Hamid was traveling to a faraway village in the middle of a desert. He only had his camel for the company. As night fell, Hamid quickly put up a tent. While it was very hot during the daytime, the desert would get extremely cold at night. Hamid crawled into the tent, spread a mat and lay down on it. Soon it was dark, and the Arab found his eyes drooping.
Someone outside called out to him, “Friend, it’s cold out here. Can you please take me into your tent?” It was the camel, who was shivering in the cold.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Camel. This tent is so small and you are so huge,” said Hamid. “There’s no place for the two of us here in this tent.”
“I understand. I will only put my head inside the tent,” pleaded the camel.
Hamid agreed. The camel put its head inside the tent and said, “Thank you.”
“Goodnight, a friend,” said Hamid as he closed his eyes.
“My friend, it’s getting colder,” said the camel. “Let me bring my neck, just my neck, into the tent,” pleaded the camel.
“Alright, friend,” mumbled Hamid, as he was feeling very sleepy.
So, the camel put his neck into the tent, with the rest of its body outside.
A few minutes later the camel spoke with its voice trembling with cold. “Friend, you know how delicate my hump is. I think there’s enough space here for my hump.”
Hamid did not want to speak lest he woke up, “Hmm,” he grunted.
Taking it as his consent, the camel pushed himself into the tent by an inch and the hump was inside.
Sometime later, the camel said, “My friend…” There was no reply from Hamid, who was in deep sleep.
“Why disturb the good fellow,” said the camel to himself, “Surely, he won’t have any objection if I drag my tummy into the tent.”
When the day broke, Hamid woke up with a start. He was shivering with cold, out in the open. The camel was snoring away inside the tent. It’s head, neck, hump and the whole body inside. Only its tail was hanging outside the tent.
Story: Subba Rao | Illustration: Marina Pereira