Featured write-ups based on various prompts from “All Around the World”.
The theme of the week gave writers a chance to explore three cities in the ancient times. Read their write-ups based on their imaginative trip to ancient China, France and Egypt.
The shipment from China :
I was crazy enough to be in a ship that was transferring a container of gun powder from China to England. I was standing near the figurehead of the ship and feeling the cold breeze due to the cold temperatures of the cold water which leads to the air becoming denser than the person at crow nest. I came down then began to explain to the Captain that there is a typhoon nearby. The Captain said to the helmsman just to change the steer away from the typhoon. The typhoon was near and the helmsman was trying hard enough to change the way but the edge of the ship was getting dragged into the typhoon and everyone in it were starting to catch something big not to flow away in a typhoon. The Captain, I and helmsman were trying to move the wheel hard but at the same time, a bunch of pirates attacked us from another ship. We’re losing control of the ship and the Captain ordered people to shoot the pirates but they were here to steal the gun powder and the edge of the ship broke and was dragged into the typhoon. so the water was flowing into the ship. We just said to come up with a deal. So we told the pirates to take the gun powder and to save us. The people were frightened of them n started to agree on the pirate’s condition to give gold coins with gun powder. We just agreed and moved into their ship but the flow of water in the ship was filling fast and the weight of the ship was increasing and we just shot every pirate. When they transferred the bag I just pushed the pirate captain into the ocean and when the last bag was transferred, we just turned the ship, started to move and I shot the old ship so it can drown fast and the pirates died along with the ship. We were happy that we were saved and came to the land of England.
The Shipment from China
It was the year 1316.
The famine had raged throughout Europe since 1315 and no one knew when they would get fresh, clean food to eat. Farmers struggled to plant, grow and harvest crops. What meagre crops did grow were often mildewed, and/or terribly expensive. The main staple food – bread, was in short supply. This also came at the same time as brutally cold winter weather. At least 10 per cent – perhaps close to 15 per cent – of people in England died during this period.
Illnesses like tuberculosis, sweating sickness, malaria, diphtheria, smallpox, dysentery, typhoid, influenza, mumps and gastrointestinal infections could and did kill.
Ships sailed from China with food, paper, gunpowder and hearing the news of Great Famine docked at Paris, France. The food was well received and the Chinese merchants were happy with the sales. News spread throughout China about the great profits on food sales.
Thus ships sailed regularly to & fro between China and ports in Europe. On these voyages came the TCM healers with their Chinese medicines and tiny needles. Food supply being established, the healers were well received and rewarded greatly for their healing hands and wonder herbs. Thus many deaths were prevented by the ships that sailed from China both from food and TCM treatments.
~ Dr. Naseem Mariam
Shipment from China.
I’m not much of a history person, but sailing aboard a cargo dhoni is an experience.
Weelll, in the early days of sailing, it must have been a real adventure. To get a job on a seafaring ship must have been hardwork and thrilling all the same.
Sailing all the way from China to Europe charting your own sea route would have been daring and dangerous. The merchants must have able bodied crew, and with the new invention of the compass would have had many hits and misses.
With the ship laden with cargo, the captain of the ship would have to be extra cautious of brigands on the high seas. You guessed it – pirates.
Sailing on calm seas would be a delight. You would have time to day dream and enjoy sun rise and sun sets. It would be smooth sailing then. But rough seas, huge waves that toss your ship from side to side is a nightmare. Add to that, the sails would have to trimmed all the time. The captain would have to nerves of steel and a steady hand at the rudder in order to keep the course. The merchants travelling along would have been sea sick with rocking and rolling till the calm set in.
Despite all the difficulties, the shipment from China reached its port of destination with its cargo intact.
Trade would commence, the sailors get to go offshore for a break to replenish the stock of food items and water to drink. All too soon the journey back would begin. Cargo loaded up and secured. Merchants happy with their trade and stories to tell of their adventure and the new people they met and new customs they observed on reaching home.
~ Althea Lopez
The doors to the Golden Palace opened. The Lady from France stepped through, her entourage with her. They followed the guards through the luxurious palace to the courtroom of the Emperor. Two more guards trailed behind them. The heavy, golden doors to the court room were pushed open by two strong servants.
Pleasant chatter greeted the company. The courtiers were seated on plush chairs, conversing lightly. The emperor seemed invested in the conversation nearest to his left. The ambassador noticed their French guests and got up to welcome them. The courtroom fell silent. The company was introduced to the emperor.
After conversing with the Lady, the ambassador turned to the Emperor. He bowed low and said, “Esteemed Monarch of the Raqhba Empire, the Princess of France heard about your collection. She has sent you the most precious gift she could find in her country.”
The Emperor raised his eyebrows, amused. The shipment from China, that had arrived last week, had turned out to be a bunch of disappointing stuff. “The Monarch accepts the gift.” He smiled.
The veiled Lady stepped forward. She had a small ornate casket in her hands. The servant beside the throne steps accepted the casket and handed it over to the Emperor. It held a small, pretty bottle of perfume, with a string of pearl and pink carnation flowers.
The Emperor looked at the veiled lady. “What is so special about this bottle of perfume?” He held up the casket to his eye level.
The lady spoke up. “Unlike other perfumes, this one is not made from flowers or any other sweet smelling plant. This bottle of perfume has been made entirely with pearls.”
A buzz of hushed whispers took over the courtroom.
The lady continued, “And our highly skilled Princess has made this perfume with her own hands, for the collection kept by the Estmeed Emperor.”
The courtroom burst out into shocked chatter. The Emperor looked at his courtiers. They all fell quiet. Then he proceeded to carefully lift the bottle out of the casket. He sprayed some on his wrist and smelled it. There was no aroma.
“Tell me, Lady from France, what use is a perfume that does not let out any sweet scent?” He put the bottle back in the casket.
The lady sounded smug when she said, “Rub the carnation on your wrist, Esteemed One.”
The Emperor did as was told and the smell of the carnation flower filled the courtroom. There were amazed noises from his courtiers. The Emperor was beside himself with glee. Then he inspected the carnation.
“So, the perfume is in the carnation and not in the bottle.”
“O Esteemed One, that magic works with any flower. Ask for a flower to be plucked from your own garden and do the same.”
A servant rushed out as the Emperor looked at him. He hurried back in with a beautiful rose in his hand. It was handed over to the Emperor. He rubbed the rose on his wrist and the courtroom was filled with the smell of the rose and the carnation. The Emperor grinned like an amused kid.
He looked at his Treasurer and gestured him over. He whispered something in his ear and the Treasurer hurried away. He came back with a book wrapped in a velvet cloth.
“Convey my gratitude to the Princess.” The Emperor said as the Treasurer handed over the book to the lady.
The lady bowed and joined her entourage. Together they exited the court for the dining hall.
The Perfume from France :
There was a little village named Holean where the people believed that water was swallowing the human lives while bathing. They felt that it was a curse to the entire village. All people in the village were stinking. Day by day their lives were becoming worst.
At the same time, students came to the village for their documentary project. Students were vomiting from the ill-smell, seeing the villagers, they maintained their distance from each other. But the villagers were delighted by the student’s fragrance prepared in France.
The students gave the perfume to the villagers and they applied it to their bodies and came to tell their village story to the student documentary but the ill-smell dominating the smell of perfume but the students listened to their story that the villagers bath only once for 15days and at night so no one can able to spy on each other and the person who was going late to the river were missing.
The students understood the problem and explained to them that they were bathing during the new moon and full moon. At night the waves are high so the person who was bathing late was taken away by the waves. The students said, “You should bath everyday and just don’t go near the river at night on the full moon and new moon.”
At last the villagers did bath and analysed the composition of the perfume and smelled every plant of ingredient and prepared the perfume. Thereafter they started to sell the perfume which was sold a lot at a high price.
The Perfume from France
When you left, something uneasy laid in my heart.
I’m clueless about the reason for it to start.
I didn’t allow it bother me, apparently because I was occupied…
Your thoughts still lingered nowhere to hide.
I believe it’s true that you just need to ‘feel’ certain..
For my heart is covered with the love of your curtain!
I wouldn’t bear seeing you because of the way I adore,
I’m just so fine with your presence so pure!
You are the fragrance of my Perfume,
The coolness of my eyes.
The happiness for my flower to bloom
For whom there’s no looking back twice.
I’m waiting for you to share my bowl,
And None needs to know that you dwell in my soul.
I’m still clueless about the fact for it’s start,
But very thankful!
For He created you and placed you in my heart!
~ Thaiyaba Anjum
The Potion dilemma
The nasty contents of cauldron grumbled and she stirred and stirred and then added some more magical and rare herbs into it. Her hasty feet ran across the room to collect the remaining ingredients. Only a final mysterious element needed to complete the potion. She frowned in confusion as she read off the ingredient again and again.
“Perfume of France?” She whispered and blinked as she tilted her head in confusion. Her thoughts wreaking havoc inside her head.
“Where will I get the perfume from France?” She mentally pulled her hair her cauldron grumbled behind and in this chaos, she heard the bell chime.
“Welcome to the ‘Rowena’s Portions and crafts’. How may I help you?” Her lips stretched in a practiced smile and her mind chanted all the words- Greet pleasantly, smile so they don’ts get afraid or intimidated.
“Merith!!” Her faced relaxed as she saw her fellow witch from the town.
“What happened to your face?” Merith asked.
“I’m the host of the shop, I’m smiling,” Rowena explained as if talking to the baby toad. “Anyways, ” she continued on, “Now that you are here, Help me” she whined out at the end.
Rowena explained and pulled Merith into her workshop. The tables were messy and the books we’re strewed open. Old torn scrolls hanged from the ceiling. And a little gray cat with pitch-black eyes stared at them.
“Lovely place you got there,” Merith commented sarcastically.
“Thank you. You were the inspiration.” Rowena shot back with a Cheshire smile.
“So, where is it? Show me.” Merith shook her head with a small smile and pulled them back to the point.
“Here.” Rowena handed her the portions preparing formula. Merith looked at it and then looked some more and some more when she didn’t say anything Rowena impatiently tapped her feet.
“Well…?” She asked impatiently. To which Merith hummed while looked at some scroll hanged from the ceiling.
“I think…” Merith paused.
“Mm, hmm?” Rowena encouraged her to speak up.
“You are making a love potion, aren’t you? Merith asked to which Rowena nodded.
“Don’t humans use rose to profess their love? I think ‘Perfume of France’ can be read as ‘Fragrance of France’. And France’s capital I.e. Paris is the city of Love. And Rose is the symbol of Love. But, there’s a catch the rose must be as red as the blood the deeper the color the stronger the potion and Flower must be full-bloomed or else the potion will be nothing but a nasty flavor drink.” Merith explained.
“How do you know that?” Rowena asked awe.
“Traveling helps a lot more than one think,” Merith replied cheekily.
Rowena let out a short laugh and promised Merith to accompany her next time she decided to have an adventure around the world. After saying goodbye and thanking her a whole lot Rowena set out to complete her Love potion.
Roses weren’t hard to find as the flower shop was just down the corner of the street. She completed her potion and set it on the shelf displaying the name, ‘The Perfume from France’
The Perfume from France
Once upon a time, on the banks of the river Thames lived James who was a trader. He traded Indian muslin available in abundance in Engand,thanks to British East India Company. He travelled to and fro to Paris, France for business.
The commodity most in demand in England was perfume from France. He became rich. Soon he bought some land, a good house and wished to settle down.
His mother selected for him an industrious, gentle girl for his bride. However, his fiance Freyaa gave James a challenge: bring for me a unique blend of Perfume from France — a smell not available in all your bottles till today.
Now James set out for France. He met many perfume distillers but could not find a smell he had not smelt. Finally, in a dejected mood, he sat down outside a alchemist healer’s house.
Seeing his pulled down mouth and sad face, the alchemist asked: “What’s the matter,young man? Why this sad face on a bright pleasant evening?” James told him about Freyaa’s request.
The alchemist used essential oils to treat people. He requested James to give him any 2 perfumes that henliked the most and had a complementary smell. The alchemist brought a fewvnew phials and showed James how to.mix the 2 slowly . He then added tea tree, lavendar anf rosemary oils. “Tea tree cleanses, lavendar calms the mind… and rosemary is for remembrance”, said the alchemist healer.
James was confident he could create this new combination perfume whenever Freyaa wanted some more. He had learnt the skills of distilling and mixing perfumes from France.
James hurried back home, presented the perfume from France to his fiancee Freyaa. They got married and live happily ever after.
~ Dr. Naseem Mariam
The sand clock from Egypt :
Once upon a time, there was a Princess who was heir to a nation. She had a habit of believing sweet words.
She gets ready like an ordinary woman to roam in the streets of the nation to enquire the problem. When she enters into the street of the mall, a cute little hourglass attracted her eyes and she couldn’t even blink her eye.
Then a thief observed her and he came near her asking, “Would u like to buy the hourglass? U couldn’t blink or turn your eyes from its presence.”
She replied back that the hourglass can measure the time but “I was thinking how could it replicates the time by the quantity of sand”.
The thief said the reference would be the sun at noon each day. That is a good 24-hour reference. From there you can divide into smaller intervals or if your device measures 24 hours you can simply calibrate it against that.
She asked, “how would you know? Are you a Traveller or sage!”
He said ‘I’m a thief.” and escaped from her presence.
The Princess brings the hourglass and goes to her territory and keeps thinking about the thief. She just goes out to see the moon and realizes that dark clouds were forming and infront of her, she saw the thief.
She asked, “Why are you here? If the knights know you are here they are gonna hang you in the middle of the nation.”
He said they can’t catch me but I came to tell u something that, never trust what you hear from a stranger because men change words how they want according to the situation. “If you believe what I said then your innocence is making you a fool”.
He disappeared within the blink of an eye and her eyes started to search for him but she couldn’t find him and became worried.
One fine day the Princess was going to marry and she was amazed by looking at the Prince because ‘our thief was the Prince of the storyline’.
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