Act I – In Egypt at Abu’s Drugstore
(Abu is talking with a customer)
Customer: How’s your business going?
Abu: I can’t complain.
Customer: I can see that. But, tell me something, Abu… we both know that you are very rich, so, why do you dress like that?
Abu: What’s wrong with my clothing?
Customer: Look at you! You look like a poor man… your clothes are all dirty, I can’t even see what color they are. And look at your slippers!
(Abu looks at his clothes and slippers)
Abu: What’s wrong with my slippers?
Customer: They are so old! The other day I was talking with the shoemaker and he told me that those are the only slippers you have. He even told me that he’s tired of repairing them.
Abu: Well, yes, he has been repairing my slippers for more than twenty years.
Customer: More than twenty years! You are so greedy!… Abu, I’m your customer, but I’m also your friend, that’s why I’m going to ask you something else… do you ever take a bath?
Abu: Ha, ha, ha, sure I do… sometimes. And I have good news for you!
Customer: What is it?
Abu: This morning I made a great deal, so instead of celebrating with a big feast, I’ll go to the public baths.
Customer: You! To a public bath?
Abu: Why not? It is true that I never thought I would ever go to a public bath, but today I’ll make an exception. So, if you don’t mind, I have to go.
Customer: Fine… and think about what I told you, please. See you tomorrow.
(The Customer leaves. Abu closes the store and leaves)
Act II – At the Public Bath
(Abu enters the public bath. He takes off his slippers and leaves them with some others that are on the floor. He leaves to take a bath. The public bath clerk enters. With surprise, he sees the smelly and dirty slippers on the floor, he covers his nose, and hides them in one of the corners of the room. The local Judge enters, he takes off his yellow slippers, puts them on the floor, and leaves to take a bath. Abu returns and starts looking for his slippers).
Abu: Where are my slippers? I can’t find them!
(He looks among other slippers on the floor. He sees the pair of yellow slippers and takes them).
Abu: Oh, Alah sent me these slippers because He knows that I needed to buy new ones…. or, could it be that someone made a mistake and took my slippers instead of his?… Mmmm… I’ll put them on, now I don’t have to spend money in new slippers.
(He puts on the yellow slippers and leaves. The Judge returns and looks for his slippers. He is angry)
(The clerk enters)
Clerk: How may I help you, Judge?
Judge: I want my slippers! Where are they?
Clerk: They were here just a while a ago.
Judge: My slippers are your responsibility, and I want them now!
Clerk: Sure, your honor.
(They start looking for the slippers. They don’t find them.)
Clerk: I’m sorry, but they are not here.
Judge: What are those things over there?
Clerk: Oh, those are Abu’s slippers.
Judge: Where’s Abu?
Clerk: He already left.
Judge: Let’s get him!
(The Judge takes Abu’s slippers. They get out of the public bath. Abu is outside looking at his new slippers.)
Judge: Abu! I have your slippers… and you have mine!
Abu: Oh, Judge I didn’t know… I’m sorry.
Judge: Of course you knew! You stole them on purpose!
Abu: I did not, really. It’s just that I didn’t…
Judge: You’re going to jail.
Abu: No, please, I don’t want to go to jail.
Judge: Do you agree to do an arrangement?
(Abu takes out some money from his pocket and gives it to the judge. The judge takes the money).
Judge: Fine, and remember… everybody knows that you have been wearing those slippers for a long, long time. Oh, and one more thing… don’t cause anymore trouble, because next time you will surely go to jail! Do you understand?
Abu: Yes, I do.
(The judge and the clerk leave)
Abu: Mmm, I hate these slippers, they only bring me trouble. I’ll throw them to the river!
(Abu goes to the river and throws the slippers to the water. Two fisherman have a net in the water)
Fisherman 1: What are you doing Abu?
Fisherman 2: Your old slippers will tear up our fishing nets!
Fisherman 1: Get away from here!
Fisherman 2: Look what you did! Your slippers are stuck in the net!
(Fisherman 1 takes out the net. The net has a big hole)
Fisherman 2: Look at the hole they did!
(Fisherman 2 throws the slippers at Abu’s head. He falls to the ground, he gets up, and runs away).
Act III – At Abu’s House
(Abu is in the backyard digging a hole. He is angry)
Abu: My slippers are of bad luck! They only bring me misfortunes!
(He buries the slippers and covers them with dirt. His neighbor is behind him watching.)
Neighbor: So, You found a treasure, Abu!
(Abu turns around and looks surprised)
Abu: How did you get in?
Neighbor: I was in my backyard and I heard a noise. I came to see if everything was alright with you… I called your name, but you didn’t answer, and since the door was opened, I entered.
Abu: Well, I’m fine.
Neighbor: Did you find a lot of gold?… or maybe… jewelry?
Abu: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Neighbor: Everybody knows that you are very rich. And now I understand, that your business is just to cover up something else.
Abu: You’re right, I’m trying to cover up my slippers!
Neighbor: Your slippers? Don’t give me that story! I saw you, and I will tell the Judge about the treasure that you’re trying to cover up.
Abu: Come on! Take a look for yourself… the only thing that you will find, will be my old slippers!
Neighbor: Oh, no! I am not a fool to believe that you still have it there. What’s wrong with you?
Abu: What is it that you really want, then?
Neighbor: Well, if you don’t share part of your money with me, I’ll go right now to tell the Judge, and he will lock you in jail for a long time… I already know that you stole his slippers, so he knows what you’re capable of doing. Right?… He already warn you, anyway.
Abu: Oh, well…if you don’t believe me, the Judge won’t either. Come, let’s go inside.
(They start to walk. The neighbor looks at Abu’s feet)
Neighbor: How come you’re not wearing any slippers?
(Abu looks at his feet)
Abu: Never mind.
By Arabian Nights – A collection of of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folktales.
Adapted by K I D S I N C O
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