The Clever Wife
Narrated by Abdul Rahman Abdulahi
A long, long time ago there was a husband and wife. The wife used to go out and work to support the family, but the husband sat in the house all day without working. Eventually the wife began to be bored with her husband’s idleness.
So she said, “Instead of just sitting round in the house, why don’t you walk (roll and roll) round the city?"
So the husband assumed she really meant to roll. And he went out in the city and he began to roll and roll the whole day, then came back to his home. He was very dirty.
When the wife saw him she was surprised and said, “When I said ‘roll’ I didn’t mean you should really roll. I just wanted you to walk around.”
So she said, “You’d better stay in the house all day. Don’t leave it again.”
So after a while she became bored and she ordered him to sit in the gate of the mosque holding a book. So the husband began to sit at the gate of the mosque and spent the whole day there. Then two people who had lost their cattle were passing the mosque’s gate and they saw the man sitting at the gate holding a book. So they thought he was a fortune teller.
So they approached him and said, “If you can tell us where our cows have gone we’ll pay you a lot of money.”
The husband couldn’t read or write but he opened the book and pretended to read.
Then he said, “You have to swallow fresh butter.”
One of them said, “We want you to find our cows. We don’t want to eat butter.”
But the second one said, “Let us try,” and he bought butter and swallowed the butter.
Immediately his stomach was upset and he wanted a hidden place to shit. While he was looking for a good place he came to a dilapidated house and found his cows there. So they were very happy and paid the husband a lot of money.
The husband went home and showed his wife. She said, “Where did you get the money?”
He told her the whole story.
Then one day the king’s safe was stolen from the palace. The king ordered all his servants to search for the safe and find it for him.
The two men who had lost their cows and found them with the help of the husband went to the king and said, “We know a very good fortune teller who can tell you where the thieves have taken the safe,” and pointed out the man to the king.
The husband, when he heard this, he discussed it with his wife.
So the wife says, “Go to the king and say, ‘Just give me a deadline till tomorrow and I will find your safe by tomorrow morning.' If we cannot find the safe by tomorrow morning we will disappear.”
So the husband goes to the king and says, “This assignment is a bit difficult, so give me until tomorrow morning.”
But they couldn’t find the safe or the thieves.
Now the thieves were still in the compound of the palace, hiding because of the guards at the gate. The wife began to pack. Then the thieves heard that the husband had been assigned to find the safe, so with great difficulty they managed to go out of the compound and go to the man’s house while leaving the safe in the compound (actually more than one safe). So they approached this man and told him the safes were in the compound and begged him to beg the king for their lives.
So this man went to the king and said, “I have found the thieves after exhaustive search but I have promised them that they would be spared,” and begged the king to let them go. Then he told the king where the safes were.
So the king was very happy and satisfied and began to send him a lot of money every week.
But the other fortune tellers in the city began to protest and said, “This man without any knowledge is being paid much more than us.”
So therefore the king, in order to know who the best fortune teller is, he organised a debate in which he invited all the fortune tellers.
Then this man said to his wife, “I can’t even read or write. How can I debate with these fortune tellers?”
His wife said, “Don’t worry. You just go there.”
So he went to the palace and when he reached there the whole city population was there. He was frightened. So he just stood at the door of the hall and called for the king to come to him. The people were amazed to see this humble man calling for the king to come to him.
So the king stood up and went to this man who was standing outside the hall and immediately the hall collapsed. So the king and this man escaped but the rest of the fortune tellers were hurt.
From that day the king was impressed by the husband and he declared, “Let no man question his words.”
And he let no man try to compete with him.
So from that day on this man lived without any obstacle, and became very respected and lived with a huge monthly salary.
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