Halima And The Scorpions

Halima And The Scorpions

By Robert Smythe Hichens

  • Release Date: 1950-01-01
  • Genre: Short Stories
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Description

Halima And The Scorpions is a Fiction Short Story Book. It says that In travelling about the world one collects a number of those trifles of all sorts, usually named "curiosities", many of them worthless if it were not for the memories they recall. The other day I was clearing out a bureau before going abroad, and in one of the drawers I came across a hedgehog's foot, set in silver, and hung upon a tarnished silver chain. I picked it up in the Sahara, and here is its history. Mohammed El Aïd Ben Ali Tidjani, marabout of Tamacine, is a great man in the Sahara Desert. His reputation for piety reaches as far as Tunis and Algiers, to the north of Africa, and to the uttermost parts of the Southern Desert, even to the land of the Touaregs. He dwells in a sacred village of dried mud and brick, surrounded by a high wall, pierced with loopholes, and ornamented with gates made of palm wood, and covered with sheets of iron. In his mansion, above the entrance of which is written "L'Entrée de Sidi Laïd", are clocks innumerable, musical boxes, tables, chairs, sofas, and even framed photographs. Negro servants bow before him, wives, brothers, children, and obsequious hangers on of various nationalities, black, bronze, and café au lait in colour, offer him perpetual incense. Rich worshippers of the Prophet and the Prophet's priests send him presents from afar; camels laden with barley, donkeys staggering beneath sacks of grain, ostrich plumes, silver ornaments, perfumes, red eyed doves, gazelles whose tiny hoofs are decorated with gold leaf or painted in bright colours. The tributes laid before the tomb of Cheikh Sidi El Hadj Ali ben Sidi El Hadj Aïssa are, doubtless, his perquisites as guardian of the saint. He dresses in silks of the tints of the autumn leaf, and carries in his mighty hand a staff hung with apple green ribbons. And his smile is as the smile of the rising sun in an oleograph.

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