Posts Tagged ‘Moroccan carpets’

The Moroccan Carpets

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

It was in the Kasbah of Casablanca. Mohammed, the guide, led Jack and Jill up some narrow staircases into a large hall full of colorful carpets with intricate designs hung up on the walls, placed around on the floor, with smaller ones in piles here and there.

Jill took some photos, Mohammed vanished.

“Please sit down and enjoy a cup of tea,” said Abu Hamza, the manager of the shop.

Jack and Jill were served mint tea in tiny glass cups placed on a small decoratively carved wooden octagonal table by a servant wearing a djellaba, introduced as Mustafa.

A long discourse by Abu Hamza ensued, with carpet after carpet from large to small in sizewise descending order being presented by Abu Hamza.

Mustafa would dutifully carry each carpet and place it on the floor in front of Jack and Jill so they could inspect and admire it, while Abu Hamza detailed its history and how many years it took one or several dedicated women to make it.

The carpets started at 5,000 dollars, dropping in price until Jack and Jill decided on a small carpet, so as not to offend Abu Hamza – after such a fine presentation of Moroccan carpets being placed and neatly folded before them by Mustafa.

“We accept all credit cards, shipping anywhere in the world,” said Abu Hamza proudly.

“We’ll take that one for 150 dollars, in cash,” said Jack, Jill nodding her head vigorously with a silly smile.

“Inshallah, as you wish,” bowed Abu Hamza.

“As a special token to you, our honored, cash-paying guests, if you can work out a riddle, I will give you a superb 200 dollar carpet that it took Habiba two years to make,” offered Abu Hamza.

“We will gladly listen to your riddle,” said Jack, pulling out a notebook and pen.

“This is the riddle: Once, there were five Moroccans who had a total of 200 carpets. Previously one of them had had 12 times as many carpets, another had had three times as many, still another had had the same, yet another had had half and even another had had a third as many – at both times all carpets totaling 200. How many carpets did each of the Moroccans have previously and later?” said Abu Hamza with an enigmatic smile.

“We get the idea, Abu Hamza,” said Jack, having taken some notes. Jill pulled out a calculator.

“I’ll give you ten minutes to think about the answer to this riddle,” said Abu Hamza. “Please enjoy some more Moroccan tea.”

Jack and Jill worked out an answer to the riddle by trial and error, and were happy to be able to walk out of the shop with a neatly folded carpet under Jack’s arm.

Mohammed, the guide, suddenly appeared again to lead them to a ‘very interesting’ silver jewelry shop.

Can you work out the answer to Abu Hamza’s riddle?