Thursday, 7 July 2016

Prophetic Ramblings Chapter XI: The Dead Donkey and Nine Yards Of Silk

Throughout the length and breadth of the land, the infamy of Samirah, the rebellious and once-cast-out third wife of The #Messenger (blessings!), preceded her. The oracle in the mountains of Zo'am had prophesied that Samirah would be with child in nine moons, although The #Messenger (blessings!) had turned away from her in anger, and ceased to lie with her.

And verily, Samirah defied her lord and master, and swore to conceive a child. And lo and behold, on the nineth moon after the Day of Offerings, Samirah's belly swelled. "By what wickedness have you conceived this child?" asked Za'kilah, fifth wife of The #Messenger (blessings!). At that moment, a donkey brayed in the yard of their neighbour, Harugh the woodcutter. And Za'kilah rushed out to see and beheld that the donkey was in heat. "Confess! You have lain with the donkey, and brought shame to the tribe! Have you no piety, woman? Have you no respect for the man who wived you?" said Za'kilah.

"You judge me falsely," replied Samirah. "In truth, it is our husband, the #Messenger (blessings!), who has made my belly swell." But Za'kilah was not swayed by this untruth. Upon the return of the #Messenger (blessings!) from faraway lands, Za'kilah took her complaint to him. "How, in the name of the Great Rickrack Rock, did Samirah come to be with child?" Za'kilah questioned The #Messenger (blessings!). "Surely, she has committed wickedness with the donkey of Harugh the woodcutter, for the donkey, upon hearing my question, has confessed with his own tongue!"

Upon hearing this, The #Messenger (blessings!) smote Za'kilah with his sacred right hand, and proclaimed, "Samirah shall not bear blame for the deeds of man or donkey. I have spoken". And Za'kilah fell down to the earth and was silent.

And it came to pass that the donkey died before sunrise, and Harugh, the woodcutter, was grieved by his loss. "Alas", he lamented. "Alas my donkey has been slain, and great is my loss. How long shall I remain silent?", he cried.

Hearing this, The #Messenger (blessings!) issued forth from his house in the mountain, and proclaimed, "With the Great Rickrack Rock as my witness, I say this: to every man who suffers a loss on my account, nine yards of silk shall be given. Upon which, Za'kilah exclaimed, "My Lord, wherefore do you say Harugh has suffered on your account? Surely the donkey has not died at your hands." And The #Messenger (blessings!) replied, "Hush! Woman! My words are to be obeyed, not questioned. Give the woodcutter nine yards of your most prized silk." And Za'kilah, heeding the command of her lord and master, gave the woodcutter nine yards of her most prized silk and held her tongue.

Thereafter, at midnight of the new-moon day of the Babroogh harvest festival, Samirah bore a male child, and Za'kilah, who assisted in the birth, named him Harugh-Mateen in memory of the woodcutter's donkey, and Samirah bore her no ill-will for it.

And thereby arose the tradition of blessing a new-born child with the benediction, "May The #Messenger (blessings!) reward your father with nine yards of silk." And as time passed, a custom arose of gifting the child's father nine yards of silk. And it is often said in jest to a child, "You are so handsome! To which man in this village should I gift nine yards of silk?"

Praises and benedictions! May the Great Rickrack Rock be your guardian and your guide!

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