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Folktales

The Compass and the Conscience Afghani Story

One day Abu-Chan passes in the market. He sees a group of people very excited circling the honored merchant Abu-Issa.

He wants to know what it is all about. He comes closer and sees that Abu-Issa holds a strange instrument in his hands: A round box with transparent cover and inside one can see a dancing needle. Each time you turns the box, the needle stays still in its place and keeps the same direction.

Look, Abu-Chan, says Abu-Issa, I found this box in one of my journey, but no one here can tell me what it is. May be you, Abu-Chan, famous by your wisdom can explain to me what did I find?

Abu-Chan looks, looks, turns it from one side to other side and then he does a strange thing: he begins to cry and then hr laugh and then cries again and one more he is laughing and the people around get crazy what happens? Why he behaves like this?

At last someone rises and ask: Tell us Abu-Chan why are you crying?

Why I am crying? I cry because of you and your stupidity! Look how many people have gathered here and there is not even one that can tell the name of this box and to what for one can use it. You should be ashamed of yourselves! This is the reason to my crying.

Well, people around feel not comfortable, feel ashamed. He is right, Abu-Chan. We are all stupid, only he is the one the wise one that can explain

But suddenly another man rises and asks: Wait a moment. You told us why you are crying, but you did not tell us the reason to your laugh?

Abu-Chan stops talking. He stays still for a long time and everyone waits to here his answer.

To tell the truth I laugh, says Abu-Chan, Because I also, have no idea what is the answer

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Remark: In Hebrew the words Compass (Matspen) and Conscience (Matspun) come from the same root.