The Tale of Badruddin Al-Burtuqaali and the Old Beggar
I wrote this story a few days ago for my children. Then I thought it would be good to render it into verse.
Departed for market to buy
His mother a measure of barley.
The light of the evening sky
Did match Badruddin’s little turban
And shalvar to such a degree,
It made Badruddin very happy,
As happy as happy can be.
Now, tucked in the folds of his turban,
Two pieces of copper as price,
And one citrus, juicy and golden,
For serving his mother so nice.
And over his shoulder he slung
A sack of the finest black leather,
While praise of the prophet he sung
In thanks for the summertime weather.
Then when to the market he came,
The shop of the grocer he sought,
And with the two pieces of copper,
A measure of barley he bought.
A barley-filled sack on his back,
Proceeding to whence he had set,
Good Badruddin Al-Burtuqaali
Reached up to his turban to get
The orange, he peeled it with speed,
And broke off a wedge for a bite
When all of a sudden before him
He witnessed a sorrowful sight:
A wretched, old beggar he spied,
Outstretching his wrinkled old palms,
In voice almost cracking who cried
His plea for the smallest of alms.
Good Badruddin felt for the man,
And thought he should give him his snack,
When voices inside him began
To speak to the boy with the sack:
Badruddin, Badruddin, one said,
The orange is yours, if you please,
The beggar will get for his bread
What God the Exalted decrees.
The little boy nodded, It’s true,
And almost devoured a wedge,
Then heard what he already knew
That helped him withdraw from the edge:
Badruddin, Badruddin, It’s true
That God feeds us as He may please,
But know He commands us to do
The kindnesses only He sees.
The little boy nodded, It’s true,
And fell into thought very deep,
Just thinking what he was to do
To, peace, with these two voices keep.
The words of his parents did seem
To help with refining his thought:
When faced with two choices extreme,
The path in the middle be sought.
So Badruddin Al-Burtuqaali
Sat down with the poor old man,
He set down his black sack of barley,
And acted his sweet little plan:
One half of the fruit he retained,
And gave to the beggar the other,
Who joyed for this friendship so gained
In such an unlikely brother.
And as Badruddin ate his share
The beggar looked on with a smile,
And ran his hand over the hair
Of what was a beautiful child.
And when the boy parted his lips,
The beggar would diligently
Collect in his hands all the pips
Which made Badruddin smile with glee;
This went on till done was the half
And twenty-three pips counted true,
Oh, how it made Badruddin laugh
To see what the beggar did do:
He dropped every pip in his hand,
All into the black sack of barley,
And joined in a laughter so grand
With Badruddin Al-Burtuqaali.
Then up little Badruddin got
And started back onto his way
He had not gone far when a thought
Descended and made him to stay.
The beggar had not eaten once
Which played upon Badruddin’s mind,
He turned back but found the man gone
Though left he his portion behind.
Then Badruddin ran home with speed,
Recounted it all to his mother
Who marveled at his noble deed,
Kissed him on one cheek, then the other.
She bid him to offer his prayers,
Then opened the sack he had brought,
And while Badruddin made ablution,
She emptied it into a pot;
And out poured in texture of barley
A measure of gold shining bright
Mixed with little Al-Burtuqaali’s
Three and twenty orange pips, white.