K U WA I T I S E E K E R  11 in truth or dream. Yes, he was charming, but I couldn’t be sure of his character. * * * I hoped none of the children would tell Suhayb of the story, because I knew my father would then be informed. But Salman did learn of the story, and I hid in my room while I heard the argument. Salman said to Fatima, “Who has been in my house?” Was this an accusation? “Who is this pedantic little maker of stories who lives in my tent?” I learned another new word from my father: “pedantic.” I wanted to tell my father that my love of words had come from him. But there was no room for such talk with my father. He was preoccupied with his search for more grazing land to replace what the Emir had appropriated for oil drilling. He was often ab- sent, trying to repair the damage to his flocks. Suhayb was asked to accompany Salman while I remained in the walled family courtyard. I learned to escape the slow torture of primary school and life in the Al-Tamimi household. I lost myself in my own thoughts. The white camel became more and more real, and after a while the white camel was always there in my morning dreams. Once, the camel laughed, if a camel can laugh, as he departed my bed. While the stories preserved my position among my classmates and teachers, my moodiness and frequent episodes of spontane- ous daytime sleep made me an object of ridicule at the most in- convenient times. My school classes were often interrupted by the shout, “Look, the storyteller is sleeping again.” The sleep plagued by morning dreams left me anxious, be- cause I suspected there might be truth concealed in what was usually, and should be, obscure. My abiding anxiety made me seem strange to my peers, causing them to avoid me much of the time. But at the same time it was a relief to be avoided. My