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grain, and flour are built against the wall. The family sleep in dark recesses in another part of the wall, and guests lie on the floor in the middle of the room.
In some parts of the country there are better homes of rough stone daubed with plaster. A low door is the entrance to the
. coffee room, where guests sleep on the floor. If the owner is well-to-do, there are carpets or rugs for coverings and cushions for seats. In the fireplace at one end of the room coffee is kept steaming, for the Arabians are inveterate coffee drinkers.
Breaking bread.--The breakfast is a simple one of dates and whey. The only substantial meal of the day is eaten after sunset. Stewed mutton, kid, or camel, with a supply of gravy turned over a mound of boiled rice, carrots fried in butter, curd, dates, and other fruits or sweets are served. If the host has English or American guests, he often tears morsels of meat and puts it into their hands. The meal is a very short one. No conversation is carried on, for it is not considered fair to linger over the food when servants are waiting to eat what remains.
The natives believe that guests are sent of God and must be well treated. If an Arab eats salt and bread with one, he is bound to friendship for three days and must protect him. After that he may freely steal his money or luggage. When an Arab swears to be a “companion” to a man he is very loyal, and will not forsake him even in great danger.
The Arabs are tall, straight, and well-formed, with dark eyes, sharp noses, and coarse, black hair. They are a strong race; dwarfs, cripples, and misshapen people are seldom seen. Hereditary diseases are almost unknown among them. Except the Meccans, most Arabs are simple and clean in their habits.
The men look picturesque in their long, white cotton gowns open at the chest and belted with a girdle of leather. The cloak is striped black and white and made of goats-hair cloth.
The headdress is of the oldest type known, and was worn fourteen centuries before Christ. It consists of a large square of cloth called kaffejeh, which is doubled cornerwise. It is laid
on the head and held in place by
Many Arab women profess a knowledge of herbs and practice the art of healing, so regular physicians have to do other work to help them make a living. These doctors are supposed
to know the ailments of the patient without questioning him, as well as how to cure him. Searing or burning of sores is practiced. Simple herbs, amulets, charms, etc., are used, and honey is a panacea for many ills. Medicines are classified as hot, cold, wet, and dry.
Mothers of men.-All Arab women tattoo their hands and faces and sometimes other parts of their bodies. Bedouin women do not veil their faces as other Arab women do. Most of them work very hard and have few pleasures and no privileges. The men look upon their women as house servants, not as companions.
The people are very superstitious, and tree and stone worship still exists in parts of Arabia. No leaves are picked from sacred trees, but bits of calico and beads are tied to them.
Cup, light by Underwood & Underwood.
ARAB WOMEN WEAVING
1. Compare the life of villagers in Arabia with that of the peas
ants of Palestine. Why is it so similar? 2. Have you ever met an Arabian? If so, describe him.
The Bedouins, of whom we studied in Lesson V, comprise about one fifth of the population of the country. They are nomads from necessity, as much of the land is good only for grazing. Often the grass withers and the springs dry up in the
highlands, so the people move to lower levels, where even if
is poor there is drinking water. Lawless men.—Sometimes the tribes go on long raids to plunder or fight a foe. Many die of fatigue, hunger, or thirst on these long raids. They leave all the work to the women, so the men become very lazy. As the country is developed, and the government becomes more stable, roads, trade, and irrigation will enable many of these Bedouins to become villagers. As yet they are headstrong, defiant, and impatient under straint, for they have been free from laws, courts, and police for many generations. I. Review Lesson V and describe the life of the Bedouins. 2. Why do they so readily turn raiders and plunderers? 3. Will their number increase or diminish as the conditions in
southwest Asia improve? 4. Bring to class all the pictures you can find of desert life and
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A BEDOUIN HOME
THE SACRED PLACES IN ARABIA
Two of the most barren regions of Arabia, namely, Sinai and Hejaz, are the cradles of the law to millions of Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians throughout the world. Moses, during his forty years of leadership of the children of Israel in the peninsula of Sinai, wrote his code of laws based on the Ten Commandments. These Ten Commandments, which all Christian, and even the Mohammedan, nations accept as a direct mandate of the Almighty, were given to the world from Mount Sinai. Mohammed wrote the Koran, which is the sole guide of millions of his followers, during his life in Mecca, the chief town of Hejaz.
THE WILDERNESS OF SINAI Sinai, a triangular peninsula in northwestern Arabia, is the oldest known geological formation on the earth. It is a rocky limestone plateau with craggy precipices, intersected by narrow gorges and sandy valleys. The land is a desert region with a few oases along the coast or nestled deep in the rocky valleys. Among the oases are Firan, the “Pearl of Sinai," and Moses' spring, the latter one of the richest of them with many date palms circled by bare cliffs. Hazeroth is a small but beautiful oasis situated in a narrow, stony valley. It was here that the children of Israel tarried seven days when Miriam was smitten with leprosy (Num. 12. 10-16).
Sinai proper.-It was in the southern part of this barren Sinai region, or, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, that the chosen people spent most of the forty years of “The Wandering." As a matter of fact, about thirty-nine of these years were spent in camp in this place and only one in actual travel.