The official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Ninety percent of the residents of Egypt identify as Muslim and the other ten percent are a form of Christian. Islam arrived in Egypt in the 7th century. At that time Egypt emerged as the center of politics and culture in the Muslim World.
Now onto our story. We are sharing Rimonah of the Flashing Sword adapted by Eric A. Kimmel. In the Author's Note, Kimmel mentions he came upon the traditional version in Miriam's Tambourine by Howard Schwartz. He knows the tale is from North Africa and Schwartz said it came from Egypt.
This story begins with a queen who is eating a pomegranate. She wishes to have a child with skin is as dark as the pomegranate, eyes as bright as its seeds and voice as sweet as the juice of the pomegranate. Soon she has a daughter with these qualities and she names her Rimonah which means pomegranate. Rimonah grows up in a loving household until her seventh birthday when her mother dies. Upon her deathbed, Rimonah's mother gives her a vial with three drops of her blood to wear around her neck. She tells her if they blood turns red and to liquid (after drying) then Rimonah is in danger. Then the mother dies.
The father who vows not to remarry ever, is married before his first wife is in the grave. The new wife is a sorceress who want to increase her power by becoming queen. She used her magic to kill the first queen and to make the king not have control of his mind. She keeps her special magic tools in a tower that only she is permitted to go in. She has a magic porcelain bowl that when she fills it with water, she can ask it any question and get a truthful answer. She asks if she is the fairest of all. One day it answers that Rimonah is fairer. She gets angry and orders a servant to go kill her.
The servant takes Rimonah out and pulls out his dagger, and Rimonah begs for her life. He tells her to go far away. Rimonah escapes leaving behind her cape which the huntsman uses as proof of her death. He covers it with blood of a gazelle first.
Rimonah finds a group of bedouin. Since they do not follow the rule of the king and queen she is welcomed. She learns to ride and use her sword with them. She becomes well known for her skill with the sword and dagger. One day the queen hears someone discussing Rimonah of the desert's sword skill. The queen is shocked to hear she is not dead. She goes to her bowl to check and learns that she is still alive. She uses a magic cape to dress as a bedouin prince and brings a magical scorpion necklace. It turns into a real scorpion at sunset. She leaves it at Rimonah's tent with the other suitors' gifts. Rimonah gives it to one of her friends, but notices the blood in her necklace turn red and liquid. She grabs the necklace from her friends neck as the sun sets and kills the scorpion. At this point her friends urge her to leave since she has been found.
Rimonah leaves and finds a cave with a huge stone blocking the entrance. She hides and sees its inhabitants, 40 thieves, enter using the words, "Open Sesame." She tries it and goes in.She leaves her horse in the stables and discovers a beautiful castle. She finds the forty beds and lies down for a quick rest, but falls fast asleep. The thieves find her and want to kill her, but bring her to their leader. They think she is a spy for the queen. She tells them how the queen has tried to kill her twice and they allow her to join them. They call her Rimonah of the Flashing Sword after seeing her skill. All of the thieves were honest men who were destroyed by the queen (all of their belongings taken by the queen's servants).
The queen discovers that Rimonah is still alive and uses her magic to find her. This time she brings a poisonous ring. She convinces Rimonah to put it on after she rolls it under the locked castle door saying the leader of the thieves wanted her to have it. She falls to the ground instantly. However she does not die since her mother's love is protecting her.
The thieves find her and put her in a glass coffin thinking she is dead. One day a prince finds his way into the cave and falls in love with the beautiful woman in the coffin. Even though she is surrounded by forty men asleep with their swords out, he opens the coffin to kiss her. The thieves wake up and threaten to kill him until they hear Rimonah's voice saying to spare him since he is the prince of her dreams. They are so happy to have Rimonah alive, but sad that she and the prince are in love. Rimonah tells the prince she will not be happy without her forty men. He agrees. As they journey to the prince's kingdom, they find a coffin in the desert and the leader of the thieves discovers it is the king. Rimonah wants to see her father once more and asks them to open it for her. She cries at her father's death and her tears awaken her father. He tells them how the queen used her magic to control him and then kill him. They decide Rimonah will not be safe with the queen alive so all of them go to kill her. When her people see them coming they abandon the queen. The queen having gotten knowledge that her end is near from the magic bowl tries to escape on her magic carpet, but leaves the bowl behind. Rimonah runs to the tower and throws the bowl at the queen. When the bowl hits the carpet and then the ground it breaks and the carpet unwinds. The queen dies. Everyone is happy. The thieves become the guards of Rimonah and her prince.
For this book I love how Rimonah is the best at the sword and becomes well known for her skill. She also does not need the men to save her as much as she can fight for herself. We made a sword, well actually a khopesh, an ancient Egyptian sword. I used the pattern from Storm the Castle. Our cardboard was a bit flimsy so we put duct tape on it. This made it a little better.