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The Nefarious Beastie - Norman A. Rubin
It is related there occured at the passages of the age and of the moment in the Kingdom of Khufar the enactment of a heroic and historic point of jurisprudence. One that was inscribed in the Book of Judgement for all jurists to marvel at its just proceedings, fully in praise and faith in the court of that land.
It was the trial of a diabolic flea that infested the fair body of Princess Zubadia during her sleep. The girl was the plump daughter of Lady Budur, the queen of the realm and first wife of King Umar the Great. The nefarious flea had jumped onto fair Zubadia's rippling belly and reached her jewelled navel. It coursed down twenty-three centimeters on its track, paused for a moment or two at the valley of roses and then lodged between the cheeks of the princess's ample bottom. Then, in one delicious bite of delightful flesh, the nasty flea caused the young girl to spring up wide awake, carrying both her hands to the seat of her pain.
“Her bottom quivers and trembles,
Though of fine and solid flesh,
The hot touch pains it…"
On the twenty-first day after the treacherous act the trial of the diabolic flea was held in the ornate divan of the palace. There at the hearing, witnesses were called forth to tell all from the moment of the bite by the flea to the princess’s bottom to its capture and imprisonment.
The walls of the court of judgement were of white marble hung with brilliant blazonary. Satin cushions were spread on tiled floor covered with the plush of Persian carpets for the comfort of the court officials and learned spectators. At the center of this magnificent room was the ivory throne of the king set on a dias of marble and inscribed with Kufic script underlined with small precious stones.
Chamberlains, wazirs, khadis, nobles, and other fair minded persons of the law were gathered on the comfort of the cushions and talking this and that on the coming proceedings. They were dressed in the robes of their varied offices; some were crowned with turbans to indicate their higher status. Six willowy slaves, with long handled fans of ostrich feathers were above the men of judgement cooling the air with the movement of their fair arms.
Suddenly the trumpet call was heard announcing the arrival of King Umar of Khufar followed by his trusted wazir Jaffar, the cup bearer and two trusted companions to the divan. The royal personage walked tall in his stance, which proclaimed he was master of armies, of slaves and a great following.
His regal poise bore the symbol of right and power of his reign over the lands he governed with justice among men; the peoples of the lands respected him and showed their loyalty to regal rule. The king's handsome bearing was inscribed aptly with the pen of poets:
King Umar was robed in a splendid robes and his crowned turban was jewelled with a bright red ruby encirled by small diamonds. Jewelled rings flashed from his slim fingers, and a necklace of gold centered with a large diamond adourned his neck. Musks and aloes perfumed his presence that added to his regal countenace.
He stepped with might on his curved satin slippers onto the dias and then mounted the throne; a trusted companion placed damask cushions about him for his comfort. A diaphanous dressed slave, whose body was slim as a reed, was near the king with a waving fan of ostrich feather: she gave fair sight to her slender body as she cooled the air above the king.
Then there was silence in the divan. All eyes were on this mighty sultan. The words from his saintly lips, “let the divan commence,” proclaimed the opening of the proceedings.
Four qadis of the divan were called foward; their robed bearing were bent in the wisdom of age and their wizened bearded features were etched in the solemnity of their office. They made obeisance to King Umar and stood patiently near the ivory throne to hear the proceedings in order to render their just and wise verdict.
Jaffar the bearded wazir, robed in severe brown came foward. He made obiesance to the king and addressed the jurists and proclaimed the order of law in the coming proceedings. Then in a loud and commanding voice he called out, "bring in the prisoner”.
With a fanfare of trumpets two half naked Nubians dressed in red pantalons and crowned with red turbans, entered the hall, escorting the prisoner; their gleaming sharp scimtars were shouldered and ready in defense. A robed chamberlain was between then carrying a silver tray with small glass container, the cage holding the prisoner, namely the flea. The procession moved to a small table in front of the eyes of the king and his wazir; with proper ceremony the chamberlain place the silver tray on the white covered wood. The official, together with the Nubians, then made obeiance to the king and departed quietly from the presence of the divan.
Jaffar looked sternly with a baleful eye at the glass container and with a stern finger pointed at the nefarious beastie. The flea, off course, was not bothered by this accusing member; he simply hopped about and at times climbed the glass walls. The vizier faced his king and in a clear voice that could be heard by all the jurists began his deliberation.
The astute and wise wazir repeated the charge against the nefarious interloper, the caged flea. He reminded them that this beastie had dared to enter the fair body of Princess Zabadia. He told how the odious creature had lodged in the cleft of her sweet buttocks and hurt her most severely.
“Between the bottom of the young,
Now I give freedom to my tongue.
A gulf is fixed,
To approach is suave incense."
Jaffar continued in his deliberation, "her fright and call of pain alerted her nurse and three loyal harem slaves. When they entered the chambers of Princess Zubadia they saw a terrible sight by the light of their candles, beyond all immagined things. The princess had torn her chemise from top to bottom without shame to her naked plump body. She was scratching desperately her reddened skin most painfully and beating her fair bottom amid storms of plaintive sobs.
"The three fair slaves and the goodly nurse calmed the distraught princess and proceeded to search the cause of her pain. The probed and hunted through the scented dimpled skin around her body. Only when the princess lay on the rippling flesh of her belly that the nefarious beastie was found nesting between the ample but sweet cheeks. A Circassian slave, fair as the moon, had clasped her fingers on the dastardly flea and placed it in a coloured glass, which she quickly covered with a small napkin. Her faith, I must explain, rules out the killing of living beings without fair judgement..
"Hear my worthy king and my learned collegues that this beastie of a flea, the curse all that lives, caused wicked grief and shame to our fair Princess Zubadia. The felonious behavior of this flea demands the highest punishment of the realm, and that would be the fine cut to its head by the scimtar in a public ceremony.
“Better, sweeter to die
Than deal in treachery!"
A murmer of approval ran through the jurists as they leaned back in their comfort as they argued this that on the merits of Jaffar's opening accusing words. The wave of the jewelled fingers of the king stopped the buzzing of talk. Then with another wave an wizened elder in the brown robe of law stepped forth.
The wise jurist bowed low and made obesiance to King Umar. He turned and bowed to his learned compatriots. Then in a steady and calm voice he began his rebuttal. "Since the court of judgement had appointed me a procurator for the poor flea in these proceedings, I will try to explain to the divan how the charges put foward are null and void.
"To begin with, I confess that my client had been treated as the worst criminal known throughout the divan. The flea has been summoned to explain his behavior but he lacks the human tongue to offer his defense. I shall, in all humility, to utilize my speaking tongue to act as service for the silence of his tongue.
"I will state in the first place that this divan lacks the right jurisdiction to try the defendant and the decree of guilt has no validity as the accused does not possess the reason for its discretion. Since my client is flea, a pure beastie that only acts from instinct, so he was not liable for that so-called dastardly act.
" In the second place it is written in the annals of the rules of the divan that a writ for attendance at the court of judgement, must not only be issued, but delivered to the accused by a mesenger of the court. The divan has no proof that this writ for appearing at the court at this day was delivered or even accepted by the beastie. The flea was simply caged, guarded by men at arms and brought forcefully to the divan. Therefore, in fair judgement and legality this tribunal did not apply the de facto rulings inscribed by emininent wazirs and kadis of the past sainted years.
"Thus, in my final argument I will state that these proceedings are contrary to the natural laws of the Most High who created all living beings that walks, flies, swims and swims upon the earth after his kind, the highest and the lowest. From whence came this tiny creature, the flea, whom this divan has flung its might. Who created it? Yes, my honoured king and learned colleagues, the creator of all living flesh.
"Therefore it is not right from the divan to pass judgement on this poor soul as a defiler of the flesh of Princess Zubadia. The flea was created in the blessing of the creator. It was in his right to burrow of his choice and to eat the blessed fruit. Thus the beastie made his habitation in the enchantment of abundance between the fruitful bottom of the princess, however pestilent and harmful it may seem to mankind.
“My honoured king and my esteemed colleagues, I will make a final plea. I declare, without prejudice, that the beastie, the flea, be declared innocent. But if it is proved that there was only discretion on its part, the flea should receive a lesser punishment.
Then the esteemed kadis were called forth to render their verdict. They put their heads together and after a many minutes of deliberation, pro and con, the leader proclaimed, "The arguments offered by Jaffar, the wazir was delivered with much force and learning that it was truly remarkable. The arguments put foward by the counsel for defense calls for great and serious thought. We have taken both deliberations in all seriouness and have come to a just verdict.
The khadis continued in their summation, "Therefore, in passing sentence on this beastie, the flea, we have noted its nefarious crime, which a suitable punishment should be
decreed. But, we have taken in consideration that the creature be of the blessed work of the creator. Thus in merciful judgement, we recommend that the flea be banished without delay from the kingdom. That it be refrained in the future upon the sharpness of the scimtar from entering the royal chamber of Princess Zubadia and nesting in the cleft of her royal bottom."
Here the scripted words ended without giving details in carrying out the sentence of banishment...
Norman A. Rubin