THE FOOLISH WEAVER 125
All that day and all the next night he walked, and at length he came to a village where a great many weavers lived together.
'You are welcome,' said they. 'Eat and sleep, for tomorrow six of us start in search of fresh wool to weave, and we pray you to give us your company.'
'Willingly,' answered the weaver. So the next morning the seven weavers set out to go to the village where they could buy what they wanted. On the way they had to cross a ravine which lately had been full of water, but now was quite dry. The weavers, however, were accustomed to swim over this ravine; therefore, regardless of the fact that this time it was dry, they stripped, and, tying their clothes on their heads, they proceeded to swim across the dry sand and rocks that formed the bed of the ravine. Thus they got to the other side without further damage than bruised knees and elbows, and as soon as they were over, one of them began to count the party to make sure that all were safe there. He counted all except himself, and then cried out that somebody was missing! This set each of them counting; but each made the same mistake of counting all except himself, so that they became certain that one of their party was missing! They ran up and down the bank of the ravine wringing their hands in great distress and looking for signs of their lost comrade. There a farmer found them and asked what was the matter. 'Alas!' said one, 'seven of us started from the other bank and one must have been drowned on the crossing, as we can only find six remaining!' The farmer eyed them a minute, and then, picking up his stick, he dealt each a sounding blow, counting, as he did so, 'One! two! three!' and so on up to the seven. When the weavers found that there were seven of them they were overcome with gratitude to one whom they took for a magician as he could thus make seven out of an obvious six.
(From the Pushto.)