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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/205

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Cairene Folklore. III.


(Read at Meeting, 21st March, 1902.)

When I read my paper on Cairene Folklore before this Society five years ago, I had little idea that it would be found sufficiently interesting for a fresh instalment of it to be called for. I now wish that I had been more industrious in noting all the superstitions, beliefs, practices, sayings, and stories which I have come across in my Egyptian life, but unfortunately there are many which I have omitted to record in writing, and there are others which I have forgotten altogether, while, as I explained in my last paper, I have found it impossible to transcribe the longer stories I have heard. Nevertheless, my note-books still contain specimens of Cairene Folklore which are not included either in my last paper (Folk-Lore Journal, xix. 4), or in a short communication on the same subject which was published in the Folk-Lore Journal for 1889 (vii. 3, pp. 191-5). Some of these I will now lay before the members of the Society.

I. I will begin with one which is a curious parallel to our own legal story of "the case being altered alters the case."

A fellah came to the judge and said to him: "A dog has made a mess against the wall that divides your property from mine." "Then," said the judge, "go at once and pull down that part of the wall, and build it up again; if the wall has been thus dirtied it must be thrown down and built up again immediately." "But," said the fellah, "it is not your wall, but mine." "Mâashallah," said the judge, "I see it has not been dirtied much; all that is necessary is to brush the dirt off."

II. In my former paper I referred to a story from the Introduction to the Arabian Nights, which I have heard more than once, and which is interesting as showing that the "tabu" placed on the Nights by orthodox Mohammedans is not observed by the Cairene story-tellers. I have also given a story (IV.) which relates to Abû-Nowâs, the vizier of Harûn er-Rashîd, and so belongs to the same cycle as those in the Nights. Here is another story in which Abû-Nowâs and the Sultan again play the