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mother took off the linen cloth which she wore over her head, and waved it also. Thus they parted.
8. Tramp, tramp, tramp went the camels, their soft spongy feet making a noise as they trod the ground. The camel-drivers laughed, and talked to each other. Ali was the only boy in the caravan, and no one seemed to take any notice of him. He had a stout heart, and tried not to care.
He could talk to Meek-eye, and this he did, patting the creature's back, and telling him how soon they would both see his father.
9. The sun rose higher and higher, and the day grew hotter and hotter. The morning breeze died away, and the noon was close and sultry. The sand glowed like fire. There was nothing to be seen but sand and sky. At mid-day a halt was made at one of the places well known to the drivers, where shade and water could be had. The water-skins were not to be touched that day, for at this place a little stream, which gushed from a rock, supplied enough for the men, while the camels needed no water for many days. After resting a short time, the kneeling camels were made to rise, the riders first placing themselves on their backs, and the caravans then moved on.
10. At night the whole party encamped for rest, the camels lying down, while fires were lighted, and meats and drinks were cooked. Several days were thus passed, and Ali became accustomed to this kind of life, and liked it as well as he thought he should.
Suez, a town in Egypt. desert, a sandy waste. caravan, a company of housings, trappings.
travelling merchants. tunic, loose frock. merchandise, the goods sultry, hot and stifling. of a merchant.
halt, stop. mes-sage jour-ney guid-ance sup-pli-ed re-turn-ed ser-vice
spong-y en-camp-ed o-bey A-ra-bi-an
scarce-ly ac-custom-ed Where did Hassan live? What was the name of Hassan's son? What message did Hassan send to his wife? What did she do to Ali's tunic? How did Ali feel when he was told to go to his father? What did Ali call his camel? How was water carried across the desert? What did Ali do when he parted from his mother? Why did the camels walk so quietly? When did they halt?
ALI THE BOY CAMEL-DRIVER.
1. No Arabs were met with, nor even seen in the distance; but a danger of the desert, worse than a party of Arabs, came upon them. There arose one day at noon one of those fearful burning winds which do such mischief to the traveller and his camel. The loose sand was raised like a cloud. It filled the nostrils and blinded the eyes. The wind was so hot and stifling, that it almost took away the breath.
2. There was nothing to be done but for the men to get off the backs of the camels, and lie down with their faces to the earth. After the storm had passed they were able to rise, and continue their journey. It happened, that the sand so blown, had covered the beaten track, and thus all trace of the road was lost.
3. The camel-drivers who led the way stood still, and owned that they did not know which way to turn. No distant rock or palm-tree was to be seen,
and no one could say which was the south, towards which their faces ought to be turned. Many vain attempts were made to find the right path. They were like ships without compasses or rudders. They wandered on, losing themselves more and more, now turning to the right, and now to the left; and sometimes when they had gone some distance in one direction, retracing their steps and trying another.
4. The caravan made a halt, and it was determined now to journey towards the setting sun, in hopes of finding once more the right track. Night came on, however, and they had not found it, nor had they reached any place where they could fill their water-skins, which were empty. Once or twice some one of the party fancied, that he saw in the distance the top of a palm-tree; but no, it had turned out to be but a little cloud upon the horizon. They had not yet fallen into the old track, neither had they supplied themselves with water to cool their parched lips.
5. Poor Ali suffered like the rest from terrible thirst, and was full of sorrow at the thought that his father would be expecting him at Suez. He drained the last drop of water from his leathern bottle, and thought of the morrow with fear. He was so tired that, when the caravan halted for the night, he was glad to get off poor Meek-eye and lie down by his side, and close his weary eyes in sleep. Ali slept, but before the night was over, he awoke again. He heard voices talking near him.
6. He listened, and heard the chief driver tell one of the merchants that, if they did not find water very soon, the next day a camel must be killed for the sake of the water, contained in its stomach. This is often done in cases of great need in the desert, the stomach of the camel being so formed as to hold a great quantity of water in large cavities or cells.
7. Ali was not surprised to hear such a thing mentioned; but what was his distress and alarm, when he heard the merchant propose that it should be “the boy's camel” that should be killed! The mer