Post-classical history

§ A Man Foretells his own Death by a Hornet-Sting

[105] I once saw something else like that. At Shayzar there were two brothers, called the Banu Majaju. One was named Abu al-Majd, the other Muhasin, and they were renting Bridge Mill for eight hundred dinars. Near the mill, there was a slaughtering-place where the butchers of the town used to kill sheep and where hornets would swarm because of the blood. One day, when Muhasin passed by the mill, a hornet stung him. He suddenly went stiff, his ability to speak left him and he seemed on the brink of death. He remained that way for a bit, but then he regained consciousness and for a while afterwards stopped going to the mill. So his brother Abu al-Majd chided him, saying, ‘Brother, we’ve got this mill for eight hundred dinars and you won’t even look over it or check it out! Someday we’ll be short on our rent and we’ll both die in prison!’

At this, Muhasin exclaimed, ‘You just want another hornet to sting and kill me!’

And the next morning he went to the mill, where a hornet stung him, and he died.

Thus may the most harmless things kill if your allotted time is up, and an omen may employ speech as its agent.185

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