Yusef's tasks mainly consisted of milking the goats and ewes or driving them towards the waterhole. Sometimes he was very tired and would fall asleep, mostly relying on his dog's barks in case of emergency. No one exactly knew what went through his mind.
One day, Yusef was in his lowest ebb ever, when he heard the dog barking. Looking at the direction of the dog's forward-pointing ears, he did not believe his eyes: for the first time in his lifetime, he saw an urban man and a woman, total strangers. They waved their hands in a friendly manner begging him to quiet the dog. Yusef, unable to concentrate, finally ordered his dog to be quiet. Yusef took his eyes off them, and resumed throwing his pebbles.
The wayfarers, being short of breath, sat down. After a couple of minutes, the man said, "What a lovely place you've got here! Do you mind if we relax for a couple of minutes here?" Yusef did not reply, simply kept throwing his pebbles. The woman and the man unpacked their picnic stuff: a blanket, a camping stove and food supply. Now, the man picked up a water pitcher and approached Yusef.
o Hello there. [No reply.]The man said:
o What's your name?
o You are lucky, Cousin Yusef. We city people miss this weather and the landscape. No wonder, most prophets were once a shepherd. We have plenty of food and fresh fruit. When we finish unpacking, come and join us. This woman is my wife. Did you say your name was Yusef?
o Coincidence. My wife's name is Zuleika. You know the story of Yusef and Zuleika in bibles? Yusef did not reply, he simply inclined his head to one side and kept scratching the rock surface with a pebble.
Having carried the water pitcher to the woman, the man busied himself with putting some fruit and cookies in plates. The water vapor and tea aroma gave the plateau a new life. Now, the man picked up a plate of some fruit and some cookies and a glass of fresh tea and approached the shepherd.
The man held out the plates, but Yusef rejected the offer. The man, then, placed the plates on a flat surface and without saying a word walked backed to his wife, leaving the shy Yusef to himself.
Whether pride or timidity, the shepherd for some minutes seemed struggling hard as what to do. Finally, he gave up and picked up the tea and drank it. It was much different from his own tea. Tried the juicy apricots. The aroma of the cucumbers, when snapped, filled the whole plateau.
But the dog, his head on the paws, was growling and angrily watching the shepherd. The second serving was done by the woman, Zuleika.
Yusef, out of the corner of his eye, could see her approaching. He had never seen a city girl before, nor spoken to one. He found himself in an awkward position. In a second, he felt an impulse to get up and run and run. Next, he felt he was the owner of the whole plateau and could kick them out of his property as trespassers.
Yusef's sharp and unclogged olfactory, smelled a peculiar scent, a mixture of two scents, one of a herb he had seen somewhere and the other an odor he had never smelled before, the scent of a woman. He felt a walnut-size spot in his abdomen twist, churn and clinch.