National Geographic : 1937 Nov
PEARL FISHING IN THE RED SEA Photograph by K. S. Twitchell LIKE A SET FOR A HOLLYWOOD CRUSADER SCENE ARE HODEIDA'S ANCIENT TOWERS Hoary walls still stand in the old section of this Arabian city on the Red Sea (pages 606-7, 611, and 619). Arabs say, "Never build a gate so low that a camel driver carrying a spear cannot pass through." Yet this one, leading to the market place, is reserved for people on foot. as it was mealtime; they joined the sailors to eat the traditional bowl of rice as if nothing extraordinary had happened. But what was I going to do with them now? A PARLEY AT SEA While I was thinking, two boats appeared on the horizon, coming toward us. It was the rest of the Zaranik crew. I called to them to stay at a distance; one was sufficient to explain. It was very simple. They had thought that at sea, without water or food, death was certain. It was better to try to ar range things, for in the Orient everything is arranged. They threw themselves on our mercy, lamenting their lost boat. There was a chorus of supplications. The devil had deceived them in leading them to the island of Harmil. Moreover, they had only wanted water, and it was because of the rifle shot fired by the Sudanese that the fight began. Etc. In the story of the hunter it was the rabbit who began it! "Where is the serinj?" I asked at once. "We don't know. He must have been drowned when the boat blew up, for no body has seen him since. You killed him with your powder." I thought at once of the prudence of the nakhoda, who knew how to steer clear of the terrible danger which covetousness can become at a time when it is impossible to enforce authority. This packet of pearls given to the serinj had singled him out as the holder of all the treasure, and without doubt he had paid for that honor with his life. The nakhoda's look crossed mine as if to ex change the same thought. I did not want all these men to come aboard, for in such big numbers they were dangerous, although unarmed. I had them searched, and on the third we found the packet of pearls which had cost the serinj his life. I made out I did not know its origins; I was not there to render justice. I was above all in a hurry to get away from the whole band of them and I did not want to keep them on board. We were already twenty too many and I should never have enough water or food for more.