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Archive for September, 2011


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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The merchant sat as if he had been held fast to the spot. The sheik came closer and asked why he was inviting trouble. The merchant narrated all that happened to him. ‘Curious,’the Sheik exclaimed and sat there. He added,’I shall not leave here without seeing how this amazing thing unravels.’ Soon there was an old sheik who appeared and he had a pair of gray hounds on leash. The second sheik seeing the sheik with a gazelle stopped.’This is incredible!’

The first sheik narrated all that befell the hapless merchant. The second sheik was impressed. Strangely enough there appeared a third sheik and he came leading bright bay coated she mule.

The third sheik exclaimed,'I am certain there is something fantastic afoot here.'The other two sheiks looked at each other and smiled. 'Yes there is,'they said in once voice and narrated the woeful tale of the merchant.
Even as they finished the tale the earth shook and the sky darkened. The sheiks lost their cheer and cowered. The merchant merely sighed awaiting death any moment.
(To be continued)

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The merchant remained with his family for almost a year. During this time he went about settling his business affairs in order. After he was satisfied he told his family to prepare for his leaving. The family was seized with sorrow as he set the date of departure. The day he was to leave he washed himself as the custom was and he would meet his Maker ceremoniously pure.
At last with a deep groan he took the reins of his donkey and left. His wife cried hard even as she pointed to her husband where she had packed the shroud to be buried in. He wept as he drove on. He heard the entire neighborhood wailing with as much noise as they could make. The merchant obviously was well liked by them.
After a days ride he reached the appointed spot. He positioned himself in the same spot. After a while a sheik well advanced in years came towards him. He led a gazelle. Seeing the stranger he dropped his jaw in amazement. He said ‘Don’t you know this is a haunted place? Begone may Allah preserve you from all harm!’.

(to be continued)
benny

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The merchant just dreaded what was to come. The jinn said pointing to the lifeless body of his son.
‘You killed my son and I want blood for blood’
The merchant appealed to his better nature. The jinn gave a terrible laugh and said,’What better nature you expect when the Lord of Three Kingdoms made us Jinns as beastly as they come?’
The merchant cried and cried saying that he had not settled his business in order. ‘Give me one year grace period and I shall come back to this spot without fail. You can have satifaction.’
The Jinn stared at the merchant as he went on emphasizing how his death would make his family disconsolate. ‘But I fear Allah and if I break my oath He shall punish me and the fear outweighs what love I have for my wife.’ He ended saying, ‘Without fail I shall be here. And my neck under thy disposal.’
The Jinn stared at his neck and his scimitar and said,’Allah blessed you with industry and a famiily.’ His face darkened and said,’ But Allah cursed me. Yet I shall show mercy because I choose to be merciful.’He put his scimitar away.
Taking the lifeless body of his baby he sat down and rocked it to and fro.Seeing the merchant still standing there he waved him away,’Run off Next year be here, without fail’
The merchant returned to his home with a heavy heart.

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The merchant was most perplexed by the sound. Then there was a rustle behind the bushes and a whirlwind which before the terrified eyes of the man abruptly came to end. Instead there stood a jinn who had a lifeless form of a baby. Without any preface he shrieked,’blood for blood It is only fair! I want revenge!’

Many times the merchant tried to find words. Words silently died. He merely rolled his eyes and his legs seemed to quiver. It took a while for the merchant to repeat like an idiot,’Revenge! I only ate some dates.’
‘Aha!’ screamed the Jinn, ‘Did you not flick the stones, you Kaalb!
Before he could make sense of the words the Jinn had his scimitar out and he said,’ You killed my baby, I want revenge!’

The merchant sighed and made prayers all the while feeling his life was about to depart from him.
(To be continued)

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O Great King! there was a merchant who did lend money to many merchants and kings in the foreign lands. He found that day of reckoning was due and he set out sufficiently in advance to meet his debtors in time.
After calling on his clients one after the other he thought it was time for pause. Collecting his satchel with his accounts and monies he went to a secluded part and sat down. He washed himself and from the bag took out his lunch box. He was in the middle of a garden and sat under a shady tree and thought he was the most lucky to have had no cares in the world. He ate his fill and took out some dates. He ate them one after the other and flicked the stones as his happy frame of mind gave a license to do whatever fancy took him. He flicked the last one and lo, he heard a deep blood curdling cry. He was most perplexed.(To be cont’d)
benny

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King Shahryar heard the story of the Bull and the Ass and winced. He said, ‘The trouble with your story is too close to the bones.I have had donkeys for my treasurers and bull headed viziers and understanding their palaver is too commonplace.’
The girl trembled and bowed herself to the ground and said,’ I know you will chop my head before the break of dawn. Give me another chance.’
Duniazad the younger sister pleaded,’ Oh great king, my sister shall tell the story of the merchant prince who went on a journey and met three sheiks.’
Ah at last a story!’ He assured Shaherazad who was trembling all the while to sit back and take a deep breath. She did and color came back to her cheeks. The king asked eagerly,’I wish to hear a story of ordinary people and their ordinary lives. Nothing but the truth. Promise?’
She nodded, and said, ‘I shall tell the story of a merchant who loved to eat dates and jerk the date stones carelessly about him’.
Eagerly the great monarch sat up arranged his cushions about him and settled to hear the tale of the Merchant Prince and the Three Shaikhs.’ (to be continued)

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ocelot- head

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My first thirty years I spent listening to music and it was a period of great stress- I mean for my father. He wanted me to get a move on. I had a sure thing going for me. When he raised his voice I turned the volume several notches high. With trial and error I knew when the slats of the venetian blinds quivered it meant my father’s voice was drowned in general mayhem of heavy metal. I would have continued but when Michael Jackson came with his Bad album I knew I could be a rock star. Only that I had to try moon-walk and perfect my routine. Funny I vowed them all except my father.
He was nowhere to be found. It was a mystery! In the end my mom told me that he was away. ‘Away? But where?’ I asked feeling a certain anxiety as TV screen going blink while Michael Jackson walked his song. I asked Mom to tell the truth. She just avoided my eyes. The mystery deepened and later I found that he took to be an astronaut while I had filled his home with the sound of music. When he is coming home,I was anxious I should win him over. It made me feel some pricks of conscience that I let him down. I said to myself, ‘I will make me a star. My father will be sorry that he took me for a never-do-well’.
That evening I took a battered suitcase with my boom-box amplifier and a change of clothes. I went out into the street and walked into the telephone booth just as Superman would do and put on my version of Michael Jackson suit. It had every kind of button some even I had sniitched from baby sister’s teddy bear collection. Well she may be bawling her eyes out for the blind and snout-less bears in her collection but I was dressed to kill.
Seeing me come out in my working clothes the crowd made room for me. Some laughed and some took out their dark glasses to cut out the 1000 watt dazzle. I pressed the switch while the guitarist riffed in the back ground, I walked. Some steps were the easiest since I was doing them under no provocation. Then I gave the crowd a kind of performance they never expected. ‘ Michael Jackson come to life! the crowd went berserk. They crowed, they jeered and mostly they made catcalls but I could duck and swivel and sidestep when the law tried to cut in. The lip- sync went on even when the straitjacket came out of the back of the wagon. I am an artist and the show must go on!’ I murmured.
‘Wonder of wonder!’ One night cooling in the police station brought my father out and he said,’Son, you music was too loud so I took to space travel, to give my ears rest.’
I made a few steps to show my skill even as we came down the steps. ‘Now that you are here, I found me a career. I want to rock the world in some 30 steps.’
My father chose not to reply.
benny

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