The Epic of Sakina
By Shari Paul
The moon was a pale, golden disc in a lavender sky. Sakina, in a brilliant blue caftan that brought out the colour in her skin and eyes, strummed her kora a few times to check the tuning. At her ear, an ancestor whispered, “He is quite brazen to be out here when the moon is full…or powerful enough to resist it.”
Sakina looked over at the tall, thin man sinking into one of the dougou-tigui’s fine silk cushions. Asif the alim looked as if a stiff breeze would knock him over, the skin stretched tight over his bones. Naima had called him a ghoul and Sakina agreed. He noticed her stare, smiled, and said, “Of all the djeli I have met in my travels, you are by far the most captivating.”
There were a few titters from the assembled guests, wealthy merchants, fellow djeli, and the imam of the Cunapo Mosque. Their host, the dougou-tigui Hussain, coughed lightly, embarrassed, and said, “My nephew, Farouk, certainly thought so. He could not have found a more beautiful wife.”
“Yes, yes,” said Asif, still smiling at Sakina. “And then he left her to go travelling with your maghan. If I had found a wife as lovely, my journeys would end.”
“They are young, they think they can do whatever they like,” said Hussain with a chuckle, jiggling two of his three jowls.
Sprawled beside Asif, surrounded by trays of fruit and starches and spiced teas, the dougou-tigui was the larger of the two but he sat considerably higher. The ancestor continued at Sakina’s ear, “See how the mass he does not show nevertheless affects the environment around him? The beast he becomes must be strong.” (Continue Reading…)