Three Stories from “The Teeth of the Comb & Other Stories”

By - Jul 21, 2017


The Greatest Mountain

The night was very clear. The lights in the steep alleys of the city and in the houses of those who loved to stay up late spread out across the mountain. Some of the lamps were making conversation.
     Gazing up at the stars in the sky, a lamp said to her friend, “Look at all those lamps that fill that greatest mountain. There are so many of them! Wherever you look you find them spread thickly. Why aren’t we so numerous?”
     Her friend answered her as she carefully examined the multitude of stars, “Probably because the residents of that greatest mountain are far more numerous than the residents of ours.”


The Flowery Day

The days of the week were arguing about which one was most distinguished and so deserved the title “The Flowery Day.” Their argument grew so bitter that they began to edge away from each other more and more. This made life’s journey slower and slower.



The Smells

The young man returned from a month-long voyage of discovery in the forest—he had been searching for new and exciting things. Back inside his house, he let out a long sigh pregnant with deep exhaustion. He took off his shoes and socks and clothes, and lay down on the couch, falling within moments into a deep sleep.
     Strong smells from his feet permeated the room. Feeling great embarrassment, the two feet looked enviously at the young man’s hands and asked them, “Why don’t repulsive smells emanate from you like they do from us?” The hands answered in a loud voice, “Because we are always open to others and absolutely refuse to be closed in on ourselves.”






Osama Alomar was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1968, and lives in Pittsburgh. He is the author of four acclaimed collections in Arabic and performs as a musician.

“The Greatest Mountain,” “The Flowery Day,” and “The Smells,” by Osama Alomar, translated by Osama Alomar and C.J. Collins, from THE TEETH OF THE COMB & OTHER STORIES, copyright © 2017 by Osama Alomar. Translation copyright © 2017 by C.J. Collins and Osama Alomar. Use by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. 

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