The lamb story

Natasha Tynes
2 min readAug 4, 2022

When I was six years old, my father returned home one day with a live lamb in the trunk of his car.

Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

He got it out of the car and housed it on the roof of the apartment building in the city of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf where we were living at that time.

Every day after school, the neighborhood kids and I would run the stairs of the building’s six floors and get to the roof to feed the lamb, which was attached with a leash to a cement structure.

We fed the sheep various eclectic food, from salami to Labneh to hummus and pita bread.

The lamb, whom I might have given a name, was my first pet of many animals I would adopt later in life.

A few weeks after my dad brought the lamb to the house, I opened the fridge one morning looking for some water, and there in the middle of the fridge was the head of my lamb, placed in a round aluminum tray.

I shrieked and closed the fridge immediately. Nobody heard me.

That evening, my parents had a big feast. They invited their friends for a plate of Mansaf: rice, yogurt, bread, and lamb meet. Sitting on top of the main plate, from which the guests scooped food with their hands, was the head of the lamb, my lamb.

I skipped dinner that night.

Twenty years later, when I reminded my father of the story over a glass of wine, he smiled.

We were in our apartment building in Amman, and I was visiting from London, where I was doing my master’s degree in journalism.

“Do you really know the story behind the lamb?” he asked.

“No, do tell,” I responded, swirling a glass of Chianti.

He leaned back in his chair. “The lamb was given to me by one of my clients at the bank,” he said.

“I had returned some extra money his brother gave me by mistake, and so he wanted to honor me for my honesty and gave me the lamb as a gift.”

That day I learned about the multi-faceted nature of every story. I saw the lamb slaughtering as a horrific childhood memory and a form of cruelty, but for my dad, the memory of that lamb brought nostalgic feelings of the celebration of honesty, hard work, and friendship.

Now when I get back to Amman and see the traditional dish Mansaf with the animal’s head in the center, I remember my lamb story, but I no longer cringe.

The lamb story, like every other one, has different versions.

Natasha Tynes

Writer. Journalist. Words in @washingtonpost , @ElleUK , @esquire . I write about: ✍🏼 Writing 📲 Creator economy 🌍 Mideast