That evening, when Ahmed handed her his wages for the day, she said, “Look at these few measly coins! I won’t put up with this any longer. Tomorrow you’ll sit in the marketplace and be a diviner!”
“Jamell, are you insane?” said Ahmed. “What do I know about fortunetelling?”
“You don’t need to know a thing,” said Jamell. “When anyone brings you a question, you just throw the dice and mumble something that sounds wise. It’s either that, or I go home to the house of my father!”
So the next day, Ahmed sold his shovel and his pick and bought the dice and the board and the robe of a fortuneteller. Then he sat in the marketplace near the public bath.
Hardly had he gotten settled when there ran up to him the wife of one of the King’s ministers.
“Diviner, you must help me! I wore my most precious ring to the bath today, and now it’s missing. Please, tell me where it is!”
Ahmed gulped and cast the dice. As he desperately searched for something wise to say, he happened to glance up at the lady’s cloak. There he spied a small hole, and showing through the hole, a bit of her naked arm.
Of course, this was quite improper for a respectable lady, so Ahmed leaned forward and whispered urgently, “Madam, I see a hole.”
“A what?” asked the lady, leaning closer.
“A hole! A hole!”
The lady brightened. “Of course! A hole!”
She rushed back to the bath and found the hole in the wall where she had hidden her ring for safekeeping. Then she came back out to Ahmed.
“God be praised!” she said. “You knew right where it was!” And to Ahmed’s amazement, she gave him a gold coin.
That evening, when Jamell saw the coin and heard the story, she said, “You see? There’s nothing to it!”
“God was merciful on this day,” said Ahmed, “but I dare not test Him on another!”
“Nonsense,” said Jamell. “If you want to keep your wife, you’ll be back in the marketplace tomorrow.”