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By Jeanne Hersch

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How so? ’ ‘I tell thee that I have acted in accordance with command and as I willed. Thou didst order me to guard him as I would my soul; now I love my soul so much that I wish it to suffer for others. Thou didst think to make an end of Khabiboula in torture, but I cannot bear others to be tormented. ’ ‘Yes,’ the Tatars whispered, ‘we cannot hurt him. ’ 47 THE LEPER AND THE MISERLY WOMAN One day the leper came out from the forest with his dogs. He had been hunting. He was oppressed by the heat.

If a woman is left behind by her husband who goes away to perform a religious duty or to be a hermit or for some other pious activity, she must wait for him for eight years. If he leaves her in order to become a scholar and to gather learning, she must wait for six years. If he leaves her to earn money, becoming a merchant or sailing abroad, she must wait for ten years. If he leaves her just to find a [new] wife, she must wait for three years. Now, when the husband does not send his wife money, she is allowed to marry some other man.

I am king of this forest, and I shall eat you, because it is of your own free will that you ‘let me go to appear before me. ’ ‘Sire,’ said Big-Club, Lake Tanganyika, and when I come back, I will give you a large animal to eat. ’ ‘You are deceiving me,’ replied the lion, ‘how could you catch a large animal? You will never be able to take the water of Tanganyika from the crocodile, who is its undisputed master. The crocodile will eat you. ’ Big-Club vowed solemnly that he would bring both the water and a large animal.

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Birthright of Man: An Anthology of Texts on Human Rights by Jeanne Hersch


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