One Good Year's Ass And Sure Man's Pass

One day Nassredin the Hajji, down a lane and past a rail,Walking, caught in so much wonder one rich sight, beyond the pale:In a rich man's yard an ass foal gaudily bedecked was, all,Clad in very gaudy harness gold embroidered and preparing for a day's big festival – Tasseled fringes all bejeweled framed the splendid ass attireAs the beastly back bedecked was with a flower-blossom fabricAnd the reins were wrought all over with a rim of precious wireResting on eiderdown matting with a puffed up pillow rubric;At its head a servile servant fanned the beast, the heat dispersing;All this while the rich man posted on his distant porch recliningIn delight beheld the creature's leisure from his leisured hookah smoking.Nassredin, at this, quite timely, on the spot took ready action Close came to the creature's baldrick, fondling it lost in attraction,Like a child that's drawn in fondness by the lamb's sweet youthful beingHe embraces yonder ass foal kissing all its hairy head.The rich man was filled with pleasure at such fondling and caressingAnd enquired of the fondler, "Do you dote on my pet ass foal?""Ay i'faith I do so, keenly! An' he's worth my rightful loveFor the qualities so lavish but for speech he's yet short of"; "Oh, I say!" the rich man quoted – "Has an ass tongue rightful speeches?""Yes it has, it does so," Hajji said, "providing he's with me to be apprenticed!One good year bespeak him to my oratory school anonAnd I'll make him talk amazing well in very many tongues.""Oh, no use, by golly," said the rich ass owner"Don't school him in many languages at once – It will do to teach him to discourse in language that I use myselfPlus another four one's foreign tongues to make him Shifting changeful speaking, best to give in public out my private elf.""Strike a deal, then, shall we? Let us bargain over'tAnd you let the ass foal me to take alonger' home where I do dwell.""So that you instruct him," said the richard swearing, "I think it is well.Ask your price for schooling my pet ass so sober!""Let's agree you'll pay me one good hundred gold coins from the royal mintHalf of it to start with, bargain with no stint.T'other half you'll give me six full months from nowWhen I come to test him, proving good my vow;So that each ascertains you don't spend your moneysOn just whims, but rather on such schooling asEverybody praises and revers so far." The rich man took Hajji's word so much to heartThat he counted spritely half the sum to start,Giving orders plenty to his Hajji house straight to takeThe ass foal, and to take good care nothing he should want:Sending him his matting, eiderdown and pillow for the love's own sake,With the heat dispensing servant there and allAnd the wish to teach him wonders of the speaking art,Promising provender, victuals so tender monthly by allowance So he shall not want none, but be held in plenty.After all these clauses were writ down by parlanceThen the scholar ass foal was sent forth with Hajji. When the Hajji's woman had well spread his tableWaiting to partake of food and of his sight,Having watched the entrance, saw him coming straight,With the gaudy ass foal through the door and stable.Wondering and squirmish she apostrophizes: "What now, my good husband?" – to the coming twain.He extends the woman all the gold coins mintedAnd explains the details of how come he has it,By a well struck bargain wheresomecomeaboutFor one half the year as agreed and wanted."Have you lost your senses?" quoth she looking Hajji straight into the eye,"What on earth has prompted you to make him speak?Are you bent on cheating others from todayOnward – to defile our lives by sin so weak?""Be at peace good woman," quoth he and then winked,"I'm in luck this moment, having one hoodwinked.As they say so rightly: 'During one good year starting from tomorrowMuch will change and many hats remain depleted!'After the departure from this vale of tears of some mighty fellowWho can tell whose hat will bereaved be, hollow?Whether mine or t'other's whom I cannot tell,Having passed my scholar maybe off to hell?"Using such conjectures and yet further wordsNessradin just managed his wife to appease making good all hopes... (poetry issued in 1853 in a first edition)

by Anton Pann (1794-1854)