Friday, January 14, 2011

A competition

A folk tale
Translated by: Fateh Kassab
© 2011 by THE BIRD(

A long time ago, lived a Sultan who loved lying. He did not say any word unless he was sure it was a lie. He even did not like the letter "T" because it is the first letter of the word "truth."  Lying was his oxygen.
Once he felt that his lies are repeated, so he announced a contest for liars, to improve lying. He consigned a great prize and hid it in a large box decorated with shells. No one knew what was in that box.
When it was time for the competition, crowds of people came. The Sultan gave permission to the first competent to speak, he said:
 "O Sultan of time... We were three, the drought attacked us, so we became six, some of us lived and the rest died. We became twelve. One day we went to the public bath in the market, we slipped and returned three, the first was deaf, the second was blind and the third was lame.
: "I hear the sound of a mosquito in higher overhead." said the deaf.
The blind said: "It is true. I can see it."
The lame said: "Come let us run and catch it."
We ran. Then we found a flea skinning a camel. We stopped and said:
"Why don't you give us the thigh?"
" Take it if you can." said the flea.
We got the thigh, and went to an old woman hiding her comb in her pocket. We asked her:
"Can you cook us this thigh?
"I have a pot that eats meat and leaves you the soup." said the old woman.
Then we brought much bread, split it into small pieces, poured the soup on it   and we ate it with our big spoons.  We did not leave a bit.
The Sultan laughed as soon as the competent finished his lie, and said: "Where is lying? You did not even say a lie. What you said is smaller than a pinhead. Go away to let the way for the second competent."
A red- haired peasant advanced and said:
"O Sultan of Sultans, yesterday I went to the threshing area, I saw farmers harvesting eggs, heaping and then hatching them. So I thought: Why do not I get the ass and fill the bags with eggs. I swear. I ran like the wind, got the ass, and filled the bags with eggs. Fortunately the two bags had holes in them, so the eggs fell down and were broken. Hens came out of the eggs and ran behind me, so when I got home I saw a lot of hens behind me. I opened the door and entered the hens. I looked in the bag, and found a large egg. I put my hand in the bag and took it. It fell from my hand and hatched a camel.
I loaded a heavy load on its back. The hump of the camel was broken, so I took it to the vet, and said:
 "Put a nut shell in the place of the injury. Suddenly a large nut tree grew on its hump. The tree bloomed and gave fruit, I picked up and collected the nuts, but a nut remained on the top of the tree. I grabbed a handful of mud and hit the nut with it. As soon as it touched the nut it turned into a huge piece of land; so I said to myself I'll plow it. I placed the bull and plowing kit  in a slingshot and threw them up. I plowed the land and sowed sesame. A man passed by and said:" That's not right, you should have planted watermelons." I said:" That's simple. I hailed the children of neighbors and started collecting the sesame seeds. Once we finished I found them incomplete, a grain was missing. We searched for it. Finally we found it in the mouth of an ant, I pulled the grain, but the ant grabbed it strongly. The grain was split and drowned the boys of the neighbors in a sea of sesame oil."
The Sultan frowned, looked at the man fiercely and said:
"You are a foolish man, apparently you do not understand words, I told you I want to hear a big lie, and you tell stories that do not have a single lie. Turn around and get lost."
The man turned around brokenhearted. A man with shiny eyes advanced.
"O Sultan of Sultans. I have a spiced lie."
"I am listening." said the Sultan.
 "Thirty years ago your great father, the late Sultan, borrowed a jarful of pure gold from my father."
The Sultan opened his mouth, he was astonished. He said:
"What are you saying crazy! My father borrowed money from your father? "
"My lord" said the man "If I am a liar, I win and the box is mine. And if I tell the truth, give me my father's money."
The Sultan rubbed his forehead, he said to himself: He is really a professional liar, but he will never be a bigger liar than the Sultan.
Then he shouted:
"Hey  ... You, you won the competition, and deserved the title of biggest liar in the country, come and take the prize."
The man looked at the box with dreamy eyes, he imagined pearls, corals turquoise, gold and silver and ...
The man ran towards the box with joy, opened the lock, opened the cover
and ... gasped in panic.
People rushed to him inquiring, they looked inside the box, and they saw stones and gravel! They were shocked.
The Sultan... was the only one who was laughing as if someone was tickling him.