By Donald Maxwell
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Extra info for A Dweller in Mesopotamia
A man in a goufa appeared from nowhere and floated away out of sight into nowhere like a ghostly visitant from another world. The sun began to show through the fog and blue sky appeared overhead. Soon the steaming vapours dispersed, showing a view of buildings among palm trees and a bridge of boats. Hillah. Here again we were held up while countless mahailas passed through, but we succeeded in getting over at last and eventually found the house of the Wise Men, the headquarters of the irrigation officers.
She got a very good price for them, but apparently she wanted her basket back again. The buyer insisted that the basket was included, and the seller shrieked frantically that it was not. She kept up with us for some miles, making imploring gestures, kneeling down with her arms outstretched as though she was begging for her life, and yelling at the top of her voice, tears streaming down her cheeks. The basket would be worth twopence or less and she had made many shillings on the deal. Finally, a soldier good-naturedly threw it to her and it fell in the water about three feet from the shore.
The novice who roams about this place in the dark spends a lot of time falling over pipes. They are stretching all over the place without any method that is apparent. The Chief showed up most of them with his torch, and so I fell about only just enough to get used to the feel of the ground as a preliminary to what was coming later. It had rained heavily two or three days before, consequently there were lake districts, slimy reaches of mixed oil and mud and dried, hard-looking islands that were in reality traps to the unwary.
A Dweller in Mesopotamia by Donald Maxwell