December 13, 2010

Six Camels for Your Wife, Sir…



     “Is that your wife?” the Omen* citizen asked the West Virginian I’ll call Tom.

     “Yes, she is my wife.”

     “I’ll give you six camels for her.”

     Tom declined the offer.

The country OMEN

     Tom and Joan were on a cruise to the Mideast. Their bus passed a desert area where the women were totally covered except for the slit of their eyes and their fingertips. There was a line of camels off the roadside. The driver stopped and told the tourists they could get off the bus to have their pictures taken with the camels.

     Tom further explained that a few days earlier his wife had visited an Asian beauty salon where the beautician didn’t speak English and Joan didn’t speak the Asian language. The net result was that she entered a brunette and exited a blonde, a hair color which she retained well after the cruise ended.

     While Joan posed with a camel, the Omen man approached her and gently ran his fingers over her golden curls, after which he offered Tom his barter.

     Later, Tom wondered if he should have bartered—perhaps the Omen man believed his wife, whom I’ll call Joan, was  really worth ten to twelve camels.

     He also wondered what the logistics would be had he accepted the offer. How many camels would he be allowed to keep in his cabin? Where would the other camels be kept? What would he feed them? Would he be allowed to keep them on his property in Southwestern Pennsylvania?

     This story entertained me while I volunteered at a Ligonier Valley (PA) Historical Society fundraising event, the Festival of Trees. There were only a few persons visiting the event at the time. While I was talking with some of them, Tom asked me if I wanted to hear a story. Since camels are reported to have been present at Jesus’ birth, and are an item in every Nativity set, it seemed appropo to hear a story about camels.

     Bizarrely, though, the afternoon included four more camel stories.


     Camels seemed to like Tom’s wife. On another cruise, this time in Australia, Joan and another female traveler accepted a camel ride.

     “Camel rides aren’t smooth, like horse rides,” Tom noted, elaborating that when the women dismounted the camels at the end of their ride they were vibrating. Even so, each woman claimed a camel cheek and stood there stroking it. The women invited Tom over to join them.

     “I noticed the camel’s mouth was juxta-positioning to spit,” Tom said. “Since the camel was giving me the eye, I knew it was preparing to send a burning spitball at me. I backed off.”


“Watch out for camels or they’ll spit on you when you aren’t looking!”

     There are two misrepresentations in the statement above. First, camels do not spit frequently and only do so when provoked. Second, they do not really truly “spit” since the substance they are spraying is not saliva.

     What a camel does is entirely different from spitting. Instead of emitting saliva, camels will emit some of the partially digested contents of one of the chambers of their fore-stomachs. Similar to cows, camels are ruminants. When they get mad they will burp up some of their cud (the semi-digested contents of their fore-stomach). Once this is in their mouth they flapped their heads. The cud slides out of their mouth onto their limp, droopy lips which then fling the cud into the air. In this way they can completely cover the upper half of a human. The color of their “spit” is tied to their recent dietary intake. If the animal has been eating grass or alfalfa it will be greenish.**


     Pauline, overhearing the phrase about camel spitting, said when she took a set of twins to the zoo one spit on the children.

     “How dare you dirty my nice clean twins?” she yelled to the camel, which moved closer to her. ”You won’t spit on me,” she shot to the beast.

     Her friend Sophia also had a camel story.

     “A friend was loading up a camel which didn’t like being loaded. He got up and ran away. It took hours to catch the beast—camels run fast. Once the camel catchers caught the camel, they finished loading their belongings. The load must be evenly balanced on each side. This particular camel didn’t mind carrying a load—he just didn’t like being loaded.”

     The final camel story of the afternoon came from Doris. She and her brother had ridden a camel in the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.  Doris sat behind the second hump.

     “Every time the camel moved, the hump moved, and bumped me in the head,” she said.

     Perhaps the most important aspect of the camel discussions was the interrelationship of persons who were strangers, either in a temporary one-time situation, or the possibility of forming new friendships. I’ll probably never again meet Tom or Joan, but being present enough to listen to their tale brought the other local persons into a temporary relationship tied together on the topic of camels. Perhaps I will meet Pauline, Sophia and/or Doris in the future. If and when that happens, we will recall the camel stories, which will provide a bridge to continue knowing each other.


* Located on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman occupies a strategic position at the entrance to the Persian Gulf,

Map source:    


***Camel picture:



Mary’s Special Day

Christmas. Whose Season Is It?

Christmas Memories

How to Count the Gifts Given in the Twelve Days of Christmas



SANTAS, MRS. SANTAS, ELVES & REINDEER WANTED: Please apply—Application #1





(to subscribe see upper right hand post on this site—

Notification will begin after you confirm your subscription

on the e-mail you will receive from )


1 Comment »

  1. […] Six Camels for Your Wife, Sir… « Carolyncholland's Weblog […]

    Pingback by Sines and Cosines | Best Learn Math — December 13, 2010 @ 1:54 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: