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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 6 out of 12

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take some money and jewels along with me? No, sir, replied the
slave; the grand vizier will be here this moment. Begone
immediately; save yourself. Bedreddin rose up from the sofa in
haste, put his feet in his sandals, and, after covering his head
with the tail of his gown, that his face might not be known, he
fled, without knowing what way to go, in order to avoid the
impending danger.

The first thought that came into his head was to get out at the
next gate with all speed. He ran without stopping till he came to
the public church-yard; and, as it was growing dark, he resolved
to pass the night on his father's tomb. It was a large edifice in
the form of a dome, which Noureddin Ali built when he was alive.
Bedreddin met by the way a very rich Jew, who was a banker and
merchant, and was returning to the city from a place where his
affairs had called him. The Jew, knowing Bedreddin, halted, and
saluted him very courteously.

The caliph was very attentive to the discourse of the grand
vizier, who went on after this manner. Isaac the Jew, after he
had paid his respects to Bedreddin Hassan by kissing his hand,
says, My lord, dare I be so bold as to ask whither you are going
at this time of night alone, and so much troubled? Has any thing
disquieted you? Yes, said Bedreddin, a while ago I was asleep,
and my father appeared to me in a dream, looking fiercely upon
me, as if he were very angry; I started out of my sleep very much
frightened, and came out immediately to go and pray upon his
tomb. My lord, said the Jew, who did not know the true reason why
Bedreddin left the town, your father of happy memory, and my good
lord, had store of merchandise in several vessels which are yet
at sea, and belong to you; I beg the favour of you to grant me
the first refusal of them before any other merchant. I am able to
lay down ready money for all the goods that are in your ships;
and to begin, if you will give me those that happen to come in
the first ship that arrives in safety, I will pay you down, in
part payment, a thousand sequins. Drawing out a bag from under
his gown, he showed it him sealed up with one seal.

Bedreddin, banished from home, and dispossessed of all he had in
the world, looked upon this proposal of the Jew as a favour from
Heaven, and therefore accepted it with a great deal of joy. My
lord, said the Jew, then you sell unto me, for a thousand
sequins, the lading of the first of your ships that shall arrive
in port? Yes, answered Bedreddin, I sell it to you for a thousand
sequins; it is done. Upon this, the Jew delivered him the bag of
a thousand sequins, and offered to count them; but Bedreddin
saved him the trouble, and said, he would trust his word. Since
it is so, my lord, be pleased to favour me with a small note, in
writing, of the bargain we have made. Having said this, he pulled
his ink-horn from his girdle, and taking a small reed out of it,
neatly cut for writing, he presented it to him, with a piece of
paper he took out of his letter-case, and, whilst he held the
ink-horn, Bedreddin Hassan wrote these words: 'This writing is to
testify, that Bedreddin Hassan of Balsora has sold to Isaac the
Jew, for the sum of one thousand sequins, received in hand, the
lading of the first of his ships that shall arrive in this port.'
This note he delivered to the Jew, who put it in his letter-case,
and then took leave of him.

While Isaac pursued his journey to the city, Bedreddin made the
best of his way to his father's tomb. When he came to it, he
bowed his face to the ground, and, with his eyes full of tears,
deplored his miserable condition. Alas! said he, unfortunate
Bedreddin, what will become of thee? Whither canst thou fly for
refuge against the unjust prince who persecutes thee? Was it not
enough to be afflicted for the death of so dear a father? Must
fate add new misfortunes to just complaints? He continued a long
time in this posture; but at last rose up again, and, leaning his
head upon his father's sepulchre, his sorrows returned more
violently than before; so that he sighed and mourned, till,
overcome with heaviness, he stretched himself upon the floor, and
fell asleep. He had not slept long when a genius, who had retired
to the church-yard during the day, and was intending, according
to custom, to range about the world at night, espying this young
man in Noureddin's tomb, entered, and finding Bedreddin lying on
his back, was surprised at his beauty. When he had attentively
considered Bedreddin, he said to himself, To judge of this
creature by his good mien, he seems to be an angel of the
terrestrial paradise, whom God has sent to put the world in a
flame with his beauty. At last, after he had satisfied himself
with looking upon him, he took a flight into the air, where
meeting by chance with a fairy, they saluted each other; after
which he said to her, Descend with me into the church-yard where
I stay, and I will show you a prodigious beauty, who is worthy of
your admiration as well as mine. The fairy consented, and both
descended in an instant; they came into the tomb: Look ye, said
the genius to the fairy, showing him Bedreddin, did you ever see
a young man of a better shape, and more beautiful than this? The
fairy, having attentively observed Bedreddin, answered, I must
confess that he is a very handsome man, but I am just come from
seeing an object at Cairo still more admirable; and if you hear
me, I will tell you a strange story concerning her. You will very
much oblige me by so doing, answered the genius. You must know
then, said the fairy, that the sultan of Egypt has a vizier
called Schemseddin Mohammed, who has a daughter of about twenty
years of age, the most beautiful and complete person that ever
was known. The sultan having heard of this young lady's beauty,
sent the other day for her father, and said, I understand you
have a daughter; I have a mind to marry her; will you consent to
it? The vizer, who did not expect this proposal, was troubled at
it; and, instead of accepting it joyfully, which another in his
place would certainly have done, he answered the sultan, May it
please your majesty, I am not worthy of the honour you confer
upon me, and I most humbly beseech you to pardon me if I do not
agree to your request. You know I had a brother called Noureddin
Ali, who had the honour, as well as myself, to be one of your
viziers: We had some difference together, which was the cause of
his leaving me on a sudden, and since that time I have had no
account of him till within these four days, when I heard he died
at Balsora, being grand vizier to the sultan of that kingdom. He
has left a son behind him; and there having been an agreement
between us to match our children together, should we have any, I
am persuaded he intended the match when he died. Being desirous
to fulfil the promise on my part, I conjure your majesty to grant
me leave; you have in your court many other lords who have
daughters on whom you may please to bestow that honour.

The sultan of Egypt was incensed against Schemseddin to the
highest degree, and said to him in a passion, which he could not
restrain, Is this the way you requite my condescension to stoop
so low as to desire your alliance? I know how to revenge your
daring to prefer another to me, and I swear that your daughter
shall be married to the most contemptible and ugly of all my
slaves. Having spoken these words, he angrily bid the vizier
begone, who went home to his house full of confusion, and very
sad. The same day the sultan sent for one of his grooms, who is
hump-backed, big-bellied, crook-legged, and as ugly as a
hobgoblin; and, after having commanded Schemseddin to consent to
marry his daughter to this ghastly slave, he caused the contract
to be made out and signed by witnesses in his own presence. The
preparations for this fantastical wedding, says the fairy, are
all ready, and at this moment all the slaves belonging to the
lords of the court of Egypt are waiting at the door of the
bagnio, each with a flambeau in his hand, for the crook-backed
groom to go along with them to his bride, who is already dressed
to receive him. When I departed from Cairo, the ladies, met for
that purpose, were going to conduct her, in all her nuptial
attire, to the hall, where she is to receive her hump-backed
bridegroom, and is this minute now expecting him; I have seen
her, and do assure you that no person can look upon her without

When the fairy left off speaking, the genius says to her,
Whatever you think or say, I cannot be persuaded that the girl's
beauty exceeds that of this young man. I will not dispute it with
you, answered the fairy, for I must confess he deserves to be
married to that charming creature whom they design for Hump-back;
and I think it were a deed worthy of us to obstruct the sultan of
Egypt's injustice, and put this young gentleman in the room of
the slave. You are in the right, answered the genius; I am
extremely obliged to you for so good a thought; let us deceive
him: I consent to your revenge upon the sultan of Egypt; let us
comfort a distressed father, and make his daughter as happy as
she thinks herself miserable; I shall do my utmost to make this
project take, and am persuaded you will not be backward; I shall
carry him to Cairo before he awake, and afterwards leave it to
you to carry him elsewhere when we have accomplished our design.
The plan being thus concerted, the genius lifted Bedreddin
gently, carried him with an inconceivable swiftness through the
air, and set him down at the door of a public-house next to the
bagnio, whence Hump-back was to come with the train of slaves
that waited for him. Bedreddin awaked that very moment, and was
mightily surprised to find himself in the middle of a city which
he knew not: He was going to cry out, and to ask where he was;
but the genius touched him gently on the shoulder, and forbade
him to speak a word. Then he put a torch in his hand, bid him mix
with the crowd at the bagnio door, and follow them till he came
into a hall, where they were to celebrate a marriage. The
bridegroom is a hump-backed fellow, and by this description you
will easily know him. Place yourself at the right hand as you go
in, then immediately open the purse of sequins you have in your
bosom, and distribute them among the musicians and dancers as
they go along. When you have got into the hall, give money also
to the female slaves you see about the bride, when they come near
you; but every time you put your hand in your purse, be sure to
take out a whole handful, and be not sparing. Observe to do every
thing exactly as I have told you, with great presence of mind; be
not afraid of any person or thing, but leave the rest to a
superior power, who will order matters as he thinks fit.

Young Bedreddin, thus instructed in all that he was to do,
advanced towards the door of the bagnio: the first thing he did
was to light his torch like a slave; then mixing among them, as
if he belonged to some nobleman of Cairo, he marched along as
they did, following Hump-back, who came out of the bagnio, and
mounted a horse from the sultan's own stable. Being come near the
musicians and men and women-dancers, who preceded the bridgroom,
Bedreddin pulled out, time after time, whole handfuls of sequins,
which he distributed among them. As he gave his money with an
unparalleled grace and engaging mien, those who received it cast
their eyes upon him, and, after they had taken a full view of his
face, found him so handsome and comely, that they could not look
off again.

At last they came to Schemseddin's gate. Schemseddin was
Bedreddin's uncle, and little thought his nephew was so near. The
door-keepers, to prevent any disorder, kept back all the slaves
who carried torches, and would not let them come in. Bedreddin
was likewise refused; but the musicians, who had free entrance,
stood still, and protested they would not go in without him. He
is not one of the slaves, said they; look upon him, and you will
soon be satisfied as to that; he is certainly a young stranger,
who is curious to see the ceremonies observed at weddings in this
city. Saying thus, they put him in the midst of them, and carried
him in; they took his torch out of his hand, and gave it to the
first they met. Having brought him into the hall, they placed him
at the right hand of the hump-backed bridegroom, who sat near the
vizier's daughter on a throne most richly adorned. She appeared
very lovely in her dress, but in her face there was nothing to be
seen but poignant grief. The cause was easy to be guessed at,
when she had by her side a bridegroom so very deformed, and so
unworthy of her love. The throne of that ill-matched couple was
in the midst of a sofa. The ladies of the emirs, viziers, those
of the sultan's bed-chamber, and several other ladies of the
court and city, were placed on each side, a little lower, every
one according to rank, and all of them so fine and richly
dressed, that it was one of the pleasantest sights that could be
seen, each of them holding a large wax taper. As soon as they saw
Bedreddin come into the room, all fixed their eyes upon him,
admiring his shape, his behaviour, and the beauty of his face.
When he was set down, they left their seats, and came near him,
to have a full view of his face; and almost all of them, as they
returned to their seats, found themselves moved with tender

The disparity between Bedreddin and the hump-backed groom, who
made such a horrible figure, occasioned a great murmuring among
the company, insomuch that the ladies cried out, We must give our
bride to this handsome young gentleman, and not to this ugly
hump-back. Nor did they rest here, but uttered imprecations
against the sultan, who, abusing his absolute power, would unite
ugliness and beauty together. They also upbraided the bridegroom,
and put him quite out of countenance, to the great satisfaction
of the spectators, whose shouts for some time put a stop to the
concert of music in the hall. At last the musicians began again,
and the women who had dressed the bride came round her. Each time
she changed her habit, she rose up from her seat, followed by her
bride-women, and passed by Hump-back without giving him one look;
but went towards Bedreddin, before whom she presented herself in
her new attire. On this occasion Bedreddin, according to the
instructions given him by the genius, failed not to put his hand
in his purse, and pulled out handfuls of sequins, which he
distributed among the women that followed the bride; nor did he
forget the players and dancers, but also threw money to them.
They showed themselves very thankful, and made signs that the
young bride should be for him, and not for the hump-back fellow.
The women who attended her told her the same thing, and did not
care whether the groom heard them or not; for they put a thousand
tricks upon him, which very much pleased the spectators.

The ceremony of changing habits being over, the musicians ceased
and went away, but made a sign to Bedreddin Hassan to stay
behind. The ladies did the same, and went all home, except those
belonging to the house. The bride went into a closet, whither her
women followed to undress her, and none remained in the hall but
the hump-back groom, Bedreddin, and some of the domestics.
Hump-back, who was furiously mad at Bedreddin, suspecting him to
be his rival, gave him a cross look, and said, And thou, what
dost thou wait for? Why art thou not gone as well as the rest?
Begone. Bedreddin, having no pretence to stay, withdrew, not
knowing what to do with himself. But he had not got out of the
porch, when the genius and the fairy met and stopped him. Whither
art thou going? said the fairy; stay, for Hump-back is not in the
hall, but has gone out about some business; you have nothing to
do but to return, and introduce yourself into the bride's
chamber: As soon as you are alone with her, tell her boldly that
you are her husband; that the sultan's intention was only to make
sport with the groom; and, to make this pretended bridegroom some
amends, you had caused to be prepared for him, in the stable, a
good dish of cream: Then tell her all the fine things you can
think of to persuade her, for, with your handsomeness, little
persuasion will do, and she will think herself happy in being
deceived so agreeably. In the mean time we shall take care that
Hump-back return not, and let nothing hinder you from passing the
night with your bride, for she is yours.

While the fairy thus encouraged Bedreddin, and instructed him how
he should behave himself, Hump-back was really gone out of the
room; for the genius went to him in the shape of a great cat,
miauling at a most fearful rate: The fellow called to the cat,
and clapped his hands to make her flee; but, instead of that, the
cat stood upon her hind feet, staring with her eyes like fire,
looking fiercely at him, miauling louder than she did at first,
and growing bigger, till she was as large as an ass. At this
sight Hump-back would have cried out for help, but his fear was
so great that he stood gaping, and could not utter one word. That
he might have no time, however, to recover, the genius changed
himself immediately into a large buffalo, and in this shape
called to him with a voice that redoubled his fear, Thou
hump-backed villain! At these words the affrighted groom cast
himself on the ground, and covering his face with his gown, that
he might not see this dreadful beast, Sovereign prince of
buffaloes, said he, what is it you want with me? Woe be to thee,
replies the genius, hast thou the boldness to venture to marry my
mistress? O my lord, said Hump-back, I pray you to pardon me; if
I am guilty, it, is through ignorance; I did not know that this
lady had a buffalo for her sweetheart: Command me in any thing
you please; I give you my oath that I am ready to obey you. By
death, replied the genius, if thou goest out from hence, or
speakest a word till the sun rises, I will crush thy head to
pieces; but then I give thee leave to go from hence: I warn thee
to hasten, and not to look back; but if thou hast the impudence
to return, it shall cost thee thy life. When the genius had done
speaking, he transformed himself into the shape of a man, took
Hump-back by the legs, and after having set him against the wall,
with his head downwards, If thou stir, said he, before the sun
rises, as I have told thee already, I will take thee by the heels
again, and dash thy head in a thousand pieces against the wall.

To return to Bedreddin: Being prompted by the genius and the
presence of the fairy, he got into the hall again, from whence he
slipped into the bride-chamber, where he sat down expecting the
success of his adventure. After a while the bride arrived,
conducted by an old matron, who came no further than the door,
exhorting the bridegroom to do his duty like a man, without
looking to see if it was Hump-back or another; she then locked
the door, and retired. The young bride was mightily surprised,
instead of Hump-back to find Bedreddin Hassan, who came up to her
with the best grace in the world. What! my dear friend, said she,
by your being here at this time of night, you must be my
husband's comrade? No, madam, said Bedreddin, I am of another
sort of quality than that ugly hump-back. But, said she, you do
not consider that you speak degradingly of my husband. He your
husband, madam? replied he; can you retain these thoughts so
long? Be convinced of your mistake, madam, for so much beauty
must never be sacrificed to the most contemptible of mankind: It
is I, madam, that am the happy mortal for whom it is reserved.
The sultan had a mind to make himself merry by putting this trick
upon the vizier your father, but he chose me to be your real
husband. You might have observed how the ladies, the musicians,
the dancers, your women, and all the servants of your family,
were pleased with this comedy. I have sent that hump-back fellow
to his stable again, where he is just now eating a dish of cream;
and you may rest assured that he will never appear any more
before you.

At this discourse, the vizier's daughter, who was more like one
dead than alive when she came into the bride-chamber, put on a
gay air, which made her so handsome that Bedreddin was perfectly
charmed with her. I did not expect, said she, to meet with so
pleasing a surprise, and had condemned myself to live unhappy all
my days; but my good fortune is so much the greater, as I possess
in you a man that is worthy of my tenderest affection. Having
spoken thus, she undressed herself, and stepped into bed.
Bedreddin, overjoyed to see himself possessor of so many charms,
made haste to follow her, and laid his clothes upon a chair, with
a bag that he got from the Jew, which, notwithstanding all the
money he pulled out, was still full. He likewise threw off his
turban, and put on a night-cap that had been ordered for
Hump-back, and so went to bed in his shirt and drawers[Footnote:
All the eastern nations lie in their drawers; but this
circumstance will serve Bedreddin in the sequel.]; the latter
were of blue satin, tied with a lace of gold. Whilst the two
lovers were asleep, the genius, who had met again with the fairy,
says to him, That it was high time to finish what was begun, and
hitherto so successfully carried on; then let us not be overtaken
by day-light, which will soon appear; go you, and bring off the
young man again without awaking him. The fairy went into the
bed-chamber where the two lovers were fast asleep, and took up
Bedreddin just as he was, that is to say, in his shirt and
drawers, and, in company with the genius, with a wonderful
swiftness flew away with him to the gates of Damascus in Syria,
where they arrived when the officer of the mosques, appointed for
that end, was calling the people to come to prayers at break of
day. The fairy laid Bedreddin softly on the ground, and, leaving
him close by the gate, departed with the genius. The gate of the
city being opened, and a great many people assembled to get out,
they were mightily surprised to see Bedreddin lying in his shirt
and drawers upon the ground. One said, He has been so hard put to
it to get away from his mistress, that he had not time to put on
his clothes. Look ye, says another, how people expose themselves;
sure enough he has spent the most part of the night in drinking
with his friends, till he has got drunk, and then perhaps, having
occasion to go out, instead of returning, is come this length,
and, not having his senses about him, was overtaken with sleep.
Others were of different opinions; but nobody could guess the
occasion of his being there. A small puff of wind happening to
blow at the time, uncovered his breast, which was whiter than
snow. Every one, being struck with admiration at the fineness of
his complexion, spoke so loud as to awake him. His surprise was
as great as theirs, when he found himself at the gate of a city
where he had never been before, and encompassed by a crowd of
people gazing at him. Gentlemen, said he, for God's sake tell me
where I am, and what you would have of me. One of the crowd said
to him, Young man, the gates of the city were just now opened,
and, as we came out, we found you lying here in this condition,
and stood to look on you: Have you lain here all night? and do
you not know that you are at one of the gates of Damascus? At one
of the gates of Damascus! answered Bedreddin; sure you mock me:
When I lay down to sleep last night, I was at Cairo. When he said
these words, some of the people, moved with compassion for him,
said, It is a pity such a handsome young man should have lost his
senses; and so went away. My son, says an old gentleman to him,
you know not what you say: How is it possible that you, being
this morning at Damascus, could be last night at Cairo? It is
true for all that, said Bedreddin; for I swear to you that I was
all yesterday at Balsora. He had no sooner said these words, than
all the people fell into a fit of laughter, and cried out, He is
a fool, he is a madman. There were some, however, who pitied him
because of his youth; and one among the company said to him, My
son, you must certainly be crazed; you do not consider what you
say; how is it possible that a man could yesterday be at Balsora,
the same night at Cairo, and next morning at Damascus? Sure you
are asleep still; come, rouse up your spirits. What I say,
answered Bedreddin, is so true, that last night I was married in
the city of Cairo. All those that laughed before could not
forbear laughing again when he said so. Recollect yourself, says
the same person that spoke before; you have dreamed all this, and
that fancy still possesses your brain. I am sensible of what I
say, answered the young man: Pray can you tell me how it was
possible to go in a dream to Cairo, where I am very certain I was
in person, and where my bride was seven times brought before me,
each time dressed in a different habit, and where I saw an ugly
hump-backed fellow to whom they intended to give her? Besides, I
want to know what is become of my gown, my turban, and the bag of
sequins I had at Cairo. Though he assured them that all these
things were matters of fact, yet they could not forbear laughing
at him, which put him into such confusion that he knew not well
what to think.

After Bedreddin had confidently affirmed all that he said to be
true, he rose up to go into the town, and every one that followed
him called out, A madman, a fool. Upon this, some looked out at
their windows, some came to their doors, and others joined with
those that were about him, calling out as they did, but not
knowing for what. In this perplexity Bedreddin happened to reach
a pastry-cook's shop, and went into it to avoid the rabble. This
pastry-cook had formerly been captain of a troop of Arabian
robbers who plundered the caravans; and though he was become a
citizen of Damascus, where he behaved himself with decorum, yet
he was dreaded by all those who knew him; wherefore, as soon as
he came out to the rabble that followed Bedreddin, they
dispersed. The pastry-cook, seeing them all gone, asked him what
he was, and who brought him hither? Bedredclin told him all, not
even concealing his birth, nor the death of his father the grand
vizier: He afterwards gave him an account why he left Balsora;
how, after he fell asleep the night following upon his father's
tomb, he found himself, when he awaked, at Cairo, where he had
married a lady; and, finally, in what amazement he was when he
found himself at Damascus, without being able to penetrate into
all those wonderful events.

Your history is one of the most surprising (said the
pastry-cook); but, if you follow my advice, you will let no man
know the matters yon have revealed to me, but patiently expect
till Heaven think fit to put an end to your misfortunes: You are
free to stay with me till then; and as I have no children, I will
own you for my son, if you consent to it; and when you are so
adopted, you may freely walk up and down the city, without being
further exposed to the insults of the rabble. Though this
adoption was below the son of a grand vizier, Bedreddin was glad
to accept of the pastry-cook's proposal, judging it the best
thing he could do in his then circumstances. The cook clothed
him, called witnesses, and sent for a notary, before whom he
acknowledged him as his son. After this, Bedreddin staid with him
by the name of Hassan, and learned the pastry trade. Whilst these
things passed at Damascus, Schemseddin Mohammed's daughter
awaked, and, finding Bedreddin out of bed, supposed he had risen
softly from a fear of disturbing her, but that he would soon
return. As she was in expectation of him, her father the vizier,
who was mightily vexed at the affront put upon him by the sultan,
came and knocked at her chamber-door, with a resolution to bewail
her sad destiny. He called her by her name, and she, knowing him
by his voice, immediately got up and opened the door; she kissed
his hand, and received him with so much satisfaction in her
countenance as surprised the vizier, who expected to find her
drowned in tears, and as much grieved, as himself. Unhappy
wretch! said he in a passion, do you appear before me thus? after
the hideous sacrifice you have just consummated, can you see me
with so much satisfaction? The new bride, seeing her father angry
at her pleasant countenance, said to him, For God's sake, sir, do
not reproach me wrongfully: It is not the hump-back fellow, whom
I abhor more than death, it is not that monster I have married;
every body laughed him so to scorn, and put him so out of
countenance, that he was forced to run away and hide himself, to
make room for a charming young gentleman who is my real husband.
What fable do you tell me? said Schemseddin roughly? What! did
not Crook-back lie with you last night? No, sir, said she, it was
that young gentleman who has large eyes and black eye-brows. At
these words the vizier lost all patience, and fell into a
terrible passion. Ah, wicked woman, says he, you will make me
distracted! It is you, father, said she, that puts me out of my
senses by your incredulity. So it is not true, replies the
vizier, that Hump-back--Let us talk no more of Hump-back, said
she; a curse upon Hump-back, must I always have him cast in my
dish? Father, said she, I tell you once more that I did not bed
with him, but with my dear spouse, who, I believe, is not very
far off. Schemseddin immediately went out to seek him; but,
instead of seeing him, was mightily surprised to find Hump-back
with his head on the ground, and his heels uppermost, as the
genius had placed him. What is the meaning of this? said he; who
placed you thus? Crook-back, knowing it to be the vizier,
answered, Alas! alas! it is you then that would marry me to the
mistress of a buffalo, the sweetheart of an ugly genius; I will
not be your fool, you shall not put a trick upon me. Schemseddin,
on hearing Hump-back speak thus, thought he was raving, and bade
him move, and stand upon his legs. I will take care how I do
that, said Hump-back, unless the sun be risen. Know, sir, that
when I came thither last night, on a sudden a black cat appeared
to me, and in an instant grew as big as a buffalo: I have not
forgotten what he said to me; therefore you may go about your
business, and leave me here. The vizier, instead of going away,
took Hump-back by the heels, and made him get up, after which he
ran as fast as he could, without looking behind him, and, coming
to the palace, presented himself to the sultan, who laughed
heartily when he told him how the genius had served him.

Schemseddin returned to his daughter's chamber more astonished
than before. Well then, my abused daughter, said he, can you give
me no further light into this matter? Sir, said she, I can give
you no other account than what I have done already. Here are my
husband's clothes, which he left upon the chair; perhaps you may
find somewhat that may solve your doubt. She then showed him
Bedreddin's turban, which he took and examined carefully on all
sides. I should take this to be a vizier's turban, if it were not
made after the Moussol[Footnote: The town of Moussol is in
Mesopotamia, and built opposite to old Nineveh.] fashion; but,
perceiving somewhat to be sewed between the stuff and the lining,
he called for scissars, and, having unripped it, found the paper
which Noureddin Ali gave Bedreddin his son as he was dying, and
he had put it in his turban for more security. Schemseddin,
having opened the paper, knew his brother Noureddin's hand, and
found this superscription, 'For my son Bedreddin Hassan.' Before
he could make any reflections, his daughter delivered him the bag
that lay under his clothes, which he likewise opened, and found
full of sequins; for, as before mentioned, notwithstanding all
the liberality of Bedreddin, it was still kept full by the genius
and fairy. He read these words upon a note in the bag, 'A
thousand sequins belonging to Isaac the Jew;' and these lines
underneath, which the Jew wrote before he departed from
Bedreddin: ' Delivered to Bedreddin Hassan, for the cargo of the
first of those ships that formerly belonged to Noureddin Ali, his
father, of worthy memory, sold unto me upon its arrival in this
place.' He had scarcely read these words, when he gave a shout,
and fainted. Being recovered, however, by the help of his
daughter, and the woman whom she called to her assistance,
Daughter, said he, do not frighten yourself at this accident, the
reason of which is such as you can scarcely believe: Your
bridegoom is your cousin, the son of Noureddin Ali; the thousand
sequins put me in mind of a quarrel I had with my dear brother;
it is without doubt the dowry he gives you. God be praised for
all things, and particularly for this, miraculous adventure,
which demonstrates his almighty power. Then looking again upon
his brother's writing, he kissed it several times, shedding
abundance of tears. Having looked over the book from one end to
the other, he found the date of his brother's arrival at Balsora,
his marriage, and the birth of Bedreddin Hasaan; and when he
compared the same with the day of his own marriage, and the birth
of his daughter at Cairo, he wondered how every thing so exactly
agreed. This happy discovery put him into such a transport of
joy, that he took up the book, with the ticket of the bag, and
showed it to the sultan, who pardoned what was past, and was so
much pleased with the relation of the adventure, that he caused
it, with all its circumstances, to be put in writing for the use
of posterity.

Meanwhile Schemseddin could not comprehend why his nephew did not
appear; he expected him every moment, and was impatient to have
him in his arms. After he had expected him seven days in vain, he
searched for him through all Cairo, but could hear no news of
him, which perplexed him very much. This is the strangest
adventure, said he, that ever man met with. Not knowing what
alteration might happen, he thought fit to draw up in writing,
with his own hand, after what manner the wedding had been
solemnized; how the hall and his daughter's bed-chamber were
furnished, and other circumstances. He likewise made the turban,
the bag, and the rest of Bedreddin's things, into a bundle, and
locked them up. After some weeks, the vizier's daughter perceived
herself with child, and was delivered of a son at the end of nine
months. A nurse was provided, besides women and slaves; and his
grandfather called him Agib[Footnote: This word, in Arabic,
signifies wonderful.]. When young Agib had attained the age of
seven, the vizier, instead of teaching him to read at home, sent
him to a master who was in great esteem; and two slaves were
ordered to wait upon him. Agib used to play with his
school-fellows, and as they were all inferior to him in quality,
they showed him great respect, according to the example of their
master, who often would excuse faults in him that he would not
pass by in the rest. This complaisance spoiled Agib so, that he
became proud and insolent, would have his play-fellows bear all
from him, and would bear nothing from them, but be master every
where; and if any one took the liberty to thwart him, he would
call them a thousand names, and many times beat them. In short,
all the scholars were weary of his company, and complained of him
to the master, who answered, that they must have patience. But
when he saw that Agib still grew more and more insolent, and
occasioned him a great deal of trouble, Children, said he to his
scholars, I find that Agib is a little insolent gentleman; I will
show you a way how to mortify him, so that he will never torment
you more; nay, I believe it will make him leave the school: When
he comes again to-morrow, and if you have a mind to play
together, set yourselves round him, and do one of you call out,
Come let us play, but upon condition, that he who desires to play
shall tell his own name, and the names of his father and mother;
and they who refuse it shall be esteemed bastards, and not
suffered to play in our company. Next day, accordingly, when they
were gathered together, they failed not to follow their master's
instructions: they placed themselves round Agib, and one of them
called out, Let us begin a play, but on condition, that he who
cannot tell his own name, with that of his father and mother,
shall not play at all. They all cried out, and so did Agib, We
consent to it. Then he that spoke first asked every one the
question, and all fulfilled the condition except Agib, who
answered, My name is Agib, my mother is called the lady of
beauty, and my father Schemseddih Mohammed, vizier to the sultan.

At these words the children cried out, Agib, What do you say?
That is not the name of your father, but of your grandfather. A
curse on you, said he in a passion: What! dare you say that the
vizier Schemseddin is not my father? No, no, cried they, with
great laughter, he is but your grandfather, and you shall not
play with us; nay, we will take care how we come into your
company. Having spoken thus, they left him, scoffing and laughing
among themselves, which mortified Agib so much that he wept. The
schoolmaster, who was near, and heard all that passed, came just
at the nick of time, and speaking to Agib, says, Agib, do not you
know that the vizier Schemseddin is not your father, but your
grandfather, and the father of your mother, the lady of beauty?
We know not the name of your father any more than you do; but
only know that the sultan was going to marry your mother to one
of his grooms, a hump-back fellow, but a genius lay with her.
This is hard upon you, and ought to teach you to treat your
school-fellows with less haughtiness than you have done hitherto.
Little Agib, being nettled at this, ran hastily out of the
school, and went home crying. He came straight to his mother's
chamber, who, being alarmed to see him thus grieved, asked him
the reason. He could not answer for tears, and it was but now and
then he could speak plain enough to repeat what had been the
occasion of his sorrow. Having come to himself, Mother, said he,
for the love of God, be pleased to tell me who is my father. My
son, said she, Schemseddin Mohammed, that every day makes so much
of you, is your father. You do not tell me truth, said he; he is
your father, not mine; but whose son am I? At this question, the
lady of beauty, calling to mind her wedding-night, which had been
succeeded by a long widowhood, began to shed tears, repining
bitterly at the loss of so lovely a husband as Bedreddin. Whilst
she and Agib were weeping, the vizier entered, and demanded the
reason of their sorrow. The lady told him the shame Agib had
undergone at school, which did so much afflict the vizier, that
he joined his tears with theirs; and judging that the misfortune
that had happened to his daughter was the common discourse of the
town, he was quite out of patience. In this state he went to the
sultan's palace, and, falling at his feet, humbly prayed him to
give him leave to make a journey into the provinces of the
Levant, and particularly to Balsora, in search of his nephew
Bedreddin, as he could not bear that the people of the city
should believe a genius had got his daughter with child. The
sultan was much concerned at the vizier's affliction, commended
his resolution, gave him leave to go, and caused a passport also
to be written for him, praying, in the most obliging terms, all
kings and princes, in whose dominions the said Bedreddin might
sojourn, to grant that the vizier might bring him along with him.

Schemseddin, not knowing how to express his thankfulness to the
sultan for this favour, thought it his duty to fall down before
him a second time, and the floods of tears he shed gave
sufficient testimony of his gratitude. At last, having wished the
sultan all manner of prosperity, he took leave, and went home to
his house, where he disposed every thing for his journey, the
preparations for which were carried on with so much diligence,
that in four days he left the city, accompanied by his daughter
and his grandson Agib.

They travelled nineteen days without stopping; but on the
twentieth, arriving in a very pleasant meadow at a small distance
from Damascus, they stopped, and pitched their tents on the banks
of a river that runs through the town, and affords a very
agreeable prospect to its neighbourhood. Schemseddin Mohammed
declared that he would stay in that pleasant place two days, and
pursue his journey on the third. In the mean time he granted
permission to his retinue to go to Damascus; and almost all of
them made use of it--some influenced by curiosity to see a city
of which they had heard much, and others by the opportunity of
vending in it such Egyptian goods as they had brought with them,
or of buying the stuffs and rarities of the country. The
beautiful lady, desirous that her son Agib might share in the
satisfaction of viewing that celebrated city, ordered the black
eunuch, who acted in the quality of his governor, to conduct him
hither, and to take care that he came to no harm. Accordingly
Agib, arrayed in magnificent apparel, went along with the eunuch,
who held a large cane in his hand. They had no sooner entered the
city than Agib, fair and glorious as the day, attracted the eyes
of the people. Some left their houses in order to gain a nearer
view of him, others looked out at their windows, and those who
passed along the streets were not satisfied with stopping to view
him, but kept pace with him to prolong the pleasure of such an
agreeable sight: in fine, every one admired him, and implored a
thousand benedictions on the father and mother who had given
being to so fine a child. By chance the eunuch and he passed by
the shop where Bedreddin Hassan was, and there the crowd was so
great, that they were forced to halt.

The pastry-cook who had adopted Bedreddin, had died some years
before, leaving him his shop and all his estate; and he now
managed the pastry trade so dexterously, that he gained great
reputation in Damascus. Bedreddin, seeing so great a crowd gazing
attentively upon Agib and the black eunuch, stepped out to view
them himself. Having cast his eyes particularly on Agib, he
presently found himself involuntarily moved. He was not struck
like the crowd, with the shining beauty of the boy; a very
different cause, unknown to him, gave rise to his commotion. It
was the force of the blood that worked in this tender father,
who, laying aside all business, made up to Agib, and, with an
engaging air, said to him, My little lord, who hast won my soul,
be so kind as to come into my shop, and eat a bit of such fare as
I have, that I may have the pleasure of admiring you at my ease.
These words he pronounced with such tenderness, that tears
trickled from his eyes. Little Agib himself was greatly moved;
and, turning to the eunuch, said, This honest man's face pleases
me much; he speaks in such an affectionate manner, that I cannot
avoid complying with his desire; let us step into his house, and
taste his pastry. Ah, by my troth! replied the slave, it would be
a fine thing to see the son of a vizier go into a pastry shop to
eat; do not you imagine that I will suffer any such thing. Alas,
my little lord, cried Bedreddin, it is an injustice to trust your
conduct in the hands of a person who treats you so harshly. Then
applying himself to the eunuch, My good friend, continued he,
pray do not himder this young lord to grant me the favour I ask;
do not put that piece of mortification on me; rather do me the
honour to walk in along with him; and, by so doing, you will give
the world to know, that, though your outside is brown like a
chesnut, your inside is as white as his. Do you know, continued
he, that I am master of the secret to make you white, instead of
being black as you are? This set the eunuch a laughing, and then
he asked Bedreddin what that secret was. I will tell you, replied
Bedreddin, repeating some verses in praise of black eunuchs,
implying, that by their ministry the honour of princes, and of
all great men, was insured. The eunuch was so charmed with the
verses, that, without further hesitation, he suffered Agib to go
into the shop, and also went in himself. Bedreddin was overjoyed
at having obtained what he had so passionately desired; and
falling about the work he had discontinued, I was making, said
he, cream-tarts, and you must, with submission, eat of them, I am
persuaded you will find them very good; for my own mother, who
makes them incomparably well, taught me; and people send to buy
them of me from all quarters of the town. This said, he took a
cream-tart out of the oven, and, after strewing on it some
pomegranate kernels and sugar, set it before Agib, who pronounced
it very delicious. Another was served up to the eunuch, who gave
the same judgment. While they were both eating, Bedreddin
regarded Agib very attentively; and, after looking on him again
and again, it occurred to him that, for any thing he knew, he
might have such a son by his charming wife, from whom he had been
so soon and so cruelly separated; and the very thoughts drew
tears from his eyes. He also intended to put some questions to
little Agib about his journey to Damascus; but the child had no
time to gratify his curiosity; for the eunuch, pressing him to
return to his grandfather's tent, took him away as soon as he had
done eating. Bedreddin, however, not contented with looking after
him, shut up his shop immediately, and followed him. The eunuch,
perceiving that he followed them, was extremely surprised: You
impertinent fellow, said he, with an angry tone, what do you
want? My dear friend, replied Bedreddin, do not trouble yourself;
I have a little business out of town that is just come into my
head, and I must needs go and look after it. This answer,
however, did not at all appease the eunuch, who, turning to Agib,
said, This is all owing to you; I foresaw that I should repent of
my complaisance; you would needs go into the man's shop; it was
not wise in me to give you leave. Perhaps, replied Agib, he has
real business out of town, and the road is free to every body.

While this conversation passed, they kept walking together,
without looking behind them, till they came near the vizier's
tents, when they turned about to see if Bedreddin followed them.
Agib, perceiving he was within two paces of him, grew red and
white alternately, according to his different emotions; he was
afraid that the grand vizier his grandfather should come to know
that he had been in the pastry-shop, and had eaten there. In this
dread he took up a pretty large stone that lay at his foot, and
throwing it at Bedreddin, hit him on the forehead, which gave him
such a wound, that his face was covered with blood; he then took
to his heels, and ran under the eunuch's tent. The eunuch gave
Bedreddin to understand that he had no reason to complain of a
mischance which he had merited and brought upon himself.
Bedreddin turned towards the city, staunching the blood with his
apron, which he had not put off. I was a fool, said he within
himself, for leaving my house, to take so much pains about this
brat; for doubtless he would never have used me after this
manner, if he had not thought I had some fatal design against
him; When he got home, he had his wound dressed, and softened the
sense of his mischance by the reflection that there was an
infinite number of people yet more unfortunate than himself.

Bedreddin kept on the pastry trade at Damascus, whence his uncle
Sehemseddin departed three days after his arrival; he went by the
way of Emaus, Hanah, and Halep; then crossed the Euphrates; and,
after passing through Mardin, Moussoul, Singier, Diarbeker, and
several other towns, arrived at last at Balsora; and, immediately
after his arrival, desired audience of the sultan, who was no
sooner informed of Schemseddin's quality, than he received him
very favourably, and asked him the occasion of his journey to
Balsora. Sir, replied the vizier Schemseddin, I come to know what
is become of the son of Noureddin Ali, my brother, who has had
the honour to serve your majesty. Noureddin, said the sultan, has
been dead a long while: as to his son, all I can tell you of him
is, that he disappeared very suddenly about two months after his
father's death, and nobody has seen him since, notwithstanding
all the inquiry I ordered to be made; but his mother, who is the
daughter of one of my viziers, is still alive. Schemseddin
desired leave of the sultan to see her, and carry her to Egypt;
and having obtained his request, without tarrying till next day
for the satisfaction of seeing her, inquired her place of abode,
and that very hour went to her house, accompanied by his daughter
and grandson.

The widow of Noureddin resided still in the same house where her
husband had lived: it was a very magnificent structure, adorned
with marble pillars; but Schemseddin did not stop to view it. At
his entry, he kissed the gate, and the piece of marble upon which
his brother's name was written in letters of gold. He desired to
speak with his sister-in-law, and was told by the servants that
she was then in a small edifice, in the form of a dome, which
they showed him, in the middle of a very spacious court. This
tender mother used to spend the greater part of the day, as well
as the night, in that room, which she had built in order to
represent the tomb of Bedreddin, whom she supposed to be dead
after so long an absence. At this very instant she was shedding
tears at the thoughts of her dear child; and Schemseddin
entering, found her labouring under that affliction. He paid his
compliments, and, after beseeching her to suspend her tears and
groans, gave her to know that he had the honour to be her
brother-in-law, and acquainted her with the occasion of his
journey from Cairo to Balsora. Schemseddin, after relating all
that had passed at Cairo on his daughter's wedding-night, and the
surprise occasioned by the discovery of the paper sewed up in
Bedreddin's turban, presented to her Agib and the beautiful lady.

The widow of Noureddin Ali, who had still continued sitting like
a woman moped and weaned from the affairs of this world, no
sooner understood by his discourse that her dear son, whom she
lamented so bitterly, might still be alive, than she rose, and
repeatedly embraced the beautiful lady and her grandchild Agib;
and perceiving in the youth the features of Bedreddin, she shed
tears very different from those to which she had been so long
accustomed. She could not forbear kissing the youth, who, on his
part, received her embraces with all the demonstrations of joy he
was capable of. Madam, said Schemseddin, it is time to wipe away
your tears, and cease your groans; you must now think of
accompanying us to Egypt. The sultan of Balsora has given me
leave to carry you thither, and I doubt not that you will agree
to it. I am hopeful that we shall at last find out your son, my
nephew; and if that should come to pass, the history of him, of
you, of my own daughter, and of my own adventures, will deserve
to be committed to writing, and to be transmitted to posterity.

The widow of Noureddin Ali heard this proposal with pleasure, and
from that very minute ordered preparations to be made for her
departure. In the mean time Schemseddin desired a second
audience; and, after taking leave of the sultan, who received him
with ample marks of respect, giving him a considerable present
for himself, and another of great value for the sultan of Egypt,
he set out from Balsora for the city of Damascus. When he arrived
in its neighbourhood, he ordered his tents to be pitched without
the gate at which he designed to enter the city, and gave out
that he would tarry there three days in order to give his
equipage rest, and buy up the best curiosities he could meet
with, in order to present them to the sultan of Egypt. While he
was thus employed in choosing the finest of the stuffs which the
principal merchants had brought to his tents, Agib begged the
black eunuch, his governor, to carry him through the city, in
order to see what he had not leisure to view as he passed before,
and to know what was become of the pastry-cook whom he had
wounded with a stone. The eunuch, complying with his request,
went with him towards the city, after leave obtained from his
mother. They entered Damascus by the paradise-gate, which lay
next to the tents of the vizier Schemseddin. They walked through
the great squares and public places where the richest goods were
sold, and viewed the ancient mosque of the Ommidae[Footnote: That
is, of caliphs who reigned after the four first successors of
Mahomet, and were so called from one of their ancestors whose
name was Ommiam.], at the hour of prayer, between noon and
sunset[Footnote: This prayer is always repeated two hours and a
half before sunset.]. After that they passed the shop of
Bedreddin, whom they found still employed in making cream-tarts:
I salute you, sir, said Agib. Do you know me? Do you remember
ever seeing me before? Bedreddin, hearing these words, cast his
eyes on him, and knowing him, (oh, the surprising effect of
paternal love!) found the same emotions which he had experienced
when he first saw him; he seemed much confused; and, instead of
making an answer, continued a long time without uttering one
word. But at last, recollecting himself, My little lord, said he,
be so kind as to come once more with your governor into my house,
and taste a cream-tart. I beg your lordship's pardon for my
imprudence in following you out of town; I was at that time not
myself, and scarcely knew what I did. You dragged me after you,
and the violence of the pull was so soft, that I could not
withstand it. Agib, astonished at what Bedreddin said, replied
thus: There is an excess in the kindness you express; and unless
you engage, on oath, not to follow me when I go from hence, I
will not enter your house. If you give me your promise, and prove
a man of your word, I will visit you again to-morrow, as the
vizier my grand-father is still employed in buying up things for
a present to the sultan of Egypt. My little lord, replied
Bedreddin, I will do whatever you desire me. Accordingly Agib and
the eunuch went into the shop. Bedreddin set before them a
cream-tart, fully as good as what they had eaten of when they saw
him before. Come, said Agib, addressing himself to Bedreddin, sit
down by me, and eat with us. Bedreddin sat down, and offered to
embrace Agib, as a testimony of the joy he conceived on his
sitting by him; but Agib, shoving him away, desired him to be
easy, not to run his friendship too close, and to content bimself
with seeing and entertaining him. Bedreddin obeyed, and began to
sing a song, the words of which he had composed extempore in
praise of Agib: he did not eat himself, but busied himself in
serving his guests. When they had done eating, he brought them
water to wash with[Footnote: The Mahometans having a custom of
washing their hands five times a day when they go to prayers,
they reckon that they have no occasion to wash before eating, but
always after it, because they eat without forks.], and a white
napkin to wipe their hands: he then filled a large china cup with
sherbet, and put snow into it[Footnote: This is done all over the
Levant, for the purpose of cooling liquor.]; and offering it to
Agib, This, said he, is sherbet of roses, and the pleasantest you
will meet with in all Damascus; I am sure you never tasted
better. Agib, having drunk of it with pleasure, Bedreddin Hassan
took the cup from him, and presented it to the eunuch, who drank
the contents at one pull. In short, Agib and his governor having
fared sumptuously, returned thanks to the pastry-cook for their
good entertainment, and proceeded homewards, it being then pretty
late. Whew they arrived at the tents of Schemseddin, Agib's
grandmother received him with transports of joy: her son
Bedreddin ran always in her mind; and, in embracing Agib, the
remembrance of him drew tears from her eyes. Ah, my child! said
she, my joy would be complete, had I the pleasure of embracing
your father Bedreddin Hassan as I now embrace you! Then sitting
down to supper, she made Agib sit by her, and put several
questions to him relating to the walk he had been taking along
with the eunuch; and, complaining of his want of appetite, gave
him a piece of a cream-tart that she had made herself, and was
indeed very good; for I told you before that she could make them
better than the best pastry-cooks. She likewise gave part of it
to the eunuch; but they had eaten so heartily at Bedreddin's
house, that they could not taste it.

Agib no sooner touched the piece of cream-tart that had been set
before him, than he pretended that he did not like it, and left
it uncut. Schaban[Footnote: The Mahometans give this name
generally to their black eunuchs.] (for such was the eunuch's
name) did the same. The widow of Noureddin Ali observed, with
regret, that her grandson did not like the tart. What! said she,
does my child thus despise the work of my hands? Be it known to
you, that not one in the world can make such cream-tarts, except
myself and your father Bedreddin, whom I myself taught. My good
mother, replied Agib, give me leave to tell you, that if you do
not know how to make them better, there is a pastry-cook in this
town who exceeds you. We were but just now at his shop, and ate
of one that was much better than yours. The grandmother, frowning
on the eunuch, said, How now, Schaban? was the care of my
grandchild committed to you to carry him to eat at pastry-shops
like a beggar? Madam, replied the eunuch, it is true we did stop
a little while, and talked with the pastry-cook, but we did not
eat with him. Pardon me, said Agib; we went into his shop, and
there ate a cream-tart. Upon this, the lady, more incensed
against the eunuch than before, rose in a passion from the table,
and running to the tent of Schemseddin, informed him of the
eunuch's crime, and that in such terms as tended more to inflame
the vizier than to dispose him to excuse it. Schemseddin, who was
naturally passionate, did not fail on this occasion to display
his anger. He went forthwith to his sister-in-law's tent; and,
making up to the eunuch, What! said he, you pitiful wretch, have
you the impudence to abuse the trust I repose in you? Schaban,
though sufficiently convicted by Agib's testimony, still denied
the fact. But the child persisted in what he had already
affirmed: Grandfather, said he, I can assure you that we did not
only eat, but that both of us so much satisfied our appetites,
that we have no occasion for supper; besides, the pastry-cook
treated us with a large bowl of sherbet. Well, cried Schemseddin,
turning to Schaban, after all this, will you continue to deny
that you entered the pastry-cook's house, and ate there? Schaban
had still the impudence to swear that it was not true. Then you
are a liar! said the vizier; I will believe my grandchild rather
than you; but, after all, if you can eat up this cream-tart on
the table, I shall be persuaded that you have truth on your side.

Though Schaban had crammed himself immoderately before, yet he
agreed to stand the test, and accordingly took a piece of the
tart; but his stomach rising against it, he was obliged to spit
it out of his mouth: he still, however, pursued the lie,
pretending he had over-eaten himself the day before, so that his
stomach was cloyed. The vizier, irritated by the eunuch's
frivolous pretences, and convinced of his guilt, ordered him to
lie flat upon the ground, and to be soundly bastinadoed. In
undergoing this punishment, the poor wretch shrieked out
prodigiously, and at last confessed the truth: I own, cried he,
that we did eat a cream-tart at the pastry-cook's, and that it
was much better than that upon the table. The widow of Noureddin
thought it was out of spite to her, and with a design to mortify
her, that Schaban commended the pastry-cook's tart; and
accordingly said, I cannot believe the cook's tarts are better
than mine, and am resolved to satisfy myself upon that head.
Where does he live? Go immediately, and buy me one of his tarts.
The eunuch having received of her the money necessary for the
purchase, repaired to Bedreddin's shop, and, addressing him, Good
Mr. Pastry-cook, said he, take this money, and let me have one of
your cream-tarts; one of our ladies wants to taste them.
Bedreddin chose one of the best, and gave it to the eunuch. Take
this, said he, I will engage it is an excellent one, and can
assure you that nobody is able to make the like unless it be my
mother, who perhaps still lives. Schaban returned speedily to the
tents, and gave the tart to Noureddin's widow, who snatched it
eagerly, and broke off a piece; but had no sooner put it to her
mouth, than she screamed and swooned away, Schemseddin, being
present, was extremely surprised at the accident, threw water
upon her face himself, and was very active in succouring her. As
soon as she recovered, My God! cried she, it must certainly be my
son, my dear Bedreddin, who made this tart!

When the vizier Schemseddin heard his sister-in-law say that the
maker of the tart brought by the eunuch must without doubt be
Bedreddin, he was overjoyed; but reflecting that his joy might
prove groundless, and in all likelihood the conjecture of
Noureddin's widow be false, Madam, said he, why are you of that
mind? Do you think there may not be a pastry-cook in the world
who knows how to make cream-tarts as well as your son? I own,
replied she, there may be pastry-cooks who can make as good
tarts; but as I make them after a peculiar manner, and nobody but
my son is let into the secret, it must absolutely be he who made
this. Come, my brother, added she in transport, let us call up
mirth and joy; we have at last found what we have been so long
looking for! Madam, said the vizier, I entreat you to moderate
your impatience, for we shall quickly know the truth. All we have
to do, is to bring the pastry-cook hither, and then you and my
daughter will readily distinguish whether it is Bedreddin or not;
but you must both be hidden, so as to have a view of him without
his seeing you; for my design is to delay the discovery till we
return to Cairo, where I propose to regale you with very
agreeable diversion. He then left the ladies in their tent, and
retired to his own, where he called for fifty of his men, and
said to them, Take each of you a stick in your hands, and follow
Schaban, who will conduct you to a pastry-cook's in the city.
When you arrive there, break and dash in pieces all you find in
the shop; if he asks you why you commit such disorder, only ask
him again if it was not he who made the cream-tart that was
brought from his house. If he owns himself the man, seine his
person, fetter him, and bring him along with you; but take care
you do not beat him, nor do him the least harm. Go, and lose no

The vizier's orders were immediately executed. The detachment,
conducted by the black eunuch, went with expedition to
Bedreddin's house, and broke in pieces the plates, kettles,
copper-pans, tables, and all the other moveables and utensils
they met with, and drowned the sherbet-shop with creams and
comfits. Bedreddin, astonished at the sight, said, with a pitiful
tone, Pray, good people, why do you serve me so? What is the
matter? What have I done? Was it not you, said they, who sold
this eunuch the cream-tart? Yes, replied he, I am the man, and
who says any thing against it? I defy any one to make a better.
Instead of giving him an answer, they continued to break all
round them; even the oven was not spared. The neighbours in the
mean time took the alarm; and, surprised to see fifty armed men
commit such a disorder, asked the reason of such violence.
Bedreddin said once more to the actors of it. Pray, tell me what
crime I am guilty of, to have deserved this usage? Was it not
you, replied they, who made the cream-tart you sold to the
eunuch? Yes, it was I, replied he; I maintain it is a good one,
and I do not deserve the usage you give me. However, without
listening to him, they seized his person, and snatching the cloth
off his turban, tied his hands with it behind his back; then
dragging him by force out of his shop, they marched off with him.
The mob gathering, and taking compassion on Bedreddin, took his
part, and offered opposition to Schemseddin's men; but that very
minute up came some officers from the governor of the city, who
dispersed the people, and favoured the carrying off of Bedreddin;
for Schemseddin had in the mean time gone to the governor's house
to acquaint him with the order he had given, and to demand the
interposition of force to favour the execution. The governor, who
commanded all Syria in the name of the sultan of Egypt, was loath
to refuse any thing to his master's vizier; so that Bedreddin was
carried off, notwithstanding his cries and tears. It was needless
for him to ask, by the way, those who forced him off, what fault
had been found with his cream-tart, as they gave him no answer.
In short, they carried him to the tents, and detained him till
Schemseddin returned from the governor of Damascus's house.

Upon the vizier's return, Bedreddin Hassan was brought before
him: My lord, said Bedreddin, with tears in his eyes, pray do me
the favour to let me know wherein I have displeased you. Why, you
wretch! said the vizier, was it not you who made the cream-tart
you sent me? I own I am the man, replied Bedreddin; but pray what
crime is that? I will punish you according to your deserts, said
Schemseddin: it shall cost you your life for sending me such a
sorry tart. Good God, cried Bedreddin, what news is this? Is it a
capital crime to make a bad creamtart? Yes, said the vizier, and
you are to expect no mercy from me. While this interview lasted,
the ladies, who were hid, observed Bedreddin narrowly, and
readily knew him, though he had been so long absent. They were so
transported with joy, that they swooned away, and, when they
recovered, would fain have run and fallen upon Bedreddin's neck;
but the promise they had made to the vizier, not to discover
themselves, restrained the tender emotions of love and nature.

Schemseddin, having resolved to set out that very night, ordered
the tents to be struck, and the necessary preparations to be made
for his journey. As for Bedreddin, he ordered him to be put into
a chest or box well locked, and laid on a camel. When every thing
was got ready, the vizier and his retinue began their march, and
travelled all that night and the next day without stopping. In
the evening they halted, when Bedreddin was taken out of his cage
in order to be served with necessary refreshments, but still
carefully kept at a distance from his mother and wife; and,
during the whole expedition, which lasted twenty days, he was
served in the same manner. When they arrived at Cairo, and had
encamped in the neighbourhood of that place, Schemaeddin called
for Bedreddin, gave orders in his presence to a carpenter to get
some wood with all expedition, and make a stake. Heyday! said
Bedreddin, what do you mean to do with a stake? Why, to nail you
to it, replies Schemseddin; then to have you carried through all
the quarters of the town, that the people may have the spectacle
of a worthless pastry-cook who makes cream-tarts without pepper!
Bedreddin cried out so comically, that Schemseddin could hardly
keep his countenance: Good God, cried he, must I suffer a death,
as cruel as ignominious, for not putting pepper in a cream-tart?
Must I be rifled, and have all the godds in my house broken in
pieces, imprisoned in a chest, and at last nailed to a stake? and
all for not putting pepper in a cream-tart! Good God! who ever
heard of such a thing? Are these the actions of Mussulmen, of
persons who make professions of probity and justice, and practise
all manner of good works? With these words he shed tears; and
then renewing his complaint, No, continued he, never was man used
so unjustly, nor so severely. Is it possible they should be
capable of taking a man's life for not putting pepper in a
cream-tart? Cursed be all cream-tarts, as well as the hour in
which I was born! Would to God I had died that minute!

The disconsolate Bedreddin did not cease to pour forth his
lamentations; and when the stake was brought, and the nails to
nail him to it, he cried out bitterly at the horrid sight.
Heaven! said he, canst thou suffer me to die an ignominious and
painful death? And for what crime? Not for robbery or murder, or
renouncing my religion, but for not putting pepper in a cream-

Night being pretty far advanced, the vizier ordered Bedreddin to
be put up again in his cage, saying to him, Stay here till
to-morrow; the day shall not be spent before I give orders for
your death. The chest or cage was then carried away, and laid
upon the camel that had brought it from Damascus; at the same
time all the other camels were loaded again, and the vizier,
mounting his horse, ordered the camel that carried his nephew to
march before him, thus entering the city, with all his equipage
following. After passing through several streets, where nobody
appeared, every one being in bed, he arrived at his house, where
he ordered the chest to be taken down, but not to be opened till
further orders. While his retinue were unloading the other
camels, the vizier took Bedreddin's mother and his daughter
aside; and, addressing himself to the latter, said, God be
praised, my child, for this happy occasion of meeting your cousin
and your husband. You surely remember in what order your chamber
was on your wedding night; put every thing in the very same
situation; and, in the mean time, if your memory do not serve
you, I can supply you by a written account which I caused to be
taken upon that occasion; and leave the rest to me.

The beautiful lady went joyfully about the orders of her father,
who at the same time began to put things in the hall in the same
order they were in when Bedreddin was there with the sultan of
Egypt's hunch-backed groom. As he went over his manuscript, his
domestics placed every moveable accordingly. The throne was not
forgotten, nor the lighted wax-candles. When every thing was put
to rights in the hall, the vizier went into his daughter's
chamber, and put Bedreddin's clothes, with the purse of sequins,
in their proper place. This done, he said to the beautiful lady,
Undress yourself, my child, and go to bed. As soon as Bedreddin
enters the room, complain of his being from you so long, and tell
him, that when you awaked, you were astonished you did not find
him by you. Press him to come to bed again; and to-morrow morning
you will divert your mother-in-law and me by telling us what has
passed between you and him. The vizier went from his daughter's
apartment, and left her to undress and go to bed.

Schemseddin ordered all his domestics to leave the hall, except
two or three, whom he ordered to remain. These he commanded to go
and take Bedreddin out of the chest, to strip him to his shirt
and drawers, conduct him in that condition to the hall, leave him
there all alone, and shut the door upon him. Bedreddin, though
overwhelmed with grief, had been asleep all the while; insomuch
that the vizier's domestics had taken him put of the chest, and
stripped him, before he awaked, and carried him so suddenly into
the hall, that they did not give him time to bethink himself
where he was. When he found himself alone in the hall, he looked
round, and the objects of his sight recalling to his memory the
circumstances of his marriage, he perceived with astonishment
that it was the same hall where he had seen the sultan's groom of
the stables. His surprise was still greater, when, approaching
softly to the door of a chamber which he found open, he espied
his clothes in the very place where he remembered to have left
them on his wedding-night. My God! said he, rubbing his eyes, am
I asleep or awake?

His wife, who in the mean time was diverting herself with his
astonishment, suddenly opened the curtains of her bed; and,
bending her head forward, My dear lord, said she, with a tender
air, what do you there? Pr'ythee come to bed again; you have been
out of it a long time. I was strangely surprised, when I awaked,
at not finding you by me. Bedreddin's countenance changed when he
perceived that the lady who spoke to him was the charming person
he had lain with before; he therefore entered the room; but,
calling to mind all that had passed for an interval of ten years,
and not being able to persuade himself that it could have
happened in one night, he went to the place where his clothes and
the purse of sequins lay, and, after examining them very
carefully, By Heaven, cried he, these are things that I can by no
means comprehend! The lady, who enjoyed his confusion, said, Once
more, I pray you, my lord, come to bed again; why do you stand?
He then stepped towards the bed, and said to her, Pray, madam,
tell me, is it long since I left you? The question, answered she,
surprises me. Did you not rise from me but now? Your thoughts are
surely very busy. Madam, replied Bedreddin, I do assure you that
my thoughts are not very easy. I remember, indeed, to have been
with you; but I remember, at the same time, that I have since
lived ten years at Damascus. Now, if I was actually in bed with
you this night, I cannot have been from you so long; these two
things are inconsistent. Pray tell me what to think; whether my
marriage with you be an illusion, or whether my absence from you
be only a dream, Yes, my lord, cried she; doubtless you were
light-headed when you thought you were at Damascus. Upon this
Bedreddin laughed heartily, and said, What a comical fancy is
this! I assure you, madam, this dream of mine will be very
pleasant to you. Do but imagine, if you please, that I was at the
gate of Damascus in my shirt and drawers, as I am here now; that
I entered the town with the halloo of a mob who followed and
insulted me; that I fled into a pastry-cook's, who adopted me,
taught me his trade, and left me all he had when he died; and
that after his death I kept a shop. In fine, madam, I had a great
number of other adventures too tedious to recount; and all I can
say is, that it was not amiss that I awaked, for they were going
to nail me to a stake. Oh, Lord, and for what (cried the lady,
feigning astonishment) would they have used you so cruelly? You
must certainly have committed some enormous crime. Not in the
least, replied Bedreddin; it was nothing in the world but a mere
trifle, the most ridiculous thing you can think of. All the crime
I was charged with, was selling a cream-tart that had no pepper
in it. As for that matter, said the beautiful lady, laughing
heartily, I must say they did you great injustice. Ah, madam,
replied he, that was not all; for this cursed cream-tart was
every thing in my shop broken to pieces, and myself bound,
fettered, and flung into a chest, where I lay so close, that
methinks I am there still. In fine, a carpenter was sent for, and
he was ordered to get ready a stake for me; but, thanks be to
God, all these things are no more than a dream.

Bedreddin was not easy all night; he awaked from time to time,
and put the question to himself, whether he dreamed or was awake.
He distrusted his felicity; and to ascertain whether it was real
or not, opened the curtains, and looked round the room. I am not
mistaken, said he; this is the same chamber which I entered,
instead of the hunch-backed groom of the stables, and am now in
bed with the fair lady who was designed for him. Day-light, which
then appeared, had not yet dispelled his uneasiness, when the
vizier Schemseddin, his uncle, knocked at the door, and went to
bid him good-morrow.

Bedreddin was extremely surprised to see, on a sudden, a man whom
he knew so well, and who now appeared with a quite different air
from that with which he pronounced the terrible sentence of death
against him. Ah! cried Bedreddin, it was you who condemned me so
unjustly to a manner of death the thoughts of which make me
shrink still; and all for a cream-tart without pepper. The vizier
laughed heartily; but, to put him out of suspense, told him how,
by the ministry of a genius, (for Bossu's relation had made him
suspect the adventure) he had been at his house, and had married
his daughter instead of the sultan's groom of the stables; he
then acquainted him that he had discovered him to be his nephew
by a book written by the hand of Noureddin Ali, and, pursuant to
that discovery, had gone from Cairo to Balsora in quest of him.
My dear nephew, added he, with embraces and all the marks of
tenderness, I ask your pardon for all I have made you undergo
since I discovered you: I had a mind to bring you to my house
before I told you your happiness, which ought now to be so much
the dearer to you as it has cost you so much perplexity. To atone
for all your afflictions, comfort yourself with the joy of being
in the company of those who ought to be dearest to you. While you
are dressing yourself, I shall acquaint your mother, who is
beyond measure impatient to see you; and will likewise bring to
you your son, whom you saw at Damascus, and for whom you showed
so much affection without knowing him. No words are sufficient to
express the joy of Bedreddin when he saw his mother and his son.
These three embraced, and showed all the transports which love
and tenderness can inspire. The mother spoke to Bedreddin in the
most moving terms; she mentioned the grief she had felt for his
long absence, and the tears she had shed. Little Agib, instead of
flying his father's embraces as at Damascus, received them with
ail the marks of pleasure; while his father, divided between two
objects so worthy of his love, thought he could not give
sufficient proofs of his affection.

In the mean time Schemseddin went to the palace to give an
account of the happy success of his travels to the sultan, who
was so charmed with the recital, that he ordered it to be taken
down in writing, and to be preserved among the archives of his
kingdom. After Schemseddin's return to his house, having prepared
a noble feast, he sat down at the table with his family, and all
his household passed the day in social conviviality.

The vizier Giafar having made an end of the story of Bedreddin
Hassan, told the Caliph Haroun Alraschid, that this was what he
had to relate to his majesty. The caliph found the story so
surprising, that, without further hesitation, he granted his
slave Rihan's pardon, and to condole the young man for the grief
of having unhappily deprived himself of a woman whom he loved so
tenderly, he married him to one of his slaves, bestowed liberal
gifts upon him, and entertained him until he died.

But, sir, said Scheherazade, observing that day began to appear,
though the story I have how told you be agreeable, I have one
that is even much more so. If your majesty will please to hear it
the next night, I am certain you will be of the same mind.
Schahriar rose without giving any answer, and was in a quandary
what to do. The good sultaness, said he within himself, tells
very long stories; and when once she begins one, there is no
refusing to hear it out. I cannot tell whether I shall put her to
death to-day or not. No, surely not, I will do nothing rashly:
the story she promises is perhaps more diverting than those she
has yet told, and I will not deprive myself of the pleasure of
hearing it. Dinarzade did not fail to awake the sultaness of the
Indies, who thus commenced her story.


There was in former times at Casgar, upon the utmost borders of
Tartary, a tailor who had a pretty wife, whom he ardently loved,
and by whom he was loved in return. One day, as he sat at work, a
little hunch-back my lord came and sat down at the shop-door,
began singing, at same time playing upon a tabor. The tailor was
pleased to hear him, and had a strong mind to take him to his
house to make his wife merry: This little fellow, said he to his
wife, will divert us both very agreeably. In fine, he invited my
lord, who readily accepted of the invitation; the tailor then
shut up his shop, and conducted him in. The little gentleman
being arrived at the tailor's house, his wife covered the table,
and they sat down to sup on a good large dish of fish; but as
they ate heartily, the little crooked gentleman unluckily
swallowed a large bone, of which he died in a few minutes,
notwithstanding all the tailor and his wife could do to prevent
it. Both were mightily frightened at the accident, especially as
it happened in their house; and there was reason to fear, that if
the justiciary magistrates should hear of it, they would be
punished as assassins. The husband, however, found an expedient
to get rid of the corpse: recollecting that there was a Jewish
doctor who lived just by, he formed a project, to execute which,
his wife and he took the corpse, the one by the feet and the
other by the head, and carried it to the physician's house. They
knocked at the door, from which ascended a steep pair of stairs
to his chamber. As soon as they bad knocked, the servant-maid
came down without any light; and, opening the door, asked what
they wanted. Pr'ythee, go up again, said the tailor, and tell
your master we have brought him a man that is very sick, and
wants his advice. Here, putting a piece of money into her hand,
give him that beforehand, to convince him that we have no mind to
make him lose his labour. While the servant was gone up to
acquaint her master with the welcome news, the tailor and his
wife nimbly conveyed the hunch-backed corpse to the head of the
stairs; and, leaving it there, ran off.

In the mean time, the maid, having told the doctor that a man and
a woman staid for him at the door, desiring he would come down
and look upon a sick man they had brought with them, and the maid
clapping the money she had received into his hand, the doctor was
transported with joy; being paid beforehand, he thought it was a
good job, and should not be neglected. Light, light! cried he to
the maid; follow me nimbly. However, without staying for the
light, he got to the stair-head in such haste, that stumbling
against the corps, he gave it such a kick, as made it tumble down
quiite to the stair-foot, and with difficulty saved himself. A
light, a light! cried he to the maid, quick, quick! at last the
maid came with a light, and he went down stairs with her; but
when he gav that the stumbling-block he had kicked down was a
dead man, he was so frightened, that he invoked Moses, Aaron,
Joshua, and Esdras, and all the other prophets of his law.
Unhappy man that I am! said he, what induced me to come down
without a light? I have e'en made an end of the fellow who was
brought to me to be cured? I am undoubtedly the cause of his
death, and unless, Esras's ass[Footnote: Here the Arabian author
ridicules the Jews: this ass is that which, as the Mahometans
believe, Esdras rode upon when he came from the Babylonian
captivity to Jerusalem.] comes to assist me, I nm ruined: mercy
on me, they will be here instantly, and drag me from my house as
a murderer! But, notwithstanding the perplexity and jeopardy he
was in, he had the precaution to shut his door, lest any one
passing by in the street should observe the mischance, of which
he reckoned himself the author. He then took the corpse into his
wife's chamber, upon which she swooned away. Alas! cried she, we
are utterly ruined! undone! undone! unless we fall upon some
expedient or other to turn the corpse out of our house this
night! Beyond all question, if we harbour it till morning, our
lives must pay for it. What a sad mischance is this! Why, how did
you kill this man? That is not the question, replied the Jew; our
business now is to find out a remedy for such a shocking
accident. They then consulted together how to get rid of the
corpse that night. The doctor racked his brain in vain; he could
not think of any stratagem to get clear: but his wife, who was
more fertile in invention, said, there is a thought come into my
head; let us carry.the corpse to the leads of our house, and
tumble it down the chimney into the house of the Mussulman, our
next neighbour. This Mussulman, or Turk, was one of the sultan's
purveyors for furnishing oil, butter, and all sorts of fat,
tallow, &c. and had a magazine in his house, in which the rats
and mice made prodigious havoe.

The Jewish doctor approving the proposed expedient, his wife and
he took the little hunch-back up to the roof of the house; and,
clapping ropes under his arm-pits, let him down the chimney into
the purveyor's chamber so softly and dexterously, that he stood
upright against the wall as if he had been alive. When they found
he stood firm, they pulled up the ropes, and left the gentleman
in that posture. They were scarcely got into their chamber, when
the purveyor went into his, being just come from a wedding feast,
with a lantern in his hand. He was mightily surprised, when, by
the light of his lantern, he descried a man standing upright in
his chimney; but being a stout man, and apprehending it was a
thief or a robber, he took up a large cane; and, making straight
up to the hunch-back, Ah, said he, I thought it was the rats and
the mice that ate my butter and tallow! and it is you that come
down the chimney to rob me, is it? I question if ever you come
back again on the same errand? This said, he fell foul of the
man, and gave him a good many swinging thwacks with his cane:
upon which the corpse fell down, running its nose against the
ground, and the purveyor redoubled his blows: but, observing that
the body did not move, he stood to consider a little; when,
perceiving it was a corpse, fear succeeded his anger. Wretched
man that I am! said he; what have I done? I have killed a man!
alas, I have carried my revenge too far! good God, unless thou
pityest me, my life is gone! Cursed, ten thousand times accursed,
be the fat and the oil that gave occasion to the commission of so
criminal an action. In fine, he stood pale and thunder-struck; he
thought he saw the officers already come to drag him to condign
punishment, and could not think what resolution to take.

The sultan of Casgar's purveyor did not observe the little
gentleman's hunch when he was beating him, but as soon as he did,
he threw out a thousand imprecations against him. Ah, you crooked
hunch-back! cried he; would to God you had robbed me of all my
fat, and I had not found you here! had it been so, I would not
have been now so much perplexed for the sake of you and your
nasty hunch. Oh! the stars that twinkle in the heavens give light
to none but me in this dangerous Juncture! As soon as he had
uttered these words, he took the little crooked corpse upon his
shoulders, and carried it out of doors to the end of the street,
where he set it upright against a shop, and then trudged home
again without looking behind him.

A few minutes before the break of day, a Christian merchant, who
was very rich, and furnished the sultan's palace with most things
it wanted; this merchant, having sat up all night debauching,
stepped out of his house to go to bathe. Though he was drunk, he
was sensible that the night was far spent, and that the people
would quickly be called to the morning prayers, which begin at
break of day; he therefore quickened his pace to get in time to
the bath, lest a Turk, meeting him in his way to the mosque,
should carry him to prison for a drunkard. When he came to the
end of the street, he stopped on some necessary occasion, and
leaned against the shop where the sultan's purveyor had put the
hunch-backed corpse; but the corpse being jostled, tumbled upon
the merchant's back. The merchant thinking it was a robber that
came to attack him, knocked him down with a hearty box on the
ear, and, after redoubling his blows, cried out, Thieves! The
outcry alarmed the watch, who came up immediately; and finding a
Christian beating a Turk, (for crump-back was of our religion),
What reason have you, said he, to abuse a Mussulman after this
rate? He would have robbed me, replied the merchant, and jumped
upon my back with intent to take me by the throat. If he did,
said the watch, you have revenged yourself sufficiently; come,
get off him. At the same time he stretched out his hand to help
little crump-back up: but observing that he was dead, Ah!
hey-day! said he, is it thus that a Christian dares to
assassinate a Mussulman? So he laid hold of the Christian, and
carried him to the sheriff's house, where he was kept till the
judge was up, and ready to examine him. In the mean time, the
Christian merchant grew sober, and the more he reflected upon his
adventure, the less could he conceive how such single fisty-cuffs
could kill the man. The judge having heard the report of the
watch, and viewed the corpse, which they had taken care to bring
to his house, interrogated the Christian merchant, who could not
deny the crime, though he had not committed it. But the judge
considering that little crump-back belonged to the sultan, (for
he was one of his buffoons) would not put the Christian to death
till he knew the sultan's pleasure. For this end he went to the
palace, and acquainted the sultan with what had happened, and
received from him this answer, I have no mercy to show to a
Christian, who kills a Mussulman; go do your office. Upon this
the judge ordered a gibbet to be erected, and sent criers all
over the city to proclaim that they were about to hang a
Christian for killing a Mussulman.

In fine, the merchant was brought out of gaol to the foot of the
gallows; and the hangman, having put the rope about his neck, was
going to throw him off, when the sultan's purveyor pushed through
die crowd, made up to the gibbet, calling to the hangman to stop,
for that the Christian had not committed the murder, but himself.
The sheriff who attended the execution immediately put
interrogatories to the purveyor, who told him every circumstance
of his killing the little crump-back, and conveying his corpse to
the place where the merchant found him. You were about, added he,
to put to death an innocent person; for how can he be guilty of
the death of a man who was dead before he saw him? My burden is
sufficient in having killed a Turk, without loading my conscience
with the additional charge of the death of a Christian who is not

The sultan of Casgar's purveyor having publicly charged himself
with the death of the little hunch-backed man, the sheriff could
not avoid doing justice to the merchant. Let the Christian go,
said he, and hang this man in his room, since it appears by his
own confession that he is guilty. Whereupon the hangman released
the merchant, and clapped the rope round the purveyor's neck; but
just as he was going to pull him up, he heard the voice of the
Jewish doctor, earnestly entreating him to suspend the execution,
and make room for him to throw himself at the foot of the
gallows. When he appeared before the judge, My lord, said he,
this Mussulman you are going to hang is not guilty: the crime
rests with me. Last night a man and a woman, unknown to me, came
to my house with a sick man they had brought along with them; and
knocking at my door, my maid went and opened it without a light,
and received from them a piece of money, with a commission to
come and desire me, in their names, to step down and look upon
the sick person. While she was delivering her message to me, they
conveyed the sick person to the stair-head, and then disappeared.
I went down, without staying for my servant to light a candle,
and in the dark happened to stumble upon the sick person, and
kicked him down stairs. In fine, I saw he was dead, and that it
was the crooked Mussulman, whose death you are now about to
avenge. So my wife and I took the corpse, and, after conveying it
up to the leads of our house, moved it to the roof of the
purveyor's house, our next neighbour, and let it down the chimney
into the chamber. The purveyor, finding it in his house, took the
little man for a thief, and, after beating him, concluded he had
killed him; but that it was not so, you will be convinced by this
my deposition; so that I am the only author of the murder: and
though it was committed undesignedly, I have resolved to expiate
my crime by keeping clear of the charge of the death of two
Mussulmen, and hinder you from executing the sultan's purveyor,
whose innocence I have now revealed. So pray dismiss him, and put
me in his place, for I alone am the cause of the death of the
little man.

The chief justice being persuaded that the Jewish doctor was the
murderer, gave orders to the executioner to seize him, and
release the purveyor. Accordingly the doctor was just going to be
hung up, when the tailor appeared, crying to the executioner to
hold his hand, and make room for him, that he might come and make
his confession to the lord justice; which being done, My lord,
said he to the judge, you have narrowly escaped taking away the
lives of three innocent persons, but if you will have patience to
hear me, I will discover to you the real murderer of the
crook-backed man. If his death is to be expiated by another, that
must be mine. Yesterday evening, as I was at work in my shop, and
pretty merry, the little hunch-back came to my door half drunk,
and sat down before it. He began to sing, so I invited him to
pass the evening at my house. Accordingly, he accepted of the
invitation, and went with me. We sat down to supper, and I gave
him a plate of fish; but, in eating, a bone stuck in his throat;
and though my wife and I did our utmost to relieve him, he died
in a few minutes. His death affected us extremely; and from fear
of being charged with it, we carried the corpse to the Jewish
doctor's house, and knocked at the door. The maid coming down and
opening it, I desired her to go up forthwith, and ask her master
to come down and give his advice to a sick person that we had
brought along with us; and withal, to encourage him, I charged
her to give him a piece of money, which I put into her hand. When
she was gone up, I carried hunch-back up stairs, laid him upon
the uppermost step, and then my wife and I made the best of our
way home. The doctor, in coming down, kicked the corpse down
stairs, and thereupon he supposed himself to be the author of his
death. Now, this being the case, continued he, release the
doctor, and let me die in his room.

The chief justice, and all the spectators, could not sufficiently
admire the strange emergencies that ensued upon the death of the
little crooked gentleman. Let the Jewish doctor go, said the
judge, and hang up the tailor, since he confesses the crime. It
is certain this history is very uncommon, and deserves to be
recorded in letters of gold. The executioner having dismissed the
doctor, made every thing ready to tie up the tailor. While the
executioner was making ready to hang up the tailor, the sultan of
Casgar, wanting the company of his crooked jester, asked where he
was. One of his officers answered, The hunch-back, sir, whom you
inquire after, got drunk last night, and, contrary to his custom,
slipped out of the palace, went a sauntering into the city, and
was this morning found dead. A man was brought before the chief
justice, and charged with the murder of him; but as he was going
to be hanged, up came a man, and after him another, who took the
charge upon themselves, and cleared each other. The examination
has continued a long while, and the judge is now interrogating a
third man who avows himself the real author of the murder.

Upon this intelligence, the sultan of Casgar sent a hussar to the
place of execution. Go, said he to the messenger, make all the
haste you can, bring the arraigned persons before me immediately,
with the corpse of poor crump-back, that I may see him once more.
Accordingly the hussar went, and happened to arrive at the place
of execution at the time when the executioner was going to tie up
the tailor. He cried aloud to the executioner to suspend the
execution. The hangman, knowing the hussar, did not dare to
proceed, but untied the tailor; and then the hussar acquainted
the judge with the sultan's pleasure. The judge obeyed, and went
straight to the palace, accompanied by the tailor, the Jewish
doctor, and the Christian merchant; causing four of his men to
carry the hunch corpse along with him. The judge, on appearing
before the sultan, threw himself at the prince's feet, and, after
recovering himself, gave him a faithful relation of what he knew
of the story of the crump-backed man. The sultan found the story
so uncommon, that he ordered his private historians to write it
with all its circumstances. Then addressing himself to the
audience, Did you ever hear, said he, such a surprising story as
has happened on account of my little crooked buffoon? The
Christian merchant then, after falling down, and saluting the
earth with his forehead, spoke in the following manner: Most
puisant monarch, said he, I know a story even more astonishing
than that you have now spoken off; and if your majesty will give
me leave, I will tell it you. The circumstances are such, that
nobody can hear them without being moved. Well, said the sultan,
I give you leave; and the merchant went on as follows.


Sir, before I commence the recital of the story you have allowed
me to tell, I beg leave to acquaint you, that I have not the
honour to be born in a place that pertains to your majesty's
empire. I am a stranger, born at Cairo in Egypt, one of the
Coptic nations, and a professor of the Christian religion: my
father was a broker, and got a good estate, which he left me at
his death: I followed his example, and took up the same
employment. One day at Cairo, as I was standing in the public
resort for the corn-merchants, there came up to me a handsome
young man, well clad, and mounted upon an ass. He saluted me, and
pulling out his handkerchief, where he had a sample of sesame and
Turkey corn, asked me what a bushel of such sesame would fetch? I
examined the corn which the young man showed me, and told him it
was worth a hundred drams of silver per bushel. 'Pray, said he,
look out for some merchant to take it at that price, and come to
me at the Victory-gate, where you will see a hut at a distance
from the houses.' He then left me, and I showed the sample to
several merchants, who told me they would take as much as I could
spare at an hundred and ten drams per bushel; so that I made an
account to get ten drams per bushel for my brokerage. Full of the
expectation of this profit, I went forthwith to the Victory-gate,
where I found the young merchant waiting for me, and he carried
me into his granary, which was full of sesame. He had an hundred
and fifty bushels of it, which I measured out, and, having
carried them off upon asses, sold them for five thousand drams of
silver. Now, out of this sum, said the young man, five hundred
drams fall to you, at the rate of ten drams per bushel. I order
you to take it, and apply it to your own use; and as for the
rest, which is mine, do you take it out of the merchant's hand,
and keep it till I call for it, as I nave no occasion for it at
present. I made answer, that it should be ready for him whenever
he pleased; and so took leave of him, with a grateful sense of
his generosity.

In a month after, he came and asked for his four thousand five
hundred drams of silver. I told him they were ready, and should
be told down to him in a minute: he was mounted on his ass;, so I
desired him to alight, and do me the honour to eat a mouthful
with me before he received his money. No, said he, I cannot
alight at present; I have urgent business that obliges me to be
at a place hard by here; but I will return this way, and take the
money, which I desire you would have in readiness. This said, he
disappeared; and I still expected his return, but it was a full
month before he came again. I thought with myself, the young man
reposes a great trust in me, leaving so great a sum in my hands
without knowing me; another would have been afraid lest I should
have run away with it. To be short, he came again at the end of
the third month, and was still mounted on his ass, but finer in
his clothes than before. As soon as I saw him, I entreated him to
alight, and asked him if he would not take his money? It is no
matter for that, said he, with a pleasant easy air, I know it is
in good hands; I will come and take it when all my other money is
gone: adieu, continued he, I will come again towards the latter
end of the week. He then clapped spurs to his ass, and away he
went. Well, thought I to myself, he says he will see me towards
the latter end of the week, but it is likely I may not see him
for a great while; will go and make the most of his money, and
get a good penny by it.

As it happened, I was not out of my conjecture, for it was a full
year before I saw my young merchant again. Then he appeared
indeed with richer apparel than before, but very thoughtful. I
asked him to do me the honour to walk into my house: for this
time, replied he, I will go in; but upon this condition, that you
shall put yourself to no extraordinary charge upon my account.
That shall be as you please, said I; only do me the favour to
alight and walk in. He accordingly complied, and I gave orders
for some sort of entertainment; and, while that was getting ready
we fell into discourse together. When the victuals were got
ready, we sat down at table. When he ate the first mouthful, I
observed he fed himself with the left hand, and not with the
right; I could not tell what to think of it; I thought within
myself, ever since I knew this young man, he always appeared very
polite: is it possible he can do this out of contempt? What can
the matter be that he does not make use of his right hand? After
we had done eating, and every thing was taken away, we sat down
upon a sofa, when I presented him with a lozenge that was
excellent for giving a sweet breath, but he still took it with
his left hand. Then I accosted him in this manner: Sir, pray
pardon the liberty I take in asking you what reason you have for
not making use of your right hand; it is likely you have some
disorder in that hand. Instead of answering, he fetched a deep
sigh, and pulling out his right arm, which he had hitherto kept
under his garment, showed me, to my great astonishment, that his
hand had been cut off. Doubtless you were alarmed, said he, to
see me feed myself with the left hand; but I leave you to judge
whether it was in my power to do otherwise. May one ask you; said
I, by what mischance it was that you lost your right hand? Upon
that he fell into tears, and, after wiping his eyes, gave me the
following relation.

You must know, said he, that I am a native of Bagdad, the son of
a rich father, the most noted man in that city both for quality
and riches. I had scarcely launched into the world, when falling
into the company of travellers, and hearing wonders told of
Egypt, especially of Grand Cairo, I was moved by their discourse,
and took a longing desire to travel thither; but my father was
then alive, and had not given me leave. In fine, he died, and
thereupon, being my own master, I resolved to take a journey to
Cairo. I laid out a large sum of money upon several sorts of fine
stuffs of Bagdad and Moussol, and then undertook my journey.

Arriving at Cairo, I went to the khan called the khan of Mesrour,
and there took lodgings, with a warehouse for my bales, which I
brought along upon camels: this done, I retired to my chamber to
rest myself after the fatigue of my journey, after ordering my
servants to buy some provisions, and dress them; After I had
eaten, I went and saw the castle, some mosques, public places,
and other things that were curious. Next day I dressed myself
handsomely, and ordered some of the finest and richest of my
bales to be selected, and carried by my slaves to the Circassian
bezestein [Footnote: A bezestcin is a public place, where silk;
stuffs and other precious things are exposed to sale.], whither I
went myself. I no sooner got thither than I was surrounded by
brokers and criers who had heard of my arrival. I gave patterns
of my stuffs to several of the criers, who carried and showed
them all over the bezestein; but none of the merchants offered
nearly so much as prime cost and carriage. This vexed me, and the
criers observing I was dissatisfied, If you will take our advice,
said they, we will put you in a way of selling your stuffs
without losing by them. The brokers and criers having thus
promised to put me in a way of losing nothing by my goods, I
asked them what course they would have me take? Divide your
goods, said they, among several merchants, and they will sell
them by retail; and twice a week, that is, on Mondays and
Tuesdays, you may receive what money they take: by this means you
will gain instead of losing, and the merchants will gain by you:
in the mean time, you will have time to take your pleasure, and
walk up and down the town, or to go upon the Nile. I took their
advice, and carried them to my warehouse, from whence I brought
all my goods to the bezestein, and divided them among the
merchants, whom they represented as most reputable and able to
pay: the merchants gave me a formal receipt before witnesses,
stipulating withal that I should not make any demands upon them
for the first month.

Having thus regulated my affairs, my mind was taken up with other
sort of things than ordinary pleasures. I contracted friendship
with divers persons of almost the same age with myself, who took
care I did not want company. The first month expired, I began to
visit my merchants twice a week, taking along with me a public
officer to inspect their books of sale, and a banker to see they
paid me in good money, as well as to regulate the value of the
several species; so that every pay-day I had a good sum of money
to carry home to my lodging. I went nevertheless on the other
days to pass the morning, sometimes at a merchant's house, and
sometimes at some other person's. In fine, I diverted myself in
conversing with one or other, and seeing what passed in the

One Monday, as I sat in the shop of a merchant whose name was
Bedreddin, a lady of quality, as one might easily perceive by her
air, her habit, and her being attended by a female slave in neat
clothes, came into the shop, and sat down by me: her external
appearance, joined to a natural grace that shone through all she
did, inspired me with a longing desire to know her better. I was
at a loss to know whether she observed that I took pleasure in
gazing upon her, but she tucked up the crape that hung down over
the muslin which covered her face, and gave me an opportunity of
seeing her large black eyes, which perfectly charmed me. In fine,
she screwed my love to its height by the agreeable sound of her
voice, her genteel graceful carriage in saluting the merchant,
and asking him how he did since she saw him last. After
entertaining him some time upon indifferent things, she informed
him that she wanted a sort of stuff with a ground of gold; that
he came to his shop as affording the best choice of any in all
the bezestein, and if he had what she asked for, he would oblige
her by showing them. Bedreddin showed her several pieces, one of
which she pitched upon, and he asked for it eleven hundred drams
of silver. I agree, said she, to give you so much, but I have not
money enough about me, so I hope you will give me credit till
to-morrow, and in the mean time allow me to carry off the stuff.
I shall not fail, added she, to send you to-morrow the eleven
hundred drams I agreed for. Madam, said Bedreddin, I would give
you credit with all my heart, and allow you to carry off the
stuff, if it were mine, but it belongs to that young man you see
here, and this is the day on which we state our accounts. Why,
said the lady in a surprise, why do you offer to use me so? Am
not I a customer to your shop? and as often as I have bought of
you, and carried home the things without paying ready money for
them, did I ever fail to send you your money next morning? Madam,
said the merchant, it is true, but this very day I have occasion
for money. There, said she, throwing the piece at him, take your
stuff; may God confound you and all other merchants: you are all
of you of one kidney; you respect nobody. She then rose up in a
passion, and walked out.

When I saw that the lady walked off, I found in my breast a great
concern for her; so I called her back, saying, Madam, do me the
favour to return; perhaps I can find a way to content you both.
In fine, back she came, saying, it was for the love of me that
she complied. Mr Bedreddin, said I to the merchant, what do you
say, you must have for this stuff that belongs to me? I must have
eleven hundred drams; I cannot take less. Give it to the lady
then, said I, let her take it home with her; I allow a hundred
drams profit to yourself, and shall now write you a note,
empowering you to discount that sum upon the other goods you have
of mine. In fine, I wrote, signed, and delivered the note, and
then handed the stuff to the lady: Madam said I, you may take the
stuff with you, and as for the money, you may either send it
to-morrow or next day; or, if you will, accept the stuff as a
present from me. I beg your pardon, sir, said she, I mean nothing
of that; you use me so very civilly and obligingly, that I ought
never to show my face in the world again, if I did not show my
gratitude to you. May God reward you in enlarging your fortune;
may you live many years when I am dead; may the gate of heaven be
opened to you when you remove to the other world, and may all the
city proclaim your generosity.

These words inspired me with some assurance: Madam, said I, I
desire no other reward for any service I have done to you than
the happiness of seeing your face; that will repay me with
interest. I had no sooner spoken than she turned towards me, took
off the muslin that covered her face, and discovered to my eyes a
killing beauty. I was so struck with the surprising sight, that I
could not express my thoughts to her. I could have looked upon
her for ever without being cloyed; but fearing any one should
take notice, she quickly covered her face, and pulling down the
crape, took up the piece of stuff, and went away, leaving me in a
quite different sort of temper from what I was in when I came to
the shop. I continued for some time in great disorder and
perplexity. Before I took leave of the merchant, I asked him if
he knew the lady? Yes, said he, she is the daughter of an emir,
who left her an immense fortune at his death.

I went home, and sat down to supper, but could not eat, neither
could I shut my eyes during the night; I thought it the longest
night in my lifetime. As soon as it was day, I got up in hopes to
see once more the object that disturbed my repose; and, to engage
her affection, I dressed myself yet more nicely than I had done
the day before. I had but just got to Bedreddin's shop, when I
saw the lady coming in more magnificent apparel than before, and
attended by her slave. When she came in, she did not regard the
merchant; but, addressing herself to me, Sir, said she, you see I
am punctual to my word. I am come on purpose to pay the sum you
were so kind as to pass your word for yesterday, though you had
no knowledge of me: such an uncommon piece of generosity I shall
never forget. Madam, said I, you had no occasion to be so hasty;
I was well satisfied as to my money, and am sorry you should put
yourself to so much trouble about it. I had been very unjust,
answered she, if I had abused your generosity. With these words,
she put the money into my hand, and sat down by me.

Having this opportunity of conversing with her, I made the best
use of it, and mentioned to her the love I had for her; but she
rose and left me very abruptly, as if she had been angry with the
declaration I had made. I followed her with my eyes as long as
she was in sight; and as soon as she was out of sight, I took
leave of the merchant, and walked out of the bezestein, without
knowing where I went. I was musing upon this adventure, when I
felt somebody pulling me behind, and turning about to see who it
was, I had the agreeable surprise to perceive it was the lady's
slave. My mistress, said the slave, I mean the young lady you
just spoke with in the merchant's shop, wants to speak one word
with you; so if you please to give yourself the trouble to follow
me, I will conduct you. Accordingly I followed her, and found my
mistress staying for me in a banker's shop. She made me sit down
by her, and spoke to this purpose; Dear sir, said she, do not be
surprised that I left you so abruptly: I thought it not proper,
before that merchant, to give a favourable answer to the
discovery you made of your affection for me. But to speak the
truth, I was so far from being offended at it, that I was pleased
when I heard it; and I account myself infinitely happy in having
a man of true merit for my lover. I do not know what impression
the first sight of me could make upon you; but I assure you that
I no sooner saw you than I had tender thoughts of you. Since
yesterday I have thought only of what you said to me; and the
haste I made to come and find you out this morning may convince
you that I have no small regard for you. Madam, said I,
transported with love and joy, nothing can be more agreeable to
me than what I now hear; no passion can be greater than that with
which I love you; since the happy moment I cast my eyes upon you,
my eyes were dazzled with so many charms, that my heart yielded
without resistance. Do not let us trifle away the time in
needless discourse, said she, interrupting me: I make no doubt of
your sincerity, and you shall quickly be convinced of mine. Will
you do me the honour to come to my home? or, if you will, I will
come to yours. Madam, said I, I am a stranger, lodging in a khan,
which is not a proper place for the reception of a lady of your
quality and merit. It is more proper, madam, for me to come to
you at your home, if you will please to tell me where it is. The
lady complying with this desire, I live, said she, in
Devotion-street; come next Friday after noon prayers, and ask for
the house of Abbon Schamam, surnamed Bercount, late master of the
emirs; there you will find me. This said, we parted, and I passed
the next day in great impatience.

On Friday I got up betimes, and put on my best clothes, with
fifty pieces of gold in my pocket: thus prepared, I mounted an
ass, which I had bespoken the day before, and set out,
accompanied by the man that lent me the ass. When we came to
Devotion-street, I directed the owner of the ass to inquire for
the house I wanted: he accordingly inquired, and conducted me to
it. I paid him liberally, and sent him back directing him to
observe narrowly where he left me, and not to fail to come back
with the ass to-morrow morning to carry me back again.

I knocked at the door, and presently two little girl slaves,
white as snow, and neatly dressed, came and opened it. Be pleased
to come in, sir, said they, our mistress expects you impatiently;
for two days she has spoken of nothing but you. I entered the
court, and saw a great pavilion raised upon seven steps, and
surrounded with iron rails that parted it from a very pleasant
garden. Besides the trees which embellished the prospect, and
formed an agreeable shade, there was an infinite number of other
trees loaded with all manner of fruit. I was charmed with the
warbling of a great number of birds, which joined their notes to
the murmurings of a very high water-work in the middle of a
ground-plot enamelled with flowers. This water- work was a very
agreeable sight; four large gilded dragons adorned the angles of
the bason, which was of a square form; and these dragons spouted
out water clearer than rock crystal. This delicious place gave me
a charming idea of the conquest I had made. The two little slaves
conducted me into a parlour magnificently furnished, and while
one of them went to acquaint her mistress with my arrival, the
other tarried behind, and pointed out to me the ornaments of the

I did not tarry long in the hall, said the young man of Bagdad,
ere the lady I loved appeared, adorned with pearls and diamonds;
but the splendour of her eyes did far outshine that of her
jewels. Her shape, which was not now disguised by the habit usual
in the streets, was extremely fine and charming. I need not
mention with what joy we received one another; it leaves all
expression far behind it: I shall only tell you, that when the
first compliments were over, we sat both down upon a sofa, and
there entertained one another with all imaginable satisfaction.
After that, we had the most delicious messes served up to us,
and, after eating, continued our discourse till night. At night
we had excellent wine brought up, and such fruit as is apt to
promote drinking, and timed our cups to the sound of musical
instruments joined to the voices of the slaves. The lady of the
house sung herself, and by her songs screwed up my passion to the
height. In fine, I passed the night in the full enjoyment of all
manner of pleasure.

Next morning I slipped under the bolster of the bed the purse
with the fifty pieces of gold I had brought with me, and took
leave of the lady, who asked me when I would see her again?
Madam, said I, I give you my promise to return this night. She
seemed transported with my answer, and, conducting me to the
door, conjured me, at parting, to be mindful of my promise. The
same man that had carried me thither waited for me with his ass
to carry me home again; so I mounted the ass, and went straight
home, ordering the man to come to me again in the afternoon at a
certain hour; to secure which, I would not pay him till the time
came. As soon as I arrived at my lodging, my first care was to
order my folks to buy a good lamb and several sorts of cakes,
which I sent by a porter as a present to the lady. When that was
done, I minded my serious affairs till the owner of the ass came;
then I went along with him to the lady's house, and was received
by her with as much joy as before, and entertained with equal

Next morning I took leave, and left her another purse with fifty
pieces of gold. I continued to visit the lady every day, and to
leave her every time a purse of fifty pieces of gold, till the
merchants whom I employed to sell my cloth, and whom I visited
regularly twice a week, owed me nothing: In this way I became
moneyless, and even hopeless of having any more.

In this desperate condition I walked out of my lodging, not
knowing what course to take, and by chance steered towards the
castle, where there was a great crowd of people, to see the
sultan of Egypt. As soon as I came up to them, I wedged in among
the crowd, and by chance happened to stand by a cavalier well
mounted and handsomely clothed, who had upon the bow of his
saddle a bag half open, with a string of green silk hanging out
of it, I clapped my hand into the bag, concluding the silk- twist
might be the string of a purse within the bag: in the mean time,
a porter, with a load of wood upon his back, passed by the other
side of the horse, so near, that the gentleman on horse-* back

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