Far Off eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 246 pages of information about Far Off.

Damascus used to be famous for its swords:  but now the principal things made there, are stuffs embroidered with silver, and boxes of curious woods, as well as red and yellow slippers.  The Syrians always wear yellow slippers, and when they walk out they put on red slippers over the yellow.  If you want to buy any of the curious works of Damascus, you must go to the bazaars in the middle of the town; there the sellers sit as in a market-place, and display their goods.

SCHOOLS.—­It is not the custom in Syria for girls to learn to read.  But a few years ago, a good Syrian, named Assaad, opened a school for little girls as well as for boys.

It was easy to get the little boys to come; but the mothers did not like to send their little girls.  They laughed, and said, “Who ever heard of a girl going to school?  Girls need not learn to read.”  The first girl who attended Assaad’s school was named Angoul, which means “Angel.”  Where is the child that deserves such a name?  Nowhere; for there is none righteous, no, not one.  Angoul belonged not to Mahomedan parents, but to those called Christians; yet the Christians in Syria are almost as ignorant as heathens.

Angoul had been taught to spin silk; for her father had a garden of mulberry-trees, and a quantity of silk worms.  She was of so much use in spinning, that her mother did not like to spare her:  but the little maid promised, that if she might go to school, she would spin faster than ever when she came home.  How happy she was when she obtained leave to go!  See her when the sun has just risen, about six o’clock, tripping to school.  She is twelve years old.  Her eyes are dark, but her hair is light.  Angoul has not been scorched by the sun, like many Syrian girls, because she has sat in-doors at her wheel during the heat of the day.  She is dressed in a loose red gown, and a scarlet cap with a yellow handkerchief twisted round it like a turban.

At school Angoul is very attentive, both while she is reading in her Testament, and while she is writing on her tin slate with a reed dipped in ink.  She returns home at noon through the burning sun, and comes to school again to stay till five.  Then it is cool and pleasant, and Angoul spins by her mother’s side in the lovely garden of fruit-trees before the house.  Has she not learned to sing many a sweet verse about the garden above, and the heavenly husbandman?  As she watches the budding vine, she can think now of Him who said, “I am the true vine.”  As she sits beneath the olive-tree, she can call to mind the words, “I am like a green olive-tree in the house of my God.”  Angoul is growing like an angel, if she takes delight in meditating on the word of God.[2]

    [2] Extracted chiefly from the Rev. George Fisk’s “Pastor’s
        Memorial,” and Kinnear’s Travels.


This is the land in which the Israelites wandered for forty years.  You have heard what a dry, dreary, desert place the wilderness was.  There is still a wilderness in Arabia; and there are still wanderers in it; not Israelites, but Arabs.  These men live in tents, and go from place to place with their large flocks of sheep and goats.  But there are other Arabs who live in towns, as we do.

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Far Off from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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