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scorpionThe scorpion approached slowly to the edge of my boot and touched me hesitantly with an outstretched claw.

The desert wind ruffled my hair in a guff of hot wind that brought the smell of poppies and of death down from the mountain valleys and into the wadis.

We looked at each other for a while; and then he moved away.

The harsh dry air blew again with fine sand that smarted my eyes and I covered my head instinctively with my red chequered head-scarf.

I thought, my mind is going strange in this place so far away.

I will not die, I said to myself, this is not my time; one day but not here.

And then I remembered the laughter of my children and I smiled with joy.

It was what kept me alive.

afghan warThe scorpion looked at me sadly and said  “I am your friend – don’t be afraid. We all help each other here.”

I replied “My friend but I have seen too much – I cannot go on living in this way.”

The scorpion answered with his claws raised in the air and said, “Then fight for what you believe in.”

“I will always help you, but you must also have the courage and the will to live.”