THE MODERN EGYPTIANS. Fellahin.
usual resort of the family and their domestic animals in summer.
The walls of the yard generally contain round hollows, used as re¬
ceptacles for the grain which forms the food of the family. Within
the yard are usually placed a square pillar, about 5 ft. in height,
with openings in its sides as receptacles for objects of value, and a
thick column of the same height, terminating in a platform shaped
like a plate, with the edges bent upwards, which is used by the
proprietor as a sleeping-place in hot weather. The fact is, that
beneath an Egyptian sky, houses are not of the same paramount
importance as in more northern regions, all that is wanted being
shelter for the night.
The poorer peasant's mode of life is frugal in the extreme.
The staple of his food consists of a peculiar kind of bread made of
sorghum flour in Upper Egypt, or of maize in the Delta, wheaten
bread being eaten by the wealthier only. This poor kind of bread
often has a greenish colour, owing to an admixture of bean-flour
(Foenum Grsecum). Next in importance in the bill of fare are broad
beans (ful). For supper, however, even the poorest cause a hot
repast to be prepared. This usually consists of a highly salted
sauce made of onions and butter, or in the poorer houses of onions
and linseed or sesame oil. Into this sauce, which in summer
acquires a gelatinous consistency by the addition of the universal
bamia (the capsular fruit of the Hibiscus) and various herbs, each
member of the family dips pieces of bread held in the fingers.
Both in town and country, goats', sheeps', or buffaloes' milk also
forms a daily article of food, but always in a sour condition or half
converted into cheese, and in very moderate quantities only. In
the height of summer the consumption of fruit of the cucumber
and pumpkin species, which the land yields in abundance, is
enormous. In the month of Ramadan alone, when a rigorous fast
is observed during the day, and on the thTee days of the great
Beiram festival (Korban Beiram), even the poorest members of the
community indulge in meat, and it is customary to distribute that
rare luxury to beggars at these seasons.
The dress of the Egyptian peasant calls for little remark, espec¬
ially as he usually works in the fields divested of everything. The
chief articles of his wardrobe at other times are an indigo-dyed cot¬
ton shirt (kamls), a pair of short and wide cotton breeches, a kind
of cloak of brown, home-spun goats' wool (za'but, 'abdyeh, or 'aba),
or simply a blanket of sheep's wool (hirdm), and lastly a close-
fitting felt skull-cap (libdeh). He is generally barefooted, but occa¬
sionally wears pointed red (zerbun), or broad yellow shoes (balgha).
The shekhs and wealthier peasants, when they go to market wear
wide, black woollen cloaks and the thick red 'Tunisian' fez (tarbush)
with a blue silk tassel, round which they coil a white or red turban
i'immeh). In their hands they usually carry a long and thick stick
(nabbut), made from the central stalk of the palm leaf.