The Ghazal is a mechanical caravansary travelling between Timbuktu and Marrakesh. It is a most eye-catching contraption, whose appearance Passepartout cannot help but comment on. It is headed by Madame Diallo, a griot, or musical storyteller in the African fashion. The travelling duo is accompanied by Khalid, who used to work at the salt mines at Taoudenni, which they pass along the way. Passepartout may spy upon him and Madame Diallo working upon some mechanical contraption, welding steel during their travels. It turns out to be Aissatou, an automaton made by Madame Diallo to be her daughter, since she herself is infertile. She appears to be training her to be a griot to carry on the stories of her people after Diallo herself is gone. Upon realizing that this automaton has a genuine soul, Passepartout can remember a previous encounter he may have had with the Sisters of Didacus in Madras and send a telegram from Marrakesh to inform them of his discovery of an automaton with a real soul, after which they will reward him handsomely as promised.

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