The Kahlil Gibran Collective
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A fourth collection of Gibran’s Arabic stories and prose poems, al-’Awasif (The Storms or The Tempests), came out in Cairo in 1920. The contents dated from 1912 to 1918 and had been published in al-Funun and Mir’at al-gharb (Mirror of the West), an immigrant newspaper. It consists of thirty-one pieces that are generally harsher in tone than the sketches and stories of the three earlier collections. In the title story the narrator is curious about Yusuf al-Fakhri, a hermit who abandoned society in his thirtieth year to live alone on Mount Lebanon. Driven to the hermit’s cell by a storm, he is surprised to find such comforts as cigarettes and wine. The hermit tells the narrator that he did not flee the world to be a contemplative but to escape the corruption of society. In “‘Ala bab al-haykal” (At the Gate of the Temple) a man asks passersby about the nature of love. The powerful “al-’Ubudiya” (Slavery) catalogues the forms of human bondage throughout history. In “al-Shaytan” (Satan) a priest finds the devil dying by the side of the road; Satan persuades the priest that he is necessary to the well-being of the world, and the clergyman takes him home to nurse him back to health. Several other stories deal with the political themes that had concerned Gibran during the war.