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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/206

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192 Collectanea.

prominent parts. Harun er-Rashid grew tired of Abu-Nowas because he laughed too much, and he sent him away from court. So Abu-Nowas went to his house, and as he received nothing from the Sultan he became poorer and poorer every day. At last there was nothing left to eat in the house, no bread, no meat, and he and his wife were hungry. So he said to her : " Do you go to the Sultaness and say to her that I am dead, and you have no money to pay for my funeral." Then Abu-Nowas went to the Sultan and said to him : " My wife is dead, and I have no money to pay for laying her out." Then the Sultan gave him something, and he returned to his house. Meanwhile his wife had gone to the Sultaness, and had said to her : " My husband is dead, and I have no money to pay for laying him out." So the Sultaness gave her some money. In the evening the Sultan went to see his wife, and he said to her: "The wife of Abu-Nowas is dead." " No," she said, " it is Abu-Nowas who is dead, and I have given his wife money in order that she may bury him." So they disputed with one another until the Sultan said : " Let us go to the house of Abu-Nowas and see whether it is he who is dead or his wife." When Abu-Nowas saw them coming, he told his wife to put a cloth over her and to lie by his side on the bed as if they were sleeping. The Sultan came in and saw them lying as if dead. "This is a strange thing," he said ; " I will give a guinea to anyone who will tell me which of them died first." " Give it to me ! " cried Abu-Nowas, jumping up and holding out his hand, {here the narrator holds out his hand) ; " I will tell you." So the Sultan laughed and took him back to favour.

III. The following story is at the expense of the Coptic clergy, and is therefore probably of Christian origin :

A (Coptic) priest came to a village and asked for a little wheat. " We have none," was the reply. " Then a little durra." "We have none of that either." "Then just a little piece of onion {shwoyet basala) " !

IV. Here is one in which the townspeople have their cus- tomary joke at the simplicity of the country -bred fellahin :

A fellah once came to Cairo and went into the bazaar. He saw there some cakes of qamar ed-din (paste of dried apricots)