They arrived at their father's without knowing him or being known by him. The wife and the man who had espoused her also came to the King to make complaint. When they arrived the wife went alone that night to the palace. The prince sent for the four tolba to pass the night with him until morning. During the; night he spied upon them to see who they were.
Black slaves on either side brush away the flies with their white clothes, soldiers await to do his bidding, he is permitted to make a request to the true Sultan, and our Master has open ear and full hand for the tolba, who kept the Moghreb from the Unbelievers, the inheritors of the Fire, against whom Sidna Mohammed has turned his face."
The governor of Marrakesh had given the lucky king one hundred dollars in cash, thirty sheep, twenty-five cones of sugar, forty jars of butter, and several sacks of flour. This procedure is peculiar to the Southern capital. In Fez the tolba kings collect taxes in person from every householder. The talib's petition to the Sultan had been framed on a very liberal scale.
I arrived in Marrakesh just too late to witness the reign of the talib, but I heard that the successful candidate had paid thirty-two dollars for the post a trifle less than five pounds in our money, at the rate of exchange then current. This money had been divided among the tolba.
He asked for a home in Saffi, exemption from taxes, and a place in the custom-house. The Sultan had not responded to the petition when I left the city; he was closely beleaguered in Fez, and Bu Hamara was occupying Taza, the ancient city where the deed of the tolba had first instituted the quaint custom.
"Then the Father of the Faithful, the Ever Victorious," continued the True Believer, "decreed that the tolba should have a festival. And every year they meet in Marrakesh and Fez, and choose a talib who is to rule over them. The post is put up to auction; he who bids highest is Sultan for a week.
If thou could'st see our tribe When all the horsemen charge a hostile band, Armed with bright lances and with shields to break The enemy's strong blow! Those who are like To them are famed afar and glorified. They're generous hosts and men of nature free. Within the mosques they've built and lodgings made For tolba and for guests.
On the three following mornings the men of the deceased's house would attend by the newly-made grave, in company with the tolba, and would distribute bread and fruit to the poor, and when their task was over and the way clear, the veiled women would bring flowers, with myrtle, willows, and young leaves of the palm, and lay them on the grave, and over these the water-carrier would empty his goat-skin.