One of our favorite articles we have found when searching for obituaries in the local paper started with these words: "The Black Camel of Death has knelt at the gates of prominent and much loved Newaygo county folk during the last week, signifying a toll somewhat unparalleled." (Fremont Times Indicator, page 1 I think, 16 February 1922) Doesn't that sound profound?
We have been trying to research the phrase and found that The Black Camel was the name of a 1929 book by Earl Derr Biggers, the fourth in the series of Charlie Chan novels that he wrote. The phrase was also used in the 2nd Charlie Chan movie that came out in 1931. ("Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate. Tonight black camel has knelt here.") Can't you just picture Charlie Chan solemnly intoning those words?
But our local newspaper quoted those words years before the book or movie. Do any of our readers know if this is an older saying? If you do, please enlighten us.
Until then, --watch out for black camels. They should be easier to spot than black cats.