Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 2 by Anon.

Part 2 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

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

The Story told by the Tailor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber.

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber's Eldest Brother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber's Second Brother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber's Third Brother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber's Fourth Brother.

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

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

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

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

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

The Story of the Barber's Fifth Brother.

Alnaschar, as long as our father lived, was very lazy; instead of
working he used to beg in the evening, and live upon what he got.
Our father died at a very old age, and left among us seven
hundred dirhems: we divided equally, so that each of us had a
hundred for his share. Alnaschar, who had never before possessed
so much money, was much perplexed to know what he should do with
it. He consulted a long time with himself, and at last resolved
to lay it out in glass-ware which he bought of a wholesale
dealer. He put all in an open basket, and sat with it before him,
and his back against a wall, in a place where he might sell it.
In this posture, with his eyes fixed on his basket, he began to
meditate; during which he spoke as follows: "This basket cost me
a hundred dirhems, which is all I have in the world. I shall make
two hundred of them by retailing my glass, and of these two
hundred, which I will again lay out in glass-ware, I shall make
four hundred; and going on thus, I shall at last make four
thousand dirhems; of four thousand I shall easily make eight
thousand, and when I come to ten thousand, I will leave off
selling glass and turn jeweller; I will trade in diamonds,
pearls, and all sorts of precious stones: then when I am as rich
as I can wish, I will buy a fine mansion, a great estate, slaves,
eunuchs, and horses. I will keep a good house, and make a great
figure in the world; I will send for all the musicians and
dancers of both sexes in town. Nor will I stop here, for, I will,
by the favour of Heaven, go on till I get one hundred thousand
dirhems, and when I have amassed so much, I will send to demand
the grand vizier's daughter in marriage; and represent to that
minister, that I have heard much of the wonderful beauty,
understanding, wit, and all the other qualities of his daughter;
in a word, that I will give him a thousand pieces of gold the
first night after we are married; and if the vizier be so uncivil
as to refuse his daughter, which cannot be supposed, I will go
and carry her off before his face, and take her to my house
whether he will or no. As soon as I have married the grand
vizier's daughter, I will buy her ten young black eunuchs, the
handsomest that can be had; I will clothe my self like a prince,
and mounted upon a fine horse, with a saddle of fine gold, with
housings of cloth of gold, finely embroidered with diamonds and
pearls, I will ride through the city, attended by slaves before
and behind. I will go to the vizier's palace in view of all the
people great and small, who will show me the most profound
respect. When I alight at the foot of the vizier's staircase, I
will ascend through my own people, ranged in files on the right
and left; and the grand vizier, receiving me as his son-in-law,
shall give me the right hand and set me above him, to do me the
more honour. If this comes to pass, as I hope it will, two of my
people shall each of them have a purse with a thousand pieces of
gold, which they shall carry with them. I will take one, and
presenting it to the grand vizier, tell him, ‘There is the
thousand pieces of gold that I promised the first night of
marriage:' and I will offer him the other and say to him, ‘There
is as much more, to shew you that I am a man of my word, and even
better than my promise.' After such an action as this, all the
world will talk of my generosity. I will return to my own house
in the same pomp. My wife will send some officer to compliment
me, on account of my visit to the vizier, her father: I will
honour the officer with a fine robe, and send him back with a
rich present. If she send me a present, I will not accept it, but
dismiss the bearer. I will not suffer her to go out of her
apartment on any account whatever, without giving me notice: and
when I have a mind to come to her apartment, it shall be in such
a manner as to make her respect me. In short, no house shall be
better ordered than mine. I will be always richly clad. When I
retire with my wife in the evening, I will sit on the upper seat,
I will affect a grave air, without turning my head to one side or
the other. I will speak little; and whilst my wife, beautiful as
the full moon, stands before me in all her charms, I will make as
if I did not see her. Her women about her will say to me, ‘Our
dear lord and master, here is your spouse, your humble servant,
before you, ready to receive your caresses, but much mortified
that you do not vouchsafe to look upon her; she is wearied with
standing so long, bid her, at least, sit down.' I will make no
answer, which will increase their surprise and grief. They will
prostrate themselves at my feet; and after they have for a
considerable time entreated me to relent, I will at last lift up
my head, give her a careless look, and resume my former posture:
they will suppose that my wife is not handsomely enough dressed,
and will carry her to her closet to change her apparel. At the
same time I will get up and put on a more magnificent suit; they
will return and address me as before, but I will not so much as
look upon my wife, till they have prayed and entreated as long as
they did at first. Thus I will begin on the first day of
marriage, to teach her what she is to expect during the rest of
her life.

"After the ceremonies of the marriage, I will take from one of my
servants, who shall be about me, a purse of five hundred pieces
of gold, which I will give to the tire-women, that they may leave
me alone with my spouse: when they are gone, my wife shall go to
bed first; then I will lie down by her with my back towards her,
and will not say one wore to her all night. The next morning she
will certainly complain of my contempt and of my pride, to her
mother the grand vizier's wife, which will rejoice my heart. Her
mother will come to wait upon me, respectfully kiss my hands, and
say to me, ‘Sir' (for she will not dare to call me son-in-law,
for fear of provoking me by such a familiar style), ‘I entreat
you not to disdain to look on my daughter, and refuse to come
near her. I assure you that her chief delight is to please you,
and that she loves you with all her soul.' But in spite of all my
mother-in-law can say, I will not answer her one word, but keep
an obstinate gravity. Then she will throw herself at my feet,
kiss them repeatedly, and say to me, ‘Sir, is it possible that
you can suspect my daughter's virtue? You are the first man who
ever saw her face: do not mortify her so much; do her the favour
to look upon her, to speak to her, and confirm her in her good
intentions to satisfy you in every thing.' But nothing of this
shall prevail with me. Upon which my mother-in-law will take a
glass of wine, and putting it in the hand of her daughter my
wife, will say, ‘Go, present him this glass of wine yourself;
perhaps he will not be so cruel as to refuse it from so fair a
hand.' My wife will come with the glass and stand trembling
before me; and when she finds that I do not look towards her, but
that I continue to disdain her, she will say to me with tears in
her eyes, ‘My heart, my dear soul, my amiable lord, I conjure
you, by the favours which heaven heaps upon you, to receive this
glass of wine from the hand of your most humble servant:' but I
will not look upon her still, nor answer her. ‘My charming
spouse,' will she say, redoubling her tears, and putting the
glass to my mouth, "I will never cease till I prevail with you to
drink;' then, wearied with her entreaties, I will dart a terrible
look at her, shake my hand in her face, and spurn her from me
with my foot."

My brother was so full of these chimerical visions, that he acted
with his foot as if she had been really before him, and
unfortunately gave such a push to his basket and glasses, that
they were thrown down, and broken into a thousand pieces,

On this fatal accident, he came to himself, and perceiving that
he had brought misfortune upon himself by his insupportable
pride, beat his face, tore his clothes, and cried so loud, that
the neighbours came about him; and the people, who were going to
their noon prayers, stopped to know what was the matter. Being on
a Friday, more people went to prayers than usual; some of them
took pity on Alnaschar, and others only laughed at his
extravagance. In the mean time, his vanity being dispersed with
his property, he bitterly bewailed his loss; and a lady of rank
passing by upon a mule richly caparisoned, my brother's situation
moved her compassion. She asked who he was, and what he cried
for? They told her, that he was a poor man, who had laid out the
little money he possessed in the purchase of a basket of
glassware, that the basket had fallen, and all his glasses were
broken. The lady immediately turned to an eunuch who attended
her, and said to him, "Give the poor man what you have about
you." The eunuch obeyed, and put into my brother's hands a purse
with five hundred pieces of gold. Alnaschar was ready to die with
joy when he received it. He gave a thousand blessings to the
lady, and shutting up his shop, where he had no more occasion to
sit, went to his house.

While he was pondering over his good luck, he heard somebody
knock at his door. Before he opened, he asked who it was, and
knowing by the voice that it was a woman, he let her in. "My
son," said she, "I have a favour to beg of you: the hour of
prayer is come, let me perform my ablutions in your house, that I
may be fit to say my prayers." My brother looking at her, and
seeing that she was well advanced in years, though he knew her
not, granted her request, and sat down again still full of his
new adventure. He put his gold in a long strait purse, proper to
carry at his girdle. The old woman in the mean time said her
prayers, and when she had done, came to my brother and bowed
twice to the ground, so low, that she touched it with her
forehead: then rising up, she wished him all happiness.

The old woman then bowed again, and thanked him for his civility.
Being meanly clad, and very humble, he thought she asked alms;
upon which he offered her two pieces of gold. The old woman
stepped back in a sort of surprise, as if my brother had
affronted her. "Good God!" said she, "what is the meaning of
this? Is it possible, sir, that you took me for one of those
impudent beggars who push into people's houses to ask alms? Take
back your money: thank heaven, I need it not. I belong to a young
lady of this city, who is a perfect beauty, and very rich; she
lets me want for nothing."

My brother was not cunning enough to perceive the craft of the
old woman, who only refused the two pieces of gold, that she
might catch more. He asked her, if she could not procure him the
honour of seeing that lady. "With all my heart," she replied;
"she will be very glad to marry you, and to put you in possession
of her fortune, by making you master of her person. Take up your
money, and follow me." My brother, transported with his good luck
in finding so great a sum of money, and almost at the same time a
beautiful and rich wife, shut his eyes to all other
considerations; so that he took his five hundred pieces of gold,
and followed the old woman. She walked on, and he followed at a
distance, to the gate of a great house, where she knocked. He
came up just as a young Greek slave opened the gate. The old
woman made him enter first, crossed a well-paved court, and
introduced him into a hall, the furniture of which confirmed him
in the good opinion he had conceived of the mistress of the
house. While the old woman went to acquaint the lady, he sat
down, and the weather being hot, put off his turban, and laid it
by him. He speedily saw the young lady enter: her beauty and rich
apparel perfectly surprised him; he arose as soon as he saw her.
The lady, with a smiling countenance, prayed him to sit down
again, and placed herself by him. She told him, she was very glad
to see him; and after having spoken some engaging words, said,
"We do not sit here at our ease. Come, give me your hand." At
these words she presented him hers, and conducted him into an
inner chamber, where she conversed with him for some time: she
then left him, saying that she would be with him in a moment. He
waited for her; but instead of the lady came in a great black
slave with a cimeter in his hand, and looking upon my brother
with a terrible aspect, said to him fiercely, "What have you to
do here?" Alnaschar was so frightened, that he had no power to
answer. The black stripped him, carried off his gold, and gave
him several flesh wounds with his cimeter. My unhappy brother
fell to the ground, where he lay without motion, though he had
still the use of his senses. The black thinking him to be dead,
asked for salt: the Greek slave brought him a basin full: they
rubbed my brother's wounds with it, but he had so much command of
himself, notwithstanding the intolerable pain it put him to, that
he lay still without giving any sign of life. The black and the
Greek slave having retired, the old woman, who had enticed my
brother into the snare, came and dragged him by the feet to a
trapdoor, which she opened, and threw him into a place under
ground, among the bodies of several other people who had been
murdered. He perceived this as soon as he came to himself, for
the violence of the fall had taken away his senses. The salt
rubbed into his wounds preserved his life, and he recovered
strength by degrees, so as to be able to walk. After two days he
opened the trap-door in the night, and finding in the court a
place proper to hide himself in, continued there till break of
day, when he saw the cursed old woman open the street gate, and
go out to seek another victim. He stayed in the place some time
after she was gone, that she might not see him, and then came to
me for shelter, when he told me of his adventures.

In a month's time he was perfectly cured of his wounds by
medicines that I gave him, and resolved to avenge himself of the
old woman, who had put such a barbarous cheat upon him. To this
end he took a bag, large enough to contain five hundred pieces of
gold, and filled it with pieces of glass.

My brother fastened the bag of glass about him, disguised himself
like an old woman, and took a cimeter under his gown. One morning
he met the old woman walking through the town to seek her prey;
he went up to her, and counterfeiting a woman's voice, said,
"Cannot you lend me a pair of scales? I am newly come from
Persia, have brought five hundred pieces of gold with me, and
would know if they are weight." "Good woman," answered the old
hag, "you could not have applied to a fitter person: follow me, I
will conduct you to my son, who changes money, and will weigh
them himself to save you the trouble. Let us make haste, for fear
he should go to his shop." My brother followed her to the house
where she carried him at first, and the Greek slave opened the

The old woman took my brother to the hall where she desired him
to wait till she called her son. The pretended son came, and
proved to be the villainous black slave. "Come, old woman," said
he to my brother, "rise and follow me:" having spoken thus, he
went before to conduct him to the place where he designed to
murder him. Alnaschar got up, followed him, and drawing his
cimeter, gave him such a dexterous blow behind on the neck, that
he cut off his head, which he took in one hand, and dragging the
corpse with the other, threw them both into the place under
ground before-mentioned. The Greek slave, who was accustomed to
the trade, came presently with a basin of salt; but when she saw
Alnaschar with his cimeter in his hand, and without his veil, she
laid down the basin, and fled. But my brother overtaking her, cut
off her head also. The wicked old woman came running at the
noise, and my brother seizing her, said to her, "Treacherous
wretch, do not you know me?" "Alas, Sir!" answered she trembling,
"who are you? I do not remember that I ever saw you." "I am,"
replied he, "the person to whose house you came the other day to
wash and say your prayers. Hypocritical hag, do not you
remember?" Then she fell on her knees to beg his pardon, but he
cut her in four pieces.

There remained only the lady, who knew nothing of what had
passed: he sought her out, and found her in a chamber, where she
was ready to sink when she saw him: she begged her life, which he
generously granted. "Madam," said he, "how could you live with
such wicked people, as I have so justly revenged myself upon?" "I
was," she answered, "wife to an honest merchant; and the old
woman, whose wickedness I did not then know, used sometimes to
come to see me; ‘Madam,' said she to me one day, ‘we have a
wedding at our house, which you will be pleased to see, if you
will give us the honour of your company:' I was persuaded by her,
put on my best apparel, and took with me a hundred pieces of
gold. I followed her; she brought me to this house, where the
black has since kept me by force, and I have been three years
here to my great sorrow." "By the trade which that cursed black
followed," replied my brother, "he must have gathered together a
vast deal of riches." "There is so much," said she "that you will
be made for ever, if you can carry them off: follow me, and you
shall see them." Alnaschar followed her to a chamber, where she
shewed him several coffers full of gold, which he beheld with
admiration. "Go," said she, "and fetch people to carry it all
off." My brother went out, got ten men together, and brought them
with him, but was much surprised to find the gate open, the lady
and the coffers gone, for she being more diligent than he, had
conveyed them all off and disappeared. However, being resolved
not to return empty-handed, he carried off all the furniture of
the house, which was a great deal more than enough to make up the
five hundred pieces of gold he had been robbed of; but when he
went out of the house, he forgot to shut the gate. The
neighbours, who saw my brother and the porters come and go, went
and acquainted the magistrate, for they looked upon my brother's
conduct as suspicious. Alnaschar slept well enough all night, but
the next morning, when he came out of his house, twenty of the
magistrate's men seized him. "Come along with us," said they,
"our master would speak with you." My brother prayed them to have
patience for a moment, and offered them a sum of money to let him
escape; but instead of listening to him, they bound him, and
forced him to go with them. They met in the street an old
acquaintance of my brother's, who stopped them awhile, asked them
why they had seized my brother, offered them a considerable sum
to let him escape, and tell the magistrate they could not find
him, but in vain.

When the officers brought him before the magistrate, he asked him
where he had the goods which he had carried home the preceding
evening? "Sir," replied Alnaschar, "I am ready to tell you all
the truth; but allow me first to have recourse to your clemency,
and to beg your promise, that I shall not be punished." "I give
it you," said the magistrate. My brother then told him the whole
story without disguise, from the period the old woman came into
his house to say her prayers, to the time the lady made her
escape, after he had killed the black, the Greek slave, and the
old woman: and as for what he had carried to his house, he prayed
the judge to leave him part of it, for the five hundred pieces of
gold of which he had been robbed.

The judge, without promising any thing, sent his officers to
bring off the whole, and having put the goods into his own
warehouse, commanded my brother to quit the town immediately, and
never to return, for he was afraid, if he had stayed in the city,
he would have found some way to represent this injustice to the
caliph. In the mean time, Alnaschar obeyed without murmuring, and
left that town to go to another. By the way, he met with
highwaymen, who stripped him naked; and when the ill news was
brought to me, I carried him a suit, and brought him secretly
into the town, where I took the like care of him as I did of his
other brothers.

The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother.

I have now only to relate the story of my sixth brother, called
Schacabac, with the hare lips. At first he was industrious enough
to improve the hundred dirhems of silver which fell to his share,
and went on very well; but a reverse of fortune brought him to
beg his bread, which he did with a great deal of dexterity. He
studied chiefly to get into great men's houses by means of their
servants and officers, that he might have access to their
masters, and obtain their charity. One day as he passed by a
magnificent house, whose high gate shewed a very spacious court,
where there was a multitude of servants, he went to one of them,
and asked him to whom that house belonged? "Good man," replied
the servant, "whence do you come that you ask me such a question?
Does not all that you behold point out to you that it is the
palace of a Barmecide?" "My brother, who very well knew the
liberality and generosity of the Barmecides, addressed himself to
one of his porters (for he had more than one), and prayed him to
give him alms. "Go in," said he, "nobody hinders you, and address
yourself to the master of the house; he will send you back

My brother, who expected no such civility, thanked the porters,
and with their permission entered the palace, which was so large,
that it took him a considerable time to reach the Barmecide's.
apartment; at last he came to an arcade square building of an
excellent architecture, and entered by parterres of flowers
intersected by walks of several colours, extremely pleasant to
the eye: the lower apartments round this square were most of them
open, and were shut only with great curtains to keep out the sun,
which were opened again when the heat was over to let in the
fresh air.

Such an agreeable place would have struck my brother with
admiration, even if his mind had been more at ease than it was.
He went on till he came into a hall richly furnished and adorned
with painting of gold and azure foliage, where he saw a venerable
man with a long white beard, sitting at the upper end on a sofa,
whence he concluded him to be the master of the house; and in
fact it was the Barmecide himself, who said to my brother in a
very civil manner, that he was welcome; and asked him what he
wanted? "My lord," answered my brother, in a begging tone, "I am
a poor man who stands in need of the help of such rich and
generous persons as yourself." He could not have addressed
himself to a fitter person than this lord, who had a thousand
good qualities.

The Barmecide seemed to be astonished at my brother's answer, and
putting both his hands to his stomach, as if he would rend his
clothes for grief, "Is it possible," cried he, "that I am at
Bagdad, and that such a man as you is so poor as you say? this is
what must never be." My brother, fancying that he was going to
give him some singular mark of his bounty, blessed him a thousand
times, and wished him all happiness. "It shall not be said,"
replied the Barmecide, "that I will abandon you, nor will I have
you leave me." "Sir," replied my brother, "I swear to you I have
not eaten one bit to-day." "Is it true," demanded the Barmecide,
"that you are fasting till now? Alas, poor man! he is ready to
die for hunger. Ho, boy," cried he, with a loud voice, "bring a
basin and water presently, that we may wash our hands." Though no
boy appeared, and my brother saw neither water nor basin, the
Barmecide fell to rubbing his hands as if one had poured water
upon them, and bade my brother come and wash with him. Schacabac
judged by this, that the Barmecide lord loved to be merry, and he
himself understanding raillery, and knowing that the poor must be
complaisant to the rich, if they would have any thing from them,
came forward and did as he was required.

"Come on," said the Barmecide, "bring us something to eat, and do
not let us wait." When he had spoken, though nothing appeared, he
began to cut as if something had been brought him upon a plate,
and putting his hand to his mouth began to chew, and said to my
brother, "Come, friend, eat as freely as if you were at home;
come, eat; you said you were like to die of hunger, but you eat
as if you had no appetite." "Pardon me, my lord," said Schacabac,
who perfectly imitated what he did, "you see I lose no time, and
that I play my part well enough." "How like you this bread," said
the Barmecide; "do not you find it very good?" "O! my lord,"
replied my brother, who saw neither bread nor meat, "I have never
eaten anything so white and so fine." "Eat your belly-full," said
the Barmecide; "I assure you the woman who bakes me this good
bread cost me five hundred pieces of gold to purchase her."

The Barmecide, after having boasted so much of his bread, which
my brother ate only in idea, cried, "Boy, bring us another dish:"
and though no boy appeared, "Come, my good friend," continued he,
"taste this new dish; and tell me if ever you ate better mutton
and barley-broth than this." "It is admirably good," replied my
brother, "and therefore you see I eat heartily." "You oblige me
highly," resumed the Barmecide; "I conjure you then, by the
satisfaction I have to see you eat so heartily, that you eat all
up, since you like it so well." A little while after he called
for a goose and sweet sauce, made up of vinegar, honey, dry
raisins, grey peas, and dry figs, which were brought just in the
same manner as the others had. "The goose is very fat," said the
Barmecide, "eat only a leg and a wing; we must save our stomachs,
for we have abundance of other dishes to come." He actually
called for several others, of which my brother, who was ready to
die of hunger, pretended to eat; but what he boasted of more than
all the rest was a lamb fed with pistachio nuts, which he ordered
to be brought up in the same manner. "Here is a dish," said the
Barmecide "that you will see at nobody's table but my own; I
would have you eat your belly-full of it." Having spoken thus, he
stretched out his hand as if he had had a piece of lamb in it,
and putting it to my brother's mouth, "There," said he, "swallow
that, and you will judge whether I had not reason to boast of
this dish." My brother thrust out his head, opened his mouth, and
made as if he took the piece of lamb, and eat it with extreme
pleasure. "I knew you would like it," said the Barmecide. "There
is nothing in the world finer," replied my brother; "your table
is most delicious." "Come, bring the ragout; I fancy you will
like that as well as you did the lamb: Well, how do you relish
it?" "O! it is wonderful," replied Schacabac; "for here we taste
all at once, amber, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and the most
odoriferous herbs, and all these delicacies are so well mixed,
that one does not prevent our tasting the other." "How pleasant!
Honour this ragout," said the Barmecide, "by eating heartily of
it. Ho, boy, bring us another ragout." "No, my lord, if it please
you," replied my brother, "for indeed I can eat no more."

"Come, take away then," said the Barmecide, "and bring the
fruit." He stayed a moment as it were to give time for his
servants to carry away; after which, he addressed my brother,
"Taste these almonds, they are good and fresh gathered." Both of
them made as if they had peeled the almonds, and eaten them;
after this, the Barmecide invited my brother to eat something
else. "Look," said he, "there are all sorts of fruits, cakes, dry
sweetmeats, and conserves, take what you like;" then stretching
out his hand, as if he had reached my brother something, "Look,"
he continued, "there is a lozenge, very good for digestion."
Schacabac made as if he ate it, and said, "My lord, there is no
want of musk here." "These lozenges," replied the Barmecide, "are
made at my own house, where nothing is wanting to make every
article good." He still bade my brother eat, and said to him,
"Methinks you do not eat as if you had been so hungry as you
complained you were when you came in." "My lord," replied
Schacabac, whose jaws ached with moving and having nothing to
eat, "I assure you I am so full that I cannot eat one bit more."

"Well, then, friend," resumed the Barmecide, "we must drink now,
after we have eaten so well." "You may drink wine, my lord,"
replied my brother, "but I will drink none if you please, because
I am forbidden." "You are too scrupulous," rejoined the
Barmecide; "do as I do." "I will drink then out of complaisance,"
said Schacabac, "for I see you will have nothing wanting to make
your treat complete; but since I am not accustomed to drink wine,
I am afraid I shall commit some error in point of good breeding,
and contrary to the respect that is due to you; therefore I pray
you, once more, to excuse me from drinking any wine; I will be
content with water." "No, no," said the Barmecide, "you shall
drink wine," and at the same time he commanded some to be
brought, in the same manner as the meat and fruit had been served
before. He made as if he poured out wine, and drank first
himself, and then pouring out for my brother, presented him the
glass, saying, "Drink my health, and let us know if you think
this wine good." My brother made as if he took the glass, and
looked as if the colour was good, and put it to his nose to try
the flavour: he then made a low salute to the Barmecide, to
signify that he took the liberty to drink his health, and lastly
he appeared to drink with all the signs of a man that drinks with
pleasure: "My lord," said he, "this is very excellent wine, but I
think it is not strong enough." "If you would have stronger,"
answered the Barmecide, "you need only speak, for I have several
sorts in my cellar. Try how you like this." Upon which he made as
if he poured out another glass for himself, and one for my
brother; and did this so often, that Schacabac, feigning to be
intoxicated with the wine, and acting a drunken man, lifted up
his hand, and gave the Barmecide such a box on the ear as made
him fall down. He was going to give him another blow, but the
Barmecide holding up his hand to ward it off, cried, "Are you

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest