Stories from Home Series: Moroccan Folklore
Updated: Jan 18
"Oh" by Nora ElMahboub Chentouf (ESOL L1)
A man had married a widow whom he loved very much. She had a son from her first marriage. The boy lived with them but wasn't happy because his stepfather hated him.
One day the woman cooked Pastela, a sweet dish, for the family, but the stepfather decided that the boy wouldn't try it for no obvious reason. When they were going to sit down for lunch, his stepfather asked him to go shopping. "Go run to the market," he ordered, "and bring some bread, figs, and an "Oh."
The boy bought bread and a kilo of black figs and then began to search for the "Oh".
He was mocked every time he went into a store to ask for one.
Fearing his stepfather's wrath, he did not dare to return to his home.
He was walking through the streets of Medina when he met three children who had found a scorpion.
They were having fun taking their fingers as close as possible to the insect and quickly removing it. Their vicious play was on when one screamed, "Oh".
"Here is what I'm looking for," the boy said to himself.
The children gave him the scorpion without any fuss in exchange for a coin. The scorpion was as black as figs. The boy put it in the bag with the fruit and returned home very satisfied.
"I hope you brought what I asked for," the stepfather enquired.
-Did you also bring the "Oh"?
-And where is it?
-There, with the figs.
"Well, I don't see it," replied the man, looking into the bag.
-That's because it's the same colour as the figs or because it is under them.
Intrigued, the stepfather decided to empty the bag. He reached inside, picked up a fig, and put it on the table. Then he picked up another and did the same.
The moment he introduced the hand into the bag for the third time, the scorpion stung him.