Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Tale of a Yellow Papered Book

In front of me now there is a yellow papered book laying on the shelf , it was published in…wait a minute....in 1972, then it is 35 years old book. maybe it is not so old but it has a story of its own. Here the story goes, my eldest sister got this book from Sur Al-Azbakiah (a place in Cairo for selling old and used books) when I was 10 years old, it is about 1500 pages, containing three novels and the last one is unfinished.
Ok. then what is so special about it Silly Ellie?
I'll tell you, the author of this book was a physician who was very much interested in history, he wrote about 7 novels and 2 researches on Egyptology and history. After reading four of his novels you can't help but fall in love with every word he writes, my sister and I went to the publishing house where this book was published decades back, we met there a young handsome man, called Ahamad, we hesitated to ask him at the beginning thinking he would make fun of the two fools coming asking about a book published 35 years ago. My sister told me we came all this way and we can't turn back on our heels now, we approached him and asked if he is the owner of the place he said "yes ", "Is your father a live?" my sister asked, he looked at us suspiciously wondering what the hell we want from his father and said "yes he is live and kicking, what do you want from him". phew, my sister and I were relieved, then we told him all the story from the day we laid our eyes on this book. Ahmed laughed out loud and told us, "it is an easy job, I'll take you to my Dad and you can ask him yourselves, follow me". He walked into a dark warehouse inside the place, with big and dusty publishing machines, we followed Ahmad silently then we went through a dark tunnel with very strong smell and I heard noises of rats, I ran and clanged to my sister's hand, I was so afraid that I cursed this book and cursed my favorite writer ever. The tunnel lead to a very small and dusty room in which a very old man was sitting on a wheel chair, putting a blanket on his legs and looking at the ceiling. Ahmed called at him "Ya Hajj, ya Hajj", at the beginning I thought this man is deaf and then he looked right at us and listened to Ahmed while he was watching both of us closely, at one point I felt like my legs want to let go and run, fearing this man would turn into an evil creature or we would be surrounded by hundreds of ETs. The old man opened his mouth to speak and there were no teeth at all, we tried to figure out what he was saying, but with no avail, Ahmad played the interpreter role and told us the story of Ibrahim As`ad, the author of this book, "he was a very rich man, he was a very famous physician, ohhhhhh that man was very kind hearted he would hand me 5 piasters and tell me get something for your kids, what a man, May he rest in peace", "Is he dead?" my sister and I cried, "yes long time ago in a very mysterious accident, he used to write these books for the sake of it, he didn’t do it for money, as I told you he was a rich man, he told me once, I know the truth and I should reveal it before it kills me and I know it kills me, after this I heard he died in a car accident but his body was never found" the old man said. My sister and I left the place puzzled even more than before and we tried to ask everyone if they know the man, but with no avail, searched for his books every where but there is no trace of a single line he wrote other than this book in our hands. One day my sister was preparing for her wedding and went to her new apartment to arrange the books of hers and her husband in their new home and then she found another novel of Ibrahim As`d, she ran to the phone called her husband and asked him where did you get this book from? "From Sur Al-Azbakiah, why? Is there something wrong?" he said.

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