When a wonderful old house in the Medina, the historic city of Marrakesh, was renovated in 2007, a small room was discovered behind a wall that was evidently a later addition to the house, about which the previous owner knew nothing. In it was only a small old casket made of dark wood with silver inlay (a small jewellery box perhaps). Inside the casket lay a sheet of paper covered on both sides with old, handwritten Arabic calligraphy, and told the following story:'
Ana Yela - My name is Yela. I am a girl, and I am
16 years old. Today is my last day in this wonderful house that my grandfather
built many years ago. I am going to marry the man who has captured my love,
whom I love with all my heart.
On our terrace is a small tower from where you can see the whole world – the rooftops of Marrakesh, the huge snow-covered Atlas Mountains, the palm trees in the oasis, and the endless desert that surrounds us all.
At night, when all were asleep, I would often sneak up on to the roof of the little tower and sit on the old carpet lying there to gaze at the moon and the stars, which shone brightly over the red city.
A few houses down the street lived a boy I liked
very much. One night he climbed over the rooftops between our houses and
clambered up to me on my tower. He told me the secret of the carpet we were
He said he could fly on the carpet, and asked if I would like to go on a little trip. There was a price, however – he wanted a kiss, nothing more, nothing less. I hardly dared answer him.
My heart was pounding and I don’t know anymore if I was more excited at the prospect of my first kiss, or the nocturnal flight over the houses.
Naturally I declined his offer and doubted
that he could ever get this old carpet to fly. He persisted, and repeated his
offer at our secret nightly meetings.
One night, the sky was cloudy and the lights of the city glowed a burning red – I weakened and gave in to him, my desire for this was too great, and so it was that my lips touched those of a man for the very first time.
The world around me began to spin and I almost
passed out – suddenly the carpet actually began to fly. We were weightless and
flew over the rooftops of the red city. It was the most beautiful moment of
When the kiss finished we landed safely, back on the roof of the little tower, and I slowly regained my senses. I was ecstatic, and my heart was on fire – now it belonged to this man, who today takes me as his wife.
I often think about that night and the flying carpet, and I hope that many more after me will fly with it and find love.