In order to make short work of the fat little man the fool began by at once chasing all the hens and sheep off his master's premises. "Art angry, master?" he then inquired of his lord. His master was amazed, but he only answered: "Angry? Not I! Why should I be? " At the same time he entrusted nothing more to him, but let him sit in the house without anything to do.
His master had a wife and child, and Mehmed had to look after them. He liked to dandle the child up and down, but he knocked it about and hurt it, so clumsy was he; so he soon had to leave that off. But the wife began to be afraid that her turn would come next, sooner or later, so she persuaded her husband to run away from the fool one night. Mehmed overheard what they said, hid himself in their store-box, and when they opened it in the next village out he popped.
After a while his master and his wife agreed together that they would go and sleep at night on the shores of a lake. They took Mehmed with them, and put his bed right on the water's edge, that he might tumble in when he went to sleep. However, the fool was not such a fool but that he made his master's wife jump into the lake instead of himself. "Art angry, master?" cried he. - " Angry indeed! How can I help being angry when I see my property wasted, and my wife and child killed, and myself a beggar - and all through thee! "Then the fool seized his master, put him in mind of their compact, and pitched him into the water.
Mehmed now found himself all alone, so he went forth into the wide world once more. He went on and on, did nothing but drink sweet coffee, smoke chibooks, look about over his shoulder, and walk leisurely along at his ease. As he was thus knocking about, he chanced to light upon a five-para piece, which he speedily changed for some lebleb,1 which he immediately fell to chewing, and, as he chewed, part of it fell into a wayside spring, whereupon the fool began roaring loud enough to split his throat: "Give me back my lebleb, give me back my lebleb!" At this frightful bawling a Jinn popped up his head, and he was so big that his upper lip swept the sky, while his lower lip hid the earth. "What dost thou require?" asked the Jinn. - "I want my lebleb, I want my lebleb!" cried Mehmed.
The Jinn ducked down into the spring, and when he came up again, he held a little table in his hand. This little table he gave to the fool and said: "Whenever thou art hungry thou hast only to say: 'Little table, give me to eat;' and when thou hast eaten thy fill, say: 'Little table, I have now had enough.' "
So Mehmed took the table and went with it into a village, and when he felt hungry he said: "Little table, give me to eat!" and immediately there stood before him so many beautiful, nice dishes that he couldn't make up his mind which to begin with. "Well," thought he, "I must let the poor people of the village see this wonder also," so he went and invited them all to a great banquet.
1 Roasted pepper.
The villagers came one after another, they looked to the right, they looked to the left, but there was no sign of a fire, or any preparations for a meal. "Nay, but he would needs make fools of us! "thought they. But the young man brought out his table, set it in the midst, and cried: "Little table, give me to eat! " and there before them stood all manner of delicious meats and drinks, and so much thereof that when the guests had stuffed themselves to the very throat, there was enough left over to fill the servants. Then the villagers laid their heads together as to how they might manage to have a meal like this every day. "Come now!" said some of them, " let us steal a march upon Mehmed one day and lay hands upon his table, and then there will be an end to the fool's glory." And they did so.
What could the poor, empty-bellied fool do then 1 Why he went to the wayside spring and asked again: "I want my lebleb, I want my lebleb!" And he asked and asked so long that at last the Jinn popped up his head again out of the spring and inquired what was the matter. "I want my lebleb, I want my lebleb!" cried the fool. - "But where's thy little table? " - "They stole it."
The big-lipped Jinn again popped down, and when he rose out of the spring again he had a little mill in his hand. This he gave to the fool and said to him: "Grind it to the right and gold will flow out of it, grind it to the left and it will give thee silver." So the youth took the mill home and ground it first to the right and then to the left, and huge treasures of gold and silver lay heaped about him on the floor. So he grew such a rich man that his equal was not to be found in the village, nay, nor in the town either.
But no sooner had the people of the village got to know all about the little mill than they laid their heads together and schemed and schemed till the mill also disappeared1 one fine morning from Mehmed's cottage. Then Mehmed ran off to the spring once more and eried: "I want my lebleb, I want my lebleb!" .
"But where is thy little table? Where is thy little mill?" asked the big-lipped Jinn.
"They have stolen them both from me," lamented the witless one, and he wept bitterly.
Again the Jinn bobbed down, and this time he brought up two sticks with him. He gave them to the fool, and impressed upon him very strongly on no account to say: "Strike, strike, my little sticks! "
1 Lit. the place of the mill was cold one morning.
Mehmed took the sticks, and first he turned them to the right and then to the left, but could make nothing of them. Then he thought he would just try the effect of saying: "Strike, strike, my little sticks!" and no sooner were the words out of his mouth than the sticks fell upon him unmercifully, and belaboured him on every part of the body that can feel - the head, the foot, the arm, the back - till he was nothing but one big ache. "Stop, stop, my little sticks!" cried he, and lo! the two sticks were still. Then, for all his aches and pains, Mehmed rejoiced greatly that he had found out the mystery.
He had no sooner got home with the two sticks than he called together all the villagers, but said not a word about what he meant to do. In less than a couple of hours everybody had assembled there, and awaited the new show with great curiosity. Then Mehmed came with his two sticks and cried: "Strike, strike, my little sticks, strike, strike!" whereupon the two sticks gave the whole lot of them such a rub-a-dub-dubbing that it was as much as they could do to howl for mercy. "Now," said Mehmed, who was getting his wits back again, "I'll have no mercy till you have given back to me my little table and my little mill."
The people of the village, all bruised and bleeding as they were, consented to everything, and hurried off for the little table and the little mill. Then Mehmed cried: "Stand still, my little sticks!" and there was peace and quiet as before.
Then the man took away the three gifts to his own village, and as he now had money he grew more sensible, and there also he found his brother. He gave all the buried treasure to his brother, and each of them sought out a damsel meet to be a wife, and married, and lived each in a world of his own. And there was not a wiser man in that village than Mad Mehmed now that he had grown rich.