tagHumor & SatireMay I Borrow Your Rope, Hodja?

May I Borrow Your Rope, Hodja?


With a "tip o' m' hat" to the first generation of my Lebanese-American relatives who taught me the family legends, I offer a short tale about a man being polite to a friend, his love for a good woman named Yasmine, and Yasmine's trust in her good husband, Hodja.

"Let people laugh at you as long as there are people in the world capable of laughter! We hope never to see a world inhabited by people incapable of laughter!" -- Murat Hikmet, 1959


One day Hodja had completed his chores and was returning to his house when his neighbor, Shaheen, approached him, greeted him with a smile and asked "May I borrow your rope, Hodja?"

Hodja thought for a moment before he said "I have to ask my wife. Will you wait outside while I go into the house and check? She may not be dressed to receive a guest."

Shaheen agreed to wait. In a few minutes Hodja returned with a sad expression on his face.

"I am sorry, Shaheen," he said, "My wife is in the kitchen, as naked as the day she was born, and she is rubbing flour on my rope."

"Rubbing flour on your rope?" said Shaheen. "Why in the world would anyone rub flour on a rope?"

"Shaheen," said the older man, "does any man understand women? Do you understand your wife? I have been married to this woman for forty-five years and of only one thing am I sure: When she is doing something I do not understand it is best to leave her alone! I am truly sorry, but I cannot loan you my rope."

Shaheen nodded his head, thinking of his own dear wife who surprised him daily with some new mysterious behavior. "Well said, Hodja; indeed, I do not understand women either. Thank you anyway, perhaps Mustapha will loan me his rope."

The bid each other blessings and Shaheen headed toward Mustapha's house. Hodja proceeded back into his home.

Yasmine was indeed stark naked in the kitchen, with Hodja's rope on the table before her and a bowl of finely sifted flour. Gently and lovingly she took small handfuls of the powder and rubbed it onto the rope, an inch at a time. Hodja paused to admire her body, as if he had married her only yesterday, for in truth he loved her more today than upon their wedding night. He did not see the long white hair that hung down her back in a long pigtail to tickle her arse, or the fat bottom that had doubled in size since the birth of their first child. He saw with his heart the bride who had laid aside a green wedding gown, green for fertility and good fortune, to dance for him forty-five years ago.

Hodja quietly walked around the table with his eyes fixed upon Yasmine. She was aware of his eyes climbing up her thighs to the soft fur over her nether parts, but she knew Hodja better than he knew himself; a good wife should always be modest, but never ashamed to be naked for her husband. The pubic hair she once shaved off for him so diligently now bloomed as white as the flour on the rope and neither husband nor wife cared.

His eyes carefully examined her belly, soft from the birth of seven children, and drooping with age, and her large soft breasts that had invited his kisses and then fed his babies. He might as well have touched them, for she felt his eyes as if they had been his hands when her breasts bounced as she moved. She knew that she had nothing to fear from younger women, for Hodja's heart belonged to Yasmine. It would certainly take a while, but he would satisfy her in bed tonight!

"Hodji," said Yasmine, using the familiar form of his name, "in forty-five years I have learned that when you tell me to do something that sounds utterly foolish, I should trust you, do as you say and ask you to explain it later. So now, my Habbeeb, tell me why you wanted me take off my clothes and put flour on your rope."

Hodja picked up a towel and took his wife's wrist. She offered no resistance as he began to wipe the flour from her fingers.

"Yasmine, I do truly love Shaheen as if he were my own brother." He took her other hand and wiped it gently, then laid the towel down and put his arms around her waist. She reciprocated by curling her arms around his neck and looking into his twinkling eyes. "But," Hodja continued, "I didn't want to loan him my rope because he always forgets to return the things he borrows!"

Hodja felt Yasmine's body began to move before he heard her start to giggle like a school girl. Her laughter became infectious, and he began to smile, then to laugh as her bare belly began to rub against his clothed body. She pulled him into a kiss but it was almost impossible to hold their laughing lips together, so she pulled back from him, raised her hands over her head and began to dance between his arms to a song only she could hear. Hodja removed his arms from around her, to give her room to spin.

Yasmine began to sing aloud and Hadja clapped his hands in time to her chant. The old couple's house was full of joy as the red beams of the sunset lit the kitchen with a warm, romantic light.

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