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Abu's Slippers

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Soon afterward the Cadi of Baghdad walked out of the bath, and to the judge's dismay, he discovered his slippers were missing. In their place stood a ragged pair. "Someone has stolen my slippers!" the Cadi cried.

Now naturally everyone recognized the slippers that had been left behind.

"Abu Kasem has stolen your slippers," the people cried. The Cadi sent his servants to order Abu Kasem to court.

Now in the courthouse, everyone laughed as Abu Kasem entered. There he stood, wearing the evidence - the Cadi's red slippers.

"You are rich, and so I order you to pay the highest fine of this court!" the Cadi said.

Abu Kasem was furious. As he walked home in his old, ragged slippers, he looked down at his feet and cursed the slippers. "You have caused me misery," he grumbled. "I'll get rid of you once and for all." And with those words he stopped at the edge of the river and tossed the slippers into the swift current. They were quickly carried downstream.

A few days later, Abu Kasem heard a knock upon his door, and when he opened it, there stood two angry fishermen. "We pulled our nets from the river," they said, "but instead of fish, we found only these slippers that have ripped holes in our nets!" They waved Abu Kasem's slippers in his face. "You owe us the money we've lost for the damage they caused!"

Mortified, Abu Kasem took the slippers and handed over a large sack of coins. "For your troubles," he said. But when he closed the door, he shook his fist at his slippers. "You cause me nothing but misery! I'll bury you and get rid of you once and for all!"

He stormed outside and began to dig a hole in the yard, but when his neighbor saw what he was doing, he was certain Abu Kasem must be burying a stolen treasure. "Otherwise he would have his servants dig his hole," the neighbor said to himself, and so he called the authorities. You see, in those days it was the law that all treasures be given to the caliph.

Once again, Abu Kasem was arrested. This time when the Cadi heard the tale, he was furious. "Your slippers are destroying our community. Your fine is doubled this time!"

Now Abu Kasem was more determined than ever to rid himself of his cursed slippers. He would burn them! But they were still soaking wet from the river, and so he lay them on his balcony under the sun. "As soon as you're dry, you'll be ash," he told the slippers.

But when his back was turned, a dog spied the slippers, leaped onto the balcony and began to play with them. As it did, the slippers tumbled over the balcony, down toward the road.

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