The Weavers

There was once a very pious man who lived is a village called Sursak. It was in this same village that all the weavers used to live. Weavers belong to one of the menial tribes, for they are the makers of cloth. It is said that they are cowards and lock common sense.

On Big Eid, the feast of Loe Akhtar, the pious man scarified a sheep in accordance with Islamic practice. He then gave some money to a friend and told him to buy another sheep. Since the friend was unable to find anyone in the village willing to sell him a sheep, he traveled to the city. There he continued to search until he found a shopkeeper who had a sheep. He approached the shopkeeper, and said: ‘Will you sell me your sheep?’

The shopkeeper had bought the sheep for himself for three rupees and had no intention of selling it. But not wishing to give a straight refusal, he decided to demand such a high price for it that the man would be unable to pay and would heave him in peace. He therefore said: ‘I shall sell it to you for ten rupees.’ This was more than three times the amount he had paid for it.

Without hesitation, the man gave the shopkeeper ten rupees and took the sheep. The shopkeeper was surprised, but could say nothing. So he consoled himself by reflecting: ‘I have made a profit on this sale, and now I shall buy myself another sheep.’

The pious man was very pleased when his friend returned with the sheep. He looked after it with great care. Every day he used to give it grass and water. Thus a pear passed and the sheep became fat and strong

In a nearby village there was a shepherd who used to bring his flock to Sursak fro grazing. One day lamb from the flock lagged behind, and its mother went in search of it. This sheep wandered through the village of Sursak saying ‘Bha! Bha!’ calling for its lost little one. When the pious man’s sheep heard the bleating, it broke tree of its halter and stood in the doorway of the house. With only its head sticking out, waiting in the hope of hearing the bleating again s it would know which way to run to join the flock.

Meanwhile, a weaver happened to be passing the doorway with his loom and spinning-wheel. When the weaver saw the pious man’s sheep, he thought at first it was a demon, but when, on close inspection, he saw the black wool and horns, he concluded that it must be a sheep. So to shoo it away, he muttered: ‘Dus!’

The sheep was as big an strong as an ox, and hearing the word ‘dus,’ a word that sheep find offensive, it grew angry. It ran towards the weaver, lifted him on its horns, and tossed him across the street. The man quickly picked himself up and ran fro his life. Warning other members of his tribe: ‘Today he is my enemy, but watch out, because tomorrow he will be your enemy.’ The sheep walked in the opposite direction and joined the flock.

This weaver then summoned all the other weavers in the village. Having assembled their weapons, in other words, their spindles and distaffs, they decided that, instead of pursuing their enemy, they would fortify their own position. Hey remained where they were, one behind the other. At the very back crouched the weaver who had been tossed by the sheep.

They waited for some time and nothing happened. The weaver who was at the very front suddenly took fright. He got up and quietly moved to the back. The next one did the same, and the next, until the weaver who had been tossed by the sheep was at the front and their whole line of defence had receded. When he looked up, he saw several sheep approaching. One of them stopped to relieve itself. Mistaking the dark droppings for bullets, the weaver became even more terrified and wondered how his men could compete with such a powerful enemy.

Meanwhile, some hounds approached the flock of sheep from the rear. When the sheep saw them, they took right and began to run in all direction. ‘They are attacking us from all sides,’ shouted the weavers, and each man abandoned his position and fled for his life with the sheep in hot pursuit

One weaver continued to run until he reached a nearby village, and he was followed all the way by one of the sheep. As he was looking over his shoulder to see how far behind the sheep was, he fell headlong into a dried-up well and the sheep came tumbling after him. He found himself at the bottom of the well with the sheep trampling over him.

‘We do not consider you our enemy,’ said the weaver, pleading for mercy. ‘The other weaver, who is a relative of ours, forced us to fight against you. He is a foolish man who takes offence very easily. If you spare me, I shall prove my goodwill by making you some cloth.’

Eventually the shepherd arrived and lifted his sheep out of the well. When the weaver had climbed out of the well, when the weaver had climbed out of the ell, he decided to remain and live in the little village not far from that spot. The other weavers, who had run to other villages to save their lives, some a long way off and some nearby, settled down in those villages. That is the reason why weavers are no longer to be found in one village, but scattered in many parts.


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