Stories & Tales
Ibrahim Pasha and the Door

Ibrahim Pasha was the governor of Palestine from 1831 to 1840, when the country was under Egyptian occupation. One day, he happened to be in Jaffa, when a certain goldsmith came to him, com¬plaining that his shop had been burgled in the night. In a loud voice the man demanded justice and said: "While we were under the shadow of the Sultan, I never lost a thing. But now, with you Egyptians who talk so much about good government, I have lost half my livelihood in just one month! It is a shame to you and a great loss to me; and I think that for your own honor, you owe me compensation."


"Very well, I take the responsibility," said the Pasha in some amusement. He then sent a crier through the streets calling upon all who loved strange sights to be at the gold¬smith"s shop at a certain hour next day. As the appointed hour arrived, the street in front of the shop was packed with people. Ibrahim Pasha appeared, attended by his officers and the public executioner. He first harangued the people on the virtue of trustworthiness, saying that the Egyptian Government was determined to administer the strictest justice, and to punish, without partiality, the slightest breach of trust, even if it was committed by an inanimate object. He turned to the door of the shop and said: "Even this door shall be punished for failing in its duty, which is to keep out thieves, unless it tells me who it was that passed it last the night before and stole things out of the shop."

The door giving no answer, and Ibrahim Pasha ordered the executioner to administer one hundred lashes with his kurbaj, his whip.

When the punishment ended, Ibrahim again demanded of the door to speak, saying that, if it feared to utter the name aloud, it could whisper it in his ear. He put his ear to the door as if listening to its confession, then jumped away and laughed in scorn: "This door talks nonsense. Executioner, another hundred lashes! "

After this second beating, he listened again to hear what the door had to say, while the people murmured and shook their heads and rolled their eyes, being quite certain now that Ibrahim Pasha was rather crazy.

"The same stupid tale," Ibrahim cried despairingly after listening to the door. "It will persist in telling me that the thief is present in this crowd of honest people and still has some dust and cobwebs from the shop on his tarbush." At that a man was noticed hurriedly brushing his fez off with a handkerchief. The Pasha, on the watch for some such action, had him arrested. He proved to be the guilty party, and was punished.