Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Lila who loved to explore new places. She lived in Amman, the capital city of Jordan, with her parents and her brother Omar.

One day, her parents told her that they were going on a trip to Petra, an ancient city carved into rock cliffs in the south of Jordan. Lila was very excited because she had always wanted to see Petra. She had read about it in books and seen pictures of its beautiful rose-colored buildings.

Lila packed her backpack with some snacks, water, a camera and a flashlight. She also brought along her favorite stuffed animal, a camel named Noura. She couldn’t wait to see Petra with her own eyes.

The next morning, they drove for several hours until they reached the entrance of Petra. They bought tickets and walked through a narrow gorge called the Siq[^1^][1], which was lined with colorful rocks and plants. Lila felt like she was entering a magical world.

As they emerged from the Siq[^1^][1], they saw a stunning sight: a huge facade carved into the rock face that looked like a temple. It was called Al Khazneh[^1^][1], or the Treasury[^2^][5], and it was one of the most famous monuments in Petra.

Lila gasped in awe and ran towards it. She wanted to touch it and see what was inside. But her parents stopped her and told her that it was forbidden to enter Al Khazneh[^1^][1]. They said that it was actually a tomb for an ancient king and that there might be traps or curses inside.

Lila felt disappointed but she understood that she had to respect the history and culture of Petra. She decided to take some pictures instead and admire its intricate details.

They continued their walk through Petra and saw many other amazing sights: tombs, temples, theaters, markets and houses carved into the rocks. They also saw some friendly animals like donkeys, horses and camels that carried people around.

Lila wanted to ride a camel but Omar said that he was afraid of them. He said that they were too big and hairy and smelled bad. Lila laughed and told him that camels were gentle creatures that could survive in harsh environments. She said that Noura would protect him if he tried riding one.

Omar agreed to give it a try but only if Lila went first. Lila happily climbed on top of a camel named Zara who had long eyelashes and soft fur. She felt like she was flying as Zara walked slowly through Petra.

She waved at Omar who followed behind on another camel named Rami who had funny spots on his coat. He looked nervous but also curious as he looked around at Petra’s wonders.

They reached a high point where they could see the whole city below them. They saw how Petra blended with nature and how people lived there thousands of years ago.

They also learned some interesting facts about Petra from their guide: how it was built by an Arab tribe called the Nabataeans who traded with other civilizations; how it became part of the Roman Empire later; how it was abandoned after an earthquake; how it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812; how it became one of the world’s most treasured Unesco Heritage Sites[^3^][6] [^2^][5] [^1^][1].

Lila felt amazed by all this information and wished she could learn more about Petra’s history and culture.

She asked her guide if there were any stories or legends about Petra that he could tell them before bedtime.

The guide smiled and said yes: there were many stories about Petra’s mysteries
and secrets; stories about hidden treasures, brave heroes, cunning villains,
lost civilizations, ancient gods and magical creatures.

He said he would tell them one of his favorite stories tonight: The Story of
the Monastery (Al Dayr)[^1^][1].

He said that Al Dayr[^1^][1] was another magnificent monument in Petra that looked like
a giant palace carved into the mountain top; but unlike Al Khazneh[^1^][1], no one knew
what its original purpose or name was; some people thought it was another tomb,
some thought it was a temple for worshiping gods or stars; some even thought
it was an alien spaceship!

He said that Al Dayr[^1^][1] had many secrets hidden inside its walls; secrets
that only few people knew about; secrets that could change everything…

He paused for dramatic effect then asked them if they wanted to hear The Story of the Monastery?

Lila and Omar nodded eagerly. They wanted to hear more about Petra’s secrets.

The guide cleared his throat and began his story:

“Long ago, when Petra was still a flourishing city, there lived a young man named Zaid who dreamed of becoming an explorer. He loved to read books about ancient civilizations and mysterious lands. He wanted to see the world and discover new things.

He especially wanted to see Al Dayr1, the Monastery2, which was said to be the most magnificent monument in Petra. But no one was allowed to go there except for a few priests who guarded its secrets. They said that Al Dayr1 was a sacred place where only the gods could enter.

Zaid was curious about what was inside Al Dayr1. He wondered if it was really a temple for worshiping gods or stars34, or if it had some other hidden purpose. He decided to find out for himself.

One night, he sneaked out of his house and climbed up the mountain where Al Dayr1 stood. He followed a steep path that led him to its entrance: a huge doorway carved into the rock with columns and sculptures.

He looked around and saw no one. The priests must have gone to sleep, he thought. He took out his flashlight and entered Al Dayr1.

He was amazed by what he saw: a large hall with a high ceiling and a domed roof; walls decorated with paintings and reliefs; niches filled with statues and offerings; an altar at the center with an inscription that read: ‘To Obodas I, King of Nabataea, God among Men’2.

Zaid felt a surge of excitement. He had found something incredible: a tomb for an ancient king who was deified by his people2. He wondered what else he could find in Al Dayr1.

He walked around the hall and noticed a small door behind the altar. He opened it and saw a dark staircase leading down into the depths of the mountain.

He wondered if this was where Obodas I was buried. He had read that Obodas I was a great king who defeated the Seleucid army at the Battle of Cana1 and expanded his kingdom to include Damascus and parts of Syria1. He had also read that after his death, he was worshiped as a god by his people234.

Zaid wanted to see his tomb and maybe find some treasures or clues about his life. He decided to go down the stairs and explore further.

He descended into the darkness with his flashlight as his only guide. He felt a chill in the air and heard strange noises echoing in the tunnel. He hoped he wouldn’t encounter any traps or curses along the way.

He reached the bottom of the stairs and saw a large chamber with a vaulted ceiling. He shone his flashlight around and saw several niches carved into the walls. Each niche contained a sarcophagus with a carved lid.

Zaid approached one of them and read its inscription: ‘Here lies Obodas I, King of Nabataea, God among Men’. He had found it: this was Obodas I’s tomb!

He felt a surge of excitement mixed with fear. He wondered what would happen if he opened it. Would he see Obodas I’s mummy? Would he find some jewels or artifacts? Would he unleash some ancient curse?

He hesitated for a moment then decided to take the risk. He pushed aside the lid and looked inside.

What he saw made him gasp in shock: there was no mummy, no jewels, no artifacts; there was nothing but an empty space!

Zaid couldn’t believe it: where was Obodas I? Had someone stolen his body? Had he never been buried here? Had he risen fromthe dead?

Zaid was confused and disappointed. He had come all this way to see Obodas I’s tomb and he had found nothing. He wondered if this was some kind of joke or test.

He checked the other sarcophagi and found them all empty as well. He felt like he had wasted his time and energy.

He decided to leave the chamber and go back to Al Dayr. Maybe he could find something more interesting there.

He turned around and walked towards the stairs. But as he did so, he heard a loud rumble behind him. He looked back and saw the lid of Obodas I’s sarcophagus sliding back into place.

He realized too late that he had triggered a trap: the chamber was sealing itself!

He ran towards the stairs but it was too late: a huge stone slab fell from the ceiling and blocked his way.

He was trapped inside Obodas I’s tomb!

He screamed for help but no one heard him. He banged on the stone slab but it didn’t budge. He searched for another exit but found none.

He was doomed!

He sat down on the floor and cried. He wished he had never come here. He wished he had listened to his parents who told him not to go near Al Dayr. He wished he had followed his dreams in a safer way.

But it was too late for wishes now. He had made his choice and paid the price.

He wondered how long it would take for him to die of hunger or thirst or madness.

He wondered if anyone would ever find him or remember him.

He wondered if Obodas I was watching him from somewhere, laughing at his foolishness.

The End