Fortune Teller



Sixty years ago, one hot summer’s day, I was playing with other kids in our yard. My father with his guests was in the guest room; my stepmother and the women were in another room, and I had found an opportunity to play with boys. Girls were with the women. We had already had our lunch. Usually in the summer, people after lunch took a nap in the afternoon, so everywhere was silent except our home where we were playing noisily. Suddenly we heard someone shouting in the alley. Discontinuing playing, we became calm, and we were all ears. There was a man’s voice, shouting: “Fortune teller! Fortune teller! “


My father called me and ordered me to invite the fortuneteller in. So I went to the alley, invited the man in, and led him to the guest room.


The boys who became curious came in after me. We all went in the guest room, and sat in the corner to see what was going on there.


My father offered him a cup of tea. He added some sugar to it, and began to drink. Meanwhile my father and our guests asked him about his health, questions that he answered formally.  Then he began bragging about his job. He had found the thief of a certain rich man, or caused someone to reach her lover, and so on.


Then they asked the fortuneteller to tell the fortune of a lady under a veil who sat in a small room adjacent to our guest room; its door opened to the guest room. (All the women at that time were under veil when the men were present.)


“What is your name?” asked the fortuneteller.

“. . . , answered the lady softly.” (1)

“How old are you?”

“. . . , answered the lady gently.” (2)


Then the fortune teller began telling her fortune:  “Two weeks ago, or two months ago you were sick and God healed you. You have a baby and I see you will give birth to three more babies, two boys and one girl . . . “


He talked and talked and talked.


When he finished telling the fortune of the lady, suddenly the lady stood up, came in the guest room and took her cover up. I was astonished. SHE was my uncle from my father’s side! A young man with a beard that nobody could accept would give birth to three babies plus one before, four!


The audience including me burst into laughter. The charlatan fortuneteller who was disgraced jumped on his feet to go out, but my father and his guests tried to comfort him. They offered him another cup of tea and some cookies, and when he cooled down they gave him some money and accompanied him to the door, and asked him to forget about their joke.


I went to the alley and saw him running. When I came back to the guest room, both the adults and children were still giggling.


That caused me to study about omens, fortunes and divining by means of a book and I found that those who pretend telling the fortune of the people could be classified only in different categories of charlatans. I have never paid a penny for them!


(1) At that time they didn’t name the women loudly in front of men, and she told her name so gently that I didn’t hear it.
I don’t want to reveal this lady’s secret.



M. H. Zahraie

July 29, 1997


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