A European traveler from the North, accompanied by Arab guides, is camped in the desert. When night falls, and the Arabs are at a distance, the traveler is accosted by talking jackals. The jackals speak of an age-old hatred for Arabs, whom they associate with uncleanliness. They relate a belief passed down from their ancestors, that a man such as the protagonist would be the one to “end the quarrel which divides the world in two”. The jackals attempt to enlist the traveler’s assistance in destroying them, offering him old rusted scissors with which to slit the throats of the Arabs.
At this moment an Arab happens upon the discussion, and cracks his whip, “laughing cheerfully”. He declares the fondness of Arabs for jackals, and the Arabs bring out the carcass of a camel that had died in the night. The jackals begin to feast on it uncontrollably, and the Arab whips several of them as they tear at the flesh of the carcass, until the European interferes. The Arab agrees to stop, and the story ends: “We’ll leave them to their calling. Besides, it’s time to break camp. You’ve seen them. Wonderful creatures, aren’t they? And how they hate us!”