Letter: ENA 2558.30a

Letter ENA 2558.30a



Letter from an unidentified sender, in India, to an unidentified addressee, in Fustat. In Judaeo-Arabic. Dating: Likely 12th century. This fragment begins cryptically: "...and he prays to God day and night to deliver him from you (pl.). His character is not unknown to you—that he does not like anybody to rely on him—for you brought him up and know him best, and he is fair in his dealings. He commutes (yatarakkaḍ) from Malabar to Ceylon and his goods are in Aden every year. His aim is to exchange(?), hopefully, and leave, but there is no escaping failures (ijāḥāt). This is not unknown to you. If you can be patient until such time that he leaves, then good, and if you want your goods (sooner), simply send him a letter in your hand, and he will give them to whomever you tell him. The slave (= I) asks from your beneficence to send the account...." When the letter resumes in the margin, it refers to a quantity of several thousand buhārs (likely the total number of bales carried in the Kārim fleet at the time of the writing of the letter); something which is not readily found in India; and mace (basbās). The letter continues on verso with a "ḥasbī Allāh"; a report on the price of clove; the sender says he didn't go out to Aden this year, but rather sent a bit of lac with Yūsuf b. Abū l-Munā. (This could also mean that he *only* went out to Aden this year with a bit of lac with Yūsuf but that makes less sense.) If Yūsuf is now in Fustat, the addressee should help him send the sender's goods, "for I know that you are good to foreigners." Regards to various people, including Ibrāhīm. Information in part from Goitein's description in his notes to India Book VI, 50 (unpublished). OZ, AA, ASE