Bibi Djan: Part 11

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 11   “You say her labors started very early this morning, and you have come to call us at this late hour of sunset! Have you called any of the local midwives?”

“No, khanoom, no. I would not permit such a blunder.”

“Very well, then. Wait till I get ready, and I will go with you,” said the nurse.

When Habib returned with the nurse Bibi Djan was moaning and weeping.  Many women and children gathered in the yard and inside the house.  The nurse glanced about until her eyes rested upon an old women in the corner of the room, talking to a neighbor.  She recognized her at once as the local midwife, whom she had met before.

“How do you feel, Bibi Djan?” asked the English woman gently.

“Aye, khanoom, let me be your sacrifice. I have been suffering for the past two days. I don’t know what evil eye struck me!  My baby will not come.  Someone must have cursed me.  Poor Naneh Taghi did everything in her power, but she could not help me.”

“No, no, I did nothing,” cried the stooping old woman. “God knows I did nothing harmful.”

“Don’t be afraid, Bibi Djan. Get ready. We shall take you to the hospital at once,” said the nurse.

 

(to be continued)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 10

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 10   Habib was puzzled. “Very well, very well, don’t go to the hospital. But choke your voice! The neighbors may think Habib is beating his wife.  I will call the doorkeeper’s mother.  I will call her.  Let it be as you wish.”

Bibi Djan was in labor for two days while with trembling hands the doorkeeper’s mother tried everything she could do.  She appealed to the prophets, and she had a Koran brought from the mosque and tied to Bibi Djan‘s waist.  She got some fragrant herbs from the dervishes (holy men) and made Bibi Djan chew them, hoping to ease her pangs. But all was in vain.

At last she became hopeless and told Habib that she could not help any further and she would not be responsible.

Habib had not left the house for these two days, but now he kicked the door open and in one breath ran to the house of the English nurses. There he found the nurse with black hair. She looked at the small man closely and recognized him. “What is it? I know, you are here about Bibi Djan.  When did her labors begin?”

“Early this morning, very early,” replied Habib, dropping his head.

 

(to be continued)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 9

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 9   She blushed and nodded. He put his sack down and sat upon the kitchen steps. “Bibi Djan,” he said in a soft voice, as if speaking to a child. She had never heard him speak like that. It is true that that he never flung orders and curses at her like other men do, but he had never spoken so softly. “I am going to tell you something; he went on. “Come, sit by me and listen!”  She gathered her chadoor around her waist and with some effort sat down by her husband upon the kitchen steps.  “Bibi Djan,” he said, “you are not going to call the doorkeeper’s mother for a midwife. You must go to the hospital. The English nurses…”

Her blood turned to water, and her heart pounded with anger. “I must go to the hospital?” she cried. She beat her knees and cried,”Let the dust fall upon my head, my husband wants to kill me, he wants to bury me alive! Aye, aye, what shall I do? Those infidels, those daughters of dogs! When did they come and rob you of your senses? Who said you can send me to the hospital? What am I to do?”

 

(to be continued)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 8

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 8   Bibi Djan did not tell her husband about the visit.  “They may persuade him easily,” she thought, “and he may send me to the hospital.”  But she did not believe that the nurses, being women, would have the courage to talk to a man about such a matter as childbirth.  Bibi Djan wished for a boy and she prepared everything for a boy.  For charms against evil eye she attached a blue bead to each of the baby garments and to the cradle.  As days passed she kept the house in order and steadily finished her sewing and mended all her husband’s clothes and stockings.  “Who knows?” she thought, “I may die at childbirth, I do not want my successor to speak ill of me, and curse my bones.”

One morning about the end of autumn when her husband had his sack upon his shoulder, ready to go to work, she asked her to send to her the doorkeepers mother, the midwife.

“Why?” asked Habib, “Has the day come?”

 

(to be continued)

 

 

Bibi Djan: Part 7

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 7   The nurse went on patiently. “We have come here all the way from England to help rug weavers like you in childbirth. The services at the hospital are free. If you stay at home, the midwife may not be able to help you, and you may die.”

“If it is my kismet to die at childbirth, let it be so,” said Bibi Djan, smiling. “Even if you gave me a sack of gold, I would not go to the hospital.”

The nurses were puzzled and decided to talk about the matter with her husband, and asked for his name and the place she worked. They were ready to go but she asked them to stay a little longer for tea. She brought a boiling samovar and served them with small glasses of tea. They admired her cleanliness and neatness. The yellow samovar sparkled like gold, the glasses were crystal clear, the towel was white like snow, the white cloths in the niches were spotless and everything in the room was in order.

When the women rose to go, Bibi Djan gave each of the women a flower from the yard and they thanked her and went away.

 

(to be continued)