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Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales [1913], at

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Mahomet, the Bald-head

HEN the camel was a messenger, when frogs could fly, and when I used to roam up hill and down dale, there lived two brothers together. Besides their mother and poverty they had a little live-stock which they had inherited from their father.
Now the younger brother, who was bald, conceived one day the idea of dividing their little property; so he went to his elder brother and said: "you see these two stalls; the one is quite new, the other almost worn out. Let us turn all the cows loose, and those that return to the new stall shall be mine, the others yours." "Oh, no, Mahomet," answered the other, "those that return to the old stall shall be yours." Mahomet agreed. The cows were let loose, and all returned to the new stall except a miserable old blind one. Mahomet uttered not a word of complaint or dissatisfaction, but daily drove his blind cow to pasture, returning regularly every evening.

One day as Mahomet was sitting by the road. side, the wind blowing violently through the

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trees made the branches bend and creak. Mahomet accosted the tree thus: "Eh, creaker, have you seen my brother?" The tree apparently not hearing, creaked all the louder. Mahomet repeated his question, and as again the tree did not reply the bald-head became furious, took his axe and proceeded to cut it down. But lo! an avalanche of gold-pieces fell out of the hollow trunk through the incisions he had made. Making use of what little sense he had, Mahomet went home and borrowed an ox from his elder brother, yoked it to a cart, procured sacks, which he filled with earth, and went therewith to the tree. Arrived at the spot, he emptied the sacks and refilled them with the gold. On his return home he amazed his brother with the sight of so much wealth.

He put the old lady in the boiling water
The younger brother was again seized with a desire to divide--the elder, we may be sure, having no objection this time. He borrowed a measure from a neighbour, exciting that worthy man's curiosity as to what that stupid fellow Mahomet could have to measure. The neighbour smeared the inside of the measure with bird lime, and when the bald-head returned the article a gold-piece was found adhering to it. This neighbour related his discovery to another, that

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one to a third, and in a short time the whole village knew of Mahomet's luck.

The possession of so much gold occasioned the two brothers much perplexity. They did not know what to do with it. Eventually they took spades, dug a deep trench, buried the money, and hastened to leave their native place. After setting off, however, the elder bethought himself that he had not locked the house-door, and he dispatched the younger to see to it. On reaching home it occurred to Mahomet that he ought to secure his mother's silence; so he heated a boiler of water, put the old lady in, and kept her there until she uttered no further sound. He then took her out, supported her against the wall with a broom, put the door on his back and went with it to his brother in the forest.

When the elder saw the door and understood what had happened to his mother he became very angry with the bald-head, who flattered himself that he had done something extremely clever in bringing away the door to prevent anyone opening it. The elder took the younger by the scruff of his neck and shook him violently. While reflecting what he should do further he saw three horsemen riding along the road. In their fright the brothers thought the cavaliers were pursuing them, and anxious to escape they climbed up a tree, carrying the door with them. As it was already dark they were not discovered. Mahomet reflected that they were lucky to have escaped with their lives, and in this grateful frame of mind he let the door fall on the head of one of the cavaliers who was just passing beneath.

The rider whom it struck put spurs to his horse and galloped quickly away with the cry: "Mercy on us! It is the end of the world!" A few days after this adventure the elder brother had had enough of the younger's vagaries, and secretly forsook him. What could Mahomet do now? He was alone in the world, He wandered on, weary and hungry, till at length he reached a village. He took up his position at the door of the djâmi and begged paras and food from the passersby.

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A little man with a thin beard came out of the djâmi, and on seeing Mahomet asked him if he would like to become his servant. "Yes," answered Mahomet, "if you promise never to be angry with me whatever happens. If ever you become angry with me, I have the right to kill you; if, on the other hand, I ever become angry with you, you have the right to kill me." As it was very difficult to obtain a servant in this locality, the man agreed to this extraordinary condition.

The bald-head commenced his duties by slaughtering all his master's fowls and sheep. "Are you angry with me, master?" he asked. "No, of course not. Why should I be angry?" returned the affrighted man. Henceforth, however, Mahomet's duties consisted of sitting in the house doing nothing.

HE master's wife was afraid that soon it might be her turn to follow the fowls and sheep, so in order to escape from the madman she persuaded her husband to go away with her secretly by night. But Mahomet, hearing of their intention, hid himself in the luggage, and when it was opened in another village he stepped out. Now the husband and wife took counsel together, and as a measure of safety resolved that all should sleep at night on the seashore; Mahomet should go with them, and they would seize the opportunity while he slept to cast him into the sea and drown him. Mahomet, however, had so much cunning that he threw in the woman instead, and she was drowned. "Are you angry with me, master?" he asked. "Why should I not be angry with thee, thou wretch!" cried the man. "Thou hast not only ruined me in fortune and brought me to beggary, but now thou hast bereft me of my wife!" Upon this the bald-head seized him, and, reminding him of the condition of his employment, cast him also into the sea after his wife.

Mahomet, once more alone in the world, tramped about, drank coffee, and smoked his pipe. One day he found a five-para piece, with which he bought leblebi. While eating them he accidentally dropped one, which fell into the well and was lost. Now Mahomet began to cry: "I want

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''I want my leblebi,'' said Mahomet
my leblebi! I want my leblebi!" and this loud bellowing brought to the surface an Arab with two such immense lips that one swept the sky and the other the earth. "What willst thou?" he demanded of Mahomet. "I want my leblebi! I want my leblebi!" the bald-head continued to scream. The Arab disappeared in the well, and presently came up again holding in his hands a small table. Giving it to the bald-head, he said: "When thou art hungry say, 'Table, be laid!' and when thou art satisfied say, 'Table, enough!"

Mahomet took the table and went to the village. When hungry he had only to say, "Table, be laid!" and the most expensive dishes were set before him; the food was so delicious he hardly knew of what to partake first. In his conceit he thought, "I should like the villagers to see this," so he invited them all to supper. When they arrived and saw neither fire nor food, they concluded their host was jesting with them. But when the fellow brought in his little table and pronounced the words, "Table, be laid!" the feast was ready in a moment. All ate their fill, and went home envying their bald neighbour and devising various schemes to deprive him of his wonderful piece of furniture. Finally it was settled that one of their number should creep into Mahomet's house during his absence and steal the magic table.

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Thus it came about that Mahomet felt the pangs of hunger once more, What should he do? He went to the well and began to cry: "I want my leblebi! I want my leblebi!" and the Arab appeared. "Where is the table?" "It has been stolen!" The Arab with the thick lips popped down into the well and reappeared with a hand-mill. Giving it to the bald-head, he said: "Turn to the right--gold; turn to the left--silver." So the fellow took the mill home, and turned so many times right and left that his floor was strewn with money. He was now a richer man than ever had been in the village before.
''Stop cudgels!'' he exclaimed

Somehow the villagers got wind of the precious mill, and one fine day it was missing. "I want my leblebi! I want my leblebi!" was again the cry at the well. The Arab came up and demanded: "Where are the table and the mill?" "Both have been stolen from me," lamented the bald-head. The Arab went down again and appeared with two sticks, which he gave to our hero, cautioning him strictly against saying other than the words, "Cudgels, come together!"

Mahomet took the sticks and examined them. Desiring to put their efficacy to the test, he pronounced the words, "Cudgels, come together!" and immediately they flew out of his hands and commenced to beat him most mercilessly. "Stop, cudgels!" he exclaimed as soon as he had overcome his

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surprise, and they ceased belabouring him. Though sore from his chastisement, Mahomet was glad nevertheless, for he had already thought of the use to which he should apply his sticks.

Hastening home, he invited all the villagers to his house, though without divulging his reason for calling them thus together. They came eagerly, full of curiosity to see what other wonderful thing he had to show them. At the auspicious moment Mahomet introduced his couple of sticks, and at the words "Cudgels, come together!" fearful strokes descended on the heads and bodies of the guests. They began to cry out for mercy, but Mahomet declined to utter the formula by which the punishment ceased until all had promised to return him the table and the mill. The articles were brought back without loss of time and peace was restored.

The bald-head took his three magic gifts and went to his native village, where he rejoined his brother. Being now wise and wealthy, our hero, as well as his brother, married and lived a merry life. Henceforth there was no more prudent man in the village than Mahomet the Bald-head.

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