Listen my children to an ancient tale of the TahariÖ
A tale of a poor waterseller, despondent and glum over a life of misfortune.
A tale of an imprisoned djinn which finally secures its freedom.
A tale of one manís chance to acquire his greatest desire.
Once upon a timeÖ.
In the desert city of Tor, there lived an impoverished water seller named Farad. Faradís water supplier gave him only the most brackish of water. Thus, Farad could barely earn enough tarsk bits to survive. Complaining to his supplier would only get him shut off from even that meager supply. Luck had abandoned Farad many years ago and he was resigned to his miserable life.
One night, Farad had a dream. He imagined himself walking into the desert, deeper and deeper into its depths. And somewhere, within the burning sands, he stumbled upon a piece of luck. When he awoke, he remembered only the very basics of the dream. He could not recall what he had discovered within the desert. He only knew that it would bring him much luck.
So that morning, he took a couple botas of water, some dried fruit and left Tor. He headed into the desert, walking with no particular destination in mind. He simply kept walking in one direction.
It was hot that day, as nearly always, and it did not take long for Farad to regret his expedition. Though he tried to conserve his water and food, he knew it would be insufficient if he continued heading deeper into the sands. He began to feel like a fool, trusting in a silly dream.
Yet the dream had possessed such a sense of solidness, of reality. Thus, he pushed on, trying to ignore the heat and his growing thirst. He refused to consider that he might not survive the day. He would see his dream come to fruition. He would accept no less, though doubt would slowly seep into his mind.
Ahns passed, and Faradís water supply was now gone. He trodded very slowly through the sands. He felt about ready to collapse, to lay down and let the wind swept sands eat away at his dry flesh.
It was at that moment that he spied a glint of yellow metal in the sands ahead of him. He chuckled, assuming it was a mirage. But he went toward it anyways.
It seemed to take another Ahn for him to reach the spot where the metal glinted out of the sands. He reached down and found that it was a brass object, buried beneath the gritty sand. He began to dig, to uncover this golden treasure.
When he was done, he had uncovered an ancient brass lamp, its lid sealed in wax. He could not read the writing on the side of the lamp as he was illiterate. But he knew the tales of such lamps.
Such lamps sometimes contained djinns, spirits of the desert. They could be good or evil, dependent upon the circumstances. They deserved respect for their great power and were muchly feared in the Tahari. Sometimes, if you freed a djinn from its prison, such as this lamp, they would be grateful and grant you a wish. Other times, the djinn would simply be in a rage once it was released and kill whomever was near. Thus, opening such a lamp could be very dangerous.
Yet Farad had nothing to lose. He would soon die in the desert as his water was gone and he did not know the location of any nearby oasis.
So he broke away the wax on the lampís lid and then opened it.
Nothing happened for about ten Ihn and then the lamp suddenly flew out of Faradís hands. A hazy humanoid figure materialized from within the lamp and loomed over Farad. The figure stood twice as tall as Farad and seemed to block out even the sun. Farad dropped to his knees, praying his death would be quick.
Then, in a booming bass, the figure spoke, ďYou have released me from a very long imprisonment. I am eternally grateful for your benevolent action. In gratitude, I shall offer you one wish. What is your heartís desire? Only speak the words and it shall come to pass.Ē
Farad was speechless. He had found his luck, just as in the dream. But, now what should he wish for? What was his heartís desire?
Great wealth? A roomful of gold tarns and sereem diamonds? A house full of such riches? Was there anything he could not obtain with such wealth? Such wealth would bring him much power. He could purchase himself entrance into a High Caste. He could own one hundred of the best kajirae in the Tahari. He would never have to work again in his life. He could purchase himself a good Companion and afford to have many children. Faradí mind reeled with the possibilities. It seemed so limitless. Why would anyone wish for anything else rather than money?
But another thought insinuated itself into his mind, sliding past the greedy thoughts of gold and gems. Thoughts of the start of his ill luck, the misfortune that began twenty-two years ago. And the fact that all the wealth on Gor could not set that matter right.
Faradís father, Hossain, had also been a waterseller. As had his father before him, and his fatherís father as well.
Hossain had been a stern man, but ultimately fair. Yet, Farad had not seen any fairness twenty-two years ago. Farad had been a brash young man and desirous of becoming a Warrior. He was mesmerized by the glory and heroism of the stories he heard about the Warrior Caste. His father had tried to dissuade him from this dream. That had made Farad only more obstinate and determined to be a Warrior. Farad smiled, thinking of the folly of youth. The arguments had grown quite heated and one night, Farad had erupted in vehement anger. He lashed out at his father, spewing vile insults and telling his father that he hated him. Farad left his home that night to stay with a friend.
The next morning, Farad felt terrible about his battle with his father. He regretted all that he had said to him. He did not hate his father. He truly loved him. So, Farad returned home to apologize to his father and to accept any punishment that was deemed necessary.
He waited all day, waiting until his father would return from work. But, Hossain did not return that day. Farad soon learned that his father had been stabbed to death by thieves that day. The thieves had stolen maybe 20 tarsk bits from the water seller. And the culprits were never apprehended.
Farad lived with great guilt. To have his last encounter with his father be such a wretched display of ingratitude was almost too much to bear. That was the start of his life of misfortune. Nothing ever went right after that day. Farad remained as a water seller and lived a miserable existence. He never forgave himself for all the hate he left his father as Hossainís final memory of his son.
Farad, with tears streaming down his sandy cheeks, looked up at the hazy form of the djinn. ďI know what I want. I wish to have ten Ehn with my father so I can beg his forgiveness.Ē
ďSo be it.Ē Proclaimed the mighty spirit.
And with a thunderclap, Faradís father appeared before him, looking the same as he did on the last night Farad had seen him.
Farad bowed his head, apologizing profusely to his father, espousing his love for him. Farad could not have been more humble or sincere.
And his father forgave him. And he said that he had never harbored ill will toward his son, knowing it was simply youthful stubbornness that had fueled Faradís words. He had always known of Faradís love through his actions and words. That single argument had not changed his opinion.
Hossain went over to his son, lifted him to his feet and father and son embraced. An Ehn later, Faradís father vanished.
Farad smiled now, feeling true wealth surge through his veins. ďThank you.Ē he told the djinn.
Even the djinn was touched by Faradís wish. The djinn knew Farad was in a dire situation. He could see that Farad would not last much longer in the desert. So, he enveloped Farad within his hazy body and flew through the skies.
Farad was speechless as the djinn transported him across the desert, soaring faster than any tarn. Within an Ahn, the djinn had deposited Farad just outside the walls of Tor. The djinn then vanished.
Farad rushed into the city, headed toward his home. He heard some jingling within his pouch, a pouch that should have been empty. Curious, he reached into his purse and began removing gold tarns. He found ten in all. He stood there in amazement.
Tears of joy now freely flowed as he rushed once again home.
It was time to start anew, to live again. The balance had been set right. The guilt was gone. Farad could not have been any happier.