I wrote this post in August 2012 when I was counting down to Day 240 of the Daily Writing Challenge. I hope you enjoy this weeks selection From the Archives …
Day 240 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012
This morning I have woken up and I do believe I am going to survive the flu I’ve had! Therefore, I think it only right that I move on to the discussion I was having about animals and their feelings.
Now where were we? Ah yes, the story of the crying camel that I promised you. In fact, yesterday I got out the DVD and Geoff, Violet and I watched the documentary and yep, we SAW THE CAMEL CRY!
I was surprised that Violet (6) loved the story; despite sub-titles she managed to get the idea. When the camel cried she was so touched. I am always amazed at how one sees things differently through the eyes of a child. It was a special moment.
You see, The Story of the Weeping Camel is basically the story of a Mongolian nomadic family who keep camels. After one of the camels has a difficult birth, a musician is sent for to perform a ritual so that the mother camel will accept the colt after rejecting him for days. The colt will die if the mother doesn’t come around.
Folks, it is pure magic! It was nominated in the documentary category for an Academy Award in 2004.
The movie is set in the harsh Gobi Desert which is cold and austere. The families are nomadic sheep herders but they use the camel’s milk for their own use and of course, they ride the camels also. Throughout the documentary one gets pulled into the lives of the four generations of this family who live in a yurt (tent-like structure) together.
What went wrong? You see, this particular camel had a difficult two-day labour. Now, a lot of you ‘out there’ could relate to this one right? But when the rare white colt is born, the mother will not have a bar of him. Rejects him outright. She makes noises that virtually say “keep away I don’t want you!”
The baby tries to come near but the mother is so hostile the poor baby stays his distance wondering what in the name of goodness he’s done wrong! He may even need counselling in fact. But the thing is, in these countries there are rituals and rules for all types of problems regarding animals … they are treated like part of the family.
So what to do? In this case, the two young boys hop on a camel each and ride over the desert to the nearest settlement to find a so-called ‘violinist’ to play the ritual music to the camel. The boys – approx 12 and 5 – ride alone on a day’s journey in remote Mongolia to seek help.
I ask you: would YOU let YOUR young kids ride across the Gobi Desert on their own? In our society today? No way. What a different world we live in to the nomadic people of the Mongolian desert. I thought they were very trusting but what do I know about life in Mongolia?
The documentary shows you the adventures these two boys have in “town” and this part is just as delightful. Finally they find a violinist and return home. Soon, the violinist arrives on a motor bike! After camel milk tea, the ritual for the healing of the camel begins.
Firstly, they hang the violin on one of the camel’s humps so it can feel the vibrations of the strings as it grunts. Next the violinist takes the violin and sits on a stool nearby and plays a hauntingly beautiful melody to the camel, while the mother of the boys sings a song – almost like a lullaby – while she strokes the camel.
Everyone is now poised for action. Someone holds the baby colt getting him ready for his mother. The singing continues. The father holds the mother camel still. The violinist continues to play.
Slowly but surely, the camel, reluctant at first to be cured, begins to respond to the music and as you watch carefully, tears begin to fall from the eyes of the camel. The baby is brought under the mother camel.
Mother camel is hesitant but as the tears stop, healing takes place and eventually the little one, no longer doomed to die, begins to suckle for the first time off his mother. It has taken about four days for this to happen. Success … finally!
Everyone rejoices back at the yurt. Drinks all round – some alcoholic camel milk that is. And hot camel milk to boot!
Now do you see what I mean about animals and emotions? Obviously the mother camel, deeply affected by the difficult birth of her colt, rejects him. Once she expresses her hurt (the music and the singing sooth her spirit) she can now accept, leave the hurt behind and move forward.
Don’t you think that a lot of us could learn something from this story? Sometimes, we need to allow music to heal us in the places within where we are hurting. Or perhaps, because we are human, we may need to express our feelings by talking things out with a friend … but we all need healing at times. We just need to find the best way for each of us to express ourselves so that we can move on with our lives.
It is a wonderful story. Watch it if you can find it. In the meantime, watch the trailer on this link. You will love it.