Iranian stories and fables (121)
Welcome to today's episode of the series "Iranian stories and fables". At first we continue our discussion on the book One Thousand and One Nights stories and then take you to the land of Iranian stories. Keep us company until the end of the program.
We said that the One Thousand and One Nights is the greatest and richest collection of tales most possibly originating from the oldest part of the Iranian book of Hezar Afsan or a Thousand Tales.
We also said that the themes of other parts of this book have been adopted from Indian tales. After translating this book into Arabic, the first part that was added was Baghdadi stories which were essentially love stories. Almost in all such stories Haroun Rashid and Javad Barmaki are present as caliph and vizier respectively.
The attachment of Egyptian stories to this collection is also interesting.
Two important pieces including the account of Shah No’man which is a heroic story and the adventures of Sindbad, the sailor, have been the stories which were later added to this collection. Sindbad is the hero of the story who during his voyages throughout the seas east of Africa and south of Asia has fantastic adventures going to magic places, meeting monsters, and encountering supernatural phenomena.
The tales of Sinbad are a relatively late addition to the One Thousand and One Nights.
Andre Chedel, Swiss author and philosopher, believes that the geographical data in Sindbad adventures are all estimated and not exact.
However, today researchers have identified the regions and locations cited in Sindbad tales with real geographical places.
Well, we leave the discussion on that point and relate a new story. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Once upon a time there was a dyer and a barber called "Abu Qeer" and "Abu Sabr", respectively and their workshops were located adjacent to each other in Alexandria. Abu Qeer was an imposter who told lies in doing his job as a dyer. For example he first asked the customer to pay and then said:
"Come here tomorrow and what you have ordered will be ready."
And as the customer came back for taking his order the next day, Abu Qeer would tell him:
"I'm afraid your work is not ready yet. I had several guests last night and I didn’t have the time to finish your order."
Thus the poor customer would be brow-beaten and go back empty- handed as his order was not ready.
And as the customer was tired of his much delay, he would come back to the dyer saying:
"Now that my work is not ready, give back my cloth."
And Abu Qeer used to say mendaciously:
"Oh the fact is that I dyed your cloth on the first day, but it was robbed from my store by a thief. I’m ashamed to tell you this."
Therefore, the customers who had no choice went away and sometimes they had a quarrel with the charlatan dyer.
But this didn't end here. Abu Qeer became notorious little by little and no one would give his orders to him.
So, the jobless Abu Qeer would go to the barber's shop during the day and would stare at his shop.
Once a strong man came to the city. He brought a piece of cloth to Abu Qeer and asked him to dye it. Abu Qeer took the cloth and asked the man to pay him for the job so that he would have it dyed the next day. The stranger paid for the cloth and came back the next day to take his order.
However the dyer hid himself in the barber shop and the stranger couldn't find him in the dying shop as much as he looked for. After a few days, the stranger realized that he had been deceived by the dyer. So he went to the judge to raise an appeal against Abu Qeer. Then the judge sent his officers to the dying shop to find the stranger's cloth, but they couldn't find anything there so they sealed the shop, took the key and told the dyer's neighbors that if Abu Qeer wants to have his key, he should give the customer's cloth back.
Meanwhile, Abu Qeer who was hiding in Abu Sabr's shop and witnessing everything, said to himself:
"What a pity! What can I do now?"
Abu Sabr then told him:
"It’s your fault. You mustn’t have done this."
Then Abu Qeer said:
"I had no choice. The economic situation is bad in this city and I had to do that."
Abu Sabr then said:
"All of us have the same situation, but we must not swindle people out of their property."
Finally they both decided to seek for a better place to work and live by Abu Qeer's suggestion.