Folk Tales from Kashmir

Table of Contents

  About the Author
  The Precious Present
  The Devil Outwitted
  Just a Nickname
  The Son-in-Law
  Eh! Oh!
  The Inauspicious Bride
  Himal and Nagrai
  The Haunted Mosque
  The Intruder
  The Burglar's Gift
  The Two Thugs
  The Patwari and the ...
  The Upstart
  Two Brothers
  The Merciful Burglar
  The Clever Lawyer ...
  Counting Ripples
  The Fugitive Fawn
  The Mortal Utensils
  The Hydra-Headed
  The Physician's Son
  The Professional Wedding ...
  The Village Teacher
  The Opium Smokers
  The Drone
  Telltale Narration
  Download Book

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chapter 16

The Clever Lawyer and the Cleverer Client

Once upon a time there lived a clever lawyer named Ghulam Mustafa Khan. He had a roaring business, for he had the reputation for finding a solution to the difficulties of all his clients. His name was familiar to all those driven to litigation and courts. It was shortened to Musa Khan and to Musa in colloquial language.

One day his attention was drawn to a client who was unduly humble. He seemed to be much oppressed and miserable. He stated his business to the lawyer, sobbing. He was a petty shopkeeper and was the only breadwinner of a large family. His business had failed and he had been obliged to seek a loan. He had paid a considerable sum by way of interest but could not cope up with the loan and the amount had been accumulating. He had been threatened with dire consequences if he failed to discharge his debt promptly.

According to the law in existence then, the creditor could get a decree and have the property of the debtor attached. The debtor in this case had no other property except his house and what he dreaded most was to be forced out of the house after the creditor had it auctioned in conformity with the decree. He requested the lawyer to save him from this fate. He painted such a mournful picture of his difficulties that the lawyer, even though used to such accounts, was really moved with commiseration. Musa Khan put several questions to his client who told him that the sum he had repaid by way of interest exceeded the principal borrowed. Musa Khan was satisfied and

asked the client to meet him in the court of the Qazi.

Just before the parties entered the court Musa Khan took his client aside and talked to him for a few minutes. Soon after, the creditor and the debtor were called into the presence of the Qazi. "What is your plaint?" the latter beckoned the money-lender who gave details of the sum owed to him by the shopkeeper. "What have you to say to the charges against you?" said the Qazi to the shopkeeper. The latter twitched the lapel of his tunic but said nothing. The Qazi repeated the question louder to which the shopkeeper replied, "Kapas!"

"What do you say?" asked the Qazi.

The shopkeeper repeated "Ka-p-as!"

The Qazi wrinkled his brow and was about to say something in a stern voice when Musa Khan stepped in and said, "My lord the poor man standing yonder is.... "


"Innocent and falsely charged."


"He knows nothing about the matter and has never borrowed money from this man."

"Kapas, kapas."

"He has lost his wits and is in fact stark mad."


"What does he mean by saying 'Kapas'?" asked the Qazi. "Kapas."

"My lord! my client was a merchant in cotton trade. He invested a lot of money in this trade, purchased a great quantity of cotton and stored it in godowns waiting for a favourable rate at which to dispose it of. While he was dreaming of a fortune of...."

"Kapas! "

"My lord, while he was dreaming of a fortune running into lakhs he heard the news that his godowns had been burnt down to ashes. Since then he has been raving."

The Qazi was so impressed that he dismissed the suit of the money-lender and discharged the shopkeeper.

Outside the court the lawyer approached the client saying, "Are you satisfied now? You have been relieved of your worry."

"Ka-pas!" retorted the shopkeeper.

"Come on, let me have my fee now," demanded Musa Khan.

"Ka-p-as!" said the other.

"You don't mean to teach your grandmother how to hatch eggs!" said the lawyer.

"Kapas! kapas! "

"Let me have my fee, you villain."

"Kapas! "

Musa Khan saw into the whole business: he had been beaten with his own stick. He gave him a slap and shouted to the bystanders, "He is hoisting Musa with his own petard of Papas!"



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