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li wrenched the blindfold off his face and gasped at the sight before him. Glimmering coins piled as high as the ceiling lay scattered around an old cellar.

            “Begin sorting the coins into piles based on their type,” the rich man ordered. “I’ll return for you in the evening. If you do a nice job, I will pay you as much as you would make working for an entire week in your little bakery! When all the coins are sorted, you will fill out ledgers calculating all of the worth combined.”

            “I won’t let you down!” Ali promised.

            “Jayid. Good,” the rich man said, as he left the room and locked the door behind him.

 

Ali worked for his mysterious employer for the next three weeks. Every day the rich man came to him and once the blindfold was in place they would set off for the secret destination where all the money was hidden.

            Life was just beginning to look up for Ali when suddenly the rich old man stopped showing up. Ali thought perhaps the next day the man would return for him, but it never happened. Swallowing his bitter disappointment, Ali went back to operating his old bakery.

            For two weeks Ali trudged slowly to work early each morning and returned with his head down. And then one day, something extraordinary occurred.

            As Ali was making his way through the local marketplace on his way to work, he spotted a soldier making an announcement from atop a massive black horse. Nobody walking by seemed to be too interested in what he was saying.

            “...only 50 dinar! That’s all the kingdom is asking! Remember, the money from this auction goes straight to the King’s coffers! Allah will bless you for supporting our ruler!” the soldier called in vain to the uninterested passerby.

            “What about you, sayidi almuhtarm?” the soldier called to Ali as he neared. “Today could be your lucky day! How can you resist an offer of only 50 dinar?”

            “Alhamd lilah, fifty dinar is about all I have left to my name!” Ali responded without so much as a glance in the soldier’s direction. “Whatever it is you’re selling, I can’t afford it.”

            “Ach! I’m never going to sell this ugly old hut!” the soldier groaned to himself as Ali walked away. “I don’t blame anyone, either. Who would want to spend money on a random little house at the edge of the city that some old man died in two weeks ago?”

            A trickle of excitement ran up Ali’s spine and he quickly turned and walked back to the soldier.

            “How long ago did the owner of this house die?” Ali asked.

            “Exactly two weeks ago. The man living inside the house left no inheritors, so his property fell into the hands of the city officials,” the soldier replied. “But why would you care?”

            “Don’t sell the house to anyone!” Ali begged the soldier. “I’m running home to retrieve the 50 dinar!”

            “Have you lost your mind?” the solider yelled as Ali raced away. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 712)