By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, October 24, 2012
Haj Mohammed inhaled with delight the morning slight breeze. The walk from the mosque after the Subh (morning) prayer to his house has always stirred some unparalleled rapture that could not be eroded neither by monotony nor by old age. The only thing that has changed is the pace of his steps during his morning walk. He leaned on his wooden cane to keep his balance while strolling.
Back home, Haj Mohammed stretched for half an hour waiting for the day light to emerge victorious from the night womb. As soon as he closed his wrinkly eyelids, he became engrossed in his own thoughts. He delved in the deep recess of his mind to recall the elapsed Eid days.
Back then, he was a vigorous young man who could lift mountains and root out hurdles. He had the audacity and stamina to face life hardships with an unflinching determination. He recalls the livestock market that displays all breeds of sheep, cattle and even skinny goats. The most sought after sheep lineage is easily detected by the ordained customer like Haj Mohammed. As soon as he enters the animal market, he sight on the most treasured species.
He knows them well by their proud silhouette, twisted horns and slender legs. The most expensive stand erect seemingly aware of their value in the livestock market. Haj Mohammed usually wears old cotton Jellabah for this special occasion. He usually keeps the sheep money folded with great attention underneath his Jellabah well concealed from the market pickpockets.
He would not lift his Jellabah unless he finds the most felicitous sheep that would live up to the honor of being a sacrifice animal. The most expensive animals are usually the most stubborn ones. They refuse to move a step forward. They would rather use their horns without a glimpse of hesitation.
He has always opted for the “Sardi,” a lineage of sheep known for its good meat but mostly recognizable by the black stain around the eyes, the mouth and the heels. Being a devout Muslim, he always makes sure to choose the best sheep for sacrifice.
This particular Eid bears a whole peculiar connotation for children. The company of an occasional pet lodged for a few days is both a delightful and grievous occurrence. Haj Mohammed has two sons who would not miss the opportunity to witness the whole process from buying the sheep to its slaughter.
He has finally found the “chosen” one amid a flock of sheep guarded by a stocky countryside lad wearing a wool cardigan, brown paints and plastic boots. He approached the man nonchalantly not showing his avid interest to buy the sheep and take it to his family.
He senses with his seasoned hand the abdomen of several animals before touching his favored one. Once the farmer realized that he was bargaining with a skillful customer, he surrendered and sold out the sheep without further haggling.
The two sons were following their father like two small lambs amazed at everything around them from the scattered flocks, to the wrangling of farmers and customers. They were contented with their new pet and felt restless to tie the animal in the terrace to feed him and cuddle him for the few remaining days.
To Be Continued…