Excerpt from Chapter XVI: “…When the fall of Jerusalem became known in Europe, a universal cry of dismay was heard in every court and camp and village… …To recover what was lost became the passionate desire of each pious knight, the ambition of every adventurer.
“The Pope issued a trumpet-call for a new Crusade, which should wash out every sin. Richard of England, then Count of Poitou, was the first to take up the Cross. The Kings of England and France made up their quarrel and received the sacred badge from the Archbishop of Tyre. Baldwin of Canterbury preached the Crusade, in which he was later to die before Acre, and a “Saladin Tax,” a tithe of every man’s wealth, was collected throughout the length and breadth of the land. …”
The coast was clear as my children and I entered the condo at the end of the day. I peeked left and right, but there was no sign of that damn genie anywhere in sight. Then I slapped my forehead and laughed out loud, tickled by the memory of Scheherezade transforming him into a monkey.
My daughter asked, “What’s so funny, Momma?”
On the one hand, my ten year old daughter was the most incredibly truthful child I have ever encountered in my life, and was definitely not ready for my current version of reality. On the other hand, my seven year old son was an incredibly “creative conversationalist.” His imaginative reports from the classroom, playground, and neighborhood friend’s house were always laced with magic mushroom sauce, driving his sister crazy as she argued with him about the truth.
Can you carry your plate of french fries
On your head to your dinner table?
A plate full of tasty french fries
Is a “fast” food in some places,
But it’s not so speedy, here in Egypt,
Where guiding a horse and tilling the field
Is the way potatoes make it to the plate.
Can you see yourself clearing the field,
Collecting them one by one,
From the soil into your bucket?
Just imagine your daily life
Working as a french fry farmer –
No one pulls the bag from the freezer
Without someone harvesting potatoes.
There is a blessing for my shopping-challenged heart here in Egypt that erases all the heart attack symptoms that arise whenever I find I need to go out shopping for something. I just sit down and shop for it online. It’s awesome. My blender just broke and I never broke a sweat. I just let somebody else figure out where the best priced blender is hiding in the midst of the busy market-place. I just type in souq.com!
Then some nice person drives all the way from Cairo to my front door, just to see me smile when they deliver it like a birthday present! And they wait patiently for the payment, right there at my door, too – no problem!
Excerpt from Chapter XV: “… Tyre was the only important place in all Palestine that Saladin had not conquered; and to Tyre he dispatched his jubilant army on 1 November, 1187. Twelve days later he arrived to take command. He found the city full of the garrisons [guards] which he had allowed to capitulate at other places. Conrad of Montferrat had worked night and day, strengthening the works, encouraging the defenders, and “directing them with superior ability.” He had deepened and extended the moats until Tyre became “like a hand spread upon the sea, attached only by the wrist,” an island attached by so narrow a spit that it could be easily defended by a small force, as well as covered by the cross-bows of the shielded barges, or “barbotes”.
Saladin was supported by his brother, sons, and nephew, with their contingents from Egypt, Aleppo, and Hamah; but he was able to bring his greatly superior strength to bear upon the enemy. He had indeed seventeen engines playing upon the walls day and night, but only a small number of men could advance at a time upon the spit of land, and these had not only to meet the frequent sallies of the Franks in the front, led by the valiant Knight in Green, but to protect themselves from the flank attacks of the barbotes drawn up on either side. …”