Somali Short Stories Series: Egal Shiidaad And The Camel

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Egal Shiidaad's camels
Egal Shiidaad's camels
Egal Shiidaad's camels

Egal Shiidaad was a long-standing character in Somali storytelling and fables. It is usually said that Egal lived in Somali-inhabited Horn of Africa about a few hundred years ago. One of distinctive traits of his character coined by his herdsmen peers was that he was a coward, which showed in many instances of his life that he was more a wise man than a sheer coward.

Egal lived among a nomadic society, which depended on livestock for livelihood. Egal owned a share of about a few hundred camels. The other shareholders were three men who used to make fun of Egal whenever it was his turn to take the camels for grazing.

One day, Egal took the camels for grazing but the herd drifted all day that it was impossible for Egal to bring it back before it was sunset and meat eating beasts were active for hunting. Egal lost his favorite she-camel to a lion and brought the rest home three hours after sunset. His friends (other three men) were curious about what happened to Egal and Egal didn’t tell them that he lost one camel to a lion; his friends teased him so mercilessly to the extent that Egal decided to go to bed without reacting to any of their teasing game. “Nowadays Egal doesn’t know even how to find his way through the forest and he is afraid of flies, let alone the king of the jungle”, one of them laughed heavily.

It was time to milk the camels and the men were ready to call the name of Egal’s favorite she-camel. “Star, star,” they yelled holding the baby camel for Star (the she-camel) to make Star visible among the rest of the camels in this full and crowded camp. The three men kept calling Star all night but Star was nowhere; Egal was listening to all this while faking sleep. Finally, Egal said, “please don’t tantalize the baby camel for drinking milk; her mother has been eaten by a lion”. “Once you are dead, you never come back to life no matter how many times they call your name!” Egal laughed out loud. His three friends who used to tease him mercilessly were the laughing-stock this time!

Lessons to be learned

Don’t belittle anyone; they might have a superior IQ and can use it to your disadvantage!

P. S. To see how storytelling is important in Somali Culture, please read The Somali Oral Tradition and the Role of Storytelling in Somalia

Milking a she-camel
Milking a she-camel

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Comments 1 comment

asina 4 years ago

Love it

So funnny

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