“Tin Hinan”, Section 3 of Chapter 1

(Berber girl, from perpetuacatholic.org)

My thanks to all who are reading this Chapter 1 of my novel, “Tin Hinan”, especially  the readers from d’versepoets.com.  I am delighted by your comments and encouragement.  I have broken this long chapter into 4 sections, and will post Chapter II, but will also break it  into sections.

After 4 years I am close to finishing this book, and Bill Penrose, who formatted my last three books at Lulu.com, will stand again for this book.  Thank you, Bill.  None of these books would ever have seen the light of day without your hard labor.

Lady Nyo

Section 3, Chapter I, “Tin Hinan”…..‘Wedding Preparations’

Though the wedding was months off in the future, the first thing to do were to take a piece of my Mother’s tent and sew it into one of my own.  All the woman of the tribe gathered at my Mother’s tent one morning and with singing and playing of the bendir, a frame drum, we cut out a large piece in the back of her tent and started stitching the heavy cloth woven from goat hair.  It was long and tedious work, but we ate dates and millet puddings and drank honey-sweet mint tea and told stories.  For a fortnight we worked on my marriage tent.  The east side would be for Hasim, and the west side for me.  I would have our marriage bed and our stores, musical instruments and rugs on my side.  The marriage bed would be a day couch for my children and me.  Hasim would fill the east side with his weapons and saddles.  By tradition, after the marriage, Hasim would sleep outside, part of the guard men protecting our settlement from raiders across the mountain and from the desert. By custom, the tent, the bed and everything in it, except the weapons and saddles would be my property.

Our settlement was in a large oasis, nestled at the foot of a mountain range.  It was lush and shaded in parts by woods and orchards and streams running through the land. We tilled the fertile earth, made so by the runoff of water from the mountain, and fed by the snows of winter.  It was a beautiful site for our nomadic people, and we defended it fiercely from others who would drive us away. I walked to a little plot of land with my father and decided this would be the place for my tent.

There was much more to do, but the next task was to build my marriage bed.  This was to be the most important piece of furniture a woman could have, and each was done differently according to the skills and imagination of the carver.  My father hired the best carpenter and carver around to build it.  It would be big and wide and would not be too high off the carpets paving the floor of the tent.  My father went with the carpenter to pick the wood, and he obtained some beautiful, scented cedar to make the bed.  When it was carved and doweled together, it took six men to carry and place in the tent.  It was so beautiful, but of course, I was not allowed to lie down on it, or even to sit upon its frame.  I would have to wait for the wedding night with Hasim before I was even to touch it.  But I did peek in the doorway before the divider between sides was hung and saw the beautiful symbols of fertility and good fortune carved along with flowers and palm trees.  In the middle of the back of the bed, was a large and flowing palm tree, with its roots extending outward towards the side posts. Little pigeons and doves were being chased by two hawks and some of the doves were hiding in the tree.

Next was the sewing of the mattress.  My mother and her kinswomen sheared sheep and stuffed the thick wool into two large sheets of thick and coarse cotton. We spread it out on a carpet and during the night, my kinswomen, young girls to elderly women, my cousins and great aunts, would sit around the heavy mattress and we would all take up our bone needles and stitch carefully across and down the mattress.  This would be laid upon the woven ropes that were stretched from one side of the bed frame to another, and woven back and forth until there was a tight foundation for the mattress.  Our tradition said that a tightly woven bed frame augured well for a marriage.  Loose or slack weaving would let the attentions of the husband sag and the wife would stray in her affections.

As the wedding approached, I was bundle of nerves.  I had not seen Hasim, except from a distance.  We were watched very closely, for there was to be no contact before the wedding day.  I was not allowed to venture to the river without another woman with me, and I believe Hasim was told he could not approach me when his tribe came with herds of goats or to discuss shared pasturing with our men.

All seemed to be going according to plan, when the demons of Death took matters into their own claws.  I say Death  for nothing but that could have caused such a reverse of fortune and happiness in my life. We Berbers believe strongly in malicious spirits, and they seemed to hold their own festival with my wedding plans.

One day, very close to the time of the wedding, when already there were preparations for the five days of celebration planned,  I heard some women in my mother’s tent crying and went to see what had happened.  As I neared her tent, two of my favorite Aunties  ran out and threw themselves upon me.

“Aicha, Aicha,” said one fat old auntie, panting in her excitement. “You must prepare yourself!  You must be strong and comfort your parents!”

“What? What? What has happened that I am to be ‘strong’ as you say?”  I started to run towards her tent, and since I am tall, my legs were long, and my Aunties could not keep up with me.  I heard them wailing behind me, yet I did not heed their cries.

I made it to my mother’s tent and entered her western side, where I found both my parents in her quarters.  My father looked somber, and my mother was rocking back and forth, like she was in grief.

“What has happened, oh my parents?  Has something happened to Hasim?  Tell me, oh tell me now!”

My mother was beside herself, and had thrown a cloth over her head as we do when a kinsman dies.  This is to blot out the sight of any happiness and is one of our forms of our mourning.  I was white faced with fear and was sure that Hasim was dead!

“My daughter, my daughter,” began my father, with tears in his eyes.  “Our family has been tricked, we have all been betrayed. Even though our gifts were returned this morning, it is not to be borne.  Hasim has contracted to marry another and has left to go to her tent.”

I was told I stared like a dead person, my eyes empty, my mouth open without sound. Then, one long wail came out of my throat before I collapsed on the carpet at my father’s feet.

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9 Responses to ““Tin Hinan”, Section 3 of Chapter 1”

  1. Steve E Says:

    So, nobody has yet died. But in Part 4, there would be a horrible death. I’d KILL that Hasim, dang his guts! For treating my daughter like that. I’d send his ass and soul straight to hell.

    OK! I’ve gotten rid of my anger–see what you do, Jane? (Gotta blame it on someone else, right?–grin!

    Well, now that the ball is rolling, I know there’s LOTS more on the way from your keyboard. And enjoyment it IS to read, Jane, what you write.

    Later, and tomorrow.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Heheheehehe, Steve…no, no killing, but “Hell hath no fury…..”.

    What comes is one of my favorite parts of the novel, but it’s not for the squeamish. It was shocking to some readers before, but they adjusted.

    High drama in the desert, and of course, the Exodus.

    This would have been serious business, the crap that Hasim (and his tribe) pulled, and would set tribes at war. There was so much at stake in these things….pastures, territory, water, tribal issues, etc….so these things were taken VERY seriously. The issue was more than just a broken marriage contract and the returning of gifts (which was an insult in itself.)

    But I run ahead of the story.

    Thank you, dear friend, for reading and your encouraging comments.

    Lady Nyo


  3. Steve E Says:

    Hey Babe–it’s kinda like present day world. EVERY disagreement is not about a bucket of crude. There are too many factors for any one Peep to assimilate: food, energy, property, PRIDE, health, greed, lust, education, drug trade, immigration, terrorism….WOW!

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply (above).


  4. ladynyo Says:

    You are welcome, Steve.



  5. brian miller Says:

    ooo nice, now what will she do…and was this the fates trying to save her only she will not listen…see i love interesting little tid bits like the making of the mattress, they make this all the more real for me….


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian, well you are about the only one…on the mattress issue! People generally think this stuff is a big yawn, but to me, it develops the picture….I’m with you on these things. and I don’t think people realize the amount of research that goes into something like this…these different cultural stuff. It took years to assemble this stuff, and yesterday spent the entire day researching sand storms. LOL!

    Thank you, Brian for reading and your continued interest! I PROMISE there is a lot of interesting drama to come! The issue of a broken contract is very important in tribal life: people go to war over these things….now these days, we just return (or not) the ring and go on to the next one.



  7. Carmine Gioia Says:

    I was just seeking this information for some time. After six hours of continuous finding, luckily I saw that in your website. I don’t understand why Yahoo never show this sort of informative websites in the top of the list. Most of the time the top web sites are full of junks. Maybe it’s time to try another search engine.


  8. hedgewitch Says:

    Had a feeling things weren’t going to work out, but I was expecting the marriage to at least take place–how shattering that must have been , after all the symbols so painstakingly crafted, all the work. As always Jane, you bring the entire village to life. Loved it.


  9. ladynyo Says:

    Ahhhh! Hedgewitch! LOL!….Thursday, I post the last part of Chapter One….and it picked up in a certain way: It’s Chapter Two that has all the excitement and determination of Aicha….this seems so slow to do it this way, but these are two long chapters and I can’t figure out any other way to do this….hang in there, Hedge, and you will be rewarded with the story….I hope!

    These things, cultural things…like a broken marriage contract, were very serious. it went way beyond the wedding gifts which were the reality of the wealth of a family….and dowry. The humiliation of this situation was horrible for the bride and the family to bear. So many wars came about because these things were violated. Ah…no lawyers either. LOL!

    I especially love the ‘fat, old aunties’ who can’t keep up with Aisha. LOL! Chapter Two brings in more family, and a radical rupture (literally) that Aisha makes to start her destiny.

    Thank you, Hedge, for reading and your comments, and for sticking with this story. It gets better.



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