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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 7 out of 12

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was forced to turn his head towards him to avoid being rubbed by
the wood. In that very moment did the devil tempt me; I took the
string in one hand, and with the other laid open the mouth of the
bag, and pulled out the purse so dexterously that nobody
perceived it. The purse was heavy, therefore I did not doubt that
there was gold or silver in it. As soon as the porter had passed,
the cavalier, who probably had some suspicion of what I had done
while his head was turned, presently put his hand to his bag,
and, finding his purse gone, gave me such a blow as knocked me
down. This violence shocked all who saw it; some took hold of the
horse's bridle to stop the gentleman, and inquire what reason he
had to beat me, or how he came to treat a Mussulman after that
rate. Do not you trouble yourselves, said he, with a brisk tone;
I had reason enough for what I did; this fellow is a thief. In
fine, every one took my part, cried he was a liar, and that it
was incredible a young man like me should be guilty of so foul an
action: but while they were holding his horse by the bridle to
favour my escape, unfortunately came by the justiciary judge,
who, seeing such a crowd about the gentleman on horseback and me,
came up and asked what the matter was? Everybody reflected on the
gentleman for treating me so unjustly upon pretence of robbery.
The judge did not give ear to all that was said in my behalf, but
asked the cayalier if he suspected anybody else besides me? The
cavalier told him he did not, and gave his reasons why he
believed his suspicion not to be groundless. Upon this, the judge
ordered his followers to seize and search me, which they
presently did; and finding the purse upon me, exposed it to the
view of all the people. The shame was so great, that I could not
bear it, but swooned away; and in the meantime the judge called
for the purse. When he had got the purse in his hand, he asked
the horseman if it was his, and how much money was in it? The
cavalier knew it to be his own, and assured the judge he had put
twenty sequins into it. Upon that the judge called me before him;
Come, young man, said he, confess the truth. Was it you that took
the gentleman's purse from him? Do not put yourself to the
trouble of torture to extort confession. Then I looked down with
my eyes, thinking within myself, that if I denied the fact, they,
finding the purse about me, would convict me of a lie; so, to
avoid a double punishment, I looked up, and confessed the fact. I
had no sooner made this confession than the judge called people
to witness it, and ordered my hand to be cut off. This hard
sentence was put in execution immediately upon the spot, to the
great regret of all the spectators; nay, I observed by the
cavalier's countenance, that he was moved with pity as much as
the rest. The judge likewise would have ordered my foot to be cut
off, but I begged the cavalier to intercede for my pardon, which
he did, and obtained it. The judge being gone, the cavalier came
up to me, and holding out the purse, I see plainly, said he, that
necessity put you upon an action so disgraceful, and so unworthy
of such a handsome young man as you are. Here, take that fatal
purse, I freely give it you, and am heartily sorry for the
misfortune you have undergone. He then went away; and I being
very weak, by reason of the loss of blood, some of the good
people that lived that way had the kindness to carry me into one
of their houses, and gave me a glass of wine; they likewise
dressed my arm, and wrapped up the dismembered hand in a cloth.

If I had returned to the khan where I lodged, I should not have
found such relief as I wanted; and to offer to go to the young
lady's was running a great hazard, it being likely she would not
look upon me after such an infamous thing had befallen me. I
resolved, however, to put it to the trial; and, to tire out the
crowd that followed me, I turned down several by-streets, and at
last arrived at my lady's, very weak, and so much fatigued, that
I presently threw myself down upon a sofa, keeping my right arm
under my coat, for I took great care to conceal my misfortune.

The lady hearing of my arrival, and that I was not well, came to
me in all haste: My dear soul, said she, what is the matter with
you? Madam, said I, I have got a violent pain in my head. The
lady seemed to be mightily afflicted with my pretended illness,
and asked me to sit down, for I had got up to receive her. Tell
me, said she, how your illness came; the last time I had the
pleasure of seeing you, you was very well; there must be
something else that you conceal from me; pray, let me know what
it is. I stood silent, and, instead of an answer, tears trickled
down my cheeks. I cannot conceive, said she, what it is that
afflicts you. Have I given you any occasion to be uneasy? or do
you come on purpose to tell me you do not love me? It is not
that, madam, said I, fetching a deep sigh; your unjust suspicion
is an addition to my evil. Still I could not think of discovering
to her the true cause. When night came, supper was brought, and
she pressed me to eat; but considering I could only feed myself
with my left hand, I begged to be excused upon the plea of having
no stomach. Your stomach will come to you, said she, if you would
but discover what you so obstinately hide from me. Your
inappetency, without doubt, is only owing to the aversion you
have to a discovery. Alas! madam, said I, I find I must discover
at last. I had no sooner spoken these words than she filled me a
cup of wine: Drink that, said she, it will give you assurance. So
I reached out my left hand, and took the cup. As soon as I took
it, I redoubled my tears and sighs. Why do you sigh and cry so
bitterly? said the lady; and why do you take the cup with your
left hand instead of your right? Ah, madam, said I, excuse me, I
beseech you, I have got a swelling in my right hand. Let me see
that swelling, said she; I will open it. I desired to be excused
upon that head, alleging the tumour was not ripe enough for
opening; and drank the cupful, which was very large. In fine, the
steams of the wine, joined to my weakness and weariness, set me
asleep, and I slept very sound till next morning. In the mean
time, the lady, curious to know what ailment I had in my right
hand, lifted up my coat that covered it, and saw, to her great
astonishment, that it was cut off, and that I had brought it
along with me wrapt in a cloth. She presently apprehended my
reason for declining a discovery, notwithstanding all the
pressing instances she made, and passed the whole night in the
greatest uneasiness upon my disgrace, which she concluded had
been occasioned by the love I bore to her.

When I awaked, I observed by her countenance that she was
extremely grieved. That she might not, however, increase my
uneasiness, she said not one word. She called for jelly broth of
fowl, which she had ordered to be got ready, and made me eat and
drink to recruit my strength. After that, I offered to take leave
of her, but she declared I should not go out of her doors; though
you tell me nothing of the matter, said she, I am persuaded I am
the cause of the misfortune that has befallen you: the grief that
I feel upon that score will quickly make an end of me; but,
before I die, I must do one thing that is designed for your
advantage. She had no sooner said these words, than she called
for a public notary and witnesses, and ordered a writing to be
drawn up, conveying to me her whole estate. After this was done,
and the men despatched, she opened a large trunk, where lay all
the purses I had given her from the commencement of our amours.
There are they all entire, said she; I have not touched one of
them: here, take the key, the trunk is yours. After I had
returned her thanks for her generosity and bounty, What I do for
you, said she, is nothing at all; I shall not be satisfied unless
I die, to show how much I love you. I conjured her, by all the
powers of love, to drop such a fatal resolution; but all my
remonstrances were ineffectual: she was so afflicted to see me
have but one hand, that she sickened and died, after five or six
weeks' illness. After mourning for her death as long as was
decent, I took possession of her estate, a particular account of
which she gave me before she died; and the corn you sold for me
was part of it.

What I have now told you will induce you to excuse me for eating
with my left hand. I am greatly obliged to you for the trouble
you have given yourself on my account. I can never make
sufficient acknowledgment of your fidelity. Since God has still
given me a competent estate, notwithstanding I have spent a great
deal, I beg you to accept of the sum now in your hand as a
present from me. Over and above this, I have a proposal to make
to you, which is this: for as much as, by reason of this fatal
accident, I am obliged to depart from Cairo, I am resolved never
to see it more. So, if you please to accompany me, we shall trade
together as equal partners, and divide the profits.

I thanked the young man, said, the Christian merchant, for the
present he made me; and as to the proposal of travelling with
him, I willingly embraced it, assuring him that his interest
should always be as dear to me as my own. We accordingly get a
day for our departure, and set out upon our travels. We passed
through Syria and Mesopotamia, travelled all over Persia, and,
after stopping at several cities, came at last, sir, to your
metropolis. Some time after our arrival in this place, the young
man having formed a design of returning to Persia, and settling
there, we settled our accounts, and parted very good friends; so
he went from hence, and I continue here at your majesty's
service. This, sir, is the story I had to tell you: does not your
majesty find it yet more surprising than that of the crooked

The sultan of Casgar fell into a passion against the Christian
merchant: you are very bold, said he, to tell me a story so
little worth my hearing, and then to compare it with that of my
jester. Can you flatter yourself so far as to believe that the
trifling adventures of a young rake can make such an impression
upon me as those of my jester? Well, I am resolved to hang you
all four to revenge his death.

This said, the purveyor fell down at the sultan's feet. Sir, said
he, I humbly beseech your majesty to suspend your just wrath, and
hear my story; and if my story appears to your majesty to be
prettier than that of your jester, to pardon us all four. The
sultan having granted his request, the purveyor began his story.


Sir, a person of quality invited me yesterday to his daughter's
wedding; I went accordingly to his house at the hour appointed,
and found there a large company of doctors, ministers of justice,
and others of the best quality in the city. After the ceremony
was over, we had a splendid treat; and, among other things set
upon the table, there was a course with garlic sauce, which was
very delicious and palatable to everybody; but we observed that
one of the guests did not touch it, though it stood just before
him, and thereupon we invited him to do as we did: he conjured
us, however, not to press him upon that head. I will take care,
said he, not to touch any thing that has garlic in it; I remember
well what the tasting of such a thing cost me once before. We
entreated him to tell us what was the occasion of his aversion to
garlic; but before he had time to make answer, Is it thus, said
the master of the house, that you honour my table? This ragoo is
excellent, therefore do not you pretend to be excused from eating
of it; you must do me that favour as well as the rest. Sir, said
the gentleman, who was a Bagdad merchant, I hope you do not think
that I refuse to eat of it out of mistaken nicety; if you will
have me eat of it, I will do so; but upon this condition, that,
after eating of it, I may wash my hands, by your leave, forty
times with alcali[Footnote: This in English is called salt
wort.*], forty times more with the ashes of the same plant, and
forty times again with soap, I hope you will not take it ill that
I stipulate so, as it is in pursuance of an oath I have made
never to taste garlic without observing this rule. The master of
the house would not dispense with the merchant from eating of the
ragoo with garlic, and therefore ordered his servant to get ready
a bason of water together with alcali, the ashes of the same
plant, and soap, that the merchant might wash as often as he
pleased. When every thing was got ready, Now, said he to the
merchant, I hope you will do as we. The merchant, displeased with
the violence that was offered him, reached out his hand to take a
bit, which he put to his mouth trembling, and ate with a
reluctance that surprised us all. But the greatest surprise was,
that he had only four fingers and no thumb, which none of us
observed before, though he had eaten of other dishes. You have
lost your thumb, said the master of the house; how came that
about? It must have been occasioned by some extraordinary
accident, a relation of which will be an agreeable entertainment
to the company. Sir, replied the merchant, I have not a thumb on
either the right or left hand. He then showed us his left hand,
as well as his right. But this is not all, continued he, I have
not a great toe on either of my feet! I hope you will take my
word for it. I was maimed in this manner by an unheard-of
accident, which I am willing to relate to you, if you have the
patience to hear me. The relation will equally astonish, and
affect you with pity; but suffer me to wash my hands first. Upon
this he rose from the table, and, after washing his hands an
hundred and twenty times, took his place again, and thus

You must know, gentlemen, that, in the reign of the caliph Haroun
Alrasehid, my father lived at Bagdad, the place of my nativity,
and was reputed one of the richest merchants in the city; but,
being a man too much addicted to pleasure, one that loved an
irregular life, and neglected his private affairs, instead of
leaving me a plentiful fortune at his death, he left me in such a
condition, that all my economy was scarcely sufficient to clear
his debts. With much ado, however, I paid them all, and, through
industry and care, my little fortune began to assume a smiling

One morning as I opened my shop, a lady mounted upon a mule,
attended by an eunuch and two women slaves, stopped near my
shop-door, and, with the assistance of the eunuch, alighted.
Madam, said the eunuch, I said you would be too soon, you see
there is nobody yet in the bezestein; if you had taken my advice,
you might have saved yourself the trouble of waiting here. The
lady looked around her, and finding there was no shop open but
mine, addressed herself to me, asking leave to sit in my shop
till the rest of the merchants came; of course I could do no less
than return a civil answer, and invite the lady into my shop. She
sat down in my shop, and, observing there was nobody in the whole
bezestein save the eunuch and me, uncovered her face to take the
air; and I must say I never saw any thing so pretty in my
lifetime. I had no sooner a sight of her face than I loved her;
of course I fixed my eyes upon her, and perceived that she was
not displeased; for she gave me a full opportunity to look upon
her, and did not cover her face till she was afraid of being
taken notice of. Having let down her veil, she told me that she
wanted several sorts of the richest and finest stuffs, and asked
me if I had them? Alas! madam, said I, I am but a young man, just
beginning the world, and have not stock enough for such great
concerns; and it is a mortification to me that I have nothing to
show you such as you want: but to save you the trouble of going
from shop to shop, as soon as the merchants come, I will go, if
you please, and fetch from them what you want, with the lowest
prices; and so you may do your business without going any
further. She complied with my proposal, and entered into
discourse, which continued so much the longer, that I still made
her believe that the merchants who could furnish what she wanted
were not yet come.

I was charmed no less with her wit than I had been before with
the beauty of her face; but there was a necessity for denying
myself the pleasure of her conversation: I ran out to seek for
the stuffs she wanted, and after she had pitched upon what she
liked, we struck the price at five thousand drams of coined
silver; so I wrapped up the stuffs in a small bundle, and gave it
to the eunuch, who put it under his arm; after which, she rose
and took leave. I still continued to look after her, till she had
got to the bezestein gate; and mounted her mule again.

The lady had no sooner disappeared than I perceived that love was
the cause of great oversights; it had so engrossed all my
thoughts; that I did not recollect she had gone off without
paying the money; nor had I the consideration to ask who she was,
or where she dwelt. However, I considered that I was accountable
for a large sum to the merchants, who, perhaps, would not have
the patience to stay for their money; so I went to them, and made
the best excuse I could, pretending that I knew the lady; but
came home equally affected with love, and with the burden of such
a heavy debt.

I had desired my creditors to stay eight days for their money,
and, when the eight days were past, they did not fail to dun me;
then I intreated them to give me eight days more, which they
agreed to; and the very next day I saw the lady come to the
bezestein, mounted on her mule, with the same attendants as
before, and exactly at the same hour of the day. She came
straight to my shop. I have made you stay some time, said she,
but here is your money at last; carry it to a banker, and see
that it is all good. The eunuch, who brought me the money, went
along with me to the banker's, and we found it very right. I came
back again, and had the happiness of conversing with the lady
till all the shops in the bezestein were open: though we talked
of ordinary things, she gave them such a turn, that they appeared
new and uncommon, and convinced me that I was not mistaken in
admiring her wit.

As soon as the merchants were come, and had opened their shops, I
carried to the respective people the money due for their stuffs,
and was readily intrusted with more which the lady had desired to
see. In short, the lady took stuffs to the value of an hundred
pieces of gold, and again carried them away without paying for
them: nay, without saying one word, or informing me where she
was. I was astonished when I considered that at this rate she
left me without any security of not being troubled, if she never
came back again. She has paid me, thinks I to myself, a good
round sum, but she leaves me in the lurch for another that runs
much deeper. Surely she cannot be a cheat; it is not possible she
can have any design to inveigle me: the merchants do not know
her, and will all come upon me. In short, my love was not so
powerful as to remove the uneasiness I felt when I reflected upon
all circumstances. A whole month passed before I heard any thing
of the lady again; and during that time the alarm grew higher and
higher every day. The merchants were impatient for their money;
and, to satisfy them, I was even going to sell off all I had,
when the lady returned one morning with the same equipage as
before. Take your weights, said she, and weigh the gold I have
brought you. These words dispelled my fear, and inflamed my love.
Before we told down the money, she asked me several questions,
and particularly if I was married? I made answer, I never was.
Then reaching out the gold to the eunuch, let us have your
interposition, said she, to accommodate our matters: upon which
the eunuch fell a laughing, and, calling me aside, made me weigh
the gold. While I was weighing, the eunuch whispered in my ear, I
know by your eyes that you love this lady, and am surprised to
find you have not the assurance to disclose your love to her: she
loves you more passionately than you do her. Do you imagine that
she has any real occasion for your stuffs? She only makes an
errand to come hither, because you have inspired her with a
violent passion. Do but ask her the question; it will be your
fault if you do not marry her. It is true, said I, I have had a
love for her from the first moment I cast my eyes upon her; but I
did not aspire to the happiness of thinking my love acceptable to
her. I am entirely hers, and shall not fail to retain a grateful
sense of your good offices in that matter. In fine, I made an end
of weighing the gold, and while I was putting it into the bag,
the eunuch turned to the lady, and told her I was satisfied, that
being the word they had both agreed upon between themselves.
Presently after that, the lady rose and took leave; telling me
she would send the eunuch to me, and that I should do what he
directed me to do in her name.

I carried every one of the merchants their money, and waited some
days with impatience for the eunuch. At last he came. I
entertained him very kindly, and asked him how his mistress did?
You are, said he, the happiest lover in the world; she is quite
sick of love for you; she covets extremely to see you; and were
she mistress of her own conduct, would not fail to come to you,
and willingly pass every moment of her life in your company. Her
noble mien and graceful carriage, said I, evinced that she was a
lady beyond the common level. The judgement you have formed upon
that head, said the eunuch, is very just; she is the favourite of
Zobeide, the caliph's lady, who has brought her up from her
infancy, and intrusts her with all her affairs. Having a mind to
marry, she has declared to Zobeide that she has cast her eyes
upon you, and desired her consent. Zobeide told her she agreed to
it, only she had a mind to see you first, in order to judge
whether she had made a good choice: if she had, Zobeide meant to
defray the charges of the wedding. Thus you see your felicity is
certain; since you have pleased the favourite, you will be
equally agreeable to the mistress, who seeks only to oblige her
favourite, and would by no means thwart her inclination. In fine,
all you have to do is to come to the palace. I am sent hither to
call you, so you will please to come to a resolution. My
resolution is formed already, said I; and I am ready to follow
you whithersoever you please to conduct me. Very well, said the
eunuch; but you know that men are not allowed to enter the
ladies' apartments in the palace, and so you must be introduced
with great secrecy: the favourite lady has contrived the matter
very well. Upon your side you are to act your part very
discreetly; for if you do not, your life is at stake.

I gave him repeated assurances of a punctual performance of
whatever should be enjoined me. Then, said he, in the evening you
must be at the mosque built by the caliph's lady on the banks of
the Tigris, and stay there till one comes to call you, I agreed
to what he proposed; and, after passing the day in great
impatience, went in the evening to the prayer that is said in an
hour and an half after sunset in the mosque, and there I staid
after the people were gone. Immediately I saw a boat making up to
the mosque, the rowers of which were all eunuchs, who came on
shore, and put several large trunks into the mosque, and then
retired; only one of them remained, whom I perceived to be the
same eunuch that had all along accompanied the lady, and had been
with me that morning. About the same time, I saw the lady enter
the mosque; and, making up to her, told her I was ready to obey
her orders. Come, said she, we have no time to lose. With that
she opened one of the trunks, and bid me get into it, that being
necessary both for her safety and mine. Fear nothing, added she;
leave the management of the rest to me. I considered that I had
gone too far to look back, and so obeyed her orders; upon which
she locked the trunk. This done, the eunuch who was her
confident, called the other eunuchs who had brought in the
trunks, and ordered them to carry them on board again; after
which the lady and eunuch re-embarked, and the boatmen rowed to
Zobeide's apartment. In the mean time, I reflected very seriously
upon the danger to which I had exposed myself, and made vows and
prayers, though it was then too late. The boat put into the
palace-gate, and the trunks were carried into the apartment of
the officer of the eunuchs, who keeps the key of the ladies'
apartments, and suffers nothing to enter without a narrow
inspection. The officer was then in bed, consequently there was a
necessity for calling him. He was angry that they should break
his rest, and chid the favourite lady severely for coming home so
late: You shall not come off so easily as you think; for, said
he, not one of these trunks shall pass till I have opened every
one of them. He then commanded the eunuchs to bring them before
him, and open them one by one. The first they began with was that
in which I lay; so that I was in the last degree of

The favourite lady, who had the key of the trunk, protested it
should not be opened. You know very well, said she, I bring
nothing hither but what is to serve Zobeide, your mistress and
mine. This trunk, continued she, is filled with rich goods I had
from some merchants lately arrived, besides a number of bottles
of Zemzem water [Footnote: There is a fountain at Mecca, which,
according to the Mahometans, is a spring that God showed to Hagar
after Abraham was obliged to put her away. The water of this
spring is drank by way of devotion, and is sent in presents to
the princes and princesses.] sent from Mecca; if any of these
should happen to break, the goods will be spoiled, and you must
answer for them. Zobeide will take care, I warrant you, to resent
your insolence. In fine, she stood up so tight to the matter,
that the officer did not dare to take upon him to open any of the
trunks. Let me go then, said he, carry them off. Immediately the
lady's apartment was opened, and the trunks were carried in. They
were scarcely got in, when all of a sudden I heard a cry, Here is
the caliph, here comes the caliph. This put me in such a fright,
that I wonder I did not die upon the spot, for it was actually
the caliph. What hast thou got in these trunks? said he to the
favourite. Some stuffs, said she, lately arrived, which your
majesty's lady had a mind to see. Open them, cried he, and let me
see them too. She pretended to excuse herself, alleging that the
stuffs were only proper for ladies, and that by opening them his
lady would be deprived of the pleasure of seeing them first. I
say, open them, cried the caliph; I have a mind to see them, and
shall see them. She still represented that her mistress would be
angry with her if she opened them. No, no, said he, I will engage
she shall not say a word to you for so doing; come, open them, I
cannot stop. There was a necessity of obeying, which gave me such
shocking alarms, that I trembled every time I thought on it. Down
sat the caliph; and the favourite ordered all the trunks to be
brought before him, one after another. Then she opened them; and,
to spin out the time, showed all the beauties of each particular
stuff, thinking thereby to tire out his patience; but her
stratagem did not take. Being as loath as I to have the trunk
where I lay open, she left that till the last. So when all the
rest were viewed, Come, says the caliph, make an end; let us see
what is in that one. I am at a loss to tell you whether I was
dead or alive at that moment, for I little thought of escaping so
great a danger.

When Zobeide's favourite saw that the caliph would needs have the
trunk opened where I lay, As for this trunk, says she, your
majesty will please to dispense with the opening of it; there are
some things in it which I cannot show you unless your lady be by.
Well, well, says the caliph, since it is so, I am satisfied;
order the trunks to be carried away. The word was no sooner
spoken, than the trunks were removed into her chamber, where I
began to come to life again.

As soon as the eunuchs who had brought them were gone, she
presently opened the trunk where I was prisoner. Come out, said
she, go up these stairs that lead to an upper room, and stay
there till I come. The door which led to the stairs she locked
after I was in; and that was no sooner done than the caliph came
and clapped him down upon the very trunk wherein I had been. The
occasion of this visit was a motion of curiosity that did not
respect me. He had a mind to discourse the lady about what she
had seen or heard in the city. So they discoursed together a
pretty while, after which he left her, and retired to his
apartment. When she found the coast clear, she came to the
chamber where I was, and made many apologies for the alarms she
had given me. My uneasiness, said she, was no less than yours;
you cannot well doubt of that, since I have run the same risk
from love to you; perhaps another would not have had the presence
of mind to manage matters so dexterously upon so tender an
occasion; nothing less than the love I had for you could have
inspired me with courage to do it. But come, take heart, now the
danger is over. After some tender discourse between us, she told
me it was time to go to bed, and that she would not fail to
introduce me to Zobeide, her mistress, to-morrow, some hour of
the day; for the caliph never sees her, added she, but at nights.
Heartened by these words, I slept very well; or at least,
whatever interruptions happened were agreeable disquietings,
caused by the hopes of enjoying a lady blessed with such
sparkling wit and beauty.

The next day, before I was introduced to Zobeide, her favourite
instructed me how to behave, naming nearly the same questions as
she put to me, and dictating the answers I was to give. This
done, she carried me into a very magnificent and richly furnished
hall: I had no sooner entered, than twenty female slaves, in rich
and uniform habits, came out of Zobeide's apartment, and placed
themselves very modestly before the throne in two equal rows:
they were followed by twenty other ladies who looked younger, and
were clothed after the same manner, though their habits appeared
somewhat gayer. In the middle of these appeared Zobeide, with a
majestic air, and so loaded with jewels, that she could scarcely
walk. Zobeide then went and sat down on the throne, and the
favourite lady, who had accompanied her, just by her, on her
right hand; the other ladies being placed at some distance on
each side of the throne.

The caliph's lady having sat down, the slaves who came in first
made a sign for me to approach: I advanced between the rows they
had formed, and prostrated myself upon the tapestry under the
princess's feet. She ordered me to rise, and did me the honour to
ask my name, my family, and the condition of my fortune; to all
which I gave her satisfactory answers, as I perceived not only by
her countenance, but by her words. I am very glad, said she, that
my daughter (so she used to call the favourite lady, looking upon
her as such, after the care she had taken of her education) has
made a choice that pleases me; I approve of it, and give consent
to your marriage: I shall give orders myself for what is to be
done in solemnizing it, but I wish her to stay ten davs with me
before the solemnity; and in that time I will speak to the
caliph, and obtain his consent; mean while do you stay here, you
shall be taken care of. Accordingly I staid ten days in the
ladies' apartments, and during that time was deprived of the
pleasure of seeing the favourite lady; but was so well used, by
her orders, that I had no reason to be dissatisfied.

Zobeide told the caliph her resolution of marrying the favourite
lady; and he, leaving to her the liberty of doing upon that head
as she pleased, granted the favourite a considerable sum to help
her fortune. When the ten days were expired, Zobeide ordered the
contract of marriage to be drawn up; and the necessary
preparations being made for the solemnity, the dancers, (both men
and women) were called in, and rejoicings continued in the palace
nine days. The tenth day being appointed for the last ceremony of
the marriage, the favourite lady was conducted to a bath, and I
to another. At night I sat down at table, and had all manner of
rarities served up to me, and, among other things ragoo with
garlic, such as you have now forced me to eat of. This ragoo I
liked so well, that I scarcely touched any other of the dishes.
But such was my unhappiness, that when I rose from the table, I
only wiped my hands instead of washing them well; a piece of
negligence of which I had never before been guilty. Though it was
night, the whole apartment of the ladies was as light as day, by
means of illuminations. Nothing was to be heard in the palace but
music and acclamations of joy. My bride and I were introduced
into a great hall, where we were placed upon two thrones. The
women who attended her made her shift herself several times, and
painted her face with different sorts of colours, according to
the usual custom on wedding- days; and every time she changed her
habit, they exposed her to my view.

After these ceremonies, we were conducted to the wedding- room,
and, as soon as the company retired, I approached to embrace my
mistress, but, instead of answering me with transports, she
shoved me off, and cried out most fearfully; upon which all the
ladies of the apartment came running into the chamber to know
what she cried for; and, for my own part, I was so thunderstruck,
that I stood, without the power of so much as asking what she
meant by it. Dear sister, said they to her, what is the matter?
Let us know it, that we may try to relieve you. Take, said she,
out of my sight that vile fellow. Why, madam, said I, wherein
have I deserved your displeasure? You are a villain, said she,
furiously: what, to eat garlic, and not wash your hands! Do you
think that I would suffer such a filthy fellow to touch me? Down
with him, down with him upon the ground, continued she,
addressing herself to the ladies; and pray let me have a good
bull's pizzle. In short, I was thrown down upon the ground, and
while some held my hands, and others my feet, my wife, who was
presently furnished with a weapon, laid on me most unmercifully,
till I could scarcely breathe: then she said to the ladies, Take
him, send him to the justiciary judge, and let the hand be cut
off with which he fed upon the garlic ragoo. God bless my soul,
cried I, must I be beat, bruised, unmercifully mauled, and, to
complete my affliction, have my hand cut off, for eating of a
ragoo with garlic, and forgetting to wash my hands? What
proportion is there between the punishment and the crime? Plague
on the ragoo, plague on the cook that dressed it, and may he be
equally unhappy that served it up!

All the ladies that were by took pity on me, when they heard the
cutting off of my hand spoken of. Dear madam, dear sister, said
they to the favourite lady, you carry your resentment too far. We
own he is a man quite ignorant of the world, that he does not
observe your quality, and the regards that are due to you; but we
beseech you to overlook and pardon the fault he has committed. I
have not received suitable satisfaction, said she; I will teach
him to know the world, make him bear the sensible marks of his
impertinence, and be cautious hereafter how he tastes a garlic
ragoo without washing his hands. However, they still continued
their solicitations, and fell down at her feet, and kissing her
fair hand, Good madam, said they, in the name of God, moderate
your wrath, and grant the favour we request. She answered never a
word, but got up, and, after throwing out a thousand hard words
against me, walked out of the chamber, with the ladies, leaving
me in inconceivable affliction.

I continued here ten days, without seeing any body but an old
woman-slave who brought me victuals. I asked the old woman what
was become of the favourite lady? She is sick, said the old
woman, of the poisoned smell you infected her with. Why did you
not take care to wash your hands after eating of that cursed
ragoo? Is it possible, thought I to myself, that these ladies can
be so nice and vindictive for so small a fault? In the mean time
I loved my wife, notwithstanding all her cruelty. One day the old
woman told me that my spouse was recovered and gone to bathe, and
would come to see me the next day; so, said she, I would have you
to call up your patience, and endeavour to accommodate yourself
to her humour. Besides, she is a woman of good sense and
discretion, and entirely beloved by all the ladies about
Zobeide's court. Accordingly my wife came next night, and
accosted me thus: You see I am too good in seeing you again,
after the affront you have offered me; but still I cannot stoop
to be reconciled to you, till I have punished you according to
your demerit, in not washing your hands after eating the garlic
ragoo. This said, she called the ladies, who, by her order, threw
me upon the ground, and, after binding me fast, had the barbarity
to cut off my thumbs and great toes with a razor. One of the
ladies applied a certain root to staunch the blood; but by the
bleeding and pain I swooned away. When I came to myself, they
gave me wine to drink to recruit my strength. Ah! madam, said I
to my wife, if ever I eat of garlic ragoo again, I solemnly swear
to wash my hands an hundred and twenty times with the herb
alcali, with the ashes of the same plant, and with soap. Well,
replied my wife, upon that condition I am willing to forget what
is past, and live with you as my husband. This, continued the
Bagdad merchant, addressing himself to the company, is the reason
why I refused to eat of the garlic ragoo now upon the table.

To make an end of the Bagdad merchant's story, the ladies, said
he, applied to my wounds, not only the root I mentioned to you
but likewise some balsam of Mecca, which they were morally
assured was not adulterated, because they had it from the
caliph's own dispensatory; by virtue of that admirable balsam I
was perfectly cured in a few days, and my wife and I lived
together as agreeably as if I had never eaten of the garlic
ragoo. But having been all my lifetime used to the liberty of
ranging abroad, I was very uneasy at being confined to the
caliph's palace, and yet said nothing of it to my wife, from a
fear of displeasing her. She smelt it, however; and wanted
nothing more herself than to get out, for it was gratitude alone
that made her continue with Zobeide. In fine, being a very witty
woman, she represented, in lively terms, to her mistress, the
constraint I was under in not living in the city with my
fellow-companions, as I had always done: this she did so
effectually, that the good princess chose rather to deprive
herself of the pleasure of having her favourite about her, than
not to grant what she desired. Accordingly, about a month after
our marriage, my wife came into my room with several eunuchs,
each carrying a bag of silver. When the eunuchs were gone, You
never told me, said she, that you were uneasy in being confined
to court, but I perceived it very well, and have happily found
means to make you contented. My mistress Zobeide gives us leave
to go out of the palace, and here are fifty thousand sequins, of
which she has made us a present, in order to enable us to live
comfortable in the city. Take ten thousand of them, and go and
buy us a house, I soon purchased a house; and, after furnishing
it richly, we went and lived in it, and kept a great many slaves
of both sexes, with a very pretty equipage. In short, we began to
live in a very agreeable manner, which did not last long, for at
a year's end my wife fell sick and died. I might have married
again, and lived honourably at Bagdad; but ambition to see the
world put me upon other thoughts. I sold my house, and, after
buying up several sorts of goods, went with a caravan to Persia;
from Persia I travelled to Samarcande, and from thence hither.

This, said the purveyor to the sultan of Casgar, is the story
that the Bagdad merchant told in a company where I was yesterday.
This story, said the sultan, has something extraordinary in it,
but it does not come near that of my little Hunchback. Then the
jewish physician prostrated himself before the sultan's throne,
and rising again, addressed himself to that prince in the
following manner: Sir, if you will be so good as to hear me, I
flatter myself you will be pleased with a story I have to tell
you. Well spoken, said the sultan; but if it is not more
surprising than that of little Hunch-back, do not you expect to
live. The physician, finding the sultan of Casgar disposed to
hear him, gave the following relation:


Sir, when I was a student of physic, and just beginning the
practice of that noble profession with some reputation, a
man-slave called me to see a patient in the city governor's
family. I went accordingly, and was carried into a room, where I
found a very handsome young man mightily cast down with his
condition: I saluted him, and sat down by him, but he made no
return to my compliments, except by a sign with his eyes that he
heard me and thanked me. Pray, sir, said I, give me your hand,
that I may feel your pulse. But, instead of stretching out his
right, he gave me his left hand, at which I was extremely
surprised. This, said I to myself, is a gross piece of ignorance,
not to know that people present their right hand, and not their
left, to a physician. However, I felt his pulse, wrote him a
receipt, and took leave.

I continued my visits for nine days, and every time I felt his
pulse he still gave me the left hand: on the tenth day he seemed
to be pretty well, and so I prescribed nothing for him but
bathing. The governor of Damascus, who was by, did, in testimony
of his being well satisfied with my service, invest me with a
very rich robe, saying, he made me a physician of the city
hospital, and physician in ordinary to his house, where I might
freely eat at his table when I pleased. The young man likewise
showed me many civilities, and asked me to accompany him to the
bath: accordingly we went together; and when his attendants had
undressed him, I perceived he wanted the right hand, and that it
had not been long cut off, which had been the occasion of his
distemper, though concealed from me; for while the people about
him were applying proper medicines externally, they had called me
to prevent the ill consequences of the fever he was then in. I
was very much surprised and concerned on seeing his misfortune,
which he observed by my countenance. Doctor, cried he, do not be
astonished to see that my hand is cut off; some day or other I
will tell you the occasion of it; and in that relation you will
be entertained with very surprising adventures.

After bathing, we sat down and ate; and after we had some other
discourse together, he asked me if it would be any prejudice to
his health, if he went to take a walk out of town in the
governor's garden? I made answer, it would be so far from that,
that it would benefit his health. Since it is so, said he, if you
would let me have your company, I will tell you the history of my
adventures, I replied, I was at his command for all that day.
Upon which he presently called his servants, to bring something
for a collation; and so we went to the governor's garden. There
we took two or three turns, and then sat down upon a carpet that
his servants had spread under a tree, which gave a very pleasant
shade. After we were set, the young man gave his history in the
following terms: I was born, said he, at Moussol, and come of one
of the most considerable families in the city. My father was the
eldest of ten brothers that were all alive, and all married, when
my grandfather died. All the brothers were childless but my
father, and he had never a child but me. He took particular care
of my education, and made me learn every thing that was proper
for a child of my quality.

When I was grown pretty tall, and beginning to keep company with
the world, I happened one Friday to be at noon prayers with my
father and my uncles, in the great mosque at Moussol; and after
prayers were over, the rest of the company going away, my father
and my uncles continued sitting upon the best tapestry in the
mosque, and I sat down by them. They discoursed of several
things, but they fell insensibly, I do not know how, upon the
subject of voyages. They extolled the beauties and peculiar
rarities of some kingdoms, and of their principal cities. But one
of my uncles said, that, according to the uniform report of an
infinite number of voyagers, there was not in the world a
pleasanter country than Egypt, nor river than the Nile; and the
account he gave of them infused into me such a charming idea of
them, that, from that very moment, I had a desire to travel.
Whatever my other uncles said, by way of preference to Bagdad and
the Tigris, in calling Bagdad the true residence of the Mussulman
religion, and the metropolis of all the cities in the earth, all
this made no impression upon me. My father joined in his opinion
with those who had spoken on the behalf of Egypt, which gave me a
great deal of joy. Say what you will, said he, he that has not
seen Egypt, has not seen the greatest rarity in the world. All
the land there is golden, I mean, it is so fertile that it
enriches its inhabitants: all the women of that country are
charming, either in their beauty or in their agreeable carriage.
If you speak of the Nile, pray where is there a more admirable
river? What water was ever lighter or more delicious? The very
slime it carries along in its overflowing fattens a thousand
times more than other countries that are cultivated with great
labour. Do but mind what a poet said of the Egyptians when lie
was obliged to depart Egypt: 'Your Nile loads you with good
offices every day; it is for you only that it travels so far.
Alas! in removing from you, my tears are going to run as
abundantly as its water; you are to continue in the enjoyment of
its sweetness, while I am condemned to rob myself of it against
my will.' If you look, added he, towards the island that is
formed by the two great branches of the Nile, what variety of
verdure have you there? What enamel of all sorts of flowers? What
a prodigious number of cities, villages, canals, and a thousand
other agreeable objects? If you cast your eyes on the other side,
steering up towards Ethiopia, how many other objects of
admiration? I cannot compare the verdure of so many plains,
watered with the different canals of the island, better than to
sparkling emeralds set in silver. Is not Grand Cairo the largest,
the most populous, and the richest city in the universe? What a
prodigious number of magnificent edifices, both public and
private! If you view the pyramids, you will be seized with
astonishment: you will turn stiff and immoveable at the sight of
these masses of stone of an extravagant thickness, which rise to
the skies: and you will be obliged to confess, that the Pharaohs,
who employed such riches, and so many men in building them, must
have surpassed all the monarchs that have appeared since, not
only in Egypt, but all the world over, in magnificence and
invention; so transcendent are the monuments they have left
worthy of their memory; monuments so ancient, that the learned
cannot agree as to the time of their erection; and yet such as
last to this day, and will last while ages are. I silently pass
over the maritime cities in the kingdom of Egypt, such as
Damietta, Rosetta, Alexandria, &c. where the Lord knows how many
nations come for a thousand sorts of grain, seeds, cloth, and an
infinite number of other things, calculated for the conveniency
and the delight of men. What I speak of I have some occasion to
know. I spent some years of my youth there, which, as long as I
live, I shall always reckon the most agreeable part of my life.

My uncles had no answer to give my father, and agreed to all he
had said of the Nile, of Cairo, and of the whole kingdom of
Egypt; as for my own part, I was so taken with it, that I had
never a wink of sleep that night. Soon after, my uncles declared
themselves how much they were touched with my father's discourse.
They made a proposal to him that they should travel all together
into Egypt. He accepted of the proposal; and, being rich
merchants, they resolved to carry with them such goods as would
go off there. I came to know that they were making preparations
for their departure; and thereupon went to my father, and begged
of him, with tears in my eyes, that he would suffer me to go
along with him, and allow me some stock of goods to trade with by
myself; You are too young yet, said my father, to travel into
Egypt; the fatigue is too great for you; and, besides, I am sure
you will come off a loser in your traffic. However, these words
did not cure me of the eager desire I had to travel. I made use
of my uncle's interest with my father, who at last granted me
leave to go as far as Damascus, where they would drop me, till
they went through their travels into Egypt. The city of Damascus,
said my father, may likewise glory in its beauties, and it is
very well if my son get leave to go so far. Though my curiosity
to see Egypt was very pressing, I considered he was my father,
submitted to his will, and set out from Moussol with him and my
uncles. We travelled through Mesopotamia, passed the Euphrates,
and arrived at Halep, where we staid some days. From thence we
went to Damascus, the first sight of which was a very agreeable
surprise to me. We lodged in one khan; and I had the view of a
city that was large, populous, full of fine people, and very well
fortified. We employed some days in walking up and down the
delicious gardens that surrounded it; and we all agreed that
Damascus was justly said to be seated in a paradise. At last my
uncles thought of pursuing their journey; but took care, before
they went, to seil my goods, which they did so advantageously for
me, that I got five hundred per cent. This sale fetched me so
considerable a sum, that I was transported to see myself
possessor of it.

My father and my uncles left me in Damascus, and pursued their
journey. After their departure, I used mighty caution not to lay
out my money idly; but, at the same time, I took a stately house,
all of marble, adorned with pictures of gold, and a pure branched
work, and excellent water-works. I furnished it, not so richly
indeed as the magnificence of the place deserved, but at least
handsomely enough for a young man of my condition. It had
formerly belonged to one of the principal lords of the city,
whose name was Modoun Adalraham; but then was the property of a
rich jewel merchant, to whom I paid for it only two
sherriffs[Footnote: A sherriff is the same with a sequin. This
word is in the ancient authors.] a month. I had a good large
number of domestics, and lived honourably; sometimes I gave
entertainments to such people as I was acquainted with, and
sometimes I went and was treated by them. Thus did i spend my
time at Damascus, waiting for my father's return; no passion
disturbed my repose, and my only employment was conversing with
people of credit.

One day as I sat taking the cool air at my gate, a very fine lady
came to me, and asked if I did not sell stuffs? but had no sooner
spoken the words than she went into my house. When I saw that the
lady had gone into the house, I rose, and having shut the gate,
carried her into a hall, and prayed her to sit down. Madam, said
I, I have had stuffs that were fit to be shown to you, but I have
them not now, for which I am very sorry. She took off the veil
that covered her face, and made a beauty sparkle in my eyes,
which affected me with such emotions as I never felt before. I
have no occasion for stuffs, said she; I only come to see you,
and pass the evening with you: If you are pleased with it, all I
ask of you is a light collation.

Transported with such happy luck, I ordered the folks to bring us
several sorts of fruits, and some bottles of wine, They served us
nimbly; and we ate and drank, and made merry, till midnight. In
short, I had not passed a night so agreeably all the while I had
been there. Next morning I would have put ten sherriffs in the
lady's hands, but she refused them: I am not come to see you,
said she, from a design of interest; you affront me: I am so far
from receiving money, that I desire you to take money of me, or
else I will see you no more. In speaking this, she put her hand
into her purse, took out ten sherriffs, and forced me to take
them, saying, You may expect me three days hence after sunset.
Then she took leave of me, and I felt that when she went, she
carried my heart along with her.

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

She returned a third time; and, at that interview, when we were
both warm with wine, she spoke thus: My dear heart, what do you
think of me? Am I not handsome and agreeable? Madam, said I, all
the marks of love with which I entertain you ought to persuade
you that I love you: I am charmed with seeing you, and more so in
enjoying you. You are my queen, my sultaness; in you lies all the
felicity of my life. Ah, sir, replied she, I am sure you would
speak otherwise, if you saw a certain lady of my acquaintance
that is younger and handsomer: she is a lady of such a pleasant
jocund temper as would make the most melancholy person merry. I
must bring her hither: I spoke of you to her, and, from the
account I have given of you, she dies of desire to see you. She
entreated me to gain her that pleasure, but I did not dare to
humour her without speaking to you beforehand. Madam, said I, you
shall do what you please; but whatever you may say of your
friend, I defy all her charms to tear my heart from you, to whom
it is so inviolably tied, that nothing can disengage it. Do not
be too positive, said she; I now tell you I am about to put your
heart to a strange trial.

We staid together all night, and next morning at parting, instead
of ten sherriffs, she gave me fifteen, which I was forced to
accept. Remember, said she, that in two days you are to have a
new guest; pray take care to give her a good reception: we come
at the usual hour after sunset. I took care to have my hall in
great order, and a nice collation prepared against they came. I
waited for the two ladies with impatience, and at last they
arrived. They both unveiled themselves, and as I had been
surprised with the beauty of the first, I had reason to be much
more so when I saw her friend: she had regular features, a lively
complexion, and such sparkling eyes that I could hardly bear
their splendour, I thanked her for the honour she did me, and
entreated her to excuse me if I did not give her the reception
she deserved. No compliments said she; it should be my part to
make them to you for allowing my friend to bring me hither. But
since you are pleased to suffer it, let us lay aside all
ceremony, and think of nothing but making merry.

As soon as the ladies arrived, the collation was served up, and
we sat down to supper. I sat opposite to the stranger lady, and
she never left off looking upon me with a smile: I could not
resist her conquering eyes, and she made herself mistress of my
heart with such force, that I had not power to offer opposition.
But, by inspiring me, she took fire herself, and was equally
touched, and was so far from showing any thing of constraint in
her carriage, that she told me many sensible moving things. The
other lady did nothing at first but laugh at us. I told you, said
she, addressing herself to me, you would find my friend full of
charms; and I perceive you have already violated the oath you
made of being faithful to me. Madam, said I, laughing as well as
she, you would have reason to complain of me, if I were wanting
in civility to a lady whom you brought hither, and one whom you
are fond of; you might then upbraid me, both of you, for not
knowing the measures of hospitality and entertainment.

We continued to drink on; but as the wine grew warm in our
stomachs, the stranger lady and I ogled one another with so
little reserve, that her friend grew jealous, and quickly gave us
a dismal proof of her jealousy. She rose from the table, and went
out, saying she would be with us presently again; but a few
moments after, the lady that staid with me changed her
countenance, fell into violent convulsions, and, in fine, expired
in my arms, while I was calling to the people to come and assist
me in relieving her. Immediately I went out, and asked for the
other lady; and my people told me she had opened the street-door,
and gone out of doors. Then I suspected she had been the cause of
her friend's death. In fine, she had the dexterity and the malice
to put some strong poison into the last glass, which she gave her
out of her own hand. I was afflicted to the last degree with the
accident. What shall I do? thinks I within myself: What will
become of me? I thought there was no time to lose, and so, it
being then moon-light, made my servants quietly take up a great
piece of marble, with which the yard of my house was paved; under
that I made them dig a hole presently, and there inter the corpse
of the young lady. After replacing the stone, I put on a
travelling suit, and took what silver I had; and, having locked
up every thing, affixed my own seal to the door of my house. This
done, I went to seek for the jewel merchant, my landlord, paid
him what rent I owed, with a year's rent more; and giving him the
key, prayed him to keep it for me: a very urgent affair, said I,
obliges me to be absent for some time; I am under the necessity
of going to find out my uncles at Cairo. I took my leave of him,
and that very moment mounted my horse, and set out with my

I had a good journey, and arrived at Cairo without any ill
accident. There I met with my uncles, who were much surprised to
see me. To excuse myself, I pretended that I was tired staying
for them; and, hearing nothing of them, was so uneasy that I
could not be satisfied without coming to Cairo. They received me
very kindly, and promised my father should not be angry with me
for leaving Damascus without his permission. I lodged in the same
khan with them, and saw all the curiosities of Cairo. Having
finished their traffic, they began to speak of returning to
Moussol, and to make preparations for their departure. But I,
having yet a mind to see something in Egypt, left my uncles, and
went to lodge at a great distance from the khan, and did not
appear till they were gone. They had sought for me all over the
city; but, not finding me, they judged the remorse of having come
to Egypt without my father's consent, had induced me to return to
Damascus, without saying any thing to them. So they began their
journey, expecting to find me at Damascus, and there to take me

I remained at Cairo, after their departure, three years, to give
full satisfaction to the curiosity I had of seeing all the
wonders of Egypt, During that time, I took care to send money to
the jewel-merchant, ordering him to keep my house for me, for I
had a design to return to Damascus, and stay there for some
years. I had no adventure at Cairo worthy of your hearing; but
doubtless you will be surprised at that I met with after my
return to Damascus. On my arrival in this place, I went to the
jewel-merchant's house, who received me joyfully, and went along
with me to my house, to show me that nobody had entered it whilst
I was absent. The seal was still entire upon the lock; and, when
I went in, I found every thing in the same order in which I left

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

I passed some days to work off the fatigues of my voyage; after
which I began to visit my former acquaintances. I abandoned
myself to all manner of pleasure, insensibly squandered away all
my money, and in this condition, instead of selling my moveables,
resolved to part with my necklace, but had so little skill in
pearls, that I took my measures very ill.

I went to the bezestein, where I called a crier aside, and,
showing him the necklace, told him I had a mind to sell it, and
desired him to show it to the principal jewellers. The crier was
surprised to see such an ornament: What a pretty thing it is!
tried he, staring upon it with admiration, never did our
merchants see any thing so rich; I am sure I shall oblige them by
showing it; and you need not doubt they will set a high price
upon it from emulation. He carried me to a shop, which proved to
be my landlord's: Tarry here, says the crier; I will return
presently, and bring you an answer.

While he was running about to show the necklace, I sat with the
jeweller, who was glad to see me; and we discoursed on common
subjects. The crier returned, and calling me aside, instead of
telling me that the necklace was valued at two thousand
sherriffs, he assured me nobody would give me more than fifty.
The reason is, added he, the pearls are false; so see if you can
part with it at that price. I took the crier to be an honest
fellow; and wanting money, Go, said I, I trust to what you say,
and to those who know better than I; deliver it to them, and
bring me the money immediately.

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

The judge seat immediately to seize me, and, on coming before
him, he asked me if the necklace in his hand was not the one I
had exposed to sale in the bezestein? I told him it was. Is it
true, said he, that you are willing to deliver it for fifty
sherriffs? I answered in the affirmative. Well, said he, in a
scoffing way, give him the bastinado; he will quickly tell us,
with all his fine merchant's clothes, that he is only a downright
thief; let him be beaten till he confesses. The violence of the
blows made me tell a lie: I confessed, though it was not true,
that I had stolen the necklace, and presently the judge ordered
my hand to be cut off.

This made a great noise in the bezestein, and I was scarcely
returned to my house, when my landlord came. My son, said, he,
you seem to be a young man well educated, and of good sense; how
is it possible that you could be guilty of such an unworthy
action? You gave me an account of your estate yourself, and I do
not doubt the correctness of it. Why did you not ask money of me,
and I would have lent it you? Since, however, the thing has
happened, I cannot allow you to lodge longer in my house; you
must look out for other lodgings. I was extremely troubled, and
entreated the jeweller, with tears in my eyes, to let me stay
three days longer in, his house, which he granted.

Alas! said I to myself, this affront is insufferable; how shall I
dare to return to Moussol? Nothing will persuade his father that
I am innocent.

Three hours after this fatal accident, my house was assaulted by
the judge's officers, accompanied by my landlord and the merchant
who had falsely accused me of having stolen the necklace. I asked
them what brought them there? But, instead of giving me an
answer, they bound me, calling me a thousand rogues, and told me
that the necklace belonged to the governor of Damascus, who had
lost it about three years ago, and whose daughter had not been
heard of since. Conceive my thoughts when I heard this news.
However, I called all my resolution about me: I will tell, thinks
I, the governor the truth; and so it will lie at his door either
to put me to death, or to pardon me.

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

The governor's orders were immediately put in execution, and the
jeweller was punished according to his demerit. Then the
governor, having ordered all the company to withdraw, said to me,
My child, tell me without fear how this necklace fell into your
hands; conceal nothing of the matter from me. Then I told him
plainly all that had passed, and declared I had chosen rather to
pass for a thief, than to reveal that tragical adventure. Good
God! said the governor, thy judgments are incomprehensible, and
we ought to submit to them without murmuring. I receive, with an
entire submission, the stroke thou hast been pleased to inflict
upon me. Then directing his discourse to me, My child, said he,
having now heard the cause of your disgrace, for which I am much
concerned, I will give you an account of the disgrace that befel
me. Know, then, that I am the father of those two young ladies of
whom you were just speaking. I know that the first lady, who had
the impudence to come to your house, was my eldest daughter. I
had given her in marriage to one of her cousins, my own brother's
son, at Cairo. Her husband died, and she returned home corrupted
with all manner of wickedness, which she had learned in Egypt.
Before I took her home, her younger sister, who died in that
deplorable manner in your arms, was a very prudent young woman,
and had never given me any occasion to complain of her conduct;
but, after that, the eldest sister grew very intimate with her,
and insensibly made her as wicked as herself.

The day after the death of the youngest, not finding her at
table, I asked her eldest sister what was become of her? But she,
instead of answering, fell a-crying bitterly, from which I formed
a fatal presage. I pressed her to inform me of what I asked her.
My father, said she, with sobs, I can tell you no more than that
my sister put on her best clothes yesterday, and her fine
necklace, and went abroad, and has not been heard of since. I
made search of my daughter all over the town, but could learn
nothing of her unhappy fate. In the mean time, the eldest, who
doubtless repented of her jealous fury, very much bewailed the
death of her sister, and denied herself all manner of food, and
so put an end to her deplorable days.

Such, continued the governor, is the state of mankind; such are
the unlucky accidents to which they are exposed; however, my
child, added he, since we are both of us equally unfortunate, let
us unite our sorrow, and not abandon one another. I give you in
marriage a third daughter I have still left; she is younger than
her sisters, and imitates their conduct in no manner of way;
besides, she is handsomer than they were, and I assure you is of
a humour fitted to make you happy: you shall have no other house
but mine; and, after my death, you and she shall be my heirs.
Sir, said I, I am ashamed of all your favours, and shall never be
able to make a sufficient acknowledgment. That is enough, said
he, interrupting me; let us not waste time in idle words. He then
called for witnesses, ordered the contract of marriage to be
drawn, and I married his daughter without further ceremony.

He was not satisfied with punishing the jeweller who had falsely
accused me, but confiscated for my use all his goods, which were
very considerable. As for the rest, since you have been called to
the governor's house, you have seen what respect they pay me
there. I must tell you further, that a man, who was sent by my
uncles to Egypt on purpose to inquire for me there, passing
through this city, found me out, and came last night, and
delivered me a letter from them. They gave me notice of my
father's death, and invited me to come and take possession of his
estate at Moussol; but as the alliance and friendship of the
governor has fixed me with him, and will not suffer me to remove
from him, I have sent back the express, with an order which will
secure to me what is my due. Now, after what you have heard, I
hope you will pardon my incivility, during the course of my
illness, in giving you my left hand.

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

The sultan of Casgar was pretty well pleased with this last
story. I must say, said he to the Jew, your story is very odd;
but I declare freely, that little Humph's is yet more
extraordinary, and much more comical; therefore yon are not to
expect that I will give you your life any more than the rest; I
will hang you all four. Pray, sir, stay a minute, said the
tailor; and then prostrating himself at the sultan's feet. Since
your majesty loves pleasant stories, I have one to tell you that
is very comical. Well, I will hear thee too, said the sultan: but
do not flatter thyself that I will suffer thee to live, unless
thou tellest me some adventure that is yet more diverting than
that of the hump-bucked man. Upon this the tailor, as if he had
been sure of his project, spoke very briskly to the following


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

The master of the house was gone out upon some business, but in a
very little time came home, and brought with him a young man, a
stranger, well dressed, and very handsome, but lame. When he came
in, we all rose, and, out of respect to the master of the house,
invited the young gentleman to sit down with us upon the sofa. He
was going to sit down; but all on a sudden, spying a barber in
our company, he flew backwards, and made towards the door. The
master of the house being surprised, stopped him: Where are you
going? said he; I brought you along with me to do me the honour
of being my guest, and you are no sooner got into my house than
you run away again. Sir, said the young man, for God's sake do
not stop me, let me go; I cannot, without horror, look upon that
abominable barber; though he was born in a country where all the
natives are whites, he resembles an Ethiopian; and when all is
come to all, his soul is yet blacker, and yet more horrible than
his face.

We were, continued the tailor, surprised to hear the young man
speak so, and began to have a very bad opinion of the barber,
without knowing what ground the young man had for what he said.
Nay, we protested we would not suffer any one to remain in our
company who bore so horrid a character. The master of the house
entreated the stranger to tell us what reason he had for hating
the barber. Gentlemen, said the young man, you must know that
this cursed barber is the cause of my being lame, and of the most
cruel accident that any one can imagine: for this reason, I have
made an oath to avoid every place where he dwells. It was for
this reason that I left Bagdad, where he then was, and travelled
so far to settle in this city, in the heart of Great Tartary, a
place where I flattered myself I should never see him; and now,
after all, contrary to my expectations, I find him here. This
obliges me, gentlemen, against my will, to deprive myself of the
honour of being merry with you. This very day I take leave of
your town, and will go, if possible, to hide me from him. This
said, he would have left us, but the master entreated him to
stop, and tell the cause of his aversion to the barber, who all
this while looked down, and said nothing. We joined with the
master of the house in requesting him to stay; and at last the
young man, yielding to our instances, sat down upon the sofa;
and, after turning his back to the barber, that he might not see
him, gave us the following account.

My father's quality might have entitled him to the highest posts
in the city of Bagdad, but he always preferred a quiet life to
any honours he might deserve. I was his only child; and, when he
died, I was already educated, and of age to dispose of the
plentiful fortune he had left me, which I did not squander away
foolishly, but applied to such uses, that every body respected
me. I had never been in love, and was so far from being sensible
of that passion, that I acknowledge, perhaps to my shame, that I
cautiously avoided the conversation of women. One day, walking in
the streets, I saw a great company of ladies before me, and, that
I might not meet them, turned down a narrow lane just by, and sat
down upon a bench by a door. I sat over against a window, where
stood a pot with pretty flowers; and I had my eyes fixed upon
this, when, all on a sudden, the window opened, and a young lady
appeared, whose beauty was dazzling. Immediately she cast her
eyes upon me; and, in watering the flower-pot with a hand whiter
than alabaster, looked upon me with a smile that inspired me with
as much love for her as I had formerly an aversion for all women.
After having watered all her flowers, and darting upon me a
glance full of charms that quite pierced my heart, she shut up
the window again, and so left me in inconceivable trouble and

I had dwelt upon these thoughts long enough, had not a noise in
the streets brought me to myself: alarmed thus, I turned my head
in a rising posture, and saw it was the upper cadi of the city,
mounted on a mule, and attended by five or six servants. He
alighted at the door of the house where the young lady had opened
the window, and went in there; so I concluded he was the young
lady's father.

I went home in a different sort of humour from that in which I
came, with a passion which was the mere violent as I had never
felt before its assaults. In fine, I went to bed in a violent
fever, at which all the family was greatly concerned. My
relations, who had a great love for me, were so alarmed and moved
at my sudden disorder, that they came about me, and importuned me
to know the cause, which I took care not to reveal to them. My
silence created an uneasiness which the physicians could not
dispel, because they knew nothing of my distemper, and rather
inflamed than repaired it, by the medicines they exhibited. My
relations began to despair of my life, when a certain old lady of
our acquaintance, learning my illness, came to see me. She
considered and examined every thing with great attention, and
dived, I do not know how, into the real cause of my illness. Then
she took my relations aside, and desired they would retire from
the room. When the room was clear, she sat down on the side of my
bed: My child, said she, you are very obstinate in concealing
hitherto the cause of your illness; but you have no occasion to
reveal it to me, I have experience enough to penetrate into a
secret; you will not surely disown that it is love that makes you
sick. I can find a way to cure you, if you but let me know who
the happy lady is that could move a heart so insensible as yours;
for you have the name of a woman-hater, and I was not the last
that perceived you to be of that temper; but, in short, what I
foresaw has just come to pass, and am now glad of the opportunity
to employ my talents in bringing you out of pain.

The old lady, having talked to me in this fashion, paused,
expecting my answer; but, though what she had said made a strong
impression upon me, I durst not lay open to her the bottom of my
heart; I only turned to her, and fetched a deep sigh without
saying any thing. Is it bashfulness, said she, that keeps you
from speaking? or is it want of confidence in me? Do not doubt
the effect of my promise. I could mention to you an infinite
number of young men of your acquaintance, that have been in the
same condition with you, and have received relief from me. In
fine, the good lady told me so many things more, that I broke
silence, declared to her my evil, pointed out to her the place
where I had seen the object which caused it, and unravelled all
the circumstances of my adventure. If you succeed, said I, and
procure me the felicity of seeing that charming beauty, and
revealing to her the passion with which I burn for her, you may
depend upon it I will be grateful. My son, said the old woman, I
know the lady you speak of; she is, as you judged right, the
daughter of the first cadi of the city: I think it no wonder that
you are in love with her; she is the handsomest, comeliest lady
in Bagdad; but what I most boggle at is, that she is very proud
and of difficult access. You see how strict our judges are in
enjoining the punctual observance of the severe laws that lay
women under such a burdensome constraint; and they are yet more
strict in the observation of their own families: nay, the cadi
you saw is more rigid than all the other magistrates put
together. They are always preaching to their daughters what a
heinous crime it is to show themselves to men; and by this means
the girls themselves are so prepossessed with the notion, that
they make no other use of their own eyes than to conduct them
along the streets when necessity obliges them to go abroad. I do
not say absolutely that the cadi's daughter is of that humour;
but I still fear to meet with as great obstacles on her side as
on her father's. Would to God you had loved some other lady, then
I had not had so many difficulties to surmount. However, I shall
employ all my wits to compass the thing; but time is required. In
the mean time, take heart, and trust to me.

The old woman took leave; and as I weighed within myself all the
obstacles she had been talking of, the fear of her not succeeding
inflamed my illness. Next day she came again, and I read in her
countenance that she had no favourable news to impart. She spoke
thus: My child, I was not mistaken in the matter; I have somewhat
else to conquer besides the vigilance of a father; you love an
indifferent, insensible girl, who takes pleasure in making those
to burn with love that suffer themselves to be charmed by her;
when she has once gained that point, she will not deign them the
least comfort. She heard me with pleasure, when I spoke of
nothing but the torment she had made you undergo; but I had no
sooner requested her to allow you to see, and converse with her,
than, with a terrible look, You are very bold, said she, to make
such a proposal to me; I discharge you ever to see me again with
such discourse in your mouth.

Do not let this cast you down, continued she, I am not easily
disheartened; and if your patience does but hold out, I am
hopeful I shall compass my end. To shorten my story, said the
young man, this good procuress made several attempts on my behalf
with the proud enemy of my rest. The fret I thereby underwent
inflamed my distemper to that degree that my physicians gave me
quite over; so that I was looked on as a dead man, when the old
woman came to give me life.

That nobody might hear what was said, she whispered in my ear,
Remember now you owe me a present for the good news I bring you.
These words produced a marvellous effect; I raised myself to sit
up in the bed, and with transports made answer, You shall not be
without a present: but what are the news you bring me? Dear sir,
said she, you shall not die yet: I shall speedily have the
pleasure to see you in perfect health, and very well satisfied
with me. Yesterday being Monday, I went to see the lady you love,
and found her in very good humour. I put on a sad countenance,
and fetched many deep sighs, and began to squeeze out some tears:
My good mother, said she, what is the matter with you? Why are
you so cast down? Alas, my dear and honourable lady, said I, I
have been just now with the young gentleman I spoke to you of the
other day; his business is done; he is giving up his life for the
love of you; it is a great injury, I assure you, and there is a
great deal of cruelty on your side. I am at a loss to know,
replied she, how you suppose me to be the cause of his death. How
can I have contributed to it? How, replied I, did not you tell me
the other day that he sat down before your window when you opened
it to water your flower-pot? He then saw that prodigy of beauty,
those charms that your looking-glass represents to you every day.
From that moment he languished, and his disease is risen to that
height, that he is reduced to the deplorable condition I have

You remember well, added I, how rigorously you treated me the
last time I was here, when I was offering to speak to you of his
illness, and to propose means to rescue him from the danger he
was in; when I took leave of you, I went straight to his house,
and he no sooner knew by my countenance that I had brought him no
favourable answer than his distemper increased. From that time,
madam, he is ready to die, and I do not know whether you can save
his life now, though you should take pity on him. This is just
what I said to her, continued the old woman. The fear of your
death shaked her, and I saw her face change colour. Is it true
what you say? said she. Has he actually no other disease than
what is occasioned by the love of me? Ah, madam, said I, that is
too true; would to God it were false! Do you believe, said she,
that the hope of seeing me would contribute any thing to rescue
him from the danger he is in? Perhaps it may, said I, and if you
will give me orders, I will try the remedy. Well, said she,
sighing, make him hope to see me; but he can pretend to no other
favours from me, unless he aspires to marry me, and my father
gives his consent to it. Madam, replied I, your goodness
overcomes me: I will go and see for the young gentleman, and tell
him he is to have the pleasure of an interview with you: the most
proper time I can think of, said she, for granting him that
favour, is next Friday, at the time of noon-prayers. Let him take
care to observe when my father goes out, and then come and plant
himself over against the house, if so be his health permits him
to come abroad. When he comes, I shall see him through my window,
and shall come down and open the door to him; we shall then
converse together during prayer-time, but he must be gone before
my father returns.

It is now Tuesday, continued the old gentlewoman, you have till
Friday to recruit your strength, and make the necessary
dispositions for the interview. While the good old gentlewoman
was telling her story, I felt my illness decrease, or rather, by
the time she had done, I found myself perfectly well. Here, take
this, said I, reaching out to her my purse, which was full, it is
to you alone that I owe my cure. I reckon this money better
employed than what I gave to the physicians, who have done
nothing but tormented me during the whole course of my illness.
When the lady was gone, I found I had strength enough to get up;
and my relations, finding me so well, complimented me and went

On Friday morning the old woman came just when I was dressing
myself, and laying out the finest clothes I had; I do not ask
you, says she, how you do; what you are about is intimation
enough of your health; but will you not bathe before you go to
the first cadi's house? That will take up too much time, said I;
I will content myself with calling a barber to get my head and
beard shaved. Presently I ordered one of my slaves to call a
barber that could do his business cleverly and expeditiously. The
slave brought me this wretch you see here, who came in, and after
saluting me, Sir, said he, you look as if you were not very well.
I told him I was just recovered from a fit of sickness: I wish,
said he, God may deliver you from all mischance; may his grace
always go along with you. I hope, said I, he will grant your
wish, for which I am very much obliged to you. Since you are
recovering, said he, I pray God preserve your health; but now
pray let us know what service I am to do; I have brought my
razors and my lancets; do you desire to be shaved or to be bled?
I replied, I am just recovered of a fit of sickness, and so you
may readily judge I only want to be shaved: come, make haste, do
not lose time in prattling, for I am in haste, and precisely at
noon must be at a certain place.

The barber spent much time in opening his case, and preparing his
razors: instead of putting water into the bason, he took a very
handsome astrolabe out of his budget, and went very gravely out
of my room to the middle of the yard to take the height of the
sun; then he returned with the same grave pace, and, entering my
room, Sir, said he, you will be pleased to know this day is
Friday the 18th of the month Saffar, in the year 653, [Footnote:
This year 653 is one of the Hegira, the common epocha of the
Mahometans, and answers to the year 1255, from the nativity of
Christ; from whence we may conjecture that these computations
were made in Arabia about that time.] from the retreat of our
great prophet from Mecca to Medina, and in the year 7320
[Footnote: As for the year 7320, the author is mistaken in that
computation. The year 653 of the Hegira, and the 1255 of Christ,
coincide only with the 1557 of the aera or the epocha of the
Selucides, which is the same with that of Alexander the Great,
who is called Iskender with two horns, according to the
expression of the Arabians.] of the epocha of the great Iskender
with two horns; and that the conjunction of Mars and Mercury
signifies you cannot choose a better time than this very day for
being shaved. But, on the other hand, the same conjunction is a
bad presage to you. I learn from thence, that this day you run a
great risk, not indeed of losing your life, but of an
inconvenience which will attend you while you live. You are
obliged to me for the advice I now give you to take care to avoid
it; I should be sorry if it befel you.

You may guess, gentlemen, how sorry I was for having fallen into
the hands of such a prattling impertinent barber; what an
unseasonable adventure it was for a lover preparing for an
interview! I was quite angry. I do not trouble my head, said I,
in anger, with your advice and predictions, nor did I call you to
consult your astrology; you came here to shave me, so pray do it,
or be gone, and I will call another barber. Sir, said he, with a
dulness that put me out of all patience, what reason have you to
be angry with me? You do not know that all barbers are not like
me, and that you could scarcely find such another, if you made it
your business to search. You only sent for a barber: but here, in
my person, you have the best barber in Bagdad; an experienced
physician, a very profound chemist, an infallible astrologer, a
finished grammarian, a complete orator, a subtle logician, a
mathematician perfectly conversant in geometry, arithmetic,
astronomy, and all the divisions of algebra; an historian fully
master of the histories of all the kingdoms of the universe;
besides, I know all parts of philosophy, and have all the
traditions upon my finger ends. I am a poet, an architect, nay,
what is it I am not? there is nothing in nature hidden from me.
Your deceased father, to whose memory I pay a tribute of tears
every time I think of him, was fully convinced of my merit; he
was fond of me, and spoke of me in all companies as the greatest
man in the world. Out of gratitude and friendship for him, I am
willing to take you into my protection, and guard you from all
the evils that your stars may threaten.

At hearing this stuff, I could not forbear laughing,
notwithstanding my anger. You impertinent prattler, said I, will
you have done, and begin to shave me?

Sir, replied the barber to me, you affront me in calling me a
prattler; on the contrary, all the world gives me the honourable
title of Silent. I had six brothers that you might justly have
called prattlers; and that you may know them the better, the name
of the first was Bacbouc, of the second Backbarah of the third
Backback, of the fourth Barbarak, of the fifth Alnaschar, of the
sixth Schacabac. These indeed were impertinent noisy fellows; but
as for me, who am a younger brother, I am grave and concise in my

For God's sake, gentlemen, do but suppose you had been in my
place. What could I say when I felt myself so cruelly tortured?
Give him three pieces of gold, said I to the slave that was my
housekeeper, and send him away, that he may disturb me no more; I
will not be shaved this day. Sir, said the barber, what do you
mean by that? I did not come to seek for you, it was you that
sent for me; and since it is so, I swear by the faith of a
Mussulman, I will not stir out of these doors till I have shaved
you: if you do not know my value, that is not my fault. Your
deceased father did me more justice. Every time he sent for me to
let blood, he made me sit down by him, and was charmed to hear
the fine things I talked of. I kept him in a continual strain of
admiration, and ravished him; when I had finished my discourses,
My God, would he cry, you are an inexhaustible source of
sciences; no man can reach the depth of your knowledge. My dear
sir, said I again, you do me more honour than I deserve: If I say
any thing that is fine, it is owing to the favourable audience
you vouchsafe me; it is your liberality that inspires me with the
sublime thoughts that have the happiness to please you. One day,
when he was charmed with an admirable discourse I had made, Give
him, says he, an hundred pieces of gold, and invest him with one
of my richest robes. I received the present upon the spot, and
presently I drew his horoscope, and found it the happiest in the
world. Nay, I was grateful still, and bled him with cupping

This was not all: The barber spinned out, besides, another
harangue that was a half hour long. Fatigued with hearing him,
and fretted at the time which was spent before I was half ready,
I did not know what to say. No, said I, it is impossible there
should be such another man in the world, that takes pleasure, as
you do, in making people mad.

I thought that I should succeed better if I dealt mildly with my
barber. In the name of God, said I, leave off all your fine
discourses, and despatch me presently; I am called to attend an
affair of the last importance, as I have told you already. Then
he fell a laughing: It would be a laudable thing, said he, if our
minds were always in the same strain; if we were wise and
prudent: however, I am willing to believe, that if you are angry
with me, it is your distemper which has caused that change in
your humour; and, for that reason, you stand in need of some
instructions, and you cannot do better than follow the example of
your father and grandfather. They came and consulted me upon all
occasions; and I can say, without vanity, that they always
extolled my council. Pray, recollect, sir, men never succeed in
their enterprises without having recourse to the advice of
quick-sightedmen. The proverb tells you, a man cannot be wise
without receiving advice from the wise. I am entirely at your
service, and you have nothing to do but command me.

What! cannot I prevail with you then? said I, interrupting him.
Leave off these long discourses which tend to nothing but to
split my head to pieces, and to detain me from the place where my
business lies. Shave me, I say, or be gone; with that I started
up in a huff, stamping my foot against the ground.

When he saw I was angry in earnest; Sir, said he, do not be
angry, we are going to begin soon. He washed my head, and fell a
shaving me; but he had not given me four sweeps of his razor,
when he stopped, saying, Sir, you are hasty, you should avoid
these transports that come only from the devil. Besides, my merit
speaks that you ought to have some more consideration for me,
with respect to my age, my knowledge, and my shining virtues.

Go on and shave me, said I, interrupting him again, and do not
speak. That is to say, replies he, you have some urgent business
to go about; I will lay you a wager I guess right. Why, I told
you so these two hours, said I, you ought to have done before
now. Moderate your passion, replied he, perhaps you have not
maturely weighed what you are going about: when things are done
precipitately, they are generally repented of. I wish you would
tell me what mighty business this is you are so earnest upon: I
would tell you my opinion of it: besides, you have time enough,
since your appointment is not till noon, and it wants three hours
of that yet. I do not mind that, said I; persons of honour, and
of their word, are rather before their time than after. But I
forget that, in amusing myself by reasoning with you, I give into
the faults of you prattling barbers: have done, have done, shave

The more haste I was in, the less haste he made: he laid down the
razor, and took up his astrolabe; this done, he even laid down
the astrolabe, and took up his razor again. The barber quitted
his razor again, and took up his astrolabe, a second time; and so
left me, half shaved, to go and see precisely what o'clock it
was. Back he came, and then, Sir, said he, I knew I was not
mistaken, it wants three hours of noon, I am sure of it, or else
all the rules of astronomy are false. Just Heaven! cried I, my
patience is at an end, I can forbear no longer. You cursed
barber, you barber of mischief, I do not know what holds me from
falling upon you, and strangling you. Softly, sir, said he, very
calmly, without being moved by my passion: you are not afraid of
a relapse: do not be in a passion, I am going to serve you this
minute. On speaking these words, he clapped his astrolabe in his
case, took up his razor, which he had fixed to his belt, and fell
a shaving again: but, all the while he shaved me, the dog could
not forbear prattling. If you please, sir, said he, to tell me
what business it is you are going about, I could give you some
advice that may be of use to you. To satisfy the fellow, I told
him I was going to meet some friends who were to regale me at
noon, and make merry with me upon the recovery of my health.

When the barber heard me talk of regaling, God bless you this day
as well as all other days, cried he: you put me in mind that
yesterday I invited four or five friends to come and eat with me
this day: indeed I had forgot it, and I have as yet made no
preparation for them. Do not let that trouble you. said I; though
I dine abroad, my house is always well provided. I make you a
present of what is in it; nay, besides, I will order you as much
wine as you may have occasion for, for I have excellent wine in
my cellar; only despatch the shaving of me presently, and pray do
not mind it; whereas my father made you presents to encourage you
to speak, I give you mine to make you hold your peace.

He was not satisfied with the promise I made him: God reward you,
sir, said he, for your kindness; but pray show me these
provisions now, that I may see if there will be enough to
entertain my friends: I would have them satisfied with the good
fare I make them. I have, said I, a lamb, six capons, a dozen of
pullets, and enough to make four services of. I ordered a slave
to bring them all before him, with four great pitchers of wine.
It is very well, said the barber, but we shall want fruit, and
sauce for the meat: that I ordered likewise; but then he gave
over shaving to look over every thing one after another; and this
survey lasted almost half an hour. I raged, and stormed, and went
mad, but it signified nothing, the coxcomb never troubled
himself. He, however, took up his razor again, and shaved me for
some moments; then stopping all on a sudden, I could not have
believed, sir, that you would have been so liberal; I begin to
perceive that your deceased father lives again in you: most
certainly I do not deserve the favours with which you have loaded
me; and I assure you I shall have them in perpetual remembrance:
for, sir, to let you know it, I have nothing but what comes from
the generosity of honest gentlemen, such as you; in which point I
am like to Zantout that rubs the people in bathing; to Sali that
cries boiled pease in the streets: to Salout that sells beans; to
Akerscha that sells greens; to Amboumecarez that sprinkles the
streets to lay the dust, and to Cassem the caliph's life-guard
man. Of all these persons, not one is apt to be made melancholy;
they are neither peevish nor quarrelsome; they are more contented
with their lot than the caliph in the midst of his court; they
are always gay, ready to dance and to sing, and have each of them
their peculiar song and dance, with which they divert the city of
Bagdad: but what I esteem most in them is, that they are no great
talkers, no more than your slave that has now the honour to speak
to you. Here, sir, that is the song and dance of Zantout, who
rubs the people in baths: mind me, pray, and see if I do not
imitate it exactly.

The barber sung the song and danced the dance of Zantout; and
though I did what I could to make an end to his buffoonery, he
did not give over till he had imitated, in like manner, the songs
and dances of the other people he had named. After that,
addressing himself to me, I am going, says he, to invite all
these honest persons to my house: if you take my advice, you will
join with us, and balk your friends yonder, who perhaps are noisy
prattlers, that will only teaze you to death with their nauseous
discourses, and make you fall into a distemper worse than that
you so lately recovered of; whereas, at my house, you shall have
nothing but pleasure.

Notwithstanding my anger, I could not forbear laughing at the
fellow's impertinence. I wish I had no business upon my hands,
said I; if I had not, I would accept of the proposal you make me;
I would go with all my heart to be merry with you, but I beg to
be excused, I am too much engaged this day; another day I shall
be more at leisure, and then we shall make up that company. Come,
have done shaving me, and make haste to return home; perhaps your
friends are already come to your house. Sir, said he, do not
refuse me the favour I ask of you; come and be merry with the
good company I am to have; if you were but once in our company,
you would be so well pleased with it, you would forsake your
friends to come to us: let us talk no more of that, said I, I
cannot be your guest.

I found I gained no ground upon him by mild terms. Since you will
not come to my house, replied the barber, then pray let me go
along with you; I will go and carry these things to my house,
where my friends may eat of them if they like them, and I will
return immediately; I would not be so uncivil as to leave you
alone; you deserve this complaisance at my hands. Heavens! cried
I, then I shall not get clear of this troublesome man this day.
In the name of the living God, said I, leave off your
unreasonable jargon: go to your friends, drink, eat, and be merry
with them, and leave me at liberty to go to mine. I have a mind
to go alone, I have no occasion for company: besides, I must
needs tell you, the place to which I go is not a place where you
can be received; nobody must come there but me. You jest, sir,
said he; if your friends have invited you to a feast, why should
you hinder me to accompany you? You will please them, I am sure,
by carrying thither a man that can speak comically like me, and
knows how to divert company agreeably: but, say what you will,
the thing is resolved upon; I will go along with you in spite of
your teeth.

These words, gentlemen, made me very uneasy. How shall I get rid
of this cursed barber? thought I to myself. If I do not snub him
roundly, we shall never have done contesting. Besides, I heard
then the first call to noon-prayers, and it was time for me to
go. In fine, I resolved to say nothing at all, and to make as if
I consented to his proposal. By that time he had done shaving me;
then said I to him, Take some of my servants to carry these
provisions along with you, and return hither; I will stay for
you, and shall not go without you. At last he went, and I dressed
myself nimbly. I heard the last call to prayers; and made haste
to set out: but the malicious barber, jealous of my intention,
went with my servants only within sight of the house, and stood
there till he saw them enter his house; having hid himself upon
the turning of a street, with intent to observe and follow me. In
fine, when I arrived at the cadi's door, I looked back and saw
him at the head of the street, which fretted me to the last

The cadi's door was half open, and as I went in, I saw an old
woman waiting for me, who, after she had shut the door, conducted
me to the chamber of the young lady I was in love with: but we
had scarcely begun our interview, when we heard a noise in the
street. The young lady put her head to the window, and saw
through the grate that it was the cadi, her father, returning
already from prayers. At the same time, I looked through the
window, and saw the barber sitting over against the house in the
same place where I had before seen the young lady.

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

As soon as the cadi came in, he caned one of his slaves that
deserved it. The slave made horrid shouts, which were heard in
the streets; the barber thought it was I that cried out, and that
I was maltreated. Prepossessed with this thought, he screamed out
most fearfully, rent his clothes, threw dust upon his head, and
called the neighbourhood to his assistance. The neighbourhood
came, and asked what ailed him, and what relief he wanted that
they could give? Alas! cried he, they are assassinating my
master, my dear patron: and, without saying any other thing, he
ran all the way to my house with the very same cry in his mouth.
From thence he returned, followed by all my domestics, armed with
batoons. They knocked with inconceivable fury at the cadi's door,
and the cadi sent a slave to see what was the matter; but the
slave being frightened, returned to his master, crying, Sir,
above ten thousand men are going to break into your house by

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

When I heard all that the barber said to the cadi, I sought for a
place to hide myself, and could find nothing but a great empty
trunk, in which I lay down, and shut it upon me. The barber,
after he had searched every where, came into the chamber where I
was, and opening the trunk, as soon as he saw me, he took it upon
his head, and carried it away. He came down a high stair-case
into a court, which he went through very speedily, and got to the
street. While he carried me, the trunk unhappily opened, and I,
not being able to endure to be exposed to the view and shouts of
the mob that followed us, leaped out into the street with so much
haste that I hurt my leg, so as I have been lame ever since. I
was not sensible how bad it was at first, and therefore got up
quickly to get away from the people, who laughed at me; nay, I
threw handfuls of gold and silver among them, and, whilst they
were gathering it up, I made my escape by cross streets and
alleys. But the cursed barber, improving the stratagem that I
made use of to get away from the mob, followed me close, crying,
Stay, sir, why do you run so fast? If you knew how much I am
afflicted at the ill treatment you received from the cadi, you
who are so generous a person, and to whom I and my friends are so
much obliged! Did not I tell you truly that you would expose your
life by your obstinate refusal to let me go with you? See now
what has happened to you by your own fault; and if I had not
resolutely followed you to see whither you went, what would have
become of you? Whither do you go then, sir? stay for me.

Thus the wretched barber cried aloud in the streets; it was not
enough for him to have occasioned so great a scandal in the
quarter of the cadi, but he would have it be known through the
whole town. I was in such a rage that I had a great mind to have
staid and cut his throat; but considering that would have
perplexed me further, I chose another course; for perceiving that
his calling after me exposed me to vast numbers of people, who
crowded to the doors or windows, or stopped in the streets, to
gaze on me, I entered into a khan or inn, the chamberlain of
which knew me; and finding him at the gate, whither the noise had
brought him, I prayed him, for the sake of Heaven, to hinder that
madman from coming in after me. He promised to do so, and was as
good as his word, but not without a great deal of trouble, for
the obstinate barber would go in, in spite of him, and did not
retire without calling him a thousand ill names; and after the
chamberlain shut the gate, the barber continued telling the mob
what great service he had done me. Thus I rid myself of that
troublesome fellow.

After that, the chamberlain prayed me to tell him my adventure,
which I did, and then desired him to let me have an apartment
until I was cured: But, sir, says he, would it not be more
convenient for you to go home? I will not return thither, said I;
for the detestable barber will continue plaguing me there, and I
shall die of vexation to be continually teazed with him. Besides,
after what has befallen me to-day, I cannot think of staying any
longer in this town; I must go whither my ill fortune leads me.
And actually, when I was cured, I took all the money I thought
necessary for my travels, and divided the remainder of my estate
among my kindred.

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

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

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


In the reign of the caliph Moustancer Billah [Footnote: He was
raised to this dignity in the year of the Hegira 623, and Anno
Dom. 1226; and was the thirty-sixth caliph of the race of the
Abassides.], continued he, a prince famous for his vast
liberality towards the poor, ten highwaymen infested the roads
about Bagdad, who had for a long time committed unheard-of
robberies and cruelties. The caliph having notice of this, sent
for the judge of the police some days before the feast of Bairam,
and ordered him, on pain of death, to bring all the ten to him.

The judge of the police, continued the barber, used so much
diligence, and sent so many people in pursuit of the ten robbers,
that they were taken on the day of Bairam. I was then walking on
the banks of the Tigris, and saw ten men, richly apparelled, go
into a boat. I might have known they were robbers, had I observed
the guards that were with them; but I looked only to them; and,
thinking they were people who had a mind to spend the
festival-day in jollity, I entered the boat with them, without
saying one word, in hopes they would allow me to be one of the
company. We went down the Tigris, and landed before the caliph's
palace; and I then had time to consider with myself, and to find
out my mistake. When we came out of the boat, we were surrounded
by a new troop of the judge of the police's guard, who tied us
all, and carried us before the caliph. I suffered myself to be
tied as well as the rest, without speaking one word: for to what
purpose should I have spoken, or made any resistance? That would
have been the way to have been ill treated by the guards, who
would not have listened to me, for they are brutish fellows, who
will hear no reason: I was with the robbers, which was sufficient
to make them believe me to be one.

When we came before the caliph, he ordered the ten highwaymen's
heads to be cut off immediately. The executioner drew us up in a
file within the reach of his arm, and by good fortune I was the
last. He cut off the heads of the ten highwaymen, beginning with
the first; and when he came to me he stopped. The caliph,
perceiving that he did not meddle with me, grew angry: Did not I
command thee, said he, to cut off the heads of ten highwaymen?
Why, then, hast thou cut off but nine? Commander of the faithful,
said he, Heaven preserve me from disobeying your majesty's
orders! Here are ten corpses upon the ground, and as many heads
which I cut off; your majesty may count them.

When the caliph saw himself that what the executioner said was
true, he looked upon me with astonishment; and, perceiving that I
had not the face of a highwayman, said to me, Good old man, how
came you to be among those wretches, who have deserved a thousand
deaths? I answered, Commander of the faithful, I shall make a
true confession. This morning I saw those ten persons, whose
unhappy fate is a proof of your majesty's justice, take boat; and
I embarked with them, thinking they were men going to an
entertainment to celebrate this day, which is the most remarkable
in our religion.

The caliph, who could not forbear laughing at my adventure,
instead of treating me as a prattling fellow, as the lame young
man did, admired my discretion and constant silence. Commander of
the faithful, said I, your majesty need not wonder at my keeping

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