Bibi Djan: Part 14

Average age back in the day before child labor laws, about twelve.

Bibi Djan, The Rug Weaver

Introduction   Grandma Helen (Heghineh) Davidian spent early mornings at her writing desk.  She didn’t sleep as much as the rest of her family, and the extra time was invested in telling stories about the lives of young Persian women in the early 1900s.


Part 14   A thousand other vows flashed through his mind, but when he felt that none of them was enough, he lifted his arms over his head and muttered: “Allah, if you spare Bibi Djan, I will give up smoking opium.  I promise, and this time I will make my promise good–if only my wife lives.”

At that moment the door opened and a nurse came in.  Habib sprang to his feet, his fingers clutching at his heart.

“Are you the husband of the patient under operation?” asked the nurse.  “Give me an ear. The doctor says you must decide quickly.  Which would you want us to save–your child or your wife?  We may have to sacrifice one to save the other–or else both may die.”

Habib stared at the nurse, his eyes wide.  A chill had suddenly fallen upon his emotions. What would he do with a motherless child?  He stroked his beard and beat his forehead.  How could he sacrifice hid child, a part of his own flesh and blood?  How could he tear out one of his eyes?  But could he ever find himself a wife as faithful and thrifty as Bibi Djan?  How could he give verdict against his own soul?


(to be continued)



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