The camel said, the captain said, the camel said, the captain said, but I have never seen anyone as beautiful as Himsa in my entire life.
Once upon a time, there was a captain who was in charge of a small fishing boat. He was the owner of the boat, but he could not fish it alone. He needed at least two or three people with him on the boat. One of the people would be in charge of the engine, the other would be in charge of the fishing rods and the third would be in charge of the net. But the captain was lazy, and he wanted to have only one person working with him on the boat.
One day, he heard a strange sound. It was a long, low sound, like the sound of a car braking, or the sound of a door opening. He was sitting on the side of the boat, with his feet held in his hands and said, “What’s that?”
The sound came closer and closer and got louder and louder. The captain said, “What’s that?”
Out of the waters came a camel. The animal stopped right in front of the captain. “Ah, ho-ho-ho! What do we have here? It’s a camel!”
The camel mumbled, “Are you the captain?”
The captain was surprised and said, “What do you want from me?”
The camel said, “Can I be a passenger in your boat?”
The captain said, “Are you crazy?”
The camel said, “I am a quiet passenger. I do not make any troubles.”
The captain said, “If you are a good, quiet passenger, then I will let you go with me.”
The camel said, “Thank you.” The captain stood up and said, “Come on!”
The camel asked, “Where are we going?”
The captain said, “We are going fishing.”
The camel said, “But I do not have any fishing rods!”
The captain said, “You do not need to have any fishing rods.”
When they arrived at the place where they usually fish they stood on the side of the boat and the captain said, “What do you have to do?”
The camel said, “I do not have to do anything.”
The captain said, “You must hold the fishing rods.”
The camel said, “But I do not have fishing rods!”
The captain said, “Yes, but you must hold them!”
At that time the other people arrived. They were surprised to see the camel. The captain said, “Dear passengers, I want to introduce you to the new passenger of our boat. His name is Al-Himsa.”
The passengers said, “Welcome, Al-Himsa!”
The captain said, “Al-Himsa, tell the passengers what will you do?”
The camel said, “I will hold the fishing rods.”
The passengers shouted, “You are crazy!”
The captain said, “Yes, Al-Himsa, tell the passengers what is your job.”
The camel said, “No, I do not have any job.”
The passengers shouted, “Captain, this is a strange passenger!”
The captain shouted, “Al-Himsa, you must do something!”
The camel said, “Yes, I will jump into the sea!”
The passengers shouted, “You are crazy! This is a small boat! We are going to all drown!”
The captain shouted, “Al-Himsa, if you do not tell us what your job is, I will throw you into the waters!”
The camel said, “Tell me what to do!”
The captain shouted, “You must hold the fishing rods!”
The camel said, “But I do not have any fishing rods!”
The captain shouted, “Then you must tell me what is your job, and do it!”
The camel said, “I will jump into the sea.”
The captain jumped and grabbed the camel by the neck, and pushed him into the sea. Then the captain shouted, “Al-Himsa, come back up!”
The camel said, “Why?”
The captain shouted, “Because I am in love with you".
The camel said, “What?”
The captain shouted, "I love you! I love you! I love you!"
The camel shouted, “What?”
The captain shouted, “I love you!”
The camel shouted, “I love you too. I was afraid to admit it, but it's true."
The captain shouted, “Come up!”
The camel shouted, “Come down!”
The captain shouted, “Come up!”
The camel shouted, “Come down!”
The captain went up out of the boat. He jumped into the sea and stayed there.
When the captain was in the water he called out, “Al-Himsa! Al-Himsa!”
The camel said, “Yes!”
The captain said, “Where were you?”
The camel said, “I was already in the water. I jumped in earlier, when you were on the shore.”
The captain said, “Oh my God!”
The camel said, “What?”
The captain said, “I love you!”
The camel said, “I love you too.”
The captain said, “You are crazy! I am in love with you!”
The camel said, “I am in love with you too!”
The captain said, “We will never fall asleep!”
The camel said, “Yes, that is true.”
The captain said, “What do we do now?”
The camel said, “Let’s go back.”
The captain said, “But, you will walk on the land, and I will walk in the water.”
The camel said, “Will you be able to get on the boat?”
The captain said, “Yes.”
“It is a good idea,” the camel said. “I will walk on the land and you will walk in the water, and then we will go back to the boat." and they did.
When they reached the boat, the passengers were very happy. They shouted, "Al-Himsa, the captain and you made us very happy!"
The captain and the camel decided to get ashore and get married. They went to the shore and met a friend of the captain. The captain's friend said, “Why are you looking so sad?”
The captain said, “You will not believe it! My camel and I fell in love with each other!"
The old man said, “Oh, captain, do not be so sad. Be glad instead that you have such a nice camel as a wife!"
The captain said, " Well, I am going to get married to my camel tomorrow. Will you come to the wedding?"
The old man said, "I cannot go, but I am sure that a lot of people will come."
So the news was spread, and many people came to the wedding. They all said, “The best thing that happened to the captain is that he fell in love with a camel!”
They built a nice house for the camel, where she could live and work with the captain. The camel did not need the captain to walk on land with her. She could walk on her own, and she gave birth to a baby. The baby was a very smart camel.
The old man who had come to the wedding said the camel was a very lucky camel, because the captain loved her. He was very happy because the captain loved a camel. The other people were all surprised, and they said again, “The best thing that ever happened to the captain is that he fell in love with a camel!"
However, the baby was not an ordinary baby: The baby had one very particular power, and it was that it could walk on water, because it was the offspring of a captain and a camel. The baby grew up, and became a strong young girl. The girl was so powerful that she could even take the captain out to sea and make him swim back to the shore. The captain used to call her “Himsa” (meaning “strength” in Swahili). The girl called her mother “Mama”.
One day, a horse walked past the girl's house and saw her in the yard. The horse said to her, "Hey, Himsa! What are you doing?"
The girl said, "I am sitting here and I am thinking about the future."
The horse said, "Himsa, what are you thinking about the future?"
The girl said, "I am thinking that now I am very powerful and I can do quite many things - I can even take my father out to the sea and make him swim back to the shore. But when I get old, no one is going to give me a piece of bread."
The horse said, "Himsa, if you want people to give you bread when you are old, you should make them happy when you are young. I am going to give you a present that will make people start shouting whenever they see you."
So the horse gave her a gift, and the girl stopped thinking about the future.
One day, the captain and his daughter Himsa were very busy, so the captain said to the camel, "Mama you take Himsa to school today."
The camel said, "You are going to make me go to school?"
The captain said "Yes, I am going to make you go to school. I can go to school too, but you are my wife."
The camel said, "I don't want to go. You can go by yourself."
The captain said, "No, you are the mother of a smart girl. You should learn about school."
So the captain and his wife went. On the way, they met three friends. The captain and the camel asked their friends to help them to carry the daughter to school. The friends said, "No problem! We will help you."
The friends carried the girl to school, and they arrived at the school just in time. The teacher was very surprised. He asked her, "Where did you get this beautiful girl from?"
The captain and his wife said, "We have never seen her before. She is our daughter."
The teacher said, "The only thing you have to do is to go and open your eyes and ears, and look at the beautiful people all around you. They are all here in school. Just tell me, who do you think is the most beautiful person that you have ever seen?"
The captain said, "Mister, I can't find such a beautiful person in school. I have never seen anyone as beautiful as my daughter."
The teacher said, "Oh, no. You can only see your daughter's beauty if you look at her from a different angle. You only see that your daughter has the same beauty as you. You only see her beauty because she is your daughter."
The captain said, "What are you talking about? I know Himsa is a very strong girl, but she is not beautiful."
The teacher said, "You are right, but the girl will become very beautiful when she grows up."
The captain said, "No! I have never seen such a beautiful girl in my life."
The teacher said, "If you think that you know what is beauty, please tell me who is the most beautiful person that you have ever seen."
The captain thought for a while, but he could not remember anyone more beautiful than his own daughter. The teacher said, "You think about it for a little longer."
So the captain thought for a little longer and said, "Now I know! I have never seen anyone as pretty as Himsa in my life!"
The teacher said, "That is good. After what you told me about your daughter, I will give her a present."
The teacher gave the captain's daughter a gift. He wrote on a piece of paper: "This is my gift to Himsa because she is so very, very beautiful!" The teacher showed Himsa the paper, and she read it. Then the teacher said to her, "You read what I have written on it."
So the girl read, "This is my gift to Himsa because she is so very, very beautiful!"
The teacher said, "Next time you go to the market, and you see something that you like and you buy it for yourself. But when you come back home and show it to your father, you have to show him the paper that I have given to you. Then he will be very happy."
The captain asked the teacher, "Why did you give my daughter a gift? Have we done something to make you feel obliged?"
The teacher said, "You are not obliged at all. Remember, I am your friend."
The captain asked Himsa, "What did the teacher give to you?"
She said, "He gave me a gift of a piece of paper with writing on it."
The captain asked, "What did he write on it?"
Himsa told him, "On it he wrote, 'This is my gift to Himsa because she is so very, very beautiful!'"
The captain said, "Yes! My daughter is very beautiful! You should take care of your face and your body because you are a very beautiful girl! People should not see any holes in your clothes or tears in your shoes. If a person does not look nice, then he or she will be unhappy."
Himsa went to the marketplace and bought herself something that she liked. She looked at her face in a mirror and combed her hair. She looked at her torn shoes and sad face and thought, "My father is right! I should be happy all the time. But how can I be happy when I am not considered good for marriage? My father wants to get rid of me by sending me to my grandmother who is poor and has no money."
The girl looked at the present she had bought for herself and thought, "Perhaps I should buy something for my father as well. After all, he is the one who has given me everything. Without his kindness, I would be lost."
Himsa went to a flower shop. Flowers were very expensive, but she bought some anyway. She thought that maybe she could give her father a flower from time to time. She bought a large bunch and put it in her bag. She continued on to the place where she had gotten a gift for herself and looked for something for her father to buy.
She looked carefully at all the things that were available and saw many things that she liked very much. But she was only allowed to buy one thing; so she had to choose carefully. She could not afford all the things that she liked because she only had a hundred rupees for herself and another hundred rupees for her father.
Himsa finally decided to buy a notebook for her father. She looked and found a beautiful notebook with a black cover and a nice, clean, new pen. She looked at herself in the mirror and checked how she looked without her torn shoes. She was very proud of herself. She thought, "I will show my father these presents when I go home."
She took the presents that she had bought for herself and for her father to the teacher. The teacher saw that she had presents for herself and for her father as well. He said, "I guess you are going to buy another thing for your father."
She said, "Yes! I have bought a notebook for him."
The teacher took the notebook and saw that it was still in a plastic cover. He said, "You should take the notebook out of the plastic cover before you bring it to your father."
Himsa took the notebook from her bag and took off the plastic cover. At that moment, she remembered what her mother had told her when they were playing at home together. She remembered how her mother had told her that something very bad could happen when she looked into a mirror or combed her hair. She remembered how she had asked why that was so.
She thought, "My father will not like it if he sees me without my torn shoes and without my torn clothes, without my shawl, and without my stockings." But then she thought, "Maybe he will not be angry with me."
So she looked at herself in the mirror and combed her hair, but then she thought again. Then she said to herself, "I must not do this!" But she could not stop. She took out the pen and started to write on paper.
The teacher said, "You are no longer Himsa! You are a ghost! I cannot teach you anymore!"
Himsa said, "I did not want to do this. I really did not want to do this because I did not know it was wrong."
The teacher said, "Now you have learned that it is wrong. Now you will go to Hell." And he pushed the pencil into her hand and said, "Go to Hell!" Then he turned her into a ghost and threw her out of the school. She had been sent there by her father because he wanted her to go away and get rid of her. He was worried about his family. He was worried that if people saw how beautiful she was, they might try to take her away from him and make him unhappy as well as unhappy for his family. He was afraid that they might bring a terrible curse upon him.
The ghost of Himsa transformed into a demon. She did not know what to do. She thought, "I am really bad! I have never done anything good in my whole life!"
She wondered what to do. Then she decided to go somewhere else and see if she could learn how to be a human being again so that she could please her father. That was her only hope because there was nowhere else for her to go.
She sat down by the road and thought, "What will I do now? How can I become a real, good person?" Her anger grew inside of her heart. She looked around at all the people and thought, "They are all ghosts. They are bad people! I am afraid of them because they look so ugly." She did not know that they were ghosts and demons because she did not know what they were. She believed that they were the same as her; they were human beings like herself. She thought, "I have to look for a place where I can learn to be a good person. I want to learn how to please my father so that he will take me home and make me his daughter again."
She cried very much because she did not know where to go. She sat there in the street with her tears running down her face. Then a woman came along carrying lots of children on her back. Each one of them was holding onto her sari and screaming very loudly. The woman had a very big bag in which she held all the children like chickens. They were all very noisy because they were fighting with each other. The mother's sari was torn in two parts, and the children were all dirty and smelly, like chickens or pigs. The demon-girl thought, "This woman must have many children, but they look very ugly! What kind of mother is she?"
The woman saw the demon-girl sitting by the side of the road with her beautiful face and her torn skirt. She stopped and came to her. She said, "Come on, my dear. I will give you a ride on my back. You can see what is around here." The demon-girl then jumped onto her back and held onto her sari. It was a long way to the demon-woman's home, so the demon-girl fell to sleep. When she woke up, she found herself in a very nice house. There were many beautiful houses there.
"I will live here," thought the demon-girl, "because I don't want to go to Hell. I don't want to go there because people are ugly and bad there." She lived there for several years.
One day the demon-girl saw the woman's husband coming home with his friends and horses. They were all dressed in beautiful clothes, like wealthy people. The man said, "I am going to have a feast with my wife and friends. I want some music, and I want to eat something nice. Go to town and buy some food and some drinks, and then invite all of my friends."
The demon-girl thought, "He is like my father and my mother. He looks nice, and he has lots of money. I want to marry him." The man also thought that the demon-girl was beautiful. He said, "You come along, woman!" She was so happy that she jumped around his feet, like a dog or a cat!
The man said, "I have a lot of money at home, but don't tell anyone about it. I will take you home with me." The demon-girl said, "Yes! Please take me home with you!" She lived there for several years. She became very happy because she had lots of money and had a husband who was very handsome! He was the most handsome man in the whole world! She said, "I will have a son. I will have children. I will have many children!"
One day the man said, "My dear, we do not have any children. Do you want children?" The demon-girl said, "No! We have enough money, and we are happy. Why should we have a child?" The man said, "If you want a child, then I will get one for you." The demon-girl said, "I want a boy and not a girl."
The next day the man went to someone who was very wealthy, who had many wives and many cars. He was the richest person in that town. The man asked him to give him one of his wives' sons as a servant. He wanted to take that boy to his house and make him serve his own wife. The man agreed to give him one of his sons because he was so wealthy that he did not need any of them. He gave the man a young son so that he would not disturb him when he was sleeping. That boy was very poor, but he loved his father.
The demon-girl said to her husband, "This is a very poor child. He will not be able to do any work. I want to send him away." The man said, "No! He is a born servant! He has been brought up in a house with lots of servants! He is used to being a servant. We will make him clean the house and do other little chores." The demon-girl said, "I don't like him."
The man said, "We will try him out for one week, and then if he does not work well for us we will let him go." The demon-girl thought to herself, "I want to send him away so that I can have a beautiful son from my husband. I will have a nice son and not a servant."
The next morning the man saw that the demon-girl had transformed back to Himsa, her beautiful self, and she was going out with his friends. He said to himself, "I will not let her go today, because if she becomes a demon again I will never be able to catch her. I will not tell her that the boy is my servant." He did not know that Himsa was the demon-girl.
The demon-girl came back in the evening and said, "You dirty man! Look at your son! He is not even clean! He does not even have nice clothes! How can you let your son get dirty like this? I am going to teach him how to be clean! Clean in person and also clean in his clothes!" She went up to the boy and hit him, and she started beating him. "You are so dirty and ugly!" she said. The boy could not do anything because he was afraid of Himsa. She had lots of money, so he obeyed her and did whatever she said. The boy tried to run away because he was afraid of her. He had never met a woman like her. She hit him again and said, "Don't run away. I will teach you how to be clean!" She made him wash his face, his hands, and his feet, and she made him put on new clothes.
The man came home and said, "I am tired of waiting for you! You are always late! Why are you not home when I come home?" He looked and saw the boy. "What is this?" he said. "Look at this poor boy! How can my wife beat up a poor boy like this? Look at his face! How can she beat people like this?"
Then the man told Himsa to leave, and at that moment she regretted everything bad she had done. She immediately transformed back to her good old self, and they lived happily ever after.