There once lived a prince by the name of Ahmed. He was the son of the imam of Sana, the capital of Yemen (also called Teiman). He was a uniquely charismatic and kind young man and the citizens of Yemen adored him. The Jewish community, led by the tzaddik Chacham Bashi, also had a very close relationship with Prince Ahmed.

Once a year, Prince Ahmed would travel with a special entourage to the Jewish Quarter. The Jews would leave their homes dressed in their finest clothing and sing the prince’s praises as they tossed flowers at the hooves of his white horse. It was a grand sight.

A relationship of peace and understanding existed between the imam, Prince Ahmed, and the Jewish people. Then tragedy struck and shattered the peace, putting every Jew in Yemen in peril.

 

It all began with an evil man named Qazima. His real name was Yasin, but most people did not even know that. He was nicknamed Qazima, which means midget, because he was so small and round. He was the smallest of the Imam’s advisers, but he had the biggest ego of them all.

Every day, Qazima would squint his tiny black eyes and glare at the imam’s closest and dearest adviser, a Jew named Yair the Wise One. A fire of jealousy burned inside him as the imam whispered into Yair’s ear, constantly relying on the Jewish adviser to guide him.

“I’m so sick of seeing our beloved imam trusting that Yahud instead of us!” Qazima hissed to another one of the imam’s advisers one day.

Iihday, my friend,” Yusef, the other adviser, replied with a smirk. “Perhaps the imam would speak to you more if he could see you!”

Kun hadyaan!” Qazima screeched. “You think it’s all a joke? I swear to you that one day the imam will replace all of us with Jewish advisers! We have to change the imam’s perception of the Jews. We need to do something big.”

“I’ll admit that watching Yair become the imam’s favorite doesn’t sit well with me,” Yusef acknowledged as he folded his arms across his chest. “But what can we do?”

“Leave that to me, Yusef!” Qazima whispered conspiratorially. “I already have a plan. Astamae! All you have to do is speak to the royal event planners. Convince them to switch Prince Ahmed’s annual visit to the Jewish Quarter to this coming Tuesday. I’ll take care of the rest of the details.”

“Isn’t this Tuesday the Jews’ holiday of Purim?” Yusef asked, scratching his head in confusion. “What’s your plan, Qazima?”

“To turn their day of joy and light into a day of fear and darkness!” Qazima cackled. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 714)