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THE OLD ARAB and his heavily laden donkey plodded through the red dust of a narrow rutted road behind the camp of A Btry, 23d AAA Bn, 187th Inf, and waved cheerfully to the soldiers.

"Good morning, good morning old chaps," cried Koblan Mory, a Druse farmer. He spoke in good English and with what appeared to be the trace of a British accent.

It was unexpected, coming from the wizened little man with the puckish face and gray flowing mustache, and the men laughed. They knew the old man well by this time, watching for him to appear every other day, leading his sleepy eyed donkey Lily.

The venerable Druse is 78 years old, still spry. His home is "three hours walk from the camp" and on the way to market with his fruit he tries to sell some to the soldiers. But A Btry, like all other Army outfits in the hills, is well supplied with fruit by the QM section, so he makes few if any sales.

"Well, whether you buy my fruit or not, you're still my friends," he said.

The old man has an unusual story. His father was a miner and so he learned the work from him. He eventually made his way to the States and Butte, Mont., where he worked in copper mines. So he claims: I'm 100 per cent American.

One day while passing the camp he kept the soldiers enthralled with a dissertation on the grape. He dwelt upon its benefits, its part in history and its contribution to civilized tastes. It might have been a coincidence, but his market item this day: Grapes.

"God bless all of you Americans," are his parting words. "I love America, and whether you buy from me or not, you're still my friends."

Then, turning to the patient donkey, he said, "Come on, Lily, we have fruit to sell."


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