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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete by Anon.

Part 8 out of 28

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The Story told by the Jewish Physician.

When I was studying physic at Damascus, and was just beginning to
practise that noble profession with some reputation, a slave
called me to see a patient in the governor of the city's family.
Accordingly I went, and was conducted into a room, where I found
a very handsome young man, much dejected by his disorder. I
saluted him, and sat down by him; but he made no return to my
compliments, only a sign with his eyes that he heard me, and
thanked me. "Pray, sir," said I, "give me your hand, that I may
feel your pulse." But instead of stretching out his right, he
gave me his left hand, at which I was extremely surprised.
However, I felt his pulse, wrote him a prescription, and took

I continued my visits for nine days, and every time I felt his
pulse, he still gave me his left hand. On the tenth day he seemed
to be so far recovered, that I only deemed it necessary to
prescribe bathing to him. The governor of Damascus, who was by,
in testimony of his satisfaction with my service, invested me
with a very rich robe, saying, he had appointed me a physician of
the city hospital, and physician in ordinary to his house, where
I might eat at his table when I pleased.

The young man likewise shewed me many civilities, and asked me to
accompany him to the bath. Accordingly we went together, and when
his attendants had undressed him, I perceived he wanted the right
hand, and that it had not long been cut off, which had been the
occasion of his disorder, though concealed from me; for while the
people about him were applying proper remedies externally, they
had called me to prevent the ill consequence of the fever which
was on him. I was much surprised and concerned on seeing his
misfortune; which he observed by my countenance. "Doctor," cried
he, "do not be astonished that my hand is cut off; some day or
other I will tell you the cause; and in that relation you will
hear very surprising adventures."

After we had returned from the bath, we sat down to a collation;
and he asked me if it would be any prejudice to his health if he
went and took a walk out of town in the governor's garden? I made
answer, that the air would be of service to him. "Then," said he,
"if you will give me your company, I will recount to you my
history." I replied I was at his command for all that day. Upon
which he presently called his servants, and we went to the
governor's garden. Having taken two or three turns there, we
seated ourselves on a carpet that his servants had spread under a
tree, which gave a pleasant shade. The young man then gave me his
history in the following terms;

I was born at Moussol, of one of the most considerable families
in the city. My father was the eldest of ten brothers, who were
all alive and married when my grandfather died. All the brothers
were childless, except my father; and he had no child but me. He
took particular care of my education; and made me learn every
thing proper for my rank.

When I was grown up, and began to enter into the world, I
happened one Friday to be at noon-prayers with my father and my
uncles in the great mosque of Moussol. After prayers were over,
the rest of the company going away, my father and my uncles
continued sitting upon the best carpet in the mosque; and I sat
down by them. They discoursed of several things, but the
conversation fell insensibly, I know not how, upon the subject of
travelling. They extolled the beauties and peculiar rarities of
some kingdoms, and of their principal cities. But one of my
uncles said, that according to the uniform report of an infinite
number of voyagers, there was not in the world a pleasanter
country than Egypt, on account of the Nile; and the description
he gave infused into me such high admiration, that from that
moment I had a desire to travel thither. Whatever my other uncles
said, by way of preference to Bagdad and the Tigris, in calling
Bagdad the residence of the Mussulmaun religion, and the
metropolis of all the cities of the earth, made no impression
upon me. My father joined in opinion with those of his brothers
who had spoken in favour of Egypt; which filled me with joy. "Say
what you will," said he, "the man that has not seen Egypt has not
seen the greatest rarity in the world. All the land there is
golden; I mean, it is so fertile, that it enriches its
inhabitants. All the women of that country charm you by their
beauty and their agreeable carriage. If you speak of the Nile,
where is there a more wonderful river? What water was ever
lighter or more delicious? The very slime it carries along in its
overflowing fattens the fields, which produce a thousand times
more than other countries that are cultivated with the greatest
labour. Observe what a poet said of the Egyptians, when he was
obliged to depart from Egypt: ‘Your Nile loads you with blessings
every day; it is for you only that it runs from such a distance.
Alas! in removing from you, my tears will flow as abundantly as
its waters; you are to continue in the enjoyment of its
sweetnesses, while I am condemned to deprive myself of them
against my will.'

"If you look," added my father, "towards the island that is
formed by the two greatest branches of the Nile, what variety of
verdure! What enamel of all sorts of flowers! What a prodigious
number of cities, villages, canals, and a thousand other
agreeable objects! If you turn your eyes on the other side, up
towards Ethiopia, how many other subjects of admiration! I cannot
compare the verdure of so many plains, watered by the different
canals of the island, better than to brilliant emeralds set in
silver. Is not Grand Cairo the largest, the most populous, and
the richest city in the world? What a number of magnificent
edifices both public and private! If you view the pyramids, you
will be filled with astonishment at the sight of the masses of
stone of an enormous thickness, which rear their heads to the
skies! You will be obliged to confess, that the Pharaohs, who
employed such riches, and so many men in building them, must have
surpassed in magnificence and invention all the monarchs who have
appeared since, not only in Egypt, but in all the world, for
having left monuments so worthy of their memory: monuments so
ancient, that the learned cannot agree upon the date of their
erection; yet such as will last to the end of time. I pass over
in silence the maritime cities of the kingdom of Egypt, such as
Damietta, Rosetta, and Alexandria, where nations come for various
sorts of grain, cloth, and an infinite number of commodities
calculated for accommodation and delight. I speak of what I know;
for I spent some years there in my youth, which I shall always
reckon the most agreeable part of my life."

My uncles could make no reply, and assented to all my father had
said of the Nile, of Cairo, and of the whole kingdom of Egypt. My
imagination was so full of these subjects, I could not sleep that
night. Soon after, my uncles declared how much they were struck
with my father's account. They made a proposal to him, that they
should travel all together into Egypt. To this he assented; and
being rich merchants, they resolved to carry with them such
commodities as were likely to suit the market. When I found that
they were making preparations for their departure, I went to my
father, and begged of him, with tears in my eyes, that he would
suffer me to make one of the party, and allow me some stock of
goods to trade with on my own account. "You are too young," said
he, "to travel into Egypt; the fatigue is too great for you; and,
besides, I am sure you will come off a loser in your traffic."
These words, however, did not suppress my eager desire to travel.
I made use of my uncles' interest with my father, who at last
granted me permission to go as far as Damascus, where they were
to leave me, till they had travelled through Egypt. "The city of
Damascus," said my father, "may likewise glory in its beauties,
and my son must be content with leave to go so far." Though my
curiosity to see Egypt was very pressing, I considered he was my
father, and submitted to his will.

I set out from Moussol in company with him and my uncles. We
travelled through Mesopotamia, passed the Euphrates, and arrived
at Aleppo, where we stayed some days. From thence we went to
Damascus, the first sight of which struck me with agreeable
surprise We lodged all together in one khan; and I had the view
of a city that was large, populous, full of handsome people, and
well fortified. We employed some days in walking up and down the
delicious gardens that surrounded it; and we all agreed that
Damascus was justly said to be seated in a paradise. At last my
uncles thought of pursuing their journey; but took care, before
they went, to sell my goods so advantageously for me, that I
gained by them five hundred per cent. This sale brought me a sum
so considerable, as to fill me with delight.

My father and my uncles left me in Damascus, and pursued their
journey. After their departure, I used great caution not to lay
out my money idly. But at the same time I took a stately house,
built of marble, adorned with paintings of gold, silver foliage,
and a garden with fine water-works. I furnished it, not so richly
indeed as the magnificence of the place deserved, but at least
handsomely enough for a young man of my rank. It formerly
belonged to one of the principal lords of the city; but was then
the property of a rich jewel-merchant, to whom I paid for it only
two sherifs a month. I had a number of domestics, and lived
honourably; sometimes I gave entertainments to such people as I
had made an acquaintance with, and sometimes was treated by them.
Thus did I spend my time at Damascus, waiting for my father's
return; no passion disturbed my repose, and my only employment
was conversing with people of credit.

One day, as I sat taking the cool air at my gate, a very
handsome, well-dressed lady came to me, and asked if I did not
sell stuffs? She had no sooner spoken the words, than she went
into my house.

When I saw that the lady had entered the house, I rose, and
having shut the gate, conducted into a hall, and prayed her to
sit down. "Madam," said I, "I have had stuffs fit to be strewn to
you, but at present, I am sorry to say, I have none." She removed
the veil from her face, and discovered such beauty as affected me
with emotions I had never felt before. "I have no occasion for
stuffs," replied she, "I only come to see you, and, if you
please, to pass the evening in your company; all I ask of you is
a light collation."

Transported with joy, I ordered the servants to bring us several
sorts of fruit, and some bottles of wine. These being speedily
served, we ate, drank, and made merry till midnight. In short, I
had not before passed a night so agreeably as this. Next morning
I would have put ten sherifs into the lady's hands, but she drew
back instantly. "I am not come to see you," said she, "from
interested motives; you therefore do me wrong. So far from
receiving money from you, I must insist on your taking some from
me, or else I will see you no more." In speaking this, she put
her hand into her purse, took out ten sherifs, and forced me to
take them, saying, "You may expect me three days hence after sun-
set. She then took leave of me, and I felt that when she went she
carried my heart along with her."

She did not fail to return at the appointed hour three days
after; and I received her with all the joy of a person who waited
impatiently for her arrival. The evening and the night we spent
as before; and next day at parting she promised to return the
third day after. She did not, however, leave me without forcing
me to take ten sherifs more.

She returned a third time; and at that interview, when we were
both warm with wine, she spoke thus: "My dear love, what do you
think of me? Am I not handsome and agreeable?" "Madam," I
replied, "I think this an unnecessary question: the love which I
shew you ought to persuade you that I admire you; I am charmed to
see and to possess you. You are my queen, my sultaness; in you
lies all the felicity of my life." "Ah!" returned she, "I am sure
you would speak otherwise, if you saw a certain lady of my
acquaintance, who is younger and handsomer than I am. She is of
such a pleasant lively temper, that she would make the most
melancholy people merry: I must bring her hither; I spoke of you
to her, and from the account I have given of you she is dying
with desire to see you. She intreated me to procure her that
pleasure, but I did not dare to promise her without speaking to
you beforehand." "Madam," said I, "do what you please; but
whatever you may say of your friend, I defy all her charms to
tear my heart from you, to whom it is so inviolably attached,
that nothing can disengage it." "Be not too positive," returned
she; "I now tell you, I am about to put your heart to a severe

We continued together all night, and next morning at parting,
instead of ten sherifs she gave me fifteen, which I was forced to
accept. "Remember," said she, "that in two days' time you are to
have a new guest; pray take care to give her a good reception: we
will come at the usual hour." I had my hall put in great order,
and a handsome collation prepared against they came.

I waited for the two ladies with impatience and at last they
arrived at the close of the day. They both unveiled, and as I had
been surprised with the beauty of the first, I had reason to be
much more so when I saw her friend. She had regular features, an
elegant person, and such sparkling eyes, that I could hardly bear
their splendour. I thanked her for the honour she did me, and
entreated her to excuse me if I did not give her the reception
she deserved. "No compliments," replied she; "it should be my
part to make them to you, for allowing my friend to bring me
hither. But since you are pleased to suffer it, let us lay aside
all ceremony, and think only of amusing ourselves."

I had given orders, as soon as the ladies arrived, to have the
collation served up, and we soon sat down to our entertainment. I
placed myself opposite the stranger, who never ceased looking
upon me with a smiling countenance. I could not resist her
conquering eyes, and she made herself mistress of my heart,
without opposition. But while she inspired me with a flame, she
caught it herself; and so far from appearing to be under any
constraint, she conversed in very free and lively language.

The other lady, who observed us, did nothing at first but laugh.
"I told you," said she, addressing herself to me, "you would find
my friend full of charms; and I perceive you have already
violated the oath you made of being faithful to me." "Madam,"
replied I, laughing as well as she, "you would have reason to
complain, if I were wanting in civility to a lady whom you
brought hither, and who is your intimate friend; both of you
might then upbraid me for not performing duly the rites of

We continued to drink; but as the wine warmed us, the strange
lady and I ogled one another with so little reserve, that her
friend grew jealous, and quickly gave us a dismal proof of the
inveteracy of her feelings. She rose from the table and went out,
saying, she would be with us presently again: but in a few
moments after, the lady who stayed with me changed countenance,
fell into violent convulsions, and expired in my arms while I was
calling for assistance to relieve her. I went out immediately,
and enquired for the other lady; when my people told me, she had
opened the street door and was gone. I then suspected what was
but too true, that she had been the cause of her friend's death.
She had the dexterity, and the malice, to put some very strong
poison into the last glass, which she gave her with her own hand.

I was afflicted beyond measure with the accident. "What shall I
do?" I exclaimed in agony. "What will become of me?" I considered
there was no time to lose, and it being then moon-light, I
ordered my servants to take up one of the large pieces of marble,
with which the court of my house was paved, dig a hole, and there
inter the corpse of the young lady. After replacing the stone, I
put on a travelling suit, took what money I had; and having
locked up every thing, affixed my own seal on the door of my
house. This done I went to the jewel-merchant my landlord, paid
him what I owed, with a year's rent in advance and giving him the
key, prayed him to keep it for me. "A very urgent affair," said
I, "obliges me to be absent for some time; I am under the
necessity of going to visit my uncles at Cairo." I took my leave
of him, immediately mounted my horse, and departed with my
attendants from Damascus.

I had a good journey, and arrived at Cairo without any accident.
There I met with my uncles, who were much surprised to see me. To
excuse myself, I pretended I was tired of waiting; and hearing
nothing of them, was so uneasy, that I could not be satisfied
without coming to Cairo. They received me kindly, and promised
that my father should not be displeased with me for leaving
Damascus without his permission. I lodged in the same khan with
them, and saw all the curiosities of Cairo.

Having finished their traffic, they began to talk of returning to
Moussol, and to make preparations for their departure; but I,
having a wish to view in Egypt what I had not yet seen, left my
uncles, and went to lodge in another quarter at a distance from
their khan, and did not appear any more till they were gone. They
sought for me all over the city; but not finding me, supposed
remorse for having come to Egypt without my father's consent had
occasioned me to return to Damascus, without saying any thing to
them. So they began their journey, expecting to find me at
Damascus, and there to take me up.

After their departure I continued at Cairo three years, more
completely to indulge my curiosity in seeing all the wonders of
Egypt. During that time I took care to remit money to the jewel-
merchant, ordering him to keep my house for me; for I designed to
return to Damascus, and reside there some years longer. I had no
adventure at Cairo worth relating; but doubtless you will be much
surprised at that which befell me on my return to Damascus.

Arriving at this city, I went to the jewel-merchant's, who
received me joyfully, and would accompany me to my house, to shew
me that no one had entered it whilst I was absent. The seal was
still entire upon the lock; and when I went in, I found every
thing in the order in which I had left it.

In sweeping and cleaning out the hall where I had eaten with the
ladies, one of my servants found a gold chain necklace, with ten
very large and perfect pearls strung upon it at certain
distances. He brought it to me, when I knew it to be the same I
had seen upon the lady's neck who was poisoned; and concluded it
had broken off and fallen. I could not look upon it without
shedding tears, when I called to mind the lovely creature I had
seen die in such a shocking manner. I wrapped it up, and put it
in my bosom.

I rested some days to recover from the fatigues of my journey;
after which, I began to visit my former acquaintance. I abandoned
myself to every species of pleasure, and gradually squandered
away all my money. Being thus reduced, instead of selling my
furniture, I resolved to part with the necklace; but I had so
little skill in pearls, that I took my measures very ill, as you
shall hear.

I went to the bazaar, where I called a crier aside, and strewing
him the necklace, told him I wished to sell it, and desired him
to show it to the principal jewellers. The crier was surprised to
see such a valuable ornament. "How beautiful," exclaimed he,
gazing upon it with admiration, "never did our merchants see any
thing so rich; I am sure I shall oblige them highly in strewing
it to them; and you need not doubt they will set a high price
upon it, in emulation of each other." He carried me to a shop
which proved to be my landlord's: "Stop here," said the crier, "I
will return presently and bring you an answer."

While he was running about to shew the necklace, I sat with the
jeweller, who was glad to see me, and we conversed on different
subjects. The crier returned, and calling me aside, instead of
telling me the necklace was valued at two thousand sherifs,
assured me nobody would give me more than fifty. "The reason is,"
added he, "the pearls are false; consider if you will part with
it at that price." I took him at his word, wanting money. "Go,"
said I, "I take your word, and that of those who know better than
myself; deliver it to them, and bring me the money immediately."

The crier had been ordered to offer me fifty sherifs by one of
the richest jewellers in town who had only made that offer to
sound me, and try if I was well acquainted with the value of the
pearls. He had no sooner received my answer, than he carried the
crier to the judge, and shewing him the necklace; "Sir," said he,
"here is a necklace which was stolen from me, and the thief,
under the character of a merchant, has had the impudence to offer
it to sale, and is at this minute in the bazaar. He is willing to
take fifty sherifs for a necklace that is worth two thousand

which is a clear proof of his having stolen it."

The Judge sent immediately to seize me, and when I came before
him, he asked me if the necklace he had in his hand was not the
same that I had exposed to sale in the bazaar. I told him it was.
"Is it true," demanded he, "that you are willing to sell it for
fifty sherifs,?" I answered I was. "Well," continued he, in a
scoffing way "give him the bastinado; he will quickly confess
notwithstanding his merchant's disguise, that he is only an
artful thief; let him be beaten till he owns his guilt." The pain
of the torture made me tell a lie; I confessed, though it was not
true that I had stolen the necklace; and the judge ordered my
hand to be cut off according to the sentence of our law.

This made a great noise in the bazaar, and I was scarcely
returned to my house when my landlord came. "My son," said he,
"you seem to be a young man well educated, and of good sense; how
is it possible you could be guilty of such an unworthy action, as
that I hear talked of? You gave me an account of your property
yourself, and I do not doubt but the account was just. Why did
not you request money of me, and I would have lent it you?
However, after what has happened, I cannot allow you to remain
longer in my house; you must go and seek for other lodgings." I
was extremely troubled at this; and entreated the jeweller, with
tears in my eyes, to let me stay three days longer; which he

"Alas," thought I, "this misfortune and affront are unsufferable;
how shall I dare to return to Moussol? Nothing I can say to my
father will persuade him that I am innocent."

Three hours after this fatal accident my house was forcibly
entered by the judge's officers, accompanied by my landlord, and
the merchant who had falsely accused me of having stolen the
necklace. I asked them, what brought them there? But instead of
giving me any answer, they bound and gagged me, calling me a
thousand abusive names, and telling me the necklace belonged to
the governor of Damascus, who had lost it above three years
before, and that one of his daughters had not been heard of
since. Judge of my sensations when I heard this intelligence.
However, I summoned all my resolution, "I will," thought I, "tell
the governor the truth, and it will rest with him either to put
me to death, or to protect my innocence."

When I was brought before him, I observed he looked upon me with
an eye of compassion, from whence I augured well. He ordered me
to be untied, and addressing himself to the jeweller who accused
me, and to my landlord: "Is this the man," asked he, "that sold
the pearl necklace?" They had no sooner answered yes, than he
continued, "I am sure he did not steal the necklace, and I am
much astonished at the injustice that has been done him." These
words giving me courage: "Sir," said I, "I do assure you I am
perfectly innocent. I am likewise fully persuaded the necklace
never did belong to my accuser, whom I never saw, and whose
horrible perfidy is the cause of my unjust treatment. It is true,
I made a confession as if I had stolen it; but this I did
contrary to my conscience, through the force of torture, and for
another reason that I am ready to give you, if you will have the
goodness to hear me." "I know enough of it already," replied the
governor, "to do you one part of the justice to which you are
entitled. Take from hence," continued he, "the false accuser; let
him undergo the same punishment as he caused to be inflicted on
this young man, whose innocence is known to myself."

The governor's orders were immediately put in execution; the
jeweller was punished as he deserved. Then the governor, having
ordered all present to withdraw, said to me: "My son, tell me
without fear how this necklace fell into your hands, conceal
nothing from me." I related plainly all that had passed, and
declared I had chosen rather to pass for a thief than to reveal
that tragical adventure. "Good God," exclaimed the governor, "thy
judgments are incomprehensible, and we ought to submit to them
without murmuring. I receive, with entire submission, the stroke
thou hast been pleased to inflict upon me." Then directing his
discourse to me: "My son," said he, "having now heard the cause
of your disgrace, for which I am truly concerned, I will give you
an account of the affliction which has befallen myself. Know
then, that I am the father of both the young ladies you were
speaking of. The first lady, who had the impudence to come to
your house, was my eldest daughter. I had given her in marriage
at Cairo to one of her cousins, my brother's son. Her husband
died, and she returned home corrupted by every vice too often
contracted in Egypt. Before I took her home, her younger sister,
who died in that deplorable manner in your arms, was a truly
virtuous girl, and had never given me any occasion to complain of
her conduce. But after that, the elder sister became very
intimate with her, and insensibly made her as wicked as herself.
The day after the death of the younger not finding her at home, I
asked her elder sister what was become of her; but she, instead
of answering, affected to weep bitterly; from whence I formed a
fatal presage. I pressed her to inform me of what she knew
respecting her sister ‘Father,' replied she, sobbing, ‘I can tell
you no more than that my sister put on yesterday her richest
dress, with her valuable pearl necklace, went out, and has not
been heard of since.' I searched for her all over the town, but
could learn nothing of her unhappy fate. In the mean time the
elder, who doubtless repented of her jealous fury, became
melancholy, and incessantly bewailed the death of her sister; she
denied her self all manner of food, and so put an end to her
deplorable days. Such is the condition of mankind! such are the
misfortunes to which we are exposed! However, my son," added he,
"since we are both of us equally unfortunate, let us unite our
sorrow, and not abandon one another. I will give you in marriage
a third daughter I have still left, she is younger than her
sisters, and in no respect imitates their conduct; besides, she
is handsomer, and I assure you is of a disposition calculated to
make you happy. You shall have no other house but mine, and,
after my death, you and she shall be heirs to all my property."
"My lord," I replied, "I am overcome by your favours, and shall
never be able to make a sufficient acknowledgment." "Enough,"
said he, interrupting me, "let us not waste time in idle words."
He then called for witnesses, ordered the contract of marriage to
be drawn, and I became the husband of his third daughter. He was
not satisfied with punishing the jeweller, who had falsely
accused me, but confiscated for my use all his property, which
was very considerable. As for the rest, since you have been
called to the governor's house, you may have seen what respect
they pay me there. I must tell you further, that a person
despatched by my uncles to Egypt, on purpose to inquire for me
there, passing through this city found me out last night, and
delivered me a letter from them. They inform me of my father's
death, and invite me to come and take possession of his property
at Moussol. But as the alliance and friendship of the governor
have fixed me here, and will not suffer me to leave him, I have
sent back the express with a power, which will secure to me my
inheritance. After what you have heard, I hope you will pardon my
seeming incivility during the course of my illness, in giving you
my left instead of my right hand.

" This," said the Jewish physician, "is the story I heard from
the young man of Moussol. I continued at Damascus as long as the
governor lived; after his death, being still in the vigour of my
age, I had the curiosity to travel. Accordingly I went through
Persia to the Indies, and came at last to settle in this your
capital, where I have practised physic with reputation."

The sultan of Casgar was well pleased with this story. "I must
confess," said he to the Jew, "the story you have told me is very
singular; but I declare freely, that of the little hump-back is:
yet more extraordinary, and much more diverting; so you are not
to expect that I will give you your life, any more than the rest.
I will have you all four executed." "Pray, sir, stay a minute,"
said the tailor, advancing, and prostrating himself at the
sultan's feet. "Since your majesty loves pleasant stories, I have
one to tell you that will not displease you." "Well, I will hear
thee too," said the sultan; "but do not flatter thyself that I
will suffer thee to live, unless thou tellest me some adventure
that is yet more diverting than that of my hump-backed jester."
Upon this the tailor, as if he had been sure of success, spoke
boldly to the following purpose.

The Story told by the Tailor.

A citizen of this city did me the honour two days ago to invite
me to an entertainment, which he was to give to his friends
yesterday morning. Accordingly I went early, and found there
about twenty persons.

The master of the house was gone out upon some business, but in a
short time returned, and brought with him a young man, a
stranger, very well dressed, and handsome, but lame. When he
entered, we all rose, and out of respect to the master of the
house, invited the young man to sit down with us upon the
estrade. He was going to comply; but suddenly perceiving a barber
in our company, flew backwards, and made towards the door. The
master of the house, surprised at his behaviour, stopped him.
"Where are you going?" demanded he. "I bring you along with me to
do me the honour of being my guest among the rest of my friends,
and you are no sooner got into my house, than you are for running
away." "Sir," replied the young man, "for God's sake do not stop
me, let me go, I cannot without horror look upon that abominable
barber, who, though he was born in a country where all the
natives are white, resembles an Ethiopian; and his soul is yet
blacker and more horrible than his face."

We were all surprised to hear the young man speak in this manner,
and began to have a very bad opinion of the barber, without
knowing what ground the young man had for what he said. Nay, we
protested we would not suffer any one to remain in our company,
who bore so horrid a character. The master of the house intreated
the stranger to tell us what reason he had for hating the barber.
"Gentlemen," resumed the young man, "you must know this cursed
barber is the cause of my being lame, and having fallen into the
most ridiculous and teasing situation you can imagine. For this
reason I have sworn to avoid all the places where he is, and even
not to stay in the cities where he resides. It was for this
reason that I left Bagdad, where he then dwelt; and travelled so
far to settle in this city, at the extremity of Tartary; a place
where I flattered myself I should never see him. And now, after
all, contrary to my expectation, I find him here. This obliges
me, gentlemen, against my will, to deprive myself of the honour
of being merry with you. This very day I shall take leave of your
town, and go, if I can, to hide my head where he cannot come."
This said, he would have left us, but the master of the house
earnestly intreated him to stay, and tell us the cause of his
aversion for the barber, who all this while looked down and said
not a word. We joined with the master of the house in his
request; and at last the young man, yielding to our
importunities, sat down; and, after turning his back on the
barber, that he might not see him, gave us the following
narrative of his adventures.

My father's quality might have entitled him to the highest posts
in the city of Bagdad, but he always preferred a quiet life to
the honours of a public station. I was his only child, and when
he died I had finished my education, and was of age to dispose of
the plentiful fortune he had left me; which I did not squander
away foolishly, but applied to such uses as obtained for me
everybody's respect. I had not yet been disturbed by any passion:
I was so far from being sensible of love, that I bashfully
avoided the conversation of women. One day, walking in the
streets, I saw a large party of ladies before me; and that I
might not meet them, I turned down a narrow lane, and sat down
upon a bench by a door. I was placed opposite a window, where
stood a pot of beautiful flowers, on which I had my eyes fixed,
when the window opened, and a young lady appeared, whose beauty
struck me. Immediately she fixed her eyes upon me; and in
watering the flowerpot with a hand whiter than alabaster, looked
upon me with a smile, that inspired me with as much love for her
as I had formerly aversion for all women. After having watered
her flowers, and darted upon me a glance full of charms that
pierced my heart, she shut the window, and left me in
inconceivable perplexity, from which I should not have recovered,
if a noise in the street had not brought me to myself. I lifted
up my head, and turning, saw the first cauzee of the city,
mounted on a mule, and attended by five or six servants: he
alighted at the door of the house, where the young lady had
opened the window, and went in; from whence I concluded he was
her father. I went home in an altered state of mind; agitated by
a passion the more violent, as I had never felt its assaults
before: I retired to bed in a violent fever, at which all the
family were much concerned. My relations, who had a great
affection for me, were so alarmed by the sudden disorder, that
they importuned me to tell the cause; which I took care not to
discover. My silence created an uneasiness that the physicians
could not dispel, because they knew nothing of my distemper, and
by their medicines rather inflamed than checked it. My relations
began to despair of my life, when an old lady of our
acquaintance, hearing I was ill, came to see me. She considered
me with great attention, and after having examined me,
penetrated, I know not how, into the real cause of my illness.
She took my relations aside, and desired all my people would
retire out of the room, and leave her with me alone.

When the room was clear, she sat down on the side of my bed. "My
son," said she, "you have obstinately concealed the cause of your
illness; but you have no occasion to reveal it to me. I have
experience enough to penetrate into a secret; you will not deny
when I tell you it is love that makes you sick. I can find a way
to cure you, if you will but inform me who that happy lady is,
that could move a heart so insensible as yours; for you have the
character of a woman-hater, and I was not the last who perceived
that such was your disposition; but what I foresaw has come to
pass, and I am now glad of the opportunity to employ my talents
in relieving your pain."

The old lady having thus spoken, paused, expecting my answer; but
though what she had said had made a strong impression upon me, I
durst not lay open to her the bottom of my heart; I only turned
to her, and heaved a deep sigh, without replying a word. "Is it
bashfulness," said she, "that keeps you silent? Or is it want of
confidence in me? Do you doubt the effect of my promise? I could
mention to you a number of young men of your acquaintance, who
have been in the same condition with yourself, and have received
relief from me."

The good lady told me so many more circumstances that I broke
silence, declared to her my complaint, pointed out to her the
place where I had seen the object which occasioned it, and
unravelled all the circumstances of my adventure. "If you
succeed," added I, "and procure me the happiness of seeing that
charming beauty, and revealing to her the passion with which I
burn for her, you may depend upon it I will be grateful." "My
son," replied the old woman, "I know the lady you speak of; she
is, as you rightly judged, the daughter of the first cauzee of
this city: I am not surprised that you are in love with her. She
is the handsomest and most lovely lady in Bagdad, but very proud,
and of difficult access. You know how strict our judges are, in
enjoining the punctual observance of the severe laws that confine
women; and they are yet more strict in the observation of them in
their own families; the cauzee you saw is more rigid in that
point than any of the other magistrates. They are always
preaching to their daughters what a heinous crime it is to shew
themselves to men; and the girls themselves are so prepossessed
with the notion, that they make no other use of their own eves
but to conduct them along the street, when necessity obliges them
to go abroad. I do not say absolutely that the first cauzee's
daughter is of that humour; but that does not hinder my fearing
to meet with as great obstacles on her side, as on her father's.
Would to God you had loved any other, then I should not have had
so many difficulties to surmount. However, I will employ all my
wits to compass the matter; but it requires time. In the mean
while take courage and trust to me."

The old woman took leave; and as I weighed within myself all the
obstacles she had been talking of, the fear of her not succeeding
in her undertaking inflamed my disorder. Next day she came again,
and I read in her countenance that she had no favourable news to
impart. She spoke thus: "My son, I was not mistaken, I have
somewhat else to conquer besides the vigilance of a father. You
love an insensible object, who takes pleasure in making every one
miserable who suffers himself to be charmed by her; she will not
deign them the least comfort: she heard me with pleasure, when I
spoke of nothing but the torment she made you undergo; but I no
sooner opened my mouth to engage her to allow you to see her, and
converse with her, but casting at me a terrible look, ‘You are
very presumptuous,' said she, ‘to make such a proposal to me; I
charge you never to insult me again with such language.'

"Do not let this cast you down," continued she; "I am not easily
disheartened, and am not without hope but I shall compass my
end." To shorten my story, this good woman made several fruitless
attacks in my behalf on the proud enemy of my rest. The vexation
I suffered inflamed my distemper to that degree, that my
physicians gave me over. I was considered as a dead man, when the
old woman came to recall me to life.

That no one might hear what was said, she whispered in my ear;
"Remember the present you owe for the good news I bring you."
These words produced a marvellous effect; I raised myself up in
the bed, and with transport replied, "You shall not go without a
present; but what is the news you bring me?" "Dear sir," said she
"you shall not die; I shall speedily have the pleasure to see you
in perfect health, and very well satisfied with me. Yesterday I
went to see the lady you love, and found her in good humour. As
soon as I entered, I put on a sad countenance heaved many deep
sighs, and began to squeeze out some tears. ‘My good mother,'
demanded she ‘what is the matter with you, why are you so cast
down?' ‘Alas, my dear and honourable lady,' I replied, ‘I have
just been with the young gentleman of whom I spoke to you the
other day, who is dying on your account.' ‘I am at a loss to
know,' said she, ‘how you make me to be the cause of his death.
How can I have contributed to it?' ‘How?' replied I; ‘did not you
tell me the other day, that he sat down before your window when
you opened it to water your flower-pot? He then saw that prodigy
of beauty, those charms that your mirror daily represents to you.
From that moment he languished, and his disorder has so
increased, that he is reduced to the deplorable condition I have

"‘You well remember,' added I, ‘how harshly you treated me at our
last interview; when I was speaking to you of his illness, and
proposing a way to save him from the threatened consequences of
his complaint. After I left you I went directly to his house, and
he no sooner learnt from my countenance that I had brought no
favourable answer than his distemper increased. From that time,
madam, he has been at the point of death; and I doubt whether
your compassion would not now come too late to save his life.'
The fear of your death alarmed her, and I saw her face change
colour. ‘Is your account true?' she asked. ‘Has he actually no
other disorder than what is occasioned by his love of me?' ‘Ah,
madam!' I replied, ‘it is too true; would it were false!' ‘Do you
believe,' said she, ‘that the hopes of seeing me would at all
contribute to rescue him from his danger?' I answered, ‘Perhaps
it may, and if you will permit me, I will try the remedy.'?
‘Well,' resumed she, sighing, ‘give him hopes of seeing me; but
he must pretend to no other favours, unless he aspire to marry
me, and obtains my father's consent.' ‘Madam,' replied I. ‘your
goodness overcomes me; I will instantly seek the young gentleman,
and tell him he is to have the pleasure of an interview with
you.' ‘The best opportunity I can think of,' said she, ‘for
granting him that favour, will be next Friday at the hour of noon
prayers. Let him observe when my father goes out, and then, if
his health permits him to be abroad, come and place himself
opposite the house. I shall then see him from my window, and will
come down and open the door for him: we will converse together
during prayer-time; but he must depart before my father returns.'

"It is now Tuesday," continued the old lady "you have the
interval between this and Friday to recover your strength, and
make the necessary dispositions for the interview." While the
good old lady was speaking, I felt my illness decrease, or
rather, by the time she had done, I found myself perfectly
recovered. "Here, take this," said I, reaching out to her my
purse, which was full, "it is to you alone that I owe my cure. I
reckon this money better employed than all that I gave the
physicians, who have only tormented me during my illness."

When the lady was gone, I found I had strength enough to get up:
and my relations finding me so well, complimented me on the
occasion, and went home.

On Friday morning the old woman came, just as I was dressing, and
choosing out the richest clothes in my wardrobe, said, "I do not
ask you how you are, what you are about is intimation enough of
your health; but will not you bathe before you go?" "That will
take up too much time," I replied; "I will content myself with
sending for a barber, to shave my head." Immediately I ordered
one of my slaves to call a barber that could do his business
cleverly and expeditiously.

The slave brought me the wretch you see here, who came, and after
saluting me, said, "Sir, you look as if you were not well." I
told him I was just recovered from a fit of sickness. "May God,"
resumed he, "deliver you from all mischance; may his grace always
go along with you." "I hope he will grant your wish, for which I
am obliged to you." "Since you are recovering from a fit of
sickness," he continued, "I pray God preserve your health; but
now let me know what I am to do; I have brought my razors and my
lancets, do you desire to be shaved or to be bled?" I replied, "I
am just recovered from a fit of sickness, and you may readily
judge I only want to be shaved: come, do not lose time in
prattling; for I am in haste, and have an appointment precisely
at noon."

The barber spent much time in opening his case, and preparing his
razors Instead of putting water into the basin, he took a very
handsome astrolabe out of his case, and went very gravely out of
my room to the middle of the court to take the height of the sun:
he returned with the same grave pace, and entering my room, said,
"Sir, you will be pleased to know this day is Friday the 18th of
the moon Suffir, in the year 653, from the retreat of our great
prophet from Mecca to Medina, and in the year 7320 of the epocha
of the great Iskender with two horns; and that the conjunction of
Mars and Mercury signifies you cannot choose a better time than
this very day and hour for being shaved. But, on the other hand,
the same conjunction is a bad presage to you. I learn from it,
that this day you run a great risk, not indeed of losing your
life, but of an inconvenience which will attend you while you
live. You are obliged to me for the advice I now give you, to
avoid this accident; I shall be sorry if it befall you."

You may guess, gentlemen, how vexed I was at having fallen into
the hands of such a prattling, impertinent fellow; what an
unseasonable adventure was it for a lover preparing for an
interview with his mistress! I was quite irritated. "I care not,"
said I, in anger, "for your advice and predictions; I did not
call you to consult your astrology; you came hither to shave me;
shave me, or begone." "I will call another barber, sir," replied
he, with a coolness that put me out of all patience; "what reason
have you to be angry with me? You do not know, that all of my
profession are not like me; and that if you made it your business
to search, you would not find such another. You only sent for a
barber; but here, in my person, you have the best barber in
Bagdad, an experienced physician, a profound chemist, an
infallible astrologer, a finished grammarian, a complete orator,
a subtle logician, a mathematician perfectly well versed in
geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and all the refinements of
algebra; an historian fully master of the histories of all the
kingdoms of the universe. Besides, I understand all parts of
philosophy. I have all our sacred traditions by heart. I am a
poet, I am an architect; and what is it I am not? There is
nothing in nature hidden from me. Your deceased father, to whose
memory I pay a tribute of tears every time I think of him, was
fully convinced of my merit; he was fond of me, and spoke of me
in all companies as the first man in the world. Out of gratitude
and friendship for him, I am willing to attach myself to you, to
take you under my protection, and guard you from all the evils
that your stars may threaten."

When I heard all this jargon, I could not forbear laughing,
notwithstanding my anger. "You impertinent prattler!" said I,
"will you have done, and begin to shave me?"

"Sir," replied the barber, "you affront me in calling me a
prattler; on the contrary, all the world gives me the honourable
title of Silent. I had six brothers, whom you might justly have
called prattlers. These indeed were impertinent chatterers, but
for me, who am a younger brother, I am grave and concise in my

For God's sake, gentlemen, do but suppose you had been in my
place. What could I say when I saw myself so cruelly delayed?
"Give him three pieces of gold," said I to the slave who was my
housekeeper, "and send him away, that he may disturb me no more;
I will not be shaved this day." "Sir," said the barber, "pray
what do you mean? I did not come to seek for you, you sent for
me; and as that is the case I swear by the faith of a Moosulmaun,
I will not stir out of these doors till I have shaved you. If you
do not know my value, it is not my fault. Your deceased father
did me more justice. Every time he sent for me to let him blood,
he made me sit down by him, and was charmed with hearing what
witty things I said. I kept him in a continual strain of
admiration; I elevated him; and when I had finished my discourse,
‘My God,' he would exclaim, ‘you are an inexhaustible source of
science, no man can reach the depth of your knowledge.' ‘My dear
sir,' I would answer, ‘you do me more honour than deserve. If I
say anything that is worth hearing, it is owing to the favourable
audience you vouchsafe me; it is your liberality that inspires me
with the sublime thoughts which have the happiness to please
you.' One day, when he was charmed with an admirable discourse I
had made him, he said, ‘Give him a hundred pieces of gold, and
invest him with one of my richest robes.' I instantly received
the present. I then drew his horoscope, and found it the happiest
in the world. Nav. I carried my gratitude further; I let him
blood with cupping-glasses."

This was not all; he spun out another harangue that was a full
half hour long. Tired with hearing him, and fretted at the loss
of time, which was almost spent before I was half ready, I did
not know what to say. "It is impossible," I exclaimed, "there
should be such another man in the world who takes pleasure, as
you do, in making people mad."

I thought I might perhaps succeed better if I dealt mildly with
my barber. "In the name of God," said I, "leave off talking, and
shave me directly: business of the last importance calls me, as I
have already told you." At these words he fell a laughing: "It
would be fortunate," said he, "if our minds were always in the
same state; if we were always wise and prudent. I am willing,
however, to believe, that if you are angry with me, it is your
disorder that has caused the change in your temper, for which
reason you stand in need of some instructions, and you cannot do
better than follow the example of your father and grandfather.
They came and consulted me upon all occasions, and I can say,
without vanity, that they always highly prized my advice. Pray
observe, sir, men never succeed in their undertakings without the
counsel of persons of understanding. A man cannot, says the
proverb, be wise without receiving advice from the wise. I am
entirely at service, and you have only to command me."

"What! cannot I prevail with you then," I demanded,, interrupting
him, "to leave off these long speeches, that tend to nothing but
to distract my head, and detain me from my business? Shave me, I
say, or begone:" with that I started up in anger, stamping my
foot against the ground.

When he saw I was in earnest, he said, "Sir, do not be angry, we
are going to begin." He lathered my head, and began to shave me;
but had not given four strokes with his razor before he stopped,
and addressed me, "Sir, you are hasty, you should avoid these
transports that only come from the devil. I am entitled to some
consideration on account of my age, my knowledge, and my great

"Go on and shave me," said I, interrupting him again, "and talk
no more." "That is to say," replied he, "you have some urgent
business to go about; I will lay you a wager I guess right." "Why
I told you two hours ago," I returned, "you ought to have shaved
me before." "Moderate your passion," replied he; "perhaps you
have not maturely weighed what you are going about; when things
are done precipitately, they are generally repented of. I wish
you would tell me what mighty business this is you are so earnest
upon. I would tell you my opinion of it; besides, you have time
enough, since your appointment is not till noon, and it wants
three hours of that yet." "I do not mind that," said I; "persons
of honour and of their word are rather before their time than
after. But I forget that by reasoning with you, I give into the
faults of you prattling barbers; have done, have done; shave me."

The more haste I was in, the less speed he made. He laid down the
razor, and took up his astrolabe; then laid down his astrolabe,
and took up his razor again.

The barber quitted his razor again, and took up his astrolabe a
second time; and so left me half shaved, to go and see precisely
what hour it was. Back he came, and exclaimed, "Sir, I knew I was
not mistaken, it wants three hours of noon. I am sure of it, or
else all the rules of astronomy are false." "Just heaven!" cried
I, "my patience is exhausted, I can bear this no longer. You
cursed barber, you barber of mischief, I can scarcely forbear
falling upon you and strangling you." "Softly, sir," said he,
very calmly, without being moved by my anger: "are you not afraid
of a relapse? Be not in a passion, I am going to shave you this
minute." In speaking these words, he clapped his astrolabe in his
case, took up his razor, and passing it over the strap which was
fixed to his belt, fell to shaving me again; but all the while he
was thus employed, the dog could not forbear prattling. "If you
would be pleased, sir," said he, "to tell me what the business is
you are going about at noon, I could give you some advice that
might be of use to you." To satisfy the fellow, I told him I was
going to meet some friends at an entertainment at noon, to make
merry with me on the recovery of ray health.

When the barber heard me talk of regaling; "God bless you this
day, as well as all other days!" he cried: "you put me in mind
that yesterday I invited four or five friends to come and eat
with me as this day; indeed I had forgotten the engagement, and
have made no preparation for them." "Do not let that trouble
you," said I; "though I dine abroad, my larder is always well
furnished. I make you a present of all that it contains; and
besides, I will order you as much wine as you have occasion for;
I have excellent wine in my cellar; only you must hasten to
finish shaving me: and pray remember, as my father made you
presents to encourage you to speak, I give you mine to induce you
to be silent."

He was not satisfied with my promise, but exclaimed, "God reward
you, sir, for your kindness: pray shew me these provisions now,
that I may see if there will be enough to entertain my friends. I
would have them satisfied with the good fare I make them." "I
have," said I, "a lamb, six capons, a dozen chickens, and enough
to make four courses." I ordered a slave to bring all before him,
with four great pitchers of wine. "It is very well," returned the
barber; "but we shall want fruit, and sauce for the meat." These
I ordered likewise; but then he left off shaving, to look over
every thing one after another; and this survey lasted almost half
an hour. I raged and stormed like a madman; but it signified
nothing, the wretch made no more haste. However, he took up his
razor again, and shaved me for some minutes; then stopping
suddenly, exclaimed, "I could not have believed, sir, that you
would have been so liberal; I begin to perceive that your
deceased father lives again in you. Most certainly, I do not
deserve the favours with which you have loaded me; and I assure
you I shall have them in perpetual remembrance; for, sir, to let
you know, I have nothing but what I obtain from the generosity of
such gentlemen as you: in which respect, I am like to Zantout,
who rubs the people in the baths; to Sali, who cries boiled peas
in the streets; to Salout, who sells beans; to Akerscha, who
sells greens; to Aboumecarez, who sprinkles the streets to lay
the dust; and to Cassem, the caliph's lifeguard man. Of all these
persons, not one is apt so be melancholy; they are neither
impertinent nor quarrelsome; they are more contented with their
lot, than the caliph in the midst of his court; they are always
gay, ready to sing and dance, and have each of them their
peculiar song and dance, with which they divert the city of
Bagdad; but what I esteem most in them is, that they are no great
talkers, any more than your slave, that has bow the honour to
speak to you. Here, sir, is the song and dance of Zantout, who
rubs the people in the baths; mind me, pray, and see if I do not
imitate it exactly."

The barber sung the song, and danced the dance of Zantout; and
let me say what I could to oblige him to finish his buffooneries,
he did not cease till he had imitated, in like manner, the songs
and dances of the other persons he had named. "After that,"
addressing himself to me, "I am going," said he, "to invite all
these honest men to my house; if you will take my advice you will
join us, and disappoint your friends, who perhaps are great
talkers. They will only teaze you to death with their impertinent
discourse, and make you relapse into a disorder worse than that
from which you are so lately recovered; whereas at my house you
shall have nothing but pleasure."

Notwithstanding my anger, I could not forbear laughing at the
fellow's impertinence. "I wish I had no business upon my hands,"
I replied, "I would accept your invitation, and go with all my
heart to partake of your entertainment; but I beg to be excused,
I am too much engaged; another day I shall be more at leisure,
and then we will make up the same party. Come, finish shaving me,
and make haste home; perhaps your friends are already arrived at
your house." "Sir," replied he, "do not refuse me the favour I
ask of you; were you but once in our company, it would afford you
so much pleasure as abundantly to compensate you for forsaking
your friends." "Let us talk no more of that," said I; "I cannot
be your guest."

I found I gained no ground by mild terms. "Since you will not
come to my house," replied the barber, "you must allow me to go
along with you: I will carry these things to my house, where my
friends may eat of them if they like, and I will return
immediately; I would not be so uncivil as to leave you alone. You
deserve this piece of complaisance at my hands." "Heavens!" cried
I, "then I shall not get clear of this troublesome fellow to-day.
In the name of the living God, leave off your unreasonable
jargon; go to your friends, drink, eat, and be merry with them,
and leave me at liberty to go to mine. I must go alone, I have no
occasion for company; besides, I must needs tell you, the place
to which I go is not one where you can be received." "You jest,
sir," said he; "if your friends have invited you to a feast, what
should prevent you from allowing me to go with you? You will
please them, I am sure, by introducing to them a man who can talk
wittily like me, and knows how to divert company. But say what
you will, I am determined to accompany you."

These words, gentlemen, perplexed me much. "How," thought I,
"shall I get rid of this cursed barber? If I persist in
contradicting him, we shall never have done."

Besides, I heard at this instant the first call to noon-prayers,
and it was time for me to go. In fine, I resolved to say nothing,
and to make as if I consented to his accompanying me. He then
finished shaving me, and I said to him, "Take some of my servants
to carry these provisions along with you, and return hither; I
will stay for you, and shall not go without you."

At last he went, and I dressed myself as expeditiously as I
could. I heard the last call to prayers, and hastened to set out:
but the malicious barber, who guessed my intention, went with my
servants only within sight of the house and stood there till he
saw them enter it, after which he concealed himself at the corner
of the street, with an intent to observe and follow me. In fine,
when I arrived at the cauzee's door, I looked back and saw him at
the head of the street which alarmed me to the last degree.

The cauzee's door was half open, and as I went in I saw an old
woman waiting for me, who, after she had shut the door, conducted
me to the chamber of the young lady who was the object of my
love; but we had scarcely begun to converse, when we heard a
noise in the streets. The young lady put her head to the window,
and saw through the gate that it was her father already returning
from prayers. At the same time I looked, and saw the barber
sitting over-against the house, on the bench from which I had
first seen the young lady.

I had then two things to fear, the arrival of the cauzee, and the
presence of the barber. The young lady mitigated my apprehension
on the first head, by assuring me the cauzee, came but seldom to
her chamber, and as she had forseen that this misadventure might
happen, she had contrived a way to convey me out safely: but the
indiscretion of the accursed barber made me very uneasy; and you
shall hear that my uneasiness was not without ground.

As soon as the cauzee was come in, he caned one of his slaves,
who had deserved chastisement. This slave made a horrid noise,
which was heard in the streets; the barber thought it was I who
cried out, and was maltreated. Prepossessed with this thought, he
roared out aloud, rent his clothes, threw dust upon his head, and
called the neighbourhood to his assistance. The neighbours
collected, and asked what assistance he wanted? "Alas!" cried he,
"they are assassinating my master, my dear patron;" and without
saying anything more, he ran all the way to my house, with the
very same cry in his mouth. From thence he returned, followed by
all my domestics armed with sticks. They knocked with
inconceivable fury at the door, and the cauzee sent slave to see
what was the matter; but the slave being frightened, returned to
his master, crying, "Sir, above ten thousand men are going to
break into your house by force."

Immediately the cauzee himself ran, opened the door, and asked
what they wanted. His venerable presence could not inspire them
with respect. They insolently said to him, "You cursed cauzee,
what reason have you to assassinate our master? What has he done
to you?" "Good people," replied the magistrate, "for what should
I assassinate your master, whom I do not know and who has done me
no harm? my house is open to you, come and search." "You
bastinadoed him," said the barber; "I heard his cries not a
minute ago." "What harm could your master do to me," replied the
cauzee, "to oblige me to abuse him at that rate? Is he in my
house? If he is, how came he in, or who could have introduced
him?" "Ah! wretched cauzee, cried the barber, "you and your long
beard shall never make me believe you; I know your daughter is in
love with our master, and appointed him a meeting during the time
of noon-prayer, you without doubt have had notice of it, returned
home, and surprised him, and made your slaves bastinado him: but
this your wicked action shall not pass with impunity; the caliph
shall be acquainted with it, and he will give true and brief
justice. Let him come out, deliver him to us immediately; or if
you do not, we will go in and take him out to your shame." "There
is no occasion for so many words," replied the cauzee, "nor to
make so great a noise: if what you say is true, go and find him
out, I give you free liberty." Thereupon the barber and my
domestics rushed into the house like furies, and looked for me
all about.

As I heard all that the barber said to the cauzee, I sought for a
place to conceal myself, and could find nothing but a large empty
trunk, in which I lay down, and shut it upon me. The barber,
after he had searched everywhere, came into the chamber where I
was, and opened the trunk. As soon as he saw me, he took it upon
his head and carried it away. He descended a high staircase into
a court, which he crossed hastily, and at length reached the
street door. While he was carrying me, the trunk unfortunately
flew open, and not being able to endure the shame of being
exposed to the view and shouts of the mob who followed us, I
leaped out into the street with so much haste, that I have been
lame ever since. I was not sensible of the hurt at first, and
therefore got up quickly to avoid the people, who laughed at me;
nay, I threw handfuls of gold and silver among them, and whilst
they were gathering it up, I made my escape by cross streets and
alleys. But the cursed barber followed me close, crying, "Stay,
sir; why do you run so fast? If you knew how much I am afflicted
at the ill treatment you received from the cauzee, you, who are
so generous, and to whom I and my friends are so much obliged!
Did I not tell you truly, that you would expose your life by your
obstinate refusal to let me go with you? See what has happened to
you, by your own fault; and if I had not resolutely followed, to
see whither you went, what would have become of you? Whither do
you go, sir? Stay for me."

Thus the barber cried aloud in the street it was not enough for
him to have occasioned so great a scandal in the quarter where
the cauzee lived, but he would have it known through the whole
town. I was in such a rage, that I had a great mind to stop and
cut his throat; but considering this would have perplexed me
farther, I chose another course. Perceiving that his calling
after me exposed me to vast numbers of people, who crowded to the
doors or windows, or stopped in the street to gaze at me, I
entered an inn, the chamberlain of which knew me, and finding him
at the gate, whither the noise had brought him, I prayed him, for
the sake of heaven, to hinder that madman from coming in after
me. He promised to do so, and was as good as his word, but not
without a great deal of trouble; for the obstinate barber would
enter in spite of him, and did not retire without calling him a
thousand names. After the chamberlain had shut the gate, the
barber continued telling all he met what great service he had
done me. Thus I rid myself of that troublesome fellow. After
this, the chamberlain prayed me to tell him my adventure, which I
did, and then desired him to let me have an apartment until I was
cured . "But sir," said he, "will it not be more convenient for
you to go home?" "I will not return thither," replied I: "for the
detestable barber will continue plaguing me there, and I shall
die of vexation to be continually teazed by him. Besides, after
what has befallen me to-day, I cannot think of staying any longer
in this town; I must go whither my ill-fortune leads me."
Accordingly, when I was. cured, I took all the money I thought
necessary for my travels, and divided the rest of my property
among my kindred.

Thus, gentlemen, I left Bagdad, and came hither. I had ground to
hope that I should not meet this pernicious barber in a country
so far from my own, and yet I find him amongst you. Be not
surprised then at my haste to be gone: you may easily judge how
unpleasant to me is the sight of a man who was the occasion of my
lameness, and of my being reduced to the melancholy necessity of
living so far from my kindred, friends, and country.

When he had spoken these words, the lame young man rose up and
went out; the master of the house conducted him to the gate, and
told him, he was sorry that he had given him, though innocently,
so great a subject of mortification.

When the young man was gone, continued the tailor, we were all
astonished at the story, and turning to the barber, told him he
was very much to-blame, if what we had just heard was true.
"Gentlemen," answered he, raising up his head, which till then he
had held down, "my silence during the young man's discourse is
sufficient to testify that he advanced nothing that was not true:
but for all that he has said to you, I maintain that I ought to
have done what I did; I leave you to be judges. Did not he throw
himself into danger, and could he have come off so well without
my assistance? He may think himself happy to have escaped with
the lame leg Did not I expose myself to greater danger to get him
out of a house where I thought he was ill-treated? Has he any
reason to complain of and abuse me? This is what one gets by
serving unthankful people. He accuses me of being a prattling
fellow, which is a mere slander: of seven brothers, I speak
least, and have most wit to my share; and to convince you of
this, gentlemen, I need only relate my own story and theirs.
Honour me, I beseech you, with your attention."

The Story of the Barber.

In the reign of the caliph Mustunsir Billah, that is, seeking
victory of God, a prince so famous for his liberality towards the
poor, ten highwaymen infested the roads about Bagdad, and for a
long time committed unheard-of robberies and cruelties. The
caliph, having notice of this, sent for the judge of the police,
some days before the feast of Bairam, and ordered him, on pain of
death, to bring all the ten to him.

The judge of the police used so much diligence, and sent so many
people in pursuit of the ten robbers, that they were taken on the
very day of Bairam. I was walking at the time on the banks of the
Tigris, and saw ten men richly appareled go into a boat. Had I
but observed the guards who had them in custody, I might have
concluded they were robbers; but my attention was fixed on the
men themselves, and thinking they were people who designed to
spend the festival in jollity, I entered the boat with them,
hoping they would not object to my making one of the company. We
descended the Tigris, and landed before the caliph's palace: I
had by this time had leisure to reflect, and to discover my
mistake. When we quitted the boat, we were surrounded by a new
troop of the judge of the police's guard, who bound us all, and
carried us before the caliph. I suffered myself to be bound as
well as the rest, without speaking one word: for what would it
have availed to have spoken, or made any resistance? That had
been the way to have got myself ill-treated by the guards, who
would not have listened to me, for they are brutish fellows, who
will hear no reason: I was with the robbers, and that was enough
to make them believe me to be one of their number.

When we had been brought before the caliph, he ordered the ten
highwaymen's heads to be cut off immediately. The executioner
drew us up in a file within reach of his arm, and by good fortune
I was placed last. He cut off the heads of the ten highwaymen,
beginning at the first; and when he came to me, he stopped. The
caliph perceiving that he did not strike me, grew angry: "Did not
I command thee," said he, "to cut off the heads of ten
highwaymen, and why hast thou cut off but nine?" "Commander of
the faithful," he replied, "Heaven preserve me from disobeying
your majesty's orders: here are ten bodies upon the ground, and
as many heads which I have cut off; your majesty may count them."
When the caliph saw that what the executioner said was true, he
looked at me with amazement, and perceiving that I had not the
face of a highwayman, said to me, "Good old man, how came you to
be among those wretches, who have deserved a thousand deaths?" I
answered, "Commander of the faithful, I will make a true
confession. This morning I saw those ten persons, whose
punishment is a proof of your majesty's justice, take boat: I
embarked with them, thinking they were men going to celebrate
this day, which is the most distinguished in our religion." The
caliph could not forbear laughing at my adventure; and instead of
treating me as a prattling fellow, as this lame young man did, he
admired my discretion and taciturnity. "Commander of the
faithful," I resumed, "your majesty need not wonder at my silence
on such an occasion, as would have made another apt to speak. I
make a particular profession of holding my peace, and on that
account have acquired the glorious title of Silent; by which I am
distinguished from my six brothers. This is the effect of my
philosophy; and, in a word, in this virtue consists my glory and
happiness." "I am glad," said the caliph, smiling, "that they
gave you a title which you know so well how to use. But tell me
what sort of men were your brothers, were they like you?" "By no
means," I replied; "they were all of them loquacious, prating
fellows. And as to their persons, there was still a greater
difference betwixt them and me. The first was hump-backed; the
second had rotten teeth; the third had but one eye; the fourth
was blind; the fifth had his ears cut off; and the sixth had
hare-lips. They had met with such adventures as would enable you
to judge of their characters, had I the honour of relating them
to your majesty:" and the caliph seemed desirous to hear their
several stories, I went on without waiting his commands.

The Story of the Barber's Eldest Brother.

My eldest brother, whose name was Bacbouc the hump-back, was a
tailor: when he came out of his apprenticeship, he hired a shop
opposite a mill, and having but very little business, could
scarcely maintain himself. The miller, on the contrary, was very
wealthy, and had a handsome wife. One day as my brother was at
work in his shop, he saw the miller's wife looking out of the
window, and was charmed with her beauty. The woman took no notice
of him, but shut her window, and made her appearance no more that
day The poor tailor did nothing all day long but lift up his eyes
towards the mill. He pricked his finger oftener than once, and
his work was not very regular. At night, when he was to shut his
shop, he could scarcely tell how to do it, because he still hoped
the miller's wife would once more come to the window; but at last
he was forced to shut up, and go home, where he passed but a very
uncomfortable night. He arose betimes in the morning, and ran to
his shop, in hopes to see his mistress; but he was no happier
than the day before, for the miller's wife did not appear at the
window above a minute in the course of the day, but that minute
made the tailor the most amorous man that ever lived. The third
day he had more ground of satisfaction, for the miller's wife
cast her eyes upon him by chance, and surprised him as he was
gazing at her, which convinced her of what passed in his mind.

No sooner did the miller's wife perceive my brother's
inclination, than, instead of allowing it to excite her
resentment, she resolved to divert herself with it. She looked at
him with a smiling countenance, and my brother returned her
smile, but in so ludicrous a way, that the miller's wife hastily
shut her window, lest her loud laughter should make him sensible
that she only ridiculed him. Poor Bacbouc interpreted her
carriage to his own advantage, and flattered himself that she
looked upon him with pleasure.

The miller's wife resolved to have sport with my brother: she had
a piece of very fine stuff, with which she had a long time
designed to make a vest; she wrapped it up in a fine embroidered
silk handkerchief, and sent it to him by a young slave whom she
kept; who being taught her lesson, went to the tailor's shop, and
told him, "My mistress gives you her service, and prays you to
make her a vest of this stuff according to this pattern; she
changes her dress often, so that her custom will be profitable to
you." My brother doubted not but the miller's wife loved him, and
thought she had sent him work so soon after what had passed
betwixt them, only to signify that she knew his mind, and
convince him that he had obtained her favour. He charged the
slave to tell her mistress, that he would lay aside all work for
hers and that the vest should be ready next morning. He worked at
it with so much diligence, that he finished it in the course of
the same day. Next morning the young slave came to see if the
vest was ready. Bacbouc delivered it to her neatly folded up,
telling her, "I am too much concerned to please your mistress to
neglect her work; I would engage her by my diligence to employ no
other than myself for the time to come." The young slave went
some steps as if she had intended to go away, and then coming
back, whispered to my brother, "I had forgotten part of my
commission; my mistress charged me to make her compliments to
you, and to ask how you passed the night; as for her, poor woman,
she loves you to that degree that she could not sleep." "Tell
her," answered my silly brother, "I have so strong a passion for
her, that for these four nights I have not slept one wink." After
such a compliment from the miller's wife, my brother thought she
would not let him languish long in expectation of her favours.

About a quarter of an hour after, the slave returned to my
brother with a piece of satin: "My mistress," said she, "is very
well pleased with her vest, nothing in the world can fit her
better, and as it is very handsome, she will not wear it without
a new pair of drawers; she prays you to make her one, as soon as
you can, of this piece of satin." "Enough," said Bacbouc, "I will
do it before I leave my shop: you shall have it in the evening."
The miller's wife shewed herself often at her window, and was
very prodigal of her charms, to encourage my brother. You would
have laughed to see him work. The pair of drawers was soon made,
and the slave came for it, but brought the tailor no money,
neither for the trimming he had bought for the vest, nor for the
making. In the mean time, this unfortunate lover, whom they only
amused, though he could not see it, had eaten nothing all that
day, and was forced to borrow money at night to buy his supper.
Next morning, as soon as he arrived at his shop, the young slave
came to tell him that the miller wanted to speak to him. "My
mistress," said she, "spoke to him so much in your praise, when
she shewed him your work, that he has a mind you should work for
him also; she does this on purpose, that the connection she
wishes to form betwixt you and him may crown your mutual wishes
with success." My brother was easily persuaded, and went to the
mill with the slave. The miller received him very kindly, and
shewed him a piece of cloth, and told him he wanted shirts, bade
him make it into twenty, and return him again what was left.

My brother had work enough for five or six days to make twenty
shirts for the miller, who afterwards gave him another piece of
cloth to make him as many pair of drawers. When they were
finished, Bacbouc carried them to the miller, who asked him what
he must have for his pains. My brother answered, he would be
content with twenty dirhems of silver. The miller immediately
called the young slave, and bade her bring him his weights to see
if his money was right. The slave, who had her lesson, looked at
my brother with an angry countenance, to signify to him, that he
would spoil all if he took money. He knew her meaning, and
refused to take any, though he wanted it so much that he was
forced to borrow some to buy the thread to sew the shirts and
drawers. When he left the miller, he came to me to borrow money
to purchase provisions, and told me they did not pay him. I gave
him some copper money I had in my purse, and upon that he
subsisted for some days. It is true, indeed, he lived upon
nothing but broth, nor had he his fill of that.

One day he went to the miller, who was busy at his work, and
thinking my brother came for money, offered him some; but the
young slave being present, made him another sign not to take it,
which he complied with, and told the miller he did not come for
his money, but only to know how he did. The miller thanked him,
and gave him an upper garment to make. Bacbouc carried it to him
the next day. When the miller drew out his purse, the young slave
gave my brother the usual sign, on which he said to the miller,
"Neighbour, there is no haste, we will reckon another time;" so
that the poor ninny went to his shop again, with three terrible
distempers, love, hunger, and an empty purse. The miller's wife
was not only avaricious, but ill-natured; for, not content with
cheating my brother of his due, she provoked her husband to
revenge himself upon him for making love to her, which they
accomplished thus. The miller invited Bacbouc one night to
supper, and after giving him a very sorry treat, said to him,
"Brother, it is too late for you to return home, you had better
stay here all night," and then took him to a place in the mill,
where there was a bed; there he left him, and went to bed with
his wife. About the middle of the night, the miller came to my
brother, and said, "Neighbour, are you asleep? My mule is ill,
and I have a quantity of corn to grind; you will do me a great
kindness if you will turn the mill in her stead." Bacbouc, to
shew his good nature, told him, he was ready to do him that
service, if he would shew him how. The miller tied him by the
middle in the mule's place, and whipping him soundly over the
back, said to him, "Go on, neighbour." "Ho!" exclaimed my
brother, "why do you beat me?" "It is to make you brisk," replied
the miller, "for without a whip my mule will not go." Bacbouc was
amazed at this treatment, but durst not complain. When he had
gone five or six rounds, he would fain have rested; but the
miller gave him a dozen sound lashes, saying, "Courage,
neighbour! do not stop, pray; you must go on without taking
breath, otherwise you will spoil my meal."

The miller obliged my brother to turn the mill thus all night.
About break of day he left him without untying him, and went to
his wife's chamber. Bacbouc continued there for some time, and at
last the young slave came and untied him. "Ah!" said the
treacherous wretch, "how my mistress and I pitied you! We had no
hand in this wicked trick which her husband has played you." The
wretched Bacbouc answered not a word, he was so much fatigued
with work and blows; but crept home to his house, resolving never
to think more of the miller's wife.

The telling of this story, continued the barber, made the caliph
laugh. "Go home," said he to me, "I have ordered something to be
given you to make up for the loss of the good dinner you
expected." "Commander of the faithful," I replied, "I pray your
majesty to let me stay till I have told the story of my other
brothers." The caliph having signified by his silence that he was
willing to hear me, I went on thus.

The Story of the Barber's Second Brother.

My second brother, who was called Backbarah the Toothless, going
one day through the city, met in a distant street an old woman,
who came up to him, and said, "I want one word with you, pray
stop a moment." He did so, and asked what she would have. "If you
have time to come with me," said she, "I will bring you into a
stately palace, where you shall see a lady as fair as the day.
She will receive you with much pleasure, and treat you with
excellent wine. I need say no more." "But is what you say true?"
demanded my brother. "I am no lying hussy," replied the old
woman. "I say nothing to you but what is true. But hark, I have
something to ask of you. You must be prudent, say but little, and
be extremely polite." Backbarah agreed to all this. The old woman
went on, and he followed her. They came to the gate of a great
palace, where there was a number of officers and domestics. Some
of them would have stopped my brother, but no sooner did the old
woman speak to them than they let him pass. Then turning to my
brother, she said to him, "You must remember that the young lady
I bring you to loves good-nature and modesty, and cannot endure
to be contradicted; if you please her in these respects, you may
be sure to obtain of her what you please." Backbarah thanked her
for this advice, and promised to follow it.

She brought him into a superb court, answerable to the
magnificence of the palace. There was a gallery round it, and a
garden in the middle. The old woman made him sit down on a
handsome sofa, and bade him stay a moment, till she went to
acquaint the young lady with his arrival.

My brother, who had never been in such a stately palace before,
gazed on the fine things that he saw; and judging of his good
fortune by the magnificence of the palace, he was scarcely able
to contain himself for joy. In a short time he heard a great
noise, occasioned by a troop of merry slaves, who came towards
him with loud fits of laughter; and in the middle of them he
perceived a young lady of extraordinary beauty, who was easily
known to be their mistress by the respect they paid her.
Backbarah, who expected private conversation with the lady, was
extremely surprised when he saw so much company with her. In the
mean time, the slaves, as they drew near, put on a grave
countenance; and when the young lady came up to the sofa, my
brother rose and made her a low obeisance. She took the upper
seat, prayed him to sit down, and said to him with a smiling
countenance, "I am much pleased to see you, and wish you all the
happiness you can desire." "Madam," replied Backbarah, "I cannot
desire a greater happiness than to be in your company." "You seem
to be of a pleasant humour," said she, "and to be disposed to
pass the time agreeably."

She commanded a collation to be brought; and immediately a table
was covered with several baskets of fruit and sweetmeats. The
lady sat down at the table with the slaves and my brother; and he
being placed just opposite to her, when he opened his mouth to
eat, she perceived he had no teeth; and taking notice of this to
her slaves, she and they laughed heartily. Backbarah, from time
to time, lifted up his head to look at her, and perceiving her
laugh, concluded it was from the pleasure she derived from his
company, and flattered himself that she would speedily send away
her slaves, and remain with him alone. She guessed his thoughts,
and amusing herself to flatter him in this mistake, addressed him
in the most pleasant language, and presented him the best of
every thing with her own hand. The entertainment being finished,
they rose from the table; ten slaves took musical instruments,
and began to play and sing, and others to dance. My brother, to
please them, danced likewise, and the lady danced with them.
After they had danced some time, they sat down to take breath,
and the young lady calling for a glass of wine, looked upon my
brother with a smiling countenance, to signify that she was going
to drink his health. He rose and stood while she drank. When she
had done instead of giving back the glass, she ordered it to be
filled, and presented it to my brother, that he might pledge her.

My brother took the glass from the young lady's hand, which he
kissed at the same time and stood and drank to her, in return for
the favour she had done him. The lady then made him sit down by
her, and began to caress him. She put her hand behind his head,
and gave him some tips from time to time with her fingers:
ravished with these favours, he thought himself the happiest man
in the world, and felt disposed to kiss the charming lady, but
durst not take that liberty before so many slaves, who had their
eyes upon him, and laughed at their lady's wanton tricks. The
young lady continued to tip him with her fingers, but at last
gave him such a sound box on the ear, that he grew angry; the
colour came into his face, and he rose up to remove to a greater
distance from such a rude playfellow. Then the old woman, who
brought him thither, gave him a look, to let him know that he was
in the wrong, and that he had forgotten her advice, to be very
complaisant. He owned his fault, and to make amends, went near
the young lady again, pretending that he did not remove out of
any ill-humour. She drew him by the arm, made him sit down by
her, and gave him a thousand malicious squeezes. Her slaves took
their part in the diversion; one gave poor Backbarah several
fillips on the nose with all her might; another pulled him by the
ears, as if she would have pulled them off; and others boxed him
in a manner that might have made it appear they were not in jest.
My brother bore all this with admirable patience, affecting a gay
air, and looking at the old woman, said to her with a forced
smile, "You told me, indeed, that I should find the lady
perfectly kind, pleasant, and charming; I am mightily obliged to
you!" "All this is nothing," replied the old woman; "let her go
on, you will see other things by and by." Then the young lady
said to him, "Brother, you are a brave man; I am glad to find you
are so good-humoured and complaisant to bear with my little
caprices, and that your humour is so conformable to mine."
"Madam," replied Backbarah, who was charmed with this address, "l
am no more at my own disposal, I am wholly yours, you may do with
me as you please." "How you oblige me," returned the lady, "by
such submission! I am well pleased with you, and would have you
be so with me: bring him perfume, and rose-water." Upon this, two
slaves went out and returned speedily, one with a silver casket,
filled with the best of aloes wood, with which she perfumed him;
and the other with rose-water, which she sprinkled on his face
and hands. My brother was quite enraptured with this handsome
treatment. After this ceremony, the young lady commanded the
slaves, who had already played on their instruments and sung, to
renew their concerts. They obeyed, and while they were thus
employed, the lady called another slave, and ordered her to take
my brother with her, and do what she knew, and bring him back to
her again. Backbarah, who heard this order, got up quickly, and
going to the old woman, who also rose to accompany him and the
slave, prayed her to inform him what they were to do with him.
"My mistress is only curious," replied the old woman softly; "she
has a mind to see how you look in a woman's dress, and this
slave, who is desired to take you with her, has orders to paint
your eyebrows, to cut off your whiskers, and to dress you like a
woman." "You may paint my eyebrows as much as you please," said
my brother, "I consent to that, because I can wash it off again;
but to shave me, you know I must not permit. How can I appear
abroad again without moustaches?" "Beware of refusing what is
asked of you," returned the old woman, you will spoil your
fortune, which is now in as favourable a train as heart can wish.
The lady loves you, and has a mind to make you happy; and will
you, for a nasty whisker, renounce the most delicious favours
that man can obtain?" Backbarah listened to the old woman, and
without saying a word went to a chamber with the slave, where
they painted his eyebrows with red, cut off his whiskers, and
were going to do the like with his beard.. My brother's patience
then began to fail: "Oh!" said he, "I will never part with my
beard." The slave told him, that it was to no purpose to have
parted with his whiskers, if he would not also part with his
beard, which could never comport with "woman's dress; and she
wondered that a man, who was upon the point of being loved by the
finest lady in Bagdad, should be concerned about his beard. The
old woman threatened him with the loss of the young lady's
favour; so that at last he allowed them to do what they would.
When he was dressed in female attire, they brought him before the
young lady, who laughed so heartily when she saw him, that she
fell backward on the sofa. The slaves laughed and clapped their
hands, so that my brother was quite out of countenance. The young
lady got up, and still laughing, said to him, "After so much
complaisance, I should be very much to blame not to love you with
all my heart: but there is one thing more you must do for me, and
that is, to dance as we do." He obeyed, and the young lady and
her slaves danced with him, laughing as if they had been mad.
After they had danced some time, they all fell upon the poor
wretch, and did so box and kick him, that he fell down like one
out of his senses. The old woman helped him up again: and that he
might not have time to think of his ill-treatment, bade him take
courage, and whispered in his ear, that all his sufferings were
at an end, and that he was just about to receive his reward.

The old woman continued her discourse to Backbarah thus: "You
have only one thing more to do, and that is but a small one. You
must know that my mistress has a custom, when she has drunk a
little, as you see she has done to-day, to let no one that she
loves come near her, except they be stripped to their shirt; and
when they have done so, she takes a little advantage of them and
begins running before them through the gallery, and from chamber
to chamber, till they catch her. This is one more of her humours:
what advantage soever she takes of you, considering your
nimbleness, you will soon overtake her; strip yourself then to
your shirt, undress yourself without ceremony."

My silly brother had done too much to hesitate at anything now.
He undressed himself; and in the mean time the young lady was
stripped to her shift and drawers, that she might run the more
nimbly. When they were ready, the young lady took the advantage
of twenty paces, and then began to run with surprising swiftness:
my brother followed as fast as he could, the slaves in the mean
time laughing heartily and clapping their hands. The young lady,
instead of losing ground, gained upon my brother: she made him
run two or three times round the gallery, and then entering a
long dark passage, made her escape. Backbarah, who still
followed, having lost sight of her in the passage, was obliged to
slacken his pace, because of the darkness of the place: at last
perceiving a light, he ran towards it, and went out at a door,
which was immediately shut after him. You may imagine how he was
surprised to find himself in a street inhabited by curriers, and
they were no less surprised to see him in his shirt, his eyes
painted red, and without beard or moustaches: they began to clap
their hands and shout at him, and some of them ran after him and
lashed his back with leather straps. They then took him and set
him upon an ass which they met by chance, and carried him through
the town exposed to the laughter of the people.

To complete his misfortune, as he went by the judge's house, he
would needs know the cause of the tumult. The curriers told him,
that they saw him come in that condition from the gate of the
apartments of the grand vizier's women, which opened into their
street; upon which the judge ordered unfortunate Backbarah to
have a hundred blows with a cane on the soles of his feet, and
sent him out of the town with orders never to return.

"Thus, commander of the faithful," said I to the caliph, "I have
given an account of the adventure of my second brother, who did
not know that our greatest ladies divert themselves sometimes by
putting such tricks upon young people, who are so foolish as to
be caught in the snare."

The barber, without breaking off, told the story of his third
brother in the following manner.

The Story of the Barber's Third Brother.

Commander of the faithful, my third brother, whose name was
Backbac, was blind, and his evil destiny reduced him to beg from
door to door. He had been so long accustomed to walk through the
streets alone, that he wanted none to lead him: he had a custom
to knock at people's doors, and not to answer till they opened to
him. One day he knocked thus, and the master of the house, who
was alone, cried, "Who is there?" My brother made no answer, and
knocked a second time: the master of the house asked again and
again, "Who is there?" but to no purpose, no one answered; upon
which he came down, opened the door, and asked my brother what he
wanted? "Give me something for Heaven's sake," said Backbac. "You
seem to be blind," replied the master of the house. "Yes, to my
sorrow," answered my brother. "Give me your hand," resumed the
master of the house. My brother did so, thinking he was going to
give him alms; but he only took him by the hand to lead him up to
his chamber. Backbac thought he had been carrying him to dine
with him, as many other people had done. When they reached the
chamber, the man let go his hand, and sitting down, asked him
again what he wanted? "I have already told you," said Backbac,
"that I want something for God's sake." "Good blind man," replied
the master of the house, "all that I can do for you is to wish
that God may restore you your sight." "You might have told me
that at the door," replied my brother, "and not have given me the
trouble to come up stairs." "And why, fool," said the man of the
house, "do not you answer at first, when people ask you who is
there? Why do you give any body the trouble to come and open the
door when they speak to you?" "What will you do with me then?"
asked my brother. "I tell you again," said the man of the house,
"I have nothing to give you." "Help me down the stairs then, as
you brought me up." "The stairs are before you," said the man of
the house, "and you may go down by yourself if you will." My
brother attempted to descend, but missing a step about the middle
of the stairs, fell to the bottom and hurt his head and his back:
he got up again with much difficulty, and went out cursing the
master of the house. who laughed at his fall.

As my brother went out of the house, two blind men, his
companions, were going by, knew him by his voice, and asked him
what was the matter? He told them what had happened; and
afterwards said, "I have eaten nothing to-day; I conjure you to
go along with me to my house, that I may take some of the money
that we three have in common to buy me something for supper." The
two blind men agreed, and they went home with him.

You must know that the master of the house where my brother was
so ill used was a robber, and of a cunning and malicious
disposition. He overheard from his window what Backbac had said
to his companions, and came down and followed them to my
brother's house. The blind men being seated, Backbac said to
them, "Brothers, we must shut the door, and take care there be no
stranger with us." At this the robber was much perplexed, but
perceiving a rope hanging down from a beam, he caught hold of it,
and hung by it, while the blind men shut the door, and felt about
the room with their sticks. When they had done, and had sat down
again in their places, the robber left his rope, and seated
himself softly by my brother, who thinking himself alone with his
blind comrades, said to them, "Brothers, since you have trusted
me with the money, which we have been a long time gathering, I
will show you that I am not unworthy of the confidence you repose
in me. The last time we reckoned, you know we had ten thousand
dirhems, and that we put them into ten bags; I will shew you that
I have not touched one of them:" having so said, he put his hand
among some old clothes, and taking out the bags one after
another, gave them to his comrades, saying, "There they are; you
may judge by their weight that they are whole, or you may tell
them if you please." His comrades answered there was no need,
they did not mistrust him; so he opened one of the bags, and took
out ten dirhems, and each of the other blind men did the like.

My brother put the bags into their place again: after which, one
of the blind men said to him, "There is no need to lay out
anything for supper, for I have collected as much victuals from
good people as will serve us all." At the same time he took out
of his bag bread and cheese, and some fruit, and putting all upon
the table, they began to eat, The robber, who sat at my brother's
right hand, picked out the best, and eat with them; but whatever
care he took to make no noise, Backbac heard his chaps going, and
cried out immediately, "We are undone, there is a stranger among
us:" having so said, he stretched out his hand, and caught hold
of the robber by the arm, cried out "Thieves!" fell upon him, and
struck him. The other blind men fell upon him in like manner; the
robber defended himself as well as he could, and being young and
vigorous, besides having the advantage of his eyes, gave furious
blows, sometimes to one, sometimes to another, and cried out
"Thieves!" louder than they did. The neighbours came running at
the noise, broke open the door, and had much ado to separate the
combatants; but having at last succeeded, they asked the cause of
their quarrel. My brother, who still had hold of the robber,
cried out, "Gentlemen, this man I have hold of is a thief, and
stole in with us on purpose to rob us of the little money we
have." The thief, who shut his eyes as soon as the neighbours
came, feigned himself blind, and exclaimed, "Gentlemen, he is a
liar. I swear to you by heaven, and by the life of the caliph,
that I am their companion, and they refuse to give me my just
share. They have all three fallen upon me, and I demand justice."
The neighbours would not interfere in their quarrel, but carried
them all before the judge.

When they came before the magistrate, the robber, without staying
to be examined, cried out, still feigning himself blind, "Sir,
since you are deputed to administer justice by the caliph, whom
God prosper, I declare to you that we are equally criminal, my
three comrades and I; but we have all engaged, upon oath, to
confess nothing except we be bastinadoed; so that if you would
know our crime, you need only order us to be bastinadoed, and
begin with me." My brother would have spoken, but was not allowed
to do so: and the robber was put under the bastinado.

The robber being under the bastinado, had the courage to bear
twenty or thirty blows; when, pretended to be overcome with pain,
he first opened one eve, and then the other, and crying out for
mercy, begged the judge would put a stop to the blows. The judge
perceiving that he looked upon him with his eyes open, was much
surprised, and said to him, "Rogue, what is the meaning of this
miracle?" "Sir," replied the robber, "I will discover to you an
important secret, if you will pardon me, and give me, as a pledge
that you will keep your word, the seal-ring which you have on
your finger." The judge consented, gave him his ring, and
promised him pardon. "Under this promise," continued the robber,
"I must confess to you sir, that I and my three comrades do all
of us see very well. We feigned ourselves to be blind, that we
might freely enter people's houses, and women's apartments, where
we abuse their weakness. I must farther confess to you, that by
this trick we have gained together ten thousand dirhems. This day
I demanded of my partners two thousand five hundred that belonged
to my share, but they refused because I told them I would leave
them; and they were afraid I should accuse them. Upon my pressing
still to have my share, they fell upon me; for which I appeal to
those people who brought us before you. I expect from your
justice, sir, that you will make them deliver me the two thousand
five hundred dirhems which is my due; and if you have a mind that
my comrades should confess the truth, you must order them three
times as many blows as I have had, and you will find they will
open their eyes as well as I have done."

My brother and the other two blind men would have cleared
themselves of this horrid charge, but the judge would not hear
them: "Villains," said he, "do you feign yourselves blind then,
and, under that pretext of moving their compassion, cheat people,
and commit such crimes?" "He is an impostor," cried my brother,
"and we take God to witness that none of us can see."

All that my brother could say was in vain, his comrades and he
received each of them two hundred blows. The judge expected them
to open their eyes, and ascribed to their obstinacy what really
they could not do. All the while the robber said to the blind
men, "Poor fools that you are, open your eyes, and do not suffer
yourselves to be beaten to death." Then addressing himself to the
judge, said, "I perceive, sir, that they will be maliciously
obstinate to the last, and will never open their eyes. They wish
certainly to avoid the shame of reading their own condemnation in
the face of every one that looks upon them; it were better, if
you think fit, to pardon them, and to send some person along with
me for the ten thousand dirhems they have hidden."

The judge consented to give the robber two thousand five hundred
dirhems, and kept the rest himself; and as for my brother and his
two companions, he thought he shewed them pity by sentencing them
only to be banished. As soon as I heard what had befallen my
brother, I went to him; he told me his misfortune, and I brought
him back secretly to the town. I could easily have justified him
to the judge, and have had the robber punished as he deserved,
but durst not make the attempt, for fear of bringing myself into
danger of assassination. Thus I finished the sad adventure of my
honest blind brother. The caliph laughed at it, as much as at
those he had heard before, and ordered again that something
should be given me; but without staying for it, I began the story
of my fourth brother.

The Story of the Barber's Fourth Brother.

Alcouz was the name of the fourth brother who lost one of his
eyes, upon an occasion that I shall have the honour to relate to
your majesty. He was a butcher by profession, and had a
particular way of teaching rams to fight, by which he gained the
acquaintance and friendship of the chief lords of the country,
who loved that sport, and for that end kept rams at their houses.
He had besides a very good trade, and had his shop always full of
the best meat, because he spared no cost for the prime of every
sort. One day when he was in his shop, an old man with a long
white beard came and bought six pounds of meat of him, gave him
money for it, and went his way. My brother thought the money so
pure and well coined, that he put it apart by itself: the same
old man came every day for five months together, bought a like
quantity of meat, and paid for it in the same kind of money,
which my brother continued to lay apart.

At the end of five months, Alcouz having a mind to buy a lot of
sheep, and to pay for them in this money, opened his chest; but
instead of finding his money, was extremely surprised to see
nothing in the place where he had laid it, but a parcel of leaves
clipped round. He beat his head, and cried out aloud, which
presently brought the neighbours about him, who were as much
surprised as he, when he told them the story. "O!" cried my
brother, weeping, "that this treacherous old fellow would come
now with his hypocritical looks!" He had scarcely spoken, when he
saw him at a distance; he ran to him, and laid hands on him;
"Moosulmauns," cried he, as loud as he could, "help! hear what a
cheat this wicked fellow has put upon me," and at the same time
told a great crowd of people, who came about him, what he had
formerly told his neighbours. When he had done, the old man said
to him very gravely and calmly, "You had better let me go, and by
that means make amends for the affront you have put upon me
before so many people, for fear I should put a greater affront
upon you, which I should be sorry to do." "How," said my brother,
"what have you to say against me? I am an honest man in my
business, and fear not you, nor any body." "You would have me
speak out then," resumed the old man in the same tone; and
turning to the crowd, said to them, "Know, good people, that this
fellow, instead of selling mutton as he ought to do, sells human
flesh." "You are a cheat," said my brother. "No, no," continued
the old man; "good people, this very minute while I am speaking
to him, there is a man with his throat cut hung up in the shop
like a sheep; do any of you go thither, and see if what I say be
not true."

Just before my brother had opened his chest he had killed a
sheep, dressed it, and exposed it in the shop, according to
custom: he protested that what the old man said was false; but
notwithstanding all his protestations, the credulous mob,
prejudiced against a man accused of such a heinous crime, would
go to see whether the charge were true. They obliged my brother
to quit the old man, laid hold of him, and ran like madmen into
his shop, where they saw, to all appearance, a man hung up with
his throat cut, as the old man had told them; for he was a
magician, and deceived the eyes of all people, as he did my
brother, when he made him take leaves instead of money. At this
sight, one of those who held Alcouz gave him a violent blow with
his fist, and said to him, "Thou wicked villain, dost thou make
us eat man's flesh instead of mutton?" And at the same time the
old man gave him another blow, which beat out one of his eyes.
Every body that could get near him struck him; and not content
with that, they carried him before a judge, with the pretended
carcase of the man, to be evidence against him." "Sir," said the
old magician to the judge, "we have brought you a man, who is so
barbarous as to murder people, and to sell their flesh instead of
mutton. The public expects that you will punish him in an
exemplary manner." The judge heard my brother with patience, but
would believe nothing of the story of the money changed into
leaves, called my brother a cheat, told him he would believe his
own eyes, and ordered him to receive five hundred blows. He
afterwards made him tell him where his money was, took it all
from him, and banished him for ever, after having made him ride
three days through the city upon a camel, exposed to the insults
of the people.

I was not at Bagdad when this tragical adventure befell my fourth
brother. He retired into a remote place, where he lay concealed
till he was cured of the blows with which his back was terribly
mangled. When he was able to walk, he went by night to a certain
town where nobody knew him; and there he took a lodging, from
whence he seldom moved; but being weary of this confined life, he
went to walk in one of the suburbs, where suddenly he heard a
noise of horsemen coming behind him. He was then by chance near
the gate of a house, and fearing, after what had befallen him,
that these horsemen were pursuing him, he opened the gate in
order to hide himself, and after he had shut it, entered a court,
where immediately two servants came and collared him, saying,
"Heaven be praised, that you have come of your own accord to
surrender yourself; you have alarmed us so much these three last
nights, that we could not sleep; nor would you have spared our
lives, if we had not prevented your design." You may well imagine
my brother was much surprised. "Good people," said he, "I know
not what you mean; you certainly take me for somebody else." "No,
no," replied they, "we know that you and your comrades are
robbers: you were not contented to rob our master of all that he
had, and to reduce him to beggary, but you conspired to take his
life. Let us see if you have not a knife about you, which you had
in your hand when you pursued us last night." Having said thus,
they searched him, and found he had a knife. "Ho! ho!" cried
they, laying hold of him, "and dare you say that you are not a
robber?" "Why," said my brother, "cannot a man carry a knife
about him without being a robber? If you will hearken to my
story, instead of having so bad an opinion of me, you will be
touched with compassion at my misfortunes." But far from
attending to him, they fell upon him, trod upon him, took away
his clothes, and tore his shirt. Then seeing the scars on his
back, "O dog," said they, redoubling their blows, "would you have
us believe you are an honest man, when your back shews us the
contrary?" "Alas!" said my brother, "my crimes must be very
great, since, after having been abused already so unjustly, I am
thus treated a second time without being more culpable!"

The two servants, no way moved with his complaint, carried him
before the judge, who asked him how he durst presume to go into
their house, and pursue them with a drawn knife? "Sir," replied
the unfortunate Alcouz, "I am the most innocent man in the world,
and am undone if you will not be pleased to hear me patiently: no
one deserves more compassion." "Sir," exclaimed one of the
domestics, "will you listen to a robber, who enters people's
houses to plunder and murder them? If you will not believe us,
only look upon his back;" and while he said so he uncovered my
brother's back, and shewed it to the judge, who, without any
other information, commanded his officers immediately to give him
a hundred lashes over the shoulders, and made him afterwards be
carried through the town on a camel, with one crying before him,
"Thus are men punished who enter people's houses by force." After
having treated him thus, they banished him the town, and forbad
him ever to return. Some people, who met him after the second
misfortune, brought me word where he was; I went, brought him to
Bagdad privately, and gave him all the assistance I could. The
caliph did not laugh so much at this story as at the other. He
was pleased to pity the unfortunate Alcouz, and ordered something
to be given me. But without giving his servants time to obey his
orders, I continued my discourse, and said to him: "My sovereign
lord and master, you see that I do not talk much; and since your
majesty has been pleased to do me the favour to listen to me so
far, I beg you would likewise hear the adventures of my two other
brothers; I hope they will be as diverting as those of the
former. You may make a complete history of them, that will not be
unworthy of your library: I shall do myself the honour then to
acquaint you, that the fifth brother was called Alnaschar."

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