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In the decades before Kuwait struck oil, we had many old markets. Some of these still exist, while others have vanished and ceased to exist. These include 'Wajef' (standing), Harem (women), Ibn Duaij, Jatt (fodder), Meat, Fish, Vegetable, Tin, Blacksmiths, Charcoal, Water, Dates, Al-Mojel, White, Jews, Inner, Besht (cloak) and Mugasees markets.

The Mugaseess market is one of those that are not needed anymore. It used to convene following the Asr (evening) prayers on Fridays and lasted till sunset. Etymologically, the word 'mugasees' means destitute people who usually sold furniture or household items they owned to make some money to tide for themselves and their families. In addition, many stolen items were usually sold in this market, where people could make prized bargains and buy things cheaply.

In 1935, the late Amir Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah gave my late father, Mohammed Saleh Al-Ojairi, a piece of land in Salhiya (the location of Salhiya fire station nowadays), where we built a house, a mosque and another house as an endowment annexed to the mosque. One day at noon, worshippers preparing for prayers found that a pulley used to pull water out of a well was missing. They reported the theft to my father, who asked if they had seen the thief, but none of them had seen him and they failed to describe him.

"I will bring it back to you before sunset," he told them with his usual sure words and wit. The people thought he was going to buy a new one for them, but to their surprise, just before sunset, he brought them back the very same pulley. "How did you get it back?" they asked. "I simply bought it very cheaply from the thief himself at the Mugasees Market," my father told them! - Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa

By Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi