A tale from the city of Alexandria unfolds, featuring two neighboring merchants, Abukir and Abusir, who have contrasting personalities and professions. Abukir is a dishonest and unscrupulous individual, while Abusir is a barber with a more virtuous disposition.

Abukir is described as untrustworthy, deceitful, unfaithful, greedy, and without shame. He is characterized as a perpetual liar, always making false promises, betraying trust, and driven by insatiable greed. His avarice knows no bounds, and he is exceedingly stingy, lacking compassion for others’ suffering.

Abukir’s primary occupation is as a carpenter, but his behavior is far from ethical. He frequently engages in dishonest practices when given clothing to dye. He starts by requesting money from the owner, claiming it is for the purchase of tools. Once he receives the funds, he takes the clothes, sells them, and uses the proceeds to acquire unrelated items like camel dung, rice, nuts, and cigarettes. Upon the owner’s return, Abukir offers a series of excuses, making promises to complete the work. His victims are left with no choice but to return on subsequent days, hearing more elaborate lies and enduring further delays. Eventually, they give up in frustration.

As for Abusir, the honest and principled barber, he maintains his integrity and empathy. He and Abukir are neighbors, and their shops face each other in the market. Abusir, in contrast to his dishonest neighbor, offers a straightforward and reliable service.

The dishonesty of Abukir becomes increasingly evident to the people in the market, causing them to avoid bringing their business to him. He gains a reputation as an untrustworthy dye merchant, and his shop is left vacant for most of the day. Those unfamiliar with his deceptive practices are the only ones who inadvertently seek his services.

One day, Abukir’s unethical actions escalate to a new level. He pretends to be a client, helping himself to the goods that someone else has left at his shop. The client eventually seeks justice by bringing the matter to the local judge. When a messenger is sent to locate Abukir, he remains missing, and his shop is closed with a lock.

Abusir is observant of Abukir’s actions, and when he sees the shop has been sealed, he questions his neighbor. Abusir advises Abukir to retrieve the keys to his shop and rectify the situation by returning the client’s stolen goods. However, Abukir reluctantly admits to having sold the goods and falsely claimed they were stolen.

Abusir chastises Abukir for his dishonesty and decries the sin he has committed. He warns that God is displeased with those who engage in deception. In response, Abukir confesses to his immoral actions, citing poverty and desperation as the reasons behind his deceit.

The tale underscores the contrast between the virtuous and the unethical, highlighting the consequences of dishonesty and the virtues of honesty and integrity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *