The richest man in Babylon
Part 7: The camel merchant in Babylon
When you get in debt you become a slave. — Andrew Jackson
When we are hungry,
our minds will become clearer
and more sensitive
to the aromas of food.
son of Mr. Azure,
must have thought the same.
For the past two days,
he had not tasted any food,
except for two tiny figs
that he had stolen from someone else’s garden.
From morning to noon,
he kept walking around the stalls selling fragrant dishes
and wished to have a silver coin
to put in the cup to satisfy him.
He was very hungry
but did not dare to enter a restaurant
because he knew here they never sell on credit to anyone,
not even a small amount for a glass of pale wine.
While being so depressed,
he suddenly faced a man
that he had always avoided.
It was Dabasir,
the camel trader in Babylon
and also his creditor.
In the past,
he had borrowed money from Dabasir
and promised to repay it on time,
but he did not keep his promise.
Dabasir’s face seemed to have caught gold
when he recognized Tarkad:
– Asian! Here is Tarkad,
I have searched for you many times to ask for a coin
and two silver coins
that you borrowed from me before.
How did it happen to me to meet you here.
Isn’t that right, Mr. Tarkad?
Tarkad’s face became confused and confused.
He didn’t have the strength to argue with Dabasir:
I’m so sorry about that.
He stammered weakly.
now I don’t have a penny to pay you either.”
“Why do you say that, Tarkad!
Dabasir raised his voice.
“What have you done
that you don’t have a dime
or a dime left to pay me?”
I’m very poor right now,
so I can’t repay you yet.”
Why does heaven
and earth punish him all the time?
You can’t borrow money from me
and then every time you see me,
you’ll make excuses
for being poor so you can’t repay it.
Follow me into the bar,
I want to tell you a story
while I eat something.
I’m so hungry right now!
Tarkad felt hesitant at Dabasir’s change of attitude.
If you go into the shop,
you won’t be able to sit
and watch Dabasir eat and drink deliciously,
and I will sit empty with such a hungry stomach.
But he thought,
at least this is an opportunity
for him to enter
that very attractive restaurant.
As if deciding to help him,
Dabasir shoved Tarkad into the bar
and pulled him over to sit on two rugs in the corner.
Dabasir said to Kauskor,
the owner of the shop,
with a big smile on his face:
“Bring me a golden leg of goat with a lot of sauce,
I’m very hungry
so I want to eat a little more.
Ah! Don’t forget I have a friend here.
Bring him a bowl of water.
It must be cool water,
because it’s hot.
Dabasir seemed to ignore Tarkad’s situation.
Tarkad felt ashamed.
He was forced to sit here and drink cold water,
while Dabasir devoured the fragrant goat leg.
But Tarkad was silent,
and he thought he had nothing to say either.
However, Dabasir knew well
what Tarkad was thinking in his mind.
and waving to the other diners in the bar,
Dabasir said to Tarkad:
– I heard a man returning from Urfa say
that there lived a rich man who owned a stone so transparent
that people could see through it
and see everything on the other side.
The special thing is
that it has a yellow color,
so the scenery looking through
that stone becomes very different.
It’s not like the everyday scenes that we usually see.
What do you think this means, Tarkad?
Do you think the scene can appear in a different color?
– I think it must be. ‘ replied Tarkad,
looking at the delicious thigh of goat
that was laid out in front of them.
Yes, I knew that to be true.
Because I’ve seen it myself.
I will tell you about this.
– Dabasir is about to tell the story!
– A diner sitting nearby whispered in the ear
of his friend sitting next to him,
then moved his rug closer to Dabasir and Tarkad’s seats.
Other diners also brought food and surrounded the two.
They huddled in Tarkad’s ear and shoved him
in the leash with greasy,
half-eaten goat sticks in their hands.
But of course no one offered him a piece.
Dabasir also had no intention
of sharing anything with him,
not even pushing him a small crumb of bread,
but letting it fall to the floor.
– The story
I am about to tell is a true story of my life,
when I was a young man in debt.
Perhaps none of you know
that I was a slave in Syria?
A few murmurs of surprise rose
and fell among the diners,
and Tarkad began to listen attentively.
This seems to be an interesting story.
– When I was young,
I used to learn how to make a saddle.
At that time,
I had just been married.
Although my skills are not very high,
I also earn a decent amount of money every month,
just enough for a middle-class life.
I often buy beautiful
and luxurious dresses to give to my wife.
I noticed that shopkeepers
He trusts me and is always happy
to sell me on credit whenever
I don’t have enough money to pay for a purchase.
I did not hesitate to spend extravagantly.
the debts were small and small,
so I could still pay them.
Until one day,
I realized that my debts,
add up to a very large number
and I cannot pay them off.
My life suddenly became miserable
Although I have to borrow
and friends to pay off my debt,
the debts are still lingering,
even more and more.
Every day I was chased
by creditors asking for money.
The house and valuables were all confiscated.
My wife was in pain and humiliation,
so she come backed her biological father’s house.
I lost my job,
lost my house,
and didn’t have a dime left in my pocket.
I decided to escape Babylon to another place
in the hope of rebuilding my life.
For two years,
I worked as a hired worker for traveling merchants,
but still did not make a good fortune.
Then, my caravan fell into the hands of bandits
in the desert.
I was captured and gradually became part of that evil group.
such actions really made me feel ashamed
in my heart.
In my mind,
I was always trying to rise from adversity,
but in reality I fell more
and more into the abyss.
The first raid,
we were lucky,
so we collected a lot of gold, silver,
silk and other valuable goods.
They agreed to bring this spoil to Ginir to sell
and spend the money lavishly.
The second time,
we suffered a heavy defeat,
because we were attacked by a group of brave
and well-equipped troops.
These are troops paid by caravans to protect them.
The leaders of the party were killed,
were taken to Damascus to be sold as slaves.
I was bought by a Syrian desert leader for two silver coins.
At that time, my hair was shaved
and I wore prison clothes,
so I looked like a slave.
However, perhaps getting used to the gypsy lifestyle
when I was a thief,
I think my life is about to enter new adventures.
But the truth was like a splash of cold water in my face,
when my new master brought me to his four wives,
and told me they could make me look like a lowly slave.
I was in a horrible situation.
The people of the desert are fierce and belligerent,
so I can’t help but obey if I want to save my life.
And I am also aware that,
even if I have weapons or means to hide,
it is unlikely that I will escape their pursuit.
At that time,
I could be beaten to death
by them without any resistance.
I stood there in fear,
while the four women looked at me from head to toe.
I wonder if my situation evokes any pity for them.
Sira, the eldest wife and the oldest,
looked at me silently but showed no emotion.
I can only turn to her to find a little sympathy between people.
Because the second lady,
although very beautiful,
was looking at me
with disdain like I was an earthworm.
the two younger ladies laughed
and looked at me as a pastime.
As time passed like torture,
I felt humiliating with the feeling
that I was being sentenced.
The four women were silent,
as if one wanted to let the other decide my fate.
Finally, Mrs. Sira spoke in a cold voice:
“We already have a lot of servants to do errands,
only the camel herders are missing.
I have to visit my mother,
who is seriously ill,
and has no trusted slave to do so.
I wonder if this slave can lead a camel?
So the boss turned to me and asked:
– Do you know how to lead a camel?
Trying to hide my excitement,
– You can control the camel to kneel,
can tie things on its back
and lead it for days without getting tired.
you can also repair the saddle.
– You say that’s fine.
– The owner commented.
“If you wish, Sira,
then use this slave.
He will be your camel herder.
So, I was assigned to Mrs. Sira
and that day I had to guide her camel
during the journey home to visit her mother.
Taking advantage of this occasion,
I express my gratitude for her intervention in the morning.
I also told her
that I was not born to be a slave,
but the son of a free man
who made saddles in Babylon, and told her
why I had wandered to Syria.
I was quickly disappointed
when I heard her say:
“Aren’t you ashamed to say you’re a free man?”
It is your own weakness
that has led you to the pathetic situation you are in now!
If a man has the soul of a slave in his body,
no matter what circumstances he is born in,
he is still a slave in the end.
Because you see,
water never flows against the current?
And if that person has the soul of a free person,
through many adversities,
bitterness and misery in life,
that person eventually becomes a person
of honor and respect by all.
What Sira said made me think a lot.
For more than a year after that,
although I had to live and work as a slave,
I still could not become a slave.
One day, Sira asked me:
-In their spare time,
the slaves often gathered
and enjoyed eating together.
Why are you sitting alone?
I answered her:
– I am still thinking about what you said before.
I thought, maybe
I have the soul of a slave in myself.
I felt I couldn’t fit in with them,
so I had to sit apart.
Sira stared at me like she was thinking about something.
After a moment, she sighed and spoke:
– I myself am sitting alone in my own house.
– Mrs. Sira confided
– My parents’ family is very rich,
so they gave me a large amount of capital.
My husband agreed to marry me only for that dowry,
not for loving me at all.
even though we have been together for many years,
I still have not given birth to any children.
Since having three other wives,
he has really abandoned me.
In this situation,
I had to live alone and take care of myself.
According to Syrian custom,
women are like slaves,
dependent on the man in the family.
But if I were a man,
I would rather die than become a slave.
“So you understand what I’ve been thinking lately.”
– I said moved, then suddenly asked her – Madam,
do you think
I have the soul of a free man or of a slave?
– Do you want to pay off the debt?
Sira asked me again.
– Yes! I really want to,
but I can’t leave this place.
– If you are willing to let time pass
and make no effort to find a way
to repay the debt,
that your soul is the soul of a slave.
“But how do you know
when you were a slave in Syria?”
“You don’t know what to do,
then you’ve been a coward all your life.
– I’m not a coward!
– I strongly object.
– Then look for an opportunity to prove your bravery.
– said Mrs. Sira.
– Prove how?
“Did the king of your country fight the enemy
with all his intelligence and strength?”
Why don’t you try to do the same?
Are your debts the enemies
that drove you out of Babylon?
Have you allowed them to exist in your life,
and each day they grow to the point of pushing you to the end?
He should have fought against them like a real man
and had to defeat them to become a free
and honorable man in his country.
But until now he had no will to fight
and accepted defeat humiliatingly.
I worried a lot because of Mrs. Sira’s strong words and realized
that I had been expelled from my homeland
by the “enemies” of my own making.
In this situation,
do I have the courage to escape the fate of slavery?
Was Sira right about me
– I was a coward,
a slave soul?
Three days later,
Sira’s personal servant called me to see her.
She told me:
– My mother’s illness is getting worse.
You should saddle the two strongest camels,
paying attention to the large leather bags containing water
and food bags carefully.
As I worked, I thought about the food items Sira mentioned.
Sira’s biological mother’s house is far away,
but it’s not more than a day’s journey.
So, if it’s like last time,
Sira doesn’t need to be so prepared.
Although I was very confused,
I still carefully followed her orders.
When everything was ready,
Sira rode on the camel led by me in the front,
and the maid sat on the second camel and walked behind.
By the time we reached Sira’s mother’s house,
it was pitch black.
Sira sent the maid to rest and said to me,
– Dabasir, do you have the soul of a free man
or the soul of a slave?
– The soul of a free man!
– I replied firmly.
“Then prove it now.”
His master and his servants were far from here.
take these two camels
and get out of here quickly.
In this bag,
I have ready clothes for you to disguise.
I will tell you that you stole two camels
and ran away
while I was visiting my sick mother.
“I thank you very much,
and I will probably not pay this debt in my whole life.
She has the soul of a goddess.
– I express my thanks to Mrs. Sira.
I always wish her peace and happiness.
– Happy! She sighed in response.
– Happiness may not come to those
who have left their homeland
and gone to another faraway land to seek.
Well, try to follow your own path
and pray for the desert gods to protect you.
Remember not to drink all the water and eat all the food
before you return to the country, it’s yours!
I was deeply moved and grateful to Mrs. Sira,
quickly following her words and diving right into the darkness
of the vast desert.
I didn’t know which way led to Babylon,
so I just kept walking in the desert with my eyes closed.
I rode on a camel and took one
with me all night and the next day,
fearful of my fate.
In this situation,
if I was caught again,
I could have suffered a terrible punishment.
The crime of slaves who dared to steal their master’s property
to escape was very serious and could be beaten to death.
It was not until noon the next day
that I reached an uninhabited wilderness,
like a desert.
The two camels moved slowly and wearily over the sharp,
Seeing the dry,
where even the grass could not live,
I understood well
why people would stay away from this unfriendly land.
I was really in a dilemma.
Although my life is safe here,
it is true that my life is almost at a dead end.
In the days that followed,
the two camels moved very slowly,
the food and water ran out,
while the sun kept pouring fire on me.
At the end of the ninth day,
I fell from the camel’s back to the ground
and no longer had the strength to climb back up.
In my mind,
the question suddenly resounded:
“Do I bury my body in this desolate country?”.
I fell asleep and didn’t know anything until the rays
of the new day shone on my face.
I sat up and looked around bewildered.
Two camels lie not far from me.
The morning air was cool.
All around me was a vast wilderness,
only rocks and thorns,
with no sign of water
or plants edible for humans or camels.
“Did I fall in this lonely place?”
This question popped into my head again.
– Was I wrong to choose this exit?
Am I really a coward,
a person with the soul of a slave?
– Thinking of this, suddenly my mind became more alert.
The body was exhausted and exhausted,
the lips cracked and bleeding,
the tongue dry and swollen,
the stomach was empty…
it didn’t matter to me anymore.
Inside of me suddenly a strong vitality surged.
I must live!
Because, I still have a lot of work to do
and I have to become a respected person.
I have to regain the trust of the people I know.
I also have to take care of my wife’s life.
I looked into the space in front of me.
Once again, the words of Mrs. Sira echoed in my head:
“Your debts are the enemies that drove you out of Babylon”.
Yes! That’s right.
Why do I refuse to stand upright on the ground like a real man?
Why should I let my wife go back
to her father’s house in shame?”
Suddenly, I saw a strange thing happen before my eyes.
All the scenery around me seemed
to take on a new color,
as if I had seen them through a magical stone.
Is this the true value of life
that I have never discovered before?
To die in the desert!
Can’t be like that!
I must live and prove to everyone
that I am a free soul,
a strong-willed person who can overcome any adversity.
I had to go home,
pay off my debt
and build a house to start a new life
with a new perspective.
Perhaps having gone through many bitter experiences,
I feel full of hope and confidence in the afterlife.
I struggled to get up,
even though my legs just wanted to fall.
What does hunger mean?
What does thirst mean?
Those were just mishaps on the way back to my beloved Babylon.
the spirit of a free man was rising,
who not only conquered his own enemies,
but also strongly encouraged my spirit.
I gathered all my strength and shouted loudly
to show my iron determination.
The two camels’ dull eyes suddenly widened
and brightened through my screams.
After much effort,
and with great effort, the camels
and I got up and began to walk slowly north,
where my instincts told me it was the way back.
After a long journey,
I came to a fertile land, with water,
green grass and lush fruit trees.
I perceive the presence of life,
I have returned to Babylon
with the spirit of a free man
and master of myself.
I started to deal with the work
as I was determined to
and gradually created the position I am today.
What do you think, Tarkad?
Does your empty stomach make your mind clearer?
Are you ready to regain your credibility and self-esteem?
Have you seen the true value of life?
Do you wish to pay off your debts
and become a respectable person in Babylon?
Tarkad’s eyes suddenly turned red.
He stood up and said:
– Thank you for showing me a new path!
I felt the spirit of freedom rise in my soul.
– Returning to Babylon,
with such a debt,
how did you manage,
– asked a customer.
– First of all,
I visit the creditors
and ask them to give me more time to earn money
to pay the debt.
Most people are happy to accept,
they are even willing to help me,
but there are also people who blame me.
Among them is one person
who has helped me very enthusiastically,
that is Mathon,
the gold lender in our kingdom.
Knowing that I used to be a camel herder in Syria,
he introduced me to work for Mr. Nebatur,
the respected camel dealer that you all know here.
Having worked for him,
my knowledge of camels has worked very well.
I paid off all my debts,
and was able to hold my head high,
confidently regaining my reputation as today.
Everyone in turn thanked Dabasir
for the interesting story,
which is also a profound lesson in life,
and then returned to the same place
to continue their unfinished meal.
So did Dabasir,
this time he called out:
– Hey Kauskor!
Where are you?
The food is already cold.
Bring me some other goodies,
vegetables and more bread, please!
I would like to invite Mr. Tarkad to a hearty meal.
Extremely grateful to Dabasir,
Tarkad understood one thing:
“Once you have an iron will
people will easily find a way to move forward!”.