The main road near where I live passes by an area that has a strip of vegetable stands. I rarely stop there because the vegetables are all a bit over priced - the vendors take advantage of their convenient location knowing full well that people will pay a little more to save themselves some time.
Roughly in the middle of the strip is a small grubby looking trailer with blue water and white fish painted on the outside. On display next to the trailer is a large brown stuffed rocking horse perched atop a stack of produce crates. Every time I pass by I wonder why it's there. Are they selling horse meat along with the fish? I've never seen horse meat in Libya, but I have seen it in shops in neighbouring Tunisia.
One day while I was out with my daughter I had a bit of time on my hands and decided to investigate. I pulled the car over. My daughter asked me why we were stopping. 'Once and for all I'm going to find out what the horse is all about' I replied.
I walked up to the horse and had a closer look... definitely a stuffed rocking horse. Then I proceeded to the front of the trailer. There was a man standing behind a display of fish. 'Asalamualaikum! My brother, do you sell horse meat?' I asked politely. With a surprised look the man replied 'No my sister. I sell fish. I have many kinds of fish. Why do you ask about horse meat?' I pointed to the rocking horse and said 'I noticed that you have this rocking horse on display. Every day I pass by and wonder if it is because you sell horse meat. I was curious and thought I would ask.' Now it was the man's turn to be curious. He asked 'Do you eat horse meat? I only have the horse as a decoration, but you may have it if you like.' I smiled and said 'No, no, I don't eat horse meat, but I wondered if you had any what the price would be. I have many dogs on my farm and I thought that if the price of horse meat was cheap I might buy some to feed them.' The man laughed 'Please take the horse, I am only using it a decoration. Please take it as a present.' I smiled, shaking my head 'Thank you my brother, but I have no small children to play with the horse. You should keep it here as a decoration.' The man spread his open hands out over his displays of fish 'Well then, I have many kinds of fresh fish for sale, my sister.' 'Another time' I replied 'I'm not heading for home and it's too hot today to keep fresh fish in my car'.
When I got back in the car my daughter asked 'What happened?' I laughed 'He only sells fish. The horse is just for decoration!' As we drove away the man waved at us, and we waved back. My curiosity has been satisfied.