Wings of darkness spread across the town, giving it an extra gloominess. The lights were out as yet another power cut occurred and the little boy stayed scared in a corner of his room. He looked through the window and up in the sky, trying to reach the beam of the moon, but the moon betrayed him: The beam was unreachable behind the clouds and he was abandoned in fear. The little kid lacked security and missed the one person without whom fear ruled. His father was in the other room, probably weeping in silence as he used to do ever since his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He thought the sound of his cries didn’t reach his son and he was surely mistaken. The boy heard his cries all the time and felt helpless because he couldn’t do anything about it. The dad never realized how his breakdown impacted his little kid and this night, with the lights out and darkness ruling, the boy couldn’t imprison his fears anymore. In his little corner in his little room, he broke down in tears just as his father did.
After a while, the father went to check on his kid when he heard him weeping. He knew how bad a state his son was in, he knew that his mother’s illness and her frequent absence from the house for treatment meant a great deal to him, to both of them but his hands were tied. How can he help his son when he couldn’t help himself, drowned in his sorrow and worry? In his avid search for an answer, he recalled something: An old lantern passed down through generations and generations of his family. He had to find it, he thought. He searched everywhere till he found it, grabbed a candle, placed it inside and lit the “fanoos”. After a small knock on his son’s door, the father entered the room with a halo of light pulsing in front of him, shedding light on the man’s old and tired face. He sat next to his son in silence, the lantern held firmly in his hands. Neither of them spoke but for the curious eyes of the little boy, who then asked:
“What is that?”
“That? Well, my son that is a very old lantern. It was passed down to me from my father who got it from his father, who got it from his father before him. It is said to be the first lantern to have ever been made during the Fatimid Caliphate. It belonged to one of the rulers’ children. They used to walk through the streets the night preceding the Holy Month of Ramadan to observe the crescent moon and announce the beginning of the month of Fasting. The kids used to light the way, with this lantern at the front of the line, and walked with the Caliph all the way up the hill to observe the crescent moon. Legend has it that this “fanoos”, if held by a worthy and pure hearted child, can dissipate even the darkest of clouds and light up the world. ”
Smiling, the father then gave the boy the lantern. The kid, awed, started examining it with a smile from ear to ear. Although the moral behind the story was lost to him but to his father, it was quite clear. Despite it being nothing more but an old lantern, it represented his one true light through the darkness: His son. It was the eve of Ramadan. Both man and son stood up, lantern held up high and went outside in the courtyard where the mother was getting her fresh air. With the power still out, they held the lantern to light their world as well as hers.
*We present to you our winner of the July Competition in the fiction category of “From Another Realm”, Yasmin Rahmy. Given that a lot of you are already missing the Holly Month of Ramadan, we thought this fascinating piece could be a small reminder of how great a month it is and the spirituality and good hearts that accompany it. We hop you enjoy it!