days.”

”Well, if you wait, you may not get what you want at the price you want.” Says Ali hinting to a slight sense of urgency.

Radouan: ”There is a cost to everything so I am going to wait.”

Ali: “I hope you will find what you are looking for when the time comes.”

Radouan: “Thank you. Have a seat and stay for tea while I get Adnan.”

Ali: “Would love to but I really need to get going. Another time. Thank you.”

Adnan comes down; Ali informs him that the sheep is inside the house. They walk back.



In to the garage rushes Adnan with his dad Ali behind him.

Ali says: ”Easy Adnan and don’t run to it. You may scare it and provoke unwanted reaction.”

Adnan pads and feels the sheep all over. He looks very happy.

Ali: “Kids, remember that this is not a toy you can play with so be very careful around it. Also do not try and feed it. It has its hay so no fries or Mac&Cheese, especially you Soraya.”

Soraya”Ok daddy.”

The family goes back inside the house. Later that afternoon, Soraya and Adnan ask their mom:

“Mami, we want to go watch the sheep.”

Sara: ”Ok, you can go but stay a way and no matter what, do not get close to him. Adnan see to it that your sister does not do that.”

Adnan: ”We won’t. We’ll just watch from a distance. You do have him on a rope so he can’t come close right?’
”That is correct.” Affirms Sara.

The kids go to the garage and sit within a safe distance. They watch him as the sheep watches them back at times, other times eats, and other times lies down.”

Soraya notices that the sheep digs into the hay when eating and that he goes for what looks like green dry sweet peas.


As the days go by, the kids increase their visits to the garage. They noticed that the sheep is quite nice and friendly. As they grew more and more comfortable around the sheep, they got closer and closer to the point where they mustard enough courage to actually pad it.

One day, Ali comes home and didn’t see his kids. He asks his wife:

“Where are the kids?”

Sara: “With Massoud. Where else?”

Ali: ”Massoud who?”

Sara: “The sheep. I did not tell you? They have named him Massoud and they are spending much of their free time with it. I must admit he is quite different and quite domesticated. I even took the rope off of him to give him more space to roam around in the garage.”

Ali: ”Are you sure that is a good idea? ”

Sara: “Yeh, the garage-door is always closed and Massoud behaves quite nicely. This sheep must have grown up around kids.”

Ali: “Easy with the Massoud thing. It is a sheep don’t forget. Still we cannot have him loose around the kids.”


Ali calls his kids out to come inside the house.

Soraya asks: “Can Massoud come too?”

Ali: ”No he cannot.”

Soraya: “But daddy he is very nice. He can stay in my room.”

Ali: ”Come here my dear. The sheep makes a lot of mess and he would not be comfortable inside the house. He is happiest there.”

Soraya nods in agreement hesitantly.

Sara: “What do you want for dinner?”

Soraya first to answer: “Sweet peas and lots of sweet peas.”

Sara: ”What happened to Mac&Chesse?”

”I learned that sweet peas are good for you.” Responds Soraya with a smirk on her face.

”Yes, sweet peas are very good for you.” Comments Sara with a slight expression of suspicion.


Comes dinner time, the family sits around the table. Everyone is eating normally except for Soraya who just collects sweet peas and put then on her plate.

Ali: ”What is it with you and sweet peas all of a sudden?”

Soraya: ”Nothing. I just like them and I want to save them for a later since I am not hungry right now.”

With slight sense of confusion Ali nods “Ok!”

Soraya takes her sweet peas up to her room with her. When it was time to watch the sheep the next day, she sneaks the peas with her and puts the plate before Massoud. The latter digs in and finishes the plate with in seconds. Soraya’s face glows with happiness upon that sight.


The day of Eid has arrived. Ali goes to Eid prayer and comes back home. After about an hour or so, Hamza, the local butcher arrives for the sacrifice.

After breakfast, Hamza informs Ali that he needs to get to work as he has other homes too visit.

Ali: ”Sara, Hamza is here and we are ready for the sacrifice.”

Sara: ”Ok, I will be rather there. Let me get the kids.”

She then calls her kids out: ”Kids, come downstairs; your dad is back and we are ready for the sacrifice.”

They come down running and go straight to the garage.


As Ali and Hamza start positioning the sheep for sacrifice, Adnan’s face goes grim and Soraya’s eyes water. Before long, Soraya starts crying and asks her mom:

‘Why are they going to hurt him? He is my friend.”

Sara: ”Oh no, they are not going to hurt him.”

Adnan starts crying in turn and runs up to his room.

Soraya: ”Mom, please tell them to not hurt him, tell them to stop.”

Ali asks Hamza to let the sheep free until he deals with his kids. He gathers them in the kitchen and says:

“You see, we are sacrificing Massoud so he can go to heaven. This is what our religion recommends and we are acting on that recommendation.”

Soraya: “Don’t hurt Massoud.”

Ali: ”We are not going to hurt him and he is not going to feel pain. Don’t you want mommy to make you your favorite Kababs?”

Soraya goes on another round of crying and responds: “No, I don’t eat meat anymore.”

Sara jumps in “What are talking about Ali? We are not going to hurt Massoud and we are going to take to the farm where he can live happily ever after. I am going to shower the kids now. In the meantime, go get us another sheep, a bad mean sheep.”

Ali: “Ok I get it. Go shower and change and I will get another one.”

As soon as the kids head upstairs with their mother, Ali turns to Hamza and says:

“Let us get this over with before they come back.”

Sara shows up alone: “They are taking a shower; hide the head as soon as possible.”

Ali responds with a perplexed look: ”Ok, we’ll do that.”

Hamza: ”Kids today are very soft. You are the fourth house I work on today and I have seen something similar in at least one of them. This trend is on the increase year after year. “

Ali: ”Well, it is different times and a different generation. It is true that at their age, we wanted to actually carry the sacrifice ourselves and our parents had to fight us to convince us otherwise but we cannot compare. That being said, I kind of understand.”

Hamza: ”Ali, are you ok? I hope you are joking when you said you understand. They are kids and it is only a sheep.”

Not wanting to engage this topic further Ali nods agreeably and carries on with the operation.

After all was said and done, Ali and Sara succeeded in convincing their kids that Massoud lives in a far away farm, to preempt a visit-request at any point down the road, and that he is very happy.


Later that evening, Ali stepped outside and he ran into his neighbor Radouan.

Radouan: “Hi Ali, how did the sheep turn out?”

Ali: “The most difficult and complicated Eid we have had so far.”

Radouan: ”What happened?”

Ali: ”The kids did not want us to sacrifice the sheep. They even named him Massoud, can you believe that?”

Radouan: “To be frank with you Ali, you had no business bringing the sheep in two weeks out. What were you thinking? Remember when I told that there is a cost to everything? I was going to say more the other day when you informed me that you have brought tone home that early but I refrained in the last minute. My sheep came home last night and the kids didn’t se it until this morning. Piece of cake. That being said, I confess that I had the same experience with mine few years back. It was a mess. Samir my son has not eaten lamb since and he would still not eat it even if you paid him.”













Soraya and Massoud the Sheep


It is 11 am on Sunday morning. Ali has just got back from the market where he has bought the Eid sheep for the family. He goes into the kitchen and asks Sara his wife who is cooking lunch:

“Come take a look at the sheep for this year. I just settled it in the garage”


“Oh great; can’t wait to see it.” Sara responds.

Once in the garage, Sara takes a good scrutinizing look at the sheep and feels its back.

“It is big and looks very healthy. It must have been expensive.” She says.

Ali responds: “I paid a little bit more that we had budgeted but it is worth it. I could not pass on his one.”

Sara replies: ”Good choice and I am very satisfied.”

“Do you doubt my choices?” Ali asks.

Sara: “No not that but I know how impatient you are when it comes to shopping in general and I want to make sure that this isn’t the case of picking something just for the sake of getting the chore out of the way, something we both know you are infamous for. I know you are an excellent shopper once you put your mind to it; it is just that that does not happen often. Anyway, thank you and you are the best; that is why I married you.”

Ali replies with pride and a sense of achievement “I am glad I got this over it and two weeks ahead of time.”

“Case and point. Come have some tea as I finish preparing lunch.” Relies Sara smilingly


Ali changes the topic: “Where are the kids?”

Sara: “Soraya is upstairs playing with her dolls and Adnan is at the neighbor’s house playing with their two sons.”

Adnan is their 10 year-old son and Soraya their 7 year-old daughter and.

Ali: “Get Soraya and I are going to get Adnan so they can see the sheep.”

He then walks towards the neighbor’s house while Sara yells out:

“Soraya, come down check out the sheep. It is here.”

“Where? Where? I want to see it.” Exclaims Soraya.

Sara walks her to the garage and asks:

“Look, isn’t it nice?”

”Yes it is. It is big too.” Affirms Soraya.

Sara: “Come and feel it.”

Soraya takes a step back and says: ”is it a nice sheep? I don’t want it to hurt me.”

Sara: “Oh don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. I will hold its horns while you touch it. ”

Soraya approaches the sheep cautiously and hesitantly touches its back.

Sara: ”Don’t be scared. This one is very nice and hasn’t shown any resistance. In fact, your father did not struggle at all to get it inside the garage.”

“Why do we always bring a sheep home once a year mommy?” Asks Soraya seemingly out of the bleu.

“Good question my dear.” Responds Sara and explains:

“We, Muslims, have a Eid called the Greater Eid where we commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son prophet Ismail as ordered by God. It was a test. When it became clear that Abraham would carry God’s will, the latter sent him a sheep to sacrifice instead.”


Ali arrives at the neighbor’s house and knocks. Radouan, head of the household, answers the door.

“Hi Ali, come in.”

Ali: “Thank you. I came to get Adnan. We have bought the sheep and I promised to get him as soon as I brought it in.”

Radouan: “Already? That is good. How is the market this year? I have yet to get one myself.”

Ali: “This year is very good. Plenty of nice choices and the prices are reasonable.”

Radouan: “Good to hear. I am still going to wait few more days.”

”Well, if you wait, you may not get what you want at the price you want.” Says Ali hinting to a slight sense of urgency.

Radouan: ”There is a cost to everything so I am going to wait.”

Ali: “I hope you will find what you are looking for when the time comes.”

Radouan: “Thank you. Have a seat and stay for tea while I get Adnan.”

Ali: “Would love to but I really need to get going. Another time. Thank you.”

Adnan comes down; Ali informs him that the sheep is inside the house. They walk back.



In to the garage rushes Adnan with his dad Ali behind him.

Ali says: ”Easy Adnan and don’t run to it. You may scare it and provoke unwanted reaction.”

Adnan pads and feels the sheep all over. He looks very happy.

Ali: “Kids, remember that this is not a toy you can play with so be very careful around it. Also do not try and feed it. It has its hay so no fries or Mac&Cheese, especially you Soraya.”

Soraya”Ok daddy.”

The family goes back inside the house. Later that afternoon, Soraya and Adnan ask their mom:

“Mami, we want to go watch the sheep.”

Sara: ”Ok, you can go but stay a way and no matter what, do not get close to him. Adnan see to it that your sister does not do that.”

Adnan: ”We won’t. We’ll just watch from a distance. You do have him on a rope so he can’t come close right?’
”That is correct.” Affirms Sara.

The kids go to the garage and sit within a safe distance. They watch him as the sheep watches them back at times, other times eats, and other times lies down.”

Soraya notices that the sheep digs into the hay when eating and that he goes for what looks like green dry sweet peas.


As the days go by, the kids increase their visits to the garage. They noticed that the sheep is quite nice and friendly. As they grew more and more comfortable around the sheep, they got closer and closer to the point where they mustard enough courage to actually pad it.

One day, Ali comes home and didn’t see his kids. He asks his wife:

“Where are the kids?”

Sara: “With Massoud. Where else?”

Ali: ”Massoud who?”

Sara: “The sheep. I did not tell you? They have named him Massoud and they are spending much of their free time with it. I must admit he is quite different and quite domesticated. I even took the rope off of him to give him more space to roam around in the garage.”

Ali: ”Are you sure that is a good idea? ”

Sara: “Yeh, the garage-door is always closed and Massoud behaves quite nicely. This sheep must have grown up around kids.”

Ali: “Easy with the Massoud thing. It is a sheep don’t forget. Still we cannot have him loose around the kids.”


Ali calls his kids out to come inside the house.

Soraya asks: “Can Massoud come too?”

Ali: ”No he cannot.”

Soraya: “But daddy he is very nice. He can stay in my room.”

Ali: ”Come here my dear. The sheep makes a lot of mess and he would not be comfortable inside the house. He is happiest there.”

Soraya nods in agreement hesitantly.

Sara: “What do you want for dinner?”

Soraya first to answer: “Sweet peas and lots of sweet peas.”

Sara: ”What happened to Mac&Chesse?”

”I learned that sweet peas are good for you.” Responds Soraya with a smirk on her face.

”Yes, sweet peas are very good for you.” Comments Sara with a slight expression of suspicion.


Comes dinner time, the family sits around the table. Everyone is eating normally except for Soraya who just collects sweet peas and put then on her plate.

Ali: ”What is it with you and sweet peas all of a sudden?”

Soraya: ”Nothing. I just like them and I want to save them for a later since I am not hungry right now.”

With slight sense of confusion Ali nods “Ok!”

Soraya takes her sweet peas up to her room with her. When it was time to watch the sheep the next day, she sneaks the peas with her and puts the plate before Massoud. The latter digs in and finishes the plate with in seconds. Soraya’s face glows with happiness upon that sight.


The day of Eid has arrived. Ali goes to Eid prayer and comes back home. After about an hour or so, Hamza, the local butcher arrives for the sacrifice.

After breakfast, Hamza informs Ali that he needs to get to work as he has other homes too visit.

Ali: ”Sara, Hamza is here and we are ready for the sacrifice.”

Sara: ”Ok, I will be rather there. Let me get the kids.”

She then calls her kids out: ”Kids, come downstairs; your dad is back and we are ready for the sacrifice.”

They come down running and go straight to the garage.


As Ali and Hamza start positioning the sheep for sacrifice, Adnan’s face goes grim and Soraya’s eyes water. Before long, Soraya starts crying and asks her mom:

‘Why are they going to hurt him? He is my friend.”

Sara: ”Oh no, they are not going to hurt him.”

Adnan starts crying in turn and runs up to his room.

Soraya: ”Mom, please tell them to not hurt him, tell them to stop.”

Ali asks Hamza to let the sheep free until he deals with his kids. He gathers them in the kitchen and says:

“You see, we are sacrificing Massoud so he can go to heaven. This is what our religion recommends and we are acting on that recommendation.”

Soraya: “Don’t hurt Massoud.”

Ali: ”We are not going to hurt him and he is not going to feel pain. Don’t you want mommy to make you your favorite Kababs?”

Soraya goes on another round of crying and responds: “No, I don’t eat meat anymore.”

Sara jumps in “What are talking about Ali? We are not going to hurt Massoud and we are going to take to the farm where he can live happily ever after. I am going to shower the kids now. In the meantime, go get us another sheep, a bad mean sheep.”

Ali: “Ok I get it. Go shower and change and I will get another one.”

As soon as the kids head upstairs with their mother, Ali turns to Hamza and says:

“Let us get this over with before they come back.”

Sara shows up alone: “They are taking a shower; hide the head as soon as possible.”

Ali responds with a perplexed look: ”Ok, we’ll do that.”

Hamza: ”Kids today are very soft. You are the fourth house I work on today and I have seen something similar in at least one of them. This trend is on the increase year after year. “

Ali: ”Well, it is different times and a different generation. It is true that at their age, we wanted to actually carry the sacrifice ourselves and our parents had to fight us to convince us otherwise but we cannot compare. That being said, I kind of understand.”

Hamza: ”Ali, are you ok? I hope you are joking when you said you understand. They are kids and it is only a sheep.”

Not wanting to engage this topic further Ali nods agreeably and carries on with the operation.

After all was said and done, Ali and Sara succeeded in convincing their kids that Massoud lives in a far away farm, to preempt a visit-request at any point down the road, and that he is very happy.


Later that evening, Ali stepped outside and he ran into his neighbor Radouan.

Radouan: “Hi Ali, how did the sheep turn out?”

Ali: “The most difficult and complicated Eid we have had so far.”

Radouan: ”What happened?”

Ali: ”The kids did not want us to sacrifice the sheep. They even named him Massoud, can you believe that?”

Radouan: “To be frank with you Ali, you had no business bringing the sheep in two weeks out. What were you thinking? Remember when I told that there is a cost to everything? I was going to say more the other day when you informed me that you have brought tone home that early but I refrained in the last minute. My sheep came home last night and the kids didn’t se it until this morning. Piece of cake. That being said, I confess that I had the same experience with mine few years back. It was a mess. Samir my son has not eaten lamb since and he would still not eat it even if you paid him.”







 
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ahmed in la : This is one article I will miss! A bit too long for my attention span!
I’m sure it is a good article.
I have seen sheep on Moroccan scooters, Peugot 103, Motobecane, Mobilette, LHAMRA and ZZERGA, but, judging by the photo, I never thought that an American hillbilly could be called Ali! A good-all American-boy, maybe; a hillbilly? Naaaah.
Few years ago, as Soumaya, Aicha, an Afghan lady friend of theirs and I were hanging out, Aicha asked her Afghan friend whether she would be celebration the up-coming Eid. The Afghan girl did not know what Aicha meant. After a few explanations and clarifications, mentioning Abraham, the Koran, a vocalization, "BAA3", a gesture of GRONS, etcetera, the lady finally recognized the holiday; “Oh, 9OURBONI”, she said; obviously the name of the holiday in her language.
Somaya could not hold herself and immediately replied: “LLA, 9OULBOU LHAWLI.”
Try translating that one to Pashtun, Dari or Farsi.

Happy Eid everyone.
Don’t trick the sheep, hillbilly or JBELbilly.

L.A.billy
 
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