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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "Little Muck"

Little Muck

What a fine, brave dwarf art thou! Livest in a house so tall; Goest forth but once a month, Mountain-headed, though so small. Turn thyself but once, and look! Run, and catch us, Little Muck.”

In this way had we often carried on our sport, and, to my shame, I must confess that I took the most wicked part in it, for I often plucked him by the mantle, and once trod from behind on his large slippers, so that he fell down. This was, at first, a source of the greatest amusement to me, but my laughter soon ceased when I saw the Little Muck go up to my father’s house; he walked straight in, and remained there some time. I concealed myself near the door, and saw Muck come forth again, escorted by my father, who respectfully shook his hand, and with many bows parted with him at the door. My mind was uneasy, and I remained some time in my concealment; at length, however, hunger, which I feared more than blows, drove me in, and ashamed and with downcast head, I walked in before my father.

“Thou hast, as I hear, insulted the good Muck,” said he with a very serious tone. “I will tell thee the history of this Muck, and then I am sure thou wilt ridicule him no more. But first, thou shalt receive thy allowance.” The allowance was five-and-twenty lashes, which he took care to count only too honestly. He thereupon took a long pipe-stem, unscrewed the amber mouthpiece, and beat me more severely than he had ever done before.

When the five-and-twenty were all made up, he commanded me to attend, and told me the following story of Little Muck.

The father of Little Muck, who is properly called Mukrah, lived here in Nicea, a respectable, but poor man. He kept himself almost as retired as his son does now. The latter he could not endure, because he was ashamed of his dwarfish figure, and let him therefore grow up in perfect ignorance. When the Little Muck was still in his seventeenth year, a merry child, his father, a grave man, kept continually reproaching him, that he, who ought long before to have trodden down the shoes of infancy, was still so stupid and childish.

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