The Teeth of the Comb

Osama Alomar

Illustration by Naï Zakharia

The Ship

When I became a third-class passenger on the ship of existence, I realized that I was very close to the engine of life.





Flowers of Different Classes

A flower planted on the edge of the veranda looked spitefully at another flower inside the house. “Why should that worthless plant be welcomed inside while we are left out under the burning sun to die of thirst?” she asked her companion.

“She must have known an important flower!” her friend replied.





Whoever Is Happy

I stood on the peak of the highest hill in the city and shouted at the people “whoever is happy let him follow me!”

Only a small group answered me, no more than the fingers of one hand. As for the rest, they looked at me with suspicion and turned their backs to me.

I repeated my call, this time louder than before. But the crowd was lifeless and unresponsive. I repeated it a third time in a voice close to a scream. They looked at me with hate. Some of them pelted me with tomatoes and rotten eggs. I changed my call and shouted again,

“Whoever is sad let him follow me!”

The people’s expressions changed suddenly from sadness and indignation to joy and gladness. They ran towards me with the enthusiasm of children, answering the call of sadness with great joy. But as for the small group that had answered the first call, they paid the price of their happiness when they were trampled underfoot.





We Won’t Surrender

The current of the river spoke to the salmon who wouldn’t stop going against him saying,

“Your stubbornness won’t help you!”

But the fish answered him in one voice: “We won’t surrender!”

translated from the Arabic by C. J. Collins and Osama Alomar


The Teeth of the Comb and Other Stories will be out in bookstores later this week.