National Geographic : 1937 Jan
BEDOUIN LIFE IN BIBLE LANDS © John D. Whiting A CAMEL CHOSEN, BUYER AND SELLER SIT DOWN TO DISCUSS THE PRICE In the market at Beersheba, the broker (white turban) persuades buyer (white keffiyeh) and seller (black headgear) to clasp hands. The prospective purchaser suggests a price; the seller says "God forbid." Another offer, and the reply is, "Your face is more generous." The broker names a sum and the purchaser says, "You have burned it." Reply by the broker: "Trust Allah, the camel is beautiful." The vendor is emphatic: "Not on the life of Mohammed, to whom be all praise"-and so on until an agreement is reached, or the principals part in disgust. The proceed ings attract an interested audience. proved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had vio lently taken away" (Genesis 21:25). Around the wells at watering times scenes are enacted which take one back thousands of years to the life of Bible days. Youths and men lead up their herds of camels. Sometimes hundreds of animals that have gone without water for days will be waiting in line for a drink. With leather buckets and long ropes, two almost naked men draw water, chanting their weird, monotonous melodies and call ing to the camels to drink. Herders keep the animals back, allowing only one or two at a trough at a time. In these deserts where camels are the chief wealth, girls tend the goats. Shep herdesses often have a hard time watering their flocks. Camels are always favored.