Don’t Give Up the Fight




While cavorting in a field, the wild horse felt overjoyed to see a water hose flailing in all directions, water spraying from it fearsomely as the farmer tried in vain to grab hold of it. The horse shouted as loud as he could, encouraging the hose, ‘Don’t give up the fight!’


The hose answered him enthusiastically, ‘Right on my friend!’







A terrible shadow spread slowly over the heads of the people, hiding from them the rays of the sun. No one dared look up to see the reason, instead they bent their heads even more than before while the huge shadow crept ever faster. Finally their days turned into the longest of nights. Life came to a stop. Daily activities stumbled. Sadness and depression spread throughout the country. But still no one dared to think even for a second to raise his head.


Rumours began to marry crazily and beget huge numbers of sons of all shapes and colours. Some said it was punishment from God for the people’s level of moral decline and their heedlessness of principles and values. Others said it was a swarm of locusts such as had never been seen in all of human history and that it might last for many months. Scientists maintained that the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse had become intermeshed and that this had formed the persistent black night. Life remained in this stumbling and sluggish state. The foundations of the civilisation on which the country had risen were broken and it fell to the earth with a terrible, loud sound. This caused its neighbours great joy and delight in its misfortune. A swampy tide of myths and rumours covered the country. The people began to suffer from pains in their backs and necks.


Finally a courageous young man appeared who decided to raise his head to the sky, despite the warnings of his family and friends, so that he might know the nature of this terrible thing that had entirely destroyed his country and returned the mindset of its inhabitants – even that of the scientists – to a primitive state.


But his surprise was great when he discovered that this disaster consisted of an extremely long tongue! He set off running as fast as he could, searching for the root of the tongue so that he could know whose it was. He discovered that it belonged to the small, ugly gang leader who, with the help of his henchmen, had prepared a strategic plan for destroying and pillaging the country for hundreds of years to come.







After years of hesitation, Satan decided to make his own Facebook page and also to start a website in order to promote his principles. The idea seemed completely strange and crazy to the members of his tribe. But he tried with great enthusiasm to convince them of the advantages of the plan, assuring them of its long-term success. As soon as the website and the Facebook page were online, Satan began to send out friend requests accompanied by flashy pronouncements about goodness and loving- kindness, tolerance and the brotherhood of humankind, the rejection of hatreds, the embrace of human rights, and the need to fight oppression. This promotional campaign had great success among the people. Satan’s happiness was indescribable. To the surprise of his tribe, his friends were counted in the thousands, and, shortly thereafter, in the millions. His site became the most famous in the whole world on social media. The globe overflowed with demonstrations of support, loyalty, and admiration for Satan, waving banners soaked in the perfume of love for the champion of goodness, justice, tolerance, and equality. Humanity was fully convinced that, by the hand of Satan, the building of heaven had begun on earth.


As for the Angels of God, destructive doubt about their nature started to tear at them savagely. Little by little, fangs grew in their mouths and claws on their hands. Terrifying features formed on their faces. Embryos of evil began to pulse madly in their depths, longing to be born for humanity’s destruction.







After much hesitation, the Aliens decided to visit Earth. In response to their longstanding desire as well as the constant messages that the Earthlings had been sending them for years, they laid out a programme for a long and detailed study of human nature and behaviour and a study of the planet in all its aspects. Their highly advanced spacecrafts took off from their planet which was located in the farthest region of the universe. In record time they reached the edge of the solar system and began to monitor the Earth with their scientific instruments in most precise detail in order to send the data back to their planet. The first things their cameras detected were nuclear explosions and severed human limbs piled up everywhere and millions of refugees pouring out in all directions. Everything they photographed was killing, destruction, desolation, and tongues of fire. The leader of the space fleet sent a short message to his planet saying, ‘We are unable to land on Earth because it is utterly consumed in a crushing civil war.’


was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1968, and now lives in Chicago. He is the author of three collections of short stories and a volume of poetry. He is a regular contributor to various newspapers and journals within the Arab world. The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories, excerpted here, will be published by New Directions in 2017.

C. J. Collins is a librarian and translator based in Queens, New York.


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