«Good day, master,» said a pale dark-haired woman warmly, as she entered a dark room of a watchmaker.
It was an ordinary antiquary-workshop, which are a lot in each small town, and even if you haven’t seen any of them, for sure, you’ve read about them in the books. Here, as usual, daylight penetrated a piece of glass on the door and went through the high window, but as the room was cluttered up with watches, it was still dark. Mr Mo, an owner of the shop, a surly, stocky man, actually wasn’t remarkable much. The town was small, quiet, and, as often happens, people came here with some history they wanted to leave behind.
He well and cheaply repaired and sold watches, moreover, you could buy here some figurines, snuff boxes, boxes, and other stuff like that.
No one knew where Mr Mo had come from, he talked softening the hard consonants, but no one could recognise the accent. Of course, sometimes there were disputes, someone swore that he recognised the Arabic accent, someone defined Russian, German, even Chinese and Hebrew. When Mo participated in conversations, he told about different countries he had visited. And people decided he was a man who wandered the world, but they couldn’t get what drove him from a country to a country. Behind his back, they gave him, of course, a nickname – they couldn’t do otherwise – the Eternal Jew. And, as usual, they didn’t mean anything wrong. A few years later, everyone was sure Mr Mo was a Jew.
The closest person to Mr Mo was Ruth, the jeweller’s wife. A mistress of a large family. She and jeweller Kogan had five children, of seven to seventeen years. All they were serious, as their father, and friendly, as their mother. Ruth was a kind woman, a good cook; she baked for all festivals and well-earned with it. And though she was friendly to everyone, everyone knew she became friends with Jews. So no one was surprised when Ruth cooked for Mr Mo a dinner, pastries, and other meal, and washed his clothes and laundry. To all dirty inklings, if she decided to change her jeweller to a watchmaker, Ruth laughed and said:
«It is necessary to help our tribe. Who else would do that? Mo used to work and forget to eat. His story is heavy. So, he is so farouche. But he has a kind heart.»
Then Ruth began to enumerate whom, and how cheap he repaired and how good it was for a person.
«Your truth,» agreed people. «You are so kind, Ruth. Is there anyone on Earth whom you wouldn’t like?
«Who is evil, I dislike,» laughed Ruth. «It is impossible to hate all Germans because of a bunch of crazy ones, or all Arabs because of their demoniacs, all they aren’t like the ancient Egyptians, who tried to badger whole nation.»
People laughed together, with her.
Kogan himself politely greeted Mo, watchmaker politely answered, as well, but the men didn’t visit each other. Kogan actual didn’t visit anyone, just sometimes he visited a pub, sipped a mug of beer, and went home to the kids and the wife.
So, it went that way.
One day in the city arrived an expensive white car. It stopped at the town hall, and an elegant gentleman came out of it, he had strange eyes as if they were drawn with black charcoal on dark skin. He spent some time inside, then went out and walked to Mo’s watch-store.
«Good afternoon, dear sir,» the visitor addressed to bypassing Thomas, an owner of the pub on the Central square. «Can I know if I’m going to Mo’s watch-shop right way? Darius Mhotep manages it.
«You are going right to the watch-shop, dear sir, here it is, right on the corner, and manages it Mr Mo. I don’t know his other name.
«Thank you.» the gentleman with painted eyes nodded and walked on.
And Thomas went to his pub, and since there was no other news in the town, Thomas was telling everyone this story. A school historian Abram said that Darius Mhotep was an Egyptian name, moreover, it was ancient. Because of Mhotep – wasn’t a surname, but a name and the ancient Egyptians hadn’t had names and added to their name a name of the father.
The men in the pub discussed each piece of their knowledge about the Egyptians. And then, Avram, an owner of the tobacco shop, said:
«So Mr Mo is not of our tribe, that’s a surprise for Ruth.»
Joachim, a blacksmith, laughed. And Kogan entered the pub. He said «Hello», and, as always, ordered a mug of fresh beer.
«Kogan, Adam, here is something,» began Joachim. «Mr Mo is an Egyptian, as it turns out.»
Kogan stared at Adam in surprise, and then people excitedly told him the news about the strange guest.
The white car left. Mo’s workshop remained as it had been. But people now went there much more often; everyone was interested to see the Egyptian. Some people even went to a library to get books about ancient Egypt. And Ruth was ill. However, her eldest daughter, Ella, still ran to Mo’s, not as often as her mother, though, as she was very busy — now she had to care about her mother and manage their home.
The town was not just talking about Mo, but about the historical events which now everyone knew. They found out from a secretary in a town hall, who was that gentleman in the white car. It turned out he was a lawyer of a family, which in the distant years of Islamization of Egypt, through Libya, under the guise of accepted Islam Copts, fled to Algeria, and Mr Mo was the direct descendant and the heir of the family.
Now everyone was sure Ruth would no longer go to Mo.
So, a couple of weeks later, Ruth showed up on the street with a basket covered with a napkin, and she went to Mo’s house. She had a laundry bag on her hand, as well.
«Ruth, where are you going now? Help whom?» called out her blacksmith Joachim.
«To Mo, Joachim, well, that Mo, who repaired your watch, for you were on your work on time, after Christmas, so you didn’t miss the order from the mayor. And who made a pencil case from mahogany, for your kid, just as a gift, without any money. After that your kid was hipped on wood carving, didn’t he?
«It’s right, but you, why are you going there?»
«Why not? Helping our tribe is necessary. Who else would do that?
«But indeed is he from your tribe? He is, hundreds of years diluted though, but still an Egyptian?» Abram asked, grinning.
«But from whose he is?» the woman smiled. «Of course, from mine, from the most real my tribe – the human tribe.”