Friday, April 15, 2011

The Shroud Thief

An Iraqi Folk Tale
Translated by: Fateh Kassab
© 2011 by THE BIRD(

          Once upon a time in ancient times there was a village on the Euphrates. The people in that village had a big problem that they could not solve. The graves were always opened and the shrouds stolen.  One day a man died and as usual he was buried in the cemetery of the village. But his grave was not dug in the second day or the day after.
 The people of the village concluded that he was the one who violated the sanctity of graves and began to speak in bad words as his sons passed by.Sons of the dead man curse their father who steals coffins. Life became hard for them in the village. They met to think of what is happening and try to solve the problem and return to normal life in the village. The eldest said that he didn't know how his father got all that money even though he didn't work. The second said he would never leave his house because he can't look in the eyes of the people of the village because of shame.
 The third reviled the people in bad words. Suddenly the youngest said I found a way which makes the people forgive our father and forget what he did to them.
On the second day the people found a number of graves dug, the shrouds stolen and a wooden dowel is put in the ass hole of the corpse. After that, whenever the sons of that man passed in the streets of the village, the people would say may God forgive their father; he never did such an ugly thing.