The Bride’s Test
Narrated by Osman Abdulahi Ahmed
Once upon a time there was a boy who wanted to elope with a girl. He loved her and she was willing to go with him, but her parents would not accept the marriage. So the boy took a friend as a companion and they set out at night to go to the place where they could be married.
They walked the whole night and in the morning she said, “Let us have breakfast.”
Now there was nothing to eat. Her fiancé didn’t understand her.
“Why? You know there’s nothing here to eat,” he said.
But the best man understood her meaning, and said, “No, the lady means we have to brush our teeth, which is a kind of breakfast. We have nothing to eat.”
“Really?” the young man said to his fiancée. “Is that what you meant?”
“Yes of course it was,” she said impatiently.
This was her first test.
So they went on, but at midday they were very tired.
She said, “We’re tired. Let’s rest.”
So they all sat under a tree. The girl and the best man took their shoes off, but the young man kept his shoes on.
“Take a rest!” the girl said.
“But I am resting!” the young man said.
“How stupid he is,” thought the girl, “How can he rest with shoes on his feet?”
The best man said, “The lady means take your shoes off, because you can’t rest properly with them on.”
The third test happened when they arrived at a village, where the people invited them to eat meat with them.
When they had eaten, the girl said, “Let’s pull out the remaining meat.”
“What? What do you mean?” the fiancé said.
“Oh,” thought the girl. “How stupid this man is.”
But she said nothing.
Then the best man picked a twig and began to pick his teeth.
“This is what she means,” the best man said.
“Oh really?” said the young man. “Is that what you mean? I didn’t understand.”
“You don’t understand anything,” the young woman said.
At last they came to the house where the sheikh was ready to marry them. But the girl refused.
“I don’t like this man,” she said. “I want to marry his friend, if he will marry me.”
The moral of the story is, always choose a best man who is less clever, less handsome and less rich than yourself.
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