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The Merchant of Baghdad Mystery Cache

Hidden : 04/18/2014
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Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:


Long ago, a wealthy merchant lived in the city of Baghdad.  Each year he traveled to al-Başrah and back to Baghdad via a circuitous route, trading along the way. 

One trip in particular was noteworthy.

He left Baghdad with five dinars, and camels loaded with ninety pounds of various spices.

His first stop was the oasis market at Saʿd Nashirah where he sold eight pounds of cinnamon for three dinars.

He next visited his trade depot in the village of Kab Đil-ʿinan where he placed his cousin in charge of the depot as a favor to his uncle.  Also, he bought eight pounds of salt for one dinar.

Next, the merchant traded five pounds of cardamom for four pounds of myrrh at the souq in al-Janb.

After crossing the River Euphrates, he rested at the wadi of al-Ghurāb for four days.

He then set out for al-Maghriz, where he traded two pounds of myrrh and two pounds of cardamom for a pound of turmeric and six dinars.

At last he arrived in al-Başrah.  He spent the next month selling most of his remaining spices for forty dinars.  He also purchased eight pounds of silk and twenty pounds of cinnamon to trade in the markets of Baghdad.

On his trip back, he visited his uncle in the town of Ra's-ul-Jathī to report that his cousin had assumed his duties.  His kind uncle gave him three pounds of frankincense as a gift.

At the oasis market of Wasat as-Sama’ he met with Bedouins and traded one pound of frankincense for five dinars.

After leaving the Bedouins, he spent three days at (Surrat) al-Faras selling nine pounds of cinnamon for four dinars and two pounds of myrrh.

A week later, he dropped in on his brother, Abu Nawas, at the town of al-ʿAnāq al-Arđ̧.  His brother gave him three dinars in paying off an old debt.

He stopped at the market in al-Arnab.  There he sold one pound of silk for nine dinars.

But on the outskirts of Baghdad, the caravan encountered a notorious band of forty thieves.  In order to keep his hard currency from the highwaymen, he ordered his servant, a young lad with his “head in the clouds”, to sneak out into the desert with the cash.  In the meantime, the merchant and his caravan managed to fight off the highwaymen, but not before losing four camels.

That night, the servant made his way back into camp.  The merchant called for him and asked where the cash was.  “The cash? Oh, I thought you said cache!  I hid it in the desert, far away from the highwaymen!”  “You hid it?!” yelled the merchant. “Where did you hide it?”  The boy stared blankly.  “I don’t remember exactly.  There was a lot of sand.  I did write down the coordinates though! Here." The servant handed the merchant a smudged, oily piece of papyrus.

The boy sheepishly offered, "I apologize for the sad shape it's in.  I used the papyrus to wrap my dinner.” 

This is what it said:

                                    أربعة وأربعون


                                    وثلاثة وتسعون


The rest of the coordinates, unfortunately, were illegible. Can you help the merchant find the cache?

You can validate your puzzle solution with certitude.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Chmmyr: Uvag #1: N=1. Gurve nycunorg, abg bhef. (Naq vg vfa'g na nycunorg lbh jbhyq rkcrpg.) Uvag #2: Va gur abiry 2001: N Fcnpr Bqlffrl, jung jrer Qnivq Objzna'f ynfg jbeqf gb Zvffvba Pbageby?

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)