A Fire on the Lake Shore
Narrated by Hajji Abdu Settar Mohammed Bashir
The real name of Abu Nawas is Hassan bin Hani.
There was a rich person in a certain city and he had a very beautiful daughter.
He said, “If someone wants to marry my daughter he must spend a night in a lake on a island surrounded by very cold water, swimming out to the shore, then back afterwards to the shore.”
One young man who used to live with his mother decided to try and marry the rich man’s daughter. He swam in the lake to the island and spent the night there. His mother lit a fire and began to wait for her son on the shore. She was frightened he would die.
Dawn came. The young man swam back and went to the rich man’s house and told him he had spent the night on the rock and asked him to give his daughter as a wife.
But the rich man said, “Since your mother was waiting for you with a fire, I will not allow you.”
So the young man went to the Qadi [Islamic judge].
The Qadi said, “Because your mother was waiting with a fire, you cannot marry his daughter.”
The young man didn’t know what to do. While he was confused he met Abu Nawas and told him everything.
Abu Nawas said, “It’s OK. I can help you solve your problem.”
Abu Nawas invited the Qadi and the young man’s family for a feast in the outskirts of the city on a farm. He slaughtered a bull and put the beef on a saucepan, and he hung the saucepan high on a tree. And he lit a fire under the saucepan. The people were really expecting to have lunch since they could see the beef.
They began to lose patience and ask him, “When are we going to eat?”
He says, “Be patient. It’s not ready yet.”
They said, “How can you tell us to be patient when you put the saucepan on a tree away from the fire? How can it be cooked?”
“So he answers them, “Well, this young man spent a night on a cold shore in the lake and how could he get warm by seeing the fire and how can you not allow him to marry when you know he can never get warmth from that fire?”
Then the Qadi says, “You are right. We accept your demand, and the rich man also accepts.”
So they put the saucepan down and cooked the meat and ate. Then the two young people married and since then it’s been said that’s how Abu Nawas won the young man’s case.
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