By Edouard Aldahdah
Posted on July 10th, 2012 in General
I feel so very lucky that Mohammad Abdallah Saoud al-Tahawy and Yasser Ghanim al-Tahawy gifted me a xeroxed copy of the book of Ali al-Barazi on Arabian horses, which I had lost several years ago.
That book revives bits and pieces of Northern Arabian Bedouin oral history which had died with the passing away of the old story tellers of Homs and Hama in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the time when the last of the people who had known the old Bedouin way of life passed away. I was lucky to have met these people toward the end of their lives. This era is now over forever because the old people of today, those who are 80 in 2012 were born in the early 1930s, came of age in the 1950s and so were too young to have witnessed the last Bedouin raids and other aspects of Bedouin lifestyle.
Anyway here’s one snippet from the Barazi book in case I lose it again, with my rough translation: “among the famous Ma’naqi Sbaili horses was the stallion of Darwish Ibn Damnan of the Sba’ah, which large numbers of Bedouins used to flock to from far away places to breed their mares. This stallion was so famous that Bedouin poets would cite him in their poetry, and he was known as ‘Ghawj al-Rasaleen’. Among their sayings:
Take a tail and a mane and breed her to Darwish’s stallion, and you will get a dark bay mare which the spears can’t reach when you lift her bridle she raises her head as if she was praising her Lord”
I don’t know why, but this Ghawj al-Rasaleen always reminded me of another Ma’naqi Sbayli stallion from the Sba’ah which was said to have bred 200 mares from Aleppo to Najd on a 1906 summer…