Saturday, June 9, 2012

Magic Carpet - Day Nine

Persia, 1892, Handmade 100% Silk

While in Saudi Arabia the first time, Alex got to experience cultural tours of the area where he was stationed.

He was wandering down an alley in the old section of the Kingdom when he saw oriental rugs piled in the doorway.  He peeked in and saw a man who called out to him in Arabic.  Alex answered in English "Good morning!".  The man came forward out of the shadows to see Alex more clearly.

He asked Alex in good English where he was from and when Alex replied California, the man was thrilled.  "But no! I went to school at the University of California at Berkeley!"   The Arab put out his right hand and introduced himself "Sayid Ali" and Alex shook the proffered hand and gave his own name.  Sayid invited Alex into the shop.

There were two rooms, the front room was full of modern oriental  rugs, and the smaller room in back was where the antique rugs were kept.  Sayid offered Alex tea and began to talk about the wonderful rugs hung on the walls and scattered on the floor and on the tables all over the room.  Some of the rugs were over 1,000 years old and in remarkable shape.  Alex was taken with the gorgeous colors and the intricate designs of the rugs. More out of curiosity than desire to buy he asked the price of one particularly beautiful rug and Sayid converted the money into US dollars and told him "$73,000.00".  Gulp!

They sat and drank tea and talked for a while about life in California, about the heat in Saudi Arabia, and about the beautiful architecture in the old quarter of the ancient Saudi Kingdom.   Sayid was married and had 5 children.  His two eldest sons were currently attending University in England.

Finally, Alex said that although he would love to purchase an antique Persian rug, Sayid's merchandise was really out of his price range.  Sayid inclined his head and said "I have something I'd like to show you.  It's small, handmade of silk, and it dates back to 1892.  It's quite a special piece."

Sayid opened a drawer and pulled out a small rug, about 24 inches square wrapped in a soft muslin material.  Alex said it was very beautiful and Sayid laughed.  "That's not the half of it my friend", Sayid commented.  "This rug has some properties that are not readily apparent."  Alex asked "Oh, is it a magic carpet?"  They both laughed .  Sayid said "No, friend, there are no magic carpets, but this rug has an interesting pedigree.  It was originally a gift for a small child born of important ancestry and woven into the silk there are threads for beautiful dreams."  Alex looked slightly dubious.  "I don't understand." Alex said.  "But it is a beautiful piece.  I think my wife would love it."  He asked Sayid the price and Sayid again converted the amount into dollars.  "It is $2,500."  Alex said that might be too much but it was something quite appealing.

Sayid said "I'll tell you what, Alex, you buy the rug and take it with you.  Tonight you place the rug on your pillow when you go to sleep.  If you do not have the most beautiful dreams of your life, bring the rug back to me tomorrow and I'll give you back $2,500 and another $200 for your trouble."

Alex never saw Sayid again.  But he brought home the rug.  I had it framed and it hangs on the parlor wall of our house.

One day when I'm in real need of a beautiful dream, I'm sleeping with it on my pillow.

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