The Fifteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king let fetch the vizier and required of him the [promised] story. So he said, "Know, O king, that
STORY OF THE MAN WHO WAS LAVISH OF HIS HOUSE AND HIS VICTUAL TO ONE WHOM HE KNEW NOT.
There was once an Arab of [high] rank and [goodly] presence, a man of exalted generosity and magnanimity, and he had brethren, with whom he consorted and caroused, and they were wont to assemble by turns in each other's houses. When it came to his turn, he made ready in his house all manner goodly and pleasant meats and dainty drinks and exceeding lovely flowers and excellent fruits, and made provision of all kinds of instruments of music and store of rare apothegms and marvellous stories and goodly instances and histories and witty anedotes and verses and what not else, for there was none among those with whom he was used to company but enjoyed this on every goodly wise, and in the entertainment he had provided was all whereof each had need. Then he sallied forth and went round about the city, in quest of his friends, so he might assemble them; but found none of them in his house.
Now in that town was a man of good breeding and large generosity, a merchant of condition, young of years and bright of face, who had come to that town from his own country with great store of merchandise and wealth galore. He took up his abode therein and the place was pleasant to him and he was lavish in expenditure, so that he came to the end of all his good and there remained with him nothing save that which was upon him of raiment. So he left the lodging wherein he had abidden in the days of his affluence, after he had wasted[FN#260] that which was therein of furniture, and fell to harbouring in the houses of the townsfolk from night to night.
One day, as he went wandering about the streets, he espied a woman of the utmost beauty and grace, and what he saw of her charms amazed him and there betided him what made him forget his present plight. She accosted him and jested with him and he besought her of foregathering and companionship. She consented to this and said to him, 'Let us go to thy lodging.' With this he repented and was perplexed concerning his affair and grieved for that which must escape him of her company by reason of the straitness of his hand,[FN#261] for that he had no jot of spending money. But he was ashamed to say, 'No,' after he had made suit to her; so he went on before her, bethinking him how he should rid himself of her and casting about for an excuse which he might put off on her, and gave not over going from street to street, till he entered one that had no issue and saw, at the farther end, a door, whereon was a padlock.
So he said to her, 'Do thou excuse me, for my servant hath locked the door, and who shall open to us?' Quoth she, 'O my lord, the padlock is worth [but] half a score dirhems.' So saying, she tucked up [her sleeves] from fore-arms as they were crystal and taking a stone, smote upon the padlock and broke it. Then she opened the door and said to him, 'Enter, O my lord.' So he entered, committing his affair to God, (to whom belong might and majesty,) and she entered after him and locked the door from within. They found themselves in a pleasant house, comprising all[FN#262] weal and gladness; and the young man went on, till he came to the sitting-chamber, and behold, it was furnished with the finest of furniture [and arrayed on the goodliest wise for the reception of guests,] as hath before been set out, [for that it was the house of the man aforesaid].
He [seated himself on the divan and] leant upon a cushion, whilst she put out her hand to her veil and did it off. Then she put off her heavy outer clothes and discovered her charms, whereupon he embraced her and kissed her and swived her; after which they washed and returned to their place and he said to her, 'Know that I have little knowledge [of what goes on] in my house, for that I trust to my servant; so arise thou and see what the boy hath made ready in the kitchen.' Accordingly, she arose and going down into the kitchen, saw cooking pots over the fire, wherein were all manner of dainty meats, and manchet-bread and fresh almond-and-honey cakes. So she set bread on a dish and ladled out [what she would] from the pots and brought it to him.
They ate and drank and sported and made merry awhile of the day; and as they were thus engaged, up came the master of the house, with his friends, whom he had brought with him, that they might carouse together, as of wont. He saw the door opened and knocked lightly, saying to his friends, 'Have patience with me, for some of my family are come to visit me; wherefore excuse belongeth [first] to God the Most High, and then to you.'[FN#263] So they took leave of him and went their ways, whilst he gave another light knock at the door. When the young man heard this, he changed colour and the woman said to him, 'Methinks thy servant hath returned.' 'Yes,' answered he; and she arose and opening the door to the master of the house, said to him, 'Where hast thou been? Indeed, thy master is wroth with thee.' 'O my lady,' answered he, 'I have but been about his occasions.'
Then he girt his middle with a handkerchief and entering, saluted the young merchant, who said to him, 'Where hast thou been?' Quoth he, 'I have done thine errands;' and the youth said, 'Go and eat and come hither and drink.' So he went away, as he bade him, and ate. Then he washed and returning to the saloon, sat down on the carpet and fell to talking with them; whereupon the young merchant's heart was comforted and his breast dilated and he addressed himself to joyance. They abode in the most delightsome life and the most abounding pleasance till a third part of the night was past, when the master of the house arose and spreading them a bed, invited them to lie down. So they lay down and the youth abode on wake, pondering their affair, till daybreak, when the woman awoke and said to her companion, 'I wish to go.' So he bade her farewell and she departed; whereupon the master of the house followed her with a purse of money and gave it to her, saying, 'Blame not my master,' and made his excuse to her for the young merchant.
Then he returned to the youth and said to him, 'Arise and come to the bath.' And he fell to shampooing his hands and feet, whilst the youth called down blessings on him and said, 'O my lord, who art thou? Methinks there is not in the world the like of thee, no, nor a pleasanter than thy composition.' Then each of them acquainted the other with his case and condition and they went to the bath; after which the master of the house conjured the young merchant to return with him and summoned his friends. So they ate and drank and he related to them the story, wherefore they praised the master of the house and glorified him; and their friendship was complete, what while the young merchant abode in the town, till God vouchsafed him a commodity of travel, whereupon they took leave of him and he departed; and this is the end of his story. Nor," added the vizier, "O king of the age, is this more marvellous than the story of the rich man who lost his wealth and his wit."
When the king heard the vizier's story, it pleased him and he bade him go to his house.
The Sixteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king sat in his sitting- chamber and sending for his vizier, bade him relate the story of the wealthy man who lost his wealth and his wit. So he said, "Know, O king, that
STORY OF THE IDIOT AND THE SHARPER.
There was once a man of fortune, who lost his wealth, and chagrin and melancholy got the mastery of him, so that he became an idiot and lost his wit. There abode with him of his wealth about a score of dinars and he used to beg alms of the folk, and that which they gave him he would gather together and lay to the dinars that were left him. Now there was in that town a vagabond, who made his living by sharping, and he knew that the idiot had somewhat of money; so he fell to spying upon him and gave not over watching him till he saw him put in an earthen pot that which he had with him of money and enter a deserted ruin, where he sat down, [as if] to make water, and dug a hole, in which he laid the pot and covering it up, strewed earth upon the place. Then he went away and the sharper came and taking what was in the pot, covered it up again, as it was.
Presently, the idiot returned, with somewhat to add to his hoard, but found it not; so he bethought him who had followed him and remembered that he had found the sharper aforesaid assiduous in sitting with him and questioning him. So he went in quest of him, assured that he had taken the pot, and gave not over looking for him till he espied him sitting; whereupon he ran to him and the sharper saw him. [Then the idiot stood within earshot] and muttered to himself and said, 'In the pot are threescore dinars and I have with me other score in such a place and to-day I will unite the whole in the pot.' When the sharper heard him say this to himself, muttering and mumbling after his fashion, he repented him of having taken the dinars and said, 'He will presently return to the pot and find it empty; wherefore that[FN#264] for which I am on the look-out will escape me; and meseemeth I were best restore the dinars [to their place], so he may see them and leave all that is with him in the pot, and I can take the whole.'
Now he feared [to return to the pot then and there], lest the idiot should follow him to the place and find nothing and so his plan be marred. So he said to him, 'O Ajlan,[FN#265] I would have thee come to my lodging and eat bread with me." So the idiot went with him to his lodging and he seated him there and going to the market, sold somewhat of his clothes and pawned somewhat from his house and bought dainty food. Then he betook himself to the ruin and replacing the money in the pot, buried it again; after which he returned to his lodging and gave the idiot to eat and drink, and they went out together. The sharper went away and hid himself, lest the idiot should see him, whilst the latter repaired to his hiding- place and took the pot
Presently, the sharper came to the ruin, rejoicing in that which he deemed he should get, and dug in the place, but found nothing and knew that the idiot had tricked him. So he buffeted his face, for chagrin, and fell to following the other whithersoever he went, so he might get what was with him, but availed not unto this, for that the idiot knew what was in his mind and was certified that he spied upon him, [with intent to rob him]; so he kept watch over himself. Now, if the sharper had considered [the consequences of] haste and that which is begotten of loss therefrom, he had not done thus. Nor," continued the vizier, "is this story, O king of the age, rarer or more extraordinary or more diverting than the story of Khelbes and his wife and the learned man and that which befell between them."
When the king heard this story, he renounced his purpose of putting the vizier to death and his soul prompted him to continue him on life. So he bade him go away to his house.
The Seventeenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier, and when he presented himself, he required of him the [promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O august king, that
STORY OF KHELBES AND HIS WIFE AND THE LEARNED MAN.
There was once a man hight Khelbes, who was a lewd fellow, a calamity, notorious for this fashion, and he had a fair wife, renowned for beauty and loveliness. A man of his townsfolk fell in love with her and she also loved him. Now Khelbes was a crafty fellow and full of tricks, and there was in his neighbourhood a learned man, to whom the folk used to resort every day and he told them stories and admonished them [with moral instances]; and Khelbes was wont to be present in his assembly, for the sake of making a show before the folk.
Now this learned man had a wife renowned for beauty and loveliness and quickness of wit and understanding and the lover cast about for a device whereby he might win to Khelbes's wife; so he came to him and told him, as a secret, what he had seen of the learned man's wife and confided to him that he was enamoured of her and besought him of help in this. Khelbes told him that she was distinguished to the utterest for chastity and continence and that she exposed herself not to suspicion; but the other said, 'I cannot renounce her, [firstly,] because the woman inclineth to me and coveteth my wealth, and secondly, because of the greatness of my love for her; and nothing is wanting but thy help.' Quoth Khelbes, 'I will do thy will;' and the other said, 'Thou shalt have of me two dirhems a day, on condition that thou sit with the learned man and that, when he riseth from the assembly, thou speak a word notifying the breaking up of the session.' So they agreed upon this and Khelbes entered and sat in the assembly, whilst the lover was assured in his heart that the secret was safe with him, wherefore he rejoiced and was content to pay the two dirhems.
Then Khelbes used to attend the learned man's assembly, whilst the other would go in to his wife and abide with her, on such wise as he thought good, till the learned man arose from his session; and when Khelbes saw that he purposed rising, he would speak a word for the lover to hear, whereupon he went forth from Khelbes's wife, and the latter knew not that calamity was in his own house. At last the learned man, seeing Khelbes do on this wise every day, began to misdoubt of him, more by token of that which he knew of his character, and suspicion grew upon him; so, one day, he advanced the time of his rising before the wonted hour and hastening up to Khelbes, laid hold of him and said to him, 'By Allah, an thou speak a single syllable, I will do thee a mischief!' Then he went in to his wife, with Khelbes in his grasp, and behold, she was sitting, as of her wont, nor was there about her aught of suspicious or unseemly.
The learned man bethought him awhile of this, then made for Khelbes's house, which adjoined his own, still holding the latter; and when they entered, they found the young man lying on the bed with Khelbes's wife; whereupon quoth he to him, 'O accursed one, the calamity is with thee and in thine own house!' So Khelbes put away his wife and went forth, fleeing, and returned not to his own land. This, then," continued the vizier, "is the consequence of lewdness, for whoso purposeth in himself craft and perfidy, they get possession of him, and had Khelbes conceived of himself that[FN#266] which he conceived of the folk of dishonour and calamity, there had betided him nothing of this. Nor is this story, rare and extraordinary though it be, more extraordinary or rarer than that of the pious woman whose husband's brother accused her of lewdness."
When the king heard this, wonderment gat hold of him and his admiration for the vizier redoubled; so he bade him go to his house and return to him [on the morrow], according to his wont. Accordingly, the vizier withdrew to his lodging, where he passed the night and the ensuing day.
End of Vol. I.
Tales from the Arabic, Volume 1 Endnotes
[FN#1] Breslau Text, vol. iv. pp. 134-189, Nights cclxxii.-ccxci. This is the story familiar to readers of the old "Arabian Nights" as "Abon Hassan, or the Sleeper Awakened" and is the only one of the eleven tales added by Galland to his version of the (incomplete) MS. of the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night procured by him from Syria, the Arabic original of which has yet been discovered. (See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IX. pp. 264 et seq.) The above title is of course intended to mark the contrast between the everyday (or waking) hours of Aboulhusn and his fantastic life in the Khalif's palace, supposed by him to have passed in a dream, and may also be rendered "The Sleeper and the Waker."
[FN#2] i.e. The Wag.
[FN#3] Always noted for debauchery.
[FN#4] i.e. the part he had taken for spending money.
[FN#5] i.e. "those," a characteristic Arab idiom.
[FN#6] Lit. draw thee near (to them).
[FN#7] i.e. that over the Tigris.
[FN#8] "Platter bread," i.e. bread baked in a platter, instead of, as usual with the Arabs, in an oven or earthen jar previously heated, to the sides of which the thin cakes of dough are applied, "is lighter than oven bread, especially if it be made thin and leavened."—Shecouri, a medical writer quoted by Dozy.
[FN#9] Or cooking-pots.
[FN#10] Or fats for frying.
[FN#11] Or clarified.
[FN#12] Taam, lit. food, the name given by the inhabitants of Northern Africa to the preparation of millet-flour (something like semolina) called kouskoussou, which forms the staple food of the people.
[FN#13] Or "In peace."
[FN#14] Eastern peoples attach great importance, for good or evil omen, to the first person met or the first thing that happens in the day.
[FN#15] Or "attributed as sin."
[FN#16] A common Eastern substitute for soap.
[FN#17] This common formula of assent is an abbreviation of "Hearkening and obedience are due to God and to the Commander of the Faithful" or other the person addressed.
[FN#18] Dar es Selam, one of the seven "Gardens" into which the Mohammedan Paradise is divided.
[FN#19] i.e. a mattrass eighteen inches thick.
[FN#20] Complimentary form of address to eunuchs, generally used by inferiors only.
[FN#21] The morning-prayer consists of four inclinations (rekat) only. A certain fixed succession of prayers and acts of adoration is called a rekah (sing, of rekat) from the inclination of the body that occurs in it.
[FN#22] i.e. the terminal formula of prayer, "Peace be on us and on all the righteous servants of God!"
[FN#23] i.e. said "I purpose to make an end of prayer."
[FN#24] Or "linen."
[FN#25] A well-known poet of the time.
[FN#26] i.e. Ibrahim of Mosul, the greatest musician of his day.
[FN#27] i.e., doughty men of war, guards.
[FN#28] The Abbaside Khalifs traced their descent from Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed, and considered themselves, therefore, as belonging to the family of the Prophet.
[FN#29] i.e. May thy dwelling-place never fall into ruin.
[FN#30] i.e. the raised recess situate at the upper end of an Oriental saloon, wherein is the place of honour.
[FN#31] ie, the necromancers.
[FN#32] Lit. I have not found that thou hast a heel blessed (or propitious) to me.
[FN#33] i.e. O thou who art a calamity to those who have to do with thee!
[FN#34] Abou Nuwas ibn Hani, the greatest poet of the time.
[FN#35] As a charm against evil spirits.
[FN#36] i.e. the vein said to have been peculiar to the descendants of Hashim, grandfather of Abbas and great-grandson of Mohammed, and to have started out between their eyes in moments of anger.
[FN#37] Lit. that I may do upon her sinister deeds.
[FN#38] "The pitcher comes not always back unbroken from the well."—English proverb.
[FN#39] i.e. of sorrow for his loss.
[FN#40] i.e. of grief for her loss.
[FN#41] Breslau Text, vol. vl. pp. 182-188, Nights ccccxxxii-ccccxxxiv.
[FN#42] The eighth Khalif (A.D. 717-720) of the house of Umeyyeh and the best and most single-hearted of all the Khalifs, with the exception of the second, Omar ben Khettab, from whom he was descended.
[FN#43] A celebrated statesman of the time, afterwards governor of Cuia* and Bassora under Omar ben Abdulaziz.
[FN#44] The most renowned poet of the first century of the Hegira. He is said to have been equally skilled in all styles of composition grave and gay.
[FN#45] Or eternal.
[FN#46] Or "in him."
[FN#47] Chief of the tribe of the Benou Suleim. Et Teberi tells this story in a different way. According to him, Abbas ben Mirdas (who was a well-known poet), being dissatisfied with the portion of booty allotted to him by the Prophet, refused it and composed a lampoon against Mohammed, who said to Ali, "Cut off this tongue which attacketh me," i.e. "Silence him by giving what will satisfy him," whereupon Ali doubled the covetous chief's share.
[FN#48] Bilal ibn Rebeh was the Prophet's freedman and crier. The word bilal signifies "moisture" or (metonymically) "beneficence" and it may well be in this sense (and not as a man's name) that it is used in the text.
[FN#49] Said to have been the best poet ever produced by the tribe of Cureish. His introduction here is an anachronism, as he died A.D. 712, five years before Omar's accession.
[FN#50] i.e. odorem pudendorum amic?
[FN#51] A famous poet of the tribe of the Benou Udhreh, renowned for their passionate sincerity in love-matters. He is celebrated as the lover of Butheineh, as Petrarch of Laura, and died A.D. 701, sixteen years before Omar's accession.
[FN#52] A friend of Jemil and a poet of equal renown. He is celebrated as the lover of Azzeh, whose name is commonly added to his, and kept a grocer's shop at Medina.
[FN#53] i.e. in the attitude of prayer.
[FN#54] A famous satirical poet of the time, afterwards banished by Omar for the virulence of his lampoons. His name is wrongly given by the text; it should be El Ahwes. He was a descendant of the Ansar or (Medinan) helpers of Mohammed.
[FN#55] A famous poet of the tribe of the Benou Temim and a rival of Jerir, to whom he was by some preferred. He was a notorious debauchee and Jerir, in one of the satires that were perpetually exchanged between himself and El Ferezdec, accuses his rival of having "never been a guest in any house, but he departed with ignominy and left behind him disgrace."
[FN#56] A Christian and a celebrated poet of the time.
[FN#57] The poet apparently meant to insinuate that those who professed to keep the fast of Ramazan ate flesh in secret. The word rendered "in public," i.e. openly, avowedly, may also perhaps be translated "in the forenoon," and in this El Akhtel may have meant to contrast his free-thinking disregard of the ordinances of the fast with the strictness of the orthodox Muslim, whose only meals in Ramazan-time are made between sunset and dawn-peep. As soon as a white thread can be distinguished from a black, the fast is begun and a true believer must not even smoke or swallow his saliva till sunset.
[FN#58] Prominent words of the Muezzin's fore-dawn call to prayer.
[FN#59] i.e. fall down drunk.
[FN#60] i.e. she who ensnares [all] eyes.
[FN#61] Imam, the spiritual title of the Khalif, as head of the Faith and leader (lit. "foreman") of the people at prayer.
[FN#62] Or "worldly."
[FN#63] Or "worldly."
[FN#64] A town and province of Arabia, of which (inter alia) Omar ben Abdulaziz was governor, before he came to the Khalifate.
[FN#65] Syn. munificence.
[FN#66] About 2 pounds sterling 10 s.
[FN#67] i.e. what is thy news?
[FN#68] Or "I approve of him."
[FN#69] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 188-9, Night ccccxxxiv.
[FN#70] El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth Thekefi, a famous statesman and soldier of the seventh and eighth centuries. He was governor of Chaldaea (Irak Arabi), under the fifth and sixth Khalifs of the Ommiade dynasty, and was renowned for his cruelty, but appears to have been a prudent and capable administrator, who used no more rigour than was necessary to restrain the proverbially turbulent populations of Bassora and Cufa, Most of the anecdotes of his brutality and tyranny, which abound in Arab authors, are, in all probability, apocryphal.
[FN#71] Used, by synecdoche, for "heads."
[FN#72] i.e. the governed, to wit, he who is led by a halter attached (metaphorically of course) to a ring passed through his nose, as with a camel.
[FN#73] i.e. the governor or he who is high of rank.
[FN#74] i.e. their hair, which may be considered the wealth of the head. This whole passage is a description a double-entente of a barber-surgeon.
[FN#75] Syn. cooking-pot.
[FN#76] Syn. be lowered. This passage is a similar description of an itinerant hot bean-seller.
[FN#77] The rows of threads on a weaver's loom.
[FN#78] Syn. levelleth.
[FN#79] i.e. that of wood used by the Oriental weaver to govern the warp and weft.
[FN#80] Syn. behave aright.
[FN#81] The loop of thread so called in which the weaver's foot rests.
[FN#82] Syn. eloquence.
[FN#83] Adeb, one of the terribly comprehensive words which abound in Arabic literature for the confusion of translators. It signifies generally all kinds of education and means of mental and moral discipline and seems here to mean more particularly readiness of wit and speech or presence of mind.
[FN#84] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 189-191, Night ccccxxxiv.
[FN#85] Syn. (Koranic) "Thou hast swerved from justice" or "been unjust" (adeita).
[FN#86] Syn. (Koranic) "Thou hast transgressed" (caset-ta).
[FN#87] Or falling-away.
[FN#88] Koran vi. 44.
[FN#89] Or do injustice, tadilou (syn. do justice).
[FN#90] Koran iv. 134.
[FN#91] El casitouna (syn. those who act righteously or equitably).
[FN#92] Koran lxxii. 15.
[FN#93] Name of the Persian ancestor of the Barmecide (properly Bermeki) family.
[FN#94] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 191-343, Nights ccccxxv-cccclxxxvii. This is the Arab version of the well-known story called, in Persian, the Bekhtyar Nameh, i.e. the Book of Bekhtyar, by which name the prince, whose attempted ruin by the envious viziers is the central incident of the tale, is distinguished in that language. The Arab redaction of the story is, to my mind, far superior to the Persian, both in general simplicity and directness of style and in the absence of the irritating conceits and moral digressions with which Persian (as well as Indian) fiction is so often overloaded. The Persian origin of the story is apparent, not only in the turn of the incidents and style and the names of the personages, but in the fact that not a single line of verse occurs in it.
[FN#95] Rawi; this is probably a copyist's mistake for raai, a beholder, one who seeth.
[FN#96] Lit. what was his affair? It may be here observed that the word keif (how?) is constantly used in the Breslau Text in the sense of ma (what?).
[FN#97] A district of Persia, here probably Persia itself.
[FN#98] Probably a corruption of Kisra (Chosros).
[FN#99] i.e. waylaying travellers, robbing on the high road.
[FN#100] Or skill.
[FN#101] Lit. the descended fate.
[FN#102] The Arabs attribute to a man's parentage absolute power in the determination of his good and evil qualities; eg. the son of a slave, according to them, can possess none of the virtues of the free-born, whilst good qualities are in like manner considered congenitally inherent in the latter.
[FN#103] Or "business."
[FN#104] i.e. whither he should travel.
[FN#105] About half-a-crown.
[FN#106] It is a common practice with Eastern nations to keep a child (especially a son and one of unusual beauty) concealed until a certain age, for fear of the evil eye. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. III. p. 234; Vol. IX. p. 67, etc., etc.
[FN#107] i.e. killing a man.
[FN#108] i.e., it will always be in our power to slay him, when we will.
[FN#109] i.e. the grave.
[FN#110] i.e. the wedding-day.
[FN#111] i.e. thy women
[FN#112] i.e. hath been unduly prolonged.
[FN#113] i.e. Let thy secret thoughts and purposes be righteous, even as thine outward profession.
[FN#114] See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. V. p. 264.
[FN#115] Afterwards called his "chamberlain," i.e. the keeper of the door of the harem or chief eunuch. See post, p. III.
[FN#116] i.e. the eunuch who had dissuaded Dadbin from putting her to death.
[FN#117] Apparently referring to Aboulkhair (see ante p. 107), whom Dabdin would seem to have put to death upon the vizier's false accusation, although no previous mention of this occurs.
[FN#118] The Arabs believe that each man's destiny is charactered, could we decipher it, in the sutures of his skull.
[FN#119] ie. the lex talionis, which is the essence of Muslim jurisprudence.
[FN#120] i.e. a soldier of fortune, going about from court to court, in quest of service.
[FN#121] This phrase refers to the Arab idiom, "His hand (or arm) is long or short," i.e. he is a man of great or little puissance.
[FN#122] The Arabs consider it a want of respect to allow the hands or feet to remain exposed in the presence of a superior.
[FN#123] Adeb. See ante, p. 54, note 9.
[FN#124] i.e. that he become my son-in-law.
[FN#125] It is a common Eastern practice to have the feet kneaded and pressed (shampooed) for the purpose of inducing sleep, and thus the king would habitually fall asleep with his feet on the knees of his pages.
[FN#126] Syn. whoso respecteth not his lord's women.
[FN#127] i.e. a domed tomb.
[FN#128] Of a man's life. The Muslims believe each man's last hour to be written in a book called "The Preserved Tablet."
[FN#129] i.e, the Autumnal Equinox, one of the two great festival days (the other being the New Year) of the Persians. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 144.
[FN#130] i.e. heritage.
[FN#131] i.e. The Emperor of the Romans of the Lower Empire, so called by the Arabs. "Caesar" is their generic term for the Emperors of Constantinople, as is Kisra (Chosros) for the ancient Kings of Persia.
[FN#132] i.e. Shah Khatoun.
[FN#133] i.e. our power increased by his alliance, a. familiar Arab idiom.
[FN#134] In token of deputation of authority, a ceremony usual on the appointment of a governor of a province.
[FN#135] Or enigma.
[FN#136] i.e. if my death be ordained of destiny to befall on an early day none may avail to postpone it to a later day.
[FN#137] Of life. See supra, note, p. 147.
[FN#138] The hoopoe is fabled by the Muslim chroniclers to have been to Solomon what Odin's ravens were to the Norse god. It is said to have known all the secrets of the earth and to have revealed them to him; hence the magical virtues attributed by the Mohammedans to its heart.
[FN#139] This phrase may be read either literally or in its idiomatic sense, i.e., "Folk convicted or suspected of murder or complicity in murder."
[FN#140] Or purse-belt.
[FN#141] See supra, p. 66.
[FN#142] Khilaah, lit. that which one takes off from one's own person, to bestow upon a messenger of good tidings or any other whom it is desired especially to honour. The literal meaning of the phrase, here rendered "he bestowed on him a dress of honour," is "he put off on him [that which was upon himself." A Khilaah commonly includes a horse, a sword, a girdle or waist-cloth and other articles, according to the rank of the recipient, and might more precisely be termed "a complete equipment of honour."
[FN#143] An economical mode of rewarding merit, much in favour with Eastern monarchs.
[FN#144] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 251-4, Night dlxv.
[FN#145] Syn. doorkeper (hajib).
[FN#146] Ibn Khelbkan, who tells this story in a somewhat different style, on the authority of Er Reshid's brother Ibrahim ben El Mehdi, calls the person whom Jaafer expected "Abdulmelik ben Behran, the intendant of his demesnes."
[FN#147] The wearing of silk and bright colours is forbidden to the strict Muslim and it is generally considered proper, in a man of position, to wear them only on festive occasions or in private, as in the text.
[FN#148] The Abbasides or descendants of El Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, were noted for their excessive pride and pretensions to strict orthodoxy in all outward observances. Abdulmelik ben Salih, who was a well-known general and statesman of the time, was especially renowned for pietism and austerity of manners.
[FN#149] i.e. Do not let my presence trouble you.
[FN#150] As a member of the reigning family, he of course wore black clothes, that being the especial colour of the house of Abbas, adopted by them in opposition to the rival (and fallen) dynasty of the Benou Umeyyeh, whose family colour was white, that of the house of Ali being green.
[FN#151] About 25,000. Ibn Khellikan makes the debt four millions of dirhems or about 100,000
[FN#152] Breslau text, vol vii, pp.258-60, Night dlxvii.
[FN#153] Fourth Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 785-786.
[FN#154] Third Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 775-785.
[FN#155] The following is Et Teberi's version of this anecdote. El Mehdi had presented his son Haroun with a ruby ring, worth a hundred thousand dinars, and the latter being one day with his brother [the then reigning Khalif], El Hadi saw the ring on his finger and desired it. So, when Haroun went out from him, he sent after him, to seek the ring of him. The Khalif's messenger overtook Er Reshid on the bridge over the Tigris and acquainted him with his errand; whereupon the prince enraged at the demand, pulled off the ring and threw it into the river. When El Hadi died and Er Reshid succeeded to the throne, he went with his suite to the bridge in question and bade his Vizier Yehya ben Khalid send for divers and cause them make search for the ring. It had then been five months in the water and no one believed it would be found. However, the divers plunged into the river and found the ring in the very place where he had thrown it in, whereat Haroun rejoiced with an exceeding joy, regarding it as a presage of fair fortune.
[FN#156] This is an error. Jaafer's father Yehya was appointed by Haroun his vizier and practically continued to exercise that office till the fall of the Barmecides (A.D. 803), his sons Fezl and Jaafer acting only as his assistants or lieutenants. See my Essay on the History and Character of the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night.
[FN#157] Another mistake. It was Fezl, the Khalif's foster-brother, to whom he used to give this title.
[FN#158] A third mistake. The whole period during which the empire was governed by Yehya and his sons was only seventeen years, i.e. A.D 786-803, but see my Essay.
[FN#159] The apparent meaning of this somewhat obscure saying is, "Since fortune is uncertain, conciliate the favour of those with whom thou hast to do by kind offices, so thou mayst find refuge with them in time of need."
[FN#160] For a detailed account of the Barmecides and of their fall, see my Essay.
[FN#161] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 260-1, Night dlxviii.
[FN#162] Aboulabbas Mohammed Ibn Sabih, surnamed Ibn es Semmak (son of the fishmonger), a well-known Cufan jurisconsult and ascetic of the time. He passed the latter part of his life at Baghdad and enjoyed high favour with Er Reshid, as the only theological authority whom the latter could induce to promise him admission to Paradise.
[FN#163] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 261-2, Night dlxviii.
[FN#164] Seventh Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 813-33.
[FN#165] Sixth Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 809-13, a sanguinary and incapable prince, whose contemplated treachery against his brother El Mamoun, (whom, by the advice of his vizier, the worthless intriguer Fezl ben Rebya, the same who was one of the prime movers in the ruin of the illustrious Barmecide family and who succeeded Yehya and his sons in the vizierate (see my Essay), he contemplated depriving of his right of succession and murdering,) was deservedly requited with the loss of his own kingdom and life. He was, by the way, put to death by El Mamoun's general, in contravention of the express orders of that generous and humane prince, who wished his brother to be sent prisoner to him, on the capture of Baghdad.
[FN#166] i.e. forfeits. It is a favourite custom among the Arabs to impose on the loser of a game, in lieu of stakes, the obligation of doing whatsoever the winner may command him. For an illustration of this practice, see my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. V. pp. 336-41, Story of the Sandalwood Merchant and the Sharpers.
[FN#167] El Mamoun was of a very swarthy complexion and is said to have been the son of a black slave-girl. Zubeideh was Er Reshid's cousin, and El Amin was, therefore, a member of the house of Abbas, both on the father's and mother's side. Of this purity of descent from the Prophet's family (in which he is said to have stood alone among the Khalifs of the Abbaside dynasty) both himself and his mother were exceedingly proud, and it was doubtless this circumstance which led Er Reshid to prefer El Amin and to assign him the precedence in the succession over the more capable and worthier El Mamoun.
[FN#168] Breslau Text, vol. viii. pp. 226-9, Nights dclx-i.
[FN#169] A pre-Mohammedan King of the Arab kingdom of Hireh (a town near Cufa on the Euphrates), under the suzerainty of the Chosroes of Persia, and a cruel and fantastic tyrant.
[FN#170] The tribe to which belonged the renowned pre-Mohammedan chieftain and poet, Hatim Tal, so celebrated in the East for his extravagant generosity and hospitality.
[FN#171] i.e. I will make a solemn covenant with him before God.
[FN#172] i.e. he of the tribe of Tai.
[FN#173] In generosity.
[FN#174] A similar anecdote is told of Omar ben el Khettab, second successor of Mohammed, and will be found in my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 239.
[FN#175] Breslau Text, vol. viii. pp. 273-8, Nights dclxxv—vi.
[FN#176] A similar story will be found in my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night", Vol. V. p. 263.
[FN#177] Breslau Text, vol xi. pp. 84-318, Nights dccclxxv-dccccxxx.
[FN#178] i.e. A pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is one of a Muslim's urgent duties.
[FN#179] By a rhetorical figure, Mecca is sometimes called El Hejj (the Pilgrimage) and this appears to be the case here. It is one of the dearest towns in the East and the chief occupation of its inhabitants a the housing and fleecing of pilgrims. An Arab proverb says, "There is no place in which money goes [so fast] as it goes in Mecca."
[FN#180] lit. loved with it.
[FN#181] It is not clear what is here meant by El Hejj; perhaps Medina, though this is a "visitation" and not an obligatory part of the pilgrimage. The passage is probably corrupt.
[FN#182] It is not clear what is here meant by El Hejj; perhaps Medina, though this is a "visitation" and not an obligatory part of the pilgrimage. The passage is probably corrupt.
[FN#183] Syn. whole or perfect (sehik).
[FN#184] i.e. in white woollen garments.
[FN#185] i.e. I desire a privy place, where I may make the preliminary ablution and pray.
[FN#186] It is customary in the East to give old men and women the complimentary title of "pilgrim," assuming, as a matter of course, that they have performed the obligatory rite of pilgrimage.
[FN#187] Or saint.
[FN#188] Keniseh, a Christian or other non-Muslim place of worship.
[FN#189] Apparently the harem.
[FN#190] i.e. otherwise than according to God's ordinance.
[FN#191] A city of Persian Irak.
[FN#192] Lit. its apparatus, i.e. spare strings, etc.?
[FN#193] i.e. the woman whose face he saw.
[FN#194] Lit. the place of battle, i.e. that where they had lain.
[FN#195] A common Eastern fashion of securing a shop, when left for a short time. The word shebekeh (net) may also be tendered a grating or network of iron or other metal.
[FN#196] i.e. gave her good measure.
[FN#197] i.e. she found him a good workman. Equivoque erotique, apparently founded on the to-and-fro movement of the shuttle in weaving.
[FN!198] Equivoque rotique.
[FN#199] i.e. removed the goods exposed for sale and laid them up in the inner shop or storehouse.
[FN#200] The Eastern oven is generally a great earthenware jar sunken in the earth.
[FN#201] i.e. a boughten white slave (memlouk).
[FN#202] Apparently changing places. The text is here fearfully corrupt and (as in many other parts of the Breslau Edition) so incoherent as to be almost unintelligible.
[FN#203] i.e. in the (inner) courtyard.
[FN#204] i.e. the essential nature, lit. jewel.
[FN#205] i.e. in proffering thee the kingship.
[FN#206] Without the city.
[FN#207] According to the conclusion of the story, this recompense consisted in an augmentation of the old man's allowances of food. See post, p. 245.
[FN#208] i.e. I have given my opinion.
[FN#209] This passage is evidently corrupt. I have amended it, on conjecture, to the best of my power.
[FN#210] The words ruteb wa menazil, here rendered "degrees and dignities," may also be rendered, "stations and mansions (of the moon and planets)."
[FN#211] Syn. "ailing" or "sickly."
[FN#212] i.e. the caravan with which he came.
[FN#213] i.e. I seek to marry thy daughter, not for her own sake, but because I desire thine alliance.
[FN#214] i.e. the face of his bride.
[FN#215] i.e. his wife.
[FN#216] i.e. his wife.
[FN#217] Naming the poor man.
[FN#218] Naming his daughter.
[FN#219] i.e. united.
[FN#220] Or "humble."
[FN#221] i.e. one another.
[FN#222] Or "conquer."
[FN#223] Or "commandment."
[FN#224] Lit. "will be higher than."
[FN#225] Syn. device or resource (hileh).
[FN#226] Syn. chasten or instruct.
[FN#227] Students of our old popular poetry will recognize, in the principal incident of this story, the subject of the well-known ballad, "The Heir of Linne."
[FN#228] i.e. Turcomans; afterwards called Sejestan.
[FN#229] With a pile of stones or some such landmark.
[FN#230] i.e. the extraordinary resemblance of the supposed sister to his wife.
[FN#231] The foregoing passage is evidently very corrupt and the meaning is by no means plain, but, in the absence of a parallel version, it is impossible to clear up the obscurity of the text.
[FN#232] This appears to be the sense of the text; but the whole passage is to obscure and corrupt that it is impossible to make sure of its exact meaning.
[FN#233] Meaning apparently, "thou puttest my devices to nought" or (perhaps) "thou art so skilful that I fear lest thou undermine my favour with the king and oust me from my post of vizier."
[FN#234] Lit. "land;" but the meaning is evidently as in the text.
[FN#235] The reader will recognize the well-known story used by Chaucer, Boccaccio and La Fontaine.
[FN#236] Syn. flourishing.
[FN#237] Syn. depopulated.
[FN#238] Lit. an oppressor.
[FN#239] i.e. a man of commanding presence.
[FN#240] Syn. cause flourish.
[FN#241] Syn. depopulateth.
[FN#242] Lit. the year.
[FN#243] The whole of the tither's account of himself is terribly obscure and so corrupt that it is hardly possible to make sense of it. The same remark applies to much of the rest of the story.
[FN#244] Or "cause flourish."
[FN#245] Lit. a better theologian. The Muslim law being entirely based on the Koran and the Traditions of the Prophet, the terms "lawyer" and "theologian" are necessarily synonymous among Mohammedan peoples.
[FN#246] A danic is the sixth of a dirhem, i.e. about one penny.
[FN#247] i.e. say, "May I be [triply] divorced from my wife, if etc.!" By the Muslim law, a divorce three times pronounced is irrevocable, and in case of its appearing that the user of such an oath as the above had sworn falsely, his wife would become divorced by operation of law, without further ceremony. Hence the frequency and binding nature of the oath in question.
[FN#248] i.e. thousandfold cuckold.
[FN#249] i.e. the blows which the thief had given him.
[FN#250] i.e. at least, at the most moderate reckoning.
[FN#251] Or "Breath of God," a title given to Jesus by the Mohammedans.
[FN#252] i.e. attaineth his desire.
[FN#253] Syn. guards.
[FN#254] i.e. the husbandman.
[FN#255] i.e. those bound to render suit and service to the king, as holders of fiefs.
[FN#256] Syn. the revenue or rent-charge of thy fief.
[FN#257] Heads of families?
[FN#258] Or "caused flourish."
[FN#259] Or froward.
[FN#260] i.e. sold and spent the price of.
[FN#261] i.e. his lack of means to entertain her.
[FN#262] i.e. all that can conduce to.
[FN#263] i.e. it is for you (after God) to excuse me.
[FN#264] i.e. the [supposed] rest of his hoard.
[FN#265] Apparently the idiot's name.
[FN#266] i.e. had he been on his own guard against that, etc.
Text scanned by JC Byers and proof read by the volunteers of the Distributed Proofreaders site: http://charlz.dns2go.com/gutenberg/
TALES FROM THE ARABIC Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night not occurring in the other printed texts of the work, Now first done into English By John Payne In Three Volumes: VOLUME THE SECOND. 1901 Delhi Edition Contents of The Second Volume.
1. King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan (Continued) a. Story of the Pious Woman Accused of Lewdness b. Story of the Journeyman and the Girl c. Story of the Weaver Who Became a Physician by His Wife's Commandment d. Story of the Two Sharpers Who Cheated Each His Fellow e. Story of the Sharpers with the Money-Changer and the Ass f. Story of the Sharper and the Merchants i. Story of the Hawk and the Locust g. Story Op the King and His Chamberlain Wife h. Story of the Old Woman and the Draper's Wife i. Story of the Foul-favoured Man and His Fair Wife j. Story of the King Who Lost Kingdom and Wife and Wealth and God Restored Them To Him k. Story of Selim and Selma l. Story of the King of Hind and His Vizier 2. El Melik Ez Zahir Rukneddin Bibers El Bunducdari and the Sixteen Officers Of Police a. The First Officer's Story b. The Second Officer's Story c. The Third Officer's Story d. The Fourth Officer's Story e. The Fifth Officer's Story f. The Sixth Officer's Story g. The Seventh Officer's Story h. The Eighth Officer's Story i. The Thief's Story i. The Ninth Officer's Story j. The Tenth Officer's Story k. The Eleventh Officer's Story l. The Twelfth Officer's Story m. The Thirteenth Officer's Story n. The Fourteenth Officer's Story i. A Merry Jest of a Thief ii. Story of the Old Sharper o. The Fifteenth Officer's Story p. The Sixteenth Officer's Story 3. Abdallah Ben Nafi and the King's Son of Cashghar a. Story of the Damsel Tuhfet El Culoub and the Khalif Haroun Er Reshid
Calcutta (1814-8) Text
4. Women's Craft
King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan (continued).
The Eighteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier and required of him the [promised] story; so he said, "It is well. Know, O king, that
STORY OF THE PIOUS WOMAN ACCUSED OF LEWDNESS.
There was once a man of Nishapour,[FN#1] who had a wife of the utmost loveliness and piety, and he was minded to set out on the pilgrimage. So he commended his wife to the care of his brother and besought him to aid her in her affairs and further her to her desires till he should return, so they both abode alive and well. Then he took ship and departed and his absence was prolonged. Meanwhile, the brother went in to his brother's wife, at all times and seasons, and questioned her of her circumstances and went about her occasions; and when his visits to her were prolonged and he heard her speech and looked upon her face, the love of her gat hold upon his heart and he became distraught with passion for her and his soul prompted him [to evil]. So he besought her to lie with him, but she refused and chid him for his foul deed, and he found him no way unto presumption;[FN#2] wherefore he importuned her with soft speech and gentleness.
Now she was righteous in all her dealings and swerved not from one word;[FN#3] so, when he saw that she consented not unto him, he misdoubted that she would tell his brother, when he returned from his journey, and said to her, 'An thou consent not to this whereof I require thee, I will cause thee fall into suspicion and thou wilt perish.' Quoth she, 'Be God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) [judge] betwixt me and thee, and know that, shouldst thou tear me limb from limb, I would not consent to that whereto thou biddest me.' His folly[FN#4] persuaded him that she would tell her husband; so, of his exceeding despite, he betook himself to a company of people in the mosque and told them that he had witnessed a man commit adultery with his brother's wife. They believed his saying and took act of his accusation and assembled to stone her. Then they dug her a pit without the city and seating her therein, stoned her, till they deemed her dead, when they left her.
Presently a villager passed by [the pit and finding] her [alive,] carried her to his house and tended her, [till she recovered]. Now, he had a son, and when the young man saw her, he loved her and besought her of herself; but she refused and consented not to him, whereupon he redoubled in love and longing and despite prompted him to suborn a youth of the people of his village and agree with him that he should come by night and take somewhat from his father's house and that, when he was discovered, he should say that she was of accord with him in this and avouch that she was his mistress and had been stoned on his account in the city. So he did this and coming by night to the villager's house, stole therefrom goods and clothes; whereupon the old man awoke and seizing the thief, bound him fast and beat him, to make him confess. So he confessed against the woman that she had prompted him to this and that he was her lover from the city. The news was bruited abroad and the people of the city assembled to put her to death; but the old man, with whom she was, forbade them and said, 'I brought this woman hither, coveting the recompense [of God,] and I know not [the truth of] that which is said of her and will not suffer any to hurt her.' Then he gave her a thousand dirhems, by way of alms, and put her forth of the village. As for the thief, he was imprisoned for some days; after which the folk interceded for him with the old man, saying, 'This is a youth and indeed he erred;' and he released him.
Meanwhile, the woman went out at hazard and donning devotee's apparel, fared on without ceasing, till she came to a city and found the king's deputies dunning the towns-folk for the tribute, out of season. Presently, she saw a man, whom they were pressing for the tribute; so she enquired of his case and being acquainted therewith, paid down the thousand dirhems for him and delivered him from beating; whereupon he thanked her and those who were present. When he was set free, he accosted her and besought her to go with him to his dwelling. So she accompanied him thither and supped with him and passed the night. When the night darkened on him, his soul prompted him to evil, for that which he saw of her beauty and loveliness, and he lusted after her and required her [of love]; but she repelled him and bade him fear God the Most High and reminded him of that which she had done with him of kindness and how she had delivered him from beating and humiliation.
However, he would not be denied, and when he saw her [constant] refusal of herself to him, he feared lest she should tell the folk of him. So, when he arose in the morning, he took a scroll and wrote in it what he would of forgery and falsehood and going up to the Sultan's palace, said, '[I have] an advisement [for the king].' So he bade admit him and he delivered him the writ that he had forged, saying, 'I found this letter with the woman, the devotee, the ascetic, and indeed she is a spy, a secret informer against the king to his enemy; and I deem the king's due more incumbent on me than any other and his advisement the first [duty], for that he uniteth in himself all the people, and but for the king's presence, the subjects would perish; wherefore I have brought [thee] warning.' The king put faith in his words and sent with him those who should lay hands upon the woman and put her to death; but they found her not.
As for the woman, whenas the man went out from her, she resolved to depart; so she went forth, saying in herself, 'There is no journeying for me in woman's attire.' Then she donned men's apparel, such as is worn of the pious, and set out and wandered over the earth; nor did she leave going till she entered a certain city. Now the king of that city had an only daughter in whom he gloried and whom he loved, and she saw the devotee and deeming her a pilgrim youth, said to her father, 'I would fain have this youth take up his abode with me, so I may learn of him wisdom and renunciation and religion.' Her father rejoiced in this and commanded the [supposed] pilgrim to take up his sojourn with his daughter in his palace. Now they were in one place and the king's daughter was strenuous to the utterest in continence and chastity and nobility of mind and magnanimity and devotion to the worship of God; but the ignorant slandered her[FN#5] and the folk of the realm said, 'The king's daughter loveth the pilgrim youth and he loveth her.'
Now the king was a very old man and destiny decreed the ending of his term of life; so he died and when he was buried, the folk assembled and many were the sayings of the people and of the king's kinsfolk and officers, and they took counsel together to slay the princess and the young pilgrim, saying, 'This fellow dishonoureth us with yonder strumpet and none accepteth dishonour but the base.' So they fell upon them and slew the princess, without questioning her of aught; whereupon the pious woman (whom they deemed a boy) said to them, 'Out on ye, O misbelievers I Ye have slain the pious lady.' Quoth they, 'Lewd fellow that thou art, dost thou bespeak us thus? Thou lovedst her and she loved thee, and we will slay thee without mercy.' 'God forbid!' answered she, 'Indeed, the affair is the contrary of this.' 'What proof hast thou of that?' asked they, and she said, 'Bring me women.' So they brought her women, and when they looked on her, they found her a woman.
When the townsfolk saw this, they repented of that which they had done and the affair was grievous to them; so they sought pardon [of God] and said to her, ' By the virtue of Him whom thou servest, do thou seek pardon for us [of God!]' Quoth she, 'As for me, I may no longer abide with you and I am about to depart from you.' Then they humbled themselves in supplication to her and wept and said to her, 'We conjure thee, by the virtue of God the Most High, that thou take upon thyself the governance of the kingdom and of the subjects.' But she refused; whereupon they came up to her and wept and gave not over supplicating her, till she consented and abode in the kingship. Her first commandment was that they should bury the princess and build over her a dome[FN#6] and she abode in that palace, worshipping God the Most High and ruling the people with justice, and God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) vouchsafed her, by reason of the excellence of her piety and her patience and continence, the acceptance of her prayers, so that she sought not aught of Him to whom belong might and majesty, but He granted her prayer; and her report was noised abroad in all countries.
So the folk resorted to her from all parts and she used to pray God (to whom belong might and majesty) for the oppressed and God granted him relief, and against his oppressor, and He broke him in sunder. Moreover, she prayed for the sick and they were made whole; and on this wise she abode a great space of time. As for her husband, when he returned from the pilgrimage, his brother and the neighbours acquainted him with his wife's affair, whereat he was sore concerned and misdoubted of their story, for that which he knew of her chastity and prayerfulness; and he wept for her loss.
Meanwhile, she prayed to God the Most High that He would establish her innocence in the eyes of her husband and the folk. So He sent down upon her husband's brother a sore disease and none knew a remedy for him; wherefore he said to his brother, ' In such a city is a pious woman, a recluse, and her prayers are answered; so do thou carry me to her, that she may pray for me and God (to whom belong might and majesty) may make me whole of this sickness.' Accordingly, he took him up and fared on with him, till they came to the village where dwelt the old man, who had rescued the woman from the pit and carried her to his dwelling and tended her there, [till she recovered].
Here they halted and took up their lodging with the old man, who questioned the husband of his case and that of his brother and the reason of their journey, and he said, 'I purpose to go with my brother, this sick man, to the holy woman, her whose prayers are answered, so she may pray for him and God may make him whole by the blessing of her prayers.' Quoth the villager, 'By Allah, my son is in a parlous plight for sickness and we have heard that the holy woman prayeth for the sick and they are made whole. Indeed, the folk counsel me to carry him to her, and behold, I will go in company with you. And they said, 'It is well.' So they passed the night in that intent and on the morrow they set out for the dwelling of the holy woman, this one carrying his son and that his brother.
Now the man who had stolen the clothes and forged a lie against the pious woman, pretending that he was her lover, sickened of a sore sickness, and his people took him up and set out with him to visit the holy woman, and Destiny brought them all together by the way. So they fared on, till they came to the city wherein the man dwelt for whom she had paid a thousand dirhems, to deliver him from torment, and found him about to travel to her, by reason of a sickness that had betided him. So they all fared on together, unknowing that the holy woman was she whom they had so foully wronged, and ceased not going till they came to her city and foregathered at the gates of her palace, to wit, that wherein was the tomb of the king's daughter.
Now the folk used to go in to her and salute her and crave her prayers; and it was her wont to pray for none till he had confessed to her his sins, when she would seek pardon for him and pray for him that he might be healed, and he was straightway made whole of sickness, by permission of God the Most High. [So, when the four sick men were brought in to her,] she knew them forthright, though they knew her not, and said to them, ' Let each of you confess his sins, so I may crave pardon for him and pray for him.' And the brother said, 'As for me, I required my brother's wife of herself and she refused; whereupon despite and folly[FN#7] prompted me and I lied against her and accused her to the townsfolk of adultery; so they stoned her and slew her unjustly and unrighteously; and this is the issue of unright and falsehood and of the slaying of the [innocent] soul, whose slaughter God hath forbidden.'
Then said the young man, the villager's son, 'And I, O holy woman, my father brought us a woman who had been stoned, and my people tended her till she recovered. Now she was surpassing of beauty; so I required her of herself; but she refused and clave fast to God (to whom belong might and majesty), wherefore folly[FN#8] prompted me, so that I agreed with one of the youths that he should steal clothes and coin from my father's house. Then I laid hands on him [and carried him] to my father and made him confess. So he avouched that the woman was his mistress from the city and had been stoned on his account and that she was of accord with him concerning the theft and had opened the doors to him, and this was a lie against her, for that she had not yielded to me in that which I sought of her. So there befell me what ye see of punishment." And the young man, the thief, said, 'I am he with whom thou agreedst concerning the theft and to whom thou openedst the door, and I am he who avouched against her falsely and calumniously and God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) knoweth that I never did evil with her, no, nor knew her in any wise before then.'
Then said he whom she had delivered from torture and for whom she had paid a thousand dirhems and who had required her of herself in his house, for that her beauty pleased him, and [when she refused to yield to him] had forged a letter against her and treacherously denounced her to the Sultan and requited her bounty with ingratitude, 'I am he who wronged her and lied against her, and this is the issue of the oppressor's affair.'
When she heard their words, in the presence of the folk, she said, 'Praise be to God, the King who availeth unto all things, and blessing upon His prophets and apostles!' Then quoth she [to the assembly], ' Bear witness, O ye who are present, to these men's speech, and know that I am that woman whom they confess that they wronged.' And she turned to her husband's brother and said to him, 'I am thy brother's wife and God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He I) delivered me from that whereinto thou castedst me of false accusation and suspect and from the frowardness whereof thou hast spoken, and [now] hath He shown forth my innocence, of His bounty and generosity. Go, for thou art absolved of the wrong thou didst me.' Then she prayed for him and he was made whole of his sickness.
Then said she to the villager's son, 'Know that I am the woman whom thy father delivered from harm and stress and whom there betided from thee of false accusation and frowardness that which thou hast named.' And she craved pardon for him and he was made whole of his sickness. [Then said she to the thief, 'I am she against whom thou liedst, avouching that I was thy mistress, who had been stoned on thine account, and that I was of accord with thee concerning the robbing of the villager's house and had opened the doors to thee.' And she prayed for him and he was made whole of his sickness.] Then said she to [the townsman], him of the tribute, 'I am she who gave thee the [thousand] dirhems and thou didst with me what thou didst.' And she craved pardon for him and prayed for him and he was made whole; whereupon the folk marvelled at her oppressors, who had been afflicted alike, so God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) might show forth her innocence before witnesses.
Then she turned to the old man who had delivered her from the pit and prayed for him and gave him presents galore and among them a myriad of money;[FN#9] and they all departed from her, except her husband. When she was alone with him, she made him draw near unto her and rejoiced in his coming and gave him the choice of abiding with her. Moreover, she assembled the people of the city and set out to them his virtue and worth and counselled them to invest him with the charge of their governance and besought them to make him king over them. They fell in with her of this and he became king and took up his abode amongst them, whilst she gave herself up to her religious exercises and abode with her husband on such wise as she was with him aforetime.[FN#10] Nor," added the vizier, "is this story, O king of the time, more extraordinary or more delightful than that of the journeyman and the girl whose belly he slit and fled."
When King Shah Bekht heard this, he said, "Most like all they say of the vizier is leasing and his innocence will appear, even as that of the pious woman appeared." Then he comforted the vizier's heart and bade him go to his house.
The Nineteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king bade fetch the vizier and required of him the story of the journeyman and the girl. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O august king, that
STORY OF THE JOURNEYMAN AND THE GIRL.
There was once, of old time, in one of the tribes of the Arabs, a woman great with child by her husband, and they had a hired servant, a man of excellent understanding. When the woman came to [the time of her] delivery, she gave birth to a maid-child in the night and they sought fire of the neighbours. So the journeyman went in quest of fire.
Now there was in the camp a wise woman,[FN#11] and she questioned him of the new-born child, if it was male or female. Quoth he, 'It is a girl;' and she said, 'She shall do whoredom with a hundred men and a journeyman shall marry her and a spider shall slay her.' When the journeyman heard this, he returned upon his steps and going in to the woman, took the child from her by wile and slit its paunch. Then he fled forth into the desert at a venture and abode in strangerhood what [while] God willed.
He gained him wealth and returning to his native land, after twenty years' absence, alighted in the neighbourhood of an old woman, whom he bespoke fair and entreated with liberality, requiring of her a wench whom he might lie withal. Quoth she, 'I know none but a certain fair woman, who is renowned for this fashion.'[FN#12] Then she described her charms to him and made him lust after her, and he said, 'Hasten to her forthright and lavish unto her that which she asketh, [in exchange for her favours].' So the old woman betook herself to the damsel and discovered to her the man's wishes and bade her to him; but she answered, saying, 'It is true that I was on this [fashion of] whoredom [aforetime]; but now I have repented to God the Most High and hanker no more after this; nay, I desire lawful marriage; so, if he be content with that which is lawful, I am at his service.'
The old woman returned to the man and told him what the damsel said; and he lusted after her, by reason of her beauty and her repentance; so he took her to wife, and when he went in to her, he loved her and she also loved him. On this wise they abode a great while, till one day he questioned her of the cause of a mark[FN#13] he espied on her body, and she said, 'I know nought thereof save that my mother told me a marvellous thing concerning it.' 'What was that?' asked he, and she answered, 'She avouched that she gave birth to me one night of the nights of the winter and despatched a hired man, who was with us, in quest of fire for her. He was absent a little while and presently returning, took me and slit my belly and fled. When my mother saw this, affliction overcame her and compassion possessed her; so she sewed up my belly and tended me till, by the ordinance of God (to whom belong might and majesty), the wound healed up."
When her husband heard this, he said to her, 'What is thy name and what are the names of thy father and mother?' She told him their names and her own, whereby he knew that it was she whose belly he had slit and said to her, 'And where are thy father and mother?' 'They are both dead,' answered she, and he said, 'I am that journeyman who slit thy belly.' Quoth she, 'Why didst thou that?' And he replied, 'Because of a saying I heard from the wise woman.' 'What was it?' asked his wife, and he said, 'She avouched that thou wouldst play the harlot with a hundied men and that I should after take thee to wife.' Quoth she, 'Ay, I have whored it with a hundred men, no more and no less, and behold, thou hast married me.' 'Moreover,' continued her husband, 'the wise woman foresaid, also, that thou shouldst die, at the last of thy life, of the bite of a spider. Indeed, her saying hath been verified of the harlotry and the marriage, and I fear lest her word come true no less in the matter of thy death.'
Then they betook themselves to a place without the city, where he builded him a mansion of solid stone and white plaster and stopped its inner [walls] and stuccoed them; yea, he left not therein cranny nor crevice and set in it two serving-women to sweep and wipe, for fear of spiders. Here he abode with his wife a great while, till one day he espied a spider on the ceiling and beat it down. When his wife saw it, she said, 'This is that which the wise woman avouched would kill me; so, by thy life [I conjure thee], suffer me to slay it with mine own hand.' Her husband forbade her from this, but she conjured him to let her kill the spider; then, of her fear and her eagerness, she took a piece of wood and smote it. The wood broke in sunder, of the force of the blow, and a splinter from it entered her hand and wrought upon it, so that it swelled. Then her arm swelled also and the swelling spread to her side and thence grew till it reached her heart and she died. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary or more wonderful than the story of the weaver who became a physician by his wife's commandment."
When the king heard this, his admiration redoubled and he said, "Of a truth, destiny is forewritten to all creatures, and I will not accept[FN#14] aught that is said against my vizier the loyal counsellor." And he bade him go to his house.
The Twentieth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king let call his vizier and he presented himself before him, whereupon he required of him the hearing of the [promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O king. that
STORY OF THE WEAVER WHO BECAME A PHYSICIAN BY HIS WIFE'S COMMANDMENT.
There was once, in the land of Fars,[FN#15] a man who took to wife a woman higher than himself in rank and nobler of lineage, but she had no guardian to preserve her from want. It misliked her to marry one who was beneath her; nevertheless, she married him, because of need, and took of him a bond in writing to the effect that he would still be under her commandment and forbiddance and would nowise gainsay her in word or deed. Now the man was a weaver and he bound himself in writing to pay his wife ten thousand dirhems, [in case he should make default in the condition aforesaid].
On this wise they abode a long while till one day the wife went out in quest of water, whereof she had need, and espied a physician who had spread a carpet in the Thereon he had set out great store of drugs and implements of medicine and he was speaking and muttering [charms], whilst the folk flocked to him and compassed him about on every side. The weaver's wife marvelled at the largeness of the physician's fortune[FN#16] and said in herself, 'Were my husband thus, he would have an easy life of it and that wherein we are of straitness and misery would be enlarged unto him.'
Then she returned home, troubled and careful; and when her husband saw her on this wise, he questioned her of her case and she said to him, 'Verily, my breast is straitened by reason of thee and of the simpleness of thine intent. Straitness liketh me not and thou in thy [present] craft gaiuest nought; so either do thou seek out a craft other than this or pay me my due[FN#17] and let me go my way.' Her husband chid her for this and admonished her;[FN#18] but she would not be turned from her intent and said to him, 'Go forth and watch yonder physician how he doth and leam from him what he saith.' Quoth he, 'Let not thy heart be troubled: I will go every day to the physician's assembly.'
So he fell to resorting daily to the physician and committing to memory his sayings and that which he spoke of jargon, till he had gotten a great matter by heart, and all this he studied throughly and digested it. Then he returned to his wife and said to her, 'I have committed the physician's sayings to memory and have learned his fashion of muttering and prescribing and applying remedies[FN#19] and have gotten by heart the names of the remedies and of all the diseases, and there abideth nought [unaccomplished] of thy commandment. What wilt thou have me do now?' Quoth she, 'Leave weaving and open thyself a physician's shop.' But he answered, 'The people of my city know me and this affair will not profit me, save in a land of strangerhood; so come, let us go out from this city and get us to a strange land and [there] live.' And she said, 'Do as thou wilt.'
So he arose and taking his weaving gear, sold it and bought with the price drugs and simples and wrought himself a carpet, with which they set out and journeyed to a certain village, where they took up their abode. Then the man donned a physician's habit and fell to going round about the hamlets and villages and country parts; and he began to earn his living and make gain. Their affairs prospered and their case was bettered; wherefore they praised God for their present ease and the village became to them a home.
[On this wise he abode a pretty while] and the days ceased not and the nights to transport him from country to country, till he came to the land of the Greeks and lighted down in a city of the cities thereof, wherein was Galen the Sage; but the weaver knew him not, nor was he ware who he was. So he went forth, according to his wont, in quest of a place where the folk might assemble together, and hired Galen's courtyard.[FN#20] There he spread his carpet and setting out thereon his drugs and instruments of medicine, praised himself and his skill and vaunted himself of understanding such as none but he might claim.
Galen heard that which he avouched of his understanding and it was certified unto him and established in his mind that the man was a skilled physician of the physicians of the Persians and [he said in himself], 'Except he had confidence in his knowledge and were minded to confront me and contend with me, he had not sought the door of my house neither spoken that which he hath spoken.' And concern gat hold upon Galen and doubt. Then he looked out upon[FN#21] the weaver and addressed himself to see what he should do, whilst the folk began to flock to him and set out to him their ailments, and he would answer them thereof [and prescribe for them], hitting the mark one while and missing it another, so that there appeared unto Galen of his fashion nothing whereby his mind might be assured that he had formed a just opinion of his skill.
Presently, up came a woman with a phial of urine, and when the [mock] physician saw the phial afar off, he said to her, 'This is the urine of a man, a stranger.' 'Yes,' answered she; and he continued, 'Is he not a Jew and is not his ailment indigestion?' 'Yes,' replied the woman, and the folk marvelled at this; wherefore the man was magnified in Galen's eyes, for that he heard speech such as was not of the usage of physicians, seeing that they know not urine but by shaking it and looking into it anear neither know they a man's water from a woman's water, nor a stranger's [from a countryman's], nor a Jew's from a Sherifs.[FN#22] Then said the woman, 'What is the remedy?' Quoth the weaver, 'Pay down the fee.' So she paid him a dirhem and he gave her medicines contrary to that ailment and such as would aggravate the patient's malady.
When Galen saw what appeared to him of the [mock] physician's incapacity, he turned to his disciples and pupils and bade them fetch the other, with all his gear and drugs. So they brought him into his presence on the speediest wise, and when Galen saw him before him, he said to him, 'Knowest thou me?' ' No,' answered the other, 'nor did I ever set eyes on thee before this day.' Quoth the sage, 'Dost thou know Galen?' And the weaver said, 'No.' Then said Galen, 'What prompted thee to that which thou dost?' So he related to him his story and gave him to know of the dowry and the obligation by which he was bound with regard to his wife, whereat Galen marvelled and certified himself of the matter of the dower.
Then he bade lodge him near himself and was bountiful to him and took him apart and said to him, 'Expound to me the story of the phial and whence then knewest that the water therein was that of a man, and he a stranger and a Jew, and that his ailment was indigestion?' ' It is well,' answered the weaver. ' Thou must know that we people of Persia are skilled in physiognomy[FN#23] and I saw the woman to be rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed and tall. Now these attributes belong to women who are enamoured of a man and are distraught for love of him;[FN#24] moreover, I saw her consumed [with anxiety]; wherefore I knew that the patient was her husband. As for his strangerhood, I observed that the woman's attire differed from that of the people of the city, wherefore I knew that she was a stranger; and in the mouth of the phial I espied a yellow rag,[FN#25] whereby I knew that the patient was a Jew and she a Jewess. Moreover, she came to me on the first day [of the week];[FN#26] and it is the Jews' custom to take pottages[FN#27] and meats that have been dressed overnight[FN#28] and eat them on the Sabbath day,[FN#29] hot and cold, and they exceed in eating; wherefore indigestion betideth them. On this wise I was directed and guessed that which thou hast heard.'
When Galen heard this, he ordered the weaver the amount of his wife's dowry and bade him pay it to her and divorce her. Moreover, he forbade him from returning to the practice of physic and warned him never again to take to wife a woman of better condition than himself; and he gave him his spending-money and bade him return to his [former] craft. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary or rarer than the story of the two sharpers who cozened each his fellow."
When King Shah Bekht heard this, he said in himself, "How like is this story to my present case with this vizier, who hath not his like!" Then he bade him depart to his own house and come again at eventide.
The Twenty-First Night of the Month.
When came the night, the vizier presented himself before the king, who bade him relate the [promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, Out
STORY OF THE TWO SHARPERS WHO CHEATED EACH HIS FELLOW.
There was once, in the city of Baghdad, a man, [by name El Merouzi,][FN#30] who was a sharper and plagued[FN#31] the folk with his knavish tricks, and he was renowned in all quarters [for roguery]. [He went out one day], carrying a load of sheep's dung, and took an oath that he would not return to his lodging till he had sold it at the price of raisins. Now there was in another city a second sharper, [by name Er Razi,][FN#32] one of its people, who [went out the same day], bearing a load of goat's dung, which he had sworn that he would not sell but at the price of dried figs.
So each of them fared on with that which was with him and gave not over going till they met in one of the inns[FN#33] and each complained to the other of that which he had abidden of travel [in quest of custom] and of the lack of demand for his wares. Now each of them had it in mind to cheat his fellow; so El Merouzi said to Er Razi, 'Wilt thou sell me that?' 'Yes,' answered he, and the other continued, 'And wilt thou buy that which is with me?' Er Razi assented; so they agreed upon this and each of them sold his fellow that which was with him [in exchange for the other's ware]; after which they bade each other farewell and parted. As soon as they were out of each other's sight, they examined their loads, to see what was therein, and one of them found that he had a load of sheep's dung and the other that he had a load of goat's dung; whereupon each of them turned back in quest of his fellow. They met in the inn aforesaid and laughed at each other and cancelling their bargain, agreed to enter into partnership and that all that they had of money and other good should be in common between them, share and share alike.
Then said Er Razi to El Merouzi, 'Come with me to my city, for that it is nearer [than thine].' So he went with him, and when he came to his lodging, he said to his wife and household and neighbours, 'This is my brother, who hath been absent in the land of Khorassan and is come back.' And he abode with him in all honour and worship three days' space. On the fourth day, Er Razi said to him, 'Know, O my brother, that I purpose to do somewhat' 'What is it?' asked El Merouzi. Quoth the other, 'I mean to feign myself dead and do thou go to the market and hire two porters and a bier. [Then come back and take me up and go round about the streets and markets with me and collect alms on my account.][FN#34]
Accordingly El Merouzi repaired to the market and fetching that which he sought, returned to Er Razi's house, where he found the latter cast down in the vestibule, with his beard tied and his eyes shut; and indeed, his colour was paled and his belly blown out and his limbs relaxed. So he deemed him in truth dead and shook him; but he spoke not; and he took a knife and pricked him in the legs, but he stirred not. Then said Er Razi, 'What is this, O fool?' And El Merouzi answered, 'Methought thou wast dead in very sooth.' Quoth Er Razi, 'Get thee to seriousness and leave jesting.' So he took him up and went with him to the market and collected [alms] for him that day till eventide, when he carried him back to his lodging and waited till the morrow.
Next morning, he again took up the bier and went round with it as before, in quest of alms. Presently, the master of police, who was of those who had given alms on account of the supposed dead man on the previous day, met him; so he was angered and fell on the porters and beat them and took the [supposed] dead body, saying, 'I will bury him and earn the reward [of God].'[FN#35] So his men took him up and carrying him to the prefecture, fetched grave-diggers, who dug him a grave. Then they bought him a shroud and perfumes[FN#36] and fetched an old man of the quarter, to wash him. So he recited over him [the appointed prayers and portions of the Koran] and laying him on the bench, washed him and shrouded him. After he had shrouded him, he voided;[FN#37] so he renewed the washing and went away to make his ablutions,[FN#38] whilst all the folk departed, likewise, to make the [obligatory] ablution, previously to the funeral.
When the dead man found himself alone, he sprang up, as he were a Satan, and donning the washer's clothes,[FN#39] took the bowls and water-can and wrapped them up in the napkins. Then be took his shroud under his arm and went out. The doorkeepers thought that he was the washer and said to him, 'Hast thou made an end of the washing, so we may tell the Amir?' 'Yes,' answered the sharper and made off to his lodging, where he found El Merouzi soliciting his wife and saying to her, 'Nay, by thy life, thou wilt never again look upon his face; for that by this time he is buried. I myself escaped not from them but after travail and trouble, and if he speak, they will put him to death.' Quoth she, 'And what wilt thou have of me?' 'Accomplish my desire of thee,' answered he, 'and heal my disorder, for I am better than thy husband.' And he fell a-toying with her.
When Er Razi heard this, he said, 'Yonder wittol lusteth after my wife; but I will do him a mischief.' Then he rushed in upon them, and when El Merouzi saw him, he marvelled at him and said to him, 'How didst thou make thine escape?' So he told him the trick he had played and they abode talking of that which they had collected from the folk [by way of alms], and indeed they had gotten great store of money. Then said El Merouzi, 'Verily, mine absence hath been prolonged and fain would I return to my own country.' Quoth Er Rasi,' As thou wilt;' and the other said, 'Let us divide the money we have gotten and do thou go with me to my country, so I may show thee my tricks and my fashions.' 'Come to-morrow,' replied Er Razi, 'and we will divide the money.'
So El Merouzi went away and the other turned to his wife and said to her, 'We have gotten us great plenty of money, and yonder dog would fain take the half of it; but this shall never be, for that my mind hath been changed against him, since I heard him solicit thee; wherefore I purpose to play him a trick and enjoy all the money; and do not thou cross me.' ' It is well,' answered she, and he said to her, '[To-morrow] at day-peep I will feign myself dead and do thou cry out and tear thy hair, whereupon the folk will flock to me. Then lay me out and bury me, and when the folk are gone away [from the burial-place], do thou dig down to me and take me; and have no fear for me, for I can abide two days in the tomb [without hurt].' And she answered, 'Do what thou wilt.'
So, when it was the foredawn hour, she tied his beard and spreading a veil over him, cried out, whereupon the people of the quarter flocked to her, men and women. Presently, up came El Merouzi, for the division of the money, and hearing the crying [of the mourners], said, 'What is to do?" Quoth they, 'Thy brother is dead;' and he said in himself, 'The accursed fellow putteth a cheat on me, so he may get all the money for himself, but I will do with him what shall soon bring him to life again.' Then he rent the bosom of his gown and uncovered his head, weeping and saying, 'Alas, my brother! Alas, my chief! Alas, my lord!' And he went in to the men, who rose and condoled with him. Then he accosted Er Razi's wife and said to her, 'How came his death about?' 'I know not,' answered she, 'except that, when I arose in the morning, I found him dead.' Moreover, he questioned her of the money and good that was with her, but she said, 'I have no knowledge of this and no tidings.'
So he sat down at the sharper's head, and said to him, 'Know, O Razi, that I will not leave thee till after ten days and their nights, wherein I will wake and sleep by thy grave. So arise and be not a fool.' But he answered him not and El Merouzi [drew his knife and] fell to sticking it into the other's hands and feet, thinking to make him move; but [he stirred not and] he presently grew weary of this and concluded that the sharper was dead in good earnest. [However, he still misdoubted of the case] and said in himself, 'This fellow is dissembling, so he may enjoy all the money.' Therewith he addressed himself to prepare him [for burial] and bought him perfumes and what [not else] was needed. Then they brought him to the washing-place and El Merouzi came to him and heating water till it boiled and bubbled and a third of it was wasted,[FN#40] fell to pouring it on his skin, so that it turned red and blue and blistered; but he abode still on one case [and stirred not].
So they wrapped him in the shroud and set him on the bier. Then they took up his bier and bearing him to the burial-place, laid him in the grave[FN#41] and threw the earth over him; after which the folk dispersed, but El Merouzi and the widow abode by the tomb, weeping, and gave not over sitting till sundown, when the woman said to him, 'Come, let us go to the house, for this weeping will not profit us, nor will it restore the dead.' 'By Allah,' answered the sharper, 'I will not budge hence till I have slept and waked by this tomb ten days, with their nights!' When she heard this his speech, she feared lest he should keep his word and his oath, and so her husband perish; but she said in herself, 'This fellow dissembleth: if I go away and return to my house, he will abide by him a little while and go away.' And El Merouzi said to her, 'Arise, thou, and go away.'
So she arose and returned to her house, whilst El Merouzi abode in his place till the night was half spent, when he said to himself, 'How long [is this to last]? Yet how can I let this knavish dog die and lose the money? Methinks I were better open the tomb on him and bring him forth and take my due of him by dint of grievous beating and torment.' Accordingly, he dug him up and pulled him forth of the tomb; after which he betook himself to an orchard hard by the burial-ground and cut thence staves and palm sticks. Then he tied the dead man's legs and came down on him with the staff and beat him grievously; but he stirred not. When the time grew long on him, his shoulders became weary and he feared lest some one of the watch should pass on his round and surprise him. So he took up Er Razi and carrying him forth of the cemetery, stayed not till he came to the Magians' burying-place and casting him down in a sepulchre[FN#42] there, rained heavy blows upon him till his shoulders failed him, but the other stirred not Then he sat down by his side and rested; after which he rose and renewed the beating upon him, [but to no better effect; and thus he did] till the end of the night
Now, as destiny would have it, a band of thieves, whose use it was, whenas they had stolen aught, to resort to that place and divide [their booty], came thither [that night], as of their wont; and they were ten in number and had with them wealth galore, which they were carrying. When they drew near the sepulchre, they heard a noise of blows within it and the captain said, 'This is a Magian whom the angels[FN#43] are tormenting.' So they entered [the burial-ground] and when they came over against El Merouzi, he feared lest they should be the officers of the watch come upon him, wherefore he [arose and] fled and stood among the tombs.[FN#44] The thieves came up to the place and finding Er Razi bound by the feet and by him near seventy sticks, marvelled at this with an exceeding wonderment and said, 'God confound thee! This was sure an infidel, a man of many crimes; for, behold, the earth hath rejected him from her womb, and by my life, he is yet fresh! This is his first night [in the tomb] and the angels were tormenting him but now; so whosoever of you hath a sin upon his conscience, let him beat him, as a propitiatory offering to God the Most High.' And the thieves said, 'We all have sins upon our consciences.'
So each of them went up to the [supposed] dead man and dealt him nigh upon a hundred blows, exclaiming the while, one, 'This is for[FN#45] my father!' and another, 'This is for my grandfather!' whilst a third said, 'This is for my brother!' and a fourth, 'This is for my mother!' And they gave not over taking turns at him and beating him, till they were weary, what while El Merouzi stood laughing and saying in himself, 'It is not I alone who have entered into sin against him. There is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!'
Then the thieves addressed themselves to sharing their booty and presently fell out concerning a sword that was among the spoil, who should take it. Quoth the captain, 'Methinks we were better prove it; so, if it be good, we shall know its worth, and if it be ill, we shall know that.' And they said, 'Try it on this dead man, for he is fresh.' So the captain took the sword and drawing it, poised it and brandished it; but, when Er Razi saw this, he made sure of death and said in himself, 'I have borne the washing and the boiling water and the pricking with the knife and the grave and its straitness and all this [beating], trusting in God that I might be delivered from death, and [hitherto] I have been delivered; but, as for the sword, I may not brook that, for but one stroke of it, and I am a dead man.'