SHADOWS of Granada



She was delighted, as if she was still young, not exhausted by experiences, tears, desires. Nothing simulated that moment. To hold his little hands, was like connecting her to the world by a new root, gave the her power, and bravery, so she forgot he...

The cover of my novel She was delighted, as if she was still young, not exhausted by experiences, tears, desires. Nothing simulated that moment. To hold his little hands, was like connecting her to the world by a new root, gave the her power, and bravery, so she forgot her fears and whispered in Arabic, ignoring that it turned to be a forbidden language. She enjoyed the vocalization of every Alphabet, her eyes gleamed, her face brightened while pronouncing every word. Her soul drove sentences from the depth, with a hope that they would find their way to the depth. She took from her private box, what she hided for a long time, to enwrap the infant. Being a grandma to this little angel, aroused hope within her, so she started speaking to him the same way she spoke to herself “Do you know by what I am wrapping you, what is its story? long ago there was a big carpet named “* Bohar Kisra” won by the Arabian at the time of victory and glory. Their exhausted hands, moved across it, the rough hands which knew nothing about pleasures or how to taste joy, they asked “what is that?” Nobody answered. It was a heaven of threads, pearl foliates, precious stones rivers, ruby fruits. A world never seen before by the Bedouins who inhabited the Arabian island. They were brave, conquerors, andwere unable to estimate the carpet or divide it, Omar Ibn-Alkataab did, and gave everyman a share. This piece was given to our grand grandpa, an Arabian who adored its soft threads and marvelous scenes, he devoted the rest of his life to learn how to fabricate such beauty, moved from one land to another to fulfill his desire. He became an apprentice under every clever craftsman, learned the secrets of carpets weaving, that became a handicraft for him and his offspring. One day one of his grand grandsons decided to migrate to here, where the beautiful Al-Andalus was. He took Bohar Kisra in secrecy, hided it in his stuffs and said “It is mine, no one else deserve to enjoy it” She gave the infant a prophecy, then turned towards the mountains of Granada, with two small eyes which simulated two amber drops, moved a head crowned by snowy tresses and hummed “Beware of women” Her words were flickering and swinging, as* Maaalzahab was falling asleep. * * * Her twin sister was behind a curtain, spying on her, with dark eyes. She wasn’t her alike, she was more disquieted, alarmed, clever in vanishing, Snooping pleased her, had a mysterious power to amaze anyone who approached her. Dorra applauded and sang. “My sister is  is back to her hallucinations"

Sahar left her cache ,rushed towards her 

" Sh....SH, they will kill us” Dorra applauded more and more. “Sing with me” Sahar silenced. They were different, suspicious looks were after them, all over their lives, as if to say “no way, you are not twins”, they came around Dorra, and avoided her, as if she was absent or a dark shadow of her. Sahar peeped at her sister, she was as old as her, time left its print on her features, but she didn’t lose magic in her caducity, she kept her efficacy, her words lightened the hearts, she wove lovely carpet. “What about me” Sahar reflected, emptiness was inhabiting her soul. Sometimes her dreams were stunning, awaked her imaginations, but these were detained, nobody knew about them. “Sing with me” No way, her sister desired life, like a flowing out river, in spite of the impossible circumstances. What a craziness? she sang as if she was a bulbul or a curlew, but her voice spread only croak, she never stopped forecasting or giving promises about the future, as if she was living in a place other than the gloomy grieved Granada. Their looks met. Dorra reproached silently “What do you want from me, I was born like this, I am destined to songs and love, a paradise germinates in my soul, it is not my fault if Allah gave me talent and fame, is it a guilt that my lovely carpets bewitched everybody even the enemies, leave me alone and search for a song.

Sahar would bow in deference, she remembered a Castilian who eagerly asked her sister to weave a carpet for him. Pain penetrated her chest, toxic ideas played with her mind “who are you? who are you here?” But Dorra wove Arabic Alphabets, which looked like lilies, flowers, butterflies, plates of fruits, snakes, all over the carpet “Here, is a song for Granada, there, are verses from the Quran” she explained to her revealing her fear and anger from them. Sahar couldn’t deny that she loved her sister, that far day, she was different, mighty, sincere, nearby. But these were rare moments. * * * Many routes led to El kaisaria, which was considered by many people, a marvelous silk market, but for the twin sisters it was a place for fun and mystery. There they could meet faces of different colors, coming from various countries, white, black, brunet, yellow, people from everywhere, giants, dwarfs, who spoke multi languages and dialects, whose whistles revealed their astonishment and weakness in front of the delicacy and softness of the exhibited goods, as if they have seen there the true silk, as if what they got along with before was false. Dorra knew the ten doors of El kaisaria, she entered through them all in her youth, whispered to every gate and gave it a secret name. She preferred at that moment to enter through the nearest one, which she called “Mymoon”, she traversed it while whispering, in company with her sister, the carpets,the mules.

 A flood of colors voices, scents, surrounded them. “People are still living and laughing” Dorra said “The stores are decreasing in number, I shall be sad, if Hasaan closes his, and we are forced to sell the carpets to another” Sahar replied in grief. Then she inquired about his other name. “Kholio perhaps ……..Ah …. I don’t remember” Her sister answered. Some merchants recognized the twin sisters, waved to them, and exhibited their marvelous goods. “We didn’t sell the carpets yet, but I like this and that” Sahar would say. The sun overspread the people, the shops and roads. Dorra laughed when she saw the scene, of two children negotiating about something, they then forgot their argument, continued their play, one of them jumped on the sidewalks which were decorated by infinitive colored illustrations, the other tried to catch up with him. Both simulated Jasmine in color and delicacy. She spent her life searching for laughs, to overcome the memory of a terrifying scene, which shook her in her childhood, she denied its occurrence till the moment. Was her father crying that far day? his body was fluttering, his face disappeared between two big hands, his voice was hollow. Was he crying? how? he was strong as Sierra mountains, as the rivers of Hadra and Genil, and Cypress trees. She didn’t understood what was happening, but she felt bitterness, hoped to escape to the sky, as a yellow bird which hovered in their garden 

 "Look father " 

 She pointed to the sky. He raised his head, followed her finger with wizened eyes “Al l a h” Then bow, sunk in grief once again. They decided to depart. They would go to Egypt. The Castilians stopped him. They were bewitched by his carpets, whose fine, soft threads reflected centuries of experiences. They asked him to stay in order to weave for them a number of carpets. At first he decided to refuse, a conversation was set between him and an inner voice “They will kill you” “No matter” He answered the voice “What about your two daughters” He silenced. “If all the faithful die, how shall we regain Granada?” He silenced and retreated. But he didn’t give them mute carpets, he planted his identity in each one, he explained to her, how he weaved alphabets everywhere, how he eternalized their story in secret messages, how he devoted his marvelous skill for resistance. Sahar tried to go along with them but in vain, she was destined only for observing. Their departure was postponed day after day, and turned to be a far wish. It was a hard time, her father tried to keep his solidarity, in spite of his deep pain. He outpoured tears when he was alone, but held hope and spoke in content in front of their neighbors and acquaintances


 “We Shall remain free, didn’t they signed conventions” His heart whispered to him by the worst, but he didn’t reveal that. “The worst had happened, and we lost Granada, but they promised the last Muslim king, that we shall be safe, free to keep our belief, and our treasury” He said so, his words were opposite to his feelings, his heart was full of fears which rapidly came true. The promises dropped, taxes were imposed upon Muslims only, then heavy blows followed, a Cardinal arrived to the city and decided “There will be no Muslims in Granada” Announcing that Catholicism would be the only accepted belief, otherwise was mere tosh, either to be a Catholic or depart. They revolted, blood was shed, many were killed, the Castilians followed those who chose departure and deprived them of life. They surrendered, stayed out of fear. They led them one day to a church for immersion. It was a hard night for her father, he had insomnia, bent over his loom to weave “I am Arabian Muslim” Hard nights followed, her father tried to find consolation in his work, expecting their arrival every moment, expecting them to say “We discovered you game, you want to kill us by words? Is that what you want? we have discovered the Arabic alphabets “Alceen” “Al raa” “Alkaa” “Alfaa” “Al yaa”, the rest of the Alphabets were no more a hidden secret” Yet they didn’t do that.

 Loud voices cut her thoughts, Dorra regained her consciousness, the Castilians were scolding a child for singing a forbidden song, warning him if he repeated such deed. “They killed his song, as they killed mine long ago” Sahar commented. “Songs never die they disappear, fade, but never die” her sister argued. Oh, they wouldn’t scuffle as usual, not here, the place forced them to cease-fire. Delight captured Dorra secretly. Sahar tried to amuse herself by viewing different goods, yet she acted as a body devoid of soul, Dorra would never comprehend her, she was singing day and night, how could she imitate her “If songs never die, where are they?”.


(SECTION of My novel Shadows of Granada , Check it on Amazon ) 

About the author 


Manal Elkady  is an Egyptian author ,    physician  , who lives in Cairo . She has published 14 books ,  in addition  to a series  of 16 booklets for teenage   under the  name  of &Great Ideas That Changed  The world &

She  writes fiction in both Arabic and English , blends western  and eastern traditions of storytelling .Her writings    link  diverse cultures , reflect  interests in History , Philosophy ,  Sufism, Psychology , oral  cultures .

Her novel Shadows Of Granada  was  published  in  Arabic  2014 , she  decided to  rewrite  it in English , to be read by English  speaking  people .    



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