Stories & Tales
The Sad Tale of Rabah and Khaled

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Rabah. His parents died when he was still young. His brother Khaled was younger still, and so Rabah had to be responsible for his younger brother, to take care of him and make sure his life was safe.

Rabah inherited his father’s small shop in the center of the village, the place where all the villagers went for their daily needs. As time went by, Rabah earned and saved enough money to be able to add a butcher shop to the store, and so people had all the more reason to buy their needs form him.

Once every month, Rabah drove his carriage to the city where he bought all the supplies and all the meat for his store. He always drove along the same road, the only road to the city, which for a great distance wound through a desolate landscape, at one point plunging into a valley. Rabah always felt a bit scared when he approached the valley.

Usually, Khaled was a school or playing with his friends when Rabha went to the city. As he got older, he was left in charge of the shop while Rabah went to the city. Khaled was kind and polite like his brother, and the customers liked him very much.

One day, while Rabah was getting ready to go to the city, Khaled insisted that he wanted to go too. Rabah finally agreed, and decided in his mind that it would be good for Khaled to see a big town. They prepared their food for the journey, and took some fodder for the horse, then drove the carriage on the road out of the village.

On the way, Khaled saw scenes that he never saw before, and despite the desolation of the road, he was happy and excited because his older brother was with him.

At sunset they arrived at their destination. Khaled was amazed to see so many shops and lights and people and activity after dark. They walked around and Rabah was happy to see how enchanted his brother was with the new sights and sounds.

The two brothers ate their supper, and slept very well, tired but content. Early the next morning, Rabah went to all the markets for the variety of supplies he needed: to the vegetable and soap markets, the clothing and leather and brass markets, and meat market, and he also bought some delicious sweets for his brother Khaled.

The two boys spent more time in the city, and when they started on their way to the village again, it was already dusk.

Khaled was so happy after this trip that he couldn"t wait to tell his friends in the village about it. While the horse galloped along, Rabah felt that there was something wrong with the carriage, and so he slowed down. He checked the wheels and all four looked fine, but he still felt uneasy. He tried to hide his feeling so as not to frighten Khaled. As dark settled over them, Khaled got anxious and wanted to know how much longer they would be on the road.

In the darkness, they suddenly heard the howling of a coyote. Khaled was quite scared now, and still Rabah pretended he was confident so as to put his brother’s mind at ease.

Rabah urged his horse on. The horse was already going at full speed. It wasn’t happy either with the howling sounds that came out of the dark. Though Rabah had made this journey many, many times before, he had never felt threatened as he did this night. He knew he had to distract the coyotes. He handed the reins to Khaled and searched in the back of the carriage for the meat he had bought. When he found the meat, he began throwing it into the trees, hoping the coyotes would rush to eat it.

Soon he had thrown all the meat, and still the howling of the animals followed them. Rabah would do the impossible to keep his brother safe, so he said to Khaled : "Don"t look behind you and drive as fast as you can until you reach the village." Khaled obeyed and was relieved that after a while, that he didn"t hear the coyotes howling anymore.

With great relief Khaled saw the modest lights of the village and said : "We are home Rabah!!" But there was no answer. He looked in the carriage but Rabah wasn’t there, so he shouted: "Rabah ! Rabah !"

At that moment, Khaled knew that Rabah had stayed behind to keep the coyotes from following the carriage, and he knew that Rabah had sacrificed himself in order to keep his brother safe.

All the villagers mourned the sad end of Rabah’s life, and of course, Khaled mourned him the most..