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Socotra » Socotra Archipelago » Culture & Folklore » Socotra - Island of fairy-tales » Ali The Clever One and his kitchen garden - the most popular Soqotri folk tale around the island

Ali The Clever One and his kitchen garden - the most popular Soqotri folk tale around the island

 Socotra Fairy-tales   

 


One day Ali the Clever One decided to try his hand at agriculture. He found a piece of land, cleared it of stones and brush-wood, dug the earth and made a kitchen garden. After a little time his kitchen garden began to grow, now he had only to water it and to wait for a harvest. But that didn’t happen.

One day, when Ali the Clever One came to check his kitchen garden he saw that it was all ruined. The plants had been eaten or trampled on. A big lizard was creeping over the kitchen garden and eating what was left.

”Oh no!” cried Ali. “Oh lizard! You have eaten all my kitchen garden I grew with my own hands!” "Well,” said the lizard. “Take my old small leather pail.”

Ali the Clever One took that leather pail and went along the road. When he was near a well he saw there were girls gathered by the well, each one had a big pot for water.

”Hey Ali!” cried out the girls. “Give us your leather pail to get water from the well.”

”But what if it breaks?” Ali the Clever One asked them. ”If it breaks you will receive its price back!” When the girls began to lift water from the well with the leather pail, the pail broke completely.

“Oh girls!” cried Ali the Clever One. “You have broken my pail, and the pail was given to me by the lizard, and the lizard ate my kitchen garden which I grew with my own hands!” The girls gave him an old shawl which was full of holes. He took it and went down the road along the sea coast.

Suddenly he saw there were fishermen gathered on the sea coast fishing.

”Hey Ali!” cried out the fishermen. “Give us your shawl which is full of holes! Our net is broken and we cannot fish.” ”But what if you break it?” said Ali the Clever One.

”If it breaks you will receive its price back!” said the fishermen. When the fishermen began to fish with the shawl with the holes it did break.

“Oh!” cried Ali the Clever One. “Oh fishermen! You have broken my shawl with the holes and it was given to me by the girls who broke my leather pail, which was given to me by the lizard, which ate all my kitchen garden which I grew with my own hands!” The fishermen gave him a big fish.

Ali the Clever One took this fish and put it over a bush of prickles, lay down under it, closed his eyes and fell asleep. While he slept, an eagle came from the sky and ate his fish. When Ali the Clever One awoke he cried,

“Oh eagle! You have eaten my fish which was given to me by the fishermen who broke the shawl with the holes, which was given to me by the girls who broke my leather pail, which was given to me by the lizard who ate my kitchen garden which I grew with my own hands!” The eagle gave him a cord from his head.

Ali the Clever One took this cord and went along the road. He saw there was a woman standing near the road with her little son. In one hand she had a ball of wool, in the other a sack of goods.

“Hey Ali!” cried out the woman. “Give me your cord! My son is very tired. I will carry him on my back, tie him on with the cord and go along the road slowly.”

"But what if the cord breaks?” said Ali the Clever One.

“If the cord breaks you will receive its price back!” When the woman began to tie her son to her back the cord broke! ”Oh no, woman!” cried Ali the Clever One.

“My cord is broken which was given to me by the eagle, which ate my fish, which was given to me by the fishermen, who broke my shawl with the holes which was given to me by the girls, who broke my leather pail, which was given to me by the lizard, which ate my kitchen garden which I grew with my hands!”

The woman gave him a stick, and he went along the road. Suddenly he saw Bedouins with their camels.

“Hey Ali!” cried out the Bedouins. “Give us your stick! Our stick has broken and without it we cannot control our camels. But don’t worry, if it breaks you will receive its price back..."

 

(с)  Literary retoled by Vladimir Agafonov.

My special thanks to John Farrar who has helped me with editing my English retelling of this unique Soqotri tale to be in  perfect English indeed.

 


 

 
 

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