A fictional story by Frozan Shahnoori

“Father please let me hug him for the last time, then take him away. Take him as far as you can, but do not beat him. Show some mercy. You are a kind and soft hearted man. God created him too. He has the right to live. He is my friend, my brother. He is my only treasure.”

These were the words of Karim, before his father took away his old and loyal friend. Karim loved his friend more than anything else in this world. His friend was not a human, but a lovely dog with long, white fur. His eyes sparkled like the stars on a clear night. His politeness made him dear to all the people of the village. Karim was proud of himself for having such a dog. He walked like a crown prince on the dusty and destroyed streets, when his cute and furry dog was with him. His happiness was obvious whenever his loud and sweet laughter was heard. They grew up together and their relationship was more than that of an owner and an animal. Karim called him Rafiq. When they looked in each other`s eyes they could understand each other, without a single word.

But, this unpleasant world tore them apart. Karim and Rafiq could not resist the wishes of society anymore. Karim was 13 years old and a shepherd. He controlled over a hundred sheep. And yet, he had no control over how he lived his life. He did not have the chance of going to school. His small hands and feet were always rough, because of the windy weather of Bamyan.* His father took away his only happiness — his dog. His father could no longer ignore the voices of a few powerful villagers who clung to old traditions and superstitions that say, dogs are dirty and if you keep dogs at home your prayers will not be accepted and you will not have happiness and wealth. The heartlessness of the villagers made the lives of kids like Karim a kind of hell in that clean and big province. Karim understood that he and Rafiq would not meet again and his tears fell like pearls on his rosy cheeks. Rafiq was nervous, but it wasn’t until later that he realized he was homeless, like an orphaned child. He was lost without his family.

Karim wonders why God created dogs if they are useless and should not be cared for and kept by humans. Why, only in his country, can a child not keep a dog? He’s seen how these old ways have changed many kind children’s hearts to pieces of stone. And, he can feel it happening inside his heart too. He is afraid of the new changes in his heart. He never wants to become a heartless and unmerciful man like those powerful villagers, but he is sure that this cruel society will change him too.

*A province in Afghanistan

About the author: Frozan Shahnoori lives in Afghanistan and is a Star Educational Society alumna. She was a student of teacher training and creative writing classes and will major in Business Administration when she starts her university studies in the near future.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart