Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/203

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

The Great Feast in Morocco. 173

of the house to give money for the funeral, telling him that otherwise they will leave the body where it is ; and the money demanded is paid and given to the manager. All the Jews and Jewesses disappear from the scene, and the Christian ambassador enters with his Moorish servants, who are carrying copybooks, keys, and a chair, on which he sits down. The courier now brings him some letters, which he opens and reads, then calling for a mule, which is brought in by one of his servants. When he mounts it, it falls down and dies. The groom summons the Jew from whom the animal was bought, and shouts to him, — Zerga mdfet^ ("The grey [mule] died") ; but, as the Jew is very deaf, this is shouted several times into his ear, and even then he does not hear what is said until the groom yells it out close to his posteriors. After the usual payment is made, all these people retire, the tabbdlin strike up a tune, and the dancing boys enter and begin to dance. Their fees, consisting of small silver coins, are stuck with saliva on their foreheads, as is the custom of the Jbala, and are afterwards taken by the manager of the play. The per- formance has now come to an end, to be repeated at another house.

Much more simple was the play performed at the Great Feast in the garden occupied by me during my stay in Fez. Late at night I was visited by a party consisting of an " old man," with a mask of sheepskin, two " women," three musicians, — two of whom had a bendir (small tambourine) and one an dgwal (short clay cylinder with skin), — and a small crowd of men who lined themselves up in a row and with rhythmical clapping of their hands accompanied the music of the little band and the dancing of the old man and the two women. This performance was arranged by immigrants from the surrounding country, who were living in cottages {mvdil) in the same quarter of the town.

As regards the origin of the masquerade at the Great Feast, I was at Marraksh told the following story : — After