Stories & Tales
The Locusts are Coming

Text: Zakaria Tamer
Illustration: Hegazi
Published by Dar al-Fata al-Arabi

Once upon a time there was a lovely city nestled in a valley between the mountains. The valley had plenty of water, green grass, fileds, and animals. The people of the city had everything they needed right in the valley. They were happy and satistfied and did not know sorrow or hunger. The people loved to talk. They worked little but talked much.

One day, a mountain man came to the town and told the people of a horde of locusts approaching the city. The leaders of the city made speeches praising the man for warning them of the approaching locusts, and prepared to face the locusts.

The poets wrote poems, and the singers sang songs all in defiance of the locusts, promising to destroy the hordes of invaders. The elders of the city looked in the old books to find proofs that the locusts would be destrouted. The tailors made beautiful clothes for the people who were going to fight the locusts. The people wrote slogans on the walls of the city mocking the locusts.

All the citizens of the city met in the square to hear the leaders shout, "Down with locusts!" and "Locusts are ugly!" One of the villagers, a simple, quiet peasant, said: "We need to find a way to protect our lands and to prevent the locusts from coming to the fields."

The people quickly forgot what he said when another man began calling the locusts names and the people clapped and were happy.

While the people were busy arguing about the locusts, everyone trying to prove their point, the locusts came to the fields and took over the whole town. the locusts are still eating the grass, the ears of corn, and even the leaves off the trees.