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Title: The People of Palestine - An enlarged edition of "The Peasantry of Palestine, Life, - Manners and Customs of the Village"
Author: Grant, Elihu
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

Footnotes have been moved to follow the paragraphs in which they are
referenced. Full-page illustrations have also been moved to a paragraph
break and are represented by their captions.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.

[Illustration: A SILOAM WOMAN, HER INFANT ON HER BACK AND PRODUCE ON HER
HEAD]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     BIBLE LANDS AND PEOPLES—MODERN
        BEING A COMPANION VOLUME TO “THE ORIENT IN BIBLE TIMES”

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                               THE PEOPLE
                              OF PALESTINE

                         AN ENLARGED EDITION OF
                   “THE PEASANTRY OF PALESTINE, LIFE,
                  MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE VILLAGE”

                                   BY
                              ELIHU GRANT
         PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE IN HAVERFORD COLLEGE

                             _ILLUSTRATED_

[Illustration]

                        PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON
                        J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

                    COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY ELIHU GRANT
              COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

                  PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
                     AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS
                         PHILADELPHIA, U. S. A.



                            TO THE MEMORY OF
                       HINCKLEY GILBERT MITCHELL



                       PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION


We thought that Palestine had passed into ancient history, but it has
been a centre of modern events. No country in the world has a more
continuously interesting and profitable story. Its present population is
made of sturdy and able people. Three great religions call it Holy Land.
It presents to view three distinct types of human society, the desert
nomad who dwells in the tented encampment, the peasant villager who
reminds us in so many ways of the people of the Bible, and the more
foreign looking and mingled folk of the large cities.

We have picked the village life as most suggestive of the quaint customs
of the past. It has been gratifying to have those who know this life
best, including villagers themselves, praise the accuracy and sympathy
of the descriptions.

The volume has not been compiled from books, but drawn from life. An
additional chapter seeks to sum present conditions.

Life has changed even in the East but much remained in Palestine,
especially under the Turkish régime, that is suggestive of Bible Times.
We trust that we have provided here a cross-section of a most
interesting period. We hope for even more, that the reader with dramatic
imagination may be able to fill the places and figures of the biblical
past with life.

                                                                   E. G.

HAVERFORD, PA.,
FEBRUARY 24, 1921.

A few words that are pretty well fixed in popular usage, as Beirut,
Jaffa, Jerusalem, etc., are not changed in spelling, but for most Arabic
words the following alphabet has been used in transliteration:

  —                r                gh               y
  b                z                f                a
  t                s                ḳ                u
  th               sh               k                i
  j                ṣ                l                â
  ḥ                ḍ                m                û
  kh               ṭ                n                î
  d                ḍh or ẓ          h
  dh                                w

The use of y final and of ô as aids to pronunciation will be of obvious
import. When a foreign word occurs in the book for the first time it is
put in italics.

                                CONTENTS

                               ----------

                                CHAPTER I

 Introductory. Remarks on the country of Western Palestine:     Page 11.
   historical, topographical and geological; distances,
   levels, rock composition, hills, valleys, caves, soil,
   etc. The waters: rivers, lakes, the watershed, the
   Shephelah, ponds, springs, cisterns, reservoirs and
   pools. The seasons: wet and dry, the rainfall, sun,
   drought, the weather according to the months, effect on
   health and on food supply, harvest. The winds. Flora:
   trees and flowers. Fauna: wild animals, birds. Scenery:
   appearance of cities and villages in Palestine. Sites,
   buildings, gardens, roads, paths, wilderness,
   agricultural matters, ripening fruit, vineyards, care of
   the soil, walls, watch-towers, terraces, orchards,
   olives, figs, pomegranates, etc.


                               CHAPTER II

 General characteristics of the population of Palestine.        Page 43.
   The Bedawîn or nomads. The village and its people.
   Moslems and Christians: their distribution, their mutual
   relations. Description of the peasant man and the
   peasant woman.


                               CHAPTER III

 Village Life. Introductory. The tribe: how constituted,        Page 51.
   its fellowship and significance. The family within the
   tribe. Importance of a strong family. Marriage in family
   and tribe: marriage settlement, qualities of a good
   wife, customs and ceremonies preliminary to marriage,
   wedding festivities and the celebration. The status of
   the new wife. An anomalous state of affairs. A
   disappointed lover. Children: boyhood and girlhood,
   importance of sons, birth, announcing the newly-born,
   naming the child. The midwife, care of babies, attention
   to children in health and in sickness, clothing, growing
   up, play, amusements and work, training. Family and
   personal names.


                               CHAPTER IV

 Village Life. The houses of the peasants: structure,           Page 75.
   arrangement, conveniences, utensils and furnishings.
   Foods: their preparation and storing, eating customs.
   Costumes; male attire, female attire. Household
   industry: division of labor between members, women’s
   work, house, oven, field and wilderness. Health data:
   poverty and superstition as foes to health, treatment of
   the sick, common ailments, diseases, hospitals and
   medical assistance. The dumb and the blind. Treatment of
   the insane, the leprous. Death, mourning, burial,
   graves. The cholera and its ravages in Palestine in
   1902, attendant evils, famine and quarantines.

                                CHAPTER V

 Village Life. Religion. The religious basis of the peasant    Page 110.
   life. Country shrines venerated by the peasantry,
   saints, tombs, lamps, ruined churches, mosks, reverence
   for patriarchs and prophets, sacred trees. Superstitions
   concerning localities, minor superstitions, hair,
   doorways, food, evil eye. Prayer of women. Fatalism.
   Moslem prayer. Neby Mûsâ procession. Ramaḍân, Bairam.
   Eastern and Western Churches, organization, priesthood.
   Fasts, feasts, proselyting. The Samaritans and their
   Passover.

                               CHAPTER VI

 Village Life. Business. The Palestine peasant as a worker.    Page 130.
   Farming the first business of the village. The
   transition from the life of the nomad to the life of the
   peasant. Fellaḥîn. Land holdings and titles. Farming
   rights. Crops and sowing, work animals and their
   management, care of the standing crops, tares, mists,
   simultaneous reapings, harvest-time, threshing and
   cleaning. Grape season, vineyard districts, use of the
   fruit, raisins, export trade in raisins, care of
   vineyards, watch-towers in vineyards and orchards. The
   olive crop and its care. Flocks of sheep and goats, the
   young, varieties, the shepherd. The wool business and
   kindred industries, spinning and weaving. Undeveloped
   agricultural possibilities. The village market, shops,
   stores, bargaining and trade customs, measures and
   weights, currency, accounts, money-lending, village
   crier, the go-between, the shaykhs in business capacity.
   Transport and travel in the country, roads and vehicles.
   Stone and building trades, the materials and the tools.
   Miscellaneous trades, peasants in the city for business
   or for hire, dealers in antiquities and their ways.


                               CHAPTER VII

 Village Life. Social privileges and customs. The elements     Page 158.
   that contribute to these, kinship, religious
   association, party traditions, proximity. Predominance
   of kinship as a factor. The influence of religion as a
   factor. Diversions of the peasant, conversation and the
   amenities, calling and calls. Greetings, salutations,
   colloquial address, business talk and discussion.
   Guest-house and its uses, coffee-making, food for
   guests. A roofing-bee. Play, games, celebrations.
   Hunting. Gipsies. Quarrels as an anti-social and social
   factor. Revenge, etc.

                              CHAPTER VIII

 Village Life. Intellectual matters. The state of learning,    Page 170.
   revival, services of the press in the Levant. Education,
   schools, missionary influence. Languages heard in the
   country, native and foreign. The peasant’s pride in his
   mother tongue. The Arabic language, its beauty and
   symmetry, literature, dialects, idioms, colloquialisms,
   exclamatory remarks, gestures, curses, proverbs.


                               CHAPTER IX

 Village life in the concrete. Description of actual           Page 187.
   villages, Râm Allâh and el-Bîreh.


                                CHAPTER X

 Village life in the concrete, continued, with some village    Page 213.
   environs. Eṭ-Ṭîreh, Khullet el-‛Adas, ‛Ayn ‛Arîk, Kefr
   Shiyân, ‛Ayn Ṣôba, Baytîn, Khurbet el-Moḳâtîr, Dayr
   Dîwân, eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, Jifnâ, ‛Ayn Sînyâ, Bîr ez-Zayt,
   ‛Âbûd, Mukhmâs.


                               CHAPTER XI

 The village in its external relations. Attitude of            Page 225.
   villagers to the city and city people, now and formerly.
   Administration of the village from the city. The peasant
   and the government, taxes, private and official
   settlement of disputes. Postal service, native and
   foreign, telegraph. Passage of news and rumor. Travel,
   hindrances, quarantines, coastwise shipping, railway
   travel, peasant travel, pilgrimage travel, Russian
   pilgrims and the peasantry, other European pilgrim
   parties, tourists, traveling passes, transference of
   parcels, baggage, money, banking, consular service, the
   desire of the natives to emigrate.


                               CHAPTER XII

 Recent events. Effects of the revolution. Syrians and the     Page 242.
   World War. Syrian ability. Schools and education. The
   new administration; certain functions and methods.
   Archæological interests. The Arabian problem. Arabia and
   its people, social customs, politics, poets, prophet and
   religion.



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                     PAGE
 A SILOAM WOMAN, HER INFANT ON HER BACK AND PRODUCE ON     _Frontispiece_
   HER HEAD
 RIVER AUJA OF JAFFA                                                   20
 DONKEY AT THE THRESHING FLOOR WITH A LOAD OF WHEAT                    28
 WILD ANEMONES FROM WADY EL-KELB                                       32
 A VINEYARD AT RÂM ALLÂH                                               36
 RÂM ALLÂH MAN AND A BASKET OF OLIVES                                  38
 STRETCH OF OLIVE TREES ON ROAD TO AYN SÎNYÂ                           38
 A BEDAWY HOUSE                                                        42
 BEDAWY DRINKING                                                       42
 PEASANTS ON WAY TO MARKET WITH PRODUCE                                44
 BEDAWIN HORSEMAN                                                      44
 WOMAN’S WORK                                                          48
 BRINGING HOME THE BRIDAL TROUSSEAU                                    54
 GIRLS AT PLAY CARRYING HEADLOADS OF GRASS IN IMITATION                54
   OF THE WOMEN
 WASHING A CHILD                                                       58
 A SWADDLED INFANT                                                     58
 THREE KINDS OF HOUSES—MUD, DRY-STONE, STONE-AND-MORTAR                68
 HOUSEHOLD UTENSILS                                                    76
 BREAD-MAKING UTENSILS                                                 82
 IN A DOORYARD. WOMEN CLEANING WHEAT                                   94
 ON TOP OF AN OVEN. WOMEN SIFTING WHEAT                                94
 POTTERY                                                              114
 ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM. FOR THE NEBY MUSA PROCESSION                126
 A NEBY MUSA CONTINGENT ARRIVING WITHIN THE JAFFA GATE,               126
   JERUSALEM
 FARMING IMPLEMENTS                                                   130
 A SOWER                                                              132
 CHILDREN GLEANING                                                    132
 THRESHING                                                            140
 A THRESHING SCENE IN THE OLD POOL AT BETHEL                          140
 1. HAND SPINNING 2. REELING 3. STRAIGHTENING THREADS FOR             142
   LOOM
 VARIOUS ARTICLES MADE OF SKIN: BOTTLES, BAGS, POUCHES                150
   AND BUCKETS
 A MARKET SCENE: PEASANTRY NEAR DAVID’S TOWER, JERUSALEM              154
 WOMEN AT THE SPRING                                                  164
 FOUNTAIN AT NAZARETH                                                 164
 A HOUSE-ROOFING BEE (ET TAYYIBEH)                                    172
 A RÂM ALLÂH MATRON AT HER OWN DOOR                                   187
 CAMEL CARRYING A ROPE NET FILLED WITH CLAY JARS                      194
 RÂM ALLÂH, AS ENTERED BY THE SINUOUS, WALLED LANE FROM               194
   THE EAST
 LITTLE GIRLS OF THE VILLAGE                                          196
 THE VILLAGE OF RÂM ALLÂH AND OUTLYING VINEYARDS                      204
 EL-BIREH (FROM THE SOUTH)                                            212
 VINEYARDS AND STONE WATCH TOWERS                                     220
 PEASANT PLOWING                                                      220
 PRIMITIVE RUG WEAVING (BEDAWIN)                                      230
 STRAW MAT AND BASKET MAKING: JIFNA WOMAN                             230



------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           _The PEASANTRY of_
                               PALESTINE

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER I
    INTRODUCTORY. THE COUNTRY OF WESTERN PALESTINE. GENERAL FEATURES


This little book will make no attempt to tell all that could be said of
its subject, but we hope that its selection of things to tell will be
gratifying to you. Our wish is that not many of its pages may be
condemned as dry, but that most of them may have interest and
refreshment. If sometime when you are tired you can sit down and be
pleased with some of these pages, here or there, you will know a little
of how the trudging peasant of the village feels as, going over hill
after hill, from each top he gazes off towards the west and sees the
evening mists thickening and looking like good, cool mountains in the
sea. It is pleasant to see the face of the native light up as he catches
sight of the clouds heavy with blessings of moisture. Perhaps fierce
sirocco days have followed one another for some time, longer than usual.
Such days are usually looked for in trios at least, but often they hold
for a longer time. Their peculiarly enervating heat is very trying, and
when they have passed one welcomes eagerly an evening that brings the
heavy mist. This announces that the succession of hot days is broken and
that some days of respite are coming. The welcome moisture blesses the
vineyards, the fig orchards, the tomatoes, squashes and melons, and it
is sure to bring out ejaculations of blessing from the fervent peasant,
praising the Father of all, whose favoring mercy he feels.

Look out on a morning early and you will see the mists[1] scudding,
drifting, veiling and dissevering like masses of gauze, like streamers
of truant hair. Perhaps some near mountain may be cut off from the
little hill half-way down by a moat filled with billowing fog. Soon the
sun cuts it and scatters it away and the hot, dry day sets in. The roads
and rocks are powdered with lime dust, the somber morning tones on the
hills are touched with whitening brightness. Here and there is the dusty
gray of an olive-orchard or the bright green of vineyards. Overhead, the
brightest blue is set with one yellow gem of fire that creeps up and up
until noon, and then the toiling peasantry, who have watched this
timepiece of the heavens, sit down in the nearest shade to eat their
food and chat. That done, they roll over for the luxury of a nap and
forget a hot, dry hour in a healthy doze. The click of the chisel in the
quarry ceases, the hoe is cast aside, the driver is lying on his face,
fast asleep, while the donkey nibbles and rolls his load-sore back
deliciously in the dust. The camel sits like a salamander, apparently
minding no change of weather. Little birds pant for breath. All is very
still and hot.

-----

-----

But work-time comes again before the heat goes, and the workmen half sit
up, looking around, perhaps playfully tossing a stick or clod on the
head of a lazier comrade. The work-saddles are roped on the backs of the
animals. The camel, long habituated to complaining, whether made to
kneel or rise again, utters grating gutturals from his long throat. He
is the Oriental striker, objecting, vocally, at least, to every new
demand upon him. Well waked, the countryside begins to be busy again and
work goes on until sundown. As the afternoon slips into the evening you
will see traveling peasants hastening to make their villages. The hills
are touched with pinks and purples that shade into dark blue. The gray
owl calls, the foxes reconnoiter the fields, the village dogs bark,
lights straggle out from the settlements. One may hear the song of a
watcher in a vineyard or the bang of his musket as he shoots at a dog or
fox meddling with the vines. As we hastened one evening through a
village two hours distance from our own, the people, sitting about the
doors and in the alleys, seemed astonished and urged us to stop
overnight, not understanding our preference to travel on in the growing
dusk. But we went on, passing possible sites for Ai, then Bethel and
Beeroth, and so to our own Râm Allâh. The way was precarious and stony,
with only the starlight to help us, and the evening was chilly.

We might call Palestine, even the western part of it, which is more
familiar to us, a world in little, so much has been packed into this
little space between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Sometimes it has
been a kingdom and sometimes kingdoms. As a province or provinces it has
acknowledged masters on the south, east, north and west.

Far back in time the country was the range of numerous unruly tribes.
To-day it contains several districts within the Asiatic holdings of the
Turkish Empire. As one looks inland from the Mediterranean on the Judean
country, first comes the straight unindented coast line of sand, then a
fertile strip of land parallel to it in which the orange and the grains
flourish. Next comes the secondary ridge of Judean hills; then its
primary ridge of mountains. These latter are thirty-five miles from the
sea and three fifths of a mile above its level. Now, as we stand on the
mountain range, we have only twenty miles between us and the country of
the Dead Sea, but a rapid fall in levels which, in so short a distance,
makes the sand-hills seem to drop down and away from us in a precipitous
stairway to one of the lowest spots on earth, the basin in which the
Jordan River and the Dead Sea lie, the so-called Ghôr. This depression
is a quarter of a mile below sea-level and hence three quarters of a
mile below the high country in the neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Western Palestine is a limestone country that is, geologically speaking,
new. Faulting, erosion and earthquake as well have been hard at work in
comparatively recent geological times to make a most diversified surface
in a land of short distances. Its rocks are peppered with nodules of
flint. The weather wear on the country rocks of some districts allows
the flint nodules to drop out, thus leaving a peculiar worm-eaten look
in the stones and cliffs. In other localities the cherty material runs
in ribbon-like bands within the limestone. The lime rock is often
beautified by geode-like recesses of lime crystal, and the slabs of
lamellar stone so much used for flooring, window-seats and roofing are
frequently penciled with exquisite dendritic markings. Often the face of
cleavage between blocks of building material is glazed with a native
pink. There are a few houses in the villages whose external walls are
constructed of regular blocks so arranged as to alternate in a manner
resembling checkerwork of pink and white squares.

One thought that may occur to an American or European as he looks at the
numerous hills and mountains up and down the middle and back of Western
Palestine is that never before has he had such a fine opportunity to see
the shapes of hills and valleys. For at home he seldom sees the whole,
real shape of a hill or a mountain, so covered is it with trees or
smaller growth. But here there is very little clothing on the hills.
Their knobs and shoulders, cliffs and ribs, are almost as naked of trees
as the blue skies above them. The rock layers stand out at the worn
edges very plainly. Some hills are banded round and round horizontally
with successive layers of rock. Others are made up of layers slightly
inclined, and some look like giant clam-shells set down on the land. In
yet other hills the twistings and heavings have given the sedimentary
layers a vertical position up and down over the mountains, as if they
had been tipped over. These bands of rock are usually of limestone
interspersed with chunks of chert. Ordinarily the tops of the hills
assume a long, sloping, rounded shape because of the soft nature of the
rock and the wearing power of the deluging rains.

All around the highland country of Western Palestine are mellow plains
and fertile valleys. Up and down the western border between the
highlands and the Mediterranean is the Maritime Plain, from eight to
fifteen miles wide. Along the eastern edge is the great depression of
the Ghôr, the low fertile basin that separates Western from Eastern
Palestine and provides a bed for the plunging current of the Jordan and
a sink for the Dead Sea. These two fertile strips are barely connected
toward the north by an arm of the Ghôr, formerly called the Valley of
Jezreel, that reaches to the site of ancient Jezreel, and a succession
of plains formerly called the Plain of Esdraelon, that touch the
Maritime Plain around the nose of Carmel. The highland country is
pierced by many a cut called, in the language of the country, _wâd_, or
_wâdy_, the equivalent ordinarily of our _valley_, though the climate of
Palestine is such as to make it almost always the case that a wâdy is a
brook in the rainy weather of winter and a dry gully during the rest of
the year.[2] Some of these wâdys are of considerable breadth and offer
arable lands; others are narrow, deep gorges. Into some of these gorges
the débris from the hillsides has tumbled so as to make it impossible to
use the valley bed as a road even in dry weather.

-----

-----

Many of the passes mentioned in the literature of Palestine are really
highland paths. Valleys must often be avoided as impassable during the
winter rains and as stiflingly hot in summer. Invading armies would
seldom risk using narrow valleys for their approach, as they would be
easily assailable from the hillsides.

The limestone is full of holes and caves varying in size from a pocket
to a palace. The caves may be near the surface or far in the secret
places of the deep-chested mountains. They make reservoirs for the
catching of the rain from the surface and hold it through the long dry
season, giving some of it in springs[3] and probably losing floods of it
in lower and lower caverns. Sometimes the caves are like small rooms,[4]
let into the sides of the cliffs, as at ‛Ayn Fâra in the Wâdy Fâra, a
few hours northeast of Jerusalem, where there is a suite of four
connecting rooms in the side wall of the valley, thirty feet above the
path. In front of the rooms is a narrow ledge overhanging the path, and
up through this natural platform is a manhole which offers the one way
of access from below. All up and down this wâdy are caves, some having
been improved, probably for purposes of hermit dwelling. In Wâdy
es-Suwaynîṭ, that is, the valley of Michmash, there are a good many such
cliff dwellings[5] which seem to be approachable only by a rope let down
from the top of the precipice above. All through the wild gorges of the
country one is apt to come upon these caves with signs of use in some
previous age by troglodytes and hermits. When possible they are now used
as goat-pens, and thus offer unclean but dry quarters to any one caught
in a rain. At the cave near Kharayṭûn the entrance is difficult to
reach, up in the side of a precipitous mountain. It is a narrow passage
leading to a large, high, vaulted room, a sort of natural cathedral,
with a large side chamber. Thence one may go through a low, tortuous
passage to other smaller rooms as far as most of the adventurous care to
go, the natives say to Hebron, but the guide-books, something over five
hundred feet. About Jeba‛, east of er-Râm, the ground sounds hollow
under foot because of caves to which one may descend, in some cases by
cut stairs, to find that the caves have been enlarged and cemented.
About two thirds of the way from el-Bîreh to Baytîn, on the left of the
path, is a cave which has been made to do service as a catch-basin for
the water from the spring above. The mouth of the spring has been
enlarged artificially and connected by a rock-cut channel with the cave.
This channel has little grooves branching from it and there seem to be
here the conveniences of an ancient laundering or fulling place. In the
cave are two supporting columns cut from the rock. The interior is well
adorned to-day with a pretty growth of delicate maidenhair ferns.

-----

-----

There are many caves in the hillsides of what is called the Samson
Country,[6] through which the railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem passes. In
and about Jerusalem are caves the discussion of which does not belong
here, though they can hardly have failed, in their long association with
the history of that city, of having much significant connection with the
political and religious history of the people of the country. Such are
the caves about the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the little one under
the great rock beneath the Dome of the Rock, the artificially enlarged
caves on the south side of the Valley of Hinnom, the huge cave of
Jeremiah, north of the city, under the hill where the Moslems have a
cemetery, not to mention its counterpart across the road and under the
city, called Solomon’s Quarry or the Cotton Grotto.

-----

-----

Near the village of Ḳubâb, but nearer the tiny village of Abu Shûsheh,
is a large cave now used as a sheep and goat pen. It is called by the
neighboring Moslems Noah’s Cave. The top of it has evidently at some
time fallen in, thus diminishing its size, but giving it an immense
mouth, quite conspicuous all about the neighboring country to the north.
The peasantry, in their double desire to account for it and also to say
something against the Jews, tell this story about the cave. They say
that Noah was making war against the Jews who, being hard pressed, ran
into this cave for shelter. Thereupon Noah brought up his heavy guns and
bombarded the cave with such effect as to crush in the top, which fell
on the Jews, killing them all.

In connection with caves the peasants tell certain stories of hyenas. To
the peasant any story that has to do with these creatures is gruesome.
The hyena, they say, will accost a lone pedestrian, rub up against him
and cast a spell over him until, in a dazed way, the man follows the
animal to its cave, where the hyena will despatch him. The tale is
continued to describe how the hyena is captured. They say that a man
strips himself naked and crawls into the cave of the hyena, carrying one
end of a rope which is held by his companions outside. Once inside, his
condition deceives the hyena, as does also a cajoling tone which he uses
until the creature, quite unsuspecting, begins to fawn and roll over.
The man at once secures a leg of the hyena with his rope, whereupon the
men outside draw out the beast and kill it with their clubs.

New graves are usually loaded with heavy stones and watched at night to
prevent the hyenas from exhuming the dead bodies.

As the rock of the country is of a quickly dissolving kind, the
torrential force of the winter rains greatly facilitates soil-making.
The ground is strewn with loose stones, in some places so thickly that
the soil cannot be seen a few rods away. Soil is carried rapidly about,
so that where there are no terraces or pockets to catch it the shelving
rock is soon denuded and the only deep earth is found in the valleys or
hollow plains.

The Jordan and the ‛Aujâ (Crooked) are the two largest rivers of
Palestine; Ḥûleh (Merom), Tiberias (Galilee) and Baḥret Lût (the Dead
Sea), its three lakes. There are many streams, brooks and winter ponds
that disappear with the rainy season. In a few deep-cut beds, where
strong springs supply the brooks, water flows in a current all the year.

The watershed of Western Palestine is considerably nearer to the Jordan
than to the Mediterranean, being about thirty-five or forty miles from
the Sea, but scarcely more than twenty miles on the average from the
river. The valley courses of the streams generally take a southeasterly
direction from the watershed to the Jordan basin, and a northwesterly
direction towards the Mediterranean Sea. Those on the east are narrower
and more precipitous, since they have on that side of the country the
shorter distance and the more remarkable fall in levels.

Fertility and population have generally favored the western side of the
watershed, with some notable exceptions. This western slope is flanked
by the low-lying hills of the Shephelah and comes gradually down to the
Maritime Plain. The hills and plain on this side have very great
historical interest and have formed the bridge of the civilizations to
the north and to the south of Palestine. At the present time, when
travel comes by sea from the Western world, this country is a threshold
to the shrines and ancient sites of Syria and the East.

The only ponds in the country are the winter ponds called by the native
name, _balû‛a_. These are formed by the winter rains. They stand for
about five months in low places, and then disappear until the next rainy
season.[7] Robinson, in 1838, passed by one of these on his way from
el-Bîreh to Jifnâ. As his journey that way was on June 13, the pond was
then dry. But this same pond may now be seen every winter and spring
full of water. The new carriage road cuts the eastern end of it at a
point a little over a mile north of el-Bîreh. Another of these ponds may
be seen just under the village of Baytûnyeh, towards Râm Allâh. Were it
not for such short-lived ponds many of the country people would have
little idea of any body of water larger than a rainwater cistern. The
Dead Sea may be seen from the high hills to the east of these ponds and
the Mediterranean from those to the west, but only a small proportion of
the peasantry ever get to see either one of them. A distant view gives
the unexperienced no adequate notion of their size. People living in
Jaffa, on the sea, have been known to poke fun at the upland folk and
bewilder them with yarns about the sea. One story that they impose on
the credulous countryman is that every night, at dark, a cover is put
over the sea, as one would cover over a jar of water, or a bowl of
dough. One man, on reaching Jaffa late in the afternoon for his first
visit, hastened down to the beach in order to see the water before the
cover should be put on for the night. Perhaps the best known winter
ponds are in the extensive _sunken meadows_ of the Plain of Esdraelon,
athwart the way from Jenîn to Nazareth.

-----

-----

The springs of Palestine are its eyes, as the Arabs put it, and when
they are sparkling with life the whole face of the country lights up
with a wholesome expression.[8] In places where the springs are remote
from the present settlements, and now used only for the flocks or by
travelers, there are often to be seen remains of former buildings.
Sometimes villas or even villages may be traced; old aqueducts also, and
ruined reservoirs, showing how great pains were once taken to utilize
the water supply. At ‛Ayn Fâra is a copious supply of water forming one
of the few perennial brooks. In its deeper pools the herdsmen water and
wash their flocks.[9] There is a very feeble attempt at gardening in the
vicinity, but for the most part the precious treasure flows away unused.
The valley sides show ancient masonry belonging to more thrifty times.
On the hill ‛Aṭâra, a mile south of el-Bîreh, are ruined reservoirs to
which the waters of the spring now called ‛Ayn en-Nuṣbeh were carried by
stone conduits, of which only small pieces remain. So may similar
indications be seen at ‛Ayn Ṣôba, at ‛Ayn Jeriyût, ‛Ayn Kefrîyeh, all of
which are west of Râm Allâh. Present-day villages are often a
considerable distance from the spring on which they depend for drinking
water. Many large places are provided with but one spring. Nazareth and
Jerusalem are thus limited to one good spring each. Around the Sea of
Galilee and the Dead Sea are warm, even hot, springs once much prized as
watering-places. They are generally sulphurous in character. Those at
Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, are used now as baths.

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[Illustration: RIVER AUJA NORTH OF JAFFA]

Of wells Palestine has but few. Some of those mentioned in the Bible
still remain, though not all are in use.[10] It comes more naturally to
the mind of an Oriental to devote the labor and expense that it would
take to dig a well to the construction of something in which to catch a
portion of the rainfall. It is quite essential to the prosperity of
Palestine that its water resources be husbanded through the long dry
season.[11] As has been suggested, there is plenty of evidence that
formerly this was done in a very painstaking manner, but at the present
time far less care is given to this very important matter. Numerous
cisterns and reservoirs were made to catch rain-water and the overflow
of the fountains. The large number of these ancient devices for saving
water, in contrast with the few made and used in these days, offers one
basis for a comparison of the condition of the country in old and new
Palestine. Rain-water was caught in cemented pits not very unlike huge
pear-shaped bottles. Such water was used for all household purposes
where spring water failed; also for watering the animals. It was drawn
up as from a well. Occasionally these old cemented cisterns are still in
use. But all through the country there are vast numbers of them that are
no longer used. All about Jerusalem, especially north of the city, among
the olives, they may be seen; also about the district of Râm Allâh, at
Teḳû‛a and at Jânyeh.

-----

-----

The overflow of springs was provided for by more pretentious
structures,—the great rectangular box pools built of solid masonry. The
most noteworthy of these reservoirs are the so-called Pools of Solomon,
three in number, south of Bethlehem, by the road that leads to Hebron.
These three immense reservoirs, each of which, when full, would float a
battleship, have a combined capacity of over forty million gallons.
Formerly stone aqueducts conveyed the waters to Jerusalem. Remains of
these are still to be seen. The water is conveyed now through iron
pipes, fully eight miles, to the city. Jerusalem itself has the famous
Pool of Siloam,[12] the Sultan’s Pool and the Pool of Mâmilla. The last
one mentioned feeds a large reservoir within the city walls, sometimes
called the Patriarch’s Pool and sometimes Hezekiah’s Pool.[13] At Bethel
(Baytîn) the spring is surrounded by an old reservoir larger than the
Pool of Mâmilla. It is now dry and its bottom is used as a
threshing-floor. And so all about the country are found the remains of
costly works designed for the saving and proper use of the water supply.
With such means of irrigation the productiveness of the country must
have been much greater than at the present day.

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Sometimes, in speaking of the seasons in Palestine, we say summer and
winter,[14] and sometimes we mention the four seasons. Perhaps if we
should say wet season and dry season it would be less misleading, but
even then one would have to bear in mind that the wet season is not a
time of general downpour but simply the season in which the rains of the
year come.

-----

-----

The wet season, or winter,[15] as it is more generally called, ought to
provide, for the welfare of the country, from twenty-five to thirty
inches of rainfall in the highlands. Sometimes it is as low as sixteen
inches, and it occasionally exceeds thirty-five or even forty inches.
Roughly speaking, the wet season claims the five months, November to
March. In a very wet winter, perhaps, the rains will reach over a period
of nearly six months, but, on the other hand, the rainy period may
shrink to four. The most frequent and heavy falls of rain in an ordinary
season are looked for near the beginning and at the close of the wet
season. Many pleasant days,[16] and even some entire weeks of rainless
weather, may be expected during this wet season. Now and then there may
be a winter during which the water will be glazed over in the puddles a
few times, or there may be several falls of snow.[17] Driving, raw,
chilling rains and winds may prevail for a week at a time, or longer,
and be less easy to bear than the stronger cold of a more northerly
climate.[18]

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-----

The dry season is more in keeping with its name throughout its control
of nearly seven months, although rain in May has been experienced and a
_slip_ in one of the summer months is not unknown. At the end of
September or at the beginning of October a slight shower is expected.
One scarcely expects rain, however, until well into November. Despite
the very hot days in the dry summer season, the nights in the Palestine
highlands are generally cool. The Syrian sun is a synonym for piercing,
intense heat, and foreigners are more apt to be thoughtless of its power
than to overdo caution. During the midsummer months it is hard to take
photographs except very early or very late, or with very slow-acting
lenses and plates. Then, too, the poorest light for distant views may be
in summer, when the intense heat fills the air with a haze. Those who
have seen the dead, brown look that comes on a district of country which
has suffered an unusual period of drought may partly imagine the
appearance of Palestine after a six months’ absence of rain unrelieved
except for the night-mists that may prevail during some of that time.

After the drought the peasant, like the country, is pantingly ready for
the first rains of the autumn. He never hesitates to choose between rain
and sunshine. It is always the former. Even if rain comes in destructive
abundance he has only to think of the terrors of a scanty rainfall to
repress all complaints. As we say in a complimentary way to a guest,
“You have brought pleasant weather,” so the Syrian will say, “Your foot
is green,” that is, “Your coming is accompanied by the benedictions of
rain.” Rains usually begin with an appearance of reluctance,[19] but
sometime in November or December they ought to come down heavily for
most of a fortnight. Sometimes there are several weeks of delightfully
balmy weather between the drenching rains. During an unusually dry
winter, when the rainfall is below twenty inches, much of the winter
will be pleasant, at the expense of the crops and of the general
welfare. At such times the price of wheat goes up and the scantily
supplied cisterns give no promise of holding out through the succeeding
summer. Springs dry down until the best of them offer but a tiny stream,
and hours must be spent at some of the fountains to fill a few jars.
Much of January is apt to be rainy. February is strange and fickle, and
because it is especially trying to the vital forces of the aged and weak
is called Old Woman’s Month. We remember a very pleasant February, but
such are rare. Honest March is pretty much its boisterous self even in
Palestine. April is sunny and a charming month for a journey. If the
latter rains have been delayed they may come even in April, though that
is late. But the needed rain has been known to come as late as middle
May, with unusually cold weather. Then the peasants deemed such weather
portentous.[20] The latter rains—how familiar a phrase to the ears of
many who may not know just why they are so called![21] The downpour of
November or December washed out the ground, made the heat flee, brought
back health to the succulent plants, hastened the ripening of the
oranges and did pretty well for the cisterns, but this latter rain is
the key of the situation. If it does not come, wheat may sell at famine
prices and all the pains of a drought take hold of the land.[22] But if
it only will come, then wealth and comfort and a healthy summer.[23]

-----

-----

Harvest begins in the springtime. May brings the yellow heads on the
grain, and it must be gathered or soon the summer will be ended and the
harvest past.[24] The grain on the hills is a few weeks later than that
in the valleys and plains. A little donkey coming in from the hill
terraces with a back-load of sheaves looks very porcupiny. The reaper
grasps the stalks of wheat or barley with one hand and cuts a long straw
with the sickle in the other hand. If he is hungry he starts a little
fire and holds some of the wheat heads over it until well parched, and
then, rubbing off the husks between his palms, he has a feast of the
_new corn of the land_. Thus treated, new wheat is called _frîky_
(rubbed).

-----

-----

During the time of ripening wheat one may see in the fields, close to
the ground, the heavy green leaves and yellow, shiny apples of the
mandrake.[25] The natives say that if one eats the seeds of the fruit
they will make him crazy. The pulp has a pleasant, sweetish flavor and
an agreeable smell.[26]

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The only dreadful wind in Palestine is the east wind,[27] because it
blows from the inland desert and brings excessive heat. The Arabic word
for _east_ is _sherḳ_, and so for east wind the Arab says _Sherḳ-îyeh_.
From this we get, by corruption, our word sirocco (or sherokkoh), which
has come to mean simply a hot, enervating blast from any direction. To
the Arab it is that wearing east wind whose coming can be felt in the
early morning before a breath of air seems stirring. There is a certain
chemical effect on the nervous system of those who are particularly
sensitive to the blighting touch of the Sherḳîyeh. Sometimes this wind
goes away suddenly after a short day, but almost always its coming means
that it will run three days at least, and often more. There is a similar
wind in Egypt known to residents of Cairo as the Khumsûn (fifty), from
the likelihood that it will remain fifty days. Such an unbroken period
of hot winds must be exceedingly rare in Palestine, though in the early
autumn of 1902 there was an almost continuous Sherḳîyeh for five weeks.
The east wind of winter is usually as disagreeably cold as its relative
in summer is hot and suffocating. The only good thing that I ever knew
the summer sirocco to do was to cure quickly the raisin grapes spread on
the ground in September.

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-----

The west wind prevails a generous share of the time and brings mists and
coolness from the sea during the summer. In the rainy season a northwest
wind brings rain.[28] The showers are often presaged by high winds from
the west and north.

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-----

September, with its trying siroccos, is often hotter than May. The
pomegranates ripen in this month. In the country districts it is very
hard to get goats’ milk from this time onward for several months. The
flocks are too far distant, having been driven away to find pasture and
water, and a little later on the milk is all needed for the young.
During these days, too, it is not thought good to weaken the goats by
milking them any more than is quite necessary. In the cities milk is
always to be had.

The Greek Feast of the Cross, about the end of September, is looked
forward to as marking the date for an early shower which may be
sufficiently strong to cleanse the roofs. After that the rain may come
in a month, or it may wait two. The people notice a period of general
unhealthiness just preceding the autumn rains. Their advent usually puts
an end to it, bringing healthier conditions. Sometime along in the
autumn there is often noticed a warm spell of weather which the natives
call _Ṣayf Ṣaghîr_, or _Ṣayf Rummân_, that is, _Little Summer_, or
_Pomegranate Summer_.

The cement in the paved roofs cracks under the fierce heat of summer and
the early showers help to discover the bad places which must be patched
before the heavy winter rains. In the case of earth-covered roofs the
first shower ought to be followed by a good rolling, the owners going
over and over them with stone rollers rigged with wooden handles that
creak out upon the clear air after the rain as they work in the sockets.
From the peculiar noise thus made the Râm Allâh people have a local name
of _zukzâkeh_ for the wooden handles of these stone rollers. In the
northern part of the country the name _nâ‛uṣ_ is given to the roller
handles for a similar reason. The roofs of rolled earth can be kept very
tight. The covering of such roofs is made by mixing sandy soil with clay
and with the finest grade of chaff, called _mûṣ_, from the
threshing-floor. On old earth roofs patches of grass[29] grow, and even
grain has been seen springing up in such places.

-----

-----

The Syrian peasant divides trees into classes by pairs. There are those
that are good to sit under and those that are not. Then there are those
that yield food and those that do not. Finally there are those that are
holy, and therefore cannot be cut for charcoal or fuel, and those that
are not thus tabooed.

The fig-tree is a very useful food producer and is much cultivated. As
elsewhere mentioned, the irritating effect of the juices of the broken
fig branch or leaf makes it less desirable as a shade tree, but because
of its dense shade it must be resorted to in hot weather. The olive-tree
gives rather a thin shade. The carob-tree is a fine shade-giver. The
pine is a favorite in this respect, though few pines are left. The
needly cypress shades only its own central mast. One might as well
snuggle up to one’s own shadow for protection as to expect it from a
cypress. Pomegranate, lemon and orange-trees, when large enough, afford
shade, but they are often in low, miasmatic places. The apple-tree does
not do well except in parts of northern Syria, as at Zebedâny, near
Damascus. Some fine pear-trees are to be seen above Bîr ez-Zayt, though
as a rule they are as difficult to cultivate as apple-trees. At ‛Ayn
Sînyâ are flourishing mulberry-trees of great size. The opinion is held
that the mulberry and the silk culture usually associated with it would
thrive peculiarly well in Palestine. Mount Tabor is thinly studded with
trees except on the southeast side. Mount Carmel also has yet some
remains of its one-time forest. The oak is found in a number of
varieties, but is a great temptation to the charcoal burner, as it
affords the most desirable coal. The _zinzilakt_ is a favorite for
shade. The best substitute for a shade tree in the land is a large rock,
the cool side of which helps one to forget the burning glare of the noon
sun.[30]

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-----

We shall have to call winter the season of rain, flowers and travel.
Rain ushers in the winter and also closes it. To the middle and latter
part of that season is due the bursting of the blossoms and a push that
sends flowers scattering into the first months of the dry season.[31]
Travel might find a better time than much of the winter, but then it is
cool and if it rains, why, that is the way of the country, and this
explanation often suffices.

-----

[Illustration: DONKEY AT THE THRESHING FLOOR WITH A LOAD OF WHEAT]

On the flowers of the country Dr. Post’s book offers a mine of
information for those skilled enough in the elements of botany to make
use of it. The little booklets of pressed specimens offered for sale,
when fresh, give an excellent idea of the variety of wild-flower life in
Palestine. Mrs. Hannah Zeller, a daughter of former Bishop Gobat of
Jerusalem, and the wife of the late Rev. John Zeller of Nazareth and
Jerusalem, has been most successful in reproducing in color many of the
flowers of Palestine. Mrs. Zeller’s book of color plates, published some
years ago, is now hard to secure. She still has the originals and an
even larger collection which awaits a publisher. Until some such
publication in color is attempted it will be difficult to describe in
writing the unusual splendor and variety of Palestine’s wild flowers.

The flower season really begins in what we should call midautumn with
the little lavender-colored crocus called by the natives the _serâj
el-ghûleh_ or _the lamp of the ghoul_. A better name for it would be
_serâj esh-shugâ‛_ which would mean _the lamp of courage_, as it thrusts
its dainty head up through the calcined earth, scarcely waiting for a
drop of moisture. After this brave little color-bearer of Flora’s troop
there follow the narcissus, heavily sweet, and the cyclamen, clinging
with its ample bulb in rocky cracks as well as nestling in moist beds.
But of all the flowers the general favorite is the wild anemone,
especially in its rarer varieties, white, pink, salmon, blue and purple.
The most common is the red anemone, which is seen everywhere and
sometimes measures four or five inches across. Near Dayr Dîwân we once
rode through an orchard where the ground was covered with a cloud of
these red ones, so voluptuous, so prodigally spread in a carpet of
crimson beauty that one almost held one’s breath at the charming scene.
The red ranunculus, which comes later, is almost as large, but it looks
thick and heavy in comparison, and the flaunting red poppy, which comes
still later, looks weak and characterless beside the anemone. Even the
wild red tulip suffers beside it. The colors of the anemone other than
red are more rare, but usually come earlier. About Jaffa they appear
shortly after Christmas. White ones and some of delicate shades are
found between there and the river ‛Aujâ. White ones abound near Jifnâ,
and are found east of Ḳubâb and east of Sejed station. Purple, pink and
blue ones are plentiful in Wâdy el-Kelb and the Khullet el-‛Adas near
Râm Allâh. The large red ranunculus mentioned is found in large patches
between Jericho and the Dead Sea in early February. Considerably later
there is an acre-patch east of Dayr Dîwân near the cliff descent towards
eṭ-Ṭayyibeh. The red tulip is rarer and follows soon. The red poppy is
very abundant. It has the delicacy of crêpe. It is scarcely welcome as
it betokens the close of the flower season. But one may for some time
yet gather flowers that blaze forth as brilliantly in middle spring as
do the autumn flowers in America: the adonis, gorse, flax, mustard,
bachelor’s button, anise, vetch, everlasting, wild mignonette and
geranium. In the vineyards, about pruning time, the ground is covered
with a rich purple glow. The sweet-scented gorse abounds in the valleys
towards Ṭayyibeh. The vetches come in many colors, and there are scores
of other scarcely noticed little blossoms.

When the season has been especially rainy, as may occur about every
fifth or sixth year, the valleys such as ‛Ayn Fâra will be knee-deep
with the abundant flowering herbs and weeds. The scented jasmine and the
tall waving reeds over the watercourse will add their charm to this
favored spot. Later, yellow thistles abound.

One of the oddities of the flower family is the black lily of the calla
order, which the natives call _calf (leg) of the negro_.

In the moist, shady caves, and sometimes in old cisterns, masses of
maidenhair fern grow in the cool shelter throughout the year.

On the shores of Tiberias (Galilee) oleanders and blue thistles are seen
in May.

In speaking of the wild animals of Palestine one is almost led to
include the dog and the cat. They are, however, on the edge of
domesticity and may fairly be omitted. Wolves, hyenas, jackals and foxes
are the troublesome wild beasts. The last two are often about vineyards
seeking to feed on the grapes.[32] The jackal cry at night is very
mournful and sure to start up the barking of the dogs, who are
themselves often grape thieves.

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The beautiful little gazels are started up in the wilderness and go
bounding off like thistle-down in a breeze, turning every now and then,
however, to look with wonder at the traveler. Once, near eṭ-Ṭayyibeh we
saw four together, and once, east of Jeba‛, we saw a herd of nine
gazels.

Among the smaller creatures met with are the mole-rat, the big
horny-headed lizard, called by the natives _ḥirdhôn_, the ordinary
lizard about the color of the gray-brown rocks among which it speeds,
the little green lizard that darts about, and the pallid gecko, climbing
on house-walls. The beautiful and odd chameleon must also be mentioned.
Snakes are not commonly seen by the traveler. Scorpions, black beetles,
mosquitoes, fleas and a diabolical little sand-fly, called by the
natives _ḥisḥis_, are among the less agreeable creatures noticed.

At Haifa, in the house of the Spanish vice-consul, we saw the skin of a
crocodile caught in the river Zerḳâ in 1902. They spoke also of one
which had been caught fourteen years before in the same waters.

One of the showiest birds of Palestine is the stork, which is mostly
white, but has black wings, a red bill and red legs. Its eyes, too, have
a border of the latter color. The natives call it _abu sa‛d_. Flocks of
them may be seen frequently. Now and then a solitary bird is seen in a
wheat-field. Crows with gray bodies and black wings are plentiful.
Ravens, vultures, hawks and sparrows are common. Twice I saw the capture
of a sparrow by a hawk. Once, after having started his victim from a
flock, the hawk dashed after him and caught him in a small tree but six
feet from my head. It was done with such terrific quickness as to
surprise the spectator out of all action. Gray owls (bûmeh), partridges
(shunnar), wild pigeons (ḥamâm) and quails (furri) are seen. It seemed
quite appropriate to see doves on the shores of Galilee. On the surface
of the same lake water-fowls were observed. At Jericho we saw the robin
redbreast; in the gorge at Mâr Sâbâ, the grackle. Starlings in clouds
haunt the wheat-fields in harvest. Meadow-larks, crested, are very
common. Goldfinches, bulbuls, thrushes and wagtails are also noticed.

[Illustration: WILD ANEMONES FROM WADY EL-KELB]

The scenery of Western Palestine lacks the charm that woods and water
provide. Yet one grows to like it. The early and late parts of the day
are best for the most pleasing effects. Then the views out across the
vineyards and off on the hills are very restful. The rolling coast plain
backed by the distant hills of the Judean highlands makes a pleasing
prospect, especially when decked with the herbage that follows the
rains. Quiet tastes are satisfied with such pastoral scenes as those in
the valley at Lubban or in the plain of Makhna. Excellent distant views
are afforded from the hills near Nazareth, from which are seen the rich
plains of Esdraelon, Haifa, Mount Carmel and the Mediterranean. The Sea
of Galilee is delightfully satisfying. From Tabor one gets a glorious
sight of Hermon, snow-white, whence the natives call it Jebel esh-Shaykh
(Old Man Mountain). The views from Mount Carmel of sea and coast-line
and much of the interior, the glimpse of the Mediterranean from the hill
of Samaria and the sweeping prospect from Gerizim are all good. An
easily attained and little known view-point is Jebel Ṭawîl (Long
Mountain) east of el-Bîreh. From here of a late afternoon the country
lies open in sharp, clear lines throughout the central region. Jerusalem
is seen lying due south in beautiful silhouette; the Mount of Olives is
a little east of it. The Dead Sea is southeast, eṭ-Ṭayyibeh north of
east, Bethel (Baytîn) northeast, Gibeon southwest, near which is Neby
Samwîl. Near at hand, to the south, are el-Bîreh and Râm Allâh. Only one
thing is lacking in this view; that is the Mediterranean Sea. But this
can be seen, as well as Jaffa, Ramleh and Ludd from Râm Allâh. The
mountain east of the Jordan is plainly visible from all the high points
up and down the middle of the country. Other good view-points are Neby
Samwîl, Jeba‛, Mukhmâs, the hills about Jerusalem, especially from the
tower on the Mount of Olives and from Herodium. Heroic scenery may be
found in the so-called Samson Country through which the railroad from
Jaffa to Jerusalem runs, in the Mukhmâs Valley, the Wâdy Ḳelt and gorges
around Mâr Sâbâ. Crag, ravine, precipice and cave make such places
memorable.

The approach to cities and villages is as characteristic as any other
aspect of them. There is a look from afar peculiar to the settlements of
different countries. As seen from a distance American settlements are
chiefly noticeable for the chimneys, the sharp spires of churches, the
long, monotonous lines of factory buildings and mills and often the
pointed shape of house roofs. Add to these enormous bridges, miles of
railroad yards and cars, a nimbus of smoke and you have the elements
from which to make a view of any good-sized town. For the smaller,
sweeter, country places you must subtract some of the above features and
substitute some woodsy and meadowy effects. In Syria the contrasts with
our more familiar scenes are plain to us in the distant view of its
cities and villages. Instead of the triangular shape is the square look
of the buildings. Instead of chimneys and spires are the huge domes
resting on square substructures, and the pencil-like minarets rising up
among them. The distant view of Jerusalem is one of the most pleasing in
the entire country. It has been one of the standard charms of Palestine,
delighting warrior, poet and pilgrim, and more lately student,
missionary and tourist. There she sits with her feet in deep valleys,
her royal waist girdled with the crenelated wall and her head crowned
with the altar sites of ancient time. There are about her the things
that charm the poetic sense,—age, chivalry, religion. Not even eternal
Rome can be so rich in these and so equally possessed of them all.

Though it is not always the case, yet the greater number of Syrian
cities and villages seek hilly sites.[33] The ports cannot always do
this, though Jaffa does. Damascus spreads out over a low flat area.
Ramleh and Ludd, being plain dwellers, must live in lowlands. But
defense is very commonly sought by settling on the sides or top of a
hill and building the houses close together, if not one above another,
as if in steps.

-----

-----

Garden plots and vineyards are fenced in with hastily-constructed walls
of the loose stone picked up on the inside.[34] Between these curving
walls run sinuous lanes[35] into the villages from the paths and roads
outside.

-----

-----

It would be very easy to make a pocket-edition of a book of all the
roads in the country, no matter how small the pocket. Some roads are
planned for, taxed for and looked for a great many years before the
semblance of road-making begins. But never mind that; Orientals enjoy a
road in prospect and in retrospect much longer than in fact. Where the
government does put through a road it is usually good traveling. The
highlands afford the best of road-making materials and, if often enough
repaired, no better roads could be asked for. Many carriageways are over
favoring bits of country where the frequent passing has marked out the
only road. The Romans were the greatest road-makers in Palestine. The
remains of their work may even now be seen in various places. Many of
their old roads are indicated on the best maps. Roman roads at this day
of decay do not, as a rule, offer easy travel. The washings of a
millennium or two of rain have made them of the corduroy order.

Of paths one may make as many as one pleases in a country where no
barbed wire and few walls prevent. The permanency of the old well-worn
paths[36] is very noticeable, the best one always leading to a village
or to a spring. There is such a thing as the tyranny of the path. It is
very evident where railroads rule, and even in a country where the
travel must be on the backs of animals, the little bridle-paths impose
on one and, taking advantage of the inertia of human mentality, mark out
one’s way with arbitrary exclusiveness. When one’s time is limited to
just a sufficient number of days to allow one to see all the more
notable places in the country, it is scarcely to be expected that one
will sacrifice the surety of seeing a noted place for the chance of
stumbling on a place of less popular interest. The paths and time
required for seeing most places are almost as clearly indicated as any
schedule of trips in countries possessed of time-tables. This accounts
for the fact that, although thousands of travelers pass over the beaten
paths, and scores of students go over the rarer paths, not one in the
twenty or the thousand is likely to get off the paths.

-----

-----

One of the bits of country thus scantily known to foreigners is northern
Judea, especially to the northwest of Jerusalem. Most travelers passing
through it on the way to Jerusalem are in haste to reach the city, and
once there, the fact that any place is a few hours farther distant than
a day’s trip would allow forbids easy investigation.

One does not have to go far to reach the wilderness.[37] It is any
uncultivated place. It is the pasture for flocks,[38] the wild of rocks
and short, thorny bushes. The thorns[39] are gathered every other year
to build fires in the lime-kilns, where the abundant lime-rock of the
country is burned. When the men gather them for the lime-kilns the
thorns are piled in great heaps with heavy stones on them to hold them
down. When needed the heap is pierced with a long pole and carried over
the shoulder as on a huge pitchfork. During the late winter and in
spring only may one see green fields in anything like a Western sense.
The Plain of el-Makhna presents a very lovely prospect from the height
above it. Something like a small prairie effect is had in the Maritime
and Esdraelon plains. Pasture privilege is commonly had anywhere if the
land be not under actual cultivation. In the uplands the custom of
leaving great tracts idle in alternate years[40] in lieu of dressing the
ground permits wide pasturage. As the dry season advances the herdsmen
seek the deep valleys with their flocks. There is little opportunity for
new trees or shrubs to survive this universal browsing. So it comes
about that, except where orchards are set out or scraps of ancient woods
remain, trees are seldom seen.

-----

-----

[Illustration: A VINEYARD AT RÂM ALLÂH]

Summer is the time of fierce heat, and yet through it all the
grape-vines keep green and the luscious clusters grow larger and ripen
under their heavy armor-plate of leaves. The peasants enjoy the tart
taste of green fruit. Half-grown grapes are sometimes eaten with salt on
them. Green almonds are eaten in the same way. Often it is hard to get
ripe peaches, melons and other fruits because of the tendency of the
peasants to pick them before they are ripe. But the time of the ripe
grapes is the glad time of the year. Instead of saying “August” the
peasants often use the expression “In grapes.” It is a season by itself
to them. The vineyard owners build summer booths among the vines and
sleep there through the season. In large vineyards it is common to
employ a black man, perhaps a Moroccan, as a watcher. The Syrian peasant
stands in peculiar awe of the black stranger. The watchers are provided
with shotguns, for foxes and dogs like to eat grapes. All fruit must be
guarded against thievishly disposed neighbors. One who knows his
vineyard watches the progress of the choicest clusters, having covered
some of them early to keep them from drying and to allow them to develop
unplucked. Should any grapes be stolen he quickly notices the loss. He
sets a thin row of fine stones along the top of his wall in such a way
that a night marauder must necessarily rattle them down and thus awaken
him. One of the heartless bits of meanness that a hostile peasant can
perpetrate in order to pay a grudge is to cut the vine stocks of his
enemy’s vineyard. Since it takes three years for a new vineyard to bear,
such an act is a serious damage.

The finest grapes within reach of Jerusalem are those from Hebron and
Râm Allâh. Large white clusters similar to the Malaga grapes are the
favorites, though purple grapes are also grown. At Râm Allâh the vines
lie flat on the ground. The vine is pruned back to leave three joints on
every small branch that is spared in the rigorous treatment.[41] At
Jifnâ the vines may be seen trained on stakes. At Zaḥleh, in the
Lebanon, the growers have a way of propping up the main vine a few
inches above the ground, so that a vineyard has the look of waves of
green. In Jerusalem some of the grapes at the Greek Hospital and at the
White Fathers’ near St. Stephen’s Gate are raised on arbors, and the
clusters are covered with little bags. Thus protected the grapes ripen
slowly and are enjoyed until late in the season. Vast quantities of
fresh grapes are consumed as an article of daily food during August,
September and October. The price, when cheap, is a cent a pound, and it
gradually creeps up to the fancy price of six cents a pound late in the
season. Grapes have been provided from the country vineyards as late as
the first of December.

-----

-----

Trees need considerable soil, but the grape-vine will thrive with very
little and will penetrate with its rootlets all the fissures of the
lime-rock for yards about. Then, too, the luscious bunches lying on a
pebbled ground do better than those on clear soil. Most of the grass and
wild, weedy growth of the country is bulbous and clings in scanty soil,
gathering as in a reservoir all the available moisture.

When the crop demands clear ground the native farmer piles the stones
into walls, watch-towers or a huge heap in a less fertile spot of the
field.[42] It is often a problem to find room for the waste stones. They
may be tossed out into the roads and paths. A stranger says, “I don’t
see why these people don’t clear these paths of stone; surely it would
pay.” But the farmers prefer stones in the paths to stones in the garden
patch. With their bare feet, or on their donkeys, they are able by a
lifetime of practise to pick their way over such paths. Moreover,
peasants are not nervous in Palestine. Stones always furnish a handy
weapon,[43] or a reminder on the heels of a slow donkey. In going about
through the country one often sees piles of little stones set up one on
another. Sometimes these little piles are meant for scarecrows;
sometimes they are used to mark a boundary; but there is a wider and
more constant use for such loosely built little columns. They are set up
in sight of holy spots. Apparently they are not only set up in the
vicinity of shrines, _wilys_, etc., but also in places whence a distant
view may be had of some holy place, as Jerusalem, which the natives call
“el-Ḳuds esh-Sharîf” (The Noble Holy) or, for short, el-Ḳuds, which is
practically equivalent to our expression “The Holy City.”[44] These
little columnar piles may also be met in sight of the hill or mount
called Neby Samwîl, which we usually identify with the Mizpeh of
Samuel.[45]

-----

-----

[Illustration: RÂM ALLÂH MAN AND A BASKET OF OLIVES]

[Illustration: STRETCH OF OLIVE TREES ON ROAD TO AYN SÎNYÂ]

The terrace is a thing of great utility to the hill farmer of Palestine.
To the traveler it is a thing of beauty as it climbs the hills with its
artistically irregular breaks in what would be otherwise a rather
monotonous slope. But with terraces and some water the earth is caught
and filled with many possibilities of fruit and vegetables. A hill well
terraced and well watered looks like a hanging garden. Much of the
farming in Judea is on the sides of hills. The little iron-shod wooden
plow is run scratching along the terraces. Sometimes one of the oxen
will be on a lower level than the other. To go forward without slipping
down the hillside is not easy. What cannot be plowed is dug up with the
pickax, and wheat or barley will find lodgment in every pocket of soil.
As all the reaping is done by hand it offers no especial difficulty, and
the monotony of which some people complain on prairie land is never
experienced on such a pitched-roof farm. Even where the made terrace is
allowed to decay there are many natural terraces where the horizontal
layers outcrop from the hillsides. Were the country well kept up, all
these terraces would be guarded artificially, for in time a natural
terrace loses its protecting edge and the soil and rain come down
cascading over the hill stairs until the bed of the stream is reached.

Of food trees the olive is probably the most valuable. It takes ten or
fifteen years to bring it to the state of bearing much fruit, but it may
go on bearing heavy crops for a century. The oil is freely used in
cooking, for salads, for lighting and for anointing. A hard-pressed
peasant will occasionally yield to the temptation to cut down some of
his olive-trees, selling the finest pieces of wood to the makers of the
olive-wood articles[46] which are prized by tourists, and disposing of
the rest as fire-wood.[47] A hundredweight of such fire-wood sells for
from twelve to twenty-five cents, according to the season and the
market, the city price being considerably higher than the country price.
A good olive-orchard is a sure source of income, unless the taxes are
too harshly and arbitrarily imposed. The cutting them down is a real
calamity to the country, but it is done only too frequently in a poor
year to avoid taxes. The trunk of an aged olive-tree attains a great
girth and a gnarled, knobby look. Sometimes a large part of one of these
huge trunks will be quite hollowed out by decay, in which case the
peasants often fill up the cavities with a core of stones. The tree goes
on bearing with chief dependence on the state of the bark for its
healthy condition. The heavy crops and light crops follow each other in
somewhat the same relation as the apple crops in our New England
country. Women and children gather up those olive berries that fall to
the ground early in the season. Whenever it is desired to gather the
crop of a tree or orchard the men beat the branches with very long light
poles and the women and the children pick up the fallen fruit from the
ground. Of course this is a poor way to gather the best olives, but
inasmuch as the chief use of the olive in Palestine is to express the
oil, it makes less difference. The berries do not ordinarily grow to the
larger sizes so often seen in our markets. Perhaps one of the very
handsomest stretches of olive-orchards in the East is at what is called
the Ṣaḥrâ, near Beirut, between that city and Shwayfât. Other smaller
but excellent orchards are to be seen between Bethlehem and Bayt Jâlâ,
at Mâr Elyâs, Bîr ez-Zayt and to the south of eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

-----

-----

The fig in Judea ripens in August and its fruit may be had for several
months, as new fruit keeps maturing. There are several varieties of this
valuable tree. A few ripe figs are often found as early as June and are
luxuries.[48] The natives sometimes hasten the ripening of a few early
figs by touching the ends with honey. The natives declare that the
fig-tree will not thrive near houses but will become wormy. The action
of the milk of fig branches and leaves on the tissues of the eyes, lips
and mouth is very disagreeable, sometimes making them very sore. The
eyes of children in the fig season are often very repulsive. For this
reason the people prefer other shade, if obtainable, than that of
fig-trees. Most fig-trees are small, about the size of an ordinary
plum-tree, but the large green varieties may grow to a considerable
size. When small fig-trees have sent up two pliable trunk-shoots these
are usually twisted together to strengthen each other. They look like a
suggestion of that ugly taste in architecture that delighted in twisted
columns. The appearance of the branches of a leafless fig-tree is not
unlike that of the horse-chestnut in winter time. Large quantities of
the black figs and some of the white figs are dried in the orchards,
being spread out on the ground under the strong sun-rays.

-----

-----

The pomegranate-tree looks more like an unkempt shrub. The beautiful red
bell-like blossoms are very attractive. Lemons and oranges grown for
profit are often small trees. The sour marmalade orange grows into a
larger, statelier tree.

At Urṭâs, near Solomon’s Pools, the largest and most beautifully colored
apricots grow. Peaches, plums, quinces and almonds are plentiful, and
the cherry, mulberry and walnut thrive.

Concerning trees about the shrines and wilys and all the so-called
sacred trees there will be a more appropriate place to speak later on.

In a land where fruit grows and flourishes one may have far less fruit
than in some fruitless city in a colder climate but favored with ample
facilities for transportation. Right here within a few miles of the
finest orange groves in the land, near the vineyards, under the olive
and fig-trees, with peaches, pomegranates, apricots and plums, we
probably find shorter seasons for each than is the case in some
Anglo-Saxon city of the middle temperatures. Here fruit will be much
cheaper while it lasts, and some fruits, which must be found near the
trees, if enjoyed at all, such as the fig, will be available nowhere
else as here. The peach, plum, orange, apricot and grape go to the
London, Liverpool, New York, Chicago and Boston markets from the place
producing the earliest crops, and the trains and steamships continue
bringing from various markets as the season shifts from one garden spot
to another. But right here, under this particular orange-tree or by this
grape-vine, we usually wait for the ripening of the local crop, knowing
that lack of carrying facilities forbids us eating from a tree that
yields earlier fruit some hundred miles away, or from a tree that yields
when our tree is bare. And so while people who never saw an orange-tree
may buy oranges ten months in the year, we who have an orange-tree in
sight may have to be content with the orange season of our district. But
they will be cheap while they last. Fifty cents is a very ordinary price
for a hundred of the best oranges, and one dollar a hundred is pretty
dear.

The large raised map of Palestine in fibrous plaster, over seven feet by
four, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, London, and the
smaller one help in the study of the physical features of the country.

An excellent small Relief Map of Palestine is edited by Ernest D. Burton
and published by the Atlas Relief Map Co., Chicago.

                              READING LIST

 WILSON, C. T.: “Peasant Life in the Holy Land.” (Dutton.)
 VAN LENNEP: “Bible Lands.” (Harper, 1875.)
 SMITH, G. A.: “Historical Geography of the Holy Land.”
 HUNTINGTON, ELLSWORTH: “Palestine and Its Transformation.”
 The Annual of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem,
   1919–20.
 BELL, GERTRUDE L.: “The Desert and the Sown.”
 SEE ARTS. on Crocodiles in the Pal. Expl. Fund Quarterly, 1920 (p.
   167), 1921 (p. 19). (Gray and Masterman.)
 Stereoscopic Views of Palestine by Underwood and Underwood, and lantern
   slides sold by the Palestine Exploration Fund.

 (The statement on page 13, line 20, needs change in the light of recent
                                history.)

[Illustration: A BEDAWY HOUSE]

[Illustration: BEDAWY DRINKING]



                               CHAPTER II
                        THE PEOPLE OF PALESTINE


The population of Palestine is divided into three parts, desert, village
and city. The desert population is the original Arab stock of pastoral
nomads.[49] The village population is the agricultural society of the
country, and the cities are the meeting places of these two with the
population of other countries. The Bedawy population of the desert is
the subject of much praise on the part of all writers. All who speak of
the Bedawîn use a certain tone of respect, even though occasion is taken
to poke fun at them for their rude ways as viewed by the dwellers in
towns. The religion of the Bedawîn is a simplified Islâm, or, as it may
perhaps be styled, a Moslemized simplicity. The encampment and the
march, herding and the raid, mark the features of a roving life over
some thousands of square miles of wild land. The different tribes have
their general boundaries in the great Syrian and Arabian deserts in
about the same way that the North American Indian once kept within
certain regions of the continent according to nations.

-----

-----

The cities and villages of Palestine, so far as appearance is concerned,
vary in size merely. The houses of a small village are oftentimes just
as closely packed as the buildings in a city, so that a village will
look like a fragment knocked off a city. With us Westerners a village
may have as much land area as some cities, only the dwellings will be
far apart, the difference being in comparative density as well as in
size. In Palestine the density is about the same and the difference is
in the area. This compactness of the village became a fashion in times
of insecurity, when feuds between villages led to raids and reprisals.
The village was built as solidly as possible on rising ground. In the
middle of the core of original houses was the chief’s house, with a
lofty roof from which watch could be kept of all the surrounding country
and approaches.[50] If you wish to trace the growth of a village,
inquire for the _burj_, and probably you will be directed to the highest
spot in the village, at least to the highest house, around which the
early village clustered. If this be on top of a hill, as is frequently
the case, the growing village creeps down the slopes, the roof of one
house being the dooryard of the house above it, until the effect of a
pyramidal structure of children’s building-blocks results. In
troublesome times a watcher on the _burj_ of the village could warn his
fellows working in the outlying fields of the approach of an enemy by
the firing of a musket or by a shrill cry. All fled to the nest on the
height, and a successful attack was difficult against the heavy stone
houses and narrow lanes of the village.

-----

-----

Just as among the cities there are those mostly or altogether Moslem and
others mostly or altogether Christian, so with the villages. While the
Moslem population greatly outnumbers the Christian, yet there is a very
considerable Christian population. Râm Allâh, Bayt Jâlâ, eṭ-Ṭayyibeh and
Jifnâ are Christian villages. In Bîr ez-Zayt, ‛Ayn ‛Arîk and ‛Âbûd the
Christians exceed the Moslems. In el-Bîreh and Ludd the Christians are
comparatively few. A Christian village is known from afar by its more
prosperous look, and the Christian quarters of a mixed village are also
distinguishable by the same favorable marks.

[Illustration: PEASANTS ON WAY TO MARKET WITH PRODUCE]

[Illustration: BEDAWÎN HORSEMAN]

Christian villages have powerful ecclesiastical establishments behind
them which work energetically to secure rights for their constituents.
Church life in the country is political life, and church dignitaries are
adepts in politics. The wealth and cleverness of the church are employed
to hold fast all traditions and all concessions which favor the
Communion and to hinder excessive injustice from overtaking the members.
There results a firm bond of union between the native membership and the
ecclesiastical establishment. The Communion is a religious nation, as it
were.

The Christian native is not subject to army service, as only Moslems are
thus eligible. This disability works to the industrial advantage of the
Christians, who pay an extra tax or tribute in lieu of service.
Centuries of this condition of things have developed the industrial
abilities of the Christian population in spite of discriminations
against them in the courts and in administration. A kind of religious
status is now recognized in the relations between the Moslem and the
Christian peasants. The Moslem stands hard by his faith and the
Christian of the Greek Orthodox Church will scorn the thought that
Christ and the Bible may be for Moslems.

Religious sects in the East remind one of volcanic islands; they are
either ablaze with the fierce fires of an eruption or else they are
overlaid with the ashes of an extinct fire. Between crazy fanaticism and
cold inanition there are no warm impulses of unselfish evangelism.

The Semitic peasant has always been a conservative. In many ways he is
to-day much like what the Canaanite occupier of the land must have been.
Each wave of conquest or shower of civilization has left its effect, but
underneath the Palestine peasant is a primitive Semite. Until within a
few score years religion of one sort or another has usually come to him
at the point of the sword. He has often adopted the veneer of a new
faith in order to escape death. So it was when Joshua and the Hebrew
host swept into the land, Bedawy fashion; so when Maccabean, Roman,
Moslem, Crusader, and Moslem again took control. The Palestine peasant
has worshiped the Baalim, Yahweh, Moloch, the God of Israel, the Son of
God, the God of Islâm. All the time he has kept a certain core of
Semitic custom and superstition, a sort of basic religion that has been
much the same all through these changes. But it is ofttimes impossible
to distinguish between a survival of the old and a reversion or
degeneration.

The native Christian is a shrewd business man. He is courteous even to
self-effacement. He can work hard, bargain shrewdly, save much, take
disappointment and persist. He loves his family dearly. He is humorous,
philosophic, a voluble fellow, non-secretive. He respects the Western
style of education, largely perhaps because it seems to lift people into
an easy life. Ease and grace are Eastern ideals of superiority.

If the Moslem and the Christian could be put on the same political
footing and justice done to each impartially in court practise and
taxation, I firmly believe that they would draw together, that Palestine
would in time be a country with a people and that it would be well
equipped from among its own with men of ability, competent to do its
political and social work.

In general it may be said that where the Palestine peasant has not come
into relationship with the tourist business in any form, and where he is
some little distance from any city, he is naturally simple in his tastes
and requirements, interested in novelty, sociable, hospitable,
fun-loving, hard-working, though not steady in effort.

A lone walker on the road will often sing. Whistling is almost unknown.
Peasants make a twenty-mile journey on foot with considerable ease, and
half that distance is done very commonly. Distances are always reckoned
by them in hours or days, never in miles. They often walk behind their
laden animals. Sometimes it is a donkey, bearing the plow and seed-bag
or loaded with fagots, grain, sheaves, dried figs or grapes, according
to the season. Or it may be a camel similarly laded or carrying stone;
or a mule. Seldom are horses used, except by a village shaykh or a city
official on the highway. When groups of peasants are on the road there
is much talk, often laughter, horse-play, joking, chaffing; sometimes
bickering and quarreling.

The peasant stands in awe of learning, especially of learning in the
Arabic language. He is sensitive to ridicule, and therefore loath to
make such a change in customs as would bring it on him. He is eager in
discussion, inquisitive, strong in memory and at imitating, but slow to
adopt strange ways not tested by the conditions of life to which he is
accustomed. You seldom or never find him nervous, fretful or
discontented. He never questions the wisdom of Providence. He seldom
mentions weather probabilities. He, like his Old Testament countryman,
refers all things to a First Cause. Divine cause or permission is
prominent in his explanation of any phenomena.

The personal appearance of the villagers and the look of their houses
vary with the country level at which they live. In the plains and
lowlands, where thatch and earth are more commonly used in building,
there is a population noticeably different from the dwellers in the
stone villages in the highlands. The inhabitants lower down are darker
and smaller than the hill villagers. These latter are often of good size
and development and, especially among the Christians, are frequently of
lighter color. It is not very uncommon to see sandy complexions among
them.[51] The women and girls in the best villages are often handsome.
The men are lithe of body and finely formed. Both men and women are
usually supple, slow-motioned, strong. They have dark, expressive eyes,
neutral mouths, medium foreheads, heavy features with curving lines,
browned skins and black hair. Fair complexions are admired, especially
the so-called _wheat-colored_ complexion (_ḳumḥeh_). Eyes are
distinguished by the epithets _‛asaliyeh_ (honey-colored), _koḥli_
(kohl-colored), _ghuz-laniyeh_ (gazel-like) and so on.

-----

-----

Different villages and their inhabitants get reputations for doing one
or another kind of work especially well. Or they are distinguished
according to disposition, as harsh and fanatical, or as courteous and
reasonable. Some villages get a name for dulness and others for
sharpness. The villagers are known about the country by slight variation
in dress, by differing casts of countenance and peculiarities of
speech.[52]

-----

-----

We must not magnify too much the differences between civilizations and
peoples, or between this people of whom we speak and our own people. The
difference is often but quantitative. They emphasize some qualities
which we possess, though in quieter color or in less distinctive
marking. Oftentimes the differences would not be apparent except that,
as we have passed rapidly from place to place, our eyes have
synchronized phenomena of different stages of culture. We see really
among these strangers many practises and notions of our own distant
forebears.

[Illustration:

  WOMAN’S WORK
  1. At the Cistern.     2. In the Market.     3. Bringing Brush.
]

Western people are so in the habit of pitying all the women of Asia that
they will probably go on doing so until the end of time in spite of the
facts. To our Western idea woman in the East is a pitiable, miserable
abstraction. The Turkish harem, the Indian child-widow and the deformed
Chinese foot stand for all Asia to many of us. There is probably a
large, free area of life open to thousands of the women of Asia that
does not seem cramped by comparison with the total civilization of which
they are a part. The Bedawy woman would not change places with any of
us, and the village peasant woman of Palestine enjoys life fully as well
as the male villagers. She is not supposed to enter the field marked out
by custom for male members of society, nor will the field she occupies
be intruded upon by them. She shares with the man a preference for male
children. Her position in this regard is only an exaggeration of the
condition that prevails in all modern society. She, like her brothers
and sisters the world over, is influenced by customs to which she yields
obedience a little more gracefully than do many of us. She goes about
her work cheerfully if she is well. Too often she is not well, and in a
few years drudging toil and frequent childbearing age her. Like her
sisters in other countries, she is sometimes tidy and sometimes not. She
loves her children. Whether she loves her husband or not is not easy to
discover, but she pays him proper respect and, if kind, she probably
cherishes real esteem for him. The marriage was probably not of her
choosing, and very likely not of his. Marriage is a state entered into
dutifully by all sons and daughters. It builds the tribe or great family
which is at bottom the object of a Syrian’s greatest devotion next to
himself, and often before himself.

If you awake in the early hours of morning you will hear the monotonous
rumble of the stone mills, telling that the day’s work for the women has
begun. When the spring is very small or low, and it takes a long time to
fill a jar, the women and young girls will sometimes go out before it is
light to get the first turn at the trickling stream. Long journeys are
made into the waste places to secure headloads of brush or grass-fodder.
A woman usually wears a dark blue crash dress while at work. Her legs
and feet are bare; perhaps she carries a rough pair of shoes such as the
men wear, but they are for the briers and stones outside the village.
Should she put them on within the village the other women would laugh at
her and call her proud or citified.

Unmarried women are very scarce among the peasantry. Marriage usually
comes at an early age for girls. One of the owners of a house that we
had to hire for the work of the new boys’ training school had as wife
such a mere slip of a girl that we were curious to know her age. She
couldn’t tell us how old she was, but said that she had been married
five years. A companion with her ventured the guess that her age was
thirteen years. The little wife seemed happy and was the only peasant
wife I ever saw receiving any affectionate attentions from her husband.
She was a pretty girl and seemed to be a pet in the family. She had her
own little ways of enjoying her little life. One day, when some much
poorer women from el-Bîreh were toiling on the house which her husband’s
family was building, bringing stone and mortar on their heads, Mrs.
Thirteen-years put on her best dress of blue with some Bethlehem
needlework on the breast, adorned her fingers with the rings of cheap
nickel and glass, commonly worn, and taking a piece of embroidery, stood
thus, plying her needle genteelly, where the other women were toiling at
their severer task. Many were the glances they threw at her, but when
they looked her eyes were on her handiwork.

Several statements on page 45 _f._, especially the one on army service,
need modification now. See Chapter XII. The classical work in English on
the modern life of the Bedawin is Charles M. Doughty’s Arabia Deserta
which has recently come out in a new and expensive edition.



                              CHAPTER III
                              FAMILY LIFE

 When our sons shall be as plants grown up in their youth,
 And our daughters as corner-stones hewn after the fashion of a palace;
 When our garners are full, affording all manner of store,
 And our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
 When our oxen are well laden;
 When there is no breaking in, and no going forth,
 And no outcry in our streets:
 Happy is the people that is in such a case;
 Yea, happy is the people whose God is Jehovah.

                                                     _Psalm 144: 12–15._


The above bit of ancient expression would describe the ideal of
happiness of a village people in Palestine to-day.

In a village there may be few or many tribes. In a village tribe there
may be scores of families. The tribe is a great family and goes by the
Arabic name _Dâr_ (court or house). In el-Bîreh, for instance, there are
four tribes among its eight hundred Moslems and one tribe of Christians
numbering less than a hundred. The Moslem tribes are _Dâr Ṭawîl_, _Dâr
Ḳurân_, _Dâr Hamayil_ and _Dâr ‛Abid_. The Christian tribe goes by the
name _Rafîdya_, because originally the members came from a village of
that name, near Nâblus. _Dâr Ṭawîl_ is by far the most influential and
supplies two of the three shaykhs of the village recognized by the
general government. The other shaykh comes from _Dâr Ḳurân_. These three
shaykhs are the intermediaries between the general government and the
village. Sometimes the tribe will become so large as to have subordinate
divisions within it. In Râm Allâh there are five original tribes, the
Ḥadadeh, the Dâr Ibrahîm, the Dâr Jurjus, the Ḥasâsineh and the Shaḳara.
But the tribe of Ḥadadeh is nearly the equal in numbers of the other
four, and has been divided into four sub-tribes, the Sharaḳa, the Dâr
Awâd, the Dâr Yûsuf and the Dâr Abu Jaghab. The result is that there are
practically eight tribes in the village. The four branches of the
Ḥadadeh feel a kinship and importance from their common source and
present size. The other four tribes go by the common designation of the
Hamayil.

Birth is the usual mode of entering a tribe, but outsiders are sometimes
admitted. A man from another part of Syria had occasion to live in one
of the large Christian villages of Palestine and wished to be counted as
a citizen there. He decided to join a certain tribe in that village. As
much as he was permitted, he fellowshipped with that tribe, went to
their guest-house occasionally and contributed to expenses by sharing in
their provision of food for visiting strangers and soldiers. He then had
the government at Jerusalem change his _kushan_ or paper of residence
and citizenship so that it should now declare him a resident of such and
such a village. When he had spoken to the elders of the tribe that he
sought to join, and they in turn to the members of the tribe, he was
admitted to membership with them by common consent. Thenceforth he paid
his military tribute through the chief men of this tribe. The elders
mentioned are the heads of families and are called the _ukhtiyarîyeh_.
They are the tribal chiefs and representatives.

Ordinarily friendship is confined to this tribal relationship, and
marriage is usually restricted to its limits. As an Arabic proverb
expresses it, “I am against my cousin, but my cousin and I are against
the world.” People outside this tribal family are strangers and possible
foes.[53] If, contrary to what they expect of outsiders, we should show
ourselves kindly disposed to them by continual helpful acts, very likely
they might set up a hypothetical relationship between themselves and us,
at least in conversation, in order to gloss over the anomaly.

-----

-----

Closer yet is the relationship within the immediate family. As long as
the size of the family permits, it occupies the one house, or extensions
of it, but if it is prosperous and growing, new households are set up
and by such a process the tribe develops. Where friendship is
practically confined to the family and tribe the importance of family
membership and numerous family connections will be appreciated.[54] The
larger and more influential one’s family, the more secure are its
fortunes.[55] And influence depends on the number of the men.

A Moslem was killed and it was several months before his slayers were
detected and brought to punishment. The family of the deceased was large
and worked together to ferret out the secret. A smaller family might
never have been able to accomplish the object. Outsiders or the
government would have made no such persistent effort.[56]

-----

-----

Marriages in the country are usually with some kindred family.[57]
Marrying outside one’s tribe is comparatively rare. Marriage is the one
important subject among parents of boys and girls. Girls are sometimes
married as early as seven years. They are betrothed at much tenderer
ages. A mother brought a little child in arms to one of the village
day-schools and urged its acceptance, doubtless to have relief from the
care of it for a part of the day. The child was a girl, and the teacher
of the girls’ school refused to take her, exclaiming, “Why, she’s a mere
baby. We cannot teach her to read now.” The mother argued and finally
said, “If you don’t take her now she will be betrothed soon.” The
introduction of school privileges into the country, for girls as well as
for boys, has resulted, in many cases, in lengthening the childhood of
those who otherwise would have been betrothed and married early in life.
Parents are generally unwilling to allow a younger daughter to be
married before an elder daughter.[58]

-----

-----

A marriage settlement in money is expected from the bridegroom and paid
to the father of the bride. Parents often attempt to avoid cash payments
by an exchange of brothers and sisters. A family with a boy and a girl
make overtures to an eligible family having a girl and a boy, and the
young people are paired off at more advantageous terms all round than
would be the case if the families were strangers, that is, if they were
out of tribal relations with each other. Sometimes, of course, this
matter of exchange causes people of very different ages to be joined,
but then the years heal that, and the theory is that if the bride is
considerably younger than the groom the husband as he comes to old age
will have a comparatively strong and able housekeeper and caretaker in
his wife.

The usual wedding payment to the father of the bride is about two
hundred twenty-five dollars in this village. From this sum the father
may make his daughter such presents as he pleases of jewels and
head-coins. The wedding costume of the bride is the gift of the groom’s
family.

Where a widowed woman is remarried, the marriage portion paid her father
is less than in the case of a first marriage, and she is apt to receive
a larger share of it in presents from her father, since she cannot, in
this case, be made to marry except by her own consent.

To get the business of marriage settled at the earliest date and in the
most advantageous way possible is the aim of guardians and parents. The
wife will have done her part well if she bears children, mostly
boys,[59] sees that no unnecessary losses of money or food occur in the
house and holds her tongue. If she fails in any of these points she may
dim the felicities of the married state, that is, of her husband and his
father and brothers.

-----

-----

[Illustration: BRINGING HOME THE BRIDAL TROUSSEAU]

[Illustration: GIRLS AT PLAY. CARRYING HEADLOADS OF GRASS IN IMITATION
OF THE WOMEN]

There are three occasions preceding the actual marriage of the man and
woman on which public celebration is made. The first is the engagement.
This is arranged between the fathers of the young people. The initiative
is taken by the father of the young man working through friends, who
approach the father of the girl and make a proposition of betrothal. If
all is favorable the bargain may be bound by money paid to the father of
the young woman. A betrothal party is arranged for friends of both the
contracting young people at the home of the prospective bride. The young
man prepares a feast for the invited guests, a sheep is killed, a priest
may be present and the betrothal made public. The agreement is but a
little less strong than the marriage contract itself.[60] The second
public manifestation is the purchase by the groom of the marriage outfit
of garments, including the bridal trousseau, and the procession that
carries the articles home. The bridegroom’s party goes to some large
near-by village or the nearest city for these purchases. One day we were
apprised of such a trousseau party by shouting and the firing of arms,
and later a procession of women went by on their way to their own
village, carrying with them the bundle of wedding garments. One of their
village chiefs was with them. At another time a group returning from
Jerusalem on a similar errand was met by a crowd of women on the
outskirts of the village and accompanied into it with singing and
dancing. This time the women had a stick dressed up with the bridal
costume. There was the red striped dress and gay jacket on a cross-stick
frame to hold out the sleeves. There were also a girdle, the heavy coin
head-dress and three small mirrors, one on each arm and one on the
breast. The Bethlehem costume is very commonly used for gala occasions
by people of other sections, as it is one of the showiest costumes of
the country. The bridegroom is expected to provide wedding garments for
relatives of the bride, though they in turn may be expected to return a
wedding gift of equal value to him. The third celebration may last two
or three days. Towards the close of it the wedding itself takes place.

-----

-----

We went one Saturday evening to see the jollification that preceded a
wedding to be solemnized the next day. Outside the house of the groom
there were two lines of young men, their number varying from forty to
sixty as they shifted places, some dropping out and others falling into
line from time to time. These two lines were facing each other and a
bright brush fire was blazing in the middle. As more men crowded in to
participate a line was formed at one end, thus making a third side of a
parallelogram. The men on either side were singing back and forth to
each other, in antiphonal fashion, while they kept up a sort of swaying
dance in line called the _mil‛ab_. By pressing their shoulders, neighbor
to neighbor, the line moved as one mass. The left foot was made the base
of movement for each singer. The right foot was swayed and then lifted
high and forward until the whole body swung forward in a sweeping bow or
duck. The hands were also keeping time, rubbing up and down the forearms
from the elbows to the finger-tips, the head meanwhile swaying from side
to side, all to the native peasant singing of the same simple tune over
and over again. Certain fixed verses were made the basis and were
finished out with impromptu verses for the occasion. Some of these were,
“We are glad to see your faces.” “We have come to you; if it were not
for love we should not be here.” “Love is sweet.” “We hope for good
large dishes.” “Did you see any Bedawîn coming up from the East?” “Such
and such (naming them) villages will help you against the enemy.” “Fear
not, delicate young women, our young men will protect you,” and so on,
passing compliments, singing the praises of love and acknowledging its
power in bringing them together, or mingling snatches of war sentiment,
anticipation of generous servings of the wedding-feast and assurances of
alliance, friendship, defense and security in the strength and equipment
of their young men. The bridegroom mingled joyfully with the others,
sometimes performing in the line and sometimes replenishing the brush
fire. All around, on the roofs of the neighboring houses, in the
darkness that was black by contrast with the brilliant fire, the women
of the tribe were seated. Every now and then, at any seeming lull in the
excitement, some woman would set up the peculiar trilling cry called the
_zaghârût_ or _zaghârît_, at which the men would fairly leap into a
renewal of the dance and song. Pistols and muskets were shot off
occasionally. Although this was all taking place in a Christian village,
a good number of Moslem youths from a neighboring village came over to
join in the fun. They had brought two sheep which had been slaughtered
and were now simmering in immense kettles for a feast. The father of the
groom acted as an overseer of the gayeties and was trying, apparently,
to curb the zeal of those who had firearms to discharge.

On the wedding-day in a Christian village the bride and groom with their
attendant friends form two parties and approach the church from
different quarters. If obtainable, horses are provided for the bride and
groom to ride on and she is completely covered over with a mantle,[61] a
feather being stuck in the top of it over her head. Inside the church
the bridal party, consisting of groom, bride, best man, bridesmaid, the
mothers and some other relatives, stand in the middle of the church
facing the altar. The groom stands at the bride’s right hand; she is
heavily veiled. Guests and spectators, in the case of the wedding
mentioned above, filled the church on either side of the bridal party
and a large concourse filled the yard outside. Four priests and a censer
boy entered the church. Tapers were provided for those guests nearest
the young people, while candles were given to the bride and groom. These
were lighted. The censer was swung. The ritual, hymns and Scripture were
read or intoned, partly in Arabic and partly in Greek. The head priest,
who was a Greek by blood, read the Greek portions, while his assistants,
natives of the village, read the Arabic parts. Rings which had been
touched on the head and lips of bride and groom were placed on their
hands and afterwards changed about. Wreaths of artificial flowers were
placed on their heads. The book to which most respect had been shown,
the Bible, was brought down between them, dividing their joined fingers.
Then, headed by the priests, the bridal party marched around in a
circling course with all the attendant relatives. Some old women,
following closely behind the bride and groom, caught at their robes and,
joining them, went through the motions of sewing them with threadless
needles. After this the final pronouncement was made by the head priest
and the ceremony was over. Immediately the best man grabbed the groom in
a sort of ecstasy of congratulation and lifted him into the air twice,
and would have done so a third time had not the priest interfered,
probably thinking that these demonstrations were out of place in the
church. A gun was fired outside the church as soon as it was known that
the ceremony was complete. After some hearty felicitations the party
moved off in procession with priests and guests.

-----

-----

[Illustration: WASHING A CHILD]

[Illustration: A SWADDLED INFANT]

The groom, with the men, went to the guest-room[62] of the tribe, where
they enjoyed conversation, coffee and cigarettes. The bride and her
party of women went to the home of the groom. As she was about to enter
the house a water-jar was placed on her head and her hand was assisted
to plaster a piece of bread-dough on the jamb of the doorway. These
signs were in token of good housewifely qualities. After the bride had
been seated for some time inside the house her women friends were
granted their entreaty and she allowed them to uncover her face. Then
she consented to exhibit her jewelry,[63] silver bracelets, bangles,
head-coins, ear-jewels, etc. She seemed very sad, as is expected when a
young girl leaves her mother, and quite exhausted. Her hands and nails
were stained with ḥennâ. It is said that the hands, wrists and lower
limbs are always stained thus on the night before the wedding. Outside
the house five kettles filled with mutton were set on stones over wood
fires. They were seething and bubbling, getting into readiness for the
wedding-feast in the evening.[64]

-----

-----

At the guest-house assembly, where the groom and his men friends are
gathered, some one calls out the names of those who have given money
presents to the bridegroom and the amount in each case.

If there are reasons for a less public wedding celebration than usual,
the ceremony is performed on a week-day. Such is the case when some near
relative has died recently, where haste is desired, or where the man or
the woman has been married previously.

One Sunday we saw a double wedding celebration. But one was in the Greek
Orthodox Church and the other was in the United Greek Church, which is
papal in allegiance. The contracting families were so closely related as
to allow of but one of the marriages planned between them, according to
Greek Church law. But as each family had a son and daughter to marry off
to the daughter and son of the other family and considered their own
interests in the matter as of more importance than church law, one
bridal party was sent to one church and one to the other.

The party of one of the bridegrooms was provided with sword dancers, and
as they reached any open place of sufficient size, as at the street
corners, a space was cleared and a dancer with a short curved sword in
one hand and a waving cloth in the other, went through the graceful
movements, leaping and crouching.

           AN INTRODUCTION TO A WEDDING-SONG

           This bride is clothed with silk from Damascus:
           Her hair is perfumed sweetly.

           When the bridegroom goes to greet her,
           Goes to press on her forehead the golden coin,[65]

           He finds her as a fragrant branch;
           Praise be unto God.

           O comrades, when I saw her,
           Three silver rings were on her little finger.

           Foolish one! did I not tell thee “heed her”?
           This good girl bears the key of relief.

-----

-----

      THE BRIDE’S GOOD-BYE TO HER FAMILY[66]

      O mother mine, fill for me my pillows;
      I left the house without a farewell to my friends.

      O mother mine, fill them for me;
      I left the house without a thought for my gospels.

      O one possessed of rosy cheeks,
      Thou’rt worth of gold a deal.

      May God shield those who reared thee;
      Never a day did’st thou go out alone.

      O one possessed of rosy cheeks,
      Thou’rt worth of gold a closet full.

      May God shield those who trained thee;
      Not a day didst thou go out angry.

      Thou art a branch of willow, my daughter,
      Thou art a branch of willow, thou.

      On thy strands thou puttest the coins,
      Dangling the coins from thy head.

      Thou’rt a branch of riḥân,[67] O daughter,
      A branch of riḥân art thou.

      On the braids thou puttest silver dollars,
      On the braids the coins, O thou!

      Do not go from my house, my pet,
      Thou who repairest my house in its borders.

      Thou wentest forth from my house, O pet,
      And there wast none other like thee.

      Going out of the house of the good to the house of a prince,
      Wearing anklets on her feet and dressed in a robe of silk.

      Going from the house of the good to that of a prince,
      Anklets on her feet and dressed in a silken robe.

-----

-----

       WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM TAKES PART IN THE PROCESSION[68]

       Where is the bridegroom, where? Let us amuse him.
       May he be preserved for us and long life to his brother.

       The procession went along; in front was dancing.
       O prince, with gold are the guns of the youths glistening.

       Going down to the procession like a prince;
       I wish thee in the prophet’s keeping.

       O mounted bridegroom, no one is like thee to me.
       Thou art as a ring of silver placed on my breast.

       O bridegroom, riding, as an apple art thou;
       Go to thine own before I snatch thee as the wind.

       O bridegroom, riding, as a lemon art thou;
       Go to thine own before I snatch thee with my eyes.

-----

-----

    SONG BEFORE THE BRIDEGROOM[69]

    Be happy, cousin, at sight of thee fled my trouble;
    Be happy, owner of the ṭarbûsh, be jealous of our wealth.

    Be happy, thou with the ample drawers, and jealous of our gold.
    “O uncle,” said Ghâlyeh, the costly bride,

    “I’ll marry none but the Bedawy with his tilted head-dress;
    The one who at noonday threshes in the face of the Arabs.”[70]

    Cut and be cut, O pomegranate, the water flows in the orchard.
    She came to the garden which is full of pomegranates.

-----

-----

           SONG BEFORE THE BRIDE[71]

           Come out, O pet, O jewel mine, costly;
           Tell us the precious price thy father asked.

           We have walked from country to country
           And we have found maidens costly.

           We have asked for the girl from her father,
           Her father who is as rich as Aleppo.

           We have walked from street to street,
           And have found many who were daughters of princes.

           Ride on, O daughter of the Ḥadâdîyeh,[72]
           Thy worth in gold is two hundred hundred.

           Tighten the saddle for her, O father, tighten it;
           Count out to her a hundred quarter riyals.

-----

-----

      THE VOICES OF THE WOMEN IN HIGH TONES CALLING
      OUT ABOUT THE BRIDE[73]

      Bend gracefully from side to side,
      O thou who bendest as a palm in the mountains.

      Thou art not bad to lower thy value,
      But thou art like the well-bred horses, perfect.

      Put thy sleeve over thy mouth, thou beauty, like thy mother;
      The man is thy uncle, he will make and enlarge thy sleeve.

      Thy garment, O choice one, two did cut it,
      And more than a fortnight did seven tailors make it.

      If love were not like fleet horses,
      Love and I should be separated as day from night.

-----

-----

        WHEN THE BRIDE ENTERS THE HOUSE OF THE GROOM[74]

        Sprinkle the cushions with roses and ḥennâ;
        Let the bridegroom rejoice and be refreshed.

        Sprinkle the cushions with roses and perfume;
        Let the bridegroom sit on the cushion with his dear one.

        O pair of gazels, how you are marked with ḥennâ!
        May you two rejoice each other.

-----

-----

By marriage the wife becomes a member of her husband’s family. She
assists her mother-in-law in the household duties. One of the reasons
given for some of the very early marriages is that the young woman may
be trained into a suitable wife for the son by his mother.

It is counted an affliction[75] if the new wife is not a mother in due
time, and it is a joyous occasion when a male child is born. There are
many parents who love their girl babies tenderly, but they are almost
sure to be partial to boys, and the majority of parents are greatly
disappointed if boys do not make up the larger part of the children.

-----

-----

One day I stumbled into a house where an anomalous condition of things
existed for a Christian village. On coming away I learned that the man
was a bigamist. He was reputed to have become rich through thieving, and
his fine house was childless. What did he do but bring home another
wife! The laws of his country were not against such a practise, but the
law of his church, with the sentiment and practise of his fellow
villagers, was sternly against it. He defied all, even though he was cut
off from communion. He became an object of reproach and abhorrence to
the pious and the superstitious of the whole village, who looked for
terrible consequences. A long time afterwards, some mention of this man
having occurred in conversation, I learned that he was without any
children by his second wife also, and that his childlessness was
considered by the villagers as a token of the wrath of God. Although
rich, his lot was considered miserable by the neighbors. He was said to
be worth about fifteen thousand dollars. He was accused of having made a
business of stealing wedding finery from festive and sleepy bridal
parties.

Disappointed lovers are not unknown among the peasantry. One young man
of a prominent family fell in love with the daughter of the owner of a
fig orchard next to his father’s orchard. For some reason, possibly the
fact that they belonged to different tribes (though of the same
village), the father of the girl was unwilling that these two young
people should marry each other. He gave his daughter in marriage to
another youth, a member of her own tribe. The disappointed young man has
never been consoled, refuses to marry any other or even to enter into
the social affairs of his own family. He lives, a recluse, at some
distance from his village in one of the valleys. The villagers think
that in time he may become a priest.

Boyhood and girlhood are shorter in Palestine than in America, but often
merry. Stories illustrating the preference for boys among Oriental
parents are plentiful, but no one who examines the society of the Orient
will fail to find that it could not well be otherwise without very great
changes. Boys increase the size, force, wealth and importance of the
family. When they marry they bring home their wives and the children
perpetuate the house of the father. Should the husband die, the wife and
her boy children may be assisted by her husband’s relatives, the boys
certainly. Should the mother of the boys marry again, the boys go from
her to be brought up by her former husband’s family. Boys increase the
house, girls decrease it. The earnings of the father and the sons go to
provide a substantial family dwelling and to defend the house against
adverse circumstances. Girls are sure to marry and, although they bring
in a money payment to their fathers, yet in every other respect they are
a disadvantage, as they go to strengthen another house, not the house
where they were fed and reared. But there is not an iron-clad observance
of an inhuman rule here as some seem to imagine. All customs strange to
our Western ideas may surely be supposed to be grounded in very human
causes and to be very natural after all. Many parents are very fond of
their girls. Relations through the mother’s family and through sisters
are often highly esteemed.

One evening two fatherless little girls belonging to a Moslem tribe in
el-Bîreh were going home from Râm Allâh and were caught in a heavy hail
and thunder-storm just behind our house. Knowing that they would be
endangered we went out to bring them into the house until the storm
should pass. We found them very frightened and cowering in the poor
defense of a wall. They were soon quite happy after we had dried and fed
them.

But, just as in any other country, there were anxious mother-hearts a
mile away in el-Bîreh, and soon those mothers were out in the storm,
having enlisted two men and two boys in their eager search for the
little girls. Their terror was changed to keen pleasure when they found
the children safely sheltered from harm.

As the demands of the tribal life become less imperative, following the
improvement of social and general governmental conditions, the customs
of the people approach more nearly those of other nations.

At the time of the baby’s birth one of the neighboring women goes with
the good news to the father. For her welcome news she may receive a gift
from him. The father also provides fruit and other dainties for those
who come to congratulate him on the birth of a child. All this happens
in case the child is a boy. Quieter times ensue on the birth of a little
girl. The father and mother are known after the birth of the first son
as the father of so and so and the mother of so and so. For instance,
Abu Fâris and Umm Fâris are the new titles and practically the names of
the father and mother of the boy Fâris. The child adds its father’s
first name after its own. Simon Bar Jona (Simon, Son of Jona) was the
style of name among the ancient Jews. In modern times the Arab omits the
word _son_ in common usage, thus making the name simply Simon Jona.

The midwife attends to the dressing of the baby. She rubs the little
body with salt and oil and swaddles it tightly. This woman attendant
comes every day for forty days to cleanse and wrap the child. Woe betide
the mother or any other meddler who interferes with the wrapping and
other peculiar functions of the midwife, who is very jealous of the
dignity of her profession. She is mistress of her department and brooks
no interference.

The Christian baby is ordinarily baptized after the fortieth day. The
occasion is celebrated with a dinner. Babies are not weaned early. Some
are nursed for two years, while the last baby may be weaned only after
it is four or five years old. Dainties are brought to sweeten the little
gums and cause the weaning child to forget its mother’s milk.[76]

-----

-----

One day we stepped into a near neighbor’s to see a newborn boy. He was
fast asleep, wound and dressed in his tight little wraps, and lying on
one of those circular straw mats of the kind used to cover the wooden
bread bowl. The mat in this case was put on top of a round shallow straw
basket such as the peasant woman uses to carry wheat. The whole was
about six inches high. The mother lay on a pallet on the floor beside
it. Considerable interest was felt in the health of this baby boy. There
were three girl children in the family, no boys, two other boy babies
having died. Their death illustrated the saying, “Killed with kindness.”
Being boys they received more attention, that is to say, more pampering,
than they would have received had they been girls. This consisted in
heeding their every wish in the matter of food, which was especially
harmful in times of sickness.

Children are the rulers of most houses in the country villages. They
exceed in number and dirtiness. If they are well they run in and out in
all kinds of weather, barefooted, bareheaded. If they are unwell, not
overmuch attention is paid to them at first except to bring them extras
to eat. If they become dangerously ill, all the medical help within
reach is summoned in a frenzy of helplessness. If they recover, their
convalescence is retarded by the same excessive generosity that seeks to
stuff them with whatever edibles they may call for. An ordinary country
parent is simply unable to resist the crying demands of a sick child,
and scarcely of a well one. The more ignorant parents are fond of
encouraging the precocity of their children, even teaching them to utter
baby curses against the members of their families, and laughing and
patting the little swearers in encouragement.

The poorer children are seldom bothered with more than one garment,
unless it be a skull-cap. If the parents are more prosperous a little
cloth cap embroidered, and with a few bangles or blue beads sewed on the
front, is provided. As they grow older the children may gain a jacket
over the little shirt. The little girls may have a row of coins on their
head-dresses and a little shawl or sash about them. On festivals the
little girl may be allowed to wear her mother’s holiday jacket or shawl.
The shawl has to be folded several times for the girl’s use. The
Bethlehem jacket, so commonly sought for festivals, is never meant to be
an exact fit for any one. Its beauty is in its surface, embroidered with
yellow, red and green silk.

The little girls begin very early to bring water in a jar on the head,
first beginning with a tiny jar which they steady by the hands, and
progressing until able to carry the heavy full-sized jar without the
touch of a hand, yes, even to carry such a jar, weighing thirty pounds,
tilted forward on the head. Of such a one, having a strong muscular
neck, and swinging forward gracefully and easily, the others may say as
they point, “See, she is strong, she can carry her jar tipped like the
comb of a cock.”

When very little, boys and girls play together in the streets and around
the ovens, sometimes even on the roofs. By the time they are six years
old they are very apt to separate and play with their own kind and to
differ a little in their choice of games. The older girls in the
families have to care for the little children a great deal, and have to
carry and amuse them. Boys and girls are soon able to help in the
vineyards, or in picking up olives, or gathering grass and brush, or
carrying things for older members of the family.

The receipt for making men and women in Palestine is the same as
elsewhere: Take boys and girls and give them a few years of
responsibility and you have men and women. The result of these few years
of responsibility is to take away the freedom of play and innocency and
to add the reserve of work and insight.

The following story is sometimes told to children to warn them against
foolish pride and to inculcate obedience to fathers.

[Illustration: THREE KINDS OF HOUSES—MUD, DRY-STONE, STONE-AND-MORTAR]

A young tiger who had heard about the ability of men, though he had
never seen one, felt so eager in his strength to have a combat that he
expressed to his father a wish to go out and find a man and have a fight
with him. The father tiger advised against such an undertaking, saying,
“Even I who am older and stronger than you should not think of seeking a
fight with a man, for I could not prevail against him.” But the proud
young tiger, not heeding his father’s advice, went to seek a man. He
journeyed until he came to a road much frequented by travelers and lay
down under a tree to await a foe. While waiting there he noticed a camel
running down the road, although loaded heavily. The camel was running
away from his master. The young, inexperienced tiger got up and said to
the camel, “Are you a man?” The camel answered hastily, “I am not a man,
but I am running away from a man, because he loads such heavy burdens on
me.” The young tiger thought to himself, “How strong must the man be if
he causes so much distress and fear in this great creature.” Next a
horse passed, and the tiger thought, “Maybe this is the man,” but
received a negative reply to his question as he had from the camel. Then
there came along a weak little donkey, loaded with wood and driven by a
man. The tiger asked his question of the man, “Are you a man?” “Yes,”
the man answered. Then the young tiger said, “I have come to have a
fight with you.” “All right,” replied the man, “but I am not quite ready
now. May I tie you with my rope to the tree until I can come back?” The
tiger allowed the man to tie him, which the man did very securely, and
then cut a strong, thick club from the tree, with which he beat the
young tiger cruelly. The tiger cried out in pain, “Oh, please let me go;
I’ll never try to fight with a man again.” Then the man let him go and
the young tiger went to his father and told his experience.

A bit of current fiction regarding Asiatics is that the children are
chronically unhappy. Moslem children are the especial victims of this
Christian species of prevarication. To such people “children playing in
the streets of Jerusalem” belong to the good time coming and are the
sign of fulfilled prophecy,[77] despite the probable fact that children
have been playing in Jerusalem’s streets for some thousands of years,
whether tourists have seen them or not. Doubtless, as the tourist
appears in any street, playing ceases and small children flee or stand
in mute amazement. The child will probably be happy again when the
apparition vanishes. Along the tourists’ route the children are too
often taught to cry out for gifts (_bakshîsh_) and to show themselves at
a disadvantage in order to excite pity. Moslem children sometimes curse
or even attempt to stone travelers.

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A matter of wonderment to us is the apparent immunity from harm with
which children play on unprotected places, such as roofs and about empty
pits and cisterns. Now and then we hear of some accident, but rarely. A
neighbor’s little girl, playing on the flat housetop, fell over into the
street and died.[78]

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One day I saw some little girls five or six years of age playing at
carrying head bundles of grass in imitation of women. Boys make and play
with slings (_miḳlâ‛_) for throwing stones. When quarreling, the first
impulse is for them to reach for a stone to throw. We noticed severe
burns on some of the boys, near the wrist. Some of them made huge sores
which roused our pitying concern. We found out that the wounds were
self-inflicted, however, the superstitious scamps having a boyish notion
that burning the wrist or forearm would insure for them greater accuracy
in throwing. The boys play horse vigorously. They have a game played
with pegs of wood very similar to our peggy, in which one strikes a
double-pointed peg on one end with a stick and tries to gain ground with
an opponent. Another game is played in a soft, spongy spot of ground
with longer pegs sharpened on one end only. It is something like playing
stick-knife. The object is so to drive the peg by a throw into the soft
space in the ground as to dislodge an opponent’s pegs, previously
thrown, and made to stick in the same place.

A game among the boys, called _‛alâm_, is very similar to the game of
_roll to the bat_. The privileged player strikes a ball with a stick and
drives it out into a field of other players. The boy who secures the
ball tries to throw or roll it so as to hit a stone marker (‛alâm) set
up by the first player. The one thus aiming at the stone marker warns
the others to stand aside and allow him to play by saying “_Dustûr_,”
signifying, “By your leave.”

The boys in our school played a game called _wolf_. A circle of boys
joined hands and went dancing around while one outside the moving
circle, called the wolf, kept trying to snatch one from the circle of
boys who represented sheep. But whenever a boy in the dancing circle
came anywhere near the hovering wolf he let fly his heels to prevent
capture. As boy after boy was snatched successfully by the outside boy
the circle grew smaller until but one was left, who was to be the wolf
in the next game.

Boys play about the threshing-floor and are often in the vineyards and
gardens. They play many games that are either the same or very similar
to those played by boys elsewhere. Such are marbles, duck-on-the-rock,
seesaw, swinging, blindman, leap-frog and hide-and-seek. In Râm Allâh
there is a variation of this last game called _khurrak_, played by
sides. There is a game called _ilkûrat_ which might well be considered a
primitive relative of golf.

There is as much difference between the training of the children of the
better class of peasants and the poorer in Palestine as obtains in the
differing grades of homes in other countries. Most youths come to
exhibit a very admirable respect for their elders and their teachers.
They are taught to kiss the hand of their father[79] or of any guest who
is visiting him. They seldom interject their own conversation or ideas
into the current of talk going on about them, but listen with keen
though modest attention. They are proud of the standing of the family in
the respect of the neighborhood and eager to learn their part in the
business of life.

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-----

One father, a shaykh in his village, on sending away a son to another
village to attend school, was gruff in manner for some days before the
boy’s departure and treated the boy so unhandsomely that the mother
protested and said that it was wrong to let the boy go away feeling
badly. In explanation of his treatment of his son the father said, “Do
you love the boy more than I do? I am acting so that he will not be
homesick.”

A boy was noticed who had a fiery temper. When in a passionate fit of
anger he seemed to lose control of himself and wished to harm other
boys, being restrained only by force. An experienced mother in the
village who was related to the family explained the lad’s disposition to
sudden fits of anger by saying that when the child was very young the
mother’s milk was scanty and the baby had to be fed from the breasts of
several different women to help out a little now and then, and that this
variety of breasts for feeding accounted for the violent temper of the
boy.

Few families, comparatively, have what we should call a family name. The
nearest to it for the generality would be the name of the tribe to which
the family belongs. The tribal name is not used except in a formal or
legal designation. Generally a child bears two names, his own, or, as we
should say, a Christian or first name, followed by the name of his
father. Thus the child is given the personal name Yakûb (Jacob), and if
his father’s personal name is Ibrahîm (Abraham), he goes by the two
names, Yakûb Ibrahîm, which is equivalent to saying, “This is Yakûb, the
son of Ibrahîm.” If Ibrahîm had a daughter, he might name her ‛Azîzeh,
and she would be ‛Azîzeh Ibrahîm. Ibrahîm’s own father’s name may have
been Dâûd (David), so Ibrahîm’s full name would be Ibrahîm Dâûd, that
is, Ibrahîm, the son of Dâûd. But more likely Ibrahîm’s father’s name
was Yakûb, the same names being used often in a family with the omission
of a generation, so that grandfather and grandson may have the same
name.[80] In such a case the list of names would run:

               (Grandfather)        Yakûb Ibrahîm.
               (Father)             Ibrahîm Yakûb.
               (Son)                Yakûb Ibrahîm.

If this boy should have a son he probably would be called Ibrahîm Yakûb.
Sometimes one of these names, say Ibrahîm, is kept as a continuous
family name, and so ordinary names become stiffened into family or house
names. Occasionally the name thus taken may have been that of a mother
rather than a father. There is the very pretty custom, already
mentioned, that is quite general, of calling a man and his wife after
the name of their first-born son. So in the above case the father would
seldom be called Ibrahîm Yakûb, but Abu Yakûb, that is, father of (the
little) Yakûb, and the mother, Umm Yakûb, the mother of Yakûb. Even
though the child die the parents will be called henceforth by these
designations, which are esteemed titles of honor. In other cases family
names are derived from trades, as Ḥadâd, blacksmith; Bannâ, mason;
Bustâny, gardener or orchard-keeper; Ḥajjâr, stone worker. Or, it may be
from a former place of residence, as Rafîdya (a village near Nâblus). If
a member of the family has been a priest the name of all the family and
descendants is apt to be Khûry. Some family names are hard to interpret.
One of the most frequently heard names in the Lebanon district is that
of Ma‛lûf. The word itself means a fatted sheep, but the history of the
application of the name is obscure unless it was given to families
possessing such animals. Another family name, possibly of modern origin,
is Baṭâṭô, or Baṭâṭâ, the second form being the same as the word now
used for the new vegetable, potato, which fact may explain the name, or
it is possible that another significance attaches to the term.

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-----

Some names are indicative of the religion to which the bearer belongs.
‛Abd er-Raḥman, Muḥammad, Maḥmûd, Ḥasan, Zayd, would be understood as
being Moslem names. A woman with the name Ḥâjar (Hagar) would be a
Moslem. On the other hand, Ḥannâ (John) for a man (feminine, Ḥannâh),
would be pretty sure to mark a Christian. Such masculine names as
Khalîl, Mûsâ, Dîâb, ‛Azîz, Ghânim and Farîd would not betray the
religion of the bearer, nor such feminine names as Ḥelweh, Anîseh,
Ḥabîbeh and Ṣabḥah.

Many of the above names and others are very significant when
translated.[81] Miladeh means that the little girl bearing it was born
at Christmas, which is known as the “Feast of the Birth” (‛Aîd
el-Mîlâd). Needless to say, this little girl was born in a Christian
family. Tufâḥah, _apple_, makes a pretty feminine name. So also Farḥâ,
_joy_, and Nijmeh, _star_. Not so pleasant are the names Tamâm,
_complete_, and Kâfyeh, _enough_, which mean that girl babies are not
welcome in the homes where such names are given.

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Nicknames are often bestowed and often stick fast to individuals and
families.[82] We knew a dumb man whose family went by the name Akhras,
_dumb_. A trickster whose cleverness was really admired and honored by
his fellows was dubbed esh-Shayṭân, _Satan_. No more enviable compliment
can be paid a sharp business man than this same designation, Shayṭân. We
knew a little girl who, in common with the family, shared the nickname
that the villagers had given to her father, Ṣarṣûr (or Ṣurṣur),
_cricket_.

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Many customs and much lore of the people have been described from time
to time during the past twenty-five years by Baldensperger in the
Quarterly Statements of the Palestine Exploration Fund.



                               CHAPTER IV
                              HOME AFFAIRS


The houses of the peasants show at a glance the grade of well-being in
the different villages. There are many in the lowlands made of mud, or a
worse material, with thatch and straw. But in the hills stone is so
plentiful that even the poorest builder may use it. The low, hutlike,
_sḳîfeh_ cabin is made of loose stone piled up without mortar. The roof
is constructed of boughs, on which clay and straw are laid to make it
water-tight. The usual stone house is called, in contrast to the above,
_ḥajjar-wa-tîn_, that is, stone and mortar, and is more or less
substantial according to the hardness of the stone, the care in dressing
the blocks and the proportion of lime in the mortar. The arch for the
roof of such a house is usually so high as to be able to support itself
by its own weight. The result, in the typical house, is a square box
room with a lofty ceiling, the walls being unrelieved in most instances
even by whitewash. But as this must serve in many cases for the family
and also for such animals as are possessed, or for a living-room and a
store cellar combined, an extra floor is put in, over most of the room,
from four to six feet higher than the ground. This platformed portion
may be supported by small stone arches and paved with beaten clay, or
lime, or flat stones. From the door stone steps ascend to this living
floor. In former times these steps were so constructed that any shot
from a firearm sent through the wooden door would strike them and thus
fail of reaching either the people on the platform above, or the animals
sheltered underneath. Sometimes there is excavated under the house a
cistern to which the rain-water from the roof is conducted. As the
family prospers and outgrows the accommodations of a single room, others
may be built at right angles on either side around a little court on
which all the doors open. Still more rooms may be added above as a
second story, with stairs leading up outside. By such a process of
agglutination the house grows, looking like a miniature fort or castle,
where father, brothers and sons with their families live in patriarchal
unity. Rooms with inner connecting doors come as a later refinement of
the more wealthy.

In summer-time a little shady booth of boughs may be made in the court
or on the roof. Many of the peasants sleep out-of-doors fully half the
year.

Within the house the floor of the living-room will be covered in part
with straw mats. Grain and food-bins made of clay stand along one side.
Large jars stand back against the wall or in corners. One jar is to hold
spring water brought for drinking; another will hold olives; and a
third, olive-oil. There are also wooden bread-bowls, straw covers, the
stone flour-mill, some baskets, a clay brazier, copper cooking vessels
whitened, sieves, a wooden chest or two, gaudily painted, utensils for
grinding, roasting and cooking coffee, a clay fire-pot set in a
fire-nook, and on pegs in the wall a brass-bound flint-lock and a
water-bottle made from a goat’s skin. A recess in the wall, across which
a curtain is drawn, holds the bedding. At night the pallet bed is spread
on the floor,[83] the chief covering being a quilt enclosed in a cotton
case.

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In a two-room house one room will be the kitchen and women’s apartment
and the other the place of entertainment, where the men chat and eat
together. This extra room may have divan couches and perhaps an Oriental
rug on the floor. Glass _nârjîlehs_ (often pronounced _ârjîleh_) stand
ready for the guests who smoke. This glass smoking-bottle and pipes, an
outfit which foreigners sometimes call the hubble-bubble, is used by men
and some women of the well-to-do classes. The common name for it among
the peasants is _shîsheh_.

[Illustration: HOUSEHOLD UTENSILS]

1. Woman’s wardrobe and treasure box. 2. Rough straw basket. 3. Wheat
basket. 4. Vegetable basket. 5. Chair. 6. Groups of baskets. 8 and 9. On
this shelf are coffee utensils, wooden spoons, a wooden lock and a gourd
bottle. 11. A cooking vessel on top of a wooden cutting-board. 12.
Bellows. 13. Wooden mortar and pestle for pounding coffee berries. 14.
Short-handled broom. (From the Hartford Theological Seminary
Collection.)

Below is a list of the utensils and furnishings commonly found in houses
of Palestinian peasants.

  _Khâbyeh_, a large store-bin made of clay.
  _Ṣandûḳ_, a small box used by the women as a chest for clothing and
    personal treasures.
  _Ṭâḥûn_, a stone mill for grinding wheat.
  _Môḳadeh_, an earthen fire-pot.
  _Kânûn_, a clay brazier on which charcoal is burned. Coffee is roasted
    and cooked over this brazier.
  _Jurun_, a mortar.
  _Mahbâsh_ (_mahbâj_), the pestle.
  _Maḥmaṣeh_, a rotary coffee-roaster of tin, turned by a handle.
  _Ibrîḳ_, a small pitcher or pot.
  _Ḥaṣîreh_, a straw mat for the floor.
  _Mikniseh_, a short-handled broom.
  _Ḳuda‛_ (or ḳudah), a large basket, wide and shallow.
  _Ḳuba‛_, a tiny basket of the same shape.
  _Ṣînîyeh_, a plain straw mat used as a tray or as a cover for the
    _bâṭeyeh_.
  _Ṭubuḳ_,[84] a fancy straw mat used in the same way as the _ṣînîyeh_.
  _Hanâbeh_, a small clay eating-dish.
  _Kirmîyeh_, a trencher.
  _Bâṭeyeh_, a dough-bowl (of wood).
  _Ṭôs_, an earthen bowl.
  _Zibdîyeh_, a larger bowl.
  _Ṭunjereh_, a copper cooking vessel, whitened, sometimes used as a
    serving-dish.
  _Dist_, a very large ṭunjereh for serving food to guests; also used as
    a pan in which to wash clothes.
  _Maftûlîyeh_, a special dish for making _maftûl_, a paste that looks
    like buckshot. The dish has a perforated bottom like a colander.
  _Jarreh_, a general name for a jar.
  _Ghuṭâh_, a cover of a jar (a general name for a cover).
  _Mughṭâs_, a dipper.
  _Ḍharf_, a goat skin for fetching water.
  _‛Aslîyeh_, a slender jar.
  _Sifl_, a jar for oil.
  _Sherbeh_, a drinking jar.
  _Ghurbâl_, a wheat sieve.
  _Minkhul_ (corrupted into _mûkhil_), a flour sieve made of hair.
  _Sirâj_, a lamp.
  _Misrajeh_, a lamp shelf.
  _Khûṣeh_, a knife.
  _Sikkîneh_, a knife.
  _Finjân_, a cup.
  _Mughrafeh_, a ladle.
  _Mua‛laḳah_, a spoon.
  _Watad_, a peg driven into the wall.
  _Ḳûseh_, an alcove for stowaway.
  _Khurraḳeh_, a poke-hole in the wall.
  _Firâsh_, a bed.
  _Ilḥâf_, a quilt.
  _Mukhaddeh_ (or _wasâdeh_), a pillow, often filled with _tibn_.

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Wheat, the most important item of the well-to-do peasants’ food, has
been spoken of elsewhere. It offers a scheme for classification in
welfare. Those on the level of wheat bread and those below that level in
life form very readily distinguishable classes. Bread made of barley or
of millet is used by the poorest people. The flour used for most of the
wheat bread is of graham quality. A lump of dough is saved from the
mixture for the next batch. This leaven[85] goes by the name _khamîreh_.
After the early morning grindings the dough is mixed in a wooden bowl,
the woman generally sitting outside her door on the ground. When the
dough has been mixed the bowl is covered with a straw mat called the
_ṣînîyeh_. When ready for baking, the whole, surmounted by a tiny little
basket, _ḳuba‛_, filled with dry flour for the hands when the loaves are
formed, is carried on the woman’s head to the nearest oven. One oven is
shared by several neighboring families. The oven is within a stone hut,
or cabin, not much unlike the _sḳîfeh_, or loose stone house, mentioned
elsewhere. The woman may have to wait her turn at the oven, as other
women may be baking before her. She sits at one side and chats with the
women and girls about her as she plies her needlework, sewing or
embroidery. Being at work and unobserved, she generally has her
head-shawl thrown one side. The oven is a domed pit. Inside the pit are
little stones on which the cakes of bread are baked. The clay dome has a
cover which may shut the baking bread within. The fire of grass[86],
refuse from the olive presses, twigs or caked dung, is built outside the
dome, and therefore does not come in contact with the interior when the
oven is heated for baking. The cakes of bread are from a quarter to a
half-inch thick and of the shape and size of a medium dessert plate. The
hot stones give a hubbly surface to the loaves, and as the dough is not
very stiff a delicious warm, spongy, graham bread results. The bread
baked for sale in the shops is generally made of lighter flour and the
loaves are smaller and sometimes thicker.

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In buying wheat for _burghul_ we sought the best grade of white wheat,
paying three piasters a ruṭl for it, that is, about eleven cents for six
and a quarter pounds. Burghul is prepared as a winter food. The wheat,
after cleansing, is boiled until it is partly cooked. It is spread in
the sun and dried and finally crushed in the hand-mill to the required
fineness. The favorite size is about like broken rice. The chaff-like
refuse is then blown off and, after another cleansing, the burghul is
ready for a winter supply. Crushed wheat, called _jerîsheh_, may be
prepared and used as a breakfast cereal would be with us. _Smîd_ is the
name given to the unground portions of wheat, called with us semolina,
separated from the flour by the bolting-machine of a modern mill.

The lentil,[87] _‛adas_, is considered by the native peasant a very
nourishing food. The little seeds are reddish or brown and are shaped
like tiny eyestones. When made into soup the taste is similar to that of
dried peas. For the winter supply they are sifted, washed and given a
treatment with olive-oil to prevent the attack of a little fly called
_sûs_, which eats out the inside of the seeds, leaving only the shells.

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Rice is consumed in large quantities, but, as it is an imported food, it
is bought as needed. A sack weighing two hundred twenty-five pounds may
sometimes be bought for five dollars. A brand called Japanese rice,
harder and cleaner, supposed to swell better and absorb less _semen_ in
cooking, costs considerably more. In the markets one often sees rice
which has been colored with a red powder. Pine-nuts from the cones of
the _ṣnôber_-pine, which are very toothsome, are often cooked with rice.

The olive fruit as it comes from the tree is exceedingly puckery in
flavor. For early eating the people put the berries into a strong brine,
cracking them somewhat with stones to hasten the curing process. For
late use the cracking of the berries is dispensed with and they are
simply set away in the salt water. It takes several months to extract
all the bitter taste of the whole berries and render them pleasant in
flavor. The peasant much prefers ripe olives to green ones for eating.
Most people who learn to eat ripe olives share in this preference for
them. Usually the ripe olive is black, though some varieties are not so.
They are very nourishing and full of oil, while green olives are a mere
relish. Olive-oil is used very commonly as a food. The purest grade may
be purchased as low as the rate of six cents a pound when bought by the
jar. It is usually measured out in a heavy copper vessel shaped like a
water jar of the _zarawîyeh_ type, holding seven ruṭls, or about
forty-four pounds, of oil. These copper jars are always very bright in
color, as the action of olive-oil on copper is sufficient to keep it
perfectly clean from corrosion. Those who make olive-oil have large
cemented cisterns in which to store it, and as the cisterns are not
cleaned very often, and the different grades are put in promiscuously,
the flavor becomes disagreeable to the European palate, though the
peasants do not mind if it acquires even a sting in taste. This defect
in flavor is increased when the heaps of berries are left too long
before pressing them. They become heated and more or less rancid, and
acquire the sting which we think so unpleasant. But if one is
painstaking, one will learn where and how to secure some of the
first-grade oil which comes from the early berries and direct from the
press. This early oil is often so delicate as scarcely to have any
distinctive flavor. It is of a light greenish color.

Much of the inferior grades of oil is made into a soap very soft to the
touch. The Mount Carmel soap is especially well liked. A great deal of
soap is made in Nâblus.

As has been suggested, the grape is the choicest fruit of the country.
With bread and grapes many hundreds are daily content. The native people
do not wait until August, when the first ripe grapes are to be had, but
enjoy eating green grapes, _ḥiṣrim_, with salt. Grape molasses, _dibs_,
and grape marmalade and jam, _ṭoṭleh_, are prepared for winter by the
more prosperous households.

Figs are next in general favor and are dried in large quantities for
winter use.[88] Some are strung on strings, but most of them are pressed
in bins. The black variety is preferred, as it is somewhat richer than
the white and green kinds. Figs make a hearty food. Nothing more
delicious in the line of fruit can be found than large, fresh figs with
the morning dew yet on them. Fresh, ripe figs are often brought into the
village in the little home-made, wheat-straw baskets, covered with the
strong-smelling _marâmîyeh_ leaves. The very early fruit that precedes
the regular crop by two months is called _dâfûr_ and is esteemed a
luxury. A cooked dish of dried figs flavored with anise is called
_khubayṣeh_.

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This list of the most common staples for the peasants’ use would not be
complete without coffee, which, while it might appear more in the light
of a luxury, is yet so essential in a respectable household as to be
classed here with the necessities. It must be on hand for guests,
whether afforded for daily use or not, and wherever men meet for
business or ceremony coffee is expected. It is purchased in the raw
berry at about eleven cents a pound for a good grade, and the
preparation of it becomes a matter of personal accomplishment. Men often
carry some coffee berries in their pockets for use at gatherings with
their friends. In drinking coffee, one cup is frequently passed about
among a company of men, being replenished for another drinker when one
has had some. The beverage is drawn into the mouth with a noisy sip that
both cools it, if hot, and testifies to the drinker’s satisfaction with
the quality. When done properly the business of coffee-making includes
roasting on an iron spoon, pulverizing in a wooden mortar with a wooden
pestle, and boiling in a tiny copper or tin pot from which it is poured
into a handleless coffee-cup, _finjân_, of about the size of an egg.

To continue the list of foods. Tomatoes, though comparatively new to the
country, have become a favorite vegetable. Tomatoes are a summer crop,
and acres of them may be seen. A cooked tomato sauce is boiled down and
then evaporated in the sun until of considerable density, when it is set
away as a winter seasoning for soups, stews and rice. Sliced tomatoes
are dried in the sun for preservation. The fresh tomato is enjoyed in
salads. The price per pound is something less than one cent.

The seed pods of okra or gumbo, or, as the peasants call it, _bâmyeh_,
are strung on twine and dried for the winter stores. It is cultivated in
the plains near Ludd.

[Illustration: BREAD-MAKING UTENSILS]

1. Wheat bin. 2. Stone mill. 3. Fine sieve. 4. Wooden bread-bowls. 5.
Straw mat used as a tray or as a bread-bowl cover. 6 and 7. Ovens made
of clay, fire is to be built around the outside. 8. Metal cooking plate.
9. Tiny basket for dry flour. (From the Hartford Theological Seminary
Collection.)

Many of the villages fail to cultivate garden vegetables in any
considerable variety or quantity. They submit to a more monotonous diet
than seems necessary. Other villages go into gardening extensively. They
are villages with superior facilities for irrigating the crops. The
vegetables are retailed in the less favored villages, or, more often,
taken to the surer market of the nearest city. Squash, pumpkin, cabbage,
cauliflower, lettuce, turnip, beet, parsnip, bean, pea, chick-pea,
onion, garlic, leek, radish, mallow and eggplant are common varieties.
Of the eggplant it is said that, since there are so many ways of
preparing it, should a woman say to her husband, during the eggplant
season, “I know not what to provide for dinner,” he has a sufficient
cause for divorcing her. Doubtless, if he were hungry and sensible at
the same time, he would at least try the expedient of getting a dish of
the savory vegetable before discharging the cook. But, on the other
hand, one might quote the Arabic proverb, “Minds are lost with
stomachs.” There are two kinds of cucumber. The one like our own goes by
the name _khîyâr_. The other, called _faḳûs_, is thinner, longer and
fuzzy, and is eaten without peeling. The buds of the artichoke when
boiled make a delicious dish. Potatoes are getting to be quite common
now. Most of them are still imported, but probably more and more success
will be met in raising a native crop.

A pleasant little story is told of how potatoes may have first come to
Jerusalem. Sister Charlotte, a Kaiserswerth deaconess, was for fifty
years in mission work in Jerusalem. At the time of her death in 1903 she
was the revered head of the German Orphanage for girls in the city. When
the Emperor Frederick, then Crown Prince, visited Jerusalem, he accepted
an invitation to dine with Sister Charlotte and the other German
sisters. He asked them what, of all things, they would like from
Germany. They said that they thought potatoes would be their choice. Two
barrels of potatoes were the result of this incident, and Sister
Charlotte thought that these were the first potatoes in Jerusalem. It is
to be regretted that this is not the place to go into a thorough
appreciation of the work of these blessed women who, in hospital, school
and other Christian service in the East have performed a most gracious
ministry of Christian womanliness.

The milk of the flocks is made into butter, and that in turn is often
cooked down into what we should call clarified butter, but which the
Arabs call _semen_. It will keep a year and is much used in cooking,
especially in preparing rice. There is a very pleasant, cooling
preparation of milk called _leben_,[89] which is thick and has a
slightly acid taste. It looks like junket. A little of it, when put into
slightly warmed milk and set away in a warm place for a few hours, will
make leben of the milk. The process is one of partial digestion and
makes a wholesome food for invalids, particularly for those suffering
from fevers. _Lebbeneh_ is strained _leben_ to which a little salt has
been added. It is a sort of compromise between butter and cheese. A
cream cheese, _jiben_, is made in square cakes averaging the size of a
man’s hand. These cakes are put away in brine for keeping and, when
needed, are soaked in hot water. Many meals are made of wheat bread and
cheese. Hard, dried leben, pressed into little balls, may be kept for
months. It is then called _kishk_. When they are to be used the balls
are cracked into little fragments and soaked in water.

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Eggs, mutton and goat’s meat are obtainable in most villages. For game,
the gazel, pigeon, quail and partridge, as well as smaller birds, are
shot and used by a few of the peasants. For those who live near the Sea
of Tiberias (Galilee), the fish there found add to the variety.[90] In
parts of Palestine locusts are eaten.[91] They are usually dried or
roasted. A story and a proverb are mentioned concerning the vigor and
spryness of these insects. A man who was in great haste and yet wished
something to eat caught a locust and, holding it by the legs, roasted it
over a fire. He didn’t wait to do it very thoroughly before he put it in
his mouth. Fearing that it would burn him he delayed shutting his teeth
together on it. The moment he loosened the grasp of his fingers,
therefore, away went the locust. Now for the proverb: “Âflat min
jarâdeh,” which means, “Better at escaping than a locust.”

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Baked dishes are not common among the peasantry. Boiling, roasting and
frying are the common modes of preparing food. _Kibbeh_ is a mixture of
meat and burghul, bruised together in a mortar until it becomes a
jellied mass, when it is pressed into pans, scored off into cakes and
fried with semen. _Maḳlûbeh_ is a preparation of rice and eggplant
cooked in a deep dish, and, when served, turned out, upside down; whence
the name, which means “turned over.” _Keftah_ is a meat cake fried in
semen, not very different from Hamburg steak. _Mujedderah_, or
_‛aṣîdeh_, is a mixture of rice and lentils. Sometimes fried onion
scraps are served with it.

A favorite vegetable called _kûsâ_, which looks like a cucumber and
tastes like our summer squash, is often hollowed out, stuffed with meat
and rice and boiled. Here is a combination of fruit, flesh and vegetable
worth trying: A roll of tender grape-leaves stuffed with rice and meat
and then boiled. It makes a little sausage-like affair of which a Scotch
professor said that, if there were sausages in Paradise, they would be
of this kind. The natives call all stuffed dishes of these sorts
_maḥshy_, _stuffed_. A maḥshy made of eggplant is called _shaykh
el-maḥshy_, the chief of the maḥshys. Kids, lambs and chickens also are
stuffed. With some of these maḥshys, leben sauce is served and with
others lemon-juice.

Salads of all kinds are enjoyed by the people. _Ḥumuṣ b’ṭeḥîneh_ is made
from dried chick-peas boiled, mashed with olive-oil and flavored with
_ṭeḥîneh_. Ṭeḥîneh is a mixture of olive-oil, _serej_ and some sour
substance, either vinegar or lemon-juice.

Caraway, anise, thyme and mint are used as seasonings.

The common cooking fats are semen, olive-oil and _serej_, the latter
being a rich cooking oil made from simsim seeds.

An out-of-door luxury is the new parched wheat,[92] called _frîḳy_, when
immature heads are roasted, and _kalîyeh_, when ripe grain is roasted.
The peculiar milk of a fresh goat or sheep, curdled a little, by being
placed over the fire, and sweetened, is considered a dainty. Cooked
sheep’s brains are a delicacy and very nourishing.

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The fruits of Palestine are many. The better known varieties are the
grape, orange, lemon, apricot, plum, pomegranate, quince, citron,
watermelon, cantaloup, date, mulberry and medlar. This last mentioned
fruit is known by the Turkish name _akydunya_, literally, _the next
world_. The cherry and peach find a congenial climate in the country.
The apple and pear do not thrive so well in Palestine as in the
neighborhood of Damascus. Of apricots there are several varieties. A
large sweet kind, of which the seed pit has a taste similar to the
almond nut, is called for that reason _lôzeh_. Another kind is called
_klâby_, and yet another _mestkâwy_. Apricot leather is displayed in
large sheets in the markets. From pomegranates, of which there are at
least three flavors, sweet, medium and sour, and from lemons, drinks are
prepared. Distilled orange-flower water is esteemed as a flavoring
extract. A little of it in water is good for a sour stomach.

Of nuts there are the almond, pistachio and walnut. The almond is
frequently eaten green, when the kernel is in a milky state and the
whole nut with its shell is tender. Chestnuts and peanuts are imported.
Melon and pumpkin seeds are eaten. Sesame, or simsim, seeds are
sprinkled over cakes. Partially ripened chick-peas, roasted on the
stems, are very much liked. _Mulabbas_, which simply means _covered_,
generally refers to sugar-coated, roasted chick-peas. These roasted peas
without the sugar are called _iḳḍâmeh_, or _ḳâḍâmeh_.

Jellies are called ṭoṭleh. They are often served to guests, in such
cases being offered before the coffee, which must always be the last of
any number of refreshments. A dish of jelly or jam, with several spoons
and a tumbler of water, is passed around. Each guest takes a spoon and
helps himself to a taste of jelly, then puts the soiled spoon into the
vessel of water.

The people are very fond of honey. Many kinds of pastes, cakes and
confections have honey as a prominent ingredient. Some of them seem very
cloying to the unaccustomed Western taste. _Ḥelâweh_ and _mulabbas_ are
the very common confections in the villages. The first looks like
light-colored molasses candy and comes in bulk. It is used as a food
with bread. It is made from the root of the simsim plant, the oil of
which imparts to it its peculiar flavor. There is a local hit to the
effect that “the people of Nâblus eat their sweets first.” The word used
to express satisfaction with a flavor is _zâky_, which is equal to our
colloquialism, “it tastes fine,” or the German, “grossartig.” A rebuke
of an inordinate appetite is apparent in the proverb, “Let a dog take a
taste, but not a son of Adam [_i. e._, a man].”

The list of foods should include some of the many varieties of edible
wild growths.[93]

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_Khurfaysh_ is a plant with a little notched leaf having milk-white
veins. The edible stalk that grows up from the center is very delicious
and refreshing when tender.

_Murrâr_, a bitter herb, looks, during its early growth, a little like
the dandelion. Later it develops a thorn.

_Ḳurṣ‛anneh_ bears a small leaf suitable for salad.

_Ḥumayḍeh_ has a leaf with red veins and a red back. It is used less
commonly than the others.

_Dhanbat faras_ (tail of a mare) looks like young onion leaves.

_Ḥasak_ is used more especially for cows, and _ḥalîbet es-sukûl_ is fed
to the kids when milk is scarce. It yields, when broken, a thick milky
juice. The fruit of the cactus or prickly-pear is yellow, seedy and
sweetish. For some reason or other the name for this plant, in Arabic,
and the word for _patience_ are the same, _ṣubr_. This cactus fruit is
much esteemed. A story is told of a man with a prodigious appetite for
it who was going along by the hedges of prickly-pear near Ludd and
followed by some cows which ate up the peelings of the fruit as he
dropped them. The story says that the cows had to stop eating the
peelings before the man’s appetite for the fruit had been fully
gratified. This is only a sample of the many stories told about great
eaters.

The carob-pod is chewed.[94] It has a flavor like that of sweetened
chocolate. Green carob-pods may be cooked in a toothsome way with milk.

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A receipt for making “Turkish Delight.” The first essential is a
perfectly clean cooking dish, as the secret of good Turkish Delight is
to prevent burning or sticking. One-half pound of corn-starch, three
pounds of sugar and ten cups of water are to be used. The corn-starch is
to be dissolved in two cups of water and strained. The remaining eight
cups of water, hot, and the sugar are to be made into a syrup. When the
syrup is almost at the boiling point, clear with the white of an egg,
skim off, add the juice of a half lemon and strain through a cloth. Pour
the corn-starch solution into the hot syrup, stirring continually, and
allowing the mixture to boil until very thick, an hour if necessary,
stirring all the time to prevent sticking to the bottom. This constant
stirring during the cooking is very important. Blanched almonds and the
flavoring (generally _mistkâ_ gum) are put in just before taking the
dish from the fire. The whole is then poured into a large shallow tin
into which fine sugar has been sifted. When the paste has cooled it may
be scored and cut.

There is almost no drinking of alcoholic liquors among the peasantry. On
the feast-days the convents offer _‛araḳ_, a native grape brandy, to
callers. The increasing influence of foreigners tends to an increase of
drinking customs in the cities and the extension of such habits into the
country villages. This influence comes through the foreign ecclesiastics
in the convents, monasteries and patriarchates, business and travel, and
sometimes the example of missionaries. Among Moslems the habit of using
ardent liquors is supposed not to exist, but an aged official of wide
experience told me that he knew of two hundred fifty Moslems in
Jerusalem who were hard drinkers, and that the Turkish officials as a
class were taking up the custom rapidly. Said a poor Moslem girl in
Hebron despairingly of her brother, who had taken up with the drinking
habit, “Why, my brother drinks like a Christian!” Of an inveterate and
shameless toper the Arabs say that “he would drink from his shoe.”

The custom among the country people is to eat out of a common dish.[95]
If it contains rice the food is rolled into balls and put into the mouth
with the fingers. The bread is held on the knee, as one sits in
squatting posture, and bits are torn from it. With these bits of bread
the food may be dipped up, especially if it be oil or leben. Portions of
meat are taken with the fingers. A wooden spoon is sometimes used. When
guests are eating, the women of the family are not present, but often
eat in another place and use the remains of the men’s feast. In the
field the workers gather around the dish that has been brought from the
village. They may be sitting in the broiling sun. It is customary to
invite the passer-by to the repast.

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The first meal of the day is not usually taken until the middle of the
forenoon, and is a light one. The second one, at or after noon, may be
heartier. The evening meal is the best. Meat is almost a luxury, the
increase in its use denoting progress in prosperity.

Almost any discriminating person will decide for the native peasant
costume as more modest, graceful and artistic than the European styles.
One feels disappointed and defrauded at sight of a villager togged in
European trouserings. The village woman descends in the scale of
attractiveness just so far as she submits to the fashion of Western
dressmaking. Stockings are seldom worn by the country people when they
are in vigorous health. At best the stocking is an unsanitary snare. Men
generally wear the roomy shoe having buffalo rawhide from India for the
soles and a red or brown goat-skin for the uppers. Women seldom wear
shoes inside the village for fear of ridicule. When they are out in the
rough places they wear the same kind of shoe as the men.

The fully dressed _fellâḥ_, (peasant) has in his outfit the following
articles:

  _Dîmâyeh_, or _ḳumbâz_, a long dress or tunic.
  _Shirîhah_, a girdle studded with the _razât_, which are ornaments
    like little silver buttons.
  _Ṣadrîyeh_, a vest.
  _Ṭuḳṣîreh_, a small blue jacket made of _jûkh_, a blue cloth.
    Sometimes a European jacket is worn or a sheepskin is used.
  _‛Abâh_ (colloquial, _‛abâyeh_), a homespun woolen overcoat, striped.
  _Ṣirmâyeh_, a shoe, heavy or light according to the season.
  _Leffeh_, a general name for the entire head-dress.

The leffeh consists of the following parts:

  _Ṭuḳîyeh_, a cotton skull-cap.
  _Libbâd_, a skull-cap of woolen felt put on over the cotton one.
  _Ṭarbûsh_, a hat proper, usually a red fez-like head-covering, broad
    and flat, put on over the ṭuḳîyeh and libbâd.

Scarfs are wound around the rim of the ṭarbûsh so as to make a very
heavy border (a thin scarf helping to pad out a heavier one).

  _Mendîl_, a thin scarf used under a heavier one.
  _Maḥrameh_, a white heavy scarf.
  _Kefîyeh_, a yellow and fancy variety of scarf.

In the leffeh or head-dress are tucked, for convenience in carrying, the
following articles:

  _Mirât_, a mirror (a tiny glass).
  _Mishṭ_, a comb for the beard.
  _Maṣṣâṣat_, a cigarette holder.
  _Dukhân_, tobacco.
  _Khalḳat_ (_aṣfat_), a ring (yellow) for the thumb (bahim).
  _Khâtim_ (_fuḍat_), a seal[96] ring (silver) for the little finger
    (_khanaṣet_).
  _Dubleh_, a guard.

All these small articles following are in or about the girdle or belt:

  _Ghâb_, a cartridge-belt.
  _Shibrîyeh_, a dirk carried in the belt.
  _Ṣifn_, tow.
  _Zinâreh_, a steel for igniting the tow in striking a light.
  _Ṣuwâneh_, a flint.
  _Mûs_, a clasp knife.
  _Zaradeh_, a chain to which the knife is attached.

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The fellâḥah (peasant woman) wears the _Khurḳeh_, an embroidered dress
of linen crash, with silk stitching. Over this dress she wears the
_Khalaḳ_, or _Tôb_, a long veil of the same material as the Khurḳeh. But
she is mostly distinguished by the

  _Uḳâ_, a head-dress which is a snug little bonnet of cloth embroidered
    and heavily decorated with coins.
  _Ṣaffeh_, a row of coins over the top of the head on the bonnet.
  _Shakeh_, a row of coins or bangles across the forehead.
  _Iznâḳ_, a coin of especial value which hangs by a chain from the
    head-dress, under the chin.

This head-dress is bound into the hair by strings and is worn night and
day.

In the division of household labor the man goes to the market, field or
on the road with the animals, leaving almost all the work about the
house to be done by women and children. Indeed, these may often be
called upon to assist in carrying to or from the market, in watching on
the threshing-floor or in the vineyard and orchard, in helping harvest
the crops or in gleaning, sifting and cleaning grain. Children sometimes
carry food to the workers who are at a distance. The man may make
repairs about his house, if skilful enough to do so. He drives the
bargains and settles business matters. Upon the woman falls most of the
work of the household. It is often hard and long because of primitive
methods and scanty means.[97] The older girls may help considerably,
especially by taking much of the care of the children. The woman’s day
begins early with the grinding of flour for bread.[98] She probably
cleaned the wheat on the previous afternoon while there was light.
Grinding can be done in the early morning before daylight. The woman
sweeps and cleans and cooks food for the family. She makes long trips
into the uncultivated country about the village to bring home head-loads
of brush, thorns or grass. She must make daily trips at least, and
sometimes several a day, to the spring, or possibly to a cistern, for
the water supply. She often keeps chickens. Gardening is the man’s work,
though the woman must often help in the little plot if there be one. Now
and then a woman may find time to attend to her personal appearance. If
her dress of linen crash be soiled she may take it with other washing to
the spring or cistern. She first soaks her clothes and then laying them
on a rock pounds out the dirt with a short club. If the silk embroidery
on the dress makes it unadvisable to wet the cloth, she rubs off the
dirt with bread-crumbs. She occasionally gets an opportunity to take off
her head-dress of coins, clean the coins and comb out and wash her hair,
or she may do the similar service of washing and head-cleaning for her
children.

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The peasant women are sometimes skilful in embroidering in silk, with a
cross-stitch, on linen and on cotton. They make a good deal of
basketwork from wheat straw, which they dye a brilliant blue, green,
red, purple and brown. Cooking dishes, platters, bowls and jars are made
of clay by the women. The women of any village keep to the making of
such vessels and shapes as they have learned best. The Râm Allâh women
make a reddish jar of huge size ornamented with a brown painted band of
a basketwork pattern. This jar is known colloquially as _jarreh_. The
smaller size goes by the same name or else by the term _hisheh_. _Hish_
is a kind of red stone that is pulverized to make jar material. The long
jar that is used for carrying water from the spring to the house is
called _zarawîyeh_. The _zarawîyeh zerḳa_ is a product of Gaza, and the
_zarawîyeh bayḍeh_ of Ramleh and Ludd. Another large variety of jar is
called _zîr_. Any tiny jar used as a drinking vessel or for cooling
drinking water may be called _sherbeh_. The little milk jars with a very
wide mouth are called _kûz_ or, by the fellaḥîn, _chûz_.

The peasant, when well fed, clothed and sheltered, is a fine specimen of
physical humanity. When ill he is miserable indeed, and greatly to be
pitied. Hospitals and other European helps are assisting of late where
but a short time ago there was nothing but native ingenuity. Even now
the very poor can hardly be said to be supplied with adequate
assistance. In the more backward villages, farther from centers where
physicians and dispensaries are available, the most curious shifts are
made to drive off disease and win health. Among Moslems and Christians
similar means are taken. Mothers pray at shrines and sacred trees, tying
up bits of rag to keep the prayers in the minds of the saints who have
been invoked. It takes kindliness and patience to win over the poorest
and most suspicious of the sick peasantry. And it will take more than
that to secure suitable nursing for invalids.

One child of Christian parents wore a bone from a wolf’s snout about the
neck as a charm. It was the gift of the paternal grandmother. A wolf’s
jaw-bone is a potent charm. A Moslem said that the wolf was a friend of
his family and that if one killed a wolf with a knife and then wrapped
the knife in a handkerchief or other cloth it would prove efficacious in
time of sickness. For instance, if a child were ill with a cough it was
only necessary to draw the back of the knife-blade across the throat in
imitation of cutting and say, “Allâh and the wolf,” “Allâh and the
wolf,” then make a noise like the growl of a wolf and the child would be
well. The many superstitious remains of primitive religious notions are
usually preserved among the women of the land.

Slips of paper, with verses from the Ḳurân written on them, are soaked
in water and the drink administered to patients by the very ignorant.
Burning and bleeding are frequently resorted to. More nauseating
practises are the utilization for medicinal purposes of the froth that
forms at the mouth of a maniac, or of a _derwîsh_ (dervish) who, in the
excitement of his exercises, has fallen down insensible. It is
considered proper for the friends of the sick to call, and sometimes the
room where the patient is lying is full of talking neighbors.[99]
Fortunate is it if some of them be not smoking as well as making a
noise. Figs are used as drawing plasters.[100] For soreness of the gums
or teeth a dry fig is heated and laid on the spot. A relic of the days
of quacks is found in the proverb, “Ask one who will try and not a
doctor.” Doubtless the next proverb in order would be the one running,
“Patience is the key of relief.” Of palsy the peasants say, “Palsy, then
don’t doctor it.”

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[Illustration: IN A DOORYARD. WOMEN CLEANING WHEAT]

[Illustration: ON TOP OF AN OVEN. WOMEN SIFTING WHEAT]

The following data, taken from accounts of medical assistance rendered
to inhabitants of a score of villages in the country about Râm Allâh for
a year are suggestive of the distribution of ailments. Leaving out of
the account wounds, the chief ailments were classified under
fevers,[101] malaria and typhus, with gastric troubles nearly akin. Then
comes the second group of troubles, with influenza and pneumonia. Third
in frequency was rheumatism. Enteric troubles were rarely mentioned. Eye
troubles are common, but the physician is not resorted to as frequently
as would be supposed. A few cases of abscess, dropsy and eczema were
mentioned. May and June, October and November, brought numerous cases of
fevers. January and March exceeded in pulmonary affections, though they
were pretty generally met with throughout the year. Autumn is a very
unhealthy season. The dust blowing about the villages in the high winds
is laden with abundant filth in pulverized form. Sunstroke is not
unknown among the natives.[102] The reapers in the Ghôr are often
stricken with deadly fever, probably because of the poor water supply,
hot sun, cold nights and irregular meals. Contagious skin, scalp and eye
diseases are to be dreaded. Because of the lack of facilities and
knowledge in the care of children convalescing from measles, _ḥuṣbeh_,
that disease is much feared, and the mortality among the young is great.
The typhoid cases in the country are long and tedious, though not
perhaps so violent as with us. Leben makes an ideal food for the
patient.

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Certain of the fountains of the country are provided with a more or less
capacious catch-basin from which animals as well as people may drink.
The fastidious are not to be blamed if they insist on seeing their own
drinking water taken from the actual flow of the spring and under such
conditions as shall not subject them to the washings of other people’s
mouths. Often at such places leeches thrive in the water, and where they
are known to abound the natives seldom let their animals drink if other
available water be near. People, too, are often bothered by the leeches
lodging in the sides of the mouth or throat. Those that are swallowed
cause no inconvenience, but when tiny leeches lodge in the side of the
throat and grow to an uncomfortable size they have to be extracted. One
day I was lunching with the local physician, Dr. Philip Ma‛lûf, when a
poor woman from el-Bîreh, not finding him at the dispensary, sought him
at his home. She was troubled with a leech which had grown to
uncomfortable size in her throat and was using up too much of the blood
needed in her system. After the parasite was removed she haggled about
the price of the operation.

At another time I saw a little girl sitting on a chair in the sun in
front of the doctor’s dispensary. The doctor said that her leech was too
difficult of observation and approach with his tweezers, but that in the
warm sun it would be tempted within reach.

Medical assistance in the form of hospital or dispensary facilities is
now offered at Hebron, Jaffa, Gaza, Jerusalem, Nâblus, Nazareth,
Tiberias, Ṣafed, Haifa, es-Salṭ and Kerak. To these places the peasantry
come from the country about, bringing their ills for treatment at the
hands of foreign physicians. From the country around Nâblus, for
instance, many patients come to receive the skilful attention of the
surgeon at the Church Missionary Society Hospital in the city. Among
these cases are many suffering with diseased bones.

The medical department of the American College at Beirut is an exponent
of modern medical science for all Syria. There native physicians are
trained in medicine and pharmacy and go to all parts of the Turkish
empire, Egypt and the Sudan. The European hospitals in the country are
in charge of expert physicians assisted by well-trained nurses.

Here and there one meets dumb people. In Râm Allâh is a dumb man, the
well-to-do father of a considerable family. He is keen, alert and very
skilful at making himself understood by motions.

The blind are receiving some attention. Schneller’s school in Jerusalem
makes provision for them. Miss Lovell, an English woman, has a small
school for blind girls where she works assiduously for their welfare.
The French Roman Catholic Sisters care for some.

The first hospital asylum in all Syria for the humane and scientific
treatment of the insane was founded a few years ago and first opened to
patients August 9, 1900. It is just a short drive out of Beirut, at a
place called ‛Aṣfûrîyeh, within the Lebanon government district. Its
founders are Mr. and Mrs. Theophilus Waldemeier. Mr. Waldemeier was for
over twenty years the superintendent of the English Friends’ Mission at
Brummana and other stations in Mount Lebanon. Advancing years seemed to
make it wisest that he should relinquish the many-sided mission work.
With his wife he planned a world tour in the interests of a work which
he had thought over for many years. While friends were advising and
expecting him to take a deserved rest he began to plan for this new
enterprise, which he sweetly calls his “evening sacrifice”; a hospital
for the right treatment of the insane, of which the country has many.
The Waldemeiers visited successfully in Europe and America and returned
with funds to build. They found a fine property of over thirty acres
belonging to one of the _effendîyeh_ class of natives, a Moslem who was
in need of funds and good enough not to make too hard terms with these
philanthropists. In the first two years the institution treated two
hundred twenty-seven patients and sent away thirty-six patients
recovered.

Mr. Waldemeier and his gifted wife treated us with the greatest
cordiality, when we called on them, and showed us detail after detail of
the work, the new building and so on, just as if they were enthusiastic
devotees of an interesting new game; and so they are devotees of the
old, the ever new game, of doing good. A large, well-equipped
administration building, another for women patients and still another
one for men were already up and fully used, forty patients at a time
being the capacity. A new building was being erected to be used for the
most violent cases. The story of some cases is a sad one. A surgeon of
the Egyptian army was with us as we inspected the wards where the women
patients are kept, filled mostly with young girls. He said, “I never saw
anything so sad. The wounded and the dying on the battle-field do not
make me feel like this.” The causes of the troubles of these sufferers
are various. Ten distinct kinds of mania are recorded on the books,
among them cases resulting from alcoholic excess, from typhoid fever and
those that are hereditary. No patients are received unless there is
reasonable expectation of their recovery under treatment.

The nurses and attendants in the women’s ward seemed to be much
interested in their charges and to develop a real affection for them.
There are no bonds in the whole institution. The severe cases are put to
bed. As soon as their condition will warrant it they are set to work at
something that will keep them busy, laundering or helping in various
ways about the institution, always with ample supervision. One
bright-faced patient possessed with the notion that the devil was in her
nose made that member the object of her constant thought, keeping it
always covered.

We saw a large, powerfully-made man standing behind the iron grating of
one of the men’s windows. He was an alcoholic case who was sent away
from the hospital at one time apparently cured, but fell into the old
ways again and now is hopeless, incurable.

Some of the patients come to the hospital in a most wretched state of
filth. Some come loaded with the chains that the ignorant country people
have put on them. Some have been isolated in caves and scantily fed,
some have been beaten. Some have been made to drink water in which
written texts of the Ḳurân have been soaked. Many are the ways with
which the superstitious natives would treat these unfortunates.
Sometimes the insane are looked upon with superstitious awe as of an
order other than ordinary human beings and to be invoked. At other times
the people are said to beat them in order to drive out the demon, but
more often, according to their own saying, they let them pretty much
alone. “For,” say they, “God has touched him; that is enough; leave him
alone.”[103] All through the country this unconscious fraternity lives
its life apart from men. Only their bodies are in contact with the world
of reality. They are fed or beaten, caged or prayed to, in turn. We saw
one of these unfortunates who had been groveling in a fit on the street
in Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate. He had a small cord drawn through a
fleshy place in his abdomen, by working which back and forth
well-meaning spectators had caused considerable blood to flow, thinking
to relieve him. We have seen them wandering in the streets of Damascus
with the freedom of the city, all making way for them; and well they
might; we did, too, for I’ve never seen human beings more unutterably
filthy. In the village of ‛Ayn ‛Arîk there was a dumb maniac who went
about naked.[104] He was credited with being a wily, or holy man.
Families having a sick person among them would sometimes send him
presents of roast stuffed fowls and secure from the wily some of his
hairs, which they would burn near the patient, hoping thereby to effect
a cure.

-----

-----

The leprous generally congregate outside the cities and follow the trade
of begging. Hospitals and asylums are provided for them, but many of
them prefer the freedom which puts them obnoxiously in the way of those
who can be teased for alms.

Death among the peasantry is an occasion for long mourning. The body is
wrapped, and placed in the ground and protected from the falling earth
as well as may be by the use of stones. On the top of the grave the
heaviest stones obtainable are packed to make it difficult for the
hyenas to secure the body. It is customary to watch the grave many
nights to keep these creatures away.[105] The more advanced peasantry
try to secure a wooden coffin for the body about to be buried. The
natives are capable of much tenderness and consideration at these sad
times. The many bearers take turns assisting in the carrying of the body
on the way to the grave. Visitors from other villages come to assist in
the mourning for the deceased. They are provided with food and shelter
while they remain. The public mourning lasts as long as visitors
continue coming to offer condolences, which may be for many days. At
weddings the singers are men, but at funerals the women perform the
part. The same native melody is used on both occasions. The death of a
young man is an occasion for especial grief, since so many family hopes
and prospects are thereby disappointed. A prop and stay in the tribe is
withdrawn and the calamity is very severe. The women are sometimes seen
on the threshing-floor marching slowly round and round, wailing out the
dirge. One of the saddest cases that came under my observation was that
of a young man who, leaving his family, emigrated to America in search
of fortune. While in Monterey, Mexico, he heard of the death of an uncle
in the home village and grieved over it. He was taken ill, probably with
yellow fever, went to the hospital and died there in a short time. When
the news reached Râm Allâh the grief was keen. It is customary at such a
time for the women to go either to the threshing-floor or the cemetery
to mourn.[106] But in this case, as the man was buried far away, the
women assembled on a small piece of ground that was owned by some of the
tribe where there was a fig-tree. They sat under this talking until the
company increased to over forty women. They had all left their
head-dresses, ornamented with coins, at home, and their hair fell in
disheveled condition over their necks and shoulders. Some of them had
daubed their faces with soot. Some were dressed in their oldest and
poorest clothing; one had on a fancy Bethlehem costume, but her
disordered hair was bound with crêpe. A circle was formed and the women
marched to the accompaniment of the mourning song. Now and then a few
would break from the circle into the middle and, tossing their arms
above their heads, perform a funeral dance. The name of the deceased was
Butrus (Peter) and the widow’s name was Na‛meh (Naomi). The following is
a translation of the words which the women sang at the time:

        O door of the house, fall down
        For one who went and did not return;

        For one who left his wife,
        A trust remaining with me.

        Butrus in the distant country calls,
        “O, Ḥanna, take me back to my country.”

        The gun appears, but the lion appears not;
        Lo, the strap of the gun is damp with mist.

        The gun appears, but the lion comes not;
        Lo, the strap of the gun is dripping with mist.

                     (_At the time of the burial_)
        O my sorrow, there are his people;
        Early were they at the burial place.

        Early rose the sexton for the burial,
        And the ḥarîm is soiled with dust.

        The women of his kindred rend their finery
        For Butrus who sank into the grave.

        The women of his kindred tear their coverings,
        Because Butrus is left in America.

                            (_Impersonating Butrus_)
        Don’t take me down into the ships,
        My sister on the seashore is grieving.

        Don’t take me down to the foreign ships,
        My sister on the seashore is calling.

                                    (_The mourners_)
        O my sorrow, they went on the seas and remained:
        Oh, I wonder how they are, have they changed?

        O my sorrow, they went on the seas and stayed the night:
        Oh, I wonder how they are, or are they dead?

        Bring me knowledge, O great bird, O little one;
        America, is it far away and without a wall?

        Bring me knowledge, O bird, O birds;
        America, is it far away and without measure?

        Greet them, O bird, O pigeon,
        In their far country setting up the tents.

                             (_Impersonating Butrus_)

        On the shore of the sea the gazels are browsing;
        Oh, the descent to the ship, it is bad.

        On the shore of the sea the gazels are airing;
        Oh, the descent to the ship, it is bitter.

        On the seashore, wondering whither to turn,
        Appear, O Na‛meh! the ship goes.

        At the hospital I am thirsty, I want to drink;
        Bid me good-by, my brother, the ship goes.

                                    (_The mourners_)
        Write on the flat slate,
        “Thy time came; what could we do, my spirit?”

        Write on the flat marble,
        “Thy time came; what could we do, my precious one?”

        O scribe, writing with a costly pencil,
        Greet the absent one and clasp hands.

                            (_Impersonating Butrus_)
        Thy robe is long, Na‛meh, cut from it;
        Have slight regard for fine appearance when we are gone.

        Thy robe has a long trail;
        Have little care for fine style when we are gone.

                                   (_The mourners_)
        The tassel on his head-gear dangles;
        Tell his mother to continue mourning.

        The tassel on his head-dress droops;
        Tell Na‛meh to quit fine dressing.

            (_Introducing the refrain at the mill_)
        Say to us, O Na‛meh, in the night,
        “How often have I worn the best of silk!”

        Say to us, O Na‛meh, in the afternoon,
        “How often have I worn Egyptian silk!”

                                        (_Closing_)
        O ye strangers bearing the coffin,
        Wait until his family arrive.

        O ye strangers bearing the coffin,
        Wait until his kinsfolk come.

        The grave of Butrus by the road is in neglect;
        He wants a guide to lead him home.

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This beginning of public mourning was on November 23. On December 14 the
funeral services were held in the village church, just as if the
deceased were there. But the public mourning did not cease as long as
visiting mourners from other villages came to condole with the family.
It is customary for women in mourning to forbear changing or washing
their dresses for months.

Graves are usually bordered with heavy broken stone partly sunken into
the earth. For shaykhs and notables an oblong, box-like structure of
stone and mortar is built over the grave, and perhaps a headstone
erected, with an inscription in Arabic. The variety in the ornamentation
of graves is very considerable, especially in different districts of the
country.

Egypt was suffering from an epidemic of cholera in the summer of 1902.
The news of cholera in Egypt makes one apprehensive lest through
carelessness the disease should be brought into Palestine, although the
quarantines are supposed to be enforced strictly on all lines of
communication by sea or land. Toward the last of September the rumor got
about that cholera was in the country and that cases had appeared as
near as Hebron, twenty miles south of Jerusalem. By the middle of
October rumor was persistent that Ludd and Jimzû were affected by the
fell disease. English physicians in Jaffa published and circulated a
poster instructing the people as to means of prevention. The Jerusalem
government issued orders to the villages to clean the village streets
and burn up the refuse. This would be a boon under any circumstances.
The city streets were put into an excellent condition of cleanliness.
Whitewash was freely used on the walls of the buildings, especially in
the Jewish quarter. In a day or two Jaffa was reported to be infected by
the cholera and, as the days went by, rumors came from one after another
village that it was attacked by the scourge, which the natives call _the
yellow air_. They give it this name because of their belief that it is a
pestilential breath traveling in the air. One day, when the refreshing
west wind was blowing up from the sea, a peasant in our village
expressed the hope that the wind would change soon, as he feared that it
might bring up _the yellow air_ from the infected villages down in the
Mediterranean plain. This ignorance of the real nature of the disease
accounts, together with a fatalistic carelessness about observing the
right precautions, for the awful hold that it gets on an Eastern
country. It thrives best in the lowland country and least in the
highlands, not being supposed to ascend over two thousand feet with any
likelihood of persistence. But it was often carried to greater heights,
causing much anxiety. Hebron, for instance, is over three thousand feet
above sea-level. The bacillus has its greatest opportunity in running
water, as at springs. In order to attack the human being it must enter
the alimentary canal, usually, of course, by the mouth. A weakened
constitution, excessive fear, nervousness and chills from great or
sudden changes of temperature, make favorable conditions for its seizure
of the individual. It usually begins with a diarrhea, which, if
unchecked, is rapidly succeeded by the peculiar cholera discharges and a
physical collapse that is as complete as the weakness induced by days
and weeks of other severe diseases. Relief has to be prompt, the
temperature restored and the discharges checked very soon in order to
afford any reasonable hope of recovery. Most foreigners escape attack by
attending very strictly and conscientiously to the proper precautions
and heeding early indications, without allowing themselves to be
disturbed by unnecessary fears. But they should be personally sure that
only cooked food is eaten, no raw fruit or vegetables; that all water,
for whatever purpose destined, be boiled, whether it is to be drunk or
used to wash the person, hands, face, teeth or body, or used to wash
clothing or dishes. When cholera is in the vicinity unboiled water
should not be used for any purpose.

The people in our own village prohibited the approach of any persons
from the village of Ludd. These local prohibitions through the country
multiplied, making a set of quarantines that prevented travel and trade
in many of the country districts. Our native village physician was taken
by the government and placed in charge of the quarantine station at Bâb
el-Wâd, which is on the Jerusalem-Jaffa carriage road. The railroad
trains between Jaffa and Jerusalem were forbidden to stop anywhere
between Bittîr and Jaffa. Some friends in Jerusalem feared to come out
to visit us, only ten miles away, for fear that quarantine might be
imposed at any moment, thus preventing their return to the city.
However, that necessity did not arise during the whole time the disease
was in the country. But to the north of us we were cut off from Nâblus,
to the east from the Jordan country, to the west from the villages and
cities in the plain. Jerusalem was cut off from Hebron on the south. To
have cut us off from Jerusalem would have made a very tiny island of our
neighborhood. So long as we were part of the large island of which
Jerusalem was the center, and our district remained free of the scourge,
we were in a very happy case compared with what might happen any day.
The peasantry in the villages west of Jerusalem depend a good deal on
the sale of vegetables, fruit, bread and milk in the city, but soldiers
prevented them from coming in to pursue their usual business.

October closed with very conflicting reports as to the nature of the
sickness that was taking the people off, some declaring that it was not
cholera, but only similar; that it was this and that other thing. The
governor called together the merchants of Jerusalem and urged them to
maintain regular prices, but they replied that this was their
opportunity. He forbade any rise in wheat. However, prices on most
foodstuffs and imported supplies began to rise. The train service on the
Jaffa-Jerusalem line was discontinued. People rushed to the shops in the
city and bought up canned goods and groceries. Camphor rose in price
also, as the natives bought it to make little camphor-bags, which they
would smell frequently. Men were stationed out on the paths leading to
our village to prevent the entrance of people from suspected districts.
In Jaffa some deaths were reported in the dirty section about the boat
landings. Gaza reported the highest mortality, forty a day. Some of the
inhabitants of Gaza moved out on the seashore and lived in tents. No
deaths occurred among them. Ramleh set about providing its own cordon,
and although it was very near some of the worst of the afflicted places,
it kept itself free from the epidemic. Some Gaza men who essayed to
reach Jerusalem were put under arrest.

By November 5 the general impression was that the cholera was lessening
its violence. The people of Ludd were getting straitened for food. The
hospital and medical service of Miss Newton of Jaffa were a great
blessing. She sent medical assistance to the people in Ludd also and was
very prompt in getting in food supplies to the quarantined villagers.
The dearth of food in Hebron threatened to cause a rise of prices beyond
the reach of the poor. But some of the officials wishing to come to
Jerusalem, the quarantine was lifted for a day to accommodate them, when
some wheat slipped into Hebron from Jerusalem. In Jaffa the English
church was open twice a day for special prayers for the cessation of the
cholera.

We were greatly saddened toward the middle of November by the news that
Mrs. Torrance, wife of the physician in the Scotch Mission at Tiberias,
had fallen a victim to the cholera.

Some travelers who were having hard work getting through the country on
account of the crisscrossing of the quarantines, were in a hotel in
Nazareth when, during the night, a man came up to that hotel from
Tiberias and developed a case of cholera. The hotel guests found in the
morning that they were quarantined in the house. By the earnest use of
talk and money they got the privilege of passing the time of their
quarantine in some tents. They feared that, if they remained in the
hotel and more cases developed, their detention might be lengthened
indefinitely.

Some Jifnâ men who had been in Jaffa for weeks evaded the quarantine
regulations and returned to their village, which was one hour north of
us. Their own relatives were the first to drive them back with stones.
The neighbors reported the facts to the police in Jerusalem and soldiers
came out and shut up the quarantine jumpers in caves until they could be
returned to the quarantine station at Bâb el-Wâd to pass the legal
number of days.

On November 18 we heard of a man who had come from es-Salṭ to Jerusalem
and died, of cholera apparently, in Khan es-Sulṭân. This was the cause
of some worry, but no cases resulted. On the 19th, as we were thinking
that the colder weather would check the disease, we heard that it had
increased considerably in Jaffa. On November 20 our village physician
returned for a short visit to disprove to his family the report that he
had succumbed to the cholera. He had about a dozen or fourteen people in
quarantine at Bâb el-Wâd, who were taking that tedious way of
journeying. The government provided tents at two and a half or three
francs per day. Each person secured his own food by post carrier from
Jerusalem or elsewhere. The claim is now made that the cholera got into
the country through the faithlessness of the quarantine official south
of Gaza. He is accused of having let through seven thousand persons at a
bishlik (eleven cents) apiece. The story of how the cholera entered
Ḳubâb is illustrative. That village and the village of Barrîyeh use the
same fountain for water, the ‛Ayn Yerdeh. Cholera was in Barrîyeh, and
one mother who had lost a little child wished to keep its garments. She
took them to the ‛Ayn Yerdeh to wash them. Very soon a score of Ḳubâb
people were victims of cholera, and three hundred in all died in that
village. The doctor reported the people in the villages as very eager
for instructions and obedient in observing them when the disease was at
its height. He says that there were no tears, only great desire to
escape the dreadful enemy. He went to the different villages near his
station and, standing outside, summoned the shaykhs and chief villagers
within hearing distance, where he exhorted them to use the necessary
precautions. The Moslems have the custom of washing the corpses of their
dead. This contributed much to the spread of the disease, as the
flushings of water, vile from the body of the cholera victim, carried
the germs all about the house floor and infected a considerable space.
The physician’s orders were to bury the deceased, clothing and all, and
cover with six baskets of dry lime. Then all articles used or defiled by
the sufferer were to be burned.

Friday evening, November 21, some Jaffa Christians sought to flee from
their city and come to Râm Allâh, but the Râm Allâh people drove them
back with threats and stones. Some of the Râm Allâh people recommended a
cordon for all roads about the village, but the poorer inhabitants
declared that they could not stand the increased price of living that
would ensue. December 3 we heard that some Constantinople physicians had
visited Jaffa and declared the disease not cholera but malignant typhoid
fever. It made little difference to the generality what they chose to
call it. By December 6 cholera was reported at Jericho. It was reported
at an end in Ḳubâb but continuing in Jaffa with a very variable
death-rate. By the middle of December six thousand deaths had been
reported in Gaza. The reports from Jaffa always minified the number of
victims. One physician stated that, when the reports said fifteen a day,
he knew there were from fifty to seventy a day. It was said that Moslems
were evading the government’s orders regarding instant disposal of the
corpses and secreting their dead, in order that they might carry out the
custom of washing and otherwise preparing the body for burial. Hunger
probably played an important part in the death-rate. The outside world
never knew the facts. By the middle of January the cholera was announced
at Turmus ‛Âyâ, a little south of ancient Shiloh. But the disease had
done its worst for the country for that season.

The work of Miss Newton in Jaffa and vicinity was very effective and
impressed the Moslems greatly. One leading Moslem in Jaffa tried to
collect money for the suffering, but met with no very generous response.
He exclaimed of this English woman, “Do you mean to tell me that the
Moslems, all of them, will go to heaven and this noble young woman will
go to hell? Her shoe is purer than their souls.”



                               CHAPTER V
                     RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE VILLAGE


The chief business of Palestine is religion. There is a religious
instinct which must be reckoned with all the time. Its importance in
Eastern life can scarcely be over-estimated. In Syria, there is, first
of all, a Semitic core enshrouded by the specific religious faith and
ritual of the time. In the peasantry, of whatever faith, this racial
element is strikingly constant. Eastern life simply cannot be understood
apart from religion. And yet the natives of the country are not,
strictly speaking, theological in their way of thinking. They have
little conscience as to doctrine. Church-membership is to them what
citizenship is to us. Their great desire at present is, not to seek true
doctrine, but to escape the persecutions of government and as many as
possible of the uncertainties of life, by getting into official relation
with a convent or other ecclesiastical establishment, a foreign
consulate or a business under the protection of foreigners. Connection
with such institutions affords a measure of immunity not enjoyed by the
unattached native. Just so any member of a Christian church has the
patronage of those at the head of his church, who are jealously alert to
withstand state encroachment. In the treacherous waters of Eastern life
ecclesiastical trappings are as life-belts, not to be discarded. There
is little opportunity for the higher ethical considerations and
religious growth so long as the solid footing of fair conditions of life
and industrial freedom is denied. So long as the most lucrative and the
securest positions are those of clients of some ecclesiastical
establishment, so long will a religion of loaves and fishes, whatever
the sect, prevail. When entering on a study of religious conditions in
Palestine or in any other Asiatic country the Westerner should seek the
equipment of a sensibly poised sympathy and unfailing courtesy.

Just as in the cities the mosks and minarets (properly called
_mâdhaneh_) are the most notable religious objects presented to view, so
in the country the eye is first caught by the white domes[107] and
clustered trees of the shrines called _maḳâms_ and generally designated
by the peasantry as _wilys_ or _shaykhs_. The holy place of the wily or
shaykh of Ḳaṭrawâny will illustrate the significance of these places,
which are usually situated on hills.[108] The shrine of Ḳaṭrawâny is a
two-domed building, surrounded with trees, north of the village of
BÎr-Zayt. A shaykh from the village of ‛Aṭâra, north of Jifnâ, went down
toward Gaza. He lived, died and was buried in a place called Ḳaṭrawâny
(or Ḳaṭrah). But the belief came about that his spirit came back to this
place near ‛Aṭâra. So a sepulcher was built for him there on the hill
where his spirit was supposed to be, and the place is now a shrine. On a
ride to the north of this spot we passed two Moslem pilgrims who were,
apparently, from middle Asia. They seemed to be making a tour of the
shrines.

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-----

Other holy places are the reputed tombs of ancient worthies, as en-Neby
Samwîl, the prophet Samuel, a mosk on the top of the hill of that name,
which is about two easy hours from Jerusalem to the northwest. The tomb
of Samuel is shown within, and the country of his activity is in view
from the lofty tower above the mosk. Abandoned churches and mosks are
resorted to as shrines.

Little oil lamps are often seen about specially revered places. These
are made of clay in the shapes sometimes designated as virgins’ lamps,
though it is the general style of thousands of years back. It was
originally a little saucer to hold oil, in which a wick was laid with
one end on the edge. In making the saucer the sides were first pinched
up a little; then more and more, until they covered the top, leaving two
openings, one in a sort of spout for the wick, and one behind, through
which the oil could be fed. A handle at the other end was sometimes
added. Taste and ingenuity then varied the details of shape and
decoration through the historical periods. These little lamps may be
used as night-lamps in the houses, but are sure to be the kind employed
at country shrines. Some of the poorest people make very crude little
clay lamps somewhat after the ancient pattern. Sometimes they take the
cover from a little tin box and pinch it into the customary shape.

In the walls of the vestibules of some of the larger and more famous
ancient tombs are niches cut for the placing of lamps by devotees. At
Tibneh the reputed tomb of Joshua has a vestibule which is twenty-nine
and a half feet wide and over ten feet high. Its roof was supported
originally, on the front, by four squared columns twenty-five inches
through, cut from the rock of the place. Two of the columns, the one at
either end, are engaged, and two are free. The three walls of the
vestibule resemble those of a columbarium, having two hundred seventy
lamp-niches, all fairly uniform, in even rows and with sloping tops. A
little entrance two feet high and nineteen inches wide leads into the
tomb chamber, which is thirteen feet eight inches by thirteen feet two
inches in dimensions and has fifteen kokim.

At the tomb of Joseph, shown near Nâblus, there is a well-kept modern
room enclosing the tomb. A dumb man was in charge when we visited the
place. On receiving a bishlik, as we were leaving, he emitted the most
weird sounds of anger and flung the coin on the pavement in pretended
disgust.

Places once consecrated to holy purposes are apt to retain their
sanctity. This is seen in the regard that the peasants have for the
shrines and places of religious significance to any former people. The
old church at Sebasṭîyeh (Samaria) is now a mosk. The ruin of the
Crusaders’ Church at el-Bîreh is venerated by Moslem and Christian. A
man essayed, the story goes, to build a house out of blocks taken from
this ruin, but his house fell, not once, but twice, a sign according to
the native interpretation of the impiety of the man’s act in taking
those stones. In one of the apses of the church at eṭ-Ṭayyibeh there was
a chromo picture on a board before which some Christians of that village
burned oil in the little lamps. In the old Greek church at Râm Allâh, no
longer in ecclesiastical use, are seen the lamps used by worshipers who
reverence the old site superstitiously. In another part of the village
there is a room, evidently once a mosk, which is now a shrine known as
el-Khalîl. It is at the left of the west end of the long market street.
It is fronted by a little courtyard in which are a mulberry-tree and the
capitals of a couple of columns. The door of the room is at the
northwest corner; at the northeast corner is an outside stairway by
which one may go up to the roof. Over the door, serving as a lintel, is
a piece of worked stone, evidently a small column. It is ten inches wide
and forty-three inches long, including a round stone ball cut on the
right-hand end, which measures six and a half inches. A raised panel
design, twenty-nine inches long and three inches wide, is carved on the
side. Into the right side of the doorway is built a voussoir of an arch.
There are two pieces of fluted stone built into the wall of the
building. In the northeast corner of the wall the corner-stones are of
good size, the largest being twenty-seven by fourteen by eleven inches.
The next stone under this largest is bossed. The upper part of the door
works in a stone socket. Inside, the room is well plastered, the ceiling
rather low, perhaps fifteen feet from the floor. A column is built into
the east wall near the southeast corner. It is nine feet and four inches
tall. There is a _ḳibleh_ or prayer-niche in the south wall of the room.
It is about thirty-nine inches deep and fifty-eight and a half inches
wide. The outer facing of the ḳibleh is two feet wide on each side. In
the west wall is a squarish recess like a closet. In the east wall are
three little boards thrust in endwise and projecting to hold lamps. A
large jar with a broken top contained some water. There were eighty-nine
lamps in the room, of the little virgin-lamp style, for holding oil. The
women of Râm Allâh are responsible for these, as it is their custom to
go to this room and light lamps and offer a prayer to Ibrahîm Khalîl
Allâh (_i. e._, Abraham, the friend of God[109]) for the recovery of a
sick child. Some say that Thursday, late in the afternoon, is the
favorite time for women to go there and pray to el-Khalîl (_i. e._, the
friend or confidant, abbreviated from the above title). The building and
yard are supposed to belong to Abraham. If a child too young or too
ill-bred to observe the proprieties should molest the mulberries on the
tree in the yard any passer-by would be apt to cry out to it to desist
lest el-Khalîl should destroy it. Anything placed within the mosk or
yard is considered as under the protection of el-Khalîl and perfectly
safe from theft. Sometimes a quantity of lime is left in temporary store
in this safe place. Perhaps the large jar that we saw with water in it
had been left there by some one who had been working in lime.

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[Illustration: POTTERY]

1. Jar for storing oil, olives, molasses or vinegar. 2. Style of water
jar made in Sinjil. 3. Style of jar made in Râm Allâh for holding water
or other liquids. 4 and 5. Smaller varieties of No. 3. 6 and 7. Jars for
carrying water on the head. The next jar to the right of No. 7 is the
kind commonly used for leben. 8, 9 and 10, and the three jars suspended
by cords in the middle of the picture are all drinking jars; the two
having neither spouts nor handles are for cooling water. 11, 12 and 15.
Clay dishes for butter, jelly or milk. 13. Cooking vessel. 14. Charcoal
braziers. 17. Salad dishes. (From Hartford Theological Seminary
Collection.)

All Râm Allâh pertains ecclesiastically to Hebron, which goes by the
name el-Khalîl in Arabic geography, and to the famous mosk of that
ancient city. In keeping with this the inhabitants of Râm Allâh, all
Christians, look upon el-Khalîl (Abraham) as their patron saint.[110]
Invocations are frequently directed to him in fear or distress. When it
thunders the old-fashioned peasantry say that Abraham and St. George are
racing their horses over the heavens and that the thunder is the noise
of the hoofs. The peasants’ invocation muttered on such occasions is,
“Yâ Khalîl Allâh Salâm Allâh,” which some interpret as a prayer that
Abraham’s horse may not slip. The other saint mentioned is Mâr Jurjus
el-Khuḍr (St. George the Ever-living), to whom many Palestine peasants
look for protection, and to whom considerable ecclesiastical property is
dedicated. Mâr Elyâs and many other saints are spoken of, but perhaps
the two above mentioned are as popular as any. Comparatively few Greek
Christian foundations bear the name of the Virgin Mary (es-Sitti Maryam
el-‛Adhrâ). But to return to our little mosk, el-Khalîl. Report has it
that the people of the village are much afraid that Moslems will lay
claim to it sometime, and they are debating whether it would not be well
to destroy the ḳibleh and with it all evidence of its once having been a
mosk. The Râm Allâh people are much averse to possible encouragement of
the introduction of Moslems or their customs into the village. The
curious question remains, How can this mosk in a Christian village be
accounted for? We might as well add that the Jews also, at Abraham’s
mosk in Hebron, pray to Abraham.

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At the right of the entrance to the yard of el-Khalîl in Râm Allâh is a
living-house that runs along the west side of the court and joins the
mosk at the corner. This used to be the common _muḍafya_ or guest-house
for the entire village. The poor and strangers were entertained here.
Families took turns supplying the food requisite for its maintenance. It
was given up some years ago and there is no common guest-house now. Each
of the different tribes has its own guest-room.

The reverence for sacred trees is another of the indigenous
superstitions not essentially connected with any of the more modern
faiths. Three hours out from Tiberias, toward Mount Tabor, a tree was
observed with rags tied on its branches at the trunk. Large chunks of
wood lay about under the tree. Some graves of Moslems were near at hand.
A fine large sacred tree stands near Ṣurdah, the little village (ancient
Zereda) between Râm Allâh and Jifnâ. Between Jifnâ and ‛Ayn Yebrûd,
shortly after passing Dûrah, the path goes by two fine oaks. The spot is
known by the name Umm Barakât, the mother of blessings. Rags were tied
to the branches of the older of the two trees. This tree was decaying,
while the other was young and flourishing.

Some curious pulpit-shaped rocks near the trees doubtless helped to give
the place its sacred character. We saw remains of fires near by. In a
crevice of a rock there was a broken black jar with fragments of
charcoal in it.

The locality of a murder has a sort of fascination for the peasantry.
Less than an hour out from Bayt ‛Ur eṭ-Ṭaḥta (the lower Beth Horon), on
the road to Ramleh, there is shown a fig-tree near which, fifty years
ago, a Râm Allâh man was killed by a Moslem. A pile of stones covers the
actual spot.[111] Near the path from ‛Ayn Yebrûd to eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, east of
the Nâblus road, is a stony, barren tract called the Wastîyeh. Into one
of the cisterns found here the body of a murdered man was once thrown;
consequently those who have to pass the place do so with trepidation.

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There is a notion current that the sins of a slain man come upon the
slayer. Sometimes, therefore, they say of one who persists in
wrong-doing that at last he will get some one to kill him and so escape
the consequences of his own sins.

Superstitions by the score, common to those of different faiths, might
be discovered among the people, such as the cutting of the hair and the
hanging of an egg and garlic, and perhaps also blue glass bracelets,
over the doorway of a new house. Some peasants will not eat food which
another man has desired lest harm might come of it. “For,” they say,
“the soul of the man who wished the food has entered into it.” If a man
takes food in his hands to eat, and the food falls, he will say that it
was not meant that he should eat it. Fear of evil spirits or, more
specifically, of the evil eye, is an ever-present dread. It seems to
arise from the notion that too much prosperity, health, pleasure or any
good thing, or the signs of such, may arouse malignant activity on the
part of some jealous spirit. An appearance of poverty, of forlorn
misery, even of uncleanness, especially in a child, is thought to lessen
the likelihood of unwelcome attention from the evilly-disposed spirit.
Blue beads and blue tattoo marks on the face are utilized to avert the
evil eye. The evil eye may be in the steady gaze or stare of a stranger,
or in his photographic camera, which the more ignorant dodge fearsomely.

It is common for women to pray for offspring, and there is great faith
in visits to certain shrines and localities for this object.[112] The
warm springs at Tiberias on Lake Galilee are looked upon as peculiarly
efficacious bathing places for barren women.

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It may be said of every site of Old Testament times, that is known or
supposed to be known, and of many later sites, including crusading
remains, that the superstitious reverence of the peasantry clings to
them. Add to these the shrines of modern origin, departed Moslem shaykhs
and holy men, dervishes and the insane, which are often revered as
devoutly by Christians as by Moslems, and one begins to recognize the
existence of powerful religious influences quite independent of the
teachings of Christianity or Islâm.

Even that temper of mind known as fatalism, and ascribed particularly to
the Moslems, is a common characteristic of all the peasantry. The belief
in a set and immutable time to die, for example, is as firmly held by
many Christian peasants as by Moslems. One also meets the conviction
that early death is the special mark of heaven’s disfavor, and that the
pious need not expect it. After the death of a young man who had
emigrated to America, and while gloom hung over the village because of
it, I was talking with an old man, a Greek Christian, whose sons
contemplated going to America. He said that as he, with all his family,
was devout, he had no fear that his sons would die in America. He
believed that no harm could befall those who did right and observed
prayers.[113]

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Among the Moslems of a country population in villages where no
pretentious buildings can be erected, and on the desert where no such
building would be of any avail, the one thing that holds the daily
attention of the faithful is the institution of prayer. Five times in
the twenty-four hours this ought to be performed, with preliminary
bathing, the formulated utterances and the prescribed prostrations. This
is the tie that binds. At the appointed time the horseman dismounts,
spreads his cloak for a rug and upon it performs his devotions.[114]
Soldiers go a little way from the barracks and in some open space offer
their prayers. Dignified effendis proceed to pray, whoever may be
about.[115] At large springs, as at el-Bîreh and Lubban, small stone
platforms are provided for those who are near at hand when the hour of
prayer comes upon them. The apparent oblivion which overtakes a devotee
at any of his exercises seems impenetrable. Riding out northward from
Jerusalem in a carriage with Moslem passengers, I had an opportunity to
note the sort of spell that came over one of them, a dervish, during his
devotions. He wore a pointed cap of quilted felt and a green _kefîyeh_.
He interrupted his conversation at sunset to begin a singsong of certain
offices, his memory being assisted by a note-book. He half closed his
eyes and, turning his head now this way and now that, in utter unconcern
about his appearance or surroundings, he wailed out his cry as the
carriage rolled along. Afterward he resumed the conversation. Once on
the same road a dervish, apparently a simple fellow, ran a considerable
distance behind our carriage. He was armed with a sort of javelin. The
peasants chaffed him as they would a child. The stated hours of prayer
for Moslems are just a little after the sun has set, two hours after
sunset, a little before dawn, just at the turn of noon and in the
afternoon about midway between noon and dark. These five regular times
for prayer are denominated respectively, _maghrib_, _‛asheyeh_, _ṣubḥ_,
_ḍuhr_ and _‛aṣr_. There may be extra or supererogatory prayer seasons,
but these are the stated ones. Wherever there are _mûadhdhins_
(muezzins), as in all the larger places, they ascend their towers and
call out the hour of prayer. At Jenîn our room was near the mosk and
mâdhaneh (minaret). The call of the mûadhdhin there between three and
four o’clock in the morning was the most varied and melodious intonation
that I heard in the land. It was peculiarly rich and sweet, and I felt
instinctively that the man’s soul was in an ecstasy of religious fervor.

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The complicated prayer of the Moslems, in a characteristic form, has
received classic description in the superb work of the great
Orientalist, Lane, in his “Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians.”
People interested in Arabic civilization do themselves an injustice if
they omit the careful reading of that book.

An occasion of keen interest to all the villages where Moslems dwell is
the annual Neby Mûsâ (prophet Moses) pilgrimage in April to the hill
reputed among Moslems to be the place of the burial of Moses.[116] It
lies due east from Jerusalem and southwest from Jericho. From Jebel
Nâblus and Jebel el-Khalîl (Hebron and environs) and all the country
about contingents arrive in Jerusalem. Banners are carried to denote the
delegations. Dervishes are in attendance to excite the religious
emotions by dancing,[117] howling and self-mutilation. Soldiers are
there to represent the authority of the government. All assembled at
Jerusalem, the procession starts from the Ḥarâm esh-Sherîf on Friday
and, proceeding out through the St. Stephen’s Gate (Bâb Sitti Maryam),
goes down into the Kidron Valley and off by the Bethany road. Spectators
throng the hillside east of the gate. Groups of women, huddled in
out-of-door ḥarîms, sit on the edge of the high embankments by the
roadside. Venders of toys and delicacies ply their trade. Some of the
dervishes have spikes, with filigree iron heads, thrust through their
cheeks.[118] Drummers and singers and the marching pilgrims pass on,
accompanied a part of the way by dignitaries in carriages. As the
banners pass between the high embankments on the sides of the road the
spectators sitting there are apt to take hold of the floating folds and
kiss them, or rub their faces with them, afterward passing them on to
friends.[119] The pilgrims spend a week at Neby Mûsâ, where they have a
sort of camp-meeting and religious revival. It is an opportunity for the
venders of supplies. On the following Friday the procession returns to
the city with drumming, shouting and shooting of firearms.

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During the month of Ramaḍân a strict fast is observed by Moslems in the
daytime. They are allowed to fortify themselves for it by indulging
during the nights. As the Moslem calendar, made on the basis of lunar
months, shifts about the seasons, Ramaḍân comes, through a course of
years, in all seasons, wet, dry and intermediate. It can readily be
understood that such hardships as there are in the observance of the
day-fast through Ramaḍân will fall to the lot of the poor, the largest
percentage of whom would be peasantry. In the cities a signal is
provided to warn the people of the approach of daylight and of the close
of the day. This allows them time to provide for suitable observance of
the day-fast and the night-time indulgence. In Jerusalem, for instance,
a cannon is discharged for the signals. In Hebron both a gun and a drum
are used, but at different times. The gun is fired at sunset. In the
morning about two o’clock a man goes about with a drum and sings out his
warning to the people to arise and prepare their meal before the coming
of the light shall make eating unlawful. The devotees are not supposed
to eat or drink anything after the time when the coming light allows
them to distinguish between a white thread and a black one. This time is
usually a little later than 4 A.M. Many of the peasants hear the signals
from afar, but to those unable to do so their best judgment must be the
warning.

One evening as we journeyed homeward from the city we saw a group of
Moslems squatting around in a circle on the ground eating their first
meal for that day. They had been overtaken by the proper time while on a
journey. We made a visit to Teḳû‛a and Herodium on the last day of
Ramaḍân. We were gone from 7 A.M. until late evening. Our Moslem guide
fasted all day. On the way back, after dark, as we passed through
Bethlehem, he took a small quantity of food. Later, as we were going up
the road from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, the guide broke out joyfully,
“Ramaḍân finished; not a day left,” and soon after we heard the
Jerusalem guns ushering in the feast of Bairam.

Doubtless the strongest visible cord of union among the native
Christians is the priesthood. Most priests feel themselves to be
soldiers of the faith as well as expounders of its doctrines. They are
exceedingly jealous of prerogatives. The hand-to-hand fights between
Greek and Latin priests at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the feuds
and wars between Maronites and Druzes in the Lebanon, the tireless
rivalry all through the country of those who represent the native
churches, witness to a sense of rights and also of a commission in a
militant order. Any newly discovered ancient site of especially
religious significance, such as the ruins of a church or a monastery, is
seized, if possible, with avidity. The Orthodox Greek Church is easily
the master of the situation in Christian Palestine. The wealth and
influence of this church are great and its presumptive rights are
unquestionable, since it is the church that was in possession of the
land before the Moslem conquest and the church with which the conquerors
have dealt. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church represents the
faith of the Crusaders, who held power for over a century in the
country, and to-day the interests of this church are upheld by French,
Italian and Austrian influence. Wealth has poured in and a secure place
has been won for this Western church in the cities. In the village
progress for it is difficult. The Roman Catholic organization is closer
than the Greek, and their representatives in Palestine are well
educated, as a rule.

For the Orthodox Greek Church the patriarchate at Jerusalem is the
ecclesiastical center in Palestine. The chief ecclesiastical positions
are filled by foreigners speaking Greek. In any village the church, if
large, is under the care of a foreign head priest, called _raîs_,
assisted by native priests called _khûrys_. These khûrys must know a
little, presumably, about reading and writing, in order to read the
services in Arabic; but, as a matter of fact, some of them would be put
to it if handed a bit of sight reading in their own tongue. In Râm
Allâh, when a vacancy occurs in the number of these native assistants,
each tribe nominates one candidate and the village elders choose one
from the number. The chosen one goes to the patriarch in Jerusalem for
his authority, regalia and induction into office. Each khûry assists in
the prayers for a week in turn. They receive a monthly stipend from the
patriarchate paid through the raîs. This may amount to between six and
ten dollars. The Râm Allâh people pay into the church a fee of one and a
half or two dollars for a marriage, forty cents for a funeral and about
twenty-two cents for a baptism. A khûry may have been a tradesman before
being chosen to office and have no special preparation for his work. He
may be a married man when chosen and in such a case would retain his
wife. The patriarchate in Jerusalem is possessed of great revenues from
rentals and business interests and is disposed to be generous to its
members and to make sure of their loyal adherence. Free quarters,
provisions and other assistance are granted when such concessions will
do good in cementing the allegiance of the communicants.

The native Greek Christian has no zeal for the conversion of a Moslem to
Christianity. Some abhor the thought of giving the Christian gospel to
the unbeliever, and some believe that the nature of the Moslem is
irredeemable. Most of the natives, however, believe in a division or
allotment[120] of religions to the peoples, that the gospel is for
Christians and the Ḳurân for Moslems and that this is a very proper
arrangement. The lack of interest on this subject is probably the result
of centuries of habit and sentiment. Certain it is that few, if any,
Moslem renegades would be allowed to live in Palestine. Two converted
Moslems have been baptized in recent years and shipped to Egypt for
safety. Moslems now and then convert Christians. In the mixed village of
‛Âbûd some Christians have turned Moslem.

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The Christian year in Palestine, among the Greek Church peasantry, is
according to the Julian style. Whenever a fast is the order of the Greek
Church calendar those who heed it refuse resolutely any animal food, or
food that is cooked in fat or that contains any amount whatever of
butter, milk or other animal substance. Once while out traveling, during
Greek Lent, we wished to share our lunch with a Christian native who
attended to the riding animals. Among other supplies were some cookies.
These were, of course, a new style of food, but sufficiently near to
what the natives call “_ka‛k_,” cake. Being a little uncertain as to how
such a thing might be made, the conscientious man had to inquire, and on
our confessing that there was some animal substance in the article, he
felt it necessary to decline it.

Easter goes by the name of the “Great Feast” among Oriental Christians,
and its approach and occurrence arouse the keenest ecclesiastical
activity during the year. Weddings, not being allowed during the Lenten
fast, come in rapid succession after Easter Day. On a Palm Sunday we saw
girls dancing on the threshing-floor of the village.[121] In the week
preceding Easter come the ceremonial of feet-washing[122] before the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and the descent of the Greek
fire at the Sepulcher, inside the same church. Good Friday evening is
such a time of general attendance at church for prayer that it offers
opportunities to those not of the faith to break into the village houses
and steal.

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The feasts constitute a convenient calendar, marking the seasons for the
peasantry. For instance, in the autumn three of the feasts are connected
in the minds of the peasantry with the coming of the rain. At the Feast
of the Cross, towards the end of September, the peasants say there is
rain on one hand and summer weather on the other. At the later Feast of
St. George (el-Khuḍr), observed especially at Ludd, it is expected that
the rain will come in an amount sufficient to enable the farmer to sow
and plow. At the Feast of Burbâra (Barbara), in December, they say the
rain will come in through every mouse-hole in the house, that is, in an
exceptionally heavy downpour. On the first and last of these feasts, The
Cross and St. Barbara, parents like to make for their children dishes of
boiled wheat with little candies stuck around the top.

The Roman Catholic priests are zealously cultivating the native
Christian population, and trying to increase in influence, though the
feeling against them on the part of the Greeks is one of bitter
hostility. They are forced to adopt a missionary policy and their growth
in the country villages is very slow. They have established excellent
monastery accommodations for the shelter of such of their pilgrims as
pass through the country.

The United Greek Church, which is so important in the north, is making a
small beginning in Palestine. It uses the Arabic language in the
service. It is that section of the old Greek Orthodox Church which was
won over to papal allegiance, and is being used as a sort of bridge
between the Greek Church and the Roman. Protestants find the Greek
Orthodox Christians much less hostile than the Roman Catholics. However,
a priest of the United Greeks (Roman Catholic) has been known to bring
boys to one of the Protestant boarding-schools for entrance for the sake
of the training there afforded.

The Greek monasteries in the lonely country districts are often penal
establishments, such as those in the Wâdy Kelt, on Mt. Quarantana (the
traditional site of the temptation of Jesus), and at Mâr Sâbâ.

Though they are so small a sect as scarcely to be counted in the
enumeration of present-day religious bodies in Palestine, yet the
Samaritans, because of their historical connection with the country and
its religious genius, have a significance for us and a description of
their great feast may be interesting.[123]

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About 5.30 o’clock in the afternoon of May 1, 1901, a small party of us
who had been riding all day through the hill-country of Ephraim, came in
sight of Jacob’s Well,[124] or rather in sight of the walled enclosure
about the premises, which the Greek Church has secured. For the first
time in some weeks we saw also a line of telegraph poles and wires, that
from Nâblus to the east of Jordan. We rounded the lower slopes of Mount
Gerizim and in a short time were going down the valley, having Gerizim
on our left and Ebal on our right. This valley, in which modern Nâblus,
ancient Shechem, lies, runs east and west. The city of over twenty
thousand inhabitants is about eighteen hundred feet above the sea-level,
picturesquely lodged between the two mountains. The valley is narrow, so
that a few minutes’ ride from the center of the city would lead one to
the slopes of either mountain, and an hour’s climb to the top of either.
The ascent of Gerizim is a simple matter; that of Ebal would be less
pleasant on account of the prickly-pear (cactus) which grows very
thickly on its sides. Approaching the city as we did from the east end
of the valley, one sees an attractive group of cheerfully tinted
buildings, some quite high for a Palestinian city, built rather towards
the Gerizim side of the valley. Several tall palm-trees stand among the
buildings. A little to the right, and quite prominent, is a Moslem
cemetery, its graves covered with stones set up to look like small
sarcophagi. The first building reached contains the barracks of the
soldiers who do the police duty of the country round. Presently we join
the road from Jacob’s Well, which forms a V with our own. Rooms were
secured at the Latin monastery. We had timed our visit so as to be
present at the Passover celebrations of the Samaritans. The once
powerful sect, constantly diminishing, is now confined to this one city.
Friends living in Nâblus report it as numbering but one hundred and
twenty souls. The next day, as we rode up the mountain to the Passover,
we passed the little graveyard that receives the different members as
they fail from the congregation. It looks like a bit of plowed ground,
with its simple broken surface. The Samaritans we found near the top of
the mountain. There they were at their great camp-meeting of the year,
living in tents near the place of sacrifice, which is just below and a
little west of the very summit of Gerizim. Moslem and Christian
spectators were sitting or walking about the encampment, and here and
there among these were Moslem soldiers, the inevitable accompaniments of
Eastern religious celebrations.

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[Illustration: ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM FOR THE NEBY MUSA PROCESSION]

[Illustration: A NEBY MUSA CONTINGENT ARRIVING WITHIN THE JAFFA GATE,
JERUSALEM]

As there was time before sunset, we went to the summit, a few minutes’
walk above the camp. It is a good situation for a citadel and
fortification, and we found the ruins of one strewn all over the cap of
the mountain. As one stands at the northeast end of the very summit,
near a Moslem wily (small memorial building to some saint), the view is
superb; mountains on every hand, among them Hermon, farthest yet
grandest of them all. Just below us, like a velvet carpet of regular
pattern, is the fertile plain of Makhna, running north and south. True
to Syrian religious custom, according to which every sect or religion
makes a convenient grouping of all its holy places, we have only to look
around to see the celebrated places of sacred writ. Here, the Samaritans
claim, is the true Shiloh, the true Bethel, and also Mount Moriah. Over
there to the southeast, across the Makhna, is the little village of
Rûjib, which they say is Ai, while the village of ‛Awarta is the
burial-place of the sons of Aaron. Not accuracy, but convenience and
monopoly, seem to guide Eastern religionists in identifying holy places.
Near this the northeast end of the mountain is a portion of the
foundation of the ancient Samaritan temple. A little to the south, on
the east side, is a large expanse of rock, sloping westward. Here, they
claim, was the true site of the tabernacle, the altar being the rock,
the slope of which allowed the blood of victims to flow into the pit at
the lower end. At the west end of the ruined castle are shown twelve
huge stones which, they say, are the ones that Joshua took from the bed
of the Jordan.[125] At the northwest side is an old pool.

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Returning now to the encampment, which was in excitement over the coming
ceremony, we found a sunken space about three feet deep and about twenty
by forty feet in area. It ran north and south and was enclosed by a
wall. A tent had been standing in the southerly end as we went by on the
way up the hill. This was now taken down and allowed to lie flat on the
ground, affording a good-sized space for the priests, who came into the
enclosure with some twenty other men with their prayer-rugs. These
Samaritans were fine-looking people. I think that they had the finest
faces I ever saw in such numbers in the East. They had well-formed
heads, and there was quite a variety of facial types, some round and
chubby, others long, some dark and others light. They all, old men as
well as little boys, had clear, delicate skins. The high priest was tall
and slight. His beard was gray and his countenance very pleasing. The
second priest was a larger man, heavy and well proportioned, with a
brown beard. In the middle of the enclosure was a little pit with fire
over which were three large kettles of boiling water. Near it were seven
lambs ready for the sacrifice, nosing around and chewing contentedly.
The enclosure soon filled up with the Samaritans. The high priest and
the men with him took their places on the canvas facing the east,
towards the rock of sacrifice just mentioned and began the ritual of the
Passover. The high priest wore a long green robe. The others were
dressed in white. The rest of the men and children stood about, inside
the enclosure, taking part in the service. When about half through with
the service the high priest turned and faced the two irregular rows of
worshipers behind him and began the prayers, among them one for the
Sultan. We noticed on the breast of the high priest a badge said to be
the gift of the Sultan. After the prayers all except the high priest
went to the other end of the enclosure while he began reading the
twelfth chapter of Exodus. The sun was about to set. The Passover moon,
like a silver globe, came over the top of Gerizim in front of us. Just
as the priest came to the word _kill_, at a certain place in the
chapter, the eager look on the faces of the Samaritans gathered about
the animals became very intense, and as the fatal word was pronounced
with unusual emphasis the knives of those in readiness were set to the
throats of the sacrificial victims and the high priest turned his face
again towards the east in supplicatory prayer. The blood was caught and
a little of it was daubed on the faces of some of the children. Then hot
water was used to help pull off the wool from the sheep, as they were to
be roasted in their skins over the large fiery pit, which all this time
had been in preparation just outside the enclosure to the southeast
corner. Men had been continually replenishing it with fuel until the
rocks were very hot. A rustic frame of crossed sticks was provided to
cover it when all was ready. Long wooden spits were brought and the
lambs, with heads on but the right fore limbs removed, were fixed for
roasting. The refuse parts were destroyed by fire. Unleavened bread, a
sort of thin, rolled pastry, was passed about in little bits with bitter
herb rolled inside. As it was late and the ritual over, the actual
consumption of the lambs, which comes along towards midnight, being said
to be a very ordinary affair, we started down the mountain for Nâblus.
The moon, now golden, flooded the beautiful valley with its light. Such
a night! We soon reached our rooms in the town and said “good night” all
around.

                              READING LIST

  CURTISS, SAMUEL IVES: “Primitive Semitic Religion Today.”
  JESSUP, H. H.: “Women of the Arabs.” N. Y., 1874.
  MASTERMAN, E. W. G.: “Studies in Galilee.”
  MITCHELL and HANAUER: “Tales Told in Palestine.”
  FINN, JAMES: “Stirring Times.” (C. Kegan Paul & Co., 1878.)
  HOGARTH, D. G.: “The Penetration of Arabia.”
  MUIR, SIR WILLIAM: “The Caliphate, Its Rise, Decline and Fall.”
  SMITH, W. ROBERTSON: “Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia.”
  GIBBONS, HERBERT ADAMS: “The Ottoman Turks.”



                               CHAPTER VI
                    THE BUSINESS LIFE OF THE VILLAGE


The Palestine peasant can do hard work. When half starved, anemic,
hounded and terror-stricken he naturally enough fails to be as brisk and
as inventive as he might otherwise be, but with half a chance he is
industrious and thrifty. There are the lazy and the active as in other
countries. As a general rule it might be said that the Palestinian is
accustomed to work hard, but not steadily; liking to rest occasionally,
not understanding, nor benefiting by, a system of sharp espionage or,
more properly, “nagging.” This latter frets him and destroys his
efficiency, and ought not to be practised on him. A good-natured
firmness that holds him to the letter of agreements in simple, plainly
understood terms is much better.

[Illustration: FARMING IMPLEMENTS]

1. Plow. 2. Threshing sledge, showing the under side. 3 and 4. Grain
forks. 5. Wooden shovel or fan. 6. Seed-tube. 7. Sieve. 8. Dung basket.
9. Goad and share cleaner, the iron-shod end being used as the latter.
11. Yokes. Pruning knives and sickles are also seen in the picture.
(From the Hartford Theological Seminary Collection.)

The country life of Western Palestine to-day is organized on the basis
of farming. The original estate of the Arab is to own flocks and tents,
with the auxiliary pastimes of raiding and hunting. This life is
represented to-day by the nomad tribes of the Syrian desert and of
Arabia. They still roam over Eastern Palestine and penetrate into
Western Palestine, but their range is being narrowed in these regions by
the pressure of the Turkish government, which is organizing the country
more closely in favor of its own authority. The transition stage between
herding and agriculture may be seen in the Jordan Valley and eastward,
where the nomads and the village peasants go into partnership together
to raise grain. Ordinarily a desert nomad scorns the farmer and
villager, but there are Bedawîn farmers who are a sort of industrial
bridge between the civilization of the villagers and the primitive
freedom of the dwellers in tents farther east and south.[126] The
breeding of horses and camels falls to the nomad, while the rearing of
sheep, goats and cattle is the vocation of the villager. It is hardly
necessary to say that a scattered farm life, with dwellings far apart,
as in Europe and America, is not known in Palestine, since the country
is not yet secure enough to encourage it.

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The farmers (_fellaḥîn_) are the foundation of the village population.
Their lands lie out around the village and may extend a considerable
distance from it.[127] It will be well to understand the system of
landholdings in Palestine. There are three kinds of landholdings to be
distinguished, _wakf_, _mulk_ and _mîreh_. _Wakf_ land is land that is
held in perpetual and inalienable right by some ecclesiastical
establishment, as, for instance, the properties of the Jerusalem Mosk,
“The Dome of the Rock,” or the landed properties of the Hebron Mosk,
which is a very wealthy foundation. Or _wakf_ land may belong to a
school or other institution, or to a family. _Wakf_ land is supposed
never to change its character. If it belongs to a family there is an
elder of the family or some representative who is the wakf
administrator.

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_Mulk_ land is absolutely free and transferable land. It is usually in a
city or a village, or it may be in a certain border around such a place
of, say, forty yards in width. This is house and garden property for the
actual needs of city or village life. It can be sold or otherwise
transferred at the pleasure of its owners. Such a piece of property pays
an extra tax where a house is built on it, as the occupancy of the land
by a building prevents that land from yielding taxable produce.

_Mîreh_ land is domanial or state land. The ultimate title is with the
state, to whom it reverts in the event of the failure of proper heirs.
There are nine degrees of heirs eligible as owners of such land,
children, grandchildren, brothers’ children and grandchildren and so on;
lastly the wife of the owner, if all the other degrees fail. If the land
is sold, then the degrees count from the new owner and go right through
the nine degrees from him. So it is very possible that mîreh land may be
in continuous ownership other than the state’s.

Village cultivable lands are mîreh lands. In cases where they are
village lands they are held as communal lands. In villages like Râm
Allâh and el-Bîreh the land that is held thus in common as cultivable
land is divided into three grades according to quality. Then each grade
is divided into _feddâns_. A _feddân_ is, in the first instance, a team
or yoke; in Râm Allâh, four yoked cattle. Feddân then comes to mean the
amount of land apportioned to the owner of such an equipment, which
amount is presumably as much as the feddân of cattle could plow in a
day. Finally the term feddân is used by the peasants to indicate the
acknowledged right of a village farmer to own and work his plow and team
and participate in the annual divisions of the arable land of the
farming community. The feddân is the unit, but one feddân may be shared
by several owners, each partner contributing his share to the outfit and
being recorded as entitled to privileges in the feddân. These legal
fellaḥîn, then, receive by lot as their assignment for the year some of
each quality of land. Hence the man, or family, or company interested in
one _feddân_ may have land here, there and in a third place. A deep
furrow, the width of a plow, marks the boundary between the different
strips. Or a succession of small heaps of stones may mark the line.[128]
The workers on such a strip or strips pay the government taxes or tithes
on the produce of their land.

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[Illustration: A SOWER]

[Illustration: CHILDREN GLEANING]

To obtain a place in the list of such fellaḥîn and share in the use of
the communal lands is a matter of some complexity and difficulty and,
perhaps, of serious discussion amounting to a quarrel. A stranger coming
to the village to live cannot ordinarily enter into the land privileges.
A newcomer may occasionally be worked into a privileged family by
marriage. The old families of the villages, having had these land rights
for years, hold them tenaciously. Newcomers are ordinarily compelled to
turn to some other business, to open a shop or go into some kind of
manufacture. By a difficult procedure, eased with money, communal land
may become the private property of one person and be made into a
vineyard or an orchard.

It is customary, under intelligent management, to let the village grain
lands rest every other year.[129] Dressing the land is not resorted to.
The limestone in the soil supplies to some extent this lack.
Distinctively farm-buildings, such as barns, etc., are scarcely to be
seen unless it be at some farm-school or foreign colony.

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Wheat and barley are the common grains. The peasant knows nothing of
oats. Of hay, as the Western farmer raises it, he is likewise ignorant.
Large quantities of _dhurah_ are raised. This is a kind of millet. The
early part of the winter is the time for sowing wheat, or, as the
natives say, “When the thirst of the land is quenched.”[130] Barley,
which matures quicker, is sown a little later than wheat. In broadcast
sowing of grain the farmer sows first and plows afterward.[131] He
starts early with his companions for the field, a little donkey carrying
the plow and the seed-bags. The plow animals are usually unencumbered
while going to and from the fields. Arrived at the field the donkey is
turned loose to browse,[132] the men throw aside their upper garments
and tuck the corners of their skirts into their belts. The sower[133]
goes ahead, tossing the grain as evenly as possible over the ground,
while the plowman follows and turns it under. There is generally a good
deal of shouting on the part of the plowman in directing or stimulating
his animals.

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-----

This talk to the domestic creatures is interesting. Here are some
samples: To start a mule the expression used is _dîh_; to stop it,
_hûs_. To start a donkey, _ḥe_, and to stop, _hîsh_. An ox is encouraged
to go by _imshi_ or _iṭla_, and commanded to stand by _huwwa_. So there
are appropriate words or sounds for the different creatures. To make a
camel kneel the driver says _ikh_; to make him rise, _ḥawwil_, and to
walk, _ḥay_. A horse is stopped by _hûs_ and started with a sucking
sound of the tip of the tongue back of the front upper teeth. Dogs are
called with _kity_ and sent away with _wisht_. Cats are called by _bis,
bis_, as one rubs thumb and finger, and scared away with a rough _biss_.
Hens are gathered with _tî‛ah_, chickens with _sîs_; both are driven off
with _kish_.

If the rains be fairly good the wheat springs up soon, varying as to
luxuriance with the richness and depth of the soil. Sometimes one will
see a donkey nibbling at the tender tops of new grain or animals walking
through it without rebuke from the owners. They seem to think that such
things will not materially hurt the crop if done during the early weeks
of newly springing growth, but that more rain and the later growth will
make up for the slight setback. But when the grain is fairly up more
care is exercised. The peasants are fairly respectful of the rights of
the owners of the grain that grows near the paths and roads.[134] One
seldom sees a passing native allowing animals to disturb the green
grain, though sometimes an insolent soldier will ride his horse right
into an unreaped field. For wheat, especially, the peasant has great
regard, considering it a sin to damage the growing wheat or to waste the
kernels and flour. His respect for this breadstuff is almost awe. A
donkey-boy in attendance on a party of tourists who were going to the
Valley at Mukhmâs (Michmash) was greatly perturbed because one of the
forward animals in the cavalcade began to nibble some green wheat by the
wayside. The boy shouted out _Ḥarâm Allâh, Ḥarâm Allâh_ (forbidden of
God) and stopped the creature as quickly as possible. Many peasants are
so poor that they have to substitute barley bread for wheat, but
ordinarily wheat is the food of the properly fed peasant and barley the
choicest food for horses, donkeys and mules. Chopped straw is also fed
to these animals.[135] For other animals, _kursenneh_, a grain
resembling lentils in appearance, is a common food. Tares[136] (_zawân_)
often make their appearance in the grain, especially if the seed is not
carefully separated before sowing. If the tare seeds are not taken out
of the wheat before it is ground, any considerable proportion of it in
the flour is apt to cause dizziness and nausea. The tares are of some
use, being sought as food for young chickens.

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It is especially favorable for the farmers if mists prevail at night
during the time just preceding the harvest. The moisture keeps the heads
of the grain from becoming brittle and so allowing the kernels to rattle
out too easily. Then, too, the work of reaping, hard at best, is much
pleasanter if the cooler weather is on for a few days. It is commonly
ordered that the farmers shall proceed to reap simultaneously, and it is
often forbidden to go out to the fields to reap until all are ready. By
this arrangement the assessment of the tax on the crop may be made with
more uniformity and thieving is rendered difficult. In all these
matters, requiring the regulating authority of recognized overseers, it
is the so-called _ukhtiyarîyeh_, or as we should say, selectmen, the
chiefs of the tribes, who decide questions from the day that the land
was parcelled out to the feddâns until the crop is gathered. The
beginning of the harvest is a time of merry singing and industrious
work.[137] Women as well as men go to the fields[138] and often the
babies are taken along in cradles. Some of the reapers sleep in the
field. The barley harvest always precedes the wheat harvest by a few
weeks.[139] In reaping, the stalks are grasped and cut low down with a
sickle.[140] A bunch is tied with a straw and thrown into a heap to make
a shock. The grain is carried to the threshing-floor by donkeys, mules
or camels.[141] The animals have much hard work during this season. The
threshing-floor is usually a smooth plot of ground near the edge of the
village, beaten hard. Very often a natural rock floor may be utilized.
At Baytîn (Bethel) the immense ancient pool, now dry, at the southwest
of the village, makes an excellent threshing-floor. On the floor the
grain is piled up in what look like huge walls, each family’s crop by
itself.[142] Watchers sleep on the floor at night to prevent theft[143]
and fire. When all is ready the families owning grain on the
threshing-floor throw down circular beds of the shocks and drive the
animals around upon it. In the middle highland country the hoofs of the
animals are depended on alone as threshing instruments.[144] But in the
north, and in some other sections, a sledge is drawn about by the
animals. In the bottom of the sledge teeth of iron or stone are
inserted, which tear the straw.[145] At Samaria we saw threshing being
done with the sledge and animals on the third of May. In Râm Allâh,
where they use animals only, and where the season is later, it may be
observed in June and possibly in July. Even down on the plain between
the Shephelah and Jaffa we saw the peasants at work on the thirtieth of
June, sometimes with a camel and a donkey hitched together. The animals
generally used are the plow cattle, but all animals available are liable
to be drafted into the service. Horses, donkeys, cattle and mules are to
be seen hitched together promiscuously.[146] The mouths of the animals
are often muzzled with sacking.[147] Their drivers follow them up with a
kind of basket on the end of a pole to catch the manure and prevent its
falling into the grain. When threshing begins the heap of stalks and
heads may be four feet high and fifteen or more feet across. Midday is
the best time for threshing, as the stalks are then brittle. When
thoroughly ground and beaten by the hoofs of the threshing animals the
heap may be but a foot deep. When the process of threshing is completed
the resulting mixture of chaff and grain is tossed into the air so that
the wind may carry off the chaff,[148] while the heavy grain falls
directly under the fan or wooden fork which the laborer is using. The
women then sift and clean the grain with different grades of sieves[149]
and the men put it into sacks. Another more thorough sifting and
cleaning is necessary before it is ground. The chopped straw, called
_tibn_, is used as a fodder for animals. Some of the worst of the refuse
is burned in the ovens. The fine dust-like chaff, called _mûṣ_, is also
swept up and used in a mixture with clay with which the roofs are
covered. A camel-load of wheat-tibn, two huge sacks, may cost from
fifteen piasters to twenty-three according to cleanness and the size of
the sacks. The lowest price that we ever paid was thirteen and one-half
piasters. This is the Jerusalem market piaster, which equals about three
and four-sevenths cents. The great wheat-field of the country continues
to be the Haurân, east of the Sea of Galilee. From that region caravans
of camels bring the sacked wheat into Western Palestine as far south as
Jerusalem. The local wheat supply is entirely inadequate for the needs
of the large villages, to say nothing of the cities, and must be
supplemented from the fields of Esdraelon, the Maritime Plain, the Ghôr
and the Haurân. When quarantine cuts off district from district, as in
cholera times, the suffering is considerable. The ordinary country
store-place for grain is a cemented cistern underground. Lentils,
kursenneh and chick-peas, _ḥummuṣ_, are subjected to threshing in a way
similar to that in which wheat and barley are treated.

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The grape season is the happiest of the year. It begins late in July and
reaches well on towards the rainy season, the first of November, or
possibly even to the first of December. It includes the time for ripe
figs, pomegranates, quinces and almonds. Comparatively few of the grapes
are turned into wine except on foreign initiative. The Jewish colonies
that have come into the country make considerable wine. A native spirit
called _‛araḳ_ is made from refuse grapes. A grape molasses, _dibs_, is
made. The fresh fruit is consumed in large quantities. Donkeys loaded
with box panniers of grapes go as far as Jaffa, thirty-five miles from
the grape regions. Hebron and Râm Allâh are famous for their grapes. Râm
Allâh is ten miles north of Jerusalem, and Hebron (el-Khalîl) nearly
twice as far south of the city. The Jerusalem market is kept abundantly
supplied with fresh grapes from these two places. Whole families go to
live in the vineyards during the season of ripening grapes.

A very important manufacture from grapes is the raisin. The business is
growing and the raisins are exported from the country through Jaffa. The
grapes, when picked from the vines, are washed, given a bath in a
mixture of lye-water and olive-oil, and then spread out on a cleanly
swept space of ground. The lye makes the skins tender and the oil tends
to keep off insects. The siroccos of September are of great assistance
in raisin making, though not at all good for the unpicked grapes, as
they are apt to turn them into raisins on the vines. The favorite raisin
of the country is that made from the little seedless variety of grapes
from es-Salṭ, east of the Jordan. These grapes go by the name _banât
eshshams_, that is, daughters of the sun. The next in favor are those of
Hebron, where the larger varieties of grapes, reddish and white, are
raised, and where the raisin making has been carried on for some time.
Third in quality, perhaps, come the raisins of the Râm Allâh district,
including Jifnâ, Bîr ez-Zayt, Silwâd, etc., where the industry has but
made a beginning. In this district the grapes are usually greenish white
or white, that is, somewhat similar to the Malaga variety. Native
business men of Râm Allâh go about the district paying from two cents to
three cents a pound for the raisins, subject to a discount of ten per
cent for waste. The German contractors provide wooden boxes for packing
the raisins. Women and girls are engaged to sort them, as they are
brought into Râm Allâh from the country around, at a daily wage of from
seven to twelve cents. Something less than a third of a cent a pound is
paid for camel transport to Jaffa, to which must be added the charges at
that port. On board ship the German contractors pay for the completed
consignment about three cents a pound, possibly a little more. The
native vine owners think that they are discovering that the early
picking of the grapes for raisin making prevents waste and saves the
strength of the vines.

After the season the vines should be pruned and the vineyards plowed and
dug over, once in early and once in late winter.[150]

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In vineyards and fig-orchards one will notice the stone huts called
_ḳaṣr_,[151] plural _ḳuṣûr_. Between seasons, when they are not in use,
they swarm with hungry fleas. Near each of them is a tiny sunken pit,
walled on three sides, which makes a little fireplace. A similar pocket
makes a hiding-place for dry figs which are left here under slight
pressure beneath a flat stone. The latter place is made to look like the
ground about by covering with small stones so as to mislead thieves.
Such a hiding-place is called a _mikhba_. Most of the fig crop is dried
for later use. The smaller varieties are most suitable for this purpose.
The fruit is picked into small baskets and spread out on the ground.
Sometimes the fruit is crushed by the hand to hasten the drying.

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The olive crop is ready late in the autumn. The trees are beaten[152]
with long poles by the men, while women and children gather up the
berries from the ground. Seldom is care exercised to select and sort the
best of the berries. They are piled in heaps inside the house, where
they often become heated through, thus producing an inferior quality of
oil. The berries are first put into a circular stone bed, where they are
crushed, seed and all, by a sort of millstone set on edge and run like a
wheel around a central pivot by a shaft. The crushed mass is then put
into gunny sacking or coarse baskets and carried to the press. The
oil-presses have always been very primitive, bungling affairs, but of
late iron screws are being introduced.

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When the grapes have all been picked from a vineyard the sheep and
goats[153] are turned in to eat the leaves from the vines. The flocks
are allowed to feed in the wheat and barley-fields, also, after the
harvest. Goats and sheep are very often seen together in flocks.[154]
Their keepers, who are their inseparable companions through the day,
take care to secure safe folds for them at night. A party of us were at
Teḳûa on the 30th of December, 1902. After examining the ruins we turned
our attention to the modern aspect of the place. The caves and recesses
about the ruins were used by shepherds, who were living there and caring
for large flocks. As the sheep and goats came home late in the
afternoon, the little lambs and kids, whose tender days forbade their
accompanying their mothers to pasture, were hungrily awaiting them.
There were about sixty of these young ones skipping about. When the
plaintive cries of the little ones were answered by the motherly calls
of the returning elders there was considerable excitement and motion on
both sides, until by some mysteriously hidden sense families were united
and all was quiet again as supper progressed. A few days later, on our
way in from Mâr Sâbâ, we saw the newborn of the flocks in the desert
places where animals were browsing. The shepherd usually carries the
newly-born in from the fields.[155] Very rarely is one missed. Once, in
the valley called Wâdy el-‛Ayn, between eṭ-Ṭayyibeh and Dayr Dîwân, I
traced a little kid by its bleat, and seeing no flock about carried it
home in my saddle-bags, hoping to rear it; but, missing the peculiar
quality of the new milk of its mother, it did not survive many hours.
Sometimes, in order to curb the inordinate appetite of a young kid for
the milk, the shepherd puts a little bit in its mouth, made by two
pencil-like sticks and secures the ends by cords crisscrossed over the
sprouting horns.

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[Illustration: THRESHING]

[Illustration: A THRESHING SCENE IN THE OLD POOL AT BETHEL]

The sheep of Palestine have immense tails, which often weigh fifteen
pounds and more. In the Lebanon this weight is doubled on the sheep that
are specially fattened for the winter supply of meat. These sheep,
called _ma‛lûf_, are fed on the remains of the mulberry leaves not
devoured by the silkworms. As the worms eat only the tender parts of the
leaves, the sheep are given what is left. When the animal is so
surfeited as to refuse more food, an attendant makes it her business to
roll it up in leaves and force it into the unwilling creature’s mouth.
The sheep attains an almost incredible size under this treatment.

The goats have very long flapping ears, which often get torn in the
briers as they hold their heads down to feed. On some breeds the ears
nearly, if not quite, touch the ground as the goats walk along. Goats
and sheep are allowed to overrun all the wild places for pasture, so
that any shoots of trees or shrubs that start are nibbled off. They
browse upon some of the driest and least promising ground. They flourish
best in the time of the rains. As the country’s surface is burned over
with the hot summer and autumn, the flocks are driven to the few moist
valleys.[156] Most frequently a boy is in charge of a smaller
flock.[157] He whiles away some of his time on a reed flute.[158] If his
animals get too far from him, or go in the wrong direction, he heads
them off with a call and by dropping a stone from his sling,[159] or
hand, just beyond them in the forbidden direction. The shepherd’s usual
weapon is a heavy oaken club, called locally _dibbûsy_ from its
resemblance in shape to a pin, the long handle being ended in a round,
heavy knob. This club is under three feet in length and weighs from one
to two pounds. It is a powerful weapon. Often, too, a shepherd will
carry one of those long, rickety, brassbound muskets that look very
dangerous,—for the manipulator. A leathern pouch, flint and steel, a
knife and a sling of woolen yarn complete the outfit, except the actual
clothing. The main garment is a long cotton shirt that comes to the
knees, belted with a leathern belt. For sleeping and for rainy weather
the homespun woolen overcoat, called an _‛abâyeh_, is worn. Shoes and
head-dress finish off the man, who is the loneliest of Syrians, though
he sings and plays and talks to his animals. Sometimes, as you see him
in silhouette against the sky-line, he seems to be transfixed on the
club or musket on which he leans, so long does he stand unchanged. When
he moves it is with singularly slow movements.

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[Illustration:

  1.—HAND SPINNING    2.—REELING
  3.—STRAIGHTENING THREADS FOR THE LOOM
]

Besides meat and milk, which both goats and sheep provide, the sheep
produce wool. Considerable raw wool is bought by the weavers of the
village. A man in Râm Allâh, whose house abuts unpleasantly on more
valuable property, refuses to sell it to a well-to-do neighbor[160]
because it is on the outskirts where he is in a position to get first
chance at those who come into the village from that direction to sell
fleeces. The wool is washed, combed, dyed and spun into thread by the
villagers. We had occasion to purchase a lot of wool in fleeces for
mattresses. We bought five hundred and ten pounds at eleven cents per
pound, but after a thorough cleansing we found that the lot weighed four
hundred and twenty-six. Having purchased ticking for mattresses, quilts
and pillows, and cotton for filling the quilts, our next step was to
engage the services of the mattress-maker from Jerusalem. His name was
Baruch, a Spanish or Sephardim Jew, tall, wiry and dark, with stooping
shoulders and remarkably successful in getting hold of one’s hand and
planting on it a reverential kiss before his object was discovered. The
kiss felt and sounded like the bursting of a smoke-ball. He came for a
few days’ stay, bringing his tools and a boy helper with him. The most
novel of the implements was one shaped like a huge bow which is used in
fluffing up cotton or wool. It might be compared to an attenuated
single-stringed harp. It is held in the hand by the wooden part, the
string resting in the cotton. By striking the cord with a wooden mallet,
a vibration is set going that twangs musically and throws the cotton
into a light, billowy mass. He is very skilful with his needles. He
would sew and quilt nearly twenty hours out of the twenty-four in his
haste to complete the task and get back to Jerusalem. We were put to it
to feed him properly, as certain things were unlawful for him to receive
and eat from our hands. But eggs, olives, bread and tomatoes were
acceptable. In case of a doubt concerning an article of food we simply
asked him whether it was lawful or not. He was very gentle and pleasing.
We had to be careful to see that he did not go to sleep among his
inflammable materials and leave the lamps burning according to Oriental
practise.

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When otherwise unemployed a villager will spin off a ball of yarn by
hand. Two sticks, like thick pencils, are laid one across the other at
right angles. This makes the bobbin. The upright one is notched at the
top to catch the thread when needful. A hank of clean wool is disposed
over the left forearm. A little of this is started through the fingers
of the two hands. It is then caught on the notched end of the bobbin,
which is given a whirl and allowed to hang down, while the hands play
out the twisting yarn to govern the thickness. When the bobbin carrying
the spinning yarn has reached the ground, the amount of yarn already
made is wound up on it and caught at the notch. The whirling, feeding
out and spinning go on until a ball of yarn is produced.

The looms are primitive and heavy. They are constructed in the dark room
which serves as the weaver’s house. A pit is made for him to sit in, and
only the light from the door falls on his work. Cotton and wool fabrics
of heavy texture are produced. The heavy woolen ‛abâyeh is the chief
garment made by the peasant weavers. The light-weight cloth for the
other garments is purchased from the city shops. Coarse rugs are made on
a still more primitive loom, which is often seen out-of-doors,
especially among the Bedawîn.

The land of Palestine bears abundant evidence of a higher state of
cultivation once upon a time than that of the present day. Remains of
villas, terrace walls and numerous cemented cisterns to catch rain-water
are observable. The soil lacks only water to produce abundantly. For the
most part the list of things grown has narrowed to those requiring the
least care and capital. Where springs are plentiful, and where the
people have a little ambition, a variety of vegetables and fruits are
cultivated. But because of the uncertainty of the amount and incidence
of the tax there is little incentive. In the neighborhood of Jaffa some
of the finest oranges in the world are raised. The Sidon oranges come
next in desirability. The Jordan Valley is one of the richest garden
spots imaginable. The vine is perfectly at home in the lime country of
the highlands, as are the fig and the olive.[161] This same region is
excellently well adapted to silk culture, and might exceed the Lebanon
in this respect, though scarcely a dream of such a possibility is
indulged in Palestine. The gardens of Urṭâs, near Solomon’s Pool, of
‛Ayn Kârim, of Silwân (Siloam) and of Jenîn might with encouragement be
matched hundreds of times. Around Haifa, and on the way to ‛Athlît, the
Germans have shown what improvements are possible. There is also the
fine agricultural farm at Jaffa, called Mikweh Israel, or Natur’s, under
French management. By pools and cisterns, conduits and irrigation, the
peasant farmers could make garden spots where now to the eye of the
stranger all looks hopeless. The peculiar powdery effect of lime rock,
and the countless tons of small stones constantly breaking up and
showing on the surface of the ground, look, but are not necessarily,
forbidding.

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The market of a village is usually its chief street, in which the buyers
and sellers meet each other, where the laden animals from the country
about come with goods, and where people bent on business are most apt to
meet those who can serve them. Shops and storerooms line the market
street. The Arab name for this interesting locality is _sûḳ_. Thither
the gardener takes such of his produce as he cannot himself use, and if
he be not a merchant himself, puts it into the care of one who is, on
commission. Venders of fabrics, pottery, breadstuffs and meats assemble
here and display their goods. The shopkeepers naturally seek localities
in the market street and, when space fails there, in the adjacent
streets. If there are a number of tribes in the village, each tribe, in
its own section, may have stores for the supply of the simple stock of
foodstuffs required. A shop or store is a little room from six to a
dozen feet square, with a door, seldom a window, a counter and the
necessary bins and shelves. What we should call a grocery store will
keep in stock sugar, flour, oil, matches and possibly grain. Some simple
candies, some spice, starch, dried fruit, coffee and rice may complete
the list. The scales will be on the counter. No wrapping-paper need be
used, as the purchaser brings his own dish if he be purchasing a liquid,
and if not, carries his purchases in the skirt of his dress or in a
handkerchief. The sugar comes in a huge loaf covered with blue paper.
Salt is heavily taxed by the government. Tobacco is a government
monopoly and to be sold only by a specially authorized merchant, who
wears a brown coat as a sort of uniform designating him and his rights.
Such a shop as has been described may add cotton cloth and thread to its
stock. Shoe shops confine themselves to the making and displaying of
peasant shoes. The weaver of cloth and ‛abâyehs ordinarily has no
separate place of sale, but sells from the loom-room or else makes a
journey to the villages about and displays the goods in their market
streets. The shops have their regular customers, to whom they sell on
credit, with some favor and less haggling than is customary with other
purchasers. The butcher hangs his freshly-slaughtered sheep on hooks in
the side wall of the market street and sells at a uniform price per ruṭl
or _oḳḳîyeh_ any part of the creature. Perhaps he has not killed until
there is a likelihood of demands enough for meat to warrant the venture.
If local restrictions do not hinder, the butcher may kill and dress his
animals right in the market street.

The traders are keen and allow no points of advantage to escape their
notice. In fact, the conversation of the common people of the country is
in terms of the currency and concerns the ins and outs of bargaining,
loss and gain. Sometimes, in the heat of trading, the parties appear to
rise into a frenzy of altercation. But nothing is ever settled at this
high tension. After a few seconds of comparative calm the haggling and
controversy begin again and an attempt is made to find a common basis of
argument in which neither party may yield too much. The difference
between wholesale and retail business is not very clearly recognized in
the villages. Few peasant producers know what their own expense has been
in the production of their commodities. Striking a bargain is a tedious
process to the stranger, but an exercise of great interest to the native
and full of possibilities. He declares that the business arrangement
shall be as you like, utterly. He is a servant of God, he seeks not
money but your happiness, your good-will. Is not that the sweetest
possession, the love and favor of brothers? If it is a house that you
are trying to rent at a decent price, he says, “What is such a thing as
that between us? Take it for nothing.”[162] An utter stranger once came
to my door with a young gazel which he had found in the wilderness. He
declared that it was a present to me. I offered him forty cents for it
and he demanded sixty. I gave him the forty, however, promising the
other twenty if the little creature lived.

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Measures and weights vary as between villages. In the cities the French
system prevails, but in the country the peasantry persist in the use of
the variable weights and measures. Many things are weighed which with us
are measured, as, for example, olive-oil and vegetables. The _oḳḳîyeh_
approximates a half pound. Six of these oḳḳîyehs equal an _oḳḳa_, and
two oḳḳas equal a _ruṭl_. One hundred ruṭls equal a _ḳonṭâr_. The linear
measure of one _dhrâ‛_ or _drâ‛_ equals about twenty-seven inches. The
grain measure, called _ṣâ‛_, is the least regular of all. The Râm Allâh
ṣâ‛, for example, is a little larger than the Jerusalem ṣâ‛ and more
than double that of Ṭayyibeh.

In theory the coinage of the country consists of the Turkish gold pound
of one hundred piasters, the silver _mejîdeh_ of twenty piasters, the
half and quarter silver mejîdeh, the silver double piaster, piaster and
half piaster. There are also coins of nickel and copper alloy, one
called _bishlik_, which equals two and a half piasters, a double
bishlik, called _wazary_ in Jerusalem and _zahrâweh_ at Haifa, a half
bishlik, a half piaster and a quarter piaster. There are some copper
coins of small value. This list and these values are according to the
government standard, which is called _ṣâgh_, and they hold for all
payments of taxes, for the post and telegraph and for legal business.
For ordinary trade in the country, though these same coins are used,
different values are assigned to them. Thus Hebron, Jerusalem and other
places have their own systems of reckoning. In Jerusalem the tariff
_sherk_, or market, as it is called, makes the mejîdeh twenty-three
piasters instead of twenty as in government reckoning. The result is a
diminution of the piaster and an increase in the number of them in each
of the coins mentioned above. The Turkish gold pound is not seen in the
country, but the gold twenty-franc pieces of the Latin Monetary Union
are frequently seen and go by the name _lîreh fransaweh_ or _nubalyôn_
(Napoleon). This coin equals one hundred and nine piasters according to
the Jerusalem market rate.

Change is seldom made for the large coins except in the better city
shops, but must be purchased of the money-changers who sit behind their
little tables at different points on the main streets. A very common
rate for change is the charge of a piaster and a half for changing the
Napoleon into small money. In the villages the storekeepers sell change.

The peasants refuse to accept damaged coin or any coins that arouse
their suspicions as to genuineness or weight. A few coins are less
acceptable in some sections than in others. The big copper coin called
the _ḳobbuḳ_, worth five _paras_ in Jerusalem, is not used in Beirut,
and conversely the _neḥâsy_ of Beirut and vicinity is not used at
Jerusalem. When the new style _metlik_ had been issued by the government
and had been in use in Constantinople for some time, it was slowly
gaining favor in Beirut and was being refused in Palestine except in a
few places, where it was taken at a discount of one-fifth from its legal
value.

A primitive method of keeping a record was seen at the village of
eṭ-Ṭayyibeh. A small bow was made from a twig and on the cord was strung
a lot of paper slips. Every slip contained the names of five Ṭayyibeh
men. The whole village was thus divided up into groups of five. Whenever
soldiers coming from Jerusalem were quartered on the villagers one of
these groups was responsible for feeding the soldiers. Each group took
its turn. Another bow, string and bunch of written slips represented the
order of turns of the citizens for feeding the soldiers’ horses.

Money lending is common among the country people and often the rates are
very high. Seldom is the rate less than ten per cent, and more often it
is twenty. A clever man possessed of a small capital multiplies it
rapidly by judicious loans, though it must be confessed that the
gambling element enters pretty largely into the business. Some
possessors of ready money invest it in the form of advances to owners of
future crops, taking their pay in the crop when harvested. This is often
done when soldiers, representing the government, descend on a village
and demand the taxes. The peasants in seeking the ready money with which
to pay are compelled to dispose of barley and other produce cheap.

Often of an evening one will hear the crier publishing something of
general concern to the villagers. In Râm Allâh this officer, called
_nâṭûr_, and chosen by the shaykhs, receives a yearly allowance of
seventy mejîdehs. The tribal elders decide upon some matter for general
observance and the crier makes it known. For instance, when an
especially dry season was on, the village crier was heard proclaiming
that no woman should draw more than one jar of water from the springs at
a time. If any woman were caught offending the extra jar would be broken
and a fine of a bishlik (eleven cents) imposed. At another time it was
forbidden the people to harvest the olives until a certain date. Lost
articles are advertised by the criers, and those lounging about in the
evening are kept in touch with business news, as the voice penetrates
all quarters of the village.

The go-between, or _wasîṭ_, is a familiar figure in Syrian business
matters. A merchant from Nazareth explained to me the popularity of this
intermediary thus: “If there are two men, each wanting something of the
other and neither wishing to express his whole mind before the other has
done so, they can avoid the difficulty by employing a third person to
whom each unbosoms freely, and this third person, possessing the secrets
of both, knows how to approach either one with the business of the
other.”[163]

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The village shaykhs are agents in many business matters. The shaykh is
chief of his family or tribe in all matters needing a representative.
The position often goes from father to son, if the ability which secured
the position for the father be a characteristic of the son. Or it may go
to some other near of kin to the former shaykh. The shaykhs are
sometimes chosen by acclamation or by general consent and are recorded
by the general government. The shaykh is in charge of the guest-room of
his tribe. Here it is that out-of-town business men are taken,
especially if they have come to buy commodities of the village. When the
soldiers are sent by the government to a village with a levy they are
entertained at the guest-house. The shaykhs of the different tribes in
the village deal with the soldiers. The amount of money asked of the
village is apportioned between the shaykhs representing the tribes. Each
shaykh distributes his apportionment to the members of his own tribe. If
any man prove obstinate in meeting his obligations he is turned over by
the shaykh to the soldiers, who may beat him or carry him off to prison.
If the government seeks an offender in the village it does so through
the shaykh of the offender’s tribe.

[Illustration: VARIOUS ARTICLES MADE OF SKIN: BOTTLES, BAGS, POUCHES AND
BUCKETS]

The background is formed by a large straw floor mat, such as used in the
guest rooms. (From the Hartford Theological Seminary Collection.)

Where there are a number of shaykhs, in dealings with the government,
the village is represented by one or more of the number who go by the
name _mukhtâr_. So in Râm Allâh there are three of these mukhtârs, one
for the Greeks, one for the Roman Catholics and one for the Protestants
of the village. The last two are a concession to the interests of those
who might not be fairly represented by the first mukhtâr.

The stone and building trades are highly respected industries among the
peasants. In a typical peasant house there is scarcely any woodwork to
be done except to set up a heavy door. The windows, if there are any,
are small light-holes merely. Quarrying, stone-dressing and construction
are carried on in every large village. The highlands have yielded
inexhaustible supplies of building material from time immemorial.
Limestone may be found and burned anywhere.[164] The kilns are usually
built in valleys or on their sides, where it is possible to dig a
good-sized pit before building up the circular stone walls, and where
the draft will be good.

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A _ḳonṭâr_ of lime is one hundred twenty ruṭls (seven hundred fifty
pounds) instead of the usual one hundred ruṭls, and costs about a dollar
delivered. The master workers in lime and stone and cement receive from
seventy-five cents to a dollar and ten cents per day in the villages.
Their helpers receive from twenty-five cents upwards, according to the
grade of work.

As the common name for stone is _ḥajar_, the place where stone is found,
the quarry, is called _maḥjar_, the prefix _m_ conveying the sense of
locality. Rough, undressed stone blocks are called _debsh_. Those
roughly squared, but undressed, are called _khâmy_. Dressed
building-stones are called _ḥajar_. Flat flagstones are called _balâṭ_.
Stone cut for arches goes by the name _maḳâdam_ (singular, _maḳdum_).

The limestone of the country is found in several grades of hardness and
desirability for different kinds of building. The very best stone for
house building is a hard white limestone which holds well with lime
cement and is known as _mizzy ḥulu_. _Mizzy aḥmar_ is very similar, but
of a brownish-red color. The softer limestone is called _kûkûly_. The
stronger kind is yellowish, _kûkûly aṣfar_; the other kind, a white
stone, _kûkûly abyaḍ_. _Malakeh_ is a pretty, brilliant, white stone
used decoratively in finishing over doors and windows. The very hard
flint _ṣuwwân_ would ordinarily be unmanageable for building purposes.
_Nâry_ is a soft, easily crumbled stone that cements together in a
compact mass with lime and is used in filling in the core of house walls
and in arches supporting the house floors (_muṣṭaby_) above the cellars.
_Hethyân_ is similar to _nâry_, but even softer and reddish. _Huwârah_
is really decomposed stone, very soft, used as a top dressing in
building roads, where it settles into a natural cement, mingling with
broken rock and soil. Soil is called _trâb_ and a derivative from it,
_trâby_, is used colloquially to designate clay and wet earth as
materials in building. Lime is known as _shîd_ and mortar as _ṭîn_.
Cement goes by an imported name _shementu_, or _ḥomrah_, literally the
_red_ dust of pounded pottery. The hard cement, called _kaḥly_, used in
pointing the house walls, is made of lime, _ḥomrah_, that is, pounded
pottery, and _nehâteh_, the dust that falls from the work of the
stone-dressers’ tools. Plaster is called _ḳaṣâreh_ or _iḳṣâreh_, and
whitewash, _trâsheh_. Tile and brick go by the name _ḳermîd_. The heavy
iron hammer with which rough stone is squared into workable shape is
called the _shaḳûf_. The _râs_ is a heavy sort of iron hammer with
pointed ends of steel used as a pick. The hammer used to drive the
chisels and occasionally to do slight dressing by pounding the edges of
a stone is called _muṭraḳeh_ and is quite unique in shape. Its two faces
are set obliquely on the central part of the head and a short handle
supplied. By this adjustment of the faces a downward stroke is more
easily effected. It is of steel and about three pounds in weight. The
_shâḥûṭeh_ is a heavy double steel hammer toothed at both ends. One edge
may have more, and the other edge less, than twenty teeth. Two grades of
face dressing may be given to a block of stone with this one tool. The
_maṭabbeh_ is a very heavy hammer made of a rectangular bar of steel
with ends about two inches or less square. These ends or faces are
supplied with numerous points, making anywhere from eighty-one to one
hundred and forty needlelike teeth, according to the grade of work
required. The _shôkeh_ is a pointed round steel chisel and comes in
various sizes. The _izmîl_ is a flat, bladelike steel chisel of
differing sizes used in dressing the sides of stone where, in building,
a close joint is desired. Stone is gotten out of the quarries with
wedges, heavy hammers and the râs. The shâkûf is then brought into play.
Mizzy stone may be dressed with the shôkeh (chisel), then with the
shâḥûṭeh and lastly with the maṭabbeh. Kûkûly may be pounded with the
râs and then dressed with the shôkeh and shâḥûṭeh, or, when quite soft,
the shôkeh’s work may be done by the preliminary dressing with the râs.
The trade of stone dressing is known as _daḳâḳeh_ and the workmen as
_daḳḳîḳ_, both terms being connected with the verbal root _daḳḳ_. The
builder or mason is known as the _bannâ_. The more pretentious title
_muhandis_ or _muhandis bannâ_ is given to those competent to undertake
and judge of immense works. Such are often foreigners, resident in
cities, who are called out on jobs demanding expert opinion and advice.
The muhandis is highly respected as a master of the whole art of
construction.

Foot travel is the rule among the peasants. Those whose business takes
them away from the home village walk the entire day with about the same
endurance that they work in the fields at home.[165] The few who own
donkeys or mules walk behind their loaded animals, carrying produce
between the villages. Hence it comes about that donkey paths make up by
far the great majority of the paths and that the transport of bulky and
heavy articles is difficult in the interior. The government roads
increase slowly, but are very great conveniences when constructed. The
road at present under construction from Jerusalem to Nâblus (Shechem) is
being made in sections by contract. The contractor hires the natives to
bring the materials, broken rock, lime dust and pulverized stone, and an
excellent carriage road results. The natives along the way then begin an
irregular carriage service which creates a business. Seats for citizens
range about twenty cents apiece for a ten-mile journey, though the price
depends somewhat on the number of passengers clamoring for, or
indifferent to, accommodations, and the apparent ability of the
applicant. As in many other kinds of bargaining, the engaging of a
carriage seat is made more sure by receiving a pledge from the owner
that he will keep his word with you. This _‛arrabôn_ is frequently
demanded by the party to a business arrangement who has the greater
interest in its fulfilment and would suffer the greater inconvenience in
the event of default. In the case in question perhaps half a fare will
be demanded from the carriage driver as a pledge that he will perform
the required service, and if he wants business badly enough he will
entrust the sum to the keeping of his prospective passenger. Now and
then, when a family is carrying a quantity of bedding and other
household goods, copper vessels, baskets, boxes, their chickens and
children, the carriage may seem a little crowded, but usually for men
travelers the accommodations are fairly comfortable. Frequently some of
the peasant passengers will become nauseated by the motion of the
carriage and hang their white faces out the carriage door. The carriage
will continue to be a luxury for some time in the country districts.
Sick people and children are greatly convenienced by a carriage service,
since in rainy weather it saves unnecessary exposure. Now and then a
lone pedestrian will succumb to the raw chill of the rainy days and die
on the road. During heavy rains the Russian pilgrims, if caught out in
the dismal weather, suffer and lose some of their number by death.

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[Illustration: A MARKET SCENE: PEASANTRY NEAR DAVID’S TOWER, JERUSALEM]

Camel trains are used in transporting grain. Camels can be used only in
dry weather, as their large, spongy feet slip on the muddy ways and they
are apt to fall spread-eagle fashion and be hurt fatally.

In the village of Râm Allâh the customary width of a road is but three
meters.

A case has been known where a man, who owned land on both sides of the
road, desired to consolidate his properties, and accomplished it by
building in the road and deflecting traffic to such an extent that it
left him on one side of its course.

The trades that need a large patronage for support are usually carried
on in the cities, though the craftsmen go on tours through the villages,
doing such work in their line as has accumulated since their last visit.
So carpenters, glaziers, tinsmiths, cleaners and whiteners of the copper
cooking vessels (_ṭungerer_), sellers of ready-made garments, etc.,
itinerate among the villages. The gipsies are the country blacksmiths.
In the cities native blacksmiths are found. In shoeing a horse the
custom is to place the foot to be shod on a small block and have an
attendant hold up the other foot of the same side to prevent kicking.

Ready money is scarce enough to be a very strong influence in favor of
any occupation that can offer it. Many men and women from the villages
about Jerusalem go into the city to sell their produce or their labor.
Sitting about the streets near David’s Tower may be seen the Silwân
women with vegetables, milk and eggs. Some men who own donkeys or mules
act as messengers between their villages and the city, carrying produce
into the markets and returning with purchases for the village. Some Râm
Allâh men go into the city as mechanics, but more go for domestic
service in the houses and convents. When women servants are needed they
are usually secured from Bethlehem, which is only five miles from the
city.

The peasants use the word _antîky_ (plural, _antîkât_) for any antique
object, such as a bit of carving, an inscription, an old coin or a piece
of glass or pottery. Indeed, some friends of ours met an extension of
the use of the term in Egypt. A girl, very eager to sell them some
oranges, after following the carriage a long way and being continually
refused, hit on what she thought would be a successful method. Thrusting
the fresh fruit close to the Americans she cried, “Antîky, antîky.”
Seldom can the peasants really comprehend the strange delight that
foreigners take in ancient objects, unless perchance the material be
precious metal or stone, but they have learned that antiquities command
a price. So with a money stimulus the mischief is augmented. Certain of
the country people go hunting for old objects, rifling ancient tombs and
scattering the contents far and wide in order to gratify the hideous
taste of curio purchasers. Fearing lest they may be traced in their
philistinism the peasants give wrong information as to the places from
which the articles came so that their “finds” lose much of their value
as historic data. Could the place and conditions of their age-long
burial be known they might give archeological information more precious
than the intrinsic value of the objects themselves. Sometimes a “find”
is more or less injured because it is supposed to be valueless.

The provisions of the Turkish law regarding antiquities are very strict
and operate to make scientific research difficult when not impossible.
But the administration of these laws is not skilful enough to prevent an
immense amount of sly pilfering from old tombs and suspected localities.
Ancient tombs are completely covered from observation by soil. After
heavy rains these sealed tombs are often betrayed by a slight sinking of
the earth about them, and thus possibly a whole series of tombs will be
discovered and their contents disposed of in the distant city.[166]
These opened tombs may be seen all through the country, staring from the
hillsides and among the terraces like ghastly eye-sockets. In the house
which we hired for a boys’ school the builders had placed in one room as
a floor stone an _antîky_ of which they were proud. It was an ornamented
and inscribed slab which they claimed to have found at Dayr Dîwân.[167]
The inscription in Greek read

                   ✠ΥΠΕΡ ΑΝΑΠΑΥΣΕΩΣ ΣΗΛΑΜΩΝΟΣ ΠΡΕΣΒΣ✠

For the repose of Sêlamôn (Solomon) Presbyter.

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                              CHAPTER VII
                     THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE VILLAGE


Kinship, religious association, party traditions and proximity, these
four influences are important in the order named in helping to form
society. Among the people whom we are considering the fact of kinship is
the first determining cause of social relations. In fact it is so
important that the farther we get away from a city the more does it tend
to become the sole basis of friendly association. In the villages
kinship overshadows all other considerations. In the desert there is
practically no other bond in which is the possibility of society. The
law of hospitality is really an invention of necessity, the guest
becoming by a fiction a temporary kinsman.[168]

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As men come to live more closely together they are compelled to heed
other considerations than blood relationship, and so in the village,
while kinship dominates everything, yet there must be some regard to
other claims. One might live in a village a long time without realizing
the fact, but a little inquiry would elicit it, that any happy social
group of people is almost certain to be a group of kindred. The village
will have as many distinct sections, or, as we should say, wards, as
there are tribes. One does not discover much that is comparable to
society existing between members of different divisions of the village.

Religious association counts for something, however, in making society
for the villager, though this is less the case than in the cities. The
celebration of feasts, pilgrimages and ecstasies gives the Moslem not
only society but a deal of entertainment. The Christian population finds
an important social center in the church, and in the festivals and
celebrations of the church much of its pleasantest entertainment.

Party traditions, such as those which have divided the villages of
Palestine into Yemen and Ḳays, have besides their divisive effect a
social significance in an interest which is engendered between the
villagers the country over belonging to the same party. As the old
enmities die out this broader social spirit may persist and even offer a
basis for wider interests.

Proximity might seem at first thought to offer only added occasion for
hostility between those whose family or religious differences keep them
apart, and so, no doubt, it often does have this effect. But it was
noticeable that, when a squabble arose between Christians living in
el-Bîreh and others in Râm Allâh, the Bîreh Moslems threw themselves
into the question in favor of the Bîreh Christians, and the united Bîreh
populace came over in a rage to take vengeance on the Râm Allâh people.
It was not that Bîreh Moslems welcomed an opportunity to fight
Christians even to the extent of assisting other Christians, but it was
a pure case of neighborliness with the nearer neighbor. Ordinarily Râm
Allâh and el-Bîreh are neighborly enough, both being of the Ḳays
faction.

The diversions of the Syrian peasant are extremely simple. Doubtless
conversation is the chief social delight. Pictures, books and formal
entertainment are out of the question. It takes most of the time to earn
the sustenance of the family. The idea of spending money for pure
amusement is scarcely to be dreamed of by a sane person. Young men often
take pleasure in the possession of a silk head scarf or a black, thin
overgarment, articles of dress which are not strictly necessary, and yet
sufficiently useful luxuries. The children play merrily if they are
healthy. The old men sit about and talk in the shops and market.
Visiting in each other’s houses is almost unknown unless the persons be
near of kin. The men see each other in the market. The women see each
other at the springs and at the ovens. News goes about with
extraordinary rapidity from lip to lip. The entertainment of visitors
and guests is a matter of honor. Conversation is lively and the little
points of etiquette much regarded. Among the well-to-do the visitor is
served with preserves, fruit, lemonade and, lastly, coffee. Before the
serving of the coffee the visitors are hardly at liberty to withdraw. If
an early departure be imperative the coffee will be hurried and served
early. It is said that among the Bedawîn a full cup of coffee is a sign
of enmity. So the cups are not quite filled to the brim. The coffee-cup
(finjân) is a tiny affair, usually without handle or saucer. Sugar is
not commonly added, milk never. When sugar is used it is ordinarily
cooked with the coffee.

It is customary to make calls of courtesy upon the occasion of any gala
day or feast day of special significance. For instance, the leading men
in a village may call on the government representative, say the _mudîr_,
on the occasion of the Sultan’s birthday. Or Moslems may call upon the
church officials in honor of the great church days. The natives honor
foreigners by calls if they learn that some day of great significance to
the foreigner’s home country is at hand. It is customary to call upon a
neighbor who has returned from a journey immediately and felicitate him
and hear of his experiences. Upon entering a house for a call, if it be
among their own neighbors, little formality is indulged. The burden of
that is on the host, who should greet the comers with “_Fût_” (enter),
or “_Foḍḍel_” (welcome). Among the more pretentious visitors the
preliminaries of calls are smoothed through the medium of servants. The
passing over the threshold may be made the occasion of the expression of
much hospitality and courtesy. The seat of honor is the one farthest
from the door, but modesty dictates that one should sit down in the
humblest place, that nearest the door, until expostulation and entreaty
prevail on one to take the place of honor. The first questions are
concerning the health of the host and his family. In a Moslem’s house it
is not customary to ask concerning the man’s wife. The conversation may
be made sprightly by the keenness of the interest shown in these objects
of inquiry, or it may be disagreeably dull on account of the perfunctory
manner in which they are mentioned. A matter of business, if there be
such, is kept back until other subjects of conversation fail. The
introduction and carrying on of a conversation may be a very graceful
and interesting thing, but if either party be boorish,[169] and the
purpose be to demand some advantage, as when official business brings
together those of different religious beliefs, the meeting can be a very
strained and uncomfortable affair. Such an occasion would be the meeting
of a proud city Moslem with a Christian peasant, or even with a Moslem
peasant. But between village peasants themselves, though of different
faiths, there is more real courtesy than elsewhere. Not many of the
people like trouble and hard feeling. Most of them like the atmosphere
of good-will and at least the externals of good fellowship and generous
treatment.

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Invitations to a hospitable meal or feast are often sent out shortly
before the actual hour, if not just at the very time.[170] It is
commonly the case that a courteous host seeks to dissuade the guest from
bringing the call or visit to a close.[171] The departing guest usually
says something like “_A khâṭrak_,” “By your leave,” to which the host
answers, “_Ma‛ Salâmeh_,” “[Go] with peace.”[172] The first speaker
responds to this with “_‛Ala selmâk_,” or “_Selimt_.”

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[173]Greetings in the market-place and on the road are formal but
graceful. The common greeting of “_Salâm ‛alaykum_,”[174] “Peace be on
you,” is replied to by “‛Alaykum es-salâm,” “May the peace be on you.”
In strictness this is the salutation of Moslems, though it is commonly
used indiscriminately. Now and then one may hear of a bigoted Moslem who
would not return this salutation to a Christian, but would mumble out
“Peace be on the faithful ones,” in which class he would include, of
course, none but his coreligionists.[175] More characteristic are the
rustic salutations, “Marḥabâ,” “Welcome”; “Mîyet marḥabâ,” “A hundred
welcomes”; “Kayf ḥâlak,” “How are you?”; “Ḥumdillâh,” “Praise God”;
“Allâh yofathak,” “May God preserve you”; “Ḥumdillâh salâmeh,” “Praise
God, you are well,” or, “I see you well”; “Salâmtak,” “Your peace.” The
peasant’s early good morning salutation is “Ṣubâḥkum b’l-khayr,” to
which the response is, “Yâ ṣubâḥ el-khayr.” When the day is well on the
pleasant greeting is, “Nahârak sa‛îd,” “May your day be happy,” to which
the gracious reply is, “Nahârak umbârak,” “May your day be blessed.” The
evening salutation is, “Mesâîkum b’l-khayr,” answered by, “Yâ mesâ
el-khayr.” At night it is, “Layltak sa‛îdeh.”

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An evasive answer to one asking a question as to another’s destination
in traveling is to reply, “A(la) bâb Allâh,” “To the gate of God.”

In addressing foreigners the peasants use the term _khawâjah_ for a man
and _sitt_ for a woman. In speaking to a superior of their own race they
employ the term _sayyid_, _lord_, or _sir_, or _effendy_. Among
themselves they use the word _shaykh_ for an elderly, a learned or a
holy man. To their equals in age and station the peasant’s titles of
address are numerous. “Yâ shaykh” to such is used in expostulation or
derision. “‛Ammy,” “My uncle”; “Ḥabîby,” “My dear”; “Mu‛allim,” “Master”
or “Teacher,” or the first name of the one addressed are used in
conversation. If the talkers are uncertain of each other’s name they may
say, “Hayû, shu ismak?” “Eh, there, what’s your name?” though this is
rather contemptuous. In rough conversation the speakers may grace each
other with such address as “Yâ bârid,” literally, “Thou cold one,”
meaning foolish one; “Shu ente,” “Who are you anyway?”; “Majnûn, ente?”,
“Are you mad?”; “Ana ḥamâr?”, “Am I a donkey?” _i. e._, “Do you take me
for a donkey?” or, sarcastically, “Shâṭrak,” “You are clever.” To boys,
“Yâ ṣuby,” or “Yâ weled,” and to girls or any unmarried woman, “Yâ
bint,” are the simple forms of address. “‛Amty,” “My aunt,” is often
used to middle-aged or elderly matrons. A father will often call his
child by the relation which he himself sustains to the child, “Yâ aba,”
literally, “O father!” A maternal aunt has been heard to call her niece
or her nephew by the relationship which she holds to either, viz., “Yâ
khâlty,” meaning literally, “My maternal aunt.”

A very graceful salute is executed with the right hand touching lightly
first one’s breast, then the lips and then the forehead. The one saluted
answers by the same set of gestures. In Damascus I once saw a group of
citizens who had gathered in a tiny room for conversation executing
simultaneously a similar salute, except that they first swept the right
hand downward towards the ground in lieu of the touch on the breast.
This variation is more elegant or more humble than the former way,
according to circumstances.[176] I once saw a villager presenting a
paper to be read to one of the official class. The peasant made a
sweeping motion toward the ground with the hand holding the document.

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In meeting, the native seizes the hand of his superior and endeavors to
bring the back of the hand to his lips and forehead. The other, however,
generally succeeds in withdrawing his hand before more than a touch of
hands has been accomplished. On meeting, especially after a separation,
the custom has obtained among women friends of kissing each other first
on the right cheek and then on the left. Men salute each other in the
same way in some localities. Strangers enter into amiable conversation
with each other without the necessity of introductions.

The guest-house of the tribe makes a place of rendezvous for men, where
congenial companions may be met in a social way. Song and story are much
enjoyed by the men. Those who have a knack for story-telling, or who can
sing to their own accompaniment on the _rabâb_, a kind of fiddle, or on
the _‛ûd_, a kind of lute, are assured an appreciative audience. The
social and kindly amenities may be seen here at the guest-house after a
funeral. The nearest of kin to the deceased among the men is constrained
by his men friends to accompany them to the guest-house where, by
preparing food and supplying a stream of conversation, they try to
divert his mind from his grief. They may seek to entertain him thus for
several days. I accompanied one such group of mourners and sympathizers
to the guest-house where we sat cross-legged upon the floor. A man and
his wife who lived in the same house and kept the guest-room in order
prepared coffee. Green coffee berries were roasted in a long-handled
iron ladle over the coals in a clay brazier. The roasted berries were
put into a wooden mortar and pounded with a long wooden pestle. When
they were quite fine the odor was very pleasant. The coffee was then put
into a tin pot having a long handle and allowed to cook over the brazier
until it swelled up in the pot several times, when it was served in
handleless cups, of which there were but two in the company. They handed
me the first cup, but I passed it on, refusing to drink before the old
men had partaken. The cup that I used was washed after my predecessor
had drunk from it, but I noticed that for the others the cups were
refilled without washing. It was most delicious coffee. Some of the men
had previously refreshed themselves with cigarettes. The talk had been
general and lively and an air of comfort and good-will had filled the
place. I admired those good-hearted men and their simple and sensible
way, as with the fumes of coffee and the interest of their talk they
beguiled their friend and themselves for several hours. The female
friends of a woman in grief assemble at the house where she lives with
the object of comforting her. So with all the great events of life,
birth, marriage, death, a feast, a return from a journey, the friends,
who are usually related, distantly at any rate, gather together for the
pleasure of conversation and discussion, to drink coffee and, as they
say in the native idiom, to “drink tobacco,” for they always describe
smoking as drinking.

[Illustration: WOMEN AT THE SPRING]

[Illustration: FOUNTAIN AT NAZARETH]

Often in a conversation where there seems to be a likelihood of ill
feeling, as, for instance, in business matters, the one who is leading
the conversation will pronounce the opening salutations and addresses
all over again. So in the middle of a conversation that does not appear
to be “getting anywhere,” he may break in suddenly with “Good morning,
sir; how are you?” This repeated several times during a long talk has
the effect of a fresh start with the erasure of what has passed.
Sometimes a man who is being pressed, as he thinks, unduly, will break
out into vituperation, pass his hand over his brow in sign of weariness
and the unreason of his opponents, even weep a little with vexation.
Meanwhile all the other talkers about him observe him soberly and
silence may rest on them for some minutes before the subject is resumed.
All these things make little difference with the results of the business
in hand, however. He who has the advantage holds it unmoved, though he
may be as diplomatic as possible in forcing the conclusion. Any
exhibition of passion or impatience usually betrays the weaker side in
the discussion. Such conversations may be continued at odd times through
days.

When there are visitors at the guest-house who are to be fed, the people
take one of the huge dishes known as the _minsaf_, fill it with food,
generally rice and mutton, and several help to carry it to the
guest-chamber, supporting it in a large piece of sacking, which they
hold by the four corners.

One of the gala times to which the neighbors look forward is what might
be called a roofing-bee. When a house which is in the course of building
has been finished except the roof, the master mason in charge becomes
practically the head of an open-air festival, for besides his usual
helpers the whole neighborhood turns out to assist. The women bring
stone and mortar, the men stand in line to pass it, and amid shouting,
singing and the firing of guns the work goes on merrily to completion,
when the mason is supposed to receive as a present a new robe and the
merrymakers are feasted on rice.

Among the rich, women as well as men smoke the _nârjîleh_, which is
supplied with _tumbâk_, a Persian variety of tobacco.

A great deal of entertainment must be afforded the natives who come in
contact with foreigners, as these latter attempt, and mangle, the
language. But with imperturbable and polite deference the native
listeners betray no sense of our blunders, even declaring our gift in
acquiring the tongue remarkable. The eager learner is fortunate indeed
if the natives do not answer back in the same broken Arabic which he is
perpetrating. Such an excess of accommodation hinders advance in the
difficult idiom. A missionary friend told me of the amusing experiences
of herself and another worker in their early attempts to force their
ability at talking in Arabic. They were almost totally ignorant of the
language, but they went to a garden where there was a group of women and
boldly essayed to tell the story of the rich man and Lazarus. One of
them knowing a word for _man_, _zelameh_, said it, and was followed by
the other, who said the word for _poor_, _fakîr_, and pointed upwards.
The first then said _zelameh_ again, when the second, who also knew the
word for _rich_, _ghany_, said that and pointed downwards. That was the
extent of their exposition. Some one, hearing of it, asked our friend if
she thought any impression was made upon her hearers. She laughingly
replied that she didn’t know, but that some one had stolen her
pocket-handkerchief during the performance.

There is play for all ages. The feasts, the weddings and even the
funerals are practically occasions of play for the adults. The young men
often play a game similar to our _duck-on-the-rock_. The old men sitting
in the streets about the doorways are often seen playing a game called
_sîjeh_ or _lîwan_. In the dust or on the flat surface of a stone slab
forty-nine or twenty-five squares are marked off, as on a checker-board.
The markers or men are, perhaps, small stones. The one suggesting the
game says, “I’ll take the lîwan” (hall), which is the central square of
all, and places one of the markers in a space next to the lîwan. Then
each player in turn places a marker in a vacant square anywhere on the
diagram, the central lîwan excepted, until all but that one are filled.
The first player then, he who claimed the lîwan, moves his nearest
marker into it. The player next in turn jumps the marker which the first
player moved. The third player moves into the lîwan and is jumped by the
following player. Jumping must always be towards the lîwan and is
allowable whenever there is a marker in the lîwan, one or more empty
spaces between the jumper and the lîwan and an empty space beyond the
lîwan into which to jump. The game continues until there is but one
marker left on the board, and that in the lîwan.

The more vigorous game called _dôsh_ is played with pitching stones. The
two players try for the first turn by seeing which one can come nearest,
with a throw of his stone, to some mark. Keeping the positions in which
they land in this trial-toss, the first player (the one nearest the
mark) throws his stone at the stone of the other, trying to drive it as
many feet as possible. He continues until he fails to drive his
opponent’s stone, measuring with his feet the ground over which he has
driven it and adding up the score. The other then tries to drive his
opponent’s stone in the same fashion. The one first driving his
opponent’s stone a total distance of forty feet is the winner and is
entitled to be given a ride on the back of the defeated player.

The village men greatly enjoy motion songs, with dancing, swaying,
clapping of hands, etc. Many of these exercises are combined in the
_mil‛ab_[177] at wedding celebrations. When clapping of hands is the
prominent motion, the song may go by the designation _ṣaḥjeh_.[178] When
a sort of dance, which consists chiefly in stamping the foot forward,
characterizes the motion, the accompanying song is designated as
_dabkeh_.[179] In this latter the dancer or dancers, for there may be
one or several in line, hold handkerchiefs fluttering in the hands and
stamp forward first with one foot and then with the other in groups of
three stamps or steps with each foot, changing gracefully from one foot
to the other.

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There are strolling gipsies who go about entertaining by dancing and
thrumming on instruments. Sometimes a man with a baboon or a bear comes
to a village.

The native enjoys hunting. Gazels, partridges and wild pigeons are the
chief game, but he does not despise smaller birds.[180] He seldom has
anything like modern arms, and therefore unless hunting is his business
often misses the object of his aim. Still he enjoys the noise of his
gun.

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Quarrels are of too painful frequency among villagers. They are always
costly affairs, for the officials mulct both sides, unless the trouble
has been hushed up before soldiers are sent to investigate. There has
been considerable improvement lately in the general order and security
of the country. Even within ten or fifteen years, it is said, the roads
have become more safe, outrages much less common and villagers more
peaceable. Formerly the peasants went heavily armed and altercations
were likely to lead to bloodshed. As I am rewriting these notes there
come letters from friends in Palestine bringing news of a quarrel of
serious proportions in one of the large villages. A score or more of the
men have been put into the nearest city prison and great expense and
continued ill-will are inevitable. A marriage had been arranged to unite
young people of two different tribes. This unusual event was not allowed
to proceed without very great jealousies and some disagreement as to
minor terms among the relatives. The trouble culminated on the day of
the wedding; and for some hours a battle raged. From housetops, windows,
doors and in the alleys of the quarter of the village where the tribes
lived stones were hurled and wounds inflicted.

To take revenge is known as _akhadh ith-thâr_, or _astad ith-thâr_. The
blood-revenge is called _ith-thâr id-dam_. A family or tribe feels that
it has been humiliated when any of its members have been assailed by
outsiders. If blood has been drawn or a fatality has ensued the disgrace
must be wiped out. The accomplishment of this is expressed as _nafy
il-‛âr_.[181]

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                              CHAPTER VIII
                        THE MIND OF THE VILLAGE


The state of learning in Syria and the Levant seems to have been
steadily on the decline for some centuries. At the beginning of the
nineteenth century it must have been at a very low ebb. Once flourishing
literary centers were dead to scholarly impulses. Famous institutions
and foundations for learning had vanished. The French campaign in the
Levant, the assiduity of German and French scholars, but even more
effectively of late the presence of the Western missionaries, have all
been stimulative to a renewed literary activity in the Arabic language.
One of the most noteworthy names in this nineteenth century revival is
that of the poet Yâzijy (Shaykh Nâṣîf ibn ‛Abdallâh al-Yâzijy) of the
Lebanon, who is much esteemed as a sort of modern Hariri. His “Majma‛ al
Baḥrain” (“Where the Two Seas Meet”) is a great favorite. He wrote on
literature, logic and grammar. His works are used as text-books in the
Syrian schools and his poems are available to readers. The presses of
Beirut and Cairo have put forth a large number of works within the last
century by both old and new authors. The services of the American Press
in Beirut have been of very great value and influence in the near East.
Excellent work is done also by the Jesuit and other presses in the same
city. The press is not so restricted in Egypt as in Syria; hence the
activity in journalism in the former country as compared with the
latter. The periodical press of Egypt is quite varied. Though some of
the journals there published are under the ban of the censor in the
Turkish domains, yet subscribers in Palestine receive them by the French
post. Beirut is the intellectual hub of Asiatic Turkey as it is also a
chief center of trade. American and English educational enterprises have
done much for Turkish subjects. Among the Syrians their influence has
been very conspicuous. In Palestine proper the educational missionary
work is largely in the hands of the English people and their church
societies. Wherever missionary effort has been put forth it has
stimulated local effort and lifted the educational standard. The old
system of village boys’ schools under the care of the _khaṭîb_ is about
as weak as it can be and not actually vanish. The Greek Church schools
in the Christian villages are in about the same condition. In such
places only a few leading men will ordinarily be found able to read and
write. But where missionary schools have entered the native schools have
multiplied and improved. Robinson mentions a straggling school for boys
in Râm Allâh, in 1838, where five or six boys were considered educated
when they could read the Arabic Psalter. To-day things are considerably
different, for some hundreds of the Râm Allâh children are in school,
being educated in all branches of elementary education and some of the
studies of secondary grade. The most notable difference, however,
between then and now is that there are almost as many girls as boys in
the schools of the village mentioned. Stimulated by the provision of the
American Friends for the education of girls, the native Greek Church
also has opened a school for the village girls.

We are reminded here of a story of the American scholar and missionary,
Dr. Van Dyck, who, while on his way to a village in the Lebanon, was
accosted by a Moslem, who asked after his errand. Dr. Van Dyck replied,
“I am going to the village of A—— to introduce three schools.” “Three
schools,” said the surprised questioner; “why, that is a good many for
so small a village.” “Well,” said Dr. Van Dyck, “I am to open a school,
but if I do that the Greeks will open one and the Roman Catholics
another, so that I consider that I shall really be responsible for three
schools.” At Schneller’s school for orphan children in Jerusalem are
some hundreds of boys. They are divided into _families_ of from twenty
to thirty, with a monitor or group-father over each. The forenoons are
taken up with schoolroom exercises and most of the afternoons are
devoted to learning trades. Shoemaking, carpentry, pottery, printing,
wood-carving and dairying are taught. Blind boys are taught to seat
chairs and weave straw mats. The chief hindrances in the promotion of
school enterprises in Palestine are all reducible to legal disabilities,
which are the occasion and encouragement for many other petty
annoyances. It is at times very difficult to secure valid titles to
purchased property and more difficult to accomplish safely the erection
of suitable buildings.

Of foreign tongues there are many to be heard in the country. Some
friends in Jerusalem were one day discussing the numerous tongues and
dialects used in a conversational way in and about the city. They began
to count them up and reached something over fifty. Not all of these are
heard by the country people, but many of them are heard occasionally as
pilgrims and other travelers pass. Until comparatively recently the
leading foreign tongue was French, but lately its influence has been
lessened in favor of English and German.

The language of the people is Arabic. It is a virile tongue and destined
to increase in use rather than diminish, though it may never again have
the ascendency enjoyed in the days of the caliphates. One is tempted to
say that the Syrian finds his nationality in his faith and his politics
in his church only. But it would also be true to say that, to many,
their clearest bond of national feeling is in their boasted language and
in the masters of their old literature. The Arabic classics hold an
equal sway over Christian and Moslem natives. If there is any possible
place or condition in which the bitterness of the rival faiths can be
assuaged it is in the discussion of Arabic lore. The language and its
masterpieces are the source of much intellectual and esthetic delight to
the people. In these they must find all the gratification that in
Western societies is realized in the pursuit of the liberal sciences and
arts.

[Illustration: A HOUSE-ROOFING BEE (ET TAYYIBEH)]

The country and desert folk of Palestine and Arabia are justifiable in
much of their pride in their really beautiful language. Some of the
gutturals may seem unduly harsh, and when fully pronounced the word
endings may at times seem monotonous; but rightly rolled and molded
there is nothing more beautiful and clear than a well-spoken chain of
Arabic sentences. One must prefer the country to the city speech. There
are twenty-eight distinct letters in the Arabic alphabet. The first two
letters _alif_ and _bay_ correspond to the _aleph_ and _beth_ of the
Hebrew, also to the _alpha_ and _beta_ of the Greek, from which comes
our word “alphabet.” The two letters _lam_ and _aleph_ written together
are sometimes reckoned an extra letter. Many of the other letters are
variants of each other phonetically, such as different kinds of t’s,
h’s, d’s, s’s and k’s. Dialectical variations account in part for these
numerous sounds and for others which were not given a distinguishing
sign after the alphabet stiffened into its classical form. For instance,
there is a character pronounced to-day by some _ḍha_, by others _za_.
Another is pronounced _koff_, but by others _aff_, and by the Bedawîn,
_goff_. In Egypt the sound for the fifth letter of the alphabet is hard
_g_, while in Syria it is _j_. The fourth letter _th_ tends to become a
plain _t_, as in _katîr_ for _kathîr_, or in _talât_ for _thalâth_.

There is a historical instance of such dialectical variance among
Palestine country people (Judges 12: 6) where _s_ and _sh_ in sibboleth
and shibboleth are the sounds in question. Both of these are represented
in Arabic, the language of modern Palestine, in the letters _sîn_ and
_shîn_. This instance helps to suggest how close are the tongues of
ancient and modern Palestine, Hebrew and Arabic. Aramaic was the
historical bridge between the two.[182]

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Many of the place names to-day in use are probably not Arabic at all,
though sounding very much like it, but old Aramaic or Hebrew names
adapted to Arabic-speaking mouths. One of the adaptations thus made to
render the ancient tongue palatable to the modern pronunciation is the
change of final _l_ to _n_. So Israel becomes Israin. Similarly, Gabriel
is frequently heard in Arabic as Jibran. Instead of Bethel the modern
Palestinian says Baytîn, there being in Arabic no softening of the
letters b, g, d, etc., after a vowel as in Hebrew. The Arabic language
early lent itself to the grammarians who, with great skill, wrought out
its inherent symmetry and logical possibilities. To look at the language
as they have developed it and systematized it is quite a novel
experience for one who has known only the European family of tongues.
Stress is laid upon the substantial quality of almost every word except
the mere particles, exclamations, etc. But the tendency is grammatically
to refer the words to triliteral verbs. In the arrangement of verbs in
paradigms the third person singular of the past or, rather, completed
action or state of the verb, is made prominent. Inflection is managed by
preformatives and afformatives denoting the person, number or gender;
also by infixes and significant vowels to assist in determining voices
and modes of action. The noun is similarly modified to denote gender and
number. Verbs and nouns both take pronominal suffixes. There is a
tendency to pleonasm in the use of pronouns and prepositions in
connection with such suffixes. The dual is in constant daily use in the
language.

What to us would seem like very picturesquely figurative tendencies in
common speech are the relationships introduced by the use of such words
as _ab_, father; _umm_, mother; _dhû_, master or possessor; _ibn_,
son;[183] and _bint_, daughter. This is carried to such an extent as
really to include nicknaming.

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Arabic has a large vocabulary and permits considerable further
expansion. In remoter regions the borrowed words are few, but among
those who hear other tongues they are numerous. In this respect the
tongue has had an experience not different from others. Still it retains
considerable independence, as languages go, and covers a wide empire.
Even where Arabic is not actually spoken, its influence has been
considerable. It has loaned large numbers of words and its script has
covered many other languages, as, for example, Turkish, Persian,
Hindustani, Malay, the African dialects, etc. The influence of the Ḳurân
and Islâm has been the real force in this expansion of idiom and script.
Prominence in the written language is given to the consonants. Owing to
its easily cursive form and the customary omission of vowels it can be
written with great rapidity. For these very reasons it easily
degenerates into a scrawl scarcely legible, but perhaps no worse than
English or any language carelessly written. A piece of writing is called
_basîṭ_ when the vowels are left out, and _mûshakil_ when they are
written.

The vowel signs are three, _a_, _i_, _u_, but according as these are
preceded by a heavy or light consonant, or followed by such or by one of
the semivowels, they admit of considerable modification. The vowel
sounds in Arabic, therefore, are numerous. As the consonants are
prominent in writing, so are the vowels very significant in speaking.
Especially in speaking long distances in the wild country, across
ravines from hillsides, etc., a peculiar and effective stress is placed
on the vowels.

There are dialectical variations between the common spoken language of
the peasantry and that of the city; also between both of these and what
is termed church or high language, which is really a near approach to
the classical Arabic; finally between the language of women and children
on the one hand and men on the other.

One very peculiar custom is that in the use of the personal pronouns the
order is always first, second and third. Not as with us, _you and I_,
but _I and you_, or _I and he_, would be Arabic usage.

More closely significant in a study of the Palestinian peasant are those
local turns of the language which we find in his colloquialisms,
exclamations, etc. There is also a very fruitful field in the proverbs,
songs and stories of the peasantry. A choice collection of stories as
gathered by a lifelong resident of the country, Rev. J. E. Hanauer, has
been edited by Dr. H. G. Mitchell.[184]

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The word _hôl_ is used in Râm Allâh and its environs to mean very or
very much, that is, as a colloquialism for _kathîr_. _Hôl_ means,
literally, _frightful_, so its use is equivalent to the analogous use of
_awful_ as a superlative in English. The Râm Allâh peasants would say
_Shughal hôl_, “An awful lot of work”; _tîn hôl_, “very many figs.”

The Bîreh people use _fôḳ el-fôḳ_, which means, literally, _the up of
the up_, to express _first-rate_ or _excellent_, instead of the
customary _‛âl_.

In Palestine the word _shellaby_ is very commonly used to mean
_excellent_; also to signify assent, like _all right_, instead of the
still more common _ṭayyib_, literally, _good_. Syrians in America, when
conversing in Arabic, sometimes use instead of either of the above words
the English _all right_, which they clip into _orrite_.

_Shu b‛amal fîh?_ equals “What shall I do about it?” or, literally,
“What shall I do _in_ it?”

_Yâ abayyeh_, literally an intensification of “O my father!” is used in
the face of difficulty as a sort of expression of dismay. _Yâ ibn Âdam_,
is used in expostulation, _son of Adam_, equalling _man_.

Of an exclamatory nature are the following as samples of peasant usage:
_Hayû_, “There you are,” as we might say in answer to a question as to
the whereabouts of a tool or other article. _‛Un_ is a sort of grunt to
express proof of one’s own efficiency or honesty. If you infer that a
workman is not doing his work well or skilfully, he will put in stroke
after stroke under your eye, each stroke accompanied by a self-approving
_‛Un, ‛un_, as if to say, “See that and that. Don’t I know how?” Or if
one complain to the man who is bringing a load of fire-wood that it is
filled with dirt and is not well dried (it is sold by weight), he will
throw out piece after piece of choicer wood with a grunt at each one, as
much as to say, “Look at that, and that and that!” If you wish to
convince him, you pick out piece after piece of the inferior wood and
hold it up before his very eyes with a _‛Un, ‛un_ in each case. _Eḥ_ is
a sort of aspirated _e_ which means, “Yes, that’s the way,” or better,
“That’s it, so.” For instance, if a boy or any one else is told to do a
thing and he seems to be interpreting his instructions well, the one who
is directing him will say encouragingly, _Eḥ, e[h.]_, the equivalent of
the colloquial Arabic _Ay na‛am_ (or _aywa_) _hayk_, “That’s it,” or
“That’s right,” or “Now you’ve got it.” A long-drawn _‛Um_ is used to
mean “I comprehend,” or “Is that the way of it? Yes, I see now,” after
an explanation has been given. _Uff_ is sometimes expressive of
astonishment, but often of contempt in the sense of “What a fibber you
are!” or “I can’t express my opinion of you.” _Uḥ_ is used in some such
case as this. I ask a native, “Are the apples of Zebedâny (near
Damascus) good?” He, knowing that they are famous for quality, will
preface his affirmative with a breathy _Uḥ_, as if to say “Nice? Well, I
should say!” “Of course they are,” or, “Better than they do not exist.”
Then, perhaps, he will show their size by the circumference of a circle
which he makes with all the fingers of one hand held up. _Shi_ or _Hiḥ_
is expressive of a little surprise or weak objection; or it may be
merely a gratuitous exclamation thrown in where we should expect no
expression, or might even think it saucy. It is used much like our
“Humph.” If a child is set a task or a lesson and wishes to say, “It is
very hard,” he is very apt to slat the fingers of the hand together and
exclaim, _E-e-ee_ with much the same force as _Yâ abbayeh_ above. _Thk_,
a sort of suck with the tongue and teeth means, “No.” Sometimes it is
joined with _Mâ fîsh_, “There is not,” or “I have nothing,” and the
speaker may snap his thumb under the edge of his upper teeth in
emphasis. _Thk_ is very often given with an upward toss of the chin to
mean, “No.” _Hiss_ is used by a mother or older person to hush a child.
It equals “Keep still” or “Enough of foolishness.”

In beckoning children the hand is held about as high as and near the
shoulder, the palm downwards and the fingers shutting back and forth to
the palm while “Come, come” is said. To hold all the fingers together
and the hand, palm upward, about the height of the hip, means a threat
like “You’ll see.”

Of curses[185] there is a very great variety, expressive of
animosity,[186] disgust[187] and impatience.[188] Many of the formulæ
are shortened until only the direction and object of the curse are left
in the expression. So, should you hear some one say impetuously to
another, “Your father,” “Your eyes,” “Your breast,” or “Your faith,” you
might know that a curse was intended with these as the objects. The verb
_la‛ana_, _yal‛anu_, which signifies cursing, is generally understood.
The curses are sometimes very indirectly aimed at the victim, as, for
instance, when a donkey driver cursed a stumbling donkey with _Abu
jiddak_, literally, “Cursed be the father of your grandfather.” The
curser may in this circular way of attack reach even himself without
apparently minding the implication, as when a man driving donkeys along
the road became angry at one of them and shouted, “May your owner go
into the grave.”

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Colloquialisms and stories tend to pass into proverbs. The East is very
rich in proverbial expressions, and the Arabic language has been used
for the utterance of many thousands of them. The apt introduction and
quotation of proverbs is considered an elegant accomplishment by
conversationalists. Some of the proverbs are accompanied by explanatory
stories telling how the proverb in each instance arose. Then there are
expressions that are tending to the proverbial form. Some of these
latter will be mentioned first.

Moslems are accredited with the saying that the bobbing _ḥirdhôn_
(lizard) is praying.

When three or more persons in one place are found to have the same name
the people say, “There must be a treasure about.”

Of the kind of young man slangily known among us as a _masher_ the
Palestinian says, “He has a heavy shadow.”

Of a miscellaneous pocketful of things, such as a boy might carry, they
say, _Mithl jerab il-ḳurdy_, “Like the Kurd’s pocket.” This is from the
story told of a Kurd who had lost his wallet-pocket by theft. When the
thief was found the Kurd was asked in court to describe the pocket and
its contents. He described the pocket accurately enough, but in telling
the contents he named over thing after thing until he had mentioned a
catalogue of much that the world contains.

With reference to the infection of yawning the story is told of a man
who was riding a camel in the desert. The camel yawned and then the
rider yawned. The rider said to the camel, “I took my yawn from you;
from whom did you take yours?”

In a class of native youth learning the English language one of the boys
lost his bearings and was unable to follow what the rest of the class
was saying, so he mumbled _Mithl akhras fy zeffeh_. He meant, “I am like
a dumb man at a wedding procession.” On such occasions a ready tongue is
quite necessary.

When one does a foolish or witless thing, another is apt to say
impatiently to him, _Kathîr minnâk thîrân_, that is, freely, “There are
many oxen of your kind.”

When one shows lack of grace, they quote, “The bear stood up to dance
and killed seven or eight persons.”

An ignorant or dull person is accused of not knowing his elbow from his
wrist.

A rather cynical and unsentimental way of describing the effect on a man
of the loss of his wife is that, “It is like knocking his funny-bone.”

Of course rain would never be expected in July. Such a thing would be
called _zelket fyt tammûz_, “a slip in July,” and this expression is
used proverbially to describe any prodigy or any very surprising
occurrence.

That good actions may be spoiled is expressed by the statement, “If a
cow yields a large quantity and then kicks over the milk-pan she is not
praised.”

An obstinate person is described by _râs-hu yâbis_ or _râs-hu ḳawy_,
“His head is dry or hard.”

Gift-taking, that is, bribery,[189] is described as a sickness to which
all officials are proverbially subject. Such a man is described by
_Butnhu wâsi‛a, byokul kathîr_,[190] “He has an expansive stomach, he
eats a great deal.”[191] Of an official whose power is limited they say,
“His arm is short.”[192] Orders from headquarters in Constantinople not
carried out by an under-official are said to have been “put under the
carpet.”

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“When the salt blossoms” denotes improbabilities, for which the
following is also heard, though I should not want to vouch for its
absolute impossibility, “When the goat climbs to the top of the
minaret.” I have seen goats in very unlikely places.

The following list of proverbs gives a sample of expressions in common
use among the peasantry of central Palestine.

_Abu Ḥashîsh fy ḥâlat ghalbân_: “Abu Ḥashîsh is overcome of his own
matters.” This is used when a man already crowded with duties is asked
to do something more.

_Ḥabîby bḥibhu walau kân ‛abd âswad_: “I would love my love even though
he were a black slave,” illustrating constancy.

_Lâ taḳul lil mughanny ghanny walâ lil raḳâṣ yarḳuṣ_: “Never tell a
singer to sing nor a dancer to dance,” signifying natural obstinacy.

_Tub il-jarreh ‛ala fimhâ, taṭla‛ il-bint mithl imhâ_: “Turn the jar on
its mouth, the daughter comes up like her mother.” The first part of the
saying is put in for rhythm, and the whole is one way of expressing
family resemblances.

_Labis el-‛ûd yajûd_: “Clothe a stick of wood and it will do well (or
look well).” The ‛ûd is the wooden frame on which the bridal trousseau
is rigged and carried in procession when the wedding garments are
purchased for the bride. The proverb compares the clothing with the man
who wears it and rather insinuates that clothing makes the man.

_Idhkur idh-Dhîb wahayay lahu il-ḳaḍîb_: “If you think of the wolf, get
the stick ready for him.”

_Il-harîbeh thulthay il-marâjal_: “Running away is two-thirds of
strength.” (Notice the dual, without ending _n_, in the colloquial.)

_Yâmâ kassar hâ il-jamal baṭṭîkh_: “Oh, how often the camel broke
melons.” It is said of one who, having done well, ends by spoiling all.
It is also applied to one who, in making purchases, at last buys
something quite beyond his means. Or it is used to indicate that the man
is well known as a blunderer and that no one ought to be surprised at a
fresh sample of his failing.

_Ḳallil il-ḥaky tirtâḥ wakuththirahu faḍḍâḥ_: “Diminish the talk and you
will have rest; increase it [and have] disgrace.”[193]

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_Mâl ḳalîl majmû‛a khayr min mâl kathîr mubaddad_: “A little wealth in
hand (gathered) is better than much wealth scattered abroad [_i. e._, on
loan].”

_Kul shay ‛ind il-‛aṭâr illâ min ḳûl ḥabbany_: “Everything may be found
at the spice-sellers’ except the saying ‘love me.’” This is to the
effect that real love is the one thing that cannot be purchased.[194]

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_Ish-sharaf aḥsan min khazâyn mâl_: “Nobility is better than
treasure-chests of wealth.”

_Âb iḳṭa‛ il-ḳuṭf walâ tahâb_: “In August cut the bunch [grapes] and
fear not [its being unripe].” Everything in its proper season.

_Id-dâr ḳafrat wal-mazâr ba‛îd_: “The house is empty and the visiting
place is far,” meaning we are out of whatever it is that is needed and
the place where more may be had is far off.

_Iṭlab il-jâr ḳubl id-dâr war-rafîḳ ḳubl iṭ-ṭarîḳ_: “Seek the neighbor
before the house and the company before the route.” Make sure of good
neighbors and companions, as they are more necessary to your welfare
than the mere house or road.[195]

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_Ta‛allam il-bayṭarah fy ḥamîr il-âkrâd_: “He learned to shoe horses
among the donkeys of the Kurds.” This is a contemptuous way of
indicating that one’s preparation for the trade or profession followed
was inadequate.

_‛Ala ḳadar firâshak midd rijlayk_: “According to the measure of your
bed stretch your legs.” This is quoted in favor of living within one’s
means.

_Il-ghâib jihathu ma‛hu_: “The absent one has his excuse with him.”

_Fâlij la tu‛âlij_: “Palsy, don’t doctor it.” This one has a hopeless
touch.

_Ish-shay matta zâd nuḳṣ_: “Anything carried to excess diminishes.” This
proverb advises against overdoing.

_Mâ fy kabîr illâ il-jamal_: “Nothing is large except the camel.”
Compare this with “Comparisons are odious.”

_Il-walad walad walau kân kâḍy balad_: “The boy is a boy though he be
judge of the country.”

_In kân râyḥ kaththir min il-ḳabâyḥ_: “If one be going away, increase
the mischief.” This may refer to an official who becomes reckless on the
eve of his discharge, or possibly to the people who, in view of the near
departure of their superior, take advantage of the fact to perpetrate
mischief. Compare, “When the cat’s away the mice will play.”

_Mâl il-majânîn lil-‛aḳâl_: “The wealth of the crazy is for the wise.”

_Kalb hâmil khurj mâl_: “A dog carrying a saddle-bag of wealth.” This
refers to an unworthy owner of wealth.[196]

_In râḥat ghannat wan jât ghannat_: “Whether it goes or comes I shall
sing.” The one so saying declares that he will be joyous despite
circumstances.

_Bayn hânâ wamânâ râḥat lihânâ_: “Between this and that the beard went.”
In case a man is given conflicting orders he quotes the above to the
effect that between coming and going one’s beard is in danger of flying
off. The syllable _na_ on the end of the last word is added for euphony
merely.

_Hâfitha ‛ala iṣ-ṣadîḳ walau fil-ḥarîḳ_: “Succor your friend though he
be in fire.”

_Khayr il-âmûr l-wasṭ_: “The good of things is in moderation.”[197]

_Ziyâdeh il-khayr khayr_: “Increase makes good better.”

_Iṣ-ṣubr miftâh il-faraj_: “Patience is the key of relief.”

_‛Allamnâk ish-shiḥdeh sabaḳthanâ ‛ala il-bâb_: “I taught you begging
and you got to the door before I did.” This was a beggar’s proverb
originally and illustrates the fact that the pupil may outdo his
teacher.

_Mithl azîmeh il-ḥamar lil-‛urs_: “Like the invitation of a donkey to a
wedding.” This is applicable when one who is invited as a guest is asked
to work. The donkey’s function on festive occasions is to fetch and
carry.

                           SONG OF THE ṢAḤJEH

  Good evening, all ye who are present;
  In the middle of the garden is a green bird chirping to you.

  O mother of the only one, bless thee for what thou didst for him.
  On his wedding day thou didst grind his flour at Zerḳâ.

  Were it not for love we’d not come walking,
  Nor would we tread on your ground.

  Good evening, thou owner of a silver rosary!
  After starting lovingly, why is there this hatred?

  Good evening, O possessor of an amber rosary!
  After starting lovingly, why dost thou fight?

  The sand cannot be kneaded, nor thorns trodden,
  Nor the secret displayed to all the people.

  How many palms have we climbed without ladder,
  And how many offenses of friends have we overlooked!

  O sweet, O beautiful, thy letter came to us;
  As we read it how our tears flowed.

  O excellent, sweet, moving thy lips,
  Thou hast wounded hearts; we beg thee let us come to thee.

  For my friend, friendship should abide;
  As for the disloyal the day of judgment shall find him.

  For what reason dost thou close thine eyes without sleepiness?
  Thou pleasest not me but other people.

  I shall rush on you at noon, you who are in my mind;
  With the sword shall I [over] throw you with high windows.

  With the sword shall I charge you in the darkness of the night;
  I’ll take my sword and cause the blood to flow.

  O beloved, O beloved, thou whom the heart desires,
  Since the day of thy departure my heart counts the nights.

  Thou oughtest to be sorry for leaving us,
  Thou wilt weep tears of grief when thou seest us.

  I passed by their house and said not a word;
  The tears of my eyes dropped before me on the stone.

  The tree of love is cast out by the gate of Damascus;
  I was dying and my friend came not to me.

  The tree of love at the gate of Damascus is swaying;
  I was dying and my friend did not come to ask.

  O tree of love, at the gate of Damascus, it is green;
  I was near to dying and my friend came not once.

  Do not think that good style consists in ample clothes;
  Good style is providing dishes for the men.

  Do not think that good style consists in elegant robes;
  Good style consists in large trenchers, in kindness and generosity.

  O Egypt, O how far off art thou, in whom is the beloved!
  If I live another year I must surely live in thee.

  O sweet one, bring thy bottle and we’ll drink and fill it;
  Thy people are far and thy country’s water is scarce.

  What brought thee forth, O gazel, to roam?
  To look on thy country, O sweet, and return.

  What brought thee from thy country, single, alone?
  I want to look on thy country and I want a friend.

  Our dear ones, because of their ambition, they left us;
  Because of scarcity of money they traded among us.

  O heart, leave them, count them as dead;
  I put them in my eye and they did not fit.

  O seller of coffee, I want a ruṭl of thy coffee;
  Yesterday afternoon I saw the woman who bought of thee.

  O daughter of the Arab shaykh, O wearer of the blue mantle,
  Thy father is an Arab shaykh ruling o’er the Belḳâ.

  O daughter of the Arab shaykh, O wearer of the black mantle,
  Thy father is an Arab shaykh ruling o’er the ‛Aujâ.

  O daughter of the Arab amîr, O Turcomany,
  Untie the fastenings of the shoes and walk.

  O daughter of the Arab amîr, we can find no fault in thee;
  Thy father is a pasha and thy uncle is an Arab shaykh.

  The eyebrow of the eye deserves burning,
  Of that one who winks at a low fellow.

                           SONG OF THE DABKEH

             O man with the forelock tossing,
             Thy speech is very choice.

             The love of thee o’ercame me!
             My strength cannot [resist].

             The love of thee o’ercame me;
             May the Lord of Heaven establish thee.

             O graceful one, wear thy robe
             With the knot turned behind.

             O beautiful, O father of Shôrâ,
             Thy cheeks are as crystal.

             Thy love into my very heart
             Dug [its way] and made a pit.

             O beautiful, holder of a handkerchief,
             Thy signs burned my very heart.

             O beautiful, I am not thy equal;
             Thy price is that of precious wood.

             I’ve never seen so excellent among the Arabs,
             O beautiful one of sweet manners.

             Thy breast is as the tablet of the Khaṭîb;
             O that fate would bestow thee on me!

             Thy breast is as the tablet of the Khaṭîb;
             Upon it are the letters unknown.

             Thou causest me worriment and suffering,
             Thou who art to me unlawful.

[Illustration:

  A RÂM ALLÂH MATRON AT HER OWN DOOR
  (From the collection at the Semitic Museum, Cambridge, Mass.)
]



                               CHAPTER IX
           THE LIFE TO-DAY AS ILLUSTRATED BY ACTUAL VILLAGES


Such tourists as have a student’s interest in addition to a desire for
mere sightseeing will find the value of their Palestine visit doubled if
they will allow some days for visiting villages. If one will go in as
quiet and unobtrusive a way as possible, and with the aid of an
introduction to some householder of the village, one will be able to
learn much. Certain of the missionaries in Jerusalem as elsewhere devote
themselves to itinerating among the villages and are fully acquainted
with conditions of which it would be well for a novice to be informed.
The village of Râm Allâh is one of the most satisfactory places
accessible from Jerusalem for the purpose of seeing well-developed
Syrian village life. It is ten miles north of Jerusalem and is now
reached by an excellent carriage road. It is one mile from the much
smaller village of el-Bîreh, which lies on the main carriage road from
Jerusalem, northwards toward Nâblus (Shechem). This slight remove from
the main line of tourist travel, its considerable size and the superior
intelligence of its inhabitants have joined to produce a good, wholesome
sample of a native village, neither so metamorphosed as some of the
larger places nor so squalid and degenerate as many of the smaller
villages.

It was in May, 1901, that the road mentioned was opened up for use from
Jerusalem to el-Bîreh, a distance of fifteen kilometers. From the
Damascus Gate, where the Bîreh and Râm Allâh carriage owners stand, the
route leads out past the Dominican Compound, within which is a church of
St. Stephen and a theological school conducted by the eminent French
scholars of the order. On the left, opposite, is the large milling
property leased for many years by Mr. Bergheim. Next on the left is an
olive grove, and a little way farther on the pleasant garden and large
square building of the English Church Mission, where the society
conducts a collegiate institute. Next on the right, beyond an olive
grove, is the costly and well-built compound of the High Church Anglican
bishop for Jerusalem and the Near East. On the left opposite are the new
school buildings under his auspices. Just beyond the Anglican Compound,
at the fountain known as Bîr el-Kelb, a street coming from Herod’s Gate,
Jerusalem, intersects the main road. Just up this street a few steps on
the left is the entrance to the so-called Tombs of the Kings, one of the
places well worth looking at. The next largest building on the right
before coming to the minaret is occupied by the community of “The
Overcomers.” They control property on both sides of the highway. A
little beyond this point the road makes a long loop to the right in
order to save a steep climb by the old bridle-path which goes straight
on past the houses of some Moslem officials of Jerusalem who prefer the
more ample and comfortable liberty of suburban building sites. Here one
has a pretty view of the upper part of the Kidron Valley. On up a slight
hill and then down a long easy descent, and one is brought to the foot
of another steep bridle-path, which the road avoids by another curve to
the right toward the Mount of Olives and a loop to the left on to the
top of Mount Scopus. From Scopus there is a charming view of Jerusalem.
Beginning at the far right (north) of the suburbs, one sees the black,
formerly blue, dome of the Abyssinian Church; then to the left the
delicate, shapely, blue cupolas of the church in the Russian Compound;
then just inside the northwest corner of the city wall, the sharp spire
of the Roman Catholic Church, the low black dome of the Church of the
Holy Sepulcher, the whitish tower of the German Church and the domes,
red and blue, of the great synagogues. To the left and farther over is
the large dome and symmetrical building of the Ḳubbet eṣ-Ṣakhra
(sometimes called the Mosk of Omar) in the southeastern corner of the
city. Turning now from the city one will see some six miles northwest of
Jerusalem the lofty minaret of Neby Samwîl, on the hill thought to be
the Mizpeh of Samuel. This place can be seen from many points of old
Judea. The village in the foreground almost due north and by the side of
the carriage road is Sha‛fât. The name is thought to be the last two
syllables of the name Jehoshaphat. Nearly opposite Sha‛fât some find the
site of Nob, the city of the priests of Saul’s time. If one had time to
go to the top of the hill between Scopus and the Mount of Olives, where
the large buildings are placed, one could see the peculiar formation of
the hill-country that leads down back of Jerusalem to Jericho and the
Dead Sea. The Dead Sea and the table-land the other side of the Jordan
would be visible. In fact, but a few minutes north of Scopus, on the
carriage road, one may see the bluish Moab hills looming up in an even
line beyond the Jordan River, whose bed is hidden because it lies over
three-fifths of a mile lower than the level of this spot though less
than twenty miles away. That is a very considerable drop in levels for
so short a distance, as one realizes when one goes by carriage from
Jerusalem down to Jericho and the Dead Sea. But to return to the village
of Sha‛fât already mentioned, one sees beyond it on the right a
peculiarly shaped hill with an artificial look about its incised top
which is regarded as the site of Gibeah of Saul. Off to the left is the
village of Bayt Ḥanînâ. After a long curve or two one begins to descend
more swiftly. From this point one can see far to the right on the
northeast a prettily situated village on a sharp hilltop. It is
eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, of which more later on. To the left as one proceeds appear
remains of an old Roman road. It is noticeable all the way from Scopus
and from here to el-Bîreh, though at times as now it takes a short cut
where the present road makes a curve. The old road intersects the new
where the latter crosses the bridge at the bottom of the valley. This
bridge is called the half-way bridge between Jerusalem and el-Bîreh.
There is a good stream under the bridge in rainy weather. The small
village that rises on a hill just beyond the half-way bridge to the
north is er-Râm, possibly the Ramah of Samuel, though Râm and Ramah mean
simply an elevated site. Just by the left (west) side of the road as one
comes opposite the village is an arched ruin. About it are other
evidences of decay. After the ruin comes a long level stretch and
another little bridge. Along here of an evening one sometimes sees a
fox. The village to the left (west) is Ḳulundyeh. To the right (east)
runs a path that will take one past er-Râm to Jeba‛, and so to Wâdy
Mukhmâs (Michmash) or to ‛Ayn Fâra and the Jordan. At the place where
the road bends to the right around the truncated hill of ‛Aṭâra there is
a dismantled lime-kiln and a rough donkey path leading off to the left
(north). This rude path is the old road to the village of Râm Allâh. It
goes to the west of the hill of ‛Aṭâra, while the carriage road goes to
the east of it. The carriage road allows one to reach el-Bîreh easily in
twenty minutes. It passes between ‛Aṭâra and another hill on the right
(east) of it along a pretty stretch of valley. At least it is pretty
toward evening, when perhaps one will see a little owl among the rocks.
The stream of ‛Ayn Nuṣbeh is trickling or splashing, according to the
season, down the side of ‛Aṭâra near a little bridge. One evening I rode
out towards this place from Râm Allâh on our saddle animal “Daisy” to
meet the carriage. Daisy was very loth to travel away from home, but
very glad whenever I turned her head about. The evening was lovely. As
the light went out over the hills toward the western sea the changing
color on the horizon on the near hills, on the rocks all about, and the
quietness cast a spell of peace unique to these surroundings. After the
reds had faded out of the soil and rocks, a somber ink color, dark
purple, black, came on. A clump of dry brush topping a little
watch-tower on a near hill seemed to belong to a farther hill behind it
and, as I rode along, to be a human figure moving on that far hill. I
met the carriage after dark near ‛Aṭâra and came back in front of it.

At the top of the next long slope one has the vineyards of Râm Allâh on
the left and el-Bîreh on the right. The little village of el-Bîreh, rich
in shrubbery and the choicest spring for many miles around, lies on a
gentle slope facing the south. First among its trees are some figs, then
come gardens, walls and the spring with the little domed building.
Beyond on the right are the ruins of its ancient khân and then the
straggling village houses of stone. Pomegranates, figs, etc., are
scattered through the place. The new khân is on the carriage road at the
top of the village. The little shanty on the left of the road across
from the spring is a sort of coffee khân merely and a lounging place for
passers-by. Half-way up the road before it swings to the right towards
the new khân with stables, the Râm Allâh road goes off to the left
(west) over the rising ground that hides the village from view. It is
less than a mile to Râm Allâh, and the path to it traverses a different
part of the country from that which is seen on the carriage road. All
along the highway one feels that but a few paces anywhere would take one
to views of the deep cut of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea region,
with the ever-enticing blue and hazy line of Moab’s hills beyond. But
here is another side of the country of Palestine. This rise in the
ground between el-Bîreh and Râm Allâh is on the watershed of Western
Palestine. On the outskirts of the village is the land for the Boys’
School, the property of the (American) Friends (Quakers), who for many
years have done most significant and practical work in the training of
youth.

The inhabitants of Râm Allâh are industrious and thrifty, and most of
the village land is under excellent cultivation in choice grape
vineyards and orchards of figs and olives. The needs of Râm Allâh are so
much in excess of the lands which are legally recorded as belonging to
it that its people have bought tracts here and there all about the
country. The lands right around the village are so much more valuable as
vineyards and orchards than for raising the grains that the farmers have
pushed out and acquired these outside fields from the lands of a dozen
or more villages as far as ‛Ayn Ḳânyeh, Mukhmâs and Dayr Dîwân. For such
outside lands the Râm Allâh people have no government deeds (_kushân_,
plural _kuwashîn_), the title resting, so far as the government records
are concerned, with the original village owners, and so the taxes are
collected from them. But it is perfectly understood among the people in
whom the ownership in fact rests, and these actual owners pay the yearly
taxes for the land to the former owners. The government collects land
taxes directly from Râm Allâh for those lands only which are within Râm
Allâh’s legal boundaries, which are much narrower than its acquired
boundaries. A kind of private deed suffices as part of the evidence of
transfer between the peasants.

On the east of Râm Allâh as one enters the village the legal or, better,
original boundary corner is marked by an underground cistern known as
Bîr esh-Sherḳeh (The East Cistern). It is on one’s left in approaching
the village, some rods before the property of ‛Abdullâh Ṭoṭah, which is
on the other or right-hand side. The next house and property are those
of ‛Isâ Shaṭâra. Then comes a small vineyard, opposite which is the Ḥarb
house on the left. From the top of this building one has a view of the
Mediterranean on one side and of the Moab hills on the other. Next on
the right is the large monastery property of the Franciscans, on the
left the house and chapel of the Church Missionary Society. Then (left)
is passed the house of a dumb man, father of a considerable family and
owner of a well-cultivated garden plot. He is quite ingenious at a
pantomime method of talking and story-telling. His trade is that of
roof-mender, which craft is in demand, as the cemented joints between
the flat stones of the native roofs have to be kept in good repair
against the soaking rains of winter. Next on the left is one of the
entrances to the Friends’ Girls’ School property. The particular bit of
their land that touches the road here goes in all the neighborhood by
the name _el-Khums_, that is, _The Fifth_, because in some past division
of the land it represented that fraction of a larger lot. Next by
turning the bend to the left one comes into a street about three hundred
twenty-five feet long and a trifle less than thirteen feet wide, in
which are seven houses on the south (left) side and eight houses on the
north (right) side. Among their tenants are four weavers and one dyer.
The dyer is a tall, strapping fellow from the north, a Moslem who came
to the village in 1901. At that time he was the only Moslem in the
place. By a little jog to the left at the end of the street one avoids
running into a building which for years has been used by the Friends’
Mission as a primary schoolroom and a Sunday meeting place of the
congregation that attends the Friends’ meetings for worship and the
Bible School. Nearly opposite this building is the dispensary of the
native physician, Dr. Ma‛lûf, a graduate of the College of Medicine in
Beirut. Thence one may go southeast to the front entrance of the Girls’
Training Home (Friends’) or west along the main axis of the village, the
market street, which is a continuation of the street by which we just
entered the village, except for the slight jog to the left in coming
down hill. These very jogs, of which many may be seen about the village,
are illustrative of a principle, or the lack of one, in the community
life. Streets and paths grow up by common consent of the householders,
who feel the need of such conveniences for egress or ingress, but they
are allowances from private property or, better, communal property.
Sometimes a builder finds it convenient to set his house somewhat into
the road, thus destroying the alignment of the street. Walls of stone
and mortar are permanent structures, and the line cannot be corrected by
any legal means.

The main part of the market street runs between the property of the
village church on one side (south) and a row of shops and houses on the
other (north). There are ten provision shops, five shoe shops and two
weaving-rooms along this street. A great deal of local marketing is done
in the open street. Here the wheat-laden animals from the country
northeast of Râm Allâh bring their burdens. Huge camels, with a back
load of clay jars held in a rope net, or carrying sacks of melons or
grain, are made to saunter in and kneel. Women with head loads of
vegetables, eggs, snails and other food products, and men from Nâblus
with ready-made _kinabîz_ and other articles of men’s wear, stand ready
for customers. Fruit venders, buyers and sellers from all the villages
about are apt to be found here, for Râm Allâh is what might be called a
county-seat. Some one from eṭ-Ṭayyibeh or from Kefr Mâlik will come to
sell oil or other produce, and buy some necessities, perhaps a pair of
shoes, to take home. This main market street of the village is about
three hundred feet long (from Dr. Ma‛lûf’s curb to the entrance of the
Greek Church yard) and for the most part about fifteen and a half feet
wide. About two-thirds of the distance down there opens from it on the
right (north) the entrance to the village khân.

Owners of camels, mules or donkeys buy up supplies of oil, dried figs
and wheat from the villages and sell them in the village markets, or
carry them to Jerusalem and Jaffa. From Jaffa they may bring up rice,
sugar, kerosene, oranges and wood to supply the Râm Allâh merchants.
Such articles in bulk are very apt to come from the seashore direct, but
others are brought out from Jerusalem.

[Illustration: CAMEL CARRYING A ROPE NET FILLED WITH CLAY JARS]

[Illustration: RÂM ALLÂH, AS ENTERED BY THE SINUOUS, WALLED LANE, FROM
THE EAST]

There are something over two scores of shops in Râm Allâh, counting
eight shoemakers’, a dozen weavers’ and several butchers’ stands. There
are a good many quarriers, stone-masons and stone-dressers, plasterers
and roof-menders. Most of the people have work of some kind on the small
farming plots, vineyards and orchards. There are a few presses for
making the oil and several cisterns for storing it. A few public
carriages have been introduced since the opening of the way to Jerusalem
for vehicles.

A butcher’s fixtures consist of some iron hooks in the wall at the
street side. Sheep have for years been killed right in the streets, the
carcasses being hung up against abutting buildings, dressed quickly and
divided to waiting customers. Perhaps a little girl is waiting to carry
home some scraps in her sleeve. A member of a larger or richer household
buys a larger piece, which is held in a scrap of brown paper or, more
likely, a vessel brought from home. Sometimes, however, the purchase is
carried off as it is. The matter of price is a simple one; it is the
same for any part of the creature. Haggling may vary it a trifle, unless
the demand for meat on a given day is unusual. Ordinarily the killing of
a sheep is deferred until a market for the meat is fairly well assured.
The price in Râm Allâh ranges from eight to twelve cents a pound,
according to the season of the year and the scarcity of sheep. Goat meat
is cheaper. Sometimes beef is offered, but one usually suspects the
health of a cow that has been killed and prefers lamb. In Jerusalem fair
beef can be obtained, but seldom can it be had in the country.

From a point a little beyond the end of the market proper a street turns
to the left (south), passes the back entrance to the Greek Church
property and goes off towards the largest village threshing-floor. On
this road there are twenty-two houses, one store and one silversmith’s
shop. Seven hundred eighty feet along this way is the threshing-floor.
Not quite half-way to the threshing-floor is an open space used as a
sort of secondary market for such things as would take up too much room
in the main street. From the beginning of the threshing-floor one
hundred thirty feet onward brings one opposite an interesting place. It
is a little sanctuary in a cave and is about a short stone’s throw to
the right (west), under a large tree which can be seen from the road.

After passing a few more houses one is well out of town on the road
which leads between vineyards towards Baytûnyeh, ‛Ayn ‛Arîk and Ramleh.
Most of the vineyards are to the southwest and south of the village. The
Khulleh, or valley, at the southwest has the best stretch of vineyard
land. Most of the fig-orchards are to the west of the village and most
of the olives are on the northwest. Lately some fine vineyards have been
made to the northwest near ‛Ayn Miṣbâḥ, and there are some to the
northeast around the ‛Audy property and east of the Latin (Franciscan)
monastery.

From the watershed Râm Allâh slopes away in a westerly direction,
draining towards the Mediterranean. North of the village is a deep
valley that heads on the east at the watershed and falls away on the
west toward Kefrîyeh. The country falls gradually towards ‛Ayn ‛Arîk to
the northwest and to the Balû‛a or sunken meadow, where a winter pond
stands near Baytûnyeh to the southwest. To the south, southeast and
south-southwest the land rises into hills towards ‛Aṭâra and Khurbet
Suwaykeh.

[Illustration: LITTLE GIRLS OF THE VILLAGE]

Our first visual impressions of Râm Allâh were received on an afternoon
early in April, 1901, before the completion of the carriage road, as we
approached it by the old bridle-path already mentioned. By this path Râm
Allâh is hidden from sight until one rises to the summit just to the
south of the village, where many of the villagers have vineyards
planted. Between this hill and the village lies a soft depression which,
beginning at the watershed to the east of the village, dips away to the
southwest towards the little village of Râfât and beyond, disclosing a
beautiful view of ancient Gibeon (el-Jîb) and Mizpeh of Samuel (Neby
Samwîl). There the village of Râm Allâh rested partly in the edge of the
valley, but mostly spread along the opposite ridge. The gentler rays of
the afternoon sun brought out the creamy tints of the stone houses
standing in their cubical solidity. Here and there rose a taller
building; at the left was the red-tiled roof of the Greek Orthodox
Church. But by far the choicest bit of the panorama was the house and
grounds of the Friends’ Mission property. The house had one of the rare,
tiled roofs evidencing Western influence among the flat and domed
structures of the truly Oriental style. The well-constructed stone
building was the home of the Girls’ Training Home, a boarding-school for
young Syrian women, supported by the New England Yearly Meeting of
Friends, and named after two of their honored members, “The Eli and
Sybil Jones Mission.” I had seen pictures of the place and so knew it at
once, though there was now added the charm of colors. The building sat
in sweet Quakerly composure among numerous trees and vines. Tall,
pointed cypresses, pines and various fruit trees abounded, which once so
delighted the gaze of a little girl in the village that she boldly
declared that she knew where heaven was. She thought she had seen it
when she looked through the Mission Gate on the well-kept grounds filled
with beautiful green. Such gardens could be duplicated all over the
country at a small price beyond patience.

Just above the Friends’ grounds is the house owned by the English Church
Missionary Society, who make Râm Allâh headquarters for their work in
different villages of this region. For more than a quarter of a century
the agents of the society had been Mr. and Mrs. George Nyland, who, in
their early years, went out from Holland to Egypt as missionaries, but
after a few years entered the Church Missionary Society work in
Palestine.

The nearest neighbor at the front was the so-called “Old Man at the
Gate.” He had earned this title, suggestive of unpleasant nearness, by a
certain ability to introduce himself when no one else did so. It was a
practise of his to come up through the grounds into the house once or
twice each year to ask for an envelope and paper. The sensation was like
the imposition of a tax. He assured us of his great friendliness and his
usefulness to the Mission. He often spoke of the piece of land near the
south gate where the small cistern was as an evidence of his goodness to
us, in that he had sold it to us for a very small price, though the
traditions of the mission were that he had received a very good price
for it. I recollect the way in which one of his sons disappointed us. We
had as guests over night some missionaries who depended for their start
the next morning at five o’clock on our promise to secure the animals to
take them on to Nâblus. We bargained with one of the old man’s sons to
provide us a saddled animal and considered our business done, but about
nine o’clock that night he came around and calmly repudiated the
bargain, demanding better terms. We ought to have been thankful that his
impatience to get the better of us had prevented his saving this bit of
annoyance until the last moment before starting. As it was, we still had
some hours of night to provide ourselves.

Across the street from the schoolyard was a family which some of our
people had dubbed “The Clean Family.” Our butcher lived directly in
front of us. He was an honest, burly fellow who usually wore a sheepskin
coat, wool side in. He had been a friend of the mission inmates for many
years and an attendant and helper in the mission congregation. To the
north of us were some Protestant natives who were pleasant neighbors,
and across the street from them dwelt some English women, mission
workers, who gave their time to works of mercy among the women of
near-by Moslem villages. We were to become much indebted to them for
comfort and society.

Just south of the Friends’ property is the little chapel of the Greek
Catholic body which claims a few people of Râm Allâh, and just south of
that runs a little path, through the vineyards, called the _Ṭarîḳ
el-Majnûny_, _The Road of the Crazy One._ One of the old men told how in
former years along that road the oak woods were so thick that a cat
could not pass, and that if a piece of bread were dropped from above,
the thickness of the foliage would prevent it from reaching the ground.
This is interesting as pointing to traditions and to the kind of figures
used by the natives in descriptions.

And so our neighborly resources continued. We gratefully acknowledge
that the best lesson that we learned during our intimate acquaintance
with the village community was that, joined with varying accidents of
speech, dress and advantages, human beings are much alike everywhere and
possess many admirable traits.

To the westward of Râm Allâh there begins with an abrupt head the Wâdy
Ṭarafîdya, which runs nearly north and south and leads to Wâdy el-Kelb.
One of the paths to ‛Ayn ‛Arîk bends around it. Just under this path to
the eastward, between it and the wâdy, is a little spring, ‛Ayn
Ṭarafîdya. Most of the land hereabouts has been purchased by Râm Allâh
people of Baytûnyeh, the latter reserving the spring and some olive
land. The taxes are paid through Baytûnyeh. Forty-two feet down from
‛Ayn Ṭarafîdya is a reservoir with thick, heavy stone walls, the corners
being at the four main points of the compass. The northeast wall is
ninety-seven inches thick and the northwest wall sixty-six inches thick.
The reservoir is nearly forty feet square. The southeast wall inside is
forty feet long and the northeast wall lacks three inches of the same
measurement. There is a broken descent into the old dry pool at the west
corner. I was here on a soft, gray December morning when the sky was
hung with ready clouds. There was a sweet quiet under the olive-trees.
The earth was red beneath. The black wet trunks and moss-covered
branches showed through the gray-green mantle of the trees like a core
through filigree. On one side of the valley the steep wet cliffs were
decked with Christmas green. On the other side were terraces holding
leafless fig-trees that stretched up their many fingers like candelabra
to the mist. Down through the valley were seen round, stone watch-towers
with brush tops. Pink daisies, narcissus, the little white and lavender
crocuses and creepers were already showing. In the tiny scrub-oaks were
twining green leaves.

Wâdy el-Kelb has two heads, the one to the north being called Shayb
ed-Dars, the one to the east going by the name Baṭn el-Hawâ. Wâdy
el-Kelb and Khullet el-‛Adas are favorite grounds for anemones of
various colors. Every little cut or crest of the surface hereabouts has
its local name given or continued by the peasants, who spend many hours
in these orchards, vineyards and pasture-grounds. The next depression
beyond Baṭn el-Hawâ is Wâd Karom Shutâ, which rises in Karom Shutâ and
between the two wâdys thrusts out the little headland known as Ḳurnet
Mûsâ. Above the Karom Shutâ are the Karûm Senâsil, named from the
terraces that characterize the piece of vineyard there.

The burj, or tower, of Râm Allâh is in the southeast of the village near
the very high house that is so prominent to one viewing Râm Allâh from
the eastern hills. It is said that here was the former stronghold, and
that under the place is a powerful spring called ‛Ayn el-Burj. The
property over it is owned by Ab ul-Bâbâ, of the tribe of Shaḳara, who,
when he built there three or four years ago, found a good cemented canal
coming from what was evidently a strong spring. Over the canal was a
flat stone covering. The owner filled in the place at night, concealing
it with masonry for fear that the government, if aware of such a spring,
might open it to the public and he receive less than its value or
nothing at all. Here, if the story be true, is the treasure that Râm
Allâh lacks to make it a well-watered village. This ‛Ayn el-Burj is said
to be the source of the water that flows into the reservoirs near the
property of the United Greeks’ (Roman Catholic) Chapel.

The chief fountains about Râm Allâh are known as ‛Ayn Miṣbâḥ (spring of
the lamp), ‛Ayn Minjid (spring of help), ‛Ayn Mizrâb (spring of the
conduit or channel) and ‛Ayn Umm el-Kerzam. The spring at el-Bîreh,
though a mile away, is in frequent use by Râm Allâh people. ‛Ayn
el-Ḳaṣr, towards Kefrîyeh and three miles away, is almost too far to be
reckoned with the Râm Allâh water supply.

One October afternoon we went to ‛Ayn Minjid, where there is a well-like
structure built down into the ground. The little trickling stream of the
spring at that time was about as thick as the tendril of a grape-vine.
In winter the water rises high up in the well-like reservoir. A child of
the neighborhood was once drowned by falling into it over the
unprotected edge in the time of full water. Thence we went to the spring
of ‛Ayn Mizrâb, where there is a similar well-like place, built up of
hewn stone and cemented on the inside, making a shaft, with the spring
at the bottom. This spring was even weaker than ‛Ayn Minjid. There was a
tiny depression in one side of the bottom which held a little water.
Some girls were trying to scrape up some of it with their skin-buckets.
The well was fully twelve feet deep. The leather bucket was let down by
a rope. The top of the bucket was held open by a stick stretched across
its mouth. There was hardly a basin of water in the bottom of the well,
and the most skilful casting of the bucket could gather very little.
From one side of the well at the bottom was a canal leading out into
some vineyards. To ‛Ayn Mizrâb the women are said sometimes to bring
their jars at midnight and set them about the fountain, the first one
placing a jar thus claiming the right to draw first when it becomes
light enough. If the moon is out they can draw water in the moonlight.

When we first reached Râm Allâh the country was suffering an unusual
drought. For the preceding thirty days, during which there ought to have
fallen some of the heaviest showers of the season, there had been no
rain. The natives were praying for it. The country looked parched and
brown at the time when it is usually beautifully decked with flowers.
Food prices were high and the outlook for the poor was unpromising.
Shortly after we arrived a short, sharp shower fell, but no more came
until the middle of May, when the unusual again happened and a heavy
downpour shut us in a day or two. We had some cool, blustering weather
at a time when the hot days are expected and the dry season well begun.
In times of such strange climatic anomalies the natives think they see
portents of heavenly significance, that possibly the Messiah may be
returning. Rain is the great blessing of nature, as fondly looked for as
sunny weather is with us.[198]

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Slight earthquakes are experienced now and then in Palestine. A severer
one than usual came in the early morning of March 30, 1903, about ten
minutes before one o’clock. On awakening my first thought was that
people outside were trying our door and then shaking it violently. Then
the movement seemed to possess the whole room, as if some mighty force
were rocking it strongly and persistently. The bed was jostled. It was
this persistent shaking, with the continual and uniform rattling of the
articles on the wash-stand, that soon brought me to my senses with the
exclamation, “It’s an earthquake.” Mrs. Grant was first awakened by the
shaking bedstead. Her next thought was that the house walls were
falling. We both felt a sense of nausea. I rose and lighted the candle.
The floor was well sprinkled with fallen whitewash that had cracked off
from the plastering. A few bottles were tipped over in the room. At
first I said that it lasted a minute, but shortly after I reduced my
estimate to ten seconds, and now I suppose that it must have been but a
third of that duration. The rattling on our wash-stand was as uniform as
if the things were on a railroad-train. It was a weird and unpleasant
though tuneful jar. Mrs. Grant ran into the far part of the house, where
were the dormitories of the Girls’ School, and found the girls a little
excited but not much frightened. Some of the smaller girls wanted to
know what made their beds shake so. One girl said that she thought that
Jesus had come. After we had been up a while we heard a wall falling in
the vineyards to the southwest of us. In the Boys’ School one boy
tumbled out of bed. The teacher had taken a strong dose of quinine the
night before and accounted thus for the fact that he slept pretty
soundly and was awakened only when the flakes of whitewash from the
ceiling fell on his face. One or two boys at the Boys’ School and one
girl at the Girls’ School slept right through it all. The woman cook at
the Boys’ School was much startled and began to cry out and pray, “My
Lord, my Lord, there is no other but thee” (Yâ rubby, yâ rubby, mâfîsh
ghayrak).[199] Niḳola, the man on the place, who slept in a little house
in the yard, went back and forth to his family who lived in the village
to assure himself that they were well. One stone in the gable end of the
house where he slept was tumbled to the ground. The well-constructed
Girls’ Training Home showed cracks, while in the poorly built Boys’
House, the roof, flooring and walls on the long south side were cracked
the entire length. Our neighbor Nyland’s house suffered somewhat, so
that afterwards he felt it necessary to bind the walls with iron
girders, which were run through the house and clamped on the outside
walls at the ends. Other effects were noticed in a morning walk through
the village. In the western part of the village the damage seemed
greater than in the central or eastern. One small house on the east and
several on the west side had lost a wall apiece. These were the
so-called _sḳîfeh_ dwellings, or loosely constructed stone huts. In each
case the front wall had fallen outward. Quite a number of larger,
stronger houses were slightly cracked along a side or on top. One house
wall bowed out threateningly. In one fine new house, not quite
completed, there were laterally running cracks on the two longer sides
of the roof. Word was brought to us that a man in Baytîn was killed by a
falling stone from a house.

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A large party of Russian pilgrims on their way up through the country,
who had been quartered in the village the night of the earthquake, took
up the customary march to Nâblus soon after. They always start northward
from Râm Allâh before light.

[Illustration: THE VILLAGE OF RÂM ALLÂH AND OUTLYING VINEYARDS]

The dominant religious influence in Râm Allâh is the Greek (Orthodox)
Church. It is customary all through the near East, the field of the
Greek Church, to admit to the chief ecclesiastical positions priests of
Greek blood only. The head priest of the Râm Allâh Church was a Cretan
who had come to this village in 1899. He spoke the Arabic language but
lamely. He was very affable and rather good looking. All Greek priests
wear the hair long though they knot it up for convenience. The ordinary
dress is a long black gown and rimless, cylindrical black hat. When we
called on the priest he conversed courteously and treated us to
preserves and coffee. His attendant was a lad from the Greek islands
whom he also used as his censer boy at church functions. This head
priest goes by the title _raîs_, that is, head-one among the people. He
is unmarried, as are all the superior clergy. There are four other
priests for the church, who are natives of the place, speak the Arabic
language, of course, and are married. The title for such a priest is
Khûry. Whenever there is such a one in a family of Syrians the entire
family is apt to adopt the word Khûry as a family name. The names of the
four khûrys of the Râm Allâh Greek Church during my acquaintance with
the village were Ḥanna, Ayûb, Ḳustandy and Salîm. These under priests
have most of the intercourse with the people, intermeddle with all sorts
of affairs, like any native villager, and are a visible bond between the
common and the ecclesiastical life of the village. One of these four,
who is reputed to be wealthy, acts as a sort of private banker in his
parish, lending money about at the enormous rates which obtain among the
peasants. The government rate is nine per cent, but this legal
percentage is often more than doubled in practise, while for small,
short-time loans the charges mount to huge proportions. One day as I
walked out into the village I saw this khûry sitting in front of the
dispensary. He had been consulting the physician about some ailment and
had received the advice to take a sitz bath, but he lacked the very
important aid of a bath-tub. He applied to me, as he saw me, to lend him
a bath-tub, but I had nothing of the kind that was portable. He next
heard that I was buying some articles for a new boarding-school for boys
and suggested that if I bought some of the large copper vessels called
ṭunjerehs, one of the variety used for washing clothes would suit his
purpose. But again I had to disappoint him, as I told him I was just
then short of money and decided to buy only the smaller cooking
ṭunjerehs at present. He looked surprised at my confession of temporary
poverty, but followed up his lead affably by declaring that I was very
welcome to come to his bank. It was some minutes before I saw the line
of thought the thrifty fellow was following, that I should borrow money
of him (the rate was then about twenty per cent) to buy bathing
facilities which he might borrow of me. This will help to illustrate the
unembarrassed egotism with which some of the people deal with one after
the “heads-I-win, tails-you-lose” order. They are as unimaginative as
children in setting your interests at naught and complacently securing
all for themselves. And they will do it with all the dramatical touches
of idealism and an unselfish air.

The village tradition of the founding of Râm Allâh is told by the
peasants as follows: A certain Christian shaykh living in Shôbek, down
towards Wâdy Mûsâ, became the father of a little girl. A Moslem shaykh,
visiting the father, spoke in a complimentary way of the little child
and was courteously answered, as in all cases where praise is bestowed
on any possession, whether a new article or a new child, the owner or
father usually replying, “It is for you.” So in this case the father
replied, “She is for you,” meaning, of course, nothing by it except the
usual courtesies. Years passed by and the little baby girl became an
attractive maiden, when the Moslem shaykh came and claimed her for his
bride. The father protested, but was reminded of the visit of years
before and the reply of the father, which had been taken in real earnest
by his visitor. Consternation fell on the Christian family at the
impending fate of the little daughter claimed by a Moslem. They would
rather that the girl should die than marry thus, but they were in no
condition to resist the demand. During the night the Christian shaykh
took the only course possible, the desperate one of flight to other
parts. Accompanied by his four brothers and their families he fled. No
members of the large family could be left behind lest vengeance should
be executed on them for the disappointment. They journeyed northward and
were joined by certain Moslems who also had reasons for seeking a change
of home. The two parties traveled together, probably for greater safety.
They all came into the country north of Jerusalem and the Christians,
being blacksmiths, chose what were then wooded hills, the present site
of Râm Allâh, though now there is no growth to evidence the early
conditions. The Moslems settled about el-Bîreh. To-day when the Bîreh
people laugh at Râm Allâh people and say, “Your fathers must have been
foolish not to choose lands near the good Bîreh spring, but over there
in that thirsty country,” some of the Râm Allâh people answer, “Our
fathers were blacksmiths, and in their days the hills here were covered
with woods which supplied them with charcoal.” To-day, as has been noted
elsewhere, the largest section of Râm Allâh’s people is called the
_Ḥadadeh_, that is, “the blacksmiths.”

Another version of the story has it that the Christians settled at
el-Bîreh and the Moslems at Râm Allâh, but because the Christians were
blacksmiths they arranged with the Moslems to exchange sites since there
was so much material for charcoal around Râm Allâh. If this version
could be credited it might help to account for the old mosk in Râm
Allâh.[200]

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-----

The villagers of Râm Allâh are often hard workers. Their hours of labor
are from sunup to sunset. They often sing happily while they are digging
the vineyards in lieu of plowing them where the vines are close.
Twenty-five cents a day is fair pay for unskilled labor of this sort,
though for skilled labor, such as that of a first-class mason and
builder, the price may run to a dollar, or a little over. Women and boys
work hard for from twelve to fifteen cents a day. From four to eight
dollars a month secures a man servant who, if he is a clever one, will
do countless services and become almost indispensable. He will try hard
to meet the foreigners’ ideas and wishes and improve in his ability to
anticipate them.

It does not do to nag and annoy the native helper by too close and
nervous application of Western ideals of work, accuracy and punctuality,
for one gets oneself into a very unlovely state of nervous irritability
and often wears out a really valuable servant by unnecessary trifles of
supervision. The peasant is used to a certain ease and generosity of
judgment and if wisely watched will accomplish a good deal of work in a
very fair way.

One fresh from Europe or America is tempted to supercilious airs, as if
everything native to the country were inferior and vastly so. But a
longer acquaintance emphasizes the fact that, the world over, our
virtues, superiorities and so forth are put on in spots rather than in a
consistent through and through grain. And one soon finds plenty of
occasion in Palestine to blush for occurrences which must make a
sensible native think us a very unlikely set of people to be receiving
so many gifts from a kind Providence. The conditions under which they
see most foreigners persuade them that lack of money does not exist in
America and possibly that it is not very common in Europe. Then, too,
they see so many childless married couples, these naturally being the
freest to travel, or to undertake missions, that the contradiction of
this apparent curse upon us mystifies them. And as to sanity of mind and
clearness of religious doctrine or practise, foreigners in Jerusalem
must often be on the defensive in order to keep even self-respect.

El-Bîreh, with its eight hundred inhabitants, lies on the southeast side
of a curve in the carriage road, fifteen kilometers almost due north
from Jerusalem. From it Jerusalem may be seen. North of it on the
opposite side of the carriage road is an unusually prominent watch-tower
by which el-Bîreh can be located from afar. Local tradition says that
Ibrahîm Basha (Pasha) camped near here. The people of el-Bîreh are all
Moslems, except one family named Rafîdya, who number about eighty and
are related to a household of the same name in Râm Allâh. These Rafîdyas
take their name from a town near Nâblus, whence they migrated some years
ago when their lot there become unbearable. They are now among the most
prosperous dwellers in the village, managing the large new khân, the
little store in it and the carriage business that runs a service between
el-Bîreh and Jerusalem daily. They worship in the Greek Church in Râm
Allâh. One member of the family is being trained in the Greek school in
Jerusalem. One goes by the complimentary business epithet of
_esh-Shayṭân_ (Satan), equivalent to _clever_. This family, or tribe,
dwell in the northern part of the village, not far from the carriage
road. Their khân is a typical country caravanserâi. Thousands of people
pass it: messengers going up and down the country, village priests or
teachers going to Jerusalem to get their monthly pay, sellers and
buyers, caravans of wheat carriers from the Haurân, tourists, pilgrims,
missionaries, mokaries, camping outfits, mounted Turkish soldiers sent
to some village to bring in offenders wanted by the Jerusalem government
or to collect taxes.

The chief pride of el-Bîreh is the copious spring of excellent water at
the southwest of the village, where the carriage road begins to ascend
the hill. The new mudîr of the district in 1903 caused some improvements
in masonry to be constructed over the Bîreh fountain. A busy scene can
often be observed there. Women and girls come and go, chattering and
scolding, eager for the first turn to put a jar under the flow. The
women are seen washing on the smooth stones near the spring, pounding
with a short stout club the well-soaked garments. The water from the
spring at its flood and the rains have gullied the paths hereabouts and
left the pebbles like hobnails, so that to walk about the place is like
using the stepping-stones of a dry brook.

From a point a little to the east of the fountain a path to the right
(south) leads in a few steps under a picturesque little ruin in stone,
the inner rim of an arch which spans the path with airy grace. Just
beyond it on the right there is a long, low stone building, an old khân
in good preservation. There are ruins all about under the trees.
Continuing on the left after a turn one comes to an immense old khân in
ruin, of which four sections or rooms still remain. It has a quadruple
arched roof and fine columns. Masons’ marks are to be seen on some of
the heavy old stones and Arab graffiti on others. Some of these
scratchings are very good. A horseman lifting a long spear is one of the
best. This great khân would still shelter several scores of camels and
their loads if inclement weather necessitated a resort to it.

South of the fountain are some old reservoirs built of heavy stone and
meant to treasure up the overflowings of the brook in its downward
course through the valley from the spring. Further southward of these
reservoirs, which are now out of repair, one goes through fig-orchards
towards the little Moslem shrine of Shaykh Sâliḥ, around about which one
often sees numerous little piles of stones on the tops of the stone
walls, reminders of the pious and their petitions to the departed shaykh
or wily. The course of the brook from the spring continues down the
valley to Wâd es-Suwaynîṭ and thence, by the way of the Wâdy Ḳelt, to
the Jordan.

Along the sides of Jebel Ṭawîl, the long ridge to the southeast of
el-Bîreh, one sees the walls of a quarry, whence huge blocks must have
been taken long ago, as the smooth, unbroken surface remaining measures
many yards. Northeast of el-Bîreh the hillsides show similar quarrying.

In the northern part of the village is the ruin of a Crusaders’ Church,
one of the better preserved specimens of that kind of building in
Palestine. A considerable part of the east end, with its triple apse and
most of the north wall, though this latter bulges ominously, are still
standing. The south wall, too, is pretty well preserved. A low passage
through it leads to the site where the old convent used to be, now the
home of a Moslem boys’ school taught by a white turbaned urbane khaṭîb.
Several visitors of late years searched in vain for an inscription that
M. Clermont Ganneau mentions as having seen. Among the ruins of the
church several masons’ marks of the crusading style may be seen on the
building stone. The church is some eight centuries old. The cement in
these old structures is exceedingly strong. Though the north wall seems
in such imminent danger of falling, the earthquake of 1903 did not
accomplish its overthrow. Cows and donkeys wander about the weedy
interior, and the neighbors spread out there heaps of gathered dung to
dry for fuel.

There are many signs of squalor in el-Bîreh. The level of the floor in
many of the huts is below the threshold. In fact, a large number of the
houses, excluding those of the shaykhs and the Christian tribe of
Rafîdya, are of the very old style of sḳîfeh dwellings, a few of which
were mentioned in describing Râm Allâh, the style of buildings made with
stones bedded in earth, or at best held together by poor mortar and
having dirt roofs supported upon heavy boughs. The village, though
possessed of wide lands, a good situation on the traffic route of the
country and the best spring for many miles around, compares very poorly
with Râm Allâh, just twenty minutes away and possessed of none of these
advantages. The very marked superiority of the Christian village and its
rapid development in the last century is a matter of significant
observation. A study of the house structure already suggested in the two
villages shows the typical development of village building. There are in
Râm Allâh some of the sḳîfeh-huts of the same style and age apparently
as the larger number of that kind proportionately in el-Bîreh. Others of
this same order were pulled down long ago in Râm Allâh and replaced by
houses made with dressed stone and mortar and having rolled dirt roofs,
similar to some of the better grade of houses in el-Bîreh to-day. But
this kind is already counted inferior in Râm Allâh, where the larger
number of dwellings have the heavy, arched, dome roofs of stone, of
which there are but few in el-Bîreh. An improvement even upon these is
gaining ground in Râm Allâh, and much better houses, having several
rooms, modern window openings and paved floors and provided in some
cases with cisterns for oil or water, are being constructed by the
wealthier villagers. The development of several centuries in highland
peasant homes may thus be traced. A significant change in the interior
structure is the doing away of the elevated living platform in the room
reached by stairs that command the doorway.

[Illustration: EL-BIREH (FROM THE SOUTH)]



                               CHAPTER X
                      OTHER VILLAGES AND ENVIRONS


About a mile northwest of Râm Allâh on the Jânyeh road is a region which
goes by the name of eṭ-Ṭîreh, a name commonly met in Syria. There is a
question as to what it may mean. If the localities thus named were
always, as they more usually are, lofty places, the suggestion has been
made that eṭ-Ṭîreh might be derived from the root meaning _to fly_, and
so such a place might be dubbed _The Flyer_, in the sense of a _high
place_, but Prof. E. H. Palmer derives the name from a root meaning
_fort_.[201] At this eṭ-Ṭîreh there are many remains of former
buildings, the central one being the Ṣalâ‛t eṭ-Ṭîreh, the ruin of a
Christian church. A large tract of ground including it has been walled
in by the ecclesiastical owners. The oil of the olive-trees in the
enclosure is said to be used for church purposes. The remains of the old
church are very scanty compared with those at el-Bîreh, Burj Baytîn,
eṭ-Ṭayyibeh or even at Khurbet el-Moḳâṭir. Some of the remaining stones
have been reset in an attempt to restore the line of the wall, and the
result is a smaller space enclosed than originally. At present the main
enclosure is roughly fifty-two feet long by twenty-six feet wide. The
line of the apse is marked by one course of stones standing loosely
together. Plenty of tiny white cubes, remains of tessellated pavement,
are scattered around. There are bases of four columns, many blocks and
some pieces of columns.

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-----

Northeast of the ruin is a little inclined path that leads underground,
where there is a fine old olive-press. It is of the kind generally used,
though recently some screw-presses have been introduced into Râm Allâh.

There are two sorry-looking fig-trees in the grounds, the fruit of which
is said to be free to all comers. Here and there in the country these
traditionally free fruit-trees are seen. I remember one on the valley
road to Bayt ‛Ur et-Taḥtâ. The whole property, otherwise, is _ḥarâm_,
that is, sacrosanct. The dwellers in Palestine have a very vivid sense
of that ecclesiastical or religious quality that attaches to a place
once acknowledged as devoted to religious purposes. Despite all
encroachments, persecutions of hostile governments or religions, the
mind of the people persists in returning again and again to the subject
of the sacred nature of any such spot, and this obstinate tradition
sooner or later gets that piece of property back under the care of the
church. The Râm Allâh people tell a story which illustrates how the
_powers_ assist in preserving devoted things. “One day a man was digging
in the ground when his pickaxe (_fass_) struck against the lid of a
copper vessel (ṭunjereh) containing treasure,[202] but as he began to
clear away the soil so as to come at the find, his hands became, as it
were, bound together with cords and his feet were likewise powerless.”

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Out beyond the enclosing walls of the Greek property are fine
olive-trees and many heaps of old building stone, with other evidences
of a former habitation of men. The land and olives west of the Ṣalâ‛t
eṭ-Ṭîreh are owned by a well-to-do Râm Allâh family, Dâr Abu Firmand.
The view of Râm Allâh from this place is very good, impressing one with
the fact that it is indeed situated on a rise of ground, which effect
one does not get in coming to it from the higher ground to the south and
east of the village. A vague story is told of a former prosperous
settlement of Christians at eṭ-Ṭîreh and of their massacre.

The road from Râm Allâh toward the northwest runs just under one of the
walls of the enclosure at Ṣalâ‛t eṭ-Ṭîreh, having that wall for its
left-hand boundary. After passing the walled grounds thus on the left a
little valley begins, branching off from the main path and running down
to the right. It is called the Khullet el-‛Adas and in the late winter
is well filled with varicolored anemones. On the right side of the
valley, up in the terraces, are tombs, five or six of which I have seen
and three of which I have measured. The first one is the farthest from
the path that runs down into the Khulleh, but it is not more than two
stones’-throw from the nearest corner of eṭ-Ṭîreh enclosure. About the
entrance to the tomb the rock has been scarped to a width of eight feet
two inches and to a height of five feet. There is the usual low entrance
to the tomb-chamber. In this case the doorway is about two feet high. It
is eighteen inches wide and is bordered with a cut facing five inches
wide. The inner chamber, ten feet wide and eight feet eight inches deep,
has five vaulted niches, one opposite the chamber entrance and two on
each side. Just within the chamber, at the right of the entrance, in the
corner, is a tiny niche, like those in a columbarium, probably for a
lamp. The second of these tombs is nearer the path, a little way down
the valley. Its door measurements are similar to those given for number
one, except that the width is one inch more. The inner chamber has but
three niches, each one with rounded top as before, but with a squared
facing at the entrance. The third tomb is yet nearer the path. The
facing, cut about the entrance to the chamber, is seven inches on each
side. The width of the entrance is eighteen inches. In the chamber, as
in those mentioned above, there are three vaulted niches, but they are
very high and considerably deeper than in tombs numbers one and two. The
remaining tombs mentioned are higher up the hillside and still farther
away. Numbers two and three of those described are easily seen from the
valley path.

The little village of ‛Ayn ‛Arîk, about an hour and a quarter
north-of-west of Râm Allâh, is occupied by a mixed population of Greek
Christians and Moslems. The situation is on the side of a very fertile
valley amply supplied with water. Pomegranate orchards in abundance,
gardens and a few olive, fig and lemon-trees make a running patch of
green for about a mile down the valley. Our first visit to the village
was on September 26 in 1901. We passed on the way the ruined village
called Kefr Shiyân or Kefr Shiyâl. Probably the older form is the one
with _l_, the later usage favoring the ending in _n_. This place is
mentioned by Dr. J. P. Peters in the _Journal of Biblical Literature_ as
a Byzantine ruin. Some of the ‛Ayn ‛Arîk people have sufficient
antiquarian interest to try to make out that this ruin represents
ancient Shiloh. One path to ‛Ayn ‛Arîk goes to the right of Kefr Shiyân
and keeps to the left of the venerable tree called Abu ‛Aynayn (father
of two fountains), which is perched on a hilltop. Another path to ‛Ayn
‛Arîk goes to the left of Kefr Shiyân, between that ruin and another
smaller ruin on an opposite hillside, the ruin of ‛Ayn Ṣôba. Down this
path we have seen camels, loaded with boxes of raisins from Râm Allâh,
making their way towards Jaffa via ‛Ayn ‛Arîk. The more usual route to
Jaffa, however, leaves the ‛Ayn Ṣôba ruin on the right instead of on the
left, as we do now in going on down to ‛Ayn ‛Arîk. Before reaching this
latter place we pass a spring with a reservoir to catch its overflow. It
is about fifteen minutes this side of the village, in the valley, near
the beginning of the olive-grove. The spring and place about are called
Umm el-Khuruḳ (the mother of rags). From here to the village the path
runs through olive orchards. The pomegranate orchards begin below the
village. The other springs which may be said to be at or near ‛Ayn ‛Arîk
are:

‛Ayn el-Jâmi‛ (The Spring of the Mosk), in the village;

‛Ayn Râs el-Bîr (The Spring, the Head of the Well), near the village;

‛Ayn esh-Shaykh (The Spring of the Shaykh), near the village;

‛Ayn eṭ-Ṭoreh, near the village;

‛Ayn el-‛Azâb, ten minutes away from the village;

‛Ayn el-‛Aṣfûr (The Spring of the Bird), fifteen minutes’ distance.

The people of ‛Ayn ‛Arîk are greatly favored with the natural conditions
of prosperity and ought to develop considerably. The most helpful
influence exerted in the village is that of the day-school for children
maintained as an out-station of the Râm Allâh Friends’ Mission and
taught by one of their trained native women.

From el-Bîreh to Baytîn (Bethel) the distance is about two miles. The
path leaves the carriage road a little north of the former village and
strikes off to the right through a small patch of boulders, stirrup
high, to a level stretch of ground that rises a little as one comes to
an interesting group of remains clustered about a spring, ‛Ayn
el-Kusa‛.[203] Some well-worn rock-cut steps lead up to a rock-platform
seven or eight feet above and alongside the bridle-path. The spring
starts from the hillside, a little distance away, the outlet being
artificially improved and a connection made with a system of trenches
and pan-shaped hollows cut in different places over the top of the rock
platform. Down by the path-side, under this platform, is a rock-cut
chamber or cave with two heavy supporting columns hewn from the rock.
The water system above is connected with it. All around the interior
walls and clustering at the foot of the columns are beautiful maidenhair
ferns growing out of the ooze in the bottom of the cave. A few yards
farther on is another smaller cavelike room or reservoir which was never
finished or connected with the spring and chamber above. Between these
two caves there is a connection by a sort of trough cut in the
wall-side. The intention may have been to connect the two caves as
catch-reservoirs with a lower cistern or pool. This latter is suggested
by a circular-shaped line of dressed stone in the very path. Many have
asked what it was, whether a former pool, the top of a cistern or a
shallow basin trough. The path must once have avoided it, though it now
stumbles over it. Below the path little gardens catch the drainings of
the spring.

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A few rods beyond this the bridle-path to Dayr Dîwân and Jericho
diverges to the right (east) from the main caravan road to Baytîn and
Nâblus. This main road continues to the ‛Ayn el-‛Aḳabeh (The Spring of
the Descent, or, of the Steep Place) and on up the steep path to the top
of the hill before Baytîn (Bethel). There are small gardens near the
spring and a few old tombs in the vicinity. The people of Baytîn are
Moslems. They are apt to be rude to small parties of foreigners. Though
few, about half as many as in el-Bîreh, they have a name among the
near-by villages for strength and fearlessness. In going into the
village one passes the cemetery and the large ancient pool. North of the
village is a field of large rocks that have never lacked notice since
the records of history began. Shortly beyond the big rocks, which lie in
the road to Nâblus, a branching path takes one towards eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, seen
at good advantage from this fork in the paths on a prominent hill a
little north of east. Due east from Baytîn is Burj Baytîn, five minutes
away, a picturesque ruin among some fig-trees.

From Burj Baytîn we may bear to the right to Dayr Dîwân, going through
the extensive fig-orchards of the latter or take a straighter road which
leads one by a very rocky hill Tell el-Ḥajar (right) and another (left)
that looks like a rampart of pebble with flattened top, called et-Tell
and identified by some with ancient Ai. West of Dayr Dîwân are a lot of
boulders with flat table tops that would be the delight of picnickers
desirous of a place to spread a cloth. The distinguishing thing about
the appearance of Dayr Dîwân is that the houses stand quite apart from
each other, one story high, each with its own little space about it. The
entrance to the village from the west is a little precarious for horses
because of the slippery rock surface that abounds. The people of the
place are Moslems. They are quiet folk. A while ago a Râm Allâh man
(Christian) kept a grocery shop in the village.

From Jifnâ to eṭ-Ṭayyibeh the way leads by Dûrah and through ‛Ayn
Yebrûd. Part of the route is low and hot, so that the natives have
dubbed it the Ghôr. Dûrah is a small, healthfully located Moslem
village. Its inhabitants have a good reputation for peaceful relations
with the Jifnâ Christians. The Dûrah people raise many vegetables. A
little beyond Dûrah the path goes by the sacred oak-trees, Umm Barakât.
Here one turns to the left (north),—in the distance are the brown cliffs
and cave holes of the Wâdy Khulleh; also the village of ‛Ayn Sînyâ,—then
up a steep hill path to ‛Ayn Yebrûd (a Moslem village) and past the
little mosk and more big ballûṭ (oak) trees to the Nâblus-Jerusalem
road.

From the south side of the village ‛Ayn Yebrûd, near its spring, there
is a way through the Wâdy ‛Arâḳ el-Kharûf (Valley of the Sheep Rocks)
which comes out on the Bîreh-Baytîn path just a little southwest of the
pillared cave mentioned on page 217. The end of the valley nearer ‛Ayn
Yebrûd has ancient tombs. The deepest part of the valley is bordered
with pinnacled cliffs. Where the way broadens out toward the south we
once saw a mile of dhurah (millet) under cultivation. Thence the path
leads over a little tableland to the road from el-Bîreh.

As we proceed easterly from ‛Ayn Yebrûd across the Nâblus road we go
through a very stony, sunken, basin-like piece of ground called
Wastîyeh, between the stones of which some rich soil seems to lie. The
path through here may be easily lost. There are some old cisterns along
the way. Into the big one north of the path they say that a murdered man
was once thrown, and so a fear has been cast over the neighborhood.
Beyond the Wastîyeh the road goes across the Wâdy Sha‛b el-Ḳassîs.
Thereafter one is soon at eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

The path from Dayr Dîwân to eṭ-Ṭayyibeh takes one out through the
northeast part of the former village and then in about ten minutes to
one of the sheerest descents attempted by a Palestinian bridle-path. It
zigzags down into a deep valley, faced by Wâdy el-‛Ayn, which leads up
towards eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, and is crossed (left to right) by the long wâdy
that comes down from the north of Baytîn and extends towards the Ghôr
(Jordan and Dead Sea region). Going up or down this steep hill one
usually prefers to walk, seeing to it that one’s animal takes no
unnecessary risks, for there are many little deviations from the plainer
path which a donkey may attempt but a horse had better leave untried.
The natives sometimes help a loaded donkey going down such paths as this
by holding on to the animal’s tail and allowing it to balance itself by
the help of the caudal tug. But beware of offering such help to
Palestine mules. I believe they could kick at any angle.

Once at the bottom of this hill one goes right on up the valley facing
northward, past the little spring, crossing the brook bed again and
again to keep the path. There is one corner where one had better walk if
on a horse which is afraid of smooth rock. Sometimes this part of the
valley is called Wâd eḍ-Ḍab‛a (the valley of the hyena). Half-way up the
valley there joins it on the left (west) another valley, with a path
which is the more usual one from Râm Allâh or Baytîn to eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, and
which may be used in returning. Just at the junction of these valleys we
saw once on the hillside four gazels together. On up the valley to its
head one goes under some sheer straight cliffs. Arrived at the head of
the valley, eṭ-Ṭayyibeh is at the right.

[Illustration: VINEYARDS AND STONE WATCH TOWERS]

[Illustration: PEASANT PLOWING]

The Christian village of eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, three hours northeast of Râm
Allâh, is perhaps a little less than half the size of Râm Allâh but
exhibits similar marks of advantage over its Moslem neighbors. The
village is on the back (east) of the central ridge of Palestine and its
lands slope, in consequence, towards the warm regions of the Ghôr. This
situation also tends to place it on the frontier between the hill
villages and the Bedawîn tribes. The people are a jaunty, fine-looking
set. The men wear the Bedawîn head-dress and, in general, the population
seems to combine some characteristics and manners of both the nomads and
villagers. Robinson visited eṭ-Ṭayyibeh in 1838. The population was then
between three and four hundred souls belonging to the Greek Orthodox
Church. It has probably increased fourfold since his day and the
allegiance of part of the people is now given to the Roman Catholic
faith. The English Church Mission holds Sunday services and maintains a
day-school for boys. The Râm Allâh Friends’ Mission sustains a
day-school for girls.

After Dr. Robinson’s visit to the village he met some of the inhabitants
with their wives and children and their priest down in the Ghôr near
Jericho, where they were gathering in the wheat-harvest on shares with
the inhabitants of the low country. The Ṭayyibeh people had sown the
crop as partners of the Jericho folk. The custom then mentioned
continues to this day. Every year large numbers of the villagers of
eṭ-Ṭayyibeh go down into the Ghôr and work the fertile lands on shares
with the lowlanders. Some of them even penetrate the east-Jordan country
and make similar arrangements with the nearer Bedawîn. I have in mind
one family from eṭ-Ṭayyibeh that goes on this business as far as ‛Ammân,
Jerash and es-Salṭ.

The views from eṭ-Ṭayyibeh are extensive. The east-Jordan hills confront
one there. On the south is the little Moslem hamlet Rammûn (Rimmon) and,
far away, Frank Mountain. A sweep of olive-trees to the southeast leads
the eye on down to the Dead Sea, which shines, when the air is clear,
like silver. Often a haze disguises it. Hard desert hills, hot and bare,
fall away to the east towards the Jordan.

The tendency to perch villages on hills had full effect in the placing
of eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, for it has one of the most picturesque of the many hill
sites. It is easily seen from the roads north of Jerusalem. In times of
country feuds an enemy would have to fight the entire village at once,
so compactly are the houses coned over the hilltop and so narrow are the
streets. The finest possible watch-tower is provided by the old castle
on the summit. The village has its cisterns within itself, where the
rain-water from the roofs is caught. Of course, whenever feasible,
spring-water is brought from a distance for drinking. The winds are
sometimes very strong in this region and in summer there is very little
defense against the beating rays of the sun.

Jifnâ (Gophna), about an hour and a half north of Râm Allâh, is a
Christian village of about six hundred people. The place is full of
evidences of ancient structures, old dressed stones, columns, rosettes
and carving. The locality is fertile and orchards and vineyards are
cultivated. The vinedressers here stake up the grape-vines, contrary to
the general fashion in Palestine. There are day-school privileges
provided by the Friends for girls, and by the English Church Mission for
boys.

The path from Râm Allâh to Jifnâ, goes near the wily _Shaykh Yûsuf_ and
past the little Moslem village of Ṣurdeh (Zereda), where there is a
large sacred tree. In the hill south of Shaykh Yûsuf, within a few feet
of the path through the olive-trees, is a large ancient tomb, the
vestibule being thirteen and a half feet wide by nine and three-quarters
deep and six feet high. The door leading from the back of the vestibule
into the tomb-chamber measures five feet six inches in width and, so far
as visible, measures five feet high. It is choked with earth. The view
of the valley filled with olive-trees as it falls toward the
Mediterranean is very pleasant.

The tiny Moslem village of ‛Ayn Sînyâ, is about a mile due north from
Jifnâ. It will be well served by the new carriage road, which sweeps
around here in one of the prettiest stretches on the route. Indeed, the
section from the hills above Jifnâ to ‛Ayn Sînyâ is one of the
pleasantest which the new Jerusalem-Nâblus road provides. The village of
‛Ayn Sînyâ is practically the property of an influential native official
in Jerusalem. It is said that his influence prevailed to have the
carriage road constructed this way, north from el-Bîreh, instead of by
the more usual tourist route via Bethel and ‛Ayn Yebrûd. There is
consolation in the thought that the ancient Bethel country is left to be
reached by the ancient paths and its modernizing may be delayed a
century more, so far as roads are concerned. ‛Ayn Sînyâ is a natural
garden spot. Mulberry and walnut-trees are plentiful about it. Its
natural advantages, reenforced by the government road, may now be more
fully developed than in the past.

In the country near Jifnâ and Bîr ez-Zayt are quite a number of old
tombs. One leaves Jifnâ on the right in going to Bîr ez-Zayt. The two
places are near, and in plain sight of each other. There is a small
community of Moslems in Bîr ez-Zayt, but most of its people are
Christians. The English Church Mission is represented by a good work, a
boarding-school for girls and a church whose congregation has a native
Protestant pastor. The ruins on top of a high hill to the west of the
modern village are supposed to be those of old Bîr ez-Zayt. The
olive-trees of the village are very fine and, what is more rare, pear
trees of considerable size, in the season so loaded with blossoms as to
look like huge bouquets, are to be seen north of the place.

Two hours and a half northwest of Bîr ez-Zayt is the little village of
‛Âbûd, with four hundred Christians and three hundred Moslems. The
English Church Mission sustains work there. The road thither passes the
tiny hamlet of Umm Ṣuffah, the houses of which seem to be made with a
core of tiny stones and cement, faced with larger stones. The ruin
Khurbet Jîbya is near by. The road then passes near Neby Ṣâliḥ, where it
enters the little Wâdy Rayyâ, following which one comes to the tombs of
Tibneh within forty minutes of ‛Âbûd.

Northwest of ‛Âbûd is a place called Muḳâṭ‛a, evidently an old quarry,
the working of which had disturbed a still older cemetery of rock-cut
tombs, some of them painted. The carving in some of these is elaborate.
One tomb, with a vestibule twenty-one and three-quarters feet wide and
ten feet deep is ornamented at the top with a grape cluster suspended
between two wreaths. Another vestibule twenty-six feet two inches wide
shows gate sockets on each side. This vestibule served two
tomb-chambers, one directly in front as one enters and the other in the
right wall. The entrance to the former has been crushed open, leaving a
large irregular hole. Within are nine full-sized _kokim_ with smaller,
shallow cuttings in the tier above them which looked like embryo kokim.
The right-hand tomb-chamber has three kokim on the left side and three
opposite the entrance, one of the latter having been broken or cut
through to the daylight, probably in the process of quarrying from the
other side. This smaller tomb shows a fresco in black and red and
perhaps yellow paint. The design is in large, diamond-shaped figures,
with a rope border over it. There are many scratchings on the walls.

-----

Footnote 1:

  Hosea 13: 3.

Footnote 2:

  1 Kings 17: 7; Job 6: 15, 17.

Footnote 3:

  Psalm 104: 10.

Footnote 4:

  1 Kings 18: 4; 19: 9, 13; Judges 6: 2.

Footnote 5:

  1 Sam. 13: 5, 6; 14: 11, 22.

Footnote 6:

  Judges 13–15.

Footnote 7:

  Isa. 35: 7; 41: 18; 42: 15.

Footnote 8:

  _Cf._ Joshua 15: 19.

Footnote 9:

  Song 4: 2; 6: 6.

Footnote 10:

  John 4: 6.

Footnote 11:

  _Cf._ Eccles. 2: 6.

Footnote 12:

  John 9: 7.

Footnote 13:

  2 Kings 20: 20.

Footnote 14:

  Gen. 8: 22.

Footnote 15:

  Song 2: 11.

Footnote 16:

  2 Sam. 23: 4.

Footnote 17:

  2 Sam. 23: 20.

Footnote 18:

  Matt. 24: 20; Mark 13: 18.

Footnote 19:

  _Cf._ 1 Kings 18: 43–45.

Footnote 20:

  _Cf._ Prov. 26: 1.

Footnote 21:

  _Cf._ Deut. 11: 14; Job 29: 23; Prov. 16: 15; Jer. 3: 3; 5: 24; Hosea
  6: 3; Joel 2: 23; Zech. 10: 1; James 5: 7.

Footnote 22:

  Amos 4: 7.

Footnote 23:

  _Cf._ Psalm 65: 9–13.

Footnote 24:

  Jer. 8: 20.

Footnote 25:

  Gen. 30: 14.

Footnote 26:

  Song 7: 13.

Footnote 27:

  Jer. 18: 17; Ezek. 17: 10; 19: 12; Hosea 13: 15; Jonah 4: 8.

Footnote 28:

  Prov. 25: 23.

Footnote 29:

  Psalm 129: 6.

Footnote 30:

  Isa. 32: 2.

Footnote 31:

  Song 2: 12.

Footnote 32:

  Song 2: 15.

Footnote 33:

  Matt. 5: 14.

Footnote 34:

  Isa. 5: 2.

Footnote 35:

  Num. 22: 24.

Footnote 36:

  Jer. 6: 16.

Footnote 37:

  Psalm 107: 4–7.

Footnote 38:

  Ezek. 34: 14.

Footnote 39:

  Isa. 33: 12.

Footnote 40:

  Jer. 4: 3; Hosea 10: 12.

Footnote 41:

  _Cf._ John 15.

Footnote 42:

  Isa. 5: 2.

Footnote 43:

  1 Sam. 30: 6; 1 Kings 12: 18; 2 Kings 3: 25; _cf._ Matt. 23: 37; John
  8: 59; 10: 31.

Footnote 44:

  _Cf._ Matt. 4: 5; 27: 53.

Footnote 45:

  1 Sam. 7: 5.

Footnote 46:

  1 Kings 6: 23, 31–33.

Footnote 47:

  Matt. 7: 19.

Footnote 48:

  Isa. 28: 4.

Footnote 49:

  _Cf._ Job 1: 1–3.

Footnote 50:

  2 Kings 9: 17.

Footnote 51:

  1 Sam. 16: 12; Song 5: 10.

Footnote 52:

  Matt. 26: 73.

Footnote 53:

  Deut. 14: 21; 15: 3; 23: 20; _cf._ Matt. 5: 44–46

Footnote 54:

  Psalm 127: 3–5.

Footnote 55:

  Gen. 24: 60.

Footnote 56:

  _Cf._ Deut. 21: 1–9.

Footnote 57:

  Gen. 24: 3–4; 28: 2; Num. 36: 8–11.

Footnote 58:

  Gen. 29: 26.

Footnote 59:

  Gen. 29: 34; 30: 20.

Footnote 60:

  _Cf._ Deut. 22: 23, 24.

Footnote 61:

  _Cf._ Gen. 24: 65.

Footnote 62:

  Matt. 9: 15.

Footnote 63:

  Isa. 61: 10; Jer. 2: 32.

Footnote 64:

  Gen. 29: 22.

Footnote 65:

  In the evening of the wedding-day when the bridegroom is allowed a
  glimpse of his wife’s face before he goes to join his friends in the
  merrymaking, he presses a gold coin on her forehead. It is his gift,
  and falls into her lap.

Footnote 66:

  The two songs on this page are from eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

Footnote 67:

  A fragrant herb.

Footnote 68:

  From eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

Footnote 69:

  From Râm Allâh.

Footnote 70:

  _Cf._ Judges 6: 11.

Footnote 71:

  From Râm Allâh.

Footnote 72:

  Means a woman who is a member of the tribe of Ḥadâd.

Footnote 73:

  From eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

Footnote 74:

  From eṭ-Ṭayyibeh.

Footnote 75:

  Gen. 15: 2.

Footnote 76:

  Psalm 131: 2.

Footnote 77:

  Zech. 8: 5.

Footnote 78:

  _Cf._ Deut. 22: 8.

Footnote 79:

  _Cf._ Ex. 20: 12.

Footnote 80:

  _Cf._ Luke 1: 61; 2 Sam. 2: 12, etc.

Footnote 81:

  Ruth 1: 20.

Footnote 82:

  _Cf._ Ish-bosheth.

Footnote 83:

  John 5: 8, 9.

Footnote 84:

  _Cf._ Arabic Bible, Matt. 14: 8.

Footnote 85:

  Matt. 13: 33.

Footnote 86:

  Matt. 6: 30.

Footnote 87:

  Gen. 25: 34.

Footnote 88:

  1 Sam. 30: 12.

Footnote 89:

  Judges 4: 19; 5: 25.

Footnote 90:

  Matt. 4: 18.

Footnote 91:

  Matt. 3: 4.

Footnote 92:

  Josh. 5: 11; Ruth 2: 14.

Footnote 93:

  _Cf._ 2 Kings 4: 39.

Footnote 94:

  Luke 15: 16.

Footnote 95:

  _Cf._ Matt. 26: 23.

Footnote 96:

  Gen. 38: 18.

Footnote 97:

  _Cf._ Luke 10: 40.

Footnote 98:

  Matt. 24: 41.

Footnote 99:

  Job 2: 11.

Footnote 100:

  2 Kings 20: 7.

Footnote 101:

  Matt. 8: 14.

Footnote 102:

  2 Kings 4: 19.

Footnote 103:

  _Cf._ 1 Sam. 21: 12–15; Matt. 8: 28. There is now a Hebrew asylum for
  the treatment of the insane patients of that race in Jerusalem called
  _‛Ezraih Nashim_. It is supported by the Woman’s Aid Society. See
  description of it by the American consul at Jerusalem, Dr. Selah
  Merrill, in _The Christian Herald_, New York, January 10, 1906.

Footnote 104:

  1 Sam. 19: 24.

Footnote 105:

  Job 21: 32.

Footnote 106:

  _Cf._ Time: Gen. 50: 3; Num. 20: 29. Manner: Deut. 14: 1; 2 Sam. 3:
  31; 12: 16; 18: 33; Eccles. 12: 5; Jer. 6: 26; 9: 17; 22: 18.

Footnote 107:

  Matt. 23: 27.

Footnote 108:

  Deut. 12: 2.

Footnote 109:

  2 Chr. 20: 7; Isa. 41: 8; Jas. 2: 23.

Footnote 110:

  _Cf._ Matt. 3: 9; John 8: 39.

Footnote 111:

  2 Sam. 18: 17.

Footnote 112:

  1 Sam. 1: 10, 11.

Footnote 113:

  Eccles. 7: 17; Job 4: 7; _cf._ Psalm 55: 23; Psalm 91.

Footnote 114:

  _Cf._ Psalm 55: 17.

Footnote 115:

  _Cf._ Matt. 6: 5.

Footnote 116:

  _Cf._ Deut. 34: 6.

Footnote 117:

  2 Sam. 6: 14.

Footnote 118:

  _Cf._ 1 Kings 18: 28.

Footnote 119:

  _Cf._ Mark 5: 27; Acts 5: 15; 19: 12.

Footnote 120:

  _Cf._ Deut. 4: 19.

Footnote 121:

  _Cf._ John 12: 13.

Footnote 122:

  John 13: 5.

Footnote 123:

  2 Kings 17: 24-41; John 4: 9, 12, 20.

Footnote 124:

  John 4: 6.

Footnote 125:

  Josh. 4: 3–5, 20.

Footnote 126:

  _Cf._ Job 1: 1–3, etc.

Footnote 127:

  Josh. 21: 12.

Footnote 128:

  Deut. 27: 17.

Footnote 129:

  _Cf._ Jer. 4: 3; Hosea 10: 12.

Footnote 130:

  _Cf._ Psalm 63: 1.

Footnote 131:

  _Cf._ Isa. 28: 24, 25.

Footnote 132:

  Job 1: 14.

Footnote 133:

  Matt. 13: 3.

Footnote 134:

  Deut. 23: 25; _cf._ Matt. 12: 1.

Footnote 135:

  Gen. 24: 25.

Footnote 136:

  Matt. 13: 25–30.

Footnote 137:

  Psalm 126: 5, 6; Isa. 9: 3.

Footnote 138:

  Ruth 2: 8, 9.

Footnote 139:

  Ruth 1: 22; 2: 23; 2 Sam. 21: 9.

Footnote 140:

  Mark 4: 29.

Footnote 141:

  _Cf._ Micah 4: 12.

Footnote 142:

  Joel 2: 24.

Footnote 143:

  1 Sam. 23: 1.

Footnote 144:

  _Cf._ Hosea 10: 11; _cf._ Micah 4: 13.

Footnote 145:

  _Cf._ Isa. 41: 15.

Footnote 146:

  Deut. 22: 10.

Footnote 147:

  Deut. 25: 4.

Footnote 148:

  Psalm 1: 4.

Footnote 149:

  Amos 9: 9.

Footnote 150:

  _Cf._ Isa. 5: 6.

Footnote 151:

  Isa. 5: 2; Matt. 21: 33.

Footnote 152:

  Deut. 24: 20.

Footnote 153:

  _Cf._ Isa. 5: 5.

Footnote 154:

  Matt. 25: 32.

Footnote 155:

  Isa. 40: 11.

Footnote 156:

  Psalm 23: 2.

Footnote 157:

  _Cf._ 1 Sam. 17: 28.

Footnote 158:

  Judges 5: 16.

Footnote 159:

  1 Sam. 17: 40.

Footnote 160:

  _Cf._ 1 Kings 21: 3.

Footnote 161:

  Deut. 8: 8.

Footnote 162:

  Gen. 23: 11, 15.

Footnote 163:

  _Cf._ Job 9: 33; also Gal. 3: 19; 1 Tim. 2: 5; Heb. 8: 6; 9: 15; 12:
  24.

Footnote 164:

  Isa. 33: 12.

Footnote 165:

  _Cf._ 2 Sam. 2: 29.

Footnote 166:

  _Cf._ Matt. 13: 44.

Footnote 167:

  Described in P. E. F. Quarterly, October, 1904, page 382.

Footnote 168:

  _Cf._ 1 Kings 20: 32, etc.

Footnote 169:

  Prov. 18: 23.

Footnote 170:

  Matt. 22: 3, 4.

Footnote 171:

  Judges 19: 5–8.

Footnote 172:

  _Cf._ 1 Sam. 25: 35.

Footnote 173:

  Matt. 23: 7.

Footnote 174:

  Gen. 43: 23; Luke 24: 36.

Footnote 175:

  Matt. 5: 47.

Footnote 176:

  _Cf._ Ruth 2: 10.

Footnote 177:

  See page 56.

Footnote 178:

  See page 184.

Footnote 179:

  See page 186.

Footnote 180:

  Gen. 27: 5; 1 Sam. 26: 20; Prov. 12: 27.

Footnote 181:

  Gen. 9: 6; Num. 35: 21; Deut. 19: 21; 2 Sam. 3: 27; _cf._ Matt. 5: 38,
  39; 27: 25.

Footnote 182:

  2 Kings 18: 26.

Footnote 183:

  _Cf._ John 12: 36; 1 Sam. 2: 12, A. V.

Footnote 184:

  “Tales told in Palestine,” Hanauer and Mitchell, Cincinnati, 1904,
  Jennings & Graham.

Footnote 185:

  Prov. 26: 2.

Footnote 186:

  Num. 22: 6.

Footnote 187:

  1 Sam. 17: 43.

Footnote 188:

  Job 3: 1.

Footnote 189:

  Prov. 15: 27; Isa. 5: 23; Amos 5: 12.

Footnote 190:

  Neh. 5: 15.

Footnote 191:

  _Cf._ Hab. 1: 13; Mark 12: 40.

Footnote 192:

  Isa. 50: 2; 59: 1.

Footnote 193:

  Prov. 13: 3; 21: 23.

Footnote 194:

  _Cf._ Prov. 15: 17.

Footnote 195:

  _Cf._ Prov. 21: 19.

Footnote 196:

  _Cf._ Prov. 11: 22.

Footnote 197:

  _Cf._ Prov. 25: 16.

Footnote 198:

  In the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly for July, 1906, page 163,
  Dr. E. W. G. Masterman, of Jerusalem, writes of unusual weather in May
  preceding. Speaking of a severe hail-storm in Urṭâs and Bethlehem, he
  quotes the local report among the peasantry which was that “each
  hailstone was the size of a pigeon’s egg and had St. George’s image
  pictured on it.”

Footnote 199:

  Compare with the exclamation of this Christian, the Moslem attribution
  of uniqueness to God in the well-known formula.

Footnote 200:

  See page 115.

Footnote 201:

  טירה, see preface to Arabic and English Name List in Palestine
  Exploration Fund Memoirs.

Footnote 202:

  Matt. 13: 44.

Footnote 203:

  See page 17.



                               CHAPTER XI
                   THE VILLAGE AND THE OUTSIDE WORLD


As one becomes acquainted with Palestine life to-day one is impressed
with the submissive attitude of the villagers towards the city dwellers,
especially towards the Moslem official class, _the effendîyeh_. But we
are assured by those within whose lifetime the period falls, that half a
century or more ago things were not so well ordered as now. For some
years before that time, according to veracious writers, there was a
state of internal turbulence in which the fellaḥîn were often in the
ascendency and the city people glad to treat with them. In those days
the walls of Jerusalem were of practical use in resisting the power of
the country folk. Two great parties divided the allegiance of the
villages. They were called Yemen and Ḳays. Headed by shaykhs and aided
by Bedawîn, these partisan villages waged feuds and rendered commerce
and travel precarious or impossible. Abu Ghôsh and his sons from their
vantage of Ḳuryet el-‛Anab held much of the country in terror of his
raids.[204] He levied toll on travelers and was too powerful to be
curbed by the government, such as it was, at Jerusalem. ‛Abd er-Raḥman
and other shaykhs held certain districts. The troops were few and the
Turkish hold on the country weak. The province came near to a condition
of anarchy. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.[205] To
this day any intelligent peasant will tell the inquirer which of the
villages are of the Yemeny and which of the Ḳaysy party. The lines of
division are still plain though the feuds are dormant. The Turkish
government has strengthened its position in the interior affairs of
Palestine steadily for forty or fifty years back. To-day there is not a
murmur that avails nor the disposition to antagonize the centralizing
authority of the ruler. Even the east-Jordan country appears to be
growing tame. Within a few years a firmer hold on the village situation
has been taken by the establishment of extra mudîr-ships, so that
instead of governing the village districts from Jerusalem and other
large centers by a squad of soldiers sent out occasionally to do police
duty or to bring in taxes, now a local official called a mudîr is placed
in the most important village of a small district. He is a subordinate
of the governor, _muteṣarrif_, of Jerusalem. By the appointment of such
as he a closer observation and administration are secured. At Râm Allâh
in 1903 a mudîr was appointed to have charge in that and a score of
other villages in a district thereabouts. Jerusalem is still the head of
those villages, but a compacter administration is effected.

-----

-----

To the country peasant the chief functions of the government seem to be
those of restriction and oppression. The fear of imprisonment, fines and
confiscations keeps the peasants down. The imprisonment of a peasant
leaves no taint of dishonor, having as purely unfortunate an aspect as
confinement in a hospital. There is no such thing as successful
complaint unless it can assume such influence as would procure the
removal of the official involved. The peasants look suspiciously on
every movement of every officer, refusing to believe that any government
representative can have good intentions or do worthy actions. Government
provisions or improvements are looked upon as gloves for the hand that
is stretched out for more of the means of the villager. The taxes are
farmed out to tax-collectors whose approach is dreaded extremely.[206]
Every dozen years or so a new schedule of valuation is made by the
assessors, who travel about the country revaluing businesses and
properties. Their progress from village to village is the signal for
feasting, treating and bribing. The cost of the many attempts to
persuade these assessors to reduce valuations or readjust them in favor
of the briber must be considerable. There is a possibility that all such
attempts may be defeated by the revision of the entire list at
headquarters. The visits of the soldiers to a village are always
occasions of dread, and much relief is felt when they leave. On the
frontiers and in out-of-the-way places, where the task of the government
is less easy, a more conciliatory spirit is shown. In the Ghôr, for
instance, the tax may be paid in kind, and this always makes it easier
than the practise into which the collectors have fallen with the
villages. They drop in upon the villagers at odd times through the year,
long after the crop is out of the way, and demand money payment in cash.
This helps to make the fortunes of the local money lenders, but it
causes a double damage to the peasants, who are forced to sacrifice
their stores for low prices in ready money, or to mortgage their crop
expectations for the coming season.[207] At Bîr es-Seba‛ and all such
places where the government is seeking to strengthen its hold upon a
district, the early steps are taken courteously and softly and the later
with a nailed heel. At points east of the Jordan, where the problem of
every government that ever sought to control the country has been to
withstand, and finally to render impossible, the raids of the desert
tribes of nomads, the present government is slowly reclaiming the
country to authority. In some places colonies of Circassians have been
introduced as buffers on the frontiers.

-----

-----

The tendency among the villagers is to settle their disputes so far as
possible without resort to the government. If quarreling arises and the
government gets information of it, soldiers are sent out to investigate
and compel order, and incidentally to secure as much money as possible.
To avoid these dreaded quarterings of soldiers on themselves, and to
escape the money-making ingenuity of city officials, who seem to welcome
quarrels and litigation for the profit ensuing, the disagreements and
even bitterer issues may be submitted to councils of neighbors.
Sometimes eight or ten men from a village will be asked to act as
arbitrators in the quarrel of another village. We know of one such case
where a quarrel of some years’ standing was settled by the assistance of
men from another village. The case had been complicated by the heavy
claim for damages put in by a man whose finger had been shot off by his
enemy. Very often, even after the government has apparently settled a
case, the parties concerned will come to an additional settlement,
through their representatives and friends, to wipe out all old scores
and the sense of personal resentment. Sheep, rice, semen, garments and
such country articles are used as presents back and forth until
good-will and satisfaction seem established by mutual consent.

The attitude of the local government to the people may be gathered from
the following incident. A Râm Allâh man, going back to his village from
Jerusalem, was entrusted by a friend in the city with the sum of four
napoleons, partly in gold and partly in change, to be taken to Râm
Allâh. The man put the money in a handkerchief, knotted it up and tucked
it into the bosom of his dress. It slipped out and fell to the ground
without his knowledge. A woman from Silwân picked it up, but was noticed
by a Jew, who demanded it, asserting that it was his. Then a third, who
was passing, put in a claim for the money. An officer coming upon the
party, seized the handkerchief with the money, saying that he would have
the public crier announce the find. The man who had lost the money did
not notice his loss until the afternoon. He went to the Serâi to claim
it. He described the handkerchief, the gold pieces and the small change,
but the officer denied the accuracy of the description. The man begged
to be allowed to see the find, declaring that if everything did not
agree with the description already offered the money was not his. The
officer, thus pressed, said, “Look here, no money goes out of the Serâi
when it once gets in,” and turned the peasant away. The loser made an
outcry and sought the help of one of his village’s shaykhs who happened
to be in the city. The poor have very scanty legal resources, but they
have an almost preternatural persistence and a genius for making
themselves disagreeable. Witnesses of the finding were brought and other
measures taken, despite repeated rebuffs. Finally the officer of the
Serâi acknowledged having the man’s money and gave him a receipt for
four napoleons which could be presented in lieu of payment of future
taxes to that amount. Further satisfaction it was impossible to obtain.

Those who ought to know claim that the body of Turkish law is excellent
and that impartial administration of it would be all that could be
asked. But administration is lamed by the refusal of the courts to
recognize in any practical way the testimony of those who are not
Moslems and, among the Moslems, of those who are not rich. The court
performs merely a formal function, the cases being determined in most
illegal ways. No case is taken to court when there is any possible way
of keeping it out and settling it. If a case must come up in court one
seeks out among the influential official class of the city the most
powerful help he can afford to pay for and forestalls his opponent, if
possible, the court being a mere incident in the problem. Does a
squabble take place in a village and is some one injured with an
ever-ready stone? The families of the participants would fain patch up
the matter themselves, but they know very well that the news will soon
reach the city and that soldiers will be sent out to investigate. The
result will be arrests and heavy fines all around. To anticipate this,
representatives of either side may be seen hastening along the road to
Jerusalem. The first one in tells his story and buys up friends among
the officials. The most money counts, but the officials take care that
each side of the matter is made profitable to themselves. The case may
drag on for months, scores of dollars being reaped by the officials, who
may then consent to an amicable agreement among the principals. And yet,
the fear of such pecuniary consequences acts as a restraining influence
in many villages in which there is not a single official representative
of the government. Such villages are controlled through an abundance of
talebearing. On the other hand, who can blame an underpaid class of
influentials for welcoming lucrative disturbances? Those who hold office
have to pay largely for the privilege, and the salary being merely
nominal, they have to reimburse themselves and live in the only way that
Turkish practise encourages.

The officials in charge of the important posts are usually sent from
Constantinople and are not generally citizens of Palestine.

The levies of troops are sent for service to parts of the empire distant
from their homes, so that the local soldiery in Palestine has little in
common with the people.

One will be pained to miss the spirit of public weal, the commiseration
of the unfortunate or the willingness to undertake enterprises that
would be for the general good. Absolutism means individualism only
relieved by the wonderful tie of kinship and family among the common
people.

There is a local Turkish postal service, with offices at all the large
centers and in some of the inland villages of importance. Mail destined
to points without the empire must bear postage stamps of a different
issue from those affixed to domestic matter. The readiest way to
distinguish these two issues is to notice that the stamps allowed to go
out of the country are provided with the emblem of the crescent at each
of the upper corners, while the stamps restricted to domestic use have
but one crescent at the top, and that in the middle of the top line.

[Illustration: PRIMITIVE RUG WEAVING (BEDAWIN)]

[Illustration: STRAW MAT AND BASKET MAKING: JIFNA WOMAN]

Besides the Turkish postal facilities there are also, by special rights
of extraterritoriality, offices and services by the posts of other
countries. At Jerusalem and Jaffa there are Austrian, French, German and
Russian post-offices. The Germans have one at Ramleh also. The telegraph
service is in charge of the government and connects a number of towns
east and west of the Jordan with each other and the outside world. The
service is reasonable in price, but precarious in results. I once
telegraphed from Beirut to Jerusalem and asked the operator if the
message would reach its destination by noon, then several hours away,
and was answered, “If God wills.” During the unquiet times in Beirut in
the summer of 1903 some one in Jerusalem, anxious concerning friends in
the disturbed city, essayed to send the simple inquiry, “Are you well?”
but the message was refused at the office. No reference, inquiry or
information is ever allowed, officially, concerning any troubles in any
part of the empire. Nevertheless, news has a remarkable way of sifting
into the country and passing from lip to lip very rapidly. When the
Ottoman Bank was dynamited in Salonîka the news quickly reached the
ports on the Syrian coasts and went as a rumor all through the country.
For some reason or other, messages by telegraph and cable for European
and American destinations, and messages from those places, often take
three or four days in transmission, and sometimes longer, if, indeed,
they “come through” at all.

Travel to and from Palestine is often impeded by the imposition of
quarantines against certain ports. Very much of the time a quarantine of
from five to ten days is ordered against vessels from Egyptian ports,
and sometimes from other directions. The excuse for the discrimination
against Egypt is usually the bubonic plague, sometimes cholera. All
vessels from Egypt must proceed to Beirut, or some other port provided
with a quarantine station, and pass the required time. If, in returning
to Jaffa after the quarantine, severe storms should hinder a landing,
and the vessel should proceed southward to touch an Egyptian port again,
the quarantine would again be enforced on the ship and passengers, and
the same procedure as before be necessary. Passengers have thus been
carried by Jaffa more times than once and greatly hampered, even though
they had joined the ship at Beirut only, with Jaffa as their
destination. These inconveniences are overshadowed by the crippling
effect on trade and travel when a state of panic has resulted in the
enforcement of quarantine back and forth between different ports, and
even different towns and villages within the country itself.

The coastwise traffic is carried on by means of several lines of
steamships: the Khedevieh Line, under English control; the Russian, the
Austrian Lloyd, the French, “Messageries,” and sometimes the German
Lloyd. Some of these touch at Haifa as well as at Jaffa and Beirut.
There is a little coasting steamboat that plies between Haifa and
Beirut, touching at Acre, Tyre and Sidon. This is called the Jolly Boat,
but unless one is an extraordinarily good sailor I should advise him not
to be beguiled by that name. On the other lines mentioned there are
generally three classes of passage tickets. The deck passage is taken by
many Orientals, who travel with ample equipment of bedding, food and
bottle-pipes, and camp out on the decks day and night. Much of their
time is spent in the routine of family duties and religious observances.
The rest is devoted to music, stories and games. Mohammedans, Jews,
Greeks, Copts, Abyssinians and Armenians are seen at their devotions.
Their object may be trade, migration, military service or a religious
mission. Many are pilgrims, saving long and tedious land travel by the
swifter, safer and healthier journey on sea.

The railway service actually working in Syria consists of the line
between Jaffa and Jerusalem, the service between Beirut and Damascus,
the extension from Reyâḳ on the Damascus line through Ba‛albek, and the
line from Damascus southward to Mezayrîb and the east-Jordan country,
destined ultimately to reach Mekka. A line from Haifa to connect with
this latter line is under way. Two classes of passage are provided. The
cars generally have compartments, though some, as the second class on
the Jaffa-Jerusalem line, have one-room cars with seats running along
both sides and a bench through the middle. Even in the second-class cars
a separate section is often provided for the use of women. This section
is known as the _ḥarîm_. In the seclusion of the ḥarîm apartment the
women may put off their veils and have the freedom of the place. When
the conductor comes for the tickets he raps sharply on the door of the
ḥarîm to give the women warning. After sufficient time has been allowed
them for veiling their faces the conductor may step inside if necessary
for the collection of fares. The word _ḥarîm_ signifies any place
reserved for the exclusive use of women. It may be in a dwelling, a mosk
or a railway-train, or it may apply to the group of women sitting under
a tree or on the roadside or in the cemetery. This term, generally
spelled _harem_ in English, has no polygamous connotation in itself
whatever. A man’s wife, mother, sisters and daughters, as we should say
collectively, _the women of the family_, are denoted by the analogous
expression ḥarîm.

The great majority of travelers go afoot or astride the backs of
animals. Pilgrimage opens connection with the outside world and makes
the road travel take on a cosmopolitan look. The largest contingent of
foreign pilgrims is that from Russia, made up of peasants, who number
sometimes as high as ten thousand in one season. These are, of course,
members of the Greek Orthodox Church. They are assisted by a pilgrimage
society in Russia and by a system of escort and hospices within the
country of Palestine. Montenegrin kawasses (cavasses) and other officers
guide the parties. Arrived at Jaffa by Russian steamships, they
undertake long marches afoot and show every sign of religious ecstasy at
beholding the land of their desire. A few asses are provided for the
infirm. Young people, particularly very young women, are not usually
allowed to come. The pilgrims are for the most part middle-aged or old
peasants. They live very humbly and visit the holy places with great
zeal. They often march through the country singing, picking flowers and
decorating with them their pilgrim staffs. The observance of Easter at
the shrine in Jerusalem is the climax of such a pilgrim’s errand, but
additional journeys of devotion are undertaken to Nazareth, Bethlehem;
also the Jordan, where the pilgrims bathe in the waters. At the Church
of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem all the traditions are observed and
many objects of piety, as they are called, pictures, crosses and
souvenirs of the Holy City, are purchased to be taken back to Russia.
Some of these are carried within the tomb and laid on the venerated
slab, where, for a few cents, an attendant of the church sprinkles the
articles with holy water, thus giving them a permanent value as sacred
treasures.

These Russian pilgrims often suffer severely when caught on the road in
raw, inclement weather. Such as die in the land are counted as favored,
especially if they die at Jerusalem. They thus secure burial near its
sacred shrines. A large caravanserâi is provided at Jerusalem, where
they set up housekeeping while in the city. On the road, hospices and
the Greek churches are open to them. One’s general impression is that
they are well protected. They usually change their money into metliks,
small Turkish coins valued at a little over a cent. In Jerusalem a
number of shops cater especially for their trade. These are arranged in
the sides of the street leading to the gates of the Russian Compound,
within which the lodging quarters, a fine church and the administration
buildings are found. They are thus enabled to hear their own language
and buy tea, bread and other articles of food somewhat familiar to them.

The pilgrim business brings Russian interests to the notice of the
country people. The result has generally been a favorable attitude on
the part of Palestinians towards Russians. This has been helped by a
generous expenditure of money for courtesies as well as in the purchase
of land and the construction of buildings. Churches, schools and
hospices have been erected and much land has been transferred to the
Russian agents.

Other pilgrim parties arrive from different countries of Europe. The
Roman Catholics from France and Austria are most numerous after the
Russians. For a quarter of a century past, a large French party of
tourist pilgrims has been made up each year to start from Marseilles and
make the Palestine visit. The round trip costs about two hundred fifty
dollars. We saw the party in May, 1901, when it numbered one hundred
ninety-four. They entered the country at Haifa, drove by carriage to
Nazareth and to the Sea of Galilee. Thence they rode to the top of Mount
Tabor, where there is a Roman Catholic as well as a Greek monastery, and
so on down through the country via Dôtân (Dothan), Samaria, Shechem,
etc., to Jerusalem. The Franciscan monasteries and the hospices of other
foundations give ample accommodations. The Armenians, Copts and
Abyssinians, also, as well as the Greeks other than Russians, make ample
provision for the entertainment of the religious pilgrims. Whenever the
rightful claimants on the hospitality of these various houses do not
take all the accommodations, any foreign traveler may find shelter and
assistance at them. In some cases letters of introduction from the
Jerusalem patriarchates are required, but these are not difficult to
secure. The German hotels in the country are excellent providers for the
wants of tourists.

The companies of tourists, if they are to be distinguished from the
pilgrim parties, are generally made up of Americans, English and
Germans, the first mentioned being the more numerous. Tourists go in
parties under the care of a director and his corps of assistants, or
sometimes singly or in very small parties with a native guide. Sometimes
the travelers depend on the shelter of hotels, monasteries and native
houses by the way; sometimes they take a complete outfit for a tenting
party. Horses are provided for the travelers, and mules for carrying
baggage and equipment. Supplies are usually purchased at such
starting-points as Jerusalem, Damascus, Beirut and Haifa. The peasants
along the route are on the alert to sell services or beg favors.

For any extensive travel through the country an official certificate is
required. Foreigners and natives must have these official papers, called
_teskerehs_, which describe the bearer’s person, residence and
destination. They must be produced, when required, and at the
destination must be stamped as a sort of permit for the return journey.
Without this authorization delays are apt to occur and fines may be
imposed before the defect can be remedied.

The Turkish coinage alone is sure of general acceptability in the back
districts.

The different posts register parcels and sell money-orders at very
reasonable rates. For sending small sums to and from the country the
money-orders on the Austrian, French or German post-offices have proved
the safest and cheapest way. There are forwarders whose business it is
to assist in the passage of goods through the ports, and to see to
customs, freights and insurance on the same. Mr. K. U. L. Breisch and
the Messrs. Singer, of Jaffa and Jerusalem, do a great deal of this
business for Europeans and Americans. Baggage should always be in
trunks; never, if it is avoidable, cased up in boxes, as it is then very
difficult to explain to the officials the difference between personal
effects and merchandise. Most of the leading tourist agents, forwarders
and dragomans have an understanding by which trunks are passed through
the customs without opening, on payment of a small fee, especially if a
considerable number of people are traveling together.

The Credit Lyonnaise and the Deutsche Palestina Bank are very much used
by foreigners. Drafts on London and letters of credit are in constant
use.

The consulates are retreats of great comfort in Asiatic Turkey. The
complaints that are so often heard against such service in other
countries are changed to praise in Syria. One may expect intelligence
and consideration on the part of the official of one’s own race and
tongue, but one should not make unreasonable demands upon even a
countryman. The United States of America and Great Britain are nobly
represented by men who understand both the Western and Eastern points of
view.

One traveling in the country and getting at all familiar with the people
will be sought pretty surely by persons who wish to be helped to
emigrate to America or some other Western country. The first impulse
will be the generous one to assist such in their ambitions. But on
second thought one will often reflect that it would be a doubtful
kindness. The Syrian peasant, especially the Christian, who is most apt
to wish to go, is surrounded by family interests and a respect that he
could seldom, if ever, enjoy anywhere else. If he emigrates he usually
goes alone and has chiefly in mind the earning of money. While in
America he acquires little culture, being a sort of exile here,
endeavoring to make and save money to take him back to live comfortably
where he was born, or immersing himself for life in one of the foreign
colonies of our great cities. A visit to the Syrian colonies in the
American cities will convince many that the Syrian there is less
attractive than in his proper and unique setting in the Holy Land. That
land is to be redeemed by the vigor of its own people, not by their
absence. One will notice that many of the would-be emigrants are of the
best stock of Syria, very often skilful, wide-awake people, who are very
valuable at home in the development of the country and among their
families, but are of negligible quality and importance in another
country, where foreigners are at a discount. I have in mind a strong,
capable young man whose desire for emigration to America has been very
earnest. He gave up a good position and made ready to start, but his
wife interposed firmly. She said that she had been widowed once, having
lost her first husband. According to the custom of the country, when she
married again her children by the first husband had to be separated from
her. She objected to losing her second husband and being left with his
children, helpless to provide for them except by giving them up. So she
said that if her husband would take their children along with him she
would submit, but she objected to his going off on a venture of so
uncertain issue and leaving his family in such a precarious condition.
She prevailed, and the man remained, being fortunate enough to secure
his old position. He is a respected, capable young man of large and fond
family connections. His wife is industrious and skilful, his children
young, healthy and favored. He has the advantage of being a somebody in
his village and tribe and of setting an excellent example. Anywhere else
he would be cut off from all his advantages and introduced to an
appalling list of disadvantages and limitations. He would be homesick,
for he loves his family. Money alone would explain his absence from
them, and that would not be a sufficient cause for the unnatural
condition which would be brought about. It is these good people whom
their country cannot spare and whom no Western country especially needs
who are most apt to have the emigration fever. Those who do not come up
to this high standard are of questionable value anywhere.



                                APPENDIX

                              THE CALENDAR

In 1904, January 1, according to our Gregorian calendar, came on Friday.
The Julian calendar, the one used by the Greek Orthodox Church, made
this same day the nineteenth of December. According to the Moslem
calendar it was the thirteenth day of the month Shawwâl, and by the
Hebrew calendar, as it is read in Arabic by the Jews in Palestine, it
was the thirteenth day of the month Ṭebet. For the year 1904 the
correspondences of the four calendars were as given on the next page.

The following list shows the names of the months, as used by the native
Arabic-speaking Christians (first column), by the Moslems (second
column), and by the Jews (third column):

     Kânûn ith-thâny      Shawwâl              Ṭebet
     Shibâṭ               Dhû il-ḳa‛dat        Shabâṭ
     Âdhâr                Dhû il-ḥajjat        Âdâr
     Nîsân                Muḥarram             Nîsân
     Âyyâr                Ṣafar                Âyyâr
     Ḥazîrân              Rabî‛a il-âwwal      Sîwân
     Tammûz               Rabî‛a il-âkhir      Tammûz
     Âb                   Jumâdâ il-ûlâ        Âb
     Aylûl                Jumâdâ il-âkhirat    Aylûl
     Tishrîn il-âwwal     Rajab                Tishry
     Tishrîn ith-thâny    Sha‛bân              Ḥishwân
     Kânûn il-âwwal       Ramaḍân              Kislû

The Oriental churches use the Julian calendar, while Protestants and
Roman Catholics use the Gregorian. The Moslem year is a lunar year. Thus
it can be understood readily that the variety of designations for any
given day is considerable. Moreover, the Copts and the Armenians have
methods peculiar to themselves.

                            GREGORIAN            JULIAN

          January    1 Kânûn ith-thâny   1 Kânûn il-âwwal   19

                    14                  14 Kânûn ith-thâny   1

                    18                  18                   5

          February   1 Shibâṭ            1                  19

                    14                  14 Shibâṭ            1

                    17                  17                   4

          March      1 Âdhâr             1                  17

                    14                  14 Âdhâr             1

                    17                  17                   4

                    18                  18                   5

          April      1 Nîsân             1                  19

                    14                  14 Nîsân             1

                    16                  16                   3

                    17                  17                   4

          May        1 Âyyâr             1                  18

                    14                  14 Âyyâr             1

                    15                  15                   2

                    16                  16                   3

          June       1 Ḥazîrân           1                  19

                    14                  14 Ḥazîrân           1

                    15                  15                   2

          July       1 Tammûs            1                  18

                    13                  13                  30

                    14                  14 Tammûs            1

          August     1 Âb                1                  19

                    12                  12                  30

                    13                  13                  31

                    14                  14 Âb                1

          September   1 Aylûl             1                  19

                    10                  10                  28

                    11                  11                  29

                    14                  14 Aylûl             1

          October    1 Tishrîn           1                  18
                       il-âwwal

                    10                  10                  27

                    11                  11                  28

                    14                  14 Tishrîn           1
                                           il-âwwal

          November   1 Tishrîn           1                  19
                       ith-thâny

                     9                   9                  27

                    14                  14 Tishrîn           1
                                           ith-thâny

          December   1 Kânûn il-âwwal    1                  18

                     9                   9                  26

                    14                  14 Kânûn il-âwwal    1

                             MOSLEM              HEBREW

          January    1 Shawwâl          13 Ṭebet            13

                    14                  26                  26

                    18 Dhû il-ḳa‛dat     1 Shabâṭ            1

          February   1                  15                  15

                    14                  28                  28

                    17 Dhû il-ḥajjat     1 Âdâr              1

          March      1                  14                  14

                    14                  27                  27

                    17                  30 Nîsân             1

                    18 Muḥarram          1                   2

          April      1                  15                  16

                    14                  28                  29

                    16                  30 Âyyâr             1

                    17 Ṣafar             1                   2

          May        1                  15                  16

                    14                  28                  29

                    15                  29 Sîwân             1

                    16 Rabî‛a il-âwwal   1                   2

          June       1                  17                  18

                    14                  30 Tammûs            1

                    15 Rabî‛a il-âkhir   1                   2

          July       1                  17                  18

                    13                  29 Âb                1

                    14 Jumâdâ il-ûlâ     1                   2

          August     1                  19                  20

                    12                  30 Aylûl             1

                    13 Jumâdâ            1                   2
                       il-âkhirat

                    14                   2                   3

          September   1                  20                  21

                    10                  29 Tishry            1

                    11 Rajab             1                   2

                    14                   4                   5

          October    1                  21                  22

                    10                  30 Ḥishwân           1

                    11 Sha‛bân           1                   2

                    14                   4                   5

          November   1                  22                  23

                     9 Ramaḍân           1 Kislû             1

                    14                   6                   6

          December   1                  23                  23

                     9 Shawwâl           1 Ṭebet             1

                    14                   6                   6

                                  TIME

In Palestine villages the time of day is reckoned with reference to
sunset, which is called twelve o’clock. If the sun should set at six
o’clock, European time, then seven o’clock in the evening, as we should
say, would be called the first hour of the night by the Arabs, and seven
o’clock the next morning by our watches would be the first hour of the
day according to Arab time. The two methods of keeping the time are
termed, respectively, Arabi and Franji.



                              CHAPTER XII
                         FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS


During fifteen years, Syrian migration to western countries grew apace.
Whereas the Lebanon district had been the chief loser before, Palestine
now sent large quotas. Among these latter were many men from the
Ramallah region. There was no freedom at home. The political, religious
and economic pressure became heavier. Release in foreign countries
proved enticing to thousands. Besides the itinerating venders of dry
goods and the operatives in mills, there were a number of students and
graduates in arts, sciences, theology, law, medicine and engineering.
Syrian artists and poets as well as prosperous merchants were known.
From the time that Joseph went to Egypt, Syrians of ability have
prospered in foreign countries.

When the Turkish revolutions promised enfranchisement, numbers of
Syrians returned to the home land only to find, after the first
enthusiasm and manifestations of brotherhood, the old oppressions in new
forms and an increased feeling of suspicion. The army service now became
compulsory upon Christians as well as upon Moslems and certain of its
conditions were odious to the newly drafted men. The government required
that all schools should introduce Turkish into the course of study, but
it was very difficult to find suitable teachers and to introduce them
into the lower schools.

When the War came on and Turkey disallowed the capitulations matters
grew worse. The Arab, always hostile to the Turk, had the sympathy of
those Syrians who had any trace of Arab blood and others of more mixed
race. A Syrian was loyal to his country but found it difficult to be
loyal to the course of his government. He felt drawn to the Allies but
was often drafted against them. After the Arab revolt there followed in
due course, the deliverance of Palestine and much of Syria from thraldom
to the Turk. The Turkish genius is not appropriate for Syria. The
culture suitable there is one sincerely tolerant, yes better than
tolerant, appreciative of the various faiths represented in the land.
This culture, so far as it is schooled, should be based upon classical
and scientific preparations. Syrian education has for a long time been
under the guidance of western thought, whether at home or abroad, and
the Syrian mind is of the character to fellowship with the West. Those
who think otherwise, recalling the peculiar conditions of tyranny and
corruption that have been forced on the country for a thousand years,
should remember that the larger part of all the educational enterprise
in Syria and Palestine, for nearly a century, has been the work of
missionaries from the West. It is Syria’s destiny to be practically a
western country, or better, to absorb the best intellectual inheritance
of the modern world. It has the physique and the brains. Has it the
humility and teachableness requisite for this destiny? Has it the
courage to be idealistic in the midst of the solid realistic
achievements to be gained? One thing within them the past has crushed.
Magnanimity must be restored in them before they can become great. If
they can learn to lose themselves they will find themselves forever.

Syrians are often clever with their hands in mechanical work. Such
schools as the old Schneller’s orphanage for boys did a great deal of
good along much needed lines. They are keen in literary and
philosophical pursuits. Born linguists, excellent in such studies as law
and economics, they could adorn an era of peace when once they are
persuaded of a generous spirit of fair play.

Schools of all grades are needed and there is no reason, except the
slender resources of the people, why they may not be gradually
established. Such schools as the Men’s Training College in Jerusalem
among the newer and the Ramallah Friends’ (Quakers) Schools among the
long established have a great opportunity. They know the problems and
have good methods. But the poverty of the people would keep the vast
majority of the children of the country from such institutions.
Scholarships and more substantial aid is needed to help such schools
accept a larger proportion of those applying for entrance. It has long
been the writer’s thought that such fine finishing schools as those at
Ramallah, for example, should be supplemented by many elementary schools
which would keep close to native customs, dress, food, etc., in the
numerous small villages and which could send their choicer pupils to the
advanced schools. A two or three branched scheme of education and
training should take the children at twelve into classical, scientific,
and technical or trade lines of development. The temptation to hasten
expansion faster than the supply of good Syrian teachers can be
provided, should be resisted. The teachers should be more than formally
trained. They should be picked with a view to their personal character,
loyalty, common sense and vision.

The British civil administration in Palestine may be said to have been
fairly launched by the arrival and pronouncements of Sir Herbert Samuel
in July, 1920. The first six months of his official presence have given
a good impression among citizens, villagers and Arab tribes. His
Excellency outlined his plans and hopes in an address on July 6. The
policy of the British government in Palestine “safeguards the rights of
all sections of the inhabitants of Palestine in relation to the Holy
Places, to the ownership and cultivation of lands, and to all other
matters in accordance with the dictates of justice.” An Administrative
Council with advisory functions met on October 6. Various sections of
the population are represented as will be seen from this list taken from
_The Palestine Weekly_.

Mr. J. B. Barron, Mr. Ben Zwi, M. Norman Bentwich, Michel Effendy
Berouti, Mr. W. H. Deedes, Mr. R. A. Harari, Ismail Bey El Husseini,
Colonel G. W. Heron, Colonel R. Holmes, Abdel Haj Effendy El Khatib, Mr.
K. M. Kalvaresky, Mr. R. J. Legge, Sheikh Ferieh Abu Middein, Suleiman
Bey Nassif, Colonel F. J. Postlethwaite, Dr. Habib Yateen Salim, Mr. E.
R. Sawer, Suleiman Abdul Razzak Effendy Toukan, Mr. R. Storrs, Mr. David
Yellin. All but three of this list were present and their substitutes
were provided. The list was made in an effort to represent the various
interests of the land, regional, religious, and economic by the best
persons available for the service.

The railways are under the administration of the government. Duties
connected with education, banking, land transfer, health, post-office,
customs, courts, town planning, afforestation and antiquities have
already been attempted by the new régime. The government schools are, so
far, attended by Moslem children chiefly, since the Christians seek to
safeguard religious instruction and the Jews wish to cultivate their
ancient language and the national ideals. But even as things stand the
government schools reach but ten or twelve thousand Moslem children out
of an estimated total of over a hundred thousand. Probably the
proportion of Christians and Jews in school is much better, but it will
be seen how serious a problem the educational need presents.

A plan for loaning money will probably be adopted which will provide for
loans on real property by the government banks. A new ordinance for land
transfers has been made which is explained as follows:

“The general principle of the Ordinance is that all transactions, other
than leases for a term of not more than three years, must be carried out
through the Land Registry, and must receive the consent of the
administration; otherwise they will be null and void, and persons
disposing of, or acquiring land illegally, will be liable to fine and
forfeiture of the property. The restrictions on transfers have been
introduced purely in the interests of the people. The principle reason
for requiring the consent of the Administration is to prevent
speculation in land which will cause an excessive rise of prices and
prevent development. Transactions will only be allowed if the person
requiring the land will cultivate it, supposing it is agricultural land,
or develop it immediately supposing it is urban land.

“Another object of the control of the Administration is to protect the
small farmer in his holding. If he is the owner of land he will be
unable to sell such part as is necessary for the maintenance of himself
and his family; and if he is the tenant the landlord will be unable to
sell without leaving sufficient land for him. The amount to be left for
the small landowner will differ in various parts in the country, and
will be determined according to the quality of the land by the District
Governor.

“Every disposition of land will be commenced by a petition to the
Governor which will be presented through the Land Registry of the
District, setting out the proposed transactions. A disposition includes
a sale, a mortgage, a gift, a constitution of wakf, and any lease for
more than three years. The petition will be accompanied by a certificate
from the Mukhtars as to the title of the transferer and by his documents
of title.

“The Registrars in the district registries will give all persons
desiring to dispose of their land full details as to what is required,
and will furnish them with the necessary forms. If the application for
the transaction is made by an agent or by nominee, the proposed
purchaser must be disclosed and registration must take place in his
name. Registration in the name of other persons will be invalid and will
make the parties liable to penalties. The Registrar will see if the
conditions of the Ordinance are satisfied and will examine the title of
the transferer. If the transaction is found to be in order, it will be
referred to the District Governor for his consent.

“The District Governor will give his consent only if the person
acquiring the land fulfils the following conditions: (1) He must be a
resident of Palestine; (2) he must not acquire land exceeding either
L.E. 3000 in value or a certain area; (3) he must prove that he intends
to cultivate or develop the land immediately.

“These restrictions are introduced to prevent the land being bought by
speculators from outside the country and also to prevent the increase of
large areas of land in a few hands. In order to prevent speculation, a
further restriction is introduced, that if the land has been disposed of
within a year the Governor shall not give his consent to a further
disposition unless the transferer gives a satisfactory reason for
wishing to dispose of it again. It would be a satisfactory reason if the
original purchaser had died during the year and his heirs had to sell
the property. But the restriction will prevent people from buying land
simply in order to sell to others at a profit.

“The High Commissioner can consent to land transactions without any
restriction, provided that he is satisfied that they will be for the
public benefit. And all transactions which cannot be passed by the
District Governor either because of the value and area of the land to be
disposed of, or because the person acquiring is not a resident will be
referred to him.” Taken from _The Palestine Weekly_ for October 1, 1920.

Within a few months of its inauguration the civil administration was
able to report fifteen government hospitals with 293 beds, twenty-one
dispensaries, eight clinics, five epidemic-posts and plans projected for
combating malaria scientifically.

The new plans drawn for the suitable preservation and adornment of
Jerusalem, provide that the walled city shall be safeguarded, that a
parked space outside the walls shall be assured and that the most sacred
spots beyond that space shall be protected in a region largely open.
This last region will include Scopus, Olivet and Bethany. Expansion of
suburbs beyond those preserves will be allowed in an attractive system
of streets and dwellings to the north, west and south.

A new broad gauge railroad has been constructed between Jaffa and Lydda.
A few tractors have been introduced for use on the better agricultural
land. Strikes have not been unknown. In one reported from Jaffa the
government told its officers to preserve a neutral attitude in time of
labor disputes, to preserve order and not to interfere with peaceful
picketing.

The difficulties of the telephone service in a polyglot town may be
suggested by this caricature from the “_Weekly_.”

“Our office boy has just repeated to us the kind of conversation he
hears when our telephone bell happens to ring. ‘Hello; that The
Palestine Weekly?—Bukra subeh? Tayeb!—Ken, gevereth, ani rotzeh—Hello!
Exchange! Exchange! I say, miss—aywa, aywa—buzz—aywa—Have you got them
yet?—Have I the—Je vous prie, mademoiselle, tachez—shalom, mayesh ==
Righto, kiddie, but I don’t leave till five—La, la, moush awez.
Enta—alors, monsieur, demain matin, mais vous savez bien que—Oh, ring
off, Please! I’m not asking for—m’a salaami—Finished yet?—I say miss, do
give them another—Sapristi, mais cet instrument—Y’allah—What the—click!’

“At present we find it quicker and more private to send a postcard.”

Palestine is like a sealed museum of historical lore. In the hills are
stored many antiquities. It is hoped that systematic excavation will
bring many of them to the surface. The Palestine Exploration Fund of
London, England, is the veteran society for digging and publishing the
many treasures still lying beneath the soil of the Holy Land. British
and American supporters have in spite of their small number made a brave
and continuous effort to gather the archæological materials which will
illuminate the Bible.

The Quarterly periodical of the Fund and its annual volume keep
subscribers informed of the discoveries and discussions. Since 1900, The
American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem has endeavored to make
the most of opportunities to explore, study and teach the interesting
data for biblical and Semitic research. It has experts in residence at
Jerusalem and offers a fellowship to graduate students. It needs a
budget of from twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars to make the best
use of its rare opportunity to advance religious and scientific
research. The new government has taken the matter of antiquities in hand
in a way which will probably insure a better treatment of those who
conduct research and a better disposition of the treasures as they are
unearthed.

The test offered the new order by neighboring Arabia and the Arabs will
be a critical one. Let us take a quick survey of this field of interest
and consider some of those conditions past and present which make the
Arab.

Arabia, the great south-central part of which is unknown to civilized
man, is an immense peninsula hanging between the mass of the Asian
continent and Africa, two spheres which have been greatly influenced by
the forces issuing from the land of the Arab. The huge rectangular mass
of sand and rock and tropical coasts, larger than India, slants easterly
and south from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and is bounded on
the sides by the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The country has never
been easily accessible to any but Arabs and it is even now a question
how much of the inland territory is easily traversible by them. The
desert region of North Arabia receives some rain, after which a
succulent growth appears which lasts but a short time, say from a few
weeks to a few months. This is probably true of some other less well
known parts of Arabia. We know that oases exist, where palm-trees, wells
and a settled population contrast with life on the freer steppe-land.

Broadly speaking, the people fall into two great groups, the Northern
and Southern Arabs whose struggles through the centuries are based upon
the two incompatibles, rapid increase and scanty sustenance. The
pastures and springs do not suffice for them all. Certain tribes pay
chief attention to camel breeding, others to sheep and goats, others who
live near the agricultural lands even go so far as to strike bargains
with the peasants to protect the crops which the latter have prepared.
Certain tribes are in the transport business, using camels as carriers.
Still others, not so highly regarded, are skilled in the cruder work in
metal and leather, as smiths and tanners. Of all these, the
camel-breeding Arab is considered the type of the true sons of the
desert.

Petty war (raiding) is the ideal occupation of the best young manhood of
the desert. This follows upon the mode of nomadic life. The property of
a bedawy tribe is all movable and with subsistence too scanty for
growing populations the nomads crowd upon each other insistently for the
use of the springs and pastures. In the springtime of a good year there
may be enough for all, but for most of the year the supplies of food
would not go around if the population grew unchecked. No such
multiplication of resources is possible as in agricultural and
manufacturing countries. The produce of the herds and flocks, milk,
butter, cheese, hair, and wool and a few simple fabrics made from them
are used by the tribes or exchanged for the products of the oases and
the towns, dates, grain, implements, ammunition, cloth and garments.

The basis of family prosperity is found in those qualities of a vigorous
stock which insure success in war and the accumulation of wealth. To
have many sons is, therefore, an ideal and to have them leagued together
in the interest of family strength is in some degree a necessity. The
simple government required is exercised by the patriarch of the family.
Such a strong, growing family will be joined by other families in
self-defence and will rapidly develop into a strong tribe if no untoward
accident befalls it. These different families are only theoretically of
one blood, though by marriage the original differences may be minimized.
They are known by some common tribal name and brand their camels with a
common tribal mark, or “wasm.” Their greatest need, practically their
religion, is the existence for which they strive. A kind of morale
ensues which is the tribal convention. According to it the women have
their work, often very hard, the men their duties of brotherhood, raid
and revenge. Even the children have their sphere into which they fit
according to sex and into which the stranger may not come at all except
by the fiction of relationship. It will be readily seen that, in a land
of wastes where groups only can exist and no mere individual, to be
excluded by the judgment of the tribe from its membership would mean
death. Such outlawing is the ultimate treatment of the serious offender.
Patriotism is that higher form of self-interest which makes an Arab the
devotee of his tribe’s welfare. The successes, failures, quarrels and
fate of the tribe are his own. The results of the raid, whether gain or
loss, are shared.

The shaykh of the tribe is its leading man, not a legislator. He exerts
authority by personal influence and moral suasion and cannot constrain
otherwise, in theory at least, any member of his tribe. The preëminence
is likely to remain in his family if it continues noble and well-to-do,
a useful object of pride to the tribe. If a higher organization of the
tribal life should follow upon extension of power, the leading man may
become a prince or emir or even a conqueror and ruler, as on several
occasions in history.

The passions of the Arab are intense. His hungry life for so large a
part of the year, his picturesque imagination, and simple demands join
with a chivalry born of the tribal manners to make him cultivate at once
ideals of generosity and vengeful hate. To be a noble host of the
wayfarer and the implacable foe of the one who has harmed him are
equally demanded by his code. ‛Abd al-Malik the son of ‛Abd ar-Rahim, a
poet of the Sons of Dayyan, sang:

   “Like rain of the heaven are we; there is not in all our line
   One blunt of heart, nor among us is counted a niggard.
   We say nay whenso we will to the words of other men:
   But no man to us says nay when we give sentence.
   When passes a lord of our line, in his stead there rises straight
   A lord to say the say and do the deeds of the noble.
   Our beacon is never quenched to the wanderer of the night
   Nor has ever a guest blamed us where men meet together.”
                                             (Lyall’s trans.)

In a poem by Al-Fadl (Lyall XIII) occurs the following:

     “Each of us has his ground for the loathing his fellow moves,
     A grace it is from the Lord that we hate you, ye us.”

Kurait, son of Unaif, poured scorn upon the people who weakly fail to
avenge wrongdoing and holds up to contempt their softness in the words:

 “They requite with forgiveness the wrong of those that do them wrong,
 And the evil deeds of the evil they meet with kindness and love.”
                                                 (Lyall I.)

Poets form the most renowned class of men among the Arabs. Great
enterprises were led by the word of the poet. To him they looked for
stimulus and guidance in their raids, encampments, aspirations,
disputes, loves and hates. The Arab is exceedingly sensitive to the
spoken word of praise or blame. There is in him also a primitive
response to the oracular, the mysterious and the magical. Speech is
probably the most pretentious and commanding gift of man in early stages
of culture. Even among highly civilized people it is the vehicle of the
profoundest intellectual possessions and abilities. Human nature is
impatient for the goods of the world. The slow process of causes has
been brushed aside and resort has been had to magical means. Besides
this there is the human hunger for the fairy-tale. We slip the leash of
the real that we may run riot in the delights of a care-free world of
the imagination. In that world the old time non-democratic spirit
prevails and princes and powers and gorgeous effects are barbarously
indulged. The poet is one of those who minister to us of this world of
imagination.

A strong reason for the veneration which was felt for the spoken word in
Arabia, as elsewhere in Semitic lands, is the innate conviction that the
burden or message of the word is an entity for good or ill, independent
of the human personality which serves as a medium. For it is thought
that in the utterance of blessings or cursings supernatural powers seize
upon the mind or the organs of speech of possessed personalities and
speak effectively through them. Thus if a curse can be held back, or a
blessing restrained, there is a non-existence of that fact instead of
its existence to be reckoned with. The sting of satire set free by a
poet’s eloquence is a veritable wound more serious than a physical stab.
The humiliation and despair of an early Arab who fell under the shafts
of a real poet were without remedy unless there was a superior poet to
wreak adequate revenge. Certain of the old poets were warriors as well
and represented the complete ideal. They were hardy rangers of the
desert wastes, patient, chivalrous, vindictive, devotees of the claims
of blood-kinship. The flourishing period of classical Arabian poetry was
during the century and a half preceding the death of Muhammad.

Muhammad was born in Mecca and spent the last ten years of his life at
Medina. Both cities are in the rough highland, between the district of
Nejd and the coast. This highland ridge goes by the name of the Hijaz or
Barrier and is near the route of the traders’ caravans from South Arabia
to Syria and the Mediterranean. Mecca and Yathrib (original name of
Medina) on account of this caravan route rose to be cities of
prominence. Mecca was specially important because it was also a place of
resort for pilgrims long before the rise of Islam. At first this may
have been because of the presence there of a remarkable meteoric stone,
which still remains, sheltered by the Ka’ba and venerated by the whole
Moslem world. Moslem tradition began early to elaborate the traditions
of Mecca and has put them beyond the disentanglement of criticism. To
the Moslem, Mecca was the city of Abraham who, with all the good saints
of old, was a Moslem. The Moslems claim that the Jews and Christians
have so perverted the original sacred scriptures of the Old Testament
and the original faith, which was the Moslem faith, that not until
Muhammad’s time were things seen in their true light. However, there
were in Arabia in the period a little earlier than Muhammad forerunners,
who were essentially monotheists, the so-called haneefs. Muhammad was,
therefore, the renewer, not the inventor of Islam, the prophet to
destroy the idolatries of Arabia which had accumulated in the jahiliyya,
or uncivilized period. Certain members of Muhammad’s own household and
tribe were among his earliest converts. His wife may have been the
first. He seemed, to many of his own kinsfolk and townspeople, to be a
dangerous innovator. They must have feared the effect of his
iconoclastic teaching on the preëminent position of their city and on
the incomes derived from the pilgrimages to its shrines.

The Ka‛ba itself, within which were ranged many idols, was in the
special care of the prophet’s tribe, the Kuraysh, which was the leading
tribe of Mecca. Before the birth of the prophet a city to the south of
Mecca, called Sana, had been a competing shrine but had lost prestige in
favor of Mecca. All Arabs had felt a thrill of triumph in the defeat
inflicted on the forces of Persia at the battle of Dhu Qar in 610 A.D.
Just as the ancient Greeks had felt an increased sense of solidarity
when they discovered the decline of the supposedly powerful Persia of
their day through the campaign of the younger Cyrus, so now the Arabs
felt relief and gathered encouragement from the revelation of Persia’s
weakness. Thus in the early lifetime of the prophet a number of forces,
linguistic, religious and political, had joined with his sense of
revelation and mission to make him an invincible leader. He was a
thoroughly representative Arab, superior in mental power and religious
fervor, sincere, of the order of Semitic prophets, the man for the hour
in Arabia. He shrank at first from his call but was encouraged by his
wife and by the devotion of a few friends and converts to go forward. He
summoned the Meccans to renounce idols and to worship the one god. He
was persecuted severely and would doubtless have lost his life except
for his powerful family connections, which made it unsafe for his
enemies to risk a blood feud. At last he took the step that made him the
non-partisan apostle to Arabia and in 622 A.D., accepting the invitation
of the citizens of Yathrib, he fled from his own house, where he was
enduring a state of siege, and made his way to the town that was
henceforth to be known as Medinet en-Neby, the Prophet’s City, or in its
shorter form, Medina, The City. There he waxed prosperous and used the
sword of vengeance as well as of conquest. Converts came individually
and in groups. He campaigned against his own home city, Mecca, conquered
it and purged it of many of its grosser abuses, including the idols. He
sent letters to the sovereigns of Persia and Constantinople demanding
submission. In 632 A.D. he died and was buried in Medina, where his tomb
is the principle treasure of the great mosk. Within seventy years of
Muhammad’s death his Arabs had conquered the whole of Egypt, North
Africa to the Atlantic, the Spanish peninsula, and parts of India.
Surely this was no ordinary man or influence that could thus turn the
desert ranger into a citizen of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and turn so
many provinces and kingdoms to the speech and doctrine of the Arab.
Native populations in the conquered countries secured exemptions and
brotherhood if they accepted the faith of Islam. Otherwise they paid
tribute or were harried by the sword.

Four caliphs (successors) followed Muhammad at Medina. They kept close
to the primitive ideal of the warring prophet of Islam. They were Abu
Bakr, ‛Umar, ‛Uthman and ‛Ali. They fall within the thirty years after
the death of the prophet. They were followed by a dynasty of rulers of
less Muhammadan characteristics which established the government at
Damascus. (661–750 A.D.) They were succeeded by still a different type
of rulers, the princes of the House of Abbas at Bagdad. The Damascus
House, known as the Umayyads, had wrested the power from ‛Ali and the
Prophet’s family, but their success was always resented by the more
southerly Arabs and fought especially by Iraq (Mesopotamia) and the
Arabs near Persia. Thus the political unity of Islam was early broken up
and is less and less likely to be restored. The real strength of Islam
was abroad where Arabian soldiers were quartered in camp cities or were
engaged in victorious armies and where their fateful fighting qualities
and intense loyalty to the missionary idea of Islam made a distinctly
contrasted class as against the populations they overcame by the sword
or by conversion.

In all historic times desert Arabia has been a political hollow between
the great powers. It was empty of the things for which civilization
fought, but it was the home of a virile stock of nomads who possessed
comparative freedom at least. In the deserts the type of life has not
changed for thousands of years. Such a life is free because the outsider
does not covet it. The native will relinquish it only gradually. The
roaming Arab is bound by the inexorable natural conditions of his world
and the social conventions which those conditions impose. His treasures
are his family, his horse, and his instruments of petty warfare. Before
Muhammad’s time, there were on the Eastern borders of Arabia princes who
were practically subsidized by the Persian emperors. On the Western side
were other princes under the protection of the Byzantine rulers, while
in the far South were still other kingdoms and loyalties to political
patrons, influenced at times by the kingdom of Abyssinia. Muhammad and
his four successors gave this divided Arabia the completest unity it has
ever known. At present it is reaching vaguely for something approaching
that same unity. During the World War the Shereef of Mecca, with his
sons, threw off the control of Turkey and made the Hijaz, which includes
the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, a free kingdom. Into this sacred
land no Christian or other non-Moslem is supposed to step. Lawrence the
intrepid went there to counsel with Emir Faysal, third son of the
shereef, by special and dangerous arrangement. He found the Arabs
resting after their initial campaign and stirred them to aggressive
action, northward, to destroy the Turkish communications and to stir the
more northerly Arabs to combine and to furnish support on the East and
right of the operations under Allenby who was working up from Egypt
through Palestine.

                              READING LIST

  THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF ISLAM.
  NICHOLSON: “A Literary History of the Arabs.”
  BROWNE: “The Literary History of Persia.”
  FREEMAN, E. A.: “History and Conquests of the Saracens.”
  MARGOLIOUTH, D. S.: “Mohammed and the Rise of Islam.”
  WRIGHT, W.: “Early Christianity in Arabia.”
  TOTAH, KHALIL A.: “Journal of Race Development.” Vol. 6, No. 3. Jan.,
    1916 (pp. 315–323).
  ALI, SYED AMEER: “Short History of the Saracens.” London, 1899.



                      INDEX OF SCRIPTURE PASSAGES

                             --------------

                                                  PAGE

                  Gen.      8: 22                   22
                            9: 6                   169
                            15: 2                   63
                            23: 11, 15             147
                            24: 3, 4                53
                            24: 25                 135
                            24: 60                  53
                            24: 65                  57
                            25: 34                  79
                            27: 5                  168
                            28: 2                   53
                            29: 22                  59
                            29: 26                  54
                            29: 34                  54
                            30: 14                  25
                            30: 20                  54
                            38: 18                  91
                            43: 23                 161
                            50: 3                  100

                  Ex.       20: 12                  71

                  Num.      20: 29                 100
                            22: 6                  178
                            22: 24                  34
                            35: 21                 169
                            36: 8–11                53

                  Deut.     4: 19                  123
                            8: 8                   144
                            11: 14                  25
                            12: 2                  111
                            14: 1                  100
                            14: 21                  52
                            15: 3                   52
                            19: 21                 169
                            21: 1–9                 53
                            22: 8                   70
                            22: 10                 136
                            22: 23, 24              55
                            23: 20                  52
                            23: 25                 134
                            24: 20                 140
                            25: 4                  136
                            27: 17                 132
                            34: 6                  119

                  Josh.     4: 3–5, 20             127
                            5: 11                   86
                            15: 19                  20
                            21: 12                 131

                  Judges    4: 19                   84
                            5: 6, 7                225
                            5: 16                  142
                            5: 25                   84
                            6: 2                    16
                            6: 11                   62
                            12: 6                  173
                            13–15                   17
                            19: 5–8                161
                            21: 25                 225

                  Ruth      1: 20                   74
                            1: 22                  136
                            2: 8, 9                135
                            2: 10                  163
                            2: 14                   86
                            2: 23                  136

                  1 Sam.    1: 10, 11              117
                            2: 12                  175
                            7: 5                    38
                            13: 5, 6                16
                            14: 11, 22              16
                            16: 12                  47
                            17: 28                 142
                            17: 40                 142
                            17: 43                 178
                            19: 24                  99
                            21: 12–15               99
                            23: 1                  136
                            25: 35                 161
                            26: 20                 168
                            30: 6                   38
                            30: 12                  81

                  2 Sam.    2: 12                   73
                            2: 29                  153
                            3: 27                  169
                            3: 31                  100
                            6: 14                  119
                            12: 16                 100
                            18: 17                 116
                            18: 33                 100
                            21: 9                  136
                            23: 4                   23
                            23: 20                  23

                  1 Kings   6: 23, 31–33            39
                            12: 18                  38
                            17: 7                   15
                            18: 4                   16
                            18: 28                 120
                            18: 43–45               24
                            19: 9, 13               16
                            20: 32                 158
                            21: 3                  142

                  2 Kings   3: 25                   38
                            4: 19                   95
                            4: 39                   87
                            9: 17                   44
                            17: 24–41              125
                            18: 26                 174
                            20: 7                   94
                            20: 20                  22

                  2 Chron.  20: 7                  114

                  Neh.      5: 4                   227
                            5: 15                  180

                  Job       1: 1–3, 43             131
                            14                     133
                            2: 11                   94
                            3: 1                   178
                            4: 7                   118
                            6: 15, 17               15
                            9: 33                  150
                            21: 32                 100
                            29: 23                  25

                  Psalms    1: 4                   137
                            23: 2                  142
                            55: 17                 118
                            55: 23                 118
                            63: 1                  133
                            65: 9–13                25
                            91                     118
                            104: 10                 16
                            107: 4–7                35
                            126: 5, 6              135
                            127: 3–5                53
                            129: 6                  27
                            131: 2                  66
                            144: 12–15              51

                  Prov.     11: 22                 183
                            12: 27                 168
                            13: 3                  182
                            15: 17                 182
                            15: 27                 180
                            16: 15                  25
                            18: 23                 161
                            21: 19                 182
                            21: 23                 182
                            25: 16                 183
                            25: 23                  26
                            26: 1                   24
                            26: 2                  178

                  Eccl.     2: 6                    21
                            7: 17                  118
                            12: 5                  100

                  Song      2: 11                   22
                            2: 12                   28
                            2: 15                   31
                            4: 2                    20
                            5: 10                   47
                            6: 6                    20
                            7: 13                   25

                  Isa.      5: 2, 34, 38           139
                            5: 5                   140
                            5: 6                   139
                            5: 23                  180
                            9: 3                   135
                            28: 4                   40
                            28: 24, 25             133
                            32: 2                   28
                            33: 12, 35             151
                            35: 7                   19
                            40: 11                 141
                            41: 8                  114
                            41: 15                 136
                            41: 18                  19
                            42: 15                  19
                            50: 2                  180
                            59: 1                  180
                            61: 10                  59

                  Jer.      2: 32                   59
                            3: 3                    25
                            4: 3, 36               133
                            5: 24                   25
                            6: 16                   35
                            6: 26                  100
                            8: 20                   25
                            9: 17                  100
                            18: 17                  25
                            22: 18                 100

                  Ezek.     17: 10                  25
                            19: 12                  25
                            34: 14                  35

                  Hosea     6: 3                    25
                            10: 11                 136
                            10: 12, 36             133
                            13: 3                   12
                            13: 15                  25

                  Joel      2: 23                   25
                            2: 24                  136

                  Amos      4: 7                    25
                            5: 12                  180
                            9: 9                   137

                  Jonah     4: 8                    25

                  Micah     4: 12, 13              136

                  Hab.      1: 13                  180

                  Zech.     8: 5                    69
                            10: 1                   25

                  Matt.     3: 4                    84
                            3: 9                   114
                            4: 5                    38
                            4: 18                   84
                            5: 14                   34
                            5: 38, 39              169
                            5: 44–46                52
                            5: 47                  162
                            6: 5                   118
                            6: 30                   79
                            7: 19                   39
                            8: 14                   94
                            8: 28                   99
                            9: 15                   58
                            12: 1                  134
                            13: 3                  133
                            13: 25–30              135
                            13: 44, 157            214
                            21: 33                 139
                            22: 3, 4               161
                            23: 7                  161
                            23: 27                 111
                            23: 37                  38
                            24: 20                  23
                            24: 41                  92
                            25: 32                 140
                            26: 23                  89
                            26: 73                  48
                            27: 25                 169
                            27: 53                  38

                  Mark      4: 29                  136
                            5: 27                  120
                            12: 40                 180
                            13: 18                  23

                  Luke      1: 61                   73
                            10: 40                  92
                            15: 16                  88
                            19: 2, 8               226
                            24: 36                 161

                  John      4:16, 21               125
                            4: 9                   125
                            5: 8, 9                 76
                            8: 39                  114
                            8: 59                   38
                            9: 7                    22
                            10: 31                  38
                            12: 13                 124
                            12: 20                 125
                            12: 36                 175
                            13: 5                  124
                            15                      37

                  Acts      5: 15                  120
                            19: 12                 120

                  Gal.      3: 19                  150

                  1 Tim.    2: 5                   150

                  Heb.      8: 6                   150
                            9: 15                  150
                            12: 24                 150

                  James     2: 23                  114
                            5: 7                    25



                             GENERAL INDEX

                             --------------

 _‛Abâyeh_, 142, 144.
 Abraham, 114.
 _Abu ‛Aynayn_, 216.
 _‛Âbûd_, 224.
 _Abu Ghôsh_, 225.
 _Abu Shûsheh_, 17.
 Alcoholics, 88 f., 98.
 American College, 96;
   Press, 170.
 Animals, wild, 31;
   domestic, 131, 134, 136, 153.
 Antiquities, 156 f.
 Arabic, 172 ff.
 _‛Araḳ_, 138.
 Architects, 153.
 _Arrabôn_, 154.
 _‛Aṣfûrîyeh_, 97.
 Assessors, 226.
 _‛Aṭâra_, 20, 190.
 _‛Aujâ_ river, 18.
 _‛Ayn el-‛Aḳabeh_, 218.
 _  ”  ‛Arîk_, 216.
 _  ”  el-‛Aṣfûr_, 217.
 _  ”  el-‛Azâb_, 217.
 _  ”  el-Burj_, 200 f.
 _  ”  Fâra_, 16, 20.
 _  ”  el-Jâmi‛_, 216.
 _  ”  Jeriyût_, 21.
 _  ”  Ḳânyeh_, 192.
 _  ”  el-Ḳaṣr_, 201.
 _  ”  Kefrîyeh_, 21.
 _  ”  el-Kusa‛_, 217.
 _  ”  Minjid_, 201.
 _  ”  Miṣbâḥ_, 196, 201.
 _  ”  Mizrâb_, 201.
 _  ”  en-Nuṣbeh_, 20, 190.
 _  ”  Râs el-Bîr_, 217.
 _  ”  esh-Shaykh_, 217.
 _  ”  Sînyâ_, 223.
 _  ”  Ṣôba_, 216.
 _  ”  eṭ-Ṭoreh_, 217.
 _  ”  Umm el-Kerzam_, 201.
 _  ”  Yebrûd_, 115.

 _Bâb el-Wâd_, 107.
 Baggage, 227, 236.
 _Bairam_, 121.
 _Balû‛a_, 19, 196.
 _Bâmyeh_, 82.
 Banks, 227, 237.
 Banners, 119.
 Baptism, 66.
 Bargaining, 146, 154.
 _Baṭn el-Hawâ_, 200.
 _Bayt Ḥanînâ_, 189.
 _Baytûnyeh_, 199.
 Beads, 117.
 _Bedawîn_, 43, 130, 221.
 Bethel, or _Baytîn_, 217 f.
 Betrothal, 55.
 Bigamy, 63.
 Birds, 31 f.
 _el-Bîreh_, 191, 207 f.
 Birth, 65.
 _Bîr ez-Zayt_, 223.
 Blacksmithing, 155.
 Blind, 96, 172.
 Blood revenge, 169.
 Booths, 76.
 Boundaries of the village, 192.
 Bread, 79.
 Bribery, 108, 180, 227, 229.
 Bubonic plague, 231.
 Building material, 151 f.
 _Burghul_, 79.
 _Burj_, 44, 200;
   _Baytîn_, 218.
 Business, 130 ff., 209.
 Butcher, 146, 195.        [See Work.

 Cactus, 88.
 Calendar, 124, 239.
 Calls, 160, 204.
 Camels, 12, 136, 155.
 Carmel, Mt., 15.
 Carob pod, 88.
 Carriage service, 154.
 Cavasses, 233.
 Caves, 16 ff., 217;
   sanctuary, 196.
 Charms, 93.
 Children, 64, 66 f., 69;
   childlessness, 208.
 Cholera, 103 ff., 231.
 Church influence, 45.
 Church law, 59, 63.
 Church Missionary Society, 197, 221 ff.
 Church, old, at _el-Bîreh_, 113.
 Church, old, at _Râm Allâh_, 113.
 Church, old, at _eṭ-Ṭayyibeh_, 113.
 Circassians, 227.
 Cisterns, 21, 75, 222;
   grain, 137;
   oil, 195.
 City, appearance of a, 33, 43.
 Clothing, see Dress.
 Coffee, 81 f., 160, 164.
 Colloquialisms, 176 ff.
 Common dish, 89;
   cup, 82, 164.
 Complexions, 47.
 Compliments, 206.
 Consular service, 227, 237.
 Conversation, 159 f., 165.
 Court, house, 76;
   law, 229.
 Crier, public, 149.
 Crocodile, 31.
 Crusaders’ Church, 210.
 Culture, 170.
 Cup, common, 82, 164.
 Curses, 178.
 Customs, see Birth, Weddings, Death, etc.
 Customs, tariff, 237.

 _Dabkeh_, 168, 186.
 _Dâfûr_, 81.
 _Daḳḳîḳ_, 153.
 Dancers, 59;
   dancing, 168.
 _Dâr_, 51.
 _Dayr Dîwân_, 218.
 Deaconesses (_Kaiserswerth_), 83.
 Dead Sea, 18.
 Death, 99 f., 103, 164 f.
 Deeds, land, 192.
 Demons, 98.
 Dervish, 118.
 _Dhurah_, 133, 219.
 Dialectical matters, 173 ff.
 _Dibbûsy_, 142.
 _Dibs_, 81, 138.
 Disease, 95, 231.
 Dish, common, 89.        [See Cup.
 _Dôsh_, 167.
 Dress, 49, 90 ff.
 Drinking customs, 89.
 Dry season, 20, 23 ff., 36.
 Dumb, 96, 112, 192.
 _Dûrah_, 219.
 Dust, 95.

 Earthquake, 202.
 Easter, 123 f.
 Eating customs, 89.
 Education, 170.
 _Effendîyeh_, 225.
 Elders, 52.
 Eli and Sibyl Jones Mission, 197.         See Friends.
 Emigration, 228 f., 237.
 Entertainment, 164, 167.
 Esdraelon, 15.
 Evening scenery, 12, 190.
 Evil-eye, 116.
 Exclamatory remarks, 176 ff.;
   with animals, 134.
 Eyes, 47, 94.

 Family, 53.
 Famine, 107, 109.
 Farming, 39, 130, 133.
 Fast, _Ramaḍân_, 121;
   Lenten, 124.
 Fatalism, 104, 117.
 Feast of St. Barbara, 124;
   The Cross, 27, 124;
   St. George, 124.
 _Feddân_, 132.
 Fees of priests, 122.
 _Fellaḥîn_, 131.
 Ferns, 30.
 Feuds, 159, 222.
 Fevers, 94.
 Figs, 28, 40 f., 81, 139;
   plaster, 94.
 Fines, 229.
 _Finjân_, 82, 160.
 Fire-wood, 39.
 Flocks, 26, 36, 140.
 Flowers, 28 ff.
 Foods, 78 ff., 82, 85.
 Fountains, 20 f., 190, 196, 200 f., 216 ff., 223.
 Foxes, 31.
 Friendship, 52.
 Friends’ Mission and School, 191, 193, 197.
 Friends’ Mission at ‛Ayn ‛Arîk, 217.
 Friends’ Mission at Jifnâ, 222.
 Friends’ Mission at _eṭ_-Ṭayyibeh, 221.
 _Frîky_, 25, 86.
 Fruit, 28, 36, 41, 86.
 Fuel, 79, 211.
 Furniture, 76 f.

 Game, wild, 84.
 Games, 70 f., 167.
 Gardening, 144, 145, 216.
 Garments, wedding, 55.
 Gazels, 31.
 Geology, 14.
 Gerizim, Mt., 126.
 _Ghôr_, 13, 15, 221.
 Gipsies, 155, 168.
 Girls, 64 f., 67.
 Goats, 140 f.;
   goat-meat, 195.
 Go-between, 150.
 Gospel and _Ḳurân_, 123.
 Gossip, 160.
 Government of country from city, 225 f.
 _Graffiti_, 210.
 Grain, 133 f.
 Grapes, 36 f., 138.
 Graves, 18, 99, 103;
   Samaritan, 126.
 Greek Church, 122, 204 f.
 Greek fire, 124.
 Greetings, 161 ff.
 Groceries, 145.
 Guest-room or house, 59, 164.

 Hail-storm, 202.
 Hanauer, Rev. J. G., 176.
 _Ḥarâm_, 214.
 _Ḥarîm_ or harem, 120, 233.
 Harvest, 25, 135 f.
 Head-dress, 91.
   See Dress.
 Health conditions, 27.
   See Disease.
 Heat, 12, 23.
 _Ḥelâweh_, 87.
 _Ḥennâ_, 59.
 Hermon, Mt., 32.
 Hills, 14, 39.
 Hill sites, 34, 44, 48, 222.
 _Ḥirdhôn_, 31, 179.
 _Ḥisḥis_, 31.
 _Ḥiṣrim_, 81.
 Home affairs, 75 ff.
 Honey, 87.
 Hospices, 234.
 Hospitals, 89, 96.
 Hospitality, 160, 165.
 Hotels, 235.
 Household tasks, 91;
   utensils, 77 ff.
 House structure, 75, 211.
 _Ḥûleh_, 18.
 _Ḥummus_, 137.
 Hunting, 168.
 Hyenas, 18, 99.

 Illness, 27, 94.
 Insane, 96 ff., 99, note.
 Insects, 31.
 Interest, 149, 205.
 Invitations, 161.
 Irrigation, 22.

 Jars, 93.
 _Jeba‛_, 16.
 _Jebel Ṭawîl_, 32, 210.
 Jellies, 86.
 _Jerîsheh_, 79.
 Jerusalem, view of, 33.
 Jewelry, 54, 59.
 Jezreel, 15.
 _Jiben_, 84.
 _Jifnâ_, 222.

 _Kalîyeh_, 86.
 _Ḳaṣr_, 139.
 _Ḳaṭrawâny_, 111.
 _Ḳays_, 225.
 _Kefrîyeh_, 201.
 _Kefr Shiyân_, 216.
 _el-Khalîl_, 113.
 _Khân_, 194, 209.
 _Kharayṭûn_, 16.
 _Khaṭîb_, 171, 186.
 _Khurbet Jîbya_, 224.
 Kilns, 151.
 Kinship, 158, 230.
 _Khulleh_, 196.
 _Khullet el-‛Adas_, 200, 215.
 _Khûry_, 122, 205.
 _Ḳurân_ and Gospel, 123.
 _Kursenneh_, 135.
 _Kushân_, 192.

 Labor, 91.
 Lakes, Ḥûleh, Tiberias and the Dead Sea, 18.
 Lamps, clay, 111 ff.
 Land, holding, 131.
 Lane’s “Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians,” 119.
 Language, 166, 172 ff.
 Learning, 47, 170.
 Leaven, 78.
 _Leben_, 84.
 Leeches, 95.
 Lemons, 28.
 Lentils, 79.
 Lepers, 99.
 Lime, 151;
   kilns, 35 f.;
   stone, 15.
 Literary work, 170.
 Lizards, 31.
 Loans, 149.
 Locusts, 84.
 Looms, 144.

 _Maḥshy_, 85.
 Maiden-hair fern, 17, 30.
 _Maḳâm_, 111.
 _Maḳlûbeh_, 85.
 Male children, 63.
 _Ma‛lûf_, 141.
 Mandrake, 25.
 _Marâmîyeh_, 81.
 Maritime Plain, 15.
 _Mâr Jurjus_, 114;
   _Elyâs_, 115.
 Markets, 145, 155 f., 194.
 Marriage, 49, 53 f.
 Masons, 151;
   marks, 210.
 Meals, 89.
 Measures and weights, 147.
 Meat, 84, 195.
 Medical data, 94, 96.
 Merchants, 194.
 Michmash, 16.
 Midwife, 66.
 _Mikhba_, 139.
 _Miḳlâ‛_, 70.
 _Mil‛ab_, 56.
 Milk, 26.
 _Minsaf_, 166.
 _Mîreh_, 131.
 Mists, 11 f., 24, 135.
 Mitchell, Professor H. G., 176.
 Molasses, 138.
 Monasteries, 125.
 Money, 147, 155, 230;
   changing, 148;
   lending, 149, 205.
 Montenegrins, 233.
 Months, Christian, Jew and Moslem, 239.
 Mortar and pestle for coffee, 82.
 Mosks, 113 f.;
   Mosk of Omar, view, 189.
 Mourners, 100, 103, 164 f.
 _Mudîr_, 226.
 Muezzin, 119.
 _Muḳâṭ‛a ‛Âbûd_, 224.
 _Mukhtâr_, 151.
 Mulberry, 28, 223.
 Mules, 220.
 _Mulk_, 131.
 _Mûṣ_, 27, 137.
 Muzzling animals, 136.

 Names, 66, 72 ff.
 _Nârjîleh_, 166.
 _Nâ‛uṣ_, 27.
 _Neby Mûsâ_, 119.
 _Neby Ṣâliḥ_, 224.
 Neighbors, 159, 198.
 News, 231.
 Nicknames, 74.
 Nights, 23.
 Noah’s Cave, 17.
 Nomads, 130.
 Noon heat and rest, 12.
 Nuts, 86.

 Oak, 28.
 Officials, 230.
 Oil, 80 f., 140.
 Old Testament sites, 117.
 Olive press, old, 213.
 Olives, 28, 39 f., 80, 140, 223.
 Omens, 202.
 Oranges, 25, 28, 144.
 Orphans, 172.
 Ovens, 78.

 Palmer, Professor E. H., cited, 213.
 Parched wheat, 86.
 Parents, titles of, 66.
 Parties, 159.
 Partnership in crops, 221.
 Passes, 15, 226.
 Pastures, 36.
 Paths, 35, 154.
 Patriarchates, Greek, 122.
 Peacemaking, 228 f.
 Pear-trees, 223.
 Periodical literature, 170.
 Peters, Dr. John P., 216.
 Philosophy. See Proverbs, Stories, etc.
 Phrases, 161 ff.
 Pilgrims, 232 f., 235;
   Moslem, 111, 120;
   Roman Catholic, 225.
 Pine-trees, 28.
 Place-names, 174.
 Plasters, 94.
 Play, 68, 70, 167 f.
 Plowing, 39, 133.
 Pomegranates, 28, 41.
 Ponds, 19.
 Population, 43 f., 47.
 Portents, 202.
 Postal service, 227, 230 f.
 Pottery, 93.
 Prayer, 203;
   in sickness, 93;
   to Abraham, 114;
   Moslem, 118 f.;
   for offspring, 117;
   of women, 114;
   for rain, 202.
 Press, 231;
   American, 170.
 Prices, building materials, 151;
   food, 146.
 Priesthood, Christian, 121 f.
 Priests, 204.
 Printing, 170.
 Proverbs, 52, 83 f., 87, 89, 94, 116, 176, 179 ff.
 Pruning, 139.
 Public weal, 149 ff., 193, 230.
 Punishment, 226.

 Quaker Mission. See Friends.
 Quarantine, 105, 107, 137, 231 f.
 Quarrels, 168 f., 227 ff.
 Quarry at _el-Bîreh_, 210.
 Quarrying, 151.
 Quartering of soldiers, 227.

 _Rabâb_, 164.
 _Rafîdya_, 209.
 Railway, 232 f.
 Rain, 23 f., 27.
 Rainfall, 22.
 Rain-water, 222.
 _Raîs_, 122.
 Raisins, 138 f.
 _er-Râm_, 190.
 _Ramaḍân_, 121.
 _Râm Allâh_, 187, 191 ff.;
   settlement of, 206;
   schools, 171.
 Reaping, 25, 135.
 Refreshments, 86, 160.
 Religion, 43 ff., 110 ff., 117;
   as a social factor, 158.
 Remedies, 94.
 Reservoirs, 21, 210.
 Revenge, 169.
 Reverence, 71.
 Rice, 80.
 Ridicule, fear of, 90.
 Rimmon, 220.
 Rivers, Jordan, 18;
   _‛Aujâ_, 18.
 Roads, 34, 154 f., 189, 223;
   to Râm Allâh, 187.
 Road scenes, 46.
 Robinson, Professor Edward, cited, 221.
 Rock cuttings, 17, 217.
 Rocks, 116, 145.
 Roman Catholic Church, 122, 124, 235.
 Roman roads, 34, 189.
 Roofing-bee, 116.
 Roofs, 27, 75.
 Rooms, 75.
 Rugs, 144.
 Ruins, 18, 21, 190 f., 210, 213 f., 216, 222.
 _Rûjib_, 127.
 Russian influence, 235;
   pilgrims, 204, 233 f.

 _Ṣaḥjeh_, 168, 184.
 _Salâ‛t eṭ-Ṭîreh_, 213.
 Salt, 146.
 Salutations, 161 ff.
 Samaritans, 125 ff.;
   passover of, 127 ff.
 Samson country, 17.
 Sanctuary, 113 f.
   See Shrines.
 Scenery, 12, 20, 32.
 Schneller’s school, 172.
 School at el-Bîreh, 211.
 Sea, 232.
 Seasons, 22.
 Sects, 84.
 _Sha‛fât_, 189.
 _Shaykh_, 150.
 _Shaykh Sâliḥ_, 210.
 _Shaykh Yûsuf_, 222.
 _esh-Shayṭân_, 209.
 Sheep, 57, 59, 140.
 Shephelah, 19.
 Shepherd, 141 f.
 Shipping, 232.
 _Shôbek_, 206.
 Shoes, 90.
 Shops, 145, 195.
 Shrines, 38, 41, 111 ff., 117, 210, 234.
 Sickness. See Disease, Medicine, etc.
 Sifting, 137.
 _Sîjeh_, 167.
 Silk, 144.
 Sirocco, 11, 25 f.
 _Sḳîfeh_, 204, 211.
 Slings, 70.
 _Smîd_, 79.
 Smoking bottles, 76.
 _Ṣnôber_, 80.
 Soap, 81.
 Sociability, 164.
 Society, 158 ff.
 Soil, 15, 18.
 Soldiers, 126, 149 f., 227, 229 f.
 Song, 168, 184 ff.;
   at weddings, 56, 60 f.;
   of mourners, 101 ff.
 Souvenirs, 234.
 Spinning, 143.
 Springs, 16, 20, 24;
   warm, 21.
   See ‛Ayn.
 Spring-water, 222.
 St. George, 114, 202.
 Stones, 18, 38.
 Stone trades, 151.
 Stores, 145.
 Stories, 17 f., 20, 68, 83, 88, 111, 166, 171, 176, 179, 205, 214, 228.
 Stranger in village, 132, 164.
 Sugar, 146.
 _Sûḳ_, 145.
 Summer, 36.
 Superstitions, 93 f., 98, 114, 116 f., 202, 213 f., 220.
 _Ṣurdah_, 115.
 _Sûs_, 80.
 Swaddling, 66.
 Sweetmeats, 86 f.
 Syria, future of, 228.
 Syrian Protestant College, 96.
 Syrians in America, 237.

 Talebearing, 230.
 _Ṭarafîdya_, _wâdy_ and _‛ayn_, 199.
 Tares, 135.
 _Ṭarîḳ el-Majnûny_, 199.
 Tattoo, 117.
 Taxes, 144, 146, 150, 192, 226 f.
 _eṭ-Ṭayyibeh_, 221.
 Telegraph, 231.
 Terrace, 38 f.
 Thief, 64.
 Thorns, 35.
 Threshing, 136 ff.
 Tiberias, 18.
 _Tibn_, 137.
 _Tibneh_, 224.
 Time of day, 241.
 _eṭ-Ṭîreh_, 213.
 Tobacco, 146, 164, 166.
 Tomatoes, 82.
 Tombs, old, 112, 157, 215, 219, 222 ff.
 Tools, stoneworkers’, 152 f.
 Topographical remarks, 13, 19, 32 f.
 _Ṭoṭleh_, 81.
 Tourist agent, 236 f.
 Tourists, 225.
 Traders, 145 f., 194.
 Trade school, 172.
 Trades, crafts, etc., 155.
 Training of children, 67 f., 71 f.
 Transportation, 154, 194, 236.
 Travel, 28;
   afoot, 153;
   carriage, 154;
   general, 226, 232, 236.
 Treasure, 214.
 Trees, 14, 27 f., 41, 223;
   sacred, 115 f., 219.
 Tribes, village, 51.
 Turkish Delight, 88.
 Typhoid, 95.

 _‛Ûd_, 164.
 _Ukhtiyarîyeh_, 135.
 _Umm Barakât_, 116, 219.
 _Umm el-Khuruḳ_, 216.
 United Greek Church, 125.
 _Urṭâs_, 41, 145.
 Utensils, household, 77 ff.

 Valley, 15.
   See Wâdy.
 Vegetables, 82 f.
 Vermin, 31.
 View from Jebel Ṭawîl, 32.
 View from Râm Allâh, 189 f.
 View from eṭ-Ṭayyibeh, 221.
 View of Jerusalem from Scopus, 188.
 View of Râm Allâh, 214.
 Views of the Mediterranean, 223.
 Village ideals, 51.
 Villagers, appearance of, 47.
 Villages, appearance of, 33, 43.
 Villages, various, 187.
 Vine culture, 139, 222.
 Vineyards, 13;
   near Râm Allâh, 200.

 _Wâdy_, 15;
   those near Râm Allâh, 199.
 _Wâd Karom Shutâ_, 200.
 _Wâdy ‛Arâḳ el-Kharûf_, 219.
   ”   _el-‛Ayn_, 220.
   ”   _eḍ-Ḍaba‛_, 220.
   ”   _Fâra_, 16.
 _Wâdy el-Kelb_, 199.
   ”   _Rayyâ_, 224.
   ”   _Sha‛b el-Ḳassîs_, 220.
   ”   _es-Suwaynîṭ_, 16, 210.
 Wages, 207.
 _Wakf_, 131.
 Walls, 34, 194.
 Washing clothes, 92, 209.
 _Wastîyeh_, 116, 219.
 Watcher in vineyard, 13;
   on threshing floor, 136.
 Watch-towers, 38, 139.
 Water carrying, 68;
   supply, 20, 22, 222.
 Watershed, 19, 191.
 Weather, 23, 155.
 Weddings, 56 ff.
 Wedding songs, 60 ff.
 Weeping, 165.
 Weights, 147.
 Wells, 21.
 Wheat and barley, 78, 133, 137.
 Widows, 54, 64.
 Wilderness, 35.
 Wild vegetation, edible, 87 f.
 _Wily_, 111.
 Winds, 26, 222.
 Winter, 22, 24, 28.
 Wives, 54, 58, 63.
 Women, 47 ff.
 Wool, 142.
 Work, 207;
   woman’s, 53, 92.
 Writing, 175.

 _Yâzijy, Shaykh_, 170.
 _Yemen_, 159, 225.

 _Zaghârût_, 57.
 _Zâky_, 87.
 _Zawân_, 135.
 _Zinzilakt_, 28.
 _Zukzâkeh_, 27.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           Transcriber’s Note

The transliteration list provided by the author at the beginning of the
text follows the Arabic alphabetical order. The _ayn_ (‛) and _hamza_
(’) would appear at the bottom of the second and fourth columns, as
printed, where there are apparent gaps.

On p. 240, a wide landscape-oriented table has been divided into two
parallel tables.

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the original.
The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions.

  42.26    “Bible Lands.[”]                               Added.
  52.13    he fellowship[p]ed with that tribe             Inserted.
  111.13   A shaykh from the village of ‛A[t/ṭ]âra        Replaced.
  129.22   “Studies in Galilee.[”]                        Added.
  152.22   _ḥ[a/o]mrah_, that is, pounded pottery,        Replaced.
  200.20a  The next depression beyond Baṭn el-H[o/a]wâ
  200.20b  [Wâd] Karom Shutâ                              Wâdy?
  200.31   it is owned by [Ab ul]-Bâbâ                    Abdul?
  217.3    [‛]Ayn esh-Shaykh                              Added.
  248.10   A new broad g[ua/au]ge railroad                Transposed.





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