Bibi Djan: Conclusion

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 16   He felt the light touch of a hand on his shoulder and he opened his eyes. The room was dark. He heard a whisper in his ear.

“Get up, Habib.  God has given you a fine little boy.  And He has saved Bibi Djan’s life, too. Come and see them.”

Habib rubbed his eyes and sprang to his feet, and saw the Armenian nurse standing at his side in the dark waiting room, holding in her hand a small kerosene lamp, her face beaming in its flickering light.

THE END

 

Postscript:  It’s very likely that the Armenian nurse mentioned here was Helen Davidian’s sister.  It’s also likely that this story was based on events many women experienced, and may still experience even today.  Finally, consider the fine oriental rug you may enjoy, especially those made some time ago.  Consider the small hands that tied those knots, and what may have happened to them over the years.  Thank you for reading.

The entire story will be posted on 25 December of this year.

 

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 15

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 15   His head dropped and the tears rolled down his cheeks into his beard, while the nurse stood silently watching the tragedy of the little man, and waiting for an answer.
Then he lifted his head heavily and said in a quivering whisper, “Save my child!”

His knees sagged and he slumped on the bench.  After a few moments he made a great effort to rise, but he could not.  He wanted to run after the nurse and tell her that he had made a terrible mistake, that he had not meant what he said.  But the woman in white seemed to be running across a desert, and running after her a long distance, he came to Bibi Djan.

She wore a green velvet coat and her head was covered with a pink chadour.  It was her wedding dress.  He remembered her on their wedding day, sitting beside him in front of a large mirror and she had smiled.  Now, too, she was staring at him, but she was not smiling.

She seemed to say: “Go away Habib, I am disgusted with you.  You must have smoked too much opium today.”

And he replied, “I will smoke no more. I vow it by your life, and by my own life.  I will break my pipe to bits.  You must believe me, Bibi Djan.  Now let us go home.  We have a long way to walk.  Why don’t you answer me. . . Don’t run away.  Wait, dearest to my soul. . .wait!” cried Habib, and was startled to hear his own voice.

 

(Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion … next Monday)

 

 

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)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 13

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 13   The nurse seized the old woman by the arm, and led her out of the room. Then with Habib’s help she sent out all the other women and children and latched the doors, although they crowded at the window and tried to peep in.

At last Bibi Djan lay down and the nurse held the chloroform to her nose. When Bibi Djan was unconscious, the woman bent and lifted her gently in her arms and carried her out.  Habib picked up the bundles, chased everyone out of the yard, and locked the street door.

Alone in the waiting room of the hospital, Habib paced the floor, rubbing his hands together nervously.  He tried to sit down a moment, but he could not.  Then he went and stood by the window.

The day was almost gone. In the garden below, the pomegranate trees bent under the burden of their cracked fruit.

But Habib saw nothing. He stood, motionless, staring.  “Why did I bring her to the hospital against her will?” he thought “If she dies, how am I to account for her on the Day of Judgment? But no, they told me she would not die.  They have saved many lives.”

He went and sat on a and pulled his knees to his chest and rested his head upon them. In his heart he made promises to God and the prophets. He pledged a part of his belongings to the poor.  He vowed to go upon a pilgrimage to the holy city of Meshed.

 

(to be continued)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 12

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 12   “Let Allah make me go blind!” cried Bibi Djan. “Do you think I would uncover my face in the presence of a man doctor? I would rather die in my own house.”

“Don’t you go to the hospital, girl!” advised a woman neighbor, who had brought her water pipe with her and was smoking it unceasingly.  “Don’t listen to them. They took the daughter of my sister-in-law to the hospital and killed her with an operating knife.”

“Bibi Djan, my soul, do not refuse,” pleaded Habib.

“Choke yourself, you son of a dog! I know you want me to die so you can take another wife!”

The nurse tried to put the crowd out of the room, but no sooner had she chased them out of one door than they rushed back in through another door like a swarm of flies.

She went to Habib and whispered something into his ears.  He ran out. In a short while he returned, panting.  “The carriage is ready khanoom.”  The nurse again whispered something into his ear.

“Do as you please, khanoom,” he said, “I am your sacrifice.  I will kiss your feet, khanoom. Please save Bibi Djan.”

Bibi Djan, her elbows resting on the edge of a niche, was moaning and weeping.  The nurse asked Bibi Djan to lie down on the bed that was spread out on the floor.  The old woman with the water-pipe cried out, “Let the dust fall upon my head! Don’t lie down! Whoever saw a child-bearing woman lie down?  What crazy notions these English midwives have in their heads!”

 

(to be continued)