Clay from the sheikh

Did you know ...

... that a gullible sheikh from the Middle East had allegedly found clay that could be used to make bricks? Which is remarkable since there is no clay in the Middle East. Sand, on the other hand, was and is still abundant there. Yet, the sheikh was convinced of his discovery. At one point, Albert Hermans paid him a visit. Hermans came from Zutendaal and regularly travelled on business to the Arab countries in the Middle East. It is there that he became acquainted with our sheikh. Albert Hermans sold soup to the personnel at the Ford plant in Genk. It turns out this was quite profitable. And so, he built his first apartment block in the centre of Zutendaal. It was the beginning of a successful career as a real estate agent. In his town, he also operated a sand quarry, which is now used as a small windsurfing lake.

The sheikh convinced him to bring a bag of the yellow and brown sand from his country back to Belgium. Once back home, Albert took the sand to his friend Gaston Nelissen, who wanted to try making bricks out of it. It seemed to work. The bricks were almost the same colour as those produced by Nelissen with the clay from their own quarries. Several samples were beautifully displayed in Nelissen's showroom. What happened then? After a few days, the bricks had disappeared. They had become nothing more than a pile of sand. The so-called clay from the sheikh wasn’t clay at all. He mistook sand for clay and thought that it could be used to make bricks of the same quality as those made here in Belgium. 
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