The Story of the Wind

The day is staggeringly hot. There is not a cloud in the sky and the sun is relentless. I’ve spent all morning venturing into tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It is an incredible place. The history, the architecture, and the craftsmanship, astounds me. And all of this was made thousands of years ago, when most of the world was living in caves. Egypt truly boggles the mind.

It’s time for lunch and a respite from the heat. We stop into At Tarif, to join a local for a traditional lunch of grilled chicken, fried eggplant, babbaganoush, fried potatoes, rice and soup. The food is delicious. I relax, lounging on on colorful cushions on the floor. Overhead, the ceiling is sky blue with white accents similar to a mosque. A old fan whirs, making a soft click-click sound, blowing a steady cooling breeze.

“I hope you enjoyed your meal”, my host, a jovial man in his mid thirties with abroad smile and warm eyes, says. “Have you heard the story of the wind?” he asks.

“No, I haven’t. I’d love to hear it.” I say with serenity. I love hearing local tales. It reminds me of that childhood delight of story time. I never quite grew out of that.

“Great,” he says, “Let me tell it to you.”

“Many years ago, two merchants from the same village were traveling between towns in the hot deserts of Egypt. This was long ago when travel between towns was dangerous, only undertaken by merchants or bandits. One of the men began to think “if I was to kill the other merchant, I could take all of his goods for myself. Out here, no-one would know it I was me that killed him. The camels can not talk, and only the wind would be witness to my crime.”

The next day, the merchant killed the other man, burying his body in the sand. When he returned to the village many days later, he told the family of the killed merchant that the man had perished in the desert and there was nothing he could do to prevent it.

Over the next few decades, the merchant became very wealthy whilst the family of the murdered man struggled. One night, the rich merchant was asleep in his bed when he was awoken by voices calling the name of the murdered man. These voices, carried by the wind, returned every night for weeks keeping him awake.

Eventually, his wife, concerned for her husbands, heath confronted him, “Husband, you are carrying a secret. You must confide in me or it will drive you insane.” The merchant resisted, but he knew his wife spoke reason. Finally, he told his wife of his crime.

The wife, sharing her husband’s guilt, began bringing food and goods to the murdered man’s family. The wife of the murdered man asked the woman, “Why, all of a sudden, are you being so kind to us?” The merchants wife told the woman about the wind, the voices, and her husband’s crime.

Once the wife had finished weeping for her murdered husband she told the local magistrate about the crime. The magistrate order the merchant to share half of his wealth with the widow and her family stating that finally the wind, the only witness to the crime, had spoken at his trail and found him guilty.”

I listened to tale, smiling at its completion. “Great story. Thank you for sharing.” I said.

“It is my pleasure,” my host responded, “I believe this story. It reminds me to be a good person every day, even when no-one is around. We should all be good people.”

I nod and agree. Egypt is teaching me much more than how people lived in the past. It’s teaching me about how to live for the future.