The Sheik - Cover

The Sheik

by Robert E. Howard

Copyright© 2011 by Robert E. Howard

Romance Story: A romance in the desert. First appeared in The Tattler, the Brownwood High School newspaper March 15, 1923. In the public domain.

Tags: Romance   Humor  


The other day I ambles kinda aimless into a book-store. She's a new range for me so when the clerk comes up and says "What can I do for you, me good man?" I says, "Lady, you can trot out the latest edition of 'Relentless Rupert, the Red-handed Avenger of the Spanish Main.'"

She gives me the once-over kinda scornful. "We don't keep no such low brow stuff," says she. "Whyn't you read somethin' inspiring and romantic? Now here's a very popular novel called 'The Sheik.'"

"Indeed?" says I.

"One fifty," says she.

I slips her the fish and a half and does a lam. The book has got a picture on the cover of a Oriental gent on a cayuse doin' a lam across the prairie. I read a book once called "Huloo Himalaya, the Horrible Hindoo," which was about a Oriental gent and I thought mebbe this was like it. But nothin' doin'. This Sheik was a heavyweight champeen of Africa which is braver than most birds, because he kidnaps a Jane which all others run from instead of after. He's a regular bear-cat, caveman stuff, sabe? And this dame falls in love with him for it. Of course they marry and live happy forever after.

"Well," says I thoughtfully, crammin' the book into the stove, "I'm out one and a half cartwheels and she's a touchin', inspirin' romance but she ain't authentic; she ain't true to life. Not none. Now, me, I'll write a book which is true to life. Th' misguided public needs it. It's me duty." So here goes.

Chapter 1

Scene: The desert.

A thunder of horse-hoofs! A medley of yells. Oriental yells! Venus Herring was in full flight across the desert. She looked back. A tall handsome Arab on a magnificent mule was pursuing her! Frantically she kicked her burro in the ribs. She was spurred to greater efforts by the Arab's barbaric war-whoop, "He-ya! Uneeda Takhoma Nabisco!"

She turned in her saddle and fired her elephant-gun. A miss! She fired the other barrel. Another miss! Horrors! She could hit a barn at three steps, flying. Why could she not hit that Arab?

As the Oriental drew up alongside, she swiped at him with the stock of her rifle but he was wearing a high silk "Stove-pipe" hat and the blow bounced harmlessly off.

The next moment he had walloped her across the head with the handle of his spear and dragged her off her burro. He slung her across his saddle and galloped away. She struggled and screeched.

"Sit still, you little idiot!" he shouted, banging her nose against the saddle horn.

Chapter 2 Scene: The Sheik's tent.

"I am the Sheik Ahmed!" announced the Arab, throwing Venus into a corner.

"Amid what?" she asked faintly.

"Don't get fresh with me kiddo," he warned " ... the Sheik Ahmed ben Ahmed ben Whoopitup.

"I love you!" he continued, dragging her around the tent by the hair. "You shall be mine!" slamming her down on the floor and masterfully kicking her in the face.

"Kiss me, my dear," he ordered passionately massaging her features with a pair of brass knucks.

"Never, you vile scoundrel!" she exclaimed, throwing a table at him.

"Aha, you would, would you?" he cursed. "Evidently you don't know who I am!" catching her by the neck and reaching for a horse-whip.

Chapter 3

Scene: Inside and outside the Sheik's tent.

Venus Herring yawned and reached for another bon-bon. How long had she been in the Sheik's village? Three weeks! Ye gods and little fishes! And not a movie the whole time.

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