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A Tale of the Tracker, the King, and the Thief

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Once upon a time, there was a godly and devout man with a sacred heart and pure intentions. He was well-known among people for his kindness, gentleness, and nobility. He had two ewes, which were dairy by God’s grace. But both ewes did not give birth.
The man used to go to them every morning to milk them and got what was enough to satisfy his hunger and made him not need to ask people for help. In his life, those two ewes were the primary source of his livelihood.
One morning, he went to milk them but did not find them. He searched for them all around but found no trace of them. He bellowed their names, which were known by them and by him, but they did not come to him, as they always used to do after they heard him bellowing. He went to a deserted place to which people usually never went, and no one ever walked that way but rarely. He found traces of a slaughter of ewes. He looked around and found that his ewes had been slaughtered, and only antlers, blood, and intestine feces remained in that place. He realized that those feces were only the feces of his ewes. As the thief was cautious not to leave any traces of his feet, the good man saw nothing but the trace of one toe-tip of the thief’s foot remaining on a massive flat rock.
The man felt deeply sad and thought about what to do.
He decided to go to the tracker. He was in a hurry, and after he reached him, he complained about what had happened to him regarding the theft and slaughter of his own two ewes. The tracker immediately went with him to the scene of the accident. The tracker checked that the trace of the thief’s toe-tip remained on that rock.
“This toe-tip belonged to so-and-so, who was well-known for such acts. I know his trace well,” the tracker said when he checked the trace carefully.
The good man asked him, “Tell me what to do!”
He said to him, “Go to the king, the ruler, and tell him my ewes have been stolen. If the king asks you what your evidence is, you swear that your ewes have been stolen and slaughtered, and the thief is so-and-so.”
The owner of the two ewes went to the king’s house.
When the king saw him, he welcomed him heartily and asked, “What happened to you, man? You look unhappy with your countenance changed!”
The man replied, “So-and-so has stolen my ewes and slaughtered them in the deserted place.”
The king asked him, “Do you have evidence?”
Therefore, he swore to him that so-and-so was the one who stole and slaughtered them and that the tracker was the one who knew the thief by his knowledge. Thus, the king couldn’t say anything, but he believed him.
The king sent to the man, the thief, asking him to come and send to the people, the princes, and sheiks of the tribes, notifying them to come for a meeting at a given time and place.
When the people, the princes, and the leaders of the tribes gathered, and after the king made sure that the thief was present among them, he ordered that the thief be arrested at that moment and brought before the king in front of all the people.
The king asked the thief, “Did you steal the ewes of so-and-so and slaughter them at a given time and place?”
The thief was shocked by the king’s words and realized that he had been caught and that the king planned a gathering to expose him in front of all people. The thief had to surrender and confess his crime to avoid incurring the king’s wrath. The thief was shocked by the king’s words and realized that he had been caught and that the king planned a gathering to expose him in front of all people.
The tribal princes stood up and expressed their refusal to cut off the thief’s hand in that place in appreciation of their positions and not to offend the place where the meeting was held as a great place.
The king was slightly confused. He answered everything the princes had asked for. Then he decided to release the thief and let him run, and he would chase him on his camel. Wherever he caught him, his hand would be cut off. The thief realized that he was dead. Therefore, he ran at full speed while the king ran with his camel behind him. Because the thief ran faster to avoid cutting off his hand, the king could not catch him up. Then, the thief kept running, while the king continued running behind him until the thief reached the king’s house in front of him, where he entered and found the king’s wife.
He asked her, “Please save me, woman! The king had sentenced me to cut off my hand!”
When the woman saw him looking scared and panicked, to save him, she immediately went to him, got him into a house storeroom, and closed its doors so that the king who was running after him would not see him at all.
The king came and said to his wife, “Has a man entered the house running away?”
His wife replied, “O king, what man are you talking about? No man came here.”
The king was furious at that moment, then shouted, “Oh, my God, the thief escaped, and I did not execute the sentence against him!”
After a few minutes, the king calmed his nerves. When his wife saw him calm, she asked him, “O king, tell me, what happened? What is the story behind that man whom you came to ask for?”
The king replied to her, telling her the whole story.
His wife told him, “The man you were looking for is here. He entered our house, asking me to save his life. After that, I hid him in the house storeroom. Then I closed the house storeroom door to save his life.” Then she added to the kind, “O king, I ask you not to execute the sentence against him by cutting off his hand.”
The king replied to her, saying, “No, I swear by God, I shall execute the sentence against him.”
As the wife heard her husband’s words and swearing that he would execute the sentence against him, she sent a request for the coming of his brothers, princes. When they came, they supported the request of the king’s wife not to cut off the thief’s hand, and they suggested that he had to be punished with another punishment other than cutting off his hand, such as imprisonment or enslavement for what he stole, as was the judgment of the Sharia in the past.
After the king heard his wife’s and his brothers’ opinions on his judge, he changed his judge and agreed with them. Accordingly, he sentenced the thief to be enslaved for what he had stolen and became his slave until the price of the theft was met through serving the king. Afterward, that thief lived in the king’s house and became his slave until the king gave further notice.
One day, the king and his thief-forced-to-serve went to a place full of many trees to collect feeds from the branches of those trees for the king’s livestock. It was raining lightly that day, so the king ordered the slave to climb up the tall tree and take feeds from its branches. The slave climbed, but when he reached the midst of the trunk of the tree, he slipped because of the rain. He told the king that he could not climb up the tree and stepped back so that the king could take a step forward and start climbing the tree himself. When the king reached the top of the tree, he slipped and fell into the slave’s arms. Due to his heavyweight, the slave’s nose dripped some blood. The slave fainted for minutes from the bleeding. Then he woke up.
The king was astonished at the strange act of his slave because the slave saved the king’s life.
The king appreciated his actions, and he immediately released him from being a forced-to-serve slave.
The king told him, “I have released you from slavery and commanded you not to steal the money of the poor and orphans and not to do your last sins again. I would bear witness to God that I have freed you from any penalty. For the two ewes you stole and slaughtered, we compensated the owner of the two ewes, the good man, on the condition that you do not commit your sins again. Now you can return to your home, safe and sound.”

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