Hirsi and Kabaalaf
Narrated by Osman Abdulahi Ahmed
Once there were two thieves, one called Hirsi and the other called Kabaalaf. They lived in adjacent towns and were both famous in their own town. Each one knew of the other.
One day each of them tried to go to the other town to cheat people. One took a sack of ash on his horse to sell as flour, and the other took a sack of goat’s dung, to sell it as coffee. On the way they met.
“Oh, how are you?”
“Are you well?”
“Are you on your way to market?”
“What do you have?”
“A sack of flour.”
“That’s funny. A sack of flour is just what I want. I have a sack of coffee.”
“That’s amazing! Coffee is what I want. We don’t need to go all the way to the market. Aren’t we lucky! Let’s just swap.”
When they get home, they both took their sacks to the market to sell the contents. Then they each realised they’d been cheated.
This shows that cheats will be cheated in their turn.
One day Hirsi and Kabaalaf met and planned a con trick. They noticed a woman with a pot of butter on her head, pulling a ram with a rope. Both her hands were busy.
One went ahead of her and sat down, pretending to be blind and began to plead, “Is there anyone here who can guide me where I want to go?”
“Oh, the poor blind man,” the woman said, and she came up to him and said, “Oh, I’m sorry for you. You are blind. I would like to help you but both my hands are full, one with the rope and ram, and the other with the jar of butter. So I can’t help you.”
“Oh, but you can,” the thief said. “Give me the rope and I’ll pull the ram. Then take my stick with that hand and guide me where I want to go.”
“That’s a good idea,” she said, and she took his stick and gave him his rope.
After a while the other thief, following, took the rope off the ram’s neck and took it.
The pseudo blind man said, “Oh, the rope is light now. What happened?”
The woman looked back and saw that her ram had gone.
“Oh, I didn’t feel anything. Just that the rope became very light.”
“What shall we do now?” the woman said.
“Why don’t you go back and look for the ram and I’ll look after your butter for you?” the thief said.
So she agreed and went to find the ram, and the thief ran off with the butter.
Then the two thieves met in the bush with the ram and butter. They ate them, but they both fell very seriously ill.
“What happened to you?” everyone said.
“Oh, we’ve done a bad thing. We took a ram and a pot of butter from a woman going to market. Maybe she has children who are hungry. We are very sorry that now we are about to die.”
The moral is that even if you are not punished by man, God will punish you.
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