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The second sheikh continued,’O Jinn Our father had left a substantial fortune which we divided three ways and set up trading in fine luxury goods. At first my brothers prospered and they made profits and they loved fitting themselves in the latest fashion and they opened their homes to the best society. Did they have fun. O yes they did.’ They were wont to press me to loosen up and enjoy life as they. But I wanted at first to build up enough capital before set up a home. After six years the eldest brother closed his business. I was shocked and asked why he was spoiling his future.’ My bother laughed at my fears and took all his money from the sale of his business. He said,’I intend to leave a trail of silver and when I return my vessels will be all laden with gold.’ He just took off and I did not hear a word from him for some four years. One morning I opened the shutters of my my shop. I carefully checked the goods that had come in the night before. While arranging the goods at the display stand I saw a stranger, more like a scarecrow standing in front of me.

I said,’Allah Karim, you will prosper without any handout from me.’
At this the stranger just blubbered,’Have I changed so much Ali, you speak thus to your eldest brother?’
His voice was dead giveaway. I knew it was Abdel, the man who could throw money left and right without caring where it fell. He was now in front of me and wanted me to accept the truth. Of course i just took him home.
(to be continued)
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The merchant continued,’Upon return I did not find my son or his mother. So I asked my uncles daughter what happened in my absence. It struck me strange in her irritation and said,’In your absence the slave had other ideas. So she took her son to seek new pastures.’Upon asking further she made a grimace to indicate she had nothing more to say.
The Great Feast was upon us and my cousin-wife said it was necessary to get ready for the celebration. She wanted me to kill the heifer that was tied in the stall.So I asked my attendant to bring the heifer from the stall and the butcher was called in. At this the heifer started wailing as though it had human voice. More strange it seemed to me that it sobbed and real tears were pouring copiously.
The attendant went pale and said,’ Master, cry of the heifer harrows me to the soul.’ I assured him it was indeed so. I asked,’Master does it not affect you?
”Oh no’ answered he,’I am affected if I cut meat badly.’
He slaughtered efficiently and I heard his exclaim,’By the beard of all houries, I am affected.’ He held up his handiwork and said,’Look what this heifer carried merely a bag of bones. He picked a bone and said with a groan, not even an ounce of marrow!’ He was sure the world had come to a bad end.He said in despair. We butchers have nothing more to do if fat heifers end up like this.’ I told him to take his hire and leave.’
I called my cousin wife to show the carcass. The woman made a face to spite me. This cannot be helped. Have the calf killed instead.’
‘Oh no! I replied, seized with emotions of the heifer’s fate.’


(To be continued)
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The first sheik tugged at the leash and said,’Here is my wife, the daughter of my paternal uncle. Some 30 and odd years I was married to her and she did not produce any child in this period. So I put her away and married a slave girl who promptly produced a boy.


I was happy and I did not pursue my business as diligently as before. My traveling to distant shores for bringing in fresh and exotic goods I delayed.’He paused to check if he had caught the attention of the Jinn. He need not have worried. The Jinn nudged him to continue,’When the boy became fifteen I set out to do business and I had to be away for almost a year.’ He paused for effect. Jinn asked,’Then?’
Little did I know the woman whom I had let her to my bosom was well into black magic and in my absence she had transformed her into an heifer and my son to a calf.O Jinn I came to know this only too late.’

He sighed as he said this.
(to be continued)
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The three sheiks did not have to wait long for the Jinn had come like a bolt of hell and strode towards the merchant. ‘Step forward!’
The first shiek managed to get up and put himself before the merchant and asked, ‘I shall tell you a story such as you never heard before.’
The Jinn scratched his head and said,’Does my head look like a pretzel that I want to hear stories made up and to no profit?’
Pointing to the the gazelle the sheik said,’She is my wife! I am going to tell the truth and only what happened to me.’
‘Oho!’ the Jinn said somewhat pleased,’You may want to be paid?’
‘No just give one third of this man’s life. It is all I ask.’
The Jinn agreed.He looked about and asked the other two sheiks,’You are also part of this deal?’
They nodded. The first sheik began his tale.
(to be continued)
benny

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Nasruddin’s teacher taught his pupils to go with the flow. ‘Let sleeping dogs lie.’ But dogs were out to create a terrible row. One pupil was all for throwing stones at every one of them. ‘Oh now we shall have a bad consciousness of injuring them needlessly’.
‘Isn’t how we restore order?’ another pupil.
‘What use is to apply our rules to dogs,’ The teacher asked,’ without knowing the reason for their restlessness?’
I shall settle the matter,’ said Nasruddin.
He brought a sack full of bones from the shed and threw them onto the spot where dogs were causing a din.
The dogs immediately fell silent. Nasruddin explained, “Like cures like.” The teacher was perplexed. Nasruddin, “This sack has been lying idle for long. So let it cure dogs..’
Teacher scolded him, ‘How dare you say like cures like? A sack of bones is not same as sleeping dogs, ‘Your reasoning is preposterous.’
Nasruddin said, ‘We know these are not same. But the dogs do not.’
There was total silence and the boy added, ‘The dogs became altogether quiet. Judge my reasoning from the result.’
‘Boy what did you say your name was?’
Nasruddin, master.’
Teacher said,’ You should go to a religious school. You will do well there.’
benny

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The Tale of Two Brothers is published by bennymkje and available through http://www.lulu.com/content/2146827/

This story is the first in the series of Thousand and One Night and freely adapted from Sir. Richard F. Burton’s version. Benny Thomas has provided some 30 and odd illustrations in watercolour and pen and ink. Those who wish to acquire the originals (mostly in 6″x8″ size) they may inquire.

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