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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "Little Muck"

Little Muck

The moment, however, he had the fine, inviting figs set upon the table, a universal “Ah!” escaped the lips of those who were present. “How ripe! how delicate!” exclaimed the king; “kitchen-master, thou art a whole-souled man, and deservest our peculiar favor!” Thus speaking, the king, who with such choice dishes took care to be very sparing, with his own hands distributed the figs around the table. Each prince and princess received two; the ladies of the court, the Viziers and Agas, each one; the rest he placed before himself, and began to swallow them with great delight.

“In the name of heaven, father, why lookest thou so strange?” suddenly exclaimed the Princess Amarza. All gazed in astonishment upon the king; vast ears hung down from his head, a long nose stretched itself bridge-like, over above his chin; upon themselves also they looked, one upon another, with amazement and horror; all, more or less, were adorned with the same strange headdress.

The horror of the court may be imagined. All the physicians in the city were immediately sent for; they came with a blustering air, prescribed pills and mixtures, but ears and noses remained. They operated on one of the princes, but the ears grew out again.

From the place of concealment into which he had withdrawn, Muck had heard the whole story, and perceived that it was now time for him to commence operations. He had already, with the money obtained by the sale of his figs, procured a dress which would represent him as a learned man; a long beard of goat’s hair completed the illusion. With a small sack full of figs he repaired to the royal palace, and offered his assistance as a foreign physician. At first they were quite incredulous; but when Little Muck gave a fig to one of the princes, and thereby restored ears and nose to their original shape, then were all eager to be cured by the stranger. But the king took him silently by the hand, and led him to his apartment; then, opening a door that led into the treasure-chamber, he made signs to Muck to follow.

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