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When Sham's mother dies soon after he is born, it is predicted that the little colt will die too. Agba is determined that will not happen, and does everything he can to prevent it. The young horse boy manages to get camel's milk and wild honey. Stirring the milk with his fingers, he slides them into the dying colt's mouth. After "work(ing) his mouth curiously and biting Agba's fingers with his baby teeth, Sham discovers how to suck, and does so, "softly at first, then fiercely, with all the strength he (has)". Agba continues to feed Sham in this manner, and the little colt thrives and grows strong.
Agba moves Sham into the stall that used to belong to his mother, and brings his own hammock from the horeboys' quarters and hangs it in Sham's stall. He says his prayers there daily, and makes "his own private prayer(s) for Sham's welfare" as well. When the weather turns cold and the rains come, Agba makes "a kind of flockbed mattress from wool fibers that he beg(s) from a weaver", and uses part of it to sleep on and part of it to cover himself and Sham. The two draw warmth from each other.
When Sham is big enough, he is turned out to pasture with the other horses, but they do not accept him. Sham does not seem to mind, though, and continues to grow in awareness of the world and in physical size and strength. Through it all, Agba is his constant companion and caregiver; Sham has come to need the boy,
"not for food and water alone, but for comfort. When Sham (is) afraid, he (comes) running to Agba for protection. When he (is) cold, he sidle(s) up to Agba for warmth. When he (is) lonely, he nuzzle(s) Agba and (lays) his satin nose against the boy's cheek".
Agba has, for all intents and purposes, become the colt's surrogate mother ("Camel's Milk and Honey").
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