Abukashan was a wealthy merchant, notorious for his stingy nature. He had a pair of slippers that were famous in town because they were completely worn out. The slippers had outlived their lives but Abukashan simply refused to buy a new pair.

One day he went to a public bath, visited by all the rich and famous people. He left his slippers outside and went into the shower. A few minutes later a judge entered the bath leaving his new and shining slippers outside. When Abukashan came out of the bath, he could not find his slippers, but saw a pair of new slippers instead. He thought, some friend of mine must have left these as a gift for me. So Abukashan wore the new slippers and went about his business.

The Troublesome Slippers [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]
The Troublesome Slippers [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]

Meanwhile, when the judge came out of the bath, he found his slippers missing. His attendant said “Sir I can’t find your slippers, but here are Abukashan’s. He must have taken your slippers.”

When Abukashan was found, wearing the Judge’s slippers, he was brought to court. Abukashan tried to explain his side of the story, but nobody believed him. The judge imposed a heavy fine on Abukashan in light of his great wealth and stingy nature. So he paid the fine, took his old slippers back, and went home.

Abukashan was angry with his slippers for causing him so much trouble. So he threw them out of his window into the river below. Unfortunately, the slippers got caught in a fisherman’s net, who was fishing nearby. The old, worn out slippers damaged the net. Naturally, the poor fisherman was angry and he threw the slippers back into Abukashan’s house. The slippers flew through an open window, dashed against some valuable crystal displayed in the house, and in a moment, Abukashan lost his favorite expensive vase.

The Troublesome Slippers [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]
The Troublesome Slippers [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]

Now Abukashan was really very upset with his slippers. He knew he had to get rid of them immediately. So he went to a nearby pond and threw the slippers in. But as luck would have it, the slippers logged themselves in a pipe that supplied water, and blocked the supply. When the water supply people finally found what was blocking the pipes, they recognized Abukashan’s famous slippers. So, once again, he was produced in court. And, again, a very heavy fine was imposed on him.

A rather unhappy Abukashan looked with disgust at his slippers. Throwing they away just didn’t seem to be working. He decided he would burn them instead. So he picked up the wet slippers and put them out on the roof of his house for drying. As they were drying, the neighbors’ cat saw them and started playing with them. Just then, a women carrying a heavy load on her head was walking by Abukashan’s house. As the cat was playing with the slipper, it fell off the roof and landed on the head of the passing woman. Unfortunately the woman was pregnant and had to rush to the hospital. Once again Abukashan was produced in court and once again a very heavy fine was imposed.

This time Abukashan decided to bury his slippers. So he came home and immediately started digging a hole in his backyard. A neighbor saw Abukashan digging and thought that he must be burying a treasure. According to the law of that land, citizens were required to notify the government and pay a tax on all treasures. The neighbor informed the government and once again Abukashan was produced in court.

By now the Judge was quite fed up of Abukashan, so he imposed an even heavier fine. Abukashan was now in tears and pleaded to the judge, “Sir, I am tired of my slippers. I have lost all my wealth just trying to get rid of them. Please take my slippers and me into custody. At least that should prevent the slippers from getting me into more trouble.”

The judge was a kind-hearted man, and he could understand Abukashan’s troubles. He said “As we go through life we acquire different things and positions in life. We should thank god for showering them on us. But at the same time we should not get attached to them. We must realize that just as good things come, they must go. We should welcome them and enjoy them, when they come. And when it is time for them to go, we should not hold on to them. We must learn to give up our old shoes at the right time”.

767 words | 8 minutes
Readability: Grade 6 (11-12 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #wealth