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Marrakech square - Jamaa lfna

The story-teller, whose legends are to be found in the "Thousand Nights and a Night," is generally a merry rogue with ready wit. His tales are told with a wealth of detail that would place them upon the index expurgatorius of the Western world, but men, women, and children crowd round to hear them, and if his tale lacks the ingredients most desired they do not hesitate to tell him so, whereupon he will respond at once to his critics, and add love or war in accordance with their instructions. 

One has heard of something like this in the serial market at home. His reward is scanty, like that of his fellow-workers, the acrobat and the snake charmer, but he has quite a professional manner, and stops at the most exciting points in his narrative for his companion to make a tour of the circle to collect fees. The quality of the adventures he retails is settled always by the price paid for them.

It is a strange sight, and unpleasant to the European, who believes that his morality, like his faith, is the only genuine article, to see young girls with antimony on their eyelids and henna on their nails, listening to stories that only the late Sir Richard Burton dared to render literally into the English tongue. While these children are young and impressionable they are allowed to run wild, but from the day when they become self-conscious they are strictly secluded.

Throughout Marrakesh one notes a spirit of industry. If a man has work, he seems to be happy and well content. Most traders are very courteous and gentle in their dealings, and many have a sense of humour that cannot fail to please. While in the city I ordered one or two lamps from a workman who had a little shop in the Madinah. He asked for three days, and on the evening of the third day I went to fetch them, in company with Salam. The workman, who had made them himself, drew the lamps one by one from a dark corner, and Salam, who has a hawk's eye, noticed that the glass of one was slightly cracked.

"Have a care, O Father of Lamps," he said; "the Englishman will not take a cracked glass."

"What is this," cried the Lamps' Father in great anger, "who sells cracked lamps? If there is a flaw in one of mine, ask me for two dollars."

Salam held the lamp with cracked glass up against the light. "Two dollars," he said briefly. The tradesman's face fell. He put his tongue out and smote it with his open hand.

"Ah," he said mournfully, when he had admonished the unruly member, "who can set a curb upon the tongue?


BOUFOUSS is a freelance Blogger, Adventurer and a pet owner with a passion for interaction and share advices. He studied English Languistics and Computational Logic and loves cats and dogs.

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