The Obsession

Synopsis: The Obsession is a story that was told to me by a student from Oman. It is about human relationships and emotions and the grammar focus is past simple tense and past continuous tense. It is an intermediate level story.

Download the text: The Obsession (pdf), by Mark White

THE OBSESSION – an interactive story

This story took place four hundred years ago in the Arabian peninsula. It is about obsession. What does “to be obsessed ” mean?

Once there was a young man. His name was Qeis. He lived with his father in a village. His mother was dead. What did she die of? Qeis’s father was the headman of the village. How old was he?

One day Qeis went to the market in another town with a friend. What was the name of the friend? What was he wearing? What was Qeis wearing? As the two friends walked through the market they saw a really beautiful woman. What colour was her robe? Was she wearing any jewelry?

Qeis was really attracted to the woman. He began to shout about her beauty. He recited poetry and everybody heard. It was embarrassing. How many people were there in the market place? Was it an open air market? Were there fruit stalls? Were there fabric stalls? Was anybody selling hot tea?

Qeis grabbed his friend. Where did he grab him? He tried to stop him from shouting. What did he say to him? The woman heard Qeis’s poetry. She thought that it was very beautiful. She replied in poetry of her own. The two of them stood in the market place and recited poetry to each other. They made it up as they went along. Finally Qeis’s friend managed to drag him away. He took him home. Did they go home on foot, by horse, by wagon or by camel? The woman went away to. How did she get home.

The name of the woman was Laila. She lived in another village. Her father was the headman of that village. How far was it from Qeis’s village to Laila’s village? Laila lived with her parents and her older brother. Who do you live with?

Laila and Qeis were in love. They met secretly every night. Did they recite poetry to each other? Did they watch the moon together? Did they talk about marriage? Their relationship was very serious. Are you in a relationship at the moment? They were deeply in love. Is love important to you?

One day Qeis was in the market place. He was sitting with some friends. How many friends were there? He was reading poetry to his friends. The poetry was about Laila. It was very beautiful. Who is the most famous poet in your country? Do you have a favourite poem? Some people walked by. They heard the poetry. It was beautiful. They sat down to listen. More people came and sat down to listen. More and more people came. A crowd began to form around Qeis.

Then Laila’s brother passed by. He came closer. He wanted to see why the crowd was there. How many people were there by this time? Laila’s brother heard the poetry. Then he heard Laila’s name. He realized that the poetry was about his sister. He became very angry. He went home. How did he get home?

Laila’s brother called her. He was furious. He began to shout at her. What did he say?He said she was not allowed to go outside any more. He said that she had to stay in the house. Then he went to see his father. His father was in another room. What was he doing?

The brother told his father about Laila and Qeis. He said they had to marry Laila to another man. The had to protect the honour of their family. The father agreed. Why was it necessary to marry Laila to another man? The father agreed with his son. Did he think about it for long? They arranged to marry Laila to a man in another village. How far was it to that village? What do you think of arranged marriage?

Qeis heard about the engagement. He was very angry. He went to his father. What was his father doing? Where was he? Qeis spoke to his father. How long did they talk for? Qeis told his father about Laila. Did he tell him about the secret meetings?
Did he tell him everything? Qeis asked his father to go to Laila’s father. He asked him to ask Laila’s father to cancel the engagement. He asked him to ask Laila’s father to marry Laila to Qeis. Qeis’s father agreed. He went to Laila’s house. How long did it take to get there?

Qeis’s father went to Laila’s house. He asked to speak to Laila’s father. Laila’s brother came out. What was he wearing? He asked who Qeis’s father was. He asked him what he wanted. The father explained that he wanted Laila’s father to cancel her engagement. Why did Qeis’s father want the engagement cancelled?

Laila’s brother was very angry. Do you get angry sometimes? What do you do when you get angry? Laila’s brother said bad things about Qeis. Do you do stupid things when you are angry? Qeis’s father became very angry. He pulled out a knife. Was it a sharp knife? Did it have a curved blade or a straight blade? He said: “Do not talk like that about my son.”

Laila’s brother continued to insult Qeis. He became more and more angry. Qeis’s father became more angry too. Laila’s brother drew a knife too. Finally Qeis’s father and Lailia’s brother began to fight. Laila’s brother stabbed Qeis’s father. Where did he stab him? How many times did he stab him? The old man died. Was there a lot of blood?

Qeis heard that his father was dead. He came to Laila’s house. he fought with Laila’s brother. He killed him. Did he kill him with a knife? Was there a lot of blood?

Laila’s mother heard that her son was dead. Who told her? She was very upset. She was in a state of shock. Did she faint? Did anybody call a doctor?

Laila wanted to marry Qeis. Why did she want to marry him? Laila’s father explained to Laila that her brother was dead. He explained that Qeis killed her brother. He said “Your brother has the same blood as you.” Laila said: “There must be a reason.”

Why did Laila’s brother kill Qeis’s father? Why did Qeis kill Laila’s brother? Do you believe in revenge or forgiveness?

Laila married a man in another village. Was he a good man? Was he older than her? Her father sent her to the other man’s house.

Qeis missed Laila terribly. Do you miss your family? He could not stop thinking about her. He stopped eating. He talked about her all the time. He looked for her everywhere. He was totally obsessed. He went crazy. He slept outside in the street. Have you ever slept outside? Were his clothes dirty? Do you wear dirty clothes sometimes? He could not think about anything else. He could not talk about anything else. Have you ever been obsessed with another person? People became annoyed by him. They began to beat him and tell him to go away. He wandered around and became homeless. He continued to search for Laila.

Finally somebody told Qeis the name of Laila’s vilage. He went to that village. Was it a big village? Was it far? Did he walk there? Qeis found Laila’s house. He waited for her to leave. Did he wait under a tree? Did he wear a disguise?

Finaly Laila came out of the house. She walked through the streets. What was she wearing? Qeis followed her. He stopped her in the street. Did he touch her? He said: “Why did you leave me? I love you.”

Laila said: “That is not important. I am married to another man. I must stay with him. I cannot leave him. You have to go away”.

Qeis went away. He died of a broken heart. Have you ever had a broken heart?

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