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Supplemental Nights, Volume 3 by Richard F. Burton

Part 4 out of 11

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Prince himself drew near to me and, much amazed, sent away his
suite from about me and addressed me in these words, "O my lady,
fear naught of ill from me nor distress thyself by needless
affright. I would convey thee to my home and under my mother's
care; wherefore I am curious to know of thee who thou art. The
Queen will assuredly befriend thee and keep thee in comfort and
happiness." And now understanding that his heart was drawn
towards me, I told him all that had betided me, and he on hearing
the story of my sad destiny became moved with the deepest emotion
and his eyes brimmed with tears. Then he comforted me and carried
me with him and committed me to the Queen his mother, who also
lent kindly ear to my tale of the past, first and last, and
hearing it she also was greatly grieved, and wearied not day or
night in tending me and (as far as in her lay) striving to make
me happy. Seeing, moreover, that her son was deeply enamoured of
me and love-distraught she agreed to my becoming his wife, while
I also consented when I looked upon his handsome and noble face
and figure and to his proved affection for me and his goodness of
heart. Accordingly, in due time the marriage was celebrated with
royal pomp and circumstance. But what escape is there from Fate?
On that very night, the night of the wedding, a King of Zanzibar
who dwelt hard by that island, and had erewhile practised against
the kingdom, seizing his opportunity, attacked us with a mighty
army, and having put many to death, bethought him to take me and
my husband alive. But we escaped from his hands and fleeing under
the murks of night to the sea-shore found there a fisherman's
boat, which we entered thanking our stars and launched it and
floated far away on the current, unknowing whither Destiny was
directing us. On the third day we espied a vessel making us,
whereat we rejoiced with joy excessive, deeming her to be some
merchantman coming to our aidance. No sooner had it lain
alongside, however, than up there sprang five or six
pirates,[FN#244] each brandishing a naked brand in hand, and
boarding us tied our arms behind us and carried us to their
craft. They then tare the veil from my face and forthwith desired
to possess me, each saying to other, "I will enjoy this wench."
On this wise wrangling and jangling ensued till right soon it
turned to battle and bloodshed, when moment by moment and one by
one the ravishers fell dead until all were slain save a single
pirate, the bravest of the band. Quoth he to me, "Thou shalt fare
with me to Cairo where dwelleth a friend of mine and to him will
I give thee, for erewhile I promised him that on this voyage I
would secure for him a fair woman for handmaid." Then seeing my
husband, whom the pirates had left in bonds he exclaimed, "Who
may be this hound? Is he to thee a lover or a friend?" and I made
answer, "He is my wedded husband." "'Tis well," cried he: "in
very sooth it behoveth me to release him from the bitter pangs of
jealousy and the sight of thee enfolded in another's fond
embrace." Whereat the ruffian raised aloft the ill-fated Prince,
bound foot and hand, and cast him into the sea, while I shrieked
aloud and implored his mercy, but all in vain. Seeing the Prince
struggling and drowning in the waves I cried out and screamed and
buffetted my face and tare my hair and would fain have cast
myself into the waters but I could not, for he held me fast and
lashed me to the mainmast. Then, pursuing our course with
favouring winds we soon arrived at a small port-village where he
bought camels and boy-slaves and journeyed on towards Cairo; but
when several stages of the road were left behind us, the
Abyssinian who dwelt in this castle suddenly overtook us. From
afar we deemed him to be a lofty tower, and when near us could
hardly believe him to be a human being.-- And as the morn began
to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Princess of Daryabar continued:--At once unsheathing his huge
sword the Habashi made for the pirate and ordered him to
surrender himself prisoner, with me and all his slaves, and with
pinioned elbows to accompany him. Hereat the robber with hot
courage and heading his followers rushed fiercely on the
Abyssinian, and for a long time the fight raged thick and fast,
till he and his lay dead upon the field; whereupon the Abyssinian
led off the camels and carried me and the pirate's corpse to this
castle, and devoured the flesh of his foe at his evening meal.
Then turning to me as I wept with bitter weeping he said, "Banish
from thy breast this woe and this angry mood; and abide in this
castle at perfect ease and in comfort, and solace thyself with my
embraces. However, since thou appearest at this present to be in
dire distress, I will excuse thee for to-night, but without fail
I shall require thee of thyself on the morrow." He then led me
into a separate chamber and locking fast the gates and doors,
fell asleep alone in another place. Arising early on the next
morning he searched the castle round about, unlocked the wicket
which he closed again and sallied forth, according to his custom,
in quest of wayfarers. But the caravan escaped him and anon he
returned empty-handed when thou didst set upon him and slay him."
On this wise the Princess of Daryabar related her history to
Prince Khudadad who was moved with ruth for her: then comforting
her he said, "Henceforth fear naught nor be on any wise dismayed.
These princes are the sons of the King of Harran; and if it
please thee, let them lead thee to his court and stablish thee in
comfort and luxury: the King also will guard thee from all evil.
Or, shouldest thou be loath to fare with them, wilt thou not
consent to take for spouse him who hath rescued thee from so
great calamity?" The Princess of Daryabar consented to wed with
him and forthwith the marriage was celebrated with grand display
in the castle and here they found meats and drinks of sundry
sorts, and delicious fruits and fine wines wherewith the cannibal
would regale himself when a-weary of man's flesh. So Khudadad
made ready dishes of every colour and feasted his brothers. Next
day taking with them such provaunt as was at hand, all set forth
for Harran, and at the close of each stage they chose a suitable
stead for nighting; and, when but one day's journey lay before
them, the Princes supped that night off what was left to them of
their viaticum and drained all the wine that remained. But when
the drink had mastered their wits, Khudadad thus addressed his
brothers, saying, "Hitherto have I withheld from you the secret
of my birth, which now I must disclose. Know ye then that I am
your brother, for I also am a son of the King of Harran, whom the
Lord of Samaria-land brought up and bade educate; and lastly, my
mother is the Princess Firuzah." Then to the Princess of
Daryabar, "Thou didst not recognize my rank and pedigree and, had
I discovered myself erewhile, haply thou hadst been spared the
mortification of being wood by a man of vulgar blood. But now
ease thy mind for that thy husband is a Prince." Quoth she,
"Albeit thou discoveredst to me naught until this time, still my
heart felt assured that thou wast of noble birth and the son of
some potent sovereign." The Princes one and all appeared
outwardly well pleased and offered each and every warm
congratulations whilst the wedding was celebrating; but inwardly
they were filled with envy and sore annoy at such unwelcome issue
of events, so much so that when Khudadad retired with the
Princess of Daryabar to his tent and slept, those ingrates,
forgetful of the service rendered to them by their brother in
that he had rescued them when prisoners in the hands of the
man-devouring Abyssinian, remained deep in thought and seeking a
safe place took counsel one with other to kill him. Quoth the
foremost of them, "O my brethren, our father showed him the
liveliest affection when he was to us naught save a vagrant and
unknown, and indeed made him our ruler and our governor; and now,
hearing of his victory won from the ogre and learning that the
stranger is his son, will not our sire forthwith appoint this
bastard his only heir and give him dominion over us so that we
must all be forced to fall at his feet and bear his yoke? My rede
is this that we make an end of him in this very spot."
Accordingly they stole softly into his tent and dealt him from
every side strokes with their swords, so that they slashed him in
every limb and fondly thought that they had left him dead on the
bed without their awaking the Princess. Next morning they entered
the city of Harran and made their salams to the King, who
despaired of sighting them again, so he rejoiced with exceeding
joy on seeing them restored to him safe and sound and sane, and
asked why they had tarried from him so long. In reply they
carefully concealed from him their being thrown into the dungeon
by the Ghul of Abyssinia and how Khudadad had rescued them: on
the contrary all declared that they had been delayed whilst
a-hunting and a-visiting the adjacent cities and countries. So
the Sultan gave full credence to their account and held his
peace. Such was their case; but as regards Khudadad, when the
Princess of Daryabar awoke in the morning she found her
bridegroom lying drowned in blood gashed and pierced with a score
of wounds.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the full Six Hundredth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that, the
Princess, deeming her bridegroom dead, wept at this sight right
sore; and, calling to mind his youth and beauty, his valour and
his many virtues, she washed his face with her tears and
exclaimed, "Well-away and woe is me, O my lover, O Khudadad, do
these eyes look upon thee in sudden and violent death? Are these
thy brothers (the devils!) whom thy courage hath saved, the
destroyers of thee? Nay 'tis I am thy murtheress; I who suffered
thee to ally thy Fate with my hapless destiny, a lot that doometh
to destruction all who befriend me." Then considering the body
attentively she perceived that breath was slowly coming and going
through his nostrils, and that his limbs were yet warm. So she
made fast the tent-door and ran city-wards to seek a surgeon, and
anon having found a skilful leech, she returned with him, but lo
and behold! Khudadad was missing. She wist not what had become of
him, but thought in her mind that some wild beast had carried him
off; then she wept bitterly and bemoaned her mishap, so that the
surgeon was moved to ruth and with words of comfort and
consolation offered her house and service; and lastly he bore her
to the town and assigned to her a separate dwelling. He also
appointed two slave-girls to wait upon her, and albeit he knew
naught of her condition he was ever in attendance on her with the
honour and homage due to the kings. One day, she being somewhat
less sad of heart, the surgeon, who had now informed himself of
her condition, asked her, saying, "O my lady, be pleased to
acquaint me with thine estate and thy misfortunes, and as far as
in me lieth I will strive to aid and succour thee." And she,
observing the leech to be shrewd and trustworthy withal, made
known to him her story. Quoth the surgeon, "An it be thy wish, I
would gladly escort thee to thy father-in-law the King of Harran,
who is indeed a wise sovereign and a just; and he will rejoice to
see thee and will take vengeance on the unnatural Princes, his
sons, for the blood of thy husband unjustly shed." These words
pleased well the Princess; so the surgeon hired two dromedaries
which they mounted and the twain set forth for the city of
Harran. Alighting that same evening at a caravanserai the leech
asked what news had come from town; and the Keeper answered, "The
King of Harran had a son passing valiant and accomplished who
abode with him for some years as a stranger; but lately he was
lost, nor doth any know of him whether he be dead or alive. The
Princess Firuzah his mother hath sent allwheres in search of him,
yet hath she found nor trace nor tidings of him. His parents and
indeed all the folk, rich and poor, weep and wail for him and
albeit the Sultan hath other forty and nine sons, none of them
can compare with him for doughty deeds and skilful craft, nor
from any one of them deriveth he aught of comfort or consolation.
Full quest and search have been made but hitherto all hath been
in vain." The surgeon thereupon made known these words to the
Princess of Daryabar, who was minded to go straightway and
acquaint the mother of Khudadad with everything that had befallen
her husband; but the surgeon, after full reflection, said, "O
Princess, shouldst thou fare with this intent, haply ere thou
arrive thither the forty-nine Princes may hear of thy coming; and
they, by some means or other, will assuredly do thee die, and thy
life will be spent to no purpose. Nay, rather let me go first to
Prince Khudadad's mother: I will tell her all thy tale and she
doubtless will send for thee. Until such time do thou remain
secret in this Serai." Accordingly the leech rode on leisurely
for the city and on the road he met a lady mounted upon a
she-mule[FN#245] whose housings were of the richest and finest,
while behind her walked confidential servants, followed by a band
of horsemen and foot- soldiers and Habashi slaves; and, as she
rode along, the people formed espalier, standing on either side
to salute her while she passed. The leech also joined the throng
and made his obeisance, after which quoth he to a bystander,
which was a Darwaysh, "Methinks this lady must be a queen?" "'Tis
even so," quoth the other, "she is the consort of our Sultan and
all the folk honour and esteem her above her sister-wives for
that in truth she is the mother of Prince Khudadad and of him
thou surely hast heard." Hereupon the surgeon accompanied the
cavalcade; and, when the lady dismounted at a cathedral-mosque
and gave alms of Ashrafis[FN#246] and gold coins to all around
(for the King had enjoined her that until Khudadad's return she
should deal charity to the poor with her own hand, and pray for
the youth's being restored to his home in peace and safety), the
mediciner also mingled with the throng which joined in
supplications for their favourite and whispered to a slave
saying, "O my brother, it behoveth me that I make known without
stay or delay to Queen Firuzah a secret which is with me."
Replied he, "An it be aught concerning Prince Khudadad 'tis well:
the King's wife will surely give ear to thee; but an it be other,
thou wilt hardly win a hearing, for that she is distraught by the
absence of her son and careth not for aught beside." The surgeon,
still speaking low, made reply, "My secret concerneth that which
is on her mind." "If this be so," returned the slave, "do thou
follow her train privily till it arrive at the palace gate."
Accordingly, when the Lady Firuzah reached her royal apartments,
the man made petition to her, saying, "A stranger would fain tell
somewhat to thee in private;" and she deigned give permission and
command, exclaiming, "'Tis well, let him be brought hither."
Hereupon the slave presented to her the surgeon whom the Queen
with gracious mien bade approach; and he, kissing ground between
her hands, made his petition in these words: "I have a long tale
to tell thy Highness whereat thou shalt greatly marvel." Then he
described to her Khudadad's condition, the villainy of his
brothers and his death at their hands and of his corpse having
been carried off by wild beasts. Queen Firuzah hearing of her
son's murther fell straight- way a-swooning to the ground, and
the attendants ran up and, raising her, besprinkled her face with
rose-water until she recovered sense and consciousness. Then she
gave orders to the surgeon saying, "Hie thee straightway to the
Princess of Daryabar and convey to her greetings and expressions
of sympathy both from myself and from his sire;" and as the leech
departed she called to mind her son and wept with sore weeping.
By chance the Sultan, who was passing by that way, seeing Firuzah
in tears and sobs and breaking out into sore and bitter
lamentation, asked of her the reason thereof.--And as the morn
began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and First Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that when her
husband enquired of Queen Firuzah why and wherefore she wept and
wailed, and moaned and groaned, she told him all she had heard
from the leech, and her husband was filled with hot wrath against
his sons. So he rose up and went straightway to the
audience-chamber, where the townsfolk had gathered together to
petition him and to pray for justice and redress; and they,
seeing his features working with rage, were all sore afraid.
Presently the Sultan seated himself on the throne of his kingship
and gave an order to his Grand Wazir, saying, "O Wazir Hasan,
take with thee a thousand men of the guard which keepeth watch
and ward over the palace and do thou bring hither the forty-and-
nine Princes, my unworthy sons, and cast them into the prison
appointed unto man-slayers and murtherers; and have a heed that
none of them escape." The Wazir did as he was bidden, and seizing
the Princes one and all cast them into gaol with the murtherers
and other criminals, then reported his action to his liege lord.
Hereat the Sultan dismissed sundry claimants and suppliants,
saying, "For the space of one full-told month henceforth it
besitteth me not to sit in the justice-hall. Depart hence, and,
when the thirty days shall have passed away, do ye return hither
again." After this rising from the throne he took with him the
Wazir Hasan, and entering the apartment of Queen Firuzah, gave
command to the Minister that he bring in all haste and with royal
state and dignity from the caravanserai, the Princess of Daryabar
and the mediciner. The Wazir straightway took horse accompanied
by the Emirs and soldiers; and, leading a fine white she-mule
richly adorned with jewelled trappings from out of the royal
stables, he rode to the caravanserai wherein abode the Princess
of Daryabar. Having told her all that the King had done, he
seated her upon the animal and, mounting the surgeon upon a steed
of Turcoman[FN#247] blood, all three proceeded with pomp and
grandeur to the palace. The shop-keepers and townsfolk ran out to
greet the lady as the cavalcade wound its way through the
streets; and, when they heard say that she was the wife of Prince
Khudadad, they rejoiced with exceeding joy for that they should
now receive tidings of his whereabouts. As soon as the procession
reached the palace gates the Princess of Daryabar saw the Sultan,
who had come forth to greet her, and she alighted from the mule
and kissed his feet. The King then raised her by the hand and
conducted her to the chamber wherein sat Queen Firuzah awaiting
her visit, and all three fell on one another's necks and wept
sore and could on no wise control their grief. But whenas their
sorrow was somewhat assuaged, the Princess of Daryabar said to
the King, "O my lord the Sultan, I would proffer humble petition
that full vengeance may fall upon those, one and all, by whom my
husband hath been so foully and cruelly murthered." Replied the
King, "O my lady, rest assured that I will assuredly put to death
all those villains in requital for the blood of Khudadad;"
presently adding, "'Tis true that the dead body of my brave son
hath not been found, still it seemeth but right to me that a tomb
be built, a cenotaph whereby his greatness and goodness may be
held in everlasting remembrance." Thereupon he summoned the Grand
Wazir and bade that a great Mausoleum of white marble be edified
amiddlemost the city and the Minister straightway appointed
workmen and made choice of a suitable spot in the very centre of
the capital. So there they built a gorgeous cenotaph crowned with
a noble dome under which was sculptured a figure of Khudadad;
and, when the news of its completion reached the King, he
appointed a day for ceremonious mourning and perlections of the
Koran. At the appointed time and term the townsfolk gathered
together to see the funeral procession and the obsequies for the
departed; and the Sultan went in state to the Mausoleum together
with all the Wazirs, the Emirs and Lords of the land, and took
seat upon carpets of black satin purfled with flowers of gold
which were dispread over the marble floor. After a while a bevy
of Knights rode up, with downcast heads and half-closed eyes; and
twice circuiting the dome[FN#248] they halted the third time in
front of the door, and cried out aloud, "O Prince, O son of our
Sultan, could we by the sway of our good swords and the strength
of our gallant arms restore thee to life, nor heart nor force
would fail us in the endeavour; but before the fiat of Almighty
Allah all must bow the neck." Then the horsemen rode away to the
place whence they came, followed by one hundred hermits hoar of
head and dwellers of the caves who had passed their lives in
solitude and abstinence nor ever held converse with man or
womankind, neither did they appear in Harran at any time save for
the obsequies of the reigning race. In front came one of these
greybeards steadying with one hand a huge and ponderous tome
which he bore upon his head. Presently all the holy men thrice
compassed the Mausoleum, then standing on the highway the eldest
cried with a loud voice, "O Prince, could we by dint of orisons
and devotions bring thee back to life, these hearts and souls of
ours would be devoted to quickening thee, and on seeing thee
arise once again we would wipe thy feet with our own age-white
beards." And when they also retired came one hundred maidens of
wondrous beauty and loveliness, mounted on white barbs whose
saddles were richly embroidered and set with jewels: their faces
were bare and on their heads they bore golden canisters filled
with precious stones, rubies and diamonds. They also rode in
circuit round the cenotaph and, halting at the door, the youngest
and fairest of them, speaking in the name of her sisterhood,
exclaimed, "O Prince, could our youth and our charms avail thee
aught, we would present ourselves to thee and become thy
handmaids; but alas! thou knowest full well that our beauties are
here all in vain nor can our love now warm thy clay." Then they
also departed in the deepest grief. As soon as they had
disappeared the Sultan and all with him rose up and walked thrice
round the figure that had been set up under the dome; then
standing at its feet the father said, "O my beloved son,
enlighten these eyes which tears for the stress of separation
have thus bedimmed." He then wept bitterly and all his Ministers
and Courtiers and Grandees joined in his mourning and
lamentations; and, when they had made an end of the obsequies,
the Sultan and his suite returned palace-wards and the door of
the dome was locked.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad
held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Second Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Sultan
commanded congregational prayers in all the mosques for a full
told week and he ceased not to mourn and weep and wail before the
cenotaph of his son for eight days. And as soon as this term was
passed he commanded the Grand Wazir that vengeance be meted out
for the murther of Prince Khudadad, and that the Princes be
brought out from their dungeons and be done to death. The tidings
were bruited about the city, and preparations were made for
executing the assassins and crowds of folk collected to gaze upon
the scaffold, when suddenly came a report that an enemy whom the
King had routed in bygone times was marching upon the city with a
conquering army. Hereat the Sultan was sore troubled and
perplexed and the ministers of state said one to other, "Alas!
had Prince Khudadad been on life he would forthwith have put to
flight the forces of the foe however fierce and fell." Natheless
the Sovran set out from the city with his suite and host, and eke
he made ready for flight to some other land by way of the river
should the enemy's force prove victorious. Then the two powers
met in deadly combat; and the invader, surrounding the King of
Harran's many on every side, would have cut him to pieces with
all his warriors, when behold, an armed force hitherto unseen
rode athwart the plain at a pace so swift and so sure that the
two hostile Kings gazed upon them in uttermost amazement, nor
wist any one whence that host came. But when it drew near, the
horsemen charged home on the enemies and in the twinkling of an
eye put them to flight; then hotly pursuing felled them with the
biting sword and the piercing spear. Seeing this onslaught the
King of Harran marvelled greatly and rendering thanks to heaven
said to those around him, "Learn ye the name of the Captain of
yonder host, who he may be and whence came he." But when all the
foemen had fallen upon the field save only a few who escaped
hither and thither and the hostile sultan who had been taken
prisoner, the Captain of the friendly forces returned from
pursuit well pleased to greet the King. And, lo and behold! as
the twain drew near one to other the Sultan was certified that
the Captain was none other than his beloved child, Khudadad,
whilome lost and now found. Accordingly, he rejoiced with joy
unspeakable that his enemy had thus been vanquished and that he
had again looked upon his son, Khudadad, who stood before him
alive and safe and sound. "O my sire," presently exclaimed the
Prince, "I am he whom thou deemest to have been slain; but Allah
Almighty hath kept me on life that I might this day stand thee in
good stead and destroy these thine enemies." "O my beloved son,"
replied the King, "surely I had despaired and never hoped again
to see thee with these mine eyes." So father and son dismounted
and fell upon each other's necks and quoth the Sultan, clasping
the youth's hand, "Long since have I known of thy valiant deeds,
and how thou didst save thine ill-omened brothers from the hands
of the man-devouring Abyssinian, and of the evil wherewith they
requited thee. Go now to thy mother, of whom naught remaineth,
through bitter tears for thee, save skin and bone: be thou the
first to gladden her heart and give her the good tidings of this
thy victory." As they rode along, the Prince enquired of the
Sultan, his sire, how he had heard tell of the Habashi and of the
rescue of the Princes from the cannibal's clutches. "Hath one of
my brothers," added he, "informed thee of this adventure?" "Not
so, O my son," replied the King, "not they, but the Princess of
Daryabar told me the miserable tale thereof: she hath dwelt for
many days with me and 'twas she who first and foremost demanded
vengeance for thy blood." when Khudadad heard that the Princess
his spouse was his father's guest, he rejoiced with exceeding joy
and cried, "Suffer me first to see my mother;[FN#249] then will I
go to the Princess of Daryabar." The King of Harran hereat struck
off the head of his chief enemy and exposed it publicly
throughout the streets of his capital, and all the people exulted
mightily not only at the victory but also for the return of
Khudadad safe and sound; and dancing and feasting were in every
household. Presently Queen Firuzah and the Princess of Daryabar
presented themselves before the Sultan and offered their
congratulations to him, then they went to see Khudadad both hand
in hand and the three falling on one another's necks wept for
very joy.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace
till

The end of the Six Hundred and Third Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that after this
the King and his Queen and daughter-in-law sat long conversing,
and they marvelled much how Khudadad, albeit he was sorely gashed
and pierced with the sword, had escaped alive from that wildest
of wolds, whereupon the Prince at the bidding of his sire told
his tale in these words: "A peasant mounted on a camel chanced to
pass by my pavilion and seeing me sore wounded and weltering in
my blood, set me upon his beast and conveyed me to his house;
then, choosing some roots of desert-herbs he placed them on the
hurts so that they kindly healed, and I speedily recovered
strength. After returning thanks to my benefactor and giving him
liberal largesse, I set out for the city of Harran and on the
road I saw the forces of the foe in countless numbers marching
upon thy city. Wherefore I made the matter known to the folk of
the townships and villages round about and besought their aid;
then collecting a large force I placed myself at the head
thereof, and arriving in the nick of time destroyed the invading
hosts." Hereupon the Sultan gave thanks to Allah Almighty and
said, "Let all the Princes who conspired against thy life be put
to death;" and sent forthright for the Sworder of his vengeance;
but Khudadad made request to his sire and said, "In good sooth, O
my lord the King, they all deserve the doom thou hast ordained,
yet be not these my brethren and eke thine own flesh and blood? I
have freely forgiven them their offence against me and I humbly
pray thy pardon also, that thou grant them their lives, for that
blood ever calleth unto blood." The Sultan at length consented
and forgave their offence. Then, summoning all the Ministers, he
declared Khudadad his heir and successor, in presence of the
Princes whom he bade bring from the prison house. Khudadad caused
their chains and fetters to be stricken off and embraced them one
by one, showing them the same fondness and affection as he had
shown to them in the castle of the cannibal Habashi. All the folk
on hearing of this noble conduct of Prince Khudadad raised shouts
of applause and loved him yet more than before. The surgeon who
had done such good service to the Princess of Daryabar received a
robe of honour and much wealth; and on this wise that which began
with mishap had issue in all happiness. When Queen Shahrazad
ended this story she said to Shahryar, "O my lord, thou art
doubtless astonished to find that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid
changed his wrath against Ghanim[FN#250] and his mother and
sister to feelings of favour and affection, but I am assured that
thou wilt be the more surprised on hearing the story of the
curious adventures of that same Caliph with the blind man, Baba
Abdullah." Quoth Dunyazad, as was her way, to her sister
Shahrazad, "O sister mine, what a rare and delectable tale hast
thou told and now prithee favour us with another." She replied,
"It is well nigh dawn but, if my life be spared, I will tell thee
as the morrow morrows a strange and wonderful history of the
Caliph Harun al-Rashid."[FN#251]--And as the morn began to dawn
Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Fourth Night,

When she began to relate the History of

THE CALIPH'S NIGHT ADVENTURE.

I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid
was one night wakeful exceedingly and when he rose in the morning
restlessness gat hold of him. Wherefore all about him were
troubled for that "Folk aye follow Prince's fashion;" they
rejoice exceedingly with his joy and are sorrowful with his
sorrows albeit they know not the cause why they are so affected.
Presently the Commander of the Faithful sent for Masrur the
Eunuch, and when he came to him cried, "Fetch me my Wazir,
Ja'afar the Barmaki, without stay or delay." Accordingly, he went
out and returned with the Minister who, finding him alone, which
was indeed rare, and seeing as he drew near that he was in a
melancholic humour, never even raising his eyes, stopped till his
lord would vouchsafe to look upon him. At last the Prince of True
Believers cast his glance upon Ja'afar, but forthright turned
away his head and sat motionless as before. The Wazir descrying
naught in the Caliph's aspect that concerned him personally,
strengthened his purpose and bespake him on this wise, "O
Commander of the Faithful, wilt thine Highness deign suffer me to
ask whence cometh this sadness?" and the Caliph answered with a
clearer brow, "Verily, O Wazir, these moods have of late become
troublesome to me, nor are they to be moved save by hearing
strange tales and verses; and, if thou come not hither on a
pressing affair, thou wilt gladden me by relating somewhat to
dispel my sadness." Replied the Wazir, "O Commander of the
Faithful, my office compelleth me to stand on thy service, and I
would fain remind thee that this is the day appointed for
informing thyself of the good governance of thy capital and its
environs, and this matter shall, Inshallah, divert thy mind and
dispel its gloom." The Caliph answered, "Thou dost well to remind
me, for that I had wholly forgotten it; so fare forth and change
thy vestments while I do the same with mine." Presently the twain
donned habits of stranger merchants and issued out by a private
postern of the palace-garden, which led them into the fields.
After they had skirted the city, they reached the Euphrates' bank
at some distance from the gate opening on that side, without
having observed aught of disorder; then they crossed the river in
the first ferry-boat they found, and, making a second round on
the further side, they passed over the bridge that joined the two
halves of Baghdad-town. At the bridge-foot they met with a blind
old man who asked alms of them; and the Caliph turned about and
crossed his palm with a diner, whereupon the beggar caught hold
of his hand, and held him fast, saying, "O beneficent man, whoso
thou ever may be, whom Allah hath inspired to bestow an alms upon
me, refuse not the favour I crave of thee, which is, to strike me
a buffet upon the ear, for that I deserve such punishment and a
greater still." After these words he quitted his hold of the
Caliph's hand that it might smite him, yet for fear lest the
stranger pass on without so doing he grasped him fast by his long
robe. And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Fifth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Caliph,
surprised by the blind man's words and deeds said, "I may not
grant thy request nor will I minish the merit of my charity, by
treating thee as thou wouldst have me entreat thee." Saying these
words, he strove to get away from the blind man, but he who after
his long experience expected this refusal of his benefactor, did
his utmost to keep hold of him, and cried, "O my lord, forgive my
audacity and my persistency; and I implore thee either give me a
cuff on the ear, or take back thine alms, for I may not receive
it save on that condition, without falsing a solemn oath I have
sworn before the face of Allah; and, if thou knew the reason,
thou wouldst accord with me that the penalty is light indeed."
Then the Caliph not caring to be delayed any longer, yielded to
the blind man's importunity, and gave him a slight cuff:
whereupon he loosed him forthright and thanked him and blessed
him. When the Caliph and his Wazir, had walked some way from the
blind man, the former exclaimed, "This blind beggar must
assuredly have some right good cause for behaving himself in such
manner to all who give him alms, and I would fain know it. Do
thou return to him and tell him who I am, and bid him fail not to
appear at my palace about mid-afternoon prayer time that I may
converse with him, and hear whatso he hath to say." Hereupon
Ja'afar went back and bestowed alms on the blind man giving him
another cuff on the ear and apprised him of the Caliph's command,
and returned forthright to his lord. Presently, when the twain
reached the town, they found in a square a vast crowd of folk
gazing at a handsome youth and a well shaped, who was mounted on
a mare which he rode at fullest speed round the open space,
spurring and whipping the beast so cruelly that she was covered
with sweat and blood. Seeing this the Caliph, amazed at the
youth's brutality, stopped to ask the by-standers an they knew
why he tortured and tormented the mare on such wise; but he could
learn naught save that for some while past, every day at the same
time, he had entreated her after the same fashion. Hereat as they
walked along, the Caliph bid his Wazir especially notice the
place and order the young man to come without failing on the next
day, at the hour appointed for the blind man. But ere the Caliph
reached his palace, he saw in a street, which he had not passed
through for many months, a newly built mansion, which seemed to
him the palace of some great lord of the land. He asked the
Wazir, an he knew its owner; and Ja'afar answered he did not but
would make inquiry. So he consulted a neighbour who told him that
the house owner was one Khwajah Hasan surnamed Al-Habbal from his
handicraft, rope-making; that he himself had seen the man at work
in the days of his poverty, that he knew not how Fate and Fortune
had befriended him, yet that the same Khwajah had gotten such
exceeding wealth that he had been enabled to pay honourably and
sumptuously all the expenses he had incurred when building his
palace. Then the Wazir, returned to the Caliph, and gave him a
full account of whatso he had heard, whereat cried the Prince of
True Believers, "I must see this Khwajah Hasan al-Habbal: do thou
therefore, O Wazir, go and tell him to come to my palace, at the
same hour thou hast appointed for the other twain." The Minister
did his lord's bidding and the next day, after mid-afternoon
prayers, the Caliph retired to his own apartment and Ja'afar
introduced the three persons whereof we have been speaking and
presented them to the Caliph. All prostrated themselves at his
feet and when they rose up, the Commander of the Faithful asked
his name of the blind man, who answered he was hight Baba
Abdullah. "O Servant of Allah," cried the Caliph, "thy manner of
asking alms yesterday seemed so strange to me that, had it not
been for certain considerations I should not have granted thy
petition; nay, I would have prevented thy giving further offence
to the folk. And now I have bidden thee hither that I may know
from thyself what impelled thee to swear that rash oath whereof
thou toldest me, that I may better judge whether thou have done
well or ill, and if I should suffer thee to persist in a practice
which meseemeth must set so pernicious an example. Tell me openly
how such mad thought entered into thy head, and conceal not
aught, for I will know the truth and the full truth."--And as the
morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Sixth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Baba
Abdullah terrified by these words, cast himself a second time at
the Caliph's feet with his face prone to the ground, and when he
rose again, said, "O Commander of the Faithful, I crave pardon of
thy Highness for my audacity, in that I dared require, and well
nigh compelled thee to do a thing which verily seemeth contrary
to sound sense. I acknowledge mine offence; but as I knew not thy
Highness at that time, I implore thy clemency, and I pray thou
wilt consider my ignorance of thine exalted degree. And now as to
the extravagance of my action, I readily admit that it must be
strange to the sons of Adam; but in the eye of Allah 'tis but a
slight penance wherewith I have charged myself for an enormous
crime of which I am guilty, and wherefor, an all the people in
the world were each and every to give me a cuff on the ear
'twould not be sufficient atonement. Thy Highness shall judge of
it thyself, when I, in telling my tale according to thy
commandment, will inform thee of what was my offence." And here
he began to relate

The Story of the Blind Man, Baba Abdullah.[FN#252]

O my lord the Caliph, I, the humblest of thy slaves, was born in
Baghdad, where my father and mother, presently dying within a few
days of each other, left me a fortune large enough to last me
throughout my lifetime. But I knew not its value and soon I had
squandered it in luxury and loose living and I cared naught for
thrift or for increasing my store. But when little was left to me
of my substance, I repented of my evil courses and toiled and
laboured hard by day and night to increase my remaining stock of
money. It is truly said, "After waste cometh knowledge of worth."
Thus little by little I got together fourscore camels, which I
let on hire to merchants, and thus I made goodly gain each time I
found occasion: moreover I was wont to engage myself together
with my beasts and on this wise I journeyed over all the
dominions and domains of thy Highness. Brief, I hoped ere long to
reap an abundant crop of gold by the hiring out of my baggage
animals.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace
till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventh Night.

Then said she: I have heard, O auspicious King, that Baba
Abdullah continued his tale in these words: Once I had carried
merchants' stuffs to Bassorah for shipping India-wards and I was
returning to Baghdad with my beasts unladen. Now as I fared
homewards I chanced pass across a plain of excellent pasturage
lying fallow and far from any village, and there unsaddled the
camels which I hobbled and tethered together that they might crop
the luxuriant herbs and thorns and yet not fare astray. Presently
appeared a Darwaysh who was travelling afoot for Bassorah, and he
took seat beside me to enjoy ease after unease; whereat I asked
him whence he wayfared and whither he was wending. He also asked
me the same question and when we had told each to other our own
tales, we produced our provisions and brake our fast together,
talking of various matters as we ate. Quoth the Darwaysh, "I know
a spot hard by which enholdeth a hoard and its wealth is so
wonder-great that shouldst thou load upon thy fourscore camels
the heaviest burthens of golden coins and costly gems from that
treasure there will appear no minishing thereof." Hearing these
words I rejoiced with exceeding joy and gathering from his mien
and demeanour that he did not deceive me, I arose forthright and
falling upon his neck, exclaimed, "O Hallow of Allah, who caress
naught for this world's goods and hast renounced all mundane
lusts and luxuries, assuredly thou hast full knowledge of this
treasure, for naught remaineth hidden from holy men as thou art.
I pray thee tell me where it may be found that I may load my
fourscore beasts with bales of Ashrafis and jewels: I wot full
well that thou hast no greed for the wealth of this world, but
take, I pray thee, one of these my fourscore camels as recompense
and reward for the favour." Thus spake I with my tongue but in my
heart I sorely grieved to think that I must part with a single
camel-load of coins and gems; withal I reflected that the other
three-score and nineteen camel-loads would contain riches to my
heart's content. Accordingly, as I wavered in mind, at one moment
consenting and at the next instant repenting, the Darwaysh noting
my greed and covetise and avarice, replied, "Not so, O my
brother: one camel doth not suffice me that I should shew thee
all this hoard. On a single condition only will I tell thee of
the place; to wit, that we twain lead the animals thither and
lade them with the treasure, then shalt thou give me one half
thereof and take the other half to thyself. With forty camels'
load of costly ores and minerals forsure thou canst buy thousands
more of camels." Then, seeing that refusal was impossible, I
cried "So be it! I agree to thy proposal and I will do as thou
desires";" for in my heart I had conned the matter over and well
I wist that forty camel-loads of gold and gems would suffice me
and many generations of my descendants; and I feared lest an I
gain say him I should repent for ever and ever having let so
great a treasure slip out of hand. Accordingly, giving full
consent to all be said, I got together every one of my beasts and
set me a-wayfaring along with the Fakir.[FN#253] After travelling
over some short distance we came upon a gorge between two craggy
mountain-walls towering high in crescent form and the pass was
exceeding narrow so that the animals were forced to pace in
single file, but further on it flared out and we could thread it
without difficulty into the broad Wady below. No human being was
anywhere to be seen or heard in this wild land, so we were
undisturbed and easy in our minds nor feared aught. Then quoth
the Darwaysh, "Leave here the camels and come with me."--And as
the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the blind
man Baba Abdullah pursued his tale on this wise:--I did as the
Darwaysh had bidden me; and, nakhing[FN#254] all the camels, I
followed in wake of him. After walking a short way from the
halting-place he produced a flint and steel and struck fire
therewith and lit some sticks he had gotten together; then,
throwing a handful of strong-smelling incense upon the flames, he
muttered words of incantation which I could by no means
understand. At once a cloud of smoke arose, and spireing upwards
veiled the mountains; and presently, the vapour clearing away, we
saw a huge rock with pathway leading to its perpendicular face.
Here the precipice showed an open door, wherethrough appeared in
the bowels of the mountain a splendid palace, the workmanship of
the Jinns, for no man had power to build aught like it. In due
time, after sore toil, we entered therein and found an endless
treasure, ranged in mounds with the utmost ordinance and
regularity. Seeing a heap of Ashrafis I pounced upon it as a
vulture swoopeth upon her quarry, the carrion, and fell to
filling the sacks with golden coin to my heart's content. The
bags were big, but I was constrained to stuff them only in
proportion to the strength of my beasts. The Darwaysh, too,
busied himself in like manner, but he charged his sacks with gems
and jewels only, counselling me the while to do as he did. So I
cast aside the ducats and filled my bags with naught save the
most precious of the stonery. When we had wrought our best, we
set the well-stuffed sacks upon the camels' backs and we made
ready to depart; but, before we left the treasure-house wherein
stood ranged thousands of golden vessels, exquisite in shape and
workmanship, the Darwaysh went into a hidden chamber and brought
from out a silvern casket a little golden box full of some
unguent, which he showed to me, and then he placed it in his
pocket. Presently, he again threw incense upon the fire and
recited his incantations and conjurations, whereat the door
closed and the rock became as before. We then divided the camels,
he taking one half and I the other; and, passing through the
strait and gloomy gorge in single file, we came out upon the open
plain. Here our way parted, he wending in the direction of
Bassorah and I Baghdad-wards; and when about to leave him I
showered thanks upon the Darwaysh who had obtained me all this
wealth and riches worth a thousand thousand of gold coins; and
farewelled him with deep emotions of gratitude; after which we
embraced and wended our several ways. But hardly had I bidden
adieu to the Fakir and had gone some little distance from him
with my file of camels than the Shaytan tempted me with greed of
gain so that I said to myself, "The Darwaysh is alone in the
world, without friends or kinsman, and is wholly estranged from
matters mundane. What will these camel-loads of filthy lucre
advantage him? Moreover, engrossed by the care of the camels, not
to speak of the deceitfulness of riches, he may neglect his
prayer and worship: therefore it behoveth me to take back from
him some few of my beasts." With this resolve I made the camels
halt and tying up their forelegs ran back after the holy man and
called out his name. He heard my loud shouts and awaited me
forthright; and, as soon as I approached him I said, "When I had
quitted thee a thought came into my mind; to wit, that thou art a
recluse who keepest thyself aloof from earthly things, pure in
heart and busied only with orison and devotion Now care of all
these camels will cause thee only toil and moil and trouble and
waste of precious time: 'twere better then to give them back and
not run the risk of these discomforts and dangers. The Darwaysh
replied, "O my son, thou speakest sooth. The tending of all these
animals will bring me naught save ache of head, so do thou take
of them as many as thou listest. I thought not of the burthen and
posher till thou drewest my attention thereto; but now I am
forewarned thereof; so may Almighty Allah keep thee in His holy
keeping!" Accordingly, I took ten camels of him and was about to
gang my gait when suddenly it struck me, "This Fakir was
unconcerned at giving up ten camels, so 'twere better I ask more
of him." Thereupon I drew nearer to him and said, "Thou canst
hardly manage thirty camels; do give me, I pray thee, other ten."
Said he, "O my son, do whatso thou wishest! Take thee other ten
camels; twenty will suffice me." I did his bidding and driving
off the twenty added them to my forty. Then the spirit of
concupiscence possessed me, and I bethought me more and more to
get yet other ten camels from his share; so I retraced my steps
for the third time and asked him for another ten, and of these,
as also the remaining ten, I wheedled him. The Darwaysh gladly
gave up the last of his camels, and, shaking out his
skirts,[FN#255] made ready to depart; but still my accursed greed
stuck to me. Albeit I had got the fourscore beasts laden with
Ashrafis and jewels, and I might have gone home happy and
content, with wealth for fourscore generations, Satan tempted me
still more, and urged me also to take the box of ointment, which
I supposed to contain something more precious than rubies.--And
as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Ninth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Baba
Abdullah continued his tale in these words:--So when I had again
farewelled and embraced him I paused awhile and said, "What wilt
thou do with the little box of salve thou hast taken to thy
portion? I pray thee give me that also." The Fakir would by no
means part with it, whereupon I lusted the more to possess it,
and resolved in my mind that, should the holy man give it up of
his free will, then well and good, but if not I would force it
from him. Seeing my intent he drew the box from out his breast-
pocket[FN#256] and handed it to me saying, "O my son, an thou
wouldst have this box of ointment, then freely do I give it to
thee; but first it behoveth thee to learn the virtue of the
unguent it containeth." Hearing these words I said, "Forasmuch as
thou hast shown me all this favour, I beseech thee tell me of
this ointment and what of properties it possesseth." Quoth he,
"The wonders of this ointment are passing strange and rare. An
thou close thy left eye and rub upon the lid the smallest bit of
the salve then all the treasures of the world now concealed from
thy gaze will come to sight; but an thou rub aught thereof upon
thy right eye thou shalt straightway become stone blind of both."
Thereat I bethought me of putting this wondrous unguent to the
test and placing in his hand the box I said, "I see thou
understandest this matter right well; so now I pray thee apply
somewhat of the ointment with thine own hand to my left eyelid."
The Darwaysh thereupon closed my left eye and with his finger
rubbed a little of the unguent over the lid; and when I opened it
and looked around I saw the hidden hoards of the earth in
countless quantities even as the Fakir had told me I should see
them. Then closing my right eyelid, I bade him apply some of the
salve to that eye also. Said he, "O my son, I have forewarned
thee that if I rub it upon thy right eyelid thou shalt become
stone blind of both. Put far from thee this foolish thought: why
shouldst thou bring this evil to no purpose on thyself?" He spake
sooth indeed, but by reason of my accursed ill-fate I would not
heed his words and considered in my mind, "If applying the salve
to the left eyelid hath produced such effect, assuredly far more
wondrous still shall be the result when rubbed on the right eye.
This fellow doth play me false and keepeth back from me the truth
of the matter." When I had thus determined in my mind I laughed
and said to the holy man, "Thou art deceiving me to the intent
that I should not advantage myself by the secret, for that
rubbing the unguent upon the right eyelid hath some greater
virtue than applying it to the left eye, and thou wouldst
withhold the matter from me. It can never be that the same
ointment hath qualities so contrary and virtues so diverse."
Replied the other, "Allah Almighty is my witness that the marvels
of the ointment be none other save these whereof I bespake thee;
O dear my friend, have faith in me, for naught hath been told
thee save what is sober sooth." Still would I not believe his
words, thinking that he dissembled with me and kept secret from
me the main virtue of the unguent. Wherefore filled with this
foolish thought I pressed him sore and begged that he rub the
ointment upon my right eyelid; but he still refused and said,
"Thou seest how much of favour I have shown to thee: wherefore
should I now do thee so dire an evil? Know for a surety that it
would bring thee lifelong grief and misery; and I beseech thee,
by Allah the Almighty, abandon this thy purpose and believe my
words." But the more he refused so much the more did I persist;
and in fine I made oath and sware by Allah, saying, "O Darwaysh,
what things soever I have asked of thee thou gayest freely unto
me and now remaineth only this request for me to make. Allah upon
thee, gainsay me not and grant me this last of thy boons: and
whatever shall betide me I will not hold thee responsible
therefor. Let Destiny decide for good or for evil." When the holy
man saw that his denial was of no avail and that I irked him with
exceeding persistence, he put the smallest bit of ointment on my
right lid and, as I opened wide my eyes, lo and behold! both were
stone-blind: naught could I see for the black darkness before
them and ever since that day have I been sightless and helpless
as thou foundest me. When I knew that I was blinded, I exclaimed,
"O Darwaysh of ill-omen, what thou didst fore tell hath come to
pass;" and I fell to cursing him and saying "O would to Heaven
thou hadst never brought me to the hoard or hadst given me such
wealth. What now avail me all this gold and jewels? Take back thy
forty camels and make me whole again." Replied he, "What evil
have I done to thee? I showed thee favours more than any man hath
ever dealt to another. Thou wouldst not heed my rede, but didst
harden thy heart and lustedst to obtain this wealth and to pry
into the hidden treasures of the earth. Thou wouldst not be
content with what thou hadst and thou didst misdoubt my words
thinking that I would play thee false. Thy case is beyond all
hope, for never more wilt thou regain thy sight; no, never. Then
said I with tears and lamentations, "O Fakir, take back thy
fourscore camels laden with gold and precious stones and wend thy
way: I absolve thee from all blame, natheless I beseech thee by
Allah Almighty to restore my sight an thou art able." He answered
not a word, but leaving me in miserable plight presently took the
load to Bassorah, driving before him the fourscore camels laden
with wealth. I cried aloud and besought him to lead me with him
away from the life destroying wilderness, or to put me on the
path of some caravan, but he regarded not my cries and abandoned
me there.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace
till

The end of the Six Hundred and Tenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Baba
Abdullah the blind man resumed his story, saying:--So when the
Darwaysh departed from me, I had well nigh died of grief and
wrath at the loss of my sight and of my riches, and from the
pangs of thirst[FN#257] and hunger. Next day by good fortune a
caravan from Bassorah passed that way; and, seeing me in such a
grievous condition, the merchants had compassion on me and made
me travel with them to Baghdad. Naught could I do save beg my
bread in order to keep myself alive; so I became a mendicant and
made this vow to Allah Almighty that, as a punishment for this my
unlucky greed and cursed covetise, I would require a cuff upon my
ear from everyone who might take pity on my case and give an
alms. On this wise it was that yesterday I pursued thee with such
pertinacity.--When the blind man made an end of his story the
Caliph said, "O Baba Abdullah! thine offence was grievous; may
Allah have mercy on thee therefor. It now remaineth to thee to
tell thy case to devotees and anchorites that they may offer up
their potent prayers in thy behalf. Take no thought for thy daily
wants: I have determined that for thy living thou shalt have a
dole of four dirhams a day from my royal treasury according to
thy need as long as thou mayest live. But see that thou go no
more to ask for alms about my city." So Baba Abdullah returned
thanks to the Prince of True Believers, saying, "I will do
according to thy bidding." Now when the Caliph Harun al-Rashid
had heard the story of Baba Abdullah and the Darwaysh, he turned
to and addressed the young man whom he had seen riding at fullest
speed upon the mare and savagely lashing and ill-treating her.
"What is thy name?" quoth he, and quoth the youth, bowing his
brow groundwards, "My name, O Commander of the Faithful, is Sidi
Nu'uman."[FN#258] Then said the Caliph, "Hearken now, O Sidi
Nu'uman! Ofttimes have I watched the horsemen exercise their
horses, and I myself have often done likewise, but never saw I
any who rode so mercilessly as thou didst ride thy mare, for thou
didst ply both whip and shovel-iron in cruellest fashion. The
folk all stood to gaze with wonderment, but chiefly I, who was
constrained against my wish to stop and ask the cause of the
bystanders. None, however, could make clear the matter, and all
men said that thou art wont each day to ride the mare in this
most brutal fashion, whereat my mind marvelled all the more. I
now would ask of thee the cause of this thy ruthless savagery,
and see that thou tell me every whit and leave not aught unsaid."
Sidi Nu'uman, hearing the order of the Commander of the Faithful,
became aware he was fully bent upon hearing the whole matter and
would on no wise suffer him to depart until all was explained. So
the colour of his countenance changed and he stood speechless
like a statue through fear and trepidation; whereat said the
Prince of True Believers, "O Sidi Nu'uman, fear naught but tell
me all thy tale. Regard me in the light of one of thy friends and
speak without reserve, and explain to me the matter fully as thou
wouldst do hadst thou been speaking to thy familiars. Moreover,
an thou art afraid of any matter which thou shalt confide to me
and if thou dread my indignation, I grant thee immunity and a
free pardon." At these comforting words of the Caliph, Sidi
Nu'uman took courage, and with clasped hands replied, "I trust I
have not in this matter done aught contrary to thy Highness's law
and custom, and therefore will I willingly obey thy bidding and
relate to thee all my tale. If I have offended in anything then
am I worthy of thy punishment. 'Tis true that I have daily
exercised the mare and ridden her at speed around the hippodrome
as thou sawest me do; and I lashed and gored her with all my
might. Thou hadst compassion on the mare and didst deem me cruel
hearted to entreat her thus, but when thou shalt have heard all
my adventure thou wilt admit, Inshallah--God willing--that this
be only a trifling penalty for her offence, and that not she but
I deserve thy pity and pardon! With thy permission I will now
begin my story." And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of The Six Hundred and Eleventh Night.

Then said she: I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
Harun al-Rashid accorded the youth permission to speak and that
the rider of the mare began in these words the

History of Sidi Nu'uman.


O Lord of beneficence and benevolence, my parents were possessed
of wealth and riches sufficient to provide their son when they
died with ample means for a life long livelihood so that he might
pass his days like a Grandee of the land in ease and joyance and
delight. I--their only child--had nor care nor trouble about any
matter until one day of the days, when in the prime of manhood, I
was a minded to take unto me a wife, a woman winsome and comely
to look upon, that we might live together in mutual love and
double blessedness. But Allah Almighty willed not that a model
helpmate become mine; nay, Destiny wedded me to grief and the
direst misery. I married a maid who in outward form and features
was a model of beauty and loveliness without, however, one single
gracious gift of mind or soul; and on the very second day after
the wedding her evil nature began to manifest itself. Thou art
well aware, O Prince of True Believers, that by Moslem custom
none may look upon the face of his betrothed before the marriage
contract? nor after wedlock can he complain should his bride
prove a shrew or a fright: he must needs dwell with her in such
content as he may and be thankful for his fate, be it fair or
unfair. When I saw first the face of my bride and learnt that it
was passing comely, I joyed with exceeding joy and gave thanks to
Almighty Allah that He had bestowed on me so charming a mate.
That night I slept with her in joy and love-delight; but next day
when the noon meal was spread for me and her I found her not at
table and sent to summon her; and after some delay, she came and
sat her down. I dissembled my annoyance and forbore for this late
coming to find fault with her which I soon had ample reason to
do. It so happened that amongst the many dishes which were served
up to us was a fine pilaff,[FN#259] of which I, according to the
custom in our city, began to eat with a spoon; but she, in lieu
of it pulled out an ear pick from her pocket and therewith fell
to picking up the rice and ate it grain by grain. Seeing this
strange conduct I was sore amazed and fuming inwardly said in
sweet tones, "O my Aminah,[FN#260] what be this way of eating?
hast thou learnt it of thy people or art thou counting grains of
rice purposing to make a hearty meal here after? Thou hast eaten
but ten or twenty during all this time. Or haply thou art
practicing thrift: if so I would have thee know that Allah
Almighty hath given me abundant store and fear not on that
account; but do thou, O my dearling, as all do and eat as thou
seest thy husband eat." I fondly thought that she would assuredly
vouchsafe some words of thanks, but never a syllable spake she
and ceased not picking up grain after grain: nay more, in order
to provoke me to greater displeasure, she paused for a long time
between each. Now when the next course of cakes came on she idly
brake some bread and tossed a crumb or two into her mouth; in
fact she ate less than would satisfy the stomach of a sparrow. I
marvelled much to see her so obstinate and self-willed but I said
to myself, in mine innocence, "May be she hath not been
accustomed to eat with men, and especially she may be too shame
faced to eat heartily in presence of her husband: she will in
time do whatso do other folk." I thought also that perchance she
hath already broken her fast and lost appetite, or haply it hath
been her habit to eat alone. So I said nothing and after dinner
went out to smell the air and play the Jarid[FN#261] and thought
no more of the matter. When, however, we two sat again at meat my
bride ate after the same fashion as before; nay, she would ever
persist in her perversity; whereat I was sore troubled in mind,
and marvelled how without food she kept herself alive. One night
it chanced that deeming me fast asleep she rose up in stealth
from my side, I being wide awake: when I saw her step cautiously
from the bed as one fearing lest she might disturb me. I wondered
with exceeding wonder why she should arise from sleep to leave me
thus and methought I would look into the matter. Wherefore I
still feigned sleep and snored but watched her as I lay, and
presently saw her dress herself and leave the room; I then sprang
off the bed and throwing on my robe and slinging my sword across
my shoulder looked out of the window to spy whither she went.
Presently she crossed the courtyard and opening the street-door
fared forth; and I also ran out through the entrance which she
had left unlocked; then followed her by the light of the moon
until she entered a cemetery hard by our home.--And as the morn
began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Twelfth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Sidi
Nu'uman continued his story saying:--But when I beheld Aminah my
bride enter the cemetery, I stood without and close to the wall
over which I peered so that I could espy her well but she could
not discover me. Then what did I behold but Aminah sitting with a
Ghul![FN#262] Thy Highness wotteth well that Ghuls be of the race
of devils; to wit, they are unclean spirits which inhabit ruins
and which terrify solitary wayfarers and at times seizing them
feed upon their flesh; and if by day they find not any traveller
to eat they go by night to the graveyards and dig out and devour
dead bodies. So I was sore amazed and terrified to see my wife
thus seated with a Ghul. Then the twain dug up from the grave a
corpse which had been newly buried, and the Ghul and my wife
Aminah tore off pieces of the flesh which she ate making merry
the while and chatting with her companion but inasmuch as I stood
at some distance I could not hear what it was they said. At this
sight I trembled with exceeding fear. And when they had made an
end of eating they cast the bones into the pit and thereover
heaped up the earth e'en as it was before. Leaving them thus
engaged in their foul and fulsome work, I hastened home; and,
allowing the street-door to remain half-open as my bride had
done, I reached my room, and throwing myself upon our bed feigned
sleep. Presently Aminah came and doffing her dress calmly lay
beside me, and I knew by her manner that she had not seen me at
all, nor guessed that I had followed her to the cemetery. This
gave me great relief of mind, withal I loathed to bed beside a
cannibal and a corpse-eater; howbeit I lay still despite extreme
misliking till the Muezzin's call for dawn-prayers, when getting
up I busied myself with the Wuzu-ablution and set forth mosque-
wards. Then having said my prayers and fulfilled my ceremonial
duties,[FN#263] I strolled about the gardens, and during this
walk having turned over the matter in my mind, determined that it
behoved me to remove my bride from such ill companionship, and
wean her from the habit of devouring dead bodies. With these
thoughts I came back home at dinner-time, when Aminah on seeing
me return bade the servants serve up the noontide meal and we
twain sat at table; but as before she fell to picking up the rice
grain by grain. Thereat said I to her, "O my wife, it irketh me
much to see thee picking up each grain of rice like a hen. If
this dish suit not thy taste see there are, by Allah's grace and
the Almighty's favour, all kinds of meats before us. Do thou eat
of that which pleaseth thee most; each day the table is bespread
with dishes of different kinds and if these please thee not, thou
hast only to order whatsoever food thy soul desireth. Yet I would
ask of thee one question: Is there no meat upon the table as rich
and toothsome as man's flesh, that thou refuseth every dish they
set before thee?" Ere I had finished speaking my wife became
assured that I was aware of her night adventure: she suddenly
waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, her face flushed red as fire,
her eyeballs started out from their sockets and she foamed at the
mouth with ungovernable fury. Seeing her in this mood I was
terrified and my sense and reason fled by reason of my affright;
but presently in the madness of her passion she took up a tasse
of water which stood beside her and dipping her fingers in the
contents muttered some words which I could not understand; then
sprinkling some drops over me, cried, Accursed that thou art! for
this thine insolence and betrayal do thou be straightway turned
into a dog." At once I became transmewed and she, picking up a
staff began to ribroast me right mercilessly and well nigh killed
me. I ran about from room to room but she pursued me with the
stick, and tunded and belaboured me with might and main, till she
was clean exhausted. She then threw the street-door half open
and, as I made for it to save my life, attempted violently to
close it, so as to squeeze my soul out of my body; but I saw her
design and baffled it, leaving behind me, however, the tip of my
tail; and piteously yelping hereat I escaped further basting and
thought myself lucky to get away from her without broken bones.
When I stood in the street still whining and ailing, the dogs of
the quarter seeing a stranger, at once came rushing at me barking
and biting;[FN#264] and I with tail between my legs tore along
the market place and ran into the shop of one who sold sheeps'
and goats' heads and trotters; and there crouching low hid me in
a dark corner.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Thirteenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Sidi
Nu'uman continued his story as follows--The shopkeeper, despite
his scruples of conscience, which caused him to hold all dogs
impure,[FN#265] hath ruth upon my sorry plight and drove away the
yelling and grinning curs that would have followed me into his
shop; and I, escaping this danger of doom, passed all the night
hid in my corner. Early next morning the butcher sallied forth to
buy his usual wares, sheeps' heads and hooves, and, coming back
with a large supply, he began to lay them out for sale within the
shop, when I, seeing that a whole pack of dogs had gathered about
the place attracted by the smell of flesh, also joined them. The
owner noticed me among the ragged tykes and said to himself,
"This dog hath tasted naught since yesterday when it ran yelping
hungrily and hid within my shop." He then threw me a fair sized
piece of meat, but I refused it and went up to him and wagged my
tail to the end that he might know my wish to stay with him and
be protected by his stall: he, however, thought that I had eaten
my sufficiency, and, picking up a staff frightened me away. So
when I saw how the butcher heeded not my case, I trotted off and
wandering to and fro presently came to a bakery and stood before
the door wherethrough I espied the baker at breakfast. Albeit I
made no sign as though I wanted aught of food, he threw me a
bittock of bread; and I, in lieu of snapping it up and greedily
swallowing it, as is the fashion with all dogs the gentle and
simple of them, approached him with it and gazed in his face and
wagged my tail by way of thanks. He was pleased by this my well
bred behaviour and smiled at me; whereat I albeit not one whit
anhungered, but merely to humour him, fell to eating the bread,
little by little and leisurely, to testify my respect. He was yet
more satisfied with my manners and wished to keep me in his shop;
and I, noting his intent, sat by the door and looked wistfully at
him, whereby he knew that I desired naught of him save his
protection. He then caressed me and took charge of me and kept me
to guard his store, but I would not enter his house till after he
had led the way; he also showed me where to lie o'nights and fed
me well at every meal and entreated me right hospitably. I
likewise would watch his every movement and always lay down or
rose up even as he bade me; and whenas he left his lodging or
walked anywhither he took me with him. If ever when I lay asleep
he went outside and found me not, he would stand still in the
street and call to me crying, "Bakht!' Bakht!''[FN#266] an
auspicious name he had given to me; and straightway on hearing
him I would rush about and frisk before the door; and when he set
out to taste the air I paced beside him now running on ahead, now
following at his heels and ever and anon looking up in his face.
Thus some time passed during which I lived with him in all
comfort; till one day of the days it so chanced that a woman came
to the bakery to buy her bread and gave the owner several dirhams
to its price, whereof one was bad coin whilst the others were
good. My master tested all the silvers and, finding out the false
bit, returned it demanding a true dirham in exchange; but the
woman wrangled and would not take it back and swore that it was
sound. Quoth the baker, "The dirham is beyond all doubt a
worthless: see yonder dog of mine, he is but a beast, yet mark me
he will tell thee whether it be true or false silver." So he
called me by my name, "Bakht! Bakht!" whereat I sprang up and ran
towards him and he, throwing all the moneys upon the ground
before me, cried, "Here, look these dirhams over and if there be
a false coin among them separate it from all the others." I
inspected the silvers each by each and found the counterfeit:
then, putting it on one side and all the others on another, I
placed my paw upon the false silver and wagging what remained of
my tail looked up at my master's face. The baker was delighted
with my sagacity, and the woman also, marvelling with excessive
marvel at what had happened, took back her bad dirham and paid
another in exchange. But when the buyer fared forth, my master
called together his neighbours and gossips and related to them
this matter; so they threw down on the ground before me coins
both good and bad, in order that they might test me and see with
their own eyes an I were as clever as my master had said I was.
Many times in succession I picked out the false coins from
amongst the true and placed my paw upon them without once
failing; so all went away astounded and related the case to each
and every one they saw and thus the bruit of me spread abroad
throughout the city. That live long day I spent in testing
dirhams fair and foul.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad
held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Fourteenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Sidi
Nu'uman continued his story saying:--From that day forwards the
baker honoured me yet more highly, and all his friends and
familiars laughed and said, "Forsooth thou hast in this dog a
mighty good Shroff."[FN#267] And some envied my master his luck
in having me within the shop, and tried ofttimes to entice me
away, but the baker kept me with him nor would he ever allow me
to leave his side; for the fame of me brought him a host of
customers from every quarter of the town even the farthest. Not
many days after there came another woman to buy loaves at our
shop and paid the baker six dirhams whereof one was worthless. My
master passed them over to me for test and trial, and straightway
I picked out the false one, and placing paw thereon looked up in
the woman's face. Hereat she waxed confused and confessed that it
was miscoined and praised me for that I had found it out; then,
going forth the same woman made signs to me that I should follow
her unbeknown to the baker. Now I had not ceased praying Allah
that somehow He would restore me to my human form and hoped that
some good follower of the Almighty would take note of this my
sorry condition and vouchsafe me succour. So as the woman turned
several times and looked at me, I was persuaded in my mind that
she had knowledge of my case; I therefore kept my eyes upon her;
which seeing she came back ere she had stepped many paces, and
beckoned me to accompany her. I understood her signal and
sneaking out of the presence of the baker, who was busy heating
his oven, followed in her wake. Pleased beyond all measure to see
me obey her, she went straight way home with me, and entering she
locked the door and led me into a room where sat a fair maid in
embroidered dress whom I judged by her favour to be the good
woman's daughter. The damsel was well skilled in arts magical; so
the mother said to her, "O my daughter, here is a dog which
telleth bad dirhams from good dirhams. When first I heard the
marvel I bethought me that the beastie must be a man whom some
base wretch and cruel hearted had turned into a dog. Methought
that to day I would see this animal and test it when buying
loaves at the booth of yonder baker and behold, it hath acquitted
itself after the fairest of fashions and hath stood the test and
trial. Look well, O my daughter, at this dog and see whether it
be indeed an animal or a man transformed into a beast by
gramarye." The young lady, who had veiled her face,[FN#268]
hereupon considered me attentively and presently cried, "O my
mother, 'tis even as thou sayest, and this I will prove to thee
forthright." Then rising from her seat she took a basin of water
and dipping hand therein sprinkled some drops upon me saying, "An
thou wert born a dog then do thou abide a dog, but an thou wert
born a man then, by virtue of this water, resume thine human
favour and figure." Immediately I was transformed from the shape
of a dog to human semblance and I fell at the maiden's feet and
kissed the ground before her giving her thanks; then, bussing the
hem of her garment, I cried, "O my lady, thou hast been exceeding
gracious unto one unbeknown to thee and a stranger. How can I
find words wherewith to thank thee and bless thee as thou
deserves"? Tell me now, I pray thee, how and whereby I may shew
my gratitude to thee? From this day forth I am beholden to thy
kindness and am become thy slave." Then I related all my case and
told her of Aminah's wickedness and what of wrongs she had
wrought me; and I made due acknowledgment to her mother for that
she had brought me to her home. Herewith quoth the damsel to me,
"O Sidi Nu'uman, I pray thee bestow not such exceeding thanks
upon me, for rather am I glad and grateful in conferring this
service upon one so well-deserving as thou art. I have been
familiar with thy wife Aminah for a long time before thou didst
marry her; I also knew that she had skill in witchcraft and she
likewise knoweth of my art, for we twain learnt together of one
and the same mistress in the science. We met ofttimes at the
Hammam as friends but, in asmuch as she was ill-mannered and ill-
tempered, I declined further intimacy with her. Think not that it
sufficeth me to have made thee recover thy form as it was
aforetime; nay, verily needs must I take due vengeance of her for
the wrong she hath done thee. And this will I do at thy hand, so
shalt thou have mastery over her and find thyself lord of thine
own house and home.[FN#269] Tarry here awhile until I come
again." So saying the damsel passed into another room and I
remained sitting and talking with her mother and praised her
excellence and kindness towards me. The ancient dame also related
strange and rare deeds of wonder done by her with pure purpose
and lawful means, till the girl returned with an ewer in hand and
said, "O Sidi Nu'uman, my magical art doth tell me that Aminah is
at this present away from home but she will return thither
presently. Meanwhile she dissembleth with the domestics and
feigneth grief at severance from thee; and she hath pretended
that, as thou sattest at meat with her, thou didst suddenly arise
and fare forth on some weighty matter, when presently a dog
rushed through the open door into the room and she drove it away
with a staff." Then giving me a gugglet full of the water the
maiden resumed, "O Sidi Nu'uman, go now to thine own house and,
keeping this gugglet by thee, await patiently Aminah's coming.
Anon she will return and seeing thee will be sore perplexed and
will hasten to escape from thee; but before she go forth sprinkle
some drops from this gugglet upon her and recite these spells
which I shall teach thee. I need not tell thee more; thou wilt
espy with thine own eyes what shall happen." Having said these
words the young lady taught me magical phrases which I fixed in
my memory full firmly, and after this I took my leave and
farewelled them both. When I reached home it happened even as the
young magician had told me; and I had tarried but a short time in
the house when Aminah came in. I held the gugglet in hand and she
seeing me trembled with sore trembling and would fain have run
away; but I hastily sprinkled some drops upon her and repeated
the magical words, whereat she was turned into a mare--the animal
thy Highness deigned remark but yesterday. I marvelled greatly to
sight this transformation and seizing the mare's mane led her to
the stable and secured her with a halter.--And as the morn began
to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hudred and Fifteenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Sidi
Nu'uman continued his story saying:--When I had secured the mare,
I loaded her with reproaches for her wickedness and her base
behaviour, and lashed her with a whip till my forearm was
tired.[FN#270] Then I resolved within myself that I would ride
her at full speed round the square each day and thus inflict upon
her the justest penalty.--Herewith Sidi Nu'uman held his peace,
having made an end of telling his tale; but presently he resumed,
"O Commander of the Faithful, I trow thou art not displeased at
this my conduct, nay rather thou wouldst punish such a woman with
a punishment still greater than this." He then kissed the hem of
the Caliph's robe and kept silence; and Harun al-Rashid,
perceiving that he had said all his say, exclaimed, "In very
sooth thy story is exceeding strange and rare. The wrong doing of
thy wife hath no excuse and thy requital is methinks in due
measure and just degree, but I would ask thee one thing--How long
wilt thou chastise her thus, and how long will she remain in
bestial guise? 'Twere better now for thee to seek the young lady
by whose magical skill thy wife was transformed and beg that she
bring her back to human shape. And yet I fear me greatly lest
perchance whenas this sorceress, this Ghulah, shall find herself
restored to woman's form and resumeth her conjurations and
incantations she may--who knoweth?.--requite thee with far
greater wrong than she hath done thee heretofore, and from this
thou wilt not be able to escape." After this the Prince of True
Believers forbore to urge the matter, albeit he was mild and
merciful by nature,[FN#271] and addressing the third man whom the
Wazir had brought before him said, "As I was walking in such a
quarter I was astonished to see thy mansion, so great and so
grand is it; and when I made enquiry of the townsfolk they
answered each and every, that the palace belongeth to one
(thyself) whom they called Khwajah Hasan. They added that thou
west erewhile exceeding poor and in straitened case, but that
Allah Almighty had widened thy means and had now sent thee wealth
in such store that thou hast builded the finest of buildings;
moreover, that albeit thou hast so princely a domicile and such
abundance of riches, thou art not unmindful of thy former estate,
and thou dost not waste thy substance in riotous living but thou
addest thereto by lawful trade. The neighbourhood all speaketh
well of thee and not a wight of them hath aught to say against
thee; so I now would know of thee the certainty of these things
and hear from thine own lips how thou didst gain this abundant
wealth. I have summoned thee before me that I might be assured of
all such matters by actual hearsay: so fear not to tell me all
thy tale; I desire naught of thee save knowledge of this thy
case. Enjoy thou to thy heart's content the opulence that
Almighty Allah deigned bestow upon thee, and let thy soul have
pleasure therein. Thus spake the Caliph and the gracious words
reassured the man. Then Khwajah Hasan threw himself before the
Commander of the Faithful and, kissing the carpet at the foot of
the throne, exclaimed, "O Prince of True Believers, I will relate
to thee a faithful relation of my adventure, and Almighty Allah
be my witness that I have not done aught contrary to thy laws and
just commandments, and that all this my wealth is by the favour
and goodness of Allah alone." Harun al-Rashid hereupon again bade
him speak out boldly and forthwith he began to recount in the
following words the

History of Khwajah Hasan al-Habbal.[FN#272]

O Lord of beneficence! obedient to thy royal behest, I will now
inform thy Highness of the means and the measures whereby Destiny
cowered me with such wealth; but first I would thou hear somewhat
of two amongst my friends who abode in the House of Peace,
Baghdad. They twain are yet alive and both well know the history
which thy slave shall now relate. One of them, men call Sa'd, the
other Sa'di.[FN#273] Now Sa'di opined that without riches no one
in this world could be happy and independent; moreover that
without hard toil and trouble and wariness and wisdom withal it
were impossible to become wealthy. But Sa'd differing therefrom
would affirm that affluence cometh not to any save by decree of
Destiny and fiat of Fate and Fortune. Sa'd was a poor man while
Sa'di had great store of good; yet there sprang up a firm
friendship between them and fond affection each for other; nor
were they ever wont to differ upon any matter save only upon
this; to wit, that Sa'di relied solely upon deliberation and
forethought and Sa'd upon doom and man's lot. It chanced one day
that, as they sat talking together on this matter, quoth Sa'di,
"A poor man is he who either is born a pauper and passeth all his
days in want and penury, or he who having been born to wealth and
comfort, doth in the time of manhood squander all he hath and
falleth into grievous need; then lacketh he the power to regain
his riches and to live at ease by wit and industry." Sa'd made
answer, saying, "Nor wit nor industry availeth aught to any one,
but Fate alone enableth him to acquire and to preserve riches.
Misery and want are but accidents and deliberation is naught.
Full many a poor man hath waxed affluent by favour of Fate and
richards manifold have, despite their skill and store, been
reduced to misery and beggary." Quoth Sa'di, "Thou speakest
foolishly. Howbeit put we the matter to fair test and find out
for ourselves some handicraftsman scanty of means and living upon
his daily wage; him let us provide with money, then will he
without a doubt increase his stock and abide in ease and comfort,
and so shalt thou be persuaded that my words be true." Now as
they twain were walking on, they passed through the lane wherein
stood my lodging and saw me a twisting ropes, which craft my
father and grandfather and many generations before me had
followed. By the condition of my home and dress they judged that
I was a needy man; where upon Sa'd pointing me out to Sa'di said,
"An thou wouldst make trial of this our matter of dispute, see
yonder wight. He hath dwelt here for many years and by this trade
of rope making cloth gain a bare subsistence for himself and his.
I know his case right well of old; he is a worthy subject for the
trial; so do thou give him some gold pieces and test the matter."
"Right willingly," replied Sa'di, "but first let us take full
cognizance of him." So the two friends came up to me, whereat I
left my work and saluted them. They returned my salam after which
quoth Sa'di, "Prithee what be thy name?" Quoth I, "My name is
Hasan, but by reason of my trade of rope making all men call me
Hasan al-Habbal."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held
her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Sixteenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Hasan al-
Habbal (the Rope-maker) continued his story, saying.--Thereupon
Sa'di asked me, "How farest thou by this industry? Me thinks thou
art blithe and quite content therewith. Thou hast worked long and
well and doubtless thou hast laid by large store of hemp and
other stock. Thy forbears carried on this craft for many years
and must have left thee much of capital and property which thou
hast turned to good account and on this wise thou hast largely
increased thy wealth." Quoth I, "O my lord, no money have I in
pouch whereby I may live happy or even buy me enough to eat. This
is my case that every day, from dawn till eve I spend in making
ropes, nor have I one single moment wherein to take rest; and
still I am sore straitened to provide even dry bread for myself
and family. A wife have I and five small children, who are yet
too young to help me ply this business: and 'tis no easy matter
to supply their daily wants; how then canst thou suppose that I
am enabled to put by large store of hemp and stock? What ropes I
twist each day I sell straightway, and of the money earned
thereby I spend part upon our needs and with the rest I buy hemp
wherewith I twist ropes on the next day. However, praise be to
Almighty Allah that, despite this my state of penury He provideth
us with bread sufficing our necessity." When I had made known all
my condition Sa'di replied, "O Hasan, now I am certified of thy
case and indeed 'tis other than I had supposed; and, given that I
gave thee a purse of two hundred Ashrafis, assuredly thou shalt
therewith greatly add to thy gains and be enabled to live in ease
and affluence: what sayest thou thereto?" Said I, "An thou favour
me with such bounty I should hope to grow richer than all and
every of my fellow-craftsmen, albeit Baghdad-town is prosperous
as it is populous." Then Sa'di, deeming me true and trustworthy,
pulled out of his pocket a purse of two hundred gold pieces and
handing them to me said "Take these coins and trade therewith.
May Allah advance thee but see to it that thou use this money
with all heed, and waste it not in folly and ungraciousness. I
and my friend Sa'd will rejoice with all joy to hear of thy well
being; and, if hereafter we come again and find thee in
flourishing condition, 'twill be matter of much satisfaction to
us both." Accordingly, O Commander of the Faithful, I took the
purse of gold with much gladness and a grateful heart and,
placing it in my pocket, thanked Sa'di kissing his garment-hem,
whereupon the two friends fared forth. And I, O Prince of True
Believers, seeing the twain depart, went on working, but was sore
puzzled and perplexed as to where I might bestow the purse; for
my house contained neither cupboard nor locker. Howbeit I took it
home and kept the matter hidden from my wife and children and
when alone and unobserved I drew out ten gold coins by way of
spending money; then, binding the purse mouth with a bit of
string I tied it tightly in the folds of my turband and wound the
cloth around my head. Presently, I went off to the market street
and bought me a stock of hemp and coming homewards I laid in some
meat for supper, it being now a long while since we had tasted
flesh. But as I trudged along the road, meat in hand, a
kite[FN#274] came suddenly swooping down, and would have snatched
the morsel from out my hand had I not driven off the bird with
the other hand. Then it had fain pounced upon the flesh on the
left side but again I scared it away and thus, whilst exerting
myself with frantic efforts to ward off the bird, by ill luck my
turband fell to the ground. At once that accursed kite swooped
down and flew off with it in its talons; and I ran pursuing it
and shouted aloud. Hearing my cries the Bazar-folk, men and women
and a rout of children, did what they could to scare it away and
make the beastly bird drop its prey, but they shouted and cast
stones in vain: the kite would not let drop the turband and
presently flew clean out of sight. I was sore distressed and
heavy hearted to lose the Ashrafis as I tried me home bearing the
hemp and what of food I had bought, but chiefly was I vexed and
grieved in mind, and ready to die of shame at the thought of what
Sa'di would say; especially when I reflected how he would
misdoubt my words, nor deem the tale true when I should tell him
that a kite had carried off my turband with the gold pieces, but
rather would he think that I had practised some deceit and had
devised some amusing fable by way of excuse. Howbeit I hugely
enjoyed what had remained of the ten Ashrafis and with my wife
and children fared sumptuously for some days. Presently, when all
the gold was spent and naught remained thereof, I became as poor
and needy as before, withal I was content and thankful to
Almighty Allah nor blamed my lot. He had sent in his mercy this
purse of gold to me unawares and now He had taken it away,
wherefore I was grateful and satisfied, for what He doeth is ever
well done.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventeenth Night.

Then said she: I have heard, O auspicious King, that Master Hasan
the Ropemaker continued his story in these words:--My wife, who
knew not of the matter of the Ashrafis, presently perceived that
I was ill at ease and I was compelled for a quiet life to let her
know my secret; moreover the neighbours came round to ask me of
my case: but I was right loath to tell them all that had betided;
they could not bring back what was gone and they would assuredly
rejoice at my calamity. However, when they pressed me close I
told them every whit; and some thought that I had spoken falsely
and derided me and others that I was daft and hare-brained and my
words were the wild pratings of an idiot or the drivel of dreams.
The youngsters made abundant fun of me and laughed to think that
I, who never in my born days had sighted a golden coin, should
tell how I had gotten so many Ashrafis, and how a kite had flown
away with them. My wife, however, gave full credence to my tale
and wept and beat her breast for sorrow. Thus six months passed
over us, when it chanced one day that the two friends, to wit,
Sa'di and Sa'd, came to my quarter of the town, when quoth Sa'd
to Sa'di, "Lo, yonder is the street where dwelleth Hasan
al-Habbal. Come let us go and see how he hath added to his stock
and how far he hath prospered by means of the two hundred
Ashrafis thou gavest him." Sa'di rejoined, 'Tis well said;
indeed, we have not seen him for many days: I would fain visit
him and I should rejoice to hear that he hath prospered." So the
twain walked along towards my house, Sa'd saying to Sa'di,
"Forsooth I perceive that he appeareth the same in semblance,
poor and ill-conditioned as before; he weareth old and tattered
garments, save that his turband seemeth somewhat newer and
cleaner. Look well and judge thyself and 'tis even as I said."
Thereupon Sa'di came up closer to me and he also understood that
my condition was unaltered; and presently the two friends
addressed me. After the usual salutetion Sa'd asked, O Hasan, how
fareth it with thee, and how goeth it with thy business and have
the two hundred Ashrafis stood thee in good stead and amended thy
trade?" To this answered I, "O my lords, how can I tell you of
the sad mishap that hath befallen me? I dare not speak for very
shame, yet cannot I keep the adventure concealed. Verily a
marvellous matter and a wondrous hath happened to me, the tale
whereof will fill you with wonderment and suspicion, for I wot
full well that ye will not believe it, and that I shall be to you
as one that dealeth in lies; withal needs must I tell you the
whole however unwillingly." Hereat I recounted to them every whit
that had betided me first and last, especially that which had
befallen me from the kite; but Sa'di misdoubted me and mistrusted
me and cried, "O Hasan, thou speakest but in jest and dost
dissemble with us. 'Tis hard to believe the tale thou tellest.
Kites are not wont to fly off with turbands, but only with such
things as they can eat. Thou wouldst but outwit us and thou art
of those who, when some good fortune cometh to them unforeseen,
do straightways abandon their work or their business and, wasting
all in pleasuring, become once more poor and thereafter must
nilly-willy eke out a living as best they may. This methinks be
especially the case with thee; thou hast squandered our gift with
all speed and now art needy as before." "O good my lord, not so,"
cried I; "this blame and these hard words ill befit my deserts,
for I am wholly innocent of all thou imputest to me. The strange
mishap whereof I told thee is the truest of truths; and to prove
that it is no lie all the town-folk have knowledge thereof and in
good sooth I do not play thee false. 'Tis certain that kites do
not fly away with turbands; but such mishaps, wondrous and
marvellous, may betide mankind especially the miserable of lot."
Sa'd also espoused my cause and said, "O Sa'di, ofttimes have we
seen and heard how kites carry off many things besides
comestibles; and his tale may not be wholly contrary to reason."
Then Sa'di pulled out from his pocket a purseful of gold pieces
and counted out and gave me another two hundred, saying, "O
Hasan, take these Ashrafis, but see that thou keep them with all
heed and diligence and beware, and again I say beware, lest thou
lose them like the others. Expend them in such fashion that thou
mayst reap full benefit therefrom and prosper even as thou seest
thy neighbours prosper." I took the money from him and poured out
thanks and blessings upon his head, and when they went their ways
I returned to my rope-walk and thence in due time straight home.
My wife and children were abroad, so again I took ten gold coins
of the two hundred and securely tied up the remainder in a piece
of cloth then I looked around to find a spot wherein to hide my
hoard so that my wife and youngsters might not come to know of it
and lay hands thereon. Presently, I espied a large earthen jar
full of bran standing in a corner of the room, so herein I hid
the rag with the gold coins and I misdeemed that it was safely
concealed from wife and wees.--And as the morn began to dawn
Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighteenth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Hasan
al-Habbal thus continued his story:--When I had put the Ashrafis
a bottom the jar of bran, my wife came in and I said naught to
her of the two friends or of aught had happened, but I set out
for the Bazar to buy hemp. Now as soon as I had left the house
there came, by evil fate impelled, a man who sold Tafl, or
fuller's earth,[FN#275] wherewith the poorer sort of women are
wont to wash their hair. My wife would fain have bought some but
not a single Kauri[FN#276] or almond had she. Then she took
thought and said to herself, "This jar of bran is here to no
purpose, I will exchange it for the clay," and he also, the Tafl
seller, agreed to this proposal and went off taking the jar of
bran as the price of the washing earth. Anon I came back with a
load of hemp upon my head and other five on the heads of as many
porters who accompanied me; and I helped them off with their
burthens and, after storing the stuff in a room, I paid and
dismissed them. Then I stretched me out upon the floor to take
rest awhile and looking towards the corner where once stood the
jar of bran I found it gone. Words fail me, O Prince of True
Believers, to describe the tumult of feelings which filled my
heart at the sight. I sprang up with all speed and calling to my
wife enquired of her whither the jar had been carried; and she
replied that she had exchanged its contents for a trifle of
washing clay. Then cried I aloud, "O wretched, O miserable, what
hast thou done? thou hast ruined me and thy children; thou hast
given away great wealth to that clay selling fellow!" Then I told
her all that had betided me, of the coming of the two friends and
how I had hidden the hundred and ninety Ashrafis within the
bran-jar; and she, on hearing this wept sore and beat her breast
and tore her hair crying, "Where now shall I find that clay-
seller? The wight is a stranger, never before did I see him about
this quarter or this street. Then turning to me she continued,
"Herein thou hast dealt right foolishly, for that thou didst not
tell me of the matter, nor didst place any trust in me; otherwise
this mishap would never have happened to us; no, never." And she
lamented with loud lamentation and bitter whereat I said, "Make
not such hubbub nor display such trouble, lest our neighbours
overhear thee, and learning of our mishap peradventure laugh at
us and call us fools. It behoveth us to rest content with the
will of Almighty Allah." However the ten Ashrafis which I had
taken from the two hundred sufficed me to carry on my trade and
to live with more of ease for some short while; but I ever
grieved and I marvelled much anent what could be said to Sa'di
when he should come again; for inasmuch as he believed me not the
first time I was assured in my mind that now he would denounce me
aloud as a cheat and a liar. One day of the days the twain, to
wit, Sa'd and Sa'di, came strolling towards my house conversing
and, as usual, arguing about me and my case; and I seeing them
from afar left off working that I might hide myself, as I could
not for very shame come forth and accost them. Seeing this and
not guessing the reason they entered my dwelling and, saluting me
with the salam, asked me how I had fared. I durst not raise my
eyes so abashed and mortified was I, and with bended brow
returned the greeting; when they, noting my sorry plight,
marvelled saying, "Is all well with thee? Why art thou in this
state? Hast thou not made good use of the gold or hast thou
wasted thy wealth in lewd living?" Quoth I, "O my lords, the
story of the Ashrafis is none other than this. When ye departed
from me I went home with the purse of money and, finding no one
was in the house for all had gone out somewhere, I took out
therefrom ten gold pieces. Then I put the rest together with the
purse within a large earthen jar filled full of bran which had
long stood in one corner of the room, so might the matter be kept
privy from my wife and children. But whilst I was in the market
buying me some hemp, my wife returned home; and at that moment
there came in to her a man which sold fuller's earth for washing
hair. She had need thereof withal naught to pay with; so she went
out to him and said, 'I am clean without coin, but I have a
quantity of bran; say me, wilt thou have that in change for thy
clay?' The man agreed and accordingly my wife took the earth of
him, and gave him in exchange the jarful of bran which he carried
away with him and ganged his gait. An ye ask, 'Wherefore didst
thou not confide the matter to thy spouse and tell her that thou
hadst put the money in the jar?' I on my side answer, that ye
gave me strict injunctions to keep the money this time with the
utmost heed and caution. Methought that stead was the safest
wherein to store the gold and I was loath to trust my wife lest
haply she take some coin therefrom and expend it upon her
household. O my lords, I am certified of your goodness and
graciousness, but poverty and penury are writ in my Book of Fate;
how then can I aspire to possessions and prosperity? Withal,
never while I breathe the breath of life, shall I be forgetful of
this your generous favour." Quoth Sa'di, "Meseemeth I have
disbursed four hundred Ashrafis to no purpose in giving them to
thee; yet the intent wherewith they were given was that thou
shouldst benefit thereby, not that I claim thy praise and
thanksgiving." So they twain compassionated and condoled with me
in my misfortune; and presently Sa'd, an upright man and one who
had acquaintance with me since many a year, produced a leaden
coin[FN#277] which he had picked up from the path and was still
carrying in his pocket; and, after shewing it to Sa'di, said to
me, "Seest thou this bit of lead? Take it and by favour of Fate
thou shalt find out what blessings it will bring to thee." Sa'di
on espying it laughed aloud and made jest of the matter and
flouting said, "What advantage will there be to Hasan from this
mite of lead and in what way shall he use it?" Sa'd handing me
the leaden coin retorted in reply, "Give no heed to whatso Sa'di
may say, but keep this by thee. Let him laugh an he please. One
day haply shall come to pass, Inshallah--an it be the will of
Almighty Allah--that thou shalt by means thereof become a wealthy
man and a magnifico." I took the bit of lead and put it in my
pocket, and the twain bade me farewell and went their way.--And
as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Nineteenth Night.

Then said she--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Hasan al-
Habbal thus continued his story:--As soon as Sa'd and Sa'di had
departed, I went on rope-twisting until night came and when
doffing my dress to go to bed the bit of lead which Sa'd had
given me fell out of my pocket; so I picked it up and set it
carelessly in a small niche in the wall.[FN#278] Now that very
night so it happened that a fisherman, one of my neighbours,
stood in need of a small coin[FN#279] wherewith to buy some twine
for mending his drag-net, as he was wont to do during the dark
hours, in order that he might catch the fish ere dawn of day and
selling his quarry, buy victuals for himself and his household.
So, as he was accustomed to rise while yet somewhat of night
remained, he bade his wife go round about to all the neighbours
and borrow a copper that he might buy the twine required; and the
woman went everywhere, from house to house, but nowhere could she
get loan of a farthing, and at last she came home weary and
disappointed. Quoth the fisherman to her, "Hast thou been to
Hasan al-Habbal?" and quoth she, "Nay, I have not tried at his
place. It is the furthest of all the neighbours' houses and
fanciest thou, even had I gone there, I could thence have brought
back aught?" "Off with thee, O laziest of hussies and good for
nothing of baggages," cried the fisherman, "away with thee this
instant; perchance he hath a copper to lend us." Accordingly the
woman, grumbling and muttering, fared forth and coming to my
dwelling knocked at the door, saying, "O Hasan al-Habbal, my
husband is in sore need of a pice wherewith to buy some twine for
mending his nets." Minding me of the coin which Sa'd had given me
and where it had been put away, I shouted out to her, "Have
patience, my spouse will go forth to thee and give thee what thou
needest." My wife, hearing all this hubbub, woke from sleep, and
I told her where to find the bit of money, whereupon she fetched
it and gave it to the woman, who joyed with exceeding joy, and
said, "Thou and thy husband have shown great kindness to my man,
wherefore I promise thee that whatsoever fish he may chance to
catch at the first throw of the net shall be thine; and I am
assured that my goodman, when he shall hear of this my promise,
will consent thereto." Accordingly when the woman took the money
to her husband and told him of what pledge she had given, he was
right willing, and said to her, "Thou hast done well and wisely
in that thou madest this covenant." Then having bought some twine
and mended all the nets he rose before dawn and hastened
riverwards to catch fish according to his custom. But when he
cast the net into the stream for the first throw and haled it in,
he found that it contained but one fish and that a full
span[FN#280] or so in thickness, which he placed apart as my
portion. Then he threw the net again and again and at each cast
he caught many fishes both small and great, but none reached in
size that he first had netted. As soon as he returned home the
fisherman came at once to me and brought the fish he had netted
in my name, and said, O our neighbour, my wife promised over
night that thou shouldst have whatever fishes should come to
ground at the first net throw; and this fish is the only one I
caught. Here it is, prithee take it as a thanks offering for the
kindness of last night, and as fulfilment of the promise. If
Allah Almighty had vouchsafed to me of fish a seine-full, all had
been thine but 'tis thy fate that only this one was landed at the
first cast." Said I, "The mite I gave thee yesternight was not of
such value that I should look for somewhat in return;" and
refused to accept it. But after much "say and said" he would not
take back the fish, and he insisted that it was mine: wherefore I
agreed to keep it and gave it to my wife, saying, "O woman, this
fish is a return for the mite I gave last night to the fisherman
our neighbour. Sa'd hath declared that by means of that coin I
shall attain to much riches and abundant opulence." Then I
recounted to my wife how my two friends had visited me and what
they said and did, and all concerning the leaden coin which Sa'd
had given to me. She wondered at seeing but a single fish and
said, "How shall I cook it? Meseemeth 'twere best to cut it up
and broil it for the children, especially as we have naught of
spices and condiments wherewith to dress it otherwise." Then, as
she sliced and cleansed the fish she found within its belly a
large diamond which she supposed to be a bit of glass or crystal;
for she oft had heard tell of diamonds[FN#281] but never with her
own eyes had she beheld one. So she gave it to the youngest of
the children for a plaything and when the others saw it, by
reason of its brightness and brilliancy all desired to have it
and each kept it in turn awhile; moreover when night came and the
lamp was lighted they crowded round the stone and gazed upon its
beauty, and screamed and shouted with delight.[FN#282] When my
wife had spread the table we sat down to supper and the eldest
boy set the diamond upon the tray, and as soon as we all had
finished eating, the children fought and scrambled as before for
it. At first I paid no heed to their noise and hubbub, but when
it waxed exceeding loud and irksome I asked my eldest lad the
cause why they quarrelled and made such turmoil. Quoth he, "The
trouble and dispute are about a piece of glass which giveth forth
a light as bright as the lamp." Whereat I told him to produce it
and marvelled greatly to see its sparkling water, and enquired of
my wife whence she had gotten the piece of crystal. Quoth she,
"This I found within the belly of the fish as I was gutting it."
Still I did not suppose it to be aught but glass. Presently I
bade my wife hide the lamp behind the hearth.--And as the morn
began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Twentieth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Hasan al-
Habbal thus continued his story:--And when my wife had hidden the
lamp from view, such was the brightness of the diamond that we
could see right well without other light; wherefore I placed it
upon the hearth[FN#283] that we might work by it, and said within
myself, "The coin that Sa'd left with me hath produced this
benefit that we no longer stand in need of a lamp: at least it
saveth us oil." When the youngsters saw me put out the lamp and
use the glass in its stead they jumped and danced for joy, and
screamed and shouted with glee so that all the neighbours round
about could hear them when I chid them and sent them to bed; we
also went to rest and right soon fell asleep. Next day I woke
betimes and went on with my work and thought not of the piece of
glass. Now there dwelt hard by us a wealthy Jew, a jeweller who
bought and sold all kinds of precious stones; and, as he and his
wife essayed to sleep that night, by reason of the noise and
clamour of the children they were disturbed for many hours and
slumber visited not their eyes. And when morn appeared, the
jeweller's wife came to our house to make complaint both for
herself and her husband anent the hubbub and shouting. Ere she
could say a word of blame my wife, guessing the intent wherewith
she came, addressed her saying, "O Rahil,[FN#284] I fear me that
my children pestered thee last night with their laughing and
crying. I crave thine indulgence in this matter; well thou must
wot how children now cry now laugh at trifles. Come in and see
the cause of all their excitement wherefor thou wouldst justly
call me to account." She did accordingly and saw the bit of glass
about which the youngsters had made such din and uproar; and when
she, who had long experience of all manner precious stones,
beheld the diamond she was filled with wonderment. My wife then
told her how she had found it in the fish's belly, whereupon
quoth the Jewess, "This bit of glass is more excellent than all
other sorts of glass. I too have such an one as this which I am
wont to wear sometimes; and wouldst thou sell it I will buy this
thing of thee." Hearing her words the children began to cry and
said, "O mother dear, an thou wilt not sell it we promise
henceforth to make no noise." Understanding that they would by no
means part with it, the women held their peace and presently the
Jewess fared forth, but ere she took her leave she whispered my
wife, "See that thou tell the matter to none; and, if thou have a
mind to sell it at once send me word." Now the Jew was sitting in
his shop when his wife went to him and told him of the bit of
glass. Quoth he, "Go straightway back and offer a price for it,
saying that 'tis for me. Begin with some small bidding, then
raise the sum until thou get it." The Jewess thereupon returned
to my house and offered twenty Ashrafis, which my wife deemed a
large sum to give for such a trifle; however, she would not close
the bargain. At that moment I happened to leave my work and,
coming home to our noon meal, saw the two women talking on the
threshold; and my wife stopped me, saying, "This neighbour
biddeth twenty Ashrafis to price for the piece of glass, but I
have as yet given her no reply. What sayest thou?" Then I
bethought me of what Sa'd had told me; to wit, that much wealth
would come to me by virtue of his leaden coin. The Jewess seeing
how I hesitated bethought her that I would not consent to the
price; so quoth she, "O neighbour, an thou wilt not agree to part
with the bit of glass for twenty pieces of gold, I will e'en give
thee fifty." Hereat I reflected that whereas the Jewess raised
her offer so readily from twenty golden pieces to fifty, this
glass must surely be of great value; so I kept silence and
answered her not a word. Then noting that I still held my peace
she cried, "Take then one hundred: this be its full value; nay I
know not in very deed if my husband will consent to so high a
price." Said I in reply, "O my good woman, why talk so foolishly?
I will not sell it for aught less than an hundred
thousand[FN#285] gold coins; and thou mayest take it at that
price but only because thou art neighbour to us." The Jewess
raised her offer coin by coin to fifty thousand Ashrafis and
said, "I pray thee wait till morning and sell it not till then,
so that my man may come round and see it." "Right willingly,"
quoth I; "by all manner of means let thy husband drop in and
inspect it."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Twenty-first Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Hasan al-
Habbal thus continued his story.-- Next day the Jew came to my
house and I drew forth and showed to him the diamond which shone
and glittered in my palm with light as bright as any lamp's.
Presently, assured that all which his wife had told him of its
water and lustre was strictly true, he took it in hand and,
examining it and turning it about, marvelled with mighty marvel
at its beauty saying, "My wife made offer of fifty thousand gold
pieces: see now I will give thee yet another twenty thousand."
Said I, "Thy wife hath surely named to thee what sum I fixed to
wit, one hundred thousand Ashrafis and naught less: I shall not
abate one jot or tittle of this price." The Jew did all he could
to buy it for a lesser sum; but I answered only, "It mattereth
naught; an thou desire not to come to my terms I must needs sell
it to some other jeweller." At length he consented and weighed me
out two thousand gold pieces by way of earnest-money, saying,
"To-morrow I will bring the amount of my offer and carry off my
diamond." To this I gave assent and so, on the day following, he
came to me and weighed out the full sum of one hundred thousand
Ashrafis, which he had raised amongst his friends and partners in
business. Then I gave him the diamond which had brought me such
exceeding wealth, and offered thanks to him and praises unto
Almighty Allah for this great good Fortune gotten unawares, and
much I hoped soon to see my two friends, Sa'd and Sa'di, and to
thank them likewise. So first I set my house in order and gave
spending-money to my wife for home necessaries and for clothing
herself and children; moreover, I also bought me a fine mansion
and furnished it with the best. Then said I to my wife, who
thought of nothing save rich clothes and high diet and a life of
ease and enjoyment, "It behoveth us not to give up this our
craft: we must needs put by some coin and carry on the business."
Accordingly, I went to all the rope-makers of the city and buying
with much money several manufactories put them to work, and over
each establishment I set an overseer, an intelligent man and a
trustworthy, so that there is not now throughout Baghdad-city a
single ward or quarter that hath not walks and workshops of mine
for rope making. Nay, further, I have in each town and every
district of Al-Irak warehouses, all under charge of honest
supervisors; and thus it is that I have amassed such a muchel of
wealth. Lastly, for my own especial place of business I bought
another house, a ruined place with a sufficiency of land
adjoining; and, pulling down the old shell, I edified in lieu
thereof the new and spacious edifice which thy Highness hath
deigned yesterday to look upon. Here all my workmen are lodged
and here also are kept my office-books and accounts; and besides
my warehouse it containeth apartments fitted with furniture in
simple style all sufficient for myself and my family. After some
time I quitted my old home, wherein Sa'd and Sa'di had seen me
working, and went and lived in the new mansion and not long after
this removal my two friends and benefactors bethought them that
they would come and visit me They marvelled much when, entering
my old workshop, they found me not, and they asked the
neighbours, "Where dwelleth such and such a rope-maker? Is he
alive or dead?" Quoth the folk "He now is a rich merchant; and
men no longer call him simply 'Hasan,' but entitle him 'Master
Hasan the Rope-maker.' He hath built him a splendid building and
he dwelleth in such and such a quarter." Whereupon the two
familiars set forth in search of me; and they rejoiced at the
good report; albeit Sa'di would by no means be convinced that all
my wealth had sprung (as Sa'd contended) from its root, that
small leaden coin. Presently, conning the matter over in his mind
he said to his comrade, "It delighteth me much to hear of all
this good fortune which hath betided Hasan, despite that he twice
deceived me and took from me four hundred gold pieces, whereby he
hath gotten to himself these riches; for it is absurd to think
that it hath come from the leaden coin thou gavest him. Withal I
do forgive him and owe him no grudge." Replied the other, "Thou
art mistaken. I know Hasan of old to be a good man and true: he
would not delude thee and what he told us is simple sooth. I am
persuaded in my mind that he hath won all his wealth and opulence
by the leaden coin: however we shall hear anon what he may have
to say." Conversing thus they came into the street wherein I now
dwell and, seeing a large and magnificent mansion and a new made,
they guessed it was mine. So they knocked and, on the porter
opening, Sa'di marvelled to see such grandeur and so many folk
sitting within, and feared lest haply they had unwittingly

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