بخش 51کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 51
- زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
KONYA, SEPTEMBER 4, 1245
Being his older brother, I have always worried for Aladdin, but never as much as I do now. He has always had a quick temper, even as a toddler, but lately he is more quarrelsome and easily incensed. Ready to squabble over almost anything, no matter how senseless or small, he is so petulant these days that even the children on the street take fright when they see him coming. Only seventeen, he has creases around his eyes from frowning and squinting too much. Just this morning I noticed a new wrinkle next to his mouth from holding it in a tight line all the time.
I was busy writing on sheepskin parchment when I heard a faint rattling sound behind me. It was Aladdin, his lips set in a tense scowl. God knows how long he had been standing there like that, watching me with a strained look in his brown eyes. He asked me what I was doing.
“I’m copying an old lecture of our father’s,” I said. “It’s good to have an extra copy of every one of them.”
“What’s the use of it?” Aladdin exhaled loudly. “Father has stopped giving lectures or sermons. In case you haven’t noticed, he doesn’t teach at the madrassa either. Don’t you see he has thrust aside all his responsibilities?” “This is a temporary situation,” I said. “He’ll soon start teaching again.”
“You are only fooling yourself. Don’t you see that our father doesn’t have time for anything or anyone other than Shams? Isn’t that funny? The man is supposed to be a wandering dervish, but he has taken root in our house.” Aladdin emitted a chuckle, waiting for me to agree with him, but when I said nothing, he started pacing the room. Even without looking at him, I could feel the angry blaze in his eyes.
“People are gossiping,” Aladdin went on morosely. “They are all asking the same question: How can a respected scholar let himself be manipulated by a heretic? Our father’s reputation is like ice melting under the sun. If he doesn’t get a hold of himself soon, he might never be able to find students again in this town. Nobody would want him as a teacher. And I wouldn’t blame them.” I placed the parchment aside and looked at my brother. He was only a boy, really, although his every gesture and expression said he felt on the edge of manhood. He had changed a lot since last year, and I was beginning to suspect he could be in love. Just who the girl could be, I didn’t know, and his close friends wouldn’t tell me.
“Brother, I realize you don’t like Shams, but he is a guest in our house and we ought to respect him. Don’t listen to what others say. Honestly, we shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” As soon as these words came from my mouth, I regretted my patronizing tone. But it was too late. Like bone-dry wood, Aladdin easily catches fire.
“A molehill?!” Aladdin snorted. “Is that what you call this calamity that has befallen us? How can you be so blind?”
I took out another parchment, caressing its delicate surface. It always gave me tremendous pleasure to reproduce my father’s words and to think that in doing so I was helping them to last longer. Even after a hundred years passed, people could read my father’s teachings and be inspired by them. To play a role in this transmission, however small a role it might be, made me proud.
Still complaining, Aladdin stood next to me and glanced at my work, his eyes brooding and bitter. For a fleeting moment, I saw a longing in his eyes and recognized the face of a boy in need of his father’s love. With a plunging heart, I realized it wasn’t Shams he was truly angry at. It was my father.
Aladdin was angry at my father for not loving him enough and for being who he was. My father could be distinguished and famous, but he had also been utterly helpless in the face of the death that had taken our mother at such a tender age.
“They say Shams put a spell on our father,” Aladdin said. “They say he was sent by the Assassins.”
“The Assassins!” I protested. “That is nonsense.”
The Assassins were a sect famous for their meticulous killing methods and extensive use of poisonous substances. Targeting influential people, they murdered their victims in public, so as to plant fear and panic in people’s hearts. They had gone as far as leaving a poisoned cake in Saladin’s tent with a note that said You are in our hands. And Saladin, this great commandeer of Islam who had fought bravely against the Christian Crusaders and recaptured Jerusalem, had not dared to fight against the Assassins, preferring to make peace with them. How could people think Shams could be linked with this sect of terror?
I put my hand on Aladdin’s shoulder and forced him to look at me. “Besides, don’t you know the sect is not what it used to be? They are barely more than a name now.”
Aladdin briefly considered this possibility. “Yes, but they say there were three very loyal commandeers of Hassan Sabbah. They left the castle of Alamut, pledging to spread terror and trouble wherever they went. People suspect that Shams is their leader.” I was starting to lose patience. “God help me! And could you please tell me why a Hashshashin would want to kill our father?”
“Because they hate influential people and love to create chaos, that’s why,” Aladdin responded. So agitated was he by his conspiracy theories that red blotches had formed on his cheeks.
I knew I had to handle this more carefully. “Look, people say all sorts of things all the time,” I said. “You can’t take these awful rumors seriously. Clear your mind of spiteful thoughts. They are poisoning you.” Aladdin groaned resentfully, but I continued nonetheless. “You might not like Shams personally. You do not have to. But for Father’s sake you ought to show him some respect.”
Aladdin looked at me with bitterness and contempt. I understood that my younger brother was not only cross with our father and infuriated at Shams. He was also disappointed in me. He saw my appreciation of Shams as a sign of weakness. Perhaps he thought that in order to earn my father’s favor, I was being subservient and spineless. It was only a suspicion on my part, but one that hurt me deeply.
Still, I could not get angry at him, and even if I did, my anger would not last very long. He was my little brother. To me he would always be that boy running after street cats, getting his feet dirty in rain puddles, and nibbling slices of bread topped with yogurt all day long. I couldn’t help seeing in his face the boy he once had been, a bit on the plump side and a tad short for his age, the boy who took the news of the death of his mother without shedding a tear. All he did was to look down at his feet as if suddenly ashamed of his shoes and purse his bottom lip until its color was gone. Neither a word nor a sob had come out of his mouth. I wish he would have cried.
“Do you remember the time you got into a fight with some neighboring kids?” I asked. “You came home crying, with a bloody nose. What did our mother tell you then?”
Aladdin’s eyes first narrowed and then grew in recognition, but he didn’t say anything.
“She told you that whenever you got angry with someone, you should replace the face of that person in your mind with the face of someone you love. Have you tried replacing Shams’s face with our mother’s face? Perhaps you could find something to like in him.” A furtive smile, as swift and timid as a passing cloud, hovered over Aladdin’s lips, and I was amazed at how much it softened his expression.
“Perhaps I could,” he said, all anger draining out of his voice now.
My heart melted. I gave my brother a hug, unsure of what else to say. As he hugged me back, I felt confident that he would repair his relationship with Shams and the harmony in our house would soon be restored.
Given the course of events that followed, I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
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