Narrated by Professor Ahmed Mohammed Ali
There was a man who was the husband of a good lady. She was very honest and a hard worker and she did everything well. But he was ungrateful to her and he divorced her and married another. The second wife had no child for a while but finally she got pregnant. The man was very happy and waited and waited, but then she delivered only a head. The head could eat and drink and do everything, but they decided to take it away. They put it in a sack and left it by the road.
The head, in its sack, jumped around shouting, “Please take me!”
People gathered round and picked the sack up and began to take it to the city.
“What shall we do with you?” they said.
“Just take me to the first tea shop you see and put me there.”
So they did.
The head said to the shopkeeper, “Hey, do you want to get rich?”
“Then take care of me.”
“Don’t ask me anything else.”
So the merchant fed him and looked after him. The head gave him advice: kill many animals, bring many rugs and other items. People will come here and buy your things. Soon the man became very rich.
There was a king or ruler in the area who had a daughter.
When the daughter was ready for marriage, the king said, “I will give my daughter to anyone who gives me what I want.”
People came every Saturday with presents.
“Show me what you have!" said the king. "No, I don’t want that. Bring this and this and this – impossible things.”
One day, the head said to his friend the shopkeeper, “Go to the king, and ask him whatever it is that he wants for his daughter.”
“OK,” said the merchant.
The king said, “I want a he-camel,” and he described it in great detail. “The camel should come in front of me and salute me and speak to me in my language.”
The merchant went back to the head and told him.
“He said that?” said the head.
“Well," said the head to the merchant, "we will bring the talking camel to the king. Go to such and such a place, and buy such and such a he-camel.”
So the merchant did as the head told him, and bought the camel and took it to the king, and the audience was waiting, and the camel saluted the king and did everything that the king had asked.
The king was very surprised.
“When will you come to me to marry my daughter?"
"Tomorrow,” said the merchant.
The merchant ran back to the head. “Everything is ready. What shall we do?”
“Take me!” said the head. “Let me be the candidate.”
“OK,” said the merchant.
So the king made a feast and all the people were there.
“Who will come to marry my daughter?”
“He is here!” said the merchant, showing the head.
“Oooh! What is this!”
The king was embarrassed. What to do?
But so that the public would not know how he had been fooled, he said, “OK, I have agreed. I will honour my word.”
The head was taken to the house as a bridegroom. The daughter was brought, the marriage was performed. By the time they get into bed he became a very, very strong young man. In the morning, the mother of the bride was so unhappy. She came early and people gathered, and the king himself was looking – Ooh!
At ten o’clock the daughter opened the door and said, “Why don’t you bring breakfast to us?”
“To whom, my poor daughter?”
But the handsome man was there. The king was called and the whole city rejoiced and the young man became heir to the throne and a king.
The father of the head, due to natural disasters, became severely destitute, and he was compelled to come to the city to seek help from the head of the nation. So the father and mother came to beg from their own son.
The head said, “Go to these people. Bring them in. Give the woman food and bring the man to me.”
So they did – Ah! Ah!
Finally he told him, “I am your son who you threw away. Take this and this and this and go back to your place but don’t tell anyone that I am your son.”
This moral is that the first wife was honest and good and the father of the head divorced her. So this was his punishment. The tea merchant lived always rich and happy.
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