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A legend from Al Bassa
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Posted by Eid Haddad on May 30, 2004
The legend tells about a man, who really existed and lived in Al Bassa. According to the elderly Bassawis (Al Bassa villagers) that man called Al Asa´a was very thin and not really high, but he was capable of eating as much as ten persons or more. Lots of Bassawis claim, that they knew him personally, and they even knew his family. Those Bassawis who never met him, they just pass the stories on to the next generation. I heard many Bassawis telling amazing stories about this person. Here is some of what I heard:

Once Al Asa´a was invited to a wedding. There was a lot of food enough to serve to all the guests. Some of the guests wanted to make some fun, so they challenged him to eat the whole lamb, which was stuffed with rice and meat. According to tellers, this person ate it all, and he went on eating more of the food, which was prepared for the guests. Then the father of the bridegroom came and begged him to stop eating, so the guests can find something to eat. The tellers say that there was not much food left except bread and fruits.

Other bassawis tell, that that man was passing once by a bassawi woman, who was baking marqooq / saj bread (marqooq / saj bread is a traditional palestinian bread made by villagers). That woman invited him to taste her fresh bread, as this was and still is a palestinian tradition of hospitality. That man accepted and started eating the fresh bread. That woman baked more than 100 pieces of bread, which was enough for a whole large family for at least a week. According to tellers, the woman had to beg him to leave some of the marqooq bread for her husband and children, because he almost ate all of it.

Some tell, that some bassawi villagers once challenged Al Asa´a to eat a whole jal planted with chilli (jal is a strip of land with an area of about 100 square meters). According to tellers, the bet was that if he eats it all, he does not have to pay for it, and if he does not, he has to pay for what he ate. That man accepted and went on eating. As he finished eating almost half of the jal´s chilli, the owner of the jal had to ask him to stop eating, to avoid loosing all of his chilli on the bet. Those bassawis who challenged him paid the owner of the jal.

My father told me, that my grandfather invited Al Asa´a once to dinner. My grandmother made Kroosh (a traditional palestinian dish which is made of stuffed lamb stomachs) beside other palestinian dishes. That man ate only a little that evening. The family was astonished to see him eating very little food, though there was made lots of food, which was enough for him according to what people told about him. When that man was asked about why he did not eat as usual, he replied, that he thanked God before eating. He explained, that he was mokhawi (mokhawi is a person, who is believed to have connection to the spiritual world or genies/or a person who took a genie as a brother or sister), and when he mentioned God, it was only him who ate. If he did not mention God, the "genies", whom he had connection to, they would have eaten all of the food which entered his mouth.

These stories are still being told, even if one finds it difficult to believe.


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