The Moorish Tale of Don Farid Aben Benjamid

by Franc

Preface

Don Farid Abén Benjamíd, a morisco is sent by his village to purchase the best horse for the annual festival, but he soon discovers along the way the many troubles he is forced to confront.


In an orchard, near an Andalusian village, where there was a community of Andalusian Moors, a Morisco villager departed one spring day in the year of 1525. At a time when Spain was evolving gradually to Christianity, at least in certain parts of the country, some Moriscos as well as Jews, tried to follow their old traditions, as in the case of our Morisco, Don Farid Abén Benjamíd, whose Arabic surname was,' Abn al Hamid,' "son of the highest."

'My dear Don Farid, I come to entrust you to buy us an excellent Andalusian horse, which we can use in the horse race, which you know is part of our annual festival. And as you know,' he said with a subtle wink, as he hesitated.

'The grand prize this year will be seventy gold coins, for which reason it will allow us to enlarge the profits of our orchards. Therefore, it is very important that you find the best Andalusian horse. Here in your hand, you have forty gold coins available!'

Taking the coins as if they were ordinary coins of gold Don Farid commented, 'Don't worry at all, my dear Don Sulaimán, I will take care of the gold coins as if they were my jewels, and I will also bring a beautiful and strong horse, which will let us defeat the horses of the other Moriscos. As a Morisco saying goes, "Strive to know, even if you have to go to China!"

Carrying a musket in hand, and with a Moorish dagger at his waist, he climbed on a horse and marched to Granada, where the most beautiful Andalusian horses were sold throughout Andalusia. His destiny was the marketplace, and as a brave man he departed, dressed in a short open caftan on a shirt, and embroidered garments of Moorish ornaments, and brass with polished shoes. And finally with a Moorish hat.

With the dagger in his girdle, he marched on his horse with a whip and said goodbye, saying aloud, 'Don't worry, I shall return safely, with an excellent horse, who will bring us a good harvest, where we shall be the victors hopefully!'

Then, like a tempestuous whirlwind, he left ready to accomplish his feat. The days were planned to be, of a few days. This was more than, he had imagined, and the bizarre adventures that awaited them ahead were of uncertainty. Barely an hour into his journey, the first of many unusual skirmishes he was going to face happened to him. Before reaching the other side of the mountain range, he decided to take the shortest but most parlous road, as it was renowned for being a road full of manifold scoundrels, bandits and thieves.

Here, began the first misfortune for our Morisco, who would lose his own Andalusian horse, and would be left without a horse, and enough kilometres to cross. In the meantime, without knowing or being aware of it, some nefarious bandits were ready to steal from any poor devil who passed their way. Suddenly some rocks had fallen downwards, which quickly frightened the skittish horse, causing Don Farid's immediate fall. By the time he realised it, there had been a daunting musket aimed at his bewildered face, and four tattered and shaggy men accompanying him.

'Be quiet, and nothing will happen to you! If you do what we ask of you, then we will leave you be, and still alive. Now listen closely?' Exclaimed the leader of the bandits.

More overwhelmed by the fall, at first, the heavy musket seemed like an unfolding nightmare to him, but he would soon understand that what he was seeing was more than just a deceptive illusion.

'What do you want from me, that I have done nothing to you?' Don Farid mused, unaware of his impending situation.

'Behold Morisco! Don't be foolish, you know very well what we are looking for, your supplies!' The bandit leader shouted.

He was cognisant finally of what was happening, and he wanted to bring the bandits to their senses, and the severity of their act of thievery, 'Gentlemen, I am a good man, Don Farid Benjamíd, Morisco and an honest man, I ask you, what may you steal from me that might be useful to you?'

Thinking that being diplomatic and reasonable, he could dissuade them, he waited attentively for the answer. Instead of finding his way out, the only thing he managed to achieve was a relentless laugh from the bandits, who laughed at hearing Don Farid's words, which to them he seemed to reflect the guise of an ignoramus.

'Oh Morisco, you are a pathetic man. You do not truly understand that what we are looking for is not alms from you, nor is it to be entertained by a foolish Morisco-for this we have many buffoons to entertain us!'

Again he pointed the musket, and repeated what he said before, 'Look, we don't have time for games, give us what we want your horse, and the rest you have loaded, otherwise we shall kill you now, understood!'

This time there was more intensity seen in the leader's eyes than with his appearance as a stingy thief. He didn't have much time for quarrels. Feeling the weight of the musket on his face and the burden of the threat of death, Don Farid, chose to give them the horse he rode, and the goods they were demanding, in this case, the forty gold coins that were provided to purchase the Andalusian horse.

'Here I give you, my Andalusian horse, and my unique forty coins that I have in my hand now!'

But this was not enough for the thieves, who did not rejoice with only the horse, and the forty coins, but they also wanted his shining dagger and Moorish hat which the Morisco Don Farid wore.

'We also want your hat, and your dagger, which by the way this dagger, will give us a good profit which we can exchange for gold!'

In the beginning he was reluctant to hand it over, since it was a family treasure, given by his father, and guarded by Moorish generations.

'Woe to me Lord, to hand over my Andalusian horse is very hard to do, just as much as the forty coins, but I ask you, do not take away my dagger, which is all I have of my ancestors!'

'Give me the dagger now Morisco, that not even God will save you from this! Give us what we ask, or you will find yourself, at the bottom of those stones below!'

Already, when the situation was going to be unfavourable towards him, Don Farid did what grieved him the most to do hand over the family heirloom of the dagger over to the bandits. But with the anguish and apparent melancholy in his eyes, he said the following, 'You do not know how to appreciate the good in life, except to spend it stealing from others! The Lord will punish you for stealing, when you have your own hands, to work for your gain! There is a Moorish saying that says, "Sometimes the ignorant succeeds in his ignorance, but man approaches the Lord in the measure of his intelligence'.

Again the bandits laughed so much that they were not warned of what was waiting for them soon. 'Foolish man, if what we do is a work of God or, as you say, of the Lord! Rather, we are doing charity or azaque as you Moriscos call it! We are earning our daily bread, as we good Christians say!'

A horrible laugh resounded in echo, which was so loud, that it rumbled through the mountains, and indeed, causing some rocks to fall in front of themselves.The event happened so quickly, that it only gave time for the bandits to flee, dodging being trodden underfoot, by the rocks falling towards them.

In the meantime, Don Farid was equally fortunate to escape from the threatening rocks, which almost crushed him to death. When everything cleared up, all that was left was him. Neither the bandits nor his horse were seen.

'Woe to me, for I have managed to stay alive!'

He was cleaned from the dirt that stained his clothing, when he threw himself to the ground. But when he regained his senses, he became aware of his disconcerting failure. 'Oh Lord my lord, where is my horse, who without him I will be ruined?' He said with a moody tone in his voice.

After calling him, it was in vain, the horse was missing and he was lost. 'What misfortune has happened to me that I am here in the mountains, alone and without a horse?'

When everything seemed forsaken, lying there on the ground in front of him was his familiar dagger intact, like the incredible 40 golden coins he had. He began to laugh, surprised at the aftermath, and that he found his dagger safe, with the 40 coins.

'Woe to my Lord, who served as my companion. And that these bandits, remained, empty-handed, and with nothing! My treasure, my treasure, I rescued you from the mischief of these brazen fools!'

He would say to the dagger, and he caressed it, as if it were a prized treasure. In the meantime he was able to reunite with his favourite dagger, and even recover the coins he gave up. Yet, he could not recover his beloved Andalusian horse. And all of a sudden, it was a hard reality to overcome for the Morisco. Alone and without a horse, it was a difficult hardship he had to confront, and the worst thing too, was that without a horse he could not go back to the village. It seemed that the Morisco was not going to achieve his goal.

'What am I going to do now, my Lord?' Exclaimed Don Farid looking up at the sky.

An hour and two passed, and the rays of the sun were projecting on his face, and with an overwhelming heat, Don Farid felt that he was going to die of thirst before anything else. He only had the last drops of water left, which he had in his flagon. Slowly, he began to drink the last drop of water, when he heard a voice speaking from behind, 'My good man, you will be lost for certain, and as I see it, you are thirsty! When he turned to look, Don Farid saw a little old man who was a friar, 'I am Don Farid Benjamíd, and I am an honorable Morisco, and if you are offering me water to drink, who am I to refuse, my good man?'

'Here, drink it Morisco and honest man!' Said the friar to him.

'I suppose you're a little hungry too, aren't you?' Asked the friar a little worried.

Don Farid pretended to be reluctant to accept, but when he heard the noise of his insides, he swiftly acquiesced the noble offer. After accepting it, Don Farid with satisfaction in his belly and throat, said the following, 'My esteemed friar, you are a good man, sent by the Lord Himself!'

The friar smiled and replied, 'My dear Morisco, you do not need to thank me, when I am only a bearer of our Lord'.

He paused for a moment to understand why the Morisco crossed the road. 'My good Morisco, if you will permit me to ask, where did you come from?'

Without pause Don Farid responded, 'My esteemed friar, before being rushed and then robbed by a group of bandits, I want to tell you, that my ultimate destiny was Granada, where I was going to buy an excellent Andalusian horse, to take it to my land'.

'An excellent horse you said you seek?'

A little confused, the friar insisted on knowing the reason for obtaining the horse. 'A horse you said my esteemed Morisco, what an excellent prize this will be!'

'Yes, my dear friar, you are correct, when you say that an excellent Andalusian horse would be a good prize! Don Farid agreed.

After conversing about the horse Don Farid dared to ask, 'My esteemed friar, if it would be of no inconvenience, can you lend me one of the four horses that you have available? I would be of your grace, if you grant me this request?'

Without any delay, the friar gave him one of his four horses that drove his supply caravan. With all the previous uproar, they didn't have enough time to introduce themselves to each other. 'Forgive me, my esteemed friar, if you will permit me to formally introduce myself. I am Don Farid Benjamíd, Morisco and Muslim, from an Andalusian village, whose surname is Farid Ibn Hamid, "son of the highest." I am an honest and noble man!'

Don Farid spoke, with great pride and joy in his voice. He assumed that the old friar was going to be very impressed by his proclamation, but it was not so. Instead, being a simple man, he just answered him.

'My Morisco companion, my surname is Don Salvador Del Río Ximenez, whose Christian name means, "Salvador del Río!" And then Ximenez, frankly I don't know!'

This caused an abrupt laughter between the two of them, which Don Farid could not help but utter, 'Woe to me, my esteemed friar, but I see with all due respect that you Christians are a people, with such unique names of attachment!'

Without being offended or angry, perhaps as others were, our friar laughed and said with a cheerful expression, 'Oh my dear Morisco, you are absolutely right, we are a people attached to our fine names. And I admit, if there is one thing I like very much about you Moriscos, it is this ancient tradition, which you have preserved.'

It was an incredible image, between these two men who not only shared different beliefs, but also different appearances alike. The Morisco, was lanky, dark brown with olive skin, dark eyes, narrow nose and curly black hair, and finally a light moustache and light beard, denoting more Berber than Arab descent. The esteemed friar, was short and stout, pale with a white skin of the Goths, at the top you could see a clear baldness. No moustache or beard, as it was customary to see many friars shaven.

Despite being a short and stout friar, the esteemed friar was intelligent and fearless. 'My dear friar, you are a brave man, who leads a caravan with provisions alone, and by somehow takes this dangerous and crumbling path. Verily as a witness I say, you bear on my part, a great respect for your courage!'

A bit embarrassed he agreed to be flattered, but first say, 'I don't need to be praised! I thank you for your chivalry, but I am only as I have said, a bearer of God, our Lord. And to be brave as you have said, my gracious Morisco, I confess that I am daring, out of ignorance!'

After laughing, the two finally shook hands and cordially said goodbye to each other.

'I want to thank you for your generosity and, above all, for one of your horses; and as a man of my word that is always sacred, I invite you to my land and to meet the Andalusian people. We shall have a wondrous feast for your satisfaction, and we shall slit a lamb's throat in your honor and presence, as an offering'.

The friar reciprocated the offer expressed, 'My gracious Morisco, I as a faithful stranger, want to say the following, that for this honorable and noble friar, it would be for me, a great pleasure to know your acquaintance also. I confess to you that very seldom in my life, have I found a person like you. And let me reciprocate the same offer and gesture expressed, which you have offered me. My dear Morisco, it would be a pleasure to first invite you to my land, and secondly, it would be an immense pleasure to visit your beautiful people!'

It was rare to see more each day, two men of two different faiths, treated as if they were old childhood companions. And with this, they said goodbye, each one departing on his own way, but not before the good friar warned him of the possible danger ahead.

'Beware of the bandits my friend, who by the way lurk in these places in ambush!'

'Thank you very much, my good friar, I shall attempt to heed that!'

And Don Farid as always with his sayings reciprocated, 'The old man in his village is like the prophet in his nation!'

Don Farid rode on his horse in the distance, as the friar replied, 'Yes, it is true my esteemed Morisco, I will remember this saying'.

Thus, the two were separated, by different roads, the friar for the town of Baza going east, and Don Farid for the city of Granada going west. They were companions both of them for a short period of time, not knowing that they were truly going to cross paths again afterwards.

It was the afternoon, when Don Farid finally arrived in the beautiful Andalusian city of Granada, after a day's journey. Don Farid entered the lively and historic city of Granada the old land of the Moors, and the last vestige of Al Andalus. Granada, the great majestic city renowned for delighting with its plentiful enchantments and charms, anyone who got entangled in its lore. The market was the place he was going to visit, and carrying forty golden coins in his flagon made of leather, and mounted by his Andalusian horse that the friar gave him, he went in search of the busy market, where he was going to find the most beautiful and amazing Andalusian horses of all Andalusia.

Finally, after receiving information to guide him, he found the famous Granada market. And it was just as it was mentioned, great and a centre for all prominent merchants, from all parts of the province and country and also, from all faiths and races. Knowing where the market was, he then dismounted from his horse and walked to the market, with the intention of fulfilling his goal, to obtain a good Andalusian horse, world-renowned by the name of "corceles!" His clothing was authentic and traditional Moorish and Andalusian. He sought the best deal possible, until he found it, with a man with a noble face and the appearance of a wise merchant. Don Farid lowered his Moorish hat to mark the customary gentleman's greeting.

'My name is Don Farid Benjamín, an honest and noble man, Morisco and Muslim at your disposal, sir!'

The merchant replied likewise with formality, 'The pleasure is mine! How may I serve you this day, sir?' Said our merchant with a deceitful smile.

No one could have imagined the disappointment that awaited the eager Morisco, who, instead of returning after buying an excellent horse, would return empty-handed with no excellent Andalusian horse at all.

'My dear merchant, I have come to this city of yours, to buy an excellent Andalusian horse! Can you sell me one of your horses for a reasonable prize?' Don Farid asked.

'Yes, naturally I have an excellent Andalusian horse to sell, my good man. Come with me!'

The merchant, a cunning merchant, and duplicitous face, tricked him, to choose after riding the available horses, one of the horses. Don Farid had in his possession, at last, a horse. 'This one will be fine for me, my dear merchant, I shall buy it now!' Interjected Don Farid on the horse.

'The pleasure has been mine, sir. Have a nice trip!' The merchant responded.

His time in Granada was brief, and knowing that he had to return to his beloved Andalusian village, he had to leave at once. He then departed from the old and renowned Moorish and Sultan City of Granada, and began his return journey. Again, he chose the same path which brought him to the city, knowing that the unpredictable and restless uncertainties that awaited him, which existed around the road of his return.

Shortly after he departed from the majestic city of Granada, Don Farid found himself on the road, with such a nobleman, whose appearance and clothing diminished in splendour, this one of the Morisco. With a much more elegant Andalusian horse dressed and adorned, he refused to yield the road ahead to Don Farid. This caused Don Farid to stop his horse and ask for an explanation.

'Forgive me, my good man, but can you tell me the reason why you are preventing me from passing? What I need sir, is to return soon to my Andalusian village!'

The gentleman after hearing Don Farid's words, said the following to him, 'Morisco, forgive me but I am not preventing you from passing, when this road, according to my knowledge, is available and without a claim!'

'Nobleman, with all due respect, you are mistaken, if you do not see that you are impeding my path, then you are blind!' Said Don Farid to the vain nobleman.

The nobleman took him as a thief, so much that he challenged him to a horse race between the two horses.

'Listen Morisco, if my presence bothers you so much, then I Don Carlos Rodriguez de Cisneros, challenge you to a horse race. Mine against your horse, if you are a man of honour and reputation, as I am!'

This motivated Don Farid to respond impetuously, "Nobleman, I Don Farid Benjamin cordially accept your offer!'

On one side was the brash nobleman, and the other was the Morisco. But before starting the race, the nobleman Don Carlos Rodriguez de Cisneros dared to make one more challenge, "Morisco, I Don Carlos Rodriguez de Cisneros challenge you, to run for gain! I see you're wearing a Moorish dagger at your waist. If you are a man of your word, then you will accept my challenge!'

There was no shortage of time to delay, when Don Farid accepted the daring offer.

'Nobleman, I, Señor Farid Benjamid, cordially accept your offer. But I ask, what will my prize be, if I win?'

Undoubtedly the nobleman answered the question, 'If you win Morisco, you will have in your hands, a more elegant jewel of mine of possession, a relic diamond, which belongs to my grandfather the Marquis of Almeria!'

Observing the jewelry was enough for Don Farid to accept the new offer. 'Nobleman, I Don Farid Benjamid, an honest and noble Morisco, cordially accept the new offer from you!'

Feeling confident Don Farid of his new horse, or perhaps it was more to save his honour, he proceeded with the horse race, not knowing that the joy was only going to last for a temporary period of time. They looked at each other eye to eye, whilst their horses were shaping up.

At three o' clock, the interesting horse race began. From the beginning, it all started well for Don Farid, as they were tied. But this was not going to last for long, because without knowing the horse that the merchant sold him, was wearing a broken hoof that was causing him to lose the race. The race was in the middle of the field, and it offered the conditions for victory to the victor. But just passing a few kilometres, it was when Don Farid's horse stopped quickly, causing him to lose not only the horse race, but also his precious Moorish dagger.

When the race was over, stood the most arrogant nobleman there ever, and with a proud and haughty smile, 'Morisco, unfortunately for you, you have lost the race, and being as much as we agreed, you owe me your dagger!'

Reluctant to do so, he did so with anguish that wounded him at the bottom of his heart, like a deadly wound, 'Nobleman, here I give you my dagger, but first of all, I want you to know that this dagger belongs to generations after generations of noble and honourable Andalusian Moors.'

For Don Farid it was more than a relic, it was a historical and family treasure. But for the nobleman Don Rodriguez de Cisneros, it was just another priceless jewel. And so the two noblemen looked each other in the eye and bid each other farewell, one by his own path. But before the nobleman broke in the distance he said to Don Farid, one thing he was not going to forget, 'Morisco, find me poor devil, when you have a better horse to race!'

For Don Farid, there was no vain man than this nobleman, who took away the most precious of all, his dagger.

'Woe to me!' Was what Don Farid repeated.

With a sad expression on his face, Don Farid expressed his deep chagrin. Unfortunately, the weather did not give him much time to regret his loss. Reality also offered him no more than to follow the path ahead with the lame horse, as far as he could go. He went forth, until the horse gasped, and he could no longer move on.

As if bad misfortunes chased him day and night, Don Farid could only contemplate the seriousness of his drastic situation. But when everything seemed like a bleak task, he was passing by the back road, when he heard the sound of some asses approaching. When they got to where Don Farid was, they were asses accompanied by a well-meaning stranger, who turned out to be a Jewish man.

'Why are you so sullen?' Said the Jew.

'If you must know my Jewish friend, I've lost my dagger, and I have a lame horse!' The Morisco replied.

Then they formally introduced themselves, "My Jewish friend, I am Don Farid Benjamíd, an honest and noble man, Morisco and Muslim. 'Morisco, I am Don Ezekiel Peres, equally honest and noble man and a Jew'.

'My dear Jewish friend, do you know where I can find an Andalusian horse that I can ride?' Don Farid asked.

He immediately answered the following question. My dear Morisco, I do not wish to deceive you in saying that from my knowledge, there is no stable nearby, where I can obtain a good horse. But if you want, I can give you, one of my asses!'

The offer at the beginning seemed unappealing to him, 'My esteemed Jewish friend, with all due respect, what I need right now is a good horse to ride and not a mere ass!'

'Well, my dear Morisco, if you don't want an ass from me, then I bid you a safe journey.'

Don Farid realised his ordeal, and the truth that he had no other option afforded, had to accept his fate, 'Wait, wait a moment my dear Jewish friend. After meditating it reasonably, I understand that I need a horse or ass to return to my beloved Andalusian village. There is a Moorish saying that says, ''The first thing the Lord created was intelligence!"

'My dear Morisco, I knew you were going to have to be reasonable and accept my noble offer!" Don Ezekiel acknowledged.

Don Farid thanked the Jewish man, and immediately took his way, meanwhile Don Ezekiel took his own. There was Don Farid, a Morisco, and an ass, accompanying him. Don Farid climbed on the ass, and unexpectedly fell to the ground. He got up and cleaned himself out of the dust and tried again, and again the same thing happened, his fall.

'Woe to me, more than you have given me Lord than a foolish, stubborn ass! You couldn't have given me a better, faster, more obedient animal!'

Putting his hands on his cheeks, Don Farid, frustrated at not knowing how he was going to ride the animal, muttered. 'Look my good ass, I just want to get to my village. What can I do to make you understand this?'

Nothing seemed to persuade the obstinate ass, but without knowing it, his answer was at his side. When Don Farid was about to ride the animal again, he dropped from a pot of his own, a piece of torrija, fried bread, a mixture of honey and sugar. This resulted in persuading the stubborn ass, who in feeling the delicious bun, jumped with excitement. Feeling, that perhaps this was going to distract the ass, he dared to ride the horse anew for the last time, and this time he was successful. What he could not achieve with his mastery of riding horses, a little piece of Moorish bread had attracted the attention of the ass, to let himself be ridden.

'Woe to me, for a delight of mine, has bewitched this beast!'

After giving him yet another little piece, he rode upon the ass and went on his way to his people, but not before he declared, 'My partner, you and I are going to be very good partners. Your name will simply be 'Aben Galib!'

Then Don Farid rode with his not horse, but his ass. For many sane people riding on an ass was seen as madness or foolishness. Perhaps this was a thing that left Don Farid restless more than some gentleman of the time, he would be seen riding with an ass. But in time, Don Farid was going to take affection for the animal, and accept it as a faithful companion. The question was afterwards, what would the ass do, when Don Farid ran out of delights? Would the ass go with him later or not? And if not, what would he do to trick him into going on?

Although he was not an Andalusian horse as much as he wanted to take to the village, at least it was better than trying to ride an ox. On the way forward to the highest mountain range, he was speaking to the ass, as indeed, he was his childhood companion addressing him, 'My dear fiend!' They spent their days together crossing the roads, as they spent their nights slumbering around a fire.

One night he sang him a Moorish song, and he played tunes with his brass mandolin, romantic serenades, as if he were singing to a fair maiden. One day he was on the way going back and the moment that he was worried so much about passing by arrived, there were no more pieces of bread to feed the hungry ass.

'Woe betide me, what shall I do, that now I have no delightful loaves, to appease his hunger and desire?'

It was when the ass got close to Don Farid's mandolin, and with his teeth he began to sound the cords of the instrument.

'Woe to me, I know what you want, my fellow companion! I understand, you want me to lull you, with the beautiful melodies of my mandolin's strings!'

After learning of the unusual taste and interest that the ass had with the mandolin's music, Don Farid played the music, while the ass enjoyed, and never showed exhaustion; he was always happy to eat other things from the pot. Almost reaching his beloved Andalusian village, he crossed again through the part of the mountains, where he was robbed and attacked by those infamous bandits. The memory of this event had often caused nightmares before to Don Farid, but since he met his faithful companion, he stopped remembering this event. But when he reached the crossroads again, this unforgettable event entered his brain. He never imagined, however, that he was going to meet the greedy merchant, the vain nobleman, the Jewish man, and finally the elderly friar.

When he approached the perilous crossroads, he rode very cautiously, sensing the danger and threat that laid ahead. He crept up slowly, until he heard the commotion that was forming. Don Farid arrived near the voices that were heard. He immediately hid behind some rocks, when he looked at what was happening and peeped. What he had seen were the same bandits as before, when he was on his way to Granada. But little did Don Farid think that if he looked any better, he would see the following, four men kidnapped, tied by the hands and silent of the mouth.

'Woe to me, what luck! I think we shall have to save their lives, because it would be a good thing to do it.'

Meanwhile, the bandits, who were only three, were tied up with their hostages. Don Farid beside his companion, began to execute their rescue plan. The plan was that the ass would distract the bandits enough, giving Don Farid time to rescue the four kidnapped individuals. When they heard the ass braying, the songs he heard from Don Farid, it was for them like listening to a pack, howling.

'What is that?' Shouted one of the bandits in a low voice.

When they found out, what they looked at was instead of a pack howling, it was a braying ass. 'What the hell is this, more than a lost and irritating ass?'

When they saw that he was just a simple ass, they laughed and made fun of him. Amongst the three bandits, there was one who was short and fat, another tall and slim; meanwhile, the leader of the group was neither short nor tall, neither fat. He carried a remarkable scar above one of his eyebrow, to be exact, on the left eyebrow: but he was swarthy, perhaps gypsy, and ready to intimidate any person that crossed his path. As they snuggled up and grabbed the ass to ride him in the form of a mockery, one by one they fell to the ground lying in a puddle of mire and dregs of dirt. The scandalous laughter turned into apparent tantrums. They began roughly, that in the end they all stayed, until the bravest of them the leader was perplexed!

Whilst all this was happening, back where the hostages were, Don Farid came to free them, 'Calm down, all of you, you will suddenly be free!' Don Farid bore each one of them. The stubborn men who were the bandits, who forgot that they had four hostages kidnapped, and did not even know of the presence of Don Farid rescuing the hostages were deceived.

When they found out, it was too late and all the hostages the merchant, the nobleman, the Jew and the friar were unfastened and free, 'Catch them!' Shouted the leader to the two others, who were more tired.

They tried to keep the hostages from fleeing and Don Farid, but as they were full of mire and not clean they fell to the ground. Don Farid and the others had plenty of time to flee, and they left behind the bandits, who turned out to be more of a bunch of inept buffoons than accomplished bandits. When they were free of the bandits, Don Farid was able to rescue the little things, which he most longed to have in his possession again, the forty gold coins, which the merchant swindled, the dagger, which he lost in a horse race to the nobleman, and fulfill the favor he owed to the old friar. But not before, he removed the thorn that was left by the merchant and the nobleman. He told everyone the following.

First to the merchant, 'You my friend, you are nothing but a liar, who for profit, sold me a horse that had a broken hoof!'

Then to the nobleman, 'You nobleman, are nothing more than a vain man, who by reason of a lame horse, won the race!'

Then the Jew, 'You my Jewish friend, are a wise and kind fellow, who I shall be in debt with your gratitude!'

Finally the friar, 'And you, my esteemed friar, I can only say to you, that it will be a pleasure to invite you as a guest at our annual feast, as I said before! There is a Moorish saying that says, "Neither the ignorant should remain silent his ignorance, nor the wise hide his wisdom".

And as it was to be, the friar with a smile said, 'Of course my esteemed Morisco, it will be a great pleasure to attend this joyful feast of yours!' The two Don Farid and the friar laughed out loud.

When Don Farid asked the friar how he was kidnapped, he only commented that because he was deceived by the bandits by giving them in good faith a horse, they kidnapped him, and when Don Farid asked him about the others, the merchant, the Jew, and the nobleman, he said that they fell into the same trap of wanting to help. When everyone expressed fear of the bandits, it was the ass called Aben Galib, who wasn't afraid of them.

They arrived in the village Don Farid and the friar who accompanied him apart from the ass, and as was to be expected, they had the Morisco feast of each year, where there was music coming from the añafules, ringing, meanwhile eating and enjoying everyone, as was the custom of the Moriscos. But there was one last task, by which Don Farid left his village from the beginning, and this was to look for an excellent Andalusian horse.

With shame he confronted Don Sulaimán saying, 'Woe to me Lord, that I have returned without any excellent Andalusian horse, but with a simple ass, but an excellent companion! Oh, I have failed you, Don Sulaimán!'

Instead of being angry Don Sulaimán was cheerful, 'My dear friend, it does not matter, for my brother Umar bought one in Jerez, for only 20 escudos. And I have a good surprise for you!'

When he approached to see the surprise, he saw there ready for him, an Andalusian horse waiting to be ridden that marvelled him. And by chance, there was the pompous nobleman riding on another horse, ready to race against him once more. What Don Farid did not know, was that the opposite clan hired the Christian nobleman, to run for them in the horse racing contest. This time, there was no impediment, and this time the victor was Don Farid, the proud Morisco.

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