11. The Prayer Rug and the Dishonest Steward

A poor porter brought to the Pasha of Stamboul his savings, consisting of a small canvas bag of silver dollars, to be kept for him, while he was absent on a visit to his home. The Pasha, being a kind-hearted man, consented, and after sealing the bag, called his steward, instructing him to keep it till the owner called for it. The steward gave the man a receipt which stated that he had received a sealed bag containing money.

When the poor man returned, he went to the Pasha and received his bag of money. On reaching his room he opened the bag, and to his horror found that it contained, instead of the silver dollars he had put in it, copper coins, which are about the same size as silver dollars. The poor porter was miserable, his hard-earned savings gone.

He at last gathered courage to go and put his case before the Pasha. He took the bag of copper coins, and with trembling voice and beating heart he assured the Pasha that though he had received his bag apparently intact, on opening it he found that it contained copper coins and not the silver dollars he had put in it. The Pasha took the bag, examined it closely, and after some time noticed a part that had apparently been repaired by a master-hand. The Pasha told the porter to go away and come back in a week. In the meantime he would see what he could do for him. The grateful man departed, uttering prayers for the life and prosperity of his Excellency.

The next morning after the Pasha had said his prayers kneeling on a most magnificent and expensive rug, he took a knife and cut a long tear in it. He then left his home without saying a word to anyone. In the evening when he returned he found that the tear had been so well repaired that it was with difficulty that he discovered where it had been. Calling his steward, he demanded who had repaired his prayer rug. The steward told the Pasha that he thought the rug had been cut by accident by some of the servants, so he had sent to the Bazaar for the tailor, Mustapha, and had it mended.

“Send for Mustapha immediately,” said the Pasha, “and when he comes bring him to my room.”

When Mustapha arrived, the Pasha asked him if he had repaired the rug. Mustapha at once replied that he had mended it that very morning.

“It is indeed well done,” said the Pasha; “much better than the darn you made in that canvas bag.”

Mustapha agreed, saying that it was very difficult to mend the bag as it was full of copper coins. On hearing this, the Pasha gave him a present and told him to leave. The Pasha then called his steward, and not only forced him to pay the porter his money, but fired him from his service, where he had been employed for many years.