I am no Scheherezade, but I think that the immortal weaver of magic carpets would have relished this tale as worthy of her famous collection. And, unlike her stories, this one is true [well, maybe a bit embellished].
My mother’s father was a Maronite Christian Arab from the
My grandfather had a Lebanese friend called Chamoun. [That isn’t his real name, but I have changed it because he has descendants living in
Lij Yasu, however, flirted with Islam perhaps from personal inclination because he wished to marry four wives [as well as having a dozen or more concubines], and also because he believed that Germany’s ally Turkey was going to be on the winning side in the Great War. Mounting indignation led to his deposition in 1916, and the following year his cousin the Regent Ras Tafari, who wished to side with the allies and modernise the country, deposed Yasu, eventually becoming Emperor Haile Selassie I in his place.
Menelik had allowed the French, who were strengthening their hold on French Somaliland, to build a railway between the Ethiopian capital,
May’s main preoccupation during the 1920s and ‘30s was badgering Haile Selassie in a vain attemp
All of this – or something like it – really happened. Would the tale have earned me a reprieve from the Sultan?