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Story No 56

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56 - The Two Lack-Tacts of Cairo and Damascus

There lived a man who was famous as Lack-tact, in Cairo; and another one in Damascus for the same quality. Each heard of his competitor and longed to be together. The people of the Syria (Damascus), told him that the Lack-tact from Cairo was sharper, more intelligent than him; also he was excellent in debates also. At this the Damascus Lack-tact would reply - "I am more intelligent than him." When his people continued to talk to him like this, one day he cried - "I will have to go there (Cairo) and see him myself."

So he went to Cairo from Damascus non-stop. When he reached Cairo, the Sun was going to set, and the first person he met was a woman. He asked her about a highway of the city and she replied - "What kind of Lack-tact are you who is asking such a question? Who ever comes to a strange place in the morning, only he enquires abut the highways; but who arrives in the evening, he asks only about the Saraaya (an inn) to stay in the night." He said - "You are right. My lack of tact has weakened my mind." Then he asked about Khaans and spent the night there.

In the morning he wandered on the roads of Cairo in search of Lack-tact. When he had got his address he went to him. The Cairo Lack-tact received him with a great honor and they talked for some time about the world. Then the Damascus one said to the Cairo one - "I think we should test each other's quality by playing a prank in turn, and whoever will be preferred by people, he will be a winner." The Cairo one asked - "Who will begin?" The Damascus one said - "I". "Sure."

So the Syrian went forth and hired an ass and drove him to a nearby Ausaj bushes, cut down some bushes, set it on the donkey's back and returned to the city. He then proceeded towards the gate of Bab al-Nasra, but he could not enter it because there was a lot of crowd; and the Cairo people were enjoying. The Syrian had to stop there till the morning was near. He lost his temper and drove the ass close up to the gate. In doing this, the clothes of the people around got torn to rags as they were caught by the Ausaj thorns on the donkey's back, so some of the people beat him, some of them shoved him saying - "What kind of Lack-tact you are? You have torn our clothes by these thorns."

He still drove his donkey onward and people there cried to him - "O Man, Move from here. Passengers are all jammed here because of you." He would not move and people dealt him more blows and abuse. At this he cried - "Let me pass through," and continued pushing through. He got a severe beating. This lasted till mid-afternoon and he could not enter the gate by any way. After that when the crowd thinned a bit he could pass the gate. At this the Cairo one asked him - "What is this you have done? This is mere a rough game, this is not lack of tact."

Now, the next morning, the Cairo one was required to play prank as the Damascus one did. He girdled his loins and tucked up his sleeves, took up a tray saying to the Syrian - "Come after me and see what do I do." Then he went out, tray on his head, to a flower garden. He gathered a bundle of blooms and sweet herbs, pinks and roses, basil and Marjoram until the tray was filled with them; then he returned to the town.

About noon time, he went to a Cathedral-mosque and entered the toilet, where some 15 toilets were there. He stood near the door. Whenever a man came to use the toilet, he gave him a sweet smelled herb saying, "For you, Sir." And the man would shout at him - "Are we here for toilet or for a feast?" And all standing there laughed at him. Suddenly one rushed into the toilet sore pressed. The Cairo one asked him also - "Bismillaah, Take it and do the favor to me." He also got angry and said to him - "What a Lack-tact are you? I have to go, get out." The man requested him to take it and smell it.

Now at that time all the toilets were full, and that man was expecting somebody to come out so that he could go, but it did not happen like this, so his urine flowed through his trousers. The man got very unhappy and sat there uneasy. The standing people seeing him in this condition laughed at him. The Cairo one still continued to offer his herb to him. He shouted - "Am I here for toilet or for a feast?"

At this the Lack-tact from Damascus turned to his rival and cried - "The Faatihaa is in your books, O Joker of Cairo. By Allaah, You have excelled me in everything."

End of Story No 56



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 11/30/13