The Green Man of Sinai

retold by Ruskin Bond

Read time: a minute

I came across this beautiful story in a collection of traditional short stories retold by Ruskin Bond. With my faith in oriental stories I dived into this one and man!, I am mesmerized. The story finds its roots in ancient Egypt which is retold to us by the author. It is about a rich trader in the far off land who has all the pleasures of life that money could buy. His only angst is that he will one day meet death and all his money would be of no use to him which he wants to enjoy for a prolonged period.

For a man who fears nothing but death the trader takes a drastic step by exchanging each of his belonging with a jewel that brings only good luck to its bearers. It shines like sun in places of darkness and fulfils each of the wish of its possessed. The trader obviously thinks that he could be as rich as he like with the jewel but he goes in search of the well of life that could grant him immortality first.

During his journey he is warned by many and seduced by the sheer magic of jewel and he ends up making unfortunate choices. It is the story of El-Khadir. The green man who takes a dip in the well of life that changes his color forever. His is fears by all but means no harm. He dwells the earth feeling no hunger and thirst until eternity.

The oriental theme of richness is maintained throughout the book. Those who have ever read and loved Alladin are going to enjoy this story. Told in the form of a bard that travels through desserts and ages, I absolutely loved this story.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH