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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

23.885942, 45.079162

Tues Feb 3. [3 February 1914] We parted with Awwad today to whom
I gave a chokh and a keffiyyeh - he thought it too little I fear. We rode
out over the Ga'rat al Tubaiq to the Khabra al Ghdai which lies in the
W. al Ghdai. The latter begins at the Khabra al Mufa' and goes to the
Khabra al Masawid, about an hour from where we camped. We rode
down this valley after we had filled our waterskins and I walked out 25
min. from camp and got the whole of the J. Wai'leh. I saw the Thenit al
Rilan which seems to be the eastern continuation of the Tubaiq
[Tubayq, At]. The W side of the Tubaiq is called the T. al 'Afa, the
N.E the T. al Aswad. In the heart of the Tor lies the W. al 'Asreh
wherein no one wd cut trees for firewood or a branch for an asa'i. But
camels and sheep may graze there. There is a big khabra, al
Husenneh left of the road from Mufa' to Mughairah [Mughayra']. It is
full when there has been rain in winter and is full now, but the danger
round it is not qowwi. There is a tell in the heart of the Tor called Tell
Jad'an and when the winds blows from it, it smells of amber. All these
legends are known best by the Sherarat whose dira this originally
was. M. ibn al Rashid protected them and suffered no one to
encroach on their dirah, but since his death the Howaitat and ... al
Shimal have come to it. These two had an immense battle some 4
years ago near Tell Mugyah and about 300 men were killed. Since
then they have made friends. Musuid tells sort of ?sop stories of
animals, the asad the nimr and abu'l Hussain and how they quarrelled
over the body of the arnab. We began to see 'uslib and green trees
today. After the khabra we were joined by Ghadi who is of the Ibn
Rummad and after 5 years sojourning with the Howaitat is going back
with his camels, his mother, brother and sister, to his own people. We
are to serve as mutual rafiqs. Most fortunate. He wd not have dared
to come by this road without us. Rain today and all day cloud and
cold wind. I said to 'Ali this morning that people in my country wd fear
this emptiness. Yes, he said, this maku. Talked to F. [Fattuh] of Islam
and Xianity and said that Jesus was a better nebi than M. He said
They are like people who are lost. We have many feasts and we
know exactly when each one is. They have but one and they never
know when it is - they have to watch the moon to find out. I quoted
Blessed are the merciful a propos of Fellah who had nearly
quarrelled with F last night because he swore Wallahi that he had
picked up the sack he sleeps on in the desert whereas F. bought it in
Dam [Dimashq (Damascus, Esh Sham, Damas]. F. said Why did he
swear by God - did God know? Yes he knew. F. had Fellah seen
him? The other night we talked of the Moham. swearing and both
Sa'id and Salim said it was not good or necessary.

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