by Amira Sobeih
Published on: Jan 18, 2005
Type: Short Stories

Once upon a time a girl named Warda (Rose in Arabic) lived in a small cottage close to the Nile River with her grand mother. She was an orphan.

Daily the early morning shines her room. The sun wipes her window and a calling sparrow wakes Warda with anthems like "Good Morning, Warda."

On her way to school, spruced with hope and adorned with mirth, the sunlight rinses her hair with God's blessing. And the Nile sends her a gentle breeze that flirts with her black pigtails. In the afternoon she helps her grandma sell Arabian jasmine necklaces in the old city. And she gets escorted by her teacher Mr. Hoopoe.

One day the sparrow called for Warda several times but she didn't answer. And Warda disappeared.

Two weeks later he met Mr. Hoopoe and asked, "What happened? Where is Warda?"

Mr. Hoopoe said, "Poor Warda. She is sick. She is infected with a very bad disease. Warda was injected by an impure syringe. It was a matter of negligence."

"Oh, poor Warda," said the sparrow.

"Yes. She doesn't talk to anybody. Hopeless, scared and lonely."

"We have to do something," said the sparrow. "We can't desert Warda. But how could we give her a hand?"

Mr. Hoopoe said, "Hmm. I do believe that she has to be stronger. You know, I've an old papyrus titled, This is the Life. A philosopher wrote it to his son.

"If the despair came and beat you have to create a firebrand (from this despair). And this firebrand will flame your ideal principles," Mr. Hoopoe quoted.

"Get burned weakness and strength...and suffer.
Get burned sickness and health...and surmount.
Get burned experience and wisdom...and suffer.
Get burned ambitious and greatness...and surmount.
Get burned hoping and desire...and suffer.
Get burned fighting and struggle...and live.


Get burned knowledge and culture...and surmount.
Get burned willpower and bearness...and live.
Get burned endurance and inflexibility...and surmount.
Get burned seeking the absolute perfection...and live


And this the route through which all the great fighters behaved."

The sparrow replied, "wow."

At this moment Warda was listening to Mr. Hoopoe while he was reciting his old psalm. Every single letter agitated her heart strings. She started to write an invitation card:

"Come Sun and shine upon my brow
Come Nile's breezes and greet my cheek
Come moon and kiss my head
Burst Alexandrian sea gushing in my eye's fountain
Come canaries and sing my poems
Dance roses on my laughs
Come wisdom quills and compose my mind's whispers
Hasten feasts' heralds along my tongue's psalms
Jubilate roses at my nectar faith
Burst light pearls on my step's path
Chant stars with my soul's songs
Flow dew's drops and vanish my pains."

She opened her window and threw out her invitation to the new life and...this is not the is just the beginning for Warda "the jasmine seller."

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