In Gujarat, at the end of the eighteenth century, the Zahir was a tiger; in Java it was a blind man in the Surakarta mosque, stoned by the faithful; in Persia, an astrolabe that Nadir Shah ordered thrown into the sea; in the prisons of Mahdi, in 1892, a small sailor's compass wrapped in a shred of cloth from a turban and touched by Rudolf Karl von Slatin; in the synagogue in Córdoba it was, according to Zotenberg, a vein in the marble of one of the synagogue's twelve hundred pillars; in the ghetto in Tetuán, it was the bottom of a well. By sometime around 1949, the Zahir turned up in Buenos Aires; it had become a common twenty-centavo coin, issued in 1929, into which a penknife or a razor had scratched the letters N T and the number 2.

- Jorge Luis Borges

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