A Dreary Dream
Abdelaziz Khourdifi has pulished two books in English, collections of short stories, namely “Snow in the Desert” and “Glory on the Edge”. He was a Fulbright scholar at Stetson University in Florida, where he taught Arabic and the Moroccan culture. Abdelaziz is working now as a high school teacher of English.
Beni Mellal, Morocco,
Not too many years ago, there lived a family of sheep in abject and abysmal conditions. The father, a thin ram because of ailment and hunger died in an ugly way, sacrificing his life for his family. His son, a delicate lamb, having been hurt deeply, took an oath that it would cross the dreary forest, which was guarded by a fierce wild beast that used to devour anyone who dared to approach. Beyond the forest lay green, beautiful and bounteous lands showing on the bright horizon. There, water and grass were available in abundance, but the problem for the lamb was how it could cross this forest without being exposed to the savageness of the hungry beast.
On a barren hill sat the bereaved lamb, trying to alleviate its furious anger for having lost its father; the lamb looked morose, sad and sullen. Suddenly, it jumped, jumped high into the air; it decided to cross the forest, using a short cut which the wild beast could not move easily through; yet in doing so, it would run the risk of being devoured. At last, the lamb came to a decision: “Tomorrow by the dawn I will go to the green land,” it said to itself loudly.
By daybreak, the lamb was already awake; indeed, it did not sleep for the whole night; it was thinking of the consequences of this adventure only to be awakened from its deep sleep by its mother, a soft ewe, who had also already gathered the supplies needed for the trip. The lamb then bid its mother a good bye and departed its journey. Once far from its mother, the lamb was overcome with sadness, and its eyes began to mist with tears; “This may be the last glance at your face, Ma,” thought the lamb. Heartbroken, it departed without turning its head towards the bereaved mother.
When it reached the appalling forest, the lamb was swaying its head to and fro, expecting the wild beast to appear at any moment. It knew that going by day would expose it more to danger. So it decided to go by night; it sheltered in the shadow of a huge tree close to the frightening forest. There, the roar of the wild beast could be heard banging and penetrating every inch in this forest and beyond it.
By the fall of darkness, the lamb set out its horrifying journey towards the green land. Having heard about those who were devoured by the wild beast, and upon going to the forest, the lamb was thoroughly frightened. Indeed, it heard the roar drawing in, closer and closer, and myriads of ideas came to its mind.
“The wild beast seems to be hounding me, maybe waiting for the right moment,” thought the lamb.
Being so scared by a sudden roar, it was running aimlessly with no thought as to where it should run. After a while, the wild beast appeared; he was as strong and ugly as a nightmare in a calm night, which makes one out of breath. His appearance made the lamb’s fleece stand on its end. The wild-eyed beast, with no hesitation, vehemently swooped on the delicate lamb; the lamb had no chance of escape; resistance was futile. The moon morosely hurried and hid behind a thick fog to avoid seeing this frightful scene. The fierce wild beast in a few moments ended the dream of the wretched lamb.
When the sun rose, the lamb became a common human being; the wild beast became a furious sea, and the green land became a fascinating paradisiacal land.