الْعُلْبَــــةُ الْمَسْحُــــوْرَةُ

الْعُلْبَــــةُ الْمَسْحُــــوْرَةُ

The Enchanted Case

The following Arabic short story is an abridged one. It is from a series of long stories which Kamil Kilani wrote. The original text is in a more advanced Arabic. This version is a simplified one.

Image source: Hindawi Foundation for Education and Culture

كَانَ صَادِقٌ وَلَدًا كُتُومًا، وَكَانَ يَخَافُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَيَتَوَقَّعُ الْشَّرَّ دَائِمًا؛ فَأَصْبَحَ الْنَّاسُ يُنَادُونَهُ بِالْجَبَانِ.

Sadiq was a reserved boy, was afraid of everything, and was always expecting evil. Therefore, people came to call him the coward.

كَبُرَ صَادِقٌ وَأصْبَحَ مُوَظَّفًا فِي أَحَدِ الْمَصَارِفِ. عَرَفَ زُمَلَاءُ صَادِقٍ فِي الْمَصْرِفِ أنَّهُ جَبَانٌ، فَصَارُوا يُنَادُونَهُ بِالْفَتَى الْجَبَانِ، وَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنْهُ. كَانَ صَادِقٌ يَحْزَنُ مِنْ سُّخْرِيَّةِ زُمَلَائِهِ لَكِنَّهُ لَمْ يَتَكَلَّمْ.

Sadiq grew up and became an employee in one of the banks. Sadiq’s colleagues in the bank knew that he was a coward. So, they started calling him “the coward young man” and were making fun of him. Sadiq became sad because of his colleagues’ mockery, but he did not speak.

وَفِي أَحَدِ الْأَيَّامِ، خَرَجَ صَادِقٌ مِنَ الْمَصْرِفِ حَزِينًا وَجَلَسَ قَرِيبًا مِنَ الْنَّهْرِ، بَعِيدًا عَنِ النَّاسِ. فَكَّرَ صَادِقٌ فِي خَوْفِهِ، وَفِي سُّخْرِيَّةِ زُمَلَائِهِ. سَمِعَ صَادِقٌ صَوْتَ شَيْخٍ يُنَادِيهِ فَالْتَفَتَ إِلَيْهِ. قَالَ الشَّيْخُ: لِمَاذَا أَرَاكَ حَزِينًا يا بُنَيّ؟

One day, when Sadiq left the bank, he was sad. He went to sit near the river and away from people. Sadiq thought of his fear and his colleagues’ mockery. At that moment, Sadiq heard a voice of an old man calling out to him, so he turned to him. The old man said: “why do I see you sad, son?”

أَحَسَّ صَادِقٌ بِطُمَأْنِينَةٍ كَبِيرَةٍ فَأَخْبَرَ الْشَّيْخَ بِقِصَّتِهِ. اِبْتَسَمَ الْشَّيْخُ وَقَالَ: لا تَحْزَنْ يا بُنَيّ!

Sadiq felt a lot at ease, so he told the old man his story. The old man smiled and said: “don’t be sad, son!”

أَعْطَى الْشَّيْخُ صَادِقًا عُلْبَةً مُغْلَقَةً، وَأَخْبَرَهُ أنَّهَا مَسْحُوْرَةٌ، وَأَنَّهَا تَجْعَلُ الْجَبَانَ شُجَاعًا بِشَرْطِ أنْ يُبْقِيهَا مُغْلَقَةً وَإِلَّا بَطَلَ سِحْرُهَا.

The old man gave Sadiq a closed case and told him that the case was enchanted and that it would make the coward courageous provided that he left it closed; otherwise, its magic would be inoperative.

سَأَلَ صَادِقٌ الْشَّيْخَ عَمَّا فِي دَاخِلِهَا. قَالَ الْشَّيْخُ: تَعَالَ بَعْدَ عَامٍ مِنَ الْيَوْمِ وَافْتَحْهَا لِتَعْرِفَ، لِكِنْ اِنْتَبِهْ أَنْ يَعْرِفَ بِهَا أَحَدٌ.

Sadiq asked the old man about what was inside the case. The old man said, “come in a year’s time as of today and open it to know. But be careful that someone knows about it.”

خَبَّأَ صَادِقٌ الْعُلْبَةَ فِي جَيْبِهِ وَشَكَرَ الْشَّيْخَ وَعَادَ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ مُرْتَاحًا.

Sadiq hid the case in his pocket, thanked the old man, and satisfyingly returned to his house pleased.

شَعَرَ صَادِقٌ بِالْقُوَّةِ وَالْشَّجَاعَةِ فِي جَسَدِهِ. أَصْبَحَ صَادِقٌ وَاثِقًا بِنَفْسِهِ وَبِقُوَّتِهِ وَشَجَاعَتِهِ. دُهِشَ زُمَلَاؤُهُ مِنْ تَغَيُّرِ حَالِهِ وَنَسُوا صَادِقًا الْقَدِيْمَ، وَصَارُوا يَحْتَرِمُونَهُ وَيُعَامِلُونَهُ مُعَامَلَةً حَسَنَةً.

Sadiq sensed strength and courage in his body. He became confident of himself and of his strength and courage. His colleagues became astonished at the change of his situation and forgot the old Sadiq. The Colleagues started to respect him and treat him well.

وَذَاتَ لَيْلَةٍ، انْتَبَهَ صَادِقٌ أَنَّهُ نَسِيَ سَاعَتَهُ الْثَّمِينَةَ فِي الْمَصْرِفِ، فَقَرَّرَ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ إِلَى الْمَصْرِفِ لِيَأْخُذَهَا.

One night, Sadiq took notice that he had forgotten his expensive watch in the bank, so he decided to go back (to the bank) to collect it.

وَصَلَ صَادِقٌ إِلَى الْمَصْرِفِ وَأَخْبَرَ الْبَوَّابَ بِقِصَّتِهِ، فَفَتَحَ لَهُ الْبَوَّابُ البَابَ لِيَدْخُلَ. وَجَدَ صَادِقٌ سَاعَتَهُ، وَقَبْلَ أّنْ يَخْرُجَ سَمِعَ صَوْتًا. أَنْصَتَ صَادِقٌ لِلصَّوْتِ. عَرَفَ صَادِقٌ أَنَّ فِي الْمَصْرِفِ لُصُوصًا. أَسْرَعَ صَادِقٌ وَأَخْبَرَ الْبَوَّابَ. اِتَّصَلَ البَوَّابُ بِالشُّرطَةِ فَجَاؤُوا وَقَبَضُوا عَلَى اللُّصُوصِ.

Sadiq arrived at the bank and told the doorman about his story, so he opened the door for him (to enter). Sadiq found his watch. And before he left the bank, he heard a noise. He listened to it carefully. He knew that thieves were inside the bank. He hurried and informed the doorman. The doorman called the police who came and arrested the thieves.

عَادَ صَادِقٌ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ مُرْتَاحًا. تَأَمَّلَ صَادِقٌ الْعُلْبَةَ الْمَسْحُوْرَةَ وَقَالَ: بِفَضْلِكِ أَصْبَحْتُ شُجَاعًا!

Sadiq returned to his house pleased. He looked at the enchanted case and said, “thanks to you, I became courageous.”

كَافَأَ مُدِيرُ الْمَصْرِفِ صَادِقًا؛ أَمَّا زُمَلَاؤُهُ فَقَدْ دُهِشُوا مِنْ شَجَاعَتِهِ وَمَدَحُوهُ.

The bank manager rewarded Sadiq, while his colleagues were astonished of his courage and thus praised him.

كَانَ صَادِقٌ يُفَكِّرُ فِي سِرِّ الْعُلْبَةِ الْمَسْحُورَةِ؛ فَكَّرَ أَنْ يَفْتَحَهَا لَكِنَّهُ تَذَكَّرَ الْوَعْدَ، فَانْتَظَرَ حَتَّى يَمُرَّ عَامٌ كَامِلٌ.

Sadiq was thinking about the secret of the enchanted case. He thought of opening it, but her remembered the promise. So, he waited till an entire year had passed.

وَبَعْدَ أَيَّامٍ قَلِيلَةٍ، ذَهَبَ صَادِقٌ إِلَى الْنَّهْرِ. عِنْدَ النَّهْرِ، قَابَلَ صَادِقٌ الْشَّيْخَ فَسَمَحَ لَهُ بِفَتْحِ الْعُلْبَةِ. عْنْدَمَا فَتَحَ صَادِقٌ الْعُلْبَةَ، رَأَى بِدَاخِلِهَا صُورَةً لِنَسْرٍ. أَسْفُلُ الصُّورَةِ كُتِبَ:

(الْسِّحْرُ لَيْسَ فِي الْعُلْبَةِ. السِّحْرُ فِيكَ أَنْتَ عِنْدَمَا تَكُوْنُ شُجَاعًا وَوَاثِقًا بِنَفْسِكَ!)

A few days later, Sadiq went to the river. At the river, Sadiq met the old man who allowed him to open the case. When Sadiq opened the case, he saw a picture of an eagle inside it. Below the picture was written: “Magic is not in the case. Magic is in you as long as you are courageous and self-confident!”

Notes:

  • The use of كَانَ:

(1) كَانَ صَادِقٌ وَلَدًا كَتُومًا.

(2) كَانَ يَخَافُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ.

(3) كَانَ يَتَوَقَّعُ الْشَّرَّ دَائِمًا.

(4) كَانَ زُمَلَاؤُهُ يَسْخَرُونَ مِنْهُ.

(5) كَانَ صَادِقٌ يَحْزَنُ مِنْ سُخْرِيَّةِ زُمَلَائِهِ.

(6) كَانَ حَزِينًا.

(7) كَانَ صَادقٌ مُرْتَاحًا.

(8) كَانَ صَادِق يُفَكِّر فِي سِرِّ الْعُلْبَةِ الْمَسْحوْرَةِ.

(1)    In (1), (4), (5), (6), (7), and (8), كَانَ precedes a nominal sentence جُمْلَة اِسْمِيَّة. The function of كَانَ in these sentences is to change the tense from present مُضَارِع to past مَاضِي.

(2)    In (2) and (3) كَانَ precedes a verbal sentence جُمْلَة فِعْلِيَّة. The function of كَانَ in these sentences is to change the tense from present (continuous) to past continuous. That is, كَانَ indicates that the action was continuous in the past.

(3)    The nominal sentence الجُمْلَة الاِسْمِيَّة always expresses a present fact. To make it express a past fact, we simply add كَانَ to the beginning.

(4)    When كَانَ is added to the beginning of the verbal sentence, it becomes a nominal sentence because the subject of كَانَ becomes the subject مُبْتَدَأ and the verb becomes the predicate الخَبَر (i.e. a verbal predicate خَبَر جُمْلَة فِعْلِيَّة).

Kareema Hussain
I really enjoyed reading this story and it has helped me to understand the grammar rules in these sentences. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to benefit from these stories; May Allah reward you for your work!
Lulu
I didn't like the story itself, but still, it was helpful. Thank you so much!

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