The following excerpts are from A Survey of the Turkish Empire by William Eton, published in London in 1798.
The first story is a parody about corruption:
An Arab who had hired out his camel to a man to travel to Damascus, complained to a Kadi, on the road, that he [the traveler] had overloaded his camel; the other [the cameleer] bribed the Kadi. What has he loaded it with?” asks the Kadi – the Arab answers, “with coffee, moffee; sugar, mugar; pots, mots; sacks, macks,” et cetera, going through every article the camel was loaded with; “he has loaded it twice as much as he ought.” “Then,” says the Kadi, “let him load the coffee and leave the moffee, load the sugar and leave the mugar, load the pots and leave the mots, load the sacks and leave the macks,” and so on to the end of all the articles enumerated, and as the poor Arab had told every article, and only added “etc.,” according to the Arab custom, without there being any etc., he took up the same loading he had before.
Eton concedes, however, that “if the Turkish judges display great ingenuity in distorting the rules of equity, it must be owned that they sometimes show equal skill in the advancement of justice,” which he illustrates with the following story about an Armenian:
When the famous Kuperly was Grand Vizier, an old woman brought to an Armenian money-changer a casket, containing jewels of great apparent value, said they belonged to a Sultana, and borrowed money on them, depositing the casket after he had sealed it. The money was to be paid again in a certain time. The woman did not appear for a long while after the time was expired so the Armenian opened the casket in the presence of several respectable persons, when the jewels were discovered to be false. The Armenian went to the Vizier and related the story. The Sultana had not sent any jewels to be pawned. The Kadi ordered the Armenian to remove from his shop, in a private manner, everything valuable, and on such a night to set it on fire; that the Kadi would be near with proper people to prevent it spreading; that then the Armenian should constantly fit before his shop, and lament to all who passed his having lost a casket of jewels of immense value in the fire. In a few days the old woman appeared, and demanded to release her jewels. She was carried to the Vizier, who showed her casket, and told her she should be immediately put to death by the most terrible torments, if she did not confess the whole. She discovered her accomplices; they were put to death, and the Armenian got back his money, deducting the Vizier’s share. This fact is known at Constantinople.