“Haaaaawwwwwmm” yawned little Warda as she lay in bed after a long day in the desert. Warda was holding her favourite doll, Badaweya, as she got ready to sleep. Badaweya was her favourite because she made her herself. Her mom helped of course. It was her mom who gave her the idea to call her Badaweya too, because that was the name of the song she sang for Warda every night before putting her to bed.
“Did you hear that Badaweya? That was the Biggest yawn I ever yawned!”
“Mom says today was a big day you know. Everything looked the same to me but if mom says it was big…” she shrugged and continued “maybe when I grow up and my eyes are bigger I’ll see things bigger too!”
“We had a wedding today. There were so many Camels. They came with the groom and guess what?!!..” said Warda getting more and more excited as she told Badaweya the events of the day
“They left 10 Camels for our tribe!!!”
“Mom said that was a gift from the groom’s tribe to the bride’s”
“They’re funny looking camels too” Warda laughed as she said this “one of them is even wearing a hat. Hahahaha!” Warda laughed so hard now, like someone was tickling her.
“Yaaawwn” Warda got tired after laughing so hard. She hugged Badaweya tightly, slipped lower into bed and fell asleep.
In the quite darkness inside the tent, if Warda had been awake, she would’ve heard a tiny sound of someone struggling, like they were carrying something too heavy for them.
“urghh, aaagh, mmphh!” and a final “aargh!” as Badaweya freed herself from Warda’s hugging arms!
“Aaaah” she breathed with relief. “Now let’s go meet those camels!” Eager and excited, as she is most of the time, Badaweya went in search of the camels.
It’s a good thing that camels are big animals since she can only come out of the tent at night when every one’s asleep. That way no one will find out her secret…that she can walk, talk, see, hear and do everything humans do!
The moon and stars were the only ones who knew and, though they tried to help Badaweya every night by shining brightly to light her path, something too small would still be difficult to find in the night, especially in the vastness of the Egyptian desert.
The reason Badaweya was keeping it a secret is because she liked her life the way it was. She liked hearing Warda’s stories all day and watching everyone quietly then going on a new adventure every night on her own. She felt so free and had so much fun!
One day Badaweya almost did tell Warda when she came into the tent crying because her older siblings wouldn’t let her ride with them. Holding Badaweya in her arms and sobbing loudly, Warda told her that her brothers said it was too dangerous. That she was too young but Warda was so tired of hearing how “too young” she is. Then she said :“I wish you could speak and come out and play with me. You’re my best friend” she kissed her doll and hugged her really hard then.
Badaweya was so sad for her friend but she was afraid to tell her. She was afraid if she told, her life will change and she might even be taken away from Warda! It was this thought that made her decide never to tell. No matter how much she wanted to. Besides, she knew that Warda’s siblings loved her and were only trying to keep her safe. Even if they sometimes hurt Warda’s feelings, she trusted them to look after her.
So Badaweya stayed silent and just let Warda hug her as much as she wanted. Even if she couldn’t breathe sometimes in Warda’s tight embrace. Tonight though, Badaweya was planning to let someone else know…(hint: someone who wears a hat!)
Because Badaweya was so very small, she didn’t need to be too quite as she walked between the tents of the sleeping Bedouins, but she preferred to be careful all the same. So Badaweya tiptoed on her tiny feet on the soft sand, heading to where the tribe’s cattle was. She was sure she’ll find the camels there.
She finally reached the area where the goats were fenced in. The goats couldn’t see Badaweya as she walked over, under and between them. She was tiny and dressed in a black tarha (veil) and a dark brown galabeya . In the darkness of the night she was almost invisible. She reached the other side of the fence, and as she was jumping over the bottom part of the fence, which was the only part she could reach, she fell on top of something that felt very strange and new to her. “Oomph!” was the sound she made as she hit the...well whatever it is she fell on!
It felt a little prickly but soft at the same time. Bumpy in places too. Carefully, Badaweya tried to stand up on this soft and bumpy ground when suddenly, she felt a huge shadow over her head! It was coming closer and closer! When moon saw what was about to happen, she rushed to the sun to wake her up shouting “Rise! Rise Sun Rise! Quickly"
“Hawwwwm" yawned sun sleeping. “wha?..it’s too early. Go back to work moon. I don’t start rising for another hour" Sun turned her back to moon and was about to sleep again when moon shouted:
“if you don’t rise now, something really bad is going to happen!”
“Ok ok! Fine! I know you won’t stop nagging till I’m awake so here goes. But you owe me an extra hour of sleep tonight”
Quicker than moon could reply Sun rose up high and the desert sands of Egypt sparkled in her light.
As for Badaweya, she could now see that she was on the back of a camel and that the camel was turning his large head towards her, about to bite her thinking she’s a flea, when the lights made him realise, it was a tiny girl!...well…sort of a girl…
“aaah!” screamed Badaweya in surprise as her face was almost touching the camels nose!
Now camels are relaxed creatures most of the time, but they never forget if someone hurts them and if they get angry, it's wise to get out of their way. Luckily Badaweya only startled this camel so he just opened his eyes just a little wider in surprise for a second, then once again looked bored, as camels usually do. He spoke in a deep voice while turning his head forward again “What are you? And why are you on my back?” said the camel with a hat, chewing on something invisible lazily all the while.
“I’m Warda’s doll and I am ever so sorry, I fell you see and landed on your back. I wanted to meet you but not like this. Not like this at all!”
“and why do you want to meet me? More importantly, why would you think I would want to meet you!” yes, unfortunately camels can seem a little arrogant and this one was no exception. In fact, he was the most arrogant of the whole bunch! That’s also why he wore a hat. To be the only camel in the whoooole of the desert who does.
Now Badaweya was a smart little doll. She knew when she should answer someone back with the same attitude and when she should not. So she decided to ignore Camel's rudeness and try to make friends with him instead. After all, she did fall on his back. She answered sweetly “well my friend Warda told me of a beautiful camel, wearing a very fashionable hat who joined our tribe. So I just had to introduce myself to such an important camel...and...maybe even be his friend?”
Of course camel was pleased with Badaweya's compliments. Who wouldn’t be when she put it so well! With a very slight self-loving smile camel then replied “Warda huh. Is that the girl who was pointing at my hat and making a very funny sound with her mouth wide open?”
Badaweya understood then that camel was describing Warda laughing at him. Luckily, camel didn’t understand all human expressions so he didn’t realise he was being laughed at!
Clever Badaweya replied “oh yes. That’s the sound she makes when she’s happy. She was very happy to meet you"
“Of course she was" replied Camel smugly.
“My name is Badaweya. What’s your name?” badaweya extended her tiny arm impulsively to greet the Camel properly but instead of shaking hands with her, Camel blew on her face!
“whaa?!! Why did you do that?!!” This time Badaweya was hurt. She was only trying to be polite after all.
“What do you mean? I thought you were greeting me so I greeted you back. I see humans do what you did. Did I misunderstand? Should I take back my greeting then?” Camel answered confused by this strange creature's unreasonable reaction.
“Oh. No don’t take it back. I'm sorry. I didn’t know that’s how Camels greet. Thank you. Will you give me your name ?”
“Name? What’s that? And why would I give you it if it’s mine?”
“A name is what the humans call you by"
“Oh that. They call...” Camel made a clicking noise with his tongue. It was the sound Camel riders made to call on Camels but it wasn’t a name.
“haha. No that’s not your name! That’s just a sound. Hmmm..I'll have to give you a name if we’re to be friends" Badaweya said thoughtfully.
“Thank you. I accept your gift but that does NOT mean I agreed to be your friend. The nerve!”
Badaweya ignored his rudeness and said “I'll call you Abu ta2eya since you’re wearing a hat" she was very pleased with herself to have come up with such a perfect name for her stubborn friend.
“Well I do like the name but I said...”
“Oh no! Quick! Hide me!” Abu Ta2eya suddenly found Badaweya hiding under his hat in a quick rush. “Really this is too much! Who do you think you ...!!” “Sshh! Please. They'll see me!” “Who will see you? More importantly, what does that have to do with me?!! Get out this instant!!”
Badaweya began to cry then “the tribe is waking up sniff’ & Warda will wake up soon too and when she doesn’t f f find m me sniff’, she’ll find me out and they’ll take me awaaaayy Waaaah!!”
”oh what are you doing that for? You’re getting my ears wet...huh..fine! Fine! You can hide just stop this blubbering at once"
“Oh Thank you! Thank you so much!" and she kissed him on his cheek.
“oh really..it’s nothing" blushed Abu Ta2eya.
Suddenly Badaweya felt herself moving like there was an earthquake under her and yelled “Hey! Where are you going?!!!”
“well you said your friend wakes up soon so I’m taking you there of course. You’re not very bright are you?”
Badaweya was so grateful Abu Ta2eya was trying to help her so she let that rude remark pass. She was getting used to his way of speaking anyway. She’s smart enough to see that he’s a kind camel even if he doesn’t sound like one.
“Do you think we can make it in time? Her tent is the farthest. It’s at the other side of that hill” she pointed to a hill that’s quite a distance away. Although she had all night to reach Camel from there, she now had very little time to get back!
“hmmph you clearly haven’t seen a Camel race before. You’d better get on my hump and hold on tight!”
Abu Ta2eya started running, going faster and faster. Badaweya’s sense of adventure made this the most exciting time she ever had! She was so excited that she forgot Abu Ta2eya’s warning and let go, spreading her arms and almost standing shouted “Wheeeeee!!!”
“Hold on you silly doll!” He tried to slow down so she wouldn’t fall but Badaweya flew right off his hump and, just before Warda wakes up, she luckily fell through a hole at the top of the tent and landed right in Warda’s still sleeping arms. “wha?” Warda woke up with a start but when she saw Badaweya tucked safely in her arm, she felt safe and rolled on her side and back to sleep.
“Pssst. Doll. Hey doll are you alright?”
Badaweya couldn’t get up so she hoped Camel would understand when she called out, trying not to wake Warda again “tk tk tk” making the sound Camel made when she asked him what he was called.
Suddenly this very serious Camel burst out “ha ha haa haah haa haa!” For some reason, Abu Ta2eya found Badaweya very funny at that moment and said “I’ll see you tonight…friend” and went back to his spot on the other side of the hill, leaving Badaweya smiling and dreaming of their next adventure together...and you know what...maybe change isn't so bad after all. Which is why Badaweya decided to talk to Warda in the morning and the 2 adventurous friends, became 3 ;-)