Ammarin's Stories

The Full Story

The Ammarin Slave

Many years ago, an ancestor of this woman was bought as a slave by the Abou Shousheh branch of the Ammarin. He was very strong, and of great help to the tribe, But a severe famine struck, which forced the tribe to sell their slave in Egypt where he would fetch a good price, in order to buy food. They explained the circumstances apologetically to him, and arranged that, after the sale and the purchase of food, he should escape from his new masters and meet them at a prearranged place so they could travel back to their deereh.

When they reached their meeting place, the slave was not there. Some members of the tribe suggested that the loss of the slave was a worthy sacrifice, since it would save the tribe from hunger, and that they ought to travel back without him. Others argued that they should go back to Egypt, return the goods and claim their slave back. In the end, the latter group won the day, and the Ammarin made ready for the trip back to Egypt. But the slave had escaped, in fact, and was hiding nearby to see how the Ammarin would react to his absence.

When he heard how attached to him they had become, he appeared before them. They were so grateful to him for saving the tribe from the famine that they made a promise to him: ever since that day, whenever a member of the tribe married, he would give a four-year old goat, estimated at forty Dinars (US $60) in value, as a gift to the slave, now to his descendants. Whenever an outsider married an Ammarin girl, he would give a four-year old camel, worth eighty Dinars as a gift to the descendants of the slave. Whether the story is true or not, the tradition of the gifts lives on.