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tired of living on the high table-lands, where climbing up and down was difficult, decided, about a hundred years ago, to come down and live in the valleys.

But wood was lacking and water scarce and it was therefore impossible to build houses, so instead they dug enormous circular holes in the earth. These holes averaged about 27 feet in depth by about 195 feet in circumference. One enters these great courtyards, which are open to the sky, by means of underground tunnels cut out of rock, which is quite soft and can be dug through with a spade, but it hardens on coming into contact with the air (see page 7).

These subterranean caves are so dry that grain will keep indefinitely when stored in them. The dwellings are cool in summer and warm in winter, and out of the way of sand when the sirocco blows.

The people in these underground dwellings live like the patriarchs of old. The head of the family is lord of all he surveys, and lives with his sons and his son's sons, their wives and their children. Frequently almost 100 people live in a single dwelling, each family having their individual cave to themselves.


The men of Matmata have more energy than most Arabs. Often two or three adventurous youths receive permission from their fathers (for without that permission they could do nothing) and start on foot or on donkeys for


The journey is long. Kairouan, Sacred City of the Sands, is usually visited en route; also the tombs of several celebrated Marabouts. Arriving penniless Arriving penniless and unknown in Tunis, these young Troglodytes earn money by carrying trunks, running errands, or going to market and carrying vegetables and provisions for housekeepers.

When they have earned enough money to buy two or three copper pots and what looks like a large flower-pot, they hire a small shop, hardly as large as a closet, with an open front facing on the street.

See the Sacred City of the Sands, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, December, 1911.


Here, about 4 o'clock in the morning, they begin frying cakes in their copper pots, which taste something like apple fritters. These they sell for five centimes, or one cent. The day laborers, going to work, are their patrons.

About 7 o'clock the morning's work is over, and they close the shutters, clean up, and go to sleep. About half past three in the afternoon the shop is again opened. The embers in the flower-pot, which is in reality a stove, are blown by small bellows until they glow, and more fritters are fried. The demand seems greater than the supply.

In about four years' time these young men can lay aside enough money to buy some broadtail sheep, and goats, and several camels, and return to their native Troglodyte town, where they take to themselves a Troglodyte maid and establish a small but happy home of their own.

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courses would be adopted by the University of the Olive Tree

The university headquarters are in the interior of the Grand Mosque of the Olive Tree, so that no foreigner can ever catch a glimpse of it, owing to the mosque belonging to the Malachite rite, where only persons going to pray are allowed to enter (see page 51). Even the Sheik il Islam (a Moslem ecclesiastic occupying in northern Africa a position corresponding to that of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church) could not grant me permission to enter, although he was most desirous of my seeing the mosque, university, and its various branches. It was suggested by some of my Arab friends that I slip in dressed as an Arab, but this seemed to me a very improper proceeding and I refused to do so.

A Mohammedan society has been formed for the betterment of all classes. This society is known as the Khaldounia. Wealthy Arab gentlemen volunteer their services as instructors, each one teaching his particular subject. The Khaldoйnia has met with tremendous popularity. They have comfortable reading-rooms. an auditorium, and a small but excellent library. The members meet frequently and discuss all sorts of questions.


During the past ten years a school for Arab girls has been founded and has met with great success. The head of it is a French woman, who thoroughly understands Mohammedan ways.

No effort is made to proselytize or influence them in any way, the desire is simply to make these young girls intelligent and useful members of the community, so that when they marry they may have attractive homes and be intelligent companions to their husbands. They are taught plain, common-sense sewing, hygiene, common-sense cooking, how to set a table properly, to read and write; also arithmetic and bookkeeping.

The school is very largely attended by the daughters of the aristocrats and wealthy families. The Arabs are taking much interest in the school, and its headquarters have had to be changed several times since it was started, so all its scholars could be housed.

The French have made public instruction compulsory throughout Tunisia, and even in the far-away Troglodyte villages small schools are to be found, which as a rule are attended only by the boys, but some of the broad-minded and intelligent Arabs are sending their daughters. These public schools have both Arab and French instructors, who teach history, geography, reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The Arab teacher instructs the natives in the Koran and in reading and writing Arabic. The Koran is not only a religious book, but it contains excellent advice on daily life that is quite practical. When an Arab boy has learned to read the Koran, he is an excellent Arab scholar.

The result of these public schools is that the younger generation can speak, read, and write excellent French, whereas most of the older men do not understand a word.

The French government has allowed the natives absolute independence of thought and religion. In the far-off Troglodyte towns, where no mosques existed, some have been built by the government. This has been a very wise move, because it has endeared the French to the hearts of the Tunisians.

Justice is administered to the natives according to the ancient laws of the country. A foreigner, be he French, Italian, or English, is judged by a French court, just as if he were in France.

The Oriental mind cannot quite grasp the French (Roman) laws, and this native and French dual tribunal is most effective in dealing with justice. The law is swift, just, and severe. Evil-doers are always caught and punished, so that from the lowest to the highest there is strict law and order.

Tunisia has a French and Arab police and mounted police, called oйdjac, that patrol the country (see page 5).


There are almost as many varieties of camels as horses. The Arab name for camel is djemel. Those of Tunisia. Tripolitania, and Algeria have one hump

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