The husband went to the bazar to get the necessary supplies for the fast - clarified butter, dried curds, lentils, pease; he brought these home and said to his wife: "Now, don't touch these, I am keeping them for Long Ramazan." Not long after this she was out on the roof one day and saw a very tall man coming down the lane; she called out: "Brother, are you Long Ramazan?" "Yes," said he. - "May good befall you! Please come and take your goods and chattels out of my house, they leave me no elbow-room. I'll be glad to see the last of them."
The man didn't understand what it was all about, but he asked nothing better, and came and carried off all the provisions there were in the house. Now the woman did a very clever thing, as she thought, for she stole just a little handful off the top of everything before she gave it to Long Ramazan! At noon when her husband came in she said: "Husband, Long Ramazan called to-day to get those things you were keeping for him, and I did a clever thing, for I stole a little out of each of them and he never noticed."
At this news the husband was very angry and said: "Get up and go home, you too," and he beat her and put her out. Then his mother-in-law came and said: "Come, take my next daughter, she's better than the others." And he agreed, and married the fifth sister and took her to his house.
One night he went to the bazar and bought a skin of honey and a skin of clarified butter and brought them home. Soon afterwards his wife was up on the roof one day and saw that the mud surface had all gone into cracks, and she cried: "Oh dear, oh dear, see how the poor roof's feet are all cracked with chapping. I must go and get some grease to put on them." So she came down and looked about and found the skin of clarified butter and brought it up, and poured the whole of it into the cracks on the roof. But they got no better, then she went down again and brought up the skin of honey and emptied it all in too.
When her husband came home she said: "Husband, I have done a kind deed to-day." "And what was that now?" asked he. "I happened to be up on the roof," said she, "and I saw its feet were all cracked and chapped, so I took a skin of butter and rubbed it in, but still the cracks were there, so I fetched the honey and rubbed that over them too." And he said: "Get up, you also, and go home."
This time the mother-in-law came and said: "Oh, son-in-law, I'll tell you what's the matter. Your wives have nothing to do, and because they are idle these foolish ideas overtake them. Come, now, I have other daughters left. I shall give the next to you, but you must buy cotton and wool and give them to her to spin, so that she may not get into mischief." "All right," said he, and he came and married the sixth sister.
Then he went to the bazar and bought a little cotton and a spinning-wheel, and brought them home and gave them to her and said: "Come, now, sit down and spin." As soon as he had gone out, however, she carried her spinning-wheel and her cotton into the open air, and went and sat beside a stream of water to do her spinning.
A frog began to croak. After a time she said: "What's that you're saying, Auntie Frog? You mean you'd like to take my cotton and spin it?" The frog started croaking again, and she thought it must be saying: "Yes, please," so little by little she plucked the cotton to pieces and strewed it on the water and went and sat down in a corner.
When the afternoon came her husband arrived and said: "Well, and how have you been getting on with your spinning?" "O husband," said she, "I gave my cotton to Auntie Frog to spin for me. I'm just going now to get the spindles from her, and if she doesn't give them up I'll bring back the weight off her spinning-wheel as a pledge." She went out to the edge of the stream and called: "Auntie Frog, have you spun my cotton for me? Please bring me the spindles." The frog started croaking again and jumped with a splash into the middle of the stream. "Oh, that's what you thought, is it indeed? Well, I'll just take the weight off your spinning-wheel instead." With that she plunged her hand into the stream, and the first thing she found was a stone. She ran ever so quickly to her husband, and cried: "See, I've carried off the weight of her spinning-wheel."
The man looked at it and saw that it was pure gold. "That's all right," said he; "now just hide it safely in a corner and don't tell any one about it." In the morning he went out to his work. Presently the wife heard some one calling out in the lane: "Fresh halwa! Sweet halwa!" She jumped up and took the golden stone and ran to the door, calling to the sweet-seller: "Come along, take this weight off the frog's spinning-wheel and give me halwa in exchange." The pedlar looked and saw that the stone was of gold, and he gave her all the halwa he had and took the stone and went his way.
She took the halwa into the house and modelled it all into tiny figures like small dolls, and gave them names and arranged them all round the room, and said: "Now you are my servants and I am your Lady Mistress, and I'm going to lie down. If your master comes and knocks, go and open the door for him!" And with that she lay down and went to sleep.
At noon the husband came home and started knocking at the door. His wife raised her head and called out: "Flower-Face, your mistress is lying down, open the door for your master." Nothing happened, but the knocks grew louder, so she cried: "Do you not hear me? Violet, get you up and go!"
Meanwhile the husband knocked and knocked till he was in a very bad temper. Then he went up on to the neighbours' roof and jumped down into his own house and saw what his wife had done. Then he said: "Get up and go home like your sisters," and he gave her a divorce also.
His mother-in-law came to him and said: "Come and take the seventh one, she is the best of the whole lot." So the Shawl-weaver came and took the seventh sister and married her. One day he asked: "Do you know how to make vinegar?" "Oh yes," said she. So he went and bought half a load of grapes and brought them home, and said to his wife: "Make these into vinegar!" When he had gone out she went and asked the neighbours: "How do you make vinegar?" - "You must fill a large jar with water and stand it beside you. Then eat a bunch of grapes and drink some water on top of it, and so on till you have eaten all the grapes and emptied the jar." So she went and did exactly as they had said.
After a while she began to feel more and more swollen up and uncomfortable, and presently she was very ill, and she went and lay down in the sun and fell asleep. At noon her husband came back and knocked at the door. "Don't make a noise," called she; "your poor Sakina's been busy making vinegar." And however much hullabaloo he made outside the door she wouldn't get up and open it.
Then he went up on to the neighbours' roof and dropped down and came in and saw what had happened. So angry was he this time that he came and carried her right out of the city into the desert. He put her lying down beside a spring of water under a tree and went his way.
When she had been sitting there some time a crow came and sat on a branch and began to caw. She thought it was a messenger sent by her husband to fetch her home, and said: "You may caw-caw, Auntie, as much as you like, but I won't come." Then a cat passed by and began to mew. "You may miauw-miauw as much as you like, Auntie, but I won't come." A dog came past barking: "You may bow-wow as much as you like, Auntie, but I won't come."
Now a certain camel from among the camels of the King, whose load happened to be a load of precious stones, had run away. Scenting water and the shade of a tree, he came towards the spring. As soon as the woman caught sight of the camel she was afraid and cried: "I wouldn't go with any of the others who came to fetch me, but for your sake, Auntie Long-Neck, I will come." And she caught the camel's leading-rope and threw it over her shoulder and started up. She walked and walked and walked till at last she reached her husband's door again. She began to knock; he came and said: "Who's there?" - "I am Sakina." - "Where have you been?"
"Auntie Caw-caw came to fetch me," answered she, "but I wouldn't come back; Auntie Miauw-miauw came to fetch me, but I wouldn't come back; Auntie Bow-wow came to fetch me, but I wouldn't come back, but in the end I came for the sake of Auntie Long-Neck." At that the Shawl-weaver opened the door and saw that, sure enough, she had a camel's leading-rope over her shoulder. So he took her in and led in the camel, and saw that it was laden with precious stones.
Then he pushed his wife into the upright oven and put a felt mat over the mouth of it, and said: "Don't stir from there, it's going to rain blood to-day! Then he slew the camel, and dug a well, and put the body in and covered it up with earth. And he took the jewels and hid them, and poured the camel's blood through the felt into the oven. That was the end of that.
When morning came the criers went all through the town, crying that one of the King's camels, whose load was a load of precious stones, had got lost. The woman rushed out of the house into the lane and called out: "I found the King's camel and brought it home!" So they came and seized her husband by the collar, and said: "Give up the camel." And though he protested again and again: "Father, the woman is mad," his words were of no avail. They replied: "No, you're telling lies," and they took him to carry him off to the King. As he was just starting, he turned to his wife and said: "Well, now you've made mischief enough! Go and fasten the door on the back till I return."
The wife thereupon came and lifted the house door out of its sockets and put it on her back, and began to run as fast as she could after her husband. Just as they were taking him in to the King she came up behind, carrying the door. The man turned to the King and said: "See, the woman is quite mad and has no sense. I said to her: 'Fasten the door on the back till I return,' and she has lifted the door off its hinges and fastened it on her own back! Ask her now when she brought this camel to my house." Then the King asked the woman: "When did you bring home the camel?" - "The same day that there was the felt cloud in the sky and it rained blood, and I was frightened and hid myself in the oven."
Then the King saw that the woman really was quite mad, and he gave orders that the Shawl-weaver should be set free. So he took his wife's hand and led her home, and they settled down to live together and spend the treasure of the King.
And now my story has come to an end, but the sparrow never got home.