“Tin Hinan”, second part of Chapter I

Continuing Chapter I to the  end of the chapter.

There was a young man who was part of a neighboring tribe a day away.  During marriages, celebrations and festivals, I would see him and he would look for me.  We are modest women, but we do stare in the eyes a man we are interested in marrying. We even wink at them.  Are you shocked?  Well, we did.   We had many customs, and Berber women, before the hated Arabs, had much freedom. 

Hasim was his name, and he was a tall man, taller than I was.  I thought only proper I be married to a tall man. What woman wants to look down on her husband?  It sets a bad example for a woman.  She starts looking down on him in other things.  Hasim was a few years older and at one marriage festival, I danced a line dance with other maidens and gave him one of my bracelets.  This was an accepted way of flirting. When the musicians took a rest, I went to get my silver bracelet back, and he slipped it down the front of his robe. He crossed his arms over his chest and smiled boldly. I should have known then Hasim was trouble, but my foolish heart flip-flopped.  Ah! Girls can be so silly.

Hasim was handsome, already a man though only about twenty-two years of age.  He had golden skin where the sun had not burned him dark and black eyes like deep shaded pools of water in the oasis.  His nose was long and slightly bent, like the hunting hawk, and his mouth was full and red, like a split pomegranate.  His teeth were white like bleached bones in the desert. 

How do I know this, if our men are veiled?  My Hasim, for I already claimed him mine with the certainty that he would be…. had unwrapped his indigo blue veil from his face. And yes, his cheeks were stained a light blue where his beard would be.  I should have known that the Zar blood was deep in him, not just on the surface, but Isis! How was I to know then?

“Come, little sister, fish deep in my waters and you will find your bangle.  You want your precious silver back, do you not?”

Ah! My father would kill him if he heard his words!  But Hasim just grinned, playing a man’s game and my head whirled inside.  Other parts of me were disturbed, but I only knew of this by our women’s bridal parties before the weddings.  My heart flipped and my stomach turned over, too.

I am not known for being shy, perhaps it is because I am so tall, but shy I was before Hasim.  

He reached out his hand and traced my cheek to my chin, pushing the back of his thumb over my lips.  My eyes were locked to his and I could not pull away. I must have looked like a little fool, for my mouth opened a bit with the pressure of his finger.

Hasim dipped into his chest and reluctantly pulled out my bracelet.  “Little sister, be careful in what hands you place your silver.  You might come across one who will take more than your jewelry.” 

I heard his voice off in the distance.  He closed his eyes slightly, his long, black lashes brushing downwards, and the spell was broken.  I staggered a bit, and he threw out a hand to steady me, an enigmatic smile on his face.


I saw Hasim a few times after this first occasion and each time grew dizzy at the sight him.  During the last harvest festival, Hasim was mounted on a large, white camel as he raced across the desert with the other riders.  The groans and bellows of the beasts, the yelling of the men placing their wagers and the dust churned up from many feet made it hard for me to concentrate.  I could only follow the white of his camel for he was surrounded by mounted men. 

That autumn, my mother and father called me before them, and announced that it was time I marry.  Of course I had no choice, I was of age, but  noticed an exchange of smiles between my parents.  Unknown to me, my father had consulted with the marriage broker and a visit had been made to Hasim’s parents.  He was considered a good prospect, and with the status of our tribe and that of my father, I was considered a likely bride for Hasim.

My heart was light and leaping about in my chest.  I walked now with confidence, my breasts pushed out and a smile upon my face.  I would have the status of a wife, not just a common, unmarried girl.  There were many things to settle, preparations to make and issues far beyond my concern.  These were the matters of the elders and my mother’s family. But I was to be a bride!  Finally, I would take my place in the tribe with all the authority of a wedded woman.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009-2012


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6 Responses to ““Tin Hinan”, second part of Chapter I”

  1. Steve E Says:

    Jane, what brings me to a knowledge, a certainty, that your arte describing how it is done. (And the culture so difficult for me to understand–so I just accept that it IS!)

    This part today of the story makes me wonder if it will be all rosy happiness…or if there are pain and tears in my future here in your story domain

    Thank again, for doling out into small pieces, so I can easily digest, and wait until the next fine meal.



  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve!

    Well, this is a work of fiction, and we can’t know for sure, the conditions, etc. in the 6th century for the Berbers, but I would believe that they are generally the same for the desert dwellers of today. Of course, the scene shifts to the mountains of Algeria later, and there the environment is a bit different….ksars, instead of tents…

    The culture: well, I worked with Berbers for a couple of years and I certainly did ask them about their history, their native language, what they could construct for me, but it was pretty much entwined with the Arab culture. But they loved to talk about their culture. I was blessed to know Berbers from Morocco and Algeria. The Berbers are a remarkable people: they earlier were Christians (which I haven’t found much evidence of) but they were also believers in Isis, Amon, etc. Egyptian Gods and Goddesses…but these also had a Berber ‘feel’ about them. Tanit, a major War Goddess, probably was from Astarte, and Bal-Ammon, etc…you just follow as much prehistory as you can and try to weave these facts into a story.

    Yes, I think you are right: there is drama coming, and it’s high drama. LOL!

    I am so glad you are reading this story, Steve, and it’s something I am working on to finish and publish this book. I have written to Book II, Chapter 4, and there is an end in sight.

    Thank you for your lovely comment and thank you for continuing to read “Tin Hinan”. Although I have written this book, it excites me, too…as to what happens! LOL!

    Peace and Love,



  3. brian miller Says:

    smiles…i am def looking forward to the drama…you are setting it up well, and taking your time with it in a good way…like steve the suspense of disbelief is well in place and even though fiction, know it seems all too real…i like her excitement in the end at being married and what comes with that, but also feel some tension there as well….nicely done ma’am


  4. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Brian!

    I am soooo glad you and Steve and a few others (privately) are enjoying the build up. LOL!

    Culturally, these marriage betrothals were taken VERY seriously: property was exchanged and dynasties were developed, too. A betrayal was a serious insult, as perhaps this is in the works. LOL!

    I have had a lot of fun writing this book, and didn’t go back to finish it because..well, poetry got in the way and a few other things, like the streak of Japanese writings….

    It seems real, Brian, because people don’t really change from age to age…era to era, culture to culture. The heart responds in the very same ways, although there are cultural issues that try to derail human emotions I believe.

    Tension I am told, is important in a work like this…any literature, and I think that comes from human behaviors and emotions….but I don’t really know.. I don’t think about these plot issues much, and perhaps that gets me into trouble somewhere down the road.

    I know (having read ahead…LOL!) there is Hi Drama down the short road.

    Thank you, Brian for reading and your interest in “Tin Hinan”.



  5. hedgewitch Says:

    The poem was very straightforward and involving, a faithful painting of small town/country life–yet underneath a bit of symbolism lurking, I think. I’m loving your novel–I already feel that things are not going to turn out as expected for your heroine–but what ever does, and more important, wouldit be any better if they did, I wonder. Great stuff–am loving it, Jane.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Ah, Hedge….I have to thank you from the bottom of my liver for reading these chapters…or sections of Chapter 1.

    This is such an alien culture (to our modern eyes) that I have had to do a lot of ‘info dumping’ in the writing of it…but for some reason, people don’t seem to object too much. LOL!

    I really appreciate your reading this, and today I wrote almost 2000 words towards an ending. The Light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe….LOL!

    Tin Hinan lived about 50 years in reality and I am only writing about her 18-19th year….but things do take a dramatic turn in a few more paragraphs.

    I was very fortunate to work with Berbers for a couple of years: some had heard of Tin Hinan, (there are festivals back in Morocco and Algeria about her) and most didn’t…but! they filled in a lot of the blanks concerning culture, food, music (they were musicians, all of them…. and cooks) and they put me on a fast track towards making this novel more ‘authentic’. Hopefully, but I am still shooting in the dark because there is very little information about her life in the 5-6th century Algeria.

    Coppermine Road: yeah, I wasn’t too happy about it, but since dversepoets is a poetry site, I thought I should post a poem here. But I am also very grateful for all who are reading Tin Hinan. I had put her down over the last two years and only because I noticed other people reading these chapters on my blog did I get back to her. I am very glad I did because the culture, the Berber culture is an amazing and enduring culture and one that has significance to my heart.

    Thank you, Joy, for reading and your comment, and your interest in her.



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