BY Abdoulkadir Abdelli
Translated by me (Tareq Neman)
Once upon a time there was a butcher. His name was Abo Takuo, he was a butcher. Abo Takou used to take care of his long, thick mustache; he combed it and made it look like horns of a Ram in order to show his youth and strength. He was bold; his head was glowing and shining after every time he touched it with his greasy hands. He looked like some legendary character, but he was real. He had worked as a professional butcher for more than 25 years plus 13 years as a practitioner at his father’s shop. His father’s name was Takou, so he had called his first son Takou. His mates used to show him great respect. He was skillful and he had many gifts from God; he was tall, had a masculine body with great huge muscles and was strong enough to take the four legs of any sheep to pull it towards him and lay it on the ground in a very fast move, preventing the sheep from giving any reaction or even shouting “maaaaa”. Then, he would slaughter it. One day, this butcher made a very shocking and strange decision. He decided to live in seclusion. The decision shocked all neighbors. He decided to retire. Yes, it is true that such a decision seems very normal, but in Abo Takou’s case, such a decision looked very strange and frowned upon. Abou Takou had secluded himself from his career and worked as a shepherd. He became the main and first story in the village and the rumors increased more and more. Someone said: “Abou Takou became a vegetarian; he will not eat KEBAB or steaks or even BBQ anymore.” Another one said: “No, no, Abou Takou eats meat, but he eats it only as cooked meat.” No one saw Abou Takou in his shop or even in any meat selling shop anymore, so someone said that Abou Takou had become very lenient and felt sorry for the sheep that he used to slaughter. He said he couldn’t bear seeing more sheep getting slaughtered. He couldn’t bear the view of the huge and big knives and couldn’t use sharpened knives moving left and right and up and down through the meat of the sheep. He couldn’t bear seeing the sliced meat. Stories invaded the village, all about the reasons behind his retirement. Many thought that he had cut his fingers while he was cutting some meat; others said: “No way, he is very professional and he is the godfather of all butchers all over the country” and they swore to God that they had even counted them; that they had seen all his fingers and they had been complete: ten fingers. The story that resonated with the people was that while he was sleeping, he had had a dream in which he met a reverend man with a shiny face all dressed up in white. He was carrying a very sharp, clean and huge knife and he was standing beside a great sheep; Abu Takou had never seen anything like it before. When the white shiny man was about to slaughter the sheep, it transformed into Abo Takou himself. Abou Takou had woken up in panic and this had made him quit his career forever. The truth remained a secret till Abou Takuo was about to die. He told everybody about his secret: “One day Shareef Sharaf al-Deen Agha asked me to go to his house. He wanted me to slaughter six sheep to honor his six foreign guests, who came to congratulate him with the circumcision of his 9th son. The six sheep were tied well in the backyard. I untied the first sheep and slaughtered it quickly. The second sheep tried to jump and escape; it started to run to the right and to the left but to no avail. The third, fourth and the fifth sheep tried to do the same. I continued slaughtering the sheep by laying them down and pressing my knees on its four legs to make him succumb under my body; then catching his mouth with my left hand and slaughtering him by his neck. The sixth sheep amazed me a lot; it didn’t move as its mates did. I untied it, but it walked slowly to the place where I slaughtered the other sheep. It laid down as I made the others lay down, raised its head a little to show me its neck and closed its eyes waiting for me to slaughter it. At that moment I lost the knife from my hand and I swore to God not to kill or slaughter any sheep any more.” After another few days, Abou Takou died; his bones should be dust by now. But in the new world, which has its own stories and butchers, the human sheep waiting in line for their turn to be slaughtered, voluntary put their necks at the edge of the knife, awaiting it to fall down from the butcher’s hand.