Setara's Genie must have a camel somewhere in the mix.
In one scene, Setara is attempting to learn to ride a camel. She doesn't see the purpose since she had a perfectly wonderful horse, Nasreen.
We looking in from the outside know something that Setara doesn't. A tradition on the Sultan of Semidor (the area in which Setara lives) is that young girls coming to a marriageable age (sixteen) ride into the city on the back of a pure white camel.
Setara doesn't add two plus two and realize that the ceremonial arrival marks her as a woman ready to be wed to some merchant or even the Sultan's son (who's in the market for a bride).
This all comes back to the camel Setara must ride the camel to display herself as a possible member of some man's harem.
Read carefully. You might win a prize if you can answer some easy questions later on this blog.
screamed and flung herself from the saddle. “Ow! Ow! Stop! Whoa!
Stop!” She dropped six feet, right on her tailbone, screamed again,
and burst into tears. Setara’s faithful companion, Sheik, ran
circles around her, alternately barking at the camel and whining at
the camel driver, rushed over and grabbed the dromedary’s reins. He
tapped the big camel’s knee, and the beast obligingly folded its
long legs. On his knees, the camel turned his head to face the crying
girl. He drew his head back then snaked it forward, spitting a huge
wad of cud between Setara’s shoulder blades.
you should wait for the camel to kneel. You fell from so high, no
wonder you are hurt.” The camel driver pulled out a handkerchief
and plucked the wad from her back.
stopped crying and struggled to her feet. Dukak offered his hand, but
she ignored him. She glared at the camel, which continued chewing his
cud. “He stinks, too!”
you injured?” Dukak’s brow furrowed with concern.
much,” Setara said, rubbing her abused backside. “A horse is a
much finer means of transportation, Dukak. I fail to see why I need
to learn to ride a camel. They sway and bounce around too much and
that saddle! Why is it made of wood, not padded leather?"
ignored her question and waved his hands as if fending her off. “It’s
expected, Mistress Setara. Women must enter the sultan’s palace
grounds on the back of a pure white camel. So it is written, and so
it shall be.” Dukak spoke as if this explained it all.
won’t be going until next week, so I have plenty of time to learn
how to ride later...much later.”
ignored her statement once more. He looked at the camel’s saddle,
rubbing his chin in thought. “Perhaps I could modify a horse saddle
to fit. It requires a much longer girth and padding to protect the
about some padding to protect my...back?”
didn’t bother answering since he was busy measuring the camel for a
limped away in a dark mood. It was stupid to go through all this just
for a ten-minute trip through the city streets. She didn’t want to
meet the boring old Sultan of Semidor anyway. Setara sighed. She did
look forward to seeing Hasib, the sultan’s flying horse, again, but
she had no interest in the sultan...or his son. When she thought of
Hasib, it reminded her of their grand adventure the last time they
met. Fighting pirates and rescuing Hasib’s mate, Habiba. Setara
thought fondly of the good times.