[WISE Sayings, all of instructional value; and, in the right context, both attributable & useful to (ta-da!) The Sufis (and their individual students) — edited by Benny Raymond]
“HE Who cleans after a King is a better man than that King.” [A saying of the qadiriyyah dervish order of Morocco — BR]
THE Historical origins of this adage are a real surprise and it is interesting that, unlike most “wise sayings,” this one can be traced back to an original speaker! Exegesis allows us also to observe the companion-process of condensation, in which the meaning-kernel is shown forth the more clearly.
IN The beginning of the twentieth century the Norwegian Oscar Mosby from Kaupang set sail for Minneapolis, where he had a “yob” lined up downtown as “yanitor” at Central Lutheran Church with his brother-in-law, the boilerman Chet Johnson. There was a dreadful winter gale in mid-Atlantic, the steamship lost its screw and all were blown far to the South where they were stranded and their vessel broken to bits on the rocky Moroccan coast below Tangier. [Readers must remember that the Maghreb in fact is on the latitude of the Carolinas — BR] It was a time of disorder in that country in the period just before the sheik of the Riff Mountains, ar-Raisuni, was to kidnap the American Pericardis and give President Teddy Roosevelt a cardiac episode.
THE Stranded sailors and their passengers were all rounded up and spirited inland and up into the Riff by way of Khemmiset by one of ar-Raisuni’s cavalry squadrons. There they were thrown into the henhouse and banged up in the knick, and as mugs and sailors and suspected secret Christians they all toiled guiltily under the lash — but not Oscar Mosby!
ON Account of his fair hair, ar-Raisuni had him put into the harem as janitor, where he emptied out things and swept by day and toiled by night to impregnate several of the concubines. Ar-Raisuni, already famous as a breeder of barbs, now aspired to be a breeder of men and he coveted Mosby’s fair hair in his bloodlines!
AFTER Several pleasurable months has passed with no apparent result apart from clean floors and smiling concubines — Mosby said after, “It WASS more fun than swamping out vid the Lut’erans, by yee!” — he confessed shamefacedly to a bad case of childhood mumps to ar-Raisuni, whom he thought to be his friend now that he had taught the mountain sultan several ways of cheating at pontoon.
THE Volatile ar-Raisuni [whose name in some accounts is spelt ar-Raisuli, by scholars — BR] had Oscar Mosby flung into a dungeon and brought out only to clean. For spite the sultan used to spit sunflower seeds into the carpets and throw things on the floor especially often whenever Mosby came toiling past with his mops and bucket.
FINALLY Deliverance came to Mosby when this particular castle of ar-Raisuni’s was overrun by a band of hardened Sufis [the qadiriyyah dervishes, viz — BR] who were sore because ar-Raisuni for several years now had not paid his magic- & bee- & genie-keeping fees. It was then that the grateful Mosby is reported to have whistled away happily to his liberators in what sounded no doubt to those Berber holy men like his funny American accent, and saying to the Great Sufi and leader of the gang, the shaykh [(tr) ‘Magnetic Pole of the Aeon,’ eg — BR] Aboo Kedheeb:
“AY’LL Tell yew DISS by God…duh feller who pickss up all duh time after one of dese here God damn Sultan-sonssuffbitchess ISS a lot better man AND a Hell of uff a lot LESS uff a NUISANCE den DAT asshole vill EFFER be! Iff ay wass YEW fellerss ay’d lock duh dirty basstard up in wun uff HISS own dungeons — vun wid some SNAKESS in it…!”
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[16 August 2007]