A Translation Into English of Khalil I. Al-Fuzai’s (Note 1) “Wednesday Train” (Note 2)

Gassim H. Dohal


Saleh leaves his village for the city, searching for a job. When he gets there, he cannot find even a place to sleep that night. Life in the city is not as easy as Saleh thought.

The story, at the beginning, focuses on a social custom: people accompany travelers to a station or airport. Sometimes the travelers need no help, yet relatives or friends join them anyway up to a particular spot. In many cases, the well-wishers make it difficult for the traveler, who gets embarrassed and tries to observe etiquette at the expense of keeping watch over personal cards, baggage, and children in those crowded places. Hence, those well-wishers may become a burden rather than a help.

Another issue the story depicts are the jammed conditions of public transportation. In trains, cars, and buses, one can see people standing and walking: “after three hours he spent standing... Saleh arrives... at the city.” The only transportation where travelers should buckle up in Saudi Arabia is airplanes. Recently, efforts were made to improve these conditions, but cooperation from the public is important for any progress in this respect.

On the other hand, readers may notice the protagonist’s treatment of both his wife and mother; “he bids farewell to his mother warmly, and to his wife lukewarmly.” In addition, he is going to leave his wife and children with his mother; this is the normal tendency in Saudi Arabian society. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v11i5.15731

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