I was walking along the street on my way to see a friend when I
noticed something sparkling in the grass of the verge. I picked it up to take a
closer look. A bracelet, which seemed to be gold, a pattern of entwining hands,
encrusted with turquoise and what I thought might be rubies. Good, I thought,
Ill sell this. Just as Id decided to be my usual dishonest self, a
woman ran down the road towards me. She looked around frantically then turned
to me, desperation in her face, and asked,
Have you seen a bracelet?
I gripped the bracelet tight in my fist, determined not to give
I tried to say no, but the word stuck in my throat.
I felt the bracelet burn in my hand, and she glanced at my fist
and back to my face. Her eyes narrowed. The bracelet wanted honesty.
Yes, and against my natural instinct I showed her
what I had found.
Joy blew her panic away. Oh my bracelet, she
exclaimed, and took it from me.
It must be worth a lot, I said, it looks like
Its not the intrinsic value. It's sentimental. My
husband bought it for me. When I saw it in a jewellers, I fell in love with it.
It said buy me. I dragged my husband to the shop. When the manager took it from
the window, he said, this was my daughters. It was given her by the
Caliph of Baghdad. She went to Egypt for a holiday but she was kidnapped by
some kidnappers. Theres a lot of them in Cairo. As they were bundling her
into a car they were seen by one of the Caliphs servants who took a
photograph and showed it to the Caliph who immediately fell in love with my
daughter, Anna was her name such a sweet little thing and he
instigated a search and found my daughter bound and gagged in a carpet
warehouse near the port.
After she spent some time in the Caliphs palace and
God only knows what happened to her there she was always an adventurous
girl, if you know what I mean he gave her this bracelet, and said,
My mother gave this to me and she said, One day you will be the
Caliph of Baghdad, and you will need this bracelet because it will protect you,
but only if you have pure thoughts. Be warned; if you think badly of anyone or
allow anger or jealousy or bitterness into your heart, the bracelet will mirror
your thoughts and fate will turn against you, and my daughter took the
bracelet and the Caliph told her, the bracelet brought me great fortune
and my kingdom expanded, but one day I caught one of my wives with a courtier.
Enraged I had her whipped then beheaded; her lover was drowned in pigs
urine. Two weeks later my kingdom collapsed when the revolutionaries took power
and I was deposed and forced to seek sanctuary in Egypt.
My daughter loved the bracelet but was wary of it, though she
always had good luck she was such a sweet girl she married and
had children oh youve never seen such grandchildren as I have
but her husband left her and she wished him a nasty death. The very next
day he was crushed by a machine at work. Shortly after that she developed awful
headaches. She saw all kinds of specialists but no one knew what was wrong with
her. Just before she died she gave me the bracelet and said, Sell this to
someone honest, or throw it away.
A breeze lifted paper from the street. The brakes of a bus
screeched. The woman looked at me.
And even though we knew its history I so loved the
bracelet my husband bought it for me, and weve both had an idyllic life
together. Without a trace of anger or suspicion or jealousy. But tell me, you
wanted to keep the bracelet?
No no, I lied.
She looked at me suspiciously.
I think you did,
Then she walked away without even a thank you, and I wished
Id kept it.
As she was crossing the road she turned to give me a look which
said, I hate you.
At that moment she was hit by a car which scraped her body 30
yards along the tarmac.
I thought of rushing to her quickly and tugging the bracelet
from her hand, but I realized Id never had a pure thought in my life,
what the hell would the bracelet do to me?