Father of Rugs


Just as a rug is made out of patterns and the patterns form the rug, a story is made of the story it tells. I've been talking to the French/Israeli artist and programmer Ariel Malka, searching for a project for us to collaborate on and he sent me the story (retold after the story below.) I took its patterns, its shadows, the echoes of its telling and wrote another story which is a shadow story and the shadow of the original story. It appears above the story below the story that it is. 

Father of Rugs  

My father, my ancestor, was kidnapped by shadow. Late in the afternoon, a shadow crept through the window and lay like a carpet on the floor. My father bent down to examine it for though he was a master rug maker, he did not know how to weave darkness. 

As soon as he touched the floor, he was taken, where we did not know. My father was a clever man and over the years of his disappearance, learned the secret of weaving shadows. And so, though he never returned, my sisters, my brothers and me, our children, and our grandchildren, learned also. We saw our father’s patterns stretched across the road, in long shadows near the end of day, the dark woven into his name.


I adapaed the above from the the following old Jewish folk tale (retold through Bard and ChatGPT as prompted by Ariel Malka):

In the bustling city of Aleppo, Rabbi Elbaz was a master rug maker and a wise sage. One fateful day, a greedy rug seller kidnapped him, forcing him to weave rugs in captivity.

Under the watchful eye of the cruel rug seller, Rabbi Elbaz hatched a plan. He secretly wove a message into a beautiful rug, pleading for help. When the rug seller displayed it in his shop, a wealthy merchant bought it, captivated by its design.

At home, the merchant discovered the hidden message and immediately alerted the authorities. They stormed the rug seller's hideout, liberating Rabbi Elbaz.

Grateful for his rescue, Rabbi Elbaz changed his family name to "Abuhatzeira," meaning "father of rugs." He went on to become a renowned rug maker, forever indebted to the merchant's act of kindness.