“Tin Hinan”, Chapter 9

It’s been a while since I have worked on this wip, but it’s a favorite of Bill Penrose (“Ancestors of Star”, and other books available at Lulu.com) and I see  there are still readers of this unfinished novel.

I am stuck doing some research, and it’s tedious at best.  Not for “Tin Hinan” but for another project. Perhaps things move slowly because of the approaching holidays and I just can’t get into it; either the holidays or the writing.

But “Tin” is a sweet story, and when I do go back and look for a finish, something stirs, and it’s not mice in the chimney.  I hope to finish this story early this next year.

Lady Nyo





When you are a Berber and about to wed, you don’t marry a man, you marry the tribe.

The approval of both families was necessary, and since mine were far away, as distant as a star in the nighttime sky, provisions had to be made.


Immel asked for his parent’s approval.  I don’t believe they were surprised, because during the past few moons, he had made clear his intentions.  They remembered his grief in losing Cherifa, and what man is at peace without a wife?


The elders were consulted, the natural course for great and small concerns. Nothing this important could be decided without the elders.



Not all went well. There were objections. Mother Leila told me I would have to appear and explain why I was alone on the distant mountain with my woman.  Gossip always filtered down but the elders wanted to hear the story from my own mouth.


Marrying Immel was bound to raise many considerations.  He was the eldest son of a prominent elder and trusted to lead raids and men.  I was no one, with no family or tribe to represent me.


If I found favor before them, there were other moons to jump. When Immel married me we would have to bring a heavy bride-price to my parents and tribe, appeasing them with much wealth.  Separated by long distances across mountains and desert, our traditions still held.  There was war enough between the different tribes residing in the mountains and deserts. Immel’s tribe did not want more. Tribute would have to be made.


Ah!  It was a necessary evil, but we would make the long trip down the mountain, across the valley, up the mountain, down again, and so forth. And of course I would go with him. In fact, because of the distance and questionable safety of our journey, Immel would lead a caravan of many men to my parents. It would be supplied with gifts to impress my tribe with the wealth of his clan and family.


First, I would have to appear before the elders.  Mother Leila planned on my heavy silver jewelry and my best robes, but I had a different idea, one that Mother Leila would not like at all.


I would appear exactly as Immel and his tribesmen found me.  I would don the robes of a man, the indigo- blue turban and the sword and dagger I had left home with when Takama and I started into the desert.  I believed this would make my case as well as any words from my mouth.  I would make these elders know I was a woman with a mission,  one given to me by the Goddesses.  Well, at least I could try to make them believe that.  Whether the Goddesses spoke to me or not wasn’t their business.


I let Takama into my plan and she thought me crazy.  “What! Do you want to tempt fate? Have you learned nothing about men?  What would Immel think to have his intended show up before the elders dressed like a man?  Some Zar must have scrambled your head!”



She had a point, but I was determined.  Perhaps I felt more power as a man.  During the journey, even though I was fully a woman, just dressed like a man and carrying a dagger and a sword, I did feel some sort of transformation in my liver.  Perhaps men are more powerful by nature, but the sword made me feel power. I was just glad I wasn’t tested in my ability.  Both Takama and I would be dead now and this story would not be told.


The morning I was to appear before the council of elders, I prayed one last time to my silent Goddesses.  Takama was lookout for Mother Leila while I dressed in my male undergarments.   I drew on the long gown men wore and my tribe’s red and white striped burnoose.  I tucked my dagger and short sword into my girdle and wrapped the indigo-dyed cloth around my head, in turban fashion.  I even secured the trailing end over my nose, and walked out to meet Takama in the front room.  The transformation was complete, and Takama, even though she had seen me dressed this way before, trembled.  Perhaps her emotion came from fear, for what I was doing was a fearful thing for a woman to do.


I was to appear before the elders in a small house used by them for tribal meetings.  I strode confidently down the winding road to the courtyard, a young Berber man, tall and thin, but inside, I was quaking.  I entered the wooden door to the house, and sitting on benches were the fifteen elders.  Before them was a rough table with their judgement stones.  Off to the side was Immel.  I expected him to be but had not been sure.


The sky outside was gray, a pale wintry day, and the council room was not well lighted except for a brazier pot in the middle of the room.  There were oil dishes providing some illumination, but still the room was dim. I stood there, the door closed behind me, and I blinked to adjust my eyes from the change outside.


“I am Tin Hinan.”


At my voice, the men looked up, confused, and I glanced over at Immel.  He sat back on his bench, his shoulders hitting the wall, and a wry grin formed on his face.


I removed the veil from my face, exposing my mouth.  “I come amongst you as Immel Uzmir and his men found me.  I dressed as a man when I left my tribe for the safety of my woman, Takama, and myself.  I made this journey to follow my destiny.”


There were some exclamations of surprise and not a few of disdain. My garb was shocking to these men.


A voice called out.  “What reasons do you give, Tin Hinan, for setting out from your parents and tribe?”


I tried to keep the waver from my voice, but my stomach betrayed me.  I felt my right leg shake and I knew fear.  My state must have been obvious to the elders.  Gazing at Immel I saw him slightly nod his head, encouraging me to go on.


“I was to be married to Hasim Azur Dhalid.  The bride-price was paid to my parents.  Gifts were exchanged between our clans. Then, less than a moon before the wedding, I was told Hasim had left for the tent of another woman.  My parent’s gifts were returned, and I knew our tribes would go to war over this insult.”


A mummer spread across the room. Immel looked grim. To any Berber, this would be a grievous insult not only to the family, but also to all the clans. Such an act would call for war.  This mountain tribe was no different in defending honor than my desert home.


“For three days and nights I purified myself and prayed to Ammon, Isis, Ayyur and Neith.  I sought council from the other Goddesses.  On the third night I had my answer.”


I looked down at my feet.  No, I did not have my answer, but these elders did not know. What they knew was what Immel told them. I glanced at him, saw him deep in thought, his eyes hooded, his expression neutral. I did not know what was in his heart, or if he would defend me.


“Is this why you cut your woman’s hair off, daughter?”  A deep voice in the gloom.


“Yes, Father.  My happiness as a new bride would never happen. I also knew my tribe was smaller than the tribe of Hasim. There would be many slaughtered clans if they went to war over this injury to our dignity.”


“You could not think of any other way except to take your woman and leave dressed as a man?  Did your father not try to stop you?  What father would let his daughter leave like that.  Are you sure you are telling us the truth?”  This voice was rough and accusing.



“I am, Father.  I have no reason to lie to you.”


I cast my eyes to the floor, and I thought my stomach would heave. Suddenly, I felt the presence of someone at my left, and glancing up, I found Immel standing next to me.  Although he did not touch me, or hold my hand, I knew he would defend me.  Then, at that point, I realized I could love this man who stood with me in spite of my turning fortunes.


“Fathers.”  I heard Immel’s voice, strong and clear, address the Elders.


“I have come to know Aicha, for that is her birth name, though she would have us call her Tin Hinan.  I have come to know her love for her family, her clan and tribe.  She would sacrifice herself in the desert to avoid the bloodshed.  When we found her in the mountain far from here, she had drawn her sword and pushed her woman behind.  I knew she was woman when I lay eyes on her.”


There was much nodding of heads at this last statement, for men, at any age, can discern a woman, even dressed in the garb of a man.  (I could not help but think Immel rather boastful.)


“And more.  She was a brave woman for she drew a sword against thirty men and stood ready to die.  We men know courage when we see it, but seeing such courage in a woman!”  Immel spat on the ground in emphasis.


“She would have not lasted much longer, for we found the grey wolf and her pack the night before.  They were hunting and it was only a matter of hours before they would have killed these two women.  It is by the grace of the Gods we found them first.”


One of the elders stood up slowly, and addressed us.


“Immel Uzmir and Tin Hinan.  The Council of Elders will meet on this matter and cast our stones together.  We will call you both back within a matter of days, and give you our decision.  May the Gods and Goddesses continue to champion your fortune.”


I looked up at Immel. H gave a weak smile and pulled his veil over his face.  Turning on his heel he walked out, stooping to get his height through the door.  I bowed to the elders, as a proper woman should and followed Immel outside into the bleak winter day.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2910

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14 Responses to ““Tin Hinan”, Chapter 9”

  1. Mama Zen Says:

    Well, I’m hooked!


  2. katiewritesagain Says:

    yes, I rmember this story and I’m glad you’ve posted another chapter. The courage to stand before the elders dressed as a man is a wonderful example of character building. Show, don’t tell. We know that she is an uncommonly courageous and aggressive woman. She will need an uncommon man in order to deal with her without trying to break her. I’m intersted in reading more-as always! She is the woman so many of us try to be.


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Crap! My kittie destroyed my longish answer, Katie.

    But, I am glad you are reading, because you have sense and sensibility!

    Yes, she is quite the character (here comes Kittie again….) but Berber women in the 6th century had a lot of power within the tribal makeup as much as I can discern. They were the poets, and that gave them place and voice within the tribe.

    Their religion back then was more Egyptian…Isis and Ammon, and they had many Goddesses that were warriors.

    yes, she is a woman that many of us try to be…and I think she is within all of us to an important extent.

    Thank you, Katie for reading, commenting, and for many other things…..especially today!



  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL~! Mama Zen!

    I am too…now I just have to finish this novella….I need to go into a particular place to do this…and ..well, you know the riff.

    Thank you, Mama Zen, for reading this chapter of “Tin Hinan”.

    Lady Nyo


  5. Margie Says:

    I’m so happy to see another chapter! I soooo look forward to reading this in its entirety – chapters in order and ending complete! I don’t know why this particular story connects so deeply with me – maybe these were my experiences in past life, who knows? But I see these people, and I hear their voices. I feel the weight of their clothing on my body and taste the food they eat. And this is all thanks to your wonderful storytelling, my dear Jane. Don’t every stop!


  6. William Penrose Says:

    I especially love that photo at the top! Beautiful.


  7. ladynyo Says:

    Dear Margie….

    You couldn’t give me a finer compliment. I remember you telling me how much you ‘connect’ with this story, the culture/characters/details. I am so delighted that you do. This is what a writer wants in life….others, readers, who find that resonance within these words.

    Maybe you are right! Maybe this is something of a past life for you…something in the DNA?? Since you have told me something of your origin of culture, it’s not beyond the pale. The Berbers were very much involved early in Spain, with Jews, with Egyptians, etc.

    And really, how far it the human condition from each other? I am finding so much commonality in cultural issues– from the Maghreb to Russia. So how different are we really under the skin?

    This story grabs me every time I venture to read it. I have a few people (Bill Penrose for one!!) who are pushing me to finish this one, and really, it’s not that beyond the pale. It’s possible. I just have to put myself in that particular “Berber” place, and ‘feel’ it.

    Sometimes I think that perhaps I am also ‘possessed’ by these characters. I have the same response, reaction to them as you do. It seems they really are almost tangible ghosts that revolve around my life, and apparently yours, too!

    I have heard of such things, and have also talked to other writers about this. It’s really a blessing….ok, a ‘nagging’ blessing…lol…but a blessing nonetheless.

    Thank you, Margie for reading and leaving such a heartfelt comment. I’ll work to finish this story just for you. (and Bill).

    Love and Hugs,


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Bill~~~~

    How are you? So good to see you here!

    Isn’t that photo incredible? Those lovely, lovely Berber women! They are ‘modern’ Berbers in Tunisia, but they look like they have stepped out of history. Actually Tunisia has a huge population of Berbers. There are something like 50 million Berbers flung all over the world, many who, isolated in the mountains of Algeria, etc…. still practice the ‘old’ religion….before the Arabs and Islam.

    Margie wrote today, and joins her voice with yours: “Finish the damn book!”. I will, I will…promise.

    Merry Xmas, Bill!

    Love and Hugs,


  9. מזרונים Says:

    I have to say, every time I come to here there is another remarkable post to read. A friend of mine was talking to me about this topic several weeks ago, so I think I’ll e-mail them the link here and see what they say.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you! So nice of you to read and leave a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  11. tapani Says:

    Great story! Let me know when there is more!


  12. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Tapani,

    It’s a good story! I should finish it! LOL!

    Well, it’s up to Chapter 12, and many of them have been posted on my blog over the last 2 years. Sorry I don’t know how to tell you how to do a search for the many different chapters, but I guess you can Google them.

    Thank you so much for reading ‘Tin Hinan’ and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  13. Tin Hinan Hocine Says:

    Hey ! my name is Tin Hinan ^^ I loved this chapter ! Good job (=


  14. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Thank you.

    Hopefully I can finish writing this book by the end of the year.

    Thanks for reading “Tin Hinan”….if you do a search through this blog, there are numerous chapters of “Tin Hinan”.

    Lady Nyo


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