Franz Kafka's short story “Schakale und Araber” (Jackals and Arabs) was published in October 1917 in the monthly journal Der Jude, the intellectual organ of German-speaking Zionism founded and edited by Martin Buber. The narrator, an unidentified and pleasant-mannered European man traveling in the desert, makes a stop at an oasis in an Arab area. The circumstances of his journey and its objectives are unknown. It becomes apparent from his story that the man has come to the Arab desert merely by chance “from the far North,” and that he has no intention of remaining in the area for long. All of a sudden, shortly after his “tall [and] white” Arab host has retired to the sleeping area, the narrator finds himself completely surrounded by a pack of jackals. One of them, who introduces himself as “the oldest jackal far and wide,” approaches the man and implores him to solve once and for all the long-standing dispute between the jackals and the Arabs, as the traveler alone—a man hailing from those countries in which reason reigns supreme, which is not the case among the Arabs—is capable of doing so. Once the jackal elder has related to the European traveler the story of his tribe's tribulations, and how they have been compelled to reside alongside the “filthy Arabs” from one generation to the next, another jackal produces a pair of scissors, which, according to the jackals' ancient belief, is to serve the long-awaited man of reason “from the North” to rescue them from their abhorrent and hated neighbors. But at that moment, the Arab caravan leader appears, wielding an immense whip. The reader learns that not only was the Arab awake while the jackal elder sought to persuade the European man to undertake the salvation project and listening attentively to the jackal's words, but in fact, he has been well aware of the jackals' intentions for a long time:
It's common knowledge; so long as Arabs exist, that pair of scissors goes wandering through the desert and will wander with us to the end of our days. Every European is offered it for the great work; every European is just the man that Fate has chosen for them. They have the most lunatic hopes, these beasts; they're just fools, utter fools.