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Tale - the slippers of Abu Kassim

<<As Shinawassee stares into his tankard, he remembers days of yore when
the sun was warmer, as were the embraces and kisses of wenches ((You old
fool, They don't like to be called wenches anymore.)).  and the many tales
of wisdom at the feet of my teacher , Duke Cariadoc.  Shinawassee 
strugles to his feet >>

GENTLES! So you like stories told by the followers of the most merciful
prophet. A story the I have heard and enjoyed is the tale of a merchant
named Abu Kassim who resided in the City of Peace.  While most merchants
place their trust in Allah the Merciful, Abu Kassim wore a shamefully worn
pair of slippers as an attempt to convince those he conducted business
that he was a man of little means despite his great wealth, . ( his
slippers have much in common with my tunic)

One day, Abu Kassim struck a particularly favorable bargain is glassware
and decides to celebrate, not in the accepted manner of treating his
friends to a feast, but by treated himself to the small selfish luxury of
a visit to the public baths.  He leaves his clothes and slippers in the
anteroom, and a friend berates him for his worn and inappropriate shoes. 
Abu Kassim replies that they are still serviceable.  Then he and his
friend enters the baths. 

After Abu Kassim enters the baths the magistrate of the City of Peace
arrives, disrobes and leaves a splendid pair of slippers at the entrance.
When the miser leaves the baths, he finds that in the place he left is
slippers a most magnificent pair of slippers.  Mumbling to himself that
his friend is too free with his money and will live to regret it, places
the slippers on his feet and leaves.  The Magistrate upon leaving the
baths can only find the slippers that everyone in the City of Peace has
seen on the feet of miser Abu Kassim.  The Magistrate summons the miser
before him, finding his missing slipper on the miser's feet, place a heavy
fine on the miser for stealing the slippers, and demands the Abu Kassim
exchange slippers. 

Upon returning home, Abu Kassim curses his bad luck and throws the
offending slippers out the window and into the river where the slippers
promptly sink to the bottom of the river.  Days later, fishermen pulling
in their nets, find their nets empty except for a pair of slippers that
they have seen on the feet of Abu Kassim.  The fisherman are enraged
because the nails in the slippers have ripped the fine mesh of their net
allowing all the fish enveloped by the net to escape.  And that their
day's labor has gone unrewarded from the usual abundance of the river.  In
anger the fishermen throw the slipper through the window of the miser's
house, land amongst the glassware treasures of Abu Kassim, smashing them

Upon returning home at night Abu Kassim finds that his treasures have been
destroyed , grieves as only a miser can.  As he cleans up the glass he
finds his old slippers amoungst the shards and decides to be immediately
rid of them by burying them in his garden, where they can not harm anyone. 
He immediately goes to his garden and buries the slippers, and is seen by
neighbors.  The neighbors seeing Abu Kassim performing such an act so far
below his stations that should be done by a servent, beleive that he must
be hiding money.  Burying money is an illegal act.  Everyone knows that
money above ground circulates from hand to hand enriching the entire
populace. While money in the ground benifits no one, not even the one who
buried it.  The neighbor reports the act to the Caliph.  Who in turn
summons Abu Kassim to his court.  When Abu Kassim explains that he was
simply burying his old slippers, no one believes him, the entire court
laughs at the explanation.  The Caliph the fines him heavily for telling
such a lie and for beleiving  the Caliph to be such a fool. 

At every attempt to be rid of the now ill fated slippers, Abu Kassim's
well meaning attempts are thwarted through no fault of his own.  In the
end he becomes impoverished and broken and his only remaining possession
is his pair of trademark slippers.  This story teaches us two lessons.  As
our mothers have told us from time immemorial, evil befalls people who do
not change their garments frequently enough. And in this life, there are
some burdens we can not free ourselves from no matter how we may try. 

[[ I found this tale in Michael Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead" where ibn
Fadlan the early arab functionary who is abducted by a group of vikings
lead by Beowulf to fight the mist monster vendel.  its a fun read, full of
cultural conflict.  While Crichton tells the tale, there is no attribution
of in his bibliography]]. 

Bob Steele / Shinawassee Magnuson rsteele@istlab.com
775 Gateway Drive, SE # 313	  (703) 779-2061 (h)
Leesburg, Va 22075		  (703) 205-2858 (o)