Folk literature: “Al-Fawwal’s daughter”

National Folklore Archive (NFA), Saturday 27 Nov 2010

Say a prayer for the splendid prophet. Once upon a time, there was a man called al-Fawwal (bean seller), who had two daughters.

Collected venue : The village of Bandar Al-Kermania in the Governorate of Sohag
Collection date: 26 January 2009
Collector: Ashraf Nasrat
Storyteller: Saber Yassin Hassan, 43, also known as Saber El-Arabi.
Source: National Folklore Archive (NFA)

Say a prayer for the splendid prophet.
Once upon a time, there was a man called al-Fawwal (bean seller), who had two daughters. The son of the king of the town was so full of himself. The two girls were only the daughters of a simple man. They used to go to town to learn how to sew. And the son of the king would stand in their way and harass them. He would say to one: "What do you have here, girl?" She would answer: " I have my needle and fabric and a jasmine flower for my teacher:. He says to the other one: "And you, what have you got?" She answers: "I have fuul (broad beans) and falful (hot peppers), al-ta’rasa (meaning obscure) and al-ma’rasa (debauchery), and the pulling of beards". All of the above is an insult. So he says: "By God, daughters of a dog, I will kill your father!"
He says to their father: "Come here, Fawwal," The father answered: "Yes my master". The king's son told him: "I want you to come to me riding and walking".
Al-fawwal asks: "What do you mean by riding and walking?" and the son of the king says: "That’s what I said, and if you don’t come walking and riding, I will chop off your head with my sword!". Al-fawwal went home to his daughters, crying and afraid.
His daughters told him not to worry, "There is a small donkey, the son of the female donkey. You ride it and your feet will be dragging on the ground, so you’ll be riding and walking". He went but the son of the king said: "You get away, son of a dog. Now I want you to come to me laughing and crying, and if you don’t come laughing and crying I will kill you!". So again, Al-fawwal went home distressed.
This time his daughters told him to put an onion in his nose and he laugh while his eyes flowed with tears . So he went back and again escaped death. The king's son said to him: "Son of a dog, I want you to come to me naked and dressed!" The man was at a loss. "How can I come to you naked and dressed? he said.
He went and told his daughter, whose mind was so keen, and she said to him: "Take the net and wrap yourself in it, so your body will be showing but the lines of the net are covering it somewhat!".
He went and the son of the king said: "This time I want your daughters to come to me pregnant or I will kill you!"
When he returned to his daughters, they said it would be all so simple. Near them were some people who milked cows, like Mo’allem Zakaria. (Zakaria is a dairy salesman known to the story teller). They asked them for some yoghurt and cheese and the girls brought some onion and sat down to eat until they had filled their stomachs with food. Then they brought pieces of fabric and wrapped it around themselves.
This time the king's son said, "So by God, I must take her as my wife, this madruba (beaten-up - a derogative term for young women))". She said: "So what? I will take you too!" He is taking her so as to kill her. They asked when the wedding would be. They said that it would be on Thursday, of course. Thursday is the market day. So she went to a man who sells sweets in the market. She said: "My uncle, (a polite form of addressing men) who sells sweets", He said: "Yes my lady", . She said: "Do you see how tall I am, how broad I am, how beautiful I am, and how I look in every detail?"
He said: "Yes I do". She told him: "I want you to make me a sugar doll that looks exactly like me". He said: "This evening, stop by and get it'. She went and got it. Back then, brides used to ride on camels. So she sat the doll on the camel and sat beside it and off they went. And they took the doll inside and put it on the bed, and hid under the bed. The man closed the door and drew his sword and struck the figure on the bed, cutting off her head. A piece of sugar flew off and went straight into his mouth. The girl came from behind him and struck him.
He said: "What’s that? So who was the one I have killed?" She said: "O man, we have eaten the sweet (al-halawa) and it has ended the enmity (al- Adawa). He said: "You win, by divorce (a solemn oath) I will not stay in town anymore".
He packed up and went on his way. He met someone who said: "Mister, do you care for a job?" He said: "Sure master". He said: "Work as a guard for this orchard. When people come to you, weigh the grapes, dates, figs, and oranges. That’s all you need to do".
He said: "That’s a deal, master, I will do just that". He stayed in this garden. For how long? For three months he was away from town. So the girl asks about him. They tell her that he is staying in an orchard in a town like Bendar (the town of the storyteller). "Alright, take me there folks' she asks. They tell her that they will take her there.
The people who went with her (to the orchard) were going there to buy things. They said: "Why are you going?" She said: "I am a merchant selling grapes, pomegranates and oranges and I want to get merchandise from this man. So when she approached him – of course she had changed in appearance from before – he said to her: "Where are you going my lady?" And he asked questions. She said: "Actually, I am a poor woman who wants to buy some merchandise from you. They say that you’re a good man who is kind to merchants, and I want you to be kind to me".
He said: "Why not?" She said: "But I have come a long way and I will spend the night here". He said: "You are most welcome". Of course, he is taking an interest in her. When she stayed the night, the man wanted to sleep with her. She said: "Give me the prayer beads that you have". He said: "Here are the prayer beads". He slept with her and she left in the morning, taking with her the merchandise that she had bought from him. She left and a year passed. She became pregnant and had a boy. She said: "And here are your prayer beads, son of a dog, on your boy". Forty days after that, she went to him and he was happy to see her again.
She said: "Master, I want merchandise and I need to stay over tonight". The same thing happened again, and she said: "So give me your handkerchief". He gave her the handkerchief. In the morning, she left and had (another) boy by him. She said: "Here is the handkerchief boy, son of a dog". The third time she did that she took one of his shawls (shawl). Then the (three) children grew up, asking where is our father? They would play with the children outside and the children would tell them that they were fatherless.
They said: "Mother, where is our father? People are ridiculing us?" She said: "Come and I will take you to your father". She took them to him and said: "Here is your father". And the children started yelling: "Father!" And again: "Father!" The man said: "Where do you come from, woman? Where have we met?"
She said: "Do you remember Al-Fawwal’s daughter. The first boy is the prayer beads. The second boy is the handkerchief. The third boy is the shawl. And people are ridiculing them and asking them where their father is? So I said I will show them their father, and here he is. He said: "You win, daughter of a dog. Let’s all go home". He took his children and (they) left. She won in the end. That’s the story of al-fawwal daughter.

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